Monday, March 11, 2013


Vatican City, 11 March 2013 (VIS) – In this morning's 10th and final General Congregation, 152 Cardinals were in attendance. Three new members for the Particular Congregation were picked by lot to assist the Cardinal Camerlengo for the next three days in the lesser affairs of the proceedings. The Cardinal assistants chosen were: from the Order of Bishops, Cardinal Antonios Naguib, patriarch emeritus of Alexandria, Egypt; from the Order of Priests, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; and from the Order of Deacons, Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, archpriest emeritus of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls.
“Twenty-eight cardinals spoke today,” Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office reported, “bringing the total number of interventions given during the course of the 10 General Congregations to 161. There was a wide participation, even if some other cardinals would have liked to participate or to speak again. It was, however, decided not to have another Congregation this afternoon in light of the move to the Domus Sanctae Marthae and the preparations for the Conclave.”
This morning, among other topics, the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) was discussed. “Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, as president of the Commission of Cardinals for oversight of the IOR, presented the current operations of that commission to those present along with the process for adopting the norms of transparency that it has established. Naturally, much was also said about the expectations and hopes for the future Holy Father.”
Fr. Lombardi then provided some information about events that will take place in the next few days.
Around 90 auxiliary personnel will take the oath of secrecy this afternoon at 5:30pm in the Pauline Chapel. The Cardinal Camerlengo will receive the oaths of these persons who will assist in meeting the personal and official needs connected with the election process. (We provide a list of those involved in a separate article below.)
The “pro eligendo Romano Pontifice” Mass will be celebrated in the Vatican Basilica tomorrow, 12 March, at 10:00am. The booklet for the Mass is available on the Vatican website under the section of the Office for Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. The liturgy will be presided by Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano and concelebrated by all the cardinals, including the non-voters. During the offertory, a motet (choral musical composition) by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina will be heard.
Beginning tomorrow, Vatican Television will have a camera fixed on the chimney of the Sistine Chapel to capture the images of the “fumate”.
On their seats in the Sistine Chapel, the Cardinal electors will find the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”, the “Ordo Rituum Conclavis” (Book of Rites of the Conclave), and a book of the Liturgy of the Hours.
The director of the Holy See Press Office also summarized the final acts of the Conclave as regulated by that text. “If a cardinal gets two-thirds of the vote—the required amount for an election—the Cardinal Dean of the assembly, in this case Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, asks 'Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?' After receiving the consent of the one elected he then asks, “By what name do you wish to be called?” Then the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, acting as notary and having two masters of ceremonies as witnesses who are called in at that time, records the new Pope's acceptance and chosen name. He then proceeds to burn the ballots for the white “fumata” (smoke signalling the election). The new Pope then dresses in the “Room of Tears”—perhaps so-called because of the emotion of the moment. When he returns to the Chapel a Gospel passage connected to the Petrine ministry is read, a brief prayer is given, and the cardinals process, one-by-one to the new pontiff, congratulating him and promising their obedience. The Pope and the cardinals sing the Te Deum together.”
“There is a new aspect to this Conclave,” Fr. Lombardi noted. “The Pope, before going to the balcony at the centre of St. Peter's Basilica, will stop at the Pauline Chapel to pray before the Blessed Sacraments for a few moments. Then he will go out onto the loggia and greet those gathered with the “Urbi et Orbe” blessing.
Regarding the opening Mass of the new pontificate, Fr. Lombardi explained that it does not have to be celebrated on Sunday, but could occur any day of the week.
Finally, he clarified that the Prefect of the Papal Household, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the Pope emeritus' personal secretary, will attend the ceremony of the beginning of the Conclave, as foreseen by his defined duties.
Vatican City, 11 March 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced that this afternoon at 5:30pm in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, the officers and assistants of the Conclave process will take the oath of secrecy.
All those involved in the care of the coming Conclave, both ecclesiastic and secular persons, have received prior approval from the Cardinal Camerlengo and the three Cardinal Assistants as established in No. 46 of the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”. The following will take the oath prescribed in No. 48 of that document:
- The Secretary of the College of Cardinals
- The master of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff
- The masters of pontifical ceremonies
- The religious who supervise the pontifical sacristy
- The ecclesiastic chosen by the cardinal dean to help him in his duties
- The religious charged with hearing confessions in the various languages
- Doctors and nurses
- The personnel for preparing meals and cleaning
