Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pope Benedict: Crisis of 'indifference' shows need for New Evangelization

The following comes from the CNA:

Pope Benedict stressed the urgency of evangelizing modern society, saying that Christians today face the task of reaching a world that grows increasingly apathetic to the message of the Gospel.

“The crisis we are living through,” he said, “carries with it signs of the exclusion of God from people's lives, a general indifference to the Christian faith, and even the intention of marginalizing it from public life.”

The Pope made his remarks on May 30 to members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, as they prepare for their upcoming synod in 2012. During the meeting, which will take place Oct. 7-28 next year, bishops and other participants from around the world will discuss the late Pope John Paul II's vision of proposing the Christian faith in new ways.

Pope Benedict explained that “the term 'new evangelization' recalls the need of a new way of evangelizing, especially for those who live in a situation like today's where the development of secularization has left deep marks on even traditionally Christian countries.”

He noted that “proclaiming Jesus Christ, the sole Savior of the world, is more complex today than in the past, but our task continues to be the same as at the beginning of our history. The mission hasn't changed, just as the enthusiasm and courage that motivated the apostles and first disciples should not change.”

The Church's message, he said, “needs to be renewed today in order to convince modern persons, who are often distracted and insensitive. That is why the new evangelization must find the ways to make the proclamation of salvation more effective, the salvation without with life is contradictory and lacking in what is essential.”

Pope Benedict observed a growing “phenomenon” of people in modern society “who wish to belong to the Church but who are strongly determined by a vision of life that is opposed to the faith is often seen.”

“It is important to make them understand that being Christian is not a type of outfit that one wears in private or on special occasions, but something living and totalizing, capable of taking all that is good in modernity.”

He emphasized that the entire Christian community “is called to revive the missionary spirit in order to offer the new message that persons of our times are hoping for.”

The “lifestyle of believers needs real credibility, as much more convincing as the more dramatic is the condition of the persons to whom it is addressed.”

Pope Benedict expressed his desire to council members that they outline “a plan to help the entire Church and the particular different Churches in the commitment of the new evangelization; a plan whereby the urgency of a renewed evangelization takes charge of formation, particularly that of the new generations, and is united to the proposal of concrete signs capable of making the Church's response in this particular moment clear.”

Monday, May 30, 2011

You Hold Me Together by Dierks Bentley

"American Pie" and the best music video ever made!

One camera. No edits. And a ton of heart. Great job Grand Rapids! God bless America!

Thanks Deacon Greg!

Monks Build New Monastery at Site of Biblical Miracle

The following comes from the CNA:

The Benedictine monks who oversee the site where Jesus miraculously fed thousands are building a new monastery to replace their earthquake-damaged building.

Fr. Jeremias Marseille, OSB, a member of the German Benedictine community living there, said that their present house, built without proper foundations in the 1950s, is not safe.

“The rooms have all cracks of 45 degrees in the walls and the house is moving, as we live in an area of earthquakes at the beginning of the Jordan valley,” he told Aid to the Church in Need.

The second “more important” reason for the move is that the community needs a cloister “where the monastic life can increase and grow.”

They experience a high volume of pilgrims and tourists each day, sometimes as many as 5,000 people. The monks need a place of retreat and reflection and also a place to provide a meeting place for the young people they serve: disabled youth from Israel and the West Bank.

It is important to withdraw to a quiet place and seek God, Fr. Jeremias explained, and the new monastery will provide this in its new oratory.

The monk cited Jesus’ words before the multiplication of loaves and fish: “Come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while, for there were so many coming and going.”

Aid to the Church in Need is supporting the project, giving more than $70,000 to build the oratory.

The oratory will be air conditioned, an essential feature in an area where temperatures can reach 122 degrees Farenheit during the hottest part of the day.

“Monks and guests need a room where, both day and night, they can find a quiet place to pray which is set apart from the crowds in the surroundings,” Fr. Jeremias said.

The new building will also be able to withstand the periodic earthquakes.

Construction on the monastery’s cells is almost finished. Builders will soon begin its west wing, which includes the new monastery.

“We hope and plan to finish the skeleton construction work of the whole monastery in October, and we hope to move in at the end of May next year,” Fr. Jeremias said.

The monks oversee the Church of the Multiplications of Loaves and Fish, which was built in 1982 by the German Association of the Holy Land on the site of a Byzantine church destroyed in 614 A.D. by the Persians. The current structure incorporates the remains of the mosaic floor of the fifth century church.

Records of a church at the site date back to the end of the fourth century. A small Syrian church was built over a holy stone which became an altar commemorating Jesus’ miracle.

Pope Benedict: life flourishes wherever the Gospel is embraced

The following comes from the CNA:

The Christian Gospel brings a flourishing of life wherever it is embraced. That was the message of Pope Benedict XVI at his midday Regina Coeli on May 29.

Drawing upon the first-century story of Philip the Deacon, who preached Christ and cured many in the city of Samaria, the Pope noted that the New Testament records that “there was great joy in that city.”

“Every time we hit this expression,” said the Pope to pilgrims in St. Peters Square, “in its essence it conveys a sense of hope, as if to say: it is possible! It is possible that the world will know true joy, because wherever the Gospel arrives, life flourishes, just as a barren land, watered by the rain, immediately revives.”

