Thursday, July 3, 2014

Saint July 4 : Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati : Patron of World Youth Day and University Students

Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
Feast: July 4

Feast Day:July 4
April 6, 1901, Turin, Italy
Died:July 4, 1925, Turin, Italy
Canonized:May 20, 1990 by Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati is a saint for the modern world, and especially for the young people of our time. Born in 1901 in Turin, Italy, his time on earth was short-only 24 years-but he filled it passionately with holy living. Pier Giorgio was a model of virtue, a "man of the beatitudes," as Pope John Paul II called him at the saint's beatification ceremony in Rome on May 20, 1990. He was described by friends as "an explosion of joy." As Pier Giorgio's sister, Luciana, says of her brother in her biography of him, "He represented the finest in Christian youth: pure, happy, enthusiastic about everything that is good and beautiful."
To our modern world which is often burdened by cynicism and angst, Pier Giorgio's life offers a brilliant contrast, a life rich in meaning, purpose, and peace derived from faith in God. From the earliest age, and despite two unreligious parents who misunderstood and disapproved of his piety and intense interest in Catholicism, Pier Giorgio placed Christ first in all that he did. These parental misunderstandings, which were very painful to him, persisted until the day of his sudden death of polio. However, he bore this treatment patiently, silently, and with great love.
Pier Giorgio prayed daily, offering, among other prayers, a daily rosary on his knees by his bedside. Often his agnostic father would find him asleep in this position. "He gave his whole self, both in prayer and in action, in service to Christ," Luciana Frassati writes. After Pier Giorgio began to attend Jesuit school as a boy, he received a rare permission in those days to take communion daily. "Sometimes he passed whole nights in Eucharistic adoration." For Pier Giorgio, Christ was the answer. Therefore, all of his action was oriented toward Christ and began first in contemplation of Him. With this interest in the balance of contemplation and action, it is no wonder why Pier Giorgio was drawn in 1922 at the age of 21 to the Fraternities of St. Dominic. In becoming a tertiary, Pier Giorgio chose the name "Girolamo" (Jerome) after his personal hero, Girolamo Savonarola, the fiery Dominican preacher and reformer during the Renaissance in Florence. Pier Giorgio once wrote to a friend, "I am a fervent admirer of this friar (Savonarola), who died as a saint at the stake."
Pier Giorgio was handsome, vibrant, and natural. These attractive characteristics drew people to him. He had many good friends and he shared his faith with them with ease and openness. He engaged himself in many different apostolates. Pier Giorgio also loved sports. He was an avid outdoorsman and loved hiking, riding horses, skiing, and mountain climbing. He was never one to pass on playing a practical joke, either. He relished laughter and good humor.
As Luciana points out, "Catholic social teaching could never remain simply a theory with [Pier Giorgio]." He set his faith concretely into action through spirited political activism during the Fascist period in World War I Italy. He lived his faith, too, through discipline with his school work, which was a tremendous cross for him as he was a poor student. Most notably, however, Pier Giorgio (like the Dominican St. Martin de Porres) lived his faith through his constant, humble, mostly hidden service to the poorest of Turin. Although Pier Giorgio grew up in a privileged environment, he never lorded over anyone the wealth and prestige of his family. Instead, he lived simply and gave away food, money, or anything that anyone asked of him. It is suspected that he contracted from the very people to whom he was ministering in the slums the polio that would kill him.
Even as Pier Giorgio lay dying, his final week of rapid physical deterioration was an exercise in heroic virtue. His attention was turned outward toward the needs of others and he never drew attention to his anguish, especially since his own grandmother was dying at the same time he was. Pier Giorgio's heart was surrendered completely to God's will for him. His last concern was for the poor. On the eve of his death, with a paralyzed hand, he scribbled a message to a friend, reminding the friend not to forget the injections for Converso, a poor man Pier Giorgio had been assisting.
When news of Pier Giorgio's death on July 4, 1925 reached the neighborhood and city, the Frassati parents, who had no idea about the generous self-donation of their young son, were astonished by the sight of thousands of people crowded outside their mansion on the day of their son's funeral Mass and burial. The poor, the lonely, and those who had been touched by Pier Giorgio's love and faithful example had come to pay homage to this luminous model of Christian living.
Pier Giorgio's mortal remains were found incorrupt in 1981 and were transferred from the family tomb in the cemetery of Pollone to the Cathedral of Turin.


