CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: THURS. APR. 7, 2011: HEADLINES-
VATICAN CITY, 7 APR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - This morning the Holy Father received in audience a group of bishops of the Syro-Malabar rite, on their "ad limina" visit. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
At the beginning of his discourse, the Pope remembered cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, C.SS.R., major archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, who died last Friday 1 April at the age of 83.
Benedict XVI, addressing the prelates in English, said that their visit to Rome was "a precious opportunity to give thanks to God for the gift of communion in the apostolic faith and in the life of the Spirit which unites you among yourselves and with your people".
"Each Bishop, for his part", he continued, "is called to be a minister of unity in his particular church and within the universal Church. This responsibility is of special importance in a country like India where the unity of the Church is reflected in the rich diversity of her rites and traditions. I encourage you to do all you can to continue to foster the communion between yourselves and all Catholic Bishops throughout the world, and to be the living expression of that fellowship among your priests and faithful".
Recalling St. Paul's "gentle command" for brotherly love, the Pope emphasised that "within this mystery of loving communion, a privileged expression of sharing in the divine life is through sacramental marriage and family life. The rapid and dramatic changes which are a part of contemporary society throughout the world bring with them not only serious challenges, but new possibilities to proclaim the liberating truth of the Gospel message to transform and elevate all human relationships".
The Holy Father affirmed that the support of the bishops, priests and communities "for the sound and integral education of young people in the ways of chastity and responsibility will not only enable them to embrace the true nature of marriage, but will also benefit Indian culture as a whole". He emphasised that "the Church can no longer count on the support of society at large to promote the Christian understanding of marriage as a permanent and indissoluble union ordered to procreation and the sanctification of the spouses", and added, "Let your preaching and catechesis in this field be patient and constant".
Referring to "the various communities of men and women religious who devote themselves to the service of God and their neighbour", the Pope underlined that "the vocation to religious life and the pursuit of perfect charity is attractive in every age, but it should be nourished by a constant spiritual renewal which is to be fostered by superiors who devote great care to the human, intellectual and spiritual formation of their fellow religious".
"Furthermore, by its nature, formation is never completed, but is ongoing and must be an integral part of the daily life of each individual and community. Much needs to be done in this area, utilising the many resources available in your Church, above all through deeper training in the practice of prayer, the particular spiritual and liturgical traditions of the Syro-Malabar rite, and the intellectual demands of a solid pastoral practice".
Benedict XVI concluded by encouraging the bishops to "plan effectively for such a solid ongoing formation, so that religious men and women continue to be powerful witnesses to the presence of God in the world and to our eternal destiny, so that the complete gift of self to God through religious life may shine with all its beauty and purity before men".
VATICAN CITY, 7 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru.
- Bishop Anthony Chirayath of Sagar of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.
- Bishop Mathew Vanializhakkel, C.V., of Satna of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.
- Bishop Sebastian Vadakel of Ujjain of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.
- Bishop Thomas Elavanal, M.C.B.S., of Kalyan of the Syro-Malabars, India, on is "ad limina" visit.
- Bishop Jose Chittooparambil, C.M.I., of Rajkot of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Gregory Karotemprel, C.M.I.
VATICAN CITY, 7 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Lahore, Pakistan, presented by Msgr. Lawrence John Saldanha, upon having reached the age limit.
That's why he spent every day, except Sunday, for a month in Portland's Lloyd Center Mall. Father Wall, a priest for 60 years, wore his Roman collar or white friar's habit, simply making himself obvious for those yearning to talk about life's greater issues.
"People don't meet priests any more. We are hiding in the rectory," says Father Wall, who has moved on to lead missions from the Dominicans' California headquarters. He plans to return to Portland at the start of 2012 for another month of mall evangelization.
"Jesus sent people out on the road," explains the 86-year-old friar, who helped found the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. "St. Dominic was out in the crossroads and at the inns. He was not waiting for people to find him."
