Archive of May 16, 2010

Caregivers put Catholic values in action while caring for grieving family

Gilbert, Ariz., May 16, 2010 (CNA) - Melissa Moron thought she was going in for a routine obstetrics exam last month, but the visit turned out to be anything but normal. She was 18 weeks pregnant. Her physician, Dr. Clint Leonard, told her the unborn baby she was carrying no longer had a heartbeat and that she needed to report to Mercy Gilbert Hospital.

Melissa and her husband Jesse, parents of eight children, drove to the hospital, thinking that they would likely be treated the same way they had years ago when Melissa had a miscarriage -- with a lack of respect for the human dignity of their unborn child.

Instead, they say what they experienced at Mercy Gilbert was an outpouring of compassion, concern and reverence for human life. The couple wrote a letter to the hospital commending the staff for the care they received during Melissa’s stay.

“You treated Melissa, the baby and myself with great dignity and love. You can't fake love. It was genuine,” the letter said.

On April 28, Mercy Gilbert’s staff and administrators, including Laurie Eberst, president and CEO of the hospital, gathered to recognize the care given to the Moron family.

The eight Moron children -- seven daughters and one son -- and their parents stood at the front of the packed conference room as Karen Byrnes, manager of service excellence for Mercy Gilbert, read the Morons’ heartfelt letter that described their experience at the hospital. Nurses, doctors and staff brushed away tears.

The Morons mentioned each of the caregivers by name in their letter and commended the staff for their compassionate and supportive care. Holly Green, the first nurse they encountered on that fateful day, sat with Melissa when she arrived and held her hand. “You could see the concern in her eyes,” Jesse said.

“After my wife delivered our deceased son, many of your staff kept asking ‘What did you name him?’ ‘What's his name?’ ‘Do you have a name for him?’ This speaks volumes of Mercy Gilbert. Giving our little Jeremiah the dignity he deserves,” the letter read in part.

One of the nurses, Melissa Alexander, took the time to dress Jeremiah and photographed him with a toy car. Another caregiver dressed the baby in pajamas before handing him over for the funeral.

Eberst said the care the Morons received was an example of the Mercy Gilbert’s Catholic values in action. Byrnes thanked the family for sharing their experience with the hospital staff and presented leadership awards to seven of the caregivers who worked with the Morons during Melissa’s stay.

The 212-bed medical center opened in Gilbert in 2006 and is one of three Arizona hospitals operated by Catholic Healthcare West. A Healing Garden opened at the East Valley hospital April 29. The 43,560 square-foot garden that sits adjacent to the outpatient entrance offers families a quiet place to find peace and features fountains, a labyrinth and plants known for their healing qualities.

Printed with permission from The Catholic Sun, newspaper for the Diocese of Phoenix.

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Church to celebrate feast of St. Rita, 'expert in suffering'

CNA STAFF, May 16, 2010 (CNA) - On Saturday, May 22, the Church will celebrate the feast day of St. Rita of Cascia, who the late John Paul II called “a disciple of the Crucified One” and an “expert in suffering.”

Known in Spain as “La Santa de los impossibiles” (the saint of the impossible), St. Rita has become immensely popular throughout the centuries. She is invoked by people in all situations and stations of life, since she had embraced suffering with charity and wrongs with forgiveness in the many trials she experienced in her life: as a wife, widow, a mother surviving the death of her children, and a nun.

Born in 1386 in Roccaparena, Umbria, St. Rita was married at the age of 12 to a violent and ill-tempered husband. He was murdered 18 years later and she forgave his murderers, praying that her twin sons, who had sworn to avenge their father’s death may also forgive. She was granted this grace, and her sons, who died young, died reconciled to God.

The saint heard the call to become a nun in the Augustinian convent at Cascia, but was refused entry at first. She asked the intercession of Sts. Augustine, Mary Magadalene and John the Baptist and was finally allowed to enter the convent where she lived the last 40 years of her life in prayer, mortification and service to the people of Cascia.

