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Press Release of the Archbishop of Rouen Following Hostage Situation at Church of Saint Etienne Du Rouvray

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From Krakow, I have learnt with sadness of the killing this morning at the Church of Saint-Etienne du Rouvray. The three victims: the priest, Father Jacques Hamel, 84, and the authors of the assassination. Three other people were injured, one very seriously. I cry out to God with all men of good will. I would invite non-believers to join in the cry! With the young people at WYD, we pray as we prayed at the tomb of Father Popiulusko in Warsaw, assassinated during the communist regime.

The Vicar General, Father Philippe Maheut, is on location since the beginning. I will be tonight in my diocese with the families and the parish community which is very much in shock. The Catholic Church cannot take weapons other than those of prayer and brotherhood among men. I leave here hundreds of young people who are the future of humanity, the true ones. I ask them not to give in to the violence and become apostles of the civilization of love.

Dominique Lebrun
Archbishop of Rouen
July 26, 2016

The New Evangelization Today: Kerygma

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Cardinal Wuerl talks about the pressing task of our time: the New Evangelization. What is #kerygma? Telling of the story of salvation and redemption in a simple, yet profound way.

Watch below:

For more information, visit http://cardinalsblog.adw.org/2016/06/…

http://adw.org/

#NewEvangelization
#BeingCatholicToday

Behind Vatican Walls: Holy See Press Office

 

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, papal spokesman, arrives for a Vatican press conference Feb. 5. The Jesuit priest retired as head of Vatican Radio, but has stayed on as Vatican spokesman. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See VATICAN-COMMUNICATIONS-LOMBARDI Feb. 22, 2016.

There were significant resignations and several important nominations behind Vatican walls this week. The long expected retirement of Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi finally came to pass.  As well some high anticipated appointments were finally made and they speak volumes about the new Roman Curia.

After ten years at the head of the Holy See Press Office Fr. Lombardi will hand over the reins on August 1. Two lay people will step into the role of director and vice-director of the press office. American Greg Burke, a former journalist and an Opus Dei numerary who has been serving the Vatican’s communication operations since 2012 and was appointed vice director of the press office earlier this year. The new vice director of the Holy See press office is a Spanish laywoman, Paloma Garcia Ovejero. Not only is this the first time a woman is appointed to one of the key leading roles in the press office, it is the first time two lay people with extensive communications and media experience are entrusted with the leadership of the press office.

burke and garcia

Burke graduated from Columbia’s School of Journalism and worked as a correspondent for the National Catholic Register, Time magazine and Fox News network. Garcia Ovejero has a journalism degree from Madrid’s Universidad Complutense and a masters in management strategies and communication from New York University. She has worked for Spain’s COPE news network since 2006. (COPE is the media outlet owned by the Spanish Bishops Conference).

For his part Fr. Lombardi has been looking forward to this retirement. He was named director of the Holy See also served as director of Vatican Radio and director of the Vatican Television Center (CTV). In 2013 Pope Benedict XVI named Msgr. Eduardo Vigano the director of CTV and in February of this year the new Secretariate for Communication took over the administration of Vatican Radio.

Higher up the structure of the Roman Curia members were appointed to the Secretariat for Communications. Thirteen prelates and three lay people were appointed to the secretariate. Of those three lay people, two are women. Kim Daniels is the cofounder of Catholic Voices USA and a consultant on religious liberty issues for the USCCB. Leticia Soberón Mainero is an expert in communication with a degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University and a Psychologist. The only layman appointed to the secretariat, Markus Schächter, is a professor of ethics and Mass Media at the Munich School of Philosophy.

These choices signal several changes: a less Italian curia is taking shape. Out of all these appointments, there is only one Italian. Bishop Marcello Semeraro is the only Italian prelate appointed to the Secretariat for Communication. The other appointees come from different regions of the world and represent a variety of cultures.

