Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dioceses in the U.S publish online document aimed to prevent abuse

Some 80 dioceses in the United States have taken a simple step to prevent sexual abuse cases. They’ve published this document on their websites in an effort to prevent abuse.

Dioceses like the ones in New York City, Brooklyn, Iowa, Dallas and Philadelphia have made the ‘Model Code of Pastoral Conduct’, readily available. You can download it for free from the website The National Catholic Risk Retention Group created the website to prevent sexual abuse in the Church.

This 13-page document, outlines the code of conduct for the diocese to prevent abuse in parishes and schools. It refers to priests, deacons, pastoral ministers, administrators and volunteers who work there.

The document also includes a special section about the relationship with youth. By signing the document one agrees to avoid situations that could lead to abuse like signs of affection or sleeping in the same bedroom with a minor.

Additionally it points out sexual abuse cases should be taken seriously and immediately reported to the leader of the local church and civil authorities.

The document allows users to add suggestions and also describes troublesome conduct, like sexual or insulting jokes.

The document says both the Church institution and the people who work there, should have exemplary behavior, because their behavior could either help people or hurt people’s faith.

Twitter from the Vatican wins on the internet

The Vatican continues to join the millions of others on the internet and on Twitter.

Currently, the Vatican is present on Twitter in 6 different languages in order to reach as many Catholics as possible, including English, French, German, Spanish, Portugese and Italian. 

Links take visitors to Vatican Radio's homepage, where they can read and hear the latest news out of the Vatican. 
Through this new page, everyone and anyone can stay up to date on what's happening at the Vatican. 

Twitter users may already be in tune with Vatican news as Rome Reports is also a member of Twitter and offers news about the Catholic Church in both English and Spanish.

Youths from the International UNIV Congress show their support for the Pope

Benedict XVI is encouraging university students to reflect on forming a "universal Catholic mentality." READ MORE

Despite attacks, Pope's teachings remain, Vatican journalist observes

Italy's Il Foglio newspaper noted over the weekend that in the nearly five years of Pope Benedict XVI's pontificate, he has been criticized repeatedly, often being accused of turning back time to the period before the Second Vatican Council. The Vatican journalist Paolo Rodari underscores that despite the attacks, the Pope's teachings remain, because "you cannot run away from his words."

Rodari, Il Foglio's Vatican analyst, explains that "words are the first way with which the Pope guides and addresses the Church" even if his detractors maintain that they are "old fashioned when compared to contemporary culture, to the progressivism of the new times."

In his General Audience on March 10, recalls the author, the Pope cited the style of St. Bonaventure, for whom "governing was not simply doing, but was most of all thinking and praying." The Pope provided insight into his own thought when he added "the Church is not governed only through commands and structures, but through the guidance and illumination of souls." READ MORE

Pope calls all Irish bishops to meeting about child abuse

The pope has summoned Irish clergy to a conference on 15 and 16 February.

Ireland's bishops have all been summoned to the Vatican for discussions on the clerical child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Irish Catholic church.

Senior Catholic sources said today the pope had summoned them to a meeting in Rome on 15 and 16 February.

Senior Catholic church sources confirmed a story in the Irish Catholic newspaper about a meeting to debate the Ryan and Murphy reports into widespread clerical child abuse across the republic.

Irish bishops said they received the Vatican's invitations yesterday. READ MORE

Shinto Priest's Wife, Daughter Becoming Catholic

Mother Teresa Inspired Conversion

PARIS, MARCH 29, 2010 ( Two of the many thousands who will join the Catholic Church this Easter are a mother and daughter from Japan. Their story is unique because the family's father is a Shinto priest.

The Eglises d'Asie, the news agency of the Foreign Missions of Paris, reported the story of Ito Miyuki, 38, and her daughter, Kotone, 5, who will be baptized into the Catholic faith.

The celebration will take place in the parish of Yonezawa in the prefecture of Yamagata.

"My home is a Shinto temple; my work is that of a miko," she told UCANews, referring to a woman assistant in a Shinto temple.

