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Volume 5, Issue 82

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  • John N. Lupia
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2005
      Roman Catholic News

      Volume 5, Issue 82

      THURSDAY 5 MAY 2005



      * * *


      * * *

      . Commentary on Psalm 120(121)
      . Papal Delegate to Preside at Upcoming Beatifications
      . Pope Fondly Recalls Communion-and-Liberation Founder
      . New Superior Chosen by Pious Disciples of the Divine Master
      . Cardinal Rigali on the Gift of a New Pope

      * * *

      Commentary on Psalm 120(121)
      "The Lord Will Keep You From All Evil"

      VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's address at today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, which he dedicated to a reflection on Psalm 120(121).

      1. As I already announced last Wednesday, I have decided to resume in the catecheses the commentary on the Psalms and canticles that are part of vespers, using the texts prepared by my predecessor John Paul II.

      Psalm 120(121), on which we meditate today, is part of the collection of "songs of ascension," that is, of the pilgrimage toward the encounter with the Lord in the temple of Zion. It is a Psalm of trust because in it the Hebrew verb "shamar" -- to keep, to guard -- resounds six times. God, whose name is repeatedly invoked, emerges as the "keeper" always awake, careful and solicitous, the "sentinel" who watches over his people to protect them from every risk and danger.

      The song opens with the gaze of the one praying directed on high, "toward the mountains," namely, toward the hills where Jerusalem rises: from on high comes help, because the Lord dwells on high in his holy temple (see verses 1-2). However, the "hills" can also refer to the places where idolatrous shrines rise, the so-called high places, frequently condemned in the Old Testament (see 1 Kings 3:2; 2 Kings 18:4). In this case there is a contrast: While the pilgrim journeys toward Zion, his eyes fall on the pagan temples, which constitute a great temptation for him. But his faith is firm and he has a certainty: "My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth" (Psalm 120[121]:2).

      2. This trust is illustrated in the Psalm with the images of the keeper and sentinel, who watch and protect. There is also an allusion to the foot that does not hesitate (see verse 3) on the path of life and perhaps of the shepherd who in his nocturnal rest watches over his flock without slumbering or sleeping (see verse 4). The Divine Shepherd does not rest in watching over his people.

      Another symbol follows later, that of "shade," which implies the resumption of the journey during a sunny day (see verse 5). It brings to mind the historical march in the Sinai desert, when the Lord went before Israel "in the daytime by means of a column of cloud to show them the way" (Exodus 13:21). In the Psalter, one frequently prays thus: "hide me in the shadow of your wings" (Psalm 16[17]:8; see Psalm 90[91]:1).

      3. After the vigil and shade, there is the third symbol, that of the Lord who is at the "right hand" of his faithful one (see Psalm 120[121]:5). This is the position of the defender, both military as well as in a trial: It is the certainty of not being abandoned in the time of trial, of the assault of evil, of persecution. At this point, the Psalmist takes up again the idea of the journey during a hot day in which God protects us from the burning sun.

      But night follows day. In antiquity it was thought that moons rays were also harmful, the cause of fever, of blindness, or even of madness; that is why the Lord protects us also at night (see verse 6).

      The Psalm comes to an end with a brief statement of trust: God will protect us with love in every instant, keeping our life from all evil (see verse 7). All our activity, summarized in the two extreme verbs of "going out" and "coming in," is always under the Lord's vigilant gaze, every act of ours and all our time, "both now and forever" (verse 8).

      4. We now wish to comment on this last statement of trust with a spiritual testimony of the ancient Christian tradition. In fact, in the Epistles of Barsanuphius of Gaza (who died around the middle of the sixth century) -- a very famous ascetic, questioned by monks, ecclesiastics and lay people because of the wisdom of his discernment -- the verse of the Psalm is recalled several times: "The Lord will keep you from all evil, he will keep your life." In this way, he wished to comfort all those who manifested their toils, the trials of life, the dangers, and the misfortunes.

      On one occasion, when Barsanuphius was asked by a monk to pray for him and his companions, he answered including in his good wishes the quotation of this verse: "My beloved children, I embrace you in the Lord, imploring him to keep you from all evil and to give you endurance like Job, grace like Joseph, meekness like Moses and courage in combats like Joshua, the son of Nun, mastery of your thoughts like the Judges, the subjection of enemies as to kings David and Solomon, fruitfulness of the earth as to the Israelites. May he grant you the remission of your sins with healing of the body like the paralytic. May he rescue you from the waves like Peter, and snatch you from tribulation like Paul and the other apostles. May he keep you from all evil, as his true children and grant you, in his name, what your heart requests, for the benefit of the soul and body. Amen" (Barsanuphius and John of Gaza, Epistles, 194: "Collana de Testi Patristici" [Collection of Patristic Texts], XCIII, Rome, 1991, pp. 235-236).