Saint July 4 : St. Elizabeth of Portugal : Patron of 3rd Order Franciscans

St. Elizabeth of Portugal
Feast: July 4

Feast Day:July 4
Born:1271, Aljafería Palace, Zaragoza, Kingdom of Aragon
Died:4 July 1336, Estremoz Castle in Estremoz, Alentejo, Kingdom of Portugal
Canonized:24 June 1625 by Pope Urban VIII
Major Shrine:Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova, Coimbra, Portugal[
Patron of:Third Order of St Francis
Queen (sometimes known as the PEACEMAKER); born in 1271; died in 1336. She was named after her great-aunt, the great Elizabeth of Hungary, but is known in Portuguese history by the Spanish form of that name, Isabel. The daughter of Pedro III, King of Aragon, and Constantia, grandchild of Emperor Frederick II, she was educated very piously, and led a life of strict regularity and self-denial from her childhood: she said the full Divine Office daily, fasted and did other penances, and gave up amusement. Elizabeth was married very early to Diniz (Denis), King of Portugal, a poet, and known as Re Lavrador, or the working king , from his hard work in is country s service. His morals, however, were extremely bad, and the court to which his young wife was brought consequently most corrupt. Nevertheless, Elizabeth quietly pursued the regular religious practices of her maidenhood, whilst doing her best to win her husband s affections by gentleness and extraordinary forbearance. She was devoted to the poor and sick, and gave every moment she could spare to helping them, even pressing her court ladies into their service. Naturally, such a life was a reproach to many around her, and caused ill will in some quarters. A popular story is told of how her husband s jealousy was roused by an evil-speaking page; of how he condemned the queen s supposed guilty accomplice to a cruel death; and was finally convinced of her innocence by the strange accidental substitution of her accuser for the intended victim.
Diniz does not appear to have reformed in morals till late in life, when we are told that the saint won him to repentance by her prayers and unfailing sweetness. They had two children, a daughter Constantia and a son Affonso. The latter so greatly resented the favours shown to the king s illegitimate sons that he rebelled, and in 1323 war was declared between him and his father. St. Elizabeth, however, rode in person between the opposing armies, and so reconciled her husband and son. Diniz died in 1325, his son succeeding him as Affonso IV. St. Elizabeth then retired to a convent of Poor Clares which she had founded at Coimbra, where she took the Franciscan Tertiary habit, wishing to devote the rest of her life to the poor and sick in obscurity. But she was called forth to act once more as peacemaker. In 1336 Affonso IV marched his troops against the King of Castile, to whom he had married his daughter Maria, and who had neglected and ill-treated her. In spite of age and weakness, the holy queen dowager insisted on hurrying to Estremoz, where the two kings’ armies were drawn up. She again stopped the fighting and caused terms of peace to be arranged. But the exertion brought on her final illness; and as soon as her mission was fulfilled she died of a fever, full of heavenly joy, and exhorting her son to the love of holiness and peace. St. Elizabeth was buried at Coimbra, and miracles followed her death. She was canonized by Urban VIII in 1625


Official World Youth Day Logo 2016 in Poland

Vatican City, 3 July 2014 (VIS) – In a press conference held this morning the metropolitan archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, presented the logo and official prayer for the 31st World Youth Day.

