Monday, April 15, 2013


2 EXPLOSIONS occurred around 2:50pm near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. 3 people were killed in the bombings and 141 injured. Some children were also among the wounded. 
The Athletics Association released the following statement:
Monday, April 15, 2013
8:00 p.m. ET

The Boston Athletic Association extends its deepest sympathies to all those who were affected in any way by today's events. 

Today is a sad day for the City of Boston, for the running community, and for all those who were here to enjoy the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. What was intended to be a day of joy and celebration quickly became a day in which running a marathon was of little importance. 

We can confirm that all of the remaining runners who were out on the course when the tragic events unfolded have been returned to a community meeting area. 

At this time, runners' bags in Boston which remain unclaimed may be picked up by runners presenting their bib number or proof of race participation on Berkeley Street, between St. James and Boylston. There are no bags at 101 Arlington Street.

At this time, we are cooperating with the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and all federal law enforcement officials.

We would like to thank the countless people from around the world who have reached out to support us today.


Vatican City, 15 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, His Holiness Francis received His Excellency Mr. Mariano Rajoy Brey, prime minister of Spain. Prime Minister Rajoy then met with the Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
“In a cordial atmosphere, the talks allowed an exchange of views on the difficult economic-financial situation in the world that Spain, like other European countries is facing. This situation has provoked a serious labour crisis, involving many families and particularly the young. In such a context, the Church’s nearness was expressed and the noteworthy work for those most in need that Caritas and other ecclesial charitable associations carries out was noted. Reference was also made to the country's current political-institutional structure, noting the need for dialogue in society and among all its components, dialogue that is based on mutual respect and keeping in mind values such as justice and solidarity, in seeking the common good.”
“Moreover, good bilateral relations between the Holy See and Spain were noted, which, in the spirit of the Agreements of 1979, have been strengthened more and more, just as were noted topics of current issues and of interest for the Church in that country. In particular, the institution of marriage and the family and the importance of religious education were discussed. Mention of the international situation, with particular attention on Latin America, was not overlooked.”
Vatican City, 15 April 2013 (VIS) – “Today, the Superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met with the Presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) of the United States of America. Archbishop James Peter Sartain, archbishop of Seattle, Washington, USA, and the Holy See’s Delegate for the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR, also participated in the meeting,” informs a communique from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
“As this was his first opportunity to meet with the Presidency of the LCWR, the Prefect of the Congregation, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, expressed his gratitude for the great contribution of women Religious to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the years.”
“The Prefect then highlighted the teaching of the Second Vatican Council regarding the important mission of Religious to promote a vision of ecclesial communion founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church as faithfully taught through the ages under the guidance of the Magisterium. He also emphasized that a Conference of Major Superiors, such as the LCWR, exists in order to promote common efforts among its member Institutes as well as cooperation with the local Conference of Bishops and with individual Bishops. For this reason, such Conferences are constituted by and remain under the direction of the Holy See.”
“Finally, Archbishop Muller informed the Presidency that he had recently discussed the Doctrinal Assessment with Pope Francis, who reaffirmed the findings of the Assessment and the program of reform for this Conference of Major Superiors.”
“It is the sincere desire of the Holy See,” the note concludes, “that this meeting may help to promote the integral witness of women Religious, based on a firm foundation of faith and Christian love, so as to preserve and strengthen it for the enrichment of the Church and society for generations to come.”
Vatican City, 15 April 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, Pope Francis presided over Mass at Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls on his first visit to that basilica as Bishop of Rome. Concelebrating with the Holy Father were Cardinal James Michael Harvey, archpriest of the basilica, and Abbot Edmund Power, O.S.B., of the St. Paul Outside-the-Walls Abbey.
In his homily, the Holy Father recalled that the basilica is built above the tomb of St. Paul, “a great yet humble Apostle of the Lord, who proclaimed him by word, bore witness to him by martyrdom and worshipped him with all his heart.” He added that these were the three words—proclamation, witness, worship—that he wanted to reflect upon in light of the Word of God in the liturgy's readings.
Commenting on the first reading, in which the Apostles are imprisoned for preaching of the Risen Christ, the Pope observed that Peter and the Twelve “proclaim courageously, fearlessly, what they have received: the Gospel of Jesus. And we? Are we capable of bringing the word of God into the environment in which we live? Do we know how to speak of Christ, of what He represents for us, in our families, among the people who form part of our daily lives? Faith is born from listening, and is strengthened by proclamation.”
“The proclamation made by Peter and the Apostles,” he emphasized, “does not merely consist of words: fidelity to Christ affects their whole lives, which are changed, given a new direction, and it is through their lives that they bear witness to the faith and to the proclamation of Christ. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks Peter three times to feed his flock, to feed it with his love, and He prophesies to him: 'When you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go'. These words are addressed first and foremost to those of us who are pastors: we cannot feed God’s flock unless we let ourselves be carried by God’s will even where we would rather not go, unless we are prepared to bear witness to Christ with the gift of ourselves, unreservedly, not in a calculating way, sometimes even at the cost of our lives.”
“But this also applies to everyone: we all have to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel. … In God’s great plan, every detail is important, even yours, even my humble little witness, even the hidden witness of those who live their faith with simplicity in everyday family relationships, work relationships, friendships. There are the saints of every day, the 'hidden' saints, a sort of 'middle class of holiness', as a French author said, that 'middle class of holiness' to which we can all belong.”
“But in different parts of the world, there are also those who suffer ... on account of the Gospel; there are those who give their lives in order to remain faithful to Christ ... Let us all remember this: one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life. I am thinking now of some advice that Saint Francis of Assisi gave his brothers: 'Preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words'. Preaching with your life, with your witness. Inconsistency on the part of pastors and the faithful between what they say and what they do, between word and manner of life, is undermining the Church’s credibility.”
