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(Vatican Radio) In a letter to the Orthodox world marking the new Ecclesiastical New Year, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I has announced an Environmental Summit next June on the theme of “Theology, Ecology, and the Word: a conversation on environment, literature and the arts.” He says the aim of this conference is to “awaken the global conscience to the particular and specific importance of the ethical and spiritual dimension of the ecological crisis – with special reference to the arts and literature – in order that it may be returned to its “original beauty,” which is the natural, hole and sacred purpose for which it was fashioned by the creative hands of the divine Word”.   Below the full text of the letter by His Beatitude, Bartholomew I Patriarchal Encyclical for the Ecclesiastical New Year Ecumenical Patriarchate To the Entire Church: Grace and Peace from the Creator, Sustainer and Governor of all Creation, our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ Blessed brothers, sisters, and children in the Lord, The common Mother of all Orthodox, the Church of Christ, the Body of our eternal Lord and divine-human Jesus Christ, compassionately ministers through all of its activities but especially through the Divine Eucharist, by offering its holy gifts to their Creator in the mystery of salvation. It does this with proven boundless and indiscriminate love toward all of its members to the degree also demonstrated by our heavenly Father. In its prayerful memory, the Church always bears in mind the presence of its children, maintaining a vivid interest and concern for all that relates to and influences their lives. This is why it does not remain unmoved or indifferent by the ongoing and daily destruction of the natural environment resulting from human greed and vain profit, which in turn implies an essential turning of the Lord’s face and results in consequential turbulence in nature and fracture in its crown, namely human existence, whose very survival is threatened. The Ecumenical Patriarchate and we have for many years assessed the signs of our times as well as the Eucharistic obligation of the Orthodox Church. Thus we declared and devoted the commencement of the ecclesiastical year, namely September 1st, as a day of prayer and supplication for the preservation of God’s creation, which has been inherited by us as our environment. On this day, we bow our heart and soul, invoking God’s Word to look down upon His creation with loving kindness that He might overlook our sinfulness and greed, “opening up His hand to fill all of creation with goodness” and bring an end to the destructive path of the world. Of course, it is true that significant progress has been achieved in the last decades with regard to protecting the environment, especially through constantly raising awareness of public conscience, assuming precautionary and restrictive measures, creating sustainable programs, returning to more moderate energy sources, as well as many other fruitful and noteworthy activities. The effort and concern of the Mother Church of Constantinople has greatly contributed to this progress in cooperation with international ecological institutions and organizations. Nonetheless, all this is insufficient. As we celebrate once again this year the Feast of the Byzantine Indiction, and as we inaugurate a new year of the Lord’s grace, we address the blessed plenitude of the Orthodox Church and the entire world, inviting all people to continued vigilance, consciousness and mobilization of their resources in order to return to the state that reflects – if not the absolute Eucharistic and doxological condition of Adam and Eve – at least the condition inspired by God’s grace and mercy. The unlimited and insatiable exploitation of the natural resources of creation, which constitutes the primary cause of the destruction of the natural environment, is – according to the witness of theology, science and the arts – the result of man’s fall, that is to say, our disobedience to the Lord’s command and non-conformation to God’s will. However, the Church provides the antidote for the resolution to our ecological crisis, inviting everyone to the restoration of the divine image to its former and original beauty. The rehabilitation of the fallen human nature by means of the breath of the Holy Spirit and participation of its gifts also restores a balanced relationship between humanity and creation, which was made by God for our joy and enjoyment but also for us to offer up to Him as its Creator. The Mother Church calls us “to cultivate the whole of creation in the divine Word and life-giving Spirit,” just as St. Symeon the Stylite, whom we celebrate today, so that we may ascend “from the natural to the supernatural” and commit ourselves “to the simple and absolute mystical visions of theology” in order to be raised from creation to the Creator. It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that deifies humankind and at the same time unites it with the natural environment in order that we may perceive it as part of our very selves and respect it as something sacred without deviating toward abuses and extremes. The nurturing of humanity by the natural world cannot possibly occur through greedy abuse but by respectful use, namely by mutual respect among human beings and all created beings as well as with everything that has life and offers life, which was created “very good” by God’s word, namely