Saturday, April 20, 2013


St. Anselm
Feast: April 21

Feast Day:April 21
Born:1033 at Aosta, Piedmont, Italy
Died:21 April 1109 at Canterbury, England
Canonized:1492 by Pope Alexander IV
Major Shrine:Canterbury Cathedral
If the Norman conquerors stripped the English nation of its liberty and many temporal advantages, it must be owned that by their velour they raised the reputation of its arms and deprived their own country of its greatest men, both in church and state, with whom they adorned this kingdom; of which this great doctor and his master Lanfranc are instances. St. Anselm was born of noble parents at Aoust, in Piedmont, about the year 1033. His pious mother took care to give him an early tincture of piety, and the impressions her instructions made upon him were as lasting as his life. At the age of fifteen, desirous of serving God in the monastic state, he petitioned an abbot to admit him into his house; but was refused out of apprehension of his father's displeasure. Neglecting, during the course of his studies, to cultivate the divine seed in his heart, he lost this inclination, and his mother being dead he fell into tepidity; and, without being sensible of the fatal tendency of vanity and pleasure, began to walk in the broad way of the world: so dangerous a thing is it to neglect the inspirations of grace! The saint, in his genuine meditations, expresses the deepest sentiments of compunction for these disorders, which his perfect spirit of penance exceedingly exaggerated to him, and which, like another David, he never ceased most bitterly to bewail to the end of his days. The ill-usage he met with from his father induced him, after his mother's death, to leave his own country, where he had made a successful beginning in his studies; and, after a diligent application to them for three years in Burgundy (then a distinct government) and in France, invited by the great fame of Lanfranc, Prior of Bec, in Normandy, under the Abbot Herluin, he went thither and became his scholar. On his father's death, Anselm advised with him about the state of life he was to embrace; as whether he should live upon his estate to employ its produce in alms, or should renounce it at once and embrace a monastic and eremitical life. Lanfranc, feeling an overbearing affection for so promising a disciple, durst not advise him in his vocation, fearing the bias of his own inclination; but he sent him to Maurillus, the holy Archbishop of Rouen. By him Anselm, after he had laid open to him his interior, was determined to enter the monastic state at Bec, and accordingly became a member of that house at the age of twenty-seven, in 1060, under the Abbot Herluin. Three years after, Lanfranc was made Abbot of St. Stephen's at Caen, and Anselm Prior of Bec. At this promotion several of the monks murmured on account of his youth; but, by patience and sweetness, he won the affections of them all, and by little condescensions at first, so worked upon an irregular young monk, called Osbern, as to perfect his conversion and make him one of the most fervent. He had indeed so great a knowledge of the hearts and passions of mete, that he seemed to read their interior in their actions; by which he discovered the sources of virtues and vices, and knew how to adapt to each proper advice and instructions; which were rendered most powerful by the mildness and charity with which he applied them. In regard to the management and tutoring of youth, he looked upon excessive  severity as highly pernicious. Eadmer has recorded a conversation he had on this subject with a neighbouring abbot, who, by a conformity to our saint's practice and advice in this regard, experienced that success in his labours which he had till then aspired to in vain by harshness and severity.
St. Anselm applied himself diligently to the study of every part of theology, by the clear light of scripture and tradition. Whilst he was prior at Bec, he wrote his Monologium, so called because in this work he speaks alone, explaining the metaphysical proofs of the existence and nature of God. Also his Proslogium, or contemplation of God's attributes in which he addresses his discourse to God, or himself. The Meditations, commonly called the Manual of St. Austin, are chiefly extracted out of this book. It was censured by a neighboring monk, which occasioned the saint's Apology. These and other the like works, show the author to have excelled in metaphysics all the doctors of the church since St. Austin. He likewise wrote, whilst prior, On Truth, on Free-will, and On the Fall of the Devil, or, On the Origin of Evil; also his Grammarian, which is in reality a treatise on Dialectic, or the Art of Reasoning.
