Wednesday, April 30, 2008

8 questions for Father Pascual Abaya

Meet Fr. Pascual. He is a wonderful priest who gives homilies enthusiastically. He is well loved by parishioners.

Father Pascual Abaya, 38, was born in Candon City, Luzon, Philippines. He has one brother and two sisters. Father Abaya earned a philosophy degree before finishing the seminary and being ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia on April 26, 1996. In more than 10 years of ministry in the Philippines, he served as an associate pastor and pastor, as the editor-in-chief of a church paper, in a media apostolate doing radio and broadcast media, and as a prefect of discipline at a minor seminary. In July 2006, Father Abaya came to Hawaii on a three year “loan” to the Diocese of Honolulu. He is the associate pastor at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace.

Read more here at
Hawaii Catholic Herald

Friday, April 25, 2008

2008 World Day of Prayer for Priests

Vatican: Prayer Is Priests' 1st Priority

Key to Vocation Is Personal Relationship With Christ

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 14, 2008 ( The Vatican Congregation for Clergy is reminding priests that their number one priority must be prayer.

The congregation affirmed this in a message directed to all the priests of the world, on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, which will be held May 30, feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The message was published in Italian in Saturday's edition of L'Osservatore Romano.

Signed by Cardinal Claudio Hummes and Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, respectively prefect and secretary of the congregation, the message encouraged contemplating the "perfect and fascinating humanity of Christ, live and acting now."

Read more here.

Fr. Mark of Vultus Christi poses an interesting question on his post 2008 World Day of Prayer for Priests.

How will your diocese, your parish, or your community observe the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests? What are you going to do? I invite the readers of Vultus Christi to leave comments sharing their initiatives and plans.

Thank for the link, Veritas.

Added: Pope Backs Search for Spiritual Moms for Priests

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another blog of wonder

Check out this blog, Vultus Christi. It is simply wonderful! Meet the priest there named Fr. Mark and read his newest post, Focusing On That Face.

Thanks to
Veritas for sending me the link!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Summary of Pope's Apostolic Trip To U.S.A. 17-18 APRIL


- Other Pontifical Acts



VATICAN CITY, 17 APR 2008 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. local time today, the Pope arrived by car at the Nationals Park Stadium of Washington D.C., which has capacity for 45,000 spectators and is the most modern baseball stadium in the United States. The Holy Father was welcomed by Archbishop Donald William Wuerl of Washington, by Adrian M. Fenty, mayor of Washington D.C., and by Theodore Lerner, owner of the stadium and its team.

Benedict XVI made a tour of the stadium by popemobile before moving to the sacristy. Mass, dedicated to the faithful of the archdiocese of Washington, began at 10 a.m.

In his homily, the Holy Father recalled how Pope Pius VII had divided the diocese of Baltimore and established the dioceses of Boston, Bardstown (now Louisville), New York and Philadelphia. "Two hundred years later, the Church in America can rightfully praise the accomplishment of past generations in bringing together widely differing immigrant groups within the unity of the Catholic faith and in a common commitment to the spread of the Gospel", he said.

Benedict XVI then went on to express the hope that "this significant anniversary" and his own visit "will be an occasion for all Catholics to reaffirm their unity in the apostolic faith, to offer their contemporaries a convincing account of the hope which inspires them, and to be renewed in missionary zeal for the extension of God's Kingdom.

"The world needs this witness", he added. "Who can deny that the present moment ... is a time of great promise, as we see the human family in many ways drawing closer together and becoming ever more interdependent. Yet at the same time we see clear signs of a disturbing breakdown in the very foundations of society: ... increased violence; a weakening of the moral sense; a coarsening of social relations; and a growing forgetfulness of God".

"The fidelity and courage with which the Church in this country will respond to the challenges raised by an increasingly secular and materialistic culture will depend in large part upon your own fidelity in handing on the treasure of our Catholic faith. ... The challenges confronting us require a comprehensive and sound instruction in the truths of the faith. But they also call for cultivating a mindset, an intellectual 'culture', which is genuinely Catholic, confident in the profound harmony of faith and reason, and prepared to bring the richness of faith's vision to bear on the urgent issues which affect the future of American society".

Recalling how his U.S. visit "is meant to be a witness to 'Christ our Hope'", the Pope expressed the view that "Americans have always been a people of hope" whose ancestors came to the country "with the expectation of finding new freedom and opportunity", and of building "a new nation on new foundations.

"To be sure", he added, "this promise was not experienced by all the inhabitants of this land; one thinks of the injustices endured by the native American peoples and by those brought here forcibly from Africa as slaves. Yet hope, hope for the future, is very much a part of the American character. And the Christian virtue of hope ... has also marked, and continues to mark, the life of the Catholic community in this country".

He continued: "It is in the context of this hope born of God's love and fidelity that I acknowledge the pain which the Church in America has experienced as a result of the sexual abuse of minors. No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse. It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention. Nor can I adequately describe the damage that has occurred within the community of the Church. Great efforts have already been made to deal honestly and fairly with this tragic situation, and to ensure that children - whom our Lord loves so deeply, and who are our greatest treasure - can grow up in a safe environment. These efforts to protect children must continue".

Pope Benedict called on the faithful to do everything possible "to foster healing and reconciliation, and to assist those who have been hurt", as well as "to love your priests, and to affirm them in the excellent work that they do".

