Providence, R.I., Aug 28, 2011 (CNA) - While the nation was forever changed by the events of Sept.11, 2001, comparably few know personally the feeling of having lost someone they had known in the terrorist attacks of that day.
In 1996, Linda George had graduated from Providence College. After college, she landed a good job with T.J. Maxx, her friend and fellow P.C. alum Mike Manning remembers. On Sept. 11, George was headed from Boston to the West Coast on a business trip, a trip cut short when terrorists targeted New York’s World Trade Center with the aircraft she was flying on, killing everyone on board. In all, nearly 3,000 people would die that day in New York City, at the Pentagon, as well as in a desolate field in Shanksville, Pa.
“She was a great friend of mine,” said Manning, who graduated from P.C. in 1997 and then joined the army.
Maj. Manning, who serves as the legislative liaison for the Rhode land National Guard, has joined several of his colleagues from the armed forces in working with the Diocese of Providence to plan a Mass to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
“This is a day for us to take pause, to take a knee and remember those who were lost,” Manning said.
“We’ve been at war for 10 years now. It’s important to mark this significant event.”
The Mass of Remembrance and Blessing will be held on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 1 p.m. at the Cathedral of SS. Peter & Paul in Providence. All are invited to attend.
Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin will preside over the Mass, while Chaplain Col. Father Robert L. Marciano, state command chaplain of the Rhode Island National Guard, will serve as the homilist.
Father Marciano was one of several chaplains who suited up and waded through the wreckage from the Pentagon attack to offer prayers for the dead as the remains of the 184 victims there were recovered.
“At the end of the Mass, there will be a roll call of heroes read,” said Fr. Marciano, noting one of the most poignant moments planned around the service.
The Mass is being said for all citizens and members of the police, fire and military and their families. Personnel from these groups are requested to wear their uniforms for the Mass. Representatives of different branches of the military will present the colors at the beginning of Mass.
“The Mass promises to be a very beautiful and prayerful event for our whole church community,” said Bishop Tobin.
Reverend clergy of the diocese are invited to concelebrate.
The Gregorian Concert Choir, led by the Rev. Msgr. Anthony Mancini, director, and the 88th Army Band and Brass Ensemble, led by CWO Todd Garrepy, director, will also perform.
In addition to members of the police and fire and military personnel, special guests will also include Gold Star families—those who have lost a loved one in military service to their country from the buildup of the Iraq War following 09/11 through the present.
“I think the message is shared sacrifice,” said Lt. Col. Denis J. Riel, of the Rhode Island National Guard.
Dick August and his wife Donna will present the gifts during the offertory procession.
Their son Matthew was killed on January 27, 2004 in Khalidiyah, Iraq, three weeks short of his 30th birthday.
Matthew August, a Bishop Hendricken alum, went on to graduate from West Point in 1997.
Following 9/11, those in the military knew the path to battle against a new enemy of America would at one point take them through the world’s oldest crossroads along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, according to Dick August, and his son was prepared to take on that fight.
August, the commanding officer of his army unit, was leading a mission to root out an enemy weapons cache when their unit was hit by an improvised explosive device.
“My son’s wishes were to be buried at West Point,” Dick August said, adding that Matthew’s wish had been fulfilled.
As a Gold Star family, the Augusts work to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, they will join with others to share in the pain of their losses as well.
In all, at least eight people with ties to Rhode Island lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks, including Hollywood television producer David Angell, 55—brother of Bishop Kenneth A. Angell—and David’s wife Lynn Edwards Angell, 52; Carol Bouchard, 43; Renee Newell, 37; Mark L. Charette, 38; Amy Jarret, 28; Kathryn Yancey LaBorie, 44; and Shawn Nassaney, 25, and his girlfriend, Lynn Goodchild, 25.
Printed with permission from Rhode Island Catholic, newspaper for the Diocese of Providence, R.I.
Mexico City, Mexico, Aug 28, 2011 (CNA) - Organized crime is punishing Mexico “like a whip,” Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera said in response to a shocking attack on a Monterrey casino which killed at least 53 people.
The Archbishop of Mexico City condemned the attack on the Casino Royale, where gunmen killed gamblers and employees. Many died when the attackers spread gasoline and ignited a fire that trapped and killed them.
It was the second attack on the casino in three months. Gunmen sprayed the building with bullets in a May 25 attack that did not injure anyone.
Attorney General Leon Adrian de la Garza said a drug cartel was apparently responsible for the attack, the Associated Press reports. Cartels often extort casinos and other business and threaten to attack them if they refuse to pay.
The Archdiocese of Mexico City has repeatedly denounced the violence affecting Mexico and the threats from armed groups.
A recent editorial in the archdiocesan weekly Desde La Fe noted that many priests live under the “constant threat” of drug cartels because they work within organizations that defend human rights or they denounce the abuses, crimes and drug dealers.
In 2009 a Catholic priest and two seminarians were murdered while leaving a church in southern Mexico. They had denounced drug dealers’ violence against the faithful.
The Mexican clergy is more exposed in rural areas where drug cartels are in control and the Mexican government fails to enforce the law.
Manuel Corral, secretary for public relations for the Mexican Episcopal Conference, told Desde La Fe that at least 1,000 of Mexico’s 15,000 priests have been indirectly threatened and at least 300 have received direct threats.
The archdiocese asked the faithful to pray for those who have died because of violence.
Denver, Colo., Aug 28, 2011 (CNA) - On August 28, the Catholic Church celebrates the life of Saint Augustine of Hippo, the North African educator who became one of history's greatest teachers of the faith after his dramatic conversion.
The story of Augustine's upbringing and conversion is well-known to many through his autobiographical “Confessions.” In that work, Augustine recounts his birth in 354 to his pagan father Patricius and Catholic mother Monica – later St. Monica – in the city of Tagaste. His parents' difficult marriage included a dispute over whether to baptize their children.