Second, the laypeople being tapped to take on key roles in the press office and the secretariat overseeing it have solid communication credentials behind them. Certainly these people move in church circles in their home countries, but they are known for their professional experience.

In many ways we may be looking at the blueprint for the Roman Curia of the future.


Photos: CNS

St. Faustina Kowalska and St. John Paul II: Patron Saints of World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow

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Pope John Paul II’s interest in Divine Mercy goes back to the days of his youth in Krakow when Karol Wojtyla was an eyewitness to so much evil and suffering during World War II in occupied Poland. He witnessed the round ups of many people who were sent to concentration camps and slave labor. In his hometown of Wadowice, he had many Jewish friends who would later die in the Holocaust. During that time of terror and fear, Karol Wojtyla decided to enter Cardinal Sapieha’s clandestine seminary in Krakow. He experienced the need for God’s mercy and humanity’s need to be merciful to one another. While in the seminary, he met another seminarian, Andrew Deskur (who would later become Cardinal), who introduced Karol to the message of the Divine Mercy, as revealed to the Polish mystic nun, St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, who died at the age of 33 in 1938.

The Pope of Divine Mercy

At the beginning of his pontificate in 1981, Pope John Paul II wrote an entire encyclical dedicated to Divine Mercy – “Dives in Misericordia” (Rich in Mercy) illustrating that the heart of the mission of Jesus Christ was to reveal the merciful love of the Father. In 1993 when Pope John Paul II beatified Sr. Faustina Kowalska, he stated in the homily for her beatification mass: “Her mission continues and is yielding astonishing fruit. It is truly marvelous how her devotion to the merciful Jesus is spreading in our contemporary world, and gaining so many human hearts!”

Four years later in 1997, the Holy Father visited Blessed Faustina’s tomb in Lagiewniki, Poland, and preached powerful words: “There is nothing that man needs more than Divine Mercy…. From here went out the message of Mercy that Christ Himself chose to pass on to our generation through Blessed Faustina.”

In the Jubilee year 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Sr. Faustina – making her the first canonized saint of the new millennium – and established “Divine Mercy Sunday” as a special title for the Second Sunday of Easter for the universal Church. Pope John Paul II spoke these words in the homily: “Jesus shows His hands and His side [to the Apostles]. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in His Heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity.”

One year later, in his homily for Divine Mercy Sunday in 2001, the Pope called the message of mercy entrusted to St. Faustina: “The appropriate and incisive answer that God wanted to offer to the questions and expectations of human beings in our time, marked by terrible tragedies…. Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity at the dawn of the third millennium.”

Again in Lagiewniki, Poland in 2002, at the dedication of the new Shrine of Divine Mercy, the Holy Father consecrated the whole world to Divine Mercy, saying: “I do so with the burning desire that the message of God’s merciful love, proclaimed here through St. Faustina, may be made known to all the peoples of the earth, and fill their hearts with hope.”

In his Regina Caeli address of April 23, 2006, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said: “The mystery of God’s merciful love was at the centre of the pontificate of my venerated predecessor.” Now that same Providence has desired that this year, on Divine Mercy Sunday, three years after he was beatified on this same feast, Pope John Paul II, the great apostle and ambassador of Divine Mercy, will be proclaimed a saint.

Mercy is our hallmark

We must ask ourselves: what is new about this message of Divine Mercy? Why did Pope John Paul II insist so much on this aspect of God’s love in our time? Is this not the same devotion as that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Mercy is an important Christian virtue, much different from justice and retribution. While recognizing the real pain of injury and the rationale for the justification of punishment, mercy takes a different approach in redressing the injury. Mercy strives to radically change the condition and the soul of the perpetrator to resist doing evil, often by revealing love and one’s true beauty. If any punishment is enforced, it must be for salvation, not for vengeance or retribution. This is very messy business in our day and a very complex message… but it is the only way if we wish to go forward and be leaven for the world today; if we truly wish to be salt and light in a culture that has lost the flavor of the Gospel and the light of Christ.

