Madrid, Spain, Apr 13, 2009 (CNA) - Edibesa Publishers has reissued the book “Pilina,” which recounts the life of Maria del Pilar Cimadevilla Lopez-Doriga, a girl from Madrid who become a missionary without ever leaving her home and who could soon be canonized.
The book’s introduction by Archbishop Francisco Perez of Pamplona, director of the Pontifical Missionary Works, recalls that “Pilina was a friend to all because she loved much and she trusted in Jesus. Pilina offered her sufferings for the missions and thus she became a missionary patient.”
According to the author of the biography, Teresa Resusta, Pilina’s favorite magazine was “Queen of the Missions,” which recounted “cases and stories” from mission countries. Pilina never let a day go by without praying the Missionary Rosary.
Alfonso Lopez Quintas, vice postulator of Pilina’s cause of beatification, recommended the book be read by “older kids,” adults who have the “spirit of a child,” and by anyone “who is open without bias to the spiritual life.”
“Pilina” was born in Madrid on February 17, 1952. She was the daughter of Colonel Amaro Cimadevilla and Maria del Rosario Lopez-Doriga.
From an early age she was know for her docility, intelligence and piety. Her First Communion was a major milestone in her life, and she prayed with an attentiveness uncommon for her age. She often visited churches to pray.
At the age of nine she contracted Hodgkin’s disease, an irreversible and painful disease that she accepted with serenity. At the hospital where she was cared for by the Daughters of Charity, she was asked about joining the Union of the Missionary Infirm. Pilina welcomed the idea and began offering her sufferings for the missions, for the conversion and salvation of souls.
A few days after turning 10, on March 6, 1962, Pilina died in the arms of her mother.
Pilina’s soul matured through her illness and those who knew her were amazed at her heroism in suffering and joy in sacrifice.
In 2004, the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints recognized her as a Servant of God, and her cause of canonization continues to move forward.
Wichita, Kan., Apr 13, 2009 (CNA) - The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies is being revitalized and renewed at Newman University. Founded in 1995, the institute was named for the Most Rev. Eugene J. Gerber, Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, in recognition and appreciation of his many contributions to the diocese.
Since its inception, The Gerber Institute has seen many changes. However, 2009 is serving as the year of renewal and rebirth for the center as it continues, now more than ever, to strengthen the Catholic identity of Newman University and to promote scholarly work in the area of Catholic studies.
According to Dr. Jamey Findling, Ph.D., assistant professor of Philosophy and director of the Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies, the focus of The Gerber Institute for the upcoming year centers on the theme of reconciliation. In a world torn by strife and conflict, we urgently need to reflect on how to bring people together, said Findling. What better topic than that of reconciliation and peace?
Subsequent themes, to be chosen biennially, will enable the institute to promote interdisciplinary dialogue exploring Catholic thought and practice in the diverse realms of educational, philosophical, political, social and cultural life. Consistent with its interest in fostering dialogue and critical thought, the Institute will embark on a variety of activities and events designed to engage the Newman community along with a broader public audience.
Our intent is to serve both the university and the wider public as a regional center for the exploration of Catholic thought and practice, said Dr. Findling. The Institute looks forward to serving the community as an important partner in promoting interdisciplinary dialogue bringing Catholic thought and practice to bear on topics of public concern. Our aim is to foster the sort of dialogue that is, we feel, most proper to a Catholic institution of higher learning: rigorous without being rigid, respectful without being uncritical, and inclusive in both the ecumenical and the interdisciplinary senses of the word.
For more information about The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies at Newman University, visit www.gerberinstitute.org.
Printed with permission from the Catholic Advance, newspaper from the Diocese of Wichita.
Berkeley, Calif., Apr 13, 2009 (CNA) - Two California-based student and young adult pro-life groups are co-sponsoring a conference on April 25 at the University of California at Berkeley on the theme of “exposing” abortion. Organizers hope to expose the “corruption” and “violence” in the abortion industry while also training activists and learning from pro-life leaders.
The conference, titled “Exposing Abortion: the Eighth Annual Celebrate Life Conference,” is co-sponsored by Live Action and California Students for Life.
