Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Vatican Radio REPORT: Below we publish a Vatican Radio transcript and translation of Pope Francis’ Wednesday audience Catechesis: 

Dear brothers and sisters,

in the Creed, we find the affirmation that Jesus "ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father." The earthly life of Jesus culminates in the event of the Ascension, that is, when he passes from this world to the Father, and is lifted up to His right hand side. What is the significance of this event? What are the consequences for our lives? What does it mean to contemplate Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father? Let us be guided by the Evangelist Luke.

We begin from the moment Jesus decides to embark on his last pilgrimage to Jerusalem. St. Luke notes: " When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem" (Lk 9:51). While he "ascends" to the Holy City, where his "exodus" from this life will be accomplished, Jesus already sees the goal, Heaven, but he knows that the path that brings him back to the glory of God passes through the Cross, through obedience to the divine plan of love for humanity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that " the lifting up of Jesus on the cross signifies and announces his lifting up by his Ascension into heaven, and indeed begins it" (n. 661). We too must be clear in our Christian life, that to enter into the glory of God requires daily fidelity to His will, even when it requires sacrifice, when at times it requires us to change our plans. The Ascension of Jesus actually happened on the Mount of Olives, near the place where he had retired in prayer before his passion to be in profound union with the Father; once again we see that prayer gives us the grace to faithfully live out God's project for us.

At the end of his Gospel, St. Luke narrates the event of the Ascension in a very synthetic way. Jesus led the disciples "[out] as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God "(24.50 to 53). I would like to note two elements of the passage. First, during the Ascension Jesus fulfilled the priestly gesture of blessing and certainly the disciples express their faith with prostration, they kneel and bow their heads. This is a first important point: Jesus is the only and eternal Priest, who with his passed through death and the tomb and rose again and ascended into Heaven; He is with God the Father, where he always intercedes in our favor (cf. Heb 9:24). As St John writes in his First Letter, He is our advocate, our advocate with the Father (cf. 2:1-2). It’s nice to hear this. The first thing we do when we are called by a judge or are called to trial, the first thing we do is look for an advocate to defend us. We have One who always defends us. He defends us from the insidiousness of the Devil, He defends us from ourselves, from our sins. But, dear brothers and sisters, we have this advocate. We must not be afraid to turn to Him, to turn to him with our fears, to ask for his blessing and mercy. He always forgives us, He is our advocate, He always defends us. We must never forget this. The Ascension of Jesus into heaven then reveals to us this reality that is so comforting for our journey: in Christ, true God and true man, our humanity was brought to God; He has opened the passage up for us, He is like a leader at the head of the rope when you scale a mountain, who has reached the summit and draws us up to him leading us to God . If we entrust our lives to Him, if we let ourselves be guided by Him we are sure to be in safe hands. In the hands of our Savoir, our advocate.

A second element: St Luke mentions that the apostles, after seeing Jesus ascending to heaven, returned to Jerusalem "with great joy." This seems a bit strange. Typically when we are separated from our families, our friends, in a lasting separation, above all because of death, we are naturally sad, because we will no longer see their face, or hear their voice, we will no longer be able to enjoy their affection, their presence. Instead, the evangelist emphasizes the profound joy of the Apostles. How come? Because, with the eyes of faith, they understand that although subtracted from their eyes, Jesus remains with them forever, He is not abandoning them, and in the glory of the Father, supports them, guides them and intercedes for them.

