Ann Arbor, Mich., Aug 6, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - A Dominican order based in Ann Arbor will soon release an album of 15 songs centered on Marian devotion as a way to help listeners to encounter God through beautiful sacred music.
“This music is just a little way for us to get into peoples' homes; no matter how much we wish we could go everywhere, obviously you can't, so this is a another outreach to bring God to those who just want him,” said Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, vicaress general of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.
“Sacred music always speaks to the soul, and helps us become more reflective and prayerful, and I think that's very necessary for all of us,” she told CNA Aug. 5.
The community's album, “Mater Eucharistiae,” will be released on the De Montfort Music label on Aug. 13, and is available through the sisters' website.
“When this was first proposed to us … we took it to prayer to consider whether or not we'd be able to do this,” Sr. Joseph Andrew explained.
“We decided that this would be like us going into so many speakers in homes and cars, wherever people will play this, bringing this beautiful, uplifting music which really is a part of our community.”
The selections are wide-ranging, including chants dating back to the fourth century, as well as polyphony and modern music – two of the songs were written by Sr. Joseph Andrew.
The music is “nothing new,” Sr. Joseph Andrew said, adding that “these are things that we sing.”
“It's a snapshot of perhaps coming into Mass in the morning, or to Divine Office, praying with the Sisters; these are some of the things that would be heard … all these are things that are a part of us.”
Sr. Joseph Andrew explained that the songs she composed which are on the album, “Holy Mary Mother of God” and “I Am In Thy Hands O Mary,” were both written “some time ago,” for her community.
Both are “fruits of meditation” on St. Louis de Montfort's total consecration to Christ through Mary and the name of the community.
Sr. Joseph Andrew, who is among the four foundresses of the Ann Arbor Dominicans, said that their name “in very large measure” goes back to St. Louis de Montfort, and “reflects also John Paul's 'to Jesus through Mary,' which of course is a Marian consecration.”
“So in our community, not only do we make that consecration, but we really want to live the Dominican charism of Marian spiritual motherhood, and then our love of the Eucharist.”
Singing the Divine Office is such a central feature of the community's prayer life – “music is so much a part of our lives, and a part of our prayer life,” Sr. Joseph Andrew explained – that it “actually took only three days to set the tracks for the entire CD.”
“That's because our sisters sing a great deal, and we also chose selections that are very much a part of who we are, so it wasn't that we were learning new music for this. This is what we sing: if you come to our evening Vespers on Sunday … people hear this music.”
She explained that at each of the Sisters' missions, which are located in nine U.S. states, Sunday Vespers are sung at 5 p.m. and are open to the public so that “people can come in and participate in our prayer life.”
“It's a very exciting thing going on here in Ann Arbor. It's something that the four of us who founded the community would have never thought we would have done when we entered religious life, but knowing God wanted this community, immediately he began blessing it with many vocations.”
Since its 1997 founding, the community has grown to over 120, including its new postulants. The order's mother house is already overfilled, and they are preparing to build a priory in Austin to help cope with the many new vocations coming in.
“The average age of the community is 29 or 30,” Sr. Joseph Andrew said, “so it's a very young community with a strong energy and a great love of the Dominican charism in the world today.”
She added that the community is sending a few sisters to Rome for the first time this year, some to work as librarians at the North American College, and some to study at the Angelicum, the Dominican-run pontifical university in Rome.
Some of the songs on “Mater Eucharistiae” are a capella, and some are accompanied by organ. Sr. Joseph Andrew, who plays organ on the recording, said that beauty and sacred music are “very near and dear to our community.”
She reflected on Blessed John Paul II's comments that the new evangelization must start with the true the good and the beautiful, and Pope Francis' re-iteration that “you begin with the beautiful,” because while there is much confusion about truth and goodness, “most people can come to a very common element on beauty.”
“So that's kind of a beautiful way to begin an evangelization, of touching their hearts, opening their hearts for God.”
“Good, rich beauty in the form of the Church's expression of art, and music in particular, is a common denominator to touch souls, and to move them to be more open, to get outside their own worries and their own frustrations, and move towards an openness, towards the God who dwells inside us.”