Three elements are combined in the symbolism of the logo: the place, the main protagonists , and the theme of the celebration. The logo of the 2016 World Youth Day, to be held in Krakow, illustrates the passage from the Gospel according to Matthew, 5.7: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”, chosen as the theme of the event. The image is composed of a geographical outline of Poland, in which there is a Cross, symbol of Christ Who is the soul of World Youth Day. The yellow circle marks the position of Krakow on the map of Poland and is also a symbol of youth. The flame of Divine Mercy emerges from the Cross, and its colours recall the image “Jesus, I trust in you”. The colours used in the logo – blue, red and yellow – are the official colours of Krakow and its coat of arms.

The logo was designed by Monika Rybczynska, a young woman aged 28 from Ostrzeszow, a small town in the mid-west of Poland, following the canonisation of St. John Paul II.
The press conference also included the presentation of the official prayer of World Youth Day 2016, which entrusts humanity and the young to divine mercy, asks the Lord for the grace of a merciful heart, and asks the intercession of the Virgin Mary and St. John Paul II, patron of World Youth Day.
“God, merciful Father,
in your Son, Jesus Christ, you have revealed your love
and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter,
We entrust to you today the destiny of the world and of every man and woman”.
We entrust to you in a special way
young people of every language, people and nation:
guide and protect them as they walk the complex paths of the world today
and give them the grace to reap abundant fruits
from their experience of the Krakow World Youth Day.
Heavenly Father,
grant that we may bear witness to your mercy.
Teach us how to convey the faith to those in doubt,
hope to those who are discouraged,
love to those who feel indifferent,
forgiveness to those who have done wrong
and joy to those who are unhappy.
Allow the spark of merciful love
that you have enkindled within us
become a fire that can transform hearts
and renew the face of the earth.
Mary, Mother of Mercy, pray for us.
St. John Paul II, pray for us.

Pope Francis accepts a Soccer Jersey from Costa Rica 's Ambassador

Ticotimes: Pope Francis accepts his personalized “Papa Francesco” Costa Rica jersey from Costa Rica’s outgoing ambassador to the Vatican, Fernando Sánchez. (Via Facebook)
Costa Rica’s outgoing ambassador to the Vatican, Fernando Sánchez, presents Pope Francis with a Sele jersey. (Via Facebook) Looks like even the pope has caught World Cup fever. Before leaving his post, Costa Rica’s outgoing ambassador to the Vatican, Fernando Sánchez, decided to make an appeal to the divine for a Costa Rican victory in their quarterfinal game against the Netherlands on Saturday. Sánchez said his goodbyes to Pope Francis this week, leaving a personalized “Papa Francesco” Costa Rica football jersey behind as a parting gift.
Shared from

Amazing Love of Foster Parents "We said yes instantly..." - Inspirational

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese report:
3 Jul 2014

The Robertson family including grandsons Reuben and Samuel
When Sydney mother of three, Christine Robertson of Eastwood was awarded an OAM for her services to children, particularly as a foster carer, in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours she admits she was hesitant about accepting the honour.
"I was mortified and wondered how could I think of accepting an award for doing something I'd do even if I had to pay for it. To me the most ordinary thing a human person can do is look after a baby and to love and nurture them. To receive an award for doing what is so normal and which also brings me so much joy seems bizarre," she says.
For the past 21 years, Christine and her family have given emergency, short, medium and long term out-of-home-care to children and babies. To date, the Eastwood-based family has cared for 68 babies and children with the length of stay varying from 12 hours to 12 months, and in one long term case for a period of 12 years and 9 months.
Some of the children have been siblings, others have been twins or triplets.
"So far we've helped care for 34 boys and 34 girls including the two sets of twins and one set of triplets," she says.
While Christine's OAM singled her out as a foster carer, she is quick to point out that providing out of home care is very much a family affair with husbands, biological children, extended family and friends all playing important and significant roles.
As one of CatholicCare 70 to 80 trained and registered foster families across the city, Christine's husband Mike, their son and daughters and network of friends are all involved in helping give the babies and children the Robertson's care for a feeling of love, safety and warmth.
"Mike is a very patient and generous kind of man and has always been involved in every aspect of the care and lives of the children and babies while they are with us," she says, although she admits that her husband of 32 years was somewhat taken aback at the time they became engaged when Christine confided that she wanted to help less fortunate kids in need, and bring them home and take care of them.