Anselm's reputation drew to Bec great numbers from all the neighbouring kingdoms. Herluin dying in 1078, he was chosen Abbot of Bec, being forty-five years old, of which he had been prior fifteen. The abbey of Bec being possessed at that time of some lands in England, this obliged the abbot to make his appearance there in person at certain times. This occasioned our saint's first journeys thither, which his tender regard for his old friend Lanfranc, at that time Archbishop of Canterbury, made the more agreeable. He was received with great honour and esteem by all ranks of people, both in church and state, and there was no one who did not think it a real misfortune if he had not been able to serve him in something or other. King William himself, whose title of Conqueror rendered him haughty and inaccessible to his subjects, was so affable to the good Abbot of Bec that he seemed to be another man in his presence. The saint, on his side, was all to all, by courtesy and charity, that he might find occasions of giving everyone some suitable instructions to promote their salvation; which were so much the more effectual as he communicated them, not as some do, with the dictatorial air of a master, but in a simple familiar manner, or by indirect though sensible examples. In the year 1092, Hugh, the great Earl of Chester, by three pressing messages, entreated Anselm to come again into England, to assist him, then dangerously sick, and to give his advice about the foundation of a monastery which that nobleman had undertaken at St. Wereburge's church at Chester. A report that he would be made archbishop of Canterbury, in the room of Lanfranc, deceased, made him stand off for some time; but he could not forsake his old friend in his distress, and at last came over. He found him recovered, but the affairs of his own abbey, and of that which the earl was erecting, detained him five months in England. The metropolitan see of Canterbury had been vacant ever since the death of Lanfranc in 1089. The sacrilegious and tyrannical king, William Rufus, who succeeded his father in 1087, by an injustice unknown till his time, usurped the revenues of vacant benefices, and deferred his permission, or < conge d'elire>, in order to the filling the episcopal sees, that he might the longer enjoy their income. Having thus seized into his hands the revenues of the archbishopric, he reduced the monks of Canterbury to a scanty allowance, oppressing them moreover by his officers with continual insults, threats, and vexations. He had been much solicited by the most virtuous among the nobility to supply the see of Canterbury, in particular, with a person proper for that station; but continued deaf to all their remonstrances and answered them, at Christmas 1093, that neither Anselm nor any other should have that bishopric whilst he lived; and this he swore to by the holy face of Lucca, meaning a great crucifix in the cathedral of that city held in singular veneration, his usual oath. He was seized soon after with a violent fit of sickness, which in a few days brought him to extremity. He was then at Gloucester, and seeing himself in this condition, signed a proclamation, which was published, to release all those that had been taken prisoners in the field, to discharge all debts owing to the crown, and to grant a general pardon; promising likewise to govern according to law and to punish the instruments of injustice with exemplary severity. He moreover nominated Anselm to the see of Canterbury, at which all were extremely satisfied but the good abbot himself, who made all the decent opposition imaginable; alleging his age, his want of health and vigour enough for so weighty a charge, his unfitness for the management of public and secular affairs, which he had always declined to the best of his power. The king was extremely concerned at his opposition, and asked him why he endeavoured to ruin him in the other world, being convinced that he should lose his soul in case he died before the archbishopric was filled. The king was seconded by the bishops and others present, who not only told him they were scandalized at his refusal, but added that, if he persisted in it, all the grievances of the church and nation would be placed to his account. Thereupon they forced a pastoral staff into his hands, in the king's presence, carried him into the church, and sung Te Deum on the occasion. This was on the 6th of March 1093. He still declined the charge till the king had promised him the restitution of all the lands that were in the possession of that see in Lanfranc's time. Anselm also insisted that he should acknowledge Urban II for lawful pope. Things being thus adjusted, Anselm was consecrated with great solemnity on the 4th of December 1093.
Anselm had not been long in possession of the see of Canterbury when the king, intending to wrest the duchy of Normandy out of the hands of his brother Robert, made large demands on his subjects for supplies. On this occasion, not content with the five hundred pounds (a very large sum in those days) offered him by the archbishop, the king insisted, at the instigation of some of his courtiers, on a thousand, for his nomination to the archbishopric, which Anselm constantly refused to pay; pressing him also to fill vacant abbeys and to consent that bishops should hold councils as formerly, and be allowed by canons to repress crimes and abuses, which were multiplied and passed into custom for want of such a remedy, especially incestuous marriages and other abominable debaucheries. The king was extremely provoked, and declared no