Thursday, April 30, 2009

Benedict XVI Urges Prayerful Approach to Christian Charity

Encourages Testimony of Exemplary and Virtuous Lives

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 30, 2009 ( Benedict XVI is encouraging the contemplation of Christ as the Good Shepherd to inspire authentic Christian charity toward the needy, which goes beyond activism or secular philanthropy.

The Pope said this today to a group of Argentine bishops on their five-yearly visit to Rome, led by Archbishop Luis Héctor Villalba, vicepresident of the bishops' conference.

The Pontiff affirmed that the Lord entrusts bishops with "a ministry of great importance and dignity: that of bringing his message of peace and reconciliation to all people, of caring for the holy people of God with paternal love and leading them along the path of salvation."

He added that in exercising this ministry, "a bishop must always act as a servant among his faithful, drawing constant inspiration from the One who came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life to save many."

"Truly," the Holy Father said, "to be bishop is an honor when lived with that spirit of service to others and as a humble and disinterested participation in the mission of Christ."

Benedict XVI emphasized that "frequent contemplation of the image of the Good Shepherd will serve as a model and a stimulus for your efforts to announce and spread the Gospel; it will encourage you to care for the faithful with tenderness and mercy, to defend the weak and to spend your lives in constant and generous dedication to the people of God."

Will Kirill and Benedict Meet?

Just about 100 days ago, on January 27, Russian Orthodox Church leaders chose a new Patriarch to succeed the later Patriarch Alexi II, who had died on December 5, 2008. His name: Kirill (photo). What has Kirill done since his election, and what are the prospects for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI?

By Robert Moynihan

THURSDAY, APRIL 30, 2009 — The new Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill, 62, has met Pope Benedict XVI, who turned 82 a few days ago, three times already — but that was before Kirill became Patriarch.

Now, after nearly 100 days in office, Vatican observers are sensing that Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict may meet again — and that such a meeting will be a major step on the way to the long-hoped-for reunion of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which have been divided for nearly 1,000 years, since 1054. But where and when could such a meeting be held?

Kirill is an imposing figure, with a grey-flecked beard and sonorous voice. And he has important friends. When he was enthroned Alexi’s successor in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, the church was filled with celebrities and political leaders, and the first person to receive communion from him was... President Dmitry Medvedev’s wife, Svetlana.

(Photo: The new Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, center, puts on his vestments during the enthronement service in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Russia, Sunday, February 1, 2009. Patriarch Kirill took charge of the Russian Orthodox Church, becoming the first leader of the world's largest Orthodox church to take office after the fall of the Soviet Union. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

In the Soviet era, the officially atheist Communist government treated the devout like moral lepers, imprisoning tens of thousands of clerics of all creeds. Now the Orthodox Church “has become a serious power in society,” former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev told The Associated Press in March.

Vocations and evangelization in Pope's prayers this May

Vatican City, Apr 30, 2009 / 10:19 am (CNA).- Today the Vatican’s press office released Pope Benedict’s prayer intentions for the month of May. The Holy Father is praying that the laity enourage vocations and that the Church be unified in its efforts to evangelize.

Pope Benedict's general prayer intention is: "That the laity and the Christian communities may be responsible promoters of priestly and religious vocations."

His mission intention is: "That the recently founded Catholic Churches, grateful to the Lord for the gift of faith, may be ready to share in the universal mission of the Church, offering their availability to preach the Gospel throughout the world."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pope: seeing the beauty of God in the Church, not only the sins of men

» 04/29/2009 14:23

To the faithful present at the general audience, Benedict XVI illustrates the figure of Germanus of Constantinople, an important patriarch during the period of the controversy of iconoclasm, and in Mariology. His teaching continues to invite people to follow Christ in order to become again the image of God, and love for the Church and for the beauty of the liturgy.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Asking God to "teach us to see in the Church his beauty and his hope," to learn to love the Church, because in it, beyond the sins of man, the divine light is present. This is the place where "God speaks with us," where "we receive the forgiveness of God and learn to forgive." This is the exhortation that Benedict XVI addressed today to the 35,000 people present in St. Peter's Square for the general audience, during which, continuing with the illustration of the figures of the early Church, he talked about Germanus of Constantinople, who, although "he is not one of the most significant figures of Eastern Christianity," was nonetheless important during the controversy of iconoclasm, and for his thinking in the field of Mariology.

Born in 635, and elected patriarch of Constantinople in 715, in that year the capital of the Byzantine Empire underwent "an extremely dangerous siege" by the Saracens, during which Germanus led a procession with numerous icons to invoke the defense of the city. In fact, Constantinople was liberated from the siege. "Gratitude for the divine assistance was extremely great among the people," and Germanus "became convinced that the help had been due to the veneration people had shown to the sacred icons." The emperor Leo III was of a different opinion, "convinced that the consolidation of the empire had to begin with a readjustment of the faith," which had to be safeguarded from the risk of idolatry, precisely because of excessive devotion to icons.

The opposition of Germanus achieved nothing, and in 730 the emperor took an open stance against the veneration of images. Germanus did not want to give in to the orders of the Emperor. As a result, he was forced to resign as patriarch, exiling himself to a monastery, where he died in 733.

See also:

"Germanus of Constantinople: Defender of Holy Images"

"Pope Benedict reflects on the 'Defender of Images'"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pope Visits Earthquake Victims

L'Aquila will 'arise once more,' Pope declares

Pope Benedict greets Italians in the quake-devastated region of Abruzzo

L'Aquila, Italy, Apr 28, 2009 / 10:52 am (CNA).- Touring the earthquake-damaged Abruzzo region of Italy on Tuesday, Pope Benedict met with rescue workers and those impacted by the quake. During an address to the victims, he assured them of his solidarity and encouraged them saying, “L'Aquila, though wounded, will arise once more."

At midday, when the Holy Father arrived in the courtyard of the training school of the “Finance Guard,” he addressed the Italian rescue workers as well as those affected in the region. Over 300 died and thousands were injured in the April 6 earthquake.

Benedict XVI began by noting that the training school courtyard served as the headquarters for rescue operations following the earthquake.

