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(Vatican Radio) With the Synod of Bishops on the family about to open on Sunday, the Vatican has revealed that the message for next year’s World Communications Day is also focused on the theme of the family as ‘a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love’. ‘Communicating the Family’ is the title of the message which is traditionally published in full on January 24th, feast day of St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers and journalists. While the media often tends to portray the problems facing families today, the message urges all those in the communications business to highlight the positive side of the family too, as a unique place where we first learn to love, accept and be open to the needs of others.  To find out more, Philippa Hitchen spoke to Archbishop Claudio Celli, head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications which helps the Pope prepare the World Communications Day message… Listen to the interview :  Archbishop Celli says the theme is connected to last year’s message, that of communications in promoting a culture of encounter and the family, he says, is a particularly privileged place of encounter. We all know that life in a family is challenging, he says, but it also offers opportunities as we learn how to encounter and give ourselves to others…… Q: You point out that the media often paint a negative picture of the problems facing families today – yet the church often paints an idealised one doesn’t reflect the reality of most peoples’ lives? “Today people are talking about the Gospel of the Family and the Gospel is an ideal….but I like to think how our Lord is walking with us also in the life of the family….it’s where you learn and perceive you are loved, not through declarations but in the experience of daily life….” Q: You’re talking about the challenge of communication within families, between generations, yet digital technology has in some ways created even greater differences and isolation between parents and children? “The great majority of our kids are in internet alone and I think this is a major task of parents, not just to buy a very nice computer, but to educate kids how to be present in social networks….when we talk about pastoral for the family, we need to prepare parents for this responsibility for their children..” (from Vatican Radio)... 3 hours 46 min
(Vatican Radio) In moments of darkness, our lament becomes a prayer, but we must guard ourselves against overdramatizing our complaints and remember that there are people experiencing “great tragedies” who have good reason to lament, like the Christians driven from their homes for the faith, said Pope Francis Tuesday during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Emer McCarthy reports  Listen:  Reflecting on the First Reading of the day, in which Job curses the day he was born, the Pope noted that his prayer at first appears to us like a curse. Pope Francis recalled how Job was “put to the test”, how he “lost his entire family, everything he possessed”, how he lost his health and “his body had become a plague, a disgusting plague". The Pope said in that moment "he had lost all patience and he says these things. They are ugly! But he was always accustomed to speak the truth and this is the truth that he feels at that moment”. Pope Francis recalled how even Jeremiah, "uses almost the same words: 'Cursed be the day I was born!'", and then he asked: "But is this man blaspheming? This is my question: Is this man who is so very alone, blaspheming?”. "Is it blasphemy when Jesus complains - 'Father, why have You forsaken me’? This is the mystery. I have often listened to people who are experiencing difficult and painful situations, who have lost a great deal or feel lonely and abandoned and they come to complain and ask these questions: Why? Why? They rebel against God. And I say, 'Continue to pray just like this, because this is a prayer'. It was a prayer when Jesus said to his father: 'Why  have You forsaken me!'". The Pope continued that what Job is doing in the First Reading is praying, because prayer means being truthful before God. This was the only way Job could pray. "We should pray with reality - he added - true prayer comes from the heart, from the moment that we are living in". "It is prayer in times of darkness, in those moments of life that seem hopeless, where we cannot see the horizon". " And so many people, so many today, are in the same situation as Job. So many good people, just like Job, do not understand what has happened to them, or why. Many brothers and sisters who have no hope. Just think of the tragedies, the great tragedies, for example, of these brothers and sisters of ours who because they are Christians were driven out of their homes and left with nothing: 'But, Lord, I have believed in you. Why ? Is believing in you a curse, Lord? '". "Just think of the elderly who are sidelined - he continued - think of the sick, of the many lonely people in hospitals". The Pope assured that the Church prays for all of these people and for those of us when we walk in darkness. “The Church prays! She takes this pain upon herself and prays". And those of us who “are not sick, or hungry, who have no pressing needs, when we suffer a little darkness of soul, act like martyrs and stop praying”.  The Pope continued that there are even those who say: "I am angry with God, I will not go to Mass". "But why? Over some trifling thing” is the answer. Pope Francis recalled that St. Therese of the Child Jesus, in the last months of her life, "tried to think of heaven, but heard a voice within herself, telling her not to be silly, not to be led astray by fantasies. Do you know what awaits you? Nothing!”. " We all go through this situation, we experience this situation. There are so many people who think it all ends in nothing.  Yet Saint Teresa, prayed and asked for strength to persevere in the dark. This is called entering into patience . Our life is too easy, our complaints are overdramatized. Faced with the complaints of so many people, of so many brothers and sisters who are in the dark, who have almost lost all memory, almost lost all hope – who are experiencing this exile from themselves, who are exiled, even from themselves - nothing! Jesus walked this path: from sunset on the Mount of Olives to the last word from the Cross: 'Father, why have you forsaken me!”. Pope Francis concluded that there are two things that can help in such situations: “First, to prepare ourselves for when the darkness comes” which perhaps, will not be as hard as that of Job, “but which will come.  Prepare your heart for that moment". Second: "Pray, pray as the Church prays, pray with the Church for so many brothers and sisters who suffer exile from themselves, who are in darkness and suffering, without hope at hand." It is the prayer of the Church for these ‘Suffering Jesus’ who are everywhere". (from Vatican Radio)... 3 hours 46 min
(Vatican Radio) The conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine demand a revitalized United Nations where member states put their responsibility to protect persecuted peoples above personal interests and thoroughly apply international law.  This is according to the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who was speaking on Monday at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly. Emer McCarthy reports  Listen :  Cardinal Parolin, said the blood of the many Christians and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria, demands the international community assume its responsibility to protect populations under threat. He said the world is in need of a UN capable of deploying the appropriate action and force. “It is both licit and urgent to stop aggression through multilateral and a proportionate use of force. The Holy See hopes that the international community will assume a responsibility in considering the best means to stop all aggression and avoid the perpetration of new and even greater injustice.”   The Cardinal added it is disappointing, that up to now, “the international community has been characterized by contradictory voices and even by silence with regard to the  conflicts in Syria, the Middle East and Ukraine.  It is paramount that there be a unity of action for the common good, avoiding the cross-fire of vetoes". He reminded all those present of the "responsibility to protect" principle adopted almost 10 years ago at a UN World Summit, which calls to protect civilians when a country is unable or unwilling to do so: “It asserts… the responsibility of the entire international community, in a spirit of solidarity, to confront heinous crimes such as genocide, ethnic cleansing and religiously motivated persecution”.  What is needed, concluded the Cardinal, is “a far-sighted political approach” and “a genuine willingness to apply” the law which if “expressed in new juridical formulations, will certainly bring fresh vitality to the United Nations”. Below the full text of the a ddress of His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin Secretary of State of His Holiness Pope Francis 69th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations New York, Monday 29 September 2014 Mr President,             In extending to you the Holy See’s congratulations on your election to the presidency of the sixty-ninth Session of the General Assembly, I wish to convey the cordial greetings of His Holiness Pope Francis to you and to all the participating delegations.  He assures you of his closeness and prayers for the work of this session of the General Assembly, with the hope that it will be carried out in an atmosphere of productive collaboration, working for a more fraternal and united world by identifying ways to resolve the serious problems which beset the whole human  family today.             In continuity with his predecessors, Pope Francis recently reiterated the Holy See’s esteem and appreciation for the United Nations as an indispensable means of building an authentic family of peoples.  The Holy See values the efforts of this distinguished institution “to ensure world peace, respect for human dignity, the protection of persons, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and harmonious economic and social development” ( Address to the Secretary General of the United Nations and the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination , 9 May 2014).  Along these lines and on numerous occasions, His Holiness has encouraged men and women of good will to place their talents effectively at the service of all by working together, in tandem with the political community and each sector of civil society (cf. Letter to the World Economic Forum , 17 January 2014).             Though mindful of the human person’s gifts and abilities, Pope Francis observes that today there is the danger of widespread indifference.  As much as this indifference concerns the field of politics, it also affects economic and social sectors, “since an important part of humanity does not share in the benefits of progress and is in fact relegated to the status of second-class citizens” ( Address of Pope Francis to the Secretary General of the United Nations and the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination , 9 May 2014).  At times, such apathy is synonymous with irresponsibility.  This is the case today, when a union of States, which was created with the fundamental goal of saving generations from the horror of war that brings untold sorrow to humanity (cf. Preamble of the Charter of the United Nations , 1), remains passive in the face of hostilities suffered by defenceless populations.             I recall the words of His Holiness addressed to the Secretary General at the beginning of August: “It is with a heavy and anguished heart that I have been following the dramatic events in northern Iraq”, thinking of “the tears, the suffering and the heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and other religious minorities of [that] beloved land”.  In that same letter the Pope renewed his urgent appeal to the international community to “take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway”.  He further encouraged “all the competent organs of the United Nations, in particular those responsible for security, peace, humanitarian law and assistance to refugees, to continue their efforts in accordance with the Preamble and relevant Articles of the United Nations Charter” ( Letter of the Holy Father to the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization concerning the situation in Northern Iraq , 9 August 2014).             Today I am compelled to repeat the heartfelt appeal of His Holiness and to propose to the General Assembly, as well as to the other competent organs of the United Nations, that this body deepen its understanding of the difficult and complex moment that we are now living.            With the dramatic situation in northern Iraq and some parts of Syria, we are seeing a totally new phenomenon: the existence of a terrorist organization which threatens all States, vowing to dissolve them and to replace them with a pseudo-religious world government.  Unfortunately, as the Holy Father recently said, even today there are those who would presume to wield power by coercing consciences and taking lives, persecuting and murdering in the name of God (cf. L’Osservatore Romano , 3 May 2014).  These actions bring injury to entire ethnic groups, populations and ancient cultures.  It must be remembered that such violence is born out of a disregard for God and falsifies “religion itself, since religion aims instead at reconciling men and women with God, at illuminating and purifying consciences, and at making it clear that each human being is the image of the Creator” (Benedict XVI, Address to the Members of the Diplomatic Corps Accredited to the Holy See , 7 January 2013).             In a world of global communications, this new phenomenon has found followers in numerous places, and has succeeded in attracting from around the world young people who are often disillusioned by a widespread indifference and a dearth of values in wealthier societies.   This challenge, in all its tragic aspects, should compel the international community to promote a unified response, based on solid juridical criteria and a collective willingness to cooperate for the common good.  To this end, the Holy See considers it useful to focus attention on two major areas.  The first is to address the cultural and political origins of contemporary challenges, acknowledging the need for innovative strategies to confront these international problems in which cultural factors play a fundamental role.  The second area for consideration is a further study of the effectiveness of international law today, namely its successful implementation by those mechanisms used by the United Nations to prevent war, stop aggressors, protect populations and help victims.             Following the attacks of 11 September 2001, when the world woke up to the reality of a new form of terrorism, some media and “think tanks” oversimplified that tragic moment by interpreting all subsequent and problematic situations in terms of a clash of civilizations.  This view ignored longstanding and profound experiences of good relations between cultures, ethnic groups and religions, and interpreted through this lens other complex situations such as the Middle Eastern question and those civil conflicts presently occurring elsewhere.  Likewise, there have been attempts to find so-called legal remedies to counter and prevent the surge of this new form of terrorism.  At times, unilateral solutions have been favoured over those grounded in international law.  The methods adopted, likewise, have not always respected the established order or particular cultural circumstances of peoples who often found themselves unwillingly at the centre of this new form of global conflict.  These mistakes, and the fact that they were at least tacitly approved, should lead us to a serious and profound examination of conscience.  The challenges that these new forms of terrorism pose should not make us succumb to exaggerated views and cultural extrapolations.  The reductionism of interpreting situations in terms of a clash of civilizations, playing on existing fears and prejudices, only leads to reactions of a xenophobic nature that, paradoxically, then serve to reinforce the very sentiments at the heart of terrorism itself.  The challenges we face ought to spur a renewed call for religious and intercultural dialogue and for new developments in international law, to promote just and courageous peace initiatives.              What, then, are the paths open to us?  First and foremost, there is the path of promoting dialogue and understanding among cultures which is already implicitly contained in the Preamble and First Article of the Charter of the United Nations.  This path must become an ever more explicit objective of the international community and of governments if we are truly committed to peace in the world.  At the same time we must recall that it is not the role of international organizations or states to invent culture, nor is it possible to do so.  Similarly, it is not the place of governments to establish themselves as spokespersons of cultures, nor are they the primary actors responsible for cultural and interreligious dialogue.  The natural growth and enrichment of culture is, instead, the fruit of all components of civil society working together.  