Friday, April 30, 2010

Christianity now dominant religion in sub-Sahara Africa

A study released this month shows Christianity is now the dominant religion in sub-Sahara Africa. Where once Christians and Muslims combined made up less than a quarter of its population, the region now has 21 percent of the world’s Christians.
The number of Muslims grew from 11 million in 1900 to 234 million in 2010.

Christians have grown from 7 million in 1990 to the current 470 million. Fifty-seven percent of the population is Christian while 29 percent is Muslim.



Now this region between the Sahara Desert and the Cape of Good Hope is home to one-in-five of all of the Christians in the world.

The study was conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and involved 25,000 face-to-face interviews in 90 countries representing the sub-Sahara Africa.

The report notes that sub-Saharan African Christians and Muslims generally have a positive view of each other, and in most countries relatively few people think that there is hostility against Muslims or Christians.

While sub-Sahara Africa has almost twice as many Christians as Muslims, on the African continent as a whole the two faiths are roughly balanced, with 400 million to 500 million followers each.

Catholic High Schoolers More Likely to Graduate


(Zenit.org).- Students of Catholic high schools are more likely than their peers in other schools to graduate and attend college, a new study finds.
The Annual Statistical Report on Schools, Enrollment and Staffing, United States Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools 2009-2010, was recently released by the National Catholic Educational Association.

A statement from the U.S. bishops reported the finds Wednesday.

The study shows that Catholic secondary schools report a graduation rate of 99.1%. Non-Catholic religious schools have a rate of 97.9%; non-sectarian schools 95.7%; and public schools 73.2%.

Similarly, Catholic high school students, 84.7%, are most likely to attend four-year colleges. They are twice as likely to attend four-year colleges as public high school graduates, 44.1%.

“This report illustrates the ongoing excellence of Catholic schools,” said Marie Powell, executive director of the bishops' Secretariat of Catholic Education. “Catholic high schools have a remarkable record of graduating their students and preparing them well for post-secondary education.

"Their effectiveness in educating students, even from disadvantaged backgrounds, has been cited consistently in research published over the last 25 years. The Catholic community can be very proud of their support for such schools.”

First Friday Devotions

"The First Friday of each month was designated by our Savior Himself as a day to be consecrated to honoring His Sacred Heart…. As the object of this devotion is to make our Savior Jesus Christ ardently and perfectly loved, and to make reparation for the outrages offered to Him in the past, as well as for those which he daily receives in the Blessed Eucharist…Jesus Christ merits our love at all times, but alas! He is despised and outraged in the Sacrament of His love at all times, and so people should at all times make reparation to Him.

We should then adore Jesus Christ in this august Sacrament, make a fervent act of love to Jesus in the tabernacle, thank Him for having instituted this Mystery of love, express our sorrow at seeing Him so abandoned, and resolve to visit Him as soon as possible and love Him unceasingly.

Attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is assuredly the best means of honoring and loving the adorable Heart of Jesus.
The following First Friday devotions are efficacious in honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
2. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
3. Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
4. Act of Reparation
5. The Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
6. The Sacrament of Reconciliation

The Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

1. "I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life."
2. "I will establish peace in their homes."
3. "I will comfort them in their afflictions."
4. "I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death."
5. "I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings."
6. "Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy."
7. "Tepid souls shall grow fervent."
8. "Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection."
9. "I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored."
10. "I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts."
11. "Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out."
12. "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."

ST. PIUS V

Today’s saint was born in northern Italy and entered the Dominican Order when he was fourteen. After becoming Pope he implemented the decrees of the Council of Trent and helped form an alliance that led to the defeat of the Turkish navy, which was in control of the Mediterranean Sea, at the Battle of Lepanto. He attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory, now celebrated as Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. Our present Pope is also very devoted to Mary and when he returned to his homeland a year after his election, he offered a special prayer to her which we will use now as we pray for Pope Benedict and his intentions.

