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Archive of March 3, 2014

Pope prays that youth will respond freely to vocational call

Vatican City, Mar 3, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - In his daily homily Pope Francis said many youth are too attached to worldly things to answer God's call, and encouraged prayers for them to “empty” themselves in order to respond with generosity.

“We must pray so that the hearts of these young people may be emptied, emptied of other interests and other sentiments, so that they may become free,” the Pope said March 3.

Centering his thoughts on the figure of the rich young man in the day's gospel taken from Mark – in which the youth walks away from Jesus' invitation to follow him due to his possessions – the pontiff observed that “He was a good man, a man who had observed the commandments from his youth.”

However, “this was not enough for him,” the Pope explained to those present in the Vatican's Saint Martha guesthouse, “he wanted more. The Holy Spirit was pushing him further.”

Recalling how the young man went away sad after Jesus told him to “'Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor; then come, follow me,'” Pope Francis emphasized that although he was “restless” and wanted to be closer to Jesus, “his heart was full and he lacked the courage to empty it.”

“He made his choice: money. His heart was full of money,” the pontiff noted, stressing that “he was not a thief, or a criminal: no, no, no! He was a good man: he had never stolen! He had never cheated anyone: his money had been earned honestly.”

“But his heart was imprisoned, it was attached to money and he lacked the freedom to choose. Money chose for him.”

The Pope then lamented the many young people who “are not ashamed to kneel before” Jesus and to “publicly show their faith in” him, “but when their hearts are full of something else and they lack the courage to empty their hearts, they turn back and their joy becomes sadness.”

Highlighting how there are many youth today that have vocations, but that there are often obstacles that stop them from responding, the pontiff emphasized that “we must pray so that the hearts of these young people may be emptied.”

“Emptied of other interests and other sentiments, so that they may become free,” he continued, encouraging those present to pray the words “‘Lord, send us nuns and send us priests, defend them from idolatry, the idolatry of vanity, the idolatry of pride, the idolatry of power, the idolatry of money.'”

“This is the prayer for vocations,” he explained, adding that “this prayer of ours is to prepare these hearts so that they are able to follow Jesus closely.”

Bringing his homily to a close, Pope Francis prayed for the many youth who are “good” but “so sad,” and urged Mass participants to also pray that the Lord “help these young people so that they may be free, not slaves, so that their hearts be for You only.”

Also praying “that the call of the Lord can be heard and can bear fruit,” the Pope repeated that “this is the prayer for vocations. We must pray a lot. But we must be careful: there are vocations.”

“We must help them to grow,” he insisted, “so that the Lord can enter into those hearts and give this indescribable and glorious joy that belongs to every person who follows Jesus closely.”

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Holy See ratifies agreement with Republic of Burundi

Vatican City, Mar 3, 2014 (CNA) - Last week Vatican officials met with representatives of the Republic of Burundi to discuss an agreement made between the countries in 2012, officially implementing the agreement's stipulations.

Held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Burundi on Feb. 28, the country's minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Laurent Kavakure, was present along with their apostolic nuncio Archbishop Franco Coppola.

During the meeting, the two exchanged various instruments of ratification for the agreement made between the Holy See and Burundi regarding matters of common interest, which was signed in Bujumbura on Nov. 6, 2012.

The framework agreement, reports Vatican Radio, recognizes the positive relations fostered between Burundi and the Holy See in the past 50 years.

It also both defines and guarantees the legal status of the Catholic Church and regulates various areas, including canonical marriage, places of worship, Catholic institutions of education and instruction, the welfare and charitable activities of the Church, pastoral care of the armed forces and of penitential and hospital environments, as well as property and tax laws.

Consisting of a preamble of 22 articles with an appendix, the agreement entered into effect the day of the meeting, upon the exchanging of the various instruments of ratification.

Attending on behalf of the Holy See was Bishop Gervais Banshimiyubusa of Ngozi, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi, as well as the conference's deputy president, Archbishop Evariste Ngoyagoye of Bujumbura.

Others present from the Vatican were Bishop Joaquim Ntahondereye of Muyinga, Bishop Bonaventure Nahimana of Rutana, Bishop-elect Georges Bizimana, coadjutor of Bubanza, Rev. Jose Nahum Jairo Salas Castaneda of the apostolic nunciature in Burundi, and Rev. A. Lambert Niciteretse, who is the secretary general of the Burundi Bishops Conference.

Representing the Republic of Burundi was chief of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Emile Butoyi, and Ambassador Egyde Ndikuriyo, who is the director general for Europe, America and non-governmental organizations.

Also attending from Burundi were Ambassador Antoine Ntahobwa, director for America, Ambassador Ernest Ndabashintze, advisor to the minister of Foreign Affairs, and Emerence Nahonkuriye, who is assistant to the minister of Foreign Affairs.

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European publisher launches new Pope Francis magazine

Rome, Italy, Mar 3, 2014 (CNA) - One of the largest publishing companies in Europe is releasing a first-ever weekly magazine dedicated entirely to Pope Francis due to the impact his pontificate has had in the world over the last year.

On March 3 Mondadori, Italy's largest book and magazine publisher and the third largest in the consumer magazine segment in France, announced their new magazine “Il Mio Papa,” which is to be the world's first magazine dedicated entirely to the Bishop of Rome.