International organizations and states do have the task of promoting and supporting, in a decisive way, and with the necessary financial means, those initiatives and movements which promote dialogue and understanding among cultures, religions and peoples.  Peace, after all, is not the fruit of a balance of powers, but rather the result of justice at every level, and most importantly, the shared responsibility of individuals, civil institutions and governments.  In effect, this means understanding one other and valuing the other’s culture and circumstances.  It also entails having concern for each other by sharing spiritual and cultural patrimonies and offering opportunities for human enrichment.             And yet, we do not face the challenges of terrorism and violence with cultural openness alone.  The important path of international law is also available to us.  The situation today requires a more incisive understanding of this law, giving particular attention to the “responsibility to protect”.  In fact, one of the characteristics of the recent terrorist phenomenon is that it disregards the existence of the state and, in fact, the entire international order.  Terrorism aims not only to bring change to governments, to damage economic structures or simply to commit common crimes.  It seeks to directly control areas within one or various states, to impose its own laws, which are distinct and opposed to those of the sovereign State.  It also undermines and rejects all existing juridical systems, attempting to impose dominion over consciences and complete control over persons.             The global nature of this phenomenon, which knows no borders, is precisely why the framework of international law offers the only viable way of dealing with this urgent challenge.  This reality requires a renewed United Nations that undertakes to foster and preserve peace.  At present, the active and passive participants of such a system are all the states, which place themselves under the authority of the Security Council and who are committed not to engage in acts of war without the approval of the same Council.  Within this framework, military action carried out by one state in response to another state is possible only in the event of self-defence when under direct armed attack and only up until such time as the Security Council successfully takes the necessary steps to restore international peace and security (cf. Charter of the United Nations , Art. 51).   New forms of terrorism engage in military actions on a vast scale.  They are not able to be contained by any one state and explicitly intend to wage war against the international Community.  In this sense we are dealing with criminal behaviour that is not envisaged by the juridical configuration of the United Nations Charter.  This notwithstanding, it must be recognized that the norms in place for the prevention of war and the intervention of the Security Council are equally applicable, on varying grounds, in the case of a war provoked by a “non-State actor”.             In the first place, this is because the fundamental objective of the Charter is to avoid the scourge of war for future generations.  The juridical structure of the Security Council, for all its limits and defects, was established for this very reason.   Moreover, Article 39 of the Charter of the United Nations assigns the Security Council the task of determining threats or aggressions to international peace, without specifying the type of actors carrying out the threats or aggressions.  Finally, the states themselves, by virtue of membership to the UN, have renounced any use of force which is inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations (cf. Charter of the United Nations , Art.2, 4).             Given that the new forms of terrorism are “transnational”, they no longer fall under the competence of the security forces of any one state: the territories of several states are involved.  Thus the combined forces of a number of nations will be required to guarantee the defence of unarmed citizens.  Since there is no juridical norm which justifies unilateral policing actions beyond one’s own borders, there is no doubt that the area of competence lies with the Security Council.  This is because, without the consent and supervision of the state in which the use of force is exercised, such force would result in regional or international instability, and therefore enter within the scenarios foreseen by the Charter of the United Nations.             My Delegation wishes to recall that it is both licit and urgent to stop aggression through multilateral action and a proportionate use of force.  As a representative body of a worldwide religious community embracing different nations, cultures and ethnicities, the Holy See earnestly hopes that the international community will assume responsibility in considering the best means to stop all aggression and avoid the perpetration of new and even graver injustices.  The present situation, therefore, though indeed quite serious, is an occasion for the member states of the United Nations Organization to honour the very spirit of the Charter of the United Nations by speaking out on the tragic conflicts which are tearing apart entire peoples and nations.  It is disappointing, that up to now, the international community has been characterized by contradictory voices and even by silence with regard to the  conflicts in Syria, the Middle East and Ukraine.  It is paramount that there be a unity of action for the common good, avoiding the cross-fire of vetoes.  As His Holiness wrote to the Secretary General on 9 August last, “the most basic understanding of human dignity compels the international community, particularly through the norms and mechanisms of international law, to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities”.             While the concept of “the responsibility to protect” is implicit in the constitutional principles of the Charter of the United Nations and of Humanitarian Law, it does not specifically favour a recourse to arms.  It asserts, rather, the responsibility of the entire international community, in a spirit of solidarity, to confront heinous crimes such as genocide, ethnic cleansing and religiously motivated persecution.  Here with you today, I cannot fail to mention the many Christians and ethnic minorities who in recent months have endured atrocious persecution and suffering in Iraq and Syria.  Their blood demands of us all an unwavering commitment to respect and promote the dignity of every single person as willed and created by God.  This means also respect for religious freedom, which the Holy See considers a fundamental right, since no one can be forced “to act against his or her conscience”, and everyone “has the duty and consequently the right to seek the truth in religious matters” (Second Vatican Council, Dignitatis Humanae , 3).             In summary, the promotion of a culture of peace calls for renewed efforts in favour of dialogue, cultural appreciation and cooperation, while respecting the variety of sensibilities.  What is needed is a far-sighted political approach that does not rigidly impose a priori political models which undervalue the sensibilities of individual peoples.  Ultimately, there must be a genuine willingness to apply thoroughly the current mechanisms of law, while at the same time remaining open to the implications of this crucial moment.  This will ensure a multilateral approach that will better serve human dignity, and protect and advance integral human development throughout the world.  Such a willingness, when   concretely expressed in new juridical formulations, will certainly bring fresh vitality to the United Nations.  It will also help resolve serious conflicts, be they active or dormant, which still affect some parts of Europe, Africa and Asia, and whose ultimate resolution requires the commitment of all.   Mr President,             With Resolution A/68/6 of the 68 th Session of the General Assembly, it was decided that this present Session would discuss the Post-2015 Development Agenda, to be then formally adopted in the 70 th Session in September 2015.  You yourself, Mr President, aptly chose the main theme of this present Session: Delivering and Implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda .             During your recent meeting with all the Chief Executives of Agencies, Funds and Programs of the United Nations (cf. Address to the Secretary General of the United Nations and the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination , 9 May 2014), His Holiness requested that future objectives for sustainable development be formulated “with generosity and courage, so that they can have a real impact on the structural causes of poverty and hunger, attain more substantial results in protecting the environment, ensure dignified and productive labour for all, and provide an appropriate protection for the family, which is an essential element in sustainable human and social development.  Specifically, this involves challenging all forms of injustice and resisting the ‘economy of exclusion’, the ‘throwaway culture’ and the ‘culture of death’”.  Pope Francis encouraged the Chief Executives to promote “a true, worldwide ethical mobilization which, beyond all differences of religious or political convictions, will spread and put into practice a shared ideal of fraternity and solidarity, especially with regard to the poorest and those most excluded” ( ibid ).             In this regard, the Holy See welcomes the 17 “Sustainable Development Goals” proposed by the Working Group ( Open Working Group for Sustainable Goals ), which seek to address the structural causes of poverty by promoting dignified labour for everyone.  Equally, the Holy See appreciates that the goals and targets , for most part, do not echo wealthy populations’ fears regarding population growth in poorer countries.   It also welcomes the fact that the goals and targets do not impose on poorer states lifestyles which are typically associated with advanced economies and which tend to show a disregard for human dignity.  Furthermore, with regard to the Post-2015 Development Agenda , the incorporation of the results of the OWG [ Open Working Group for Sustainable Goals ], alongside the indications given in the Report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing and those arising out of the interagency consultation, would seem indispensable for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda .        Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the efforts of the United Nations and of many people of good will, the number of the poor and excluded is increasing not only in developing nations but also in developed ones. The “Responsibility to protect”, as stated earlier, refers to extreme aggressions against human rights,  cases of serious contempt of humanitarian law or grave natural catastrophes. In a similar way there is a need to make legal provision for protecting people against other forms of aggression, which are less evident but just as serious and  real. For example, a financial system governed only by speculation and the maximization of profits, or one in which individual persons are regarded as  disposable items in a culture of waste, could be tantamount, in certain circumstances, to an offence against human dignity. It follows, therefore, that the UN and its member states have an urgent and grave responsibility for the poor and excluded, mindful always that social and economic justice is an essential condition for peace.   Mr President,             Each day of the 69 th Session of the General Assembly, and indeed of the next four Sessions, up until November 2018, will bear the sad and painful memory of the futile and inhumane tragedy of the First World War ( a senseless slaughter , as Pope Benedict XV referred to it), with its millions of victims and untold destruction.  Marking the centenary of the start of the conflict, His Holiness Pope Francis expressed his desire that “the mistakes of the past are not repeated, that the lessons of history are acknowledged, and that the causes for peace may always prevail through patient and courageous dialogue” ( Angelus , 27 July 2014).  On that occasion, the thoughts of His Holiness focused particularly on three areas of crisis: the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine.  He urged all Christians and people of faith to pray to the Lord to “grant to these peoples and to the Leaders of those regions the wisdom and strength needed to move forward with determination on the path toward peace, to address every dispute with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation and with the power of reconciliation.  May the common good and respect for every person, rather than specific interests, be at the centre of every decision.  Let us remember that in war all is lost and in peace nothing” ( ibid ).   Mr President, In making my own the sentiments of the Holy Father, I fervently hope that they may be shared by all present here.  I offer to each of you my best wishes for your work, while trusting that this Session will spare no effort to put to an end the clamour of weapons that marks existing conflicts and that it will continue to foster the development of the entire huma n race, and in particular, the poorest among us. Thank you, Mr President.         (from Vatican Radio)... 3 hours 52 min
(Vatican Radio) Sunday, 28 September is to be set aside as a Day of Prayer for the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, scheduled to take place from 5 to 219 October to treat the topic:  The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization . The Holy See on Saturday released a prayer guide, inviting p articular Churches, parishes, religious houses, associations and movements to pray for the success of the Synod assembly in the days leading to the Synod and during the Synod itself.  The guide includes a prayer  composed by Pope Francis for the occasion, as well as a series of intentions that may be offered the Prayers of the Faithful. Please find the full text of the guide, including the prayer composed by the Holy Father, below. ******************************************** Day of Prayer for the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the  Synod of Bishops Sunday, 28 September 2014             Sunday, 28 September is to be set aside as a Day of Prayer for the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, scheduled to take place from 5 to 219 October to treat the topic: The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization .             Particular churches, parish communities, institutes of consecrated life, associations and movements are invited to pray for this intention during Mass and at other liturgical celebrations, in the days leading to the synod and during the synod itself. In Rome, in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, prayers will be recited each day in the chapel of the icon, Salus Populi Romani . The faithful, individually  but above all in families, are invited to join in these prayers.             The suggested prayers include the Prayer to the Holy Family for the Synod , composed by Pope Francis, and the following proposed intentions during the Prayers of the Faithful which can be adapted at Sunday Mass on 28 September and during the synod. These intentions can also be included in the petitions at Lauds and Vespers. The recitation of the Holy Rosary is also recommended for the duration of the synodal assembly.   I - Prayer to the Holy Family for the Synod   Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendour of true love, to you we turn with trust.   Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic Churches.   Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection and division: may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing. Holy Family of Nazareth, may the approaching Synod of Bishops make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.   Jesus, Mary and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer.   Amen.   II - Prayer of the Faithful   Brothers and Sisters, gathered together as God’s family and inspired by our faith, we raise our minds and hearts to the Father, that our families, sustained by the grace of Christ, might become true domestic churches where all live and bear witness to God’s love.   Together we pray: Lord, bless and sanctify our families.   For Pope Francis: the Lord has called him to preside over the Church in charity; sustain him in his ministry of service to the communion of the episcopal college and the entire People of God, we pray: For the synod fathers and the other participants at the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: may the Spirit of the Lord enlighten their minds so that the Church might respond, in faithfulness to God’s plan, to the challenges facing the family, we pray: For those who have the responsibility of governing nations: that the Holy Spirit might inspire programmes which acknowledge the value of the family as the basic unit of society in God’s plan and which offer support to families in difficulty,  we pray: For Christian families: may the Lord who has sealed the union of husband and wife with his presence, make our families cenacles of prayer and ardent communities of life and love, after the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth, we pray: For couples undergoing difficulties: may the Lord, rich in mercy, be present to them through the Church’s motherly care and concern in showing understanding and patience in their journey towards pardon and reconciliation, we pray: For families who, for the sake of the Gospel, are forced leave their fatherland: may the Lord who endured exile with Mary and Joseph, comfort them with his grace and open for them paths of fraternal charity and human solidarity, we pray: For grandparents: may the Lord who was received in the Temple by the elders Simeon and Anna, make them wise collaborators with parents in transmitting the faith and the raising their children, we pray: For children: may the Lord of life, who in his ministry welcomed them and made them a model for entering the Kingdom of heaven, inspire a respect for life in the womb and programmes in raising children which conform to the Christian outlook towards life, we pray: For young people: may the Lord, who made holy the Wedding at Cana, lead them to discover the beauty of the sacredness and inviolability of the family in God’s plan and sustain engaged couples as they prepare for marriage, we pray: O God, you never forsake the work of your hands, hear our prayer; send the Spirit of your Son to enlighten the Church as the synodal journey begins, so that contemplating the splendour of true love which shines forth in the Holy Family of Nazareth, she might learn the freedom and obedience to respond with boldness and mercy to the challenges of today’s world. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen. (from Vatican Radio)... 3 hours 52 min
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"A Associação de Ciência e Vida se une com entusiasmo à vigília de oração deste sábado, 4 de outubro, promovida pela Presidência da Conferência Episcopal Italiana, na véspera da Terceira Assembleia Geral Extraordinária do Sínodo dos Bispos”. Afirma Paola Ricci Sindoni e Domenico Coviello, presidente e vice presiden... 17 hours 17 min
Desde sua origem, com os primeiros monges do deserto, a vida consagrada sempre esteve muito presente e atuante na Igreja e, com o passar dos anos, este estilo de vida, que sempre motivou pessoas a viverem a radicalidade do evangelho, passou por várias reformas – o que revela a dinâmica da vida eclesial. Com o obj... 18 hours 10 min
Tem início nesta quarta-feira, 1º de outubro, a Semana Nacional da Vida. O evento é motivado pela Igreja no Brasil, a partir da publicação do subsídio "Hora da Vida", elaborado pela Comissão Episcopal para a Vida e a Família da Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil (CNBB) e Comissão Nacional da Pastoral Familia... 18 hours 20 min
Ciclo A Textos: Isaias 5, 1-7; Filipenses 4, 6-9; Mateus 21, 33-43 Ideia principal: Ou uvas saborosas ou uvas azedas. Tudo depende se estou ou não unido a Cristo, verdadeira Vinha, pois eu sou o sarmento. Resumo da mensagem: A vinha é uma imagem privilegiada para designar o povo da antiga aliança (Israel) e o... 18 hours 24 min
Mais de uma vez, no decurso da homilia matutina, o Papa Francisco usou o termo "deusa lamentação", para advertir sobre a atitude de muitos cristãos pouco dispostos a dar graças ao Senhor e que tendem a ver o ‘copo meio vazio’ da própria vida. Durante a missa em Santa Marta, o Papa falou das "lamentações teatrais"... 19 hours 9 min
"I want to send my best wishes to our Muslim brothers," asking God "to protect and preserve our country from every form of evil." This is the wish that his Beatitude Mar Louis Raphael I Sako sends to the Muslim community in Iraq to mark Eid al-Adha, a holiday that commemorates the total submission of man to God. In the message, sent to AsiaNews, the Chaldean patriarch repeats his invitation to condemn "violent, sectarian extremism, because it distorts religion". Mar Sako traces a "road map for salvation" that starts from education and respect for "religious, cultural differences" while keeping "our national identity and unity." He also remembers the love of Christians for "everyone", even in difficulties and sufferings. He appeals to the national government and the authorities of Kurdistan, so that- together - the liberate Mosul and the Nineveh Plain from the oppressive yoke of the Islamic State. Below the letter of the Chaldean Patriarch to the Muslim community in Iraq and the world: I send to the Muslim Brothers my sincere congratulations and best wishes on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha, asking God to protect them and preserve our country from all evil. There is no freedom and no dignity without a real honest relationship recognizes and accepts the other as a brother and a partner in the land and home. Our citizens have suffered greatly from a variety of conflicts and wars, there must be genuine reconciliation, a brave dialogue, and an effective political approach to restore peace,  security and stability. By awareness and education that incubates the religious, cultural, and national diversity and spread the culture of peace, tolerance respect, justice and dialogue we will maintain our national identity and unity, and raise barriers and promote trust and co-existence and eliminate all extremist ideology and everyone who urges to hatred and violence. This is the road map for the salvation of the disturbing situation. We Iraqi Christians are a genuine and essential component in Iraq, we would like to stay with you as partners and work together as a team for the progress of our country and the good of our people. ISIS has displaced us of our towns and even in Baghdad the pressures are exerted on us, but we tell you that we love you because Jesus Christ commanded us to love everyone. We believe that all Muslims DO NOT approve the actions of ISIS and there are some of Muslims who are good and considered as a blessing like Dr. Mohammed Al-Asali, who was killed in defence of Christians in Mosul. We hope that you openly declare your reject and condemnation of violent religious extremism because it distorts the religion. On this occasion, we call on our national government to unite and cooperation with the Kurdistan Regional Government quickly to liberate Mosul and the towns of Nineveh Plain and other cities so that the million and half of million displaced people can go back to their homes as fast as could especially schools will open their doors after the Eid al-Adha holiday and winter is coming. We wish you happy Eid Adha , that returns the values ​​of sacrifice for the respect of human rights and dignity, not sacrificing people. (Source: AsiaNews)  (from Vatican Radio)... 19 hours 10 min
“Se, conforme o Apóstolo Paulo, Cristo é o poder de Deus e a sabedoria de Deus, e quem ignora as Escrituras ignora o poder de Deus e sua sabedoria, ignorar as Escrituras é ignorar Cristo”, narrava São Jerônimo, que nasceu por volta do ano 342 na Itália entre as cidades de Panomia e Dalmácia. A tradição não nos traz... 23 hours 37 min
(Vatican Radio) The angels battle Satan for the destiny of mankind and win.  They defend and custody  the greatest mystery of the Church, God-made-Man.  Even though in Satan often presents “humanistic explanations” for his attacks on mankind.  This was the focus of Pope Francis homily at Mass Monday morning at Casa Santa Marta, marking the Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Emer McCarthy reports listen:  Today’s readings present us with very strong images: the vision of the glory of God described by the prophet Daniel with the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, before the Father: the archangel Michael and his angels fighting against "the great dragon, the ancient serpent, he who is called the devil" and "seduces all of inhabited earth," but who is defeated, as affirmed by the Book of Revelation; and the Gospel in which Jesus says to Nathanael: "You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man". Pope Francis speaks of "the struggle between God and the devil": "This struggle takes place after Satan seeks to destroy the woman about to give birth to a child. Satan always tries to destroy man: the man that Daniel saw there, in glory, and whom Jesus told Nathanael would come in glory. From the very beginning, the Bible speaks to us of this: Satan’s [use of ] seduction to destroy. Maybe out of envy. We read in Psalm 8: 'Thou hast made ​​man superior to the angels,' and that angel of great intelligence could not bear this humiliation, that a lower creature was made superior to him; thus he tried to destroy it". Satan, therefore, seeks to destroy humanity, all of us: "So many projects, except for one's own sins, but many, many projects for mankind’s dehumanization are his work, simply because he hates mankind. He is astute: the first page of Genesis tells us so, he is astute.  He presents things as if they were a good thing.  But his intention is destruction. And the angels defend us. They defend mankind and they defend the God-Man, the superior Man, Jesus Christ who is the perfection of humanity, the most perfect. This is why the Church honors the Angels, because they are the ones who will be in the glory of God – they are in the glory of God - because they defend the great hidden mystery of God, namely, that the Word was made flesh ". "The task of the people of God - the Pope said - is to safeguard man: the man Jesus” because "He is the man who gives life to all men". Instead, in his plans for destruction, Satan has invented "humanistic explanations that go against man, against humanity and against God": "This struggle is a daily reality in Christian life, in our hearts, in our lives, in our families, in our people, in our churches ... If we do not struggle, we will be defeated. But the Lord has given this task mainly to the angels: to do battle and win. And the final song of Revelation , after this battle, is so beautiful: Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed. For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night”. Pope Francis concluded urging those present to pray to the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, and "recite the ancient but beautiful prayer to the archangel Michael, so he may continue to do battle and defend the greatest mystery of mankind: that the Word was made Man, died and rose again. This is our treasure. That he may battle on to safeguard it". (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 4 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday morning in St Peter's Square, following a special encounter with elderly persons. In his homily, the Holy Father spoke of the enormous - indeed indispensable - contribution that seniors make to society, most importantly in their conservation of hard-earned wisdom and experience. Click below to hear our report "There are times," said Pope Francis, "when generations of young people, for complex historical and cultural reasons, feel a deeper need to be independent from their parents, 'breaking free', as it were, from the legacy of the older generation." Nevertheless, if the meeting of generations is lost and not re-established, and a "new and fruitful intergenerational equilibrium is [not] restored," the inevitable result will be, "serious impoverishment for everyone, and the freedom which prevails in society is actually a false freedom, which almost always becomes a form of authoritarianism." Please find the full text of the official translation of the Holy Father's prepared remarks, below. ********************************* Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis Mass for the Elderly 28 September 2014               Today we accept the Gospel we have just heard as a Gospel of encounter: the encounter between young and old, an encounter full of joy, full of faith, and full of hope.             Mary is young, very young.  Elizabeth is elderly, yet God’s mercy was manifested in her and for six months now, with her husband Zechariah, she has been expecting a child.             Here too, Mary shows us the way: she set out to visit her elderly kinswoman, to stay with her, to help her, of course, but also and above all to learn from her – an elderly person – a wisdom of life.             Today’s first reading echoes in various ways the Fourth Commandment: “Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” ( Ex 20:12).  A people has no future without such an encounter between generations, without children being able to accept with gratitude the witness of life from the hands of their parents.  And part of this gratitude for those who gave you life is also gratitude for our heavenly Father.             There are times when generations of young people, for complex historical and cultural reasons, feel a deeper need to be independent from their parents, “breaking free”, as it were, from the legacy of the older generation.  It is a kind of adolescent rebellion.  But unless the encounter, the meeting of generations, is reestablished, unless a new and fruitful intergenerational equilibrium is restored, what results is a serious impoverishment for everyone, and the freedom which prevails in society is actually a false freedom, which almost always becomes a form of authoritarianism.             We hear the same message in the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to Timothy and, through him, to the Christian community.  Jesus did not abolish the law of the family and the passing of generations, but brought it to fulfillment.  The Lord formed a new family, in which bonds of kinship are less important than our relationship with him and our doing the will of God the Father.  Yet the love of Jesus and the Father completes and fulfils our love of parents, brothers and sisters, and grandparents; it renews family relationships with the lymph of the Gospel and of the Holy Spirit.  For this reason, Saint Paul urges Timothy, who was a pastor and hence a father to the community, to show respect for the elderly and members of families.  He tells him to do so like a son: treating “older men as fathers”, “older women as mothers” and “younger women as sisters” (cf. 1 Tim 5:1).  The head of the community is not exempt from following the will of God in this way; indeed, the love of Christ impels him to do so with an even greater love.  Like the Virgin Mary, who, though she became the mother of the Messiah, felt herself driven by the love of God taking flesh within her to hasten to her elderly relative.             And so we return to this “icon” full of joy and hope, full of faith and charity.  We can imagine that the Virgin Mary, visiting the home of Elizabeth, would have heard her and her husband Zechariah praying in the words of today’s responsorial psalm: “You, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth…  Do not cast me off in the time of old age, do not forsake me when my strength is spent...  Even to old age and grey hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to all the generations to come”  ( Ps 71:5,9,18).  The young Mary listened, and she kept all these things in her heart.  The wisdom of Elizabeth and Zechariah enriched her young spirit.  They were no experts in parenthood; for them too it was the first pregnancy.  But they were experts in faith, experts in God, experts in the hope that comes from him: and this is what the world needs in every age.  Mary was able to listen to those elderly and amazed parents; she treasured their wisdom, and it proved precious for her in her journey as a woman, as a wife and as a mother.             The Virgin Mary likewise shows us the way: the way of encounter between the young and the elderly.  The future of a people necessarily supposes this encounter: the young give the strength which enable a people to move forward, while the elderly consolidate this strength by their memory and their traditional wisdom.   (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 4 hours
A questão da comunicação entrará plenamente no sínodo da família, será de grande importância, e a vemos na mensagem para o Dia Mundial das Comunicações Sociais, publicado nessa segunda-feira, disse o presidente do Pontifício Conselho para as Comunicações Sociais, o arcebispo Claudio Maria Celli. Disse também que ... 1 day 15 hours
O secretário geral das Nações Unidas, o coreano Ban Ki Moon, comentou com o secretário de Estado do Vaticano, o cardeal Pietro Parolin, que "chegou a hora de que o papa fale diante dos chefes de Estado e de governo da ONU". A declaração aconteceu durante o recente encontro com o purpurado na Assembleia Geral da O... 1 day 16 hours
"Comunicar a família: ambiente privilegiado do encontro na gratuidade do amor": este é o tema que o papa Francisco escolheu para a 49ª Jornada Mundial das Comunicações Sociais, em 2015. O tema da Jornada Mundial das Comunicações Sociais deste ano segue a linha escolhida no ano passado e, ao mesmo tempo, entra no ... 1 day 16 hours
O papa Francisco doou 100 mil euros à Fundação Auschwitz-Birkenau, que gerencia o maior museu sobre o tragicamente célebre campo de concentração alemão, situado, na verdade, na cidade polonesa de Oswiecim. A informação foi divulgada nesta segunda-feira, 29, por Piotr Cywinski, presidente da fundação e diretor do mu... 1 day 16 hours
A Praça de São Pedro foi, neste domingo, 28, o cenário de mais um abraço entre o papa emérito Bento XVI e o papa Francisco. A ocasião foi a Jornada da Terceira Idade: idosos e avós procedentes de mais de vinte países se encontraram na manhã deste domingo e deram testemunho de uma vida plena, feliz e a serviço dos o... 1 day 16 hours
