Sunday, October 31, 2010

31st October, on this day in Irish History......


Bishop Terence O'Brien OP, Martyr
Photo by Fergal OP


31st October 1602 - Irish martyr and Jesuit lay brother Dominic Collins was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Youghal.

31st October 1651 - Dominican Father Terence Albert O'Brien was executed at Limerick.

Excerpt from the homily of Pope John Paul II, at the Beatification of the Irish Martyrs in 1992.

“My soul, give praise to the Lord”. 

And how can we fail to sing the praises of the seventeen Irish Martyrs being beatified today? Dermot O’Hurley, Margaret Bermingham Ball, Francis Taylor and their fourteen companions were faithful witnesses who remained steadfast in their allegiance to Christ and his Church to the point of extreme hardship and the final sacrifice of their lives.

All sectors of God’s people are represented among these seventeen Servants of God: Bishops, priests both secular and religious, a religious brother and six lay people, including Margaret Bermingham Ball, a woman of extraordinary integrity who, together with the physical trials she had to endure, underwent the agony of being betrayed through the complicity of her own son.

We admire them for their personal courage. We thank them for the example of their fidelity in difficult circumstances, a fidelity which is more than an example: it is a heritage of the Irish people and a responsibility to be lived up to in every age.

In a decisive hour, a whole people chose to stand firmly by its covenant with God: “All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do”.  Along with Saint Oliver Plunkett, the new Beati constitute but a small part of the host of Irish Martyrs of Penal Times. The religious and political turmoil through which these witnesses lived was marked by grave intolerance on every side. Their victory lay precisely in going to death with no hatred in their hearts. They lived and died for Love. Many of them publicly forgave all those who had contributed in any way to their martyrdom.

The Martyrs’ significance for today lies in the fact that their testimony shatters the vain claim to live one’s life or to build a model of society without an integral vision of our human destiny, without reference to our eternal calling, without transcendence. The Martyrs exhort succeeding generations of Irish men and women: “Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called . . . keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ”. 

To the Martyrs’ intercession I commend the whole people of Ireland: their hopes and joys, their needs and difficulties. May everyone rejoice in the honour paid to these witnesses to the faith. God sustained them in their trials. He comforted them and granted them the crown of victory. May he also sustain those who work for reconciliation and peace in Ireland today!

Blessed Irish Martyrs, intercede for the beloved Irish people!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saint Marcellus the Centurion, martyr, pray for us

Picture property of
centurionministries.net

Is it possible to like all these christian martyrs too much?

Marcellus (†298) was said to have been a centurion stationed at Tingis (modern-day Tangiers) who refused to participate in the general birthday celebrations of the Emperor Maximian, which would have entailed sacrifice to the Roman gods. Throwing off his military belt, weapons, and vine-branch (the insignia of his rank) Marcellus was soon brought before a judge named Fortunatus. (Wikipedia)



"We are ready to die rather than to transgress the laws of God."
 2 Macabees 7:2

Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for November

 Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for November is: "That victims of drugs or of other dependence may, thanks to the support of the Christian community, find in the power of our saving God strength for a radical life-change".

His mission intention is: "That the Churches of Latin America may move ahead with the continent-wide mission proposed by their bishops, making it part of the universal missionary task of the People of God".

Friday, October 29, 2010

Online Petition: Restore Corpus Christi

Are you an online petition signer? Here is an excellent idea. I will repost this link next week.




Corpus Christi should be celebrated on a Thursday as a Holy Day of Obligation
We respectfully ask the Catholic Bishops of Ireland to restore the celebration of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi to its traditional day, Thursday. 
We consider that the move to Sunday has not been successful, that it has contributed to secularisation and the removal of religion from the public square. 
We suggest that the restoration of Corpus Christi as a Holy Day of Obligation would be an excellent contribution to the preparation for the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 2012.

St Colman Mac Duagh, pray for us

Kilmacduagh  Monastery, Co. Galway

Son of a chieftain named Duagh. Hermit in Arranmore where he built two churches. His reputation for holiness attracted too much attention, so he retreated to the woods of Burren in 592 to live in isolation. In 610, on land donated by King Guaire of Connacht, he founded a monastery which became the center of the diocese of Kilmacduagh. He reluctantly served as the house’s first abbot, the diocese’s first bishop. (From Saints Sqpn)




Prayer to St. Colman Mac Duagh

O Most Mortified St. Colman, the mere mentioning of thy
holy name brings blessings a Hundredfold.
We humbly ask thy Powerful intercession for the restoration
and multiplication of holy Monasteries and Convents
and a return to Traditional Catholicism throughout all
of Ireland and Christendom. Amen.


Then say: 1 Pater (Our Father), 1 Ave (Hail Mary) 1 Gloria (Glory Be)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

No Posts

I was unable to post today because of a viral attack on the computer. The offending parties have now been "sorted".

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Power


For power is a gift to you from the Lord,
sovereignty is from the Most High;
he himself will probe your acts and scrutinise your intentions. 

Wisdom 6:4

St. Otteran, (Odhran), pray for us.

St Otteran,
photo Fregal OP

St. Otteran, St. Odhranand, St, Oran, was Irish abbot. After serving as abbot of Meath, he journeyed to Scotland with St. Columba to promote the faith and died at Iona. Odhran was the first Irish monk to die at Iona. He may have founded Latteragh Abbey in Tipperary. He is the patron saint of Waterford, Ireland.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pope's Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees




Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The World Day of Migrants and Refugees offers the whole Church an opportunity to reflect on a theme linked to the growing phenomenon of migration, to pray that hearts may open to Christian welcome and to the effort to increase in the world justice and charity, pillars on which to build an authentic and lasting peace. "As I have loved you, so you also should love one another" (Jn 13:34), is the invitation that the Lord forcefully addresses to us and renews us constantly: if the Father calls us to be beloved children in his dearly beloved Son, he also calls us to recognize each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

This profound link between all human beings is the origin of the theme that I have chosen for our reflection this year: "One human family", one family of brothers and sisters in societies that are becoming ever more multiethnic and intercultural, where also people of various religions are urged to take part in dialogue, so that a serene and fruitful coexistence with respect for legitimate differences may be found. The Second Vatican Council affirms that "All peoples are one community and have one origin, because God caused the whole human race to dwell on the face of the earth (cf. Acts 17:26); they also have one final end, God" (Message for the World Day of Peace, 2008, 1). "His providence, His manifestations of goodness, His saving design extend to all men" (Declaration Nostra aetate, 1). Thus, "We do not live alongside one another purely by chance; all of us are progressing along a common path as men and women, and thus as brothers and sisters" (Message for the World Day of Peace, 2008, 6).

