Thursday, June 6, 2013


TODAY, June 7, 2013, is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has been evident for many centuries under different forms. However, Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a Visitation Nun of the monastery of Paray-le-Monial, France received visions of the Sacred Heart and spread its devotion with this feast. Jesus appeared asking for a devotion of expiatory  love and frequent Communion, Communion on the First Friday of the month, and the observance of the Holy Hour.
In 1856, Pope Pius IX extended the feast of the Sacred Heart to the universal Church. On 11 June, 1899, by order of Pope Leo XIII, all peoples were solemnly consecrated to the Sacred Heart. It is annually celebrated on the Friday 19 days after Pentecost.
12 Promises of Jesus given in the Vision
1. I will give them graces necessary for their state in life.
2. I will give peace in their families.
3. I will console them in all their troubles.
4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.
12. I promise thee in the excess of the mercy of My Heart, that its all-powerful Love will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of Nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

Lord Jesus Christ, we consecrate ourselves to You today, each one of us, and all of us together as a family. Your Sacred Heart, the heart of your crucified and risen Body, is the ever living source of mercy and grace, hope and love for all of us. We desire to pledge ourselves and our lives to You in return.

Teach us to be always united with You, through Your Holy Spirit in mind and heart, in all our thoughts, words, deeds, joy and sufferings. Grant that we may ever know You more clearly, love You more dearly, and follow You more nearly.

We wish to share in Your redeeming work in our world: that your Father's will may truly be done on earth as it is in heaven, that the civilization of justice and love may thus be built up in our land.

Heart of Jesus, help us to keep sin away from our lives. Help us to keep loving, serving and forgiving each other. Live in our hearts and in our homes always, Make us wholly Yours.

With Your Mother's Immaculate Heart, we renew our consecration to Your Sacred Heart, for the ever greater glory of the Father in Heaven, Amen.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, be with us and bless us now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

Padre Pio's Sacred Heart Novena

This powerful prayer was recited every day by Padre Pio for all those who recommended themselves to his prayers:

I. O my Jesus, You said "verily I say to You, ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you", behold I knock, I seek and I ask for the grace of...

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father. Sacred Heart of Jesus I put all my trust in Thee.

II. O my Jesus, You said, "verily I say to You, whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you", behold in your name I ask the Father for the grace of...

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father. Sacred Heart of Jesus I put all my trust in Thee.

III. O my Jesus, You said, "verily I say to You, heaven and earth shall pass away but My words shall not pass away", behold I encouraged by your infallible words, now ask for the grace of...

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father. Sacred Heart of Jesus I put all my trust in Thee.

O sacred Heart of Jesus, to whom one thing alone is impossible, namely, not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of Thee through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your and our tender Mother.

Say the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) and add, St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us


Ezekiel 34: 11 - 16

"For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.
As a shepherd seeks out his flock when some of his sheep have been scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the fountains, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
I will feed them with good pasture, and upon the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on fat pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel.
I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD.
I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will watch over; I will feed them in justice.
Psalms 23: 1 - 6

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want;
2 he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Romans 5: 5 - 11

5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.
6 While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man -- though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die.
8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
9 Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
11 Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation.

Luke 15: 3 - 7

3 So he told them this parable:
4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?
5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.'
7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.


St. Robert of Newminster
Feast: June 7

Feast Day:June 7
Born:1100 at Gargrave, Craven district, Yorkshire county, England
Died:7 June 1159 at Newminster England
He was a native of Yorkshire, and even in his childhood an enemy to the usual amusements of that age, loving only prayer, serious reading, and useful and pious employments. Having finished his studies, he was ordained priest, and instituted to a rectorship of a parish in the diocese of York; but after discharging that office some time with great assiduity and zeal, he resigned that living, and took the religious habit in the Benedictine monastery of our Lady in York. Richard, the prior of this house, and twelve others, desiring to serve God according to the primitive institute of the Benedictine Order, left the monastery, with leave of the abbot, and endeavoring to execute their project, struggled with incredible hardships; till Thurstan, the pious archbishop of York, gave them a desert valley, called Scheldale, with the town of Sutton, where, in the midst of winter, and in extreme poverty they founded the celebrated abbey which, from certain springs, was called Fountains, in 1132. The Cistercian Order, which had been lately introduced into England, and settled at Rievalle, was perfectly agreeable to the fervent dispositions of this holy colony; and at their request the monastery of Fountains was received into it by St. Bernard, who in his letters extols the perfection and sanctity of this new nursery of saints, which, from the beginning, was a model to the whole order for devotion, austerity in fasts, labor, by which all the monks procured their subsistence, fervor in all religious exercises, and cheerfulness in singing assiduously the divine praises. No murmur or sadness was known among them; nor any strife or contention ever heard of, unless of charity or humility: they never yielded to rest, till fatigued with labor; and always came hungry from their slender table, which was chiefly furnished with pulse and roots from their garden. St. Robert seemed so far to eclipse the rest of this holy company by the lustre of his piety, that they all had their eyes on him in their religions duties, and studied to transcribe his fervor in their actions. Ranulph of Merley, baron of Morpeth, paying a visit to the monastery of Fountains five years after its foundation, was so struck with the edifying deportment of the terrestrial angels who inhabited it, that he obtained of the abbot Richard a certain number of those monks, and built for them a monastery called Newminster, near Morpeth, in Northumberland, in 1137, of which St. Robert was appointed abbot.

