CNA STAFF, May 30, 2010 (CNA) - Today is the feast of St. Joan of Arc, the patroness of France. Joan was born to a peasant family near Lorraine, France in the 15th century.
From a young age she heard the voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret speaking to her. Then, in 1428, when she was 13 years old, she received a vision telling her to go to the King of France and help him reconquer his kingdom from the invading forces of England and Burgundy.
Overcoming opposition and convincing members of the court and of the Church, she was given a small army. She charged into battle bearing a banner which bore the names “Jesus” and “Mary” as well as a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
Due to her leadership and trust in God, she was able to raise the siege of Orleans in 1429. Joan and her army went on to win a series of battles. Because of her efforts, the king was able to enter Rheims. He was crowned with Joan at his side.
Eventually, Joan was captured by the forces of Burgundy in May of 1430. When her own king and army did nothing to save her, she was sold to the English. She was imprisoned for a time and then put on trial. Bishop Peter Cauchon of Beauvais presided over her trial. His hope was that in being harsh with Joan, the English would help him become archbishop.
Joan was condemned to death on counts of heresy, witchcraft, and adultery. On May 30, 1431, she was burned at the stake in Rouen, France. She was 19 years old.
Thirty years after her death, her case was retried and she was exonerated. In 1920, she was canonized by Pope Benedict XV. She is the patroness of France, captives, soldiers, and those ridiculed for their piety.
South Bend, Ind., May 30, 2010 (CNA) - St. Matthew Cathedral will be the site for a special premiere event hosted by the Office of Hispanic Ministry on Sunday, June 6. The feast of Corpus Christi will be celebrated there with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at an all-Spanish Mass at 1 p.m., followed by a Eucharistic Procession through the streets of South Bend.
The procession, first blessed by Bishop Rhoades in the cathedral, will track a 1.7 mile route through the streets of South Bend from Dubail and High to Franklin and Culvert streets where it will culminate at Our Lady of Hungary Parish with Benediction.
The route follows the neighborhood streets surrounding the cathedral where close to 350 Hispanic families reside. Enid Roman-DeJesus, director of the diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry, said not only is this event a celebration of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ but that, “The bishop invites the community to bring Christ into the streets of the Spanish community (where some have fallen away from the Church). ... We hope they will walk with the bishop. It’s a call back home.”
The bishop will stop at four predetermined sites where there will be communal prayer and blessing of the houses and community there. Neighbors along the route have been invited to set up tables displaying favorite saints so as to symbolize that “the saints and people are receiving the Lord.”
Once the Benediction takes place there will be a fiesta held at Our Lady of Hungary with music, cultural foods and regional dance groups.
According to Roman-DeJesus this inaugural event, petitioned from Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, is the first of its kind in this diocese.
“This will be the first time an all-Spanish Mass will be celebrated in the cathedral,” said Roman-DeJesus, adding that a large group has come together to help plan this special celebration. Eight of the 14 parishes in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend that have Hispanic ministries have assisted with this cultural activity.
Information on the event has gone out to all diocesan parishes for use in bulletins as well as on fliers placed in neighborhood grocery stores and restaurants that enjoy a high volume of Hispanic customers.
Bishop Rhoades, who will celebrate the Mass entirely in Spanish, invites all who are interested, but especially Hispanic Catholics of the diocese to join him.
“I invite the Spanish-speaking faithful of the diocese to attend the diocesan Hispanic Mass on June 6, the solemnity of Corpus Christi, at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend. After the Mass, all are invited to join me in the outdoor Eucharistic Procession through the streets from St. Matthew Cathedral to Our Lady of Hungary Church.
“The beautiful tradition of the Corpus Christi procession is a wonderful opportunity to publicly express our love and devotion for the Lord Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament. Carrying the most Holy Eucharist through our streets and neighborhoods reminds us also that we are to carry Christ with us when we leave church, bringing His love and mercy into the world,” said Bishop Rhoades, who added, “Let us all be mindful of the amazing gift of the Holy Eucharist, the Real Presence of Christ ever in our midst. Christ is with us in this sacrament of love. Come, let us adore Him!”
Roman-DeJesus reports the expected crowd of over 1,000 processors will park on the west side of Our Lady of Hungary and ride to the cathedral via shuttles or car pools. She requests participants be at the cathedral the hour before the start of Mass to assemble.
Printed with permission from Today's Catholic, newspaper for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana.
Salamanca, Spain, May 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Vatican announced on Friday that the international, charitable Society of St. Vincent de Paul will convene in Spain this week to elect a new president.
From May 28 through June 2 in Salamanca, Spain, the International Confederation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will gather for its extraordinary general assembly, with the aim of electing the group's 15th president.