Essentially, the Pope suggested, Philip and the other disciples did in the villages of first-century Palestine just what Jesus himself had done in their recent past – “preached the Good News and worked miraculous signs” because “it was the Lord who acted through them.”  

As it was in that time and place, said the Pope, so it has been down through the centuries of Christian history.

“It is natural to think of the healing power of the Gospel, which over the centuries has ‘flowed’ as a beneficial river, through many populations.” 

“Some great saints have brought hope and peace to entire cities - we think of St. Charles Borromeo in Milan, at a time of plague, or Blessed Mother Teresa in Calcutta, and many missionaries, whose name is known only to God, but who gave their lives to the proclamation of Christ and to allow a deep joy to flourish among men.”

“While the powerful of this world were trying to conquer new territories for political and economic interests, the messengers of Christ went everywhere with the aim of bringing Christ to men, and men to Christ, knowing that only He can give true freedom and eternal life.” 

And this, concluded the Pope, is still the job of the Catholic Church in the 21st century.

“Even today the vocation of the Church is the evangelization of those people who have not yet been ‘irrigated’ by living the Gospel,” and that includes “those who, despite their ancient Christian roots, need new blood to bring new fruits and rediscover the beauty and joy of faith.”

Saint of the day: Joan of Arc

The Following comes from the Catholic Online site:
St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and of France. On January 6, 1412, Joan of Arc was born to pious parents of the French peasant class, at the obscure village of Domremy, near the province of Lorraine. At a very early age, she heard voices: those of St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret.

At first the messages were personal and general. Then at last came the crowning order. In May, 1428, her voices "of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret" told Joan to go to the King of France and help him reconquer his kingdom. For at thattime the English king was after the throne of France, and the Duke of Burgundy, the chief rival of the French king, was siding with him and gobbling up evermore French territory.

After overcoming opposition from churchmen and courtiers, the seventeen year old girl was given a small army with which she raised the seige of Orleans on May 8, 1429. She then enjoyed a series of spectacular military successes, during which the King was able to enter Rheims and be crowned with her at his side.

In May 1430, as she was attempting to relieve Compiegne, she was captured by the Burgundians and sold to the English when Charles and the French did nothing to save her. After months of imprisonment, she was tried at Rouen by a tribunal presided over by the infamous Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, who hoped that the English would help him to become archbishop.

Through her unfamiliarity with the technicalities of theology, Joan was trapped into making a few damaging statements. When she refused to retract the assertion that it was the saints of God who had commanded her to do what she had done, she was condemned to death as a heretic, sorceress, and adulteress, and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431. She was nineteen years old. Some thirty years later, she was exonerated of all guilt and she was ultimately canonized in 1920, making official what the people had known for centuries. Her feast day is May 30.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Revelation Song by Jesus Culture

Basilica Mary Help of Christians

Vietnam: A History of Martyrs

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Where You Go I Go by Kim Walker

Fr. Robert Barron on the Dome of St. Peter's

Remembering Blessed Margaret Pole

The following comes from the Patron Saints Index:

Daughter of the Duke of Clarence. Niece of King Edward IV and King Richard III of England. Married Sir Richard Pole in 1491. Mother of five, one of whom became a cardinal. Widow. Unofficial ward of King Henry VIII, who made her Countess of Salisbury and governess to Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII.

When she opposed Henry’s plan to marry Ann Boleyn, she was driven from court and received the king’s disfavor. When her son, Cardinal Reginald Pole, wrote against Henry’s presumptions to spiritual supremacy, the king decided to crush the family. Two of Margaret’s sons were executed in 1538 for the crime of being the brothers of Reginald. The elderly Margaret was arrested soon after, falsley charged with plotting revolution; in 1539 she was sent to the Tower of London where she spent her remaining two years. In 1541, at the outbreak of an actual uprising, Margaret was summarily executed with trial as a precaution. Martyr.

To find out more about the Blessed Margaret Pole film here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Eye of the Hurricane by Me in Motion

Pope Benedict: Mary is a help in believing

The following comes from Zenit.org:

Noting Tuesday's feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, Benedict XVI is affirming that Mary helps build up faith in Christ.

The Pope made this observation as he concluded today's general audience with his traditional greeting to the young, the sick and newlyweds.

"Mary helps us, dear young people [...] to affirm each day your faith in Christ," he said.
The Holy Father voiced a prayer that Our Lady would obtain comfort and serenity for the sick. And he wished her encouragement on newlyweds, "to translate into daily life the commandment of love."

Saint of the day: Augustine of Canterbury

The following comes from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert:

The man who would become the first Archbishop of Canterbury and eventually be acclaimed as the "Apostle of England" was the prior of the Abbey of St. Andrew in Rome when, in AD 596 Pope St. Gregory I selected him to head a missionary effort aimed at converting the Anglo-Saxons. Although difficulties encountered in southern Gaul forced him to return to Rome, the pope promptly consecrated him a bishop and dispatched him again. This time the the endeavor met with success and the party reached Ebbsfleet on the Kentish coast in 597, to be warmly welcomed by King Ethelbert of Kent and his Christian wife. The monarch gave the monks permission to evangelize, and soon provided them with an old church in his city of Canterbury, as well as a place in which to live. Before long Ethelbert and many of his courtiers and subjects would be baptized.

