Vatican City, Jan 14, 2005 (CNA) - In a Decree published today, the Holy Father granted a Plenary Indulgence during the year of the Eucharist, which began in October.
"The Holy Father wished to enrich with indulgences several determined acts of worship and devotion to the Most Holy Sacrament”, said the Decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary, dated December 25, 2004 and published today.
The Decree states that during an audience granted on December 17, 2004 to Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Fr. John Francis Girotti, OFM.Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, “The Decree will be in force during the Eucharistic Year, starting with the day of its publication in the L'Osservatore Romano. Notwithstanding any disposition to the contrary."
Following are excerpts:
"A Plenary Indulgence is granted to all faithful and to each individual faithful under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin), each and every time they participate attentively and piously in a sacred function or a devotional exercise undertaken in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, solemnly exposed and conserved in the tabernacle.”
A Plenary Indulgence is also granted, under the aforesaid conditions, to the clergy, to members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and to other faithful who are by law obliged to recite the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as to those who customarily recite the Divine Office out of pure devotion, each and every time they recite - at the end of the day, in company or in private - Vespers and Night Prayers before the Lord present in the tabernacle.”
The faithful who, through illness or other just cause, are unable to visit the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist in a church or oratory, may obtain a Plenary Indulgence in their own homes, or wherever they may be because of their ailment, if, ... with the intention of observing the three usual conditions as soon as possible, they make the visit spiritually and with the heart's desire, ... and recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a pious invocation to Jesus in the Sacrament.”
If they are unable to do even this, they will receive a Plenary Indulgence if they unite themselves with interior desire to those who practice the normal conditions laid down for Indulgences, and offer the merciful God the illnesses and discomforts of their lives."
The Decree asks that priests, especially pastors, inform the faithful "in the most convenient manner" of these dispositions, prepare, "with generous and ready spirit," to hear confessions and to lead the faithful "in solemn public recitation of prayers to Jesus in the Sacrament."
The faithful are likewise exhorted "to give open witness of faith and veneration for the Blessed Sacrament" as proposed in such acts as Eucharistic procession and adoration, and Eucharistic and spiritual communion."
Philadelphia, Pa., Jan 14, 2005 (CNA) - Indonesians, who are facing deportation, should be granted the temporary right to live and work in the United States after the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia last month, said the archbishop of Philadelphia.
Justin Cardinal Rigali asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to grant “temporary protected status” to Indonesians, who number more than 5,000 in his region.
This privilege was granted to Salvadorans after Hurricane Mitch hit the Central American region in 1998.
"The recent tsunami in Asia that has caused the suffering and death of countless people will stretch Indonesia's resources to the limit," Cardinal Justin Rigali wrote in a Jan. 7 letter to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.
The cardinal argued that if Indonesians were allowed to stay and work in the U.S., they would be able to supplement the humanitarian effort in their homeland by sending back remittances.
A Homeland Security spokesman told the Inquirer that the agency was considering the request.
The Department of Homeland Security announced last week that it would stop deporting people from Sri Lanka and the Maldives for four months, reported the Inquirer. Noncriminals from other tsunami-struck countries can ask for the same reprieve.
Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jan 14, 2005 (CNA) - The archbishop of Washington is impressed with the efficiency of relief efforts in Sri Lanka. Edgar Cardinal McCarrick visited the island Tuesday, along with Bishop John Kirby of Clonfert, Ireland, chairman of Trocaire, an Irish Catholic Aid Agency.
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga received the delegation of foreign bishops at the President's House. They were accompanied by Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo.
The bishops had visited the tsunami-hit Southern district and spent time in Galle.
The Office of the President reported that Cardinal McCarrick and his team were astonished by the resilience displayed by Sri Lankans. The cardinal had observed that the people had risen above caste and religion to help their fellow Sri Lankans.
Millions of Euros have already been collected in Ireland and they will be offered to help Sri Lanka rebuild over the next five years, Bishop Kirby told the president.
Trocaire has already begun training Buddhist monks and Anglican and Catholic clergy in Galle in post-trauma counseling.
President of Catholic Relief Services, Ken Hackette, was also part of the delegation. He worked to co-ordinate with the Center for National Operations to provide children with school uniforms and other school accessories.
A special Web site has been launched to update the international community on every stage Sri Lanka's reconstruction.
Vatican City, Jan 14, 2005 (CNA) - Priests, religious and faithful from the countries afflicted by the devastating tsunami of December 26th are especially invited to St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday, January 24, at 5 p.m.
There, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, in the name of the Holy Father, will preside at a solemn Eucharistic celebration for the repose of the souls of the victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia.
All the faithful are invited to attend the somber Mass.
Vatican City, Jan 14, 2005 (CNA) - On January 18th, Pope John Paul II will receive twelve of the United States’ top cantors, who will perform for him at the Papal Palace.
The historic event is being held to honor the Pope for his years of good will and hard work toward bridging cultural and religious divides between the two faiths.
