Vatican City, Jun 1, 2009 (CNA) - Pope Benedict's liturgical and travel schedule for the months of June through September was released by the Vatican on Monday. Highlights for the summer months include, the closing of the Year of St. Paul and a trip to the Czech Republic.
The full set of events is published below.
Thursday 11: Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Mass at 7 p.m. in the basilica of St. John Lateran, followed by a procession to the basilica of St. Mary Major for Eucharistic blessing.
Friday 19: Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Vespers at 6 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica for the opening of the Year for Priests.
Sunday 21: Pastoral visit to San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.
Sunday 28: At 6 p.m. in the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, First Vespers for the closing of the Pauline Year.
Monday 29: Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. Mass at 9:30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica. Blessing and imposition of the pallium on new metropolitan archbishops.
Saturday 15: Solemnity of the Assumption. Mass at 8 a.m. in the parish church of St. Thomas of Villanova in Castelgandolfo.
Sunday 6: Pastoral visit to Viterbo-Bagnoregio, Italy.
Saturday 26 - Monday 28: Apostolic trip to the Czech Republic.
Vatican City, Jun 1, 2009 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI will offer his prayers this month for the poor not to be forgotten in the economic crisis as well as for Christians living in the violence-scarred regions of the world.
Today it was announced that the Holy Father’s general prayer intention for the month of June is: "That international attention towards the poorer countries may give rise to more concrete help, in particular to relieve them of the crushing burden of foreign debt."
His mission intention will be that “the particular Churches operating in regions marked by violence may be sustained by the love and concrete closeness of all the Catholics in the world."
Tokyo, Japan, Jun 1, 2009 (CNA) - Caritas Japan has launched an appeal entitled, “Emergency Contributions to Save Lives,” aimed at encouraging dioceses, parishes, associations and the faithful to contribute to a solidarity fund to help unemployed families.
According to the Fides news agency, the Japanese bishops’ Commission for Social Affairs has made an urgent appeal entitled “Save Lives,” in which they analyze the phenomenon and its negative effects on the entire Japanese society.
Fides reported that the fund, which has already reached $33,000, is being used to help families with basic needs and extraordinary costs, such as medical expenses.
Caritas has also created a job search office for those who are unemployed. The aid agency described its mission as “matching petitions with job offers as a means of mediation and, in many cases, guarantee of security.” According to official data, the number of people without work stands at 670,000 people more than last year, bringing the national total to 3.3 million.
Mexico City, Mexico, Jun 1, 2009 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Juan Sandoval, said last week the priesthood is a privilege and a “work of love” that demands of the priest a daily examination of conscience about his own walk.
During a celebration of the silver and golden jubilees for various priests in his archdiocese, Cardinal Sandoval recalled that the priesthood “was born in the Upper Room, when Christ gathered with his elect. There the Lord celebrated the Sacrament of his Sacrifice, on the eve of his death. There he said to them: ‘Do this in memory of me’.”
The cardinal called on priests to express their gratitude to God for having been chosen and to reflect on the journey they have taken in the ministry. The priesthood, he explained, “is a work of love, as the love of Jesus for his disciples was made manifest in the words: 'As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in me.' We have been chosen by love to become partakers of the Mysteries of Salvation. Jesus said to his apostles: ‘You have not chosen me, I have chosen you.’”
“The priesthood is a privilege. We must be thankful for the love of God. He who hides from the love of God is the one who separates himself, not God. For this reason we must be thankful for the love that heals our falls and the wounds of sin,” the cardinal said.
Through prayer Christ remains with the priest, he added, and priests must not forget that the Holy Spirit consecrated them and made them his ministers.
Wichita, Kan., Jun 1, 2009 (CNA) - The pro-life group Operation Rescue, responding to the murder of Kansas abortionist Dr. George Tiller, said his alleged killer had posted comments to their public blog site but had no connection with the group.
Operation Rescue added that it deplores the “criminal actions” of Scott P. Roeder, Tiller’s alleged murderer.
The New York Times reported that a Scott Roeder had made comments on Operation Rescue’s blog in the past. One post compared Tiller to the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, saying Tiller “needs to be stopped before he and those who protect him bring judgment upon our nation.”
On Monday Operation Rescue president Troy Newman said:
“Scott Roeder has never been a member, contributor, or volunteer with Operation Rescue. Mr. Roeder may have posted to our open blog web site, as have thousands of members of the public, including those with pro-abortion views, but he is not affiliated with this organization.”
“The pro-life ethic is to value all human life from the moment of conception until natural death. Operation Rescue has diligently and successfully worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see to it that abortionists around the nation are brought to justice. Without due process, there can be no justice.”
“In spite of these horrific events, we remain dedicated to working through all peaceful and legal means available to bring an end to the killing of innocent children through abortion,” Newman’s statement concluded.
Vatican City, Jun 1, 2009 (CNA) - Over the past few days, Pope Benedict met with the presidents of the Czech Republic and the Ukraine to discuss the relationships between each of their countries and the Vatican. It was also announced that the Holy Father is planning a trip to the Czech Republic in September.
On Saturday, the Holy Father met with Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, and discussed state relations, and the future of Europe, keeping in mind “the importance of the continent's cultural, spiritual and Christian heritage,”says a press release from the Vatican.
Following the meeting it was officially announced that the Holy Father will visit the Czech Republic in September. Klaus expressed his pleasure with the visit and added that the Pope will travel to Prague, Brno and Stara Boleslav.
This morning the Holy Father met with the Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and discussed the strong relationship between the two states. The leaders also noted the “Church’s contribution to Ukrainian society for education in Christian values and their diffusion, and of the importance of dialogue among Christians in order to promote unity, while respecting everyone and with the aim of peaceful coexistence."