Augustine then journeyed to Arles to be invested with the pallium as bishop of the English by St. Virgilius. Thus empowered, he set about establishing bishoprics in London and Rochester. Pope Gregory had desired that the principal See be situated in London with a second in York, both of which would have twelve suffragens. But Augustine thought otherwise, electing instead to remain in Canterbury, a city which he felt to be not only the most culturally sophisticated but also the most important for the Church, since it happened to be the capital of the only Christian Anglo-Saxon kingdom. It was there he built the Cathedral of Christ Church. Outside the walls, King Ethelbert erected the Abbey of SS. Peter and Paul, later to be renamed after the kingdom's first archbishop.

Gregory instructed Augustine carefully on matters pertaining to the integration of this new territory into the Roman Church. Extant letters show that as long as his actions remained canonically correct he was given a certain latitude on decisions concerning the adoption of Gallican liturgical practices. Gregory forbade the outright destruction of pagan temples, and his bishop was strongly encouraged to absorb popular religious rites into Christian feasts whenever possible.
In 603, Augustine tried to united the Celtic Church with Rome, but without much success. In fact, there had been little in the way of cooperation along these lines during the whole of his time in England. Old attachments to provincial customs and practices were simply too engrained. However, with Canterbury firmly established as the ecclesiastical center of England, use of the Roman Rite and calendar would, after his death be universally accepted.

Shortly before his death in 604 he consecrated Lawrence of Canterbury as his successor. Augustine was buried in the Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Manisfesto by The City Harmonic

The Cause for Canonization of Archbishop Fulton Sheen Moves Forward

The following comes from the CNA:

The canonization of Archbishop Fulton Sheen moved a step closer today as the official document outlining his cause – known as a “positio” - was presented to Pope Benedict XVI. 

“America is in need of a saint like Archbishop Sheen. He brought so many people closer to Christ during his life here on earth and continues to do so even today through his many writings, television and radio shows,” said Father Andrew Apostoli, Vice Postulator for the cause. 

Archbishop Sheen was born in El Paso, Ill. in 1895 and ordained a priest in the Diocese of Peoria in 1909. Appropriately, it was Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria who presented the positio to Pope Benedict at the conclusion of his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square. The book was bound in white silk and summarizes the life and holiness of the late archbishop.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oh, Happy Day by Tim Hughes

St. Bede's scholarship and holiness

The following comes from the CNA:

The Catholic Church will celebrate the feast of St. Bede on May 25. The English priest, monk, and scholar is sometimes known as “the Venerable Bede” for his combination of personal holiness and intellectual brilliance.

Bede was born during 673 near the English town of Jarrow. His parents sent him at a young age to study at a monastery founded by a Benedictine abbot who would later be canonized in his own right as St. Benedict Biscop. The abbot's extensive library may have sparked an early curiosity in the boy, who would grow up to be a voracious reader and prolific writer.

Later, Bede returned to Jarrow and continued his studies with an abbot named Ceolfrid, who was a companion of St. Benedict Biscop. The abbot and a group of other monks instructed Bede not only in scripture and theology, but also in in sacred music, poetry and the Greek language.

Bede's tutors could see that his life demonstrated a remarkable devotion to prayer and study, and Ceolfrid made the decision to have him ordained a deacon when he was 19. Another Benedictine monk and future saint, the bishop John of Beverley, ordained Bede in 691.

He studied for 11 more years before entering the priesthood at the age of 30, around the beginning of the eighth century. Afterward, Bede took on the responsibility of celebrating daily Mass for the members of his Benedictine community, while also working on farming, baking, and other works of the monastery.

As a monk, Bede gave absolute priority to prayer, fasting and charitable hospitality. He regarded all other works as valueless without the love of God and one's neighbor. However, Bede also possessed astounding intellectual gifts, which he used to survey and master a wide range of subjects according to an all-encompassing vision of Christian scholarship.

Bede declined a request to become abbot of his monastery. Instead, he concentrated on writing, and produced more than 45 books – primarily about theology and the Bible, but also on science, literature, and history. He also taught hundreds of students at the monastery and its school, which became renowned throughout Britain.

During Bede's own lifetime, his spiritual and intellectual gifts garnered wide recognition. His writings on scripture were considered so authoritative that a Church council ordered them to be publicly read in English churches. Some of the most illustrious members of English society made pilgrimages to his monastery to seek his guidance, and he was personally invited to Rome by Pope Sergius.

Bede, however, was unfazed by these honors. Perhaps inspired by the Benedictine monastic ethos, which emphasizes one's absolute commitment to the monastic community, he chose not to visit Rome, or to travel any significant distance beyond the Monastery of Sts. Peter and Paul in Jarrow, during his entire adult life.

Instead, the world came to him – through the visitors he received, according to the Benedictine tradition of hospitality, and through his voluminous reading. And Bede, in turn, reached the world without leaving his monastery, writing books that were copied with reverence for centuries and still read today. He is one of the last Western Christian writers to be numbered among the Church Fathers.

