Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival

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

These are my contributions for the week:

1. Red Cross Kiddies Carnival 2011

2. Dell Technicians

All that you wanted to know about Lent

Red Cross Kiddies Carnival 2011

It was the tiny tots who elicited the most delight from spectators at the 55th Red Cross Kiddies Carnival 2011 held at the Queen’s Park Savannah, yesterday.
And the brilliant sunshine made it just the occasion for adults and children to consume copious amounts of sno-cone, ice-cream, lollies, juices and soft drinks. Cotton candy and popcorn were popular snacks for the youngsters as the adults made a beeline for corn soup and bake and shark.
Over 350 youngsters took to the “big stage” as it was their time to shine in their Carnival costumes. 

This aspect of our carnival is what gives glory to God. Our creativity is best reflected in the children's costumes. 


Someone once said that: “You can tell the size of your God by looking at the size of your worry list. The longer your list, they say, the smaller your God.”

And, while God does not shrink, as it were, the more our trust is divided, the more our priorities change, so that God falls out of the list of priorities and becomes secondary, tertiary, or even last to that which has consumed us to the point of worry.

St. (Padre) Pio summarizes it perfectly, he says "Pray, hope, and don’t worry! Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” In other words, at the end of the day, our worrying will change nothing, but our trust will change everything, because, as Jesus Himself reminds we add absolutely nothing to our life-span by worrying and, as many doctors will say, actually shorten our life-span by doing so. 

That is why the foundation of our trust is found in our prayer, because our prayer helps us to re-organize our priorities and to look at each of those things that cause us to worry as nothing in comparison to what it could be. In fact, there is a Swedish Proverb that says: “Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” 

In other words, if we were to truly examine that which causes us to worry, that which distracts us and can even cause us to turn away from God, we might see that we have, literally made, a mountain out of an anthill. 

For, in the end, no one can truly know everything and no one can truly benefit from trying to predict the future, from dwelling and possibly regretting the past, or over-concerning ourselves with money, our job, our health, our safety and our stuff, those things we typically worry about. 

Instead, we are being challenged today to trust that those things will be taken care of and to place all of our concern, all of our worries, on just one thing and one thing only, to, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, knowing, as difficult as it may be, that, as all things do, tomorrow will take care of itself.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI: Abortion is never a solution

Abortion is not a solution. Thus repeated Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the Pontifical Academy for Life, at the end of their General Assembly, which examined post-abortion syndrome. 

The Pope said the serious mental health problems frequently experienced by women who have had an abortion reveals the irrepressible voice of moral conscience, which suffers serious injury whenever human action betrays a person’s vocation to be truly human. READ MORE


Let us ask our Blessed Mother’s intercession on behalf of families and society today as we reflect on the conclusion of Pope Benedict’s remarks at the closing of the Sixth World Day of Families held in Mexico City in 2009.

I wish to express my closeness and to assure my prayers for all the families that bear witness to fidelity in especially difficult circumstances. I encourage the many families who, at times living in the midst of setbacks and misunderstandings, set an example of generosity and trust in God, in the hope that they will not lack the assistance they need. I am also thinking of the families who are suffering because of poverty, sickness, marginalization or emigration and, most especially, of Christian families that are being persecuted for their faith. The Pope is very close to all of you and accompanies you in your daily efforts. …

I entrust all the families of the world to the protection of the Most Holy Virgin, so widely venerated in the noble land of Mexico under the title of Guadalupe. To her, the one who always reminds us that our happiness lies in doing Christ's will (Jn 2:5), I now say:

Most Holy Mother of Guadalupe, who have shown your love and your tenderness to the peoples of the American continent, fill with joy and hope all the peoples and families of the world. We entrust to you, who go before us and guide us on our journey of faith towards the eternal Homeland, the joys, the plans, the anxieties and the desires of all families.

O Mary, to you we turn, trusting in your tenderness as Mother. Do not ignore the prayers we address to you for the whole world's families in this crucial period in history; instead, welcome us all in your heart as Mother and guide us on our way towards the heavenly Homeland. Amen.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pope analyzes revolts in Middle East with President of Lebanon

Michel Sleiman, the president of Lebanon, visited Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican for the second time. He is the only Christian president in the region. They exchanged views on the riots that have been sweeping through the Middle East and asked for  an urgent resolution to the conflicts. Speaking in French, they also discussed the struggles for Christians in the Middle East.