“This place, consecrated by the victims' prayers and tears, represents a symbol of your tenacious determination not to give way to discouragement." Quoting then the motto of the Finance Guard - "Nec recisa recedit" (Will not back down, even if destroyed) - he pointed out that it "seems to express well what the mayor defined as your firm intention to rebuild the city, with that constancy which characterizes you people of the Abruzzo region."

Pope demands soul-searching after Italy quake

Associated Press Tue Apr 28, 6:42 AM ET

Pope Benedict XVI is flanked by a firefighter as he looks at a collapsed student dorm in L'Aquila, central Italy, Tuesday, April 28, 2009. Benedict XVI visited the region in central Italy ravaged by this month's earthquake, offering words of comfort to the survivors and calling for the rebirth of the area. The April 6 quake claimed 296 lives and hit 26 towns and villages in the Abruzzo region in the Apennine mountains. The 6.3-magnitude quake drove around 50,000 from their homes and toppled or heavily damaged thousands of buildings across the region.
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Enlarge photo...

AP via Yahoo! News
By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer – 26 mins ago

L'AQUILA, Italy – Pope Benedict XVI embraced the survivors of Italy's deadly earthquake Tuesday as he walked through their muddy tent camp and demanded "serious soul-searching" from those responsible for the shoddy construction blamed for many of the 296 deaths.

In his first visit to central Italy since the April 6 quake, Benedict toured the three symbols of destruction that have come to epitomize the region's grief: the leveled hamlet of Onna, where 40 of the 300 residents died, the crumbled basilica of L'Aquila, and the ruins of a university dormitory whose collapse has spurred criminal probes into negligence.

Showing a relaxed, pastoral side rarely seen in the Vatican's typically controlled appearances, Benedict prayed with the quake's homeless in the rain, telling them that the church was suffering along with them and that they should keep up hope and rebuild, better than before.

But at the same time, he told them that "As a civil community, some serious soul-searching is necessary, so that at any moment responsibilities never fail."

"If this happens, L'Aquila — though wounded — will be able to fly again," Benedict said, referring to the city's name, eagle.

The 6.3-magnitude quake claimed 296 lives in the dozens of towns and villages in the Abruzzo region of central Italy affected. About 50,000 people were driven from their homes, and thousands of buildings were toppled or heavily damaged.

See also:

Pope Benedict XVI visits Abruzzo earthquake zone to pray for victims"

The Abruzzo Region Will Rise Again"

Conscience Rights Imperiled by New AIDS Chief?

Catholic League
April 28, 2009

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on President Obama’s selection of Dr. Eric Goosby to be the new U.S. global AIDS coordinator and director of the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief:

“The problem with this selection is not so much Dr. Goosby, it is the pressure he will be under to deny conscience rights to those who work for such agencies as Catholic Relief Services. Moreover, the progress that the Bush administration made in combating AIDS in Africa is now in jeopardy.

“Dr. Mark R. Dybul was in charge of this office under President Bush. An openly gay man, he worked to insure conscience rights for Catholic workers and made certain that abstinence programs were not gutted in the fight against AIDS. On January 9, he was told that he had been asked by President-elect Obama to stay on in this job. But as soon as Obama was sworn in, he was thrown out: on January 22, one day after Hillary Clinton was confirmed as secretary of state, he was notified by her staff to find another job. Why? News reports show that Dybul was accused of working too closely with the Catholic Church. Goosby’s name was then floated, but because it seemed like a rush to judgment, many complained that the process was unfair. So Goosby’s appointment was held up.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Prince Charles takes his environment campaign to the Vatican

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/L'Osservatore Romano, ho

Pope Benedict XVI, center, poses with Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla on the occasion of their meeting, at the Vatican.

Enlarge photo...

Times & Transcript
Published Monday April 27th, 2009

ROME - Pope Benedict and Prince Charles discussed their mutual concern for the environment as the heir to the British throne brought his campaign to fight climate change to the Vatican on Monday.

Charles, accompanied by his wife, Camilla, looked relaxed but the Duchess of Cornwall appeared less so in a private meeting in the Pope's library. The couple sat across a wooden table from Benedict for the 15-minute conversation in English.

It was Charles' first visit with the pontiff since Benedict was elected Pope in 2005. The prince and his late wife Diana had met with John Paul, whom Benedict succeeded.

Charles and Camilla postponed their wedding by a day in 2005 so he could attend John Paul's funeral in St. Peter's Square.

"He was a wonderful man," Charles told the Pope as he left the library. "We miss him terribly."

Both Charles and Benedict have made several appeals in recent years on the need to protect the environment.

See also, "Holy Father holds meetings with Prince Charles and President of Belarus."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

In Memoriam: Father Stanley Jaki

What a loss; Fr. Jaki was such a brilliant man--a true champion for Christ and philosophical realism. He was vastly underappreciated by the liberal establishment of both the Church and the general scientific community. He, however, left an incredibly profound body of work that will be appreciated more and more as the years go by.

Dear Fr. Jaki, may you rest in peace...

One of the most influential scientific minds in the Church died on April 7. He gave respectability to the view that, far from being essentially at odds, Christianity and science are natural allies. His burial will be at Pannonhalma Abbey, Hungary, on April 29

By Robert Mauro

SUNDAY, APRIL 26, 2009 — Father Stanley Ladislas Jaki, OSB (1924-2009), Distinguished Professor of Physics at Seton Hall University, New Jersey, since 1975 and one of the world's leading historians of science and its relationship with religion, died in Madrid on April 7, 2009, reportedly of a heart attack, at the age of 84 (the photo shows him just a few days before his death, in Rome in March of this year). He will be buried on Wednesday in his native Hungary.

Jaki was a prolific writer, authoring dozens of books, articles and essays covering everything from the metaphysics of the Eucharist, to the primacy of the Apostle Peter, to exactly where and how Charles Darwin went woefully wrong. In short, Father Jaki was one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century and his contributions to Catholic thought and culture will be difficult to quantify.

One of the central questions he dealt with was this: How is it that science became a self-sustaining enterprise only in the Christian West? Jaki believed the answer lay in the Christian faith, in belief in the Incarnation, and his life work was to show why this was so.

Reuters Sun Apr 26, 9:23 AM ET
Enlarge photo...