The road is the same, that of life, but the situations that we pass through on this route are different: many people have to face the difficult experience of migration in its various forms: internal or international, permanent or seasonal, economic or political, voluntary or forced. In various cases the departure from their Country is motivated by different forms of persecution, so that escape becomes necessary. Moreover, the phenomenon of globalization itself, characteristic of our epoch, is not only a social and economic process, but also entails "humanity itself [that] is becoming increasingly interconnected", crossing geographical and cultural boundaries. In this regard, the Church does not cease to recall that the deep sense of this epochal process and its fundamental ethical criterion are given by the unity of the human family and its development towards what is good (cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Caritas in veritate, 42). All, therefore, belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches. It is here that solidarity and sharing are founded.

"In an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations, in such a way as to shape the earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it to some degree an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God" (Benedict XVI, Encyclical Caritas in veritate, 7). This is also the perspective with which to look at the reality of migration. In fact, as the Servant of God Paul VI formerly noted, "the weakening of brotherly ties between individuals and nations" (EncyclicalPopulorum progressio, 66), is a profound cause of underdevelopment and – we may add – has a major impact on the migration phenomenon. Human brotherhood is the, at times surprising, experience of a relationship that unites, of a profound bond with the other, different from me, based on the simple fact of being human beings. Assumed and lived responsibly, it fosters a life of communion and sharing with all and in particular with migrants; it supports the gift of self to others, for their good, for the good of all, in the local, national and world political communities.

Venerable John Paul II, on the occasion of this same Day celebrated in 2001, emphasized that "[the universal common good] includes the whole family of peoples, beyond every nationalistic egoism. The right to emigrate must be considered in this context. The Church recognizes this right in every human person, in its dual aspect of the possibility to leave one’s country and the possibility to enter another country to look for better conditions of life" (Message for World Day of Migration 2001, 3; cf. John XXIII, Encyclical Mater et Magistra, 30; Paul VI, Encyclical Octogesima adveniens, 17). At the same time, States have the right to regulate migration flows and to defend their own frontiers, always guaranteeing the respect due to the dignity of each and every human person. Immigrants, moreover, have the duty to integrate into the host Country, respecting its laws and its national identity. "The challenge is to combine the welcome due to every human being, especially when in need, with a reckoning of what is necessary for both the local inhabitants and the new arrivals to live a dignified and peaceful life" (World Day of Peace 2001, 13).

In this context, the presence of the Church, as the People of God journeying through history among all the other peoples, is a source of trust and hope. Indeed the Church is "in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race" (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 1); and through the action within her of the Holy Spirit, "the effort to establish a universal brotherhood is not a hopeless one" (Idem, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 38). It is the Holy Eucharist in particular that constitutes, in the heart of the Church, an inexhaustible source of communion for the whole of humanity. It is thanks to this that the People of God includes "every nation, race, people, and tongue" (Rev 7:9), not with a sort of sacred power but with the superior service of charity. In fact the exercise of charity, especially for the poorest and weakest, is the criterion that proves the authenticity of the Eucharistic celebration (cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Mane nobiscum Domine, 28).

The situation of refugees and of the other forced migrants, who are an important part of the migration phenomenon, should be specifically considered in the light of the theme "One human family". For these people who flee from violence and persecution the International Community has taken on precise commitments. Respect of their rights, as well as the legitimate concern for security and social coherence, foster a stable and harmonious coexistence.

Also in the case of those who are forced to migrate, solidarity is nourished by the "reserve" of love that is born from considering ourselves a single human family and, for the Catholic faithful, members of the Mystical Body of Christ: in fact we find ourselves depending on each other, all responsible for our brothers and sisters in humanity and, for those who believe, in the faith. As I have already had the opportunity to say, "Welcoming refugees and giving them hospitality is for everyone an imperative gesture of human solidarity, so that they may not feel isolated because of intolerance and disinterest" (General Audience, 20 June 2007: Insegnamenti II, 1 [2007], 1158). This means that those who are forced to leave their homes or their country will be helped to find a place where they may live in peace and safety, where they may work and take on the rights and duties that exist in the Country that welcomes them, contributing to the common good and without forgetting the religious dimension of life.

Lastly, I would like to address a special thought, again accompanied by prayer, to the foreign and international students who are also a growing reality within the great migration phenomenon. This, as well, is a socially important category with a view to their return, as future leaders, to their Countries of origin. They constitute cultural and economic "bridges" between these Countries and the host Countries, and all this goes precisely in the direction of forming "one human family". This is the conviction that must support the commitment to foreign students and must accompany attention to their practical problems, such as financial difficulties or the hardship of feeling alone in facing a very different social and university context, as well as the difficulties of integration. In this regard, I would like to recall that "to belong to a university community… is to stand at the crossroads of the cultures that have formed the modern world" (John Paul II, To the Bishops of the United States of America of the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Chicago, Indianapolis and Milwaukee on their ad limina visit, 30 May 1998, 6: Insegnamenti XXI, 1 [1998] 1116). At school and at university the culture of the new generations is formed: their capacity to see humanity as a family called to be united in diversity largely depends on these institutions.

Dear brothers and sisters, the world of migrants is vast and diversified. It knows wonderful and promising experiences, as well as, unfortunately, so many others that are tragic and unworthy of the human being and of societies that claim to be civil. For the Church this reality constitutes an eloquent sign of our times which further highlights humanity’s vocation to form one family, and, at the same time, the difficulties which, instead of uniting it, divide it and tear it apart. Let us not lose hope and let us together pray God, the Father of all, to help us – each in the first person – to be men and women capable of brotherly relationships and, at the social, political and institutional levels, so that understanding and reciprocal esteem among peoples and cultures may increase. With these hopes, as I invoke the intercession of Mary Most Holy, Stella Maris, I cordially impart the Apostolic Blessing to all and, especially, to migrants and refugees and to everyone who works in this important field.