one should extort from him his abbeys any more than his crown. And from that day he sought to deprive Anselm of his see. William, Bishop of Durham, and the other prelates, acquiesced readily in the king's orders, by which he forbade them to obey him as their primate, or treat him as archbishop, alleging for reason that he obeyed Pope Urban during the schism, whom the English nation had not acknowledged. The king, having brought over most of the bishops to his measures, applied to the temporal nobility, and bid them disclaim the archbishop; but they resolutely answered that since he was their archbishop and had a right to superintend the affairs of religion, it was not in their power to disengage themselves from his authority, especially as there was no crime or misdemeanour proved against him. King William then, by his ambassador, acknowledged Urban for true pope, and promised him a yearly pension from England if he would depose Anselm; but the legate whom his holiness sent told that king that it was what could not be done. St. Anselm wrote to the pope to thank him for the pall he had sent him by that legate, complaining of the affliction in which he lived under a burden too heavy for him to bear, and regretting the tranquillity of his solitude which he had lost. Finding the king always seeking occasions to oppress his church unless he fed him with its treasures, which he regarded as the patrimony of the poor (though he readily furnished his contingent in money and troops to his expeditions and to all public burdens), the holy prelate earnestly desired to leave England, that he might apply in person to the pope for his counsel and assistance. The king refused him twice: and on his applying to him a third time, he assured the saint that, if he left that kingdom, he would seize upon the whole revenue of the see of Canterbury, and that he should never more be acknowledged metropolitan. But the saint, being persuaded he could not in conscience abide any longer in the realm to be a witness of the oppression of the church, and not have it in his power to remedy it, set out from Canterbury in October 1097, in the habit of a pilgrim; took shipping at Dover and landed at Witsan, having with him two monks, Eadmer, who wrote his life, and Baldwin. He made some stay at Cluni with St. Hugh the abbot, and at Lyons with the good Archbishop Hugh. It not being safe travelling any further towards Rome at that time on account of the antipope's party lying in the way, and Anselm falling sick soon after, this made it necessary for him to stay longer at Lyons than he had designed. However, he left that city the March following, in 1098, on the pope's invitation, and was honourably received by him. His holiness having heard his cause, assured him of his protection, and wrote to the king of England for his re-establishment in his rights and possessions. Anselm also wrote to the king at the same time; and, after ten days' stay in the pope's palace, retired to the monastery of St. Saviour, in Calabria, the air of Rome not agreeing with his health. Here he finished his work, entitled Why God was made Man, in two books, showing, against infidels, the wisdom, justice, and expediency of the mystery of the incarnation for man's redemption. He had begun this work in England, where he also wrote his book, On the Faith of the Trinity and Incarnation, dedicated to Pope Urban II, in which he refuted Roscelin, the master, Peter Abailard, who maintained an erroneous opinion in regard to the Trinity. Anselm, charmed with the sweets of his retirement, and despairing of doing any good at Canterbury, hearing by new instances that the king was still governed by his passions, in open defiance to justice and religion, earnestly entreated the pope, whom he met at Aversa, to discharge him of his bishopric; believing he might be more serviceable to the world in a private station. The pope would by no means consent, but charged him upon his obedience not to quit his station: adding, that it was not the part of a man of piety and courage to be frightened from his post purely by the dint of browbeating and threats, that being all the harm he had hitherto received. Anselm replied, that he was not afraid of suffering, or even losing his life in the cause of God; but that he saw there was nothing to be done in a country where justice was so overruled as it was in England. However, Anselm submitted and in the mean time returned to his retirement, which was a cell called Slavia, situated on a mountain, depending on the monastery of St. Saviour. That he might live in the merit of obedience, he prevailed with the pope to appoint the monk Eadmer, his inseparable companion, to be his superior, nor did he do the least thing without his leave.