Educated in Rome during the 1940s, Father Wall counted the future Pope John Paul II among his classmates. Her served in parishes and was a teacher before starting the Berkeley project. He served as president of the theological union for two terms. Then he joined the Dominican preaching band, men who give retreats on the road in honor of the itinerant charism of their 13th century founder.
In Mexico on a mission, he met a priest from St. Charles Borromeo Church in Harlem. The pastor said his church counted as many as 339 converts in a year and attributed that to the habit of priests standing out on Harlem street corners to engage the people and give them cards with Mass times.
When he visited Holy Rosary Parish in Portland, just down the street from Lloyd Center, he got thinking. There is no priest at the mall, and there should be.
"We are no longer a missionary church," Father Wall says of Catholics. "We are an absolutely passive church. We stand back."
Mall officials were receptive. There were limitations, however. Father Wall had to stay put in one place. Amplification and big signage was out.
That all suited the priest just fine. On weekdays, he chose a bench and sat, smiling. On weekends, he donned the habit and rented a kiosk near Macy's and filled it with free crucifixes, rosaries, holy cards and sacred medals.
Many shoppers asked who he was and that led to encounters, some brief, some lengthy. Everyone seemed impressed that a man representing deep matters had set up in a place devoted to fashion, skin products and fast food. He heard several confessions.
"People are hungry to have the church stand up and say, 'Come, come, come,'" Father Wall says. "I think every big mall in the country should have a Catholic presence. All I think the church needs to do is rent a chair and have a priest sit there and have a sign that says, 'Have a question? Ask a priest.'"
Mall security guards took a special shine to the priest. They passed a hat several times and gave him the money to further his work.
Mary Halvorsen is not surprised the priest had that effect on the mall workers.
"Father Tony had a great method of engaging passersby," says Halvorsen, prioress of the Holy Rosary Dominican Laity, a group that helped the priest on many days. "People just naturally were drawn to him. Father would ask those people what their names were and would tell them what their name meant in Latin or Greek or what saint was connected to their name. Some would be shy and say they knew a Catholic or used to be a Catholic."
Halvorsen says other vendors in the area would come introduce themselves to the priest.
Photo courtesy of Mary HalvorsenFr. Tony Wall tends his Catholic kiosk at Lloyd Center Mall.
"People are hungry for God even if they don’t know it and when they are fed by a gentle, holy man they are filled with gratitude and joy," she concludes.
As for Father Wall, he talks a lovely torrent that puts everyone he meets at ease. Within the amicability, though, he has an urgent message.
"What we Catholics need is a four letter word — a little bit of z-e-a-l," he says. "And you have these zealous lay people just waiting for someone to point them the way and say, 'Go.'"
Djoman, the head of Caritas says: “Virtually the entire population of Abidjan, about five million people are affected by the fighting in one way or another. Remember too that even before the battle to take control of the capital, a portion of the people of Abidjan had been forced to flee their homes. The entire population is at risk of food shortages, both the displaced people and those who are confined to their homes.”
Before the offensive launched by Ouattara's troops from the north and west of the Country, the armed clashes began between supporters of the two factions. Asked about the risk of inter-community clashes, Djoman replies: “In recent weeks there have been clashes in some districts of Abidjan between supporters of Gbagbo and those of Ouattara. These clashes are between political parties, not between communities. The tension remains, however, because those in the minority in certain districts were forced to flee for fear of reprisals from those who gained control of the area. The risk of clashes between civilian supporters of the two parties is real,” concludes Djoman.
Press release of Bishop's Conference:
Prayer for the Royal Wedding
Prince William and Catherine Middleton
The Bishops' Conference has released the following prayer for use around the time of the Royal Wedding.
we ask your blessing
upon his Royal Highness, Prince William and Catherine
as they pledge their love for each other in marriage.
May your love unite them through their lives.
Grant them the strength to serve you, our country and the Commonwealth
with integrity and faithfulness.
Through Christ our Lord.