- Florist staff and technical service personnel (UDG, Nos. 5 and 51)
- Personnel responsible for transporting the Cardinal electors from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Apostolic Palace
- Elevator attendants at the Apostolic Palace
- The Colonel and a Major of the Corps of Pontifical Swiss Guards responsible for surveillance around the Sistine Chapel
- The Director of Security and Civil Protection Services with some assistants.
After having been instructed on the meaning of the oath, they will have to pronounce and personally sign the prescribed formula before Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B. Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church, and in the presence of two apostolic protonotaries.
Vatican City, 11 March 2013 (VIS) – The “logistics” of the procedures carried out in a Conclave are not established on the basis of personal opinion nor are they subject to passing fads or improvisation. The liturgical tradition—established after the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council—notes with great precision the norms and rites that are to be followed. These are found in the Book of Rites of the Conclave.
The first aspect that the book highlights is the importance of the Conclave, as it involves the election of the Roman Pontiff. Then, focusing on the Mass that precedes the Cardinal electors' entrance into Conclave, it dedicates an entire chapter to explaining the rites and rubrics of this Eucharistic celebration.
The Second Chapter describes the most significant moments of the ceremony of entry into Conclave, with the specific oath that the cardinals swear. The process of voting and the scrutiny of the votes is also subject to a precise order to be followed exactly, as are the preceding and following rituals and the moment of the chosen cardinal's acceptance as Roman Pontiff and his proclamation.
The Book of the Rites of the Conclave ends, at the Fifth Chapter, with the solemn announcement of the election of the Pope and his first “Urbi et Orbi” blessing from the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica.
Always in accordance with the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis” promulgated by John Paul II, Benedict XVI introduced a few new features to improve the procedure of the Conclave. For example, at the “pro eligendo Romano Pontifice” Mass held the morning of the day that the Cardinal electors enter into Conclave, all cardinals are expected to participate, not just the Cardinal electors.
Another new addition is where the Rite of Admission to the Conclave and the Oaths of Cardinals should take place. The Pauline Chapel has been established as the particular place prescribed for these two acts.
The regulations also state that, for this ceremony, the senior cardinal in the hierarchy—who currently is Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re—will preside over the celebration, which begins with the sign of the cross and the proclamation of the following words:
“May the Lord, who guides our hearts in the love and patience of Christ, be with you all.”
After this brief prayer, Cardinal Re will invite all those gathered to begin the procession towards the Sistine Chapel, where the Conclave will take place, with these words:
“Venerable Brothers, after having celebrated the divine mystery, we now enter into Conclave to elect the Roman Pontiff.
The entire Church, joined with us in prayer, constantly calls upon the grace of the Holy Spirit to elect from among us a worthy Pastor of all of Christ's flock.
May the Lord direct our steps along the path of truth, so that, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, we may always do that which is pleasing to him.”
After this prayer, the cardinals process into the Sistine Chapel following the minister bearing the cross, the choir, the masters of ceremony, the secretary of the College of Cardinals, and the prelate who will give the meditation to the Cardinal electors. The procession is ended with a deacon, dressed in alb and stole, bearing the book of the Gospels, along with Cardinal Re and the Master of Ceremonies.
During the procession the cardinals will sing the Litany of Saints—a prayer that has eminent importance in celebrations of the Latin liturgy and that recalls saints of the West and the East—and the celebration concludes with the hymn “Veni Creator Spiritus” when they are are gathered in the Sistine Chapel.
A few names that are not customarily recited, but who represent to the universal Church have been introduced in the canticle of the Litany of Saints. These include: the patriarchs and prophets Abraham, Moses, and Elijah; St. Maron of Lebanon; St. Frumencio of Ethiopia and Eritrea; St. Nina of Georgia; St. Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia; St. Patrick of Ireland; and other saints representing various lands such as martyrs of Canada, Uganda, Korea, and Oceania; St. Rose of Lima, Peru, for South America; and some Popes, including St. Pius X.
The solemn oath taken by the cardinals inside the Sistine Chapel follows the formula established in the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”. After the recitation of the Common Form of the oath, each cardinal then lays his hand upon the Gospels, and individually pronounces the prescribed form of the oath.
When the last of the Cardinal electors has taken the oath, the Master of Ceremonies recites the traditional formula “Extra omnes” and all those not taking part in the Conclave must leave the Sistine Chapel.
Besides the Cardinal electors, the only others who will be present in the Sistine Chapel are the Master of Ceremonies and Cardinal Prospero Grech, O.S.A., who will preach the second meditation concerning the grave duty incumbent on them and thus on the need to act with right intention for the good of the Universal Church.
