Thursday, May 23, 2013


Vatican Radio REPORT: That Christians might spread the spiritual salt of faith, hope and charity: this was Pope Francis’ exhortation at Mass Thursday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence in the Vatican. The Pope warned against the risk of becoming insipid, “Museum-piece Christians.”

In his homily, Pope Francis focused on the savour that Christians are called to give to their own lives and to others’. The Holy Father said that salt the Lord gives us is the salt of faith, hope and charity. But, he warned, we must be careful that this salt, which is given to us by the certainty that Jesus died and rose again to save us, “does not lose its flavour, does not lose its strength.” This salt, he continued, “is not for keeping, because if the salt is preserved in a bottle it does not do anything: it is good for nothing”:

Salt makes sense when you [use] it in order to make things more tasty. I also consider that salt stored in the bottle, with moisture, loses strength and is rendered useless. The salt that we have received is to be given out, to be given away, [in order] to spice things up: otherwise, it becomes bland and useless. We must ask the Lord not to [let us] become Christians with flavour-less salt, with salt that stays closed in the bottle. Salt also has another special feature: when salt is used well, one does not notice the taste of salt. The savour of salt - it cannot be perceived! What one tastes is the flavour of the food: salt helps improve the flavor of the meal.

“When we preach faith, with this salt,” said Pope Francis, “those who receive the proclamation, receive it each according to his peculiarity, as [happens when salt is used judiciously] on food.” So, “Each with his own peculiarities receives the salt and becomes better [for it].” The Holy Father went on to explain that the “originality” that Christian faith brings is therefore not something uniform:

The Christian originality is not a uniformity! It takes each one as he is, with his own personality, with his own characteristics, his culture – and leaves him with that, because it is a treasure. However, it gives one something more: it gives flavour! This Christian originality is so beautiful, because when we want to make a uniformity - all salted in the same way - things will be like when the woman throws in too much salt and one tastes only salt and not the meal. The Christian originality is this: each is as he is, with the gifts the Lord has given him.

“This,” the Pope continued, “is the salt that we have to give.” A salt that is “not to be kept, but to be given,” – and this, he said, “means a little [bit] of transcendence”: “To get out there with the message, to get out there with this richness that we have in salt, and give it to others.” On the other hand, he pointed out, there are two “ways out” for the salt to take, so that it does not spoil. First: to give the salt “in the service of meals, service to others, to serve the people.” Second: “transcendence toward the author of the salt, the creator.” The salt, he reiterated, "in order to keep its flavour, has need not only of being given through preaching,” but, “also needs the other transcendence, of prayer, of adoration”:

In this way is the salt conserved, [in this way it keeps] its flavor. With the worship of the Lord I go beyond myself to the Lord, and with the proclamation of the Gospel I go out of myself to give the message. If we do not do this, however - these two things, these two transcendences, to give the salt - the salt will remain in the bottle, and we will become ‘museum-piece Christians’. We can show the salt: this is my salt - and how lovely it is! This is the salt that I received in Baptism, this is what I received in Confirmation, this is what I received in catechesis - But look: museum-piece Christians! A salt without flavor, a salt that does nothing.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri concelebrated, The Mass was attended by a group of priests and lay collaborators from the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

Vatican City, 23 May 2013 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience His excellency Mr. Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena, president of the Republic of El Salvador. President Funes then met with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial talks, satisfaction was express for the good relations between the Holy See and the nation of El Salvador. In particular, Servant of God Archbishop Oscar Amulfo Romero y Galdamez of San Salvador was spoken of and the importance of his witness for the entire nation.
Appreciation was also expressed for the contribution that the Church offers for the reconciliation and consolidation of peace, as well as in the areas of charity, education, and the eradication of poverty and organized crime. Some ethical issues such as the defence of human life, marriage, and the family were also discussed.