O papa Francisco presidiu na tarde deste sábado, 27 de setembro, na Igreja do Santíssimo nome de Jesus, em Roma, a liturgia de ação de graças pelo 200 º aniversário da restauração da Companhia de Jesus na Igreja universal. A reintegração foi autorizada pelo Papa Pio VII com a bula ‘Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum' d... 1 day 16 hours
O milagre que permitiu beatificar D. Álvaro del Portillo, o primeiro sucessor do fundador do Opus Dei, São Jose Maria Escrivá, é a inexplicável cura do bebê chileno, José Ignacio Ureta Wilson, que com poucos dias de vida, sofreu uma parada cardíaca de mais de meia hora e uma hemorragia massiva. Os fatos acontecer... 1 day 17 hours
"Não deve-se temer a paz e a convivência. A reconciliação e a unidade não são uma derrota ou uma perda, mas uma vitória, porque quem sai ganhando é o ser humano, criado por Deus para viver em harmonia e concórdia”.  Esta é a mensagem que o Santo Padre Francisco enviou para a Venezuela por ocasião da Semana Internac... 1 day 17 hours
No sábado passado, 27, foi beatificado Mons. Alvaro del Portillo, primeiro sucessor de São José Maria Escrivá de Balaguer na direção da Prelazia do Opus Dei. A cerimônia aconteceu na cidade de Madrid com a presença de 150 bispos, 17 cardeais e 300 mil fieis. Um dia antes dessa importante cerimônia, ZENIT converso... 1 day 18 hours
O blog carioca "O catequista" publicou hoje uma denúncia preocupante para todos os pais e educadores católicos do Brasil. Uma escola católica está ensinando abertamente a teoria do gênero para os seus alunos de 6 anos. A instituição fica em Messejana, distrito de Fortaleza-CE. "Recebemos a informação dos familiar... 1 day 19 hours
No dia em que a Igreja celebra os Santos Arcanjos, o Papa fala de Satanás, na missa em Santa Marta, justamente para marcar a vitória de Miguel, Gabriel e Rafael contra "o grande dragão, a antiga serpente, que é chamado diabo." A liturgia do dia apresenta imagens fortes: a visão do profeta Daniel da glória de Deus... 1 day 19 hours
Para evitar o que houve recentemente em Paris, com a profanação do templo por feministas radicais, jovens católicos providas, liderados pelo Prof. Hermes Rodrigues Nery e Flavia Camargo, defenderam a Catedral de Campinas, nesse passado sábado, 27 de Setembro. Na praça, tomada por petistas e integrantes do MST e f... 1 day 20 hours
“Eu gostaria que todos os cristãos pudessem aprender a sublime ciência de Jesus Cristo, através da leitura assídua da Palavra de Deus, pois o texto sagrado é o alimento da alma e manancial puro e perene de vida espiritual para todos nós”. Este é o desejo do Papa Francisco expresso esta manhã, durante a audiência co... 1 day 21 hours
Esta manhã, o Papa Francisco recebeu em audiência no Vaticano o presidente de Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, que posteriormente se reuniu com o arcebispo Dominique Mamberti, Secretário para as Relações com os Estados. Durante o cordial colóquio, informa uma nota da sala de imprensa do Vaticano, destacaram-se ... 1 day 22 hours
Vatican City, 29 September 2014 (VIS) – “Yours is the fruit of a patient, careful, fraternal, competent and, above all, faithful work. If you do not believe, you do not understand; if you do not believe, you cannot stand firm”, said the Holy Father to the members of the United Bible Societies, whom he received this morning in the Consistory Hall for the presentation of the Italian language Bible, “Parola del Signore – La Bibbia Interconfessionale in lingua corrente” (“The Word of the Lord – The Interconfessional Bible in current language”). “I hope that this text, which is presented with the blessing of the Italian Episcopal Conference and the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy, will encourage all Italian-speaking Christians to meditate on, life, bear witness to and celebrate God's message”. “I would very much like all Christians to be able to learn 'the sublime science of Jesus Christ' through frequent reading of the Word of God, as the sacred text offers nourishment for the soul and is the pure and perennial source of the spiritual life of us all”, he added. “We must make every effort so that each believer may read God’s Word, because as Saint Jerome says, 'ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ'”. The Pope offered his heartfelt thanks to those present for their valuable work, encouraging them to “continue on the journey you have undertaken, so as to allow for the better and deeper comprehension of the Word of the living God”.... 1 day 23 hours
Vatican City, 29 September 2014 (VIS) – Today, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, who subsequently met with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. The cordial discussions focused on the good relations between the Holy See and Malta and highlighted the significant contribution made by the Catholic Church in the fields of education and welfare, especially in favour of the poor. The conversation then turned to various themes of mutual interest, with special reference to the role of Christian values in the edification of Maltese society and the strengthening of the institution of the family. Finally, the Parties discussed Malta’s contribution within the European Union, along with a number of questions of an international nature, such as the situations of conflict in the Mediterranean region, expressing hope for a prompt solution via dialogue, as well as the phenomenon of migration towards Europe, which involves commitment on the part of the Church and the Government.... 1 day 23 hours
Vatican City, 29 September 2014 (VIS) – The Pontifical Council for Social Communications published a note today explaining the theme of World Communications Day 2015: “Communicating the family: a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love”. The theme follows in continuity with the previous year’s message, and dovetails with the central theme of the next two Synods on the family. It is important to recall that World Communications Day, the only World Day established by Vatican Council II, is celebrated in many countries, upon the recommendation of bishops throughout the world, on the Sunday preceding Pentecost, and that the Holy Father's Message for the event is traditionally published on the feast day of St. Francis of Sales, patron saint of journalists (24 January). “The daily news show us the difficulties facing the family today”, according to the note. “Often cultural changes do not help us appreciate how much the family is a good for society. “The relationships between the members of the family community are inspired and guided by the law of 'free giving'. By respecting and fostering personal dignity in each and every one as the only basis for value, this free giving takes the form of heartfelt acceptance, encounter and dialogue, disinterested availability, generous service and deep solidarity. “Today, how can we tell people who are perhaps wounded and disillusioned that love between a man and a woman is a good thing? How can we help children know that they are a most precious gift? How can we warm the hearts of people, especially those who are wounded and disappointed, and help them rediscover the beauty of love? How can we show that the family is the privileged place where we experience the beauty of life, the joy and the gift of love, the consolation of forgiveness offered and received, and the encounter with the other? “Today the Church must learn again how to show that the family is a great gift, something good and beautiful. The Church is called to show more vividly that the gift of love, which the bride and groom offer each other, draws all people to God. It is an exciting task because it moves people to look at the true reality of the human person, and it opens the doors to the future, to life”.... 1 day 23 hours
“Ó Deus, que organizais de modo admirável o serviço dos anjos e dos homens, fazei sejamos protegidos na terra por aqueles que vos servem no céu”. Assim reza a Igreja neste dia dedicado aos Arcanjos Miguel, Rafael e Gabriel, cuja existência é uma verdade de fé.  Papa Bento XVI nos apresenta as figuras dos anjos como... 2 days 32 min
No final da Santa Missa por ocasião do encontro com os idosos e avós, celebrada no Sagrado da Basílica de São Pedro, Francisco pediu aos fiés para rezarem pelo Sínodo. Apresentamos as palavras pronunciadas pelo Pontífice antes de rezar o Angelus.  Antes de concluir esta celebração, desejo saudar todos os peregrin... 2 days 16 hours
(Vatican Radio) A brilliantly sunlit St. Peter’s Square was the scene Sunday morning for a great gathering of senior citizens – and especially grandparents – who had come to Rome to be with Pope Francis, to exchange life stories and hear the Holy Father’s reflections on the importance, the struggles, and the beauty of life in the old age. People of every state in life were present: elderly clergy and religious, including Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI; single people; married couples, including a couple of elderly refugees from Iraq, Mubarak and Aneesa Hano, Christians from the country’s north who have been forced to flee their home by Islamic State militants; and widows and widowers. “Old age, in particular, is a time of grace,” said Pope Francis, “in which the Lord will renew His call: He calls us to preserve and transmit the faith, calls us to pray, especially to intercede; calls us to be close to those who maybe in need.” The Holy Father went on to warn against losing sight of and appreciation for the inestimable worth of those, who are in the twilight of life. “A people that does not have care for [the elderly], that does not treat them well, has no future: such a people loses its memory and  its roots.” The key role of grandparents in passing down the faith to a new generation was another major theme of Pope Francis' address, and the central the theme of remarks made by the founder of the Catholic Grandparents Association, Catherine Wiley. Click here for our exclusive interview with Mrs. Wiley . Please find Vatican Radio’s English translation of the Holy Father’s remarks, below. ******************************** Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! I thank you for coming in such large numbers! And thank you for your festive welcome. Today this is your celebration. It is our celebration! I thank His Excellency Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President Pontifical Council For the Family and all those who have prepared this ceremony. I listened to the testimonies of some of you  and was struck by the common experiences of many seniors and grandparents. But one was different: that of the brethren from Erbil (i.e. is the largest city and capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq). They  escaped violent persecution in Iraq. To all of them we say together, "thank you" It is really special that you have come to be with us here. This is a gift to the Church. In turn, we offer you our sympathy, our prayers and practical help. It is inhuman to abuse Elders just as it is inhuman to abuse children. But God will not abandon you. He  is with you! With God’s help, you are and will continue to be the memory for your people; and also for us, the great family of the Church. Thank you! These brethren here testify that even in the most difficult tests, the elderly who have faith are like trees that continue to bear fruit. And this is true even in the most ordinary of situations where, there may be other forms of temptations and other forms of discrimination. We have heard some such witnesses today. Old age, in particular, is a time of grace, in which the Lord will renew his call: calls us to preserve and transmit the faith, calls us to pray, especially to intercede; calls us to be close to those who maybe in need. The elderly – grandparents [especially] – have a capacity to understand the most difficult situations: a great ability – and when they pray for these situations, their prayer is strong. It is powerful.   To Grandparents, who have been blessed to see their children's children (cf. Ps 128.6), to them are entrusted an even greater task: to convey the experience of life, the story of a family, the story of a community or even of a people; to share with simplicity their wisdom and the same faith which is the most precious legacy! Blessed are those families who have grandparents nearby! The grandfather is in a way twice a father and the grandmother is twice a mother. But it is not always  the case that the elderly, the grandfather, grandmother has a family that can accommodate them or upon which they can count. So we welcome the houses for the elderly ... so that they can truly be homes, not prisons! We hope that these homes will truly serve the interests of older persons and not the interests of someone else! There must never be institutions where the elderly are forgotten, hidden or neglected. I feel close to the many elderly people who live in these institutions, and I think with gratitude of those who go to visit them and take care of them. Homes for the elderly should be the "lungs" of humanity in a country, in a neighborhood, in a parish; "sanctuaries" of humanity where those who are old and weak are cared for and taken care of like a brother or a sister. It's good for you to go and visit senior citizens! Look at young people: sometimes seem miserable and sad: Go visit an elderly person and you will become joyful! But there is also the reality of the abandonment of the elderly: how many times we discard older people with attitudes that are akin to a hidden form of euthanasia! The culture of discarding human beings hurts our world. We discard children, young people and older people under the pretense of maintaining a "balanced",  economic system the center of which is no longer the human person, but money. We are all called to counter this culture of poisonous waste! We Christians, together with all people of good will, are called to patiently build a more diverse, more welcoming, more humane, more inclusive society, that does not need to discard the weak in body and mind. On the contrary we need a society which measures its success on how the weak are cared for. As Christians and as citizens, we are called to envision, with imagination and wisdom, ways of dealing with this challenge. A people who do not take care for grandparents, does not treat them well has no future: such a people loses its memory and  its roots. But beware: you too have the responsibility to keep alive these roots in yourself with prayer, the reading of the Gospel and  the works of mercy. It is only is such a manner that we will remain as living trees, that even in old age will not stop bearing fruit. (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 22 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent a letter to the leader of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevarría Rodríguez, to mark the beatification of the first successor to Opus Dei’s holy founder, St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer.  Tens of thousands of people gathered in Madrid on Saturday to participate in the beatification Mass for the Servant of God,  Álvaro del Portillo , which was celebrated by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato. In his letter, Pope Francis praises Blessed Álvaro as a model of holiness, “[who] sends us a very clear message: he tells us to trust in the Lord, that the Lord is our brother, our friend, who never defrauds and who is always at our side.”  The Pope goes on to say, “[Bl. Alvaro] encourages us not to be afraid to go against the tide and to suffer for the proclamation of the Gospel,” and, “teaches us that in simplicity and in our daily life we can find a safe path to sanctity.” (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 22 hours
(Vatican Radio) What is the role grandparents play in keeping prayer at the heart of the family in the 21 st century and how important are they in passing down the faith to a new generation? That is what grandparent and founder of the Catholic Grandparents Association, Catherine Wiley will be highlighting when she gives her testimony on the vocation of grandparents to Pope Francis on Sunday. Listen to Lydia O'Kane's interview with Catherine Wiley Catherine will be among forty thousand grandparents and elderly people who will meet the Pope in an event entitled “The blessing of a long life” which will take place in St Peter’s Square. The event organised by the Pontifical Council for the Family, will also see Pope Francis celebrate Holy Mass which will be concelebrated by more than fifty elderly priests from around the world. Speaking to Vatican Radio about her testimony on Sunday, Catherine Wiley says she wants the focus of her words to the Holy Father to be about the unique role grandparents have in guiding grandchildren in their faith. “They (grandparents) really have a unique opportunity to pass on the faith to their grandchildren when they’re small”. Pope Francis has spoken often during his pontificate about the importance of grandparents and Catherine says “that everybody thinks of the Pope as a grandfather figure and in fact my grandson will be asking the Pope a question and he will be telling him that the children of the world love him like a grandfather”  The Catholic Grandparents Association, which has offices in both England and Ireland was started by Catherine in 2009 after she successfully organised the first National Grandparents’ Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham in England and the first Irish National Grandparents’ Pilgrimage to the Knock Shrine in September 2007. The pilgrimages are now held annually.     (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 22 hours