After that exhortation, Cardinal Re will propose to the College of Electors to begin with the first ballot of the Conclave.
Vatican City, 11 March 2013 (VIS) – Following is a brief chronology of Conclaves in recent centuries along with interesting facts that occurred during each.
In the entire history of the Church, the longest papal election—taking place in Viterbo, Italy in 1268 and ending with the election of Gregory X—lasted for over two years. It was as a result of this instance that the modern incarnation of the papal Conclave was instituted.
In modern history, the longest Conclave was that of 1740, which ended with the election of Benedict XVI. It lasted from 18 February until 17 August, 181 days. Fifty-one cardinals participated in the final ballot, four cardinals having died during the proceedings.
In 1758, the Conclave that elected Clement XIII lasted from 15 May until 6 July, 53 days. Forty-five cardinals participated, but one was absent at the final ballot, having left the Conclave because of illness.
In 1769, Clement XIV was elected after 94 days, from 15 February until 19 May. Forty-six cardinals participated in the vote.
Beginning in 1774, the Conclave that elected Pius VI lasted 133 days, from 5 October of that year until 15 February 1775. Forty-six cardinals entered in the Conclave but two of them died during the proceedings.
The Conclave that elected Pius VII took place in Valencia, Spain, since Rome was under occupation by Napoleon’s troops. It lasted from 1 December 1799 until 14 March 1800, 105 days. It was the last Conclave held outside of Rome and 34 cardinals participated.
In 1823, Leo XII was elected after 27 days, 2 September until 28 September, and 49 cardinals participated.
In 1829, the Conclave that elected Pius VIII lasted 36 days, 24 February until 31 March, and 50 cardinals participated.
At the Conclave that began in 1831, the last cardinal not to be bishop was elected Pope, Gregory XVI. The Conclave that elected him lasted 51 days, from 14 December 1830 until 2 February of the following year and 45 cardinals participated.
“Short” Conclaves began to take place from 1846, with the election of Blessed Pius IX. Fifty cardinals elected him Pope in a conclave lasting three days, from 14 to 16 June of that year.
After the longest papal reign, which lasted more than thirty years, the following Conclave also lasted three days, from 18 to 20 February in 1878. Sixty-one cardinals participated in the vote to elect Leo XIII. It's interesting to note that, as his reign was the third longest in papal history, lasting over 25 years, only four of the cardinals that elected him participated in another Conclave. Another interesting fact from this Conclave is that the first American to be created cardinal, Cardinal John McCloskey, archbishop of New York, would have been the first non-European to take part in a papal election but he arrived too late to participate. That honour was to go to Cardinal James Gibbons, archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland at the next Conclave.
In 1903 St. Pius X was elected Pope by 64 cardinals in a Conclave that lasted five days, from 31 July until 4 August, and had 7 ballots. It was the last time that the “Jus Exclusivae” (“right of exclusion” or right to veto a candidate for the papacy claimed by the Catholic monarchs of Europe) was exercised. The Italian Cardinal Mariano Rampolla was vetoed by Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary. After his election, St. Pius X abolished the right of heads of state to exercise a veto.
In 1914, the Conclave that elected Benedict XV lasted four days, from 31 August until 3 September. The 57 participating cardinals had 10 ballots. Three North American Cardinals were locked out of the Sistine Chapel, having arrived too late to enter but it was the first time that a Latin American cardinal participated, Cardinal Joaquim Arcoverde de Albuquerque Cavalcanti, archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In 1922, during the Conclave that elected Pius XI, 53 cardinals held 7 ballots over five days, from 2 to 6 February. Two American and one Canadian cardinal were again left out of the Conclave for having arrived too late. After his election, Pius XI established a period of 15 days from the beginning of the Sede Vacante to entering into Conclave in order to allow cardinals enough time to travel to Rome.
In the 1939 Conclave that elected Pius XII, the first patriarch of an Eastern rite participated in the election: His Beatitude Mar Ignatius Gabriel I Tappouni, patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians. The Conclave, the shortest of the twentieth century, lasted just two days, from 1 to 2 March. The 62 cardinals held 3 ballots.
In the Conclave of 1958 that elected Blessed John XXIII, cardinals from China, India, and Africa participated for the first time. The Conclave lasted four days, from 25 to 28 October and the 51 cardinals held 11 ballots.
In 1963, the Conclave lasted three days, from 19 to 21 June. The 80 cardinals elected Paul VI after 11 ballots.
In 1978, the Conclave that elected John Paul I was the first in which cardinals over the age of 80 did not participate. The Conclave lasted two days, 25 to 26 August. The 111 Cardinal electors held four ballots.
In the second Conclave celebrated that year—the reign of John Paul I lasting just 33 days, resulting in the most recent “Year of Three Popes”—Blessed John Paul II was elected by the same 111 Cardinal electors after eight ballots held over three days 14 to 16 October.
In 2005, Benedict XVI was elected Pope in the fourth ballot of the Conclave that lasted two days, from 18 to 19 April. The largest number of Cardinal electors ever took part in that election: 115.
The Conclave that begins tomorrow morning, 12 March 2013, will be the first one since 1829 to be held during Lent. One hundred fifteen Cardinal electors will participate.


