Wednesday, April 10, 2013


(Vatican Radio Image share)

Vatican City, 10 April 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father dedicated his catechesis of this Wednesday's general audience to the salvific importance of Jesus' resurrection. After traversing St. Peter's Square in the open-top car, greeting the thousands of persons applauding his appearance he said,

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good day!

in the last Catechesis we have focused on the event of the Resurrection of Jesus, in which women have played a special role. Today I would like to reflect on its meaning for salvation. What does the Resurrection mean for our lives? And why, without it, is our faith in vain? Our faith is based on the death and resurrection of Christ, just like a house built on foundations: if they give in, the whole house collapses. On the Cross, Jesus offered himself taking sins upon himself our and going down into the abyss of death, and in the Resurrection he defeats them, he removes them and opens up to us the path to be reborn to a new life. St. Peter expresses it briefly at the beginning of his First Letter, as we have heard: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you"(1:3-4).

The Apostle tells us that the Resurrection of Jesus is something new: we are freed from the slavery of sin and become children of God, that we are born to a new life. When does this happen to us? In the Sacrament of Baptism. In ancient times, it was normally received through immersion. Those to be baptized immersed themselves in the large pool within the Baptistery, leaving their clothes, and the bishop or the priest would pour water over their head three times, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Then the baptized would emerge from the pool and put on a new vestment, a white one: they were born to a new life, immersing themselves in the death and resurrection of Christ. They had become children of God. In the Letter to the Romans Saint Paul writes: you " For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father! '"(Rom. 8:15). It is the Holy Spirit that we received in baptism that teaches us, leads us to say to God, "Father." Or rather, Abba Father. This is our God, He is a father to us. The Holy Spirit produces in us this new status as children of God, and this is the greatest gift we receive from the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. And God treats us as His children, He understands us, forgives us, embraces us, loves us even when we make mistakes . In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah said that even though a mother may forget her child, God never, ever forgets us (cf. 49:15). And this is a beautiful thing, beautiful!

However, this filial relationship with God is not like a treasure to be kept in a corner of our lives. It must grow, it must be nourished every day by hearing the Word of God, prayer, participation in the sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist and charity. We can live as children! We can live as children! And this is our dignity. So let us behave as true children! This means that each day we must let Christ transform us and make us like Him; it means trying to live as Christians, trying to follow him, even if we see our limitations and our weaknesses. The temptation to put God to one side, to put ourselves at the center is ever-present and the experience of sin wounds our Christian life, our being children of God. This is why we must have the courage of faith, we must resist being led to the mentality that tells us: "There is no need for God, He is not that important for you". It is the exact opposite: only by behaving as children of God, without being discouraged by our falls, can we feel loved by Him, our life will be new, inspired by serenity and joy. God is our strength! God is our hope!

Dear brothers and sisters, we must first must firmly have this hope and we must be visible, clear, brilliant signs of hope in world. The Risen Lord is the hope that never fails, that does not disappoint (cf. Rom 5:5). God’s hope never disappoints!. How many times in our life do our hopes vanish, how many times do the expectations that we carry in our heart not come true! The hope of Christians is strong, safe and sound in this land, where God has called us to walk, and is open to eternity, because it is founded on God, who is always faithful. We should never forget this; God is always faithful! God is always faithful! Be risen with Christ through Baptism, with the gift of faith, to an imperishable inheritance, leads us to increasingly search for the things of God, to think of Him more, to pray more. Christianity is not simply a matter of following commandments; it is about living a new life, being in Christ, thinking and acting like Christ, and being transformed by the love of Christ, it is allowing Him take possession of our lives and change them, transform them, to free them from the darkness of evil and sin.