“All this is possible only if we recognize Jesus Christ, because it is He who has called us, He who has invited us to travel his path, He who has chosen us. Proclamation and witness are only possible if we are close to him, just as Peter, John and the other disciples in today’s Gospel passage were gathered around the Risen Jesus. … And this is important for us: living an intense relationship with Jesus, an intimacy of dialogue and of life, in such a way as to recognize him as 'the Lord'. Worshipping him!”
“I would like all of us to ask ourselves this question: [ask yourself, ask myself] Do we worship the Lord? Do we turn to God only to ask him for things, to thank him, or do we also turn to him to worship him? What does it mean, then, to worship God? … All of us, in our own lives, consciously and perhaps sometimes unconsciously, have a very clear order of priority concerning the things we consider important. Worshipping the Lord means giving him the place that He must have; worshipping the Lord means stating, believing—not only by our words—that He alone truly guides our lives; worshipping the Lord means that we are convinced before him that He is the only God, the God of our lives, the God of our history.”
“This has a consequence in our lives,” the pontiff noted. “We have to empty ourselves of the many small or great idols that we have and in which we take refuge and upon which we often seek to base our security. They are idols that we sometimes keep well hidden; they can be ambition, careerism, a taste for success, placing ourselves at the centre, the tendency to dominate others, the claim to be the sole masters of our lives, some sins to which we are bound, and many others. This evening I would like a question to resound in each of your hearts, and I would like you to answer it honestly: Have I considered which idol lies hidden in my life that prevents me from worshipping the Lord? Worshipping is stripping ourselves of our idols, even the most hidden ones, and choosing the Lord as the centre, as the privileged path of our lives.”
“The Lord,” concluded the Bishop of Rome, “calls us each day to follow him with courage and fidelity. He has made us the great gift of choosing us as his disciples. He invites us to proclaim him with joy as the Risen one, but He asks us to do so by word and by the witness of our lives, in daily life. The Lord is the only God of our lives, and He invites us to strip ourselves of our many idols and to worship him alone. To proclaim, to witness, to worship.”
Vatican City, 14 April 2013 (VIS) – The episode narrated in the Acts of the Apostles that tells of the time Jesus first preached in Jerusalem and the attempts of the high priests and city leaders to stop the growth of the community of believers in Christ was the central theme of the Regina Coeli this third Sunday of Easter.
The Pope explained to the thousands of persons gathered in St. Peter's Square that the Twelve, who had been jailed with the order to not teach any more in Christ's name, responded to their persecutors: “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus … God exalted him at his right hand as leader and saviour … We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit.” “They then had the Apostles flogged and ordered them again not to speak any more in Jesus' name. And [the Twelve] went, as it says in Scripture, 'rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonour for the sake of the name' [of Jesus].”
“I ask myself,” the Bishop of Rome said, “ where did the first disciples find the strength for their witness? Not just that: Where did their joy and courage to proclaim, in spite of the obstacles and violence, come from? Let's not forget that the Apostles were simple people. They weren't scribes, doctors of the law, or members of the priestly class. How could they, with their limits and the opposition made to them by the authorities, 'have filled Jerusalem with your teaching'? It is clear that only the Risen Lord's presence to them and the Holy Spirit's action can explain this fact. … Their faith was based on such a strong and personal experience of Christ, died and risen, that they had no fear of anything or anyone. In fact, they saw persecution as a badge of honour that allowed them to follow in Jesus' footsteps and to be like him, witnessing with their lives.”
“This story of the first Christian community tells us something very important, which holds for the Church in every age, even for us: when a person truly knows Jesus Christ and believes in him, they experience his presence in their life and the strength of his Resurrection, and they cannot help but to communicate this experience. If this person encounters misunderstanding or adversity, they act as Jesus did at his Passion: they respond with love and with the strength of truth.”
“Praying the Regina Coeli together,” the Pope concluded, “we ask Mary Most Holy's assistance so that the Church throughout the world might proclaim, with sincerity and courage, the Lord's Resurrection, and might give effective witness to it with signs of fraternal love. Fraternal love is the closest witness that we can give that Jesus is alive with us, that Jesus is risen. Let us pray in a special way for the Christians who are suffering persecution. In these days there are many Christians who are suffering persecution, so very many in many countries. Let us pray wholeheartedly for them with love. May they feel the living and comforting presence of the Risen Lord.”
After the Regina Coeli, the Holy Father noted that yesterday, in Venice, Italy, Don Luca Passi, 19th century founder of the Pious Society of St. Dorothy for the Laity and the Institute of the Teaching Sisters of St Dorothy, was beatified. He also spoke of the Day of the Sacred Heart University, which is celebrated today in Italy, the theme of which is “New Generations: Beyond the Crisis” this year.
“This university,” he said, “born of the mind and heart of Fr. Agostino Gemelli, with great popular support, has trained thousands upon thousands of young people to be competent and responsible citizens, builders of the common good. I invite you to always support this University so that it might continue to offer an excellent education to new generations, so that they can face the challenges of our present time.”
Vatican City, 15 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received:
- His Beatitude Fouad Twal, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins, and his entourage, and
seven prelates of the Triveneto region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Patriarch Francesco Moraglia of Venice,
- Archbishop Antonio Mattiazzo, bishop of Padua,
- Bishop Giuseppe Zenti of Verona,
- Bishop Lucio Soravito de Franceschi of Adria-Rovigo,
- Bishop Giuseppe Andrich of Belluno-Feltre,
- Bishop Beniamino Pizziol of Vicenza, and
- Bishop Adriano Tessarollo of Chioggia.
Vatican City, 15 April 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Apostolic Vicariate of Alep of the Latin Rite, Syria, presented by Bishop Giuseppe Nazzaro O.F.M., upon having reached the age limit. At the same time, the Holy Father has appointed Fr. Georges Abou-Khazen, O.F.M., as apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the same vicariate.
The Holy Father Francis has named Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, as his special envoy to the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Budslau, Belarus, which is scheduled to take place from 5 to 6 July 2013 at the National Shrine in the Archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev.