With only a few days left before her baptism, Miyuki continues to play sacred music during her husband's ceremonies. After her baptism, she plans to continue to do so.

She began to work in the Shinto shrine in the prefecture of Shimane at 23. READ MORE

German Church sets up sex abuse hotline for victims and offenders

After a growing sex abuse scandal, the German Catholic Church has set up free nationwide hotline to help victims and offenders.

Three young adults interview the Pope

More than 70 thousand youth gathered in St. Peters Square to celebrate with Benedict XVI the 25th anniversary of the World Youth Day.

Wednesday of Holy Week

The tragedy of the betrayal

Why did Judas betray his Master? Was his treachery motivated by greed, bitter disappointment with Jesus, or hatred because of disillusionment?  It may be that Judas never intended for his Master to die. Maybe he thought Jesus was proceeding too slowly and not acting aggressively enough in setting up his messianic kingdom. Perhaps Judas wanted to force Jesus' hand by compelling him to act. Nonetheless, his tragedy was his refusal to accept Jesus as he was.

Jesus knew beforehand what would befall him. As Jesus ate the passover meal with his twelve apostles he put them under trial and suspicion (one of you will betray me) to teach them to examine themselves rightly, lest they be highminded and think themselves more strong than they were. We, also must examine ourselves in the light of God's truth and grace and ask him to strengthen us in faith, hope, and love that we may not fail him or forsake him when we are tempted. Do you pray with confidence in the words Jesus gave us to pray: Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13)?

"God our Father, we are exceedingly frail and indisposed to every virtuous and gallant undertaking.  Strengthen our weakness, we beseech you, that we may do valiantly in this spiritual war; help us against our own negligence and cowardice, and defend us from the treachery of our unfaithful hearts; for Jesus Christ's

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Five years without John Paul II

Thousands of people gathered at the Vatican to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the death of John Paul II.

Pope Benedict being 'scourged at the pillar,' says New York archbishop

In remarks following Palm Sunday Mass, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York urged Catholics “to express our love and solidarity” for Pope Benedict, who, given the recent media onslaught over sex abuse allegations, is “now suffering some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob, and scourging at the pillar, as did Jesus.” READ MORE

Thousands of John Paul II's belongings on display in Rome

Through these remembrances, one can get an idea of what a normal day was like in the life of John Paul II. This is the plate he ate off of. These are the family portraits that hung in his room and snow boots he wore. 

7 Ways to Make Your Holy Week Really Holy

Holy Week is that time of the year when Catholics commemorate the passion and death of Jesus and celebrate his resurrection. Since it is also vacation time for most people, it is easy to forget that Holy Week is about prayer, devotions and penance, and not about going to the beach and partying all night. 

Do you want to have a holy Holy Week? Aside from participating in Church liturgical services, I suggest the following activities. But of course, you can add your own suggestions to the list.

1. Some of our worst enemies are our own kin. Reach out to your difficult family members and do the Stations of the Cross and the visita iglesia with them. 

2. Jesus loves everyone and befriends those who are condemned by others as sinners and outcasts. Remember the people you dislike or hate. Text, call or visit them and reconcile with them this Holy Week.

3. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. You can also “wash the feet” of others by doing acts of humble and loving service.

4. Give up something you don’t need or spend as much on your needy neighbors as you spend on hard drinks, cigarettes, and other unnecessary wants. 

5. On Holy Thursday, prepare a simple meal for your family and begin the meal with a shared prayer and a short remembrance of the Last Supper.

6. On Good Friday, spend a quite time before a crucifix. Reflect on the important choices you have made in the past. Get to know yourself better and ask: what changes do I need to make in order to foster a more intimate relationship with Christ? 

7. On Glorious Saturday, make Easter presents for those who are close to your heart. Make something that will express to them that they are important and precious to you.

H/O -

Why Can't the Media Treat the Pope Fairly?

