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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pope reflects on Christ's friendship

Pope reflects on Christ's friendship, 'almost frightening faculty' of priestly power
RSSFacebookJune 29, 2011

As he celebrated Mass for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29, Pope Benedict XVI devoted much of his homily to reflections on the 60th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, which fell on the same day.

Commenting on Christ's assurance to his apostles that they were "no longer servants, but friends," the Pope recalled hearing the same words on the day of his ordination. "I knew deep down that these words were no mere formality, nor were they simply a quotation from Scripture," he said. "I knew that, at that moment, the Lord himself was speaking to me in a very personal way."

With those words, the Holy Father continued, the Lord was "changing something at the deepest level of being." He spoke about how Jesus confers upon priests the power to forgive sins—"an almost frightening faculty to do what only he, the Son of God, can legitimately say and do."

"Friendship is not just about knowing someone, it is above all a communion of the will," Pope Benedict said. To be a "friend" of Jesus, then, means that one "grows into ever greater conformity with his will."

Toward the end of his homily, the Holy Father apologized for speaking so much about his own ordination, and turned to the traditional ceremony for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, when newly appointed archbishops receive the pallium as a sign of their metropolitan rank and their communion with the Holy See.

The pallium is a vestment worn around the shoulders, and the Pope pointed out that it could be compared with the "easy yoke" of which Jesus spoke. "Christ's yoke is identical with his friendship," the Pontiff said. "It is a yoke of friendship and therefore "a sweet yoke", but as such it is also a demanding yoke, one that forms us. It is the yoke of his will, which is a will of truth and love."

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

UK Dominicans, Oxford

Oxford's Corpus Christi Procession

The sun came out just in time for North Oxford Deanery Corpus Christi procession, led by Bishop William Kenney CP, auxiliary bishop of Birmingham. The Blessed Sacrament was carried from the Oxford Oratory to the Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy. The route was broken by a stop at Blackfriars where Bishop Kenney preached a sermon reminding the faithful of the humanity that is so integral to the Eucharistic altar.

Here are some photos from the day:


CANADA: Pastoring youth with Same-Sex Attractions

Canadian bishops issue document on youth with same-sex attractions
RSSFacebookJune 28, 2011

The Episcopal Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a document on Pastoral Ministry to Young People with Same-Sex Attraction.

"While always insisting on respect and compassion for young people with same-sex attraction, the Church also reaffirms God's plan for human sexuality," the statement notes. "Sexual relations belong within the marriage covenant between a man and a woman, for it is only within this covenant that the two inseparable ends of marriage can be achieved: the deepening of love between spouses and the procreation and education of children. Any genital act outside the covenant of marriage cannot fulfill this twofold purpose intended by the Creator and thus is morally wrong … For this reason, the Church has consistently taught that homosexual acts can never be approved."

The statement continues:

In her teaching, however, the Church never condemns persons with same-sex attraction. She carefully distinguishes between an individual's inclinations or feelings – some of which are transitory and/or situational and others which are deep-seated or permanent – and one's actions. While homosexual acts are always objectively wrong, same-sex inclinations are not in themselves sinful or a moral failing. To the extent that a same-sex attraction is not freely chosen, there is no personal culpability in having such an inclination. Nonetheless, when oriented toward genital activity, this inclination is "objectively disordered." This does not mean that the person as a whole is somehow defective or "badly made," or that he or she has in some way been rejected by God. Inclinations to homosexual acts in no way diminish the full human dignity or intrinsic worth of the person. For many people, same-sex attraction constitutes a trial. They therefore deserve to be approached by pastors with charity and prudence.

"For young people who experience a same-sex attraction and for whom marriage is not an option, choosing chastity as a positive value is even more of an ongoing challenge," the statement adds. "We must encourage them to live their single lives chastely as disciples of Jesus, who followed the path of sacrifice to the glory of eternal life. Responding generously to the call to chastity involves suffering and difficulty, but Christ invites us to place our burdens on him."

"The moral and spiritual relativism of our society can make the Church's teaching on sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular appear bizarre, out of touch, and even intolerant," the document notes. "We ask that you promote support groups that foster chaste living, such as Courage for individuals with same-sex attraction and Encourage for families interested in learning more about how to help their children."