Tapestries depicting five new saints hang from Saint Peter's facade at the Vatican during a canonisation mass led by Pope Benedict XVI April 26, 2009.REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

The Eucharist as the response to the crisis and loss of meaning of our time, says Pope

» 04/26/2009 17:10

Benedict XVI canonises five new saints, examples of how it is possible “to set the bases to build a society open to justice and solidarity, overcoming the economic and cultural unbalance that continues to exist in much of our planet.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Since the time Jesus was physically present among the Apostles until today, marked by a major economic crisis and a loss of meaning especially among the young, the faithful have found inspiration and support in the Eucharist. In “a conversion that changes the heart at the root and is translated in coherent actions through the Gospel,” it is possible “to set the bases to build a society open to justice and solidarity and overcome the economic and cultural unbalance that continues to exist in much of our planet.”

This is the lesson Benedict XVI has drawn from the lives of five blessed, four Italians and one Portuguese, who were canonised today in a solemn Mass celebrated in the parvis of St Peter’s Basilica, on a grey day, before 30,000 people. They are: Arcangelo Tadini, (1846-1912), founder of the Congregation of Worker Sisters of the Holy House of Nazareth; Bernardo Tolomei (1272-1348), abbot , founder of the Congregation of the Blessed Virgin of Monte Oliveto of the Order of Saint Benedict; Nuno de santa Maria Álvares Pereira (1360-1431), a friar in the Carmelite order; Geltrude Comensoli (1847-1903), foundress of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (the Sacramentine Sisters); and Caterina Volpicelli (1839-1894), foundress of the Congregation of the Servants of the Holy Heart.

“The different human and spiritual moments in the lives of these new saints,” said the Pope, “show us the profound renewal in man’s heart that results form the mystery of Christ’s resurrection, a fundamental mystery that leads and guides the whole history of Salvation. Hence, the Church rightly and always urges us to look upon the Risen Christ, at Eastertide especially, who is truly present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.”

See also:

"Pope Benedict points to new saints for encouragement and joy"

"Pope Benedict names five new saints including Portugal's independence leader"

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pope's Holy Land Trip Seen as "Bridge for Peace"

JERUSALEM, APRIL 24, 2009 ( Benedict XVI's trip to the Holy Land next month is being billed by a Web site of Israel's Ministry of Tourism as a "Bridge for Peace."

"Holy Land Pilgrimage: A Bridge for Peace" is the official slogan used on the ministry's official Web page of the Pope's May 11-15 visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The site is presented in seven languages, and does not include information on the Pontiff's May 8-11 visit to Jordan.

"His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI's pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a mission of peace and reconciliation," the site explains. "The Pontiff’s visit to Yad Vashem (The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority) in Jerusalem is another expression of his solidarity with the Jewish people and his acknowledgement of the horrors of the Holocaust."

--- --- ---

On the Net:

Holy Land Pilgrimage:

Benedict XVI may issue social encyclical on June 29

Pope Benedict XVI

Rome, Italy, Apr 24, 2009 / 11:37 am (CNA).- The Italian media published statements Thursday by the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Renato Martino, who said Pope Benedict XVI would publish his third encyclical—this time on social issues—on June 29.

“I believe June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, will be the definitive date” for the publication of the document, the cardinal said during a congress on globalization at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. According to Vatican sources, the encyclical’s title could be “Caritas in veritatis.” It will focus on social changes that have occurred in the world since Paul VI’s encyclical “Populorum Progressio” and since the advent of globalization.

Benedict XVI’s first two encyclicals were “Deus caritas est,” published in 2006, and “Spe salvi,” published in 2007.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jesuit's archive adds to evidence showing Pius XII to be ‘greatest hero of World War II’

Pope Pius XII

New York City, N.Y., Apr 24, 2009 / 05:26 am (CNA).- The Pave the Way Foundation has told CNA that the archives of the late Fr. Robert Graham S.J., who was the Vatican's top expert on the wartime role of Pope Pius XII, will add to the evidence showing Pope Pius XII to be “the greatest hero of World War II.”

The Vatican has been collecting evidence of Pope Pius XII’s assistance to Jews in Italy, which will be opened in 2013 when its cataloguing efforts are complete.

However, some Jewish groups have accused Pope Pius XII of not doing enough to stop Nazi persecution of Jews in the Holocaust.

The non-sectarian Pave the Way Foundation (PTWF), based in New York City, will have exclusive access to the documents of Fr. Graham.

On its website the Pave the Way Foundation says it is “dedicated to achieving peace by closing the gap in tolerance, education and the practical relations between religions, through cultural, technological and intellectual exchanges. We strive to eliminate the use of religion as a tool which, historically has been used, by some, to achieve personal agendas and to cause conflicts.”

CNA contacted PTWF for comment and spoke with Gary Krupp, who is president of the Pave the Way Foundation.

Krupp told CNA that Fr. Dennis McManus will head the analysis team, probably in Washington, D.C.

Fr. McManus, a visiting professor of theology and interreligious studies at Georgetown University, is also a Consultant on Jewish Affairs for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The research team will first digitize the documents and then assemble them, as they are in disarray. Once the documents are assembled and analyzed, they will be published on the Internet in order “to end this problem between Jews and Catholics,” said Krupp, who is Jewish.

Krupp said the digital version of many of the documents will be available in the Education section of the PTWF website, and that many related documents are already on-line.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bible can only be understood with the Church, Pope tells scholars

Vatican City, Apr 23, 2009 / 11:00 am (CNA).- On Thursday morning, Pope Benedict addressed representatives of the Pontifical Biblical Commission following their plenary assembly and said that a correct understanding of Scripture does not come from "the individualistic illusion that biblical texts can be better understood outside the community of believers" but rather rises from the Tradition of the Church.

"Inspiration and truth in the Bible," the theme of the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s plenary assembly, is one that touches on a topic that biblical scholars have vigorously debated during the last century. Much of biblical scholarship, Catholic and non-Catholic, has developed into an academic study separated from the living memory of the Church.