Holy Mother of the Lord! Our ancestors, at a time of trouble, set up your statue here, in the very heart of Munich, and entrusted the city and country to your care. They wanted to meet you again and again along the paths of their daily life, and to learn from you the right way to live, to find God and to live in harmony. They gave you a crown and a sceptre, which at that time were symbols of dominion over the country, because they knew that power and dominion would then be in good hands - in the hands of a Mother.

Your Son, just before his farewell to his disciples, said to them: "Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all" (Mk 10:43-44). At the decisive hour in your own life, you said: "Here I am, the servant of the Lord" (Lk 1:38). You lived your whole life as service. And you continue to do so throughout history. At Cana, you silently and discreetly interceded for the spouses, and so you continue to do. You take upon yourself people's needs and concerns, and you bring them before the Lord, before your Son. Your power is goodness. Your power is service.

Teach us - great and small alike - to carry out our responsibilities in the same way. Help us to find the strength to offer reconciliation and forgiveness. Help us to become patient and humble, but also free and courageous, just as you were at the hour of the Cross. In your arms you hold Jesus, the Child who blesses, the Child who is also the Lord of the world. By holding the Child who blesses, you have yourself become a blessing. Bless us, this city and this country! Show us Jesus, the blessed fruit of your womb! Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen!


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Italian president organizes a concert for the pope


A new book to commemorate the Year for Priests



For 8 years, the author of The priest, the image of Christ through centuries of art, Steen Heidemann, traveled around the globe, seeing private collections, visiting museums, and snapping photos of rare never before seen works of art. 

Liana Marabini -Publisher, The Priest, the image of Christ through centuries of art
“It’s a very universal book, it’s like the Catholic church, a very universal book.”

The photographs are of historic paintings that depict the Catholic priest in action. These 560 images illustrate the work of famous artists like Raphael and Fra Angelico, the compilation aims to deepen the appreciation of the priesthood.

Cardinals, bishops, priests and even the pope wrote essays that accompany the illustrations.

Liana Marabini - Publisher, The Priest, the image of Christ through centuries of art
“I think the common theme you will see in all these paintings is the sacrality of the Catholic priest. You will see this in all movements expressions and gestures and I think that is the main issue as we need to rediscover the sacrality of the Catholic priest.”

In fact, the book which is available in six different languages, was published precisely to commemorate the Year for Priest.

A book made up of 560 images that many hope will serve as inspiration to both priests and artists living in the 21st century.

Venezuela leader Hugo Chavez takes to Twitter


Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president well known for his marathon TV addresses to the nation, has taken to Twitter to share his thoughts.

After he promised to "let loose" on Tuesday night, a Spanish-language tweet duly appeared on his new chavezcandanga account 14 minutes after midnight. 

It was a simple message to say he was off on a working trip to Brazil. 

By morning the leftist leader, a divisive figure at home and abroad, had nearly 29,000 followers on Twitter.Currently he has over 79,000 followers. READ MORE

A look at how seminaries are screening who enters the priesthood


Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: Catholic Media's Greatest Star

This new film about the life and works of Archbishop Fulton Sheen is being shown throughout Rome and soon in dioceses across the United States.

Catholic Archbishop Fulton Sheen was a popular preacher, TV personality, writer and missionary.

In 1919, he was ordained a priest in Peoria, Illinois, and was later Auxiliary Bishop of New York and Bishop of Rochester. He died in 1979 at the age of 84.

Now Archbishop Sheen is being considering for sainthood.

Lisa Wheeler - Executive Vice President, The Maximus Group
“Archbishop Sheen stands up as a crusader for the Church and an example of what as you hear in the film what a true son of the Church is all about, what’s authentic about being a priest and a man of God.”

This documentary shows some humorous moments and anecdotes from his closest friends.

The Archbishop was also a famous radio and TV personality. His television series, “Life is Worth Living” had an audience of more than 30 million.

“Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: Servant of All” is a one hour documentary that shows the Archbishop’s compassion towards the sick and his love of the priesthood.