St. Luke narrates the fact of the Ascension in the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, to emphasize that this event is like the ring that engages and connects the earthly life of Jesus to that of the Church. Here St. Luke also mentions the cloud that took Jesus out of sight of the disciples, who remain to contemplate Christ ascending to God (cf. Acts 1:9-10). Then two men in white robes intervene, urging them not to remain looking at the sky, but to nourish their lives and their witness from the certainty that Jesus will return in the same way they saw him ascend into heaven (Acts 1: 10-11). It is an invitation to begin from the contemplation of the Lordship of Jesus, to receive from him the strength to carry and bear witness to the Gospel in everyday life: contemplation and action, ora et labora St. Benedict teaches, are both necessary in our lives as Christians

Dear brothers and sisters, the Ascension does not indicate the absence of Jesus, but tells us that He is alive among us in a new way; He is no longer in a definite place in the world as He was before the Ascension; He is now in the lordship of God, present in all space and time, next to each of us. We are never alone in our lives: We have this advocate who waits for us, we are never alone, ​​the Crucified and Risen Lord guides us, and with us there are many brothers and sisters who in silence and obscurity, in their family life and work, in their problems and difficulties, their joys and hopes, live their faith every day and, together with us, bring to the world the lordship of God's love. 

I offer a cordial welcome to the members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and I assure them of my prayers for their episcopal ministry. I also greet the priests of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at the Pontifical North American College. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Canada and the United States, I invoke the joy and peace of the Risen Lord.

Shared from Radio Vaticana


Vatican Radio report:  Pope Francis appealed for solidarity with those affected by the earthquake that struck Iran and Pakistan on Tuesday afternoon. In his appeal, which came during the course of the weekly General Audience on Wednesday in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Pope Francis said that he had “[L]earned with sadness of the violent earthquake that has struck the peoples of Iran and Pakistan, bringing death, suffering and destruction.” 
Pope Francis went on to offer prayers to God for the victims and for all those who are in pain and to express his, “closeness to the Iranian and the Pakistani people.” Seismologists say the quake was the strongest to strike Iran in more than 50 years, though details about the extent of damage have been slow to emerge. Fars news agency said that the cities of Khash and Saravan, both less than 150 km from the epicenter, suffered no serious damage. Across the border in Pakistan, authorities report that as manay as 34 people were killed and roughly 80 others injured in the Mashkel district of Balochistan province. Below, please find the full text of the appeal from Pope Francis

“I learned with sadness of the violent earthquake that has struck the peoples of Iran and Pakistan, bringing death, suffering and destruction. I raise a prayer to God for the victims and for all those who are in pain and I wish to express my closeness to the Iranian and the Pakistani people.”

Shared From Radio Vaticana 

Vatican City, 17 April 2013 (VIS) – After the general audience this afternoon, in the study of the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father received His Excellency Mr. Saleh Mohammad Al Ghamdi, ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Italy, bearer of a message from King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Vatican City, 17 April 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed:
- Fr. Antoine Tarabay, O.L.M., as bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Sydney of the Maronites (Catholics 150,000, priests 45, permanent deacons 1, religious 47), Australia. The bishop-elect was born in Tannourine, Qadaa of Batroun, Lebanon, in 1967, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1993. Bishop-elect Tarabay was previously superior of the Saint Charbel convent in Sydney, Australia. He succeeds Bishop Ad Abi Karam, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same eparchy was accepted by the Holy Father in conformity with canon 210, para. 1, of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
- Fr. Habib Chamieh, O.M.M., as apostolic administrator of the eparchy of San Charbel en Buenos Aires of the Maronites (Catholics 700,000, priests 21, permanent deacons 2, religious 26), Argentina. at the same time elevating him to the dignity of bishop and assigning him the titular see of Nomentum. The bishop-elect was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1966, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1992. Bishop-elect Chamieh was previously novice master of the Mariamite Maronite Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lebanon. He succeeds Bishop Charbel Georges Merhi, C.M.L., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same eparchy was accepted by the Holy Father in conformity with canon 210, para. 1, of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.