IMAGE SOURCE: shoppingblog.com
Lahore (AsiaNews) - Asia Bibi is sick, in solitary confinement, and there are growing concerns for her life. The Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy on false evidence is sick with chicken pox, because of the appallingly unhygienic conditions she is being kept in. The complaint comes from Haroon Barket Masih, president of the Masih Foundation, who today issued a statement: "Asia Bibi was diagnosed with chicken pox, she has been kept in solitary confinement for more than three months. We have expressed concern about her health, because she spends24 hours a day locked in the cell. She needs medical care, hygienic and healthy conditions. She fell ill with chickenpox because of the dirty environment, and being unable to clean her room or bed sheets on which she sleeps. Despite her ill health she spends her time fasting and praying for everyone, she neglects her health and prays for everyone else. She is concerned about the current situation in Pakistan. We are trying to arrange a medical examination, and to ensure acceptable hygienic conditions. Until now she has had no medical care. "
Masih also declared: "Recently, Mothers Day was celebrated in Europe, we all celebrated Mother’s Day, people sent cards and postcards, but who remembered this sick woman praying and fasting in her cell? Did she not want to be with her children too? She is a mother. She prayed for her children. Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi who prays and fasts. "
But the situation for Christians in Pakistan seems to be worsening by the day. Perviaz Masih, a resident of Lala Musa, a small town 75 km from Lahore, was threatened for being Christian. Pervaiz Masih is the father of three children and works for Pakistan Railways in Lala Musa. It all started when the Koran was burned in Florida. Masih has defended his faith in a discussion at work. He said: "Christianity is a religion of peace, and we condemn this act." But his colleagues were not convinced, and began to threaten him. Pervaiz Masih and his family fled the house on April 4 last and are in hiding since then. Extremist elements in society are becoming violent, and the situation in Pakistan grows worse day by day. The growing extremism in Pakistan is a concern not only for minorities but also for the government.Bishop Anthony Rufin told AsiaNews: "I am saddened by the news about Asia Bibi, on her state of health and the state in which she lives. The Catholic Church prays for her salvation, and prays that she will be treated. It 's a difficult time for the minorities in Pakistan, incidents of violence are becoming more numerous, for how long will we live in fear? How many more Pervaiz Masih will have to live in hiding? We must work together for a campaign to promote harmony and tolerance. This Lent we pray for peace in Pakistan. A Pakistan where we can all live freely. "
CATH NEWS REPORT- An illuminated cross is expected to be erected on the Uniting Church, in Warrnambool, Victoria next week after being banished from a water tower in the city's west over one complaint, reports the Warrnambool Standard.
Uniting Church minister Reverend Doctor Elizabeth Nolan said her congregation's decision to host the cross was part of its contribution to the community.The local Wannon Water had previously agreed that Warrnambool City Council could use its Victoria Square water tower for the large cross after it was removed in October from its original location on the Fletcher Jones factory silver ball - where it stood for 43 years - due to structural concerns.
"We were very disappointed by the heated dispute in the community,'' Dr Nolan said yesterday.
"The majority of the community comes from the Christian tradition, and Easter and Christmas are important traditional times.
"An empty cross is an important symbol of God's love for the world and that Jesus is the light of the world.
"It's important the community receives the light of Christ.
"It gives hope to people and it reminds them of God's love.
"I'm sad people in the community don't want to be reminded of that."
Dr Nolan said the cross would be a permanent fixture and would probably be illuminated from the first Sunday of advent in early December until Pentecost, which is the 50th day after Easter Sunday.
St. John Baptist de la Salle
EDUCATOR, FOUNDER, CONFESSOR
Feast: April 7
This saint is the patron of teachers, his great achievement having been to provide a system of education for the common people at a time when the poor were grossly neglected; not mercy by founding charity schools, a cling which had been attempted countless times before only to end in repeated failure, but by creating a body of trained teachers, and thus setting them on the only possible basis which guaranteed success.
