Washington D.C., May 16, 2005 (CNA) - President George W. Bush will speak to the second Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast May 20 at the Hilton Washington.
“We are honored and delighted that the president of the United States is joining with our Catholic community as we bring action to our faith and commit ourselves to prayer for our nation and the world,” said Joseph Cella, president of the prayer breakfast.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver will also address the expected 2,000 participants.
The day begins at 6:30 a.m. with the Rosary, followed by the mass at 6:45. The main celebrant will be Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio. Breakfast will be served at 8.
For more information, go to www.catholicprayerbreakfast.org.
Vatican City, May 16, 2005 (CNA) - Yesterday, a 20-minute late Pope Benedict greeted some 40,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the noontime Regina Coeli prayer, beaming about his ordination of 21 new priests immediately before, and discussed the profound relationship between the Spirit and institution of the Church.
The Holy Father asked the crowd "to please excuse me for the great delay. I had the grace to ordain 21 priests and such a harvest for God lasts quite a bit of time, therefore, thank you for your understanding."
He said that the ordination Mass "marks a moment of important growth for our community. It receives life, in fact, from these ordained ministers, above all through the service of the Word of God and the Sacraments.”
“This therefore is a festive day for the Church of Rome”, he said. “And for the new priests this is in a special way their Pentecost: I repeat my greetings to them and pray that the Holy Spirit will always accompany their ministry."
Pope Benedict discussed "the happy coincidence between Pentecost and the priestly ordinations [which] invites me to underscore the indissoluble tie that exists, in the Church, between the Spirit and the institution.”
“I referred to this last Saturday when I took possession of the chair of the bishop of Rome at St. John Lateran. The chair and the Spirit are intimately linked in reality, as are the charism and the ordained ministry. Without the Holy Spirit the Church would be reduced to a merely human organization, weighed down by her very structures.”
“But in turn, in the plans of God,” he said, “the Spirit habitually uses human mediation to act in history. Precisely for this reason, Christ, Who constituted His Church on the foundation of the Apostles gathered around Peter, also enriched her with the gift of His Spirit so that, over the centuries. He could comfort her and lead her to the full truth.”
In closing, the Pope asked that the ecclesial community would "remain always open and docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in order to be among men a credible sign and effective instrument of God's action!"
Vatican City, May 16, 2005 (CNA) - Yesterday, on the Solemnity of Pentecost, Pope Benedict XVI ordained 21 new priests for the Diocese of Rome and encouraged them to “Always lead men back again” to the mystery and foundation of the Eucharist. “Help them”, he said, “to bring Christ's peace into the world."
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, Archbishop Luigi Moretti, vicegerent, the auxiliary bishops, the superiors of the seminaries where the deacons were formed, and their pastors, concelebrated the Mass, held in the Vatican Basilica.
The Vatican noted today that eleven of the new priests are from Italy, two from Bolivia, and one each from Uruguay, Costa Rica, Peru, Ireland, Romania, Kenya, Angola and Nigeria.
In his homily, the Holy Father recalled the first Pentecost, in which, "the Holy Spirit, under the signs of the mighty wind and the fire, broke in upon the praying community of Jesus' disciples, and so gave origin to the Church."
"The Church," he continued, "must always become anew that which she already is: she must open the frontiers between peoples and break down the barriers between classes and races.”
“In her,” the Pope said, “no one can be forgotten or scorned. ... The wind and the fire of the Holy Spirit must ceaselessly open the frontiers that we human beings continue to build between ourselves."
Turning to the newly ordained priests, Pope Benedict said that in the Risen Lord's greeting to the Apostles - "peace be with you," which is mentioned in today's Gospel - "we may also see a call to the great mystery of faith, to the Holy Eucharist, in which He continues to give Himself to us and, in that way, continues to give us true peace."
He told them that in Jesus' name, "you can say, this is My body, this is My blood. Always allow yourselves to be drawn back to the Holy Eucharist, to communion of life with Christ. Consider the worthy celebration of the Eucharist as the center of each day.”
“Always lead men back again to this mystery. Help them, on the foundation of the Eucharist, to bring Christ's peace into the world."
The Holy Father also noted the priest's "power of forgiveness," saying, "The Sacrament of Penance is one of the Church's precious treasures, because only in forgiveness is true renewal of the world achieved.”
“Nothing”, he said, “can improve in the world, if evil is not overcome. And evil can be overcome only through forgiveness. Of course, this must be efficacious forgiveness, but this forgiveness can only be given to us by the Lord. A forgiveness that does not overcome evil only with words, but that truly transforms it."
Vatican City, May 16, 2005 (CNA) - On Saturday, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the much anticipated Mass for the beatification of Servants of God Ascension Nicol Goni and Marianne Cope, saying that the two "brought into the world the fruits and signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit.”
