Pope Benedict XVI Will Travel to Palermo

“The Vatican announced on Tuesday that Pope Benedict XVI will make a pastoral visit to Palermo, Italy in early October for an ecclesial meeting with families and young people from the region.

The Holy Father will make his visit on Sunday, Oct. 3, and after celebrating Mass at 10:30 a.m. in the local Foro Italico Umberto I church, he will lead the faithful in the Angelus prayer.

During the remainder of his trip, Pope Benedict is scheduled to meet priests, religious and seminarians at the cathedral of Palermo at 5 p.m. Following that, he will address a gathering of young people in the city’s Piazza Politeama, which takes its name from the Politeama Garibaldi Theatre, built in the 1800s.

The Holy Father will then go to Palermo’s Punta Raisi airport for his return flight to Rome.” – “Holy Father to Make Pastoral Visit to Palermo”, EWTN.com

Looks like Pope Benedict XVI will continue his travels before the canonization of Mary MacKillop when he goes to Palermo on October 3rd. This post from EWTN.com tells all about the Pope’s plans for his visit too. I am glad to see his visit includes time to address the youth of Palermo, as well as local religious life. His meeting with the younger generation of Palermo will also take place at a site that draws its name from one of Palermo’s better known historical spots.

Father Gerhard Hirschfelder Beatified

Before today I had never heard about Father Gerhard Hirschfelder, and thanks to this posting from EWTN.com I have learned about this amazing man who made a stand against Hitler in Nazi Germany. This Catholic priest risked harassment from the Nazi’s to try and tell Catholics to make a stand against the Nazi regime and its ways. This got him sent to a concentration camp, where he would die. Father Gerhard was a brave man indeed and today he was beatified.

“Father Gerhard Hirschfelder (1907-42), a German priest who died of hunger and pneumonia in the Dachau concentration camp, was beatified as a martyr on September 19. The priest had urged Catholic young people not to join the Hitler Youth and had preached against the violence of the Nazi regime in his homilies.

Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne presided at the beatification Mass, which took place at the cathedral in Munster.” – “Dachau Martyr Beatified”, EWTN

MacKillop Relic on Display in Rome

Don’t know what reliquary is? Well it’s something to keep a relic safe in, and this posting from CathNews tells about a very important relic in Catholic history. Mary MacKillop is going to be canonized next month, and a strand of her hair was just put on display in Italy. Eventually this reliquary will be bestowed upon Pope Benedict XVI.

“A reliquary containing a lock of Blessed Mary MacKillop’s hair has been unveiled at the the Caravita Oratory in the centre of Rome by Australian Ambassador to the Holy See Tim Fischer and Sister Maria Casey.

The reliquary, a receptacle for a relic, is made from a red gum fence post from the South Australian Penola property where Mary MacKillop founded the Australian Sisters of Saint Joseph with Julian Tenison Woods, said an AAP report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

It has been carved into a cross with a sculpture using an antique piece of glass set into its centre containing the relic of Blessed Mary.

The reliquary will be presented to Pope Benedict XVI next month during the October 17 canonisation ceremony at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Several events are planned for the weekend of the ceremony, including a special evening opening of the Vatican Museums on Friday October 15, accompanied by a performance of indigenous dancing and didgeridoo playing, a Saturday prayer vigil and a mass to be celebrated by the head of the church in Australia, Cardinal George Pell with several other bishops and priests in Saint Paul’s Basilica Outside the Walls on Monday after the canonization.

“I think believers and non-believers alike agree that Mary MacKillop was a great Australian,” Mr Fischer said.

Mr Fischer is keeping Australians attending the canonisation up to date by using social media network Twitter, ‘tweeting’ information about tickets for the ceremony and other travel advice.” – “Mary MacKillop Reliquary Cross Unveiled in Rome”, CathNews

Pope Benedict Beatifies John Newman

“Around 50,000 Catholics gathered in Birmingham’s Crofton Park this morning to witness the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman by the Pope.

The beatification of the Victorian cardinal, who converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, is the first to take place under Pope Benedict XVI and the first ever to be performed in Britain.

The cool temperatures and overcast sky gave the open-air Mass a more somber tone than those held in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park on Thursday and London’s Hyde Park yesterday.

Addressing the crowds, the Pope acknowledged the sacrifice and bravery of Britons in the Battle of Britain, the seventieth anniversary of which is being marked today.

“For me as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany, it is deeply moving to be here on this occasion, and to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology,” he said.

“My thoughts go in particular to nearby Coventry, which suffered such heavy bombardment and massive loss of life in November 1940.

“Seventy years later, we recall with shame and horror the dreadful toll of death and destruction that war brings in its wake, and we renew our resolve to work for peace and reconciliation wherever the threat of conflict looms.”” – “Pope Beatifies John Newman before 50,000Faithful in Birmingham”, Christian Today

It was great to hear about the stellar turnout to see the beatification of John Newman this morning from this posting put up on Christian Today earlier today. To read a full version of the article, click here. This is the first beatification to take place in Britain, and it is really awesome to see so many people coming out for the important and monumental event. Pope Benedict also took time to remember the Battle of Britain, since today marks 70 years since the battle took place.