John 4: 43 - 54
43After the two days he departed to Galilee.
44For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.
45So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast, for they too had gone to the feast.
46So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Caper'na-um there was an official whose son was ill.
47When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.
48Jesus therefore said to him, "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe."
49The official said to him, "Sir, come down before my child dies."
50Jesus said to him, "Go; your son will live." The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went his way.
51As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was living.
52So he asked them the hour when he began to mend, and they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him."
53The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live"; and he himself believed, and all his household.
54This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.


by Shafique Khokhar
The final toll is 178 homes destroyed. In Karachi and Lahore Christian schools closed as a sign of respect. In Faisalabad, thousands of people demonstrate against the violent episode. Muslim activists for human rights: "The police knew but did nothing. Our political leaders have to leave."

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Pakistani Christians and Muslims have joined together in their condemnation of the arson attack on a Christian neighborhood of Lahore, where on March 9 last 178 houses were razed to the ground. As a sign of respect, today the Christian schools of Lahore and Karachi will remain closed for the entire day. Yesterday thousands of people in Faisalabad - including women, children, priests, nuns and Muslim activists - organized a sit-in in the main street of the city, which ended peacefully with a general prayer.
Meanwhile, the situation in the country remains tense. In Islamabad some people attacked Christians, but without setting fire to their homes.

The fire at Lahore's Joseph Colony came after the arrest for blasphemy - reported a day before - by a young Christian accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad by a local barber.

Ameena Zaman, a Muslim activist for human rights, says that "the police had ordered the Christians of Joseph Colony to evacuate their homes 12 hours before the accident. If the police knew that there would be an attack, why did they do nothing to save the Christians? ".

For Fr. Bonnie Mendes, the Lahore attack "unequivocally shows the evil intentions that lie behind accusations of blasphemy. This was a premeditated way to threaten, destroy and loot the property of Christians, and possibly even kill them."

According to Zaman Khan, a Muslim activist, "what happened confirms that our leaders do not consider religious minorities equal citizens of Pakistan. We must fight against this ideology that drives people to attack their neighbor" only because they are of another religion.

Another Muslim of the same opinion is Arif Ayyaz who adds "it is time to speak out against the ineligibility of our politicians." Pakistan will vote in general elections between April and May this year.