Andrew M. Brown: "I read the coverage of the Pope every day in the newspapers and listen to the BBC news and as a Catholic and a journalist I feel like crying out pathetically: “This is not fair!” And it isn’t fair, or reasonable. Intelligent journalists who are normally capable of mental subtlety and of coping with complexities have abandoned their critical faculties. There is an atmosphere of unreason."READ MORE

Benedict XVI Continues John Paul II's Legacy With Youth

A Vatican spokesman says Benedict XVI is continuing Pope John Paul II's special rapport with youth, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of young people who participated in the 25th World Youth Day. READ MORE

Vatican is considering the creation of a new diocese for Medjugorje

Millions of pilgrims visit Medjugorje every year. For this reason, the Vatican is considering building a diocese for the sanctuary, independent from the Mostar, which it depended on until now. 

The miracle for the beatification of Juan de Palafox is approved

Many people consider Juan de Palafox y Mendoza one of the best viceroys in the history of Mexico. His fans say he was one of the best bishops and a political example. Now, after several centuries of research, the Vatican has approved the miracle that will allow his beatification. 


Meditation: Jesus' disciples were put to the test as Jesus prepared to make the final and ultimate sacrifice of his own life for their sake and for all the world. What was different between Peter and Judas? Judas deliberately betrayed his Master while Peter, in a moment of weakness, denied him with an oath and a curse. Judas' act was cold and calculated. Peter, however, never meant to do what he did. He acted impulsively, out of weakness and cowardice. Jesus knew both the strength of Peter's loyalty and the weakness of his resolution. He had a habit of speaking with his heart without thinking through the implications of what he was saying. The treachery of Judas, however, is seen at its worst when Jesus makes his appeal by showing special affection to him at his last supper. John says that Satan entered into Judas when he rejected Jesus and left to pursue his evil course. Satan can twist love and turn it into hate. He can turn holiness into pride, discipline into cruelty, affection into complacency. We must be on our guard lest Satan turn us from the love of God and the path which God has chosen for us. The Holy Spirit will give us grace and strength in our time of testing. If we submit to Jesus we will walk in the light of his truth and love. If we turn our backs on him we will stumble and fall in the ways of sin and darkness. Are you ready to follow Jesus in his way of the cross? 

"Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart which no unworthy thought can drag downwards; an unconquered heart which no tribulation can wear out; an upright heart which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.  Bestow upon me also, O Lord my God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ, our Lord."  (Prayer of Thomas Aquinas)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Why can't the media treat the Pope fairly?

Andrew M. Brown: "I read the coverage of the Pope every day in the newspapers and listen to the BBC news and as a Catholic and a journalist I feel like crying out pathetically: “This is not fair!” And it isn’t fair, or reasonable. Intelligent journalists who are normally capable of mental subtlety and of coping with complexities have abandoned their critical faculties. There is an atmosphere of unreason." READ MORE

Papal Holy Week Liturgies to Air Online

The Holy Week and Easter celebrations presided over by Benedict XVI will be available online in a live video and audio stream.

The Web site, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, is airing these videos on the Internet for participants worldwide.

Audio commentaries will be provided in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The texts from the celebrations will also be available for download.

The service is being operated and promoted by the Vatican Television Center, Vatican Radio, with the technical support of H2O News.

In addition to this service, the Pope2You site is offering a collection of electronic greeting cards with images of the Holy Father for the Easter holidays.

The site allows users to send greetings to Facebook friends or through email.

Benedict XVI's Palm Sunday Homily

"The Cross Is Part of the Ascent Toward the Height of Jesus Christ"

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 26, 2010 ( Here is the text of the homily that Benedict XVI gave today in the Mass for Palm Sunday in St. Peter's Square. Many young people participated in the celebration, which also marked this year's World Youth Day, held on a diocesan level worldwide. READ MORE

Pictures via -

Monday of Holy Week

Then she dried his feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the ointment’s fragrance. (John 12:3)



Jesus, my God, I adore You, here present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, where You wait day and night to be our comfort while we await Your unveiled presence in heaven. Jesus, my God, I adore You in all places where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved and where sins are committed against this Sacrament of Love. Jesus, my God, I adore You for all time, past, present and future, for every soul that ever was, is or shall be created. Jesus, my God, who for us has endured hunger and cold, labor and fatigue, I adore You. Jesus, my God, who for my sake has deigned to subject Yourself to the humiliation of temptation, to the perfidy and defection of friends, to the scorn of Your enemies, I adore You. Jesus, my God, who for us has endured the buffeting of Your passion, the scourging, the crowning with thorns, the heavy weight of the cross, I adore You.

