Archives for August 2010

Relic of the True Cross Found in Vermont

This post from Catholic Answers Forum was a relief to hear about. I had previously reported a little over a month ago that the Relic of the True Cross had been stolen in a post titled, The Relic of True Cross Goes Missing From Boston.Well it has been found! Two state policemen in Vermont got a call recently and recovered the artifact. This is great news for all Catholics!

“Vermont State Police stumbled upon it after receiving a call from Richard Duncan, a resident of the Upper Eatons Trailer Park in Royalton, Vt., about 25 miles northwest of White River Junction, according to a lengthy statement released by the Vermont State Police this afternoon.

Duncan told police he was having an argument over the phone with his partner, 34-year-old Earl Frost. He said he wanted Frost to share some information with police.

“Frost was put on the telephone and advised Troopers that the altercation was over a religious artifact that was stolen from a church in Boston,” the Vermont State Police statement said.

Frost said he wanted to return it to a church, the police statement said. But troopers convinced him to bring it into the state police barracks in Royalton.

The Vermont troopers knew nothing of the Boston relic’s disappearance, but they did a Google search while Frost and Duncan were on their way to the barracks and found several articles related to the theft. But they also learned that there had been a number of false reports about the relic.

At the barracks, Frost turned the relic over to the police and said that he had acquired it from an unidentified person in Rhode Island. Frost said he had spoken with the Rev. Kevin O’Leary, the rector of the cathedral, about returning it, using the pseudonym “Bill.” “Relic of the True Cross Stolen from Cathedral Recovered”, Catholic Answers Forum

Archbishop Sponsors Refugees, Asks More to Follow His Example

“For Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins, the fate of Iraqi Christians trapped in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon is not just another tough case in an unfair world full of too much heartbreak. For him, the situation is personal.

Archbishop Collins has written to his fellow bishops across Canada about the fate of Iraqi Christian refugees, asking them to encourage refugee sponsorship in their dioceses. He has urged pastors in Toronto to get their parishes involved in sponsoring refugees.

He is also personally sponsoring a refugee family.

“Helping refugees is important in this world in which so many people are suffering, and I want personally to assist in this,” Archbishop Collins told The Catholic Register, a Canadian weekly, in an e-mail.

Archbishop Collins — like any parish sponsoring a refugee family — will wait months before he gets to meet the family picked out for him by the archdiocesan Office for Refugees. However, wait times for Iraqis are among the shortest for privately sponsored refugees.

As a Christian community, the Catholic Church in Toronto should feel a special bond with Christian refugees from Iraq, said the archbishop.

“We should always seek to help any people who are suffering, and the people of our archdiocese have always done so,” Archbishop Collins wrote. “But at this time, many Christians are suffering because of their faith, and we need in a particular way to reach out to them.”” – “Toronto Archbishop Leads by Example, Sponsors Iraqi Refugee Family”, Catholic News Service

This story posted on Catholic News Service is a great one that is definitely worth reading. If you are interested in the full article, click here. Archbishop Collins is trying to help spread the word that Iraqi refugees could really use help from others. It is awesome to see that he personally sponsors a family himself, and doesn’t just preach about it to his archdiocese. More people should take the initiative that he does, he sets a fine example of how to be a good Catholic.

Saint of the Day

Today’s patron saint of the day is Saint Hyacinth. This post from A Catholic View really goes into the details of Saint Hyacinth’s life and is a great way to learn more about a saint that not all of us are so knowledgeable about. If Saint Hyacinth is your favorite patron saint, you should try and find his patron saint medal somewhere and begin wearing it. Patron saint medals are great way to outwardly show your faith!

“The Saint of the Day for August 17 is St. Hyacinth.

While a canon at the cathedral of Cracow, Hyacinth journeyed to Rome, was impressed by the preaching and miracles of St. Dominic, and from the hand of Dominic himself received the habit of the newly-founded Order. Upon returning to his native land (1219), he established monasteries of his Order beyond the Alps at Friesach, Prague, Olmiitz, and Cracow.
From the Breviary we have this miracle. With three companions Hyacinth had arrived at the banks of the river Weichsel during their journey to Vischegrad, where they were expected to preach. But the waters had risen so high and had become so violent that no ferryman dared to cross. The saint took his mantle, spread it out before him, and with his companions rode across the raging waters. After saying his Office for the day, he died in 1257 with these words on his lips: “Into Your hands, Lord, I rest my spirit!”” – “St. Hyacinth”, A Catholic View

Priest Shows Kids How to Skateboard

“A Hungarian Roman Catholic priest is reaching out to young people with his skateboarding tricks – and becoming a YouTube sensation in the process.

A video of the Rev Zoltan Lendvai skateboarding has clocked up hundreds of thousands of hits. The video, called Funny Priest Skateboarding, shows the priest manoeuvring on his skateboard as he talks to a group of teenagers.