VATICAN CITY, April 16, 2013 (CISA) – In a communique released by the Vatican Secretariat of State, Pope Francis has established a group of 8 cardinals from around the world to advise him in the government of the Universal Church, as well as “to study a plan for revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, “Pastor Bonus”.
The establishment of the group follows a suggestion that was made during the General Congregations prior to the conclave that elected Pope Francis as Supreme Pontiff.
According to Zenit, the group of Cardinals consists of Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Governorate of Vatican City State; Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, Archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile, Chile; Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, India; Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany; Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Boston, USA; Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia; Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, who will serve as coordinator; and Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, who will serve as secretary.
Following the communique, the Holy See Press Office stated that the announcement shows Holy Father’s attentiveness to the suggestions made by the College of Cardinals, “his closest collaborators.”
“It is a group, not a commission, committee, or council.  The Group has no legislative power and its main function is to advise the Pope. The Group will not in any way interfere in the normal functions of the Roman Curia, which helps the Pope in the daily governance of the Church,” the statement by the Holy See Press Office said.
The Holy See Press Office also stated that although the group will also assist in revisions to the Apostolic Constitution, “Pastor Bonus”, which relates to the Roman Curia, the Holy Father showed and expressed his “deep gratitude for their hard work, especially over the past two months.”
According to the Secretariat of State’s communique, the group’s first meeting has been scheduled for October 1-3, 2013. “His Holiness is, however, currently in contact with the aforementioned cardinals,” the communique concluded.


Ireland: New Bishop of Limerick  | The Diocese of Limerick, Brendan Leahy, Saint John’s Cathedral, Archbishop of Cashel & Emly Dermot Clifford, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, Fr Tony Mullins, new Bishop of Limerick