The two spoke privately for about 30 minutes. According to the Vatican, they have highlighted the importance of collaboration and dialogue between Christians and Muslims, and stressed that “the presence of Christians and Muslims in Lebanon is a message of freedom and respectful coexistence throughout the Middle East.

The official statement underlines the importance of civil and religious authorities to educate the consciences for peace and reconciliation.

Sleiman was accompanied by his wife. He gave the Pope a sixteenth century gold and ivory incense burner, which came from a Maronite monastery.


A first-time world congress is inviting people to the birthplace of Sacred Heart devotion to reflect on God's love and promote a civilization of love in their families and societies.
ZENIT interviewed Father William Petrie, provincial superior of the U.S. East Province of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, one of the congress organizers and speakers, about this event.
The Oct. 6-11 congress in Paray-le-Monial will feature speakers such as Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signature; Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia; Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa, EWTN host and author; Timothy O'Donnell, president of Christendom College; and Danny Abramowitz, former NFL player.
The congress aims to renew the sense of hope worldwide in the knowledge of God's unconditional love for humanity, through the promotion of personal relationships with Jesus, Christ-centered families, and a worldwide mission to bring this message to all people. READ MORE

Fr. Barron comments on Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, and the New Evangelization

Canadian bishops provide tips to youth on how to live chastity

The Canadian bishops recently released a pastoral letter to young people with advice on how to pursue a life of chastity. The letter details chaste lifestyles for singles as well as married couples. It says that sex belongs in marriage, which helps couples who are still dating to focus on building a loving and lasting relationship.

The possibility of living a chaste life is open to any young person no matter their circumstances. The Canadian bishops say one simply has to seek the guidance of the Lord.

St. Augustine was known to have a relationship with a woman for over ten years before he was baptized into the Church and led a life of chastity.

To accomplish the challenge of leading a chaste life, the bishops advise young people to seek friends with similar interests, choosing entertainment such as concerts and movies that offer a positive message.

These tips along with confession and spiritual guidance from a priest, can make the road towards chastity that much easier.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dell Technicians

Yesterday the computer guy came to replace the motherboard on my computer.
This is what the man in India diagnosed the problem to be over the phone. We went through a thorough diagnostic procedure which involved turning the computer on and off while counting to five, taking out the battery, and spinning around while hopping on one foot saying the alphabet in pig latin backwards. And the conclusion that he came to was faulty motherboard.
You think I am kidding?
The tech came today, and given how late he was I think he walked all the way from India. He replaced the motherboard and gave me the new power cord, even though I explicitly told the man in India that my power cord was not the problem.
And guess what? The motherboard was not the problem either. It isn’t even surprising.
Let’s recap, shall we:
memory upgrade

new battery
new power cord
new motherboard

And still not a fully functioning computer
So I call India again today. After spending 15 minutes listening to computer prompts I finally get to talk to a real live person. Unfortunately this person does not have a firm grasp of the English language. And DELL, this is a problem. When the person you are trying to communicate with does not understand what you are saying, it is a problem.
I hear the man flipping pages in his diagnostic book. And then he says, “Okay, let’s begin the diagnostic procedures. Turn off your computer and count to five.”
I wish I were kidding.

Easy Chicken Fried Rice

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups cooked jasmine rice
2 cups mushrooms
1/3 cup scallions, chopped
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
3 cups diced cooked chicken breast, approximately 2.5 pounds
3 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine
black pepper to taste

In a large wok heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for 20 seconds. Turn heat up to high and add in mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add in scallions and bean sprouts and cook 3 more minutes until vegetables start to soften. Add in chicken pieces.

In a small container combine sesame oil, soy sauce and rice wine. Add cold rice and sauce to the wok. Fry on high heat, stirring frequently until rice is heated through. Season with black pepper if desired.

Pope prays for victims of New Zealand earthquake

"A new and powerful earthquake, even more devastating than the one last September, has struck the city of Christchurch, in New Zealand, causing considerable loss of life and the disappearance of many people, to say nothing of the damage to buildings".