Dear brothers and sisters, to those who ask us our reasons for the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15), let us point to the Risen Christ. Let us point to Him with the proclamation of the Word, but especially with our resurrected life. Let us show the joy of being children of God, the freedom he gifts us to live in Christ, who is true freedom, freedom from the slavery of evil, sin and death! In looking to our heavenly home, we will also have a new light and strength in our commitment and in our daily efforts. It is a precious service that we give to our world, which is often no longer able to lift its gaze upwards, it no longer seems able to lift its gaze towards God.
Vatican City, 10 April 2013 (VIS) – At the end of this morning's catechesis, the Holy Father made an appeal for those affected by the powerful earthquake in southern Iran, which has killed at least 37 people, injured hundreds more, and caused serious damage. “I pray for the victims,” the Pope said, “and express my nearness to those struck by this catastrophe. Let us pray for all our brothers and sisters in Iran.”
Vatican City, 10 April 2013 (VIS) – Among those present at this morning's general audience was a group from the St. Lawrence Athletic Club of Buenos Aires, Argentina, of which Pope Francis has been member number 88235N since 2008. The Holy Father gave a particularly warm greeting to “The Ravens”, as the team's fans are called, saying: “Ah, this is very important!”. He also greeted the Spanish-speaking pilgrims from Spain, Argentina, Mexico, and the other Latin American countries. At the same time he greeted the priests participating in a continuing education course at the Pontifical Spanish College in Rome.
Addressing the English-speaking pilgrims, he offered “prayerful good wishes” to the students of the NATO Defense College “that their service to international peace and cooperation be always fruitful”. Particularly addressing the groups of German students from Munster and Diessen, he thanked them for the music that they provided for the audience.
In conclusion, he spoke to the Italian pilgrims among whom were a group of employees from the IDI private clinic (Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata, the Dermopathic Institute of the Immaculate), which is experiencing a severe labour crisis. “I hope,” the Pope said, “that a positive solution for such a difficult situation can be found as soon as possible.”


LEON STEPNIAK, a Polish priest, died on April 9,2013 at the age of 100. He was the oldest survivor of the Dachau concentration camp. Stepniak was arrested by the Gestapo in 1940 in Klebowiec, Poland. Fr. Leon then spent 5 years in the Nazi camp in south eastern Germany. This was the first concentration camp opened in 1933. He was released at the end of World War II. Fr. Leon made a speech at the camp many years later saying that it should be a sign of reconciliation. From the year 1933-1945 around 32,000 people were killed at the camp. Many Christians were emprisoned at this camp including about 3,000 priests and bishops.

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by Melani Manel Perera
The teenage girl grew up in Marc Sri, a facility open to elderly and children in need. She has no arms, lives in a wheelchair and yet was able to learn to use the computer and hold a pen with her right foot. "Sometimes it is hard," she said, "but you should always try to see the beauty of what you receive, and be yourself."

Kalutara (AsiaNews) - Dulanjali Ariyathilake is 17 years old and successfully passed her exams the last semester. She wants to be a graphic designer. Her life and her dreams are like those of any other teenage girls her age in Sri Lanka. However, she is not really "like any other girl." Dulanjali lives in fact in a wheelchair because she was born without arms and her legs are much shorter than average. "God," she told AsiaNews, "taught me how to use my legs and my feet as if they were my own hands. Although that is the way I am, I am happy with my life, with the love I receive from the people I love, learning new things every day."
Dulanjali lives at the Marc Sri in Karukurunda (Kalutara District, Western Province), a Catholic facility that has welcomed seniors and children in need for over 30 years. After she was born, her father brought her to Rita Perera, founder of the house, to take care of her.
"I am happy my father gave me to mummy Rita," she explained, "because otherwise I would not have had so many opportunities to improve my life. I feel fortunate to have received the love of mummy Rita and daddy Julian." Daddy Julian, as she calls Fr Julian Tissera, is the facility's spiritual director.
At the facility, Dulanjali is known as dhoni, "daughter". Over the years, she has learnt to use her feet as if they were hands. In fact, "With the fingers of the left foot I can hold pen, pencil, and use the computer."
She spends her days in a wheelchair, which she can manoeuvre on her own thanks to special commands. She is happy with her independence. Only in the evening, when she has to go to sleep, does she need someone to help her lie down in bed.
When she thinks about Dulanjali, Marc Sri director Rita Perera feels "very happy. We want to help her achieve all her desires, pass upcoming school exams and become a graphic designer."
Set up about 30 years ago, the facility includes 11 homes for people varying in age and sex, from new-born babies to 95-year olds.
"God's love gives us the strength to run the place," Perera said. "Sometimes we get donations, sometimes food and basic necessities. However, we do not have a steady income or property to pay expenses".
"Sometimes," Dulanjali said, "I feel sad looking at myself and my friends. They are beautiful. They help me a lot when we are in school. But this sadness I feel does not last. I try to think about the good things in my life, about the gifts, talents and opportunities God gave me. I always try to enjoy the finer things in life. And I want the same thing for my younger brothers and sisters (the other residents). You should always try to see the beautiful in what we receive, and be yourself."