The pope having called a council, which was to meet at Bari, in October 1098, in order to effect a reconciliation of the Greeks with the Catholic Church, ordered the saint to be present at it. It consisted of one hundred and twenty-three bishops. The Greeks having proposed the question about the  procession of the Holy Ghost, whether this was from the Father only, or from the Father and the Son; the disputation being protracted, the pope called aloud for Anselm, saying, "Anselm, our father and our master, where are you?" And causing him to sit next to him, told him that the present occasion required his learning and elocution to defend the church against her enemies, and that he thought God had brought him thither for that purpose. Anselm spoke to the point with so much learning, judgment, and penetration that he silenced the Greeks and gave such a general satisfaction that all present joined in pronouncing Anathema against those that should afterwards deny the procession of the Holy Ghost from both the Father and the Son. This affair being at an end, the proceedings of the King of England fell next under debate. And on this occasion his simony, his oppressions of the church, his persecution of Anselm, and his incorrigibleness, after frequent admonitions, were so strongly represented that the pope, at the instance of the council, was just going to pronounce him excommunicated. Anselm had hitherto sat silent, but at this he rose up, and casting himself on his knees before the pope, entreated him to stop the censure. And now the council, who had admired our saint for his parts and learning, were further charmed with him on account of his humane and Christian dispositions in behalf of one that had used him so roughly. The saint's petition in behalf of his sovereign was granted; and on the council breaking up, the pope and Anselm returned to Rome. The pope, however, sent to the king a threat of excommunication, to be issued in a council to be shortly after held at Rome, unless he made satisfaction: but the king, by his ambassador, obtained a long delay. Anselm stayed some time at Rome with the pope, who always placed him next in rank to himself. All persons, even the schismatics, loved and honored him; and he assisted with distinction at the council of Rome, held after Easter, in 1099. Immediately after the Roman council he returned to Lyons, where he was entertained by the archbishop Hugh, with all the cordiality and regard imaginable; but saw no hopes of recovering his see so long as king William lived. Here he wrote his book, On the Conception of the Virgin, and On Original Sin resolving many questions relating to that sin. The archbishop of Lyons gave him in all functions the precedence, and all thought themselves happy who could receive any sacrament from his hands. Upon the death of Urban II, he wrote an account of his case to his successor, Pascal II. King William Rufus being snatched away by sudden death, without the sacraments, on the 2nd of August 1100, St. Anselm, who was then in the abbey of Chaize-Dieu, in Auvergne, lamented bitterly his unhappy end and made haste to England, whither he was invited by King Henry I. He landed at Dover on the 23rd of September and was received with great joy and extraordinary respect. And having in a few days recovered the fatigue of his journey, went to wait on the king, who received him very graciously. But this harmony was of no long continuance. The new king required of Anselm to be reinvested by him, and do the customary homage of his predecessors for his see; but the saint absolutely refused to comply and made a report on the proceedings of the late synod at Rome, in which the laity that gave investitures for abbeys or cathedrals were excommunicated; and those that received such investures were put under the same censure. But this not satisfying the king, it was agreed between them to consult the pope upon the subject. The court in the meantime was very much alarmed at the preparations making by the king's elder brother, Robert, Duke of Normandy, who, being returned from the holy war in Palestine, claimed the crown of England and threatened to invade the land. The nobles, though they had sworn allegiance to Henry, were ready to join him; and on his landing with a formidable army at Portsmouth, several declared for the duke. The king being in great danger of losing his crown, was very liberal in promises to Anselm on this occasion; assuring him that he would henceforward leave the business of religion wholly to him, and be always governed by the advice and orders of the apostolic see. Anselm omitted nothing on his side to prevent a revolt from the king. Not content with sending his quota of armed men, he strongly represented to the disaffected nobles the heinousness of their crime of perjury; and that they ought rather lose their lives than break through their oaths and fail in their sworn allegiance to their prince. He also published an excommunication against Robert, as an invader, who thereupon came to an accommodation with Henry and left England. And thus, as Eadmer relates, the archbishop, strengthening the king's party, kept the crown upon his head. Amidst his troubles and public distractions, he retired often in the day to his devotions, and watched long in them in the night. At his meals, and at all times, he conversed interiorly in heaven. One day, as he was riding to his manor of Herse, a hare, pursued by the dogs, ran under his horse for refuge; at which the saint stopped and the hounds stood at bay. The hunters laughed, but the saint said, weeping, "This hare puts me in mind of a poor sinner just upon the point of departing this life, surrounded with devils waiting to carry away their prey." The hare going off, he forbade her to be pursued and was obeyed, not a hound stirring after her. In like manner every object served to raise his mind to God, with whom he always conversed in his heart, and, in the midst of noise and tumult, he enjoyed the tranquillity of holy contemplation—so strongly was his soul sequestered from, and raised above, the world.