Sr. Joseph Andre said that beautiful, sacred music, such as that found on “Mater Eucharistiae,” is a way to “open the doors for evangelization” because “good music speaks of God, and of God's personal love for each of us.”
Washington D.C., Aug 6, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Three leaders from diverse fields in the pro-life movement were recognized for their contributions to the movement, receiving the 2013 People of Life Award for their lifelong dedication.
Frances X. Hogan, Sister Jane Marie Klein, and Barbara Thorp received the award Aug. 4 at the Diocesan Pro-Life Leadership Conference, sponsored by the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat on Pro-Life Activities.
The awards were presented by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston.
Cardinal O'Malley also serves as chair of the bishops' conference's pro-life committee.
The award, given annually since 2007, is given to persons who demonstrate Blessed John Paul II’s call in his letter “Evangelium Vitae” for the faithful to be “people of life and for life.”
One of this year's recipients, Frances Hogan, has upheld the dignity of life through her work as a lawyer and advocate against euthanasia. Hogan is a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and is a co-founder of Women Affirming Life, a group of Catholic women who displace the dignity of all human life in their careers, personal lives, and communities.
She has also been a board member and consultant for various pro-life organizations, including the Pro-Life Legal Defense Fund, the Value of Life Committee, and the U.S. bishops' pro-life committee.
In 2012, Hogan also helped to guide the Massachusetts Catholic Conference in its defeat of the 2012 ballot initiative to allow physician-assisted suicide.
Sr. Jane Marie Klein, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, was recognized for her health care work and her advocacy for conscience protections. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Franciscan Alliance, a group of Catholic hospitals and health care facilities in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, and has previously served as the group’s president.
Sr. Klein has also spoken on the importance of conscience protections, most notably during her March 2013 presentation on Capitol Hill on the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, during a press conference on the legislation’s introduction.
Barbara Thorp has worked in social work and pro-life advocacy in the Boston area and with the Archdiocese of Boston for 35 years. With the archdiocese, she helped to start and direct Project Rachel, a post-abortion healing ministry, and aided pregnant women in crisis situations by managing the Cardinal’s Fund for the Unborn.
Thorp has also worked on developing end-of-life information for parishes in the Boston area, and helped organize counseling and support for students and staff at The Newman School in Boston in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings in April.
Boston, Mass., Aug 6, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Monsignor Arthur M. Coyle of the Archdiocese of Boston is on “voluntary administrative leave” following his Aug. 4 arrest for allegedly hiring a prostitute.
“Monsignor Arthur M. Coyle has taken a voluntary administrative leave from his assignment, as a result of his arrest on charges related to sexual misconduct involving an adult,” the Boston archdiocese stated Aug. 5.
“While on administrative leave, Msgr. Coyle is prohibited from performing any public ministry.”
Msgr. Coyle, who is 62 and was ordained in 1977, was allegedly found with a prostitute in his vehicle while parked in a cemetery in Lowell, a city located about 30 miles northwest of Boston.
Msgr. Coyle was arrested around 5:20 p.m. when Lowell police were patrolling a known location for prostitution and drug dealing.
“They witnessed a known prostitute in the passenger side of the defendant's vehicle,” Middlesex district attorney spokeswoman Stephanie Guyotte told the Boston Herald.
“The defendant allegedly drove to a remote area in the cemetery. Police followed the vehicle, saw the vehicle come to a stop in a far end of the cemetery.”
Msgr. Coyle was released on $500 bail today, and is due back in court on Sept. 16. He pled not guilty to the charge.
He will remain on leave “pending the outcome of the case,” the archdiocese’s statement said.
“The steps taken today do not represent a determination of Msgr. Coyle’s guilt or innocence as it pertains to these charges.”
Msgr. Coyle had served as episcopal vicar for the Merrimack region of the archdiocese since 2008, and was named a monsignor in 2012.
On whether Msgr. Coyle has any previous convictions, Harry-Jacques Pierre, a communications specialist representing the Boston archdiocese told CNA that the priest has “no priors of any kind.”
