Saturday, June 8, 2013


A DOG IN THAILAND RESCUED A BABY FROM THE DUMP. The Bangkok Post reported that a 2-year-old dog named Pui found a plastic bag with a newborn baby girl left in the dump on Monday.
 (Bangkok Post Image Share:Sunthorn Pongpao)

The owner of the dog, Sudarat Thongmak, age 12, heard the dog bark from the patio and saw the baby. The site of the dump was tambon Sala Loi in the Tha Rua district.
The baby's umbilical cord was still attached. Pummarat and Kummerd Thongmak, parents of Sudarat, immediately took the baby to the hospital.
The baby has been treated and is now in stable condition. She weighed 2.2 kilograms and is believed to be premature.

The owners of the dog have indicated that they would like to adopt the baby. Police however, are currently investigating and have not made a decision.
The Red Cross awarded the dog a leather collar and the Miracle of Life Foundation gave money to the owners to pay for food.

A newborn baby is treated at Phranakhon Sri Ayutthaya hospital in Ayutthaya after being found by a Photo by Bangkok Post Share: Sunthorn Pongpao)


Vatican Radio REPORT:  Religious freedom was among the topics which Pope Francis touched upon Saturday during his meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. In his address to the Italian Head of State, Pope Francis recalled how 2013 marks the 17th centenary of the Edict of Milan, a document which many consider to be the first example of religious freedom being promoted.

“In today’s world, religious freedom is more often affirmed than put into practice”, the pope said. It is often threatened, and not infrequently violated. The serious outrages against this fundamental right are a source of serious concern, and need to be confronted at the global level.

Defending religious liberty and making it available for everyone, Pope Francis said, is everyone’s responsibility. Doing so “guarantees the growth and development of the entire community.”

Pope Francis then turned his attention to the current global crisis. At this time in history, he said, the world is undergoing a “serious and persistent global economic crisis which accentuates economic and social problems, above all placing a burden on the weakest of society.”

Some of the main causes for concern, Pope Francis pointed out, include the weakening of family and social ties; decreasing populations; the prevalence of a way of thinking which values profit more than work; insufficient attention given to younger generations and their formation, which jeopardizes a peaceful and secure future for society.

In such a moment of crisis he said, “there is therefore an urgent need to foster, especially among young people, a new way of thinking with regard to the responsibility of politics,” one where “believers and non-believers can work together to promote a society where injustice can be overcome, and each person can contribute to the common good according to his or her dignity, and make the most of his or her abilities.”

Even in the civil sphere, what the faith assures us is true: we must never lose hope. How many examples of this have we received from our parents and grandparents, who faced the difficulties of their own life with great courage and a spirit of sacrifice!”






Vatican Radio REPORT:  Like Mary, we must learn to receive and keep the Word of God safe in our hearts. Marking the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary at morning Mass Saturday, Pope Francis pointed out that Mary assimilated the Word of God into her life, by meditating it and pondering what message the Lord had for her through His Word. This, he said is what safekeeping means.

Pope Francis developed his homily around the two themes of astonishment and safekeeping, starting from the Gospel of the day Luke chapter 2. It recounts the astonishment of the teachers in the Temple listening to Jesus and Mary’s keeping the Word of God safe in her heart. Astonishment, the Pope observed, "is more than joy: it is a moment in which the Word of God comes, is sown in our hearts. " But, he warned, "we cannot always live in wonder", this should be “kept in our hearts” throughout our lives. And this is precisely what Mary does, when she is "astonished" and keeps the "Word of God" in her heart:

"Keeping the Word of God: what does this mean? Do I receive the Word, and then take a bottle and put the word into the bottle and keep it there? No. Keeping the Word of God means that our heart opens, it is open to that Word just like the earth opens to receive the seed. The Word of God is a seed and is sown. And Jesus told us what happens with the seeds: some fall along the path, and the birds come and eat them; this Word is not kept, these hearts do not know how to receive it”.