For the last 15 years of her life she received a stigmata-like thorn wound in answer to her prayers to be more profoundly conformed to the passion of the Lord Jesus. Rita was bedridden for the last four years of her life, consuming almost nothing except for the Eucharist. She died of Tuberculosis at the age of 70 on May 22, 1456.

On the 100th anniversary of her canonization in 2000, Pope John Paul II noted her remarkable qualities as a Christian woman: “Rita well interpreted the 'feminine genius' by living it intensely in both physical and spiritual motherhood.”

St. Rita was canonized in 1900 by Pope Leo XIII. She is the patron saint of impossible causes, sterility, abuse victims, loneliness, marriage difficulties, parenthood, widows, the sick, bodily ills and wounds.

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Survey again shows self-identified pro-lifers slightly outnumber pro-choice in U.S.

Princeton, N.J., May 16, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - A Gallup poll of Americans’ views on abortion again reports that slightly more Americans self-identify as pro-life instead of pro-choice. While the number of pro-life Democrats is down, a shift is apparent among Republicans and Independents.

A poll conducted May 3-6 showed 47 percent of Americans say they are pro-life while 45 percent say they are pro-choice, Gallup reports, claiming a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Particularly large increases in pro-life sympathies are apparent among young adults and those aged 50 to 64 years.

In 2009, 56 percent of Gallup respondents said abortion was morally wrong, a number which declined to 50 percent this year. Gallup said in light of this fact it was “not entirely clear” why Americans are more likely to embrace the pro-life view.

Since 2003, Republicans have been more likely to call themselves pro-life, as 68 percent now do so. Republican-leaning independents have been trending pro-life since 2005 and 61 percent say they self-identify as such now. Independents without a party preference became more likely to call themselves pro-life between 2003 and 2006 but have since held steady.

Self-identified pro-life Democrats have declined in number from 37 percent in 2003 to 31 percent in 2010. There was no movement among independents who lean Democratic.

Gallup suggested that without evidence showing Americans are growing more wary about the morality of abortion, “increased political polarization” may be a factor in Republicans’ preference for the pro-life label.

“Whatever the cause, the effect is that the pro-life label has become increasingly dominant among Republicans and to a lesser degree among independents, while the pro-choice label has become more dominant among Democrats,” its analysis concluded.

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New Chinese bishop speaks on reconciliation within the country's Catholic Church

Fujian, China, May 16, 2010 (CNA) - During his ordination ceremony last week, a new Chinese bishop spoke on the importance of reconciliation within the Church in China, referencing the Holy Father's letter to the Catholic community in 2007.

Bishop Joseph Cai Bingrui, 44, was ordained in the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Xiamen on May 8, on the Feast of Our Lady of China, reported Fides News. He was appointed by the Holy See as Bishop of the Diocese of Xiamen in the southern coastal area of Fujian, of which he had been administrator for several years.

Bishop Cai said on Saturday that he was optimistic about the path of reconciliation within the diocesan community, referencing the apostolic letter that the Holy Father sent to the Church in China in 2007, which invited Catholic Christians to forgiveness and reconciliation.

The Catholic Church in China has faced many difficulties in recent years, including divisions within the Church caused in large part by persecution from the Chinese Communist government.

Bishop Cai added that priorities under his leadership will be to promote vocations, to strengthen the training of priests and the laity and to rebuild the structures of the diocese, which have remained without a pastor for almost 20 years.

Last week's ordination was attended by more than 2,000 faithful and 60 priests, with the liturgy being presided over by Bishop John Fang Xingyao, Bishop of Linyi.

Bishop Cai was born September 15, 1966 into a family with a longstanding Catholic history. After completing his studies at the seminary of Shanghai, he was ordained August 15, 1992. Soon after the death of Bishop Joseph Huang Ziyu in 1991, he was given the leadership of the diocese as diocesan administrator.

The new Chinese bishop entrusted the diocesan community to the motherly protection of Our Lady of China during his ordination, expressing hope that he can carry out, with dedication and love, the pastoral service that he has been assigned, reported Fides News.

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Jesus' Ascension gives a foretaste of life in Heaven, teaches Pope Benedict

Vatican City, May 16, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Speaking to the throng gathered in St. Peter's Square before the Regina Coeli on Sunday, the Holy Father referred to the day's Gospel reading in which Jesus departs from the disciples. The Ascension, he said, permits us to "foretaste" the divine life from here on earth.