with all the elements of creation both visible and invisible. Thus, we shall be able to drink water from the life-creating stone, to behold the created sun and conceive the spiritual sun of righteousness, to look upon the material column of St. Symeon and see the true column of light, to witness the rainy clouds and enter the cloud of the Holy Spirit in order that we may rest there, where Christ entered as our forerunner, and have our names recorded with the first-born in the heavenly Church. It is only when we proceed with this mindset – respecting the contribution of every living being and vegetable in the universal liturgy of life – that we can resolve with the power of divine grace and not by means of the weakly human violence all of our environmental challenges. This message of life is a message of our responsibility to continue our spiritual struggle and effort with prayer, exhortation, encouragement and appeal, attracting the attention of all people with regard to the necessity to protect ourselves from the imminent wrath resulting from our estrangement from nature. The constant focus of humanity on earthly and corruptible things provokes the ecological problems inasmuch as, when we increasingly turn toward the earth and this world, we are increasingly alienated from heaven and God. The Holy Mother and Great Church of Christ unceasingly assumes and cultivates this mandatory and salvific responsibility for the protection of the environment for the spiritual and material continuation of life on our planet. Therefore, in this regard, it is organizing an Environmental Summit next June on the theme of “Theology, Ecology, and the Word: a conversation on environment, literature and the arts.” The aim of this conference is to awaken the global conscience to the particular and specific importance of the ethical and spiritual dimension of the ecological crisis – with special reference to the arts and literature – in order that it may be returned to its “original beauty,” which is the natural, hole and sacred purpose for which it was fashioned by the creative hands of the divine Word. Having “within ourselves the inviolable memory of the Lord’s judgment,” we give witness from this Sacred Center of all Orthodoxy to the truth of the word and draw the attention of all to the dangers that lie before us, which God’s grace will surely avoid in its loving providence. And we invite everyone to work for the preservation and return of our world to the Source of Life, through the intercessions of our All-holy and Ever-blessed Theotokos, of St. Symeon the Stylite, and of all the Saints. Amen. + BARTHOLOMEW By God’s Mercy Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch   (From archive of Vatican Radio)... 15 hours 10 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called a priest at a refugee camp in Iraq to express his closeness to the persecuted Christians who have taken refuge there and to promise his continued support. Pope Francis reportedly called Fr Behnam Benoka on August 19, a day after returning from his apostolic journey to South Korea. Fr Benoka is a priest of Bartella, a small Christian town near Mosul, and the vice-rector of the Catholic seminary in Ankawa. However, he is currently working at a refugee camp in the north of the country, assisting Christians who fled the violence perpetrated against them by Islamic militants. During the morning telephone call, the Pope reportedly said he was deeply moved by the letter he had received from Fr Benoka a day earlier. According to a report published by Zenit, the Pope received the letter from the hands of a journalist, who is a friend of the priest, on the flight back to Rome from South Korea. The Pope also expressed to Fr Benoka his gratitude for the volunteers working in the refugee camps and reiterated his full support and closeness to the persecuted Christians, promising that he will continue to do his best to bring relief to their suffering. In his letter to the Pope, the priest expressed gratitude for the Pope’s repeated appeals to end the suffering and persecution of Christians and described the tragic situation faced by thousands of Iraqi Christians: “The situation of your sheep is miserable. They die and they are hungry. Your little ones are scared and cannot do it anymore. We, priests, religious, are few and fear not being able to meet the physical and mental needs of your and our children.” “Your Holiness,” he continued, “I'm afraid of losing your children, especially infants who every day struggle and weaken more. I'm afraid that death will snatch some away. Send us your blessing so that we may have the strength to go on and maybe we can still resist.” The Pope granted Fr Benoka’s request, concluding the telephone call by imparting his apostolic blessing and asking the Lord to grant them the gift of perseverance in the faith. Listen to the report by Andrew Summerson :  (From archive of Vatican Radio)... 15 hours 10 min