King Henry, though so much indebted to Anselm, still persisted in his claim of the right of giving the investitures of benefices. Anselm, in 1102, held a national council in St. Peter's church at Westminster, in which, among other things, it was forbid to sell men like cattle, which had till then been practiced in England; and many canons relating to discipline were drawn up. He persisted to refuse to ordain bishops, named by the king, without a canonical election. The contest became every day more serious. At last the king and nobles persuaded Anselm to go in person and consult the pope about the matter: the king also sent a deputy to his holiness. The saint embarked on the 27th of April in 1103. Pope Pascal II condemned the king's pretensions to the investitures and excommunicated those who should receive church dignities from him. St. Anselm being advanced on his return to England as far as Lyons, received there an intimation of an order from King Henry, forbidding him to proceed on his journey home unless he would conform to his  will. He therefore remained at Lyons, where he was much honoured by his old friend the Archbishop Hugh. From thence he retired to his abbey of Bec, where he received from the pope a commission to judge the cause of the Archbishop of Rouen, accused of several crimes. He was also allowed to receive into communion such as had accepted investitures from the crown, which, though still disallowed of, the bishops and abbots were so far dispensed with as to do homage for their temporalities. The king was so pleased with this condescension of the pope that he sent immediately to Bec to invite St. Anselm home in the most obliging manner, but a grievous sickness detained him. The king coming over into Normandy in 1106, articles of agreement were drawn up between him and the arch bishop at Bec, pursuant to the letter St. Anselm had received from Rome a few months before; and the pope very readily confirmed the agreement. In this expedition Henry defeated his brother Robert, and sent him prisoner into England, where he died. St. Anselm hereupon returned to England in 1106, and was received by the Queen Maud, who came to meet him, and by the whole kingdom of England, as it were in triumph.
The last years of his life, his health was entirely broken. Having for six months laboured under an hectic decay, with an entire loss of appetite, under which disorder he would be carried every day to assist at holy mass, he happily expired, laid on sackcloth and ashes, at Canterbury, on the 21st of April 1109, in the sixteenth year of his episcopal dignity, and of his age the seventy-sixth. He was buried in his cathedral. By a decree of Clement XI, in 1720 he is honoured among the doctors of the church. We have authentic accounts of many miracles wrought by this saint in the histories of Eadmer and others. St. Anselm had a most lively faith of all the mysteries and great truths of our holy religion; and by the purity of his heart, and an interior divine light, he discovered great secrets in the holy scriptures, and had a wonderful talent in explaining difficulties which occur in them. His hope for heavenly things gave him a wonderful contempt and disgust of the vanities of the world, and he could truly say with the apostle, he was crucified to the world, and all its desires. By an habitual mortification of his appetite in eating and drinking he seemed to have lost all relish in the nourishment which he took if is fortitude was such, that no human respects, or other considerations, could ever turn him out of the way of justice and truth; and his charity for his neighbor seemed confined by no bounds: his words, his writings, his whole life breathed forth this heavenly fire. He seemed to live, says his faithful disciple and historian, not for himself, but for others; or rather so much the more for himself by how much the more profitable his life was to his neighbors, and faithful to his God. The divine love and law were the continual subjects of his meditations day and night. He had a singular devotion to the passion of our Lord, and to his Virgin mother. Her image at Bec, before which, at her altar, he daily made long prayers while he lived in that monastery, is religiously kept in the new sumptuous church. His horror of the least sin is not to be expressed. In his Proslogium, meditations, and other ascetic works, the most heroic and inflamed sentiments of all these virtues, especially of compunction, fear of the divine judgments, and charity, are expressed in that language of the heart which is peculiar to the saints.