Where hatred and the thirst for revenge dominate, where war brings suffering and death to the innocent, abuse has destroyed countless innocent lives, the grace of mercy is needed in order to settle human minds and hearts and to bring about healing and peace. Wherever respect for human life and dignity are lacking, there is need of God’s merciful love, in whose light we see the inexpressible value of every human being. Mercy is needed to insure that every injustice in the world will come to an end. The message of mercy is that God loves us – all of us – no matter how great our sins. God’s mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Essentially, mercy means the understanding of weakness, the capacity to forgive.

Apostle of Divine Mercy

Throughout his priestly and Episcopal ministry, and especially during his entire Pontificate, Pope John Paul II preached God’s mercy, wrote about it, and most of all lived it. He offered forgiveness to the man who was destined to kill him in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope who witnessed the scandal of divisions among Christians and the atrocities against the Jewish people as he grew up did everything in his power to heal the wounds caused by the historic conflicts between Catholics and other Christian churches, and especially with the Jewish people.

I shall never forget the stirring words of St. John Paul II spoke at the concluding mass of World Youth Day at Downsview Park in Toronto on July 28, 2002. These words keep us focused on the importance and necessity of mercy in the Church today.

“…At difficult moments in the Church’s life, the pursuit of holiness becomes even more urgent. And holiness is not a question of age; it is a matter of living in the Holy Spirit…”

“…Do not let that hope die! Stake your lives on it! We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.”

Let us pray with joy and gratitude:

O God, who are rich in mercy
and who willed that Saint John Paul II
should preside as Pope over your universal Church,
grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching,
we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ,
the sole Redeemer of mankind.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God forever and ever. Amen.


 

Photo WYD Krakow

The New Evangelization Today: Prayer

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Cardinal Wuerl talks about the pressing task of our time: the New Evangelization. He discusses how prayer opens our mind and heart to God.

Watch below:

For more information, visit http://cardinalsblog.adw.org/2016/06/…

http://adw.org/

#NewEvangelization
#BeingCatholicToday

New Archbishop appointed for Regina

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His Holiness Pope Francis today named the Most Reverend Donald Bolen Archbishop of Regina. At the time of his appointment, he was Bishop of Saskatoon. He succeeds the Most Reverend Daniel J. Bohan who died in office January 15, 2016, at the age of 74. Since then, the Reverend Lorne Dale Crozon, the former Vicar General, has been Diocesan Administrator of the Archdiocese of Regina.

Archbishop-elect Bolen was born in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, on February 7, 1961. He holds an Honours B.A. in religious studies from the University of Regina, together with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theology as well as a licentiate from Saint Paul University, Ottawa. After being ordained priest on October 12, 1991, for the Archdiocese of Regina, he did post-graduate studies in theology at the University of Oxford, in addition to serving as priest moderator in several parishes in the Archdiocese and teaching at Campion College, University of Regina. From 2001 to 2008, he worked with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity where he served on its staff for relations with the Anglican Communion and with the World Methodist Council.

Upon returning in 2009 to the Archdiocese of Regina, he held the Nash Chair in Religion at Campion College and served as Vicar General and pastor of several parishes before being named Bishop of Saskatoon on December 21 that year. As a member of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), Archbishop-elect Bolen has served on its Commission for Justice and Peace, of which he has been Chairman since 2014, and also as Co-Chair of the Canadian Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Dialogue.

Since June 2012, Archbishop-elect Bolen has been a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, in addition to which he serves in the following capacities: since 2009, member of the International Consultation between the World Evangelical Alliance and the Catholic Church; since 2011, Co-Chair of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission; and since 2013, Co-Chair of the Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Catholic Church. In November 2008, he was awarded the Cross of St Augustine by the Archbishop of Canterbury for his service to relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

According to the CCCB 2016 Directory, the Archdiocese of Regina has 145 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 126,980, served by 79 diocesan priests, 19 priests who are members of institutes of consecrated life, three permanent deacons and 67 Religious Sisters and Brothers.