But Bede understood that love, rather than learning, was his life's purpose. “It is better,” he famously said, “to be a stupid and uneducated brother who, working at the good things he knows, merits life in heaven, than to be one who – though being distinguished for his learning in the Scriptures, or even holding the place of a teacher – lacks the bread of love."

Bede died on the vigil of the feast of the Ascension of Christ in 735, shortly after finishing an Anglo-Saxon translation of the Gospel of John. Pope Leo XIII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1899.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Give to the Red Cross

Please consider helping the Red Cross as so many of our friends and neighbors struggle to rebuild after floods and tornadoes.

Glorious by Paul Baloche

Pope Benedict: God is no longer invisible

The following comes from Zenit.org:
To believe in God and to believe in Jesus Christ are not two separate acts, but rather "one act of faith," says Benedict.
The Pope affirmed this today in his address before praying the midday Regina Caeli with those gathered in St. Peter's Square, in which he reflected on Christ as the "way, the truth and the life." 
"The New Testament put an end to the Father's invisibility," the Holy Father said. "God has shown his face."
"With his incarnation, death and resurrection, the Son of God has freed us from the slavery of sin to give us the freedom of the children of God and has shown us the face of God, which is love: God can be seen, he is visible in Christ," he added.
The Pontiff explained that "only by believing in Christ, by remaining united to him, the disciples, among whom we also are, can continue their permanent action in history."
Benedict XVI encouraged the faithful to follow Christ "daily, in the simple actions that make up our day," and recalled that "the goal is the Father."
"For Christians, for each one of us, hence, the way to the Father is to allow ourselves to the guided by Jesus, by his word of truth, and to receive the gift of his life," he explained.
He concluded by underlining that the "main task of the Church" is to "proclaim Jesus Christ, 'the way, the truth and the life.'"
"Let us invoke the Virgin Mary," he said, "so that she will always assist the pastors and those who in the different ministries to proclaim the happy message of salvation, so that the Word of God is diffused and the number of disciples multiplied."

Monday, May 23, 2011

See His Love by Tim Hughes

All Catholics must 'cultivate' priestly vocations

The following comes from the CNA:

There is much talk regarding the crisis of vocations to the priesthood. And here in the United States, we are rightly concerned given that our priests are aging and ordinations continue to be admittedly too few. In 2011, there will be no one ordained for the diocesan priesthood here in South Florida. Here in the Archdiocese of Miami, we have a goodly number of priests serving as pastors who are over 70 years of age. Thank God for them, but who will step in their shoes?

Young Americans today, many of whom have suffered the consequences of the divorce of their parents, fear making any long-term commitments. This fear to assume risks in the face of an apparently uncertain future also accounts for the contemporary crisis in marriage today. In the West (North America and Western Europe), young people caught in a culture of instant gratification and fleeting interests are in no rush to marry much less enter a seminary or convent.

Yet, on a global level, the total number of seminarians is higher today than it was in 1978 when John Paul II became Pope. During the almost 27 years of his pontificate, he inspired many young people to embrace a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life. As he said in “Novo Milenio Ineunte,” “Young people, whatever their possible ambiguities, have a profound longing for those genuine values which find their fullness in Christ. ...If Christ is presented to young people as he really is, they experience him as an answer that is convincing and they can accept his message, even when it is demanding and bears the mark of the cross” (NMI, No. 9).

This worldwide resurgence of vocations is a hopeful sign. But it is also a challenge to us who live in what is called the West, where the numbers of vocations have yet to significantly grow. And I use the word “grow” deliberately, for vocations must be cultivated if the numbers are to grow. And that is a task for the entire Catholic community.

Priests should not only invite young men to consider a vocation to the priesthood, but also attract them by their priestly integrity and joy. Parents also should be willing to encourage their children if and when they wish to discern a vocation to priesthood or consecrated life. At the same time, teachers and just simple Catholics, when they see a particularly promising youth, should also encourage him or her to think about dedicating their lives to God’s service.

Despite conventional wisdom to the contrary, the priest shortage is not the result of celibacy, but of a crisis of faith and the closing of the window of man’s mind to infinity or transcendence. The desire to become a priest is nourished essentially from intimacy with the Lord, in a really personal relationship, which is expressed above all by the desire to be with him.

A superficial knowledge of Christ — the fruit of an inadequate or faulty religious formation — is a formidable obstacle to fostering vocations. Whatever can foster in children and youths the authentic discovery of the person of Jesus and of the vital relationship with him will be beneficial to awakening vocations.

World Youth Days — on a global level — have done just that, and we look forward to next World Youth Day in Madrid. A countless number of young priests and women religious attribute the “discovery” of their vocation because they went to one of these events where first John Paul II and now Benedict XVI have presented Christ “as he really is,” and they were able to experience him “as an answer that is convincing.”

Young people, whether in our parishes, campus ministries, schools or religious education programs, can and will respond to God who does not fail to call — for he is not outdone in generosity. They will be able to overcome “their possible ambiguities” with the confidence that Christian hope inspires — if all of us continue to support the ordained ministry of our priests, and if all of us support the young by introducing them to a personal and real relationship with Christ, a relationship that is nurtured with a solid catechesis and sacramental life.