From Castel Gandolfo, 27 September 2010
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

Pope Announces New Synod on the New Evangelisation

Monday, October 25, 2010

The UN's Agenda


Archbishop Hector Aguer speaks about the UN, its agencies.
"We should be aware that here there is a conspiracy in the worst sense of the word. There is a plot to homogenize thinking and behavior in the world and it comes from the world's power centers. In particular, it comes from the centers of political power, supported by the centers of financial power. We are witnessing a new colonialism, a new imperialism - I do not know what to call it."



Read full text.

The HPV Vaccination

Who can we believe?


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Official trailer: The Rite


I am looking forward to the release of this movie. Recently I spent a few days in the company of an exorcist, which was interesting to say the least. Colin O' Donoghue, who plays Michael kovak is from Drogheda, where I live! This is his Feature Film debut, and I wish him well. A few years ago Colin travelled with The Fraternity of St Genesius on our first official pilgrimage to Rome. We were visiting the tomb of St Genesius, in the church of Santa Sasanna. St Genesius is the patron saint of actors.

Inspired by true events, "The Rite" follows skeptical seminary student Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue), who reluctantly attends exorcism school at the Vatican. While in Rome, he meets an unorthodox priest, Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), who introduces him to the darker side of life. The film should be released in Jan 2011.

The film is based on the nonfiction book by Rome-based journalist Matt Baglio, called "The Rite". Baglio was allowed to follow a young American priest during months of training with a senior exorcist at a school affiliated with the Vatican. Over the course of his reporting, Baglio returned to Catholicism. Here is a link to a detailed interview with Baglio.

 Prayer

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.


Saint John of Capistrano, pray for us


The apparition of St John of Capistrano to St Peter of Alcantara
by Luca Giordano



(1386-1456) Saint John Capistrano was born in Italy. He became a lawyer before becoming a Franciscan. He preached in various countries of Eastern Europe, bringing about great revivals of the faith. He also led a section of the Christian army at the Battle of Belgrade in 1456 in order to defend Europe from the advances of the Turks. So successful was St. John in his preaching that after one of his sermons more than 100 young university students entered the Franciscan Order. He is the patron saint of judges, jurists, military chaplains.
"Those who are called to the table of the Lord must glow with the brightness that comes from the good example of a praiseworthy and blameless life. They must completely remove from their lives the filth and uncleanness of vice. Their upright lives must make them like the salt of the earth for themselves and for the rest of mankind. The brightness of their wisdom must make them like the light of the world that brings light to others. They must learn from their eminent teacher, Jesus Christ, what he declared not only to his apostles and disciples, but also to all the priests and clerics who were to succeed them, when he said, “You are the salt of the earth. But what is salt goes flat? How can you restore its flavor? Then it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Jesus also said: “You are the light of the world.” Now a light does not illumine itself, but instead it diffuses its rays and shines all around upon everything that comes into its view. So it must be with the glowing lives of upright and holy clerics. By the brightness of their holiness they must bring light and serenity to all who gaze upon them. They have been placed here to care for others. Their own lives should be an example to others, showing how they must live in the house of the Lord." - from the treatise Mirror of the Clergy by Saint John of Capistrano

Prayer

Lord, you raised up St. John of Capistrano
to give your people comfort in their trials.
May your Church enjoy unending peace
and be secure in your protection.
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.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Big Silence

Abbot Christopher Jamison, a Benedictine monk, believes that he can teach five ordinary people the value of silent meditation, so they can make it part of their everyday lives

Fri 22 Oct 2010 21:00
BBC Two
 

Friday Prayer and Penance for the Church in Ireland

Titian's Ancona Crucifiction, 1558

Prayer for the Church in Ireland
God of our fathers,
renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,
the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,
the charity which purifies and opens our hearts
to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus Christ,
may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment
to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness, holiness and generous service to society.

Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,
inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal
for the Church in Ireland.

May our sorrow and our tears,
our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,
and our firm purpose of amendment
bear an abundant harvest of grace
for the deepening of the faith
in our families, parishes, schools and communities,
for the spiritual progress of Irish society,
and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace
within the whole human family.

To you, Triune God,
confident in the loving protection of Mary,
Queen of Ireland, our Mother,
and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,
do we entrust ourselves, our children,
and the needs of the Church in Ireland.

Amen.

Dublin, Holy Hour Every friday


There is a Holy Hour every Friday from 8-9pm in Saint Saviour's Dominican Priory, Dublin 1, in response to the Holy Fathers request for the grace of healing and renewal as expressed in the pastoral letter to Ireland.
During the Holy Hour there will be a short reflection, quite time, a rosary and solemn benediction.

There is also confession available during the hour. Please join us in prayer!

http://www.dominicansinteractive.com/
http://www.saintsavioursdublin.ie/

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Can You Believe Anything You Read on the Internet?


According to the "Internet", Pope Benedict XXVI is coming to Ireland for the Eucharistic Conference in June 2012.

"A senior Vatican official said that, “There is a strong likelihood that Pope Benedict will visit Ireland in 2012 as part of the Eucharistic Congress.”"

Several Blogs, and news articles have this quote, but I can not find an original source.

The Two Martyrs of Paimol, Daudi Okelo and Jildo Irwa

Daudi Okelo (1902 ca.-1918) and Jildo Irwa (1906 ca.-1918)


The martyrs Daudi Okelo and Jildo Irwa were two young catechists from Uganda at the beginning of the 20th century.

The Need to Read Carefully: A Response to Alice von Hildebrand’s Critique of Christopher West

From Janet Smith

The Need to Read Carefully: A Response to Alice von Hildebrand’s Critique of Christopher West

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ex Umbris Et Imaginibus: A Prophet For Our Times

Here is an excellent post from Fr John Hogan.

Ex Umbris Et Imaginibus: A Prophet For Our Times: "Today the Church in Poland celebrates for the first time the feast of Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko, the priest martyred in 1984 for daring to..."

Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko, martyr, pray for us.


To a large extent we are to be blamed for our slavery because out of fear or love of comfort we accept evil and even vote for the mechanism of its actions. If we out of love of comfort support the mechanism of actions of evil we do not have the right to condemn this evil because we ourselves become its creators and help to legalise it. Finally, may we be warned by the awareness that a nation dies when it lacks fortitude, when it deceives itself saying that it is good when it is bad, when it is satisfied with only half-truths’ (Fr Jerzy Popieluszko, 27 May 1984).