Lisa Wheeler - Executive Vice President, The Maximus Group
“Well almost everywhere that we show the film people weep during the film because they realize whether they’re being introduced to him for the first time or being reintroduced that this is a man that the world needed then but needs even more now especially in the time that we are living in right now with the effort of criticism that’s being waged against the Church for both valid reasons as well as in a lot cases for very invalid reasons.”

The Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation hopes awareness and support of the film will further his cause for canonization.

If he is proclaimed a saint he’ll be the first American bishop saint and the first saint to have been a major media personality with an Emmy award.

Pope: There is no charity without life in Christ

Yesterday Benedict XVI called to mind the approaching conclusion of the Year for Priests, dedicating the general audience to a reflection on "two saintly priests" of the 19th century. The Pope spoke of St. Leonard Murialdo and St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo, saying they were "exemplary in their giving of themselves to God and in their witness of charity -- lived in the Church and for the Church -- toward their neediest brothers." Reflecting on St. Leonard (1828-1900), the Holy Father emphasized that "the central nucleus of Murialdo's spirituality was the conviction of the merciful love of God: a Father who is always good, patient and generous, who reveals the greatness and immensity of his mercy with forgiveness." READ MORE

ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA

Today’s saint was a mystic and lay Dominican whom Pope Paul VI named a Doctor of the Church in 1970. She lived at a time when the Church was terribly divided and the Pope lived not in Rome but in Avignon, France. She worked, prayed, and suffered for him to return to Rome. Let us commit ourselves to supporting Pope Benedict and praying for his monthly intentions with the same love for the Pope that St. Catherine had. In 1999 Pope John Paul II wrote the following when he declared her one of the patronesses of Europe:

Catherine was tireless in her commitment to resolving the many conflicts which afflicted the society of her time. … Placing “Christ crucified and sweet Mary” before the parties involved, she made it clear that in a society inspired by Christian values there could never be grounds for conflict so serious that the reasons of force need prevail over the force of reason.

Yet Catherine was well aware that such a conclusion was unthinkable if souls had not first been molded by the power of the Gospel. This was why she stressed the reform of morals to all, without exception. … With the same vigor, Catherine addressed Churchmen of every rank, demanding of them the most exacting integrity in their personal lives and their pastoral ministry. The uninhibited, powerful and incisive tone in which she admonished priests, Bishops and Cardinals is quite striking. It is essential—she would say—to root out from the garden of the Church the rotten plants and to put in their place “new plants” which are fresh and fragrant. And strengthened by her intimacy with Christ, the Saint of Siena was not afraid to point out frankly even to the Pope, whom she loved dearly as her “sweet Christ on earth”, that the will of God demanded that he should abandon the hesitation born of earthly prudence and worldly interests, and return from Avignon to Rome, to the Tomb of Peter.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New BMW model


Do Babies Ruin Bodies? 'Biggest Loser's' Jillian Michaels Won't Give Birth

There is no doubt that “The Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels has one of the best bodies in America, and given her childhood history of being overweight, it's something the 36-year-old has worked ultra-hard to achieve. So hard in fact, that she’s not willing to let it slide even to become a biological mother.

“I’m going to adopt. I can’t handle doing that to my body,” Michaels told the new issue of Women’s Health magazine. “Also, when you rescue something, it’s like rescuing a part of yourself.” 

Michaels’ words surrounding pregnancy and her figure have been met with criticism from several experts (who have not worked with her) in the health industry.

“She is teaching people about body image and self-esteem. Women who have children all the time and get right back in shape particularly if they exercise,” Dr. Leslie Seppinni, a Los Angeles-based Family Therapist & Clinical Psychologist told Pop Tarts. “If this is how she truly feels, she should seek counsel before coaching others on issues of body image.” 

And Dr. Mike Bishop, Executive Director at Wellspring health/weight loss camps pointed out that Michaels’s own self-esteem may have too much emphasis on aesthetic. READ MORE

Noah's Ark 'found': Explorers claim

Chinese and Turkish evangelical explorers say that they are 99.9% sure that have found Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey.

