Tuesday, June 11, 2013


St. John of Sahagun
Feast: June 12

Feast Day:June 12
Born:1419, Sahagún, Province of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Spain
Died:June 11, 1479, Salamanca, Province of Salamanca, Kingdom of Castile, Spain
Canonized:October 16, 1690, Rome by Pope Alexander VIII
Patron of:Salamanca, Spain
Hermit, b. 1419, at Sahagún (or San Fagondez) in the Kingdom of Leon, in Spain; d. 11 June, 1479, at Salamanca; feast 12 June. In art he is represented holding a chalice and host surrounded by rays of light. John, the oldest of seven children, was born of pious and respected parents, John Gonzalez de Castrillo and Sancia Martinez. He received his first education from the Benedictines of his native place. According to the custom of the times, his father procured for him the benefice of the neighbouring parish Dornillos, but this caused John many qualms of conscience. He was later introduced to Alfonso de Cartagena, Bishop of Burgos (1435-1456) who took a fancy to the bright, high-spirited boy, had him educated at his own residence, gave him several prebends, ordained him priest in 1445, and made him canon at the cathedral. Out of conscientious respect for the laws of the Church, John resigned all and retained only the chaplaincy of St. Agatha, where he laboured zealously for the salvation of souls.

Finding that a more thorough knowledge of theology would be beneficial, he obtained permission to enter the University of Salamanca, made a four years' course, and merited his degree in divinity. During this time he exercised the sacred ministry at the chapel of the College of St. Bartholomew (parish of St. Sebastian), and held the position for nine years. He was then obliged to undergo an operation for stone, and during his illness vowed that if his life were spared, he would become a religious. On his recovery in 1463, he applied for admission to the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine, at the church of St. Peter, at Salamanca, and on 28 Aug., 1464, he made his profession.

He made such progress in religious perfection that he was soon appointed master of novices, and in 1471 prior of the community. Great was his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and at Mass he frequently saw the Sacred Host resplendent in glory. He was gifted with special power to penetrate the secrets of conscience, so that it was not easy to deceive him, and sinners were almost forced to make good confessions; he obtained wonderful results in doing away with enmities and feuds. In his sermons he, like another St. John the Baptist, fearlessly preached the word of God and scourged the crimes and vices of the day, though thereby the rich and noble were offended. He soon made many enemies, who even hired assassins, but these, awed by the serenity and angelic sweetness of his countenance, lost courage. Some women of Salamanca, embittered by the saint's strong sermon against extravagance in dress, openly insulted him in the streets and pelted him with stones until stopped by a patrol of guards. His scathing words on impurity produced salutary effects in a certain nobleman who had been living in open concubinage, but the woman swore vengeance, and it was popularly believed that she caused the saint's death by poison (this statement is found only in later biographies). Soon after death his veneration spread in Spain.
The process of beatification began in 1525, and in 1601 he was declared Blessed. New miracles were wrought at his intercession, and on 16 Oct., 1690, Alexander VIII entered his name in the list of canonized saints. Benedict XIII fixed his feast for 12 June. His relics are found in Spain, Belgium, and Peru. His life written by John of Seville towards the end of the fifteenth century with additions in 1605 and 1619, is used by the Bollandists in "Acta SS.", Jun., III, 112.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/J/stjohnofsahagun.asp#ixzz1xcaGzvRq


Vatican City, 11 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father sent the following audio message to the Italian Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (Unione Italiana Ciechi e Ipovedenti) on the occasion of their summer program for around 75, mostly elderly, persons at their Le Torri Centre in Tirrenia, Italy, specializing in rehabilitation studies and vacations.
“I know that … some of you wanted to come to Rome,” the Pope said. “Thanks to modern technology, I can come to you! Thank you for your appreciation, for your affection, and especially for your prayers.”
“The Gospels tell us that Jesus had a particular care for the blind. Besides other sick persons, He healed many blind persons. But the healing of a visually impaired person has special symbolic meaning: it represents the gift of faith. It is a sign that concerns us all because we all need the light of faith to walk along the path of life. This is why Baptism, which is the first Sacrament of Faith, was also called 'illumination' in antiquity.”
“I ask the Lord to renew the gift of faith in each of you, so that your spirits may always have God's light, the light of love that makes sense of our lives, illuminates it, gives us hope, and makes us good and available to our brothers and sisters.”
“I also wish the best for your association. … Always spread a culture of encounter, solidarity, and hospitality towards persons with disabilities, not just asking for the proper social services but also encouraging their active participation in society.”
“I entrust you all to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother. I ask you to pray for me and for my service to the Church and I wholeheartedly bless you, together with your loved ones.”


Vatican Radio REPORT: The Gospel should be generously and simply proclaimed said Pope Francis during morning Mass Tuesday in the Casa Santa Marta chapel. Poverty and praise of God, he said are the two key signs of an evangelical and missionary Church. Instead a rich Church becomes an old, lifeless Church, it becomes an NGO that neglects the true treasure of God's free grace. Pope Francis began his homily quoting Jesus exhortation to the Apostles, sent to proclaim the Kingdom of God: "Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with coppers for your purses" (M 10:9). He said the Lord wants us to proclaim the Gospel with simplicity, a simplicity "that gives way to the power of the Word of God," because if the Apostles had not had "confidence in the Word of God," "they would probably have done something else”. Pope Francis went on to identify the "key word" in the mandate given by Jesus: "Freely you have received, freely give." He said everything is grace and when we leave grace “a little to one side” in our proclamation, the Gospel “is not effective".

"Evangelical preaching flows from gratuitousness, from the wonder of the salvation that comes and that which I have freely received I must freely give. This is what they were like at the beginning. St. Peter did not have a bank account, and when he had to pay taxes, the Lord sent him to the sea to catch fish and find the money in the fish, to pay. Philip, when he met Queen Candace’s finance minister, did not think, 'Ah, good, let’s set up an organization to support the Gospel ...' No! He did not strike a ‘deal’ with him: he preached, baptized and left".

Pope Francis said the Kingdom of God, "is a free gift”, but he also added that from the beginning of the Christian community, this attitude has been subjected to temptation. "There is the temptation to seek strength", he said, “ elsewhere than in gratuity”. This temptation creates "a little 'confusion," he warned, where “proclamation becomes proselytizing”. Instead "our strength is the gratuitousness of the Gospel." The Lord, "has invited us to preach, not to proselytize." Citing Benedict XVI, Pope Francis stated that "the Church does not grow through proselytizing but by drawing people to her". And this attraction, he said, comes from the testimony of "those who freely proclaim the gratuity of salvation".