Vatican Radio REPORT:  Lukewarm Christians are those who want to build a church to their own specifications, but it is not the Church of Jesus: this is what Pope Francis said today during a Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Present at the Mass were volunteers from the pediatric dispensary "Santa Marta" in the Vatican, entrusted to the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, who for 90 years have supported children and families in need in Rome without distinction of religion or nationality.
The first Christian community, after the persecution, lives a moment of peace, it is united, it walks and grows "in the fear of the Lord and with the comfort of the Holy Spirit": This was the Pope’s comment following the reading from the Acts of the Apostles. It is this very air in which the Church lives and breathes, called to walk in the presence of God in an irreproachable manner:

"It 'is a style of the Church. To walk in the fear of the Lord is a 'sense of adoration, the presence of God, no? The Church walks and so when we are in the presence of God we do not do bad things or make bad decisions. We are in God's sight with joy and happiness: this is the security of the Holy Spirit, that is the gift that the Lord has given us - this comfort - that keeps us going. "

In the Gospel from the liturgy of the day many disciples truly believe the language of Jesus, they whisper, are shocked and eventually leave the Master:

"These people have turned away, they are gone, they say, 'this man is a bit' strange, he says things that are hard…It 's too big a risk to go down this road. We have common sense, eh? Let's go 'back a little and not so close to Him'. These people, perhaps, had a certain admiration for Jesus, but little 'from afar: not to meddle too much with this man, because he says things that are a bit' strange ... ".

These Christians - the Pope said - " are not united in the Church, they do not walk in God's presence, they don’t have the security of the Holy Spirit, they do not make up the Church":

"They are Christians of good sense only: they keep their distance. Christians - so to speak they are - 'satellites', that have a small church, in size: to quote the words of Jesus in Revelation, 'lukewarm Christians'. The indifference that is in the Church ... They walk only in the presence of common sense, common sense ... that worldly prudence: This is a temptation just worldly prudence. "

Pope Francis reflected on so many Christians "that now bear witness to the name of Jesus, even unto martyrdom." These - he says - are not 'Christian satellites', because "they go with Jesus on the path of Jesus":

"These people know exactly what Peter says to the Lord. They understand exactly what Peter says the Lord, when the Lord asks the question: 'Do you also want to go, be' Christian satellites '?'. Simon Peter answers him: 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life '. So from a large group there becomes a group a little 'smaller, but those who know perfectly well that they cannot go somewhere else, because only He, the Lord, has the words of eternal life. "

The Pope finally recites this prayer:

"Let us pray for the Church, will continue to grow, unite, to walk in the fear of God and with the security of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord deliver us from the temptation of that 'common sense', and in inverted commas, “the temptation to whisper against Jesus, because it is too demanding, and the temptation from scandal. So be it. "



THE 2 BOSTON MARATHON BOMBERS have been caught. The two brothers Tamarlan Tsarnaev, age 26, was killed and his brother Dzhokhar, age 19 was apprehended by police. The city of Boston was under a complete lock-down with hundreds of police and military storming the city looking for the bombers. The elder brother, Tamarlan, was killed in a shoot out with police on Thursday. Sadly, a police officer named Sean Collier (below), age 26, was killed. He was shot as the bombers tried to rob a 7-Eleven store. The younger brother, Dzhokhar, (pictured right) was found in a boat parked outside a house in  a residential neighborhood in Boston. He had engaged in a shoot out with police and was captured covered in blood. The residents of Boston celebrated on the streets after the capture. They are both from an area near Chechnya close to Russia. However, they have lived in the USA since 2002. The brothers placed bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killing 3 and wounding 160. (Images shared from Google) For more info see:


WASHINGTON, April 19, 2013 (CISA) -At the end of a process that has taken her 15 years to complete, world-renowned Rwandan genocide survivor and peace advocate Immaculee Ilibagiza became an American citizen the morning of April 17 in New York City.
“I was completely in tears,” she told Catholic News Service in a phone interview April 18. “To be accepted in this country … was like receiving a gift. … I hear my father saying, ‘now you have the right to be here, you don’t have to worry.”
An estimated 800,000 people – including most members of her family – were brutally murdered during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In the early stages of the conflict, Ilibagiza was sent to hide with a member of another tribe at the behest of her father. “I am here today … because my father had trust in the man from that tribe,” she told an audience of 50 other immigrants who received their citizenship at the same ceremony.
A Catholic, the then-college student endured 91 days hiding in a bathroom from the “killers” who were looking for her. In her book “Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust,” she wrote: “They were … right on the other side of the wall. Less than an inch of plaster and wood separated us. Their footsteps shook the house, and I could hear their machetes and spears scraping along the walls. In the chaos, I recognized the voice of a family friend. ‘I have killed 399 cockroaches,’ he boasted. ‘Immaculee will make 400.’”