Saint of the Day

This is a great post that I read over at A Catholic View today. Everybody should say a quick prayer to Saint Joseph of Cupertino today because it is his feast day. The post below gets into some of the great things that Saint Joseph did while he was alive. His dream of becoming a priest never died despite tough financial issues, and everybody could learn a lesson from his persistence and great character.

“The Saint of the Day for September 18 is St. Joseph Of Cupertino,

Joseph of Cupertino was a mystic who was perhaps most famous for his ability to fly. His father, a poor carpenter, died before his birth and his mother, who was unable to pay the debts, lost her home and gave birth to Joseph in a stable at Cupertino, Italy on June 17, 1603.

Joseph began having mystical visions when he was seven, and was often so lost to the world around him that the other children made fun of him giving him the nickname, “open-mouthed” for his gaping manner.

He had an irascible temper and read very poorly, giving others the impression that he was dumb and good for nothing. Aside from that, he was so continually drawn into ecstasy that it was impossible for him to be attentive to the tasks at hand. Thus, when he secured a job, he lost it very quickly.

He finally managed to obtain a post taking care of a stable in a Franciscan convent near Cupertino. Upon realizing his holiness and aptitude for penance, humility, and obedience, it was decided that he could begin studying for the priesthood.

Joseph was a very poor student, however during his final examination, the examiner happened to ask him a question on the one topic he knew well. He passed and was admitted into the priesthood

It was also soon recognized that though he knew little by way of worldly knowledge and had little capacity to learn, Joseph was infused with a divine knowledge that made him capable of solving some of the most intricate theological quandaries.

For the last 35 years of his life as a priest he was unable to celebrate Mass in public because he would often, without being able to help it, be lifted up into the air when he went into an ecstatic state, which happened at nearly every Mass. It took only the slightest reference of anything having to do with God in order for this state to be induced in him.

Despite being moved from one friary to another, because of the disruption he caused by his ecstasies and the persecutions he endured from some of his brothers who were envious of his gifts, he remained profoundly inundated by the joy of abandoning himself to Divine Providence.

He died on September 18, 1663 and was canonized in 1767 by Pope Clement XIII. He is the patron of air travelers and students preparing for exams.” – “St. Joseph of Cupertino”, A Catholic View

Pope Benedict XVI Reminds Children to Make Quality Life Goals

The Pope spoke to children today in Britain and sent them a very positive message. The article below from EWTN.com tells all about that great message given by Pope Benedict. The message of searching for what makes you happy in life, while still remaining in touch with your religion and its faith and morals is obviously a wonderful message to be giving to young children. If kept at heart those words can really mean a lot and lead to a successful and religiously sound life style for young people.

“Today the Holy Father encouraged schoolchildren in the U.K. to aim high and “not to be content with second-best.” Seeking holiness and “true happiness” in their lives, he said, will lead them to sainthood.

An estimated 4,000 children were in attendance from all over Great Britain for the event, which was held on the sports field at St. Mary’s University College campus in London. The encounter was broadcast to all the Catholic schools in Scotland, England and Wales.

Observing that it is rare that a Pope, or anyone at all, has the opportunity to speak to all of the Catholic schoolchildren in the U.K. at the same time, he said he had something he wanted to tell them.

“I hope,” he said, “that among those of you istening to me today there are some of the future saints of the 21st century. What God wants most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy.”

“He loves you much more than you could ever begin to imagine and he wants the very best for you. And by far the best thing for you is to grow in holiness.”

He told the children to think about what kind of people they would like to be, and in doing so, he asked them “not to be content with second best … not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others.”

One of “the great tragedies” in the world, he said, is that people never find happiness. It is not to be found in money or fame, but the “key to true happiness,” said the Pope, “is to be found in God.

“God wants your friendship. And once you enter into friendship with God, everything in your life begins to change. As you come to know him better, you find you want to reflect something of his infinite goodness in your own life. You are attracted to the practice of virtue.”

And, in doing so, they will begin to avoid selfishness and greed, to feel greater compassion and to act with charity, empathy, kindness and generosity, he told them, and they will be “well on their way to becoming saints.”

Urging them to maintain sight of the “bigger picture” in their studies, he turned to educational institutions. “A good school provides a rounded education for the whole person,” he said. “And a good Catholic school, over and above this, should help all its students to become saints.”” – “Benedict XVI Urges Children to Pursue Sainthood”, EWTN

Scotland Called to Be More Outwardly Catholic

“During Mass at Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park on Thursday afternoon the Holy Father called on Scottish Catholics not to be afraid to bring their faith into the public square. “Society today,” he explained, “needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens.”

Pope Benedict XVI encouraged Scottish Catholic professionals, politicians and teachers never to lose sight of their calling to use their talents and experience in the service of the faith, engaging contemporary Scottish culture at every level.

