AMERICA: BRAZIL: ARCHBISHOP CALLS ON CATHOLICS TO HELP-
ASIA: INDIA: STORY OF A CONVERT: BHISHAM CHANDIRAMANI-
AFRICA: SIERRA LEONE: PASTOR ABUSED BY ADDICTS YET CONTINUES TO HELP THEM-
AUSTRALIA: FORMER PRIEST PLEADS GUILTY-
[00491-01: 01] [original: English]
I greet all the English-speaking visitors who join us for the Regina Cæli prayer on this Octave of Easter. The Church's liturgy today invites us, with the Apostle Thomas, to acknowledge the Risen Christ as our Lord and our God, and to welcome into our hearts his gifts of peace, mercy, forgiveness and new life. Upon you and your families The invoke to continued outpouring of the joy and hope born of Christ's glorious resurrection from the dead. Happy Easter! (Internet translation)
BRAZIL: ARCHBISHOP CALLS ON CATHOLICS TO HELP
CNA report: Amidst the torrential rains and mudslides that have led to more than 150 deaths in Rio de Janeiro in recent days, Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta called on Catholics to collaborate with those affected and announced a solidarity campaign through Caritas to help in this effort.
In a statement the Brazilian archbishop said, “Amidst the calamities being experienced by our city Rio de Janeiro, I ask the parishes of our archdiocese to embrace those affected … joining efforts with public authorities and other entities at this difficult time.”
Archbishop Tempesta continued, “All donations we receive will be channeled through the parishes, in order to minimize the suffering of families, whether it be material aid—such as mattresses, hygiene products, potable water or food—or financial aid.”
“During this Easter Week,” he said, “I invoke the intercession of St. Sebastian, patron of our city, that the calamities might cease, and of St. George, that the people of our city might be strengthened amidst these difficulties.”
INDIA: STORY OF A CONVERT: BHISHAM CHANDIRAMANI
Asia News report: The night of the Easter vigil in the church of S. Anna in Mumbai, a young man was baptised after a journey that began in 1998. His story, and vocation to the priesthood, begin with a mass.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Bhisham Chandiramani is a young entrepreneur of 31 from the region of Sindh. The night of the Easter Vigil he was baptized in the church of St. Anna in St. Anne's Palli in the suburb of Bandra in Mumbai. On his entry into the Church he asked God to become his apostle, to "bring the world the Good News." But his journey of faith began in 1998 when for the first time he accompanied a friend to church.
He tells his story: "Entering the church of St. Anna, that first time, was totally unexpected, almost accidental. Instead of wandering around the neighbourhood waiting for my friend, in fact, I decided to go with him. I attended the function, I was very influenced by the Eucharist, I listened carefully to the Scriptures and the Gospel, I was attracted to their teachings, I felt a sense of inner peace. I could not understand what was happening, but I certainly felt the presence of God I knew I'd be back the next day. "
The family of Bhisham, all Sindh of Hindu faith, are not fundamentalists: "My parents are not very practicing, but we were still taught prayer and faith. Especially my mother, who brought me and my younger brother to the temple of Hanuman [the monkey-god] every Saturday. But we did not understand what was happening: the bell is struck, offerings were made and nothing else. No reflection, no time together. It was a ritual, nothing more. "
In any case, "my mother taught us the correct values, and has always stressed the difference between right and wrong. Every year, during the Mahashivaratri [the "Great Night of Shiva, one of the most important festivals of Hinduism ed], my father took us on a pilgrimage to the temple of the god. And there I never understood why god, in a fit of rage, could have decapitated his son: where was the compassion and forgiveness of this god? But my father also prayed to the Virgin Mary, and every year we went to the Basilica of Our Lady of Mount to give thanks. "
Bhisham continued to go to Mass, after his first experience in February 1998, almost every day: "Every time I felt peace, and the sermons helped me in everyday life." But one Sunday morning, his father saw him leave the church and he complained to his wife. Who defended her son: "Let him be as he wishes. And he thought, well at least he was not wasting his time on dishonourable activities". the mother responded in similar tones to relatives who were starting to fear young man’s conversion.
In 2001, Bhisham felt called to serve God for the rest of his life, but his vocation was hampered by the fact that it was not a Catholic and has not yet received the Eucharist. In May the following year, however, he discovered the rosary for the first time by going to evening Mass. Devotion to the Mother of God drew him immediately and he started reciting the Marian prayer. But the same day his father fell seriously ill and Bhisham became even closer to faith. The father died on Christmas Day of that year, in peace.
On 18 December 2003, the young man moved to work in Bahrain. Even there, a Muslim emirate, he built a small altar in his room before which every day he recited the Rosary: "Even when I was very tired, I prayed. I happened to fall asleep even in the middle of my prayers". He also went to church four days a week, travelling the country in constant heat. In July 2004 he started to wonder what he was doing, so far from home; he did not want to miss the feast of Our Lady of the Mount, 8 September, and so returned home five days earlier.
