Mexico City, Mexico, May 24, 2011 (CNA) - Archbishop Hipolito Reyes Larios of Xalapa, Mexico addressed recent end of the world claims during his homily on May 22.
The end of the world should not be considered something terrifying and horrible. “For us, the end of the world is the second coming of Christ,” the archbishop said.
That moment will be “one of joy and strength. He will not come as a baby, but as goodness and glory to judge the living and the dead,” he added.
The archbishop gave his homily one day after a religious group from Oakland, Calif. predicted the world would end.
Those who pretend to prophesy about the end of the world “generally end up looking ridiculous, because they are only trying to scare people,” the archbishop said.
Steubenville, Ohio, May 24, 2011 (CNA) - Jodi Bonjour doesn’t have much of what most would consider ‘free time.’ But besides caring for her growing, young family, the stay-at-home Catholic mother of four is part of a growing group of moms who are rediscovering the beauty of traditional domestic arts online.
A little more than a year ago, between babies number three and four, Matthias and Gladys, ages 2 years and 2 months, respectively, Bonjour decided to delve into the world of sewing, and she turned to an unusual source for tutelage in this traditional domestic art.
“I can't really talk about learning to sew without talking about the amazing online sewing and crafting community that exists.”
Surprisingly, it would seem that the modern technology of the internet is bringing about a rebirth of some timeless and nearly-forgotten skills.
“Women are rediscovering these traditional domestic arts and they are sharing their knowledge with each other online.”
With her time at a premium, Bonjour has found creative ways to weave together her newfound passion for sewing with her continuous work as a mother.
“Being a SAHM is a unique job in it is a ton of hard work, but there are unusual perks to it. I do have moments when my kids are busy playing together and I can sit down at my sewing machine while keeping an eye on them. Or sometimes they watch me work, or sit on my lap, or try to ‘help.’ They love it and I do too.”
It is her primary role as wife and mother which she credits with her drive to create beauty.
Bonjour explained that her own first year of motherhood was “a really rough time,” crediting the support she received from her local mom’s group with her graceful survival. Now, she tries to give back to other new moms in the best way she knows how.
“Giving a handmade baby blanket, or nursing cover, or sling, becomes a physical sign or reminder of the support - both to [the new mom] as she uses it, and to me if I get to see her use it.”
“Most motherly acts of service are either invisible or quickly undone,” Bonjour observed.
“When you create something for the home or for your family, whether through sewing, knitting, or even carpentry, it sticks around for a while. That item says ‘You were thought of. You were cared for. You are loved."
Which is why with the birth of her fourth child last month, Gladys, she decided on a handmade baptismal gown as a gift to her newest daughter.
“I wanted to set aside a time in all the busyness of caring for her siblings to prepare my heart for her.”
She remembers praying for her unborn daughter while stitching together the gown.
“ Sometimes, it was just simple prayers like ‘Lead her heart to Yours, Lord,’ and sometimes I prayed the Hail Mary for her … the gown became more of a spiritual gift for my daughter than a physical one, and now it my favorite project that I have ever sewn.”
Bonjour has also been able to share her gift with other women. She has hosted sewing and crafting nights for mom’s groups in her area, and she offers sewing lessons to daughters of friends.
“My favorite part of teaching is seeing (my students) succeed at something they thought they couldn't, and hearing the pride in their voice when they say ‘I made that!’”
There is, however, just one catch.
Jodi, her husband Andy, and their four young children share a modest 1,000 sq. foot home, bursting at the seams with love, but with precious little room to spare.
While innovative uses of space and impeccable organization have made their living space both pleasant and functional, the same cannot be said for her ‘sewing room,’ a dark corner of their unfinished basement, tucked between the laundry area and an overflow pantry.
For a mom who ministers to her family and to so many others through her craft, a space to truly call her own would be an incomparable blessing.
Which is why she and her husband jumped at the opportunity to enter a contest whose grand prize seems custom-made for Jodi: a $5,000 ‘makeover’ of the winner’s sewing space, Courtesy of the Home Depot and Bernina USA.
A prize like that would be an answer to prayer, and the answer could come as early as tomorrow, May 25, when voting for the contestants closes.
Voting for contestants is done through the company’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/berninausa, under the "Win a Makeover" link.
Long Island, N.Y., May 24, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Jeff Grabosky has completed his 3,700-mile run across America, an endeavor he says gave him a new perspective on America and on his Catholic faith.
“It feels beyond awesome. It’s still sinking in, but it’s an amazing and almost indescribable feeling,” he told CNA May 23, two days after his finish at Smith Point in Long Island, New York.
“The feeling that I had at the end of that run was of such fulfillment and satisfaction that I had done well. I had lived my life through that run with faith and with the intent of helping others.
“If I could extend what I did during my run and translate that into the rest of my life, then I think that my life will truly be a success”
Grabosky, a 28-year-old native of New Jersey, decided to run across the country to inspire others and to use his talents to serve God. He received prayer intentions from others and prayed for them on his Rosary ring while he ran. He estimated he prayed 35,000 Hail Marys during a journey that began on January 20 in Oceanside, Calif.