Scheduled to hit newsstands every week beginning on Wednesday March 5, an initial print run of 3 million copies will be released during the first month.

“The idea for a magazine designed to report on and share the words and actions of Pope Francis came from observing how his election has stimulated a renewed interest on ethical, religious and moral issues,” the magazine's editor, Aldo Vitali, said in a March 3 press release announcing the publication.

“In fact, the current Pope is a figure who, thanks to his empathy, as well as the power, the courage and the simplicity of his message, has won over everyone, both the faithful and non-believers,” he observed.

According to the press release, the new magazine will have a positive and popular approach with a layout that is colorful, easy to read, and will engage readers with moving photographic images, and will cover the weekly events of the Roman Pontiff, including his meetings, pronouncements, engagements and audiences, such as his weekly Angelus and General Audience addresses.

Giving particular attention to the message of change that has characterized the pontificate of Pope Francis, the weekly publication will also include articles on the people and facts which inspire both the Pope's work and his words, as well as smaller items of curiosity and images that show the great simplicity of the pontiff in ordinary daily activities.

The magazine is designed to be a meeting place where readers are able to send in letters, poems, and other works for publication, and every week a section will be dedicated to the not-profit charity ONLUS in order to draw attention to their mission and to attract support.

Included in the magazine as a gift will be a double poster of Pope Francis along with the most impactful phrase of the week, and every issue will include a piece of illustrated history on the life of the pontiff, done by artist Tiziana Lupi and which are designed as pull-out inserts to be collected.

A final feature of the new publication will be a column dedicated to the Saints of the week, a list of different TV programs on the faith, and cartoons from around the world dedicated to the pontiff.

For the first edition, Mondadori will include a special feature on the one-year anniversary of the Pope's election, which will also be covered in a DVD as a supplement to the magazine the following week.

“Il Mio Papa” will come out with a launch price of 50 euro cents, and shortly after will be available on Facebook, Twitter, and the magazine's website, www.miopapa.it.

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Fertility treatments succeed without assisted reproduction

Rome, Italy, Mar 3, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - A doctor in Italy has seen great success in helping couples conceive by examining their overall health and treating underlying causes of infertility, without artificial reproduction technologies.

Dr. Felice Petraglia, Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Siena in Italy, runs a clinic specializing in reproductive medicine. However, his clinic does not offer in-vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, or other “assisted reproduction technologies.”

Instead, Petraglia and his team aim to be “classic physicians” by beginning fertility treatments with a basic diagnosis to discover the underlying causes of infertility.

The doctor says that treating these fundamental causes of infertility actually has better results than in-vitro fertilization or other artificial reproductive methods.

Petraglia explained to CNA in a Feb. 21 interview that most doctors in reproductive medicine, upon seeing an infertile couple, “say immediately, ‘go to the assisted reproduction.’”

“That is a mistake,” he stressed.

“There are now data that say if you have a baby by artificial techniques, pregnant women and these babies have more difficulties in growth, in gestation - more problems. So this understanding is suggesting to us, ‘please go back to the original way of conception,’” the Ob-Gyn explained.

In order to treat infertile couples, Petraglia begins with a complete diagnosis of general health, only then moving on to possible reproductive problems. A thorough analysis of “hormones and physiology and anatomy” can allow the doctor to discover underlying issues such as infection, chronic disease, or “anatomical disturbance” like uterine fibroids or endometriosis.

Once a diagnosis is made, the problem is treated through various methods, which may include hormones, medicine, or surgery.

The results have been very strong, notes Petraglia. “We have a percentage of pregnancy in infertile women with endometriosis, going from, let’s say, 20 percent of fertility up to 90 percent in a few weeks, because of the surgery, because of the drugs, because you have an open window for fertility.”

In fact, Petraglia says that treating the underlying causes of infertility leads to a greater chance of pregnancy than that offered by assisted reproductive technologies.

“A couple with infertility, which has, let’s say, a 10 percent possibility to become pregnant, goes to the assisted reproduction technologies, and when you have a counseling (session) they say to you, the best you can have is 40 percent, 30 percent…so you know that it’s still very low.”

“When a couple comes to us with a disturbance in fertility, only 10 percent possibility (of pregnancy), but we have a good analysis, a good exploration, a good treatment also, then we go from 10 to 90 percent.”

The professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology notes that although “sometimes the disease (or condition) can come back,” at least for “one or two years we can assure that they have a very high percentage of fertility.”

“The immediate result of the treatment is much better than assisted reproduction.”

Petraglia’s advice to couples suffering from infertility?

“Not to be in a hurry!” Couples often want “to have a baby the next day, the next week!” he observes, which leads to the choice of assisted reproduction because they think “it’s easy… no diagnosis, no surgery, it’s much simpler.”

But this “is not true because of the low results, and also because of the adverse effects later,” he points out.

Above all, he says, couples “have to be patient” and allow “one year for investigations and analysis and possible natural conception.”

With all the available options, Petraglia observes, “the treatments for infertility today are quite advanced.”

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Liturgical Calendar

July 22, 2014

Saint Mary Magdalene

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Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:24-43

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First Reading:: Mic 7: 14-15, 18-20

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Mt 12:38-42

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