Triplets meant the Claire, Tom and Emily Robertson each had a baby to feed and look after
"Growing up in a family with very little money and in an area where most people were struggling, I was still a child when I remember worrying about the children in one family. There were nine of them and they always wore clothes that didn't fit, had no shoes and looked like they needed a wash. I remember wanting Mum to take them in. That's when I decided when I grew up I'd help care for children like that," she says, then bursts out laughing as she remembers 24-year-old Mike's surprised face and his suggestion that they maybe "we should discuss this after we're married and had our own children."
But Mike was never averse to the idea when Claire, Tom and Emily, the couple's three children, were 8, 6 and 4 years. They sat down with them and discussed becoming a foster family.
After seeing a CatholicCare ad for foster care families, Christine, Mike and the children embarked on a series of interviews with CatholicCare.
"We had four very detailed interviews with CatholicCare of about three hours each. Our kids thought the interviews were wonderful and had eyes like saucers because they were suddenly hearing all these things they didn't know about Mike and me such as former boyfriends and girlfriends and a really detailed history," she says.
About to begin full training, Christine and Mike received an urgent phone call asking if it was possible for them to foster two brothers needing respite care one weekend a month.
"We said yes instantly and were hugely excited and it went from there," says Christine.
From the start and throughout their childhood and teenage years, Christine and Mike's children were very much involved in helping out with care and support of the youngsters and babies who needed a weekend, a couple of weeks or even several years of care.
The three pitched in, shared their toys, invented games for the toddlers and youngsters and helped with cuddles and feeds when needed.
Although the children are all now adults, with eldest Claire having two small sons of her own, the three of them still talk about the triplets they cared for as youngsters, and regard these few weeks as one of their most special memories.

The Robertson children were delighted when there were triplets to look after
"We had the triplets for two weeks. My kids thought it was wonderful. Each of them had their own baby to bottle feed and cuddle," Christine says and adds that foster care and the babies and children they have cared for has not only brought great joy to her family but has enabled her to get to know her own children better.
"I think the whole experience growing up has also made them more generous, more tolerant and more socially aware," she says.
Today Emily works for the Benevolent Society, Tom is involved with IT and based in Singapore and Claire is the devoted mother of Reuben, 1 and Samuel who turns 3 this month.
"Claire is a far better mother than I ever was," Christine insists proudly.
When Claire was pregnant with Reuben, her parents gave up fostering for several months so they could pitch in and help out with the juggling act their daughter would need prior to and after the birth as mother to an active two year old and a newborn son.
"But after three months Mike asked if I thought we could negotiate an early release. He missed having a baby in the house at home," Christine says.
These days, Mike and Christine concentrate on providing emergency and short term care for newborns and babies. Their children might be adults, but stored in the garage and ready for the next arrival are strollers, bassinets, three cots, single and double clothes for boys as well as girls in every size imaginable and for every season.
Some of the babies they care for have special needs. These may include physical disabilities or may be a newborn delivered to a drug-addicted or over-medicated mother. Children of addicts are born addicted to whatever drug their mother was on, and Christine, Mike and their family help calm the fretful infants as they undergo painful withdrawals.
Some babies simply need respite or care while their mother is temporarily unable to care for them due to illness or some other emergency.