Pope Benedict: proclaiming Jesus Christ is the task of the Church

The following comes from the CNA:

Proclaiming Jesus Christ as “the way, the truth and the life” is the main task of the Church, Pope Benedict said in his Sunday Regina Coeli remarks.

“The New Testament put an end to invisibility of the Father. God showed his face, as confirmed by the response of Jesus to the Apostle Philip, ‘Whoever has seen me has seen the Father’,” the Pope told the faithful in St. Peter’s Square on May 22.

For Christians, he explained, “the way to the Father is to be guided by Jesus, by his word of truth, and in accepting the gift of his life.”

Pope Benedict suggested the way of Jesus Christ is to be found in “following him every day, in simple actions that make up our day.”

He then quoted his own words from the second volume of his book Jesus of Nazareth:

“That's the mystery of God: to act in the quietest way. He only builds slowly in the great story of mankind’s history. He becomes a man, but in order to be ignored by his contemporaries and influential forces in history ... He continually knocks in the quietest way on the doors of our hearts, and if we open ourselves to him, he slowly makes us able to ‘see’.”

Pope Benedict drew upon the gospel reading for today, the fifth Sunday of Easter, in which Jesus Christ tells his disciples “Have faith in God, believe also in me.” The Pope pointed out that this belief is a single act of faith, and not two separate actions.

He cited the counsel of the 13th-century Italian theologian St. Bonaventure, who said “Open your eyes, therefore, tend the spiritual ears, open your lips and you have your heart, that you can in all creatures see, hear, praise, love, worship, glorify, honor your God.”

Pope Benedict concluded by calling upon the Virgin Mary to “always help the pastors and those in the various ministries announced the good news of salvation, so that the Word of God will spread and multiply the number of disciples.”

He then led pilgrims in the singing of the Regina Coeli.

Blessed John Paul II and Friendship

The following comes from Zenit.org:

The friendship between Stanislaw Nagy and Karol Wojtyła began on a train from Lublin to Krakow.
It would continue for 30 years, though Wojtyła would be taken far from their homeland and be weighted with the responsibility of the world. It was a 30-year friendship characterized by passionate discussions on theology and the Church, often with skis on their feet, during snowy excursions in God's creation.
Stanislaw Nagy was born in 1921, the year after Wojtyła. He was ordained a priest of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in 1945, as the war was ending. And some years after his friend was elected Pope, he was made a cardinal though he wasn't yet a bishop. The cardinal appointment was John Paul II's recognition of his old ski companion's contributions to ecclesiology studies.
Cardinal Nagy was not in St. Peter's Square this month on the day of his friend Karol's beatification, but in Zakopane, where they skied together so many times. And he celebrated a liturgy of thanksgiving at the Shrine of the Virgin of Fatima -- almost at the same time that Benedict XVI was celebrating Mass in Rome -- in which he consecrated the first altar in Poland dedicated to John Paul II.
He was not in Rome either when Cardinal Wojtyła began his pontificate on Oct. 22, 1978. The Pope chided him for this fact, with the light irony that characterized him. "I was very astonished," recalled Cardinal Nagy, "when one of the Polish priests who had been present at the inauguration of the pontificate gave me a letter from the newly elected. In it he wrote: 'What kind of theologian studies the Pope and his role in the Church and does not come to see him?'"
Despite their contact as university companions and later when Wojtyła was archbishop of Krakow and called him for advice on theological questions and to prepare the diocesan synods, "I did not consider myself his friend, so great was the distance that it seemed to me separated us," Cardinal Nagy said.
"I considered him a very intelligent man, of exceptional capacities, marked by a high sense of morality," he explained. "I did not feel capable of reaching him, because he was higher than me."
Leaving home
The cardinal remembers how Wojtyła was already known and esteemed in the Vatican long before becoming Peter's Successor: "Paul VI knew him and liked him; he called him to preach the Lent spiritual exercises of 1976 for the Pontiff and the Roman Curia."
The Poles, too, were conscious of his worth, but not even Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, primate of Poland, thought that Wojtyła could become Pope, Cardinal Nagy said.
John Paul I's death was a blow for his friend, the cardinal remembered. "One could perceive the anxiety that went through him."
And he added: "I learned of his election through Free Europe, the clandestine radio, which was more surprised than I was. I was in Lublin and among the students there was a great explosion of joy: At that moment I realized that the Wojtyła I knew was becoming another person."
But the future cardinal would discover he was mistaken: Pope Wojtyła was still the same ski companion Nagy had always known.
The year of his election, John Paul II invited him to Rome for the consecration of the new archbishop of Krakow, Franciszek Macharski.
"While coming down the steps of the plane, a man approached me and told me I was invited to dine with the Pope and he then accompanied me to him. I saw Wojtyła for the first time dressed in white," Cardinal Nagy remembered. "He was the same as before: simple, open, cordial -- as the brother who had spent so many hours with me on the mountain talking about this or that topic -- and, at the same time, he was full of majesty. An aura of seriousness and holiness emanated from him."
Blessed friendship
Cardinal Nagy said he has continually asked himself when he first realized "that I was dealing with a candidate to the altar."
"I think the first indication was the intensity of his prayer," he offered. In the mountains "I saw his simple and open nature, but at the same time I saw how he always tried to retire to pray. Already then he was a mystic. This impression was strengthened in the subsequent 26 years of his pontificate."
"When he approached the altar," the cardinal continued, "it seemed as if he belonged to another world and when he was already old and suffering, this transfiguration was even more evident."
The Pope's friend, now 89 years old, reflected that another sign of John Paul's sanctity was his "way of enduring suffering with infinite patience, so that it wouldn't interrupt his work."
Cardinal Nagy saw the Polish Pontiff for the last time on Jan. 21, 2005, the day before he was hospitalized for the last time in "Vatican III," as he called the Gemelli Polyclinic.
"I was not present at his death, but a few days later, I was able to speak with direct witnesses who told me how the last moments were and what his last words were: 'Let me go to the Father,'" the cardinal said. "Those words represent the seal of a life, because he lived all his life in the encounter with God."

