Benedict XVI's Good Friday Way of the Cross has a distinctly Asian perspective

Vatican City, April 11, 2009 - This year's meditation for Pope Benedict XVI's Good Friday Way of the Cross has a distinctly Asian perspective, referring to Hindu scriptures, an Indian poet and Mahatma Gandhi.But the linchpin of this Eastern reflection is the passion of Jesus Christ. In that sense, it reflects Pope Benedict 's view of Christianity's relationship with the non-Christian world -- that the Gospel enlightens and fulfills the beliefs of other faiths.Indian Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati wrote the meditation on the 14 stations, to be read as the pope leads the candelit "Via Crucis" at Rome's Colosseum.The pope chose Archbishop Menamparampil, a 72-year-old Salesian, after hearing him deliver an impressive talk at last year's Synod of Bishops on Scripture. The archbishop took it as a sign of the pope's interest in Asia."His Holiness regards very highly the identity of Asia, the cradle of civilization. Moreover, our Holy Father has a pro ...Read More

Benedict XVI presided the Mass for Palm Sunday and the Lord's Passion

Vatican City – On Sunday, April 5, the Holy Father Benedict XVI presided the Mass for Palm Sunday and the Lord's Passion in Saint Peter's Square. Many youth from Rome and other Diocese participated in the event marking the XXIV World Youth Day. In the homily, the Pope reflected on the meaning of the Kingdom of God announced by Christ.The Pope explained that “St. John, in his Gospel, after the account of the entrance into Jerusalem...first of all reports that among the pilgrims who 'wanted to worship God' during the feast, there were also some Greeks. Let us note the fact that the true objective of these pilgrims was to worship God...The true scope of the pilgrimage must be that of encountering God, to worship him... Dear friends, that is why we are gathered here together: We want to see Jesus.” From the Gospel it is not clear whether there was a meeting between Jesus and those Greeks. “Jesus' gaze reaches far higher: 'If the grain of wheat falls to the ground and does not die ...Read More

Bishops appointed for Bomadi, Poona, Chanthaburi diocese

Vatican City, April 07, 2009 - The Holy Father Benedict XVI, on April 4, 2009, accepted the renunciation of the pastoral government of the Diocese of Poona (India) presented by Bishop Valerian D’Souza, in conformity with the Code of Canon Law, canon 401 § 1. The Holy Father appointed as Bishop of Poona (India), Bishop Thomas Dabre, Bishop of the Diocese of Vasai (India).The Holy Father Benedict XVI, on April 4, 2009, accepted the renunciation of the pastoral government of the Diocese of Bomadi (Nigeria) presented by Bishop Joseph O. Egerega, in conformity with the Code of Canon Law, canon 401 § 1. The Holy Father appointed as Apostolic Vicar of Bomadi (Nigeria), Bishop Hyacinth Oroko Egbebo, until now Titular Bishop of Lacubaza and Auxiliar of the same Apostolic Vicariate.The Holy Father Benedict XVI, on April 2, 2009, accepted the renunciation of the pastoral government of the Diocese of Chanthaburi (Thailand) presented by Bishop Lawrence Thienchai Samanchit, in confo ...Read More

Fr.Edmund Woga appointed as Bishop of Weetebula Diocese

Vatican City, April 07, 2009 - The Holy Father Benedict XVI, on April 4, 2009, appointed Fr. Edmund Woga, C.Ss.R, Administrator of the Diocese of Weetebula (Indonesia), Bishop of the same diocese.Fr. Edmund Woga, C.Ss.R was born on November 17, 1950 in Hewokloang, in the Diocese of Maumere (Flores). He entered St. John Berchmans Minor Seminary in Mataloko, Flores, and then the Redemptorist seminary in Sumba, studying philosophy and theology in the Major Seminary of Kentungan Yogyakarta (1971-1977).He was ordained a priest on November 29, 1977 for the Diocese of Weetebula. He later entered the Redemptorists (1980) and took his perpetual vows in 1985. Since his ordination, he has ministered as follows: 1978: Director of the Religion Teachers’ Training Institute, Waingapu; 1978-1979: Pastor of St.Clemens, Katikuloku; 1979-1982: Director of the Pada Dita Boarding, Waingapu; 1982-1984: Studies for a Licentiate in Missiology in Sankt Augustin, Germany; 1985: Return to prepar ...Read More