Bishop Leahy with his father

The Diocese of Limerick was at one in celebration on Sunday for the ordination of Brendan Leahy as its 47th Bishop and first to be ordained since 1974.
The Mass at Saint John’s Cathedral was attended by more than 1,200 guests. Chief Celebrant was Archbishop of Cashel & Emly Dermot Clifford and his co-consecrators were Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and Fr Tony Mullins, who has served as Limerick Diocese Administrator since December 2009 and who delivered the Homily.
Around 15 Bishops and over 200 priests attended the ordination, along with representatives of parishes across the diocese and friends and family of Bishop Leahy. Pride of place at the celebration was for Fr Brendan’s 91 year-old father Maurice, who taught in Athea, Co. Limerick in the 1940s. Also present were Bishop Leahy’s sisters Máire and Treasa, his brother Tom and sister-in-law Marjorie.
Among the congregation also were were Oireachtas representatives from the Diocese, including cabinet ministers Michael Noonan and Jan O’Sullivan, Mayor of Limerick Gerry McLoughlin, Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council Jerome Scanlan and their fellow Limerick councillors. President Michael D. Higgins and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, were represented by their Aide de Comp Col Brendan McAndrew and Comdt Michael Treacy respectively. Also present were Church of Ireland Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe Trevor Williams and representatives of others Christian Communities, including Church of Ireland Dean of Limerick and Rector of Limerick City Parish Rev. Sandra Pragnel, Superintendent Minister of the Adare and Ballingrane Methodist Circuit Rev. Liz Hewitt and Rev. Vicki Lynch of the United Methodist Presbyterian Congregation.
Bishop Leahy became the first Bishop in Ireland and eighth in the world to be ordained under the papacy of Pope Francis. He succeeds Bishop Donal Murray, who retired as Bishop in December 2009.
In addition to the 1,200 plus guests in St  John’s for the congregation, hundreds more gathered outside, with many more again packing into the adjacent community centre where the celebration was streamed live on a big screen via a web-link. The ordination was also streamed live across the worldwide web on the diocese’s own, while local radio station Limerick’s Live95FM streamed the entire celebration on its website
Addressing the audience at the end of the celebration, the newly ordained Bishop Leahy said that he and all in the Diocese are at the beginning of a new chapter in which there is a great need to reach out to the marginalised and broken in society. “Where should we start? I was struck recently by the words of Pope Francis when he said ‘start from the outskirts’. Each of us has regions that are ‘outskirts’ – people who are different from us or who we find hard to get on with; groups that we dislike because they have different views than ours; areas that we simply ignore, causes that we know are right but feel lazy about getting involved in.
“In today’s Gospel we have heard an invitation to love “more” and in this way build the Church; and that also means to love more those who are on the outskirts, broken and marginalised.
“I know that many will say ‘but I am only hanging on in faith by my fingernails’. For some it is really difficult to believe. A fellow Irishman, Bono, wrote a song some years ago now. Its words ran something like this: ‘I have climbed highest mountains; I have run through the fields; Only to be with you, Only to be with you; I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls, These city walls, Only to be with you; But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’.
“I don’t know what Bono had in mind but these words can be applied to the situation many find themselves in with regard to faith. Moments of difficulty are written into the Christian journey of faith. How many saints and exemplary men and women throughout the centuries have told us about shadowy moments they lived through. We can think of the Irish woman and martyr, Margaret Ball, Teresa of Lisieux, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the philosopher, Simon Weil, the young Jewish woman, Etty Hillesum, the recently beatified teenager, Chiara Luce Badano… We can only imagine how much Mary, Jesus’ mother, went through many trials of faith along her journey.”
Bishop Leahy also spoke of the Church to seek forgiveness for its own sins, particularly in relation to clerical abuse. “Darkness in our faith journey can affect us individually but also as a group, as a community, as a Church. We know only too well of how many innocent people suffer terrible darkness because of clerical abuse. I want to make their pain my own and seek forgiveness seventy times seven. It is a deep wound also for all of us.
“I have been greatly consoled in getting to know how much has been done in the diocese in the area of child safeguarding. I am deeply indebted to the high professionalism of the many lay men and women involved in our diocesan structures in this regard as in many areas of the diocese. It was good to read the observation made in the Audit by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland that the diocese of Limerick has robust measures in place in the area of child safeguarding and protection.
“We know from the Christian spiritual tradition that trials in the life of faith can be a prelude to a new dawn of light and love.”
Bishop Leahy also thanked the people of the diocese, not least the young, for their support in helping him prepare for his ordination. “I want to thank the whole diocese, parishes and religious communities for the great outpouring of prayer to the Holy Spirit for me and the diocese in recent months. I thank especially the young people and their teachers for their daily prayers. I am greatly humbled by all the encouragement that has surrounded me in these days and weeks.
“I now feel I am a Limerick man! Limerick is beautiful. I’ll have to start wearing the Limerick colours! I am proud to be bishop of this great diocese with such an ancient history. As a diocese we want to do our part also today to make all of Limerick even greater, as I believe and hope we do, day in, day out, in countless communities of faith and love in parishes, religious orders, communities and movements, schools, hospitals and social initiatives. In so many ways, people are replying positively to Jesus’ question: ‘do you love me?’ Today let’s renew our love of him even more; let’s bridge to make Limerick even more beautiful, so that others will come and see Jesus living among us.”
Source: Irish Catholic Media Office


The magnitude 7.8 earthquake is the strongest in the last 40 years. So far, only Pakistan has released its number of casualties. Nothing has come from Iran. The affected area is one of the poorest in the country under the control of paramilitary forces. Catholic rescuers workers are active in the area.

