Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Vatican Radio REPORT: For a Christian, true progress lies in humbling ourselves as Jesus did. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope also reiterated that true power is in service and that there is no room for power struggles within the Church. During the prayers of the faithful Pope Francis also prayed for the victims of the Oklahoma tornado tragedy.

In the readings of the day, the source of the Holy Father’s reflections, Jesus speaks of his passion. However his disciples, begin arguing about who is the greatest among them. Commenting on this ‘bitter episode’ the Pope noted: "The struggle for power in the Church nothing new", in fact "it began then with Jesus”. The Pope said: "In the Gospel of Jesus, the struggle for power in the Church must not exist" because true power, that which the Lord "by his example has taught us," is "the power of service".
"Real power is service. As He did, He who came not to be served but to serve, and His service was the service of the Cross. He humbled Himself unto death, even death on a cross for us, to serve us, to save us. And there is no other way in the Church to move forward. For the Christian, getting ahead, progress, means humbling oneself. If we do not learn this Christian rule, we will never, ever be able to understand Jesus’ true message on power. "The Pope said that progress "means humbling ourselves", it means "always being of service” to others. In the Church, he added, "the greatest is the one who serves most, the one who is at the service of others." "This is the rule." Yet, noted Pope Francis, from the beginning until now there have been "power struggles in the Church," even "in our manner of speech":"When a person is given a job, one that the eyes of the world is a superior role, they say: 'Ah, this woman has been promoted to president of that association, or this man was promoted ...'. This verb, to promote: yes, it is a nice verb and one we must use in the Church. Yes, He was promoted to the Cross, He was promoted to humiliation. That is true promotion [advancement], that which makes us seem more like Jesus! " The Pope then recalled that St. Ignatius of Loyola who, in his Spiritual Exercises, asked the Crucified Lord for "the grace of humiliation." This, he reiterated, is "the true power of the service of the Church." This is the true path of Jesus, true and not worldly advancement:"The path of the Lord is being in His service: as He carried out His service, we must follow Him, on the path of service. That is the real power in the Church. I would like today to pray for all of us, so that the Lord give us the grace to understand that: that real power in the Church is service. And also to understand the golden rule that He taught us by His example: for a Christian, progress, advancement, means being humble. We ask for this grace. " Staff from Vatican Radio and the Office of the Governatorate were present at Mass Tuesday morning. Also present were the director of Civiltà Cattolica, Father Antonio Spadaro S.J., and Maria Voce and Giancarlo Faletti, president and vice-president of the Focolare Movement.
Vatican City, 21 May 2013 (VIS) – “Let us pray for the victims and those who are missing, especially children, affected by the violent tornado that hit Oklahoma City yesterday. Hear us, O Lord,” said Pope Francis this morning during daily Mass celebrated in the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel.
Subsequently, Pope Francis launched a tweet from his @Pontifex account: “I am close to the families of all who died in the Oklahoma tornado, especially those who lost young children. Join me in praying for them.”
The tornado that struck the state of Oklahoma, USA, yesterday has caused 91 deaths, 20 of whom were children, and destroyed over 7,000 buildings. Entire neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Oklahoma City were destroyed. There are over a hundred wounded and still missing persons.
Vatican City, 21 May 2013 (VIS) – In response to questions from reporters about an alleged exorcism performed by the Holy Father Francis in St. Peter’s Square after last Sunday’s Mass, the Director of the Holy See Press Office Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., said: “The Holy Father had no intention to perform any exorcism. Instead, as he frequently does for the sick and suffering persons who approach him, he simply meant to pray for a suffering person who was presented to him.”
Vatican City, 21 May 2013 (VIS) – On 21 May 1972, Michelangelo's Pieta, exhibited to the public in St. Peter's Basilica, was attacked by a hammer-wielding tourist who had managed to elude the sanctuary's guards. Hungarian-born Australian geologist Laszlo Toth, who suffered from sever mental problems, threw himself at the sculpture shouting, “I am Jesus Christ, risen from the dead!” and he struck the Pieta 15 times destroying the Madonna's nose, breaking off her left forearm, and smashing that arm's elbow into over 50 pieces.
Today, 41 years later, the Vatican Museums are dedicating a study day to the sculpture's reconstruction entitled: “Michelangelo's Pieta: In Memory of 21 May 1972 – A Restoration Story”. During the course of the day's planned events, the complex and delicate task of restoration that took place between 1972 and 1973 in the Vatican Museums under the care of then-director, the Brazilian Deoclecio Redig de Campos, will be analysed. Thanks to the existence of numerous casts, the skill of several specialists, and reusing original fragments as well as a paste made of glue and marble dust, it was possible to faithfully restore the work.
The Pieta is considered Michelangelo's first masterpiece—he was little more than twenty when he sculpted it—and it is the only one he signed. The sash running across the Virgin's chest reads: “MICHAEL.A[N]GELVS BONAROTVS FLORENT[INVS] FACIEBAT”. The study day will reveal, among other things and thanks to documents conserved by the Office of the Fabric of St. Peter's, the various places the statue resided before its placement, in 1779, in the first chapel on the right of the nave of St. Peter's Basilica where it is visible today, but protected after the attack, by bullet-proof glass that separates it from the visitors to the basilica. The only time that the Pieta has left Vatican territory was in 1964 when it travelled to the Universal Expo in New York to be admired by over 21 million people. On that occasion, the photographer Robert Hupka immortalized it in a book entitled “An Act of Love”. Another little-known fact about the work regards the crowns that have adorned the Virgin's head throughout the centuries, which will be discussed by the archaeologist Pietro Zander.
The study day will also have the exclusive viewing of the documentary “Violence and the Pieta”, restored in colour and digital format by the recently deceased Brando Giordani in collaboration with RAI's Department of Culture, that narrates the entire process of the statue's reconstruction. The documentary was filmed by the express will of Pope Paul VI who compared the shattered statue with an image of the Church in tears, attacked by evil.
Another of Michelangelo's celebrated statues, the David, which is found in Florence's Accademia Art Gallery, was also attacked by a mentally unsound person with a hammer in 1991. The toe's of the statue's left foot were broken off. That restoration process, undertaken by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (workshop of semi-precious stones) in Florence, will be presented in the afternoon, serving to introduce one of the Vatican Museum's latest initiatives: the creation of a virtual gipsoteca (plaster cast gallery) with 3D models and “clones” of the collections' most irreplaceable works.
Vatican City, 21 May 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father appointed:
   - Fr. Rafael Valdez Torres as bishop of Ensenada (area 52,646, population 557,000, Catholics 439,000, priests 53, religious 106), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Santiago Tangamandapio, Michoacan, Mexico in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1985. Since ordination he has served in several parochial and diocesan level roles, most recently as pastor and rector of the Shrine of Our Lord of the Miracles in San Juan Nuevo and, since 2008, as bursar of the diocesan Mutual Sacerdotal.
   - Fr. Luzizla Kiala as bishop of Sumbe (area 60,000, population 1,191,000, Catholics 369,969, priests 47, religious 59), Angola. The bishop-elect was born in Damba, Uige Province, Angola and was ordained a priest in 1992. Since ordination he has served in several pastoral, administrative, and diocesan roles, most recently as vicar general of the Diocese of Uije and pastor of the cathedral.
   - Bishop Claude Jean Narcisse Rault, M. Afr., of Laghouat, Algeria, as a member of the Special Council for Africa of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.