Mike and Christine Robertson have opened their hearts and their home to babies and children for more than
20 years
"Whatever the reason, Mike and I and the rest of our family are very aware that after a few days or weeks with one person, for a baby to suddenly find themselves in a whole new environment with a new family and household can be a very distressing, confusing and emotionally-charged time," Christine says.
For the Robertson family when the baby arrives, what takes precedence above all else, is to make the tiny infant or toddler feel safe, fed and loved.
"Attachment is essential. The central purpose for us is to establish a bond and lets the baby know the world is a safe place. Once a baby has that bond, they can move on to any other relationship. The primary bond a baby establishes is all important and if this does not happen until after they are 12 months old, life will be more difficult for them and for the relationships they form in later life," she says.
Christine insists that it doesn't matter that you may not be the most perfect parents in the world as long as you bond with the baby, meet his or her needs and let them know and understand that in these first weeks and months of their lives, life is predictable, safe and filled with love.
Sometimes despite the very best efforts, things may not work out quite as planned.
"You try your best but sadly some children do not recover from whatever happened in their first months and years of life," she says.
But Christine insists the joys of fostering far outweigh any down time or disappointments when a child may have been so damaged they are unable to respond.
"My family and I have gotten way more out of giving babies and children out-of-home-care than anything we have given them," she says firmly. "As a human being I adore spending my day on the floor laughing with a baby and for me, it really is as simple as that."
CatholicCare is always interested to hear from families interested in becoming out-of-home carers on a temporary, short term or long term basis. To find out more log on to

Latest from the Vatican Information Service - Pope Francis Appoints

Vatican City, 2 July 2014 (VIS) – The Council of Cardinals met on the morning of Tuesday, 1 July at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, as planned. The Pope is participating in all the meetings; today, Wednesday morning, he participated in the entire meeting, as the general Audiences have been suspended. Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin is regularly present at the meetings, and the Holy Father has established that he will participate fully like the other members of the Council, of whom at present there are nine.
On Tuesday and on Wednesday morning three main themes were considered. There was a presentation by Cardinal Bertello on matters relating to the Governorate, and a presentation relating to the Secretariat of State by Cardinal Parolin.
The issue of the structure of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) was discussed in depth. The meetings, held in two sessions, were also attended by members of the Supervisory Commission of Cardinals present in Rome, Cardinals Santos Abril y Castelló, Thomas Collins and Jean-Louis Tauran, as well as Pietro Parolin.
With regard to the news and questions circulating in the press in recent days, the Director of the Holy See Press Office made the following declaration:
“The IOR is in a time of natural and peaceful transition. The contribution of Ernst von Freyberg continues to be deeply appreciated and highly valued, and further clarifications are possible, indeed likely, next week after the meeting of the Council for the Economy on Saturday”.
The Director then gave a concise explanation of the agenda of the next meeting of the Council for the Economy, which will focus on the Statutes and programme for future work, and will be informed on developments relating to the IOR and – by the Prefecture for Economic Affairs – on the 2013 budget and the provisional budget for 2014.
The Director also announced that a major press conference is expected to be held next week on various matters, including the IOR, linked to the sphere of competence of the Council and the Secretariat for the Economy.
The Council is now continuing its meetings, again taking into consideration and systematically developing the reflections already formulated in the first round of study and review of the different bodies of the Roman Curia.
Vatican City, 2 July 2014 (VIS) – Yesterday the Holy Father appointed Archbishop Bernardito C. Auza, apostolic nuncio in Haiti, as the Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations.
Vatican City, 3 July 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- appointed Rev. Julian LeowBengKim as archbishop of Kuala Lumpur (area 63,760, population 11,000,000, Catholics 180,000, priests 55, permanent deacons 1, religious 154), Malaysia. The bishop-elect was born in Seremban, Malaysia in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 2002. He holds a licentiate in ecclesiastical history from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served as vicar of the “Visitation” parish in Seremban and priest of the “Holy Family” parish in Kajang. He is currently dean of studies and formator at the major seminary of Penang.
- appointed Bishop Edgar Moreira da Cunha, S.D.V., auxiliary of the archdiocese of Newark, U.S.A., as bishop of Fall River (area 3,107, population 834,000, Catholics 315,00, priests 224, permanent deacons 81, religious 245), U.S.A. He succeeds Bishop George W. Coleman, whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- appointed Rev. Fr. John Bonaventure Kwofie, C.S.Sp., as bishop of Sekondi-Takoradi (area 12,681, population 2,033,000, Catholics 408,651, priests 110, religious 70), Ghana. The bishop-elect was born in Powa, Ghana in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1988. He holds a licentiate in sacred scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, and has served as vicar of the “Sacred Heart” parish in Banjul, Gambia and has held a number of pastoral roles in the parishes of “St. John” in Bohyen Bamtama, “Holy Spirit” in the archdiocese of Kumasi, and “St. Catherine” and “St. Maurice” in the archdiocese of Accra. He has also served as vice president of the Conference of Major Superiors for Africa; provincial superior of the Congregation of West Africa; coordinator of the Continental Conference of Major Superiors for Africa, and first assistant of the Superior General of the Congregation.
- appointed Msgr. Jean-Paul Gusching as bishop of Verdun (area 6,211, population 197,100, Catholics 172,700, priests 55, permanent deacons 15, religious 44), France. The bishop-elect was born in Neuville Coppegueule, France in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1983. He holds a bachelor's degree in theology from the seminary of Rheims and has served in a several pastoral roles, including: priest of the parish of Corbie, vicar of the Cathedral parish, priest at the Amiens city centre parish, priest in the parish of Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Peronne, moderator of the parishes of Saint-Joseph de Moilains-Combles and Notre Dame de Moyenpoint, Roisel. He is currently vicar general of the diocese and diocesan administrator of Amiens.
- appointed Msgr. Hector David Garcia Osorio as bishop of Yoro (area 7,781, population 575,000, Catholics 461,000, priests 28, religious 43), Honduras. The bishop-elect was born in Concepcion de Maria, Honduras in 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1997. He holds a licentiate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Choluteca, including diocesan coordinator of delegates for the celebration of the Word of God, diocesan vicar for pastoral care, chancellor of the diocesan curia, vicar general of the diocese, and rector of the “Pablo VI” minor seminary; and then priest of the parish of “San Jeronimo” in Goascoran. He is currently vice rector of the “Nuestra Senora de Suyapa” major seminary in Tegucigalpa and adjunct secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Honduras.