Counselors "must be committed to the Christian vision of the human person and sexuality, as well as the Church's teaching on homosexuality and chastity," the document advises parents.

"It is imperative to present in a firm but charitable way the true nature and purpose of human sexuality in all its dimensions," the statement adds in a message to educators. "We ask you to pay particular attention to guiding adolescents and young adults with same-sex attraction away from two specific dangers. First, help them see themselves as persons with a God-given dignity and not merely as individuals with sexual inclinations and desires. Second, help them avoid involvement in a 'gay culture' opposed to the Church's teaching, with its often aggressive and immoral lifestyle."

The document concludes by encouraging young people with same-sex attractions to "accept that God loves you," pray constantly, frequent the sacraments, and cultivate virtuous friendships.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

From the treatise Against Heresies by Saint Irenaeus, bishop
Life in man is the glory of God; the life of man is the vision of God

The glory of God gives life; those who see God receive life. For this reason God, who cannot be grasped, comprehended or seen, allows himself to be seen, comprehended and grasped by men, that he may give life to those who see and receive him. It is impossible to live without life, and the actualization of life comes from participation in God, while participation in God is to see God and enjoy his goodness.
Men will therefore see God if they are to live; through the vision of God they will become immortal and attain to God himself. As I have said, this was shown in symbols by the prophets: God will be seen by men who bear his Spirit and are always waiting for his coming. As Moses said in the Book of Deuteronomy: On that day we shall see, for God will speak to man, and man will live.
God is the source of all activity throughout creation. He cannot be seen or described in his own nature and in all his greatness by any of his creatures. Yet he is certainly not unknown. Through his Word the whole creation learns that there is one God the Father, who holds all things together and gives them their being. As it is written in the Gospel: No man has ever seen God, except the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father; he has revealed him.
From the beginning the Son is the one who teaches us about the Father; he is with the Father from the beginning. He was to reveal to the human race visions of prophecy, the diversity of spiritual gifts, his own ways of ministry, the glorification of the Father, all in due order and harmony, at the appointed time and for our instruction. Where there is order, there is also harmony; where there is harmony, there is also correct timing; where there is correct timing, there is also advantage.
The Word became the steward of the Father's grace for the advantage of men, for whose benefit he made such wonderful arrangements. He revealed God to men and presented men to God. He safeguarded the invisibility of the Father to prevent man from treating God with contempt and to set before him a constant goal toward which to make progress. On the other hand, he revealed God to men and made him visible in many ways to prevent man from being totally separated from God and so cease to be. Life in man is the glory of God; the life of man is the vision of God. If the revelation of God through creation gives life to all who live upon the earth, much more does the manifestation of the Father through the Word give life to those who see God.

Saint of the day: Cyril of Alexandria

The following comes from the CNA:

On June 27, Roman Catholics will honor St. Cyril of Alexandria. An Egyptian bishop and theologian, he is best known for his role in the Council of Ephesus, where the Church confirmed that Christ is both God and man in one person. The Eastern churches celebrate St. Cyril of Alexandria on June 9.

Cyril was most likely born in Alexandria, the metropolis of ancient Egypt, between 370 and 380. From his writings, it appears he received a solid literary and theological education. Along with his uncle, Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria, he played a role in an early fifth-century dispute between the Egyptian and Greek churches. There is evidence he may have been a monk before becoming a bishop.

When Theophilus died in 412, Cyril was chosen to succeed him at the head of the Egyptian Church. He continued his uncle's policy of insisting on Alexandria's preeminence within the Church over Constantinople, despite the political prominence of the imperial capital. The two Eastern churches eventually re-established communion in approximately 418.

Ten years later, however, a theological dispute caused a new break between Alexandria and Constantinople. Cyril's reputation as a theologian, and later Doctor of the Church, arose from his defense of Catholic orthodoxy during this time.

In 428, a monk named Nestorius became the new Patriarch of Constantinople. It became clear that Nestorius was not willing to use the term "Mother of God" ("Theotokos") to describe the Virgin Mary. Instead, he insisted on the term "Mother of Christ" ("Christotokos").

During the fourth century, the Greek Church had already held two ecumenical councils to confirm Christ's eternal preexistence as God prior to his incarnation as a man. From this perennial belief, it followed logically that Mary was the mother of God. Veneration of Mary as "Theotokos" confirmed the doctrine of the incarnation, and Christ's status as equal to the God the Father.