"At this time, my thoughts turn especially to the people there who are being severely tested by this tragedy. Let us ask God to relieve their suffering and to support all who are involved in the rescue operations. I also ask you to join me in praying for all who have lost their lives".

All that you wanted to know about Lent

Aggie Catholics has a large post covering everything you could possibly want to know about Lent which starts on March 9th. Whether you're looking for background on the liturgical season, or you need suggestions on what to "give up", head over to their blog.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, pro-life leader and Catholic convert, dies at 84

Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, a leading pro-life advocate and convert to Catholicism, died at the age of 84 on Monday in his New York home, after a long struggle with cancer. Nathanson, an obstetrician and overseer of more than 75,000 abortions, became an advocate of the pro-life cause in the 1970s when ultrasound technology allowed him to see inside the womb for the first time. He was struck by what he perceived to be the humanity of the child in the womb.

Nathansan decided to become a Catholic in 1994. He was baptized in 1996 at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

Nathansan's legacy as one of the pro-life movement's great heroes and spokesmen lives on in the books and films he wrote and produced.

Benedict XVI proposes a Lent without selfishness

 The Pope has asked that during the next Lent, Catholics rediscover the meaning of baptism to “liberate the hearts of all selfishness, which impoverishes and prevents us from being available to God and our neighbors.” He said this in his message for Lent, which encourages support for fasting, prayer and charity during the forty day period. It was introduced by Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Vatican department responsible for charities. READ FULL ADDRESS

New book reminds of 'Humanae Vitae' importance in today's world

According to experts, the encyclical 'Humanae Vitae' was a document ahead of its time. Paul VI wrote it in 1968 in a historical period of time that was marked by the student revolution. The encyclical provoked a large response that we still hear about today.

“This encyclical was published in 1968, in a time of global actions, of social revolution. Now we can appreciate the importance of the content in 'Humanae Vitae' and its current validity.”
It's a book that remembers the most important encyclical of Paul VI and also provides a clear and positive vision of controversial and sensitive issues for Christians and non-Christians around the world.
Msgr. Enrico dal Covolo
Rector, Pontifical Lateran University (Rome)

“The doctrine of the Church has not changed in the least, but the problems facing it have grown. For example, technology and science have developed in relation to the origin of life. The most important thing is to think together about the deeper meaning of human sexuality, which according to the doctrine of the Church, in the end, under no circumstance can procreation distance itself from marriage.”
In the 'Humanae Vitae', Paul VI clearly and precisely explains the Church's position on sexuality, premarital sex and human dignity from the moment of conception. Issues that people continue to debate.

Forty-three years after its publication, scientific advancements have brought new challenges, such as the Church's stance on in vitro fertilization or new methods of contraception.

With this book, the Lateran University in Rome recalls with clarity the Magisterium of the Church, to shed light on these new questions.
Msgr. Enrico dal Covolo
Rector, Pontifical Lateran University (Rome)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pope: Three New Saints of the Universal Church

In the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father presided at an ordinary public consistory for the canonisation of the following blesseds:

 - Guido Maria Conforti, Italian archbishop-bishop and founder of the Pious Society of St. Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions (1865-1931).

 - Luigi Guanella, Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Servants of Charity and of the Institute of the Daughters of Our Lady of Providence (1842-1915).

 - Bonifacia Rodriguez Castro, Spanish foundress of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters, Servants of St. Joseph (1837-1905).

  At the end of the meeting the Pope decreed that the canonisation ceremony for the three blesseds will take place in Rome on Sunday 23 October.

How to register to attend World Youth Day Madrid 2011

Now is the time to register to participate in World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. The registration process is fast and easy. All instructions can be found online at Registered pilgrims will have accident insurance, pre-purchased public transportation fees, a pilgrim´s souvenir backpack, free entry to World Youth Day cultural events, a souvenir cap and shirt, a Madrid guidebook, and priority access tickets to papal events.

Registration packages range from 30 to 200 euros. The more expensive packages allow for participation during the entire week, whereas the more economical packages permit for weekend participation only. These fees are the primary source of funding for World Youth Day.

If registered before March 31, you will receive a 5% discount. Between 1.5 and 2 million  are expected to participate. So far, 260,000 have registered.

Those who wish to register as volunteers for World Youth Day may do so through the website.

