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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Positive answer on Cremisan Valley comes from Israeli Supreme Court but issue not closed yet

(abouna.org) Israel’s Supreme Court, on August 11, 2014, issued its decision about the route of the wall in the Cremisan Valley. Following the August 4, 2014 hearing, the Court reviewed the proposed route of the separation wall, threatening to confiscate lands and vineyards of the Christian monastery and separate the religious community of the fathers and the sisters; and wants Israel to consider other alternatives to the wall’s direction.

The Court has decided that it is now up to Israel, as a defendant, to take into account different options for the routing wall, allowing two Salesian convents to remain on the Palestinian side. The Court gave Israel until September 4, 2014 for a response. The Court’s reply is therefore not yet definitive.

In this regard, counsel for the Saint Yves Society (a Catholic human rights organization working under the patronage of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem.) Zvi Avni, representative of the monastery of the Salesian Sisters, explains: “the case is not yet complete, and a final decision has not yet been given. However, the decision of the Court is an indicator of the interest that the Court shows in a matter concerning religious freedom and freedom of religion regarding monasteries.”
The Cremisan Valley will be closed to the inhabitants of the region if the separation wall is built according to current Israeli plans. 58 Palestinian families will be dispersed and the Sisters’ convent will be cut off from the Priests. Families will lose their land, and the convent of the sisters, who run a school for children, will be located in a military zone cut off from the convent of fathers.

Associations of International Law have condemned the construction of the wall along a route that passed in the middle of Palestinian homesandland, separating families, andisolating them from their farmland.The wall will make it difficult to arrive at the Sisters’ school,and once annexed to Jerusalem, impossible to access the monastery of fathers who, since the 19thcentury, have lived inBeit Jala and have enjoyed historical relations and reciprocal friendship,brotherhood and solidarity with the people of the mainly Christiantown.

The International Court of Justice gave an advisory opinion on July 9, 2004, that building the separation wall is illegal.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We've Moved Over to WordPress


Dear Readers,
No need to fear.  Our blog is not far but near.  

Just click this link and enjoy the same posts but from our new website platform on WordPress. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

New World Youth Day 2016 (WYD2016) logo unveiled with explanation and accompanying prayer


(VIS) – In a press conference held this morning the metropolitan archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, presented the logo and official prayer for the 31st World Youth Day.

Three elements are combined in the symbolism of the logo: the place, the main protagonists , and the theme of the celebration. The logo of the 2016 World Youth Day, to be held in Krakow, illustrates the passage from the Gospel according to Matthew, 5.7: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”, chosen as the theme of the event. 

The image is composed of a geographical outline of Poland, in which there is a Cross, symbol of Christ Who is the soul of World Youth Day. The yellow circle marks the position of Krakow on the map of Poland and is also a symbol of youth. The flame of Divine Mercy emerges from the Cross, and its colors recall the image “Jesus, I trust in you”. The colors used in the logo – blue, red and yellow – are the official colors of Krakow and its coat of arms.

The logo was designed by Monika Rybczynska, a young woman aged 28 from Ostrzeszow, a small town in the mid-west of Poland, following the canonization of St. John Paul II.

The press conference also included the presentation of the official prayer of World Youth Day 2016, which entrusts humanity and the young to divine mercy, asks the Lord for the grace of a merciful heart, and asks the intercession of the Virgin Mary and St. John Paul II, patron of World Youth Day.
“God, merciful Father,in your Son, Jesus Christ, you have revealed your love and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter,We entrust to you today the destiny of the world and of every man and woman”.
We entrust to you in a special way young people of every language, people and nation:guide and protect them as they walk the complex paths of the world today and give them the grace to reap abundant fruits from their experience of the Krakow World Youth Day.
Heavenly Father,grant that we may bear witness to your mercy.Teach us how to convey the faith to those in doubt,hope to those who are discouraged,love to those who feel indifferent,forgiveness to those who have done wrong and joy to those who are unhappy.
Allow the spark of merciful love that you have enkindled within us become a fire that can transform hearts and renew the face of the earth. 
Mary, Mother of Mercy, pray for us. St. John Paul II, pray for us.

Former sex slaves to take part in South Korea Mass with Pope


(CNA).- A group of South Korean women who were used as sex slaves by the Japanese army during World War II will attend an Aug. 18 Mass with Pope Francis when he visits the country.

According to local media reports, the Archdiocese of Seoul announced on Monday that it had invited the women to take part in the ceremony with Pope Francis. The Mass will be held at the Cathedral of Myeongdong in Seoul. A personal meeting between the pontiff and the women, many of whom are Catholic, has not been set.

Pope Francis will visit South Korea Aug. 14-18 to take part in the VI Asian Youth Day. It will be the third time a pontiff has visited Asia, the last time being St. John Paul II’s trip to the Korean peninsula in 1989.

Some 200,000 young girls and teenagers – more than half of whom were Korean – were forced to become sex slaves by the Japanese empire, which ruled Korea from 1910 to 1945.

Pope Francis banner in downtown Denver aims to inspire

(CNA/EWTN News).- A 10-foot tall banner depicting Pope Francis embracing a young child was hung July 1 on the exterior of the Samaritan House homeless shelter in downtown Denver, as a reminder of the need for loving service and encounter.