      [Translation by ZENIT]

      [At the end of the audience, the Holy Father read the following summary in English:]

      Dear Brothers and Sisters,

      In this week's catechesis, we consider Psalm 120, one of the "songs of ascent" which accompanied the ancient pilgrims on their way to the Temple of Jerusalem. The Psalmist begins by "lifting up his eyes" in preparation for an encounter with Israel's God in his holy place. He then invokes the Lord as Israel's guard and strength, who constantly watches over his People and saves them from every evil.

      This faith-filled profession of trust in God's provident concern, which accompanies us at every moment of our lives, has resounded for centuries in the Church's liturgy and in the prayers of her saints. May the Lord indeed protect us from every evil, and grant all that our hearts desire, "both now and forever."

      I am pleased to greet the students of the Faculty of Canon Law of St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. My warm welcome goes to all the English-speaking visitors present at today's audience, including the pilgrimage groups from England, Ireland, Australia, Canada and the United States. Upon you and your families I cordially invoke God's blessings of joy and peace.

      * * *

      Papal Delegate to Preside at Upcoming Beatifications
      Including That of Mother Marianne of Molokai

      VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The practice of having a papal delegate, instead of the Pope himself, preside over a beatification will be resumed next week.

      The practice will be resumed May 14 when Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, the prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, presides over the beatification of two women religious, including one who worked with lepers on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.

      By decision of Benedict XVI, at 5 p.m. that day, Maria Anna Barbara Cope and Mother Ascension of the Heart of Jesus will be proclaimed blessed, in St. Peter's Basilica.

      The former was a religious of the Sisters of the Third Franciscan Order of Syracuse, New York, known as Mother Marianne of Molokai.

      Mother Ascension was co-founder of the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Rosary, of the Diocese of Pamplona, in Spain.

      In recent decades, Popes Paul VI and John Paul II presided at beatification and canonization ceremonies.

      Next week that will change, when Cardinal Saraiva presides.

      This is not "an absolute novelty, but the resumption of a plurisecular practice which was in use in the Church until 1971," the cardinal told Vatican Radio today.

      "According to this praxis, in fact, it was not the Pope who celebrated beatifications not even when they took place in Rome, in St. Peter's Basilica," he said. Instead, "the rite was celebrated by a bishop or a cardinal delegated by the Holy Father."

      Cardinal Saraiva recalled that Paul VI in 1971 presided in person over the beatification ceremony of Maximilian Maria Kolbe at the Vatican.

      "It was the first time it occurred," the cardinal said. "Moreover, on the occasion of the Holy Year 1975, which witnessed an increase in beatification ceremonies, Paul VI maintained this decision, and proceeded in person to preside over beatifications during the Holy Mass, and he did so until the end of his life."

      He continued: "The practice introduced by Paul VI was constantly followed by John Paul II. More than that, on the occasion of numerous and frequent apostolic and pastoral trips in different continents and countries, John Paul II began to carry out in those churches, in addition to solemn Eucharistic celebrations, also the rite of beatification."

      One of the soon-to-be-beatified, Mother Marianne Cope, was the "successor" of Blessed Father Damian, the apostle of lepers in the Hawaiian island of Molokai.

      Born Barbara Koob in Heppenheim, Germany, in 1838, she moved to New York when she was 3 and became an American citizen. She later joined the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Syracuse.

      Later, as superior of the Franciscan convent in Syracuse, Mother Marianne answered King David Kalakaua's request for assistance for children with leprosy, described as a "national affliction" in Hawaii.

      She took six other nuns and remained in the islands until her death in 1918 at age 80.

      The woman religious worked in Kalaupapa, on Molokai, alongside Father Damien de Veuster during the last five months of his life. The Belgian priest died of leprosy in 1889 and was beatified in 1995.

      After Father Damien's death, Mother Marianne ran the home for men and children with leprosy in Molokai. Her legacy has inspired books, plays and songs.

      In addition to establishing a home for women with leprosy, or Hansen's disease, in Molokai, she started what is now the Maui Memorial Hospital.

      Mother Ascension of the Heart of Jesus, born Florentina Nicol Goñi on March 14, 1868, in Tafalla, Spain, will also be beatified.

      She entered the convent of the Dominicans of the Third Order in Huesca and was co-founder and first general superior of the Dominicans of the Holy Rosary. She was a teacher and director of the school adjoining the convent.

      In Peru she helped Dominican Bishop Ramón Zubieta in the foundation of the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary, instituted to evangelize the tribes of the Amazon. She was their first general superior.

      Mother Ascension died in Pamplona, Spain, on Feb. 24, 1940.

      * * *

      Pope Fondly Recalls Communion-and-Liberation Founder
      In Message Relayed to the Ecclesial Movement

      VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2005 (Zenit.org).- With a keen memory of Monsignor Luigi Giussani, founder of Communion and Liberation, Benedict XVI relayed a blessing to the ecclesial movement's recent Spiritual Exercises.

      The annual retreat, held in Rimini, Italy, from April 29 to May 1, began in the presence of 27,000 members of the Communion and Liberation.

      Sixty countries were connected through videoconference -- including Uruguay, Honduras, Egypt and Ethiopia for the first time. The meeting's theme, "Hope That Does Not Disappoint," was taken from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans (5:5).

      Communion and Liberation founder Monsignor Giussani died Feb. 22 at age 82. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) presided at his funeral as Pope John Paul II's envoy.

      In a message sent by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Benedict XVI wished to express his closeness to the participants in the Rimini retreat and to impart his apostolic blessing.

      "While the memory is still very intense in his soul of the moving obsequies of deceased Don Luigi Giussani in Milan's cathedral, the Holy Father, participating spiritually in the fervor of these days of reflection and prayer (...), very much hopes that they will be fruitful in apostolic and missionary ascetic renewal and ardent zeal," read the text.

      The message was addressed to Father Julián Carrón, whom Monsignor Giussani himself chose as his successor. Father Carrón led the movement's Spiritual Exercises.

      "Hope," the "theme of the meditations, is significant," stated Cardinal Sodano. "How timely it is for our time to understand the value and importance of Christian hope, which is rooted in a simple, unhesitating faith in Christ and his word of salvation!"

      Cardinal Sodano proposed Monsignor Giussani and John Paul II as witnesses of hope.

      "Your founder preceded in a short time the holy death of our beloved Holy Father John Paul II," the message said. "The two ardent witnesses of Christ leave us as inheritance the testimony of total dedication to 'hope that does not disappoint'; hope that the Holy Spirit infuses in the hearts of believers, pouring into them the love of God."

      Communion and Liberation aims to bring its followers to Christian maturity and help in the mission of the Church in all the spheres of contemporary life. It is present in some 70 countries.

      * * *

      New Superior Chosen by Pious Disciples of the Divine Master
      They Participate in Eucharistic Adoration in St. Peter's Basilica

      ROME, MAY 4, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Pious Disciples of the Divine Master elected Sister M. Regina Cesarato as their new general superior for a six-year term.

      Sister Regina, who until now had been general councilor, expressed her willingness to become "bread broken and blood outpoured," following the example of Christ.

      Collaborating with her in the new General Council are six members from the Philippines, Italy, Mexico, India, Korea and Poland.

      The congregation concluded the first session of its general chapter in Rome on May 1. The session ended with a Mass held in the Church of Jesus Master, presided over by Archbishop Franc Rodé, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

      He exhorted the women religious about the importance of this moment as a time to listen to the Holy Spirit in order to arrive at a profound renewal of their institute as it serves the Church and humanity.

      The congregation is the third foundation of the Pauline Family, instituted by Blessed James Alberione on Feb. 10, 1924. It has 1,400 members worldwide entrusted with the mission of proclaiming Jesus living in the liturgy, in the priesthood and especially in the Eucharist.

      For almost a quarter-century they have been sustaining the Eucharistic adoration in St. Peter's Basilica for the intention of the Holy Father and for his pastoral ministry.

      In a statement to ZENIT the congregation said of its members: "Their prayer ministry is a form of solidarity for the men and women of our time, and in a very particular way, for those who work in the field of social communications."

      * * *

      Cardinal Rigali on the Gift of a New Pope
      Notes Benedict XVI's Commitment to the Dignity of Every Person

      ROME, MAY 4, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Justin Rigali sees the new Pope's commitment to promoting the dignity of people as a key response to terrorism.

      The archbishop of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was among those participating in the events of Benedict XVI's first week as Pontiff. Here is an excerpt of an interview he gave April 25, the day after the inauguration of the new pontificate.

      Q: How, in particular, did you experience the occasion of the installation Mass of Pope Benedict XVI?

      Cardinal Rigali: This event was a wonderful celebration of the papacy. This great gift which Christ gave to the Church -- the Successor of Peter here -- is our chief shepherd and the chief fishermen of Christ's flock.

      At the same time it was a wonderful feast of the Church. In the homily, the Holy Father mentioned that, looking at all the youth who were present and assisting him, that the Church was alive and young. So, we saw this in a very special way at this Mass. …

      Q: We are living in a difficult moment of unrest with terrorism that has hit the hearts of the world. The Pope with the assistance of the College of Cardinals has emphasized the importance of peace and true respect of the dignity of each human being. Could you comment on how he is doing this?

      Cardinal Rigali: The Holy Father has launched, once again, to all the Catholics of the world, to all the people of the Church, the challenge to be ourselves -- to listen to the Word of God and to be challenged by conversion and holiness of life. And at the same time he points out the Church must also be ever solicitous for the developments of peoples.

