Profound, personal, communal conversion

VATICAN - Pope's Message for the 84th World Mission Sunday
“It is only from this encounter with the Love of God that transforms our existence, that we can live in communion with Him and among ourselves and offer our brethren a credible testimony, giving reason for our hope.” This is what the Holy Father Benedict XVI affirms in his Message for the 84th World Mission Sunday, which will be celebrated on October 24 of this year, with the theme: “Building Ecclesial Communion is the Key to the Mission.”

Every World Mission Sunday offers us all “an occasion for renewing their commitment to proclaim the Gospel and give pastoral activity a greater missionary character.” The Pope then mentions that the commitment and task of announcing the Gospel belongs to the entire Church, which is “missionary by her very nature,” and he continues: “In a multi-ethnic society that experiences increasing forms of solitude and alarming indifference, Christians should learn to offer signs of hope and become universal brothers, cultivating the great ideals that transform history and, without false illusions or unnecessary fears, work to make the planet a home for all peoples.”

After mentioning that “so too the men of our time, perhaps at times unconsciously, ask believers to not only 'speak' of Jesus but to 'make Jesus visible,' to make the Redeemer’s Face shine in every corner of the earth before the generations of the new millennium and especially before the youth of every continent,” the Pope's message continues: “These considerations regard the missionary mandate that all the baptized and the entire Church have received, but that cannot be fulfilled in a credible manner without a profound personal, communal, and pastoral conversion. In fact, the awareness of the call to announce the Gospel not only inspires every individual believer, but all the diocesan and parochial communities, to an integral renewal and to an ever greater openness to missionary cooperation among the Churches, to promote the proclamation of the Gospel in the heart of every person, every people, culture, race, nationality, in every place.”

Benedict XVI then recalls the constant commitment of the pastoral workers in promoting ecclesial communion, “so that the phenomenon of “interculturalism” may be incorporated into a framework of unity in which the Gospel is leaven of liberty and progress, a source of fraternity, humility, and peace.” It then highlights that “ecclesial communion is brought about through the encounter with the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who through the Church’s preaching reaches out to all men and establishes them in communion with Himself and therefore, with the Father and the Holy Spirit” and that “the Church becomes “communion” starting from the Eucharist in which Christ, present in the bread and wine, with His sacrifice of love establishes the Church as His Body, uniting us to the one Triune God and among each other.” This love that we celebrate in the Sacrament cannot remain only for ourselves and “by its very nature it demands to be shared with all.” Therefore, “an authentically eucharistic Church is a missionary Church.”

In the concluding part of the Message, the Holy Father exhorts us to be aware that we are “active participants in the Church’s task of proclaiming the Gospel,” and renews “my invitation to prayer and, in spite of the economic difficulties, to fraternal, concrete aid in support of the younger Churches.” Expressing his gratitude for the valuable service carried out by the Pontifical Mission Societies in their support of priests, seminarians, and catechists in the most far off missionary lands and in encouraging the young ecclesial communities, the Pope affectionately acknowledges “who offer their testimony to the Kingdom of God in the most far off and difficult places, often at the cost of their own lives.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 26/3/2010)

Complete text of the Holy Father's Message, in Italian

Complete text of the Holy Father's Message, in French

Complete text of the Holy Father's Message, in English

Complete text of the Holy Father's Message, in German

Complete text of the Holy Father's Message, in Spanish

Complete text of the Holy Father's Message, in Portuguese

Cardinal v. Atheist: Without God We Are Nothing

Cardinal v. Atheist: Without God We Are Nothing

Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, and atheist Dan Barker debated the topic: Without God We Are Nothing, at Macquarie University. A vigorous and lively debate was had, with over 300 people in attendance. The debate was structured so that each speaker received ten minutes to present their case, then had a chance at rebuttal, and finishing off with a few minutes to directly cross examine the other. There was then time for questions from the audience.  Part 1 of this audio presents the main arguments and rebuttal, with part 2 presenting the (very lively) cross examination, and some hard hitting questions from the audience.

Library – Xt3 – More Than A Social Network 

Faithfulness of Christ; Faithfulness of the Priest

Communiqué on the Internet transmission of the International Theological Convention "Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of the Priest"

Rome, March 11-12, 2010  The International Theological Convention "Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of the Priest", promoted by the Congregation for the Clergy, to be held at the Aula Magna of the Pontifical Lateran University on March 11-12 2010, will be transmitted on the web page on which it will be possible to follow proceedings of the various conferences.

Spiritual but not religious — Not so fast! - Busted Halo

Everybody seems to be spiritual these days — from your college roommate, to the person in the office cubicle next to yours, to every other celebrity interviewed. But if “spiritual” is fashionable, “religious” is unfashionable. This is usually expressed as follow: “I’m spiritual but just not religious.” It’s even referred to by the acronym SBNR.

The thinking goes like this: being “religious” means abiding by arcane rules and hidebound dogmas, and being the tool of an oppressive institution that doesn’t allow you to think for yourself. (Which would have surprised many thinking believers, like St. Thomas Aquinas, Moses Maimonides, Dorothy Day and Reinhold Niebuhr.)

Read the article here:
Spiritual but not religious — Not so fast! - Busted Halo 

Facebook | Pauline Books & Media

Facebook | Pauline Books & Media

Seeds of Faith for the Spread of the Gospel

Day of Prayer and Fasting for Missionary Martyrs on March 24

Rome (Agenzia Fides) – On March 24, 1980, Archbishop Oscar A. Romero of San Salvador was assassinated. Since 1993, this date was chosen by the Youth Missionary Movement of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Italy to be a day each year on which to recall all the missionaries killed in the world, with a "Day of Prayer and Fasting in Remembrance of the Missionary Martyrs." The initiative, now in its eighteenth year, was soon extended to many dioceses and several religious institutions in the world, that devote special efforts to remember their slain missionaries, together with all those who shed their blood for the Gospel.