"Through the surpassing power of Christ's grace, entrusted to frail human ministers, the Church is constantly reborn and each of us is given the hope of a new beginning" said the Holy Father. "Let us trust in the Spirit's power to inspire conversion, to heal every wound, to overcome every division, and to inspire new life and freedom. How much we need these gifts! And how close at hand they are, particularly in the Sacrament of Penance!

"The liberating power of this Sacrament ... needs to be rediscovered and re-appropriated by every Catholic. To a great extent, the renewal of the Church in America depends on the renewal of the practice of Penance and the growth in holiness which that Sacrament both inspires and accomplishes".

"'In hope we were saved'", exclaimed the Pope, exhorting the faithful "to continue to be a leaven of evangelical hope in American society" and, by the witness of faith, to "point the way towards that vast horizon of hope which God is even now opening up to His Church, and indeed to all humanity: the vision of a world reconciled and renewed in Christ Jesus, our Saviour".

At the end of his homily, the Holy Father addressed some worlds to the Hispanic community. "The Church in the United States", he said, "welcoming so many of her immigrant children to her bosom, has grown thanks also to the witness of faith of the Spanish-speaking faithful. ... Do not let yourselves be defeated by pessimism, inertia or problems. ... The Lord calls you to continue contributing to the future of the Church in this country and to spreading the Gospel".

Mass over, the Pope blessed the first stone of the altar of the John Paul the Great Catholic school of the diocese of Arlington, and the first stone of the new chapel of the St. Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California.


VATICAN CITY, 17 APR 2008 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. local time (11 p.m. in Rome), the Pope went to the Catholic University of Washington where he met with representatives from the Catholic academic world. The event was attended by a total of around 600 people, including 235 rectors of Catholic universities and colleges, 195 diocesan heads of education, as well as professors and students.

"Education", said the Pope in his address, "is integral to the mission of the Church to proclaim the Good News".

"Set against personal struggles, moral confusion and fragmentation of knowledge, the noble goals of scholarship and education, founded on the unity of truth and in service of the person and the community, become an especially powerful instrument of hope".

The Pope highlighted the need "to reflect on what is particular to our Catholic institutions" and to ask: "how do they contribute to the good of society through the Church's primary mission of evangelisation?"

He went on: "A university or school's Catholic identity is not simply a question of the number of Catholic students. It is a question of conviction - do we really believe that only in the mystery of the Word made flesh does the mystery of man truly become clear? ... Do we accept the truth Christ reveals? Is the faith tangible in our universities and schools?"

"The contemporary 'crisis of truth' is rooted in a 'crisis of faith'", he said. " Only through faith can we freely give our assent to God's testimony and acknowledge Him as the transcendent guarantor of the truth He reveals. ... Freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in - a participation in Being itself. Hence authentic freedom can never be attained by turning away from God".

The Holy Father explained how the Church's mission to evangelise "involves her in humanity's struggle to arrive at truth. In articulating revealed truth she serves all members of society by purifying reason, ensuring that it remains open to the consideration of ultimate truths".

"With confidence, Christian educators can liberate the young from the limits of positivism and awaken receptivity to the truth, to God and His goodness. In this way you will also help to form their conscience which, enriched by faith, opens a sure path to inner peace and to respect for others".

"When nothing beyond the individual is recognised as definitive", the Pope warned, "the ultimate criterion of judgement becomes the self and the satisfaction of the individual's immediate wishes".

Then, after thanking the academic authorities for their "dedication and generosity" and "selfless contributions" which "serve both your country and the Church", Benedict XVI recalled that "any appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the Church would obstruct or even betray the university's identity and mission; a mission at the heart of the Church's 'munus docendi' and not somehow autonomous or independent of it.

"Teachers and administrators, whether in universities or schools, have the duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice", he added. "This requires that public witness to the way of Christ, as found in the Gospel and upheld by the Church's Magisterium, shapes all aspects of an institution's life, both inside and outside the classroom. Divergence from this vision weakens Catholic identity and, far from advancing freedom, inevitably leads to confusion, whether moral, intellectual or spiritual".

The Pope had special words of encouragement for teachers of catechesis, both lay and religious. "Religious education", he said, "is a challenging apostolate, yet there are many signs of a desire among young people to learn about the faith and practice it with vigour". In conclusion, he encouraged religious and priests not to "abandon the school apostolate; indeed, renew your commitment to schools especially those in poorer areas".


VATICAN CITY, 17 APR 2008 (VIS) - In the Pope John Paul II Cultural Centre in Washington D.C. at 6.30 p.m. local time today, Benedict XVI met with some 200 representatives of five religious communities: Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. The Pope John Paul II Cultural Centre was founded in 1998 at the initiative of the then archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Joseph Adam Maida, and was inaugurated in 2001 in the presence of President George W. Bush. It is a place of meeting, dialogue and academic research on the relationship between faith and culture.

"This country has a long history of co-operation between different religions in many spheres of public life", said the Pope in his address. "Inter-religious prayer services during the national feast of Thanksgiving, joint initiatives in charitable activities, a shared voice on important public issues: these are some ways in which members of different religions come together to enhance mutual understanding and promote the common good".