USCCB REPORT: WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, pledged prayers and support for the people of the Archdiocese Oklahoma City, struck by tornadoes May 20.
He promised the support of the U.S. bishops and Catholics in the United States in a letter to Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City.
The letter follows.
Dear Archbishop Coakley,
Our hearts ache with you as we learn of the terrible tornadoes that struck your archdiocese yesterday in the town of Moore outside Oklahoma City. As I expressed in our telephone call earlier today, the deaths of so many, especially beloved children in their school, call us to join you and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City in prayer for the consolation of all who feel this terrible loss.
The experience of loss of family members, homes, neighborhoods, and even the local hospital, shows a devastation that impels us to stand with you and all the good people of Moore both in prayer for comfort and in efforts for disaster relief to ease the suffering of those whose lives have been affected by this dreadful disaster.
May the words of Jesus, "Behold I am with you always," and who calmed the storms, bring hope and comfort at this sensitive moment in the history of your diocese which sadly has known great tragedy before from other natural disasters, but which has always united in courageous and loving efforts to restore hope to all.
May all those affected by such pain feel the strength God offers them and the compassion of all who stand with them, be it in their hometown or miles away.
Fraternally yours,
Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


Agenzia Fides REPORT - More than 250 Christian families have been threatened and thrown out from their homes in the village 'Chak 31 "in Khanewal district, in southern Punjab for fear of mass attacks and arson. What happened in South Punjab "reflects the increase of violence and abuses against religious minorities in Pakistan" and "recalls the serious episode of the attack on Joseph Colony, a Christian area of Lahore, which happened two months ago," says a report sent to Fides Agency, drawn up by two organizations of the civil society in Pakistan, the "Human Rights Commission of Pakistan" (HRCP) and "Organization for Development and Peace" (ODP), engaged in promoting peace and defending human rights. While Pakistani politics is involved in the formation of the new government after the general elections, the two organizations have launched an urgent appeal "to all parties: politics, political parties, civil society, religious organizations, in order to operate actively to mitigate religious intolerance and promote social cohesion." The appeal was launched "in the interests of the country and not only for the protection of the rights of minorities."
Each of the families put to flight by Islamic extremists had about six people, therefore at the moment the faithful without a home are more than 1,500. The escape was the solution chosen to avoid a massacre. As reported to Fides, it all started with a provocation: About 15 days ago, some Muslims accused a Christian businessman, Asher Yaqoob, owner of a small grocery store, and his Christian customers of having disrespectful attitudes towards Islam, inciting the faithful of the nearby village, "Chak 30" (rural villages are numbered, and they do not have their own name, ed), all Muslims. Christians called the police, but a police officer, instead of protecting them, became the head of a crowd of 60 Muslims who began to beat anyone they encountered and started destroying homes and shops. Clashes followed and Asif Khan was hit by a shot and died. At the news of the death, the crowd threatened a mass attack and set fire to the entire village. The Christian families had no choice but to flee immediately. In the clashes 20 Christians were arrested by the police. The two organizations - the HRCP and ODP reported everything to the police in Multan and have asked the intervention of the civil and religious authorities to restore peace between the two villages. (PA)