Jesus, my God, who, for my salvation and that of all mankind, was cruelly nailed to the cross and hung there for three long hours in bitter agony, I adore You. Jesus, My God, who for love of us did institute this Blessed Sacrament and offer Yourself daily for the sins of men, I adore You. Jesus, my God, who in Holy Communion became the food of my soul, I adore You.

Jesus, for You I live. Jesus, for You I die. Jesus, I am Yours in life and death. Amen.

Lenten Fact
Hunting was for many ages considered as forbidden during  Lent: the spirit of the holy season was too sacred to admit such  exciting and noisy sport.

Lenten Action.
Let go of a long standing grudge. Practice real forgiveness after the example of Jesus. 

God of mercy, be close to your people. Watch over us who receive this sacrament of salvation, and keep us in your love. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Snippets

Sunday Snippets is brought to you each week by RAnn at This, That and the Other Thing. 

This week my blogs surrounds reflections on Lent and some other inspirational thoughts. Hope you are inspired. God Bless:


Pope: Jesus the right path for becoming truly human



Youths Greet Benedict Greets Youth

Pope: Jesus the right path for becoming truly human

Being a Christian means to consider the path of Jesus Christ as the correct path to be human and to use it to reach the goal of fully realized and authentic humanity. Pope Benedict was speaking this morning, Palm Sunday, during his homily at Mass. Speaking to the 50,000 faithful, many of them young people celebrating diocesan World Youth Day, the Pope said It 's a path to the true summit of being human.

Young People: Give Witness to Christ

Before reciting the Angelus prayer at the conclusion of the celebration of Palm Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI renewed his appeal to the young, twenty-five years after the start of World Youth Days, which were begun by Pope John Paul II. He appealed to them to bear witness with the gentle power and the light of truth, because men and women of the third millennium will not miss the most authentic model of humanity: Jesus Christ.

Pope: Pray for peace in Jerusalem

At this moment, our thoughts and our hearts are directed especially to Jerusalem, where the paschal mystery was accomplished. I am deeply saddened by the recent conflicts and tensions occurring in that city, which is spiritual home to Christians, Jews and Muslims, and is the prophecy and promise of that universal reconciliation that God desires for all the human family. Peace is a gift that God entrusts to the human authorities, to cultivate it through dialogue and respect for all rights, and through reconciliation and forgiveness. Therefore, pray that those responsible for the fate of Jerusalem courageously engage e the path of peace and follow it with perseverance. 

A priest among airplanes

These days Nicholas Azar dresses in black. But for many years, he wore a colourful uniform, a reflective vest. This was for his job as an airport attendant.


We acclaim Jesus as King today and renew our daily offering. We pray in a special way that Christ may reign over the world’s economy and that the Church in Africa may continue His work of reconciliation. Our reflection is from Pope Benedict’s homily on this day in 2007.

In the Palm Sunday procession we join with the crowd of disciples who in festive joy accompany the Lord during his entry into Jerusalem. Like them, we praise the Lord with a loud voice for all the miracles we have seen. Yes, we too have seen and still see today the wonders of Christ: how he brings men and women to renounce the comforts of their lives and devote themselves totally to the service of the suffering; how he gives men and women the courage to oppose violence and deceit, to make room for truth in the world; how, in secret, he persuades men and women to do good to others, to bring about reconciliation where there had been hatred and to create peace where enmity had reigned. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Vatican has published documents of World War II online

The Vatican has published all of its documents on World War II on the internet.

Now any person can look at these documents by going online. The site shows 12 volumes, comprised of internal documents from the Holy See. The collection of documents about the conflict are written in French and Italian.