The saint in his new dignity thought it his duty not only to walk before his brethren, but to go beyond them all in every religious observance; and all his virtues seemed to receive new vigor, and a new degree of perfection in this eminent station. His affection to holy prayer is not to be expressed. He recommended to God continually those committed to his care, and with many tears poured forth his soul for them night and day. He was favored with the gift of prophecy and miracles. He founded another monastery a Pipinelle, or Rivebelle, in Northamptonshire, and lived in the strictest union of holy friendship with St. Bernard; also with St. Godric, a holy hermit in those parts, illiterate as to secular learning, but a most spiritual man. St. Robert finished his course by a happy death on the 7th of June, 1159. Miracles attested his sanctity to the world. He is named in the Roman Martyrology.



IN HONOR OF THE YEAR OF FAITH JCE NEWS will be showing some of the Best Catholic Films of all time. Here is the drama of ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD in English :


(Vatican Radio image - share)
Vatican City, 6 June 2013  Pope Francis addressed this morning the 45 members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy whom he received this morning in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, with their president, Archbishop Beniamino Stella. It is the institution that trains candidates for the Holy See's diplomatic service.
Below, please find the complete text of the Pope Francis’ remarks to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear priests, dear sisters, friends 

I extend a warm welcome to all of you! I affectionately greet your President, Archbishop Beniamino Stella, and I thank him for the kind words he addressed to me on your behalf, remembering the welcome visits that I have made in the past to your Casa. I also remember the friendly insistence with which Bishop Stella convinced me, now two years ago, to send to the Academy a priest of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires! Archbishop Stella knows to knock at the door! The problem was on my end, because I not found a priest to send, and I chose a “marathoner” . . . I sent him. A grateful thought goes also to his colleagues and to the Sisters and staff, who offer their generous service in your community.

Dear friends, you are preparing for a particular ministry of commitment, which will place you in the direct service of the Successor of Peter, of his charism of unity and communion, and of his solicitude for all the Churches. The work that is done in the Pontifical diplomatic service requires, like any type of priestly ministry, a great inner freedom. Live these years of your preparation with commitment, generosity, and greatness of soul, so that this freedom can really take shape in you!

But what does it mean to have this interior freedom? First of all it means being free from personal projects, being free from personal projects: from some of the concrete ways in which perhaps one day, you had thought of living your priesthood, from the possibilities of planning for the future; from the perspective of remaining for a long time in a “your” place of pastoral action. It means freeing yourself, in some way, even with respect to the culture and mindset from which you came, not by forgetting it, much less by denying it, but by opening yourself up, in charity, to understanding different cultures and meeting with people even from worlds very far from your own. Above all, it means vigilance in order to be free from ambition or personal aims, which can cause so much harm to the Church, taking care to always put in the first place not your own self-fulfillment, or the recognition that you could get whether inside and outside of the ecclesial community, but the greater good of the cause of the Gospel and the fulfillment of the mission that has been entrusted to you. This freedom from ambition or personal aims, for me, is important, it’s important! Careerism is leprosy! Leprosy! Please, no careerism! For this reason, each of you must be willing to integrate your vision of the Church, however legitimate, every personal idea or assessment, within the horizons seen by Peter, of his particular mission at the service of communion and the unity of the flock of Christ, of his pastoral charity which embraces the whole world, and that, thanks also to the action of the Pontifical diplomatic service, wishes to make itself present especially in those places, often forgotten, where the needs of the Church and of humanity are greatest. 