France: Flash mob for religious freedom | Bishop Gregory Elias Tabe, Archbishop of Damascus, Mgr Arturo Gonzallez Amador, Bishop of Santa Clara,Sister Bounmy, flash mob, Notre Dame Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral
One person in two lives in a country where religious freedom is not respected. More than 200 million Christians suffer grave restrictions and sometimes even risk their lives to practice their faith. To say all this to the world, more than 300 young people plan a 'flash mob' for religious freedom in the centre of Paris, in front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame on 12 April.
This initiative is promoted by the French section of Aid to the Church in Need. It will be followed by the 'Night of the Witness', now in its fifth year, in which clergy, religious and laypeople from around the world converge on Paris, for an evening of prayer and testimony.
Among the speakers there will be Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja in Nigeria. Msgr Ignace Joseph III Younan, Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church, Bishop Gregory Elias Tabe, Archbishop of Damascus, Syria, Mgr Arturo Gonzallez Amador, Bishop of Santa Clara in Cuba and Sister Bounmy, Religious of Charity in Laos.
For more information about Notre Dame Cathedral, visit their beautiful website (which has a nice children's section):
Source: Fides


12 - 14: The Road Less Travelled Art Exhibition (COSSAG)

The Cathedral of St Stephen Art Group (COSSAG) Brisbane invites you to "The Road Less Traveled". An exhibition of Contemporary Religious Art and Traditional Icons by Michael Galovic.
One of the leading Australian iconographers of international note, Michael will share his insights and knowledge about religious art and icons on the opening night. COSSAG collaborates proudly with Michael, a graduate from the Belgrade Academy of Arts, to offer an opportunity for the viewing of a body of work rarely exhibited in Australia.
Where:   Francis Rush Centre
               227 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane
When:   Opening on Friday 12 April at 6.00pm
              The display then continues Saturday 13 April (9am - 5pm)
              and Sunday 14 April (9am - 3.30pm)
All original works are for sale, as well as a range of unique iconic greeting cards, A3 size posters, brochure and book "Icons +Art:Michael Galovic", the first and still the only publication on icons done by an Australian in this country. The Artist will be available all throughout this exhibition.
Free entry
Cathedral Car Park is available - enter through Charlotte Street.
YouTube:  Michael Galovic


John 3:
 16 - 21

16For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
17For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
18He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
19And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.