Please Pray for Another Christian Mother in Prison for Years for Blasphemy in Pakistan

Asia News report: by Jibran Khan
Her family and lawyers report that her psychological and physical state is worsening. A priest in Lahore confirms that the Church is concerned and praying for her conditions. Her lawyers submit a petition to get her appeal trial set. Muslim activist says it is time for justice.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - "We strongly condemn the attitude of the judiciary. Bibi has suffered enough, as has her family. It is time for justice to be done, and she should receive the necessary care. The courts must immediately address her case," said Akeel Ali Mehdi, a Muslim human rights activist who spoke to AsiaNews about the plight of the Christian mother of five sentenced to death for blasphemy and has been waiting for years to appeal her conviction.
Fr Ilyas John, a priest and an activist from the Archdiocese of Lahore, shares those concerns. He confirmed that her psychological and physical health was rapid deteriorating, and called for immediate medical care.
He added that the Church was concerned and praying for Asia Bibi as well as Sawan Masih, a jailed young man who was sentenced to death on the basis of the "black law".
On death row and solitary confinement for security reasons since November 2010, Asia Bibi has long been a symbol of the fight against blasphemy.
In 2011, Islamic extremists killed Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Minority Affairs Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, for coming to her defence.
Pakistani Christians have promoted days of fasting and praying for her release, an initiative adhered to by some Muslims.
Recently, the Court of Appeal of Lahore repeatedly postponed her appeal trial, using delaying tactics and legal loopholes of various types, Bibi's lawyers said.
The latest incident took place in late May, when Asia Bibi's case disappeared without any reason from the list of hearings.
Local sources said that the court is trying to avoid the burden of ruling in this case, as orders from higher up push to postpone the verdict.
Lawyers Chaudhry Sardar Khan and Sardar Mushtaq Gill filed a new petition to have her appeal trial's date set.
Civil society groups and various political leaders, not just Christian, have backed her cause through awareness campaigns and efforts to obtain her release.
The petition submitted to the authorities refers to her rapidly deteriorating "psychological and physical" health, a situation confirmed by relatives who met her in recent weeks.
The Interior Ministry reported that Bibi has the right to two medical visits per month. Prison administrators claim that medical reports about her poor health are phoney.
However, defence lawyers and family have sounded the alarm again with regards to her conditions, asking for greater medical care, along with a set date for the appeal process.
With a population of more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia.
About 80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni, whilst Shias are 20 per cent. Hindus are 1.85 per cent, followed by Christians (1.6 per cent) and Sikhs (0.04 per cent).