Fr. Jerzy’s Litany to Our Lady of Czestochowa – May 1982
Mother of those who place their hope in Solidarity, pray for us.
Mother of those who are deceived, pray for us.
Mother of those who are betrayed, pray for us.
Mother of those who are arrested in the night, pray for us.
Mother of those who are imprisoned, pray for us.
Mother of those who suffer from the cold, pray for us.
Mother of those who have been frightened, pray for us.
Mother of those who were subjected to interrogations, pray for us.
Mother of those innocents who have been condemned, pray for us.
Mother of those who speak the truth, pray for us.
Mother of those who cannot be corrupted, pray for us.
Mother of those who resist, pray for us.
Mother of orphans, pray for us.
Mother of those who have been molested because they wore your image, pray for us.
Mother of those who are forced to sign declarations contrary to their conscience, pray for us.
Mother of mothers who weep, pray for us.
Mother of fathers who have been so deeply saddened, pray for us.
Mother of suffering Poland, pray for us.
Mother of always faithful Poland, pray for us.
We beg you, O mother in whom resides the hope of millions of people, grant us to live in liberty and in truth, in fidelity to you and to your Son. Amen.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pope Benedict XXVII writes Letter to Seminarians

On the Feast of St Luke, the Holy Father wrote a letter to seminarians. Here it is.

Dear Seminarians,

When in December 1944 I was drafted for military service, the company commander asked each of us what we planned to do in the future. I answered that I wanted to become a Catholic priest. The lieutenant replied: "Then you ought to look for something else. In the new Germany priests are no longer needed". I knew that this "new Germany" was already coming to an end, and that, after the enormous devastation which that madness had brought upon the country, priests would be needed more than ever. Today the situation is completely changed. In different ways, though, many people nowadays also think that the Catholic priesthood is not a "job" for the future, but one that belongs more to the past. You, dear friends, have decided to enter the seminary and to prepare for priestly ministry in the Catholic Church in spite of such opinions and objections. You have done a good thing. Because people will always have need of God, even in an age marked by technical mastery of the world and globalization: they will always need the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, the God who gathers us together in the universal Church in order to learn with him and through him life’s true meaning and in order to uphold and apply the standards of true humanity. Where people no longer perceive God, life grows empty; nothing is ever enough. People then seek escape in euphoria and violence; these are the very things that increasingly threaten young people. God is alive. He has created every one of us and he knows us all. He is so great that he has time for the little things in our lives: "Every hair of your head is numbered". God is alive, and he needs people to serve him and bring him to others. It does makes sense to become a priest: the world needs priests, pastors, today, tomorrow and always, until the end of time.The seminary is a community journeying towards priestly ministry. I have said something very important here: one does not become a priest on one’s own. The "community of disciples" is essential, the fellowship of those who desire to serve the greater Church. In this letter I would like to point out – thinking back to my own time in the seminary – several elements which I consider important for these years of your journeying.

1. Anyone who wishes to become a priest must be first and foremost a "man of God", to use the expression of Saint Paul (1 Tim 6:11). For us God is not some abstract hypothesis; he is not some stranger who left the scene after the "big bang". God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. In the face of Jesus Christ we see the face of God. In his words we hear God himself speaking to us. It follows that the most important thing in our path towards priesthood and during the whole of our priestly lives is our personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. The priest is not the leader of a sort of association whose membership he tries to maintain and expand. He is God’s messenger to his people. He wants to lead them to God and in this way to foster authentic communion between all men and women. That is why it is so important, dear friends, that you learn to live in constant intimacy with God. When the Lord tells us to "pray constantly", he is obviously not asking us to recite endless prayers, but urging us never to lose our inner closeness to God. Praying means growing in this intimacy. So it is important that our day should begin and end with prayer; that we listen to God as the Scriptures are read; that we share with him our desires and our hopes, our joys and our troubles, our failures and our thanks for all his blessings, and thus keep him ever before us as the point of reference for our lives. In this way we grow aware of our failings and learn to improve, but we also come to appreciate all the beauty and goodness which we daily take for granted and so we grow in gratitude. With gratitude comes joy for the fact that God is close to us and that we can serve him.

2. For us God is not simply Word. In the sacraments he gives himself to us in person, through physical realities. At the heart of our relationship with God and our way of life is the Eucharist. Celebrating it devoutly, and thus encountering Christ personally, should be the centre of all our days. In Saint Cyprian’s interpretation of the Gospel prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread", he says among other things that "our" bread – the bread which we receive as Christians in the Church – is the Eucharistic Lord himself. In this petition of the Our Father, then, we pray that he may daily give us "our" bread; and that it may always nourish our lives; that the Risen Christ, who gives himself to us in the Eucharist, may truly shape the whole of our lives by the radiance of his divine love. The proper celebration of the Eucharist involves knowing, understanding and loving the Church’s liturgy in its concrete form. In the liturgy we pray with the faithful of every age – the past, the present and the future are joined in one great chorus of prayer. As I can state from personal experience, it is inspiring to learn how it all developed, what a great experience of faith is reflected in the structure of the Mass, and how it has been shaped by the prayer of many generations.

3. The sacrament of Penance is also important. It teaches me to see myself as God sees me, and it forces me to be honest with myself. It leads me to humility. The Curé of Ars once said: "You think it makes no sense to be absolved today, because you know that tomorrow you will commit the same sins over again. Yet," he continues, "God instantly forgets tomorrow’s sins in order to give you his grace today." Even when we have to struggle continually with the same failings, it is important to resist the coarsening of our souls and the indifference which would simply accept that this is the way we are. It is important to keep pressing forward, without scrupulosity, in the grateful awareness that God forgives us ever anew – yet also without the indifference that might lead us to abandon altogether the struggle for holiness and self-improvement. Moreover, by letting myself be forgiven, I learn to forgive others. In recognizing my own weakness, I grow more tolerant and understanding of the failings of my neighbour.