Fr.James Wainaina Kungu appointed as Bishop of Muranga

Vatican City, April 07, 2009 - The Holy Father Benedict XVI, on April 4, 2009, appointed Fr. James Wainaina Kungu of the clergy of Nyahururu, Rector of the Christ the King Major Seminary (Archdiocese of Nyeri), Bishop of Muranga (Kenya).Fr. James Wainaina Kungu was born on December 23, 1956 in Ngenya, at the Parish of North Kinangop (Archdiocese of Nyeri), now territory of the Diocese of Nyahururu. He studied philosophy at the St. Augustine Major Seminary (1978-1980) and theology at the St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Nairobi (1980-1984).He was ordained a priest on December 13, 1984 for the Archdiocese of Nyeri and later joined the clergy of the Diocese of Nyahururu, following its erection in 2002. Since his ordination, he has ministered as follows: 1984-1986: Professor of St. Paul Minor Seminary in Nyeri; 1986-1996: Financial Administrator for the Archdiocese of Nyeri; 1996-2001: Studies for the Licentiate in Theology at the Pontifical University of Saint Anselm in Pad ...Read More

Pope offered his prayers for the victims of Italian earthquake

Vatican City, April 07, 2009 - Just hours after an earthquake hit the city and province of L'Aquila in central Italy, causing dozens of deaths and major damage to churches and other buildings, Pope Benedict XVI offered his prayers for the dead, their loved ones and rescue workers.The quake struck April 6 at 3:30 a.m. local time and was felt strongly even in Rome, about 70 miles west of L'Aquila.Among the victims was Abbess Gemma Antonucci, head of the Poor Clares' cloister of St. Clare in Paganica, outside L'Aquila.Father Dionisio Rodriguez Cuartas, the pastor in Paganica and director of Caritas L'Aquila, said the roof of the Poor Clares convent caved in. As of midday April 6 rescue workers were still trying to free another of the nuns, he told SIR, the news agency of the Italian bishops' conference.Italy's interior minister, Roberto Maroni, said at least 50 people died, including several children, throughout the region.In a telegram to Archbishop ...Read More

Murderer of a missionary runs for election in India

Bhubaneshwar,India, April 07, 2009 - Dara Singh, responsible for the murder of the Australian Protestant missionary Graham Stewart Staines, is a candidate for the upcoming provincial elections in Orissa, in the district of Keonjhar.The supporters of Dara, whose real name is Rabindra Kumar Pal, have presented him as an independent candidate for the legislative assembly of Ghasipura. Dara was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of leading the group that in the village of Manoharpur, on the night of June 22, 1999, set fire to the station wagon of Graham Staines, killing the Australian lay missionary and his two sons, Philip, 7, and Timothy, 9.A fervent supporter of Hindutva (nationalist and fundamentalist Hindu culture) and a fierce opponent of conversion to Christianity, Dara was involved in various trials, including those in the killing of Catholic priest Arul Doss and Muslim merchant Sheikh Rehman, which also took place in 1999, during the Hindu revolt ...Read More

Benedict XVI calls upon young people

Vatican City, April 5, 2009 - A crowd of at least 40,000 people took part in the first ceremonies for Holy Week, with the celebration of Palm Sunday in St. Peter's Square, presided over by Benedict XVI. Most of them were young people from Rome and various nations, with multicolored T-shirts, hats, shoes, bandannas, and a thicket of palms and olive branches, who had come for the 24th World Youth Day, which this year is celebrated at the diocesan level. Last year, the Day took place at the worldwide level in Sydney (Australia), and in 2011 will be held in Madrid. For this reason, at the end of the celebration Australian young people handed over the Cross of the young people to their Spanish peers.After the long and moving singing of the Passion of Jesus according to St. Mark, the pope addressed the young people with a profound, demanding proposal. Taking his cue from today's celebration, the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, the pontiff recalled the value of the days in Sydney ("t ...Read More

Pope John Paul II heading so fast toward sainthood

Vatican City, April 5, 29 - They brought flowers and messages to his grave. They sang songs evoking his memory. And they prayed for his beatification.The fourth anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II April 2 was marked by a sense of anticipation following reports that the late pontiff would be beatified on the fifth anniversary next year.The Vatican has played down those rumors. But among the thousands who flocked to his tomb and gathered in St. Peter's Basilica for a memorial Mass, the feeling was strongly hopeful."There's all kinds of talk about him being beatified. It's only a matter of time before it happens. He's heading so fast toward sainthood that they're only waiting to give him a little bit more legitimacy, I guess," said Samantha Coveleski, 22, of Lewes, Del.Coveleski was among hundreds of people who jammed the crypt area of St. Peter's Basilica April 2 to pay their respects at Pope John Paul II's tomb. They left candles, photos and lett ...Read More

