Sunday, June 23, 2013


Vatican Radio REPORT: This morning, Pope Francis celebrated mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. About 40 apostolic nuncios, who remained in the Vatican after the Pope’s meeting with them on Friday, were present. Commenting on the Sunday Gospel from Luke, in which Jesus asks the Apostles, “But who do you say that I am?”, the Pope underlined that we need to respond to Jesus from the heart, inspired by our veneration for him and from the rock of his love.

In Luke, Jesus asks: “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter responds: “The Christ of God”. The question that Jesus asks in the Gospel of Luke is relevant to us 2,000 years later and cuts straight to the heart, said Pope Francis in his homily, to which we must respond with the humility of a sinner, beyond all ready-made answers.

“We, even we, who are apostles and servants of the Lord need to respond because the Lord asks us: ‘What do you think of me?’ He does it, eh? He does it many times! ‘What do you think of me?’ says the Lord. And we cannot do that which cannot be well understood. ‘But, you are the anointed one! Yes, I read it’. With Jesus, we cannot speak of him as an historic figure, a figure of history. Jesus is living in front of us. This question is asked by a living person. And we have to respond from the heart.”
We are called again today by Jesus to carry out the radical choice made by the Apostles, a total choice, in the logic of “all or nothing”, a journey for which we must be enlightened by a “special grace” to carry out, living always on the solid base of veneration and love for Jesus.

“Veneration and love for his Holy Name. Certainty that he set us on a rock – the rock of his love. And from this love, we give you the answer, we give the answer. And when Jesus asks these questions – ‘Who am I for you?’ – we need to think of this: I was set on the rock of his love. He leads me. I must respond firmly on that rock and under his leadership.”
“Who am I for you?” Jesus asks us. Sometimes we are ashamed to respond to his question, underlined the Pope, because we know that something in us is not right, we are sinners. But it is exactly in this moment that we should trust in his love and respond with that sense of truth, as Peter did on Lake Tabor: “Lord, you know everything”. It is exactly in the moment that we feel like sinners, the Lord loves us a lot, said the Pope. And just as he put Peter, the fisherman, at the head of his Church, so, too, will the Lord do something good with us.

“He is the greatest, he is the greatest! And when we say, from veneration and from love, secure, secure on the rock of his love and guidance: ‘You are the anointed one’, this will do us much good and it will make us move forward with certainty and pick up the cross daily, which is heavy at times. Let us go forward like this, with joy, and asking for this grace: grant to your people, Father, to always live in veneration and love for your Holy Name! And with the certainty that you never deprive of your guidance those whom you have set on the rock of your love!” 



Vatican Radio REPORT: On a hot sunny day in Rome, Pope Francis greeted thousands of pilgrims and tourists from the window of the Papal apartments above St Peter’s Square who had come to hear the recitation of the Sunday Angelus.
Reflecting on Sunday’s Gospel the Pope recalled some of the most incisive words that Jesus spoke, “"Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it" 
The Holy Father said that this phrase is really a summary of Christ’s message which almost makes us hear his voice.
Explaining the meaning of Jesus’ words Pope Francis said that the martyrs offer the best example of losing one's life for Christ. Both in the past and today, he continued, in many parts of the world, there are martyrs both men and women who are imprisoned, or killed for the sole reason of being Christian. 
But the Pope also noted that there is also the daily martyrdom, which do not result in death but is also as he put it, a "loss of life" for Christ, people doing their duty with love, according to the logic of Jesus. 
These people the Holy Father said are the fathers and mothers who every day put into practice their faith by devoting their lives for the good of the family. 
Pope Francis also recalled the “many priests, monks, nuns who give generously their service to the kingdom of God”. And the young people who give up their interests to devote their time to children, the disabled, and the elderly.

The Pope then spoke of the Christians and non-Christians who "lose their life" for the truth, adding “those who serve the truth serve Christ.”

Before reciting the Marian prayer the Holy Father focused his attention on one great man who gave his life for the truth, John the Baptist whose feast day is celebrated on June 24th.
He said John was chosen by God to prepare the way before Jesus. John devoted himself entirely to God and his messenger. But it was Jesus who eventually died for the cause of truth.
During the Angelus the Pope also stressed ,especially to the young people present, the importance of having the courage to go against the tide of current values that do not conform to the path of Jesus.