(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who heads the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, shared a message on Friday with participants of the fifth annual conference of the International Catholic Legislators Network. The Aug. 28-31 conference, held outside of Rome in Frascati, gathered Catholic parliamentarians from around the world to discuss the promotion of Christian values and morals in the political arena. His English-language message included a greeting from Pope Francis. Listen to the report by Laura Ieraci : The network was founded in 2010 by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna and British parliamentarian Lord David Alton. Below is Cardinal Parolin’s complete message to the conference participants: Your Eminence, distinguished legislators participating at the fifth annual meeting of the International Catholic Legislators Network, dear friends, I greet you all. I am happy to be with you, lawmakers and associates, who are actively engaged in the public and political life of your countries and local communities, and whose professional work is nourished and guided by your Catholic faith. I wish to thank you for what you are doing to promote coherent Catholic witness in the world. I know that you are here because you are passionate about the “city on earth” which seeks to root Christian morals and virtues ever more authentically in communities around the world, so that together we may reach the “City of God”. Just yesterday we celebrated the feast of Saint Augustine, to whom we owe the image of these two cities. History is not unambiguous nor of itself indifferent; it concerns the movement of two loves and the conflict between them. Two loves – he writes – give rise to two cities: the earthly one of love of self even to indifference towards God; and the heavenly one, of love of God even to indifference towards self ( The City of God , XIV, 78). In difficult times of continual conflict and great uprising, as in the fall of Rome and the invasion of the Vandals who besieged Hippo at the very moment when Augustine was dying, he not only did not lose heart, but took up a heated dispute, calling upon the faith as the key to interpretation. He dedicates an entire work, The City of God , to learning how to understand the present circumstances and to establishing a new order for living in society. It is a reading according to the logic of wisdom, which places the heart of man at the centre and indicates the true nature of Christian hope. I believe that in our own difficult times, too, valuable indications emerge clearly from the experiences and teachings of Saint Augustine. Dear friends, we can say without hesitation that the Church needs you in her universal mission, and in turn, you need the Church as mother and teacher of all. In her diversity of service to the world, the Church has a single mission (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, 2): to restore all things in Christ. For this task, the Church needs you, active Catholic legislators, because your law-making is a vital part of the lay apostolate – to “have the Gospel spirit permeate and improve the temporal order”. As shapers of policy your role is not only to live “in the midst of the world”, but also to be “a leaven in the world” in favour of the family, the local community and your respective nations. The great challenge for you is to bring your faith to bear upon the pressing issues facing the world today, that is, to dialogue with society and culture, and to humbly speak from the light which our faith offers (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 238). His Holiness Pope Francis has written that we are to strive to “light a fire in the heart of the world” (Evangelii Gaudium, 271). This means, by your words, by your witness and by your legislative and political actions informed by faith, you are called to foster a more just society, centred on the dignity of the human person. The Church knows your work is not easy. She understands the many threats to family life, in the form of policies and laws that allow or even hasten the dissolving of the family. She is also fully aware of the urgent need to alleviate poverty and to support the integral development of society’s most neglected members. And so, just as the Church needs you, you need the Church. She places at your disposal her sacraments, her wise counsel and her commitment to the moral truths of the natural law. She supports your ongoing initiatives to serve the common good through sound lawmaking. For their part, the Holy Father and the Bishops encourage your work to further Christ’s kingdom on earth, in unity with their mission as pastors. Dear friends, I invite you to grow in holiness, deepening your own personal commitment to conversion so that your witness and dialogue with the world may bear lasting fruit! May you always strive to kindle the “fire in the heart of the world”, by your consistent and patient witness to the teachings of the Church. Commending your service to the loving intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Thomas More, I am pleased on this occasion to convey to you the greetings of the Holy Father, his assurance of prayers for your work and his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace, strength and perseverance.   (From archive of Vatican Radio)... 15 hours 10 min
A Tradição nos traz poucos fatos acerca da vida de São Egídio, mas sabe-se que era filho de Theodore e Pelagia, nobres atenienses. Após o falecimento de seus pais por volta do ano 640, distribuiu todos os bens com os pobres e necessitados e decidiu dedicar-se inteiramente a Deus e viver como eremita. Isolado do mun... 20 hours 41 min