NAIROBI, April 12, 2013 (CISA) -The long awaited Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya, Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo who was appointed by the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI in January has arrived in the country.
Addressing journalists shortly after his arrival at the Kenyatta International Airport, early Friday morning, the Nuncio expressed his joy and excitement to work among the African people and more so the Kenyans terming it as an honour.
The Pope’s representative to Kenya said the Church was delighted at the election of His Holiness, Pope Francis who has chosen to live a simple life just as St Francis of Assisi did.
“The Pope prefers to interact with the people at different capacities and to say Mass for different groups instead of the usual routine of doing things all by himself. He wants to be part of a community,” the Nuncio remarked.
In so doing, the prelate said the Pope has a vision which has great impact on the church at large.
Archbishop Balvo said he had met Pope Francis before embarking on his maiden trip to Kenya to take up his appointment and was touched by his humility especially when the Holy Father asked him to pray for him. “The Holy Father gave me great words of encouragement. What he seeks from all of us are prayers and support so that he can carry on his mission.”
Until his appointment Archbishop Burvo was serving as Apostolic Nuncio in New Zealand and has also served 10 other Pacific Ocean nations, including Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Marshall Islands. He succeeds French-born Archbishop Alain Paul Lebeaupin who was appointed in June last year as Apostolic Nuncio to the European Union after serving for over 7 years in Kenya.
Among those at the airport to welcome him were His Eminence, John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth of Kisumu Archdiocese, the Bishop of Malindi Diocese, Rt Rev Emmanuel Barbara and Monsignor Javier Corona who is a counselor to UNEP and UN – Habitat among other dignitaries.
On his part, Cardinal Njue said the coming of the new Nuncio was an important occasion for the Catholic Church in Kenya. “The country has been waiting anxiously for this day. This day is also special in that it is coming at a time when the bishops are having their Plenary Assembly. I hope His Excellency can find time to meet the bishops during their meeting.”
Archbishop Okoth invited the Nuncio to enjoy the beauty of Kenya as he visited the dioceses where the Catholic fraternity will be glad to welcome him. “Your coming here makes us feel that the Church in Kenya is not isolated. Seeing you today reminds us of the unity of the Universal Church.”