"Everything is grace. Everything. And what are the signs of when an apostle lives this gratuity? There are so many, but I will underline only two: First, poverty. The proclamation of the Gospel must follow the path of poverty. The testimony of this poverty: I have no wealth, my wealth is the gift I received, God: this gratuity is our wealth! And this poverty saves us from becoming managers, entrepreneurs ... The works of the Church must be brought forward, and some are a little complex, but with a heart of poverty, not with the heart of an investment broker or an entrepreneur…"

Pope Francis continued, "The Church is not an NGO: it is something else, something more important, and this is the result of gratuity. Received and proclaimed". Poverty "is one of the signs of this gratuity." The other sign "is the ability of praise: when an apostle does not live this gratuity, he or she loses the ability to praise the Lord." Praising the Lord, in fact, "is essentially gratuitous, it is a gratuitous prayer: we do not ask, we only praise"

"These two are the signs of an apostle who lives this gratuity: poverty and the ability to praise the Lord. And when we find the apostles who want to build a rich Church and a Church without the gratuitousness of praise, the Church becomes old, the Church becomes an NGO, the Church becomes lifeless. Today we ask the Lord for the grace to acknowledge this generosity: 'Freely you have received, freely give'. Recognizing this gratuity, this gift of God . Let us move forward in preaching of Gospel".

Tuesday morning Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and was attended by Congregation Staff.

Vatican City, 11 June 2013 (VIS) – On Monday, 10 June, in the offices of the Government Palace in the capital city, Praia, in the presence of Prime Minister Jose Maria Neves, an Accord between the Holy See and the Republic of Cape Verde on the juridical status of the Catholic Church in Cape Verde was signed.
The signatories were: for the Holy See, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, and for the Republic of Cape Verde, Mr. Jorge Alberto da Silva Borges, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The agreement, taking note of the good relations that have developed between the Holy See and the Republic of Cape Verde in the last 37 years, defines and guarantees the legal status of the Catholic Church and regulates areas including canonical marriage, places of worship, Catholic institutions of instruction and education, the teaching of religion in schools, the Church's charitable care activities, pastoral care in the military and in penitential and health care facilities, and the property and taxation system. The agreement, which consists of a preamble and 30 articles, will enter into force on the thirtieth day after the exchange of instruments of ratification.
Vatican City, 11 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., issued the following declaration:
“As agreed at its third meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February 2012, the Vietnam - Holy See Joint Working Group will hold its fourth meeting in the Vatican on 13-14 June. The meeting will serve to strengthen and develop bilateral relations between Vietnam and the Holy See".
Vatican City, 11 June 2013 (VIS) – Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, addressed the 23rd Session of the Human Rights Council after the Holy See delegation had reviewed the UN Report on Access to Medicines. Archbishop Tomasi's statement points out an “insufficient attention to certain factors cited as 'key elements' by the Special Rapporteur”.
Instead of the legal factors that were the Report's main focus, “the Holy See Delegation found that the Report paid insufficient attention to basic needs of individuals and families, at all stages of the life cycle from conception to natural death.” In order to effectively provide access to medicines, “an integral human development approach that promotes just legal frameworks as well as international solidarity, not only among States, but also among and between all peoples” must be developed. The Holy See noted, with alarm, “the difficulties millions of people face as they seek to obtain minimal subsistence and the medicines they need to cure themselves” and called for “establishing true distributive justice which guarantees everyone adequate care on the basis of objective needs.”
While the prerequisite of States' responsibility in making medicines available is clear, “the strong engagement of non-governmental and religious organizations in providing both medicines and a wide range of treatment and preventive measures to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to health also should have been acknowledged.” Archbishop Tomasi concluded his address with the observation that “optimal facilitation of access to medicine is a complex endeavour and deserves comprehensive analysis and acknowledgement of all factors contributing to its promotion, rather than a more restricted analysis of legal, economic, and political frameworks.“
Vatican City, 11 June 2013 (VIS) – The following prelates passed away between January and March of this year:
   - Bishop Moses Bosco Anderson, S.S.E., auxiliary emeritus of Detroit, Michigan, USA, on 1 January at the age of 84.
   - Archbishop Joseph-Aurele Plourde, emeritus of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on 5 January at the age of 98.
   - Bishop John Martin Darko, emeritus of Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana, on 12 January at the age of 67.
   - Bishop Michel Pollien, auxiliary emeritus of Paris, France, on 15 January at the age of 75.
   - Cardinal Jozef Glemp, archbishop emeritus of Warsaw, Poland, on 23 January at the age of 83.
   - Bishop Jean-Felix-Albert-Marie Vilnet, emeritus of Lille, France, on 23 January at the age of 90.
   - Bishop Reinhold Stecher, emeritus of Innsbruck, Austria, on 29 January at the age of 91.
   - Archbishop Joseph Cassidy, emeritus of Tuam, Ireland, on 31 January at the age of 79.
   - Bishop Jacques Nguyen Van Mau, emeritus of Vinh Long, Viet Nam, on 31 January at the age of 99.
   - Bishop John Michael D’Arcy, emeritus of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, USA, on 3 February at the age of 80.
   - Bishop Joseph O. Egerega, vicar apostolic emeritus of Bomadi, Nigeria, on 3 February at the age of 72.
   - Bishop Ignace Baguibassa Sambar-Talkena, emeritus of Kara, Togo, on 3 February at the age of 77.
   - Bishop Joseph Theophile Louis Marie Madec, emeritus of Frejus-Toulon, France, on 5 February at the age of 89.
   - Archbishop Arthe Guimond, emeritus of Grouard-McLennan, Alberta, Canada, on 6 February at the age of 81.
   - Bishop Douglas Joseph Warren, emeritus of Wilcannia-Forbes, Australia, on 6 February at the age of 93.
   - Bishop William Anthony Hughes, emeritus of Covington, Kentucky, USA, on 7 February at the age of 91.
   - Bishop Amedeus Msarikie, emeritus of Moshi, Tanzania, on 7 February at the age of 81.
   - Cardinal Giovanni Cheli, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, on 8 February at the age of 94.
   - Bishop Oswaldo Brenes Alvarez, emeritus of Ciudad Quesada, Costa Rica, on 11 February at the age of 70.
   - Bishop Jesus Ramon Martinez de Ezquerecocha Suso, emeritus of Babahoyo, Ecuador, on 16 February at the age of 77.
   - Bishop Anthony Theodore Lobo, emeritus of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on 18 February at the age of 75.
   - Bishop Pedro Lisimaco de Jesus Vilchez Vilchez, emeritus of Jinotega, Nicaragua, on 19 February at the age of 83.
   - Bishop Norbert Mary Leonard James Dorsey, C.P., emeritus of Orlando, Florida, USA, on 21 February at the age of 83.
   - Bishop Jose Gustavo Angel Ramirez, M.X.Y., vicar apostolic emeritus of Mitu, Colombia, on 23 February at the age of 79.
   - Cardinal Julien Ries, cardinal deacon of Sant’Antonio di Padova a Circonvallazione Appia, on 23 February at the age of 92.
   - Bishop Giovanni D’Ascenzi, emeritus of Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro, Italy, on 26 February at the age of 93.
   - Cardinal Jean Marcel Honore, archbishop emeritus of Tours, France, on 28 February at the age of 92.
   - Bishop Julian Voronovsky, M.S.U., emeritus of Sambir-Drohobych of the Ukrainians, Ukraine, on 28 February at the age of 76.
   - Archbishop Gabriel Marie Etienne Vanel, emeritus of Auch, France, on 1 March at the age of 88.
   - Archbishop Cleto Bellucci, emeritus of Fermo, Italy, on 7 March at the age of 91.
   - Bishop Ignatius Anthony Catanello, auxiliary emeritus of Brooklyn, New York, USA, on 11 March at the age of 74.
   - Bishop Gerard Sithunywa Ndlovu, emeritus of Umzimkulu, South Africa, on 13 March at the age of 74.
   - Bishop Akio Johnson Mutek, of Torit, Sudan, on 18 March at the age of 55.
   - Bishop Orozimbo Fuenzalida y Fuenzalida, emeritus of San Bernardo, Chile, on 27 March at the age of 87.
   - Archbishop Charles Amarin Brand, emeritus of Strasbourg, France, on 31 March at the age of 92.
Vatican City, 10 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
Vatican City, 11 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Alan Stephen Hopes as bishop of East Anglia (area 12,570, population 2,855,000, Catholics 99,200, priests 118, permanent deacons 36, religious 131), England. Bishop Hopes, previously auxiliary of Westminster, England, and titular of Cuncacestre, serves as chairman of the Liturgy Committee on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales


Matthew 10: 7 - 13

7 And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.
9 Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts,
10 no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food.
11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart.
12 As you enter the house, salute it.
13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.


OVER 40,000 PRO-LIFERS gathered on Saturday, June 8, 2013 for the largest Pro-Life demonstration in Ireland.
(Image Share "Keep Ireland Pro-Life" Facebook)
The Bishops Conference of Ireland encouraged the public to attend: The decision by the present Irish Government to legislate for abortion means that Irish law will permit the direct and intentional killing of innocent unborn babies. Doctors in Ireland have confirmed that mothers already receive any life-saving treatments they need during pregnancy – and that this is achieved without directly targeting the life of the baby.
The Choose Life: We Cherish them Both, Vigil of Prayer for the Right to Life of Mothers and their Unborn Babies, was an opportunity for all people of faith and goodwill to join in prayer for mothers and unborn babies, that they will continue to be protected, cherished, and safeguarded from all harm.
The next Vigil for Life will take place on Saturday 8 June 2013 from 2-4pm in Merrion Square, Dublin.  Please be part of this special day and invite as many of your family, friends and loved ones as you can.
In the words of Pope Francis, before he became Pope:
“Caring for life from the beginning to the end. What a simple thing, what a beautiful thing. So, go forth and don’t be discouraged. Care for life. It’s worth it!” (Mass in honour of Saint Raymond Nonnatus, Patron Saint of Expectant Mothers, Argentina (31 August 2005) 
The Vigil brought many famous people of Ireland including Church hierarchy, politicians to defend life:


The Funeral Mass for Bishop Sullivan will be held at St. Ephrem’s Church on Wednesday, June 12th @ 11AM. Click HERE for directions to the Church
    • On Wednesday, June 12th @ 11AM we will be LIVE STREAMING the Funeral Mass of Bishop Sullivan. Please return to this page at the above time in order to watch
    • On Wednesday, June 12th @ 7:30PM Currents will be dedicating it’s show to Bishop Sullivan and the Funeral Mass
    • On Thursday, June 13th @ 9AM & 5PM NET TV will be rebroadcasting the Funeral Mass for those who missed the LIVE coverage. NET TV is on ch. 97 on TimeWarner and ch. 30 on CableVision. If you do not have these cable providers you can stream NET TV HERE
  • On the EVENING of Thursday, June 13th return back to this page to watch ON DEMAND coverage of the Funeral Mass

MORE ON BISHOP SULLIVAN: http://jceworld.blogspot.ca/2013/06/rip-bishop-joseph-sullivan-of-brooklyn.html

Bishop DiMarzio reflects on Bishop Sullivan

Retired Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn, the Most Reverend Joseph M. Sullivan, died June 7, 2013, after a May 30th car accident on the Long Island Expressway in Syosset, New York. Bishop Sullivan was critically injured in the three-car collision and was immediately airlifted to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, New York. He died from injuries sustained from the impact.
“We mourn the passing of Bishop Joseph Sullivan,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. “During his tenure, Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens became a nationally recognized provider of social services. Even in retirement, Bishop Joe continued to serve on many boards for Catholic hospitals and health institutions. He epitomized the best of our Church’s teaching and the fundamental option for the poor. He was an outstanding priest.”
Bishop Sullivan was born on March 23, 1930, one of 11 children of the late Thomas and Margaret Sullivan. Bishop Sullivan attended St. Ephrem’s elementary school and St. Michael’s Diocesan High School, both in Brooklyn, and Manhattan College. In 1950, he began studies for the priesthood at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, L.I., and was ordained June 2, 1956, by Archbishop Thomas E. Molloy in St. James Cathedral in Brooklyn.
After a three-year period as a newly-ordained priest at Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Queens Village, he was assigned to study social work, and in 1961 he earned a master’s degree from the Fordham University School of Social Work. In that same year, he was appointed assistant director of Catholic Charities’ childcare division and four years later was named the director. Bishop Sullivan also earned a master’s in public administration from New York University. In 1968, when Bishop Francis J. Mugavero became the Diocesan Bishop, he chose then–Father Sullivan to succeed him as the executive director of Catholic Charities and appointed him Secretary to the Ordinary for Charities.
He was elected executive vice-president of the board of trustees of Catholic Charities in 1979. In the following year, on Oct. 7, 1980, he was one of three Brooklyn priests named Auxiliary Bishops by then Pope John Paul II. The others were late Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua and Bishop Rene A. Valero. Bishop–elect Sullivan was also given the title of Titular Bishop of Suliana. As an auxiliary bishop, Bishop Sullivan held the titles of Vicar for Human Services and Regional Bishop for the 62 parishes of the Brooklyn West Vicariate.
Other pastoral work in which Bishop Sullivan helped serve were health care issues and needs, where he played an instrumental role in the formation of St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers, which joined the hospitals and related facilities of the Diocese with similar institutions conducted by the New York Sisters of Charity. Bishop Sullivan has served on numerous Church and civic boards concerned with health and human services on the national, State and local levels. These have included the chairmanship of the Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn and Queens and membership on the board of Catholic Charities USA. Also included in his activities outside the Diocese has been his service as chairman of the Social Development and World Peace Department of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In the late 1990s, he chaired an ad hoc committee that produced a pastoral letter on charity — “In All Things Charity: A Pastoral Challenge for the New Millennium” — approved by the U.S. bishops in November 1999. He said the message was intended “to reclaim the meaning of charity,” which he said had become a pejorative term in modern society. Bishop Sullivan is survived by his sisters Betty, Dolly and Fran, and brothers John, Pete and Ralph; he has over 100 nieces, nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews. He was predeceased by his brothers Gerard, Richard, Thomas and William. Funeral arrangements are pending and will be released as they become available.