June 21, 2013
Basilica of the Assumption
I. Faith Enriches Public Life
Sargent Shriver was a great American; he was also a great Catholic. A daily communicant and an advocate for the sanctity of human life at all its stages, Sargent Shriver understood how faith, worship, and service are linked. They were certainly linked in his long life of service to our country, whether it was launching the Peace Corps during the Kennedy Administration, or Head Start, Vista, and the Job Corps during the Johnson Administration, or, later in his life, serving as Chair of the Special Olympics. He was a living example of how faith enriches public life. And there are countless others. Many people of faith enrich public life as private employers who organize their businesses according to Christian principles and strive to live up to those principles in how they conduct their companies. To echo Pope Francis, they seek to be full time, not part time Christians. Their faith too enriches public life.
What we see in the life of Sargent Shriver is writ large in the Church’s daily life. Almost everywhere in the country Catholic Charities is the largest non-governmental provider of social services. Last year Catholic Charities in the United States served 10 million persons. Our country is also blessed by a network of wonderful Catholic hospitals that served well over 5.5 million patients in 2012 with a record 101 million outpatient visits, while providing billions of dollars of uncompensated charitable care. In almost every area of the country, Catholic schools educate more children than any other non-governmental system. Last year approximately 2 million students were educated in Catholic schools, among them young people from America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods, and more than 940,000 students were enrolled in Catholic colleges and universities. Yes, faith enriches public life, in the sheer magnitude of the services it provides.
II. Not Two Wings
None of this happens by accident. None of it is a sideline. The Church does not have two wings: a “faith and worship” division on the one hand, and a “service” division on the other. Quite the contrary. We cannot claim to love God without loving our neighbor. What we believe and how we worship give rise to a life of service. Pope Benedict told us that the Church’s deepest nature is expressed in three ways: proclaiming the Word of God; celebrating the sacraments; exercising the ministry of charity, including our charitable institutions & programs. My old boss and mentor, James Cardinal Hickey, was once asked why the Church educated so many non-Catholic inner-city students. His answer was simple: we don’t do it because they’re Catholic but becausewe are.
This doesn’t mean we Catholics claim to be better than others.
It only represents a sincere effort to bear witness to the Gospel through the example of dedicated men and women of faith and through Catholic institutions of service, healthcare, and education, institutions that are shaped by compassion and moral values that flow from the teachings that we profess in faith. Happily the same can also be said of other churches and denominations. Faith enriches public life not only by the magnitude of its services but by the qualities of mind and heart, by the values and virtues, it brings to the task.
Educating the young, healing the sick, serving the poor and vulnerable: ... these activities are part of our baptismal DNA as Catholic Christians. No wonder we shudder, no wonder we react so strongly, when governmental authority slices and dices our Church ... by separating in law and policy our houses of worship from our charitable, healthcare, and educational institutions ... on the score that the latter are somehow less religious than our churches.
And let’s be clear. The efforts of the government to divide the Church into a worship wing and a service wing do not spring from a theoretical interest in how churches are organized. It is part of a broader movement to limit religious freedom to freedom of worship - to accord a fuller degree of religious liberty to houses of worship but a lesser degree of religious freedom to charities, hospitals, and universities. If left unchecked, this tendency will continue to diminish the influence of religion in helping to shape the character of our country, not only by our words but above all by the way we conduct our ministries of service. In the case of the now infamous Health and Human Services mandate, only parishes and institutions mainly dedicated to sharing the faith are fully exempt from having to include in their employee health care plans medications and procedures that are contrary to the Church’s teaching. Catholic charities, hospitals, and universities are not exempt but accommodated, but we believe that the so-called accommodation is inadequate and will end up implicating our service institutions in providing coverage for medications and procedures contrary to the Faith: … like abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and reproductive counseling at odds with the Church’s teaching that extends even to underage family members of Church employees. Faith and worship inspire and sustain the service the Church offers, yet the government is insinuating a contrary Gospel in the Church’s daily life.
III. Guarantees, Not Lip Service
Not long ago, Pope Francis spoke out in defense of religious freedom. Echoing today’s reading from the Book of Genesis which proclaims that each person is created in God’s image, Pope Francis called upon the nations of the world to uphold “the intangible dignity of the human person against every attack.” He spoke of how church and state should each do their part to promote “the interests of the people and society.” Yet he also declared that, “religious freedom is more often talked about than achieved” and told us that “it’s the duty of everyone to defend religious freedom & to promote it for all people.”
We may be tempted to think that the Pope was talking to other people in other parts of the world – but he was talking to us too. In tonight’s Gospel Jesus teaches us the distinction between what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God (cf. Mt. 22:21). This distinction rings true in our hearts as believers and as American citizens, for we recognize the wisdom of separating Church and State. For as Pope Benedict taught so wisely, “The State may not impose religion but must guarantee religious freedom & harmony between the followers of different religions.” And he added, “For her part, the Church, as the social expression of the Christian faith, has a proper independence and is structured on the basis of her faith as a community which the State must recognize. The two spheres are distinct, yet always interrelated” (Deus Caritas Est, no. 28). Yet our government is taking from what belongs to God by state-sponsored attempts to force the Church to compromise her own teachings as the price to be paid for serving the wider community. Caesar is taking from what belongs to God by promoting the view that it is a form of bigotry to hold, as the Church does, that marriage is between one man and one woman – and – by passing anti-discrimination laws aimed at this venerable teaching of the Church. Caesar is also taking from what belongs to God in laws passed in several states that seek to criminalize services provided by churches to the undocumented.
In these and other instances, our government is not only taking what belongs to God; it is also taking from what belongs to human dignity and the common good. Again to quote the wise teachings of Pope Benedict: “Denying the right to profess one’s religion in public and the right to bring the truths of faith to bear upon public life has negative consequences for true development” (Caritas in Veritate, no. 56). For by imperiling religious freedom, all human rights are put at risk. After all, our deepest and most cherished rights are linked: the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. And these rights are not granted to us by the State but by the Creator – as the Declaration of Independence robustly proclaims.
IV. Conclusion: Human Freedom for the Good
When Pope Benedict was welcomed to the White House in 2008, this is what he said: “Freedom is not only a gift but also a summons to personal responsibility.” It calls for sacrifice, for the development of virtue, for pursuit of the common good for a sense of responsibility towards the poor and vulnerable, and respect for the dignity of human life from conception until natural death. It requires of us courage to bring our deepest beliefs and values together with a spirit of reasoned dialogue to our fractured public debates. Indeed, “Freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good” (Benedict XVI).
How well Pope Benedict’s insights bring into sharp focus St. Paul’s exhortation to “pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness ... to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share …” (1 Tim. 6:17). For through faith we see more clearly the dignity of the human person created in God’s image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26-17). Through faith we understand that every person is called to share God’s life. Through faith we see more readily what a truly just and humane society should be and we receive the strength we need to build a true civilization of truth and love. Faith serves the public life not only by the sheer magnitude of the humanitarian services it offers but indeed by its witness to those moral truths and values without which democracy cannot flourish.
And how much hangs in the balance! We continue to live in an age of martyrs – when believers, not just Christians, are being persecuted for professing and practicing their faith – when believers are tortured and killed because they are believers, in places like Iran, Iraq, China, and Nigeria. Let us keep the flame of faith and the flame of freedom burning brightly not only for our children and our children’s children but also for the sake of these persecuted believers who see in our form of government and in our great land a beacon of hope. May God bless us, may God bless our Church and all believers, and may God bless these United States of America!