New cardinal in charge of delivering the "Habemus Papam"

There have been changes in the college of cardinals. Starting today, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran is the new protodeacon, the person in charge of announcing the name of a new pope after a conclave.

As of today he is the cardinal who would exit to the balcony of St. Peter´s Basilica after the white smoke to utter the famous “Habemus Papam,” should there be a new papal election.

Jean-Louis Tauran is French, 67 years old, and currently the president for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He is especially involved in relations with the Muslim world.

Number of catholics and priests are on the rise

The total number of Catholics worldwide is up 1.3% from last year, bringing the total number to 1.181 billion. These figures were published in the 2011 Pontifical Yearbook. Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone and Subsitute for General Affairs Archbishop Fernando Filoni, two of the pope's principal collaborators, approached the Holy Father with the figures. 

The pope found that nearly half of world's Catholic population, 49.4%, is in the Americas, compared to 25% in Europe, 10.7% in Asia, 15.2% in Africa, and 0.8% in Oceania. 

The total number of priests has also increased. In the past ten years, it has risen from 405,178 to 410,593. There are also now more bishops in the world. The number has grown from 5,002 to 5,065 over the past year. The average age of a bishop is 68 and each bishop has an average of 81 priests in their charge. 

The number of men studying for the priesthood has been steadily increasing in recent years. The number increased from 117,024 in 2008 to 117,978 in 2009. Africa and Asia have seen the most dramatic increases, with a 2.39% and 2.2% growth respectively. 

Women religious are still the largest group collaborating with the bishops, although their numbers have been on the decline. Their total number dropped from 739,068 in 2008 to 729,371 in 2009. 
During the presentation of the Yearbook, the pope joked with one of the publishers because it happened to be his birthday. 

The Pope will canonize the Spanish Bonifacia Rodríguez on October 23

Bonifacia Rodriguez Castro was born in Salamanca, Spain, in 1837. She was born to a family of artisans. In 1874 she founded the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph along with her spiritual director, the Jesuit Francisco Javier Butinyà, in order to help working women.

These “Nazareth Workshops” they created employ impoverished women and fight against prostitution.

Certain priests of Salamanca and superiors of the community sowed doubt among the sisters which forced Boniface out of the Congregation. She then founded another community in the town of Zamora, where she died in 1905.

John Paul II beatified her in November of 2003. Today the Sisters of St. Joseph are in 13 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America where they have offices and art schools, youth prevention workshops, pastoral parishes and houses of spirituality.


Today’s saint was a disciple of the Apostle John and became Bishop of Smyrna, in what is now Turkey. At the age of eighty-six Bishop Polycarp was arrested for being a Christian leader. As he was being led away to be burned at the stake, some of his non-Christian friends begged him to make a sacrificial offering to the idols and to save himself from a violent death. His response was: “For eighty-six years I have served Jesus Christ and he has never abandoned me. How could I curse my blessed King and Savior?” Elderly people like St. Polycarp have an important role to play in the lives of family and in the Church. As we pray for families this month, let us remember older members.

The reflection is from Pope John Paul II’s 1999 Letter to the Elderly.

“Rise in the presence of one with grey hair; honor the person of the older man” (Lev 19:32). Honoring older people involves a threefold duty: welcoming them, helping them and making good use of their qualities. In many places this happens almost spontaneously, as the result of long-standing custom. Elsewhere, and especially in the more economically advanced nations, there needs to be a reversal of the current trend, to ensure that elderly people can grow old with dignity, without having to fear that they will end up no longer counting for anything. There must be a growing conviction that a fully human civilization shows respect and love for the elderly, so that despite their diminishing strength they feel a vital part of society. …

While speaking of older people, I would also say a word to the young, to invite them to remain close to the elderly. Dear young people, I urge you to do this with great love and generosity. Older people can give you much more than you can imagine. The Book of Sirach offers this advice: “Do not disregard what older people say, because they too have learnt from their parents” (8:9); “Attend the meetings with older people. Is there one who is wise? Spend time with him” (6:34); for “wisdom is becoming to the elderly” (25:5).

Chair of St. Peter

The Latin liturgy celebrates today the feast of the Chair of Peter. It is a very ancient tradition, witnessed in Rome since the end of the fourth century, which renders thanksgiving to God for the mission entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his successors.