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By John Stegeman The Catholic Telegraph Two men were ordained priests for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati this year. Two were ordained last year as well, but going forward the numbers are expected to spike. Pending 100 percent retention, four men … Continue reading → 5 hours 11 min
By Kate Veik CNA/EWTN News  Milwaukee, Wis. — After 30 years of providing post-abortion healing and support across the United States, Project Rachel is hoping to take its ministry abroad. “The aftermath of abortion is a universal phenomenon,” founder Vicki … Continue reading → 5 hours 11 min
By Patricia Zapor Catholic News Service  WASHINGTON — People of various religious groups tend to think followers of their faith are more apt to face discrimination than the general public thinks, but majorities of all backgrounds agree that Muslims, gays/lesbians, … Continue reading → 5 hours 11 min
By John Stegeman The Catholic Telegraph  NET Ministries, a popular youth evangelization outreach, has hosted retreats in this region before, but a new office located at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati headquarters has strengthened its presence. This year youth from the … Continue reading → 5 hours 11 min
By Andrea Gagliarducci CNA/EWTN News VATICAN CITY — The first woman ever to be appointed a member of a Vatican congregation explains that “women still have much to give to the Church with their personal charisma.” Sister Luzia Premoli, superior … Continue reading → 5 hours 11 min
By Michelle Martin Catholic News Service  CHICAGO — With prayers, songs and sealing wax, Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago formally closed the investigation into the life and virtues of Father Augustus Tolton Sept. 29 in a ceremony in the … Continue reading → 5 hours 11 min
By Elise Harris CNA/EWTN News  VATICAN CITY — On Monday’s feast of the archangels Pope Francis spoke of the ongoing battle between the devil and mankind, encouraging attendees to pray to the angels, who have been charged to defend us. … Continue reading → 5 hours 11 min
Staff Report Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio announced today that the 100-year-old organization will relocate from its present location in downtown Cincinnati to the Mid Pointe Tower building in Roselawn, beginning Jan. 9, 2015. A post on the Archdiocese of … Continue reading → 5 hours 11 min
Staff Report Harkening back to older times where The Catholic Telegraph published high school football information in the print edition, for the remainder of the season we’ll be posting the collected standings and weekly opponents of all of our Catholic … Continue reading → 5 hours 11 min
By Beth Griffin Catholic News Service  NEW YORK — Pope Francis evangelizes with “encyclicals of gestures,” which speak louder than words and texts, said Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa. One of nine members of the Council of Cardinals … Continue reading → 5 hours 11 min
By Steve Trosley The Catholic Telegraph  The 10th annual Family Rosary Rally will be held Oct. 12 at the University of Dayton Arena with Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr presiding. The prelude music will begin at 2:30 p.m., according to Don … Continue reading → 1 day 5 hours
By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY — After a Vatican investigation, Pope Francis removed a Paraguayan bishop from his post as head of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este because of “serious pastoral reasons.” Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano, … Continue reading → 1 day 5 hours
  Staff Report Due to a technical and editing error, some incorrect Catholic High School open house information was published in The Catholic Telegraph October print edition. Correct information for all fo the Catholic High School open houses follows:  Archbishop Alter … Continue reading → 1 day 5 hours
For the past two years I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to go on a mission trip to Vanceburg, Kentucky through the Glenmary Home Missioners. With the Ohio River on one side and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on … Continue reading → 2 days 5 hours
Staff Report As far as The Catholic Telegraph staff can tell, this newspaper never had a traditional sports page. Still, the schedules, standings, awards and related happenings involving area Catholics and sports often found their way into the pages. Today’s … Continue reading → 2 days 5 hours
Press Release DAYTON— Some of the rarest books in the world will be display at the University of Dayton this fall, from authors like Austen, Chaucer, Copernicus, Marie Curie, Shakespeare and Mark Twain. “Imprints and Impressions: Milestones in Human Progress” … Continue reading → 2 days 5 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: Live Catholic Headlines
Posted
Vatican City, Oct 1, 2014 / 01:03 am (EWTN News/CNA).- In his first meeting as Pope with the Focolare movement, Pope Francis on Friday encouraged them in their effort for unity, as the movement has started a process of internal renewal which has brought to a change of more than 70 percent of their previous board. 6 hours 9 min
Vatican City, Sep 30, 2014 / 10:13 am (EWTN News/CNA).- In his homily on Tuesday Pope Francis said "complaining" to God in times of suffering can be a prayer, but cautioned not to exaggerate our difficulties in front of those undergoing major tragedies. 20 hours 59 min
Panjim, India, Sep 30, 2014 / 08:02 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Spiritual formation and catechesis are underway to prepare for the upcoming exposition in Goa of the relics of St. Francis Xavier, the "Apostle to the Far East."   23 hours 10 min
Vatican City, Sep 30, 2014 / 06:00 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The schedule of liturgical celebrations over which Pope Francis will preside in October is mainly booked with events surrounding the synod of bishops, which culminates with the beatification of Pope Paul VI. 1 day 1 hour
Orlando, Fla., Sep 30, 2014 / 05:52 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Catholic medical professionals can lead other people to God by dedicating themselves to holiness and following the examples of saintly doctors, Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Neb., said.