Photo: Diocese of Saskatoon

*This was originally published on the CCCB.

The New Evangelization Today: The Holy Spirit

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Cardinal Wuerl talks about the pressing task of our time: the New Evangelization. He discusses the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Watch below:

For more information, visit http://cardinalsblog.adw.org/2016/06/…

http://adw.org/

#NewEvangelization
#BeingCatholicToday

Taizé vs Cluny: spiritual centers that tell the story of a church in history

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(People gather in one of the catechesis tents at Taizé, France.  They begin each session by singing one of the widely popular chants of the community.)

In a remote east-central region of France sit two distinct spiritual centers that tell the remarkable story of a church that is always situated in a particular moment history.

The internationally known Taizé community, with its brothers from various Christian traditions dressed in white robes, occupies most of the land of the hilltop town in the countryside about an hour’s drive north of Lyons.  The remains of Cluny Abbey, the millennium-old center of medieval monasticism, are just a ten-minute drive south of Taizé.

Last weekend I visited the Taizé community—a visit well worth the long journey—and as I followed my Google Maps app, I was surprised to see “Cluny” pop up just down the road.  What a remarkable thing that these two places are neighbors in the rural countryside of Burgundy.

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Cluny was the headquarters of monastic reform in the 10th and 11th centuries.  By that time, Benedictine monasteries had sprung up across Europe—the order was already about 400 years old by that time—and monastic life had become a bit lax in practice or too closely aligned with political and economic forces.  Pope Francis would say they had become a bit “worldly”.  Cluny was a response.  The Cluniacs called for stricter adherence to the Rule of St. Benedict, challenged simony (the buying and selling of ecclesial posts), and promoted clerical celibacy.

The motherhouse at Cluny eventually became the spiritual head of more than a thousand satellite monasteries across Europe and some of their monks even became popes—a development which institutionalized for the universal church some of the Cluniac reforms.  What’s left of the physical monastery is still impressive.  Only one tower remains, but what struck me was the sheer size of the area where the cloister and church once were.  It must have been an imposing structure.  But today it is only a museum.  There are no monks, no libraries, no chanting.

Meanwhile, up the road at Taizé there were 750 young people sleeping in grungy cabins or in tents in the field, attending catechesis and chanting beautiful hymns of praise to God.  The Brothers are expecting the number of visitors to increase to four or five thousand by July.  Taizé is like a mini, perpetual World Youth Day, where you see new people every day, sleeping quarters are tight and the food is…well, it’s food.

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But it’s alive.  The fraternal spirit of Brother Roger—the founder who was brutally murdered during evening prayer in 2005—still permeates the place.  Dozens of Brothers (most of them young men) of all traditions and cultural backgrounds live and pray every day alongside their guests.  All are welcome.  It is a place of reconciliation, healing, peace and fraternity.  The music, which people around the world have come to know and love, is simply the audible expression of the experience people share when they are there.

I learned two important lessons from my experience in Taizé and Cluny.  First, there is no guarantee that building impressive churches, structures or institutions will inevitably draw people in or give them life—at least not forever.  We know that from the grandiose yet empty halls at Cluny, and from the grungy yet overflowing tent-city at Taizé.

Second, different spiritual reforms are needed at different moments in the church’s history.  You could argue that Cluny struck a spiritual nerve in the 10th century just as Taizé does today.  There was a need for monastic reform back then, just as there is a need for tangible expressions of ecumenism and fraternity in our church and world today.  There is something to be said for reading the signs of the times in light of our history, and the eruption of the Spirit in the Taizé movement should be cause for serious reflection on who we are as Christians in the world today.  Perhaps, like the Cluniac reforms a millennium ago, the vision of realized Christian unity will even become institutionalized.

The New Evangelization Today: What is the New Evangelization?