The latest attacks struck north of the capital this morning, killing 19 people. Yesterday car bombs exploded in the cities of Mosul and Fallujah, causing over 10 deaths including a candidate in the elections, the thirteenth since the beginning of the election campaign. Voting will take place on April 20 in 12 of the 18 provinces of the country.

Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Just a few days before the election, Iraq is once again being ravaged by suicide attacks and explosions. This morning a series of bombings hit north of the capital, causing 19 deaths and more than 300 injured. In the city of Touz Khourmatou, about 175 km north of Baghdad, three car bombs exploded, two blasts took place instead in Nasiriyah, wounding 14 people.
Yesterday another series of attacks hit the north of the country, killing more than 10 people: among the victims was a candidate in the elections next April 20. In Mosul (400 km north-west of Baghdad), a car bomb killed five police officers while they were inspecting the body of a man abandoned on the road. Attacks against security officers have also affected the western city of Fallujah. In recent days in Baquba (60 km north of the capital), a bomb exploded in front of the Sunni mosque killing 12 people.
The long trail of blood of these weeks comes a few days after the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of the country and is the latest in an endless series of violence that marks a nation divided between Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, and where Christians are often victims of vendettas and power plays. Between 2003 to December 2011, the date of the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops, 4,550 U.S. soldiers died and 300 allies. However, the real carnage regards the Iraqi civilian population, which has estimated nearly 200 thousand casualties since the start of the war.
The violence has intensified in view of the elections scheduled for April 20, involving 12 of the 18 provinces of the country. The election campaign was characterized by killings and clashes between Sunnis and Shiites with 13 candidates dying in targeted attacks.