The team said it had recovered wooden specimens from a structure on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey that carbon dating proved was 4800 years old, around the same time the ark is said to have been afloat, AFP reports.

"It's not 100 per cent that it is Noah's Ark but we think it is 99.9 per cent that this is it," said Yeung Wing-cheung, a Hong Kong documentary filmmaker and member of the 15-strong team from Noah's Ark Ministries International.

The structure had several compartments, some with wooden beams, which were believed to house animals, he said.

The group of evangelical archaeologists ruled out an established human settlement on the grounds that one had never been found above 3500m in the vicinity, Mr Yeung said.

Local Turkish officials would ask the central government in Ankara to apply for UNESCO World Heritage status so the site could be protected while a major archaeological dig was conducted, he added. 

Noah's Ark 'found' on mountain in Turkey (News.com.au/AFP)

ST. LOUIS DE MONTFORT

Today’s saint went throughout France giving parish missions and inviting people to dedicate themselves to Jesus through Mary. Because Jesus took flesh in her womb and came to us through Mary, it is appropriate to go to Jesus through Mary. Reflecting on an excerpt from St. Louis de Montfort’s book “True Devotion to Mary,” let us pray that we may become more like Jesus by imitating Mary. May persecuted Christians in particular be loving and forgiving as Jesus was.

True devotion to Our Lady is holy; that is to say, it leads the soul to avoid sin and to imitate the virtues of the Blessed Virgin, particularly her profound humility, her lively faith, her blind obedience, her continual prayer, her universal mortification, her divine purity, her ardent charity, her heroic patience, her angelic sweetness and her divine wisdom. These are the ten principal virtues of the most holy Virgin. ...

All our perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ; and therefore the most perfect of all devotions is, without any doubt, that which the most perfectly conforms, unites and consecrates us to Jesus Christ. Now, Mary being the most conformed of all creatures to Jesus Christ, it follows that, of all devotions, that which most consecrates and conforms the soul to Our Lord is devotion to His holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to Mary, the more it is consecrated to Jesus. Hence it comes to pass that the most perfect consecration to Jesus Christ is nothing else but a perfect and entire consecration of ourselves to the Blessed Virgin, and this is the devotion which I teach; or, in other words, a perfect renewal of the vows and promises of holy Baptism.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

'Mother Angelica' tops Catholic bestseller list


"The Prayers and Personal Devotions of Mother Angelica" by Raymond Arroyo tops the list of bestselling hardcover Catholic books. Scattered among the lists of bestsellers aimed at the Catholic reader are found perennial favorites such as C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity."

The monthly Catholic Bestsellers list creates a public awareness of Catholic bestsellers, promotes sales, and encourages reading. Graced reading increases faith knowledge and, most importantly, deepens and strengthens faith life, which finds its fruit in service to others. READ MORE

Should Larry King's Marriage License be Revoked?

Suspender man is in the news - Barring a last-minute reconciliation, Larry King is about to get unhitched for the eighth time. This despite the fact that his wife, Shawn Southwick, is 26 years younger and about a foot taller than he is. In other words, a perfect match. Nevertheless, it seems likely that the ex - Mrs. King club will soon welcome its seventh member - only seven, because one of the Mrs. Kings served two tours. And Mr. King will be back in the dating pool. 