This morning the Pope received thirty representatives of the Pontifical Biblical Commission who just held their full assembly, under the leadership of Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pope at General Audience: Greed, Root of Economic Crisis

Pope: greed, the "root" of the current global economic crisis

» 04/22/2009 14:31

At the general audience, Benedict XVI illustrates the figure of Autpertus, an 8th century monk who spoke of greed as "the sole root of all vices." At the end of the audience, he again entrusted to the young people the cross of WYD, which John Paul II gave to them 25 years ago, "so that many young people may discover the mercy of God and revive within their hearts hope in Christ crucified and risen."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Greed, which views possession and appearance as the most important things in the world, is the real root of the current global economic crisis. Benedict XVI again today pointed to a "vice" of the human heart as the profound cause of the economic situation. He has expressed this view repeatedly, most recently in Luanda, during his trip to Africa, when he spoke of "the greed that corrupts the heart of man," or at the beginning of April, when in a message addressed to the G20 summit he wrote that the origin of the crisis there is also a "failure of correct ethical behavior."

Today, Benedict XVI took the opportunity to talk about greed from Ambrose Autpertus, an 8th century author who is "not very well known," as he said to the 35,000 people present in St. Peter's Square for the general audience.

Autpertus was from a "distinguished family" in Provence, and served in the court of Pepin as the tutor of the future emperor Charlemagne. After joining the entourage of Pope Stephen II, who had gone to visit the Franks, he went to Italy, and stayed at the Benedictine abbey of San Vincenzo in Volturno "an oasis of classical and Christian culture." He entered the religious life there, and in 771 was ordained a priest. Seven years later he became abbot, with the support of the Frankish monks, while the Lombards supported another candidate. "Political rivalry had even entered the life of the monasteries"; the "nationalistic tensions" did not die down, and in 778 Autpertus decided to leave the monastery and go with some Frankish monks to Spoleto, under the patronage of Charlemagne. But the tensions returned, with the abbot denouncing Charlemagne and the calling of a pontifical tribunal. Called as a witness, he died during the trip, possibly by murder, in 784.

The economic crisis was born from greed, Pope Benedict says

Vatican City, Apr 22, 2009 / 12:11 pm (CNA).- Today at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope focused his attention on the monk Ambrose Autpert. Drawing on the monk's teachings, the Pope pointed to greed as the root of the global economic crisis.

Continuing his series of teachings on the great writers of the Eastern and Western Churches in the middle ages, the Holy Father explained that Ambrose Autpert "is a little-known author of the eighth century.

Born to a high-ranking family in Provence, France, Autpert was tutor to the future emperor Charlemagne before traveling to Italy to enter a Benedictine monastery. He was ordained a priest in 761 and was elected abbot 16 years later. He died on January 30, 784.

See also, "Ambrose Autpert Discovered the Church's True Face."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vatican tells Times to retract 'completely untrue' story about Pope's gift to Charles and Camilla

Damian Thompson

Holy Smoke

The Vatican has demanded that The Times retract a "completely untrue" story that Pope Benedict XVI planned to present a "luxury facsimile" of the 1530 appeal by English peers to Pope Clement VII asking for the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

So The Times has apparently been hoaxed twice in 24 hours. By someone claiming that the Papal Nuncio had been rushed to hospital and that his reception was cancelled; and by someone claiming that the Pope was planning to present the Prince of Wales with a supremely undiplomatic present reminding him of the royal divorce leading to England's breach with Rome. (Hat tip: CNS.)

See also, "The Vatican requests a retraction."

Vatican deplores extremist use of Durban II conference

» 04/21/2009 14:38

In a press release the Vatican says the international meeting should lead to the elimination of all forms of racism, xenophobia and intolerance in line with what Benedict XVI said.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Vatican “deplores” the use of the Durban II conference to adopt “political positions, of an extremist and offensive nature, against any State”. It will remain present at the conference “in a spirit of dialogue and mutual acceptance,” as expressed by Pope Benedict XVI, “so as to put an end to every form of racism, discrimination and intolerance”.

“The Press Office of the Holy See, through its Director, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, anticipated yesterday evening some comments concerning the speech given yesterday by the Iranian President at the Review Conference of the Durban Declaration of 2001 against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”

“Moreover, the Press Office wishes to recall the words of Pope Benedict XVI, who said last Sunday: ‘I express heartfelt prayers that the Delegates present at the Geneva Conference will work together, in a spirit of dialogue and mutual acceptance, so as to put an end to every form of racism, discrimination and intolerance, thereby marking a fundamental step towards the affirmation of the universal value of human dignity and human rights, within a framework of respect and justice for every person and every people.’ In consequence, the Holy See deplores the use of this United Nations forum for the adoption of political positions, of an extremist and offensive nature, against any State. This does not contribute to dialogue and it provokes an unacceptable atmosphere of conflict.”

“What is needed, instead, is to make good use of this important opportunity to engage in dialogue together, according to the line of action that the Holy See has always adopted, with a view to effectively combating the racism and intolerance that still today affect children, women, those of African descent, migrants, indigenous peoples etc. in every part of the world. The Holy See, in renewing the Pope’s appeal, reiterates that its own Delegation at the Conference is working in this spirit.”

See also, "Durban II: UN tries to salvage final document."

Monday, April 20, 2009

BENEDICT XVI/ A modern and radical Pope for an Age in Identity Crisis

John Waters
lunedì 20 aprile 2009

How recent seem those momentous spring days of 2005 when his predecessor both saddened us by his going and uplifted us with the dignity of his dying, reminding that only in faith can humanity see past the ineluctable frontier. And then the moment of succession, the emergence of the resolute figure of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to take the baton of St Peter in a time of unprecedented doubting and growing terror.

Benedict was, by the secular media analysis, a stop-gap and a throwback, a "reactionary", a "right-winger", an obscurantist. But what has emerged is what was implicit in his majesterial writings over several decades: a supreme intellect mounted in a most animated humanity, a man who in his lifetime has watched mankind lurch between great good and the greatest evil, and seeks to reconcile these observations with the truths he has inherited.

One of the many paradoxes of being Pope in the modern world is that you must speak through a megaphone controlled by your enemies. If John Paul II was an actor who communicated by disarming the megaphone-holders with charisma and charm, Benedict’s strategy is determined subversion of the cultural codes controlled by those who oppose virtually everything the Catholic Church and its leader now stand for.

From the outset Pope Benedict has eyeballed the culture of the age, his first two encyclicals confronting the two most pressing issues of our time: the haemorrhaging from public language of, respectively, love and hope. "In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence ... I wish in my first Encyclical to speak of the love which God lavishes upon us and which we in turn must share with others", he wrote in Deus Caritas Est. God is love, not hate.