It was not by inclination, but solely by chance chat he was led to take up this work. Indeed his family background and early training seemed hardly to have prepared him for it. Born in Rheims on April 30th, 1651, the eldest son of an aristocratic family, he inherited the rank and fortune of his parents, which set a gulf between him and the teeming masses of the poor. At sixteen, while he was pursuing a course of classical studies at the College des Bons Enfants, he became a canon of Rheims, and seemed to be marked out for a successful career in the church. He subsequently studied at Saint Sulpice and the Sorbonne for the priesthood, and was ordained at the age of twenty-seven. Up to this point nothing denoted what his mission was to be, and he himself had no inkling of it. But it was shortly after this that he was asked to co-operate in establishing some charity schools in his native town, and this led him to take charge of the teachers, to bring them into his own home and to train them. Little by little he became further involved in the work until he began to realize that everything pointed to his being the chosen instrument of Providence for the creation of a system of Christian education for the poor, whose ignorance and depravity were the disgrace of this 'splendid century', so remarkable for its achievements in every other sphere.
As he had made the will of God the guiding principle of his life, he decided to give himself up completely to this task, resigning his canonry and giving away his fortune in order to be on the same footing as the teachers with whom he lived. In so doing he aroused the anger of his relatives and incurred the derision of his class-minded compatriots, but this in no way made him alter his resolution. In 1684 he transformed his group of schoolmasters into a religious community, under the name of Brothers of the Christian Schools, and this was the origin of the order which continues to this day and is spread all over the world. So chat his order might confine itself solely to the work of teaching, he laid down that no brother might become a priest and that no priest might join the order. This rule is still observed. The first years were marked by poverty and hardship, but these were cheerfully endured, thanks to the example of self-abnegation and extraordinary power of leadership shown by de la Salle, who vowed chat he would live on bread alone, if necessary, rather than abandon the work he had begun.
The religious and professional training of his brothers became his chief care, but he saw that he would never be able to satisfy all the requests he received for teachers unless he undertook the formation of secular schoolmasters as well, so he organized a training college for some forty youths in Rheims in 1687; the first instance of such an institution in the history of education.
After opening schools in a number of neighboring towns, in addition to chose in Rheims itself, he went to Paris in 1683 to take over a school in the parish of St. Sulpice, and there he established his headquarters. In the capital his work spread rapidly, and before long the brothers were teaching over 1,100 pupils. In Paris, too, he founded another training college, with a charity school attached, and organized a Sunday academy, or continuation school for youths already employed. When the exiled monarch, James II, entrusted fifty Irish youths to his care, he arranged for special courses to be given them to suit their needs.
The scope of his work was now such that it aroused the bitter antagonism of the writing masters and the teachers of the Little Schools, who saw their fee-paying pupils drifting into his free schools, and they brought law-suits against him. His schools were pillaged, and he found himself condemned and forbidden to open training colleges or charity schools anywhere in the Paris area. As a result he was excluded for a time from the capital, but by now his brothers were established in other localities, notably in Rouen, Avignon and Chartres, so that the decrees against him failed to ruin his work. Indeed from this time on, his communities multiplied all over France: in Marseilles, Calais, Boulogne, Mende, Grenoble, Troyes and other places. In Rouen he founded two important institutions: a fee-paying boarding school for the sons of bourgeois, who desired an education superior to that of the primary school but more practical than that of the 'classical' colleges; and a reformatory school for youthful delinquents and young men detained under
In 1709 he established a third training college, at St. Den, but this lasted only a couple of years, after which it had to be closed as a result of an unfortunate law-suit.
De la Salle spent the last years of his life in Rouen, completing the organization of his institute, writing the Rule of the brothers in its definitive form, and composing
His brothers, already established in twenty-two towns of France and in Rome, now expanded their work rapidly. In 1725 they received a bull of approbation of their institute from the pope and letters patent from the king granting them legal recognition. The Revolution ruined their work in France, but they were by now established in Switzerland and Italy, so that they were able to survive this catastrophe and returned to France when more favorable conditions prevailed under Napoleon. Today they number over 15,000 and conduct educational institutions of every kind all over the world. In the United States alone there are some 2,000 brothers in five different Provinces.
De la Salle's pedagogical system is outlined in