Augustine was nearly baptized during a childhood illness, but his father withdrew permission when he recovered. During his adolescence, Monica's Christian influence over her son's life began to wane, giving way to the self-interested pursuit of a secular education and career as well as social acceptance and romantic love.
At age 16, Augustine traveled to Carthage to continue his education in rhetoric. There, the young student indulged the desires of his heart and flesh, though he later admitted that this way of life brought him pain and torment along with its pleasure and satisfaction. He was, as he later wrote, “scourged with the burning iron rods of jealousy, suspicion, fear, anger, and strife.”
In 371, Augustine's father became a Catholic and received baptism. In his search for stability and meaning, however, Augustine became an adherent of the Manichaean religion. His entry into this sect, which regarded matter as evil and promoted “liberation” from the physical world, caused his mother intense grief. So too did Augustine's fathering of an illegitimate child.
Haunted by questions about the nature of good and evil, Augustine became disillusioned with Manichaeism. He turned to the later followers of Plato, whose concept of God agreed in some areas with Catholic doctrine. Augustine also turned his ear to the preaching of St. Ambrose of Milan, whose sermons removed some of his difficulties in believing the Bible.
As a professor of the liberal arts, Augustine appreciated these intellectual arguments for God's existence and Church teaching. Ultimately, however, his decision to be baptized would require a deeper conversion of his heart and will. This occurred in 386 when, at age 33, he tearfully agreed to abandon his personal vices and enter the Church.
The intellectually restless convert received Baptism from St. Ambrose on Easter of 387, shortly before the death of his holy and beloved mother Monica. Having abandoned his academic career and sold his possessions, Augustine soon began his work as a Catholic apologist and theologian. Not long after, a group of local believers persuaded him to enter the priesthood, which he did in 391.
From 396 until his death, Augustine served as the Bishop of Hippo in North Africa. He led a religious order of men who lived in apostolic poverty without personal possessions. He also led the local Church through challenging times that included the breakdown of Roman imperial authority and widespread confusion about basic Catholic beliefs.
As a bishop, Augustine presented the faith in a compelling and intelligent manner, while warning his flock – both verbally and in writing – about the danger of different heresies. These errors included Arianism, the denial that Jesus is God; Donatism, the belief that corrupt clergy have no authority; and Pelagianism, which denied original sin and taught that humans could achieve their own salvation.
In the last years of his life, Augustine saw the old Roman imperial order undergo a violent and chaotic transition with an uncertain outcome. The Church, too, continued to struggle despite his and other bishops' efforts. In the Vandal-besieged city of Hippo, St. Augustine died on August 28, 430.
After his death, through the legacy of his writings, St. Augustine became the most influential theologian in the history of Western Christianity. Pope Benedict XVI, who once described the saint as his “traveling companion” in life and ministry, has devoted six general audiences to St. Augustine's life and thought since his election.
In August 2010, the Pope spoke of “an important aspect of [Augustine's] human and Christian experience, which is also timely in our day.”
“All too often,” Pope Benedict reflected, “people prefer to live only the fleeting moment, deceiving themselves that it will bring lasting happiness; they prefer to live superficially, without thinking, because it seems easier; they are afraid to seek the truth or perhaps afraid that the truth will find us, will take hold of us and change our life, as happened to St Augustine.”
St. Augustine's life, the Pope observed, teaches all people – even those weak or challenged in their faith – “not to be afraid of the Truth, never to interrupt the journey towards it and never to stop searching for the profound truth about yourselves and other things with the inner eye of the heart. God will not fail to provide light to see by, and warmth to make the heart feel that he loves us and wants to be loved.”
Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug 28, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI has encouraged the new class of seminarians at the Pontifical North American College in Rome to be unafraid to carry the cross of Christ.
“Dear Seminarians, do not be afraid to take up the challenge in today’s Gospel to give your lives completely to Christ,” he told the new students during his Sunday Angelus address on Aug. 28 at Castel Gandolfo, his summer residence 15 miles to the south of Rome.
“Indeed, may all of us be generous in our commitment to him, carrying our cross with faith and courage.”
Moments earlier the American students, along with several thousand other pilgrims, listened as the Pope explained in more detail the need for all Christians to embrace the cross. The Pope invited all present to surrender their will to Jesus who, in return, will transform their ways of thinking for the better.
“The Christian follows the Lord with love when he accepts his cross which in the eyes of the world appears as a defeat and a ‘loss of life’, while that man knows that he does not bear his alone but with Jesus, sharing the same path of self-giving,” the Pope said.
In doing so, he added, “we allow ourselves to be transformed through divine grace, renewing our way of thinking in order to discern the will of God, which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The Pope based his comments upon Sunday’s Gospel in which Jesus rebukes St. Peter for reacting negatively to the revelation that the Christ must “go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
This prediction by Jesus presented “a clear discrepancy between the loving plan of the Father” observed the Pope “and the expectations, desires, projects of the disciples.” He said it’s a discrepancy that often continues to this modern day.
“When the fulfillment of one’s life is only aimed towards social success, and physical and economic well-being, man is not thinking according to God but according to man.” Such an attempt to refuse God’s “project of love,” said the Pope, “almost prevents man from carrying out His masterly will.”
Hence, said the Pope, the challenge of Jesus to the first apostles, “if any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me,” is equally applicable to anybody who seeks true happiness in the modern world.
The Pontifical North American College was founded in 1859 in response to an appeal by Pope Pius IX for an American seminary in Rome. Its present building sits on Rome’s Janiculum Hill only minutes from St. Peters Basilica. Regarded as one of the most flourishing seminaries in the city, the college is currently home to over 300 students and priests.