This subtle and brilliant Pope has struggled to be heard in a media climate characterised by sabotage and diversion. Repeatedly the media sought to distort or reduce his statements, to make them fit with prejudices unfurled on his election. But Benedict has emerged from the episodes of Regensburg and La Sapienza, and more recently from attempted misrepresentations of his statements about human sexuality and the controversy concerning condoms as a means of combating Aids, as a man of courage and grace, his message undiluted, his status enhanced in the human spaces beyond the news desks and the studios of the international media.

Pope to present gift to Charles

Prince Charles and Camilla are both on their second marriage

BBC News
1 hour, 30 minutes ago

The Pope is planning to present the Prince of Wales with a memento of Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon at a meeting next week.

The prince will get a copy of the 1530 appeal by English peers to Pope Clement VII asking for a marriage annulment.

Pope Benedict will also meet Charles's second wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.

The gift is being seen as an attempt to help heal centuries of schism between Rome and the Church of England, which was established by Henry VIII.

It will be Charles's first audience at the Vatican since his divorce from the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Current wife Camilla has also been married before.

Stefano Della Zana, from Scrinium publishers, which is reproducing the special document, said: "It is kept in the Vatican secret archives. This is absolutely the first time anyone has been given a copy."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

God's love unites humanity into a single family, Pope Benedict says

Vatican City, Apr 19, 2009 / 10:36 am (CNA).- At the Regina Coeli on Sunday, which he recited with pilgrims at Castelgandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI focused on the themes of the Divine Mercy and the unity of the Church. The “merciful love of God,” he said, “firmly unites the Church” and makes humanity “a single family.”

Pope Benedict also recalled that it was John Paul II who pointed out "to all the risen Christ as the source of trust and hope, accepting the spiritual message transmitted by the Lord to Saint Faustina Kowalska, synthesized in the invocation 'Jesus, I trust in you!'"

The Holy Father began by expressing his thanks for the greetings he had received for his birthday on April 16 and for the anniversary of his election as pontiff on April 19, 2005. "In the atmosphere of joy that comes from faith in the risen Christ," he said, "I desire to express a most cordial 'thank you' to all those, and they are truly many, who have sent me a sign of affection and spiritual closeness in these days, both for the Easter celebrations and for my birthday, April 16, and also for the fourth anniversary of my election to the see of Peter, which falls today. I thank the Lord for all of this sincere affection.”

“As I had the opportunity to say recently, I never feel alone,” he continued. “Even more during this extraordinary week, which in terms of the liturgy constitutes a single day, I have experienced the communion that surrounds and supports me: a spiritual solidarity, essentially nourished by prayer, which is manifested in a thousand ways.”

See also, "Pope: UN Durban review conference on racism "important."

Faustina--a film evocative of St. Faustina's life and message

This film is a very beautiful dramatization of St. Faustina's life and message of Divine Mercy:

Faustina - Dramatised Film-1 of 8

See also:

Faustina - Dramatised Film-2 of 8"

"Faustina - Dramatised Film-3 of 8"

"Faustina - Dramatised Film-4 of 8"

"Faustina - Dramatised Film-5 of 8"

"Faustina - Dramatised Film-6 of 8"

"Faustina - Dramatised Film-7 of 8"

"Faustina - Dramatised Film-8 of 8"

The Life of St. Faustina


See also:






St. Faustina and Devotion to Divine Mercy

By Pope John Paul II
Catholic Online (

The light of divine mercy, which the Lord in a way wished to return to the world through Sr Faustina’s charism, will illumine the way for the men and women of the third millennium.

And you, Faustina, a gift of God to our time, a gift from the land of Poland to the whole Church, obtain for us an awareness of the depth of divine mercy; help us to have a living experience of it and to bear witness to it among our brothers and sisters. May your message of light and hope spread throughout the world, spurring sinners to conversion, calming rivalries and hatred and opening individuals and nations to the practice of brotherhood. Today, fixing our gaze with you on the face of the risen Christ, let us make our own your prayer of trusting abandonment and say with firm hope: Christ Jesus, I trust in you!

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - Since April of 2000 the Second Sunday of Easter has been designated as Divine Mercy Sunday. On this Divine Mercy Sunday we offer our readers excerpts from the late Servant of God John Paul II's Homily given at the Canonization Sister Faustina Kowalska on April 30, 2000:

Sr. Faustina Kowalska and Divine Mercy

Today my joy is truly great in presenting the life and witness of Sr Faustina Kowalska to the whole Church as a gift of God for our time. By divine Providence, the life of this humble daughter of Poland was completely linked with the history of the 20th century, the century we have just left behind. In fact, it was between the First and Second World Wars that Christ entrusted his message of mercy to her. Those who remember, who were witnesses and participants in the events of those years and the horrible sufferings they caused for millions of people, know well how necessary was the message of mercy.

Jesus told Sr Faustina: “Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy”. Through the work of the Polish religious, this message has become linked for ever to the 20th century, the last of the second millennium and the bridge to the third. It is not a new message but can be considered a gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel of Easter more intensely, to offer it as a ray of light to the men and women of our time.

What will the years ahead bring us? What will man’s future on earth be like? We are not given to know. However, it is certain that in addition to new progress there will unfortunately be no lack of painful experiences. But the light of divine mercy, which the Lord in a way wished to return to the world through Sr Faustina’s charism, will illumine the way for the men and women of the third millennium.

It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called “Divine Mercy Sunday”. In the various readings, the liturgy seems to indicate the path of mercy which, while re-establishing the relationship of each person with God, also creates new relations of fraternal solidarity among human beings. Christ has taught us that man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called to practice mercy towards others: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”. He also showed us the many paths of mercy, which not only forgives sins but reaches out to all human needs. Jesus bent over every kind of human poverty, material and spiritual.

It is not easy to love with a deep love, which lies in the authentic gift of self. This love can only be learned by penetrating the mystery of God’s love. Looking at him, being one with his fatherly heart, we are able to look with new eyes at our brothers and sisters, with an attitude of unselfishness and solidarity, of generosity and forgiveness. All this is mercy!