Vatican City, 23 May 2013 (VIS) – Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, native of Benin and first African-born prelate to be prefect of a Vatican dicastery (of the Congregation for Bishops), will be memorialised by the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome with a Chair bearing his name and dedicated to “Political Socialization in Africa”. The news was made public this morning in the press office of the Holy See, at a conference participated in by Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”; His excellency Dr. Thomas Yayi Boni, president of the Republic of Benin; Msgr. Patrick Valdrini, rector of the Pontifical Lateran University; and Dr. Martin Nkafu Nkemnkia, director of the Department of Human and Social Sciences – African Studies at the Pontifical Lateran University.
Cardinal Gantin was born in 1922 in Toffo, Benin, and studied at the seminary of Ouidah. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1951 and left Benin two years later to pursue studies in Rome. He received a license in Theology and Canon Law from the Pontifical Lateran University. In 1956, he was ordained a bishop and in 1960 was named metropolitan archbishop of Cotonou. As president of the Episcopal Conference of Benin, he participated in three sessions of Vatican Council II and in the first World Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (1967). In 1971 he was named adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and resigned the pastoral care of his diocese. In 1976, he was named president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. He was created a cardinal by Paul VI in 1977. In 1984, he was named prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. Nine years later, in 1993, he was elected dean of the College of Cardinals. When he turned 80, no longer a cardinal elector, he resigned his post as dean and returned to his country. He died in Paris, where he had travelled for health reasons, in 2008 and was buried in Ouidah. Benedict XVI, during his trip to Benin in 2011, visited his tomb.
“Today, 23 May 2013,” Cardinal Sarah said, “the Pontifical Lateran University dedicates a Chair in his name to recall what his life meant for the people of Benin, for the Church in Africa, and for the universal Church … as well as for the contribution that he made, both on a pastoral level and his invitation to the Christian world to participate in culture and politics as the main form of service to the betterment of society and the spiritual well-being of humanity. … I hope that this Chair in his name—on “Socialization Policy in Africa”—will initiate reflection on politics in the African context and prepare future leaders of African society who are guided by the Church's Social Doctrine.”
For his part, Dr. Nkafu Nkemnkia explained that the Chair will be articulated as courses and seminars, will promote conferences and workshops, and will seek collaboration with institutions and structures in order to increase and give value to African political culture. “The contribution of the Chair will be a renewal, but above all a formation of leaders, motivated by deep-rooted ethical principles, to overcome the difficult situation of crisis and corruption, both in politicians as well as in civil society itself, through a just economic vision and a more balanced form of the service that politics should offer.”
Vatican City, 23 May 2013 (VIS) – Today was published a letter, written in Latin and dated 18 May of this year, in which Pope Francis confirms Cardinal Agostino Vallini as vicar general for the Diocese of Rome. Cardinal Vallini was appointed to that position on 27 June 2008 by Benedict XVI, a role that also entails the positions of Archpriest of St. John Lateran Basilica and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Lateran University.
Vatican City, 23 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received:
five members of the presidency of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE):
  - Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich, Germany, president;
  - Bishop Gianni Ambrosio of Piacenza-Bobbio, Italy, vice president;
  - Bishop Virgil Bercea of Oradea Mareof the Romanians, Romania, vice president;
  - Bishop Jean Kockerols, auxiliary of Malines-Brussels, Belgium, and titular of Ypres, vice president; and
  - Fr. Patrick Daly, general secretary.
Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy.


Vatican Radio REPORT: Pope Francis has called Christians worldwide to prayer this Friday for our brothers and sisters in China. Speaking at the end of his general audience in Italian, the Holy Father noted that Friday, May 24th, is the day dedicated to the liturgical memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, who is venerated with great devotion at the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai.
He said : “I urge all Catholics around the world to join in prayer with our brothers and sisters who are in China, to implore from God the grace to proclaim with humility and joy Christ, who died and rose again; to be faithful to His Church and the Successor of Peter and to live everyday life in service to their country and their fellow citizens in a way that is consistent with the faith they profess.
Making our own a few words of prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan, together with you I would like to invoke Mary : " Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love. May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus".
Mary, Virgin most faithful, support Chinese Catholics, render their commitments, which are not easy, more and more precious in the eyes of the Lord, and nurture the affection and the participation of the Church in China in the journey of the Universal Church”.

In May 2008 Pope-emeritus, Benedict XVI, composed a special prayer for the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians (May 24), venerated at the shrine of Sheshan, near Shanghai. He also designated May 24 as the yearly World Day of Prayer for China and asked that we recite this prayer.

Below we publish the full text of the prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan

Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,
venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title "Help of Christians",
the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.
We come before you today to implore your protection.
Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them
along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be
a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.
When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth,
you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb
and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.
You willingly and generously cooperated in that work,
allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul,
until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary,
standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.
From that moment, you became, in a new way,
the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.
Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed
with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.
Grant that your children may discern at all times,
even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.
Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China,
who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love.
May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world,
and of the world to Jesus.
In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high,
offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.
Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love,
ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.
Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!


THE JOURNEY BEGINS for 8 youth walking across Canada for LIFE. They are sacrificing their time, energy and money to raise awareness of the importance of Life from Conception onward. Please consider donating to this cause via
Ian Gallagher leads: Mariana Mazarollo, Amy McInnis, Corinne, Anthony, Lucy Landry, Bethany Atkinson, Anna, Kelly, and Michael.


An excerpt from their Blog:
It is Day 3 of our cross-Canada walk. The team is getting along very nicely. There is much joy, laughter, and of course prayer! Our devotions include daily Mass, morning and evening prayer, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and many rosaries. We are praying for many intentions which we have brought with us, and also those intentions that come our way. 