When the bishop takes possession of the local Church that is entrusted to him, he, bearing the miter and the shepherd's crosier, sits on the cathedral. From that seat he will guide, as teacher and shepherd, the journey of the faithful in faith, hope and charity.

Which was, then, the "cathedra" if St. Peter? He, chosen by Christ as "rock" on which to build the Church (cf. Matthew 16:18), began his ministry in Jerusalem, after the ascension of the Lord and Pentecost. The first "seat" of the Church was the Cenacle, and in all probability in that room, where Mary, the Mother of Jesus, also prayed with the disciples, a special place was reserved for Simon Peter.

To celebrate the "Chair" of Peter, as we do today, means, to attribute to it a strong spiritual significance and to recognize in it a privileged sign of the love of God, good and eternal Shepherd, who wants to gather the whole of his Church and guide her along the way of salvation.

Among so many testimonies of the Fathers, I would like to refer to that of St. Jerome, taken from a letter of his to the Bishop of Rome, particularly interesting because he makes explicit reference in fact to the "chair" of Peter, presenting it as the safe harbor of truth and peace. Jerome writes thus: "I decided to consult the chair of Peter, where that faith is found exalted by the lips of an Apostle; I now come to ask for nourishment for my soul there, where once you received the garment of Christ. I follow no leader save Christ, so I enter into communion with your beatitude, that is, with the chair of Peter for this I know is the rock upon which the Church is built! ("Le Lettere," I, 15,1-2).

Monday, February 21, 2011

The killing of Daniel

The passionate cry of grandmother, Shirley Indarsingh, for the safe return of her eight year old grandson, Daniel Guerra, whose small body was found yesterday, must resonate in the hearts of all of us in Trinidad.
The child, she cried, never did anybody anything, so why would anyone abduct him in broad daylight as he was returning to his home in Bedeau Street, Gasparillo from a shop where he had gone to buy an energy drink. Why would anyone want not only to abduct but to kill an innocent little boy?

The fact is that the evil individuals who kidnap and kill young children do not need any excuse. They are sick in mind and totally callous to the value of human life and care even less about the suffering they cause the family members who are left distraught as they search for their loved ones only to find them dead.

Daniel who attended the Gasparillo Government Primary School had been missing since Friday when he left his grandmother’s house at about 11.30 am to walk just a few metres away to buy a drink.

His grandmother watched him as he left and waited for only ten minutes before sending a relative to look for him. But the child had already disappeared.

This is a shocking story to report and fills us with shame and sorrow for his parents, his grandmother and all who loved him. Daniel’s death is yet another scar on the face of our nation, an example of the evil times in which we live and the callousness that continues to plague this country despite all efforts by our law enforcement agencies to stamp out such crimes against our children.

We had hoped that Daniel would have been found safe and well and returned unharmed to his family. It was not to be and after days of anxiety and worry they now face the horror of the murder of their child who, as his grandmother cried, had never done anything to anyone.

We have reached a state in this country where children cannot under any circumstances be allowed out of sight no matter how safe the area in which they live might be considered. There are predators everywhere. The police must now do all in their power to hunt down and to punish those who killed this innocent child.

St. Peter Damian

St. Peter Damian must be numbered among the greatest of the Church's reformers in the Middle Ages, yes, even among the truly extraordinary persons of all times. In Damian the scholar, men admire wealth of wisdom: in Damian the preacher of God's word, apostolic zeal; in Damian the monk, austerity and self-denial; in Damian the priest, piety and zeal for souls; in Damian the cardinal, loyalty and submission to the Holy See together with generous enthusiasm and devotion for the good of Mother Church. He was a personal friend of Pope Gregory VII. He died in 1072 at the age of 65.
On one occasion he wrote to a young nephew, "If I may speak figuratively, drive out the roaring beasts from your domain; do not cease from protecting yourself daily by receiving the Flesh and Blood of the Lord. Let your secret foe see your lips reddened with the Blood of Christ. He will shudder, cower back, and flee to his dark, dank retreat."
In his poem, the Divine Comedy, Dante places Damian in the "seventh heaven." That was his place for holy people who loved to think about or contemplate God.
Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Symbols: Cardinal bearing a discipline in his hand; pilgrim holding a papal Bull, to signify his many legations.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Little Shepherds of Fatima

EWTN Sun. February 20 at 10 PM ET, Tue. February 22 at 1 PM ET, & Thu. February 24 at 5 AM ET
Look into the events at Fátima and the lives of Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco Marto. Includes footage of Pope John Paul II's trip to Fátima for their beatification, of his meeting with Sister Lucia, as well as the places where they lived, and where the apparitions of the Angel and the Blessed Mother took place. Francisco and Jacinta were beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 13, 2000. Their feast day is celebrated by the Church on February 20.