Agenzia Fides REPORT - From March 11 to 15, the Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in America and the Caribbean will meet in Montreal, Canada, in the "Village of St. Martin," a spiritual retreat house of the Jesuits. This meeting is specifically designed to plan the work of the American Congress of Missions and/or Latin American Missionary Congress (CAM 4-COMLA 9) to be held in the city of Maracaibo, Venezuela, from 26 November to 1 December.
"This eighth meeting-says to Fides father Guillermo Alberto Morales Martinez, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Mexico and coordinator of the work of the Pontifical Mission Societies in America, - the strong point will be "thematic analysis, the guidelines, the number of forums to be held at the Congress of Venezuela (CAM 4-COMLA 9). On the other hand, the proposed objectives will have to be approved and one will see the curriculum of each of the speakers to ensure the quality that the Congress will have."
A note sent to Fides by the PMS of Mexico also reports that all the national directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies in America will be present and as a special guest, Father Vito Del Prete, General Secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Union (PMU), who will present a work that concerns the paradigms of the new evangelization in mission Ad Gentes.
(CE) (Agenzia Fides 11/03/2013)



NAIROBI, March 9, 2012 (CISA) – Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta becomes Kenya’s fourth president after beating his closest contender Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga in a closely contested General Election.
Uhuru, of the Jubilee alliance, won the Presidential seat after garnering 6,173,433 votes representing 50.07% against CORD’s Raila Odinga’s 5,340,546 (43.28%). The total number of votes cast was 12,330,028. President–elect Uhuru also got 25% of the total votes cast in more than 24 counties (32), the second requirement according to the new constitution for one to be elected president.
The General Elections were held on March 4, but the tallying and verification of the votes had to be done manually after the electronic sending and tallying system malfunctioned. This occasioned the four-day delay.
Announcing the results Independent Electoral and Boundaries (IEBC) chairman Issack Hassan said that the just concluded election was very challenging both to the IEBC and the voters.
“Thank you Kenyans for your peaceful voting and patience as you waited for the results. The local media also deserves special attention for their fair coverage of the elections” said Hassan.
For the first time the commission used ICT during the election with success and some shortcomings.
“We have done our country proud. The voter turnout of 86% was the highest ever. It was our moment and we seized it. Thank you Kenyans,” he added.
“I therefore declare Uhuru Kenyatta the duly elected president of the republic of Kenya,” concluded Hassan.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Kenyatta thanked the voters for electing him and assured them that this is the time to fulfil all the promises that his coalition promised.
Mr Kenyatta pledged to treat all citizens of Kenya equally and work with them to move Kenya forward. “I will work on behalf of the citizens of this Republic regardless of their political affiliations,” said Mr Kenyatta.
The President-elect requested other elected leaders from different parties and the other presidential candidates to join hands with the Jubilee Coalition and work for the benefit of Kenya as a Republic. These sentiments were also echoed by Mr William Ruto, the Deputy Presidential elect.
“We expect the international community will respect the sovereignty and democratic will of the people of Kenya,” said Mr Kenyatta.
Like Hassan, he thanked local journalists for their fair coverage which helped ease any perceived tension.
In the mean time, Presidential candidate Raila Odinga has said that CORD will move to the Supreme Court to challenge the outcome announced by IEBC.
“There was failure of instruments despite billions used to buy them and the manual counting was flawed amidst rampant illegality. Let the courts decide for we have a lot of faith in the judicial system,” he said.
Mr Odinga however thanked Kenyans for Voting overwhelmingly.
Uhuru Kenyatta is the son of Kenya’s first African Prime Minister and Kenya’s first President the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
The elections had the Nation on a stand-still waiting for the final tallying of the ballot papers and eventual announcement of the next president. Businesses remained closed and most towns were deserted following the March 4th elections, leading to a call for the civil servants to return to work.
In total there were eight contestants for the presidential seat.
In December 15, 2010 Uhuru Kenyatta, 51, and his running mate William Ruto, 46, were named as suspects of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court prosecutor Moreno Ocampo, for planning and funding violence during the Post-Election-Violence that rocked the country after the disputed presidential elections of the 2007 General Elections.