The official statement concluded by saying, “the Archdiocese asks for prayers for all impacted by this matter.”
Vatican City, Aug 6, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Pope Francis delivered a strong call to Christians to share the faith in his message for World Mission Day, saying that in today’s troubled world “it is necessary to proclaim courageously and in every situation, the Gospel of Christ.”
“In this complex situation, where the horizon of the present and future seems threatened by menacing clouds, it is necessary to proclaim courageously and in every situation, the Gospel of Christ, a message of hope, reconciliation, communion, a proclamation of God's closeness, his mercy, his salvation, and a proclamation that the power of God’s love is able to overcome the darkness of evil and guide us on the path of goodness,” the Pope wrote in his message, released Aug. 6 by the Vatican.
The Pope began his first message for World Mission Sunday, which is celebrated on Oct. 20, by pointing out that the close of the Year of Faith will only be weeks away when the day dedicated to missionary efforts is celebrated.
In that light, he used his letter to offer five thoughts that covered faith, the necessity of sharing it, some roadblocks missionary efforts can encounter and the importance of generously responding to the missionary call of the Holy Spirit.
The pontiff began by focusing his first point on faith, which the Church has focused on since Benedict XVI initiated the Year of Faith on Oct. 11, 2012. The observance of the Year is scheduled to end with a closing ceremony on Nov. 24, 2013 in St. Peter’s Square.
“Faith is God’s precious gift,” Pope Francis wrote, it “opens our mind to know and love him. … Faith, however, needs to be accepted, it needs our personal response, the courage to entrust ourselves to God, to live his love and be grateful for his infinite mercy.”
Faith is also “a gift, not reserved for a few but offered with generosity. Everyone should be able to experience the joy of being loved by God, the joy of salvation! It is a gift that one cannot keep to oneself, but it is to be shared. If we want to keep it only to ourselves, we will become isolated, sterile and sick Christians,” he said in his message.
On the other hand, a healthy and mature Church is one that engages in missionary outreach, he said, quoting from Benedict XVI.
He also returned one of his signature themes, that of reaching out to those on the margins of society.
“Each community is ‘mature’ when it professes faith, celebrates it with joy during the liturgy, lives charity, proclaims the Word of God endlessly, leaves one’s own to take it to the ‘peripheries,’ especially to those who have not yet had the opportunity to know Christ,” he asserted.
Pope Francis then turned his thoughts to the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, which coincides with the Year of Faith.
“The Year of Faith, fifty years after the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, motivates the entire Church towards a renewed awareness of its presence in the contemporary world and its mission among peoples and nations,” he said.
“The Second Vatican Council,” the Pope stated, “emphasized in a special way how the missionary task, that of broadening the boundaries of faith, belongs to every baptized person and all Christian communities.”
As a way of practically applying that mandate, the Holy Father invited bishops, pastoral councils and “each person and group responsible in the Church to give a prominent position to this missionary dimension in formation and pastoral programs, in the understanding that their apostolic commitment is not complete unless it aims at bearing witness to Christ before the nations and before all peoples.”
In his third point, Pope Francis offered a frank assessment of some the internal and external obstacles that the work of evangelization encounters.
“Sometimes there is lack of fervor, joy, courage and hope in proclaiming the Message of Christ to all and in helping the people of our time to an encounter with him.
“Sometimes, it is still thought, that proclaiming the truth of the Gospel means an assault on freedom,” he wrote.
To counter that assertion, the pontiff turned to Pope Paul VI, who said, “It would be ... an error to impose something on the consciences of our brethren. But to propose to their consciences the truth of the Gospel and salvation in Jesus Christ, with complete clarity and with total respect for free options which it presents ... is a tribute to this freedom.”
Another pitfall that stands in the way of evangelizers is the temptation to proclaim Christ without his Church. “Evangelization is not an isolated individual or private act; it is always ecclesial,” the Pope said in response.
Pope Francis dedicated his fourth reflection to how both the mobility of people and the ease of communication “have mingled people, knowledge, experience.”