Rev Lendvai, who is based in Redics, near the border with Slovenia, learned to skateboard as a young teenager at school. He believes skateboarding is an effective way of reaching young people with the Christian faith, according to Reuters.

He told Reuters that he is inspired by the 19th century Italian priest and educator Saint John Bosco, who used games to teach poor children.

“Many times I have felt that this is the way I can bring many people a bit closer to Jesus,” he told the news agency.

He told of three teenage boys who started coming to church after he taught them some skateboarding tricks and that he has given away at least six skateboards bearing the papal coat of arms to young people in his parish.” – “Skateboarding Priest Reaches out to Youngsters”, Christian Today

This post from Christian Today really caught my attention. I was shocked to read about this, but also was very happy to hear about a priest trying to make a connection with today’s youth. This is really the perfect way to get kids interested in attending Mass again. More churches should begin doing some sort of program based off of what this priest is doing. He takes after Saint John Bosco, and who could really say that’s a bad idea!

Saint Francis Statue to be Blessed and Placed in Local Zoo

“A Mosman councillor wants to build a “larger-than-life” statue of St Francis of Assisi at the Taronga Zoo, as “a symbol of Mosman’s love and respect of animals”.

Councillor Dom Lopez wants residents to form a committee to flesh out ideas for the statue, which could take any form that “captures the public’s imagination”, reports the Mosman Daily.

He suggested the statue could be embellished with a fountain or bird bath for wildlife, or a drinking trough for pets.

It should also bear an appropriate plaque and could be blessed by Cardinal George Pell at its official unveiling, he said.

The statue would be funded through public donations, with Cr Lopez aiming to raise about $25,000.

Cr Lopez floated the idea last year when he asked the council to investigate installing a statue somewhere in Mosman as a tribute to companion animals.

Each year, companion animals are blessed by Franciscan friars at the Mosman Festival.” – “Statue of St Francis Proposed for Zoo”, CathNews

I found this post over on today and I thought it was a great story. Saint Francis of Assisi is one of my favorite patron saints and I think any place is a great place for his statue to be placed. I love the idea that Cardinal Pell is going to bless the plaque attached to the statue as well. This idea as a whole is just awesome and I really hope that is works out.

Christians Have First Public Service in Turkey

This post from Christian Today is about Turkey and their endeavors to become more culturally diverse. The most probable cause behind Turkey letting Christians have a Mass for the first time in their country’s history is their longing to become members of the United Nations. No matter what the motive for their actions may be, it is still great to see Christians gain an opportunity to publicly hold a service for the first time.

“Turkey allowed Christians to hold a rare service at a politically sensitive monastery for the first time since the modern-day country’s creation nearly nine decades ago.

Sunday’s Mass at the ancient monastery of Sumela near the Black Sea was led by Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians.

Over 1,500 pilgrims from Greece, Russia and other countries travelled to the Byzantine-era monastery for the emotional, three-hour service – the first of two that Turkey’s government has permitted this summer.

According to reports, Turkey’s Culture Ministry said the decision to open the two churches was a result of the ministry’s “evaluation that visitor activity brought by belief tourism would contribute in solving economic, political and social problems in these regions and would have a positive impact on relations with neighbouring countries”.

Some observers believe that the move is part of the Turkish government’s effort to improve its public relationship with ethnic and religious minorities amid its bid to join the European Union.” – “Turkey’s Christians Hold Historic Church Service”, Christian Today

Bomb Scare at Lourdes

“Tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate the Marian Sanctuary in Lourdes on Sunday because of a bomb threat. Allowed to return later in the day, the faithful returned to the programmed schedule of worship and took part in the traditional afternoon procession.

The estimated number of pilgrims in Lourdes on Sunday was put at about 30,000 by local media, with large delegations coming particularly from both France and Italy.

According to Agence France Presse (AFP), at around noon an anonymous call was made to the local police station warning that four bombs would explode at 3pm.

Having evacuated the sanctuary, police conducted a search of the site with bomb-sniffing dogs. It was reopened to the masses at around 4pm when no explosive ordinance was found.

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year at the sanctuary, for its importance as a Marian celebration and also for the practical reason that it takes place within the summer holidays of August. Many French Catholics take part in the National Pilgrimage organized every year to coincide with the solemnity.

Speaking of the bomb scare afterwards, a local police spokesman called it a “cruel hoax,” saying that the caller did nothing more than cause additional problems for those already suffering from illnesses and handicaps.

While a prayer for France and the world and a chaplet originally scheduled to be said at the grotto had to be observed from outside the gates of the sanctuary, the evacuation did not keep people from taking part in the National Pilgrimage-organized Eucharistic procession at 5pm.” – “Lourdes Evacuated for Bomb Scare, Evening Events Uninterrupted”, EWTN

This post from EWTN was strange to hear about. Apparently a bomb scare turned out to be nothing more then a glorified prank phone call. Of course, I am glad that it was not a real threat and that nobody was injured or hurt. Honestly though who takes time out of their day to call up the police and report a bomb threat? They must be a sad person. It is good that the Eucharistic procession could still be held in the evening though, after they realized that nobody was in any real danger.