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Cardinal Wuerl talks about the pressing task of our time: the New Evangelization. But what exactly is the New Evangelization? What is the message of the New Evangelization? Where and who is the intended audience? What do we seek to accomplish? What is needed for this work of the New Evangelization?

To answer these and other questions, he has produced a video series entitled, “The New Evangelization Today.” Each of these short videos is intended to help people to take up this critical task to which we are called and to become new evangelizers.

Watch below:


For more information, visit http://cardinalsblog.adw.org/2016/06/…

Statement by CCCB President on The Recent Approval of Bill C-14 Legalizing Euthanasia And Assisted Suicide

Source: CCCB

The recent approval of Bill C-14, which legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide in our country, stands as an appalling landmark decision to the utter failure of government, and indeed all society, to care truly, authentically and humanely for the suffering and vulnerable in our midst.

We live in a country where the vast majority of the dying cannot access quality palliative or home care, where rates of suicide in many Indigenous communities are staggeringly high, and where it is suggested that the lives of vulnerable, chronically ill and disabled persons are not worth living. Paradoxically, and most unfortunately, our society has now enshrined in law that killing is a respectable way to end suffering. Our country’s growing inability to recognize the sanctity of human life is staggering and deeply troubling.

No institution, person, ideology or legislation is entitled to threaten or undermine the sacredness of both the dignity of each individual person and the very gift of life itself. We are called, as a community of compassionate individuals, to respect and protect the continuum of life from conception to natural death, honouring a vision of the human person in his/her present earthly existence as well as life beyond the grave. Catholics and indeed all people of good will have a moral and societal obligation to protect the vulnerable, comfort the suffering, and accompany the dying. The Bishops of Canada hope and pray that with all our Catholic brothers and sisters and our fellow Canadians, each of us and our society may experience a greater conversion of heart so as to recognize the image of God so profoundly imprinted on every human life, whatever that person’s state, level of comfort or degree of productivity and societal contribution.

The intentional taking of any human life – be it an elderly person, a child, a vulnerable adult, an embryo, a dying person – is truly a grave and morally unjustifiable act. Our society needs to reject all offenses against life itself: murder, genocide, suicide, abortion, euthanasia, and physician-assisted dying. The purposeful termination of human life via a direct intervention is not a humane action whatsoever. We ought to look instead to minimizing the pain and suffering of the dying and those who are tempted to end their lives, not eradicate their existence. Let us strive to help the sick and incapacitated find meaning in their lives, even and especially in the midst of their suffering. Let us comfort those facing terminal illness or chronic conditions through our genuine presence, human love and medical assistance. Let us, as a society and as individuals, choose to walk with them, in their suffering, not contribute to eliminating the gift of life.

Declaring physician-assisted suicide a “right” is not true caring and not humane in the least. It is ultimately a false act of mercy, a distortion of kindness to our fellow man/woman. The new legislation seems to insinuate that a human being, a person, ceases to be a person and loses his/her very dignity simply because of a loss or diminishment of a number of physical and mental capacities. It is untrue. What is true is that our own humanity is weakened when we fail to care for the weak and dying, and when we purposefully fall short of considering them, with all their ailments and limitations, as persons worthy of life. True human compassion invites us to share the other’s pain, the other’s journey – it is not meant to do away with the person. Physician-assisted suicide is an affront to what is most noble, most precious in the human endeavour and a grave injustice and violation of the dignity of every human person whose natural and inherent inclination is indeed the preservation of life. We ought to surround our sick and dying, our vulnerable and disabled, with love and attention, with care and true life-giving compassion. This is why palliative care continues to be undeniably the only moral, effective and much needed alternative, the only compassionate choice, now that our country has embarked upon this perilous road.

Saint Joseph, patron of Canada and patron of a good death, pray for us.

(Most Rev.) Douglas Crosby, OMI
Bishop of Hamilton
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

June 27, 2016