Hope for Melburnians living with HIV/AIDS
Tuesday 21 May 2013

By Edwina Hall

TODAY in downtown Brunswick St, the Church is journeying with people who have HIV/AIDS, through CatholicCare’s Catholic AIDS Ministry. Coordinator, Marg Hayes, has a beautiful smile that mirrors her vision – “to provide a place of hospitality and welcome for people with HIV/AIDS and their families and friends.” This program is made possible by the Chaplaincy Sunday Appeal, being conducted in Melbourne parishes and online throughout the month of May.

Edwina Hall, from Kairos Catholic Journal, recently caught up with Marg to learn more about this important area of Catholic chaplaincy.

Tell me about CatholicCare’s Catholic HIV/AIDS Ministry.
It is very much about hospitality and welcome for people with HIV/AIDS and their families and friends. Our role is about walking with people who have this disease and educating people about it to remove the stigma that goes with HIV and AIDS. We also provide general support for people with HIV or AIDS living in the community, in hospital, in prison or wherever else they live.

We are also here to support family and friends of people who die from this disease. Each year, we have a Remembering Mass for people who have died.

How long have you worked in this ministry and how have you seen it change?

When I first began here in 2001, our main focus was with pastoral care for the dying and chaplaincy. Once HAART (a treatment to suppress HIV viral replication and the progression of HIV disease) was discovered in 1996, people began to live with HIV rather than die from it, so the ministry needed to change and become more active in the community.
What kind of support do you offer people?
Our biggest concern is that people with HIV or AIDS experience hospitality and welcome, because people with this disease tend to think that the world cannot stand them, that they are the modern-day lepers.

Women will often say that they feel dirty because they have the virus, men will often say that they feel people will not want to know them and that they must not let anyone know they have the disease.

What are some of your plans for this year?
Each year in August we have School AIDS Day and that involves schools getting involved and learning something about HIV and AIDS. I am available to speak in parishes to talk about AIDS and this ministry and how we can pray for people and support people with this disease.

We also educate people within the HIV/AIDS community that the Church is there for them.

Each Monday, we have a lunch for people living with HIV/AIDS. Our aim at that table is that you would not know who has the virus and who does not.

Who should contact your office?
People living with HIV/AIDS, partners, families and friends, and people who want to know more about HIV/AIDS or this ministry.

Anything to add?
HIV is a blood-borne virus and is very difficult to get into your system. You do not ‘catch’ HIV, it is transmitted through blood and bodily fluids.

Mass is held for People Living with HIV/AIDS on the second Tuesday of each month at St Francis’ Church, Melbourne, at 5.30pm.

To contact CatholicCare’s, Catholic AIDS Ministry, call 8417 1280

To donate to this ministry via the Archbishop’s Charitable Fund, Chaplaincy Sunday Appeal, CLICK HERE



Libya: bomb explodes in front of Catholic Church |  Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Benghazi, Mgr Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, capital of Cyrenaica, Islamic extremism.

Mgr Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli
A bomb exploded in front of the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Benghazi on the night of 17 May, Fides reports.
"They put a bomb at the entrance of the corridor leading to the courtyard where there is the door of the church. The church, was not touched directly, but the attack is not a positive sign, " said Mgr Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli.
Mgr Martinelli said life is becoming increasingly difficult for the the small Christian community in the capital of Cyrenaica,  because of Islamic extremism.
He said: "The Church in Libya is suffering. In Benghazi the Coptic Church was hit, their chaplain was killed and now the Catholic Church... As I reported on other occasions, in Cyrenaica different religious women institutes have been forced to close their doors, in Tobruk, Derna, Beida, Barce, as well as in Benghazi. The nuns who were forced to leave, had served the population with generosity.:
Mgr Martinelli said: "But I must add that yesterday, on Pentecost Sunday, despite the attack in Benghazi, the Mass was attended by several people, mostly Libyans who wanted to show their solidarity to the priests and the few remaining nuns. Enough of this violence that makes no sense, in particular given the desire for dialogue that has always been there on our behalf."
Mgr Martinelli concluded: "But I have confidence in the good will of the Libyan people, who love us." *
Source: Fides
* A journalist has sent us this note today: I was in Benghazi on Friday. I don't think the bomb had anything to do with the church - it was aimed at soldiers at an army checkpoint nearby.


Mark 9: 30 - 37
30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he would not have any one know it;
31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he will rise."
32 But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask him.
33 And they came to Caper'na-um; and when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you discussing on the way?"
34 But they were silent; for on the way they had discussed with one another who was the greatest.
35 And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, "If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."
36 And he took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in his arms, he said to them,
37 "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me."