Nestorius insisted that he, too, held these doctrines. But to Cyril, and many others, his refusal to acknowledge Mary as the Mother of God seemed to reveal a heretical view of Christ which would split him into two united but distinct persons: one fully human and born of Mary, the other fully divine and not subject to birth or death.

Cyril responded to this heretical tendency first through a series of letters to Nestorius (which are still in existence and studied today), then through an appeal to the Pope, and finally through the summoning of an ecumenical council in 431. Cyril presided over this council, stating that he was "filling the place of the most holy and blessed Archbishop of the Roman Church," Pope Celestine, who had authorized it.

The council was a tumultuous affair. Patriarch John of Antioch, a friend of Nestorius, came to the city and convened a rival council which sought to condemn and depose Cyril. Tension between the advocates of Cyril and Nestorius erupted into physical violence at times, and both parties sought to convince the emperor in Constantinople to back their position.

During the council, which ran from June 22 to July 31 of the year 431, Cyril brilliantly defended the orthodox belief in Christ as a single eternally divine person who also became incarnate as a man. The council condemned Nestorius, who was deposed as patriarch and later suffered exile. Cyril, however, reconciled with John and many of the other Antiochian theologians who once supported Nestorius.

St. Cyril of Alexandria died on June 27, 444, having been a bishop for nearly 32 years. Long celebrated as a saint, particularly in the Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, he was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1883.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Martyrs of Lubeck and Father Clemente Vismara Beatified

'Patriarch of Burma,' priests martyred by Nazis among newly beatified RSS Facebook June 27, 2011

On June 25, Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the beatification of three priests martyred by the Nazi regime in 1943. An estimated 5,000 attended an open-air Mass in Lübeck, the northern German city where the three ministered. A Lutheran pastor, Karl Friedrich Stellbrink, was slain with the three preists.

As the time of their beheading approached, Fathers Johannes Prassek, Hermann Lange, and Eduard Müller, were permitted to write letters. "What I am about to ask of you, above all on this earth, is this: do not be sad," Blessed Prassek wrote to his family. "What is waiting for me is joy and good fortune, with which all the happiness and good fortune here on earth cannot compare. It because of this that you too should be happy. My death is not your loss; I could hardly have served you better in my role as a priest. What I could do for you, namely that I prayed for you daily, I shall be able to do all the better from now on."

"I shall now be able to see what I talked about in sermons," Blessed Lange wrote to his parents. "There will be no more secrets and tormenting riddles. Shall I be able to nestle at the feet of her who was my Mother and guide here on earth? And St. Thérèse, my special friend, will then take me by the hand! Today will be the great return to the Father's house; why should I not be happy and full of wonder? And I shall see all those again, who were dear to me here on earth and were close to me!"

On June 26, Cardinal Amato traveled to Milan for the beatification of Father Serafino Morazzone, Sister Enrica Alfieri, and Father Clemente Vismara. Blessed Morazzone (1742-1822) was a parish priest who has been compared to St. John Mary Vianney; Blessed Alfieri (1891-1951) brought the light of the Gospel to prisoners. For 65 years, Blessed Vismara (1897-1988) served as a missionary in Burma, where he converted 100 villages to the Catholic faith. In 1983, the bishops of the nation referred to him as the "Patriarch of Burma."

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.


Protestant & Catholic Martyrs of Lübeck / WORLD WAR II

The Four Lübeck Martyrs


On the 10th of November 1943 four clergymen, the Lutheran Pastor Karl Friedrich Stellbrink and the Catholic priests Hermann Lange, Eduard Müller and Johannes Prassek were executed in the Hamburg Prison Holstenglacis by guillotinening. The National-socialist "Volksgerichtshof" (People's Court) had sentenced all four in the summer of 1943 to death because of "defeatism, malice, favouring the enemy and listening to enemy broadcasts.

Political "co-ordination" was one of the instruments of rule by the national-socialist regime: Silence, obedience, adherence to the rules were demanded categorically by the state. The four Lübeck clergymen opposed such „Allmachtsanspruch" or all-encompassing claim of authority. They recognised the contradiction between Christian beliefs and the racist and atheistic ideology of the National Socialists. The recognition of this contradiction forced them not to remain mute. They did not stay on the sidelines and refrain from speaking out. The longer these injustices remained, the more they felt compelled to follow the commands of God rather than those of men, who reigned with terror and had begun a war of annihilation.