Raising a theme that he first introduced just before his election as Pope, the Holy Father said that because the “dictatorship of relativism … threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man’s nature, his destiny and his ultimate good,” the “evangelization of culture is all the more important in our times.”

He noted that in contemporary society some people attempt to relegate religion to the private sphere, even painting “it as a threat to equality and liberty.”

“Yet,” he said, “religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister.”

The Pope’s words take on a particular significance in British society today, as Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to shut down because they wouldn’t comply with a piece of legislation called the Equality Act. The Catholic Church was responsible for around half of all adoptions in the U.K.

He then made an appeal to lay faithful, calling on them to be “in accordance with (their) baptismal calling and mission, not only to be examples of faith public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith’s wisdom and vision in the public forum.

“Society today,” he explained, “needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility.” – “Pope Calls For Vocal Catholic Presence in Scottish Public Life”, EWTN

This post from EWTN.com tells about Pope Benedict and how he would like to see more input from teachers, politicians, and other professions in way of keeping Catholicism relevant in Scotland today. This is an important goal to strive for because religion as whole seems to be losing it’s place amongst political and real world situations these days. This plea is important because keeping religious values in every day life is something that easily would the world a better place. Hopefully people can come to grasp this concept and take the Pope’s advice. Not just Scotland could take something away from this message.

Silence After Mass or Social Hour?

Here was a question asked over on Catholic Answers Forum earlier today.

“As soon as Mass is concluded in my local church, people begin talking, some in a soft voice and some out loud, about wordly affairs as if they were in a coffee shop. This is disconcerting, because I understood this was a time to maintain prayerful silence in thanksgiving for the great gift of having received Jesus in the Eucharist.”

This post was listed under the name, “Shouldn’t we observe silence after Mass?” To answer this is my own opinion I would have to say YES. Is that question even serious? I know where this poster is coming from though, it does seem like once Mass ends the Church just turns into a social ground for everybody. The thing that I don’t get is that right outside the doors of the Church would be perfectly acceptable to see how the Smiths are doing, or to see if Mr. Brown will be coming over for dinner next week. People just seem to have less and less respect for the Church every day and it has really become an issue. A Church is not a social playground people, come on!

New Children’s Book About Jesus and His Apostles

“A new children’s book has been published under Pope Benedict XVI’s name. It presents a collection of the Holy Father’s descriptions of Jesus’ relationship with his “first companions,” taken from his catecheses at general audiences over the past five years.

The illustrated book titled “Gli Amici di Gesu” (The Friends of Jesus) was released in spring of 2010 by the Milanese publishing house Piccola Casa Editrice in Italian. Painted depictions from the hand of Franco Vignazia accompany the stories of Jesus and 14 of his “friends.”

The characters in the book include each of the original 12 apostles, including Judas Iscariot; Matthias, who replaced Judas after the betrayal, and St. Paul.

The 48-page volume produced for the youngest of readers is a “route that takes the reader to the origins of the Church, through the events of the first people who found Jesus and became his friends,” according to the publishing house.

Fr. Julian Carron, president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, says in the preface of book that, through the stories, “The Pope takes us by the hand and accompanies us to discover who were the first companions of Christ, how they found him and how they were conquered by him until they decided that they would never abandon him again.”” – “Children’s Book Offers Pope’s Teachings on Jesus and ‘First Companions'” – Catholic News Agency

This story over on Catholic News Agency was really a great one to see. Something like this was a stroke of brilliance by the Pope because there is a definite need to educate children earlier on about Jesus. I know that when I was growing up I did not have a children oriented book full of Catholic teachings. I wish that I did though because it probably would have gripped the five second attention span I had as a five year old a little better than the Bible. Nothing against the Bible, but its just not for children and this new book seems like an awesome idea!

“My Hope” Changes Religious Views of Thousands

This post over on Christian Today really gives me hope that people are still good. This televisions series “My Hope” got 69,188 people to realize that following Jesus is the way to lead your life. It’s things like this that really can end up making a difference and I commend Billy and Franklin Graham for their extraordinary work. They should do something like this in the US and see what kind of results they get. I would like to think they would see similar success as they did in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, but for some reason I have my doubts.

“Christians across the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico this year opened their homes for meetings and witnessed a combined total of 69,188 make commitments to Jesus Christ, reported the ministry behind the evangelism outreach.

“Projects like this show that evangelism is not only for pastors, but for anyone who longs for those around them to experience the hope and love found only in Jesus Christ,” he added.

For months, Christians across the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico were being prepared and equipped for the project – part of the BGEA’s “My Hope” ministry.

The programmes culminated in a combined total of more than 59,000 home events in March and April, which included a TV program featuring a sermon from Billy or Franklin Graham and a personal testimony from the host.

Altogether more than 5,500 churches from across the evangelical spectrum were reportedly involved in the projects.

As a result, 55,391 people in the Dominican Republic made commitments to Christ. In Puerto Rico, 13,797 did the same.” -“Billy Graham ministry counts nearly 70,000 commitments to Christ in Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico”