Saturday, June 20, 2009

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Real piety aims to give glory to God and lead man to virtue. To achieve both ends, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a true gift of Divine Providence to this unfortunate century.

Our Lady is the Mediatrix of all grace. To try to pray without her intercession is the same as trying to fly without wings, says Dante. If we want our acts of love, praise, thanksgiving and reparation to reach the throne of God, we must place them into the hands of Mary Most Holy. It would be ridiculous to imagine that devotion to Our Lady would be a deviation and that we could reach God more directly by not addressing ourselves to her. The opposite is true. We can only reach God through her.

To try to reach Jesus Christ, without Our Lady, on the false pretext that Our Lady is an obstacle between us and her Divine Son is as stupid as trying to analyze the stars thinking that the telescope’s lenses are an obstacle between us and the stars. Let us look for grace from the fountain from which it really springs forth and, with its help, become fortified for all the austerity that the Holy Ghost demands of us. Undoubtedly, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary holds a most relevant place among these sources of grace.

In the Apocalypse, chapter 3, verse 8, we find: “I know thy works. Behold, I have given before thee a door opened, which no man can shut: because thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” This door, open to the weakness of contemporary man, is the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Taken from

Friday, June 19, 2009

Year for Priest Initiatives Flood Internet Cardinal Reports Global Positive Response


VATICAN CITY, JUNE 19, 2009 ( The Congregation for Clergy is launching a new Web site for the Year for Priests, which begins today. The enthusiasm surrounding this occasion is echoing in initiatives across the globe.

A letter from Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, prefect of the congregation, expressed the hope that "this may be a time of grace that will produce great apostolic fruit, especially of fidelity and intense renewal in the work of the ministry."

He explained that their new site offers spiritual resources and documents for priests and lay people to celebrate the year, in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

The cardinal affirmed that the Year for Priests "has been warmly received throughout the world" and the "positive effects will make themselves felt very quickly."

He invited ordained ministers to "participate in it with every effort and creativity" and to "be unconditional disciples and audacious missionaries" for Christ.

Another initiative was organized by WorldPriest, a group of Catholic communications professionals based on both the United States and Ireland.

In addition to online resources, the group coordinated four Masses which will be celebrated on different points of the globe today, uniting English-speaking Catholic communities to pray for priests.

Each Mass will take place at 3 p.m. local time, beginning with one in Sydney, Australia, celebrated by the archbishop of that city, Cardinal George Pell.

Next, Carmelite Father Sebastian Koodappattu will preside over a Mass in Kerala, India, followed by Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam in Ireland's Knock Shrine. Monsignor Michael Curran will complete the circle with a Eucharistic Celebration in New York.

In addition, a special Mass will be televised by WorldPriest on Sunday in honor of the World Day of Prayer for Priests, which the group promotes every year.

Father Brendan Kilcoyne, president of St. Jarlath's College in Tuam will preside over this Mass that will be broadcast by the RTE national television station.

Vocational renewal

National initiatives in England and Wales are available through the new online portal created by the bishops' conference there.

This Web site contains resources for priests, and allows users to browse through the online offerings of each of the 22 dioceses in the conference.

Thus, for example, one can access the new Web site from the Archdiocese of Birmingham that features a multimedia "virtual seminary," posters, prayer cards, priestly testimonials and a seminary blog.

Father Eddie Clare, committee chairman of the National Office for Vocation, affirmed that one important outcome of this year will be a "renewed emphasis on vocations."

He added, "The more we value our priests and their irreplaceable presence at the heart of the Church, more men may consider that this may be their calling in life."

One institution that is offering visual demonstrations of the irreplaceable role of priestly ministry is the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

In a new Web site launched for the Year for Priests, it is featuring slide show presentations about its ordained alumni and the ways they have served the Church.

The year will run until June 19, 2010, and will center on the theme: "Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests."