Pope Benedict raised some eyebrows in breaking with recent tradition and having Cardinal Martins celebrate the beatification instead of himself.
The cardinal opened the ceremony reading out the Apostolic Letter, commissioned by the Pope, regarding the inscription of the two Servants of God in the Book of Blesseds.
Cardinal Saraiva spoke in his homily about the Apostles, who at Pentecost, "experienced the Holy Spirit and became witnesses of Christ, Who died and rose again, [and became] missionaries along the paths of the world.”
“The same experience”, he said, “is repeated in all those who, by accepting Christ, open themselves to God and to humanity; it is repeated above all in the saints, both in the anonymous saints and in those who have been raised to the glory of the altars.”
He called Saints “the masterpieces of the Spirit, Who molds the face of Christ, and infuses God's charity in their hearts."
A Spanish missionary
Speaking first of the Spanish Blessed, Ascension del Corazon de Jesus, the cardinal described her as "one of the great missionaries of the last century" who "wished to belong exclusively to God, consecrating herself as a Dominican nun in the Santa Rosa monastery in Huesca, Spain."
Cardinal Saraiva noted that at 45, the Lord called her to be a missionary in Peru.
"With youthful enthusiasm and complete trust in Providence,” he said, “she left her homeland and dedicated herself to the task of evangelization, extending her zeal to the entire world, beginning with the American continent. Her generous, far-reaching and effective work left a profound impression in the missionary history of the Church.”
The cardinal recalled the new Blessed’s collaboration “with the Dominican Bishop Ramon Zubieta in founding the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary, a congregation of which she was the first superior general.”
“Her missionary life”, he said, “abounded in sacrifice, renunciation and apostolic fruits. ... Supported by a living faith and a fervent devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to Our Lady of the Rosary, she committed herself to the salvation of souls, completely forgetting herself. She frequently exhorted her daughters to do likewise, affirming that souls cannot be saved without personal sacrifice."
Caring for Hawaiian lepers
Turning to Blessed Marianne Cope, a native German who emigrated to the U.S. at a very young age, Cardinal Saraiva noted that her initial encounter "with those suffering from leprosy took place when she was far along on her journey to Christ.”
“For 20 years”, he said, “she had been a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Syracuse in New York."
But God, he said, called her "to a more difficult missionary service" of caring for lepers on the Island of Molokai, Hawaii.
"She left everything and abandoned herself completely to the will of God. ... She willingly worked with Blessed Damian De Veuster," known as the apostle of lepers, and "she loved those suffering from leprosy more than she loved her very self. She served them, educated them, and guided them with wisdom, love and strength. She saw in them the suffering face of Jesus. Like the Good Samaritan, she became their mother."
Concluding his homily the cardinal praised the new Blesseds, who "brought into the world the fruits and signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit, they spoke the language of truth and love, the only language capable of breaking down the barriers of culture and race, and of rebuilding the unity of the human family, which has been lost through pride, the thirst for power, and the refusal of God's sovereignty."
Vatican City, May 16, 2005 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI this morning, greeted pilgrims who had traveled to Rome for this weekend’s beatification of Mothers Ascension del Corazon de Jesus Nicol Goni, and Marianne Cope, calling them “Exemplary witnesses of Christ's charity."
The Holy Father told the group, including a large contingency from the U.S., that, "these two new Blesseds help us to better understand the meaning and the value of our Christian vocation."
The Pope specifically addressed Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Rosary "who,” he said, “following the example of their Blessed Foundress help us to experience, in our own time, the spirit of St. Dominic."
"Keep alive the experience of the closeness of God in missionary life,” Pope Benedict said, adding a saying from Mother Ascention: “how close God feels.”
He urged the sisters to “keep alive the spirit of fraternity in your communities, always ready to go where the Church most needs you, with the same pioneering spirit that took Mother Ascension to the wild lands of the Vicariate of Puerto Maldonado."
The Pope also greeted pilgrims from that apostolic vicariate and from other areas of Peru, "who saw a precious fruit of genuine evangelization come into bloom, cultivated with special care by female hands."
He likewise greeted those from Navarre, the homeland of the new Blessed, and from other parts of Spain.
Turning to Blessed Marianne Cope, the Holy Father recalled 1862, when “she entered the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Syracuse where she imbibed the particular spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi, dedicating herself wholeheartedly to spiritual and corporal works of mercy."
He explained how Mother Cope accepted an invitation from the bishop of Honolulu, Hawaii, to work among lepers, and said that "For 35 years, until her death in 1918, our new Blessed dedicated her life to the love and service of lepers on the islands of Maui and Molokai."
"Undoubtedly”, he said, “the generosity of Mother Marianne was, humanly speaking, exemplary.”