The Holy Father recalled how "Americans have always valued the ability to worship freely and in accordance with their conscience". Today, "children of all religions sit side-by-side, learning with one another and from one another. This diversity gives rise to new challenges that spark a deeper reflection on the core principles of a democratic society.

"May others", he added, "take heart from your experience, realising that a united society can indeed arise from a plurality of peoples, ... provided that all recognise religious liberty as a basic civil right.

"The task of upholding religious freedom is never completed", the Holy Father observed. "Protecting religious freedom within the rule of law does not guarantee that peoples - particularly minorities - will be spared from unjust forms of discrimination and prejudice. This requires constant effort on the part of all members of society to ensure that citizens are afforded the opportunity to worship peaceably and to pass on their religious heritage to their children".

Going on to examine the question of dialogue between religions, the Pope expressed the view that "as we grow in understanding of one another, we see that we share an esteem for ethical values, discernible to human reason, which are revered by all peoples of goodwill. The world begs for a common witness to these values. I therefore invite all religious people to view dialogue not only as a means of enhancing mutual understanding, but also as a way of serving society at large".

The Holy Father noted the "growing interest among governments to sponsor programmes intended to promote inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue", and he described such initiatives as "praiseworthy". However, "at the same time, religious freedom, inter-religious dialogue and faith-based education aim at something more than a consensus regarding ways to implement practical strategies for advancing peace. The broader purpose of dialogue is to discover the truth".

"Spiritual leaders have a special duty ... to place the deeper questions at the forefront of human consciousness, to reawaken mankind to the mystery of human existence, and to make space in a frenetic world for reflection and prayer".

He went on: "Confronted with these deeper questions concerning the origin and destiny of mankind, Christianity proposes Jesus of Nazareth. ... The ardent desire to follow in His footsteps spurs Christians to open their minds and hearts in dialogue".

"In our attempt to discover points of commonality, perhaps we have shied away from the responsibility to discuss our differences with calmness and clarity", suggested Pope Benedict. "While always uniting our hearts and minds in the call for peace, we must also listen attentively to the voice of truth.

"In this way, our dialogue will not stop at identifying a common set of values, but go on to probe their ultimate foundation. We have no reason to fear", he concluded, "for the truth unveils for us the essential relationship between the world and God. We are able to perceive that peace is a 'heavenly gift' that calls us to conform human history to the divine order".

Having completed his discourse, the Pope moved on to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Centre's Polish National Room. There he met representatives of the Jewish community to whom he consigned a Message for the Feast of the Passover, which this year begins on Saturday 19 April.

In his Passover Message, the Pope writes: "At this time of your most solemn celebration, I feel particularly close, precisely because of what 'Nostra Aetate' calls Christians to remember always: that the Church 'received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the ancient Covenant. ... In addressing myself to you I wish to re-affirm the Second Vatican Council's teaching on Catholic-Jewish relations and reiterate the Church's commitment to the dialogue that in the past forty years has fundamentally changed our relationship for the better.

"Because of that growth in trust and friendship", the Holy Father adds in his Message, "Christians and Jews can rejoice together in the deep spiritual ethos of the Passover, a memorial of freedom and redemption. Each year, when we listen to the Passover story we return to that blessed night of liberation. This holy time of the year should be a call to both our communities to pursue justice, mercy, solidarity with the stranger in the land, with the widow and orphan, as Moses commanded".

"This bond permits us Christians to celebrate alongside you, though in our own way, the Passover of Christ's death and resurrection, which we see as inseparable from your own, for Jesus Himself said: 'salvation is from the Jews'. Our Easter and your Pesah, while distinct and different, unite us in our common hope centred on God and His mercy".

"With respect and friendship, I therefore ask the Jewish community to accept my Pesah greeting in a spirit of openness to the real possibilities of co-operation which we see before us as we contemplate the urgent needs of our world, and as we look with compassion upon the sufferings of millions of our brothers and sisters everywhere. Naturally, our shared hope for peace in the world embraces the Middle East and the Holy Land in particular. May the memory of God's mercies, which Jews and Christians celebrate at this festive time, inspire all those responsible for the future of that region - where the events surrounding God's revelation actually took place - to new efforts, and especially to new attitudes and a new purification of hearts!"


VATICAN CITY, 17 APR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today announced that this afternoon in the chapel of the apostolic nunciature in Washington, the Pope met with a small group of people who were sexually abused by members of the clergy.

"Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, accompanied the group. They prayed with the Holy Father, who afterwards listened to their personal accounts and offered them words of encouragement and hope.

"His Holiness assured them of his prayers for their intentions, for their families and for all victims of sexual abuse".


VATICAN CITY, 18 APR 2008 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope celebrated a private Mass in the chapel of the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C., then bid farewell to the staff there.

At 8.45 a.m. local time (2.45 p.m. in Rome) he boarded his aircraft and departed for New York, where he is scheduled to land at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy international airport at 9.45 a.m. He will then travel directly to the headquarters of the United Nations where, at 10.45 a.m. local time (4.45 in Rome), he will deliver an address before the General Assembly.

The General Assembly is formed of 192 member States. The president of this 62nd General Assembly is Srgjan Kerim, ambassador of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The secretary general of the United Nations is the Korean Ban Ki-moon, who was elected to office in October 2006.