The confederation is a member of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” and has been able to serve 37 million impoverished people through their efforts over the years. Spain's gathering will bring representatives from the 51,000 local chapters in 142 countries around the globe. These chapters have 700,000 members, who are supported by 1,500,000 volunteers.
A main effort of the group being disaster relief effort, St. Vincent de Paul maintained its assistance in Haiti through its Zafen network which helped provide credit for small businesses and craftsmen during the country's recent catastrophic earthquake.
Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes who heads “Cor Unum” will address the delegates, discuss the identity of Catholic aid organizations and preside over a special Mass on May 30. The cardinal will also bid farewell to current president, Jose Ramon Diaz Torremocha, who has spent many years leading the organization.
Princeton, N.J., May 30, 2010 (CNA) - A new survey report shows division in the American public. While half of Americans find abortion to be morally wrong, they are evenly split on the issue of doctor-assisted suicide. Though a large majority says adultery is morally wrong, majorities of respondents find other sexual immorality and divorce to be acceptable.
The poll, part of Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey, was conducted May 3-6. The organization contacted 1,029 adults for the survey and claims a margin of error of plus or minus four percent.
Only about 38 percent of respondents thought abortion was morally acceptable, with 50 percent recognizing it as morally wrong. Differences in party affiliation were evident, as 51 percent of Democrats, 39 percent of Independents, and 26 percent of Republicans said the practice was morally acceptable.
Only 36 percent of women said abortion was morally acceptable, while 41 percent of men did.
Almost 60 percent of Americans declared embryonic stem cell research to be morally acceptable, with 68 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of independents, and 47 percent of Republicans accepting the practice. Less than 10 percent of all respondents said human cloning is acceptable.
While 77 percent of respondents said suicide is morally wrong, 46 percent said the same about assisted suicide. Only 26 percent thought the death penalty is morally wrong.
Fewer than 10 percent of respondents said polygamy or extramarital affairs are morally acceptable, but 69 percent said divorce was. Only 38 percent said sexual relations between an unmarried man and woman are morally wrong, with men more likely to find them acceptable than women. Fewer than half of Republicans said such acts are morally acceptable, but so did around 65 percent of both Democrats and independents.
For the first time, Gallup says, more than half of respondents said homosexual acts are morally acceptable. About 35 percent of Republicans agreed, as did 61 percent of Democrats and Independents.
An October 2009 survey report from the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life also claimed that only about half of Americans think homosexual acts are morally wrong. However, given the options of deeming the subject “morally acceptable” or “not a moral issue,” only 12 percent of respondents to that poll chose the former option while 35 percent chose the latter.
According to Gallup, its poll showed the greatest gender gap on the subject of the use of animals for furs or for experimentation. Only half of women found the wearing of fur acceptable, but 73 percent of men did. About 40 percent of men accepted the cloning of animals, compared to 19 percent of women. Men were also more likely to accept medical testing on animals.
Vatican City, May 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The sign of the cross reminds us of the Trinity which resides in us, of God's name and of our commitment to the faith from the moment of baptism, said Pope Benedict before Sunday's Angelus. He also noted the essential role of the priest in bringing the “Spirit of Truth” to us.
The first Sunday of ordinary time brought with it a return to the Angelus prayer from the traditional Regina Coeli prayer of the Easter season.
With the arrival of "ordinary time," the Holy Father said, the Christian commitment should not decrease. Rather, "entered into the divine life through the sacraments, we are called daily to be open to the action of Grace, to progress in love towards God and neighbor."
Turning to Trinity Sunday, which "recapitulates" God's revelation concerning the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the Paschal mysteries, Pope Benedict said that despite the inadequacy of human thought and language to explain the One and Triune God, Church Fathers sought to illustrate His mysteries through their lives and deep faith.
"The Trinity, in fact, finds residence in us the day of our baptism," said the Pope, highlighting the priest's words, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."
And, he added, we are reminded of God's name, in which we are baptized, every time we make the sign of the cross.
Pope Benedict XVI cited the words of theologian Romano Guardini who taught that the sign of the cross puts us "spiritually in order" both before prayer and afterwards "so that what God has donated to us remains in us."
"In the sign of the cross and the name of the living God the announcement that generates the faith and inspires prayer is therefore contained," he emphasized.
Commenting on Jesus' promise to the Apostles that "when he comes, the Spirit of the truth, he will lead you to every truth," the Holy Father pointed out that this takes place in the Sunday Liturgy "when the priests distribute, week to week, the bread of the Word and of the Eucharist."
As St. Jean Vianney observed, continued the Pope, it is the priest who welcomes the human soul to the world, strengthens it and prepares it for its return to God.
The Holy Father closed his pre-Angelus words by inviting the faithful to recite the prayer of St. Hilary of Poitiers for loyalty to the faith which is professed on the day of our baptism and invoking the protection of the Virgin Mary, "the first creature fully inhabited by the Most Holy Trinity," for our continued our pilgrimage on earth.