How does he compare with others?
Losing a life partner or two could happen to anyone, but going through seven requires some effort. The vast majority of Americans - about 97% - wimp out and do not wed more than three times. As an octospouse, the 76-year-old King is in rarefied company. Elizabeth Taylor has also hatched and dispatched eight unions. (Recent reports of a ninth have proved erroneous.) So has Mickey Rooney. Zsa Zsa Gabor has been married nine times. William Shatner has an impressive number of exes, as do Billy Bob Thornton and Joan Collins.
Like news anchoring, the field of extreme spouse collecting is dominated by women who were once considered very good-looking and men who almost never were.
H/O http://j-walkblog.com/

Benedict XVI in Turin on Sunday


Benedict XVI will go to Turin on Sunday for a pastoral visit to the city during the period of the Exhibition of the Shroud. The visit to Turin will be very opportune occasion - the Pope stated last year - to contemplate that mysterious face which silently speaks to the hearts of men, inviting them to recognize the face of God, who so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Cardinal George Pell reveals Domus Australia logo

 
Cardinal George Pell of Sydney visited the site of the Domus Australia, a center for pilgrims. The opening is planned for 2011, but today the logo was revealed in the chapel of the site which is still under construction.

The logo shows the southern cross, a collection of stars which can be found on the Australian flag. There’s also the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica which was designed by Michelangelo.

Card. George Pell
Archbishop of Sydney (Australia)

“And then we have the title Domus Australia. It’s a Latin title. Domus means home. This will be a home for pilgrims. We are encouraging many people to come from Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, to stay here. We will encourage them to move from being tourists to being interested more to pilgrims with a call to faith and to repentance.”

Cardinal Pell says he helped evaluate different stages of the logo design and helped give the final approval. The logo was tested extensively among men and woman of all ages.

Card. George Pell
Archbishop of Sydney (Australia)
“Because it’s not enormously important that I like it and understand it but it’s got to be able to speak to people and I think it will do that very successfully probably for many generations.”


Meanwhile construction inside of the house continues. For the moment Cardinal Pell has approved material for the rooms and bathrooms. He also visited the restoration of the church, one of the most complicated works.

Vatican invite Susan Boyle to sing for the Pope during Scotland visit


SUSAN BOYLE has been chosen to sing for the Pope during his visit to Scotland later this year.

Catholic Church leaders asked the Britain's Got Talent star to perform in front of the 150,000 crowd expected to greet the Pontiff at an outdoor mass.

She will sing before the papal address and may also perform during the mass in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park.

A senior church source said: "Susan has agreed to sing and everyone is delighted. It is a done deal.

"There are still some of the finer details to be ironed out but it has been approved by the highest echelons in the Vatican. READ MORE 

May she receive many blessings from this performance.

Top 10 Vocation Web Sites



Vocation Boom (www.vocationboom.com):
  • Best new resource on Priesthood
  • Launched within the year and still growing

Catholic Religious Vocation Network: Vision (http://www.vocation-network.org/): 

  • A time-tested resource for priestly and religious vocations
  • Vocation Match is an excellent way to help you discern
  • Listings of Orders and Dioceses and opportunities for visits and retreats
  
Test Your Calling.org (www.TestYourCalling.org):

  • Survey for men and women in discernment
  • Vocation Placement also lists local retreats and placed for prayer

LifeTeen (http://www.lifeteen.com/default.aspx?PageID=VOC_HOME):

  • Great resource for youth and young adult ministry
  
National Religious Vocation Conference (www.nrvc.net):

  • The 2009 Vocation Study is worth noting for its insights.
  
National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors (www.diocesanpriest.com):

  • A map of the United States with information on all of the diocesan vocation offices
  
Diocese of Columbus (www.SeekHoliness.com):

  • Good video and blog section
  
Diocese of Raleigh (http://romancatholicvocations.blogspot.com):  

  • Blog with great resources of videos, books, news

Diocese of Providence (www.CatholicPriest.com):

  • Good discernment resources
  
Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville (http://nashvilledominican.org/):

  • Chosen for its beauty and depth


POUI IN BLOOM

A Poui Tree in bloom, traditionally accepted as a signal for the approaching rainy season and an end to the dry season in Trinidad and Tobago, is known to bloom as early as late March or early April. With scorching heat caused by drought conditions making way for some much welcomed rain, the poui trees at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, are in full bloom and this woman and child could not help but walk through the fallen poui flowers which have now carpeted the savannah's floor.