At 5.10 p.m. (11.10 p.m. in Rome), having had lunch at the residence of the Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, the Pope will visit New York's Park East Synagogue and, an hour later, attend an ecumenical meeting in the church of St. Joseph.


VATICAN CITY, 18 APR 2008 (VIS) - The Vatican Information Service will transmit two special services on Saturday 19 April and on Sunday 20 April. These will cover, respectively, the Holy Father's address to the General Assembly of the United Nations (scheduled for 4.45 p.m. Rome time today) and his visit to Ground Zero (scheduled for 3.30 p.m. Rome time on Sunday).
.../.../... VIS 080418 (80)

From Sr. Margaret Charles Kerry, fsp,Boston, MA
Pauline Laity Communicate

Summary of Pope's Apostolic Trip to U.S.A. 16-17 APRIL


Religion, an Inspiration and Driving Force in U.S. History
- Joint U.S. - Holy See Communique
- Meeting with Bishops: Live Christ-Centred Lives
- Mass, Meetings with Academic World and Other Religions



VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2008 (VIS) - Shortly before 10.30 a.m. local time today, Benedict XVI arrived at the White House, official residence of U.S. President George W. Bush who, together with his wife Laura, was on hand to welcome the Pontiff.

The Pope, who celebrates his 81st birthday today, delivered an address from a podium on the South Lawn of the White House. Among those present, apart from the civil and political authorities, were U.S. cardinals, the Presidium of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the auxiliary bishops of Washington, and the bishop of Arlington within whose diocese is the cemetery in which thousands of U.S. servicemen and various presidents are buried. The ceremony was attended by a total of around 5,000 people.

Having expressed his appreciation for President Bush's invitation "to visit this great country", the Holy Father recalled how his journey coincides with the 200th anniversary of the elevation of the country's first Catholic diocese, Baltimore, to a metropolitan archdiocese. He went on: "I am happy to be here as a guest of all Americans. I come as a friend, a preacher of the Gospel and one with great respect for this vast pluralistic society.

"America's Catholics", he added, "have made, and continue to make, an excellent contribution to the life of their country. ... I trust that my presence will be a source of renewal and hope for the Church in the United States, and strengthen the resolve of Catholics to contribute ever more responsibly to the life of this nation.

"From the dawn of the Republic, America's quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator". In the process which forged the soul of the nation, "religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideals and aspirations".

Referring to the many religious traditions present in the United States, Benedict XVI recalled how "not only Catholics, but all believers have found here the freedom to worship God in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, while at the same time being accepted as part of a commonwealth in which each individual and group can make its voice heard".

He continued: "As the nation faces the increasingly complex political and ethical issues of our time, I am confident that the American people will find in their religious beliefs a precious source of insight and an inspiration to pursue reasoned, responsible and respectful dialogue in the effort to build a more humane and free society.

"Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience - almost every town in this country has its monuments honouring those who sacrificed their lives in defence of freedom, both at home and abroad. The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one's deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate".

"The Church, for her part, wishes to contribute to building a world ever more worthy of the human person", said the Holy Father, because "she is convinced that faith sheds new light on all things" and gives us "the hope that inspires us to work for an ever more just and fraternal society. Democracy can only flourish", he added, "when political leaders and those whom they represent are guided by truth and bring the wisdom born of firm moral principle to decisions affecting the life and future of the nation.

"For well over a century, the United States of America has played an important role in the international community", the Pope concluded, noting how "America has traditionally shown herself generous in meeting immediate human needs, fostering development and offering relief to the victims of natural catastrophes. I am confident that this concern for the greater human family will continue to find expression in support for the patient efforts of international diplomacy to resolve conflicts and promote progress".

The welcome ceremony over, the Pope held a private meeting with President Bush in the Oval Office. He them travelled back to the apostolic nunciature in Washington where he lunched with U.S. cardinals and the Presidium of the USCCB. Later, also in the apostolic nunciature, he received leaders of five charitable organisations: the Knights of Columbus, the Patrons of the Arts, Centesimus Annus Pro Pontefice, the Papal Foundation and the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land.


VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2008 (VIS) - At the end of the private meeting between the Holy Father Benedict XVI and U.S. President George W. Bush in the Oval Office of the White House, the Holy See and the Office of the President of the United States of America released a joint declaration, the text of which is given below:

"President Bush, on behalf of all Americans, welcomed the Holy Father, wished him a happy birthday, and thanked him for the spiritual and moral guidance, which he offers to the whole human family. The President wished the Pope every success in his apostolic journey and in his address at the United Nations, and expressed appreciation for the Pope's upcoming visit to 'Ground Zero' in New York.

"During their meeting, the Holy Father and the President discussed a number of topics of common interest to the Holy See and the United States of America, including moral and religious considerations to which both parties are committed: the respect of the dignity of the human person; the defence and promotion of life, matrimony and the family; the education of future generations; human rights and religious freedom; sustainable development and the struggle against poverty and pandemics, especially in Africa. In regard to the latter, the Holy Father welcomed the United States' substantial financial contributions in this area. The two reaffirmed their total rejection of terrorism as well as the manipulation of religion to justify immoral and violent acts against innocents. They further touched on the need to confront terrorism with appropriate means that respect the human person and his or her rights.