In May 2006, the old Catholic woman who leads the Rosary in St. Anna moved to Goa, and the community asked Bhisham to lead the prayer. A few months later, with his brother, he opened a clothing store: wanting to make an impression he clearly chose a Christian name "Adam and Eve", and now the boutique is known for its excellent service.
In 2009, the young Hindu took the plunge and decided to start catechism: "But I did not want it to be in St. Anna, where no one knew that I was not Catholic. So I went to a nearby parish: there, the catechist threw me out saying I was late, as classes began in early July and was already at the end of the month. " Saddened, he spoke with another parishioner of St. Anna, who in 2009 led him to the priest. Although August, Bhisham was accepted into catechism.
The young man was thrilled by the class,: "The lessons were enlightening. I am fascinated by the universality of the Church which is everywhere in the world, and the fact that Catholics pray together every day on the planet with the same readings at the Eucharist. The day before my baptism, Holy Saturday, I spent in meditation I prayed asking God to be a worthy member of the chosen people. And I asked him to be faithful to him alone. However, I know that God forgives and is full of compassion for the sinner. "
The call to the priesthood is still alive in the young: "I asked the Lord to become one day, his apostle to bring the Good News to everyone." The mother of Bhisham did not attend the baptism of her son, but has no problem with his conversion. she also signed an agreement for the choice of her son and is ready to put up with the criticism of the family.
SIERRA LEONE: PASTOR ABUSED BY ADDICTS YET CONTINUES TO HELP THEM
All Africa report: Pastor Morie S. Ngobeh, who puts his age at "over 70", has been spat on and stabbed by addicts at a centre for drug abuse and mental illness in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown. He told IRIN how he got into counselling drug abusers.
"God just put this burden on my heart. I went to Bible college to pursue pastoral work. One day I saw small boys in the street; I was curious what they were up to so I approached them. They insulted me saying: 'We don't want any policemen around here.' I told them I was not a policeman. They said I was lying and told me to leave. I insisted I was not police. Then they said: 'Buy some bread for us'. I did.
"I realized they were smoking cannabis. I also saw that some of them lived in the streets, not with their parents. I was touched. I started visiting them in the ghettos. I invited them to my home. [In some cases] I worked on reconciling them with their parents. Children started coming around [to] my home; many were not ready to be free [from drugs], but came for food.
"Some of those going through treatment [for addiction at the centre] get violent. One woman took a knife and put it in my leg here." He showed a scar from the 2003 incident. "Blood started oozing out. But that lady has now been set free. Now when she sees me she greets me; even if she's in her car she brakes and gets out and hugs me and says 'This is my Daddy'.
"The joy of seeing them free is what I love...They spit in my face, stone me, insult me, insult my mother, insult my father. 'You are a bastard', 'You are this or that', 'You are a fake pastor'. So many things. But one needs to have courage. One needs to have patience and empathy. What if I were in their position?
"My doctor once told me, 'Pastor if you stay together with these people you will go mad.' I said, 'By the grace of God I will not go mad. Because God has called me to do this, I will not go mad.' I am their magistrate, I am their lawyer, I counsel them; even if they need me at midnight I am there.
"When they quarrel, I make peace and ask them to embrace themselves with these words: 'I love you'."
ITALY: THOUSANDS OF VISITORS TO THE SHROUD FOR OPENING WEEK
CNA report: Saturday morning saw the first visitors enter the Cathedral of Turin, taking advantage of a rare opportunity to view the ancient relic at its first exposition in close to a decade. The Holy Father welcomed the exposition as "an extraordinary call back towards the mystery of the suffering of Christ."
The first public exposition of the Shroud since 2000 offers a "path of faith and prayer" for the more than 1.5 million pilgrims and visitors that will see it, according to the Cardinal Archbishop of Turin, Severino Poletto, who celebrated the opening Mass on Saturday afternoon along with the bishops of Italy's Piedmont region.
The Shroud of Turin was seen by thousands of people on the exposition's first day. Among those able to attend for veneration on the opening morning were local civil and religious authorities, journalists and the 4,000 volunteers who will provide assistance for the duration of the showing, from April 10 to May 23.
Following afternoon Mass, 12,000 pilgrims with reserved tickets were able to file through the Cathedral for a prayer and a glimpse at the burial cloth believed to bear the image of Jesus' crucified body.
Pope Benedict XVI said on Sunday that, "God willing," he will also be among the pilgrims to pay his respects during a visit he has planned for May 2.
He noted his happiness at the event after the Regina Caeli prayer at noon on Sunday, saying that it is "once again provoking a vast movement of pilgrims, but also studies, reflections and most of all an extraordinary call back towards the mystery of the suffering of Christ."