Archbishop's Lenten Pastoral Letter 2013 - Visions of the Night
Dear brothers and sisters,
In the end, the Bible is a gloriously jubilant book.  But it doesn’t begin that way, because it’s also a grimly realistic book.  Its pages are often full of darkness – the murkiness of human affairs, but above all the murkiness of the human heart.  The story begins in physical darkness which, we are told, “was over the face of the deep” (Gen 1:2).  But the darkness quickly turns human, as human freedom clashes with divine freedom in the story of the Fall.  At that point, violence appears as Cain kills his brother Abel; and from then on the Bible tells an unvarnished tale of murder, adultery, duplicity, betrayal and injustice of every kind.  It’s the world as we know it rather than the world as we might want it to be.  But it looks to the world as God wants it to be.
Scripture presents a world where human plans collapse consistently, and a world in which human beings think that God’s plan collapses as human plans come to nothing.  We may think that God’s plan depends upon our plans, that the two rise or fall together.  But not so for the Bible.  In Scripture, God’s plan continues on its triumphant way as human plans collapse and human expectations are defied.  A large part of the Bible’s purpose is to enable human beings to see that truth.  It teaches us to see in the darkness, as we acquire a kind of night-vision which allows us to see that, in the maelstrom of the human heart and human affairs, God’s plan does in fact unfold.  It’s that vision which enables true jubilation, the joy of Easter.
The Bible rubs our nose in human contradictions and inconsistencies, our violence and venality, our double-dealing and duplicity.  But Scripture leads us beyond these to another vision and experience of the divine embrace of human beings just as we are rather than as our fantasies and ambitions might want us to be.  Beyond those fantasies and ambitions, Jesus crucified and risen reveals what God intends the human being to be; and the purpose of the divine embrace of us in our sinfulness is to draw us to into Jesus, so that we may become what God has always intended us to be.
This is why we need to become a more biblical Church.  That is certainly true if there is to be a new evangelisation.  To become a more biblical Church is to become more skilled in seeing in the darkness and therefore more open to joy.  To read the Bible well is to learn to read the Church and the world well.  Like the Bible, the Church can seem dark, as we have seen with the revelations of sexual abuse.  These have been shocking and humiliating for all in the Church, but the wound has surely been deepest for those who have been abused and for their families. They are like Abel whose blood cries to God from the earth (cf. Gen 4:10). 
Faced with this – not just from time to time but relentlessly through recent years – we can feel that God’s plan for the Church and, though the Church, for the world has been de-railed.  It can seem even that God has abandoned the Church and that we should do the same.  But for the Bible, the question is always: Where is God in the darkness?  In Scripture, the darkness is undeniable, but the faith is unshakeable.  Whatever the darkness, God is here, somewhere, somehow; and the question is: Do I have an eye that can see God in the darkness?  Or do I see only the darkness?  If I see only the darkness, then hopelessness takes hold and the darkness grows deeper until there is nothing else.  But if I peer into the darkness in the belief that God is there to be seen, then a pin-head of light appears; and if I keep looking with the eye of faith, the pin-head of light begins to grow and becomes in time the blazing fire of Easter.
The Bible makes it clear that God is not darkness.  In 1 John 1:5, we read that “God is light; in him there is no darkness”.  Yet earlier in Scripture we hear Solomon exclaim, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness” (1 Kings 8:22); and the Psalmist tells us that God “made the darkness his covering” (17:12).  In the Book of Daniel, the prophet, we are told, “gazed into the visions of the night” and “saw coming on the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man” (7:13); and there is the pin-head of light.  There is no darkness in God, but God is in the darkness.  It’s there that God is seen; it’s from the darkness that God comes as the light which no darkness can dispel (cf John 1:5).  That’s the Gospel.
The experience of “gazing into the visions of the night” is at the heart of our journey through this Year of Grace and Faith.  Were this Year of Grace and Faith not an experience of “gazing into the visions of the night”, then it would be little more than an escapist fantasy which the Bible forbids.  At this time, for instance, Scripture summons us to see the Royal Commission as grace of a kind – and even, however disconcerting this may sound, to see the whole crisis of sexual abuse in the Church as grace of a kind. 
This is a painful grace, a love that scours the very depths of our soul.  But to see grace in any other way is to turn it into something else.  The God of the Bible promises joy but is not “nice”.  At times the divine love comes at us out of nowhere like a tsunami: “your torrents and all your waves swept over me” (Psalm 41:7).  Or it comes as a deep and bitter wound: “you have wounded my heart” (Song 4:9).  In the Prophets, we see that the divine love has its violence; or at least we experience it as violence because it demands of us everything when we want to give God only something.  A God who claims everything is not only uncomfortable but downright threatening.  That’s the God who comes to us now.  It’s the God of Calvary in whom alone true joy is found.
To see grace as it really is, we need faith; and in Lent faith becomes action, in particular prayer and penance.  I want to urge you at this time to be more intent than ever in committing to prayer and penance through the forty days of Lent, so that you will come to Easter seeing more clearly in the darkness, seeing that God has not abandoned us and that the divine plan has in no way been thwarted but continues to unfold, though in ways we neither expected nor sought.  This is the purification we now need if we are to find our way to the joy of Easter.