Six-year-old Robin Hood braves frost to collect funds for the poor | Robin Hood, CAFOD,

Robin and Maid Marian
Six-year old Felix from Nottingham has stunned the aid charity CAFOD by presenting them with £160 collected in the bitter cold.
On Good Friday, 29 March, Felix dressed up as local legend Robin Hood to launch his fundraising drive. Inspired by a recent school project, he stood next to the statue of the famous friend of the poor on Castle Road and collected over £160 for the Catholic charity.
He was joined by his younger sister, Anastastia, who also got into character and dressed as Maid Marion. Together they braved freezing temperatures throughout the day to help CAFOD support some of the poorest and most disadvantaged communities in the world.
Felix’s mother, Joanne, told us: "Felix isn’t normally one for fancy dress, so I was very surprised when he thought of this! But he’s such a thoughtful little boy and he really wanted to do something hands on to raise money for charity."
Felix said: “I was excited to dress up! Some people in the world have less than others and I wanted to help people like Robin Hood did."
Marie Molloy from CAFOD’s Nottingham office, said: "It is lovely to see the imagination and thought that Felix put into his fundraising for CAFOD, and we were stunned by how much he raised. He can know that the money he raised will be sent straight to the people that need it most overseas.”
CAFOD are currently fundraising for their latest campaign: ‘Hungry for Change’. They are seeking to tackle the causes of world hunger and get direct support to the one in eight people in the world who do not have enough to eat, helping them to feed themselves for the long term.
Since raising £160 on the day, Felix has been continuing to gather donations online. If you would like to contribute please see his Just Giving Page at:


Syria: Old Franciscan church destroyed | Capuchin Franciscan Friars,Deir Ezzor,  Mesopotamia  Fr Tony Haddad, Vice-Provincial of the Friars for the Near East,  Lebanon, Syria, Franciscan church destroyed

Unnamed church in Deir Ezzor Wiki image
Agenzia Fides REPORT - A violent explosion destroyed the church and convent of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars in Deir Ezzor, in Mesopotamia. The information sent to Fides by Fr. Tony Haddad, Vice-Provincial of the Friars for the Near East, who oversees the Capuchin presence in Lebanon and Syria. The explosion occurred on April 15. "It was the only church in Deir Ezzor still remained almost untouched so far." It is not clear how it was destroyed. According to some reconstructions, the church had been breached and some opposition fighters were stationed there. The regular army then hit the church, destroying it. Others speak of a car bomb placed next to the structure. Fr. Haddad said with great bitterness "all this hate and desecration." In that area – he informs - "there are no more Christians." In past months, given the critical situation, "our two friars who lived in the convent left Deir Ezzor with the Sisters of Mother Teresa and ten elders who lived with us. They were the last remaining Christians. I thank the Lord that the two friars are alive and well. The church of stones can be rebuilt one day, when a spring of peace will appear in our Middle East, " notes Fr. Haddad.
Deir Ezzor is a city in eastern Syria, beyond the Euphrates, between Palmyra and the Iraqi border. "Our presence there dates back to the thirties of last century, but we have been in the Middle East for much longer," said Fr. Tony. "In almost four centuries of history, our Vice-Province has suffered several destructions and persecutions, but it has always risen, with the Risen Christ." Another community of Capuchin Franciscan friars still remains in southern Syria, in Soueida - where two friars live.
According to information of Syrian opposition activists, army planes bombed in the past days two Syriac Orthodox churches in Deir Ezzor and Christian families have left the city due to the intensification of clashes between loyalist and opposition forces. The Syrian Orthodox Church affirms that its churches have been affected in all the provinces, in Harasta, Arbin, Zabadani, Deraa, Aleppo, Damascus, Raqqa. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 19/04/2013)


The death toll is still partial. Two strong aftershocks of magnitude 6.6 and 7.0 struck this morning around at 8.00 am local time. The epicenter is about 51 km west of the city of Linqionq. The earthquake caused landslides, mudslides and leveled entire buildings. Panic in the megalopolis of Chongqing located several hundred kilometers to the south-east of the epicenter. Xi Jinping orders the authorities to make every effort to assist the affected population.

Linqiong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - 72 people are dead and over 600 injured following two strong earthquakes (magnitude 6.6 and 7.0) that struck southwest Sichuan this morning between 8.00 and 8.02 (local time). The epicenter of the quake was registered at about 51 km west of the city of Linqiong. Due to the depth of only about 12 km, the aftershocks caused significant damage, landslides and destroyed homes and public buildings.