“My faith has only been deepened by this experience and has made me want to be a better person on so many different levels,” he explained.
He thinks he “definitely” would not have finished if it wasn’t for his own faith and prayer and the prayers of others on his behalf.
He took inspiration from his mother, who died of cancer in 2006. She too was a runner who prayed the Rosary during her runs.
Grabosky said that although he faced physical problems and bad weather, his biggest challenge was to stay “focused and positive” in times of difficulty.
“I think that’s really where the faith and the prayer aspect came in and helped get me through every time,” he said.
He described the best part of his run as “just being able to stay focused in prayer.”
His prayers bore fruit.
“It was amazing. Anytime I needed something, it showed up just when I needed it. A place to stay, water, food… I certainly had to do my part, but it never got to the point where I was out of options.
“God was walking with me every step. And just when I couldn’t do any more he stepped in and took care of me.”
Grabosky said his most memorable encounters were with people he otherwise would never have met.
“The media portrays America as being selfish and money-driven, and everything that goes along with that stereotype. But from my experience, it’s exactly the opposite. Everyone was so kind and generous and wanted to help out in any way they could,” he recalled. “It was surprising. Even the people who obviously didn’t have much were some of the most willing to give what they had.
“That’s really made me want to be a better person and be more generous with the blessings that I have.”
Construction workers would simply walk up to Grabosky and give him money. He also learned the stories and struggles of hitchhikers, like one man traveling to see his sick mother.
“He was getting money for food and motels by singing poetry he had written at places like Wal-Mart parking lots,” Grabosky said, adding that his run has given him “a whole different perspective.”
The harshest leg of his route took place in the Texas panhandle between Dimmitt and Tulia. He had expected a windy day, but Grabosky had not considered what the wind would do to the surrounding fields covered in loose dirt.
Feeling a gust, he looked up to see “a huge wall of dirt and dust” which he could not outrun. He tied his bandana to his face and kept running through the sustained winds of 40 mph.
Hours later, he ended the day with bits of dirt in his teeth, rings of dirt around his eyes, and his supplies covered in filth.
Grabosky spoke to several groups during his trip: a school in Phoenix, medical students in St. Louis, and participants in the University of Notre Dame’s Holy Half-Marathon 10k.
The runner, a Notre Dame graduate, also stopped to pray at the school’s famous Marian Grotto.
The most rewarding part of the trip, he said, was hearing people tell him that he has encouraged them in their lives and their faith.
Now that he has finished his trans-continental run, Grabosky is praying to learn what God wants him to do next. He would like to stay involved in running, perhaps as a coach, or he could take a position with “a more Catholic focus.”
The runner is also considering turning his run journal into a book.
Those interested can read more about Jeff Grabosky’s run at: http://jeffrunsamerica.com.
Rome, Italy, May 24, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Prayers are being said around the globe today for the Church in China, but the Chinese government is reacting by restricting access to the Shrine of Our Lady of Sheshan and canceling the celebration of Mass.
May 24 marks the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, a day specially set aside by Pope Benedict XVI for remembering the plight of Chinese Catholics.
"For us, for our community, I can say the Pope is like a father who loves his children,” said Father Pietro Cui, the priest in charge of the Pastoral Care of Chinese Catholics in Italy.
“The Holy Father made a special appeal for the people of China and we must thank him for that because it’s very important, also that the world may know that this day is important for all Catholics,” he told CNA May 24.
The day has particular significance for Chinese Catholics as it occasion when many traditionally make a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Sheshan in Shanghai. Various media reports, though, suggest that the Chinese government set up security checkpoints around the shrine to prevent pilgrims from visiting - a fact confirmed by Fr. Cui.
“The sanctuary of Our Lady of Sheshan is very important to us. She is our Madonna, the Madonna of China. I've heard that pilgrims are not very free to go to Sheshan. I've heard of problems today, though.” Those problems also seem to exist in other parts of China too.
Fr. Cui said that in the north of China Catholics are “not very free to celebrate Mass.” Although he described the restrictions on the Church as “normal” for locals, Fr. Cui said that he spoke with some families on the phone who said that today “there is no Holy Mass because the government says they can’t.”
At present, the Chinese government only allows the state-controlled “Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association” to operate freely within the country. The Association does not acknowledge the authority of the Pope. It’s estimated there are some 6 million such Catholics in China although millions more are worshiping outside the official church.
Hence the call of the Pope for prayer as explained today by his spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, S.J.
“The Pope’s latest appeal to all the faithful for the Day of Prayer for the Church in China, on May 24th, should be understood for what it is meant to be: that is, above all, an appeal for prayer. The Pope believes in the power of prayer and invites us to be ‘confident that, through prayer we can do something very real’ for the Church in China.”
Lima, Peru, May 24, 2011 (CNA) - The Natural Family Planning Center of Peru reported that 30,000 people participated in the March for Life in Lima.
Auxiliary Bishop Raul Chau of Lima noted that the May 21 event “was a festival in which Catholics clearly said that we do not want abortion in our country because that would mean legalizing the deaths of thousands of innocent babies.”
The thousands of participants carried banners, balloons and signs as they marched through the streets of the Peruvian capital.