California Students for Life has affiliates at eight universities in the state, while Live Action has earned a name for itself by conducting undercover investigations exposing Planned Parenthood staffers who ignored mandatory state reporting requirements for suspected cases of statutory rape.
“We are dedicated to exposing the corruption in the abortion industry and showing abortion for what it really is -- an act of violence against our pre-born brothers and sisters,” an announcement for the conference says.
The event is intended for “anyone who wants to end abortion” and not just college students. It reportedly will feature student activist training, interactive break-out sections, and speeches from the “most dedicated” pro-life advocates of the present day.
Speakers include Lila Rose, president of Live Action; Rev. Walter Hoye of Issues4Life, who is currently serving a 30-day jail sentence for violating Oakland’s ‘bubble ordinance’ outside an abortion clinic; Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America; Gregg Cunningham, executive director of the Center for Bioethical Reform; and Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor.
Preliminary plans have scheduled the conference for the 150-seat capacity Lipman Room in Barrows Hall on the University of California at Berkeley campus. David Daleiden, conference spokesman and director of research for Live Action, said any change in location will be announced before April 25, the day of the conference.
The conference is scheduled to last from 9 to 5 pm. The $10 admission charge includes breakfast.
More information is available at the event co-sponsors’ web sites www.castudentsforlife.org and www.LiveActionFilms.org
Front Royal, Va., Apr 13, 2009 (CNA) - Christendom College has announced that it will honor pro-life leader Fr. Frank Pavone and philosophy professor Dr. Jude Dougherty during its commencement activities between May 15 and 17.
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, will receive the Pro Deo et Patria Medal for Distinguished Service to God and Country. The Christendom College announcement described him as “one of the most dedicated defenders of unborn human life in the history of the American Republic.“
Dr. Dougherty, Dean Emeritus of the Catholic University of America’s School of Philosophy, will receive an honorary doctorate from the college and deliver the commencement address. He is the editor or author of many books including “Jacques Maritain: An Intellectual Profile.”
“Over the years, we have had some great Catholic men and women come to campus for commencement weekend, particularly, some great pro-life ones. Nellie Gray of the March for Life, Joseph Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League, Gov. Robert Casey, and Congressman Chris Smith from New Jersey,” Christendom College Director of Admissions and Public Relations Tom McFadden said in a statement. “And we have honored many individuals with honorary doctorates, including Sean Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop Raymond Burke, George Cardinal Pell, Francis Cardinal Arinze, and Fr. Benedict Groeschel.“
McFadden explicitly compared Christendom College’s commencement speakers to the University of Notre Dame’s extension of an invitation to President Barack Obama to deliver its commencement address and to receive an honorary degree. McFadden said Christendom College was honoring “one of the world’s most pro-life leaders," while Notre Dame would be honoring "one of the world’s most pro-abortion leaders."
Christendom College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnel also commented, saying:"Commencement ceremonies across the country are meant to be times of celebration for the various institutions, and a time to honor individuals from whom we want our graduates to learn and grow as young Catholics entering today’s increasingly secularized society.
“To think that, as a Catholic college, we could invite someone who promotes policies and values that are contrary to basic human truths that can be known by the natural light of reason and are contrary to the fundamental right to life would be a violation of the noble mission of Catholic higher education.”
Rome, Italy, Apr 13, 2009 (CNA) - On Holy Thursday the head of the Catholic international pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need wrote to Pope Benedict XVI to offer his support for the Year for Priests. He recalled that thousands of priests are “sharing the poverty of the poor” and are also being persecuted, threatened and deprived of their freedom on account of their Faith.
Pope Benedict had proclaimed the Year for Priests to begin on June 19, 2009, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Its theme is to be “Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of priests.”
Father Joaquín Alliende, president of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), wrote to Pope Benedict that ACN wishes to support him and all the priests through their prayers, life and work.
He expressed hopes that the Year for Priests may be a year of "great gratitude“ for priests and their vocation and also hoped that the observance may help priests "rediscover the beauty of their vocation.”