The volumes include original written agreements made in World War II, the humanitarian activities of the Church, the letters that Pius XII sent to the German bishops before and during the war, and other related documents to Poland and the Baltic countries.

In 1965, Pope Paul VI oversaw four Jesuit historians that collected a selection of the documents on the war in the preserved Vatican archives.

The historians published them in successive volumes from 1965 to 1981. Now they are also available on the internet.

Papal agenda for the Holy Week and Easter

Benedict XVI will preside over all Holy Week celebrations. For 8 days, thousands of pilgrims will visit the Eternal City, to mark the death and resurrection of  Jesus, in the heart of the Church.

On Palm Sunday the Pope will bless palms and olive branches in St. Peter's Square to commemorate Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.

On Holy Thursday, the day that honors the institutions of the Eucharist and the priesthood, the Pope will celebrate the Chrism Mass with cardinals, bishops, priests and religious in Rome. During the celebration he will bless the oils to be used the rest of the year for the anointing the sick and during confirmation ceremonies.

In the afternoon, Benedict XVI will preside over the Easter Triduum liturgies, which include rich symbolic elements such as the washing of the feet of twelve priests at St. John Laternan’s Basilica, the same way Jesus did at the Last Supper.

There will also be a collection to raise money for the rebuilding of the seminar in Port au Prince, Haiti, which was destroyed by the January earthquake that also killed 26 seminarians. The 200 others who survived were left with nothing and need urgent help.

Good Friday recalls the crucifixion of Jesus. At a the moving ceremony hundreds will join the pope in adoring the Cross.

At night, standing under the light of countless candles, the pope will preside over the Via Crucis at the Colosseum in Rome, the place which recalls the martyrdom of many Christians.

The resurrection of Jesus will be celebrated Saturday night at the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. The pope will celebrate over adult baptisms and will bless the fire for ceremonies at the basilica.

On Easter Sunday, the morning mass will be celebrated in St. Peter's Square followed by the Urbi et Orbi blessing and Easter greetings delivered in over 60 languages.

Virtual reality tour gives online users a private view of the Sistine Chapel

With  just one mouse click, you can see one of the world’s most famous chapels.

The Sistine Chapel has more than 4 million visitors each year and once inside, it can get crowded and noisy.

But now anyone with access to the internet can visit the pope's chapel and view the artwork on the ceiling and walls without any distraction.

About a dozen students and faculty from Villanova University teamed up with the Vatican to create this virtual reality tour for the Vatican website. They took several thousand digital photographs of the Sistine Chapel over the past two years. They also spent five nights enclosed in the chapel for six hours at a time.

The result, a private view of the chapel, which depicts 9 stories of Genesis and houses famous Michelangelo frescoes, such as The Last Judgment.

The Sistine Chapel was built in 1473 and is the the site of papal elections. Neither photographs nor video are allowed inside. So this ability to zoom in and out and to pay as much attention to detail as you want, is a great addition to the web.

Rare exhibition on spiritual realism on display in the U.S capital

This image is only a taste of what visitors at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C get to see up close.

It’s one of 20 realistic Spanish masterpieces that come together in an exhibit called "The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600-1700”

The exhibit showcases works of extreme realism created for the Catholic Church during that time period.

The idea was to make the pieces look real. Take for example this life-size figure of Christ with awful gory wounds on his back after he had been whipped.

Many of these works have never travelled outside of Spain, but through the end of May, visitors can see them on display in the U.S capital.

Pope: Sacrifices are possible if they have meaning

Young person: "Jesus invited the rich young man to leave everything and follow Him, but he went away sad. I like him also find it hard to follow, because I'm afraid to leave my things and sometimes the Church asks difficult sacrifices of me. Holy Father, how can I find the strength to make courageous decisions and who can help me?"Benedict XVI: "Let us begin with perhaps what is a difficult word for us: sacrifice. Sacrifices are possible and even become beautiful at the end if they have a reason, and if this reason justifies even the difficulty of the sacrifice.