Divine Mercy Sunday

« April 19, 2009 »

Daily Readings (on USCCB site):
April 19, 2009
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Collect: God of mercy, you wash away our sins in water, you give us new birth in the Spirit, and redeem us in the blood of Christ. As we celebrate Christ's resurrection increase our awareness of these blessings, and renew your gift of life within us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

"I shall sing forever the Lord's mercy." (Ps 89 [88]) This Sunday is popularly known as Mercy of God Sunday. Between 1930 and 1938 Christ appeared to Sister Faustina, a Sister of Mercy in Poland who initiated the Divine Mercy devotion. She was canonized on April 30, 2000, the Sunday after Easter, the Feast of Divine Mercy. On Good Friday, 1937, Jesus requested that Blessed Faustina make a special novena before the Feast of Mercy, from Good Friday through the following Saturday. Jesus also asked that a picture be painted according to the vision of Himself as the fountain of mercy. He gave her a chaplet to be recited and said that it was appropriate to pray the chaplet at three o'clock each afternoon (the Hour of Great Mercy).

Stational Church


Jesus to Sr. FaustinaOn one occasion, I heard these words: "My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.

"[Let] the greatest sinners place their trust in My mercy. They have the right before others to trust in the abyss of My mercy. My daughter, write about My mercy towards tormented souls. Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy. Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.

"From all My wounds, like from streams, mercy flows for souls, but the wound in My Heart is the fountain of unfathomable mercy. From this fountain spring all graces for souls. The flames of compassion burn Me. I desire greatly to pour them out upon souls. Speak to the whole world about My mercy."

Excerpted from Diary of Sr. M. Faustina Kowalska.

Things to Do:

Read the Apostolic Peniteniary Decree on the Indulgences attached to devotions in honour of Divine Mercy

Read Dives in misericordia, the encyclical Letter of John Paul II on Mercy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus: we need the pope's voice of truth

» 04/18/2009 15:40

by William Gomes

On the occasion of Benedict XVI's birthday, representatives of various religions in Bangladesh pledge their prayers "for his life and ministry." The venerable Dhirbangsha Bikkhu, a Buddhist monk: "we want to see the pope in our midst, his presence will bring peace and happiness to the nation."

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - "We want to see the pope in our midst, we will be blessed to see him in Bangladesh, his presence will bring peace and happiness to the nation, I wish and pray his long life.” This is the wish that the venerable Dhirbangsha Bikkhu, a Buddhist monk of the international monastery in Dhaka, has sent to Benedict XVI on the occasion of his 82nd birthday.

In Europe, the direct attacks on the pope continue, not least among them the official protest presented to the Holy See by the Belgian parliament, because of "the unacceptable stance taken by the pope on the occasion of his trip to Africa." But the messages coming from Bangladesh, which has an overwhelming Muslim majority population (more than 88% of the 144 million inhabitants), instead express respect and closeness to the pope.

The venerable Dhirbangsha Bikkhu tells AsiaNews that "Benedict XVI is the father of peace, he works for peace and a religion of peace." Together with the wishes from the Buddhist monk, there are others from Muslims like Ubaidur Rahman Khan Nadwi, assistant editor of the newspaper Daily Inqilab: "We appreciate his firm work for interreligious peace and harmony. We especially appreciate his deep concern over states declaring war, propagating evil policies and oppressing the Muslims. We need his voice of truth and peace. We pray for his long life."

CBS to air movie on 'courageous' Polish Catholic who rescued Jewish children

New York City, N.Y., Apr 18, 2009 / 12:58 pm (CNA).- On Sunday evening CBS will broadcast a movie about the heroic efforts and “courageous heart” of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker who created and led an underground group that rescued Jewish children from Nazi persecution. Sendler created and led a conspiracy of women who moved in and out of Warsaw’s Jewish Ghetto disguised as nurses. While saying that they were simply to prevent and contain the spread of Typhus and Spotted Fever, Sendler and her companions helped the children of consenting Jewish parents escape imminent deportation to death camps, CBS' website says.

The children were sometimes sedated and hidden inside boxes, suitcases and coffins to escape the ghetto. They were given new identities and placed with Polish families and in convents.

Sendler kept a hidden record of the children’s birth names and locations in hopes that they could be reunited with their families. About 2,500 children were smuggled to safety, with none being discovered by the Nazis.

After the Nazis discovered her operation in 1943, Sendler was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo, who broke her feet. On the day of her execution, she was rescued by the underground network “Zegota,” with which she had worked to save Jewish children.

She kept a Divine Mercy holy card from her prison cell until 1979, when she gave the card to Pope John Paul II as a gift.

Difference between Special Graces and Plenary Indulgence Explained for Divine Mercy Sunday

The Divine Mercy

By Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD (Apr 16, 2009)
The following column was first posted on Jan. 17, 2007:

This week, a Mr. Dwyer asked: What is the difference between the special graces promised by Jesus for devout communicants on Divine Mercy Sunday, and the plenary indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday devotions that was instituted several years ago by Pope John Paul II? Are they the same thing? Or are they different?

Simply put: They are NOT the same thing!

The main difference, of course, is that an "indulgence" is something offered to the faithful by the Church, as the keeper of the keys of the kingdom, with authority to "bind and loose" (see Mt 16:17-19). The special graces of Divine Mercy Sunday, on the other hand, were promised directly by our Lord, through a prophetic revelation given to St. Faustina (see Diary of St. Faustina, 699). The Church has not officially ruled that this particular promise was an authentic supernatural revelation (and no Catholic is required to believe it as a matter of faith), but the Church has discerned, in various ways, that there is nothing that violates Catholic doctrine in this promise.

Briefly, here are the other main differences between the "special graces" promised by Jesus for Mercy Sunday, and the plenary indulgence offered by the Church for special devotions to The Divine Mercy on Mercy Sunday:

1) The special graces that our Lord promised for Divine Mercy Sunday come solely through the reception of Holy Communion on that day, in a state of grace, with trust in The Divine Mercy. Any plenary indulgence granted by the Church, on the other hand, involves the fulfillment of a number of conditions, including prayer for the pope's intentions, confession and Holy Eucharist, and the carrying out of the special indulgenced work (in this case, participating in public devotions to The Divine Mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday itself).

See also the article by David Came, "A Gift of Divine Mercy," with an excerpt from his new book Pope Benedict's Divine Mercy Mandate.