We have met several individuals on the roads who support the pro-life cause. In Vancouver, we stopped on the sidewalk to chat with a doctor, who was ashamed of his colleagues who performed many abortions by day (even partial birth abortions).    
Please pray for us daily. This is a spiritual battle we are fighting which we are only just starting. There are months ahead of combat! 
Follow us on Facebook at, and on Twitter at @CA_Crossroads. 
God bless you all,
Ian, Mariana, Amy, Corinne, Anthony, Lucy, Bethany, Anna, Kelly, and Michael. 
Follow their Blog at


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
22 May 2013

Chris Meney, Director of the Life, Marriage and Family Centre for the Archdiocese of Sydney
A powerful series of short videos produced by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) to bring a greater understanding of difficult life and death issues from euthanasia to abortion and reproductive technologies has been developed by the some of the nation's leading bioethicists, theologians, doctors, academics and pastoral carers.
"Often the Church's teachings on matters like abortion, euthanasia and reproductive technologies are misunderstood and at times they are not well presented," says Bishop Eugene Hurley, Chair of the ACBC's Catholic Life Council explaining that too often these issues are presented with a legal edge rather than with compassion and understanding of how we should care for those facing life and death challenges.

"Often the compassionate heart of Christ gets lost in legalistic or judgemental language and people feel they cannot turn to the Church or to Christians for support," he says.

Abortion can trigger longterm trauma and distress for a woman
The videos which are also available as DVDs explains the Church's pastoral position and are designed to inform, educate and create a deeper understanding of these issues particularly from a pastoral point of view. Reaching out in love and forgiveness to those who have suffered, the Life Issues videos also provide resources for healing.
Inspired by the words from John's Gospel: "For God So Loved the World that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have ever lasting life," this important series of short videos arrive at a time when each of the three issues addressed are not only making headlines but are triggering further confusion, controversy and consternation.
In NSW a private members bill to legalise euthanasia is currently before the Legislative Council. Brought by Greens senator, Cate Faehrmann, the Bill for the Rights of the Terminally Ill which advocates voluntary "mercy killing" will be debated for the third time today, Thursday 23 May.
Greens and also the  Independent MP, Alex Greenwich have bombarded constituents across NSW with emails and leaflets urging them to get behind the bill and urge their local member to vote for the passage of bill that would make euthanasia legal throughout the state.
Abortion is also in the news with the Federal Government in Canberra finalising details to place the drugs RU486 (mifepristone), better known as the abortion, and its companion drug GyMiso (misoprostol) on the tax-payer funded Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The move by Minister of Health, Tanya Plibersek will not only make chemically-induced abortions widely available to women across Australia but under the PBS subsidy, will bring down the cost from around $3000 to just $36.10.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmanns bill to legalise euthanasia will again be debated by NSW Parliament tomorrow
Meanwhile in the US, Oregon scientists announced six days ago that they had successfully human skin cells into embryonic stem cells, developing these unfertilised cells to seven days growth in the lab. This latest development in reproductive technologies which for the first time moves scientists well on the path to human cloning has been condemned by Cardinal Sean P.O'Malley of Boston who chairs the US Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities who said the process used by scientists created and destroyed 120 human embryos, which the Church considers human life that must be protected.
"Creating new lives in the laboratory solely to destroy them is an abuse denounced even by many who do not share the Catholic Church's convictions on the sanctity of human life," he says.
The Oregon scientists hope to use laboratory created embryos and their stem cells to grow human organs for transplant or to cure diseases which raises further important ethical questions.
"This new breakthrough is particularly troubling," says Chris Meney, Director of the Archdiocese of Sydney's Life Marriage and Family Centre. "To create human life so as to destroy it, reflects a stubborn refusal to honour the dignity of each human person and is a rejection of the principle to always treat every human being as an end and never as a means."
 Mr Meney is further concerned about a number of suggested legislative changes in Australia that do not reflect "a full understanding of the preciousness of every human life."
"The Catholic Church recognises these challenges and also her responsibility to act as protector to the poor and vulnerable in our society. The Church teaches and strives to love and support people through all stages of their life journey, knowing they deserve respect and love from their moment of conception until natural death," he says.

US scientists announce breakthrough in lab-created human embryos
Despite the good intentions by the many who advocate euthanasia or physician assisted suicide, Mr Meney says the end result is one where we eventually abandon those whose suffering we cannot bear.
In relation to the Government's decision to subsidise the abortion pill, RU486 and its companion drug GyMiso and also make the drugs widely available, Mr Meney points out that not only have chemical abortions been documented to have caused death in some women and endangered others by triggering severe bleeding, pain and life-threatening infections, but that they also cause the unjust killing of the woman's child by literally starving the early-stage baby of nutrients and over a period of days forcing it to detach from the womb.
"The life issues film on abortion invites women to seek out the Church when they are facing unplanned pregnancy or grappling with the damage of post abortion trauma," he says and gives his full endorsement to the three videos which are timely, informative and a much needed pastoral resource.
Access the videos by logging on to A DVD version of the videos is also available from the site's donation page.