"Good intentions and selflessness alone, however, do not adequately explain her vocation. It is only the perspective of faith, which enables us to understand her witness - as a Christian and as a religious - to that sacrificial love which reaches its fullness in Jesus Christ.”
“All that she achieved was inspired by her personal love of the Lord which she in turn expressed through her love of those abandoned and rejected by society in a most wretched way,” the Pope said.
Vatican City, May 16, 2005 (CNA) - The Vatican announced today that Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed a nomination made by the late John Paul II, of Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar of Rome and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, to be special envoy to the Italian Eucharistic conference in Bari this month.
In a letter, dated May 13th, Pope Benedict also noted that his "venerated predecessor John Paul II" had received a pressing invitation last October to preside at the concluding celebrations of the Congress, which will be held from May 21st to 29th.
He called the Conference "a very significant event for the Italian Church which takes place within the special context of the Year of the Eucharist, during which Catholics throughout the world are stimulated to have a renewed awareness of the great gift left by Christ at the Last Supper."
Pope Benedict noted that the theme of the Congress, whose closing celebrations he will preside on May 29, is "Without Sundays, We Cannot Live."
The Vatican also publicized the names of the Pontifical Mission, which will accompany Cardinal Ruini: Msgrs. Domenico Ciavarella, vicar general of the archdiocese of Bari-Bitonte and Piergiuseppe Vacchelli, under-secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
Vatican City, May 16, 2005 (CNA) - Earlier today, the Vatican publicized a Message sent by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue to Buddhists who will celebrate the feast of Vesakh.
Written in English, the message was signed by Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the pontifical council.
The feast of Vesakh is mobile on the Buddhist calendar and marks important events in the life of Gautama Buddha.
Archbishop Fitzgerald noted that this year is the 40th anniversary of "Nostra Aetate," Vatican II’s document on the relationship of the Church to other religions, which states that, “the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions.”
He said that, “Accordingly, Buddhists and Catholics are able to meet together, in a spirit of openness, sincerity and mutual respect, engaging in many different forms of dialogue."
The Archbishop continued, saying, where members of these two faiths live and work side-by-side, "the resulting 'dialogue of life' allows them, while witnessing to their own beliefs, to deepen their understanding of one another, to foster goodwill and to promote a spirit of neighborliness.”
“In fact,” he said, “a particular bond has developed between many Buddhist and Catholic monks and nuns."
The message highlighted the fact that, "nowhere has the need for collaboration been felt more keenly than in the countries of South and Southeast Asia which were affected by the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami of December 26, 2004.”
The Archbishop wrote that, “The long-term requirements of reconstruction call, however, for a continuation of these inter-religious expressions of solidarity" as do "many other situations which require cooperation among people of good will."
"This year's feast of Vesakh," the message concludes, "will find many families missing some of their members. I wish to assure them that their loved ones will not be forgotten but will be remembered in our prayers."
St. Paul, Minn., May 16, 2005 (CNA) - The archbishop of St. Paul refused to have the Eucharist become a sign of protest. As a result, more than 100 people were denied Communion yesterday at St. Paul’s Cathedral during the feast day mass for Pentecost. These churchgoers were wearing rainbow sashes, demonstrating their support for homosexuals and lesbians in the Church.
While the Rainbow Sash Alliance has been encouraging supporters to wear the rainbow-colored bands on Pentecost Sunday since 2001, this was the first time that Archbishop Harry Flynn decided to deny them Communion, reported the Associated Press.
Archbishop Flynn told the group earlier this month about his decision, saying that over the years the sashes appeared to have become a protest against Church teaching.
It has never been acceptable "to use the reception of Communion as an act of protest," the archbishop wrote in a letter to Rainbow Sash Alliance organizer Brian McNeill.
According to the press report Fr. Michael Sklucazek made an announcement prior to Communion that anyone wearing a sash could come forward for a blessing but could not receive the Eucharist.
Parishioners reportedly sat or kneeled after receiving Communion, but sash-wearers remained standing with their hands cupped as a symbol that they still wanted the sacrament. Their silent protest lasted about five minutes, until parishioners rose for the final blessing.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 16, 2005 (CNA) - The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo warned last week that “current circumstances in the world do not allow for improvisation” on issues such as the defense of life and the family, which demand intense preparation for the laity and religious.
During the inauguration of the Institute for Marriage and Family of the Catholic University of Argentina, the cardinal noted that “it is not just rhetoric to say that the future of humanity and evangelization passes through the family,” and that therefore bishops, priests, and the laity should constantly seek out “adequate information and formation.”
“In the cause of family and life the baggage of good will is not enough; there must be an anterior preparation,” he underscored. The cardinal added that “the future requires a mature, solid and dialogue-based Church that will engage the builders of society.”