In a word, the ministry for which you are preparing – because you are being prepared for a ministry, not a profession: it is a ministry! – this ministry calls you to go out of yourself, to a detachment from self that can only be achieved through an intense spiritual journey and a serious unification of your life around the mystery of the love of God and of the inscrutable plan of His call. In the light of the faith, we are able to live the freedom from our own projects and our own will, not as a cause of frustration or emptying, but as an opening to the superabundant gift of God, that makes our priesthood fruitful. Living the ministry in service to the Successor of Peter and to the Church to which you are called may appear demanding, but it will allow you, so to say, to be and to breathe within the heart of the Church, of its catholicity. And this constitutes a special gift, because, as Pope Benedict recalled when speaking to your community, “wherever there is openness to the objectivity of catholicity, there is also the principle of authentic personalization” (Speech to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, 10 June 2011). 

Have great care for the spiritual life, which is the source of inner freedom. Without prayer, there is no interior freedom. You can make a precious treasure of the instruments of conforming your priestly spirituality to Christ Himself, cultivating a life of prayer and making your daily work the gymnasium of your sanctification. Here I am happy to recall the figure of Blessed John XXIII, the fiftieth anniversary of whose death we celebrated a few days ago: his work in the Pontifical diplomatic service was one of the places, and not the least significant, in which his sanctity was formed. Rereading his writings, one is impressed by the care he always took in guarding his soul, in the midst of the most varied ecclesial and political occupations. Here was born his inner freedom, the joy that he conveyed outwardly, and the effectiveness of his pastoral and diplomatic action. As he said in his Journal of a Soul, “the more mature I become in years and in experience, the more I recognize that the surest means for my personal sanctification and for the greater success of my service to the Holy See, remains the vigilant effort to reduce everything – principles, speeches, positions, affairs, to the greatest simplicity and calmness; in my vineyard, always to prune that which is simply useless foliage . . . and to go directly to that which is truth, justice, charity, above all charity. Any other [way] of doing things, is nothing but posturing and grasping at personal affirmation, which betrays itself and becomes cumbersome and ridiculous.” (Cinisello Balsamo 2000, p. 497). He wanted to prune his vineyard: to chase out the foliage, to prune. . . And some years later, joined to the end of his work in the Pontifical diplomatic service, when he was already Patriarch of Venice, he wrote, “Now I find myself completely in the ministry of souls. Truly I have always held that for an ecclesiastic, diplomacy, so to say, should always be permeated by a pastoral spirit; otherwise, it counts for nothing, and makes a holy mission ridiculous” (ibid., pp. 513-14). But this is important! Listen well: When in the Nunciature there is a secretary or a nuncio that doesn’t go along the way of sanctity, and gets involved in so many forms, in so many kinds of spiritual worldliness, he looks ridiculous, and everyone laughs at him! Please don’t be ridiculous: either [be] saints or go back to the diocese and be a pastor, but don’t be ridiculous in the diplomatic [service], in the diplomatic live, where there is so much danger of becoming worldly in spirituality.

I would also like to say something to the Sisters – thank you for coming! – who undertake their daily service among you with a religious and Franciscan spirit. They are good Mothers who accompany you with prayer, with their simple and essential words, and above all by the example of loyalty, dedication and love. Along with them I would like to thank the lay staff who work in Casa. Their hidden, but important presence, allows you to spend your time in the Academy with serenity and commitment. 

Dear priests, I hope that you will undertake the service to the Holy See with the same spirit as Blessed John XXIII. I ask you to pray for me, and I commend you to the safekeeping of the Virgin May and of Saint Anthony the Abbot, your patron. May the assurance of my prayers and of my blessing – which I cordially extend to all your loved ones – go with you. Thank you!



Vatican Radio REPORT Everyone has "small or not so small" idolatries in their lives, but the road that leads to God is one of exclusive love for Him, as Jesus taught us. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta Friday. 

As is custom the Pope reflected on the daily readings and the Gospel episode that recounts the scribe who approached Jesus to ask which, in his opinion, "is the first of all the commandments". Pope Francis noted that the scribe’s intentions were probably “far from innocent”, that he gives the impression of wanting to "test" Christ, if not to "make him fall into a trap". The scribe approves of Jesus’ answer – where he quotes from the bible: " Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!"- and Christ responds with the comment: “You are not far from the kingdom of God". Pope Francis said that, in essence, with that "you are not far" Jesus wanted to say to the scribe: "You know the theory very well," but "you are still some distance from the Kingdom of God", that is, you have to walk to “transform this commandment into reality”, because we “profess God through our way of life":