Reawakening Devotion to the Sacred Heart


Interview With Author Father Thomas D. Williams

 (Zenit.org).- Christians need to get back to basics, and one of the best ways to do that is through devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, says Legionary of Christ Father Thomas D. Williams.

Father Williams is author of "A Heart Like His: Meditations on the Sacred Heart of Jesus", a book of 32 meditations on the virtues of the Heart of Christ.

"This is an amazingly contemporary, Scripturally based devotion," Williams says, "far from the musty idea it may still conjure up for some." Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, he asserts, "means devotion to Jesus himself, to the Word made flesh, to the humanity of the Son of God, and, in a particular way, to the love of God in human form."

In this interview, ZENIT asked Father Williams, a theology professor in Rome and Vatican analyst for CBS News, to explain the nature of this devotion and why it is so important for Christians today. READ MORE

Daily Reading & Meditation

"My sheep hear my voice, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand" John 10:22-30

Meditation: How secure is your faith and trust in God? Sheep without a shepherd are defenseless against prey, such as wolves, and often get lost and bewildered without a guide. That is why shepherds literally live with their sheep out in the open field and mountain sides. The shepherd guards his sheep from the dangers of storms, floods, and beasts of prey. The shepherd leads his sheep to the best places for feeding and the best streams for drinking. He finds the best place for their rest and safety at night. The sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd and heed his call when he leads them to safe pasture and rest. We are like sheep – we become easy prey to forces which can destroy us – sin, Satan, and a world opposed to God and his people. Jesus not only frees us from Satan's snares and the grip of sin, he leads us to the best of places where we can feed on the "word of life" and drink from the "living waters" of his Holy Spirit. The sheep who heed the voice of Jesus, the good shepherd, have no fear. He will lead them to the best of places – everlasting peace, joy, and fellowship with God and his people.

In this present life we will encounter trials and difficulties. We can face them alone or we can follow Jesus, the true shepherd, who will bring us safely through every difficulty to the place of peace and security with God. Do you listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and heed his commands?

"Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who secures what is best for us. In you I place all my hope and trust. Open my ears to hear your voice and follow your commands."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Iraq Christians defy threats to erect Rio-like Jesus statue


AMDANIYA, Iraq (AFP) – The Christians of northern Iraq have chosen to defy mounting attacks by extremists by erecting a statue of Jesus modelled on the giant Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.

The sculpture is only a tenth of the size of the 40-metre (130-foot) iconic statue that towers over the Brazilian city, but it has become a popular site for visitors in Hamdaniya, the north's largest Christian town.

"The idea of the statue is not to say Christians were here in case we leave," said Bashar Jarjees Habash, the city's coordinator of Christian affairs.

"But the idea of building the statue of Jesus opening his arms is to send a message of peace to everyone to say that we want to live in peace with all," said the 48-year-old. READ MORE

Our Lady of Good Counsel

ForYourVocation

New Vocation Site - http://www.foryourvocation.org/index.cfm

Daily Reading & Meditation


Meditation: What can shepherding teach us about God and our relationship with him? At the end of each day the shepherd brought his sheep into shelter. They knew the voice of their shepherd and came at his beckoning. So familiar was the shepherd and his sheep, that each was called by a distinct name. In the winter the sheep were usually brought to a communal village shelter which was locked and kept secure by a guardian. In the summer months the sheep were usually kept out in the fields and then gathered into a fold at night which was guarded by a shepherd throughout the night. He was literally the door through which the sheep had to pass. The scriptures describe God as a shepherd who brings security and peace to his people. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore (Psalm 120:8).Even the leaders of God's people are called shepherds: they shall lead them out and bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep which have no shepherd (Numbers 27:17). Just as a shepherd kept watch over his sheep and protected them from danger, so Jesus stands watch over his people as the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25). Do you know the peace and security of a life fully submitted to God? 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FOR THE 47th WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The 47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, to be celebrated on the Fourth Sunday of Easter – Good Shepherd Sunday – 25 April 2010, gives me the opportunity to offer for your meditation a theme which is most fitting for this Year for Priests: Witness Awakens Vocations. The fruitfulness of our efforts to promote vocations depends primarily on God’s free action, yet, as pastoral experience confirms, it is also helped by the quality and depth of the personal and communal witness of those who have already answered the Lord’s call to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life, for their witness is then able to awaken in others a desire to respond generously to Christ’s call. This theme is thus closely linked to the life and mission of priests and of consecrated persons. Hence I wish to invite all those whom the Lord has called to work in his vineyard to renew their faithful response, particularly in this Year for Priests which I proclaimed on the 150th anniversary of the death of Saint John Mary Vianney, the CurĂ© of Ars, an ever-timely model of a priest and a pastor. Read Full Text