Benedict XVI: Jesus is known above all by the heart

Young person: "The Gospel says that Jesus looked at the young man and loved him. Holy Father, what does it mean to be looked at with love by Jesus; how can we also have this experience today? But is it truly possible to live this experience even in today's world?"Benedict XVI: "A person can not learn the same way in which I can study math, for math, reason is necessary and is sufficient, but to know a person, above all the great person, Jesus, the God- man, we need reason, but at the same time also the heart. Only with the opening of the heart for Him alone, together knowing what he said, what he did, with our love, with our movement towards him, can we increasingly know Him. READ MORE

Pope Offers Life Lessons to Youth

Benedict XVI is telling youth how to live a beautiful and joyful life, saying that even sacrifice is attractive if there is a reason for it.

The Pope gave life lessons Thursday when he participated in an event to mark the 25th World Youth Day. During the activity, he responded to three questions from young participants. The three questions related to this year's Youth Day theme: "Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life."

The first questioner noted that "I don't even know what eternal life is."

"Is it possible to make something beautiful and great of my life?" the youth asked the Pontiff. READ MORE

A Sacrifice of Praise


We live in a world full of contradictions and deep crisis. Science and technology are making giant strides in all aspects of life, equipping humanity with all that it takes to make our planet a beautiful place for us all. Yet tragic situations of refugees, abject poverty, disease and hunger are still killing thousands on a daily basis.

In all this, Africa is the most hit. Rich in human and natural resources, many of our people are still left to wallow in poverty and misery, wars and conflicts, crisis and chaos. These are very rarely caused by natural disasters. They are largely due to human decisions and activities by people who have no regard for the common good and this often through a tragic complicity and criminal conspiracy of local leaders and foreign interests.

But Africa must not despair. The blessings of God are still abundant, waiting to be prudently and justly employed for the good of her children. Where the conditions are right, her children have proved that they can reach, and have indeed reached, the height of human endeavors and competence. There is much good news in many parts of Africa. But the modern media often tend to emphasize bad news and thus seem to focus more on our woes and defects than on the positive efforts that we are making. Nations have emerged from long years of war and are moving gradually along the path of peace and prosperity. Good governance is making appreciable positive impact in some African nations, challenging others to review past and present bad habits. Signals abound of many initiatives seeking to bring effective solutions to our problems. This Synod, precisely by its theme, hopes to be part of such positive initiatives. We call on all and sundry to join hands to address the challenges of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace in Africa. Many are suffering and dying: there is no time to waste.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Youths Greet Benedict Greets Youth

Youths greet Pope Benedict XVI as he arrives to lead the meeting with the youth of Rome and the Lazio region in preparation for World Youth Day in St.Peters square at the Vatican on March 25, 2010.


Holy Land Prayer offers Christians and Catholics worldwide an opportunity to send their prayer requests and light a candle at the holiest site - The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. 

The faithful can order a candle to be lit, for mass or prayers to be said, according to the site. A new “light a candle video” service shows “live” the candle purchased or requested for by individuals being lit in the church.

Vatican says it was not informed on time about the sexual abuse cases in Milwaukee

The Vatican says it was not timely nor fully informed about the extent of the sexual abuse cases which occurred between 1950 and 1974, involving deaf children in Wisconsin. READ MORE

Benedict XVI: Family is central for a healthy society

Defend the family, defend the rights of the weakest and of children, and oppose anti-life choices by state legislation. Pope Benedict XVI asked this of the bishops of Scandinavia, in his address at the end of their Ad Limina visit. The Pope noted that the family is the center of social cohesion and children have a right to be conceived and grow within a marriage between a man and a woman, so as to receive appropriate models for human development. Among other topics, the Pope asked the bishops to be especially concerned for couples where only one member is Catholic and to take care of immigrants- many of whom are from the Middle East and belong to the Eastern Churches. READ MORE

Vatican discovers first coloured images of Pius XII

For the first time in history, we’re getting to see video images of Pope Pius XII in color. The Vatican’s film library surprisingly found the images that were filmed back in 1956.