St. Fulbert
Feast: April 10

Feast Day:April 10
Born:between 952 and 962
Died:10 April 1028 or 1029
Bishop, b. between 952 and 962; d. 10 April, 1028 or 1029. Mabillon and others think that he was born in Italy, probably at Rome; but Pfister, his latest biographer, designates as his birthplace the Diocese of Laudun in the present department of Gard in France. He was of humble parentage and received his education at the school of Reims, where he had as teacher the famous Gerbert who in 999 ascended the papal throne as Sylvester II. In 990 Fulbert opened a school at Chartres which soon became the most famous seat of learning in France and drew scholars not only from the remotest parts of France,  but also from Italy, Germany, and England. Fulbert was also chancellor of the church of Chartres and treasurer of St. Hilary's at Poitiers. So highly was he esteemed as a teacher that his pupils were wont to style him "venerable Socrates". He was a strong opponent of the rationalistic tendencies which had infected some dialecticians of his times, and often warned his pupils against such as extol their dialectics above the teachings of the Church and the testimony of the Bible. Still it was one of Fulbert's pupils, Berengarius of Tours, who went farthest in subjecting faith to reason. In 1007 Fulbert succeeded the deceased Rudolph as Bishop of Chartres and was consecrated by his metropolitan, Archbishop Leutheric of Sens. He owed the episcopal dignity chiefly to the influence of King Robert of France, who had been his fellow student at Reims. As bishop he continued to teach in his school and also retained the treasurership of St. Hilary. When, about 1020, the cathedral of Chartres burned down, Fulbert at once began to rebuild it in greater splendour. In this undertaking he was financially assisted by King Canute of England, Duke William of Aquitaine, and other European sovereigns. Though Fulbert was neither abbot nor monk, as has been wrongly asserted by some historians, still he stood in friendly relation with Odilo of Cluny, Richard of St. Vannes, Abbo of Fleury, and other monastic celebrities of his times. He advocated a reform of the clergy, severely rebuked those bishops who spent much of their time in warlike expeditions, and inveighed against the practice of granting ecclesiastical benefices to laymen.
Fulbert's literary productions include 140 epistles, 2 treatises, 27 hymns, and parts of the ecclesiastical Office. His epistles are of great historical value, especially on account of the light they throw on the liturgy and discipline of the Church in the eleventh century. His two treatises are in the form of homilies. The first has as its subject: Misit Herodes rex manus, ut affligeret quosdam de ecclesia, etc. (Acts 12:50); the second is entitled "Tractatus contra Judaeos" and proves that the prophecy of Jacob, "Non auferetur sceptrum de Juda", etc. (Genesis 49:10), had been fulfilled in Christ. Five of his nine extant sermons are on the blessed Virgin Mary towards whom he had a great devotion. The life of St. Aubert, bishop of Cambrai (d. 667), which is sometimes ascribed to Fulbert, was probably not written by him. Fulbert's epistles were first edited by Papire le Masson (Paris,1585). His complete works were edited by Charles de Villiers (Paris, 1608), then inserted in "Bibl. magna Patrum" (Cologne,16l8) XI, in "Bibl. maxima Patri." (Lyons, 1677), XVIII, and with additions, in Migne, P.L., CXLI, 189-368.
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)



Vatican City, 9 April 2013 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in audience Mr. Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, with his wife and entourage. Secretary-General Ban later met with His Eminence, the Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States.