Bishop Sullivan’s life and accomplishments 
During his lifetime  Bishop Joseph Sullivan accomplished much for the glory of God and the service of the people of God. CLICK HERE to view a listing of some of those accomplishments.

A Poem by Bishop Sullivan

Remembrance - Most Reverend Joseph M. Sullivan


Muhammad al-Qatta, a 14-year-old coffee seller, was killed on Sunday by a group of Islamists, executed in public, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. For Bishop Jean Clement Jeanbart, a jihadist victory would mean that Christians could no longer practice their religion in Syria. In an appeal to all Catholics, he calls on them to pray for an end to the war and for the reconciliation of the Syrian people.

Aleppo (AsiaNews) - The public execution of Muhammad al-Qatta, a young coffee seller brutally assassinated on Sunday by a group of jihadists in Aleppo for insulting Muhammad, "is a terrible event that shocked the entire population of the city, Muslims and Christians, who do not want an Islamic state in Syria," Mgr Jean Clement Jeanbart, Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo, told AsiaNews. For the prelate, such an act is yet another example of the brutality of foreign militants fighting in Syria.
"Christians," he explained, "are terrified by these militias and fear that in the event of their victory they would no longer be able to practice their religion and that they would be forced to leave the country." Sending more weapons to the country would only lead to more such cases of violence, he added.
Reported by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organisation run by rebels in exile Muhammad al-Qatta's case has been repeated around the world.
The incident occurred on Sunday in one of the districts of the city controlled by Islamist insurgents. The young man was working at his kiosk when two men approached him demanding a cup of coffee for free. The boy protested, saying that "even Muhammad himself would have done the right thing and paid."
Outraged by the answer, the two fighters took away little Mohammed. After beating him, they led him to the streets getting people to bear false witness against him by saying that the boy had insulted the prophet and Islam.
After reading the verdict, the teenager was blindfolded and killed with two shots to the neck and the back, in front of his parents and a crowd of over a hundred people, forced to watch the execution. What actually happened has yet to be confirmed however.
In a video  aired on a rebel website, a woman claiming to be Muhammad's mother describes her son's brutal killing, saying that the boy was working to help the family.
This morning, the Islamic court of the "Caliphate of Iraq and the Levant", the name by which Islamists call the districts of Aleppo under their rule, issued a statement in which it denied responsibility in the case, claiming that it had never authorised Muhammad al-Qatta's execution or trial.
For Mgr Jeanbart, Islamic Courts are a scourge that plagues most of the areas controlled by al-Qaeda affiliated foreign militias, which are also opposed by local pro-rebel groups, not to mention by supporters of Bashar al-Assad.
"As soon as they reached the city," the bishop said, "Islamist guerrillas, almost all of them from abroad, took over the mosques. Every Friday, an imam launches their messages of hate, calling on the population to kill anyone who does not practice the religion of the Prophet Muhammad. They use the courts to level charges of blasphemy. Who is contrary to their way of thinking pays with his life (see video)."
The prelate called on all Catholics to pray for Syria. "Let us turn to God for an end to the conflict and the violence and for the reconciliation of our people." (S.C.)



 (Image share Bing/Blogger)
Inroads into the 2008 White Paper’s target of halving homelessness by 2020 could be made simply by providing more affordable housing, experts have argued in a forum on homelessness run by the St Vincent de Paul Society in Canberra.
Fr Chris Riley, whose Youth off the Streets program runs “interventions” in emerging hot spots for homelessness, said half of the problem in a region such as the ACT could be solved “by providing houses”.
He said many homeless people had “just fallen on hard times” and did not necessarily suffer from an underlying trauma that made the problem more complex.
“Fifty per cent of your homeless just need a home,” he said, adding that he could see no evidence of the affordable housing governments had promised.
St Vincent de Paul national CEO Paul Falzon said, apart from arguments around compassion and dignity, a “shrewd economic argument” could be made for providing housing because research had shown that it costs the community more, in services, to leave someone homeless for a protracted period that it does to give them a house.
Leaving people homeless was “a waste of economic resources and a waste human life”, he said.
The society’s national vice-president, Graham West, agreed that the approach should be “housing first”, but was pessimistic about governments’ commitment to providing affordable housing and meeting the 2020 targets.
Other panellists in the forum included ACT Anglicare’s  Jenny Kitchin, Homelessness Australia CEO Nicole Lawder, and Australian Catholic University law professor and human rights advocate Fr Frank Brennan. CEO of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation Mr Andrew Penfold gave the keynote address, while Canberra businessman Mr Glenn Tibbitts set the scene with a moving account of his former life on the streets.


Agenzia Fides report - The President of the Republic of Cape Verde, Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca, yesterday 10 June, signed the Concordat between the Holy See and Cape Verde, in Praia. The agreement was signed on behalf of the Holy See by His Exc. Mgr. Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.
The agreement regulates, among other things, the legal status of the Catholic Church in the Country, the Catholic teaching in schools and matrimonial matters.
"It is, without doubt, a very important tool to allow the Church and the State of Cape Verde to work at the service of the poor and the promotion of human dignity," said to Lusa Agency His Exc. Mgr. Ildo Augusto dos Santos Fortes, Bishop of Mindelo.
The signing of the Concordat of Cape Verde is followed with attention and interest by the Episcopal Conference of Angola and Sao Tomé, says a statement published on the website of the Conference which recalls the common membership of Angola and Cape Verde in Portuguese-speaking Countries. The Bishops also emphasize the need to "reach a concordat agreement between the Angolan State and the Vatican State".
The message concludes by recalling that prior to Cape Verde the only Portuguese-speaking African country to sign a concordat with the Holy See, was Mozambique (in December 2011). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 11/06/2013)


The Beatitudes are 'new commandments', but they are not just a simple do gooders list. They cannot be understood with the mind, only with the heart, so if our hearts are closed to God we will never know true freedom. Christian consolation is the presence of God in our hearts which teaches us to understand the Beatitudes as the law of the truly free. This was the main focus of Pope Francis' homily Monday morning at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta residence.
Commenting on the daily readings, rom St Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians and the Gospel, Matthew 5:1-12, in which Jesus proclaims the Beatitudes, he said: Real conversion consists in opening the door to the Lord, overcoming selfishness, hypocrisy,