Khash (AsiaNews) - A 7.8-magnitude quake killed at least 40 people in Pakistan's Baluchistan province, on the border with Iran with the epicentre located some 83 km east of Khash (southeastern Iran). A 5.7 aftershock was recorded this morning, 107 km east of the city. On the Iranian side, state media said 27 people were injured, although they had initially reported at least 40 dead, close to the city of Khash (population, 180,000) and Saravan (population, 250,000).
Contacted by AsiaNews, Caritas Pakistan officials said that at least 70 per cent of the houses had collapsed on the Pakistani side. So far, only Pakistan's paramilitary Frontier Corps Baluchistan (FCB) has set up a series of camps for internally displaced persons and basic medical care. However, according to Caritas, "there are not adequate medical drugs to treat the wounded."
Yesterday's earthquake is the strongest recorded in Iran and Pakistan in the last 40 years, unleashing 180 times the energy than the most recent quake, that of 9 April, in southern Iran's Bushehr province. Forty people died in that quake.
All the fatalities recorded so far from the latest quake are on the Pakistani side, in Mashkel, where the Pakistan army has dispatched relief teams to provide aid to residents. Some 45,000 people live in the town, with some 2,000 villages in the area. The area is largely a desert, one of the poorest regions in the country.
For decades, the FCB has policed the area and is working with the army on this occasion.  FCB Major Attiq Minhas said that FCB personnel were involved in the rescue operation. Two military helicopters were on their way to the remotest villages.
The situation is different in Iran, where local news agencies, Fars and ISNA, have been reporting little damage because the region is sparsely populated, dismissing previous alarmist reports by Iranian media of scores of causalities. Since most of the residents live in tents or mud houses damage and injured were limited, they said.
For experts, a greater catastrophe was averted largely because of to the depth of the earthquake, about 95 km, which reduces it to a magnitude-4.0 tremor on the surface.
Yesterday's quake caused panic as far as Pakistan's capital of Islamabad and in Karachi, where people poured into the streets. Scenes of panic were also reported in New Delhi (India) and in the Persian Gulf. In Kuwait, Qatar, and eastern Saudi Arabia, the authorities evacuated several buildings.
In 2003, approximately 26,000 people were killed by a 6.6 magnitude earthquake that flattened the historic city of Bam, in southeastern Iran.


John 6: 35 - 40

35Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.36But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.37All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out.38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me;39and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day.40For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."


St. Stephen Harding
Feast: April 17

Feast Day:April 17
Born:Dorset, England
Died:28 March 1134
Major Shrine:Church of St. Stephen Harding in Apátistvánfalva, Hungary, district of Szentgotthárd.
Confessor, the third Abbot of Citeaux, was born at Sherborne in Dorsetshire, England, about the middle of the eleventh century; died 28 March, 1134. He received his early education in the monastery of Sherborne and afterwards studied in Paris and Rome. On returning from the latter city he stopped at the monastery of Molesme and, being much impressed by the holiness of St. Robert, the abbot, joined that community. Here he practised great austerities, became one of St. Robert's chief supporters and was one of the band of twenty-one monks who, by authority of Hugh, Archbishop of Lyons, retired to Citeaux to institute a reform in the new foundation there. When St. Robert was recalled to Molesme (1099), Stephen became prior of Citeaux under Alberic, the new abbot. On Alberic's death (1110) Stephen, who was absent from the monastery at the time, was elected abbot. The number of monks was now very reduced, as no new members had come to fill the places of those who had died. Stephen, however, insisted on retaining the strict observance originally instituted and, having offended the Duke of Burgundy, Citeau's great patron, by forbidding him or his family to enter the cloister, was even forced to beg alms from door to door. It seemed as if the foundation were doomed to die out when (1112) St. Bernard with thirty companions joined the community. This proved the beginning of extraordinary prosperity. The next year Stephen founded his first colony at La Ferte, and before is death he had established thirteen monasteries in all. His powers as an organizer were exceptional, he instituted the system of general chapters and regular visitations and, to ensure uniformity in all his foundations, drew up the famous "Charter of Charity" or collection of statues for the government of all monasteries united to Citeaux, which was approved by Pope Callistus II in 1119 (see CISTERCIANS). In 1133 Stephen, being now old, infirm, and almost blind, resigned the post of abbot, designating as his successor Robert de Monte, who was accordingly elected by the monks. The saint's choice, however, proved unfortunate and the new abbot only held office for two years. Stephen was buried in the tomb of Alberic, his predecessor, in the cloister of Citeaux. In the Roman calendar his feast is 17 April, but the Cistercians themselves keep it on 15 July, with an octave, regarding him as the true founder of the order. Besides the "Carta Caritatis" he is commonly credited with the authorship of the "Exordium Cisterciencis cenobii", which however may not be his. Two of his sermons are preserved and also two letters (Nos. 45 and 49) in the "Epp. S. Bernardi".