"It’s not enough to say: 'But I believe in God, God is the only God.' That’s fine, but how do you live this out in your life’s journey? Because we can say, 'The Lord is the only God, there is no other', but then live as if He was not the only God and have other deities at our disposal ... There is a danger of ' idolatry: idolatry, which is brought to us through the spirit of the world. And in this Jesus was clear: the spirit of the world, no. At the Last Supper he asks the Father to defend us from the spirit of the world, because the spirit of the world leads us to idolatry. "

Pope Francis continued: "Idolatry is subtle…we all have our hidden idols" and "the path of life to follow, to not be far from the kingdom of God" involves "discovering our hidden idols." The Pope pointed out that this attitude is already present in the Bible, in the episode in which Rachel, Jacob's wife, pretends she is not carrying idols which instead she took from her father's house and hid in her saddle. Pope Francis said that we too “have hid them in our saddle ... But we have to look for them and we have to destroy them," because to follow God the only path is that of a love based on "loyalty":

"And loyalty demands we drive out our idols, that we uncover them: they are hidden in our personality, in our way of life. But these are hidden idols mean that we are not faithful in love. The Apostle James, when he says, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God, begins by saying: 'Adulterers!'. He gives out to us, but with that adjective: adulterers. Why? Because whoever is 'friend' of the world is an idolater, is not faithful to the love of God! The path that is not distant, that advances, moves forward in the Kingdom of God, is a path of loyalty which resembles that of married love. "

Pope Francis then asked, even "with our small or not so small idolatries" how is it possible not to be faithful "to a love so great?". To do this, you need to trust in Christ, who is "total loyalty" and who "loves us so much"

"We can now ask Jesus: 'Lord, you who are so good, teach me to be this path so that every day I may be less distant from the kingdom of God, this path to drive out all of my idols'. It is difficult, but we must begin ... The idols hidden in the many saddles, which we have in our personalities, in the way we live: drive out the idol of worldliness, which leads us to become enemies of God. We ask this grace of Jesus, today. "

Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop José Vitti of Curitiba in Brazil, Archbishop Juan Segura of Ibiza, Spain and Archbishop Chirayath Anthony of Sagar in India. Staff from the Vatican Library were present, accompanied by vice-prefect Ambrose Paizzoni, and a group of lay personnel of the Lateran University, accompanied by Vice Rector, Msgr. Patrick Valdrini. 