"The Holy Father and the President devoted considerable time in their discussions to the Middle East, in particular resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict in line with the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, their mutual support for the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon, and their common concern for the situation in Iraq and particularly the precarious state of Christian communities there and elsewhere in the region. The Holy Father and the President expressed hope for an end to violence and for a prompt and comprehensive solution to the crises which afflict the region.

"The Holy Father and the President also considered the situation in Latin America with reference, among other matters, to immigrants, and the need for a co-ordinated policy regarding immigration, especially their humane treatment and the wellbeing of their families".


VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2008 (VIS) - At 5.45 p.m. local time (11.45 p.m. in Rome), the Holy Father presided at the celebration of Vespers with bishops of the United States at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.

At the beginning of his homily, the Holy Father highlighted the American people's "great vitality and creativity" and their generosity towards the poor and needy, which also finds expression in "the many forms of humanitarian assistance provided by American Catholics through Catholic Charities and other agencies".

"America is also a land of great faith" said the Pope, noting how its people are well-known for "their religious fervour" and "do not hesitate to bring moral arguments rooted in biblical faith into their public discourse". At the same time, "respect for freedom of religion is deeply ingrained in the American consciousness".

"People today need to be reminded of the ultimate purpose of their lives", said Pope Benedict. "Without God ... our lives are ultimately empty. ... The goal of all our pastoral and catechetical work, the object of our preaching, and the focus of our sacramental ministry should be to help people establish and nurture that living relationship with 'Christ Jesus, our hope'".

He went on: "At a time when advances in medical science bring new hope to many, they also give rise to previously unimagined ethical challenges. This makes it more important than ever to offer thorough formation in the Church's moral teaching to Catholics engaged in healthcare". In this context he told the bishops that "yours is a respected voice that has much to offer to the discussion of the pressing social and moral questions of the day. ... It falls to you to ensure that the moral formation provided at every level of ecclesial life reflects the authentic teaching of the Gospel of life".

In this regard, the Pope identified a "matter of deep concern to us all" as being "the state of the family within society. ... Divorce and infidelity have increased, and many young men and women are choosing to postpone marriage or to forego it altogether". At the same time there exists "an alarming decrease in the number of Catholic marriages in the United States together with an increase in cohabitation, in which the Christ-like mutual self-giving of spouses, sealed by a public promise to live out the demands of an indissoluble lifelong commitment, is simply absent".

"It is your task to proclaim boldly the arguments from faith and reason in favour of the institution of marriage, understood as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, open to the transmission of life. This message should resonate with people today, because it is essentially an unconditional and unreserved 'yes' to life, a 'yes' to love, and a 'yes' to the aspirations at the heart of our common humanity, as we strive to fulfil our deep yearning for intimacy with others and with the Lord.

"Among the countersigns to the Gospel of life", the Pope added, "found in America and elsewhere, is one that causes deep shame: the sexual abuse of minors" by the clergy. "It is your God-given responsibility as pastors to bind up the wounds caused by every breach of trust, to foster healing, to promote reconciliation and to reach out with loving concern to those so seriously wronged".

"While it must be remembered that the overwhelming majority of clergy and religious in America do outstanding work in bringing the liberating message of the Gospel to the people entrusted to their care, it is vitally important that the vulnerable always be shielded from those who would cause harm".

Children, said the Holy Father, "have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person. ... We need to reassess urgently the values underpinning society, so that a sound moral formation can be offered to young people and adults alike. ...Indeed, every member of society can contribute to this moral renewal and benefit from it".

Turning his attention to priests, the Pope highlighted the fact that they too "need your guidance and closeness during this difficult time. ... At this stage a vital part of your task is to strengthen relationships with your clergy, especially in those cases where tension has arisen between priests and their bishops in the wake of the crisis. It is important that you continue to show them your concern, to support them, and to lead by example".

"We need to rediscover the joy of living a Christ-centred life, cultivating the virtues and immersing ourselves in prayer", the Pope concluded his homily. "Time spent in prayer is never wasted, however urgent the duties that press upon us from every side".

During the course of his meeting with the U.S. prelates, three bishops posed questions to the Holy Father.

In the first question, the Holy Father was asked to give his assessment of the challenges of secularism and relativism, and his advice on how to confront these challenges more effectively.

"Perhaps", he replied, "America's brand of secularism poses a particular problem: it allows for professing belief in God, and respects the public role of religion and the Churches, but at the same time it can subtly reduce religious belief to a lowest common denominator. Faith becomes a passive acceptance that certain things 'out there' are true, but without practical relevance for everyday life. The result is a growing separation of faith from life. ... This is aggravated by an individualistic and eclectic approach to faith and religion: far from a Catholic approach to 'thinking with the Church', each person believes he or she has a right to pick and choose".

"What is needed, I am convinced, is a greater sense of the intrinsic relationship between the Gospel and the natural law on the one hand, and, on the other, the pursuit of authentic human good, as embodied in civil law and in personal moral decisions. In a society that rightly values personal liberty, ... the Gospel has to be preached and taught as an integral way of life, offering an attractive and true answer, intellectually and practically, to real human problems. ... I believe that the Church in America, at this point in her history, is faced with the challenge of recapturing the Catholic vision of reality and presenting it, in an engaging and imaginative way, to a society which markets any number of recipes for human fulfilment".