The Holy Father also expressed his wish that "this act of veneration may help all to seek the Face of God, that was the intimate aspiration of the Apostles, as well as ours."
FORMER PRIEST PLEADS GUILTY
Cath News report: Former Fairy Meadow priest Kelvin Sharkey, who has pleaded guilty to two charges of sexually assaulting an altar boy, should go to jail despite his age and poor health, a Wollongong court has been told.
Solicitor Kristy Pearce, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, told the Wollongong District Court that while age and health were relevant to the length of any jail term, they should not necessarily be factors against prison, the Illawarra Mercury reported.
"This is a serious offence involving a significant breach of trust over a lengthy period," she told Judge Paul Conlon during submissions on sentencing.
Sharkey, 80, who was parish priest at St John Vianney's Church, Fairy Meadow, has pleaded guilty to two charges of indecently assaulting the boy, and a charge of buggery, dating to 1969 and the early 1970s.
Much of the abuse occurred inside the church and later at Sharkey's home in Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast, where he was transferred in 1971.
The victim was 10 when the first incident occurred sometime towards the end of the 1969 school year after the boy agreed to help Sharkey run afternoon Mass at St John Vianney's Church.
Sharkey retired from active church life in 1988. Defence barrister Mark Dennis said it was highly unlikely Sharkey would reoffend and said he would ask the court to consider Sharkey's age and health.
Sentencing has been set for April 29.
PATRON SAINT OF POLAND, BISHO OF CRACOW, MARTYR
Feast: April 11
Information: Feast Day: April 11
Born: 26 July 1030 as Szczepanowski, Poland
Canonized: 1253 by Pope Innocent IV at Assisi, Italy
Patron of: Cracow, Plock, Poland, soldiers in battle
Bishop and martyr, born at Szczepanów (hence called Szczepanowski), in the Diocese of Cracow, 26 July, 1030; died at Cracow, 8 May, 1079; feast on May 7 in Roman Martyrology, but on 8 May in Cracow, which has a special feast of the translation of his relics on 27 September; patron of Poland and the city and Diocese of Cracow; invoked in battle. In pictures he is given the episcopal insignia and the sword. Larger paintings represent him in a court or kneeling before the altar and receiving the fatal blow. No contemporary biography of the saint is in existence. At the time of his canonization a life appeared written by a Dominican Vincent(?) (Acta SS.,May, II, 196) which contains much legendary matter. His parents, Belislaus and Bogna, pious and noble Catholics, gave him a religious education. He made his studies at Gnesen and Paris(?). After the death of his parents he distributed his ample inheritance among the poor. Lambert Zula, Bishop of Cracow, ordained him priest and made him pastor of Czembocz near Cracow, canon and preacher at the cathedral, and later, vicar-general. After the death of Lambert he was elected bishop, but accepted only on explicit command of Pope Alexander II. He worked with his wonted energy for his diocese, and inveighed against vices among high and low, regardless of consequences. Boleslaw II had become King of Poland. the renown he had gained by his successful wars he now sullied by atrocious cruelty and unbridled lust. Moreover the bishop had several serious disputes with the king about a piece of land belonging to the Church which was unjustly claimed by Boleslaw, and about some nobles, who had left their homes to ward off various evils threatening their families and who were in consequence cruelly treated by the king. Stanislaus spared neither tears nor prayers and admonitions to bring the king to lead a more Christian life. All being in vain, Boleslaw was excommunicated and the canons of the cathedral were instructed to discontinue the Divine Offices in case the king should attempt to enter. Stanislaus retired to the Chapel of St. Michael in a suburb of Cracow. The king was furious and followed the bishop with his guards, some of whom he sent to kill the saint. These dared not obey, so Boleslaw slew him during the Holy Sacrifice. The body was at first buried in the chapel, but in 1088 it was transferred to the cathedral by Bishop Lambert II. St. Stanislaus was canonized 1253 by Innocent IV at Assisi.
St. Gemma Galgani
Feast: April 11
Information: Feast Day: April 11
Born: 12 March 1878 at Borgo Nuovo di Camigliano, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Died: Holy Saturday, 11 April 1903 at Borgo Nuovo di Camigliano, Lucca, Italy
Canonized: 2 May 1940 by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine: Passionist Monastery in Lucca, Italy
Patron of: Students, pharmacists, tuberculosis patients, love and hope
First, the Congregation of Rites, declaring that Gemma practiced the Christian virtues to a heroic degree, explicitly refrained from passing judgment on the preternatural character of the recorded phenomena; a matter (it adds) 'upon which no decision is ever made' (see
We must first register the alleged
TODAY'S MASS READINGS
DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY/OCTAVE OF EASTER/YEAR C
Acts 5: 12 - 16
12 Now many signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon's Portico.
2 Let Israel say, "His steadfast love endures for ever."
13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the LORD helped me.
14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
9 I John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."