Archbishop William E. Lori



Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem release:
NAZARETH – On Saturday, June 15, 2013, the men of the Contemplative Missionaries of Charity in Nazareth (founded by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta) had a memorable day. Five of their members made solemn profession, and their new chapel was officially blessed.
Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, presided over the ceremony assisted by Fr. Sebastian Vazahkala, co-founder and superior general of the Institute, joined by Fr. Jean-Marie, the local superior; and other religious priests of Nazareth. Also present were the Missionary Sisters of Charity from Nablus, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, as well as many other religious and faithful of Nazareth.
The five newly professed are: Fran├žois Marie Ntori; Michael Joseph Bidwell; Michael Barla; Joseph Vaz Pereira; Lucas Petrus Packel. They come from India, the USA and Ghana having spent a year in Nazareth preparing for the solemn profession ‘in the spirit of Nazareth’. Beyond the three traditional vows of obedience, poverty and chastity, they profess a fourth official vow:to serve freely and with all their heart the poorest of the poor. This is also what the Bishop highlighted in his homily: “to live, happily and freely, evangelical poverty and the study of Nazareth; to find the pure essence of our faith, beyond the dust of centuries and the layers of human mentality.”
The new chapel that was blessed is a small architectural gem. It is an old Arab family house consisting of two Turkish style arches, The old plaster covering the stone wall was removed and re-plastered to highlight the original stone. It has a very dignified, uncluttered, recollected and welcoming atmosphere. The chapel is dedicated to the Holy Family of Nazareth, as are all the chapels of the Contemplative Missionaries of Charity. It accommodates 60-70 people, but for some occasions, the internal courtyard of ‘Beit Assalam’ serves as a natural extension of the chapel. The altar, which rests on a beautiful olive trunk, which contains the relics of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified, Blessed Marie Alphonsine, and Blessed Charles de Foucauld, was also blessed.
Much of the work was done by volunteers from Nazareth and Jaffa, who were attracted by the witness of the poor life of the contemplative Missionaries of Charity. One volunteer attests publicly: “Having been edified by the example of the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa, I freely and voluntarily did this work as penance for my past life, and in gratitude to the Lord for my new life.”
From our correspondent in Nazareth.
Photos of L.Z.
Shared from Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem


Diocese of Parramatta Release:

Blessing of the Chapel of Saint Mary MacKillop and official opening of St Pauls Books and Gifts Centre in Parramatta


Blessing of the Chapel of Saint Mary MacKillop & official opening of St Pauls Books and Gifts Centre Parramatta News Story
Photo: Alfred Boudib, Visualeyes Photography
The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, blessed the new Chapel of Saint Mary MacKillop and officially opened the St Pauls Books and Gifts Centre in collaboration with the Society of St Paul on Friday 21 June.
Saint Mary MacKillop is Australia’s first recognised saint and the patron of the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta. She was canonised by Pope Benedict XVI on 17 October 2010.
Bishop Anthony said Mary MacKillop was a woman of God and deep faith, of courage and perseverance, of compassion and action. “She knew that to build a new country and to lift people out of poverty, the key was education. And she made that happen for tens of thousands of people."
Mary MacKillop’s nuns, called the Sisters of Saint Joseph, still live and work in Western Sydney in education, with Aboriginal people, spirituality, in parishes, pastoral care, prison ministry, healthcare, and in retirement.

St Pauls Books and Gifts Centre

Blessing of the Chapel of Saint Mary MacKillop & official opening of St Pauls Books and Gifts Centre Parramatta News Story
Photo: Alfred Boudib
The Society of St Paul is a Catholic religious congregation of priests and brothers engaged in the apostolate of proclaiming the Gospel through the media of social communications.
Fr Ruben C Areno SSP said the Society of St Paul was pleased to collaborate with the Diocese of Parramatta in the opening of the Chapel of Saint Mary MacKillop and the St Pauls Books and Gifts Centre.
“Following the exhortation of Blessed James Alberione, the founder of the Pauline Family, through this book centre, we wish to bring the Christian message at the ‘marketplace’ of ordinary life – near the offices, the schools, the homes, and in the street corners,” Fr Ruben said.
Chapel Mass times
The Chapel of Saint Mary MacKillop is located on the first floor of the St Pauls Centre. Mass will be celebrated on weekdays at 1pm.
St Pauls Books and Gifts Centre opening hours
Monday to Friday – 9.30am to 5pm; Saturday – 10am to 2pm.
Address: 238 Church Street, Parramatta. Tel: (02) 9126 8912.


Papa Giovanni XXIII

Angelo Roncalli, born in Sotto Il Monte in 1881, is known for his profound spirituality as well as his extraordinary goodness from the young years of his life. When he feels a need to serve God, Angelo goes to study theology in Bergamo, and in Apollinare School (Rome) and becomes a priest. During his studies, he gets to know his two dearest friends, Mattia and Nicola. Very soon, most people see marvelous talents in him, including his wide knowledge and a constant readiness for sacrifice. The Holy See makes him go further to bishop and cardinal, and the Holy Father sends him to various places as a representative of the Church. When Pius XII dies on October, the 9th, 1958, 77 year-old Angelo goes to Rome, to conclave to choose a new pope. However, this time, it is him who hears gentle words of Jesus "Tu es Petrus!" ("You are Peter!") and from October, the 28th leads the church as pope John XXIII. Anonymous


 Ricky Tognazzi


 Bob Hoskins, Carlo Cecchi, Roberto Citran