Vatican City, 6 June 2013 (VIS) – In a note released today, the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household announced that, during the summer period, all private and special audiences will be suspended. The Wednesday general audiences of 3,10, 17, and 31 July are likewise suspended and will resume again from 7 August. On Sunday, 14 July, the Holy Father will pray the Angelus from the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo. From Monday, 22 July, to Monday, 29 July, the Holy Father will travel to Brazil for the 28th World Youth Day.
Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., explained this morning that the pontiff's normal residence for the summer period will continue to be the Domus Sanctae Marthae, even if he will occasionally travel to Castel Gandolfo, as for the SundayAngelus on 14 July. Further, the morning Masses in the chapel of the Domus will be suspended from 7 July.
Vatican City, 31 May 2013 (VIS) – “Welcoming Christ in Refugees and Forcibly Displaced Persons” is the title of the document prepared by the Pontifical Councils for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples and "Cor Unum", which was presented this morning at a press conference in the Holy See Press Office. Speaking at the conference were Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio and Cardinal Robert Sarah, respectively presidents of the two dicasteries. Also participating in the presentation were: Mr. Johan Ketelers, secretary general of the International Catholic Migration Commission (CICM) and Dr. Katrine Camilleri, assistant director of Jesuit Refugee Service Malta and recipient of the 2007 Nansen Refugee Award (United Nations Refugee Award, ACNUR-UNHCR).
“Our document,” explained Cardinal Veglio, “is a pastoral guide that starts from a fundamental premise, ... which is that every policy, initiative, or intervention in this area must be guided by the principle of the centrality and dignity of every human person. … Indeed, this is the pivot of the Church's social doctrine: 'individual human beings are the foundation, the cause and the end of every social institution'. Refugees, asylum seekers, and the forcibly displaced, therefore, are persons whose dignity must be protected, indeed, it must be the absolute priority. This is why the document recalls the rights granted to each refugee, which promote the individuals' well-being. These are well described in the 1951 Refugee Convention.”
“Governments must respect these rights while further [rights to be extended] to the people involved in forced migration must be studied. Protection must be guaranteed to all who live under conditions of forced migration, taking into account their specific needs, which can vary from a residency permit for victims of human trafficking to the possibility of being granted citizenship for those who are stateless,” the cardinal observed. On the contrary, he noted, it is occurring more and more frequently that refugees are subjected to confined detention, interment in refugee camps, and having their freedom to travel and their right to work restricted.
“It would be very different if their recognized and declared rights were properly respected. After all, the States have established and ratified these convention to ensure that individuals' rights do not remain just proclaimed ideals or commitments that are subscribed to but not honoured. … The Church, for her part, is convinced that the pastoral care for all persons who, in various ways, are involved in forced migration is a collective responsibility, as well as [the responsibility] of each individual believer. … In close connection to moral values and the Christian vision, we mean to save human lives, to restore dignity to persons, to offer hope, and to give adequate social and communal responses. Letting ourselves be challenged by the presence of refugees, asylum seekers, and other persons who have been forcibly displace compels us to go out of our closed world, which is familiar to us, toward the unknown, in mission, in the courageous witness of evangelization,” the prelate concluded.
Cardinal Sarah then referred to the four million displaced persons within Syria, noting the 80,000 deaths, in less than two years, that have been “collateral effects” of the conflict. In this regard he observed that, up until the 1950's, in war there was a proportion of 1 civilian victim to 9 military casualties while today that amount has been inverted and dozens of thousands of people are in flight, “in the attempt to, at least, save their lives”.
He also referenced the population of the Sahel region of Africa, condemned to hunger because of drought, likening the situation to that in the American states that have recently been hit by tornadoes. He emphasized that, “at whatever latitude, the fight against against natural catastrophes is absolutely unequal and gives a sense of how humanity is at the mercy of nature instead of being its responsible custodian.” The cardinal did not overlook those who, even in Europe, are unemployed and condemned to “a 'structural poverty', who pay the price of political choices with their own lives”. Many of these persons chose the path of emigration, unleashing the “phenomenon of a flight of [intellectuals], which further and permanently impoverishes their country of origin”.
In this state of things “the Church intervenes in different ways according to her ability, mainly thanks to the worthy work of her charitable organizations and their volunteers”. But “charity, first of all, is wed to the individual … charity isn't a window or a register. Whoever is in need must be able to find a good Samaritan whose heart beats with theirs because they are made alike and because [the good Samaritan] serves Christ [in serving their neighbour in need].” In the same way, charity “has a plural dimension: the refugee, the impoverished, the suffering need a network of ecclesial support that embraces and assimilates them … recognizing the dignity of the person and making them again feel part of the human family, respecting their identity and their faith” because “the Christian community is called to live the ecclesial dimension of charity”.
Vatican City, 6 June 2013 (VIS) – The Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” called a meeting, from 4-5 June, of the Catholic charitable agencies that are working to combat the crisis in Syria. Around 25 representatives of local churches, charitable agencies working in the region, institutional donors from the Catholic world, the Holy See, and the Apostolic Nunciature in Syria gathered to reaffirm the continuity of their commitment and to renew the Holy Father's appeal that all violence cease and that paths of dialogue and reconciliation, based on respect for all, be opened.
The local Churches have responded concretely to the population, both in Syria and the entire region, from the beginning of the conflict. More than 400,000 persons are regularly supported, without discrimination, by humanitarian aid to the cost of more than 25 million Euro. Testimonials confirm the extent of the tragedy: almost 7 million people who need humanitarian assistance, more than 4.5 million forcibly displaced persons, and an ever-increasing number of persons seeking security outside of the country's borders.
A more careful analysis of the needs in this area have revealed that, with the onset of summer, the risk of epidemics in the affected population—with pregnant women, children, the elderly, and the disabled in particular jeopardy—will certainly increase along with shortages of medicines and aid.
In the face of this alarming situation, the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” has launched an appeal on behalf of all the agencies involved to economically support the humanitarian efforts and the search for peace, in the hopes of rebuilding a country that has been torn and destroyed by the conflict.
The international community must also provide more support to the countries that are receiving refugees and to humanitarian operations there, in order to be able to respond to their growing needs. The international community's mediation efforts, even if more decisive in respect to previous months, still seem insufficient. Thus the risks are increasing that the conflict in Syria might become another endless war in which the first victims are defenceless civilians, who are often treated as targets in the “useless massacre” of this ongoing violence.
Vatican City, 6 June 2013 (VIS) – According to a joint communique released today, “the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel met [yesterday], 5 June 2013, at the Vatican, at the Plenary level to continue negotiations pursuant to the Fundamental Agreement Art. 10 paragraph 2.”
“The meeting was headed by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for the Holy See's Relations with States and by Mr. Zeev Elkin, M.K., deputy minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel. The Commission welcomed the two new heads of the delegations, and acknowledged the contribution of Ambassador Bahij Mansour to the negotiations and wished him success in his new position. The negotiations took place in a thoughtful and constructive atmosphere. The Commission took notice that significant progress was made and the parties committed themselves to accelerate negotiations on the remaining issues, and look forward to an expedited conclusion in the near term.”
“The Parties have agreed on future steps and to hold the next Plenary meeting by December 2013 in Jerusalem.”
Vatican City, 6 June 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received:
   - the credential letters of the new ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, His excellency Mr. Mohamed Taher Rabbani,
   - members of the presidency of the Latin American Confederation of Religious Orders (CLAR), and
   - Archbishop Beniamino Stella, president of Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.
Vatican City, 6 June 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father appointed Fr. Lionginas Virbalas, S.J., as bishop of Panevezys (area 13,000, population 390,000, Catholics 320,000, priests 98, religious 76), Lithuania. The bishop-elect, previously rector of the Pontifical Russian College of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Rome, Italy, was born in Birzai, Lithuania, in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1991. Since ordination he has served in several academic, pastoral, institutional, and diocesan level roles, most recently as: consultor of the Jesuit Provincial Curia in Lithuania (2003); adjunct secretary general of Lithuania's Episcopal Conference (2005-2009); and pastor of St. Casimir parish in Vilnius (1997-2005 and again from 2009-2010). He succeeds Bishop Jonas Kauneckas, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.