Others, he said, fall into a stony soil and the seed dies. Jesus says that they "do not know how to keep the Word of God because they are not constant: When a tribulation comes they forget." The Pope said that the Word of God can often fall into a soil that is unprepared, unkept, full of thorns. And he asked, what are the thorns? Jesus pointed them out when He spoke of '"attachment to riches, vices”. Pope Francis said “keeping the Word of God means constantly meditating on what this Word says to us and what happens in our life." And this “is what Mary did”, she “pondered and assimilated it". This, said Pope Francis, "is a truly great spiritual work":

“John Paul II said that, because of this work, Mary had a particular heaviness in her heart, she had a fatigued heart. But this is not the same as tired, it is fatigue, this comes from effort. This is the effort of keeping the Word of God : the work of trying to find out what this means at this moment, what the Lord wants to say to me at this time, this situation of questioning the [meaning of ]the Word of God is how we understand. This is reading our life with the Word of God and this is what it means to keep it in our hearts".

Pope Francis added that memory also safeguards God's Word. “It helps us to preserve it, to remember everything the Lord has done in my life". He continued : “it reminds us of all the wonders of salvation in His people and in my heart. Memory safeguards the Word of God. " The Pope concluded his homily urging everyone to think "about how to keep the Word of God in our hearts, how to safeguard this astonishment, so that it is not eaten by the birds, suffocated by vices":

"We would do well to ask ourselves: 'With the things that happen in life, I ask myself the question: what is the Lord saying to me with His Word, right now?'. This is called keeping the Word of God, because the Word of God is precisely the message that the Lord gives us in every moment. Let us safeguard it with this: safeguard it with our memory. And safeguard it with our hope. We ask the Lord for the grace to receive the Word of God and keep it, and also the grace to have a heart that is fatigued in this effort. So be it. "
Saturday morning Mass was attended by staff from Caritas Internationalis, accompanied by the secretary general, Michel Roy.



SPECIAL TO JCE NEWS by: Kathy Vestermark

Pope Francis -- don't be ridiculous

Pope Francis addressed priests studying to be diplomatic representatives of the Vatican yesterday.

He gave them a profound piece of wisdom.

What did he say?

"Please don't be ridiculous..."

I am not kidding, and I couldn't be more thrilled that finally someone, and the pope no less,  is saying what many have been thinking: Vatican diplomat means service in the name of Christ Jesus -- it is not a station on par with secular diplomats, and this should be reflected in both demeanor of holiness and service.

What pope in recent times spoke the truth so simply?

John Paul the Great was a philosopher and visionary. His writings, homilies and addresses were eloquent and rich in wisdom, but not simple.

Benedict XVI was a master educator and theologian, brilliant in every regard. His writings, homilies and addresses were eloquent and rich in wisdom, but not simple.

Enter the new pope -- Pope Francis. A man of deep humility; the odor of sanctity is upon him.

This man is meant for this time in salvation history. God's timing is perfect, and what He has sent us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is a Vicar of Christ who leads by virtue of prayerful service, not by virtue of intellect (although, that is obviously not lacking).

He is the beatitude pope -- for to live them well, one must practice them daily. We see this in his witness.

He is the people's pope -- for he speaks the language of the masses: direct, clear and unequivocal.

He is the shepherd's pope -- for he looks at those in his service and first serves them with love and affection, caring deeply about their holiness, their priesthood, their holy orders, their vows.

He is the world's pope -- for the emerging message of his pontificate is that first we must be holy, striving to renew and restore what and who we are so that we can be a credible influence on the world.

It is difficult to criticize Pope Francis precisely because of how he behaves. He's a mystery to the secular world, the left leaning Catholic, the social justice driven faithful, because he agrees with them wholly and substantially that service to the poor is quintessential to being a Christian.

But, there's more.

His humility is coupled with veracity -- the fullness of truth is both his sword and his shield. And, that leaves many people scratching their heads.

For instance, in remarks made on 5 June, the day the UN celebrates as "World Environment Day", Pope Francis offered this:
This culture of waste tends to become the common mentality that infects everyone. Human life, the person is no longer perceived as a primary value to be respected and protected, especially if poor or disabled, if not yet useful - such as the unborn child - or no longer needed - such as the elderly.
The "Culture of Waste"!

He speaks their language; they want to fawn all over him as a result, but it is not spoken without doctrinal context.

How does one contend with a pope like this?