4. I urge you to retain an appreciation for popular piety, which is different in every culture yet always remains very similar, for the human heart is ultimately one and the same. Certainly, popular piety tends towards the irrational, and can at times be somewhat superficial. Yet it would be quite wrong to dismiss it. Through that piety, the faith has entered human hearts and become part of the common patrimony of sentiments and customs, shaping the life and emotions of the community. Popular piety is thus one of the Church’s great treasures. The faith has taken on flesh and blood. Certainly popular piety always needs to be purified and refocused, yet it is worthy of our love and it truly makes us into the "People of God".

5. Above all, your time in the seminary is also a time of study. The Christian faith has an essentially rational and intellectual dimension. Were it to lack that dimension, it would not be itself. Paul speaks of a "standard of teaching" to which we were entrusted in Baptism (Rom 6:17). All of you know the words of Saint Peter which the medieval theologians saw as the justification for a rational and scientific theology: "Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an ‘accounting’ (logos) for the hope that is in you" (1 Pet 3:15). Learning how to make such a defence is one of the primary responsibilities of your years in the seminary. I can only plead with you: Be committed to your studies! Take advantage of your years of study! You will not regret it. Certainly, the subjects which you are studying can often seem far removed from the practice of the Christian life and the pastoral ministry. Yet it is completely mistaken to start questioning their practical value by asking: Will this be helpful to me in the future? Will it be practically or pastorally useful? The point is not simply to learn evidently useful things, but to understand and appreciate the internal structure of the faith as a whole, so that it can become a response to people’s questions, which on the surface change from one generation to another yet ultimately remain the same. For this reason it is important to move beyond the changing questions of the moment in order to grasp the real questions, and so to understand how the answers are real answers. It is important to have a thorough knowledge of sacred Scripture as a whole, in its unity as the Old and the New Testaments: the shaping of texts, their literary characteristics, the process by which they came to form the canon of sacred books, their dynamic inner unity, a unity which may not be immediately apparent but which in fact gives the individual texts their full meaning. It is important to be familiar with the Fathers and the great Councils in which the Church appropriated, through faith-filled reflection, the essential statements of Scripture. I could easily go on. What we call dogmatic theology is the understanding of the individual contents of the faith in their unity, indeed, in their ultimate simplicity: each single element is, in the end, only an unfolding of our faith in the one God who has revealed himself to us and continues to do so. I do not need to point out the importance of knowing the essential issues of moral theology and Catholic social teaching. The importance nowadays of ecumenical theology, and of a knowledge of the different Christian communities, is obvious; as is the need for a basic introduction to the great religions, to say nothing of philosophy: the understanding of that human process of questioning and searching to which faith seeks to respond. But you should also learn to understand and – dare I say it – to love canon law, appreciating how necessary it is and valuing its practical applications: a society without law would be a society without rights. Law is the condition of love. I will not go on with this list, but I simply say once more: love the study of theology and carry it out in the clear realization that theology is anchored in the living community of the Church, which, with her authority, is not the antithesis of theological science but its presupposition. Cut off from the believing Church, theology would cease to be itself and instead it would become a medley of different disciplines lacking inner unity.

6. Your years in the seminary should also be a time of growth towards human maturity. It is important for the priest, who is called to accompany others through the journey of life up to the threshold of death, to have the right balance of heart and mind, reason and feeling, body and soul, and to be humanly integrated. To the theological virtues the Christian tradition has always joined the cardinal virtues derived from human experience and philosophy, and, more generally, from the sound ethical tradition of humanity. Paul makes this point this very clearly to the Philippians: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (4:8). This also involves the integration of sexuality into the whole personality. Sexuality is a gift of the Creator yet it is also a task which relates to a person’s growth towards human maturity. When it is not integrated within the person, sexuality becomes banal and destructive. Today we can see many examples of this in our society. Recently we have seen with great dismay that some priests disfigured their ministry by sexually abusing children and young people. Instead of guiding people to greater human maturity and setting them an example, their abusive behaviour caused great damage for which we feel profound shame and regret. As a result of all this, many people, perhaps even some of you, might ask whether it is good to become a priest; whether the choice of celibacy makes any sense as a truly human way of life. Yet even the most reprehensible abuse cannot discredit the priestly mission, which remains great and pure. Thank God, all of us know exemplary priests, men shaped by their faith, who bear witness that one can attain to an authentic, pure and mature humanity in this state and specifically in the life of celibacy. Admittedly, what has happened should make us all the more watchful and attentive, precisely in order to examine ourselves earnestly, before God, as we make our way towards priesthood, so as to understand whether this is his will for me. It is the responsibility of your confessor and your superiors to accompany you and help you along this path of discernment. It is an essential part of your journey to practise the fundamental human virtues, with your gaze fixed on the God who has revealed himself in Christ, and to let yourselves be purified by him ever anew.

7. The origins of a priestly vocation are nowadays more varied and disparate than in the past. Today the decision to become a priest often takes shape after one has already entered upon a secular profession. Often it grows within the Communities, particularly within the Movements, which favour a communal encounter with Christ and his Church, spiritual experiences and joy in the service of the faith. It also matures in very personal encounters with the nobility and the wretchedness of human existence. As a result, candidates for the priesthood often live on very different spiritual continents. It can be difficult to recognize the common elements of one’s future mandate and its spiritual path. For this very reason, the seminary is important as a community which advances above and beyond differences of spirituality. The Movements are a magnificent thing. You know how much I esteem them and love them as a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. Yet they must be evaluated by their openness to what is truly Catholic, to the life of the whole Church of Christ, which for all her variety still remains one. The seminary is a time when you learn with one another and from one another. In community life, which can at times be difficult, you should learn generosity and tolerance, not only bearing with, but also enriching one another, so that each of you will be able to contribute his own gifts to the whole, even as all serve the same Church, the same Lord. This school of tolerance, indeed, of mutual acceptance and mutual understanding in the unity of Christ’s Body, is an important part of your years in the seminary.

Dear seminarians, with these few lines I have wanted to let you know how often I think of you, especially in these difficult times, and how close I am to you in prayer. Please pray for me, that I may exercise my ministry well, as long as the Lord may wish. I entrust your journey of preparation for priesthood to the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, whose home was a school of goodness and of grace. May Almighty God bless you all, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

From the Vatican, 18 October 2010, the Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist.

Yours devotedly in the Lord,

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

How did St Luke end up in Padua?