Vatican City, May 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Holy Father asked for prayers on behalf of his coming trip to Cyprus during the English greeting after Sunday's Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square.
He was joined for the Marian prayer by an estimated 50,000 faithful and pilgrims.
Referring to his coming Apostolic Journey to Cyprus, from June 4-6, Pope Benedict said he would be going to the nation "to meet and pray with the Catholic and Orthodox faithful there and to consign the Instrumentum Laboris (working document) for the upcoming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Middle East."
The document will serve to further the process of establishing the scope and focus of the Special Assembly to take place in October of this year in the Vatican with the theme "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness. 'Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul.'"
The Holy Father asked for prayers for this encounter of preparation and also for "prayers for the peace and prosperity of all the people of Cyprus."
Concluding his English language blessing, he invoked the blessing of the most holy Trinity upon all present and their "loved ones at home."
Vatican City, May 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Mother Maria Pierina De Micheli was beatified in Rome on Sunday. Although the Pope was not present at the rite, after the Angelus he commended her for her "extraordinary devotion" to the Holy Face of Christ.
The beatification ceremony, presided over by the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato, took place on Trinity Sunday at the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
According to Vatican Radio, many of those present at the rite were from Argentina and other parts of South America, a sign of the love for her in her adopted home of Buenos Aires.
Archbishop Amato reportedly said that the trinitarian stamp that marks each of us as children of the Father, brothers of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit has even greater visibility in the saints.
Blessed Pierina, he stated, was "a trinitarian creature, shaped by the mercy of the Father, redeemed by the Crucified son and enriched by the grace of the Spirit of holiness."
The Holy Father spoke briefly of the life of the nun from the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception order in the Argentinean capital after the Angelus on Sunday.
Born in 1890 in Milan, Italy, she followed other siblings into the religious life, dedicating herself to education in Argentina and Italy from the age of 23 until her death in 1945. She had an "extraordinary devotion" to the Holy Face, he said, which saw her through trials and sicknesses.
During Sunday's Mass at St. Mary Major, the prefect of saint's causes listed this devotion along with her Marian piety and her offering of prayer and suffering for the sanctification of priests as the three characteristics of holiness defined by Pope Benedict XVI in the Apostolic Letter concerning her beatification.
The archbishop explained that Mother Pierina's devotion to the Holy Face originated in visions she had of Immaculate Mary holding a scapular with the face of Jesus on one side and a radiant host on the other. She was told by the Virgin of the images' value as an armor of defense and a token of Jesus' mercy and love.
She later produced the Holy Face from the visions in the form of a medal that was distributed around the world.
Concluding, Archbishop Amato remembered her for the "concrete sign" she left in history of the Triune God and how she still "invites all people to see the attraction of divine beauty."
The remains of Blessed Pierina reside at the Holy Spirit Institute in Rome.
Vatican City, May 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Holy Father remembered the legacy of Jesuit missionary Fr. Matteo Ricci and his "great Chinese friends" on Saturday. The Pope said he is "convinced" that a "renewed encounter with Christianity" will be fruitful in China as Ricci’s mission was.
On Saturday, the Holy Father met with a group of 8,000 Italian pilgrims celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of the Italian missionary. Fr. Ricci, who brought the Gospel as far as China's Imperial Palace, also introduced China to Western culture and science and became known to the Chinese as the "Maestro of the Great West."
Referring to the Jesuit as a "singular case" among missionaries in the history of the Church for his capacity to proclaim the Gospel and promote dialogue between cultures, the Holy Father called the era of Fr. Ricci and his disciples "one of the highest and happiest points in relations between China and the West."
However, added Benedict XVI, it is important to note that in addition to introducing scientific advancements, Fr. Ricci brought a humanist perspective "cultivated by moral and spiritual values, taking everything positive found in the Chinese tradition and offering to enrich it with the contribution of Western culture but, above all, with the wisdom and truth of Christ."
The contributions of "great Chinese friends" and disciples was essential to the fulfilment of the Jesuit priest's mission, said Pope Benedict, who described their loyalty to Christ, their “profound” love towards the Chinese people, their commitment of intelligence and learning and their virtuous life as “occasions of prayer for the Church in China and for the entire Chinese people."
They provide a "stimulus and encouragement to live the Christian faith with intensity, in dialogue with different cultures, but in the certainty that in Christ true humanism is realized, (which is) open to God, rich in moral and spiritual values and capable of responding to the deepest longings of the human soul."
He closed the audience by expressing his esteem for "the noble Chinese people and their millenary culture," saying also that he is "convinced that their renewed encounter with Christianity will bring abundant fruits of good."
The city of Macerata, Italy, which is within the Diocese of Macerata-Tolentino-Recanati-Cingoli-Treia which organized the pilgrimage, is the birthplace of Fr. Ricci.