Saying that the priest is “never alone,” Fr. Alliende said the priest lives in a “vital bond” with Christ, who shares “everything” with him. “All his treasures, but also his loneliness and his sacrifice for the redemption of the world.“
The pastoral ministry is “impossible” without the priest, he added, saying that in this sense the priest is “the most important man on earth, since as an alter Christus, [another Christ] he holds the life of the Church in his hands.“
Referring to the charism of ACN founder Fr. Werenfried van Straaten, Fr. Alliende said the charity is "profoundly imbued with the priestly character of the Church.“
Its founder had understood that ACN, as a pastoral charity, "can only truly ease human suffering if we work together with, and for priests."
The charity has prioritized spiritual formation for priests and financial support for the priestly ministry in over 150 countries.
Christ had taken a "great risk“ in "entrusting such a sacred and sensitive mission into human hands,“ Fr. Alliende’s Holy Thursday letter to Pope Benedict concluded, adding that recent "painful events“ have made the Year for Priests a call to "rediscover a purified vision of the priesthood.“
Holy Thursday is traditionally regarded as the day Jesus Christ instituted the Catholic priesthood.
Washington D.C., Apr 13, 2009 (CNA) - The Catholic Church welcomed another high profile politician into the fold recently when former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was welcomed into the faith on Sunday, March 29.
Gingrich, who has had two well documented divorces outside the Catholic Church, appeared on Fox News to discuss North Korea’s recent defiance, but also spoke briefly about his conversion.
The conservative leader said that “reading the literature” and “meeting with Monsignor Rossi” gave him “peace” in his soul and a “sense of well being in the Catholic Church.” He referred to his confirmation as “one of the most powerful moments of [his] life.”
When questioned about his past marriages, he said “we have done everything within the law of the Church over the last 10 years, and it’s been a process.” Gingrich also pointed to Pope Benedict XVI as a contributor to his conversion.
He said that “seeing the joy in his eyes, listening to his message” led him to “really believe” in the Church’s message.
Gingrich also echoed Benedict XVI’s Palm Sunday message about self sacrifice and denial as the way to a successful life by saying that he believed that “much of what’s wrong with our country” can be solved not with more selfishness and greed, but rather by “looking inside ourselves, not just looking at money or looking at our wallets.”
Vatican City, Apr 13, 2009 (CNA) - Having completed the grueling Easter weekend schedule, Pope Benedict XVI traveled on Sunday afternoon to Castel Gandolfo for a brief respite. On Monday at noon, the Pope prayed the Regina Caeli, and said that Easter proves to Christians that nothing can separate us from the love of God, not even death.
Before reciting the Regina Caeli, which replaces the Angelus during the Easter season, the Pope addressed those present at Castel Gandolfo and those in St. Peter's Square via an audio-video feed.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” the Holy Father began, “In these Easter days one often hears the words of Jesus: 'I have risen and am still with you.' Echoing this announcement, the Church exultantly proclaims: 'Yes, we are sure! The Lord is truly risen, alleluia! His glory and power are forever.'”
The victory of Easter, the Pope explained, makes Christ the “invisible head” of the people of God, who are “intended to grow over the centuries, until the fulfillment of the plan of salvation.” “Then, the entirety of humanity will be built on him, and every existing reality will be permeated with his total victory. Then, as St. Paul writes, he will be 'the perfect fulfillment of all things,' and 'God will be all in all.'”
“Therefore, the Christian community rejoices because the resurrection of the Lord assures us that the divine plan of salvation is fulfilled indeed,” Benedict XVI said.
Easter is really our hope, the Pope said, because through our Baptism in Christ we are raised from the death of our sins and are able to “walk without stopping to Easter eternal.” And in this journey, we are not left alone, he emphasized, we are “supported by an awareness that the difficulties, struggles, trials and suffering of human existence, including death, are now no longer be able to separate us from him and his love.”
Jesus told us, “I have risen and am still with you,” and this is true in the Eucharist, Pope Benedict reminded his audience. “In the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the risen Lord purifies us from our sins; spiritually nourishes us and strongly supports us in the trials of life and in fighting against sin and evil.”
As he concluded his reflection before praying the Regina Caeli, the Pope turned to Mary and asked her to intercede for the faithful, that they are able to accept in faith the gift of Easter and become faithful and joyful witnesses of the risen Lord.