What distinguishes these four also is the fact that in the face of national-socialist despotism they overcame the divide between the two faiths to find a common path to fight and act together.

They had a model to follow: The Bishop of Münster, Clemens August Graf von Galen. The Four copied the sermons of the bishop and distributed them. They felt, like many others, the liberating tone of these sermons, which broke the silence and proclaimed aloud the thoughts many had in their hearts, when the Nazi action for the "destruction of unworthy lives" began, the euthanasia of innocent mentally retarded persons.

The Lübeck clergymen paid for this resistance with their lives. This sacrifice did not shorten the war, did not cause the regime to tremble. But these four are witnesses of a better world in a world of disaster and evil. They were witness to truth over lies, to dignity over contempt, witness to faith in the Lord during a time when some men brashly claimed God's throne as their own.

With this witness, sealed by their deaths, these four Lübeck clergymen are bound together as martyrs and are there for us today to follow their example. They stood together for the Church of Jesus Christ which calls injustice by name, exposes the lie and honours the compassion of God as the spring of life.

Together they died. They knew that they were in God's presence; "We are brothers" said Hermann Lange. In reality they witnessed a common bond which overcame the divide. The divisions of faiths became secondary. This is what should encourage us today to follow that which they by example had in spirit, faith and action.

Original GermanText: Ökumenischer Arbeitskreis „Lübecker Märtyrer"
English Translation: Hans-Heinrich Boeker, Wyoming, Australia


Mob torches Christian homes in Egypt RSS Facebook June 27, 2011

Amid rumors that a church was being constructed, a mob of 200 Muslims looted and burned eight Coptic Christian homes in the village of Awlad Khalaf, Egypt, according to the Assyrian International News Agency.
"The Muslims," said Father Weesa Azmy, a local Coptic priest, "decided to play God and take the law into their own hands; they attacked the construction site and other Christian homes."
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Vatican spokesman discusses Eucharist and globalization RSS Facebook June 27, 2011

Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, has devoted his weekly editorial to the Eucharist and globalization.
The Eucharist, said Father Lombardi, is "the dynamism of Love that originates in the Trinitarian life of God and reaches us through the heart of Christ … The Eucharist is the concrete way through which this Love spreads in the Church and in the world. It is the source that constantly fuels the social presence of the Church and the responsible commitment of Christians in building a coherent, just, and fraternal society--especially in this age of globalization."
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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lift the City - a Catholic Eucharistic flash mob

FAITH: If man abandons God, he becomes a slave

Pope: If man abandons God, he becomes a slave to the totalitarianism and idolatries of our time
In his general audience Benedict XVI illustrates the biblical challenge of Elijah to the priests of Baal. "Idolatry is the constant temptation the believer, who fools himself into believing he can serve two masters, he tries to serve the Almighty also placing his trust in impotent man-made gods."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Man should worship only God, because there where God disappears, man becomes the slave of idolatry, as shown by the totalitarian regimes in our time, the slave of idolatry and various forms of nihilism that make man an addict to idols and enslave him". This was Benedict XVI's warning drawn from the biblical story of Elijah the prophet, "moved by God to bring people to conversion", to thousands of people who attended the general audience today.

Continuing in his catechesis on prayer the Pope focused on the passage from the Bible that recounts  the prophet's prayer on Mount Carmel, where "all of his power as an intercessor is revealed, when before all his people, he prayed to the Lord to manifest Himself".

In the ninth century BC, Israel was living in "open syncretism" and the people "alongside the Lord worshiped Baal, the reassuring idol who was believed to bestow the gift of rain, life to the fields, and fertility to the cattle: people sought safety in the god in the comprehensible and predictable from whom they expected prosperity in exchange for sacrifices".

Idolatry - said Benedict XVI - is the constant temptation of the believer, who fools himself into believing that he can serve two masters, who tries to serve the Almighty placing his trust in impotent man-made gods".