“The meeting,” reads the press communique, “which follows in the tradition of audiences granted by Popes to the various Secretaries-General of the United Nations who have held that position over the years, hopes to express the appreciation that the Holy See has for that Organization’s central role in the preservation of peace in the world, in the promotion of the common good of humanity, and in the defence of fundamental human rights.”
“During the course of the cordial conversations, issues of mutual interest were discussed, in particular: situations of conflict and serious humanitarian emergency, especially in Syria and other places such as the Korean peninsula and the African continent, where peace and stability are threatened. The problem of human trafficking was noted, in particular that of women, refugees, and migrants. The UN Secretary-General, who recently began his second term in this role, outlined his project for his second five-year mandate, which focuses, among other things, on conflict prevention, international solidarity, and equitable and sustainable economic development.”
“Pope Francis also recalled the Catholic Church’s contribution, beginning with her identity and through the means proper to her, in support of the entirety of human dignity and in promoting a Culture of Encounter that helps to realize the UN’s highest institutional goals.”
Vatican City, 9 April 2013 (VIS) – Today, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to Mr. David Cameron, prime minister of the United Kingdom, on the death yesterday at 87 years of age of the Baroness Margaret Thatcher who governed the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990.
“His Holiness Pope Francis” reads the telegram, “was saddened to learn of the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher. He recalls with appreciation the Christian values which underpinned her commitment to public service and to the promotion of freedom among the family of nations. Entrusting her soul to the mercy of God, and assuring her family and the British people of a remembrance in his prayers, the Holy Father invokes upon all whose lives she touched God’s abundant blessings.”
Vatican City, 5 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present the Second International Vatican Adult Stem Cell Conference, “Regenerative Medicine: A Fundamental Shift in Science & Culture”, which will place in the new Synod Hall of the Paul VI building in the Vatican from 11–13 April. Participating in the press conference were: Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Dr. Robin Smith, president of The Stem for Life Foundation and CEO of NeoStem; and Msgr. Tomasz Trafny, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture's Science and Faith foundation.
“This conference,” said Msgr. Trafny, “is part of a project that developed thanks to the generosity, determination, and passion of many people belonging to different communities [such as] The Stem for Life Foundation..., the scientific community, benefactors..., journalists, as well as pastoral caregivers at various levels.”
“There are three sets of words that ideally describe our course of action. The first set is related to the objectives we have set ourselves in preparing for 2011's International Conference. They are three words: understanding, knowing, and studying. We wanted to understand what consequences the field of regenerative medicine in general and adult stem cells in particular might have upon society and culture. … It was very clear that the impact and the cultural dynamics of the research cannot be understood without first knowing what it is and it cannot be known unless it is studied. … This perspective of constant study and reflection is always valid because research progresses and we don't want to follow it but rather accompany it.”
But the organizers of the 2011 conference realized that their initial course of action had to be enriched by three other terms: translation, formation, and dissemination. “We realized,” Msgr. Trafny observed, “that contemporary science seems increasingly hermetic, impenetrable to the uninitiated and, as such, needs translating, without which it sometimes becomes difficult, if not impossible, to follow its developments. … So we focused mainly on first asking the speakers to make their knowledge more accessible to those without a scientific background. But immediately after the conference we were committed to identifying possible paths of development and dissemination at a high level. The publication of our book, 'The Healing Cell', is part of that process and we are happy that, last year, we were able to present a limited edition of the book to Pope Benedict XVI.”
To these two paths is added today a third, always expressed in three words: influence, support, and collaboration. We want “to have a cultural influence on society, pointing to research models of excellence that are, nevertheless, in tune with the highest moral values of protecting the life and dignity of the human being from the moment of conception. However, we are aware that you cannot permanently influence society and culture without the constant and far-sighted support that comes from religious, social, and political leaders, from the community of entrepreneurs and from benefactors who are ready to commit to developing long-term scientific, bioethical, and cultural research.”
In the end we are convinced that, in order to have a meaningful impact on culture it is necessary to know how to overcome prejudice and antagonism, promoting the logic of dialogue and cooperation at various levels. That is why we feel called to collaborate with the most prestigious professors, research institutes, and universities around the world.”
In conclusion, Msgr. Trafny invited journalists to attend this International Conference in order to communicate “the positive, encouraging, and optimistic message of the Church's support of high quality, ethical research to both scholars—so that they have no doubts of our commitment—as well as to those who are struggling with the pain of degenerative disease and who are awaiting hopeful signs from the research.”
Vatican City, 9 April 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, O.F.M., secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and titular of Bellicastrum.


ANNETTE FUNICELLO the famous Mickey Mouse Club actress has died at the age of 70 due to complications from Multiple Sclerosis. She was born on October 22, 1942 in Utica, New York and died on April 8, 2013 in Bakersfield, California. Her parents were Catholic Italian Americans. Annette was one of the original "Mouseketeers" on the Mickey Mouse Club". She also co-stared with Frankie Avalon  in the famous Beach Party movies during the 1950's.In 1965 she married Jack Gilardi and had three children with him. Funicello made numerous other film and television appearances. Her children were Gina (b. 1966), Jack Jr. (b. 1970) and Jason (b. 1974). In 1986 she married a horse breeder named Glen Holt.  She was diagnosed with MS in 1992.  They lived on a ranch near Bakersfield, California. She remained with him until her death. (Image Share GOOGLE)


by Nirmala Carvalho
Two young faithful were able to extinguish the flames, avoiding tragedy. Leaders of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC): "Hindu Nationalist groups foment anti-Christian hatred. The construction of new places of worship also at risk".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Religious intolerance against the Christian minority is intensifying in Tamil Nadu.  Overnight a group of unknown people set fire to Bethel Bible Church, a Pentecostal church in the village Puthasanthai (district of Namakal). Thanks providential intervention of two members of the community, who were sleeping in the building, the fire was extinguished before demolishing the place of worship. Rev. Paul Arguman reported the matter to the police, who have placed surveillance units around the church and "vowed" to bring the perpetrators to justice.
According to Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians(GCIC), the Hindu Munnani, the Hindu nationalist religious organization in favor of the anti-conversion laws is responsible for the growing religious intolerance in Tamil Nadu, by "inciting hatred against Christians."