Easter Saturday: 9th day of the Novena to the Divine Mercy

Today, Easter Saturday, is the 9th day of the Novena to the Divine Mercy:

"Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm,

and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: 'Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.' For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy."

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.

Saturday in the Octave of Easter

Catholic Culture
« April 18, 2009 »

Daily Readings (on USCCB site):
April 18, 2009
(will open a new window)

Collect: Father of love, by the outpouring of your grace you increase the number of those who believe in you. Watch over your chosen family. Give undying life to all who have been born again in baptism. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

"Lastly, He showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy.... And He said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.'" (Mark 16: 14-15)

On coming out of the baptismal font on Easter Sunday, the neophytes (newly baptized) were given a white symbolic garment, which they wore throughout the Easter Octave. Easter Saturday was known as "the Saturday on which white vestments are laid aside," or Saturday "in albis (depositis)." It was also called "Low Saturday." The octave ends tomorrow, but the Easter Season continues for five more weeks.

Stational Church

Meditation: The Power that Regenerates the World

Earthly history and the workings of the cosmos undoubtedly continue their course and are not identified with the rate at which the Kingdom of Christ develops. In fact, pain, evil, sin, death, yet claim their victims, in spite of the resurrection of Christ.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI to visit the Abruzzo earthquake zone

From Times Online
April 17, 2009

(Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty)
The death toll from the earthquake has risen to 295 after a 19 year old died in hospital from his injuries

Richard Owen in Rome

Pope Benedict XVI is to visit the Abruzzo earthquake zone on 1 May, a week before his trip to the Holy Land, according to rescue workers in the L'Aquila area.

The Vatican said the papal visit to the earthquake zone had yet to be confirmed. However officials involved in the rescue and evacuation effort told Italian media they had been told to expect visit by the Pope on 1 May, a public holiday.

He would arrive by helicopter and meet rescue workers at the Finance Police barracks at L'Aquila, where a mass funeral for the earthquake victims was held a week ago. It is not clear however whether the Pope will hold a memorial mass.

The Pope, who is preparing for his trip to the Holy Land starting on 8 May, celebrated his 82nd birthday yesterday (Thursday) at Caselgandolfo, the papal residence in the Alban Hills south of Rome. On Sunday he will mark the fourth anniversary of his election as pontiff in succession to John Paul II.

The death toll from the earthquake has risen to 295 after a 19 year old named as Tonino Colonna died in hospital from his injuries. The Cabinet led by Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister, is to meet in L'Aquila this evening (Friday) to pass emergency measures to help those affected by the earthquake and launch a reconstruction plan estimated at 12 billion Euros.

John Paul II’s ‘Rule’ for married couples discovered, published by newspaper

Rome, Italy, Apr 17, 2009 / 09:45 am (CNA).- In its Thursday printed edition, the Italian daily Il Messagero published an unknown booklet written by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla in 1968 to help married couples in his Polish diocese implement the Encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” released that same year by Pope Paul VI. The text, entitled “Rule for Spouses,” was never made public outside the Archdiocese of Krakow, but was recently discovered by a student from the John Paul II Institute for Life and Family in Rome.

The booklet will be officially presented on April 24, but on Thursday Il Messagero published a full version in Italian, as well as Wojtyla’s introduction to the Rule on its website (in Italian).

“In the future Polish Pope’s observation,” Il Messagero writes, “there is a prophetic concern for the crisis of values that affects the destiny of Western civilization and its models.

In his introduction, Wojtyla wrote that “the present Rule sprouts from a series of pastoral experiences with some married couples and, at the same time, from the marriage experience of couples themselves.”

Easter Friday: 8th day of the Novena to the Divine Mercy

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Today, Easter Friday, is the 8th day of the Novena to the Divine Mercy:

"Today bring to Me the Souls who are in the prison of Purgatory,

and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice."

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.

Friday in the Octave of Easter

Catholic Culture
« April 17, 2009 »

Daily Readings (on USCCB site):
April 17, 2009
(will open a new window)

Collect: Father, you gather the nations to praise your name. May all who are reborn in baptism be one in faith and love. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

"Children, have you any fish?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!"

Over the charcoal fire, Peter is given the opportunity to tell Jesus he loves Him, three times, repairing for his triple denial of Christ at His Passion.

Stational Church


Easter reminds us of these fundamental requirements of the Christian life: the practice of piety and patience. Through piety we live detached from human frailties, in purity of mind and body, in union with Christ. Through patience we succeed in strengthening our character and controlling our temper so as to become more pleasing to the Lord and an example and encouragement to others, in the various contingencies of social life.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pope turns 82; new kid's book details daily life

People take pictures of Pope Benedict XVI as he is driven through the crowd during his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 15, 2009.
(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Enlarge photo…

AP via Yahoo! News
By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 23 mins ago

VATICAN CITY – A new illustrated children's book detailing Pope Benedict XVI's daily life was published Thursday as the pontiff celebrated his 82nd birthday in the quiet company of his older brother.

"Max and Benedict," about a sparrow's impressions of the pope from his perch on St. Peter's Basilica, is a sequel of sorts to the 2007 children's book "Joseph and Chico," which told the story of the pope's early years from the point of view of a tabby cat.

The new book contains no revelations about the pontiff's daily routine, but its narrator, Max, proves to be a charming eyewitness to the work both spiritual and bureaucratic that occupies Benedict's day.

"I can say he's a tireless worker, but also likeable and cordial," a longtime collaborator of the pope, Monsignor Damiano Marzotto, wrote in a prologue to the book.

There's Mass at around 7 a.m. with Benedict's "family" — his two secretaries, cook and other aides. Around 8 a.m., he moves into his study to read the newspapers, correspondences, documents and speeches he will deliver later in the day.

"If only you knew how much he reads in a day!" Max marvels. "We shouldn't be surprised, since the life of the Catholic church in every corner of the world passes by his desk."

See also:

Pope Benedict celebrates his 82nd birthday"

Pope Benedict XVI spends 82nd birthday resting"

"Birthday greetings for pope from sisters of Mother Teresa in Orissa"

Easter Thursday: 7th day of the Novena to the Divine Mercy

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Today, Easter Thursday, is the 7th day of the Novena to the Divine Mercy:

Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy*,

and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:

Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.