According to a press release, the group “will recognize the Pope’s efforts during his 26-year pontificate in bringing down the walls of hate as well as his contribution toward religious reconciliation with the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”
Steve Shor, a New York native and cantor at Temple Shalom in Brooklyn is one of the cantors chosen to perform for the Holy Father. He said that performing for the Pope will be “one of his greatest honors.”
On January 17th, The 12 cantors will also perform a concert at the Great Synagogue in Rome for Vatican delegates and the Roman Jewish community.
During the event, the press release states, “the Rabbis intend to recite a special prayer in his honor…and the cantors will sing a special blessing to commemorate the event.”
The event, which will bring together some 160 Jewish rabbis, cantors and laypeople from the U.S. Europe and Israel, “the largest gathering of Jewish leaders ever to meet with a sitting Pope”, is being praised as a “once in a lifetime event.”
The celebration is being sponsored by the Pave the Way Foundation.
Vatican City, Jan 14, 2005 (CNA) - This morning in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father presided at the funeral of Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte, C.I.C.M., who died on Monday at the age of 76.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, celebrated Mass along with other cardinals.
In his homily, the Pope highlighted how the late cardinal "was a man of peace. He made the value of peace one of the central points of his long and intense service to the universal Church and, especially, to the Holy See.”
Such was his conviction that a Christian must bear witness to peace that he chose as his episcopal motto 'Parare viam Domino pacis', a recognizable reference to St John the Baptist, Patron of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to which he belonged."
In that motto, John Paul II recalled how Cardinal Schotte "wanted to add the explicit reference to peace, placing it alongside the name of the Lord - 'Parare viam Domino pacis' - as if to underline that only by accepting Christ and His Gospel can true peace be achieved."
For more than thirty years, the Belgian cardinal "generously and tirelessly, placed his multiple gifts of intelligence, humanity and spirituality at the disposal of the Roman Curia" said the Pope, referring to the cardinal's work in the Secretariat of State, in the then Pontifical Commission for 'Iustitia et Pax', and finally as secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.
"Nor can I forget," the Pope added, "his work as president of the Labor Office of the Holy See. A tireless architect of communion, he collaborated actively in the universal pastoral concerns of Peter's Successor."
The Pope concluded by remembering Cardinal Schotte as "a witness of love who has come from God and who constitutes the foundation of the unity of the Church.”
We are comforted by the hope that he is now contemplating the 'Lord of peace' face to face, whom he generously loved and served during his life."
Denver, Colo., Jan 14, 2005 (CNA) - Students from as far away as Florida. Massachusetts and Canada will converge on Denver tonight to deepen their faith and gain the tools to be better leaders on their college campuses.
In a year that has been especially hard on college students around Colorado with the alcohol related deaths of students in Boulder and Fort Collins, the seventh annual conference, sponsored by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students echoes the Pope’s call for hope which he gave in his state of the world address earlier this week.
Nikki Shasserre, head of public relations for FOCUS told CNA yesterday that “we are excited to host over 1400 college students from across the county who are gathering together for this event to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and learn how to allow Him to transform their lives.”
According to FOCUS, “students will hear talks from prominent Catholic speakers, enjoy live entertainment and meet other students who share the same faith from around the country.”
Special guests for the conference include Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, professor and author, Scott Hahn, author, Matthew Kelly and founder of FOCUS, Curtis Martin.
According to Shasserre, “FOCUS is a national outreach program designed to help college students incorporate their faith into their daily lives.”
Last year’s conference participants were treated to a sneak preview of The Passion of the Christ and a keynote address by actor Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in the film
Ottawa, Canada, Jan 14, 2005 (CNA) - Canadian Catholics have raised an estimated $7 million to aid the victims of the tsunami in Asia. The nationwide collection was called by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The amount was raised through a church collections Jan. 8-9. The final amount will not be tabulated for several days. All funds were directed to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, the Canadian bishops’ agency for international aid and development.
Development and Peace had already collected $2.5 million prior to the church collection, which will bring the total to at least $9.5 million.
"I am extremely happy that Canadian Catholics have responded with such generosity to our appeal. This is a clear indication of the tremendous sense of the charity and solidarity they feel for those who suffer", said Archbishop Brendan M. O'Brien of St. John's, CCCB president.
The Government of Canada has pledged to give the equivalent on all sums contributed to various organizations, including Development and Peace, up to Jan. 11.
Orlando, Fla., Jan 14, 2005 (CNA) - Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando said this week the immigration reform proposed by President George W. Bush is “insufficient,” and he called on the US leader to go beyond just providing work visas for temporary jobs.
The Bush plan focuses on establishing a system that would allow employers to temporarily hire foreign workers, who would have to return to their countries of origin when their contract expires.
According to the EFE news agency, Bishop Wenski, who heads up the Bishops’ Committee on Migration, called on the president to promote immigration reform that recognizes and provides options to illegal immigrants that are residing in the United States.
“What he announced last year is not sufficient, although we give him credit for taking a first step by recognizing that the system wasn’t working and needed to be reformed,” Bishop Wenski said.