“For work reasons,” he noted, “entire families move from one continent to another; professional and cultural exchanges, tourism, and other phenomena have also led to great movements of peoples. This makes it difficult, even for the parish community, to know who lives permanently or temporarily in the area.”
This mobility means that people who would have previously been formed in the faith in one place are being missed and “the number of those who are unacquainted with the faith, or indifferent to the religious dimension or are animated by other beliefs, is increasing,” the Pope explained.
All of these factors, he said, make a “new evangelization” necessary.
The Holy Father also observed that we “live in a time of crisis that touches various sectors of existence, not only the economy, finance, food security, or the environment, but also those involving the deeper meaning of life and the fundamental values that animate it.”
“The men and women of our time,” he insisted, “need the secure light that illuminates their path and that only the encounter with Christ can give.”
At the same time, he clarified that the Church’s “missionary spirit is not about proselytizing, but the testimony of a life that illuminates the path, which brings hope and love. The Church – I repeat once again – is not a relief organization, an enterprise or an NGO, but a community of people, animated by the Holy Spirit, who have lived and are living the wonder of the encounter with Jesus Christ and want to share this experience of deep joy, the message of salvation that the Lord gave us.”
Pope Francis used his final section to thank all those who have spent time as missionaries or dedicated their lives to spreading the Gospel. He also thanked those bishops and religious communities that have sent priests to areas that are poor in vocations and encouraged their continued generosity. Sending missionaries, he wrote, “is never a loss, but a gain.”
Before closing his message, Pope Francis remembered those “Christians who, in various parts of the world, experience difficulty in openly professing their faith and in enjoying the legal right to practice it in a worthy manner.”
“They are our brothers and sisters, courageous witnesses - even more numerous than the martyrs of the early centuries - who endure with apostolic perseverance many contemporary forms of persecution. Quite a few also risk their lives to remain faithful to the Gospel of Christ. I wish to reaffirm my closeness in prayer to individuals, families and communities who suffer violence and intolerance, and I repeat to them the consoling words of Jesus: ‘Take courage, I have overcome the world.’”
He finished his message by blessing “missionaries and all those who accompany and support this fundamental commitment of the Church to proclaim the Gospel to all the ends of the earth.”
To read Pope Francis’ full message for World Mission Sunday, please visit: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/document.php?n=1077
Havana, Cuba, Aug 6, 2013 (CNA) - A Spanish national who accompanied Cuban dissident leader Oswaldo Paya on the day that he died, has charged that the death was not an accident, but a deliberate act by the Cuban secret service.
Claims that Paya died in a car accident were “the perfect alibi to cover up the death of the only opposition figure that could have the lead the transition in Cuba,” Ángel Carromero told the newspaper El Mundo in an interview published August 5.
Contrary to these accounts, Carromero said, Paya survived the collision with a government vehicle that forced them off the road.
“I am sure that he was alive after the accident,” he said. “The nurses and a priest assured me that all four of us were taken to the hospital.”
He recalled that the four men – himself, Paya, Harold Cepero, and Swiss national Jens Aron – were on their way to Santiago that day in the summer of 2012, and said “we had already been followed three different times on the way.”
“In Bayamo, a blue car began to follow us and harass us up close. It was so close I could see the driver’s eyes in the rear view mirror. When Oswaldo saw the car he said, ‘They’re from the Communists, you can tell by the color of the license plate. Angel, just keep driving like normal.’”
Carromero said that the car began to ram them from behind and forced them off the road. He said that several men put him in a van with sliding doors and then he lost consciousness, later waking with a gash on his head.
As the investigation evolved, he continued, “Cuban prosecutors began fabricating evidence,” while defense attorneys were not permitted to access the car or any witnesses. “It was a farce, with witnesses reciting answers written on the palms of their hands.”
He added that he was only able to see his lawyer “one time the day before the trial” and spoke with him “for only 60 seconds” while a security agent was not looking.