Despite the dark clouds that hung over the Vatican, threatening rain showers, well over 100,000 people were present in the Square and surrounding streets to hear the Pope's message and to recite the Marian prayer on Sunday.

The Holy Father told them that the Ascension, celebrated in Italy on Sunday, is not a question of abandonment, because “He remains with them forever in a new way."

Using the words of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, he explained that the event took place in three stages: first was the glory of the Resurrection, then the power to judge and finally his Ascension to sit at the right hand of the Father.

The Pope recalled that it was preceded by the blessing of the disciples which prepared them for the gift of the Holy Spirit "so that salvation might be proclaimed everywhere."

Then, he continued, the Lord attracted their eyes heavenwards so as to indicate "the good way during the earthly life."

He continues to be with us on our path as Christians, said Benedict XVI, as He is “the companion of those persecuted because of their faith” and is in “the heart of the marginalized and is present in those to whom the right to life is denied."

We also remain able to hear, see and touch the Lord through the Church, he went on, especially through the Word and the sacraments.

Turning to those receiving the sacrament of confirmation this Easter season, he exhorted them to "stay faithful to the World of God and to the learned doctrine," while keeping close to the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist, "aware of having been chosen and constituted to witness to the Truth."

As Sunday is also World Communications Day, he also renewed his invitation to priests to be strong witnesses to the Gospel, wisely using communications media "to make the life of the Church known and helping mankind today to discover the face of Christ."

Before turning in prayer to the Virgin Mary in the Regina Coeli, Pope Benedict closed by referring back to the Ascension. Through this event, he said, the Lord opened the way to Heaven for us, thus permitting us to "foretaste" the divine life from our place on earth.

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Strong roots in God needed to combat sin, Pope tells enormous crowd at St. Peter's

Vatican City, May 16, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -

The Holy Father was joined by a larger than normal crowd in the Vatican for the Regina Coeli on Sunday. Thanking them for the enormous turnout in his support, he said that the Church must root herself in God to combat the "true enemy" of sin inside and outside of the Church.

Estimates in the Holy See's Press Office put the number in attendance in St. Peter's Square at more than 150,000 people, many there with Italian lay associations and holding balloons and banners with supportive messages for the Pope. A multitude of flags from other countries such as India, Poland and Brazil were also prominent in the crowd, which spilled out of the Square and down the street, called Via della Conciliazione, where big screens were set up in anticipation of such a turnout.

Pope Benedict XVI greeted the masses, saying, "Thank you! Thanks for your presence and confidence!"

He welcomed the president of the Italian bishops, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, and all those who had answered the invitation from a national association of lay groups, CNAL, which, on April 14, called for a massive show of support for the Pope and his work.

"Dear friends," Benedict XVI told them, "today you demonstrate the great affection and the deep closeness of the Church and of the Italian people to the Pope and to your priests," whom, he explained, take care of the faithful "so that through moral and spiritual renewal we can always better serve the Church, the People of God and all who turn to us with trust."

"The true enemy to fear and to combat is sin," he added, noting that this also affects members of the Church. Being "in the world but not of the world," he explained, Christians do not fear the world "but we must guard ourselves from its seductions.”

"We must, rather, fear sin and for this be strongly rooted in God, solid in the good, in love and in service."

This, he added, is what the Church, her priests and faithful "have done and continue to do with fervid commitment for the spiritual and material good of the people in every part of the world." Christians "serve God and man in the name of Christ."

Looking to the future, he said, "we continue this path together with trust." He prayed that trials push us to be more deeply rooted and coherent.

Concluding his remarks, the Holy Father renewed the call he had made in Fatima last week and called for prayer through the intercession of Mary for the conversion of hearts.

Also taking part in Sunday's Regina Coeli by way of massive television screens set up in the square in front of the Basilica of St. John Lateran was Cardinal Vicar of Rome Agostino Vallini and a large group of immigrants celebrating the "Festival of Peoples."

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