The second question put to the Pope concerned Catholics' abandonment of the practice of the faith, sometimes by an explicit decision, but often by distancing themselves quietly and gradually from attendance at Mass and identification with the Church.

"It is becoming more and more difficult, in our Western societies, to speak in a meaningful way of 'salvation'", said Benedict XVI. "Yet salvation - deliverance from the reality of evil, and the gift of new life and freedom in Christ - is at the heart of the Gospel. We need to discover, as I have suggested, new and engaging ways of proclaiming this message. ... It is in the Church's liturgy, and above all in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, that these realities are most powerfully expressed and lived in the life of believers; perhaps we still have much to do in realising the Council's vision of the liturgy as the exercise of the common priesthood and the impetus for a fruitful apostolate in the world".

Finally, answering a question on the decline in vocations, Pope Benedict recalled how "the ability to cultivate vocations to the priesthood and the religious life is a sure sign of the health of a local Church" and he reaffirmed the importance of prayer. "Nor am I speaking only of prayer for vocations", he added. "Prayer itself, born in Catholic families, nurtured by programs of Christian formation, strengthened by the grace of the Sacraments, is the first means by which we come to know the Lord's will for our lives".

Before concluding the Pope also acknowledged "the immense suffering endured by the people of God in the archdiocese of New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina, as well as their courage in the challenging work of rebuilding". He also presented Archbishop Alfred Hughes of New Orleans with a chalice, "as a sign of my prayerful solidarity with the faithful of the archdiocese".


VATICAN CITY, 17 APR 2008 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI is scheduled to celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. local time (4 p.m. in Rome) at the Nationals Park Stadium of Washington D.C., which has capacity for 45,000 spectators and is the most modern baseball stadium in the United States.

At 5 p.m. (11 p.m. in Rome) the Pope is due to meet representatives from the Catholic academic world at the Catholic University of Washington. Subsequently, he will go on to meet Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jainist representatives at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Centre, a structure that includes a study centre on the Magisterium of the Polish Pontiff and of the Catholic Church, a permanent exhibition on Karol Wojtyla, and displays of works of art from the Vatican. Afterwards, in the Pope John Paul II Centre's Polish National Room, he will briefly greet representatives of the Jewish community to whom he will consign a Message for the Feast of the Passover, which begins on Saturday 19 April.

After the ceremony, the Pope will return to the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C. where he will dine and spend the night.

From Sr. Margaret Charles Kerry, fsp, Boston, MA
Pauline Laity Communicate

Summary of Pope's Apostolic Trip to U.S.A., 15-16 APRIL


- Paedophilia Is Incompatible with the Priesthood
- Meeting with U.S. President, Vespers with Bishops



VATICAN CITY, 15 APR 2008 (VIS) - During a meeting with journalists accompanying him on the flight to the U.S.A., where he arrived at 4 p.m. local time (10 p.m. in Rome), the Pope answered a number of questions.

Referring to the case of paedophile priests that has affected the Catholic Church in America, Benedict XVI said: "I am deeply ashamed. We will do everything possible to ensure it does not happen again".

"We will rigorously exclude paedophiles from priestly ministry", he said. "The two things are absolutely incompatible and someone who is truly guilty of paedophilia cannot be a priest".

"Only healthy people, ... only people with a profound personal life in Christ and who also have a profound sacramental life can be admitted to the priesthood ... It is more important to have good priests than to have many priests". We hope, he insisted, "to do everything possible in the future to heal this wound".

Going on to speak about his forthcoming visit to U.N. headquarters, on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Pope said: "It seems important to me that the foundation of the United Nations should be the idea of human rights, of rights which express non-negotiable values, which come before all institutions and are the foundation of all institutions".

"It is important", the Pope went on, "to renew the awareness that the United Nations, with its peace-bringing role, can work only if it has a shared basis of values, which are expressed as 'rights' and must be observed by everyone. To confirm this fundamental concept and as far as possible bring it up to date is one aim of my mission".

Asked whether the public recognition of religion in the United States could be a model for secularised Europe, Benedict XVI recalled how the U.S. "began with a positive concept of laicism", but that the laicism of the State existed "precisely for love of religion in all its authenticity, which can only be lived in freedom. ... Of course", he concluded, "in Europe we cannot just copy the United States. We have our own history. But we must learn from one another".
PV-U.S.A./PLANE INTERVIEW/... VIS 080416 (370)


VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2008 (VIS) - This morning the Pope, who celebrates his 81st birthday today, celebrated a private Mass in the chapel of the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C.

At 10.10 a.m. local time (4.10 p.m. in Rome) Benedict XVI will travel by car to the White House for the welcome ceremony, during which he is scheduled to deliver an address and, subsequently, to hold a private meeting with U.S. President George Bush.

The Holy Father will lunch with American cardinals and with the president, vice-president and secretary general of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), respectively Cardinal Francis E. George O.M.I., Bishop Gerald Kicanas and Msgr. David Malloy. At 4.45 p.m. local time (10.45 p.m. in Rome) he will meet with leaders of five charitable organisations: the Knights of Columbus, the Patrons of the Arts, Centesimus Annus Pro Pontefice, the Papal Foundation and the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land.