The Call: Fr. John Corapi



Fr. John Corapi of of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity explains his call to the priesthood.

COME, FOLLOW ME - by Mother M. Angelica

"You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit." (Jn. 15:16) Jesus wanted His disciples and all those who would be chosen to follow Him in the future, to understand the essence of their vocation. A vocation to the religious life and in particular to contemplative life, is a special call. It cannot be explained, only accepted. It is a silent voice whose urging creates within the soul a burning desire to know God, to be with God, to serve God and completely dedicate one's total self to God. It is not something the soul decides-it is an acceptance of a choice made by God-it is a courageous gesture of love on the part of the soul and an outpouring of merciful love on the part of God. READ MORE

Catholic Religious Vocations


 
A video to encourage prayer and discernment for Vocations to the consecrated life.

Sunday Snippets - April 24, 2010

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

This week my blogs surrounds reflections on various aspects of our  Christian religion. Hope you are inspired. God Bless:
 
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How To Turn Routine Moments Into Prayer

-2-

Eighteen-year-old girl of the Focolare Movement will be beatified in September

-3-

Pope: Christian values are the basis of a nation's growth

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"I Heard the Devil's Confession"

Benedict XVI set sail on the digital sea


Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco kisses the hand of Pope Benedict XVI at the end of an audience with participants of 'Digital witness' meeting organised by the CEI (Italian Episcopal Community) in the Sala Nervi at Vatican on April 24, 2010.

The Good Shepherd

My sheep hear my voice, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand” John 10:27-30

FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Today is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday and is the 47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, a day when the whole Church asks God for priests and consecrated people. Let us make that our prayer today as we reflect on Pope Benedict’s Message for this day.

In the Old Testament the prophets knew that they were called to witness by their own lives to the message they proclaimed, and were prepared to face misunderstanding, rejection and persecution. The task which God entrusted to them engaged them fully, like a “burning fire” in the heart, a fire that could not be contained (cf. Jer 20:9). As a result, they were prepared to hand over to the Lord not only their voice, but their whole existence. In the fullness of time, Jesus, sent by the Father (cf. Jn 5:36), would bear witness to the love of God for all human beings, without distinction, with particular attention to the least ones, sinners, the outcast and the poor. Jesus is the supreme Witness to God and to his concern for the salvation of all. At the dawn of the new age, John the Baptist, by devoting his whole life to preparing the way for Christ, bore witness that the promises of God are fulfilled in the Son of Mary of Nazareth. When John saw Jesus coming to the river Jordan where he was baptizing, he pointed him out to his disciples as “the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). His testimony was so effective that two of his disciples, “hearing him say this, followed Jesus” (Jn 1:37). …

May this World Day once again offer many young people a precious opportunity to reflect on their own vocation and to be faithful to it in simplicity, trust and complete openness. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, watch over each tiny seed of a vocation in the hearts of those whom the Lord calls to follow him more closely, may she help it to grow into a mature tree, bearing much good fruit for the Church and for all humanity.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"I Heard the Devil's Confession"

As parish priest of a small village, I would often go out through the streets on Sunday, to greet people and give them a written catechesis, especially those who for different reasons did not go to church.