The images were taken during Pius XII’s 80th birthday, two years before his death. The Vatican decorated Cortile di San Damaso, the official entrance to the pope’s residence, with hundreds of flowers.

In these images, which were taken live, several commentators explain the celebration. The film ends after the Pope greets guests in the entrance.

The Vatican’s film library has hundreds of pictures and films on Pius XII. But many still remain unseen so chances are they’ll keep finding more surprising images just like these.

The Angelus


During last October’s Special Synod of African Bishops, Ugandan Archbishop John Baptist Odama spoke about the sins against life that are being committed in Africa. On this day after the feast of the Annunciation when we celebrate the conception of Jesus and his development as a tiny human embryo, let us pray for an end to abortion in Africa and that the United States may not encourage or fund abortions there. Only if life is seen as sacred from conception will there be the possibility of a culture of life. Justice and reconciliation depend upon such a culture, for which we now pray. The following is from Archbishop Odama’s October 13 address to the Synod.

[The rebel Lord’s Resistance Army’s] forces have taken young boys and girls to force them to become child soldiers, damaging their minds and spirits in terrible ways. And the LRA forces have abducted young girls as sex slaves, ruining their hopes and futures. … [T]there is another more widespread violence that goes on every day throughout the continent. This is the violence of hunger, lack of educational opportunities, shortage of adequate health care, and unfit living conditions in urban slums and refugee camps…. But let me add yet another way in which violence is done to children, and this is the shocking rates of abortion that take away the lives of innocents even before birth. A culture of abortion, a dynamic of lack of respect for the unborn, a promotion of “rights” that even allows for this denial of the right to life, is but another sign of violence against life.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

CNA and EWTN launch joint news service

.- Catholic News Agency announced that it has entered into an agreement with the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). The new cooperation involves the sharing of news and resources to bring readers more Catholic news from around the world. 

The new venture will be evident on both CNA's website and in the launch of a news website for EWTN, which can be found at

Super-Sizing the Last Supper

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - We've been overeating our way through ever-larger portions over the past 1,000 years, a U.S. study revealed after studying more than 50 paintings of the Biblical Last Supper.
The study, by a Cornell University professor and his brother who is a Presbyterian minister and a religious studies professor, showed that the sizes of the portions and plates in the artworks, which were painted over the past millennium, have gradually grown by between 23 and 69 percent.

This finding suggests that the phenomenon of serving bigger portions on bigger plates, which pushes people to overeat, has also occurred gradually over the same time period, said Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

"The last thousand years have witnessed dramatic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance and affordability of food," Wansink, author of "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think," said in a statement.

"We think that as art imitates life, these changes have been reflected in paintings of history's most famous dinner."

The researchers analyzed 52 paintings depicting the Last Supper which were featured in the 2000 book "Last Supper" by Phaidon Press, and used computer-aided design technology to analyze the size of the main meals, or entrees, bread and the plates relative to the average size of the disciples' heads.

The study found that, over the past 1,000 years, the size of the main meal has progressively grown 69 percent; plate size has increased 66 percent and bread size by about 23 percent.

The research, conducted with Wansink's brother, Craig Wansink, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College, was published in the April edition of The International Journal of Obesity.

(Writing by Miral Fahmy, Editing by Steve Addison)

Google says no to China, censorship

Google is no longer a verb in China, or at least as of this week it can’t be. The world’s leading search engine has pulled out of the world’s largest country. The problem: Censorship. 

In keeping with its American, free-speech roots, Google executives refused to cave when the communist Chinese government demanded the company work with censors to block certain information from reaching the general public. In January, Google ceased collaborating with the censors and now three months later the company has closed down its operations there and has begun redirecting traffic to the Hong Kong site, which does not have strict censorship regulations. 

YouTube and Blogger are among the restricted destinations; the people of China are unable to access these sites at all. While both Blogger and YouTube contain a large amount of people who ramble on about nothing. It is interesting that these two sites are completely blocked. 