At 5.30 p.m. local time (11.30 p.m. in Rome) the Holy Father will go to Washington's National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception where he will preside at the celebration of Vespers with United States bishops.

Following the ceremony, the Pope will return to the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C., where he will dine in private and spend the night.

From Sr. Margaret Charles Kerry, fsp,
Boston, MA

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


- Leading the Way in New Catholic Media

Link sent to me by Sr. Margaret Charles Kerry, fsp,
Boston, MA

Monday, April 14, 2008

Vocation and Mission are Inseparable


VATICAN CITY, 13 APR 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Regina Coeli with thousands of pilgrims gathered there.

Today, the Pope told the faithful, marks the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. "On all continents", he said, "ecclesial communities ask the Lord for numerous and holy vocations to the priesthood, to consecrated life and the mission, and to Christian marriage, as they meditate upon the theme: 'Vocations at the service of the Church-mission'".

This year the World Day comes amid preparations for the 'Pauline Year', due to begin on 28 June, to celebrate the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of the Apostle Paul, "missionary par excellence", said the Holy Father.

For the Apostle of the Gentiles, "vocation and missionary were inseparable. Thus he represents a model for all Christians, and especially for missionaries 'ad vitam', in other words for the men and women who dedicate themselves entirely to announcing Christ to those people who still do not know Him".

"This missionary service is carried out in the first place by priests, who dispense the Word of God and the Sacraments and, through their pastoral charity, show everyone, especially the sick, the weak and the poor, the healing presence of Christ, ... sometimes confirming their faithfulness to Christ with the sacrifice of their lives". In this context, Pope Benedict recalled two religious killed recently in Guinea and in Kenya.

"Let us pray", he went on, "for constant increase in the ranks of those who decide to live the Gospel radically through the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. They are men and women who have a prime role in evangelisation, united by a single goal: that of testifying to God's primacy over all, and spreading His Kingdom in all areas of society".

In closing, the Holy Father highlighted how "Christian matrimony is also a missionary vocation. Husband and wife are called to live the Gospel in the family, in the workplace, and in parish and civic communities", and they too "offer their valuable contribution to the mission 'ad gentes'".


VATICAN CITY, 13 APR 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, following the Regina Coeli prayer, Benedict XVI reminded the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that on Tuesday 15 April he will travel to the U.S.A. where he will visit Washington, New York and the headquarters of the United Nations.

"With the various groups I shall meet", he said in English, "my intention is to share our Lord's word of life. In Christ is our hope! Christ is the foundation of our hope for peace, for justice, and for the freedom that flows from God's law fulfilled in His commandment to love one another".

The Pope also asked people to pray for the success of the visit, "so that it may be a time of spiritual renewal for all Americans".

New Post on Pauline Laity Blog:

Sent to me by Sr Margaret Kerry, fsp, of Boston, MA
Director of the Association of Pauline Cooperators in the United States/Toronto

Check our Veritas' wonderful post on Year of Vocation.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Echo the voice of the Good Shepherd

Through baptism we become members of Jesus' flock. We must learn his voice and distinguish it from the voices of the theives and robbers. Then we will be able to echo his voice, and we ourselves will help to gather the lost sheep into the flock.
-posted by Fr. Joel over at Holy Priesthood.

Check out Fr. Benjamin's pilgrimage to France: Ars and Lourdes

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rosary for Vocations

A rosary for vocations from the Hawaii Catholic Herald

The diocesan Director for Vocations, Father Peter Dumag, has distributed a “Rosary for Vocations,” a series of vocation-themed meditations on the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries of the rosary. They are based on “Private Prayers of John Paul II, A Life in Prayer”

The Joyful Mysteries


The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38)

Mary’s “yes” was above all an act of generosity, not only toward God but also toward men and women.

Let us pray: that children and young people may be attentive and generous to God’s calls.

The Visitation (Luke 1:39-45)

Mary’s gesture of putting herself “at the service of” Elizabeth was the result of her “yes” to God.

Let us pray: that the testimony of the permanent deacons and the consecrated in the secular institutes may be fruitful.

The Nativity (Luke 2:1-7)

God became man so that man might become like God. He is our brother in joy and sorrow.

Let us pray: for all those who offer their lives to share the lives of the poorest.

The Presentation in the temple (Luke 2:22-35)

Parents who offer a child to God do not lose him, except to find him again transformed and enriched by grace.

Let us pray: that Christian families may be generous and open to every vocation.

The Finding (Luke 2: 41-52)

The plans of the Lord are at times difficult to undertake; they require acceptance, faith and humility.

Let us pray: for the seminarians who are preparing for consecration.

The Sorrowful Mysteries


The Agony in the Garden (Luke 22: 40-44)

Even at the time of our hardest trials, the Father waits and supports our “yes” to his will.

Let us pray: that the Father may give the gift of perseverance to those who have consecrated themselves to him entirely.

The Scourging (Mark 15:11-15)

Faithfulness to our vocation is needed to overcome other’s lack of understanding and their attempts to discourage us.

Let us pray: for those who suffer persecution because of the Gospel.

The Crown of Thorns (Mark 15:17-20)

Sometimes suffering becomes part of our life as a true vocation.

Let us pray: that the sick will unite their suffering to the Redeeming Passion of Christ.