      Jesus himself went around proclaiming the Kingdom but he also went around doing good -- this is the legacy that the Church has received. And just as John Paul II mentioned, the way of the Church is man, the human person is so important. …

      Once again Benedict XVI has committed the Church to the development that will lead to the increased dignity of every man, woman and child. And so, we see from the very beginning of his pontificate … this commitment to the internal mission of the Church, to the external mission of the Church.

      And the Church, in order to be herself, must be holy. She must be converted but she must also reach out to the world in the way the Second Vatican Council has directed us; reach out to the world to be of service to the human person and to be of service to human life and to human dignity.

      Q: As this Pope reaches out to the world, he asks us for prayers to sustain him in his mission. How do you see the people of the United States supporting Benedict XVI?

      Cardinal Rigali: The people of my archdiocese, people throughout the whole world, assisted the cardinals in a very special way as we came to Rome in order to participate in the conclave.

      So many people assured us that they were praying for us, praying that the Holy Spirit would be with the cardinals, that the Holy Spirit would enlighten us.

      And now we have a new Pope. The people of God throughout the whole world are intent on sustaining him, just as they sustained the cardinals during the process of choosing a Pope -- they are behind the new Pope. The scene is just like the scene from the Acts of the Apostles where there is incessant prayer for Peter.

      Our people are showing this and I personally am extremely grateful to the people of my archdiocese, but all of us are grateful to the people of the world that they are sustaining the new Pope.

      He expressed in his homily, the fact that he is not alone; he says, "How will I possibly face this?" -- and the answer comes that, first of all, the Lord is with him but the Lord is with him also through the prayers of millions of people throughout the world.

      * * *



      Archbishop Anthony Bloom ends this chapter by recounting how as a newly ordained priest he was sent to visit a senior citizen's home just before Christmas. A woman aged 92 came to him frustrated with her prayer life. She complained that, in 14 years of praying the Jesus Prayer, she had never really felt God’s presence. (cf. page 60)

      Father Anthony commented that perhaps she wasn’t giving God a chance to get a word in edgewise.

      He suggested that each morning, she should take out her knitting supplies and “knit before the face of God” for 15 minutes. He forbid her to utter even one word of prayer. “You just knit and try to enjoy the peace of your room,” he said.

      Although his advice sounded rather strange, the elderly woman decided to give it a try. After breakfast, she went to her room, lit a candle before the icon, pulled up a chair, and sat down.

      At first, she felt relief at being allowed to “do nothing,” and then, as she looked around the room, she experienced fresh gratitude for all the things in her room.

      She began to knit in a calm, unhurried fashion. With only the sound of the clock gently ticking and the needles rhythmically clicking, the old woman began to be aware that the silence was not an absence. The silence of her room was filled with the rich presence of God, a divine silence that permeated the quiet within her soul."The silence around me began to come and meet the silence in me" (61)

      "All of a sudden I perceived that the silence was a presence. At the heart of the silence there was Him who is all stillness, all peace, all poise." (Ibid.)

      She lived about 10 more years enjoying contemplation in silence and passed away aged 102.

      "In the life of a Catholic priest of France, the Cure d'Ars, Jean Marie Vianney, there is a story of an old peasant who used to spend hours and hours sitting in the chapel motionless, doing nothing. The priest said to him 'What are you doing all these hours? The old peasant said 'I look at Him, He looks at me and we are happy.'" (62)

      Words of prayers allow us to express ourselves to God. When we are truly recollected, self-composed, serene, silent and still before God we become highly sensitive and receptive to His supreme tranquility.

      "And from then onwards we must learn to listen to silence, to be absolutely quiet, and we may, more often than we imagine, discover that the words of the Book of Revelation come true: 'I stand at the door and knock.'" (Ibid.)

      Post Script

      Metropolitan Anthony Bloom of Sourozh (1914-2003), died on 4 August
      2003, aged 89, the senior Russian Orthodox archbishop in western
      Europe and among the best known Orthodox clerics in the world. he was
      responsible for parishes of the Patriarchate of Moscow throughout
      Great Britain.

      Archbisop Anthony Bloom, Beginning to Pray (New Tork/Paramus/Toronto:
      Paulist Press, 1970; originally published as: School For Prayer,
      London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1970)

      * * *


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      3. Today's Lectionary Readings Text
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      5. Polish Rosary Hour by the Conventual Franciscans

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      Color Photograph of Mama Gili, Biography and Prayers

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 1)

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      * * *


      When the Eucharistic host is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
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      Christ, in reparation for all the sins committed against you and for
      the conversion and salvation of the whole world."

      * * *


      "during this important time, as the eve of the new millennium
      approaches unity among all Christians of the various confessions will
      increase until they reach full communion." John Paul II, Tertio
      Millennio Adveniente, 16

      "Keep close to the Mother of God as if you were the child Jesus
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