Scores of violent incidents have occurred in recent years, against entire communities (Gojra in 2009, and Joseph Colony, Lahore, in March 2013), places of worship (Peshawar, September last year) and individuals ( Sawan MasihAsia BibiRimsha Masih and Robert Fanish Masih, who died in prison), often perpetrated under the pretext of the country's blasphemy laws.
Asia News IT report

Bishops in Philippines Oppose Death Penalty

Philippines: Bishops say no to return of death penalty | Philippines, death penalty, capital punishment
IND.CATH.NEWS/FIDES The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines today (2 July 2014)  reiterated its opposition to the restoration of  the death penalty. In a statement the Bishops quote the Gospel passage in which Jesus says: 'I came that they may have life, and have it to the full' . "Our posture cannot be otherwise" they said. They go on to explain that opposition to the death penalty is also completely justifiable on non-religious grounds.
"Justice does not demand the death penalty.  A mature sense of justice steers as far as possible from retribution,  in the realization that visiting on an offender the same injury he inflicted on his victim makes matters no better at all for anyone". Instead "justice aims to restore broken relations and the ruptured social coherence that follow from crime".
"Executing a human person does not contribute to any of these goals of justice. In fact, it is a weak and retrogressive legal order that calls for the execution of offenders for its vindication".
The Bishops said capital punishment is "cruel and inhuman", firstly for the anxiety and psychological distress that come on one who awaits the moment of execution. Secondly, the relatives of the condemned persons, many times including children, are stigmatized for life. They said every judicial system "is, like all human systems, liable to error. But the death penalty, once executed, is irreversible and no repentance or regret can ever make up for the horrible injustice of a person wrongfully executed".
Meanwhile, the CBCP said the Philippines has signed up to the Second Optional Protocol of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As such, it said the principal obligation it assumed under this international agreement is to abolish the death penalty. While saying they "are rightly appalled by the heinous nature of some crimes committed today", the moral, Christian and mature response to this common social challenge is in the prevention of crime and in testifying against wrong-doers, for law-enforcers to be more vigilant and dedicated to their bounden duties, for prosecutors and courts to be resolute in the prosecution of offenders, and in the trial of those accused.

Source: Fides

US Bishops Official Statement on Hobby Lobby Win - A Great Day....

USCCB Statement On Supreme Court "Hobby Lobby" Decision
"A great day for the religious freedom of family businesses."
We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize that Americans can continue to follow their faith when they run a family business.  In this case, justice has prevailed, with the Court respecting the rights of the Green and Hahn families to continue to abide by their faith in how they seek their livelihood, without facing devastating fines.  Now is the time to redouble our efforts to build a culture that fully respects religious freedom.
The Court clearly did not decide whether the so-called ‘accommodation’ violates RFRA when applied to our charities, hospitals and schools, so many of which have challenged it as a burden on their religious exercise.  We continue to hope that these great ministries of service, like the Little Sisters of the Poor and so many others, will prevail in their cases as well.
— June 30, 2014
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, President, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Archbishop William E. Lori, Chairman  USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty


Today's Mass and Readings Online : July 3 - St. Thomas Apostle

Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle
Lectionary: 593

Reading 1EPH 2:19-22

Brothers and sisters:
You are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm PS 117:1BC, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness for us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

Gospel JN 20:24-29

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But Thomas said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”