In this year 2010, the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Romero, the day is dedicated to him, with the theme being his expression: "My life belongs to you." "Any martyrdom, any murder, any assassination carries with it the bitter taste of injustice and abuse, of the worst in man being acted out," writes Don Gianni Cesena, National Director of the PMS, in the preparatory material for this day. "Yet every Christian martyrdom belongs to the 'Beatitudes' of Jesus ... On the seed of Romero, like that of the ancient and contemporary Christian martyrs, every Christian community regains the deep meaning of life according to the Gospel, and often the courage of an 'active' memory that is not resigned and is inspired to continue on the journey with greater momentum.

The parish communities and consecrated life, seminaries, novice houses, are all invited to use the guidelines for the Vigil: Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic Adoration, ecumenical services, all prepared for this occasion, not only on March 24, but on the days preceding and following it. There are also ideas like set apart a corner of the Church for Martyrs, using a cross, a red cloth (that could also be on the front door as well), and an olive branch with the names of missionaries who have been killed; ring the bells at 3:00pm on March 24, inviting the people to meditate on Christ’s sacrifice and on the many men and women who have offered their lives; and plant a tree in memory of those who have given everything for love. Families can place lit candles in their windows or place a red cloth on display, as a visible sign of the commemoration; take part in an act of reconciliation: among members of the same household, between neighbors or members of the extended family, etc. and offer a donation from fasting, in support of the help project proposed for this year. The sick are encouraged to offer their suffering in memory of the missionary martyrs and for the spread of the Gospel, and to sustain missionaries and to ask the Lord for the gift of new holy missionary vocations. The young people are encouraged to give blood and visit those in the hospital, those who are alone, in prison...

This year, the solidarity project that will be supported with the offerings from the fast on March 24 is that of the construction of a youth center run by the Canossian Fathers in the district of Tondo, one of the poorest and most desolate areas of Manila. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 9/3/2010)

Guadalulpe's Largest Pilgrimage in History

AMERICA/MEXICO - Basilica of Guadalupe receives largest pilgrimage in history: 100,000 pilgrims
Toluca (Agenzia Fides) – The largest pilgrimage in history, nearly 100,000 pilgrims, has made its way to the Hill of Tepeyac. After three intense days of walking, at dawn on Wednesday, February 24, a pilgrimage from the Diocese of Toluca reached the Basilica of Guadalupe. With great faith, devotion and love, many believers have come here to venerate the Mother of God. The nearly 95,000 pilgrims from different municipalities belonging to the State of Mexico have completed a course of about 50 kilometers. Together with the pilgrims from the Diocese of Toluca, there are also many communities of faithful from the Diocese of Atlacomulco and on this occasion, for the first time, the new Archdiocese of Tenancingo.
The last part of the trail began at the community of Cuajimalpa. The march started at approximately 10pm on Tuesday, February 23, to reach the doors of the Basilica at 6am on Wednesday, February 23. On the day of arrival, the pilgrims rested near the Shrine of Guadalupe and attended the morning Mass presided by the Bishop of the Diocese of Toluca, Bishop Francisco Javier Chavolla Ramos. In this celebration, the pilgrims sought the intercession of the Virgin of Guadalupe in obtaining God's blessing on the diocesan activities, for the permanent mission, and for the lives of the individual believers.
The Diocese of Toluca sent Fides the text used for the preparation of the pilgrimage to the Basilica of Guadalupe, which helps to understand the meaning and significance of the pilgrimage, and offers a reflection on encountering Jesus through Mary. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 26/02/2010)
“Caminando hacia el Tepeyac” (in Spanish)

24 Hours Sacrament of Reconcilation in 52 Churches

AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Archdiocese of New York offers “24 Hours of Confession” in 52 churches, for Lent

New York (Agenzia Fides) – The Cathedral of Saint Patrick Young Adults and 51 churches of the Archdiocese of New York, have announced the 2nd Annual “24 Hours of Confessions” project for the 2010 Lenten Season. First held in Lent 2009 with the involvement of 20 Manhattan parishes, this year the Archdiocese has announced that 51 parishes will open their doors from 7:00am Friday, March 5 to 7:00am Saturday, March 6. These participating parishes have extended their hours for hearing confessions, targeting those Catholics who have not yet found the time to receive the Holy Sacrament of Reconciliation, keeping their doors open for a grand total of over 275 hours in this 24-hour period.

Mario Bruschi, Director of the Cathedral of Saint Patrick Young Adults, commented on the importance of the initiative: “Catholics need to know that confession is all about God’s forgiveness and love and that the priest is there for them. In this Year of the Priest, the priests of the Archdiocese of New York are making a tremendous sacrifice to hear people’s confessions, to counsel them, and to give them comfort...reminding people that confession can restore us when we sin. They are living the great example of St. John Vianney and St. Padre Pio, by bringing people back to Jesus Christ through this sacrament.”

In an effort to increase availability of this Sacrament, several other American dioceses are also opening confessionals for additional hours during the time of Lent. Hopefully, these positive initiatives will continue even during the rest of the liturgical year, as the need is always present. (AR) (Agenzia Fides 05/03/2010)

For full list of participating parishes