Mother Acquitted of Charges in Pakistan

“A judge has cleared a young mother of blasphemy charges in a major victory for persecuted Christians in Pakistan.

Mother of three Rubina Bibi, 25, was accused of defaming the Prophet Muhammad by a Muslim shopkeeper in Alipur Chattah, Gujranwala district, in March. She was arrested days later and imprisoned along with her youngest son.

She faced the death penalty if found guilty but session judge Mohammad Asghar Khan cleared her of wrongdoing during a lengthy hearing on Wednesday, where she was represented by Christian lawyers Joseph Francis and Tahir Bashir Gull.

The case was brought before the session judge after the lower district judge came under pressure from extremist groups and security at the hearing was tight following the recent murder of two Christian brothers outside a Faisalabad courthouse. Pastors Emmanuel and Sajid Masih, both accused of committing blasphemy, had just left a hearing when they were shot dead by masked gunmen, despite being under police escort.

Rubina was released from prison with her son on Thursday. She is the third person in Alipur Chattah to be accused of blasphemy. In 1999, Hussain Masih and his son Isaac were arrested for blasphemy. The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement represented them during their trial and the charges were eventually overturned by a judge.” – “Judge Acquits Young Mother Charged with Blasphemy in Pakistan”, Christian Today

This post is from Christian Today, and it made me very glad to hear this news. Christians have been suffering in Pakistan for quite some time now. The level of religious tolerance there is extraordinarily low and Christians have been taking a lot of heat in recent months. Murders have taken place recently and this story almost veered down the same unjust path. I was glad to read about this mother being acquitted of the ridiculous charges she was being pressed with.

Archbishop Hopeful that Pope’s Visit Will Help Faith

This post from Catholic News Agency is a hopeful one that I certainly want to happen. I would certainly hope that a visit from the Holy Father himself would make faith stronger in the UK then it is now. I have been reading a lot lately about how faith in the Catholic Church is floundering in the UK. Hopefully Pope Benedict XVI visiting them will make them realize that they all need to strengthen their faith.

“Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow said the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom, will be “a moment of grace” that will “bolster” the faith of Catholics in the region.

In a pastoral letter sent last Sunday, the archbishop encouraged the faithful to enthusiastically welcome the Holy Father’s visit, which is an “immense privilege” for the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

“Such visits are a rare occurrence,” he continued, noting that this is “only the second of a reigning pope in the long history of our country.”

“We need the presence of Simon Peter to bolster our faith and give us new courage to face the difficulties and ease the pain which the Church and each one of us must necessarily encounter in an imperfect and ever changing world,” he added.

After thanking Scottish officials for the “remarkable enthusiasm in the making of the necessary arrangements for his reception,” Archbishop Conti underscored the need to spiritual prepare for the visit.  For this purpose, he said, the archdiocese will begin a special month of preparation on August 15, the feast of the Assumption of Mary.” – “Scottish Archbishop Hopes Pope Will Reinvigorate UK Catholics”, Catholic News Agency

History Channel Documentary on Mary MacKillop to be Produced

“The History Channel has commissioned a new documentary called Blessed Mary: A Saint for All Australians to commemorate her canonization.

Hosted by Alan Jones, the hour-long special will have its world premiere on The History Channel on Sunday, October 10 at 7.30pm AEST, with an encore screening on the day of the canonization, Sunday, October 17 at 8.30pm AEST, according to a statement.

A DVD with special extras, including a full interview between Alan Jones and Cardinal Pell will be released on  October 13.

The comprehensive docu-drama will detail the incredible life of Mary MacKillop, from her humble and often troubled childhood in Melbourne, to the establishment of a school in Penola, through to her vocation as co-founder of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

Featuring dramatised scenes of the pivotal moments in Mary’s life, the documentary is also supported by an enormous resource of correspondence to, from and about Mary, including thousands of letters written by Mary herself.

“Mary MacKillop lived a remarkable, inspired life and I’m delighted that The History Channel is able to honour her memory with the screening of this world premiere documentary, to coincide with her historic canonisation,” said Jim Buchan, Group Channel Manager, Factual Channels.” – “History Channel to Make New Documentary on Mary MacKillop”, CathNews

This post from CathNews was really great to read about. After writing about Mary MacKillop’s future canonization earlier this week, I felt the need to share this with everybody as well. I think it is really wonderful that the History Channel is going to be making a documentary on her life. It will surely be a documentary worth watching more than once. Mary MacKillop led a great life and it will be awesome to get to see all that she did in a documentary format. I will, without a doubt, learn a lot from it when I can view it.