Agenzia Fides report - Nicolas Maduro, the candidate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won the elections on Sunday, April 14th with 50.66% of votes. His mandate as President of Venezuela will end in 2019. The candidate representing the Democratic Unity Party, Henrique Capriles obtained 49.07% of the votes.
The note sent to Fides by Union Radio, also refers to the high participation of the population in the vote: 78.71% of electors voted, according to the president of the National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 15/04/2013)


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
15 Apr 2013
Cadinals meeting prior to the Conclave
Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell is one of eight senior churchmen appointed by Pope Francis to review the Roman Curia, the governing body of the Catholic Church.
The Curia has often been held responsible for Vatican mishaps and scandals prior to the conclave that elected Pope Francis last month.
Cardinal Pell said yesterday before leaving for Rome on a pre-arranged visit, that he was looking forward to whatever contribution he could make but agreed he was sure the Holy Father will be working towards "a better discipline".
"There has been a spot of bother as we know in the Vatican, with the butler leaking the papers and other allegations," he said.
"Most of the people working in the Curia are very, very fine people, but there were one or two mishaps.
"I am sure people would want and expect that we should do better."
Cardinal George Pell in Rome
Further problems in the Curia came to light when sensitive documents were stolen from Pope Benedict's desk and leaked by the butler which became known as the "Vatileaks". The butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested and sentenced by a Vatican court to 18 months in prison last year but Benedict pardoned him and he was freed just prior to Christmas. It has been reported widely that Benedict left a secret report for the new Pope on the problems of the administration.
Governance and Curia procedures are reported to have been widely discussed during the pre-conclave meetings and a statement from the Vatican on the weekend said Pope Francis got the idea of this committee to form an advisory body from those meetings.
The six other cardinals and a monsignor on the new committee who will join Cardinal Pell come from Italy, Chile, Germany, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United States and Honduras.
The make-up of the committee is a very clear indication that Pope Francis wants to reflect the universal nature of the church in its core decision-making.
The Curia has been historically weighted towards Italian prelates . Following the election of the first non-European pope for 1300 years, this new advisory committee certainly brings radical change to the Curia.
"I think it is a good thing to have some English-speaking members," Cardinal Pell said.
The official statement on the new advisory committee from the Vatican said; "Pope Francis has formed a group of cardinals to advise him on the governing of the universal church and to study a revision of the apostolic constitution Pastor Bonus on the Roman Curia ."
Pope Francis's decision to appoint a new advisory group to review the Roma Curia has been
widely accepted
Pope John Paul 11 issued Pastor Bonus in 1988 and it has effectively functioned as the blueprint for the administration of the Holy See and the Vatican City State. This work and jurisdictions of the congregations, pontifical councils and other offices that make up the governance of the Catholic Church was carried out by the Roman Curia. Pastor Bonus was itself a revision of the 1967 document that marked the last major reform of the Vatican bureaucracy undertaken by Pope Paul V1.
Although it is expected there will be discussions beforehand the new advisory group will not all meet until the first week of October.
Cardinal Pell will still be based in Sydney and Archbishop of Sydney.




Bishops of England & Wales on retreat in Rome  | Venerable English College Rome, Bishops Conference of England and Wales, Palazzola f Venerable English College,

Palazzolla from Lake Albano
From Friday, 12 April, until Saturday, 20 April 2013, all the bishops of England and Wales will be staying at the  Palazzola, the Venerable English College's Summer residence 18 miles south of Rome, for their retreat and biannual meeting.
Following two days of meetings they will remain at Palazzola for a six-day retreat. They will take this opportunity to meet with students training for the priesthood at the Venerable English College, who will visit Palazzola on Sunday, 14 April. The bishops also hope to meet Pope Francis at his General Audience in Saint Peter's Square on Wednesday, 17 April.
Villa Palazzola, a 13th century Cistercian monastery, was bought as a Summer residence for the Venerable English College in 1920 by Mgr (later Cardinal) Arthur Hinsley, a Southwark priest for 13 years, who was rector of the VEC from 1917 - 1929. Students at the VEC in those days would return home only once during their seven-year course. This residence on the shores of Lake Albano was a welcome retreat from the Summer heat in the centre of Rome.
For more information on the Palazzola see:


  John 6: 22 - 29

22On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone.23However, boats from Tiber'i-as came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks.24So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Caper'na-um, seeking Jesus.25When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"26Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.27Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal."28Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?"29Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."