Martin Tantalean, the president of the Natural Family Planning Center, told CNA the massive event was a sign of the growing grassroots movement among Peruvians to make their voices heard to the country’s leaders.
“It is important that Peruvians speak out in support of life and demand that both of the candidates in the runoff elections on June 5 respect the constitution, in order to defend all unborn babies in Peru,” he said.
The march concluded with addresses by numerous leaders and a Catholic music concert.
Rome, Italy, May 24, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The goal of a new slogan adopted by the Vatican’s official charity is being called “unrealistic” by the Church official charged with overseeing the organization.
Cardinal Robert Sarah said he doesn’t understand Caritas International’s new theme – “One Human Family – Zero Poverty,” which was unveiled at the charity’s annual meeting this week in Rome.
“I think it would be wise not to follow some unrealistic slogans. But, I'm very hesitant to understand what zero poverty means, because Christ said we will always have the poor. So, what is a realistic way we can fight the poverty? But, it's difficult to absolutely cancel out poverty,” he told CNA May 22.
The slogan is both the theme for this week’s conference and for the organization’s strategic document for the next four years.
The cardinal’s comments come at a difficult time for Caritas. The organization faces criticism from Cardinal Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and others for a perceived lack of Catholic identity.
Earlier this year, the Vatican blocked Caritas’ current general secretary, Lesley-Anne Knight, from running for re-appointment to her post. The charity’s governance is also being revamped to give Vatican officials more control over its work.
Cardinal Sarah alluded to these concerns in his opening remarks at the Caritas meeting on Sunday, which was attended by roughly 300 delegates.
“I believe it is important to understand that our charitable organizations are located within the Church and not alongside her,” he said.
“A Caritas that wasn’t an ecclesial expression would have no meaning or existence. The Church cannot be considered as a partner of Catholic organizations. They are the organizations that take part in her mission.”
He also stressed that the agency’s work is “not merely philanthropic” but above all “entails giving back to human persons all their dignity as children of God.”
Cardinal Sarah’s comments came only moments after both the charity’s slogan and the work of its current general secretary had been praised by Caritas president, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga.
Cardinal Rodriguez said the new slogan represents a “will to fight injustice and poverty. It is a simple expression of our understanding of the world.”
“Zero can be conceived as a ‘condition of possibility’ for all the numbers,” he added. “It is an analogy for equality. We cannot negotiate about 2 percent or 20 percent or 0.7 percent of poor people.”
He acknowledged that the Vatican’s handling of Knight’s reappointment had “caused grievance” in the organization, especially for female Caritas workers.
This week’s meeting in Rome marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of Caritas. The organization is currently in talks with the Vatican’s Secretariat of State to create new statutes that will enhance its Catholic identity.
Cardinal Sarah thinks that "the future will be very brilliant" for Caritas if it follows "the indication given by Pope Benedict XVI in 'Deus Caritas Est.'"
"Caritas must follow the steps of Jesus, expressing the compassion, (and) the love of God with humility," he said. The way forward for Caritas should be the teachings of the previous Popes, "starting from Pius XII and John Paul II and Benedict XVI."
Kansas City, Mo., May 24, 2011 (CNA) -
The youngest daughter of St. Gianna Molla will join Cardinal Raymond L. Burke in addressing a Kansas City conference on Catholic end-of-life care on July 23.
Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla’s mother was declared a saint in 2004 by the Catholic Church and is known for her heroism in choosing a risky operation to save her daughter’s life when she was two months pregnant. The conference marks the first visit to the U.S. for St. Gianna’s daughter.
The conference, titled “Being Faithful, Even Unto Death,” will address medical issues surrounding those suffering and those at the end of their lives. The St. Gianna Physician’s Guild organized the conference.
“With the help of Cardinal Burke, we have assembled experts in all areas of medicine, law, and the Catholic Church to analyze and explain the proper and obligatory way to provide Catholic care to the most vulnerable and those who are dying,” said Thomas McKenna, the guild’s founder and president.
The day-long conference is of special interest to physicians, nurses, hospital directors, hospice care providers, attorneys and others who provide care and counsel for the disabled and the dying as well as their families.
“This conference promises to provide an insightful and inspiring analysis which will greatly assist Catholics confronting the ‘Culture of Death.’ I encourage all to attend,” said Cardinal Burke, who is head of the Vatican’s highest ecclesiastical court.
Cardinal Burke will speak on the “mystery” of human suffering and dying in his keynote address, while Dr. Molla will discuss the spirituality, life and legacy of her mother.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City and Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph will also attend the event.
Other speakers include geriatric specialist Dr. Austin Welsh, Thomas More Society executive director Peter Breen, Bobby Schindler and Suzanne Vitadamo.
Schindler and Vitadamo are both siblings of Teri Schiavo, the severely disabled woman who was deprived of nutrition and hydration by court order in Florida in 2005. They are the founders of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network.
Cardinal Burke will celebrate a special Sunday Mass at 9 a.m. on July 24 in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, Missouri. A reception open to the public will follow at the nearby Catholic Center, where Gianna Emanuela will also speak.
More information about the conference is available at: www.defendingnaturaldeath.org.