Read more:

Prayers for Vocations

I have been asked on several occasions by various young men to pray for them as they discerning their vocation of following the Lord in a very special way. Below are some of the prayers I say for them. Please join me in praying for these young men and may the Lord of Light and Love bless us always. 

Prayer for Vocations:

O Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church, To You We Commend our Young People, In Particular Those Called to Closely Follow Your Son. You Know the difficulties, the Struggles, the Obstacles They Must Face. Assist Them to Answer "YES!" to the Divine Call, As You Did at the Invitation of the Angel. Draw them near to your heart So that They Can Understand the Beauty and the Joy that Awaits Them When the Lord Jesus Calls Them Into His Intimacy, To Be Witness of His Love in the World.

Prayer for Priestly Vocations:

O Lord, God of power and majesty, you said that the harvest is great but the laborers are few. Send forth, we beseech thee, laborers into your vineyard to forgive sins, celebrate the Eucharist, baptize, and above all make us a people worthy of thee. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

Parent's Prayer for Vocations:

Dear Heavenly Father, You Have Blessed Us With Children. We Sometimes Forget that They are Not Ours, But Yours, And that You Have Asked Us to Bring Them Up in Your Ways. 0 Gracious and Loving God, We Pray that Our Children Will Discover And Respond Enthusiastically To Your Desire for Them Whether It Be to the Vocation of Consecrated Religious or Single, Sacramental Marriage, or Ordained Life. Please Help Our Children To Have Open Hearts and Minds to Your Call. Help Us to Support and Encourage Our Children To Seek Your will in Choosing a Vocation. We Offer this Prayer in the Name of Jesus through the Power and Grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Be Perfect

Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival

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

These are my contributions for the week:
1. The official schedule of events for the beatification of John Paul II
2. 10 Things Most Catholics Don’t Know

Medjugorje is generating what the Devil loves most: disobedience

Bishop Xavier Novell, the eighth youngest bishop in the world

This is the youngest bishop in Spain and the eighth youngest in the world. Monsignor Xavier Novell is only 41 years old. Before becoming a priest, he was an agricultural engineer and a passionate admirer of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Because of his age, Bishop Novell belongs to the so-called “Generation Papa-boys,” the group of youth who discovered the Catholic faith through Pope John Paul II. During a meeting between the Pope and a group of youth, the now bishop, began to see the Pope in another light.   

His age makes him a good ambassador for the upcoming World Youth Day 2011. In his view, the Pope wanted to hold the event in Spain to send a strong message to the West.

This is not to say that this young bishop deals only with the youth. In his diocese he has met with each one the priests, he's also driving the search for new vocations and has begun to hold meetings to re-explain Catholic doctrine to adults who have lost faith. He's a bishop for the Church into the twenty-first century.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Vatican plans to show coffin of John Paul II for few hours after beatification ceremony

The Vatican has released the official schedule of events for the beatification of John Paul II. They wanted to note that entry is free and no tickets will be required. The announcement included a surprise that for a few hours the coffin of John Paul II will set next to the main altar in St. Peter's.

The official ceremonies will begin the night before the beatification with a massive vigil in one of the most attractive spots in Rome, the Circus Maximus. The Pope has said he wants to connect via satellite to speak with the attendees.

It's a large field where it's expected many pilgrims will camp out because it's already close to impossible to find a hotel for the night in Rome.  

Benedict XVI will celebrate the beatification on Sunday at 10 am in St. Peter's Square. The area will most likely be cordoned off overnight and begin to allow access in the early hours of the morning to help avoid overcrowding. 