The Carrying of the Cross (Luke 23:26-32)

Often, the circumstances of life are a call from God to share the journey of our brothers and sisters.

Let us pray: that every Christian may feel responsible to join Christ in his mission for the salvation of the world.

Crucifixion and Death (John 19:28-30)

If someone wants to follow Christ, he must renounce himself and take up the cross.

Let us pray: that men and women religious and those who live a contemplative life will adhere fully to their consecration.

The Glorious Mysteries


The Resurrection (Mark 16:9-14)

Today, as he was yesterday and always will be, he is the Risen One, the God of life and joy, to we whom are called.

Let us pray: that Christian spouses may live God’s love and be open to the gift of life.

The Ascension (Mark 16:15-19)

God desires our help to construct a world according to the Gospel.

Let us pray: that the priests in the church may be numerous and holy.

The Pentecost (Acts 1:14, 2:2-4)

The Holy Spirit in us is the strength and courage to defend and spread the message of the Gospel.

Let us pray: that, through the testimony of missionaries, the missionary zeal of the church may be constantly renewed.

The Assumption of Mary (Apocalypse 12:1)

Our earthly life, lived in faith, is destined for the glory of Heaven.

Let us pray: that those who are disappointed by life may find Christian hope.

The Crowning of Mary (Luke 1:30-33)

Even today Mary intercedes for our bewildered world and for the urgent need of the church.

Let us pray: that the Kingdom of God may be fulfilled.

Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 (Archive on Friday, May 02, 2008)
Posted by pdownes Contributed by pdownes

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

World Day of Vocations

I am happy to let you know that Esther and I have made an incredible progress on our Ministry of Spiritual Mothers. We are very close to completing the list of mothers chosen by God to pray for our priests and seminarians in our diocese. It was a struggle in the beginning as we sought women volunteers from different parishes, but a necessary step to its fulfillment.

God spoke to our hearts and encouraged us not to give up on his priests and seminarians. In many ways, God also lovingly reassured us that he had already chosen the spiritual "mothers" to pray for his precious priests. All we had to do was look for them.

Esther did an excellent job at matching the names of each of priest/seminarian to a volunteering spiritual "mom". We will most likely finish the task this week or next since Hawaii Catholic Herald has included the announcement to its latest issue. We will make a final list of spritual "moms" and meet with our beloved bishop, Bishop Larry Silva, so he can bless all the women.

The effect on me of this ministry is a greater awareness of the need to pray for our priests and a desire to encourage young men to consider the vocation to the priesthood. I find myself drawn to talking to a young man I see at church. I start with a smile, an contagious way of welcoming anyone to our church. More on this later...

Below is originally from Evann's site Homeschool Goodies.

As we head towards World Day of Vocations on Sunday, April 13,
let's remember to include all priests, living and deceased, in our prayers.

Pray for our Priests

O Jesus, our great High Priest,
hear my humble prayers
on behalf of your priests.
Give them a deep faith,
a bright and firm hope,
and a burning love
which will ever increase
in the course of their priestly life.
In their loneliness, comfort them.
In their sorrows, strengthen them.
In their frustrations,
point out to them
that it is through suffering
that the soul is purified and
show them that they are needed
by the Church,
they are needed by souls,
they are needed for the work
of redemption.
O Loving Mother Mary,
Mother of Priests,
take to your heart your sons
who are close to you,
because of their priestly ordination
and because of the power
which they have received
to carry on the work of Christ
in a world which needs them so much.
Be their comfort be their joy,
be their strength,
and especially help them to live
and to defend
the ideals of consecrated celbacy.

-– John Joseph Cardinal Carberry, Archbishop Emeritus of St. Louis

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lovely Collection of pictures of the late Pope John Paul ll

More pictures right here at Faith and Country.

Thank you, Kathy, for sending me these pictures!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Special Prayer in remembrance of John Paul ll


O Blessed Trinity, We thank you for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.

Please pray the Rosary, for the Youth of Poland, the Polish Church, and the Pontificate of Pope Benedict, and for the Universal Catholic Church, and conversion of sinners, and for Priests everywhere. The Rosary was Pope John Paul II's favorite prayer, what a special way to Honor him!

Jesus I trust in You~

Sent by Kathy Recicar. Thank you, Kathy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pray for Fr. McCormick and troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

Fr. Patrick McCormick, Chaplain of Pearl Harbor Chapel here in Hawaii, is a much loved priest for his dedication to his vocation. Currently in Afghanistan, he requests everyone to say a prayer for him and all the troops in the Middle East.

I thought I'd share with you that for many months now I have been praying for him, but didn't know how to contact him or how he was doing, until one Saturday afternoon. At a tennis match where my son had to play against this "haule" kid (meaning Caucasian, no harm done here; that is what they are called in Hawaii, and with due respect), Mary, the mother of my son's opponent sat beside me. While our sons were in a match competing for a win, Mary and I had a fantastic time chatting and laughing, and conversations led to Fr. McCormick! Mary is Fr. McCormick's neighbor here in Pearl Harbor. How cool is that? And Mary and I realized we are a good match for what humans cherish and call "friendship". She is one cool lady! God is "utmostly" cool!

Yes! Now I am able to communicate with Fr. McCormick, and I am happy to let you know he is doing fine.... but do keep those prayers going for that is the reason why he and his troops are fine! :-)