Vatican City, 10 June 2013 (VIS) – In a press release today, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity states that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will be in Rome to visit Pope Francis on Friday, 14 June.
“This brief visit”, reads the release, “is of particular interest since it is the first meeting of the Archbishop and the Pope since their inaugurations, which took place at about the same time, just over two months ago.”
“This visit is an opportunity for the Archbishop and Pope Francis to review the present state of relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Communion. In particular, the interest shown by Archbishop Welby in global justice and the ethical regulation of financial markets so that they do not oppress men and women, is echoed in the constant teaching of the Holy Father. Ever since his experience as an executive in an oil company, Archbishop Welby has placed great emphasis on reconciliation, and has continued to press for the resolution of conflicts within the Church and society. This also evokes Pope Francis’ own call to build bridges between people of every nation, so that they may be seen not as rivals and threats, but as brothers and sisters.”
“Anglicans and Catholics also must work together to provide clear moral guidance to society and Archbishop Justin has collaborated closely with the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, to safeguard marriage and other Christian values in society. It is a sign of their close relations that Archbishop Nichols will accompany the Archbishop of Canterbury on this visit.”
“Following the audience, and brief speeches, there will be a short service of mid-day prayer presided over by the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Earlier in the day, at the Archbishop’s own request, he will visit the Excavations beneath St Peter’s Basilica to pray at the tomb of St Peter, as his predecessor Archbishop Rowan Williams did on his first visit to Rome. He has also asked particularly for a time of prayer before the tomb of Blessed John Paul II. Following this, Archbishop Welby will call upon Cardinal Koch at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to renew the acquaintance made at the time of the Archbishop’s inauguration at Canterbury, and to learn about the workings of the Pontifical Council.”
Vatican City, 9 June 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study at noon today to pray the Angelus with the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. He first noted that the month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “the greatest human expression of divine love”.
“Popular piety,” he said, “embraces many symbols and the Heart of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God's mercy. It is not, however, an imaginary symbol but a real symbol that represents the centre, the source from which flows the salvation for all of humanity.” Among various references in the Gospels to the Heart of Jesus, the Pope emphasized the witness of Christ's death according to St. John. When Jesus was already dead, a soldier pierced his side with a lance and immediately blood and water flowed out. “John recognized in that, apparently random, sign the fulfilment of the prophecies: from the heart of Jesus, the Lamb sacrificed upon the Cross, spring forth forgiveness and life for all humanity.”
“But Jesus' mercy is not just a feeling. It is a force that gives life, that brings humanity back to life! Today's Gospel reading says the same thing, in the story of the widow of Nain. Jesus, with his disciples, is arriving in Nain, a village in Galilee, at exactly the moment of a funeral. A young man, the only son of a widowed woman is being carried out to be buried. Jesus' gaze immediately fixes upon the crying mother. The Gospel writer Luke tells us: 'When the Lord saw her, He was moved with pity for her'. This compassion is God's love for humanity. It is mercy, that is, God's attitude in contact with human misery, with our indigence, our suffering, our anguish. The biblical term 'compassion' recalls the maternal womb: indeed, a mother feels a reaction all her own when faced with her children's pain. That is how God loves us, Scripture says.”
“And what is the fruit of this love, this mercy? It is life! Jesus said to the widow of Nain: 'Do not weep', and he called to the dead son and woke him as if from sleep. Let's think about this. It's beautiful. God's mercy gives life to the man, raises him from the dead. The Lord always looks upon us with mercy … awaits us with mercy. Let us not be afraid to draw near to him! He has a merciful heart! If we show him our inner wounds, our sins, He always forgives us. He is pure mercy!”
After the Marian prayer, the Bishop of Rome noted that today, in Krakow, Poland, two Polish nuns are being beatified: Zofia Czeska-Maciejowska, who founded the Congregation of the Virgins of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the first half of the 17th century, and Malgorzata Lucja Szewczyk, who founded the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sorrowful Mother of God (Seraphic Sisters) in the 19th century. “With the Church in Krakow, let us give thanks to the Lord!”
Lastly he addressed a group of pilgrims from the Italian city of Ortona where relics of the Apostle Thomas are venerated, thanking them for the journey “from Thomas to Peter” that they had undertaken.
Vatican City, 9 June 2013 (VIS) – This morning at the beginning of the Mass closing the German National Eucharistic Congress that took place in Cologne, Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” and the Holy Father's special envoy to the event, read the message that Pope Francis had written to those participating in the Congress.
The theme of the Congress was “Lord, To Whom Shall We Go?”, Peter's question to Jesus after his words in the synagogue in Capernaum when He announced that He was the Bread of Life, scandalizing many who then stopped following him.
“We, members of today's Church, also ask ourselves this question,“ the Pope wrote. “Our answer, like that of the Apostle, can only be the person of Jesus. Yes, He lived two thousand years ago. However, we can encounter him in our time when we listen to his Word and are close to him, in a unique way, in the Eucharist. … May the Mass not become a superficial routine for us! May we always draw more and more from its depth! It is precisely what puts us within Christ's immense work of salvation, sharpening our spiritual sight with his love, [becoming part] of his 'prophecy in action' in the Upper Room with which He initiated his gift of Himself upon the Cross and his irrevocable victory over sin and death.”
“This is the same question that some contemporaries are asking who—either lucidly or with foreboding—are still in search of the Father of Jesus Christ. The Redeemer wants to meet them through us … With our lives and our words we must proclaim to them what we have recognized together with Peter and the Apostles: 'Lord, You have the words of eternal life.' … All of us, bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and lay persons, have the duty to bring God to the world and the world to God.”
Vatican City, 9 June 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday at 8:30pm, the Holy Father called Bishop Giancarlo Vecerrica of Fabriano-Matelica, who was together with thousands of youth in the Helvia Recina Stadium before the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., to initiate the 35th pilgrimage on foot from Macerata to Loreto. This year the theme of the pilgrimage is “What can truly satisfy human desire?” and it is promoted by the Communion and Liberation movement.
Pope Francis addressed the youth, from Italy and around the world, who were about to walk the 28 kilometres (over 17 miles) praying the Rosary and singing together. “All of life is a pilgrimage,” said the Pope. “What is important is meeting Jesus on the path of life. … Let yourselves be guided by Jesus. … So many times, even for us, faith is an obvious presupposition of living. We say 'I believe in God'—and that's good—but, how do you live this on the path of life? Faith must become a present experience.”
“When we encounter the Lord,” the Holy Father continued, “He surprises us. The Lord can be called the Lord of surprises. Be open to God's surprises. For you too, this evening's event, which grows every year, is a surprise. It is the sign that nothing is impossible with God. How else could you explain that from the 300 of you in 1978 you would have become the 90,000 of last year?”
“When you get tired,” Francis added, “and the temptation to go your own way arises, think of this: repeat your 'yes', pray that each one of you might recognize in your body and your spirit the very humanity that needs Christ's humanity, the only one that can truly satisfy human desire.”
The Holy Father bid them farewell, reminding the youth to continue forward with hope. “Please,” he said, “don't let yourselves be robbed of hope. It is the Lord who gives it to you.”
Vatican City, 9 June 2013 (VIS) – “The Ten Commandments are not a limitation, but an indication for freedom.” This was the heart of Pope Francis' video message that was broadcast yesterday at 9:40pm local time to the thousands gathered in Milan's Cathedral Square to participate in the “Ten Squares for Ten Commandments” initiative promoted by the “Renewal in the Spirit” movement in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization as part of the Year of Faith.
Milan is the fourth city to host the initiative, which began under the pontificate of Benedict XVI in September of 2013, following events in Rome, Naples, and Verona. In the coming months, Pope Francis will send video messages to participants gathering in squares in Bari, Genoa, Cagliari, Florence, Palermo, Bologna, and Turin.
“The Ten Commandments,” the pontiff affirmed, “are a gift from God. The word 'commandment' isn't fashionable. To today's persons, it recalls something negative, someone's will that imposes limits, that places obstacles to our lives. … Unfortunately history, even recent history, is marked by tyranny, ideologies, mindsets that have been imposed and oppressive, that haven't sought the good of humanity but rather power, success, and profit. The Ten Commandments, however, come from a God who created us out of love, from a God who established a covenant with humanity, a God who only wants the good of humanity. Let us trust in God! … The Ten Commandments show us a path to travel and also constitute a sort of 'moral code' for building just societies that are made for men and women. How much inequality there is in the world! How much hunger for food and for truth! How much moral and material poverty resulting from the rejection of God and from putting so many idols in his place! Let us be guided by these Ten Words that enlighten and guide those seeking peace, justice, and dignity.”
“It is important to remember when God, through Moses, gave the people of Israel the Ten Commandments. At the Red Sea the people had experienced great deliverance. They had seen first hand the power and faithfulness of God, the God who liberates. Now God himself, upon Mount Sinai, indicates to his people and to all of us the way to remain free, a path that is engraved upon the human heart as a universal moral Law. We shouldn't see the Ten Commandments as restriction upon our freedom; no, not that way. We should see them as signs for our freedom. … They teach us how to avoid the slavery to which the many idols that we ourselves build reduce us. … They teach us to open ourselves to a wider dimension than the material one; to live with respect for others; overcoming the greed of power, possessions, and money; to be honest and sincere in our relationships; to protect all of creation and to nurture our planet with high, noble, and spiritual ideals. Following the Ten Commandments means being faithful to ourselves, to our most authentic nature, and walking towards the true freedom that Christ taught us in the Beatitudes.”
Vatican City, 8 June 2013 (VIS) – The official state visit of the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, to Pope Francis “once again confirms—even after troubled and painful events—the normalcy and excellence of relations between Italy and the Holy See”. The dialogue between the two “has the good of the Italian people as its principle goal and has its historically unique role in Europe and the world as its ideal backdrop”.
Those were the words of the Bishop of Rome this morning on receiving for the first time in his pontificate the representative of Italy's highest institution. He thanked the president, as well as all the entire Italian population, for the warm welcome that they have given him, saying that they have made him feel “at home again”. At the same time the pontiff expressed the wish that Italy might always be “a welcoming home for all”.
President Napolitano, the first head of state to officially visit Pope Francis, arrived in the Vatican shortly before 11:00am, accompanied by the Italian minister of Foreign Affairs, Emma Bonino, and Italy's ambassador to the Holy See, Francesco Maria Greco. Upon arriving he was greeted by the Prefect of the Papal Household, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, and an honour guard of the Swiss Guard in the San Damaso Courtyard. After a private conversation with the Pope in the Sala del Tronetto (“little throne room”) of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, they moved to the Library where they both delivered speeches.
The Pope noted that, after the conciliation and the inclusion of the Lateran Pacts in the Italian Constitution and further, in a new light after the Second Vatican Council and the revision of the Treaty, relations between Italy and the Holy See have developed well. “In Italy,” he added, “the collaboration between State and Church, always focused on the interest of the people and of society, is carried out in the daily relationship between civil agencies and those of the Catholic community, represented by the Bishops and their offices, and in a very particular way, by the Bishop of Rome. Thus, even this first visit of the President to the Pope can be effectively expressed with the image of the two hills, the Quirinal and the Vatican, that look upon one another with esteem and fondness.”
The Pope then observed that 2013 marks the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, a symbol for many of the first affirmation of the principle of religious freedom, noting that, a century ago, the commemoration of the Edict of Milan represented “a stage in the historical process that favoured the awareness and the contribution of Catholics in the construction of Italian society. … In today's world, religious freedom is more often asserted than accomplished. … The serious outrages inflicted on this primary right are a source of serious concern.”
“Against every attack, the unanimous reaction of the world's countries must be seen reaffirming the inviolable dignity of the human person. It is the duty of all to defend religious freedom and to promote it for all. In sharing the protection of this moral good is also found a guarantee of the growth and development of the entire community.” Continuing, he mentioned the “profound and persistent” world crisis, which also affects Italy, “emphasizing the economic and social problems, which weigh especially upon the weakest part of society”. He noted some particularly troubling phenomena such as “the weakening of family and social ties, the decreasing population, the prevalence of mentalities favouring profit over work, and the insufficient attention paid to younger generations and their formation”.
“In this difficult context, which certainly is not easy, it is essential to guarantee and to develop the overall system of the democratic institutions to which Italian Catholics have decisively, loyally, and creatively contributed in recent decades. In a time of crisis such as this one it is, therefore, urgent that a new consideration of political commitment, above all among young persons, might arise and that believers and non-believers together might collaborate in promoting a society in which injustice can be overcome and every person can be welcomed and can contribute to the common good. … The distance between the letter and the spirit of laws and democratic institutions is always to be recognized and we need the commitment of all involved to bridge it every time again. We Catholics also have the duty to always strive more along the serious journey of spiritual conversion so that we might every day draw closer to the Gospel, which compels us to concretely and effectively serve persons and society.”
The Pope ended his discourse repeating that “what faith assures us of is true even in the civil sphere: we must never lose hope. How many examples of this have our parents and grandparents given us, facing the hardships of their times with great courage and spirit of sacrifice. On various occasions, Benedict XVI repeated that the current crisis should be an opportunity for the fraternal renewal of human relationships. Even the Italian people, drawing confidently and creatively from their rich Christian tradition and from the examples of their patron saints, Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Siena, … can and must overcome every division and grow in justice and peace, continuing thus to play their unique role in the European context and in the family of nations, and working to create a culture of encounter.”
After the addresses, the head of the Italian State met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State, and with the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Before leaving, he went to the Vatican Basilica where he visited the Chapel of the Pieta.
Vatican City, 10 June 2013 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that this coming Saturday, 15 June, at 6:30pm, Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, Philippines, will take possession of the title of San Felice da Cantalice a Centocelle in Piazza San Felice da Cantalice, 20.
Vatican City, 10 June 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received:
   - the credential letters of the new ambassador of Mexico to the Holy See, His Excellency Mr. Mariano Palacios Alcocer,
   - Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples,
   - Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, prelate of personal prelature Opus Dei and titular of Cilibia.
   - Her Excellency Ms. Anna Suchocka, ambassador of Poland; His Excellency Mr. Almir Franco de Sa' Barbuda, ambassador of Brazil; and His Excellency Mr. Alejandro Emilio Valladares Lanza, ambassador of Honduras on their farewell visits.
On Saturday, 8 June, Pope Francis received Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
Vatican City, 8 June 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:
   - appointed Fr. Jeremiah Madimetja Masela as bishop of Polokwane (area 69,533, population 2,658,000, Catholics 94,700, priests 27, permanent deacons 8, religious 50), South Africa. The bishop-elect, previously apostolic administrator of the diocese, was born in Bergzich, Western Cape, South Africa and was ordained a priest in 1958. Since ordination he has served in several parochial and diocesan roles, most recently as vicar general of the diocese and pastor of Doorspruit. He has been the apostolic administrator of the diocese since 2011.
On Saturday, 8 June, the Holy Father:
   - appointed Bishop Giuseppe Petrocchi as metropolitan archbishop of L'Aquila (area 1,516, population 112,500, Catholics 111,100, priests 118, permanent deacons 8, religious 167), Italy. Bishop Petrocchi, previously of Latina-Terracina-Sezze-Priverno, Italy, succeeds Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
   - appointed Archbishop Miroslaw Adamczyk, apostolic nuncio to Liberia, as apostolic nuncio to Gambia.
   - appointed Bishop Jean Teyrouz, I.C.P.B., of Sainte-Croix-de-Paris of the Armenians, France, as apostolic visitor to Armenian Catholic faithful resident in Western Europe without their own ordinary. He succeeds Bishop Gregoire Ghabroyan, I.C.P.B., whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted in accordance with canon 210 para. 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO).