Santa Giustana, Padua
I was in Padua earlier this year as part of an unforgettable pilgrimage (Milan, Mesero, Pavia, Padua, Turin,) with The Fraternity of St Genesius. We were going to the Shrine of St Anthony, but Santa Giustina, and the tomb of St Luke had to get a visit as well. The Basilica of Santa Giustina, in Padua has the tombs of several saints including St. Justina, St. Prosdocimus, St. Maximus, St. Urius, St. Felicitas, St. Julian, as well as relics of the Apostle St. Matthias and the Evangelist St. Luke. I can only remember clearly the shrines to St Matthias and St Luke.


Below is a photo of a huge shrine of St Luke. I wondered at the time, how on earth did Saint Luke end up in Padua? And today, months later, thanks to "Google", I have some answers.

Tomb of St Luke, the Evangelist, Padua

Saint Luke, is  the man whom Paul of Tarsus called “the beloved physician,” he is the author of the third Gospel, the Acts of the Apostles, and the founder of iconography. A tradition, confirmed by the testimony of St. Jerome, says that the casket with the bones of St Luke was taken to Constantinople during the time of Emperor Constans (fourth century) and placed in the Basilica of the Holy Apostles. Tradition claims, that a priest named Urius, custodian of the Basilica of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, took with him to Padua the remains of St. Luke, St. Matthias, and an icon of the Virgin, which are still present in Santa Giustina.

In 1998 experts of the diocese and the friars of Santa Giustina removed the 400-year-old seals from the large lead casket. The large size of the lead casket makes it clear that this was not made to hold the Evangelist’s relics, but his body. Inside the casket they found the bones of a complete skeleton (with the exception of the skull). Scientific tests on a body in Padua have shown that it could be that of St Luke. Research indicates that the bones belonged to a Syrian, who died in old age, between 70 and 85 A.D. The bones in Padua, are missing the head. This “lack” gave further confirmation of the authenticity of the relics. Historical documents show that in 1354, Emperor Charles IV took the skull from the skeleton in Padua to Prague with him. The skull of St Luke is to this day in the Cathedral of St. Vitus, Prague and where it continues to be venerated. Studies have shown that the skull in Prague more than likely belongs to the body in Padua. 

In October 1992, the Bishop of Padua, Antonio Mattiazzo, was handed a letter in Greek, written by the Orthodox Metropolitan of Thebes, Hyeronimus, asking him for “a significant fragment of the relics of St. Luke" to be placed in the origional tomb of St Luke Evangelist, in the Orthodox Cathedral in Thebes. In October 2000 Bishop Mattiazzo took a rib from St. Luke’s skeleton, the one closest to the heart, and flew to Thebes, to satisfy Metropolitan Hyeronimus’s moving request to have a significant relic to venerate in the empty tomb.


Prayer to Saint Luke

Most charming and saintly Physician, you were animated by the heavenly Spirit of love. In faithfully detailing the humanity of Jesus, you also showed his divinity and his genuine compassion for all human beings. Inspire our physicians with your professionalism and with the divine compassion for their patients. Enable them to cure the ills of both body and spirit that afflict so many in our day. Amen.

Count Me Out, Suspended

This is the sign that meets you when you visit the Count Me Out Website. The site was set up, in wake of the abuse scandals, to assist those who formally wanted to leave the Church. Some new Canon Law has scuppered their little project! I smile! The Catholic Church has modified the Code of Canon Law to remove all references to the act of formal defection, the process used by those who wish to formally renounce their membership of the Church. This will not alter the fact that people can defect from the Church, and continue to do so, albeit not through a formal process. But remember, baptism is forever, it can not be undone.

From The Catechism of the Catholic Church
An indelible spiritual mark . . .
1272 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.
1273 Incorporated into the Church by Baptism, the faithful have received the sacramental character that consecrates them for Christian religious worship. The baptismal seal enables and commits Christians to serve God by a vital participation in the holy liturgy of the Church and to exercise their baptismal priesthood by the witness of holy lives and practical charity.
1274 The Holy Spirit has marked us with the seal of the Lord ("Dominicus character") "for the day of redemption." "Baptism indeed is the seal of eternal life." The faithful Christian who has "kept the seal" until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life "marked with the sign of faith," with his baptismal faith, in expectation of the blessed vision of God - the consummation of faith - and in the hope of resurrection.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Six New Saints

Today, October 17, at 10am in St Peter's Square, Rome, Pope Benedict XXVI will canonize six religious.


 Stanisłalw Kazimierczyk Sołtys, Priest of the Order of Canons Regular of the Lateran;



André (Alfred) Bessette, Religious of the Congregation of Holy Cross;



 Cándida María de Jesús (Juana Josefa) Cipitria Y Barriola, Virgin, foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus;



Mary Of The Cross (Mary Helen) MacKillop, Virgin, foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart;



Giulia Salzano, Virgin, foundress of the Congregation of the Catechist of the Sacred Heart of Jesus;



Camilla Battista da Varano, Virgin, of the Order of St. Clare.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Today in History, Oscar Wilde's Birthday

Oscar Wilde



"Much of my moral obliquity is due to the fact that my father would not allow me to become a Catholic. The artistic side of the Church and the fragrance of its teachings would have cured my degeneracies. I intend to be received before long." Oscar Wilde
 
Read, The Conversion of Oscar Wilde by Fr John Hogan.

Friday, October 15, 2010

St Teresa of Avila, pray for us

Event




Venue: Ballsbridge Inn, Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
(Nearest Dart Station – Lansdowne Road)

Pope John Paul II Could be Beatified within a Year

Friday Prayer and Penance



Prayer for the Church in Ireland
God of our fathers,
renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,
the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,
the charity which purifies and opens our hearts
to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus Christ,
may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment
to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness, holiness and generous service to society.

Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,
inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal
for the Church in Ireland.

May our sorrow and our tears,
our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,
and our firm purpose of amendment
bear an abundant harvest of grace
for the deepening of the faith
in our families, parishes, schools and communities,
for the spiritual progress of Irish society,
and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace
within the whole human family.

To you, Triune God,
confident in the loving protection of Mary,
Queen of Ireland, our Mother,
and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,
do we entrust ourselves, our children,
and the needs of the Church in Ireland.