In the parish dedicated to St. Joseph, many had a habit that they fulfilled every Sunday without fail, as if it was a duty. This was to drink "some cold ones" -- as they called beer. Hence, it was easy to know where to find this type of "faithful," and he was also among them. 

One day, when I finished my run, a lady approached me to ask me if I had recognized the "devil." According to her, I had greeted him and he had received one of the messages that I gave out. 

I had not seen the "devil," or at least I don't remember having seen any woman or man who looked like him. READ MORE

Rosary Goes to Death Row

(Zenit.org) Zambian prisoners, including those on death row, will be able to learn to pray the rosary, as the result of an initiative from two United Kingdom charities.

The U.K. office of Aid to the Church in Need and the rosary charity Crown of Thorns, will be sending some 1,600 rosary booklets to Kamfinsa State Prison and Kabwe Maximum Security Prison.

Lisa de Quay, chief executive of Crown of Thorns, explained to Aid to the Church in Need that contact with the prisoners probably initiated with a visiting chaplain who distributed prayer cards explaining the rosary.

De Quay said: “Inmates are usually family breadwinners, worried about the poverty and hardship that their crime has left their families suffering and too far from home for their families to visit. READ MORE

Catholic charities continue to provide aid in Haiti


Divine Mercy film wins awards


A 35-minute shortfilm called The Last Appeal written, directed and produced by Fr. Bala Shoury Udumala of Vijayawada Diocese received two International Prestigious Recognition Awards in USA. It was aired on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), the largest Catholic channel on April 11. Fr. Bala Udumala graduated in Masters from Loyola Mary Mount University in Los Angeles in Film and Television Production in 2008.The Las Vegas International Film Festival 2009 awarded the director the “Official Finalist Award” this month in Las Vegas. The Mexico International Film Festivals also has awarded “The Silver Palm Award” for the film in the Student Category. About 2000 films from over 50 countries represented at each of these film festivals.

The film portrays the true story of a peasant girl, Helen who later becomes a nun in a convent in Poland. Jesus chose her to be the message of his mercy. The film brings out vividly the struggle Helen Kowalska went through in the process of delivering the message through the humble life of a nun in a convent in Poland at the beginning of the 20th century. The film depicts the revelations and visions of God to Helen. Besides English and Spanish, the film has been dubbed into several Indian languages. The Gujarvani production of Gujarat has already dubbed the film into Hindi and Telugu. The Hindi version was recently released in Mumbai by Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Telugu version by Bishop Prakash Mallavarapu in Vijayawada.


ST. FIDELIS OF SIMARINGEN


In the Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, there’s a line that gives a great promise: “Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (2: 10). It was this passage to which today’s saint referred when he became a Capuchin Franciscan and changed his name from Mark to Fidelis, which is Latin for “faithful”. In 1622 the Pope created a special congregation in the Vatican to coordinate the Church’s missionary activities—the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, which sent St. Fidelis to Switzerland. His goal, for which he ended up being martyred, was to reconcile with the Church those who had left Catholicism. We pray that we, united in prayer with persecuted Christians throughout the world, will be strong in the faith no matter how the world treats us. The following is a reflection from Pope Benedict XIV who served from 1740 to 1758.

St. Fidelis was faithful in truth as well as in name. His zeal for defending the Catholic faith was unsurpassed and he preached it tirelessly. A few days before he shed his blood to bear witness to his preaching, he gave his last sermon. These are the words he left as a testament: “O Catholic faith, how solid, how strong you are! How deeply rooted, how firmly founded on a solid rock! Heaven and earth will pass away, but you can never pass away. From the beginning the whole world opposed you, but you mightily triumphed over everything. This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.

“What made the holy apostles and martyrs endure fierce agony and bitter torments, except faith, and especially faith in the resurrection? What is it that today makes true followers of Christ cast luxuries aside, leave pleasures behind, and endure difficulties and pain? It is living faith that expresses itself through love. It is this that makes us put aside the goods of the present in the hope of future goods. It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future.”