A Great Time to Be a Priest

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Glorious by Paul Baloche

More Baroque: From St Peter's to St Paul's

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Your Love Never Fails by Chris Quilala

From Boat Person to Bishop

The following comes from the Friars Minor Conventuals:

A Vietnamese refugee who came to Australia in a refugee boat has been appointed a Catholic Bishop in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen was 18 years old when he, and his family, fled communism in 1980.
The Apostolic Nunciature in Australia advised Archbishop Denis Hart yesterday that Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Fr Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv as Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

Welcoming the appointment, Archbishop Denis Hart said today: "The appointment of Bishop Vincent as auxiliary in Melbourne is a historic one. He escaped from Vietnam by boat as a young man, came to Melbourne, joined the Conventual Franciscans, and has already given distinguished service as a pastor in Springvale, as a leader in his order and has made a generous and gifted contribution to the Church.”

“We welcome him warmly as he returns from Rome, and look forward to his ordination as Titular bishop of Tula in St Patrick's Cathedral on Thursday 23 June at 7.30pm. He is in our prayers at this important moment."
After the fall of Saigon, three brothers settled in Holland, a sister is still in Vietnam and his parents and a brother and a sister are in Melbourne.

In 1983, Bishop Nguyen became a Conventual Franciscan friar and studied for the priesthood in Melbourne.
After his priestly ordination on 30 December 1989, he was sent to Rome for further studies and was awarded a licentiate in Christology and Spirituality from the Pontifical Faculty of St Bonaventure.

He served as a parish priest for 4 years in Kellyville NSW and for 7 years in Springvale.
He was elected superior of the Order of Friars Minor Conventuals in Australia in 2005.

Since 2008, he has been in Rome serving as Assistant General, responsible for the Asia-Oceania section of order.
The Bishop returns to Melbourne from Rome at the end of May. 

Holy Father has appointed the Salesian Rector Major as a Consulter for the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization

The Salesian News Agency reports a new honor for our Salesian Rector Major:

On 19 May the Holy Father has appointed new Consulters for the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation. Among them is Fr Pascual Chávez Villanueva, Rector Major of the Salesians.

With Fr Chávez, who is President of the Union of Superiors General (USG), are Mons. Fernando Ocáriz (Spain), Vicar General of the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei; Fr. Julián Carrón (Spain), President of Communion and Liberation; Fr François-Xavier Dumortier, S.I. (France), Rector Magnificus of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome; Fr Pierangelo Sequeri (Italy), Vice Principal and Lecturer in Fundamental Theology at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy,; Sr Sara Butler (United States of America), of the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, Lecturer in Dogmatic Theology at the St. Mary of the Lake University,; Sr Mary Lou Wirtz, F.C.J.M. (United States of America), Superior General of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jeus and Mary, President of the International Union of Female Superiors General. Also on the list are the lay people Dr Chiara Amirante (Italy), Founder and Leader of the "New Horizons Association "; Mt. Kiko Argüello (Spain), Leader of the International Team of the New-Catecumenal Way; Prof. Lucetta Scaraffia (Italy), Lecturer in History at the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy at La Sapienza University in Rome.

The Pontifical Council established on 28 June 2010 by Benedict XVI, “whose principal task will be to promote a renewed evangelization in the countries where the first proclamation of the faith has already resonated and where Churches with an ancient foundation exist but are experiencing the progressive secularization of society and a sort of "eclipse of the sense of God", which pose a challenge to finding appropriate to propose anew the perennial truth of Christ`s Gospel.”

On the following 30 June Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella was appointed President of the new Pontifical Council. On 12 October 2010 the Apostolic Letter in the form of a motu proprio, “Ubicumque et Semper” was published by which the Roman Pontiff established the department and named its members.