“As the Church we wish to encourage him to take another step forward and acknowledge the millions of people who are already here working and contributing to the country and give them a solution to their immigration problem.”
Bishop Wenski said a “three-legged approach” to just immigration reform should include legalization for undocumented immigrants, family reunification, and an increase in the number of work visas.
The USCCB Committee on Migration is currently working at the national level for the drafting of more comprehensive laws for undocumented immigrants.
“We want to put a human face on illegal immigration so that the American people, who are very generous, will understand that more compassionate reform is necessary,” said Bishop Wenski. An estimated 8 to 10 million illegal immigrants are currently in the United States.
Wahpeton, Jan 14, 2005 (CNA) - According to the Diocese of Fargo, friends and parishioners around the diocese continue to pray for Mina Kay Breker, 48, who disappeared on November 11th.
The diocese stated that “Breker worked in St. John parish, Wahpeton, for the past six years as executive assistant and financial secretary and is a member of the parish. She is the mother of three daughters.”
Police describe Breker “five feet, three inches tall, weighing 170 pounds and having blonde hair and blue eyes.”
The community is bewildered as to her disappearance and St. John’s Pastor Fr. Dale Lagodinski has been active spearheading search efforts.
Her sister Marlene Wilson commented that “Her life revolved around those kids, her faith and her parish,”
Fr. Dennis Skonseng, Vicar General for the diocese has been trying to spread word to other dioceses in the search process.
Family members commented at a prayer vigil for Breker that, “Our faith assures us God is with Mina wherever she may be. Our hope remains she will be found safe and soon.”
Santiago, Chile, Jan 14, 2005 (CNA) - Chile’s Health Minister, Pedro Garcia, denied a request by various feminist NGOs to force a nine year-old girl to have an abortion because she became pregnant as a result of rape.
Garcia expressed his concern about the girl’s situation and called on Chileans to denounce the sexual assault of minors. However, he clarified that a human being does not deserve to have his or her life terminated when “he or she was not responsible” for the factors which led to conception.
Garcia said his ministry has developed strategies for dealing with cases of rape and that the ministry is coordinating with the Calama Hospital, where the girl is being cared for, in order to guarantee her health and the life of her baby. The girl is seven months pregnant.
Sydney, Australia, Jan 14, 2005 (CNA) - The number of young men entering the seminary is up in Australia, says a Jan. 13 report in The Australian.
Leading seminaries are reporting their best intakes this year, after almost a decade of steady decline, says the report. The seminaries believe that the surge can be explained by a renewed interest in spirituality and the emphasis that George Cardinal Pell had placed on increasing the profile of the seminaries.
The Sydney seminary enrolled 14 new seminarians this year, for a total population of 41. The numbers have been increasing since 1996, when only four men entered the seminary.
Corpus Christi College in Melbourne also enrolled 10 new seminarians this year, an increase of six from last year.
In addition, seminarians are younger, some are just out of high school or university; the average age is 27. In decades past, seminarians were in their 30s, 40s or 50s.
The article states that the profile of the new seminarians is also different in that they seem to have fewer problems with the authority of the Church.
First-year seminarian Daniel Attard told The Australian that his decision to enter the seminary was a slow but considered process.
He said his devout family was very supportive about his decision, but some of his friends were not.
The 24-year-old said he was happy to take the vows of celibacy despite having had a serious relationship for several years prior to entering the seminary.
"I do miss the closeness and intimacy of a relationship but in the Church you gain other things," he was quoted as saying. "The total dedication of being part of the Church puts you on a different platform."
The Australian also reported that the rector of Corpus Christi said about 50 per cent of seminarians in any given year do not continue with their studies for the priesthood, mostly because they decide that they are called to marriage.
Caracas, Venezuela, Jan 14, 2005 (CNA) - Concluding their 83rd Plenary Assembly, the Bishops Conference of Venezuela issued an energetic call to the government and the opposition to establish an “authentic dialogue”, warning that “vengeance, exclusion and abuse will not lead to the building of a humane, just, united and fraternal Venezuela.”
In their statement entitled, “Dialogue and forgiveness for peace,” the bishops maintained that “one gesture” that would allow the reconciliation process to begin would be for President Hugo Chavez to pardon all prisoners who are being held “for political reasons.” Archbishop Diego Padron of Cumana said, “We will immediately send a letter to the President, formalizing this proposal for a pardon.”
The bishops also criticized newly reformed laws regarding the media, calling the new regulations a “threat to freedom” and warning that “a society in which the freedom of opinion and of dissent is restricted, even legally, in which the sharp decisions of the majority are imposed without leaving any room for the exchanging and combining proposals, closes the path to truth, which is not a monopoly of any one sector.”
The bishops also expressed their alarm at the “excessive concentration of power” in the Executive branch, “which is opening the door to a dictatorship under the appearance of legality.”
Archbishop Padron said the statements by the bishops were not meant to signify a new confrontation between the Church and the government of Hugo Chavez. “We are not trying to take sides; we are pointing out attitudes and errors that must be corrected.”