"Discrimination - said the GCIC  leader - also targets on places of worship. In Kanyakumari district written permission is required from the district collector [district administrator, ed] to build a church or a prayer room. However, very often authorities deny these documents, or leave them pending for a long time. "

The attempted arson attack is the third anti-Christian incident in 2013 in the Indian State. In 2012, the GCIC recorded 13. The anti-conversion law in Tamil Nadu approved in 2002 was repealed in 2005 by the Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.




DAR ES SALAAM, April 02, 2013 (CISA) -The Archbishop of Dar es Salaam, Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, has called on religious leaders and the government to work together to ensure peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims in the country.
According to Vatican Radio, the call follows attacks in the past weeks by Islamic fundamentalists against Christians on the island of Zanzibar in which a Catholic priest was seriously wounded and another one killed. Speaking in Dar es Salaam, Cardinal Pengo, invited the Tanzanian government to facilitate a meeting between the two religious groups. He said that they should be left to engage in the deliberations without interference until they come up with resolutions that will help safeguard and promote peace, harmony and tranquility in the country.
He also called upon the Tanzanian government to fulfill its duty to provide security to the religious leaders. He pointed out that Police had failed to provide conclusive information regarding the assassination of a Catholic priest, Fr Evarist Mushi, in Zanzibar last month, and invited government never to keep quiet when people are being attacked, killed and their property destroyed by people who do not want peace.
The Spokesman of the Tanzania Police responded at the weekend saying that the force was still investigating the acts of violence in Zanzibar. Christians have, however, accused the police of being silent and sometimes of siding with the fundamentalists. Zanzibar is predominantly a Moslem area.
Meanwhile President Jakaya Kikwete has assured of the government’s resolve to sustain the nation’s peace and security irrespective of individual’s religious or political leanings.
In his end of the month address to the nation, Mr Kikwete requested clerics to avoid inflammatory and misleading statements which could be harmful to national unity. “The government has never failed to protect its people and does not take sides. Isolated incidents of faith-related events that led to breach of peace are not connected or related to one another and all suspects are in police custody for questioning,” he said.
The government is not interested in seeing anyone mocking the faiths of others, he warned, adding that he has instructed security organs at all levels to take serious action against all elements propagating provocative sentiments against other religions.
He supported the initiative by the Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, to convene a meeting for senior religious leaders in May, this year to discuss and deliberate on the trend for a lasting solution to the situation.


Haiti Seminary hardship

Tuesday 9 April 2013

At present there are 267 seminarians receiving their training in the somewhat precarious makeshift premises of the national seminary of Notre-Dame d’Haiti in Port-au-Prince. Below is a letter written by Fr Guy Boucicaut the rector of the seminary  about the current situation of the seminarians there.

THE period since the earthquake of 12 January 2010 has been really difficult for the Grand Séminaire Notre Dame in Haiti. It is true that aid has arrived here and there to meet the urgent needs of our seminarians, but there's still a lot to do. These difficulties are also accompanied by evident blessings in the life of one or other seminarian.

The major difficulty encountered in our new accommodation is the place itself. Indeed, after the earthquake we did not know where we should relocate the seminary temporarily. Eventually, after much reflection, discussion and prayer the administrative board of the seminary opted to relocate to Lilavois pending final reconstruction. In the beginning everyone was in tents with all this involves: heat during the day, the formation of shanty towns, crowding, lack of privacy etc. Since we are in the countryside it has not been possible to move around in the rainy season because of the mud and the puddles. On top of this there are the large numbers of mosquitos which plague us wherever we go. A few months later the Apostolic Nunciature of Haiti provided us with sturdier and more inhabitable tents. It was only last January that our 158 theology seminarians were able to move into corrugated metal huts, which enabled us to escape the unbearable heat of the tents. On the other hand, it was not possible in these huts to lead the kind of personal life essential for individual meditation with privacy, silence etc. because the seminarians are living 5 to a hut. It's better than before but the environment is not adequate in terms of providing suitable educational facilities. The solution is undoubtedly to rebuild the seminary at a location selected by the bishops of Haiti so as to make our educational community more viable and to create a framework more appropriate for educational purposes. But how long will we have to wait for this reconstruction project to be completed in view of the poor financial resources of the Church of Haiti?