The answer is simple: Love, Obey, Serve -- and don't be ridiculous!
About the Author: Kathy Vestermark, MA Theology

I am a Catholic wife and mother with an MA in Theology and a Catechetical Diploma. I love to study and teach the Faith. I have six children, one with significant special needs. My life is full of love and challenges. This is where I will share those moments and reflections on life and faith with you.
Her Blog:


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
5 Jun 2013

More than 8000 Australians travelled to Rome for the Canonisation of Mary MacKillop
Being a Josephite in today's world is not only about taking formal vows and becoming a Sister of St Joseph. For some men and women who are inspired by Mary MacKillop and felt God's call, their vocation may be to become Covenant Josephites.
In the past few years five women and one married couple have entered into a covenant with the Josephite charism with a further six women currently discerning God's call in communion with the Sisters before making a similar commitment.
Among those who have become Covenant Josephites are a school principal, a naturopath, a staff member in an Australian diocese and a career woman. The married couple who entered into communion with the Sisters to become Covenant Josephites are Peruvian who have long been involved with the St Joseph's Congregation in Peru and the Sisters' mission there.
The average age of the women who have or are embracing the Josephite charism and becoming Covenant Josephites is between 45 to 60. Many of them are also married and have teenage or adult children.

Thousands make the pilgrimage to St Mary of the Cross MacKillop's tomb at the historic chapel in North Sydney
"Most seem to be in mid life and searching for meaning in their lives," says Sister Katrina Brill,rsjJ, Convenor of Congregational Immersion and God's Call to Josephite Life Group.
"Over the past few years we have come to recognise that many people resonate with the spirit and charism of Mary MacKillop and are living a spirituality animated by the charism," she says.
This trend which first began to be seen after the Beatification of Mary MacKillop by Pope John Paul II in 1995 has continued to grow with the Josephite charism being embraced by not only women but men as well.
"The growth of the Josephite movement is very exciting and it was in response to this that the Sisters decided to create two new pathways for the charism," Sr Katrina says.
The two pathways were designed during the Sisters of St Joseph's 25th Chapter Assembly of 2007. Held every five years, the Chapter Assembly involves sisters from across Australia, New Zealand, Peru and Ireland. At the time of the 2007 gathering, Sr Katrina was Congregational Leader and in concert with the entire Congregation of Sisters from across the globe, the new pathways were developed.

Sister Katrina Brill RSJ
Together with the traditional and time-honoured pathway of discerning God's call and through study and prayer taking vows and becoming a Religious, the Sisters opened the door to allow single men as well as women to discern God's call and to take private vows to become Affiliates of the Josephite Congregation.
Living independently from the Congregation, Josephite Affiliates lead their lives according to The Rule of Life in the spirit of the Josephite charism and after discernment, enter into a memorandum of affiliation with the Sisters.
Currently there are almost 12 Josephite Affiliates in Australia and Ireland who have taken private vows according to The Rule of Life and have joined the Sisters in their mission.
The third pathway developed and open to men and women whether married or single is one that enables them to discern God's call and through prayer and with the communion and support of the Sisters, to become Covenant Josephites.
Assisted through their discernment by the wise counsel and support of a team of three to four Sisters of St Joseph, Covenant Josephites take no vows but instead make a renewable formal Covenant where they pledge to live in the spirit of Mary MacKillop and in prayer and mutual support with the Sisters and the Josephite community.
Over the past five years more and more lay men and women across Australia as well as in New Zealand, Ireland and also Peru have become Covenant Josephites. At least 15 more are currently in the process of discernment.

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop
"These days we like to imagine the Josephite Movement as a braided river bed with different streams flowing across the bed to represent the different pathways available for living the spirituality," says Sr Katrina. "Another way of looking at it is to visualise a large circle with the Sisters at the centre and all the others who make up the Josephite caravan clustered around them."
Co-founded by Fr Julian Tenison Woods and Mary MacKillop more than a century ago, the Josephite Congregation continues to break new ground and pioneer new ways of living the Gospel.
From its earliest days, the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart were one of first religious congregations to not only obtain the Pope's permission to be independent under their own self-elected superior-general, rather than under the administration of a bishop as was customary, but they also broke new ground by choosing not to live in a convent but instead to be part of the local community and live alongside the poor to whom they ministered.
Now almost 150 years later, the Josephites are once again coming up with new ways for people to discern God's call and to answer St Mary of the Cross Mackillop call to "never see a need without doing something about it."
To find out more about becoming a Covenant Josephite or an Affiliate of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph log on to