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Agenzia Fides REPORT - In the first five months of 2013, the government of the Federal District collected, in 15 of the 16 delegations of the city, 5,522 firearms. It is a fact that confirms the good outcome of the campaign, since in the four previous years the weapons recovered were 5,433.
The program's success is due to the change in strategy, says Rosa Isela Rodriguez, secretary of the social development program, in a note sent to Fides.
Weapons are sold through a sort of bartering for which 7 million pesos were allocated: Who delivers weapons can receive in exchange a sum of money or pieces of furniture, electronic equipment and groceries.
Among the weapons collected there are 3,903 handguns (pistols), 1,259 rifles. There are also 356 grenades and 44,448 cartridges, exchanged with bicycles, groceries, appliances, tablets and laptops.
The authorities are very enthusiastic about the support offered by the Catholic Church to the campaign, because, according to the note: "people completely trust the priests and bishops’ word, and also because the exchange takes place in front of the churches".
In the atrium of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City, speaking before the head of the city government, Miguel Angel Mancera, Cardinal Norberto Rivera said that in addition to the disarmament of the population, measures are needed to strengthen the family unit in order to allow families to become a space of harmony, peace and tolerance.
The Cardinal then pointed out that the campaign "For your Family a voluntary disarmament", is the one that achieved the best results, and is expected to soon exceed the 6 thousand delivered weapons. (CE)