1 day 1 hour
Baton Rouge, La., Sep 30, 2014 / 05:44 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Nearly 20 organizations, both Catholic and other denominations of Christian, have joined the Diocese of Baton Rouge in asking the Supreme Court to protect a priest from being forced to violate the Seal of Confession.

1 day 1 hour
Washington D.C., Sep 30, 2014 / 05:02 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Hundreds of advocates gathered Sept. 25 in Washington, D.C., to pray for the release of American pastor Saeed Abedini, who has now been imprisoned in Iran for the past two years.

1 day 2 hours
Kansas City, Mo., Sep 30, 2014 / 03:59 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has confirmed that an archbishop has held a visitation on behalf of the Vatican and met with Bishop Robert Finn, but cannot talk about the reasons for the visit.
1 day 3 hours
Vatican City, Sep 30, 2014 / 03:04 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The first woman ever to be appointed a member of a Vatican congregation explains that "women still have much to give to the Church with their personal charisma." 1 day 4 hours
Madrid, Spain, Sep 30, 2014 / 02:58 pm (EWTN News).- Spanish missionary Brother Manuel Garcia Viejo passed away after contracting the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone and being transported to the Carlos III Hospital in Madrid, Europa Press reports.

1 day 4 hours
Westminster, England, Sep 30, 2014 / 02:48 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Bishop John Arnold, who was appointed Tuesday as Bishop of Salford, said that while the move will be a new experience for him, he will seek to serve his new Church in missionary discipleship.

1 day 4 hours
Vatican City, Sep 30, 2014 / 01:09 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The Holy See has rejected the United Nations' Committtee on the Rights of the Child's call for changes to canon law, and has formally criticized the group for a "grave misunderstanding" of the Holy See's sovereignty.
1 day 6 hours
Rome, Italy, Sep 30, 2014 / 01:00 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The suppression and subsequent restoration of the Society of Jesus shows the importance of discernment and trusting in God even in tribulation, rather than relying on one's own cunning or dwelling on one's persecution, Pope Francis reflected on Saturday. 1 day 6 hours
Vatican City, Sep 29, 2014 / 11:43 am (EWTN News/CNA).- A former Vatican spokesman has written, against the backdrop of the house arrest of a former nuncio being investigated for abuse of minors, that the Church is the only international body acting effectively against pedophilia.
1 day 19 hours
Vatican City, Sep 29, 2014 / 07:31 am (EWTN News/CNA).- On Monday's feast of the archangels Pope Francis spoke of the ongoing battle between the devil and mankind, encouraging attendees to pray to the angels, who have been charged to defend us. 1 day 23 hours
Vatican City, Sep 29, 2014 / 05:02 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- World Communications Day 2015 will focus on the theme "Communicating the Family: A Privileged Place of Encounter with the Gift of Love," the Vatican announced Monday. 2 days 2 hours
Bereina, Papua New Guinea, Sep 29, 2014 / 04:07 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- In Papua New Guinea, the Bishop of Bereina has prayed for the four persons killed Sept. 20 when their aircraft, which was carrying supplies to a remote village, crashed.
2 days 3 hours
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sep 29, 2014 / 03:58 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- On Sept. 29, the Argentine daily La Nacion published an interview with Cardinal Walter Kasper, who has drawn significant media attention for suggesting that some of those who have been divorced and remarried should be permitted to receive Communion.

2 days 3 hours
Kyiv, Ukraine, Sep 29, 2014 / 03:04 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The apostolic nuncio to Ukraine has urged efforts to support Catholics in the nation, warning that Russia's expansion into the country has caused major instability and threatens a return to political persecution. 2 days 4 hours
Vatican City, Sep 28, 2014 / 11:59 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Bishop Kieran Conry of the U.K. dioceses of Arundel and Brighton has announced his resignation after revealing he has been "unfaithful" to his "promises as a Catholic priest." 2 days 19 hours
Vatican City, Sep 28, 2014 / 11:10 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Retired pontiff Benedict XVI joined some 50,000 pilgrims in Saint Peter's Square on Sunday, Sept. 28 for a meeting between Pope Francis and elderly people from around the world. 2 days 20 hours
Vatican City, Sep 28, 2014 / 10:27 am (EWTN News/CNA).- There is no future without the encounter between generations, Pope Francis said –  addressing the tens of thousands of grandparents and elderly men and women gathered for Mass in Saint Peter's Square. 2 days 20 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: Tristate Catholic news and features, daily
Posted
Bishop Francis Lu Xinping of Nanjing, China (center) and his group pose before one of the restored windows now in the CJ STEMM Center.

Bishop Francis Lu Xinping of Nanjing, China (center) and his group pose before one of the restored windows now in the CJ STEMM Center.

Bishop Francis Lu Xinping of Nanjing, China, visited several Dayton (OH) elementary schools and Chaminade Julienne High School this month as part of a trip sponsored by the University of Dayton.

Bishop Lu visited Ascension School and St. Albert the Great Catholic School, as well as Fairmont High School, before his afternoon visit to CJ on Sept. 11.

The schools were chosen to provide Bishop Lu with “a variety of environments where quality programming intended to promote students’ growth and achievement” said Susan Ferguson, executive director of the UD Center for Catholic Education.

CJ officials demonstrated the City Connects model, a student support program first introduced at the school in 2010. CJ is one of just six area schools and colleges in Ohio to offer City Connects, a program created at Boston College in 2001 to connect students with services throughout the community.

Bishop Lu also heard from Judi MacLeod (CJ class of ’88), chair of the innovative Cuvilly program. CJ is the only high school in Montgomery County with a special needs program that offers both the John Peterson Scholarship and Autism Scholarship to families through the Ohio Department of Education.

“We are excited to be able to host Bishop Lu and his guests for a visit,” said President Dan Meixner (CJ class of ’84). “It is an honor to have the opportunity to demonstrate our City Connects and Cuvilly programs as models for other schools, not just those here in America, but throughout our world.”

Bishop Lu, accompanied by a group government representatives and UD faculty, also visited classrooms, toured the CJ STEMM Center, took photos in the Marianist Hall chapel, and exchanged keepsakes — giving the school a Bible printed in Mandarin.

Photos courtesy Chaminade Julienne High School.

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 Junior Graham Curry (seated) and senior Danielle Ames demonstrate the day's lesson to Bishop Lu in Room 226 -- also known as the "St. Luke the Evangelist"  room -- a biomedical science classroom in the CJ STEMM Center.

Junior Graham Curry (seated) and senior Danielle Ames demonstrate the day’s lesson to Bishop Lu in Room 226 — also known as the “St. Luke the Evangelist” room — a biomedical science classroom in the CJ STEMM Center.

7 hours 1 min
Pastor, pets, and people at the St. Anthony grotto.

Pastor, pets, and people at the St. Anthony grotto for the 2013 pet blessing.

A tradition for the Feast of St. Francis on Oct. 4th, pet or animal blessings are a lively part of the Catholic calendar for many people all over the world.

Below is a calendar of pet blessings around the region, starting today (Our Lady of Lourdes parish blessed its pets on Sept. 28). Pet blessings vary in length and formality; each area has its own traditions. All the pet blessings listed below are open to all pet owners. If you are making a trip to another parish, call to double check the date and time.

Is your parish, school, or organization missing? Email TheCatholicBeat@gmail.com and we’ll add it to our list!

Oct. 1

St. Henry Church (Elsmere, KY)
one of two blessings; all welcome at either
6:30 pm
please bring your pets on leashes or in cages
for information call (859) 727-2035

Immaculate Conception, Botkins
Church Parking Lot
6:30 – 7 pm

Oct. 2nd

Sts.Peter & Paul School (California, KY)
school grounds
3 pm
Parochial Administrator Fr. Jacob Varghese will bless pets

Oct. 3rd

St. Anthony Parish (Taylor Mill, KY)
in the Grotto behind church & rectory
1:40 pm
ou are also invited for First Friday events: Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (in church) begins after the 8:00 am Mass until  closing with Benediction at 6:45 pm; followed by First Friday Mass in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
for information call 859-431-1773

St. Henry Church (Elsmere, KY)
one of two blessings; all welcome at either
2 pm
please bring your pets on leashes or in cages
for information call (859) 727-2035

Our Lady of Victory Parish
St. Francis Grotto, next to parish office
6:30 pm
for information call 513-922-4460

St. John the Baptist Church (Dry Ridge)
athletic Field across from School (bad weather cancels)
9:45 am
for information call the Parish Office at (513) 385-8010

St. Mary Parish (Franklin, OH)
back parking lot
7 pm
all pets are welcome but please keep all dogs on a leash
Deacon Steve will offer the Blessing

St. Thomas More Parish (Withamsville, OH)
St. Thomas More School Gym
9:45 am
One of two pet blessings; all may attend either
for information call 513- 513-752-2080


St. Veronica School
front lawn (weather permitting); cancelled in case of rain
1:30 pm
Fr. Del Staigers will bless pets for grades 3 and 4 in a 40-minute prayer service
for information call 513.528.1622

Happy faces -- at least, we think the pug is happy!