Amen.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Catholics in Uk to Reclaim Halloween

Below is a press release from the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
Christ our Light

‘Shine A Light’ To Witness To Christian Faith

Christians across the UK are invited to place a light in their window on 31 October as a sign to passers-by that they are followers of Jesus Christ.

The initiative is called Night of Light and is the inspiration of Damian Stayne, the founder of the Catholic community, Cor et Lumen Christi. He explained: "The Night of Light is an international initiative to reclaim Halloween as a joyful Christian celebration. In many countries around the world children’s celebrations are being organised, as are prayer gatherings, with people putting a light in their window to visibly witness to neighbours and friends."

He added: "The evening of 31 October is called Halloween ('All Hallows Eve') and is the vigil (beginning) of the Feast of All Saints - the feast in which Catholics celebrate the glory of God in His saints, the victory of light over darkness in the lives of God's holy ones in heaven. Jesus is the 'Light of the World'. The saints lived by that light, and became a beacon in their own generation. Everyone is called by Jesus to live out this vocation - to be the 'Light of the world' for others today."

As participants are able, suggested key elements of the Night of Light include:
· Attending a vigil Mass for the Feast of All Saints
· Spending all night adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
· Providing treats and fun for children in celebration of All Saints and the Light of Christ; e.g. a bonfire or dressing up as saints.
· Placing a light in your window (safely) as a sign to passers-by that yours is a Christian household and Christ is your light.

Some may like to wear a white item of clothing as a symbol of their allegiance to Christ, Our Light. (Complete Text)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Irish Archbishops Asserting Themselves

The Irish Archbishops


Catholic Communications Office letter submitted, on behalf of the four archbishops, to 'The Irish Catholic' for publication.

From http://www.irishbishops.ie/

11 October 2010

The Editor
The Irish Catholic
Irish Farm Centre
Bluebell
Dublin 12

Re: Front page headline and article in Irish Catholic newspaper October 7, 2010

Dear Editor,

I am writing to you on behalf of the four Catholic Archbishops of Ireland concerning the front page headline and article which appeared in The Irish Catholic newspaper of 7 October 2010. Your headline and report were seriously misleading.

The Bishops have welcomed the Apostolic Visitation without qualification and recognise in it an example of how the Pope wishes to support the Irish Church at a difficult time. The meeting in Rome last week with Senior Vatican officials, the four Apostolic Visitators and the four Irish Archbishops was positive and constructive. There was absolutely no attempt on the part of the bishops, as was suggested by your headline and article, to try to restrict the mandate of the Apostolic visitors.

The bishops have publicly pledged their full co-operation and support for the visitation which was announced in March by Pope Benedict in his Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland:

“Furthermore, having consulted and prayed about the matter, I intend to hold an Apostolic Visitation of certain dioceses in Ireland, as well as seminaries and religious congregations. Arrangements for the Visitation, which is intended to assist the local Church on her path of renewal, will be made in cooperation with the competent offices of the Roman Curia and the Irish Episcopal Conference. The details will be announced in due course.”

Pastoral Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland

Mr Martin Long
Director
Catholic Communications Office
Columba Centre
Maynooth
Co Kildare

Full text Ubicumque et Semper

Apostolic letter in the form of motu proprio
Ubicumque et Semper
of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI


The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch.



With which is instituted the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization

The Church has the duty to proclaim always and everywhere the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He, the first and supreme evangelizer, on the day of his Ascension to the Father sent the Apostles: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20). Faithful to this mandate the Church, people that God acquired to proclaim his wonderful deeds (cf. 1 Peter 2:9), since the day of Pentecost, in which it received as gift the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:14), has never tired of making known to the whole world the beauty of the Gospel, proclaiming Jesus Christ, true God and true man, the same "yesterday, today and for ever" (Acts 13:8), who with his Death and Resurrection brought about salvation, bringing to fulfillment the ancient promise. Hence, the evangelizing mission, continuation of the work desired by the Lord Jesus, is for the Church necessary and irreplaceable, expression of her very nature.

This mission has taken on in history ever new forms and modalities according to the times, the situations and the historical moments. In our time, one of its singular features has been to be confronted with the phenomenon of estrangement from the faith, which has manifested itself progressively in societies and cultures that for centuries seemed permeated by the Gospel. The social transformations we have witnessed in the last decades have complex causes, which sink their roots far in time and that have modified profoundly the perception of our world. Think of the gigantic progress of science and technology, of the expansion of the possibilities of life and the areas of individual liberty, of the profound changes in the economic field, of the process of ethnic and cultural mixes caused by massive migratory phenomena, of the growing interdependence among peoples. All this has not happened without consequences also for the religious dimension of man's life. And if on one hand humanity has known the undeniable benefits of these transformations and the Church has received further stimulation to give reason for the hope that is in her (cf. 1 Peter 3:15), verified on the other hand is a worrying loss of the sense of the sacred, even calling into question those foundations that seem indisputable, such as faith in a creator and provident God, the revelation of Jesus Christ only Savior, and the common understanding of the fundamental experiences of man, such as birth, death, living in a family, and reference to a natural moral law.

Although all this has been greeted by some as a liberation, perceived very quickly is the interior desert that is born where man, wishing to be the only architect of his nature and of his destiny, finds himself deprived of what constitutes the foundation of all things.

Already the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council assumed among its central topics the question of the relationship between the Church and this contemporary world. Following the trail of conciliar teaching, my Predecessors reflected further on the need to find adequate ways to enable our contemporaries to continue to hear the living and eternal Word of the Lord.

With a vision of the future, the Servant of God Paul VI observed that the commitment of evangelization, "as a result of the frequent situations of dechristianization in our day, [...] also proves equally necessary for innumerable people who have been baptized but who live quite outside Christian life, for simple people who have a certain faith but an imperfect knowledge of the foundations of that faith, for intellectuals who feel the need to know Jesus Christ in a light different from the instruction they received as children, and for many others" (apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Nuntiandi," No. 52). And with his thought directed to those estranged from the faith, he added that the evangelizing action of the Church "must constantly seek the proper means and language for presenting, or representing, to them God's revelation and faith in Jesus Christ" (ibid., No. 56).