In that brief conversation, he said that he asked if the Spanish government knew that the car crash was not an accident. “He told me yes but that I should keep to the official version, and he assured me that the government and my party were with me.”
Carromero also said that while in prison, he was tortured psychologically but not physically and that he was connected to “a lot of tubes.”
“I don’t know what they pumped into me,” he said, adding that while he was being held in Cuba, he was only allowed out of his prison cell “once every three weeks” and was able to call his mother and his best friend “once a month.”
He was initially sentenced to four years in prison, but two months later, the Spanish government announced that it had reached an agreement with the Cuban government and that he would finish the rest of his sentence in Spain.
In March of this year, Carromero told the Washington Post that his time in prison in Cuba was the worst experience of his life and that the conditions were “deplorable.” He said that he was heavily drugged and given a false statement to sign.
Carlos Paya, brother of Oswald, told the Spanish press that what Carromero said in the interview with El Mundo was true.
“We hope there are people who will take the step to tell what they know, both inside and outside Cuba…The truth has to come out not only for the sake of justice but so that the impunity will end,” he said, adding that “the regime wants to annihilate the peaceful opposition.”
San Antonio, Texas, Aug 6, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - At the Knights of Columbus' annual meeting, Texas Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller praised the group for its worldwide charitable work and encouraged continued compassion for immigrants.
The archbishop presided over the Aug. 6 opening Mass for the Knights' convention at their 131st Annual Supreme Council Meeting in San Antonio.
During his homily, he commended the 1.8 million-member global fraternity, saying the group's “principles of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism are vital for the Church and our country.”
The archbishop emphasized the Knights' 70 million hours of service to charitable causes, including relief work after the devastating Oklahoma tornado and the tragic power plant explosion in West Texas earlier this summer.
Archbishop Garcia-Siller then spoke of the many lights and shadows present in the Transfiguration from the Gospel reading, noting the joy of the disciples at seeing Jesus in his heavenly state – while also hearing the prophesy of Christ's upcoming Passion and death.
On the location of the Knights' gathering, he echoed the words of Supreme Knight Carl Anderson by saying that “evangelization, immigration, and the quest for freedom” have shaped the community in San Antonio, making it a “special place” to hold the convention.
“The Church here is alive, and we are growing,” he reflected.
However, while “these are stories of the light,” there are also “many shadows,” found not only in Texas, but throughout the U.S. and many other parts of the world.
“One of the most difficult issues is the constant migration of peoples,” who are often driven from their homelands due to violence, a lack of employment and deep poverty, he said.
The archbishop quoted Pope Francis, saying that “the Church is mother” and that her motherly tenderness and affection is expressed in a special way to those who are “obliged to flee their own country and exist between rootlessness and integration.”
Speaking of the need to reform the current immigration system, which is “clearly broken,” Archbishop Garcia-Siller stated that this “is not a liberal or a conservative issue, a Democratic or a Republican issue.”
“It is an issue for every patriot, every citizen, and every man or woman of faith. It is a human issue, a moral issue. We cannot be indifferent to it.”
He concluded his remarks by touching on the need to “bring the light of the gospel into the hidden places – the desolate places,” specifically to neighborhoods and detention centers.
He thanked the Knights for their work and for all the good that they have done, and encouraged them to follow the words that Pope Francis spoke to the youth during World Youth Day in Rio de Janiero “Go. Do not be afraid. Serve.”
Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Supreme Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus, told CNA Aug. 6 that the mission of the Knights when it comes to immigration is “definitely growing.”
Archbishop Lori echoed the words of Archbishop Garcia-Siller, calling immigration “a human issue,” and “a question of protecting human dignity and helping people to achieve the better in life.”
He said that the Knights also see the issue in terms “a partnership of the North and South Church.”
The archbishop cited the group's heavy involvement in Ecclesia en America – an international congress held at the Vatican last December – as one of the ways in which they protect, love and help immigrants.
“It inspires us then to work for immigration laws that are truly just, and truly merciful.”
Emphasizing that the Knights of Columbus are an international organization, Archbishop Lori said that some mistakenly “think of the Knights often as a North American phenomenon,” despite their longstanding presence in Mexico, as well as Central America and Canada.