Cardinal Lopez Trujillo noted as well that the new institute is of great importance for the “cause of family and life,” because a society that neglects them “and permits the cruelty of abortion has no future.”
The rector of the Catholic University of Argentina, Msgr. Alfredo Zecca, said the new institute for marriage and the family would be fundamental for “recommitting ourselves with renewed strength” because “sooner or later (in Argentina) various current issues in society will have to be discussed, as has taken place in Europe.”
During the ceremony, Cardinal Lopez Trujillo presented the new institute a copy of the Lexicon, a work prepared by the Pontifical Council for the Family that provides definitions of certain “ambiguous” terms regarding the defense of life and the family.
Boston, Mass., May 16, 2005 (CNA) - Archbishop Sean O'Malley's father, Theodore O'Malley, died Saturday in Deerfield Beach, Fla.; he was 89.
The archbishop of Boston was with his father and his family at the time of death. The cause of death was not announced.
Archbishop O'Malley will celebrate his father’s funeral mass Tuesday at St. Ambrose Church in Deerfield Beach.
"Archbishop O'Malley is most grateful for the prayers and concern of the people of the archdiocese and the wider community," the archdiocese said in a statement.
The elder O'Malley is survived by his wife, Claire, and his children, Maryellen, Sean and Theodore, his sister, Marie May, his brother, Edward, and many grandchildren.
Valencia, Fla., May 16, 2005 (CNA) - Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco of Valencia, Spain, warned this week that “radicalism and the harsh imposition of policies is intolerable” in a democratic society made up of active participants.
In a pastoral letter entitled, “Institutional Loyalty and Democratic Maturity,” the archbishop maintained that the citizens who make up a democratic society “have their own convictions” and they abhor a government that seeks to tell them what they have to believe.
Arbitrary action by government officials, he added, “fosters a serious political contradiction” and constitutes a severe blow to “the good sense of citizens who desire to live in unity and peace.”
In his letter the archbishop recalled that the virtue proper to government officials is that of “loyalty to the community and institutional loyalty,” which demands that “those electoral proposals that conflict with the good of persons and of society be rectified.”
According to the Avan news agency, Archbishop Garcia-Gasco stated that institutional loyalty “demands that religious freedom be well understood and practiced,” because “a free society” considers it positive that its members “as a community express their convictions with complete respect for others.”
Likewise, the archbishop noted that the government cannot ignore the contribution of religious communities to the common good; rather, it should “accept that an understanding of human good is being expressed through the ethical values of believers which political leaders have no right to change.”
Lastly, Archbishop Garcia-Gasco pointed out that the actions of the government should not be subject to “the interests of radical minorities,” but rather to care for the common good. In a democracy, he noted, “changes in government do not presuppose an absolute victor and an absolute loser.”
Madrid, Spain, May 16, 2005 (CNA) - In comments to the Spanish daily “La Razon,” the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, dismissed the criticisms of theologian Hans Küng against Pope Benedict XVI, saying he “confuses his own imaginings with the Holy Spirit.”
“Küng has said things as a Catholic theologian that are not Catholic. He attacked the Pope. And Cardinal Ratzinger counseled him and gave him theological arguments to the contrary. And the Holy Father should continue doing so. But for our Church, the ‘Küng case’ is now closed. There are people who confuse their own imaginings with the Holy Spirit and this is the case with Küng,” said Cardinal Meisner.
Nevertheless, the cardinal did not rule out a possible reconciliation of Küng with the Church. “I hope for it. But Küng has become a very marginal figure,” he stated.
Valencia, Fla., May 16, 2005 (CNA) - “Our society does not see Hispanic immigration as a problem, but rather as a blessing,” a prominent local government official in Spain said last week. Esteban Gonzalez Pons of the provincial government of Valencia, said Spain should not zero in erroneously on this issue as happens “in many European countries.”
During the opening of the First Hispanic Education and Immigration Day at the St. Vincent Martyr Catholic University of Valencia, Pons explained that tolerance is “the best tool” for combating the ghettoes and the social breaches that can exist between immigrants and the society that receives them.
Pons underscored the necessity of “not neglecting the ability of the media to influence,” noting that sometimes the media conveys “different values” from the ones that are taught in schools.
He added that the risk of “exclusion, separation or segregation” exists for those who come from Hispanic countries if the phenomenon of immigration is not properly understood. Pons indicated that new programs exist, not only in schools, but also in other channels of communication and from parents as well.
For his part, Jose Alfredo Peris, rector of the Catholic University of Valencia, expressed his hope that “these days might by the beginning of collaboration between this university and Hispanic immigration, which for us is to welcome our brothers and sisters from the other side of the ocean.”