Baroque: From St Peter's to St Paul's

Nobel Nominee, Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes, to be Beatified on Sunday

The following comes from Zenit.org:
Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes is the most admired woman in the history of Brazil, according to a newspaper of São Paulo. This Sunday, the nun who died less than 20 years ago will be recognized as Blessed Dulce.
"Every saint is an example of Christ, as was Sister Dulce. She dedicated herself every day throughout her life to the poor and the suffering," said Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, the retired archbishop of her native Salvador da Bahia, when he learned of her beatification.
The cardinal will represent Benedict XVI in presiding over the beatification of this 1988 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, who was twice visited by another blessed, Pope John Paul II (in 1980 and 1991).
The future nun was born in 1914 and baptized Maria Rita. Her mother died when she was 6 and her aunts brought her up. At 13, one of her aunts took her to see the poorest areas of the city, an event that awakened her great sensitivity. Thus, at 18 she entered the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, where she took the name Sister Dulce.
One of the inspirations for her vocation was the life of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. "I think I am like the little love of my small heart, that no matter how much love it has, it is little for such a great God," wrote Sister Dulce when she entered the convent. Like "St. Thérèse, I think that the Child Jesus is pleased with all little acts of love no matter how small they are."
Love turned into works
Her little acts of love were translated into great social works. Sister Dulce founded the St. Francis Union of Workers. Then she began to shelter sick persons in abandoned houses of Salvador da Bahia. When they were evicted, she moved her shelter to an old fish market, but the municipality obliged her to leave that site too.
The only place she could receive more than 70 people who needed medical care was the chicken coop of the convent where she lived. The coop soon became an improvised hospital.
Thus began the history of another of her foundations: St. Anthony's Hospital, which was opened officially in May of 1959, with 150 beds; now it cares for 3,000 patients daily.
Today her foundations are known as Sister Dulce's Social Works, with the acronym OSID (Obras Sociais Irmã Dulce). It functions as a private charitable entity under Brazilian law.
In the last 30 years of her life, Sister Dulce's health declined. She had only 30% of her respiratory capacity. In 1990 she began to worsen and was hospitalized for 16 months. While there she received a visit from John Paul II, with whom she had had a private audience 10 years earlier.
She was transferred to St. Anthony's convent where she died on March 13, 1992. Thousands of men and women in conditions of extreme poverty gathered for a last farewell before her mortal remains.
Last year her body was taken to the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, where it was found to be incorrupt.
The miracle for her beatification happened in 2001 when Cláudia Cristiane Santos, who today is 42, survived an uncontrolled hemorrhage after giving birth. The bleeding continued despite three operations. Doctors lost all hope that she would survive but when her relatives asked for the intercession of Sister Dulce, in a chain of prayer led by Father José Almí de Menezes, the bleeding stopped immediately.
This event was the confirmation of Sister Dulce's virtuous life, centered on prayer and charity in little things. "Love overcomes all obstacles, all sacrifices," Sister Dulce used to say.

Sunday Night Live: Mexican Martyrs

Today we remember the Mexican Martyrs of the 20th century:

As far back as the 16th Century, the Mexican faithful have given the Church, Martyrs!

When our Lady of Guadalupe came, She won the hearts of Spaniards and Indians, forming family. Three young boys chose eternal life over the world, back in the 16th Century, and gave their lives for the Church. This heritage has given the Mexican people the fire and passion to remain faithful to La Morenita and the Church.

In the 20th Century, our neighbors to the South risked Martyrdom rather than give into the demands of the Masonic government to become a State church. Priests were outlawed, and if found tortured and martyred; Bishops were exiled as non-persons because they refused to reject the Papacy and give allegiance to the State. Although these Priest-Martyrs knew to remain in Mexico meant a sure Martyrdom, they chose death, so that while they were able they could bring the Sacraments to the faithful. These are true stories taken where the Catholic Martyrs lived and died for the Faith.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Where You Go I Go by Kim Walker

Is May 21 Judgement Day?

Is May 21 Judgement Day?  A Catholic scholar explains why we can't know that.  The following comes from the CNA:

The claim being circulated that May 21 will mark the end of the world and be a day of judgment by God has no basis in Scripture or authentic Christian teaching, according to Catholic scholar Dr. Jared Staudt.

The professor of theology at the Augustine Institute, located in Denver, said that Biblical teaching and Church tradition show “it's clear that it is not scriptural to seek for a date for the day of judgment.”

“It sometimes can be easy to ridicule groups like this for coming up with such calculations, but we should remember that this is a perennial problem,” Staudt told CNA.

“In the end, I think it is a problem of faith. We have a hard time simply trusting in the Lord and waiting for Him.”

Family Radio, a religious group out of Oakland, California that has been broadcasting for several decades, recently launched a nationwide campaign claiming that May 21 at 6:00 p.m. will signal the beginning of hell on earth for non-believers, and a day when Christians around the world will be “raptured” into heaven.

The group has worked around the clock in recent weeks to push their message, using radio and TV broadcasts, billboards, t-shirts, pamphlets and even bumper stickers. Their website received over 3 million visits in April.

Family Radio president Harold Camping, 89, has been hosting the live, call-in talk show “Open Forum” for 50 years.

During a May 15 show, he speculated that “people will be dying by the millions” in the terror-laden months that will follow Judgment Day, until the final destruction of the earth on October 21.

The group uses multiple verses from the Bible to calculate the end of the world, asserting in a booklet that the “great amount of Biblical signs and proofs absolutely guarantee Judgment Day is May 21, 2011.”

In an May 19 interview, however, Dr. Staudt explained that the group uses literal interpretations of several Bible verses taken out of context.

“Family Radio’s prediction of the day of the judgment is premised on the literal interpretation of 2 Peter 3:8, which states: 'with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,'” Staudt explained.

“Building upon this interpretation, Family Radio then applies it to the surrounding context in 2 Peter, the day of judgment in relation to the flood – 2 Peter 3:6.”