"Elijah challenged the priests of Baal: two altars are prepared and prayers are said: "the true God manifests Himself consuming the offerings with fire". They are "two completely different ways of praying" to "provoke God's answer the idolaters of Baal, dance, shout", they "rely on themselves," and "in an illusory attempt to bend him to their own will, they inflict wounds on themselves with spears, to the point of covering themselves in blood, a dramatically ironic gesture, because in seeking a sign of life from their god they cover themselves with blood, which is a sign of death". But the idol, "conceived by man as something to be used and managed by his won strength remains silent." "The worship of idols instead of opening the hearts to otherness that allows us to go out from the narrow horizons of selfishness, closes the person into the exclusive and desperate circle of the search for self."

Elijah, who has "the purpose of bringing the lost people back to God", built another altar using 12 stones, one for each of the tribes of Israel. "These stones represent all of Israel and the memory of the entire history which the people have witnessed." "The altar is the sacred place that indicates the presence of the Lord, but those stones represent the people." "But the symbol needs to become reality, the people need to recognize their God, so Elijah asks God to manifest Himself." The stones are also a reminder of God's faithfulness. Hence the prayer "O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and convert their hearts".

"Elijah asks God what He wants to do, to manifest Himself in all his mercy and that is what happens": the fire descends burning all of the offerings and the altar too. "The fire, this element which is both necessary and terrible, now serves to indicate the love of God made manifest. The Lord answered unequivocally, even drying all the water that had been poured around. "

The episode, explained the Pope, points to " the priority of the first commandment: to worship only God", and then conversion, "the fire of God that transforms our hearts." Finally, there is "the shadow of the future", "a step toward Christ, here we see the real fire, love unto the Cross."

Church in Japan: a total commitment to help tsunami victims

Church in Japan: a total commitment to help tsunami victims
by David Uribe
The bishops, meeting in plenary session, sent a message to all the faithful calling for the mobilization of all the dioceses. "For this we wish that all priests, religious and all our brothers and sisters in faith to join in a continuous and stable form in this our appeal."

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - The bishops of Japan have sent a letter to all the faithful of the country, in relation to the tsunami and the earthquake of 11 March 2011. The document is entitled "Towards recovery after the tragedy of the earthquake in north-east of Japan." "Because of this tragedy - it says - about 20 thousand people have died, and so far there are no exact numbers of disappeared. We urge you to ceaselessly pray as follows: God of deep compassion, we ask you to receive into your hands all those who have died in this tragedy without being able to say a farewell to their families and their loved ones. In the same way you pray for all families that have been destroyed for having lost a loved one, and ask that you give them enough hope to continue to live and overcome this great pain. "

In their letter, the bishops recall that the earthquake and tsunami destroyed homes, factories, fields and ports, the problem of radioactive contamination is enormous, and many people "are forced to live in makeshift shelters and other very difficult and stressful temporary conditions. Currently we can not speak of a full control of radioactive contamination due to accidents in the nuclear power plant. "

The bishops discussed the situation in their Assembly, June 13 to 17, and decided to "collaborate with a greater effort to help the recovery operations in all of the devastated areas."

The document approved by the bishops states: "Until now, the Catholic Church has focused its assistance through Caritas Japan. But without doubt, looking at the magnitude of the disaster, we decided that the help we give to recovery efforts from now on will be in a concrete form through all the dioceses of Japan. For this we wish that all priests, religious and all our brothers and sisters in faith join in a continuous and stable form in this appeal we make, "asking at the same time "all our brothers in Japan and the rest of the world for prayers and help, and that they walk with us. "

UK: Corpus Christi with DOMINICANS Oxford

Corpus Christi

Readings: Deuteronomy 8:2-3; Psalm 147; 1 Corinthians 10: 16-17; John 6: 51-58

Economic doom and gloom has filled the media with stories of protests and demonstrations in recent weeks. This is the bread and butter of politics. When resources become scarce we band together and fight for our own interests. In different ways, the ideologies of left and right are based on conflict and competition. We fight to preserve our way of life. One of the ways in which we do this is by taking to the streets.

One could interpret the traditional Corpus Christi processions in this manner: as a show of strength from a Church intent on preserving its power and prestige in the world. This, I think, is to misunderstand the sacrament and today's solemnity. The Eucharist is the sacrament of Christ's sacrifice on the cross. It is the sacrament of Christ's atonement, or 'at-one-ment', through which we become one with God and one with each other. Where secular political ideologies are about groups and individuals preserving their own interests, protecting their own lives in opposition to competitors and rivals, the Eucharist is about reconciliation. The Eucharist is about communion, or common union. Instead of fighting to save his life, Christ gave his life as a gift for others. In the Eucharist we accept this gift of Christ's life and identify ourselves with his sacrifice.