Happy faces — at least, we think the pug is happy! — at a 2013 pet blessing. Photo courtesy St. Clement Parish.

Oct. 4th

St. Albert the Great Parish (Kettering, OH)
in front of St. Albert the Great Church (Facing Far Hills Ave.)
noon
questions? Contact the Involvement Office at (937) 298-1122

St. Antoninus Parish
in front of the Rosary Memorial Garden at the main entrance of the school
9:30 am
park in the main lot off Julmar Drive
for information, contact Deacon Bob Schroeder at schroeder@saintantoninus.org

St. Cecilia Church (Oakley, OH)
gather in front of the church on Madison Road
10 am
Fr. Jamie Weber will bless all pets, big or small — please have pets on a  a leash or in a carrier.
For information call  513-871-5757

Centennial Barn (Springfield Twp., OH)
sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor
2 pm
Fr. Frank Geers, OFM will bless pets
If you and your pet can’t be present, email your pets’ names to centennialbarn@gmail.com and they will be included
Part of a week-long series of pet events; Read our story here

Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Clifton/Cincinnati)
front esplanade
7 pm
blessing will begin promptly and lasts about ten minutes to accommodate the pets!
for information call 513-861-1295

St. Dominic Parish (Delhi/Cincinnati)
Parish Parking Lot
10 am
Join Fr. Jim Walsh and his dog Sammie for a special blessing from Fr. Chris Lack. All pets are welcome no matter their size!
For information call the Parish Office (513-471-7741 ext. 0)

Holy Cross-Immaculata Parish (Mt. Adams/Cincinnati)
church entrance (rain cancels)
9:30 am
gather at the viewing platform
for information call the parish office at 513 721 6544

Holy Family Church (Price Hill/Cincinnati)
in the Peace Garden at the corner of Hawthorne and Price
10 am
first year for this Franciscan tradition!
for information contact the parish office at (513) 921-7527

Immaculate Conception Church (Dayton, OH)
in front of shrine
10 am
enter at the drive between the church and the school

Immaculate Heart of Mary (Anderson Twp., OH)
in the courtyard in front of the main entrance to the church.
noon
Fr. Tom Kreidler, Pastor at IHM, will be offering the blessing of all pets.
for information call the Parish Office at (513) 388-4466

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church (Burlington, KY)
3 pm
For information call (859) 689-5010, ext. 224

St. John the Evangelist (West Chester, OH)
11 am

St. Julie Billiart Parish (Hamilton, OH)
east side of the church near the Blessed Mother statue
1 pm
organized by the St. Stephen Fraternity of Secular Franciscans
a Franciscan friar will bless the animals
for information contact Mary Richter, ofs, St. Julie Billiart Parish, mrichter@stjulie.net, 863-1040 ext 17

St. Mary Church (Hyde Park/Cincinnati)
church parking lot
10 am

St. Michael Church (Ft. Loramie, OH)
In front of the church
10 am

Nativity of Our Lord Church (Pleasant Ridge/Cincinnati)
3 pm
bring along some pet food to be given to the Caring Place
refreshments to follow

Our Lady of Grace Parish and Queen of Martyrs Parish (Dayton, OH)
at Our Lady of Mercy Church (outside Grotto area)
6 pm
each pet will receive a blessing and a special gift. Pets must be secured and with a human.
for information call Our Lady of Grace Parish Center at 274-2107 ext 100

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish (Dayton, OH)
At the parish shrine
10 am
Prayer cards and medals will be given
For information call (937)252-9919

Our Lady of Mercy (Dayton, OH): See Our Lady of Grace

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and
Sts Peter and Paul Parishes (Reading, OH)
at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
9:15 am
Please gather at 9 am; Fr. Howard will bless any pet, big or small

Sts Peter and Paul Parish (Reading): See Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Queen of Martyrs Parish (Dayton): See Our Lady of Grace

St. Susanna (Mason, OH)
in front of church
10 am
short prayer service followed by blessing
As part of a Capstone project by students at Mount Notre Dame High school supporting HART (Homeless Animal Rescue Team), the event will also collect dog/cat treats, leashes, toys or monetary donation to assist HART’s mission.

St. Teresa Parish (Springfield, OH)
11 am
Fr. Ed Gearhart will bless pets

St. Teresa of Avila (Price Hill, OH)
Outside the church doors
1 pm
For information call 513-921-9200 ext. 101

St. Thomas More Parish (Withamsville, OH)
St. Thomas More Picnic Shelter
5:30 pm
Second of two pet blessings; both open to all
For information call 513-752-2080

St. Timothy Parish (Union , KY)
at the church
10 am
Fr. Rick Bolte will bless the pets

Oct. 5th

St. Columban Parish (Loveland, OH)
in front of church
2 pm
Fr. Larry Tensi offering the blessing
For information call 513-683-0105

St. Peter Parish (New Richmond, OH)
at the entrance to the church
2 pm
pet food and monetary donations will be collected for a local “no kill” pet shelter

St William Church (West Price Hill)
St. Francis Garden (behind the Parish Center Chapel in the school parking lot)
2:30 pm
Fr. Umberg will bless pets; please cage or leash animals

Oct. 8th

St. Barbara Catholic Church (Erlanger, KY)
6:30 pm (before CCD class)
pets must return home after blessing!

For more Catholic events, see our Events page.

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7 hours 1 min
st columban cookie

Kindergarteners at St. Columban School in Loveland (OH) show off the chef’s hats decorated with the letter “C” they wore for a celebration of the letter.

St. Columban School (Loveland, OH) kindergarteners celebrated the letter C this fall with a “hamburger cookie cookout,” wearing chef caps decorated with the letter and singing “Who  Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?”

You can see all our 1000 Words photos at once: Click on “1000 Words” in the menu at the top of the page, or click here. To submit a photo, send it to TheCatholicBeat@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy  St. Columban School.

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7 hours 7 min
Covington Catholic High School will receive a $200,000 NFL grant to redo its stadium.

Covington Catholic High School will receive a $200,000 NFL grant to redo its football field at its Homecoing game Saturday.

The Cincinnati Bengals will present Covington Catholic High School with a $200,000 grant for a new athletic field on Saturday, Oct. 4th.

Bengals executives and players will make the official announcement and presentation before the Covington Catholic vs Beechwood Homecoming football game at 12:45 pm, at Wooten Field in Park Hills (KY).

Bishop Roger Foys, CovCath Principal Bob Rowe and Athletic Director Mike Guidugli, and members of the school board and capital campaign committee will be joined by representatives of the Colonel Youth Football program to accept the grant from Bengals Executive Vice President Katie Blackburn and Director of Development Bob Bedinghaus.

The NFL Foundation Grassroots Grant will go toward the school’s field replacement project, which will include a synthetic playing surface that will be used by CovCath and the surrounding community every day.

“We are happy to continue to support local youth football and especially pleased to play a role in this project,” says Blackburn. “With this grant we have invested more than $1.8 million in funding for football fields in the greater Cincinnati area over the past several years.”

CovCath says that field maintenance is part of the school’s general operating budget, but replacing the field is not. The remaining cost of the project will be paid for entirely by private funds raised via the school’s capital campaign, “Bright Minds…Bright Future.”

“We are grateful to the NFL, LISC, the Bengals, and especially the Brown family for this wonderful gift,” says Principal Rowe. “This grant will allow us to achieve our goal of providing our student athletes and youth football program with a first-class stadium. Projects like this bring enthusiasm and pride to the school community and engage all stakeholders. We are blessed and honored to be partners with these most generous organizations who continue to put our youth at the center.”

The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. It has been  active in the greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky region since 2000.

Photo courtesy Covington Catholic high School.

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1 day 6 hours
Moeller Senior Matthew Schneider of Evendale donates blood at the first of the school's four yearly blood drives.

Moeller Senior Matthew Schneider of Evendale donates blood at the first of the school’s four yearly blood drives.

So many students volunteered for the first of four annual Archbishop Moeller High School blood drives for Hoxworth Blood Center last month that some had to be turned away. The Cincinnat school has ranked in the top five high schools that team with Hoxworth every year since 2010, placing second three times.

In May, the school received Hoxworth’s Tom Roebel Award of Excellence, an award named for the former teacher and blood drive coordinator at Roger Bacon High School. It’s presented to the school that exemplifies the spirit of community service, and that has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the success of its own blood drives.

Last year Moeller students completed 26,905 hours of community service.

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Photo courtesy Moeller High School.

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1 day 6 hours
Photo by Miroslav Sárička, courtesy stock.xchng.

Photo by Miroslav Sárička, courtesy stock.xchng.

An open letter from nearly 50 marriage advocates and experts on marriage have to Pope Francis and Catholic bishops attending the Extraordinary Synod on the Family this month became public yesterday.

The letter encourages the attendees of this year’s Synod, which will help prepare for a larger Synod in 2015, to champion and strengthen marriage, which the authors say is fragile and under attack in many places around the world, including the United States and Europe.

The authors offer suggestions to strengthen and build marriage in churches and neighborhoods, and through laws. “With your leadership we will help marriages to succeed and flourish by placing the greatest value on marital commitment – at every level of society, in every corner of the world.”

Signatories include prominent Catholic leaders from around the world;  academics and politicians; influential Protestant Pastor Rick Warren. Ruth Instititue President Jennifer Roback Morse; Alliance Defending Freedom President and CEO Alan Sears, and many more.

The complete text of the letter follows:

Commitment to Marriage A Letter to the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

Holy Father, Eminences, and Excellencies,

We rejoice that the Holy Father has captured the world’s attention and so much good will for the Christian faith! Like others we are deeply moved by his expressions of love and mercy, echoing the love and mercy of Christ, especially for those who are defenseless and abandoned.

It is in this context that we welcome the decision to convene an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops to examine the challenges to marriage and the family.  Like each of you, we believe the family is, with the Church itself, the greatest institutional manifestation of Christ’s love.  For those who wish to love as He would have us love, marriage and the family are indispensable, both as vehicles of salvation and as bulwarks of human society.

Recent popes have made these points abundantly clear.  For example, Pope Benedict XVI wrote that, “Marriage is truly an instrument of salvation, not only for married people but for the whole of society.” And, in Evangelii Gaudium, Your Holiness wrote that “the indispensable contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple.”

This Synod is an opportunity to express timeless truths about marriage. Why do those truths matter? How do they represent true love, not “exclusion” or “prejudice,” or any of the other charges brought against marriage today?  Men and women need desperately to hear the truth about why they should get married in the first place.  And, once married, why Christ and the Church desire that they should remain faithful to each other throughout their lives on this earth.  That, when marriage gets tough (as it does for most couples), the Church will be a source of support, not just for individual spouses, but for the marriage itself.

You have written so powerfully, Holy Father, of the importance of a new evangelization within the Church: “An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others.”

May we humbly suggest that in the context of marriage and family life your words are a call to personal responsibility, not only for our own spouses and children, but for the marriages of those God has put by our side: our relatives and friends, those in our churches and in our schools.