On the Knights' mission involving immigration at this time in their history, the archbishop said “I think we’re seeking to increase our presence in Latin America,” so “it is a great moment to us.”
Washington D.C., Aug 6, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pro-life lawmakers issued statements supporting a government decision to investigate the federal funding of Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform abortions.
“The federal government providing funding to abortion providers is a serious problem in our nation,” said Rep. Diane Black (R- Tenn.) in an August 5 statement.
She said that she is pleased with the Government Accountability Office’s decision to investigate the use of taxpayer funds by abortion groups.
The independent study of how much and for what purpose these dollars are allocated to all abortion providers is necessary for Congress to ensure accountability and oversight, she stressed.
Earlier this year, more than 50 members of Congress asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate how Planned Parenthood and other organizations that promote or perform abortions use federal funds.
Black has also sponsored the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which would prevent federal funds from being used to fund organizations that perform abortions.
Planned Parenthood’s yearly reports record more than $1.2 billion in net assets to the IRS for the 2011 fiscal year, and $87.4 million in excess revenue. However, the organization still received $542 million in federal funds in 2011-2012 from government grants, contracts, and Medicaid reimbursements.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood performed more than 300,000 abortions in 2012, and over 1 million since 2010.
Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) explained that this trend is troubling because federal tax money is “legally prohibited from being used for abortions.”
“Under the U.S. constitution, the Obama Administration has a duty to enforce these laws. And under that same constitution, Congress has a duty to ensure that the executive branch follows the law of the land,” he emphasized.
“Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions clearly benefit from Uncle Sam,” Senator David Vitter commented, “but there’s no accounting to prove how they actually use that money. This GAO report would shine a light on how our tax dollars are being spent.”
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) added that he is “pleased that the GAO will be investigating how much taxpayer money the abortion industry is receiving.”
“Hopefully this will help us finally put an end U.S. taxpayer support, funding and complicity with this violence against children,” he said.
Black agreed, emphasizing that she is looking forward “to reviewing the results and ultimately, mobilizing the support needed to stop federal funding of abortion providers once and for all.”
Brasilia, Brazil, Aug 6, 2013 (CNA) - Despite being hospitalized for virtually his entire life as a result of childhood polio, Paulo Henrique Machado is achieving his dream of producing a 3D animation series for kids.
Machado, a film buff, has spent the last 45 years living at the Clinical Hospital of Sao Paulo in Brazil, where he suffers paralysis and needs an artificial respirator 24 hours a day.
In statements to the BBC, he recalled how he initially came to see the hospital as home.
“I explored up and down the corridors, going into the rooms of other children that were here - that is how I discovered my 'universe,'” he said. “For me, playing football or with normal toys wasn't an option, so it was more about using my imagination.”
Machado’s mother died when he was only days old. He contracted polio as an infant in the country’s last big outbreak.
At that time, doctors said children with polio were not expected to live past the age of 10. Machado watched many of this childhood friends die from the disease.
“Each loss was like a dismembering, you know, physical... like a mutilation,” he recounted. “Now, there's just two of us left - me and Eliana.”
He described his relationship with Eliana as being “like brother and sister,” describing her as his source of strength.
Doctors do not know how the pair survived. Neither can leave the hospital for an extended period of time, because this would expose them to infection. Machado said he has left the hospital just a few dozen times in his whole life.
“There are some (trips) which stand out, like seeing the beach for the first time when I was 32. I opened the car door and saw the sea and thought 'Wow! What is this!'” he recalled.
In May, Machado raised $65,000 in order to produce a 3D animated series entitled, “The Adventures of Leca and Friends,” based on a book written by Eliana. He has two computers installed in his room to create animation.
The series will tell the story of “Leca” and her companions, who go on adventures despite facing disabilities. Machado wanted to make the animation “attractive, not just colorful but full of the mischievous games that kids get up to.”
“I think my characters are realistic, because they come from someone who is disabled. I know [exactly] what the difficulties they face are,” he added.