Publicamos aqui a tradução de ZENIT das palavras que o Papa pronunciou hoje às 12h durante a oração do Angelus na Praça de São Pedro. *** [Antes do Angelus] Queridos irmãos e irmãs, bom dia! No itinerário dominical com o Evangelho de Mateus, hoje chegamos ao ponto crucial em que Jesus, depois de ter verific... 1 day 5 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday called on the faithful and all people of good will to have greater care for creation. His appeal was offered to mark the Italian Bishops’ Day for the Safeguarding of Creation initiative, which the bishops have this year chosen to focus on educating in the care for creation. “I hope,” said Pope Francis, “that everyone – institutions, associations and citizens – will strengthen their efforts, so as to safeguard the life and health of people by respecting the environment and nature.” Click below to hear our report The Pope’s call came in remarks following the Angelus prayer with pilgrims and tourists gathered beneath the window of the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace that overlooks St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. Ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, Pope Francis reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading, in which St. Matthew recounts the moment in which Christ revealed to His disciples His coming Passion, death and Resurrection (Mt. 16:21-27). “It is a critical moment,” explained Pope Francis, “in which the apparent contrast between Jesus’ way of thinking and that of the disciples emerges,” especially in Peter’s behavior. The leader of the twelve rebukes the Master, wrongly thinking that the Lord could not possibly make so ignominious and end. “Then,” Pope Francis went on to explain, “Jesus, in turn, severely rebukes Peter, because he does not think ‘according to God, but according to men’, and plays – without realizing it – the part of Satan, the tempter.” The Holy Father said that St. Paul, who tells us in his letter to the Christians at Rome, “Be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God, (Rom. 12:2)” drives the point home with insistence. “In fact,” continued Pope Francis, “we Christians live in the world, fully integrated into the social and cultural reality of our time, and rightly so: but this carries with it the risk that we might become ‘worldly’, that ‘the salt might lose its flavor’ (cf. Mt. 5:13).” He went on to say, “Instead it should be the opposite: when the power of the Gospel remains alive in Christians, it can transform ‘mankind's criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life, which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation. ( Evangelii nuntiandi , 19)’.” This was a theme to which the Holy Father returned in his greetings to the faithful, especially to the participants in the 5 th international gathering of Catholic legislators, which opened this past week in Frascati, outside Rome. “I encourage you to live the delicate role of representatives of the people in conformity with Gospel values,” he said.   (From archive of Vatican Radio)... 1 day 6 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday met with Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegliò, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, to discuss the plight of those fleeing the Islamist violence in Iraq. The so-called Islamic State controls large areas of both Syria and Iraq, and has been conducting a campaign of terror, especially against religious minorities, including Christians. Cardinal Vegliò told Vatican Radio the Pope said the Church must be in the forefront  in efforts to  defend the weak.  Listen to the report by Charles Collins :  “The Church must help those most in need, because their rights are being trampled upon,” he told Vatican Radio.  “The Church is for the poor and the voiceless.  We must be present and never tire of saying these things in homilies and speeches; and to influence, if possible, the political situation.” He recalled the words of Pope Francis when he returned from Korea, and said “it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor.” Pope Francis also emphasized the means to do this “must be evaluated.” Cardinal Vegliò said it was up to the “international community” to conduct this evaluation, but warned there would be no excuses if nothing was done. “It would be the same thing as when Hitler killed the Jews, and afterwards many said ‘no, no, we did not know anything.’ It is total hypocrisy,” he said. “We must do something.” So far, the Cardinal said the international community has done too little, and faulted the United Nations and Europe, which is geographically close to the region. “Unfortunately, in Europe we have so many problems, so we are selfish and only think of ourselves, and very little about others,” he said.  “However, our problems are relatively small compared to those of the Iraqi people, who are fleeing to avoid being slaughtered...I hope Europe  shows sensitivity – and some countries have already begun to do so -  and gives them a chance to be accepted in their countries - Germany, France, England, Italy, Spain: All rich countries compared to these poor ones.” Cardinal Vegliò said he also hopes the Church is part of the solution. “And when we speak of the Church, we are not only thinking of the Vatican or the Curia,” he explained.  “The Church is a reality everywhere, and the Church has the sensitivity to help these poor people, these migrants, these refugees, these displaced people.”  (From archive of Vatican Radio)... 2 days 12 hours

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Vatican City, Aug 31, 2014 / 10:37 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Christians must avoid the temptation to conform to the world, Pope Francis cautioned Aug. 31, stressing that they should instead allow their faith to transform the world around them.