Scottish Catholics keep faith with persecuted Church at Carfin pilgrimage | Diocese of Motherwell, Nigeria, Pilgrimage, Scotland, John Pontifex ,

Pilgrims by Carfin's Glass Chapel
Catholic martyrs – both ancient and new – were at the forefront of people's thoughts and prayers during Aid to the Church in Need's pilgrimage to Scotland's shrine to Our Lady in Carfin.
The Day of Witness and Faith at Carfin Lourdes Grotto included a Way of the Cross procession with meditations on historic figures including St Thomas Becket and St Joan of Arc as well as Christians killed since 2005 including Fr Ragheed Ganni from Iraq and Shahbaz Bhatti from Pakistan.
The pilgrims also heard about four-year-old Emmanuel Dike, who was killed on Christmas Day 2011 alongside 44 others during Mass at St Theresa's Church, Madalla, in Nigeria.
Just back from a fact-finding trip to Nigeria, Aid to the Church in Need's John Pontifex described meeting Emmanuel's mother, Chioma Dike, who lost four family members during the attack at St Theresa's.
Mrs Dike told Mr Pontifex: "I have a broken heart – only God can help me. I will never lose faith in God."
In a presentation setting out the key findings of his trip, Mr Pontifex outlined the worsening security situation in north-east Nigeria, where he met many young people injured by attacks on churches during Mass.
He highlighted the people's commitment to their faith and their determination to reject violence. Describing the threat in north-east Nigeria caused by extremist groups including Boko Haram, Mr Pontifex quoted Nigeria's Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos who said: "They can bomb our churches... but they can never take away our faith in Christ".
The pilgrimage, held on Saturday 8 June in sunny, warm weather, began with a rosary procession at which Catholic martyrs through the ages were remembered.
The day – attended by more than 70 people – continued with Mass in the grotto's Glass Chapel celebrated by Father Brian Logue, assisted by Deacon Jim Aitken from St Francis Xavier parish, Carfin.
Acting as stewards and carrying the statue of Our Lady were members of the Knights of St Columba, who have been raising funds for Aid to the Church in Need's work in Sudan.
Event organiser Lorraine McMahon, Aid to the Church in Need's Head of Operations in Scotland, said: "It is so important to pray for the many Catholics and other Christians around the world who suffer so much for their faith.
"Pilgrims told me afterwards they were deeply moved by the plight of people who put their lives on the line for their faith. They are an inspiration to us all.  I had goose bumps during the presentation on Nigeria when I heard how the persecuted Christians are so encouraged by our prayers and solidarity."
Source: ACN


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
10 Jun 2013

John Berryman AM with Dale at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children
Twenty-two outstanding Catholics from across NSW were recognised in the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours announced by the Governor General Quentin Bryce in Canberra this morning.
Among those honoured is John Berryman, former Chief Executive of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDB) and for the past two years a volunteer with St Vincent de Paul Society's SPARKS program for refugee children, Redemptorist Brother Dan Stafford, tireless worker and fundraiser for Vinnies' Matthew Talbot Homeless Services and Catholic Chaplain to the Australian Turf Club and Honorary Chaplain to the NSW Racing Industry; numbers man Patrick Bugden who for many years has given financial, accounting and investment advice to a range of Catholic organisations; and Megan Etheridge, a long-time Vinnies volunteer and the irrepressible live-wire behind  Dress for Success which dresses and styles women, most of whom are battlers and living on the margins, for job interviews and their first week at work.
An expert in IT and computer whiz, Mr Berryman first joined the RIBD in 1978 when he was given a project to computerise Braille. By 1985 he was CEO and it was only two years ago, he retired and began working as a volunteer with Vinnies and refugee and migrant children as part of the agency's award winning SPARKS program.
"My years with the RIDB were among the most fulfilling of my life," he says explaining how technology has advanced in leaps and bounds and made a huge difference to the lives of children who are profoundly deaf or blind.