With this background in mind, the symbolism of a Corpus Christi procession becomes all the more powerful. When we leave the privacy and safety of the four walls of our church and the comfortable arrangements that we have grown familiar with, when we follow the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of cities like Oxford, we make a statement about the Christian life. Our faith is not a private affair, separate and distinct from how we live in 'the real world'. The whole of our lives ought to be Eucharistic, this means offering our lives as a sacrifice for others that builds communion, that leads to reconciliation.

This reconciliation can only happen if we, and the society around us, like the people of Israel in our first reading, recognize that man 'does not live on bread alone' (Deuteronomy 8:3). As a society we are condemned to never ending strife and struggle for our 'daily bread', which although necessary offers a temporary satisfaction and a temporary life, unless we see these material goods against the horizon of the Body and Blood of Christ. This is the 'living bread', the food and drink that gives eternal life. Only God can satisfy all our desires, and God offers himself to us as a gift in the Eucharist that we celebrate today. It is a gift that puts all material goods into perspective, and it is a gift that we must share with our neighbours.


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EUCHARIST: Abiding Consolation from Jesus

From a work by Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest (13th cent.)

O precious and wonderful banquet!

Since it was the will of God's only-begotten Son that men should share in his divinity, he assumed our nature in order that by becoming man he might make men gods. Moreover, when he took our flesh he dedicated the whole of its substance to our salvation. He offered his body to God the Father on the altar of the cross as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. He shed his blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed from our wretched state of bondage and cleansed from all sin. But to ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us for ever, he left his body as food and his blood as drink for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine.

O precious and wonderful banquet, that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness! Could anything be of more intrinsic value? Under the old law it was the flesh of calves and goats that was offered, but here Christ himself, the true God, is set before us as our food. What could be more wonderful than this? No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it sins are purged away, virtues are increased, and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead, so that what was instituted for the salvation of all may be for the benefit of all. Yet, in the end, no one can fully express the sweetness of this sacrament, in which spiritual delight is tasted at its very source, and in which we renew the memory of that surpassing love for us which Christ revealed in his passion.

It was to impress the vastness of this love more firmly upon the hearts of the faithful that our Lord instituted this sacrament at the Last Supper. As he was on the point of leaving the world to go to the Father, after celebrating the Passover with his disciples, he left it as a perpetual memorial of his passion. It was the fulfillment of ancient figures* and the greatest of all his miracles, while for those who were to experience the sorrow of his departure, it was destined to be a unique and abiding consolation.

From the book of Exodus*
They saw God, and they ate and drank

Moses himself was told, "Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, with Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You shall all worship at some distance, but Moses alone is to come close to the Lord; the others shall not come too near, and the people shall not come up at all with Moses."

When Moses came to the people and related all the words and ordinances of the Lord, they all answered with one voice, "We will do everything that the Lord has told us." Moses then wrote down all the words of the Lord and, rising early the next day, he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.

Then, having sent certain young men of the Israelites to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls as peace offerings to the Lord, Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls; the other half he splashed on the altar. Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people, who answered, "All that the Lord has said, we will heed and do." Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words of his."

Moses then went up with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel, and they beheld the God of Israel. Under his feet there appeared to be sapphire tilework, as clear as the sky itself. Yet he did not smite these chosen Israelites. After gazing on God, they could still eat and drink.

EUCHARIST: In today’s individualistic world, the Eucharist creates the logic of communion

In today's individualistic world, the Eucharist creates the logic of communion, pope says
On the day in which many countries celebrate the Corpus Domini, Benedict XVI during the Angelus stresses how the Eucharist sows among believers the logic of communion, service, sharing, i.e. the logic of the Gospel. He also mentions the beatification, in Milan, of Fr Clemente Vismara, "PIME's heroic missionary in Burma."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – "In an increasingly individualistic culture, which is the one in which we are immersed in Western societies, and which tends to spread around the world, the Eucharist constitutes a form of 'antidote' that works on the minds and hearts of believers and continuously sows the logic of communion, service, sharing, i.e. the logic of the Gospel," said Benedict XVI on the day in which Corpus Christi is celebrated in many countries around the world, the "Feast Day of the Eucharist" whilst in various cities new Blessed are being proclaimed, among them Fr Clemente Vismara, "PIME's heroic missionary in Burma," as the pope himself said.