The quake caused panic in several cities hundreds of miles away from the epicenter, including the megacity of Chongqing, south-east of Linqiong, where the population (about 30 million inhabitants) poured into the streets.

After the scandals of the 2008 earthquake, which killed over 87 thousand people, the authorities of Sichuan province were immediately mobilized to help the most affected areas. Even President Xi Jinping has ordered that "every effort must be made to help the victims and rescue the missing."

On the popular Chinese social network Weibo one of the rescuers expressed his concern by saying that the quake-hit area is surrounded by mountains and most of the roads are blocked due to landslides. Also on Sina Weibo users have different uploaded photographs and videos of the tragedy, also to help the teams to recognize the territory.

According to state news agency Xinhua, the local government of Chengdu, the capital of the region, has sent about 2 thousand soldiers to the area of ​​the epicenter.

In May 2008, the province experienced one of the worst earthquakes in recent decades. The quake hit the villages to the north-west of the city of Chengdu. The disaster destroyed the entire province causing damage and casualties in neighboring region of Shaanxi and Gansu. Despite the prominence given to the tragedy through the state media with photos of Premier Wen Jiabao in front of the rubble, the population began a series of protests after the discovery that many schools had collapsed killing thousands of children, while other buildings remained unscathed. Instead of immediately investigating the incident and punishing those responsible, the government preferred to censor the inhabitants, turning the tragedy of the children who died in the Sichuan quake into a taboo subject. Even today, terms such as "children, earthquake in Sichuan, schools" are censored by the government on the Chinese search engines


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
19 Apr 2013

CWL Sydney President Moya Potts
The Catholic Women's League Archdiocese of Sydney celebrated their Centenary today with a special mass at St Mary's Cathedral followed by a lunch at Parliament House for members and friends and the launch of their DVD "At the Heart of Women".
A handful of women started CWL Sydney in 1913 but since then thousands have worked tirelessly, with courage and conviction, for the church and society.
The women stood together helping wherever they could during two world wars and the biggest depression the world has known.
They have constantly and consistently promoted family values and have been staunch defenders of those who have been exploited or manipulated.
The women not only work with parish connections but have developed programs in the areas of justice and education and have supported many community6 projects here and overseas.
Auxiliary Bishop of the Sydney Archdiocese, Bishop Terry Brady said the Catholic Women's League has shown a wonderful and strong tradition in the Catholic Church which many can look to and admire.
Many members, past and present office holders, politicians, clergy, religious and Catholic organisations were represented at the mass and the lunch - a sign of the esteem in which the CWL is held in Sydney.
The Governor of NSW, Prof Marie Bashir was a special guest at the Centenary Mass. She also spoke highly of the CWL and all the women who, bonded by friendship, their faith and a strong support network, contributed and continue to contribute so much to society.
It came as a great surprise to all those at the lunch when the Attorney-General, Mr Greg Smith read a message from Premier Barry O'Farrell announcing the retirement of Governor Bashir in September 2014.
All applauded when Mr Smith read the message which said Prof Bashir is "an inspiration to everyone she meets, from children in schools, business leaders, visiting Heads of State, to those affected by natural disasters and members of our ethnic and Indigenous communities."
The Centenary DVD chronicles the proud history of the CWL Sydney, of nurturing and developing women through engagement in emerging and innovative roles both in the church community and in wider society.


John 6: 60 - 69

60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"
61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this?
62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?
63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
64 But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.
65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."
66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.
67 Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?"
68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;
69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."


St. Agnes of Montepulciano
Feast: April 20

Feast Day:April 20
Born:1268 at Gracchiano-Vecchio, Tuscany, Italy
Died:20 April 1317
Canonized:1726 by Pope Benedict XIII
Born in the neighbourhood of Montepulciano in Tuscany about 1268; died there 1317. At the age of nine years she entered a monastery. Four years later she was commissioned by Pope Nicholas IV to assist in the foundation of a monastery at Proceno, and became its prioress at the age of fifteen. At the entreaty of the citizens of her native town, she established (1298) the celebrated convent of Dominican nuns at Montepulciano which she governed until the time of her death. She was canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726. Her feast is celebrated on 20 April.
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)