That same day the Vatican will show the coffin of John Paul II, they will later privately transfer it to the Chapel of Saint Sebastian, located in the Basilica of Saint Peter's. A place that will make for easy access to pilgrims. 

Rome is already preparing to welcome about a million and a half pilgrims. The eternal city has plenty of experience in playing host to large crowds. The authorities are already working to help the millions of pilgrims feel at home when they arrive. 


On this Saturday, when no particular saint is honored with a feast to be celebrated, let us turn to Mary, the Queen of Families, and ask her to intercede with us for the families of the world. Our prayer is from the conclusion of Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation “The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World.”

Through God's mysterious design, it was in that family that the Son of God spent long years of a hidden life. It is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian families. It was unique in the world. Its life was passed in anonymity and silence in a little town in Palestine. It underwent trials of poverty, persecution and exile. It glorified God in an incomparably exalted and pure way. And it will not fail to help Christian families-indeed, all the families in the world-to be faithful to their day-to-day duties, to bear the cares and tribulations of life, to be open and generous to the needs of others, and to fulfill with joy the plan of God in their regard.

St. Joseph was "a just man," a tireless worker, the upright guardian of those entrusted to his care. May he always guard, protect and enlighten families.

May the Virgin Mary, who is the Mother of the Church, also be the Mother of "the Church of the home." Thanks to her motherly aid, may each Christian family really become a "little Church" in which the mystery of the Church of Christ is mirrored and given new life. May she, the Handmaid of the Lord, be an example of humble and generous acceptance of the will of God. May she, the Sorrowful Mother at the foot of the Cross, comfort the sufferings and dry the tears of those in distress because of the difficulties of their families.

May Christ the Lord, the Universal King, the King of Families, be present in every Christian home as He was at Cana, bestowing light, joy, serenity and strength. I entrust each family to Him, to Mary, and to Joseph.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Importance of Family

Vatican University studying how to improve training of seminarians

The increase in the number of men determined to become priests opens many new challenges. The main one is how to prepare them for their vocation, a task for the bishop of each diocese and the directors of the seminaries. Trying to help them is the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross which has created a specialized center to help “train the trainers.”

Seven Founders of the Orders of Servites

In the thirteenth century, seven prominent businessmen in Florence, Italy became appalled at the excessive materialism and immorality of the city. They decided to take a counter-cultural stand against the excesses of their culture. After receiving a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary who told them to leave the city, they left all behind and dedicated themselves to a life of poverty, prayer, and penance, calling themselves the Servants of Mary, or Servites. Let us honor Mary as they did and pray that she may intercede with us today for the families of the world. Our reflection is from Blessed Pope John XXIII.

For all of us Mary is guide, refuge and strength. Turning to her we have all found comfort; and on the last day of our earthly life which is also the first day of eternity—it is good for us to think of this frequently—it will be an infinitely precious consolation to be able to turn to such a gracious Mother, and feel her near us in that grave hour. With what intensity of love we shall say our last “Hail Mary,” in which will be gathered up the fervor of all the others we have said throughout our earthly life, and which will be the finest greeting for us to utter as we go to meet Our Lord.

The devotion to Mary is a valid and unfailing support for all believers; it is a pledge of inward peace, and inspires a firm determination to do our duty. This truth must be carefully impressed upon young people, especially on those just beginning a new chapter in their lives. This is the right time to remind them of the good instructions they have received, and of their daily prayer to Our Lady, Mother of Jesus and Mother of us all—so that they may behave in a manner worthy of their early training.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Vianney-EWTN Live

Priests compete for the Pope John Paul II Cup

Polish Catholic priests warm up on Feb. 12 ahead of the 14th Alpine Ski Championships for clergymen in Wisla, southern Poland.
Skiers in clerical collars are out in force this weekend in the resort of Wisła in the Beskid Mountains for the national skiing championships for priests. 
The leaders of the faith compete for the Pope John Paul II Cup in several Alpine disciplines, the main of which is the 800-metre-long giant slalom. 
The tradition of such events goes back to the early 1980s. 

Priests limber up before taking to the slopes.

A priest puts on his ski boots.

Indoor football is another discipline which enjoys great popularity among Polish priests. Preparations are currently under way for the 7th National Championships to be held in Sandomierz in mid-March. Twenty teams are expected to take part.