Even so, it should be emphasized that, thanks to the profound motivation, courage and confidence of the candidates, this time in the wilderness for the Grand Séminaire is turning more into a time of grace.

Blessings experienced by seminarians
The Church of Haiti is experiencing more and more callings to the priesthood. The number of candidates is growing from year to year. We thank the Lord for this great gift which he continues to make to our Church.

Seen positively, the fact is that the seminarians want to be educated and be taught. They are open to education, and they have the desire to enter into the various dimensions of education. Two things are necessary for this: being motivated and having models. When it is explained to them why this is, when they see the sound reasons for one or other aspect of their education, they are willing to enter into it with enthusiasm and determination. Above all they need models. From the individual encounters with them I can summarize in two sentences what most of them tell me: "Here we live under difficult conditions and it's not always easy. But the seminary is not merely beautiful buildings. It is also and above all the fact that the priests are there for us and live with us." The seminarians like others are very aware of the precarious nature of the geographic environment of their education, but they transcend the problems to give the best of themselves. That's why I salute their heroic courage, their willingness to become educated and their determination to go forward despite the winds and floods in order to achieve the heights to which God calls them.

All those involved in education (seminarians, priests, bishops) give of their best for the advancement of the local Church, according to their individual situation and position. The Holy Spirit, the prime protagonist, is always present in this work since it is He who inspires and shows to each and all the way to follow in accomplishing the missionary task. May God accompany them all and give them the strength to go forward. May we always be faithful to Him and serve the Church, the reward for which is in heaven!

The seminary wishes to express its eternal gratitude to all the benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need for the regular and valuable financial support they grant to our institution every year in the form of subsidies for our seminarians' education. We pray for them and ask the Lord to bestow on them all the blessings they need to accomplish their mission on Earth.

We entrust to our patron, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the present and future of our seminary so that it may be the will of God that is fulfilled and not the will of man.

Père Guy Boucicaut is the rector of the Grand Séminaire Notre-Dame in Haiti.

Article and photos courtesy of Aid to the Church in Need


Ampleforth: Death of Fr Justin Caldwell | Fr Justin Caldwell OSB, Benedictine monk, Ampleforth AbbeyIND. CATH. NEWS REPORT

Fr Justin Caldwell OSB

Fr Justin Caldwell OSB, Benedictine monk of Ampleforth Abbey and former Headmaster of the school at Gilling Castle, died peacefully in his sleep at Ampleforth on Good Friday, 29 March 2013. He was 83 years old. With his natural shyness but warm smile, Fr Justin will be remembered by many for his sensitive pastoral care extended to many people in the course of more than thirty years’ service in Ampleforth’s schools and nearly twenty years on the parish missions.
Fr Justin went to school at Gilling Castle and Ampleforth College and joined the monastic community in September 1947. He went to St Benet’s Hall in Oxford and read Modern Languages and from 1955 worked in Ampleforth’s prep school at Gilling Castle. Nearly twenty years later, he became Headmaster, a post he held from 1971-1981.
In September 1981, Fr Justin began work on Ampleforth’s parishes that would see his pastoral skills put to great service in a wide variety of situations: from the Lancashire parishes of Lostock Hall, Leyland, Bamber Bridge, and Workington, to work as a part-time chaplain in HMP Wymott Prison; or in St Catherine’s Hospice, Lostock Hall; and St Joseph’s School, Workington.
In 1999, Fr Justin returned to Ampleforth Abbey where he was able to continue one of his great hobbies: chess. He taught chess in Ampleforth College – he had already been playing postal chess for Cumbria since 1990 – and from 2000 until 2011 was playing correspondence chess for Yorkshire. Between 1991 and 2011 he was thirteen times champion of the Clergy Correspondence Chess Club. Fr Justin also provided regular supply work in the parishes, was part-time Assistant Chaplain at St Martin’s Ampleforth, and from 2006-2012 was chaplain of St Bede’s House in Ampleforth College.
In recent years he had suffered ill health and died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Good Friday, 29 March 2013.
His funeral Mass was celebrated in Ampleforth Abbey on Tuesday 9 April, followed by burial in the vault in the Monks’ Wood.