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On the Net:

Congregation for Clergy site:


Televised Mass by WorldPriest:

England and Wales Year for Priests portal:

Catholic University of America site:

Feast of the Sacred Heart


Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

On the Holy Spirit and the Church


"The Church Is Unceasingly Formed and Guided by the Spirit of the Lord"

VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2009 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before praying the midday Regina Caeli in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The Church throughout the world relives to today the Solemnity of Pentecost, the mystery of her own birth, of her own "baptism" in the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:5), which took place in Jerusalem, 50 days after Easter, precisely on the Jewish feast of Pentecost. The risen Jesus told his disciples: "Remain in the city until you are given power from on high" (Luke 24:49). This happened in a perceptible way in the Cenacle, while they were gathered together with Mary, the Virgin Mother, in prayer. As we read in the Acts of the Apostles, suddenly that place was invaded by a strong driving wind, and tongues like fire came to rest on the heads of all those present. The Apostles went out then and began to proclaim in different languages that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, dead and risen (cf. Acts 2:1-4). The Holy Spirit, who with the Father and the Son created the universe, guided the history of the people of Israel and spoke through the prophets, who in the fullness of time cooperated in our redemption, who at Pentecost descended upon the nascent Church and made it missionary, sending it to proclaim to all peoples the victory of divine love over sin and death.

The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. Without him to what would it be reduced? It would certainly be a great historical movement, a complex and solid social institution, perhaps a kind of humanitarian agency. And in truth this is how it is considered by those who look upon it from outside the perspective of faith. In reality, however, in its true nature and also in its most authentic historical presence, the Church is unceasingly formed and guided by the Spirit of the Lord. It is a living body, whose vitality is precisely the invisible divine Spirit.

Dear friends, this year Pentecost falls on the last day of the month of May on which the beautiful Marian Feast of the Visitation is usually celebrated. This fact invites us to let ourselves be inspired and taught by the Virgin Mary, who was a protagonist in both events. In Nazareth she received the annunciation of her singular maternity and, immediately after she conceived Jesus by the working of the Holy Spirit, was moved by the same Spirit of love to go to help her elderly relative Elizabeth, who was in the sixth month of a similarly miraculous pregnancy. The young Mary, who carried Jesus in her womb and, forgetting herself, goes to help her neighbor, is a stupendous icon of the Church in the perennial youth of the Spirit, of the missionary Church of the Incarnate Word, called to bring [this Word] to the world and to testify to him especially in the service of charity. We invoke the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that the Church in our time may be powerfully strengthened by the Holy Spirit. The comforting presence of the Holy Spirit is felt in a special way by the ecclesial communities that suffer persecution for Christ's name, because, participating in his sufferings, they receive the Holy Spirit in the abundance of glory (cf. 1 Peter 4:13-14).

[After praying the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father said:]

In these days the youth of Abruzzo are gathering many people around the World Youth Day Cross. It was carried to their region by a group of volunteers sent by the San Lorenzo International Youth Center in Rome. In communion with that region, hard hit by the earthquake, we ask Christ dead and risen to pour put his Spirit of consolation and hope upon them. I extend my greeting to the young Italians who today, in the various dioceses, have come together to conclude, with their bishops, the third and final year of the "Agora dei Giovani." I recall with joy the unforgettable events that marked this three year project: the meeting at Loreto, in September 2007 and the World Youth Day in Sydney last July. Dear young people of Italy, with the power of the Holy Spirit, be witnesses of the risen Lord!

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[The Pope greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English, he said:]

I am pleased to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims to today's Regina Caeli. On this Pentecost Sunday, we rejoice in the Lord's gift of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul reminds us that if we live in the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit by putting aside all conceit, anger, envy and everything that divides us (cfr Gal5,26). My dear friends, having received God's precious gift, may you abound in his fruits of love, peace, patience, kindness and all that bears witness to the Kingdom of God in our midst! Praised be Jesus Christ!