Megan Etheridge founder of Dress for Success
"Today there is much better prevention as a result of the rubella campaign several years ago and also because of the introduction of Universal Newborn Screening. This means hearing problems are detected and very effective intervention programs instigated and Cochlear implants have also made a big difference."
Almost all children who are born deaf grow up able to speak and communicate.
For the blind the technology has also brought independence, particularly with advances in screen reading software which enables students to study and obtain information without having to rely on someone else taking notes or helping with assignments. Instead via the software whatever information they seek is given to them by voice in a clear easy audio system.
Being awarded an AM and becoming a Member of the Order of Australia, Mr Berryman admits was a total surprise and he is both proud and humbled by the honour.
"I understand the award is presented by the Governor General later in the year," he says and adds that he is hoping the presentation occurs while the present Governor General is still in office.
"I am a great admirer of Governor Quentin Bryce. She has been a wonderful patron of many, many charities during her time as Governor General and I have had the pleasure of meeting her in this capacity a dozen or so times. I think she is doing a terrific job, and for me it would be very nice to receive the award from her," he says.
For Patrick Bugden, being awarded an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) not only took him completely by surprise but is the second award he has received this year in recognition of his unstinting work giving financial, accounting and investment advice to the Dioceses of Parramatta and Broken Bay as well as his long tenure as Chair of the Archdiocese of Sydney's Finance Committee and his unstinting and dedication to the wider Catholic community.

Patrick Bugden AOM
In February this year, Mr Bugden was created a Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory as a tribute to his contribution to Catholic community and his work with Catholic Missions, Catholic health Australia, as Director of Brown Nurses and long association with the Little Company of Mary.
"Honours of any kind are not something you seek and they are never the reason you do your work or offer people a hand. I am still not sure why I've been singled out and I know there are many, many others who deserve this more than me," he says.
Megan Etheridge also reacted with stunned surprise when told she had been awarded an OAM in recognition of her "service to the community, particularly women."
Typically, however she doesn't see this as an award to her personally but rather an award for Dress for Success and the team of more than 200 volunteers who help give women on the margins or in difficult circumstances confidence, renewed self esteem and top to toe styling and clothes so they are at their best when they go for a job interview or spend a first day or week at work. Others may need to be dressed well and feel confident for a court appearance or a return to life on the outside after spending time in prison.
"Last year we dressed 2000 women and our volunteers put in 15,000 hours of time to make this possible," she says.
The women Megan and her team dress are referred to Dress for Success by Vinnies, Youth of the Streets, Disability Employment Services, job support agencies and women's refugee centres.

Br Dan Stafford AOM
Everything from clothes, handbags, shoes, jewellery and scarves are donated and the women who are dressed and styled, keep whatever they are given to wear.
"Occasionally if we need very large sizes or very small sizes we use the grant given to us by the Sisters of Charity," Megan says. "But mostly the clothes are donated and at our showroom in Marrickville at 132 Marrickville Road, we also hold dressing programs daily as well as workshops on job interviews, how to write resumes, basic computer skills as well as workshops on grooming and presentation.
Br Dan Stafford who turns 75 next month is another outstanding Catholic who has been awarded an OAM in today's honours. For more than 20 years, the Redemptorist brother co-ordinated 450 St Vincent de Paul volunteers and over the past 10 years not only took over coordinating fundraising for Vinnnies' Matthew Talbot Homeless Services but in each of those years managed to raise more than $2 million for the city's homeless men, women and children.
In addition, since 2002 when Cardinal George Pell appointed him official Catholic Chaplain to the Australian Turf Club and Honorary Chaplain to the Sydney Racing Industry, he has been offering pastoral care and support to owners, trainers, jockeys, strappers and all those involved in Sydney with the Sport of Kings.
For Br Dan there are moments of great joy but also at times great sadness, such as arranging the funeral after the tragic death of well known jockey, Jason Oliver who was killed just over 10 years ago after a fall at Belmont Park.
Each year during the Autumn Carnival there is a Racing Mass celebrated by Fr Adrian Meaney with Br Dan assisting.

Br Dan Stafford with John Messara Chair of Racing NSW and Father Adrian Meaney at last ueat's Racing Mass.
The Mass is held at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, Kensington where it is standing room only and filled with owners, race callers, grooms, handlers, bookmakers, jockeys and department heads from all areas of the industry.

Br Dan says the industry is like a huge family with many of those involved in Sydney racing some of the most generous donors when he has been fundraising for Matthew Talbot Homeless Services.
"There is nothing like seeing a horse come home first when you know the owner, trainer, the jockey and all the work that has gone into preparing the animal," he says and admits one of the highlights in recent times was seeing Black Caviar race.
"I saw her race twice and she was something," he says and instantly recalls another legendary winner in a race he saw as a young man and still vividly remembers. "Tulloch was one of the great horses of the world."
Other Catholic NSW men and women recognised in today's Birthday honours are:
Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
Judge Matthew Myers, for significant service to community, particularly in the field of family law and welfare and as a member of the Advisory Council, Catholic Church, Broken Bay Diocese.
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia
Noel Causer, Corrimal, NSW, for service to the community, particularly through the provision of humanitarian aid in Papua New Guinea.
Mrs Lorraine Eckersley, Tamworth, for Services to the community of Tamworth
Mrs Roseanna Gallo, Marsfield, NSW for service to the community, particularly through singing and entertainment.
Mrs Dorothy Gillespie, Balgowlah Heights, for service to the community through leadership roles in school and community groups.
Lt Colonel Vincent Hallinan FRD ED (Ret'd) Narwee NSW, for service to veterans and their families, and to the community.
Mrs Myra Hill, Cessnock NSW for service to the community of Cessnock, particularly through music.
Mrs Mary Horder, Pendle Hill, for service to the community of western Sydney.
 James (Jim)  Marsden, Campbelltown NSW for service to the community of Campbelltown.
John Moriarty, Narara, NSW, for service to cricket, and to the community of the Central Coast.
Dr Julie Chio Nua Ez, Woodcroft NSW for service to the Filipino community of Blacktown.
Mrs Nessie Osten, Broken Hill, NSW for service to music, and to the community of Broken Hill.
Phillip O'Sullivan, Hillsdale, NSW for service to the Waverley region through a range of sporting and community organisations.
William Raper, Umina Beach NSW for service to the community of Woy Woy.
Mrs Judith Richards, Nyngan NSW for service to horse racing and to the community of Nyngan.
Ms Anna (Hanya) Stefaniuk, Summer Hill NSW 2130 for service to education through multicultural initiatives, and to the Ukrainian community.
Patrick Sullivan, Gundagai NSW 2722 for service to journalism, and to the community of Gundagai.
William Thompson,  Coolamon NSW 2701 for service to the community of the Riverina.