Pope urged world leaders not to exclude families and the poor

Vatican City, April 04, 2009 - In a letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Pope Benedict XVI urged leaders from the world's wealthiest nations to stabilize financial markets without excluding families and the poor.In the March 30 letter, Pope Benedict emphasized that participants in the Group of 20 leaders' summit in London April 2-3 must find a way out of the global economic crisis but must avoid selfish or protectionist solutions.The pope said the solutions must seek "to offer security to families and stability to workers and, through appropriate regulations and controls, to restore ethics to the financial world.""If a key element of the crisis is a deficit of ethics in economic structures, the same crisis teaches us that ethics is not external to the economy, but internal, and that the economy cannot function if it does not bear within it an ethical component," said the pope.Referring to his March trip to Cameroon and Angola, Pope Benedict also ...Read More

Arrest of Catholic Bishop in China, an obstacle to dialogue

Vatican City, April 04, 2009 - The recent arrest of a Chinese bishop and other instances of religious persecution in China are obstacles to dialogue, said the Vatican.The arrest of 74-year-old Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding was "unfortunately not an isolated case: Other clergy are also deprived of their freedom or are subjected to undue pressure and restrictions in their pastoral activity," said the Vatican in a statement released April 2.In the statement released after a meeting in Rome of the Vatican's Commission for the Catholic Church in China, the Vatican expressed its "deep sorrow upon hearing the news of the recent arrest" of Bishop Jia."Situations of this type create obstacles to an atmosphere of dialogue with the competent authorities," it said, noting Pope Benedict XVI's desire for dialogue which he expressed in his June 2007 letter to Chinese Catholics.Bishop Jia, who has not registered with the government, was taken by five police offic ...Read More

Benedict XVI urged youths to be the hope of the Church

Vatican City, April 3, 2009 – Young people must be the “hope” of the Church and avoid the danger, so much present in our society, that “Christian hope” might be “reduced to ideology, group slogan, an outer cover.” Giving young people Jesus as the true basis for hope was John Paul II”s deepest concern, something that continues to motivate Benedict XVI in his quest to confront today’s “educational emergency.” In tonight’s mass in St Peter’s Basilica in memory of John Paul II who died four years ago today, his successor insisted on the continuing need to be concerned about young people.Young people from Sydney and Madrid, coming from the last and the next city to host World Youth Day, joined those from Rome to hear the Pope speak. Together, they stood for the millions who participate in this international gathering promoted by the late Pontiff. Young Poles came as well, accompanying the current cardinal of Krakow, Stanislaw Dziwisz, who was John Paul II’s personal secretary from ...Read More

Pope's Message for 46th World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Vatican City, April 01, 2009 (VIS) - Made public was the Message of Benedict XVI for the 46th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which is due to be celebrated on 3 May, the fourth Sunday of Easter, and which has as its theme this year: "Faith in the divine initiative - the human response". The Message has been published in Spanish, English, French, Italian, German, Portuguese and Polish.Extracts from the text are given below:"The exhortation of Jesus to His disciples: 'Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest' has a constant resonance in the Church. Pray! The urgent call of the Lord stresses that prayer for vocations should be continuous and trusting"."The vocation to the priesthood and to the consecrated life constitutes a special gift of God which becomes part of the great plan of love and salvation that God has for every man and woman and for the whole of humanity"."In the universal call to holiness, of particular r ...Read More

Reiki therapy inappropriate for use by Catholic

Washington, April 01, 2009 - Reiki therapy, an alternative medicine originating in Japan, is unscientific and inappropriate for use by Catholic hospitals, clinics and retreat centers and people representing the church, the U.S. bishops' Committee on Doctrine said March 26."For a Catholic to believe in Reiki therapy presents insoluble problems," the committee's guidelines said. "In terms of caring for one's physical health or the physical health of others, to employ a technique that has no scientific support (or even plausibility) is generally not prudent."The bishops said the technique -- which involves a Reiki practitioner laying hands on a client -- also is encouraged as a "spiritual" kind of healing, but that for Christians "access to divine healing" comes through prayer to God.A Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki "would be operating in the realm of superstition," they said.The U.S. bishops outlined their position in "Guidelines for Evaluating ...Read More

Holy Cross religious order asked Obama to rethink on abortion

The head of the Holy Cross religious order that founded the University of Notre Dame has written to U.S. President Barack Obama and asked him to rethink his positions on abortion and other life issues.U.S. Father Hugh W. Cleary, Holy Cross superior general in Rome, said that when Obama receives an honorary degree from the Indiana university and delivers the commencement address in May, he should take to heart the objections of Catholics who have been scandalized by the invitation.Father Cleary asked the president to use the occasion to "give your conscience a fresh opportunity to be formed anew in a holy awe and reverence before human life in every form at every stage -- from conception to natural death."The 13-page letter, dated March 22, was made available to Catholic News Service in Rome. Father Cleary also prepared an abridged version of the text as an "open letter" to the president, which was expected to be published on the Web site of America magazine. ...Read More

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