The stakes are high.  According to a 2013 Child Trends international report: “Dramatic increases in cohabitation, divorce, and nonmarital childbearing in the Americas, Europe, and Oceania over the last four decades suggest that the institution of marriage is much less relevant in these parts of the world.”  In the United States the marriage rate is the lowest ever recorded, unmarried cohabitation is rapidly becoming an acceptable alternative to marriage, and more than half of births to women under 30 years of age now occur outside marriage. Among countless other negative associations, each of these trends has been linked to lower net worth and economic mobility, poverty, and welfare – for women and children, in particular.

Among existing marriages, many are fragile and strained. Between forty and fifty percent of all first marriages in the U.S. are projected to end in divorce. This rate rises sharply with each successive remarriage and research suggests the reason is not low marital quality, but weak commitment.  

The consequences of divorce and cohabitation for children and adults are many and diverse – from poverty and lower educational achievement to poorer physical health; from lower marital commitment in adulthood to earlier death.  And while every nation is unique, studies show that the impact of these trends spans the globe. A small sampling of such studies: China,  Finland, Sweden, Uruguay, Mexico,Greece, Africa, and East Asian Pacific nations.

The costs of pornography to societies are significant. Studies of pornography’s impact on relationships suggest it is a major contributor to the destruction of marriages. Unfortunately, long-term research on pornography’s effect on marriage is virtually nonexistent.

So called “no fault divorce” laws in the U.S. and many other nations have licensed a system in which judges and lawyers facilitate the dissolution of marriages, often against the will of spouses who stand firm in their marital commitment.

Despite the bleakness of these trends, we are encouraged and made resolute by the Holy Father’s exhortation: “Challenges exist to be overcome! Let us be realists, but without losing our joy, our boldness and our hope-filled commitment.”

Perhaps the boldest new way we can evangelize married couples (and by extension their children’s future marriages) is to build small communities of married couples who support each other unconditionally in their vocations to married life. These communities would provide networks of support grounded in the bonds of faith and family, commitment to lifelong marriage, and responsibility to and for each other.

Here we offer some practical ways to create and sustain such communities:

  • Commission the Pontifical Council on the Family to conduct cross-discipline, longitudinal research on the role of pornography and “no fault” divorce in the marriage crisis.

  • Educate seminarians. Provide mandatory courses covering social science evidence on the benefits of marriage, threats to marriage, and the consequences of divorce and cohabitation to children and society.

  • Train priests to showcase in their homilies the spiritual and social value of marriage, contemporary challenges to it, and parish help for troubled marriages. A recent study found that 72% of American Catholic women say the weekly homily is their primary source for learning about the faith.

  • Create small, vibrant networks of strong married couples as mentors at the parish level, available to give spouses the tools to sustain healthy, lifelong marriages.

  • Educate parishioners on the extraordinary influence they can have on the marriages of friends and family. Social science data show that the presence of divorced family and friends increases one’s own risk of divorce. Alternatively, the data suggest that family members and friends can increase commitment and satisfaction within marriages of those they love through their example and support.

  • Encourage and support the reconciliation of married couples who are separated or have been divorced by civil courts.

  • Request bishops worldwide to initiate regular prayers during Sunday Mass for strong, faithful marriages.

  • Support efforts to preserve what is right and just in existing marriage laws, to resist any changes to those laws that would further weaken the institution, and to restore legal provisions that protect marriage as a conjugal union of one man and one woman, entered into with an openness to the gift of children, and lived faithfully and permanently as the foundation of the natural family.

  • Support religious freedom in divorce courts. Many do not know that religious freedom is routinely violated by divorce judges who ignore or demean the views of a spouse who seeks to save a marriage, keep the children in a religious school, or prevent an abandoning spouse from exposing the children to an unmarried sexual partner. Begin a consortium of attorneys and legislators to combat this problem.

To accomplish any of these goals on an international scale would be a great step forward for marriages and families. To accomplish them all may turn the worldwide marriage crisis on its head.

With your leadership we will help marriages to succeed and flourish by placing the greatest value on marital commitment – at every level of society, in every corner of the world. We thank Your Holiness, Eminences, and Excellencies for taking up this vital task and you may be assured of our prayers for its great success.

Signed:
[Affiliations, where listed, are for identification purposes only]

Greg and Julie Alexander
Founders, The Alexander House Apostolate, Texas

Ryan T. Anderson
William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society, The Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC

Erika Bachiochi, Esq.,
legal scholar and author, Massachusetts

Monsignor Renzo Bonetti
Founder and President, Fondazione Famiglia Dono Grande, Italy

Gerard Bradley
Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame Law School

Ana María Celis Brunet
Professor of Law, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Mary Eberstadt
Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC

Jason and Crystalina Evert
Founders, Chastity Project, Colorado

Patrick Fagan
Director, The Marriage and Religion Research Institute, Family Research Council, Washington, DC

Thomas Farr
Visiting Associate Professor and Director, The Religious Freedom Project Georgetown University

Silvio Ferrari
Professor of Law, University of Milan, Italy

Richard Fitzgibbons
Director, The Institute for Marital Healing, Pennsylvania

Juan G. Navarro Floria
Profesor Ordinario, Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina

Matthew Franck
William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution
The Witherspoon Institute, New Jersey

Robert P. George
McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University

Mary Ann Glendon
Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University

Bruce and Jeannie Hannemann
Co-Directors, RECLAiM Sexual Health
Co-Founders, Elizabeth Ministry International

George A. Harne
President, The College of Saint Mary Magdalen

Mary Hasson
Fellow, Catholic Studies Program, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington DC

Alan J. Hawkins
Professor of Family Life, Brigham Young University

Kent R. Hill
International Development leader, Washington DC

Byron Johnson
Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and
Director, Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University

Thomas Lickona
Director, Center for the 4th and 5th Rs (Respect and Responsibility)
State University of New York at Cortland

John McCarthy
Dean, School of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America

Rocco Mimmo
Chairman, Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty, Sydney, Australia

Gloria M. Moran
Professor of Law, Chair of Law, Religion and Public Policy, University of La Coruña Spain.

Jennifer Roback Morse
President, Ruth Institute, California

Melissa Moschella
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America

Rafael Navarro-Valls
Emeritus Professor of Law, Complutense University, Spain
Secretary General of the Spanish Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation

Rafael Palomino
Professor of Law, Complutense University, Spain

Marcello Pera
Former President, Senate of Italy
Professor, Pontifical Lateran University, Rome, Italy

Vicente Prieto
Universidad de La Sabana, Bogotá, Colombia

Fr. Juan Puigbó
Diocese of Arlington, VA

David Quinn
Director, The Iona Institute, Ireland

Mark Regnerus
Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin

Balázs Schanda
Professor of Law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Hungary

Alan E. Sears
President, CEO, & General Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom

Reverend Charles Sikorsky
President, The Institute for the Psychological Sciences, Virginia

O. Carter Snead
Professor of Law, William P. and Hazel B. White Director, Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame

Reverend D. Paul Sullins
Professor of Sociology, The Catholic University of America
Senior Fellow for Family Studies, Family Research Council
President, The Leo Institute, Washington, DC

Rebecca Ryskind Teti
Center for Family Development at Our Lady of Bethesda

Mervyn Thomas
Chief Executive, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, United Kingdom

Javier Martinez-Torron
Professor of Law, Chair of the Department of Law and Religion, Complutense University

Hilary Towers
Psychologist, Manassas, Virginia

D. Vincent Twomey
Professor Emeritus of Moral Theology, Pontifical University, Maynooth, Ireland

Paul C. Vitz
Senior Scholar and Professor, The Institute for the Psychological Sciences, Virginia

Rick Warren,
Founder and Pastor, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, California

Robert Wilken
William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the History of Christianity Emeritus, University of Virginia

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Dynamic preaching and Eucharistic adoration are key parts of the YOUTH 2000 prayer festival model, which is based on World Youth Day.

Dynamic preaching and Eucharistic adoration are key parts of the YOUTH 2000 prayer festival model, which is based on World Youth Day.

Hundreds of Catholics ages 13 – 30 will gather at Villa Madonna Academy (Villa Hills, KY). Oct. 11th and 12th for the Diocese of Covington’s 10th Annual YOUTH 2000 prayer festival.

Spread over three days, YOUTH 2000 will include prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, music, Mass, and fellowship. Modeled on World Youth Day, YOUTH 2000 events center on the Eucharist but also include Marian devotions, workshops, and more. It is not an overnight event, but features all-night Adoration both nights.

“YOUTH 2000 has everything young Catholics need to refresh and re-energize their faith,” say the organizers, “from Eucharistic adoration to the power preaching of the wise and witty Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.

Comments from last year’s attendees:

  • “A chance to get away from the craziness of school and focus on what is important: our faith.”

  • “It’s a great way to meet new people.”

  • “ I feel happy there, a peace I get nowhere else.”

  • “I come every year to learn more about God’s mercy and love.”

  • “The monks and nuns are great inspirations.”

  • “How purely amazing the experience is brings me back every year. You can really feel God’s presence through the weekend.”

  • “I’ve always had fun at YOUTH 2000!”

  • “New outlook, stronger faith and more confidence in your relationship with God.”

  • “A deeper spiritual life and a ton of grace.”

Young people from junior high age to young adults attend, but most are high school age. There are no geographic restrictions. The $50 event fee includes snacks Friday night and Sunday, as well as all meals Saturday; some financial aid is available. Registration closes Friday but walk-in registrations will be accepted as space permits. For more information, click here.

“My dear young people, Adoring Our Lord in the Eucharist is like being with your best friend,” Bishop Roger Foys wrote in a greeting to this year’s festival. “You greet Him and give Him thanks, lay your needs and worries before Him, open your heart and know you are loved.

“Be happy at this holy festival. Be bold in living your faith. Be a constant friend to Jesus, and join him in honoring Mary — the first Christian teenager on Earth.”

Photos courtesy the Diocese of Covington Dept. of Catechesis and Formation and the Covington Youth Retreat Committee

For more Catholic events, see our Events page.

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Young people from ages 13 to 30 gather at Covington's annual YOUTH 2000 prayer festivals -- the 10th annual festival is scheduled for Oct. 11-13.

Young people from ages 13 to 30 gather at Covington’s annual YOUTH 2000 prayer festivals — the 10th annual festival is scheduled for Oct. 11-13.

2 days 7 hours
Marianists celebrating their 50th, 60th, 70th and 80th (!) ordination and/or profession anniversaries this year.

Marianists celebrating their 50th, 60th, 70th and 80th (!) ordination and/or profession anniversaries this year. Photo courtesy the Society of Mary; click to enlarge.

The official photo from the Society of Mary’s jubilee celebration August 8th in Dayton.

Jubilarians included: Fr. Jim McKay (80 years of profession and 70 years of ordination) Fr. Paul Landolfi and Bro. James Leahy (70 years profession) Fr. Christopher Conlon, Bro. William Grundish and Fr. John McGrath (60 years profession); Fr. Anthony Jansen (60 years ordination); Frs. Bertrand Buby, Edward Jach and James Russell (50 years ordination); and Bros. Roger Bau, James Contadino, Lawrence Corbin, John Habjan, Ronald Overman Thomas Payne and Thomas Pieper (50 years profession). Also celebrating a jubilee year was Sr. Marcia Buchard of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (50th year profession).

You can see all our 1000 Words photos at once: Click on “1000 Words” in the menu at the top of the page, or click here. To submit a photo, send it to TheCatholicBeat@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy the Society of Mary.

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