Benedict XVI told the 30,000 people present in Saint Peter's Square for the Angelus that the Eucharist "constitutes the Church's most precious treasure". It is "like the beating heart that gives life to the whole mystical body of the Church, a social organism based on the spiritual but real tie to Christ."

"Without the Eucharist, the Church simply would not exist. In fact, it is the Eucharist that transforms a human community into a mystery of communion, capable of bringing God to the world and the world to God. The Holy Spirit, which transforms bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, transforms all those who receive it with faith into members of the body of Christ, so that the Church is really a sacrament of unity of men with God and among themselves."

"The first Christians, in Jerusalem, were a sign of a new style of life, because they lived in brotherhood and shared their goods so that no one would be indigent. Where does all this come from? From the Eucharist, i.e. the Risen Christ, which was indeed present in the midst of his disciples operating with the strength of the Holy Spirit. Even in the following generations, through the centuries, the Church, despite human limits and errors, continued to be a force of communion in the world. Let us think especially about the times of difficulty and trial. What did it mean, for example, in countries under dictatorial rule, to be able to come together for Sunday Mass? As the Abitene Martyrs said, 'Sine Dominico non possumus', without the Sunday Eucharist we cannot live. But the void produced by false freedom can be equally dangerous; thus, the communion with the Body of Christ is the medicine of intelligence and will to find the taste for truth and the common good."

"Let us call on the Virgin Mary," the pope said, "whom my Predecessor, the Blessed John Paul II, defined as the Eucharistic Woman. At her school, even our life becomes fully 'Eucharistic', open to God and to others, capable of transforming evil into good with the strength of love, intent on favouring, unity, communion and brotherhood."

Saturday, June 25, 2011


23 June 2011, 08:41 | Children young people and religion | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

Ivan-Pavlo-II.gifOn June 25, a flash mob "The Pope, Ukraine, and I" will be staged on Independence Square in Kyiv. The event will be dedicated to the 10th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's visit to Ukraine.

Tetiana Shpaikher told RISU that the participants will ask passers-by "Who is the pope to you?" and "What do you know about him?" Every person who answers will receive the pope's favorite candy, a Korivka, with his quote inside. Later, the participants will use their bodies to make symbolic figures – the shape of Ukraine, the number 10, and a heart to symbolize the Ukrainian youth's love for Pope John Paul II.

The event will culminate with a message from the participants to the Vatican using letters with the pope's quotes and with their expression of gratitude to the pope. Small cards with be put in a large heart-shaped envelope.

The goal of the event is to turn the public's attention to the importance of marking the 10th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's visit to Ukraine and to remind the community about the spiritual values that he espoused.
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Hundreds of Salafists attack a Coptic church in Upper Egypt
Armed with sticks, Islamic extremists besieged in the church of Saint George in Bani Ahmed, in the Archdiocese of Minya, for five hours threatening to kill the pastor. The church had already been attacked on March 23. The violence was provoked by an attempt to restore the building.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of Salafists yesterday attacked the Coptic Church of St. George in the village of Bani Ahmed (Minya - Upper Egypt) and attempted to kill Fr. George Thabet. The news was reported this morning. According to local sources, the extremists turned up outside the building armed with sticks, telling the faithful to deliver the priest who was celebrating mass. The army intervened only after five-hour siege, and the priest was escorted out of the village.

This is the second assault suffered by the community of Bani Ahmed, in a few months. On 23 March, the Salafists stopped the restoration of the church and obtained the expulsion of Fr Thabet from the village.

Fr. Rafic Greich, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, told AsiaNews that the Salafists are against the restoration of the church and attacked the building when their suspicions were aroused by the removal of some vestments to a parish warehouse and the return of the parish priest. The priest said that the extremists do not tolerate the presence of Christians and find any excuse to destroy the churches.

Today, the Archdiocese of Minya has issued a statement reiterating its concern over the incident and denouncing the "return of the Salafists to the village." The Archdiocese accused the government of the military of not doing enough to protect Christians.