Part II

As we look to Easter I ask that you make the Fridays of Lent special days of prayer and penance, days in which we look more intently than ever to the Crucified and therefore enter more deeply into the suffering of people who have known too much darkness and too little light, like those who have been abused and those have been battered again by the floods.
Prayer and penance will both need to be adapted to your circumstances of life, but let me propose some particular forms of prayer and penance.  For prayer, the celebration of the Eucharist is supreme, and you might attend Mass each Friday of Lent or even more frequently.  You might also consider one or some of the following, any of which could be done either alone or in a group:
• Praying the Morning Prayer of the Church or part of it, perhaps a meditative reading of Psalm 50 [51] “Have mercy on me, God”
• Praying all or some of the seven Penitential Psalms, which are Psalms 6 “Lord, do not reprove me”; 31 [32] “”Happy the one whose offence is forgiven”; 37 [38] “O Lord, do not rebuke me”; 50 [51] “Have mercy on me, God”; 101 [102] “O Lord, listen to my prayer”; 129 [130] “Out of the depths” ; 142 [143]:1-11, “Lord, listen to my prayer”
• Reading one of the four Passion Narratives of the New Testament (Matthew 26-27; Mark 14-15; Luke 22-23; John 18-19), perhaps taking a different one each Friday
• Following the Archdiocesan Lenten programme, “We wish to see Jesus”
• Making the meditative journey of the Stations of the Cross
• Praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary
• Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet (if possible at 3pm, the hour of the Lord’s death)
For penance, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is supreme, and I would urge you to draw upon the unique grace of the Sacrament through this Lent.  You might also consider one, some or all of the following on the Fridays of Lent:
• Skipping lunch (think of the Muslims who, through Ramadan, fast from dawn till dusk each day)
• Abstaining from meat
• Abstaining from alcohol
• Abstaining from tea and coffee
I would also ask that in the parishes and communities of the Archdiocese the following intercession be included through Lent at Mass, especially on Sundays:
• For the Church in Australia at this time and the work of the Royal Commission:
• That the Royal Commission will help the Church and the whole of society to know the truth, to do what justice requires and to bring healing to the many wounded by sexual abuse.
Lord, hear us. 
Lord, hear our prayer
I would also ask that at the end of every Mass in Lent (when there is no final song), the “Hail, Holy Queen” be said or sung, asking Mary, Mother of the Church, Mother of mercy to sustain us with her love at this time:
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy,
hail our life, our sweetness and our hope!
To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve,
To you do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate,
your eyes of mercy towards us,
and after this our exile show unto us
the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Finally, I offer you a prayer for public or private use, seeking the intercession of St Mary of the Cross, patron of the Archdiocese of Brisbane and just recently named co-patron of Australia with Our Lady, Help of Christians: 
To you we turn, St Mary of the Cross,
at this troubled time in the Church,
for you are our advocate,
patron of the Archdiocese and of this land.
To you we bring the pain of those abused
by people whom they trusted.
We bring our own sorrow and shame,
our anger and our fear,
our desire for a Church made whole.
All this we place in your hands,
the hands of a loving mother
who knows the Australian heart.
Plead to God for those abused and intercede for us,
that wounds may be healed, that new hope may come,
and that, through suffering, the Church that we love
may be purified by Jesus Christ
the living truth, the sun of justice
“risen with healing in his wings” (Malachi 4:2).
In the midst of all our trials and sacrifices, may the joy of the Lord be our strength (cf Nehemiah 8:10).
Most Rev Mark Coleridge
Archbishop of Brisbane
Ash Wednesday
The Year of Grace and Faith 2013