Vatican City, Jun 1, 2009 (CNA) - Yesterday evening, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the faithful at the Vatican's Grotto of Lourdes, urging them to “meditate upon the bond between the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.”
Crowds gathered at the Grotto following the conclusion of the traditional procession through the Vatican Gardens in observance of the end of the Month of May.
In his address, the Pope spoke of the Virgin Mary as “the Bride of the Spirit” and explained how the Holy Spirit guided the most important moments of her life, including the Annunciation, Visitation, and Nativity. “Mary’s heart,” he said, “in perfect harmony with her divine Son, is a temple of the Spirit of truth, where each word and each event is treasured in faith, hope, and charity.”
The Holy Father went on to say that Mary’s faith supported and accompanied the disciples throughout their journey of faith until their “Baptism in the Holy Spirit.” Even today, he continued, Mary maintains her role of “universal maternity towards all people who have been generated by God through faith in Christ.”
Today, Mary works with the Holy Spirit within the Church, said the Pope. “Mary is the image and model of the Church which, accompanied by the Spirit, advances through time invoking the glorious return of Christ: 'Come, Lord Jesus.'”
The Holy Father concluded by imparting his apostolic blessing and inviting his listeners to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in their own lives, that like Mary, they may able “to listen to His inspiration and humbly to follow it.”
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jun 1, 2009 (CNA) - Bishop Oscar Sarlinga of Zarate-Campana in Argentina reminded the faithful on Saturday that “without the lasting effect of Pentecost on the Church, she would merely be a human organization, a structure without a soul.”
On the eve of Pentecost, the bishop issued a pastoral message referring to the Solemnity as “a call to evangelize anew, with one heart and one soul, breaking down every wall of division.”
“With the great event of Pentecost, the beginning of the Church’s mission in the unity desired by Christ, the Holy Spirit softly intervenes in the first Christian community, with Peter at the head, and infinitely overcomes the rupture and dispersion which began at Babel and became the cause of confusion in so many hearts.
“Pentecost becomes transformed, therefore, for the newly founded Church, into the sign of communion and divine love that is stronger than the divisions caused by sin and all its consequences, stronger than the structures of sin and structural sin that exist in today’s world as well,” the bishop said.
Likewise, he reiterated that “Pentecost gives soul to the Church and strength to her mission. Without it, “liturgical celebrations would be nothing more than ‘religiously themed performances.’ But the Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church, infused through the Wind and the Fire of the Upper Room, such that the Church must ‘be converted’ every day, every instant, into what she herself is, the Body of Christ and the People of God living through history.”
Bishop Sarlinga pointed out that at Pentecost, Catholics “renew the charisms we have received,” which he described as “the grace of our Baptism and our call, whatever it is, in concert with the gift of Christian vocation. It is a call to evangelize anew, with one heart and one soul, breaking down every wall of division, giving living testimony to the glorious resurrection of the Lord,” he said.
Madrid, Spain, Jun 1, 2009 (CNA) - Archbishop Francisco Gil Hellin of Burgos, Spain said last week that it has become increasingly evident that both the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI are confronting the “center of the secular world, made up of significant elements of the European Union, the United Nations, and more recently, the United States.”
“This center has shown itself incapable of accepting anything that is not part of its own values. And thus, despite scientific proof, the Pope has been irrationally criticized in the name of reason, and the faith and morals of the Catholic Church have been treated irrationally,” the archbishop said in his weekly reflection.
Archbishop Gil Hellin warned his audience that, “The world runs the risk of embracing a new dictatorship: the dictatorship of relativism.”
He went on to analyze the recent attacks against the Pope for his statements about condom use. “If the Pope’s comments were off the mark there would be some justification. But what the Pope said is shared by the international scientific community, Catholic or not. What we are facing is a secularism that is increasingly more radical, which gives no value to Christian ethics or is willing to include Christianity when it comes to finding solutions to the very serious problems that are affecting our society.”
Archbishop Gil Hellin alerted people to the way that “radical secularism has been incubating in Europe during the last few decades. But it has become especially acute since the fall of the Berlin Wall.” “The United States had maintained itself more or less outside this reality. This is explains why the Pope saw in it a more hopeful and less hostile secularism.”
“In fact, although not quite as strongly as in Europe, secular forces have become more emboldened in the United States, seeking to marginalize the church and label her teachings on marriage and life as outdated, if not fanatical,” the archbishop said.
He also argued that “hostility towards the Church has also grown in the media.” As an example, the archbishop stated that “key U.N. officials from some European nations and the international media with connections in the United States and Great Britain rapidly assumed that Benedict XVI was wrong about condoms.”
New York City, N.Y., Jun 1, 2009 (CNA) - The Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul Paulos Faraj Rahho will posthumously receive the 2009 Path to Peace Award, the Path to Peace Foundation has announced. The award will recognize Christians who have remained in Iraq to witness to their faith.
Archbishop Rahho was abducted by gunmen in Iraq on February 29, 2008 outside his church in Mosul as he drove home after a prayer service. He was found dead two weeks later, with his bodyguards and driver also having been murdered during his abduction.
The archbishop was born in 1942 in Mosul. Ordained to the priesthood in June 1965, he was appointed to St. Isaiah’s Church in Mosul. He later founded the Church of the Sacred Heart at Tel Keppe, a new Mosul district.
Archbishop Rahho also opened an orphanage for disabled children.
He was ordained Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul on February 16, 2001, thus becoming responsible for about 20,000 Catholics in ten parishes. Mosul has one of the oldest Christian populations in the world.
The Path to Peace Award will be presented at a Gala Dinner at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on June 9, 2009.