It is not just the news China wants to keep out. The move to censor Google was about silencing the masses, not giving them the right to state their opinion or even really form one based on compiled/researched information.

Pope accepts resignation of Irish bishop

The pope accepted the resignation letter of yet another Irish bishop who covered up sex abuse cases. Bishop John Magee, of Cloyne previously served as secretary for Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II. READ MORE

World Youth Day turns 25

When John Paul II was pope, he asked for there to be special meetings dedicated to problems facing youth during each one of his international trips. The meetings were a hit and that’s how the idea of World Youth Day was born, nearly 25 years ago.

Father Eric Jacquinet is the person in charge at the Vatican for World Youth Day. He says the meeting is more than a memorable international event.

Fr. Eric Jacquinet - Pontifical Council for the Laity
“John Paul II  wanted to not only give young adults a meeting with the pope, he wanted to share a meeting with Christ and the universal Church. He wanted them to enjoy the presence of Christ.”

John Paul II and Benedict XVI have traveled to 5 continents for World Youth Day. Manila, Denver and Cologne have received the pope. When the pope selects a country to celebrate World Youth Day, it’s because he wants to send a very clear message to that country.

Father Jacquinet knows by experience that an event where millions of young adults come together in one city takes a lot of organizing. That’s why the Vatican and an organizing committee are already gearing up for next year’s World Youth Day, which takes place in Madrid 2011.

Fr. Eric Jacquinet - Pontifical Council for the Laity
“Right now we’re working on recruiting volunteers. It’s very important for young adults from all over the world help us. We’re also working on the hymn, by getting young adults together in the catechesis who speak different languages and the topics that will be discussed. That’s one of the main aspects of every World Youth Day that is organized here in Rome.”

Over the years, nearly 17 million young adults have participated in World Youth Day. One of the goals of the ones coming up, is to celebrate the event in developing countries, so young adults there also have a chance to visit the Pope.

During the past 25 years of events with young adults, the pope wants to show them, they are the hope of the Church. 25 years that will celebrated today with the vision not only on the future but also on the whole world.

A hero style invitation to join the priesthood

In light of the Year for Priest, the Brooklyn Archdiocese has launched an original video and a website dedicated to guide young men who may be discerning signs of a vocation to the priesthood. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio says the website is a new way of inviting young men to consider the Lords call to priesthood. The website offers testimonials, resources and information on becoming a priest in Brooklyn.


In the Angelus prayer we remember the Gospel event that we are celebrating today—Mary’s “yes” to God’s will when the Angel Gabriel came to her and the conception of Jesus in her womb. Last year, during a pastoral visit to Africa, Pope Benedict spoke of this and invited us to pray for the Church in Africa. Let us reflect on his words.

At the conclusion of our Eucharistic celebration, as my Pastoral Visit to Africa comes to its close, let us now turn to Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer, to implore her loving intercession upon us, our families, and our world. In this Angelus prayer, we recall Mary’s complete “yes” to the will of God. Through Mary’s obedience of faith, the Son of God came into the world to bring us forgiveness, salvation and life in abundance. By becoming a man like us in all things but sin, Christ taught us the dignity and worth of each member of the human family. He died for our sins, to gather us together into God’s family.

May the Holy Mother of God, who points us to her Son, our brother, remind Christians everywhere of our duty to love our neighbor, to be peacemakers, to be the first to forgive those who have sinned against us, even as we have been forgiven.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cell Phone vs. The Bible

I thought I would share this email, it is very interesting and thought provoking.

I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several time a day?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go ... hmm, where is my Bible?

And no dropped calls!

Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities?

A Life Like Yours

There are many ways to describe Anna. She is a cell phone carrying, iPod wearing, High School Musical -crazed girl who loves going to the movies. In her more serious moments she’s a hard-working student who speaks two languages, likes photography and serves as an altar server at her parish. To those who first meet Anna, she is described as a person with Down Syndrome. Her sister describes her as the only person she knows who does not know the meaning of jealousy and who is an experience of pure love. READ MORE