KATH NET RELEASE: With an open-air Mass, the Catholic Church has opened the Eucharistic Congress in Cologne.
Cologne ( / CBA) with a mass in the open air, the Catholic Church has opened the Eucharistic Congress in Cologne. In sunny weather, to around 5,000 people, including about 40 bishops gathered.In his homily, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch called for "with great inner joy and openness" to celebrate the five-day religious meetings.

"We are looking higher than the Cologne Cathedral and better than the works of the culture," says the chairman of the German Bishops Conference. The Catholics in Germany and neighboring countries wanted Jesus Christ "in a prominent manner" honor and meet him in the Eucharist. The focus of the meeting lasted until Sunday Eucharist as the central sacrament of the Catholic Church. Their understanding is in the Eucharist through a transformation of bread and wine Christ himself is present. Zollitsch expressed the hope that the festival radiating "the church beyond": Communion with God urge to "the protection and interior of an alleged well-being leave-Christianity and to go to the people of the modern world as missionaries. "Jesus Christ became for all people and had "given his life for the most distant sinner." main celebrant of the service was Cardinal Joachim Meisner, who is at the head of the host diocese of Cologne. He expressed the hope that all participants walked away from Cologne a little happier than they came to it. At the altar, on the Rhine, a 20-meter-high cross was erected, which is illuminated at night and to serve as a symbol of the Congress. After the Mass, the participants moved in a procession on a Rhine bridge to the cathedral, where they expected a light installation with organ sounds and vocals.800 events to the Congress with around 40,000 participants have registered, according to the organizers, including 8,000 permanent residents.The Cologne meeting lasts until Sunday and has the motto "Lord, to whom shall we go?". Discussions are planned faith, worship, confession, panel discussions, lectures, concerts and theater events.



MASSIVE FLOODS IN EUROPE have caused much damage. The heavy spring rains have lead to flood in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Streets have become rivers in many areas. Thousands of police and soldiers have been called to fill sand bags and make flood protection walls. People have been evacuated from their homes.



Angels and Saints at Ephesus

Celebrate the angels and saints with our most recent recording, featuring songs which they composed, as well as songs written in their honor.
Click here to view a complete list of tracks.

To inquire about our specially reduced rate for 10 or more CDs please click here.

For international orders please click here.

Our latest album, Angels and Saints at Ephesus,
When you purchase Angels and Saints at Ephesus from our website, a significant amount of the proceeds will go directly to our community. The funds will assist us in alleviating our remaining debt, so that we can begin working on future projects on the monastery grounds.
May God reward you!