“This beautiful image illustrates the Holy Father’s vision of love and charity in Jesus Christ,” said Wendy Oldenbrook, director of marketing and communications at Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver.

The banner shows Pope Francis embracing a child present at his inauguration Mass in St. Peter’s Square last year.

“We seek to live out this vision every day at Catholic Charities in service to the poor,” Oldenbrook said in a statement.

She explained to CNA July 2 that the Samaritan House rotates banners frequently. Previous banners have included images of the Divine Mercy of Jesus and the Good Samaritan.

The Pope Francis banner was put up with the hope that the image will communicate “kindness, respect for the most vulnerable, and the joy of serving others.”

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How self-acceptance might just save the world; or at least priests

I couldn't help but think of the many priests we pray for on a daily basis when reading this blog post by Dr. Kelly Flanagan from Wheaton, IL.  As we approach the 4th of July, may we see ourselves for who we are so we don't see our priests for who they're not.  Like us, they can be heroic at times, but they are always human.
____

When I was in middle school, I was forbidden to see the new Batman movie starring Michael Keaton. I understand why:

He was complicated.

He was a superhero, but he was depicted as dark and disturbed and a little unhinged. Instead of wearing his trademark gray, he cloaked himself in black. Instead of telling jokes, he was somber and depressed. He did good things, but he did them for the wrong reasons. He was a complicated, tortured soul, working out his redemption in the best way he knew how.

He was a good guy, but he had bad parts.

In a word, he was human.

Now, almost twenty-five years later, our cinematic superheroes are increasingly complicated. They are good guys with bad parts. We’ve become quite comfortable with the complexity of our fictional characters.

Yet, we continue to resist, and fail to embrace, this complexity in our lives and in our hearts…

Pedestals and Pitfalls


We scan the horizon for the next real-life hero, and we imagine them to be flawless. We put people on pedestals. And then we get surprised when they fall off:

We idolize people with great golf swings, and then we find out they’re addicted to sex. We idolize the triumph of bicyclists, and then we find out they were juicing. We tell ourselves our political candidate is the good guy, and then he leaves his microphone on and we hear words that are only supposed to come from the bad guys. We get dismayed when we find out the Dalai Lama gets just as angry as we do.

So we continue to scan the horizon, waiting for the next infallible hero to lead us.

The truth is, all of this hero worship is a collective exercise in self-rejection.

We look inside of our own hearts and we see the bad parts lingering there and we assume we must not be one of the good guys. We look in the mirror and we don’t see a flawless hero; we see a complicated human. And we forget what the superhero movies have been trying to tell us for a quarter of a century:

Humans and heroes are one and the same.

Dr. Kelly Flanagan is a licensed clinical psychologist, practicing at Alliance Clinical Associates in Wheaton, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pope selects Michigan priest to become bishop of Gaylord, MI


(CNA) Pope Francis has named Monsignor Steven J. Raica of the Diocese of Lansing to become the next bishop of Gaylord, Mich.

“In these days, as I prepare myself to serve the People of God in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula as a new bishop, I offer my praise and gratitude to the Lord Jesus whose presence in my life has enabled me to experience an abundance of life,” Bishop-designate Raica said June 27.

“My gratitude also goes to Pope Francis for entrusting me with this honor and great responsibility.”

Bishop-designate Raica, 61, asked for prayers that he may “serve the Lord totally and faithfully” in his position in Gaylord.

Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing praised the bishop-to-be as “a good priest, a good friend, and a man of good counsel” who is “gentle, considerate, and solid in his pastoral abilities.” He said the bishop will be “an intelligent, cultured, pastoral, gentle, and faith-filled leader of the Church.”

“The entire Diocese of Lansing offers him our heartiest congratulations and prayers!” Bishop Boyea said in a statement.

Coadjutor Archbishop Bernard Hebda of Newark, the previous Bishop of Gaylord, welcomed the appointment. He said he has known the bishop-designate for over 25 years. The archbishop praised his “pastoral zeal, collaborative spirit, and intellectual gifts.”

“I believe that he will be an excellent shepherd – after the Heart of Jesus – for a flock that I will always remember as being incredibly loving.”


Bishop-designate Raica is currently chancellor of the Lansing diocese.

He was born Nov. 8, 1952, in Munising, Mich., to Mary and Steve Raica. In 1978, Lansing’s then-bishop Kenneth Povish ordained him to the priesthood, the Lansing diocese said. Pope John Paul II named him a prelate of honor in 1998.

He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Michigan State University in East Lansing as well as a master’s degree in divinity from St. John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Mich., and a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Detroit.

Bishop-designate Raica served as associate pastor or pastor at Catholic churches in Burton, Flint, Ovid, Charlotte and Bellevue. He served as co-rector of Lansing’s St. Mary Cathedral and chaplain of Olivet College in Olivet.

He was also superior of Casa Santa Maria, the North American College’s graduate studies house in Rome. He served as spiritual director and adjunct faculty at the college from 1999-2005. From 2007-2009, he was vice postulator of the sainthood cause of Servant of God Antonietta Meo, a devout Italian girl who died of cancer at the age of six in 1937.

The future bishop has worked in deaf ministry and is capable of conversing in sign language as well as Italian and Polish. He is able to read Latin, French, Spanish and German.

He is a music lover with an affinity for classical, jazz, classical organ and choral music. He enjoys...