The Venerable Servant of God John Paul II made this difficult task one of the cardinal points of his vast magisterium, synthesizing in the concept "new evangelization" -- which he systematically analyzed in numerous interventions -- the task that awaits the Church today, in particular in the areas of ancient Christianization. A task that, although it refers directly to its way of relating to the exterior, presupposes, however first of all a constant interior renewal, a continuous passing, so to speak, from evangelized to evangelizing. Suffice it to recall what was affirmed in the postsynodal exhortation "Christifideles Laici": "Whole countries and nations where religion and the Christian life were formerly flourishing and capable of fostering a viable and working community of faith, are now put to a hard test, and in some cases, are even undergoing a radical transformation, as a result of a constant spreading of an indifference to religion, of secularism and atheism. This particularly concerns countries and nations of the so-called First World, in which economic well-being and consumerism, even if coexistent with a tragic situation of poverty and misery, inspires and sustains a life lived 'as if God did not exist'. This indifference to religion and the practice of religion devoid of true meaning in the face of life's very serious problems, are not less worrying and upsetting when compared with declared atheism. Sometimes the Christian faith as well, while maintaining some of the externals of its tradition and rituals, tends to be separated from those moments of human existence which have the most significance, such as, birth, suffering and death. [...]
"On the other hand, in other regions or nations many vital traditions of piety and popular forms of Christian religion are still conserved; but today this moral and spiritual patrimony runs the risk of being dispersed under the impact of a multiplicity of processes, including secularization and the spread of sects. Only a re-evangelization can assure the growth of a clear and deep faith, and serve to make these traditions a force for authentic freedom.

"Without doubt a mending of the Christian fabric of society is urgently needed in all parts of the world. But for this to come about what is needed is to first remake the Christian fabric of the ecclesial community itself present in these countries and nations" (No. 34).

Assuming, therefore, the concern of my venerable Predecessors, I consider it opportune to offer adequate answers so that the whole Church, allowing herself to be regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit, present herself to the contemporary world with a missionary thrust capable of promoting a new evangelization. The latter makes reference above all to the Churches of ancient foundation, which  however, live very different realities, to which different needs correspond, which await different impulses of evangelization: in some territories, in fact, despite the advance of the phenomenon of secularization, Christian practice still manifests a healthy vitality and a profound rooting in the soul of entire populations; noted in other regions, instead, is a distancing of the whole society from the faith, with a weaker ecclesial fabric, though not deprived of elements of liveliness that the Spirit does not fail to arouse; we also know, unfortunately, of areas that seem completely de-Christianized, in which the light of the faith is entrusted to the witness of small communities: these lands, which need a renewed first proclamation of the Gospel, seem to be particularly resistant to many aspects of the Christian message.

The diversity of situations calls for careful discernment: to speak of "new evangelization" does not mean, in fact, to have to elaborate a single equal formula for all the circumstances. And yet, it is not difficult to realize what all the Churches need that live in traditionally Christian territories, which is a renewed missionary drive, expression of a new generous openness to the gift of grace. In fact, we cannot forget that the first task is to be docile to the gratuitous work of the Spirit of the Risen One, which supports all those who are bearers of the Gospel, and which opens the hearts of those who listen. Necessary above all to proclaim profoundly the Word of the Gospel is a profound experience of God.

As I stated in my first encyclical "Deus Caritas Est": "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction" (No. 1). In a similar way, at the root of all evangelization there is not a human plan of expansion, but the desire to share the inestimable gift that God has willed to give us, making us sharers in his own life.

Therefore, in the light of these reflections, after having examined everything carefully and having asked for the judgment of expert persons, I establish and decree what follows:

Art. 1.
Paragraph 1. The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization is established as a Dicastery of the Roman Curia, in the sense of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus.
Paragraph 2. The Council pursues its own end both by stimulating reflection on topics of the new evangelization, as well as singling out and promoting the adequate ways and instruments to accomplish it.

Art. 2.
The Council's action, which is carried out in collaboration with the other Dicasteries and Organisms of the Roman Curia, in respect of their relative competencies, is at the service of the particular Churches, especially in those territories of Christian tradition where greater evidence is manifested of the phenomenon of secularization.

Art. 3.
Pointed out among the specific tasks of the Council are:
1st. to reflect on the theological and pastoral meaning of the new evangelization;
2nd. to promote and foster, in close collaboration with the Episcopal Conferences concerned, which can have an ad hoc organism, the study, diffusion and realization of the papal Magisterium related to topics connected with the new evangelization;
3rd. to make known initiatives linked to the new evangelization already under way in the various particular Churches and to promote their new realization, involving actively also the resources present in the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as well as the aggregations of faithful and in the new communities;
4th. to study and foster the use of modern forms of communication, as instruments for the new evangelization;
5th. to promote the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as essential and complete formulation of the content of the faith for the men of our time.

Art. 4.
Paragraph 1. The Council is headed by an Archbishop President, helped by his Secretary, by an Under-Secretary and by an appropriate number of Officials, according to the norms established by the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and by the General Regulation of the Roman Curia.
Paragraph 2. The Council will have its own Members and can have its own Consultors.
All that has been deliberated with the present Motu proprio, I order that it have full and stable value, despite anything to the contrary, even if it is worthy of particular mention, and I establish that it be promulgated through publication in the newspaper L'Osservatore Romano and that it come into force on the day of promulgation.

Given at Castel Gandolfo, the 21st day of September of 2010, Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, sixth year of my Pontificate.
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
[Translation by ZENIT]

Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa, pray for us


Alexandrina Maria da Costa (1904-1955)

As a "testimony" to the mission to which God had called her, Alexandrina desired the following words written on her tombstone:  "Sinners, if the dust of my body can be of help to save you, come close, walk over it, kick it around until it disappears. But never sin again:  do not offend Jesus anymore! Sinners, how much I want to tell you.... Do not risk losing Jesus for all eternity, for he is so good. Enough with sin. Love Jesus, love him!".

Alexandrina died on 13 October 1955. Her last words: "I am happy, because I am going to Heaven".
Short life of Blessed Alexandrina da Costa from the Vatican website.


I also found this. I wonder did they get a reply?


Wednesday, 23 June 2010 (Blessed Alexandrina's News Blog)
The Most Rev. Jorge Ortiga, Archbishop of Braga, has written to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland, to request that Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa be declared Co-patron of the International Eucharistic Congress in 2012.

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