Archive of March 30, 2008

Notre Dame to hold fourth annual Eucharistic Procession

South Bend, Ind., Mar 30, 2008 (CNA) - The University of Notre Dame will hold its fourth annual Eucharistic Procession across campus on Sunday, April 20. According to Fr. Kevin Russeau, the event is responsible for an upswing in vocations. 

The procession, a revival of an old university tradition, will led by Father David T. Dyson, Provincial Superior of the Indiana Province of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. 

"At a time when the culture wars are hitting our Catholic college campuses hard, it is heartening to know that Our Lord will be so honored and adored by so many people in Notre Dame, Indiana," said Robert Kloska, the director of Campus Ministry at Holy Cross College, in a press release.

The procession will begin after an 11:45 a.m. Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame and end with a picnic sponsored by the campus Knights of Columbus. 

Kloska described Father Kevin Russeau, CSC, as "one of the driving forces behind this event." 

Father Russeau, who is superior of Notre Dame's undergraduate seminary program and assistant vocations director for the Congregation of the Holy Cross, told CNA that the event has a "tremendous impact" on vocations.

Though the vocations offices do a lot of "well-planned strategic marketing and presentations," Father Russeau said they get many applicants who "just kind of drop in from nowhere."

"I believe that that is a direct result of prayer," Father Russeau said, noting the effect of prayer on the seminary population.

"Our numbers were better last year, and they're going to be better this upcoming year as well.  I believe that has everything to do with adoration."

There are sixteen students in the university’s undergraduate seminary, while the Congregation of the Holy Cross, which runs Notre Dame University, has twenty-three applicants for next year.

"Jesus told us so often to ask for things.  I think that when we ask him for blessings, that we receive them.  We've noticed it with the vocations, but also we're looking for a greater respect for life," said Father Russeau referring to the purpose of the Eucharistic procession.

He noted that participants always pray for an end to abortion, saying that the campus right to life group is a "very energetic group."

Father Russeau said the Eucharistic Procession "inspires other Catholics to really live their vocation to holiness more fully.  They recognize that their faith in Jesus that allows them to profess it publicly outdoors in a procession can also lead them to bring it into their relationships and into their families and their workplace and politics." 

The effect of the procession on the level of devotion on campus was hard to measure, Father Russeau said, because students come to Notre Dame with a "pretty solid faith" that they express very well. 

He said both the liturgy and the Eucharistic Procession help both students and participants from outside the university to live their faith.  "It can only have a positive effect," he said.

According to Kloska, between 400 and 500 people participated in last year's procession. 

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Houston prepares to dedicate new Co-Cathedral

Houston, Texas, Mar 30, 2008 (CNA) - The "stunning" Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart will be dedicated in Houston by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo next Wednesday, ABC affiliate KTRK reports.

"It is as though, in an analogy, we are baptizing the building," Cardinal DiNardo said, describing the consecration of the new cathedral.

The cardinal also explained how he will dedicate the altar:

"I will take the oil of chrism, which is a type of holy oil, olive oil mixed with perfume, and pour it, literally, all over the altar, and it will be spread all over the altar as a sign of its dedication.  Then we will take that same chrism and we will anoint twelve places in the building, symbolic of the twelve apostles, the foundations of the Church."

The altar, positioned directly under the dome of the cathedral, was made from one piece of semi-precious stone cut and polished in Herrera, Italy.  The color of its red marble represents the blood of Christ. 

The altar will contain relics of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint, St. Leo the Great, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.

The co-cathedral was designed and built over a seven year period at a cost of $40 million.

"It's a traditional building, in some sense, it's in the form of a cross, like so many of our cathedrals and churches," Cardinal DiNardo said.

The dedication will include prayers, music, and the reading of a letter from Pope Benedict XVI.

To view videos of the new cathedral visit:

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John Paul II was an apostle of Divine Mercy, says Pope

Vatican City, Mar 30, 2008 (CNA) - Speaking from the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI announced today that he will preside over Mass in memory of John Paul II, who died three years ago on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday. The Mass this Wednesday will open the First World Congress on Apostolic Divine Mercy in Rome.

Before praying the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father spoke about the significance of Divine Mercy Sunday.

Pope Benedict recalled that John Paul II designated the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday, and did so at the same time Sister Faustina Kowalska was canonized. The Polish sister, who died in 1938, is known as the messenger of God's Mercy, since it was through her diary that the message of mercy came to be known to the world, even before it was approved by the Holy See.

Speaking to thousands of pilgrims at Castel Gondolfo and in St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict said, "Mercy is in reality the core of the Gospel message; it is the name of God himself, the face with which he reveals himself in the Old Testament and fully in Jesus Christ, the incarnation of creative and redemptive Love.”

“This love of mercy also illuminates the face of the Church, and is manifested through the sacraments, in particular that of reconciliation, as well as in works of charity, both of community and individuals,” said the Holy Father.

“Everything that the Church says and does,” continued the Pope, “shows that God has mercy for man. When the Church must call attention to an unrecognized truth, or a good betrayed, it is always driven by merciful love that all people might have life and have it abundantly (cf. Jn 10.10). From divine mercy comes hearts that are pacified, and then comes true peace in the world, peace between peoples, cultures and religions.”

“Like Sister Faustina, Pope John Paul II was in his time an apostle of Divine Mercy,” Benedict XVI noted. “Many noticed the remarkable coincidence that when he closed his eyes to this world on the evening of Saturday, April 2, 2005, it was on the eve of the second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, and also at the same time as the Marian devotion of the first Saturday of the month. In fact, this was at the core of his long and multifaceted pontificate; his entire mission in the service of God and man and peace in the world was summarized in the announcement he made in Krakow in 2002.”

Pope Benedict recalled the ceremony in Krakow where John Paul II inaugurated the great Shrine of Divine Mercy and said: “'Outside the mercy of God there is no other source of hope for human beings.' His message, like Saint Faustina's, leads back to the face of Christ, the supreme revelation of God's mercy. Constantly contemplating that face: this is the legacy that he has left us, which we welcome with joy and make our own,” the Pope said.

After reciting the Regina Caeli, Pope Benedict greeted pilgrims in Italian, German, French, Spanish and English. He also greeted in a special way Polish pilgrims from the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow- Łagiewniki.

Before imparting his apostolic blessing, he reminded pilgrims that this Sunday's Gospel calls us to recognize through the gift of faith the presence of the Risen Lord in the Church, and that we receive from him the gift of the Holy Spirit.

"During this Easter season, he said, "may we strengthen our desire to bear witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ calling us to a life of peace and joy. Upon each of you present and your families, I invoke God's blessings of happiness and wisdom."

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