Please direct all marketing and press inquiries regarding Angels & Saints at Ephesus

United with Our Lady at the foot of the Cross, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles seek above all else, a life of union with God in prayer as guided by the Rule of St. Benedict.
Totally consecrated to the Queen of Apostles, we take Our Lady’s hidden life at Ephesus as an inspiration for our own. We seek to be what she was for the early Church: a loving and prayerful support to the Apostles, the first priests, and daily offer prayer and sacrifice for the sake of her spiritual sons.
We cannot preach the Gospel to the nations nor bring the Lord to our tabernacles, but we can be “Love in the heart of the Church” with firm adherence to her teaching, loyalty to the Holy Father, and deep-seated love of the traditional liturgy.
In the company of Our Lady we contemplate the great High Priest, interceding for the sacred priesthood.
Aside from the maintenance of the community, all other works of our hands are directed toward the glory of the altar in the making of vestments and altar linens.
Customary Benedictine hospitality is an integral part of our life. Particular attentiveness is given to welcoming priests, the apostles of our day, and our retreat quarters are principally intended for them. Our hope is that they will find what the Apostles found at Our Lady’s home at Ephesus: encouragement, and a spiritual haven conducive to rest and prayer.
We have been richly blessed by God thus far with vocations, zealous young women imbued with the call to offer their lives to Jesus, through Mary, on behalf of all priests.
Please pray that God Who has begun His work in us may bring it to fulfillment.

If you are unable to purchase the CD through our website, you may send a check payable to the Benedictines of Mary. Please include $17/CD plus $3 postage for 1 CD, or $5 postage for 2 or more and send to: 

Priory of Our Lady of Ephesus
P.O. Box 303 
Gower, MO 64454



After he married a tribal girl, her father pressured him to change religion. After a prayer ritual, a shaman performed the murder. His wife now fears for her life and that of their son.

Mumbai (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A 35-year-old Christian man was beheaded for refusing to convert to Hinduism. Indian media that covered the affair revealed that the man, Tapas Bin, was killed by his own father-in-law in the village of Teliamura (West Tripura District), in the north-eastern part of the country, where the victim's body was found a few days ago in a stream.
According to police, three years ago Bin married Jentuly, the daughter of 55-year-old Gobinda Jamatiya, the member of a local tribal religion. The Christian man had been a private tutor of Gobinda's daughter, and the couple had a one-year-old son.
Since the marriage, Gobinda had been pressuring Bin to abandon Christianity and join his tribal religion. When Bin persistently refused, Gobinda decided to kill his son-in-law with the help of an ojha (shaman), Krishnapada Jamatiya (no relation), and dispose of the body.
Police arrested the 42-year-old shaman but were unable to find Gobinda, who works at the West Tripura Science and Technology Department, and is thought to be on the run.
Khrishnapada confessed to the crime, providing detailed information about the killing. For example, he said that before the assassination, Gobinda and he had performed a puja, a ritual prayer.

Bin's wife Jentuly told police that her father did not recognise their marriage and had pressured Bin to convert. What is more, "My father might kill me and my son too," she said.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – On Wednesday, June 5 the Synod of the Chaldean Church convened by the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans Louis Raphael I Sako began in Baghdad. The beginning of the assembly was also attended by Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, Apostolic Nuncio to Jordan and Iraq. As from today, with the arrival of the bishop of Aleppo Antoine Audo, all the Chaldean Bishops - except Sarhad Jammo, Bishop of St. Peter the Apostle in San Diego of the Chaldeans (Usa) – are gathered in the center of the Iraqi capital. The agenda of the synodal assembly is more than challenging. Several points on the agenda: the appointment of bishops in several Chaldean bishoprics left vacant; the formation of priests; the final draft of a “law” of the Chaldean Church; updating and harmonization of the liturgical rites celebrated unevenly in the various dioceses; the study of concrete measures to curb the phenomenon of migration and encourage Christians to remain in their homeland or to make return.
In a statement issued yesterday by the Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans and sent to Fides Agency, called upon all "the sons and daughters of the Chaldean Church" to invoke the success of the Synodal Assembly.
The Almighty Father is invoked in order to be helped "to love our Chaldean Church as it is, in all its varieties and differences, in its greatness as its weakness." In front of the "storms" that "blow against the boat in which we find ourselves.


Words + pictures Fiona Basile

PAUL FITZGERALD AM is one of Australia’s most distinguished portrait painters. During his career—which spans more than 60 years—he has painted some of the world’s most notable figures including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Pope John XXIII, Cardinal James Knox, former prime ministers Sir Robert Menzies and Malcolm Fraser, and Archbishop Daniel Mannix. At 90 years of age, after an eight-year break due to the onset of Parkinson’s disease, he has just taken up the paint brush again in what he is calling his ‘comeback in abstract’.