Staudt explained that the group also draws its warning from the passage in the book of Genesis where God warns Noah of the flood arriving in seven days. Since “one day is as a thousand years” God, Family Radio concluded that 7,000 years from the start of the flood, or May 21, 2011, will be Judgment Day.

However, Staudt emphasized, St. Peter also clearly says that “'the day of the Lord will come like a thief,' echoing our Lord’s own words.”

“Jesus said he would come as a thief in the night and also clearly stated that it did not pertain to His mission to announce the time of His Second Coming,” he clarified. “It is clear that Jesus did not want us to know the time of His coming, but rather to remain in watchful expectation.”

“He said that He would come soon – Rev 22:20 – but this is not meant to create fear in the disciples, but rather hope, knowing that Christ is the Lord of history and will triumph in the end.”

Additionally, the rapture “is not part of Catholic teaching,” Staudt said. “We do not separate the resurrection of the just and the reprobate, nor the final tribulation and the Lord’s coming.”

“We are to have a faith filled expectation of the Lord’s coming, but without trying to have control over it,” he said.

“We also have to remember that the Lord comes to us every day in the Eucharist and He also comes to us in our own death. Our lives should be centered on watchfulness so that we have open hearts to Him in prayer and in expectation of the future glory, which He promises us.”

Staudt noted that a primary factor in cult-like groups making misguided claims about the end of the wold comes “from a lack of union with the Church established by Christ.”

“When a group is on its own, it sits down with the Bible and tries to figure things out,” he noted. But these groups do not have the context that comes from hearing the Word of God proclaimed in the liturgy or “the authority of the Magisterium to interpret the Bible in unison with Tradition.”

Rather than respond with ridicule or dismissiveness, however, Staudt reiterated the importance of engaging such groups with charity and truth.

“Throughout the Catholic tradition, the response to a contrary position is always to find the good in what is presented and to seek dialogue,” he said. “In this particular case, one could certainly affirm and even praise the desire to proclaim the biblical message of the need for conversion and forgiveness.”

“However, one could also see the sensational presentation as a trivialization of this message. Regardless of that fact, it is still an opportunity to discuss the topic, which has been brought up in a very vocal way.”

Staudt said it's important to remember that “many people, if not most, have never heard a clear and well founded presentation of the Catholic faith.”

“People are drawn towards cults because they are looking for the truth and also for a sense of belonging,” he observed. “Cults provide simple clear cut answers and usually a well defined way of life. We know that this is simply a parody of what Christ intends and actually offers.”

“We need to use opportunities like the one presented by Family Radio to engage in conversation, to listen, and to gently, yet firmly, proclaim the truth of Christ with which we have been entrusted in His Church.”

Sacred Music: Tallis, Byrd and the Tudors

Marine Corps foundation honors heroic Vietnam War priest

The following comes from the CNA:

Servant of God Fr. Vincent Capodanno, a chaplain who was killed in action while protecting U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War, was honored with a permanent tribute at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

“The Marines who served with Chaplain Capodanno remember him as the Chaplain who went wherever his Marines needed his comfort and guidance, no matter the personal danger,” said Lt. Gen. Ron Christmas, president of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.

“From the foxholes to the front lines, Chaplain Capodanno was there.”

The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation dedicated the “Sacrifice Window” in the Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel at the National Museum of the Marine Corps on May 11 to honor the late priest. Each window in the chapel is titled with a word that describes the ethos of the Marine Corps.

The private ceremony in Triangle, Virginia remembered Chaplain Capodanno for his support of Marines in combat and his recognition as the only chaplain to receive the Medal of Honor for service in the corps.

Foundation members said they established the permanent tribute in Chaplain Capodanno's name in “recognition of his dedicated service to Marines and the ultimate sacrifice he made in Vietnam, in an effort to save a Marine's life.”

Fr. Capodanno was born on Staten Island in New York City to Italian immigrant parents. In 1957 he was ordained a Catholic priest by Cardinal Francis Spellman, then vicar of the U.S. Military Ordinariate.

He entered the Maryknoll religious order and served as a missionary in Taiwan and Hong Kong from 1958 to 1965. Having successfully petitioned his Maryknoll superiors to release him to serve as a U.S. Navy chaplain, he arrived in Vietnam during Holy Week of 1966.

Holding the rank of Lieutenant, Fr. Capodanno participated in seven combat operations. He became known for putting the well-being of Marines above his personal safety, moving among those wounded and dying on the battlefield in order to provide medical aid, comfort, and Last Rites.

During Operation Swift on September 4, 1967, Fr. Capodanno was injured by an exploding mortar round which caused multiple injuries on his arms and legs and severed part of his right hand.

Fred Smith, head of FedEx Corporation, who served with Fr. Capodanno, recalled during the May 11 ceremony how the chaplain nearly lost his hand to shrapnel as he tended to the wounded, but refused care so that medical supplies could go to his injured Marines.

The priest directed Marines to help the wounded and continued to move about the battlefield, encouraging them with his words and example.

As he sought to administer aid to one particular marine, he placed his own body between the wounded man and an enemy machine gunner and was killed.

In 2006, the Catholic Church declared Fr. Capodanno a Servant of God, which is the first step towards being officially recognized as a saint.