Zach Sobiech the now famous teen had osteosarcoma, cancer of the bone rare among youth. He died on May 20,2013 at 6:30 a.m. in Stillwater at the age of 18. He was inspired to make several music videos with the help of celebrities to support funding for those with cancer. These videos became viral on the web. Please find Zach's most popular video below. DONATE VIA
Zach was the third of the Sobiech family’s four children and was a student at St. Croix Catholic School in 2009 when he was diagnosed. He felt pain in his hip during a jog; eventually, they took him in for a CT scan which revealed cancer.
They are a Catholic family and Zach's mother Laura said, “Identifying with Mary’s suffering has been huge”. “To meditate from her point of view, watching her son suffer, has just really brought me peace and shown me how to do it. She had quiet strength. The Way of the Cross, Mary was there for the whole thing, and there was nothing she could really do but be there.”

It was after the diagnosis that Laura said. “That’s when I decided that this was going to be part of my daily routine. So, I actually set up my work schedule to start later so that I could make sure I would get prayer in before I started my day.”
“Any time we have a struggle in the family, I go right to the rosary because I know that’s where we’re going to get the grace — or I’m going to get the grace — to get through things,” she said. “I just don’t have to do it on my own. It’s my safety net.”
Matthew Brown greets Bishop Lee Piché after being confirmed during a Mass April 22 at St. Mary in Stillwater. His scheduled confirmation was moved up to accommodate the failing health of his sponsor, Zach Sobiech, center. (Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit)
Matthew Brown greets Bishop Lee Piché after being confirmed during a Mass April 22 at St. Mary in Stillwater. His scheduled confirmation was moved up to accommodate the failing health of his sponsor, Zach Sobiech, center. (Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit)
Bishop Lee Piché came to St. Mary in Stillwater for family friend Matt Brown’s confirmation. Zach was his sponsor.
Laura said. “I think all of us felt that the Holy Spirit really was there, not just for Matt, but was spilling over to all of us." (Quotes and Pictures from Diocese Website - TheCatholicSpirit)

Zach has 2 sisters Alli, 22, Grace, 14, and brother Sam, 20. Sammy Brown, is Matt’s older sister and Zach’s singing partner, and his girlfriend Amy Adamle all supported him.
“He has this sense of joy, and he shares it with everyone, even when he’s down,” Adamle said. “His faith has made my faith stronger because even in dark times, he still looks to God. It helps me know that I can do that.”
Laura wrote a message on his CaringBridge site: “Zachary passed away this morning. He was surrounded by his sisters, brother, parents and girlfriend. We love him dearly.”
The funeral for Zach is scheduled for 11 a.m. May 23 at St. Michael.


Part 12 of the life story of St. Molokai shared from Youtube 


A candlelight vigil yesterday in Amman. Initiative was attended by hundreds of people. The march is a message of solidarity with the Patriarchate of Antioch of the Greek-Orthodox and the Syrian Orthodox Church. The kidnap of Msgr. Yohanna Ibrahim and Msgr. Boulos Yaziji afflicts not only Christians, but also secular society and Muslim.

Amman (AsiaNews) - With a silent candlelight vigil bishops and leaders of Christian churches in Jordan and lay Catholics have condemned the kidnapping of Archbishop. Yohanna Ibrahim and Msgr. Boulos Yaziji, exactly one month ago and remembered Fr. Michel Kayyal (Armenian Catholic) and Fr. Maher Mahfouz (Greek-orthodox), the two priests kidnapped in February last.

In a statement, the religious leaders affirm that "the permanence of the two prelates in the hands of their kidnappers is unacceptable not only because it is an attack on their lives, but especially for the shock and pain caused among the faithful under their care".

For the representatives of the Jordanian Churches both prelates are "persons of high intellectual ability who love their country and who carry out their spiritual mission with a spirit of moderation." These two bishops did not limit themselves to the work within their diocese, but have also written books where believers and intellectuals have found spiritual nourishment and stimulus for thought. "Their permanence in the hands of their kidnappers - continues the statement - also halts the activity of two of the most important Christian Arab personalities of our time."

For the bishops, the march is a message of solidarity with the Greek-orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch of the, represented by Patriarch Yohanna X Yazij, and the Syrian Orthodox Church, represented by Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, expressed in the invitation to prayer for these two Sister Churches and for Churches worldwide not to cease in their advocacy and prayers for the release of the two bishops. (S.C.)



Mark 9: 41 - 50

41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward.
42 "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.
47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,
48 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.
49 For every one will be salted with fire.
50 Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its saltness, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."