‘They say with Parkinson’s it never gets better—it only gets worse,’ he said. ‘But I’m going to start again—they’re clearing out the back room now, which will be the studio. There’s no reason why I can’t do it. But I won’t be able to do it like I did, so they could just say, “this is his abstract period”, or something like that. A lot of the great artists did that, like Turner, and the prices didn’t go down.’
Born in Hawthorn in 1922, Paul was the second son of Frank and Margaret Fitzgerald (nee Poynton)—his father was an art critic and journalist at The Argus and The Age. Paul was educated at Xavier College and studied portrait painting at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School from 1940-43 and then again from 1946-47—the interruption was due to three years of service in the Australian Army during World War II.

In 1949, Paul bought ‘the cheapest first-class ticket’ he could on a liner bound for London. He intended to work as a steward to help cover his fare, but then decided to paint portraits of fellow passengers. ‘I thought that the fellow passengers would certainly be able to afford a portrait and they’d have nothing else to do onboard,’ he said. Paul painted two portraits and in the process established many new friendships that would help launch his career in England.
In his first year there, he painted enough portraits to fund trips to France, Italy and Spain—where he would soak up the famous galleries—and then return to London to paint again. Paul spent five years in London painting some of the Commonwealth’s most influential people including Lord Gowrie, governor-general Sir William Slim and his wife, Lady Slim, and Lieutenant-Commander Michael Parker.

Paul had been friends with Michael Parker and his sister Mary in Melbourne, when both families had lived near each other in Kew. In London, Lieutenant Parker was private secretary to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Mary, who had attended Genazzano College, was pursuing an acting and radio career with the BBC in London when Paul arrived there.

‘Everybody in England knew Mary Parker,’ said Paul, ‘In England she did several films—I’ve seen her name in lights on Shaftsbury Avenue and then she worked on TV as an announcer. They also brought her out to Australia in 1956 to open the Olympic Games—she was the first woman on television in Australia.’ Both Michael and Mary are also among the long list of subjects Paul has painted.
Paul and Mary married in the chapel of Xavier College in 1957 and after 56 years of marriage, they still shine with deep affection for each other. ‘She’s a wonderful carer,’ said Paul. ‘She takes such good care of me, and I have the most wonderful family’ including seven children—Fabian, Marisa, Patrick (deceased), Emma, Edward, Maria and Frances, nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Paul’s life is surrounded by portraits, and behind each picture is a story. Speaking of his portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, he said it had been commissioned by ‘Bob’ Menzies. ‘I was painting Bob’s portrait and he said he’d never seen a decent portrait of the Queen he liked. I told him I could probably do it.’ It was the first of three portraits he painted of the Queen, including the official portrait for her Silver Jubilee year.
Speaking of his portrait of American actress Vivien Leigh, he recalled her experience when visiting the Fitzgerald home. ‘Her first sitting was at 11 o’clock in the morning and Fabian—he was a little fellow then, about six years old—answered the door for me. He said, “Come in, Miss Vivien Leigh, will you have a cocktail?” She always remembered that and we had a good laugh about it.’

Looking back over his life and career, Paul said he’d been very blessed. And while he could not remember how many portraits of notables he had done, he was ‘chuffed the other day when he met somebody who said “we learn about you at University”.’
‘I’ve had a wonderful life. I read an article once, and it said, “life is a matter of choices; you can choose to be happy or unhappy”, and I chose happy. I always look on the bright side.’
His Catholic faith has also played an important role in his life: ‘Goodness me, the whole of eternity is dependent upon it, and that’s a long time. My faith underpins everything I do—we pray the Rosary every night.’
Despite Paul’s experience of Parkinson’s and ‘lapsing health’, his good humour and positive attitude was evident during the interview for this article. When Mary asked offered us a range of drinks, including a cup of tea or Pinot Noir, Paul responded, ‘I’d like a nice new Porsche’.

While Paul could not remember how many portraits he had done, he was certain there was ‘no other artist in the world who had painted as many portraits of people of distinction’ as he had. ‘I was chuffed the other day when I met somebody who said “we learn about you at university”.’

Paul is excited about what lies ahead. ‘This will be the first time I’ve painted in eight years,’ he said. ‘I don’t think they’ll be portraits, they’ll probably be still-life subjects. I won’t sell any of it for a while, but eventually when I get into it, I’ll know whether it’s reasonable or not. We’ll just have to see how I go.’

Paul Fitzgerald was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia and a Sovereign Military Order of Malta in 1997. He was a finalist for the Archibald Prize for Portraiture in 1958, 1962 and 1972. He founded the Australian Guild of Realist Artists, where he was president for seven years. His work is located in private and public collections nationally and internationally.

This article was first published in Kairos Catholic Journal, Issue 8.

Note: The photograph of Mary and Paul Fitzgerald is courtesy of Mary and Paul.