St. Eulogius
Feast: March 11

Feast Day:March 11
prior to 819, Córdoba, Spain
Died:March 11, 859
Major Shrine:Cathedral of Oviedo
Spanish martyr and writer who flourished during the reigns of the Cordovan Caliphs, Abd-er-Rahman II and Mohammed I (822-886). It is not certain on what date or in what year of the ninth century he was born; it must have been previous to 819, because in 848 he was a priest highly esteemed among the Christians of Catalonia and Navarre, and priesthood was then conferred only on men thirty years of age. The family of the saint was of the nobility and held land in Cordova from Roman times. The Mussulman rulers of Spain, at the beginning of the eighth century, tolerated the creed of the Christians and left them, with some restrictions, their civil rule, ecclesiastical hierarchy, monasteries, and property, but made them feel the burden of subjection in the shape of pecuniary exactions and military service. In the large cities like Toledo and Cordova, the civil rule of the Christians did not differ from that of the Visigothic epoch. The government was exercised by the comes (count), president of the council of senators, among whom we meet a similarly named ancestor of Eulogius. The saint, like his five brothers, received an excellent education in accord with his good birth and under the guardianship of his mother Isabel. The youngest of the brothers, Joseph, held a high office in the palace of Abd-er-Rahman II; two other brothers, Alvarus and Isidore, were merchants and traded on a large scale as far as Central Europe. Of his sisters, Niola and Anulona, the first remained with her mother; the second was educated from infancy in a monastery where she later became a nun.
After completing his studies in the monastery of St. Zoilus, Eulogius continued to live with his family the better to care for his mother; also, perhaps, to study with famous masters, one of whom was Abbot Speraindeo, an illustrious writer of that time. In the meantime he found a friend in the celebrated Alvarus Paulus, a fellow-student, and they cultivated together all branches of science, sacred and profane, within their reach. Their correspondence in prose and verse filled volumes; later they agreed to destroy it as too exuberant and lacking in polish. Alvarus married, but Eulogius preferred the ecclesiastical career, and was finally ordained a priest by Bishop Recared of Cordova. Alvarus has left us a portrait of his friend: "Devoted", he says, "from his infancy to the Scriptures, and growing daily in the practice of virtue, he quickly reached perfection, surpassed in knowledge all his contemporaries, and became the teacher even of his masters. Mature in intelligence, though in body a child, he excelled them all in science even more than they surpassed him in years. Fair in feature [clarus vultu], honest and honourable, he shone by his eloquence, and yet more by his works. What books escaped his avidity for reading? What works of Catholic writers, of heretics and Gentiles, chiefly philosophers? Poets, historians, rare writings, all kinds of books, especially sacred hymns, in the composition of which he was a master, were read and digested by him; his humility was none the less remarkable and he readily yielded to the judgment of others less learned than himself." This humility shone particularly on two occasions. In his youth he had decided to make a foot pilgrimage to Rome; notwithstanding his great fervour and his devotion to the sepulchre of the Prince of the Apostles (a notable proof of the union of the Mozarabic Church with the Holy See), he gave up his project,  yielding to the advice of prudent friends. Again, during the Saracenic persecution, in 850, after reading a passage of the works of St. Epiphanius he decided to refrain for a time from saying Mass that he might better defend the cause of the martyrs; however, at the request of his bishop, Saul of Cordova, he put aside his scruples. His extant writings are proof that Alvarus did not exaggerate. They give an account of what is most important from 848 to 859 in Spanish Christianity, both without and within the Mussulman dominions, especially of the lives of the martyrs who suffered during the Saracenic persecution, quorum para ipse magna fuit. He was elected Archbishop of Toledo shortly before he was beheaded (11 March, 859). He left a perfect account of the orthodox doctrine which he defended, the intellectual culture which he propagated, the imprisonment and sufferings which he endured; in a word, his writings show that he followed to the letter the exhortation of St. Paul: Imitatores mei estote sicut et ego Christi. He is buried in the cathedral of Oviedo.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)