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Geneva, Switzerland, Aug 31, 2014 / 05:44 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The continuing spread of the Ebola outbreak in Africa is putting more lives at risk, while containment efforts and the flight of vital workers have endangered food supplies and medical care even for those without the disease.

1 day 12 hours
Yangon, Myanmar, Aug 30, 2014 / 08:53 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Celebrating 500 years since the arrival of Catholicism in Myanmar, Catholic artists have pooled together to evangelize through a new musical endeavor.  

2 days 9 hours
Washington D.C., Aug 30, 2014 / 03:35 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Pro-life advocates have strongly objected to PBS' decision broadcast the documentary "After Tiller," saying it wrongly downplays the "gravely unjust" and deadly nature of abortion.

2 days 14 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: The site of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
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Press Release TOLEDO — The Holy Father, Pope Francis, today named the Most Reverend Daniel E. Thomas as the eighth Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo in America. Bishop Thomas has been serving as an Auxiliary Bishop of the … Continue reading → 2 days 16 hours
By John Stegeman The Catholic Telegraph See video below About 40 members of the St. Maximilian Kolbe Children’s Choir took to the field at Great American Ballpark Friday, Aug. 22 to participate in the tradition of singing the national anthem … Continue reading → 2 days 16 hours
Press Release DAYTON — A Nun’s Life Ministry will visit the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Dayton and host a live podcast from Salem Heights on Aug. 28 as part of the ministry’s Motherhouse Road Trip series. The podcast … Continue reading → 2 days 16 hours
By Catholic News Service CHICAGO — Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George is participating in a clinical research trial for a new cancer drug, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Aug. 22. Cardinal George was first diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006 … Continue reading → 2 days 16 hours
When the Game Stands Tall, a sports drama from Affirm Films and Mandalay Pictures based on the true story of a Catholic California high school football team, is a wholesome flick. The movie was released on August 22. The movie … Continue reading → 2 days 16 hours
By Catholic News Service  CLEVELAND — The Catholic Universe Bulletin, which has served Catholics in the Diocese of Cleveland for 140 years, will cease publication of its print edition at an unspecified date in 2015. Bishop Richard G. Lennon of … Continue reading → 2 days 16 hours
By John Stegeman The Catholic Telegraph  With money coming from a variety of sources, Father Rob Waller of St. Andrew parish in Milford wired $14,436.92 in donations specifically “for the children of Gaza, and for the school and parish of … Continue reading → 2 days 16 hours
Staff Report It was 60 years ago yesterday that Catholics in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati received word via The Catholic Telegraph-Register that the Vatican had approved the use of some English during the administration certain sacraments. Permission was granted to … Continue reading → 2 days 16 hours
Staff Report A contest currently offered by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops gives any parish the chance to win 250 “pocket gospels.” To sign up, click HERE and nominate your parish. From the USCCB: In April, Pope Francis … Continue reading → 2 days 16 hours
Press Release  Father Steve Angi, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and police chaplain, will be the principal celebrant at the tenth annual Blue Mass for Greater Cincinnati police, fire and safety personnel to be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, … Continue reading → 2 days 16 hours