*The text leads one to conclude that in the first prayer directed to Jesus, Who is the Redeemer, it is "victim" souls and contemplatives that are being prayed for; those persons, that is, that voluntarily offered themselves to God for the salvation of their neighbor (see Col 1:24; 2 Cor 4:12). This explains their close union with the Savior and the extraordinary efficacy that their invisible activity has for others. In the second prayer, directed to the Father from whom comes "every worthwhile gift and every genuine benefit,"we recommend the "active" souls, who promote devotion to The Divine Mercy and exercise with it all the other works that lend themselves to the spiritual and material uplifting of their brethren.

Thursday in the Octave of Easter

Catholic Culture
« April 16, 2009 »

Daily Readings (on USCCB site):
April 16, 2009
(will open a new window)

Collect: Father, you gather the nations to praise your name. May all who are reborn in baptism be one in faith and love. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

"Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you!'" The Gospel tells of an appearance of Jesus in the Cenacle on the very day of His resurrection. The newly baptized (neophytes) and all Christians with them, must live like the risen Christ, none but a heavenly life and by their manner of living proclaim their faith in Christ.

"This is the day the Lord has made, Alleluia!
Let us rejoice and be glad, Alleluia!"

Outside of the Easter Octave, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Bernadette. Bernadette, the oldest of six children, was born in Lourdes, France, in 1844. At the age of 14, between 11 February 1858 and 16 July 1858, Bernadette had 18 visions of the Immaculate Conception in a local grotto near the bank of the River Gave, near Lourdes. During the visions, Mary requested prayer and penitence, asked for the construction of a new church, and led Bernadette to a fresh water spring believed to have miraculous healing powers. Despite strong doubt and even opposition from political and church officials, Bernadette's faith in what she had witnessed remained steadfast and humble. Saint Bernadette longed to become a Carmelite nun, but ill health prevented her from doing so. In 1866, she retreated from the public eye to the convent Notre Dame at Nevers where she remained until her death at the age of 35.

Stational Church

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pope: Resurrection "a real historical event"

Jesus' Resurrection was a 'real historical event,' Pope proclaims

Vatican City, Apr 15, 2009 / 09:59 am (CNA).- At his first General Audience of this Easter Season, Pope Benedict XVI said before more than 30,000 people that Christians must forcefully proclaim Jesus' Resurrection as “a real historical event, borne out by many authoritative witnesses.”

"The astonishing novelty of the Resurrection is so important that the Church never ceases to proclaim it, perpetuating its memory, especially on Sundays, the Lord's Day and the weekly Easter of the people of God," explained the Pope, who traveled to the Vatican by helicopter from his residence in Castel Gandolfo.

Instead of a far away, mythical story, we must proclaim Jesus' Resurrection as “a real historical event, borne out by many authoritative witnesses,” Pope Benedict insisted. “We affirm it forcefully because, even in our own times, there is no lack of people who seek to deny its historical truth, reducing the Gospel narrative to a myth, thus repeating old worn-out theories as if they were new and scientific."

» 04/15/2009 13:39

The Resurrection, an historical event that changes the world’s and everyone’s reality, says Pope

During the general audience people sing “Happy Birthday” to Benedict XVI on his 82nd birthday, celebrating also the anniversary of his pontificate which falls on 19 April. The truth of Easter is “the announcement that generations of men and women have welcomed and born witness to through the centuries, frequently at the cost of their own life.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – About 25,000 people were present in St Peter’s Square for today’s general audience. They sang “Happy Birthday” to Benedict XVI in several languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Croatian and Italian) to mark his 82nd birthday—the Pontiff was in fact born in Marktl am Inn (Germany) on 16 April 1927—and the anniversary of his pontificate (19 April). Choirs sang to the sound of musical bands as Benedict XVI looked on, smiling.

In his address to the gathering the Holy Father spoke about the “overwhelming novelty” of Easter, the “spiritual bliss that no suffering or pain can erase” because based on the “certainty that Christ with his resurrection was the triumph of good over death and evil.” Novelty and bliss generate “a festive atmosphere that lasts for 50 days, until Pentecost, as the mystery of Easter embraces our entire existence” and is “so important that the Church never ceases proclaiming it, each Sunday, the weekly Easter of the people of God.”

Easter Wednesday: 6th day of the Novena to the Divine Mercy

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Today, Easter Wednesday, is the 6th day of the Novena to the Divine Mercy:

Today bring to Me the Meek and Humble Souls and the Souls of Little Children,

and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.

Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, "Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart." Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father's favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

Catholic Culture
« April 15, 2009 »

Daily Readings (on USCCB site):
April 15, 2009
(will open a new window)

Collect: God our Father, on this solemn feast you give us the joy of recalling the rising of Christ to new life. May the joy of our annual celebration bring us to the joy of eternal life. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today the Gospel relates the story of the disciples and Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Through the holy Eucharist we are drawn deeper and deeper into the saving death and glorious resurrection of the immortal Christ. Like Cleophas and Luke of Emmaus we are Table-guests of Christ, we know Him, our crucified and risen Lord, in the breaking of the Bread; our cold hearts begin to burn, our blind eyes are opened, and our souls are filled with that paschal peace and joy with which these two disciples hastened from Emmaus back to Jerusalem on that first blessed Easter evening. — Vine and Branches, Martin Hellriegel, 1948.

The Octave of Easter, throughout which formerly servile work was forbidden, was one continual feast in the Church's eyes. Each day the newly baptized attended Mass at a Stational Church, at which they received Holy Commmunion. In the evening they went to St. John Lateran for the office of Vespers.

Stational Church

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pope to visit northern Italy on November 8 to remember Paul VI

Pope Benedict XVI / Pope Paul VI

Vatican City, Apr 14, 2009 / 09:40 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI will travel to the city of Brescia in northern Italy on November 8 to preside at the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the death of Pope Paul VI.

The Pontiff will inaugurate the “Paul VI Center” at Brescia, dedicated to preserving the late-Pope's writings and promoting the authentic interpretation of Vatican II.

The home where Giovanni Montini (Paul VI) was born will be part of the new center. “The visit is reason for great joy for our priests and for the entire Church in Brescia,” said Bishop Luciano Monari.

Pope Paul VI named Joseph Ratzinger the Archbishop of Munich on March 24, 1977, and then made him a cardinal on May 28 of the same year. Pope Paul VI died on August 6, 1978.