Monthly Archives: May 2011

Vatican to issue new document on Latin Mass

The Vatican has announced that it will publish on Friday a new papal document to clarify Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 permission to expand the use of the pre-Vatican II form of Mass, commonly called the Tridentine Mass, which is celebrated entirely in the Latin language. Since the pope’s intent on the matter seems to have been interpreted in many different ways in many different places, the new document, entitled “Universae Ecclesiae” (of the Universal Church) is expected to give definitive rules and guidelines for the celebration of the Latin Mass in order to clarify any misconceptions about the pope’s intentions in the matter.

The Concho Padre

Christians beginning to flee Egypt

Fearful for their safety, some Coptic Christians have begun to flee Egypt, according to John Pontifex, spokesman for Aid to the Church in Need.

Offering an overview of recent violence against Christians in the Cairo suburb of Imbaba, Pontifex told Vatican Radio that “there is this great fear and great uncertainty that many people feel about the future for Christianity in an area where all the time there are reports coming through of Christians saying, ‘We want to leave, we do not feel safe here.’”

Only 0.3% of Egypt’s 79.1 million people are Catholic, according to Vatican statistics; in all, an estimated 9% of Egyptians are Christian, most of them Coptic Orthodox.

Calling all Pro-life folks to Holy Angels on Saturday!

On this Saturday, May 14, San Angelo will be blessed with the presence of nationally-known pro-life author and speaker Abby Johnson, who will be speaking at Holy Angels Church, on A&M Avenue, at 1:00 p.m. Ms. Johnson is a former director of Planned Parenthood, who had a conversion to pro-life after witnessing an abortion procedure. Tell all your friends and invite them to come. There is no charge; but a free-will offering will be taken up to help cover the cost. Let’s get the word out to everyone who is pro-life. It would be wonderful to see Holy Angels packed to “standing room only” this Saturday. Remember, THIS SATURDAY AT 1:00 PM AT HOLY ANGELS CHURCH IN SAN ANGELO.

The Concho Padre

Rocky Mountain men’s conference encourages deep conversion

Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2011 (CNA).- Approximately 1,500 men heard a call to profound conversion at the May 7 Rocky Mountain Catholic Men’s Conference. The World Arena in Colorado Springs hosted the event, which featured Father Benedict Groeschel, Fr. Larry Richards, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, and Patrick Madrid.

Stages of the spiritual life

Fr. Benedict Groeschel, from the Franciscan Friars of the renewal, discussed spiritual growth. The 78-year-old priest spoke with contemplative wisdom and dry wit, as he explained its basic pattern: first, turning from sin, then trusting in God, and finally living in his presence.

“Don’t say that you trust God completely – only a saint does that,” the Franciscan priest said. “We all trust a bit, and send some requests: ‘Please, can we pay off our mortgage!’”

But this piecemeal trust in God must grow up. “There comes a point of spiritual maturity – when a person puts everything, in trust, in God,” he explained. “Mature faith accepts the mysteries of God.

Fr. Groeschel remembered the religious sisters he knew as a child, who showed him the spiritual life’s goal: “to live in the presence of God,” finding peace and strength in any situation.

One of those sisters cared for an elderly woman whose appearance frightened the future priest when he was an eight-year-old boy. But the sister was perfectly at peace.

“How come ‘the witch’ didn’t bother Sister Teresa?” he recalled wondering, as he knelt in prayer.

As he was praying for an answer to his question, an surprising inspiration hit the young boy – a thought that would lead him to discover the sister’s source of peace for himself.

“Something said: ‘Be a priest.’” Fr. Groeschel placed his own trust in God, and has now followed that call for 50 years.

A wake-up call for ‘spiritual wimps’

Fr. Larry Richards, who heads the Reason For Our Hope Foundation and published “Be A Man!: Becoming the Man God Created You to Be” in 2009, followed Fr. Groeschel.

In a talk intended to help men prepare for confession, Fr. Richards discussed their spiritual responsibilities and common failings.

“Men have become spiritual wimps,” he said. “We sit there and we say stuff like, ‘Oh, women are more spiritual.’ Gentlemen, that’s garbage! Muslim men are willing to pray publicly in front of everybody!”

“God’s always speaking to you,” he asserted. “What’s the problem? You’re not listening!” He ridiculed the notion that men should “try” to make time for daily prayer, joking that no one would “try” to eat or go to work every day.

Fr. Richards went on to discuss the fundamentals of confession.

“Some of you have never made a good confession, because you’ve been afraid,” he said. The deliberate omission of serious sins, he explained, results in an invalid confession. He compared sin to cancer, and
said confession – like chemotherapy – must “get rid of it all.”

Fr. Richards drove home his points about sin’s seriousness, but emphasized that the love of God should be the main reason to repent.

“If the only reason you follow Jesus is so you don’t go to hell, who do you love? Yourself.” he observed.

“You want to go to heaven, so that you can be with the one you love more than anybody.”

Sin’s social reality

The hour-long lines for confession during lunch indicated that Fr. Richards struck a nerve. Afterward, Fr. Mitch Pacwa took the stage to give a more analytical reflection on the subject of sin, drawing on history and Biblical scholarship.

Fr. Pacwa, a Jesuit priest and host of EWTN Live, observed that ancient cultures had a sense of sin’s universality and seriousness.

But today, this acknowledgment of original sin becomes an excuse for doing wrong. Meanwhile, in the Church, “there’s very poor catechesis on sin.”

Fr. Pacwa told a story from the life of Bl. John Paul II to illustrate the point. A group of bishops, he recalled, had gone to meet with the Pope as all bishops must every five years.

“One of the bishops, from out east, was at the luncheon that they always have with the Pope – telling him, ‘Holy Father, you have to realize that many of our young people in America do not even know that having sex before marriage is the sin of fornication! They don’t even know that it’s a mortal sin!’”

“And the Pope said back: ‘For the young people who do not know, this is not their fault. But for the bishop who does not tell them this is sin – this is his fault!”

Fr. Pacwa told the men that they, too, had a responsibility to call sin by its proper name, first in their personal lives and then in the world.

“We are going to be a great help to our society, by the way we call people to repentance and forgiveness,” he promised.

Putting away ‘childish things’

This message of outreach continued in a presentation by the lay apologist Patrick Madrid. The former vice president of Catholic Answers and current publisher of Envoy magazine took St. Paul’s discussion of “putting away childish things” as his theme for addressing the men’s conference.

“We are all Catholic men, called by the Lord,” he reflected. “To be soldiers, to be fathers and husbands. Boys can’t accomplish those missions. Men have to do that.”

He described how his own faith matured through different stages. As a five-year-old child, he assumed every family was Catholic. During adolescence, he was peppered with questions by an anti-Catholic girlfriend’s father. As a musician in local rock bands, he watched his generation succumb to a reckless lifestyle.

Madrid said these experiences made him grow in appreciation and knowledge of his faith, so that he could transmit it to others. He told the story of encountering a woman who said she “hated the Catholic Church,” which she had left after having an abortion as a teenager.

“I’m sitting there wondering, what in the world can I possibly say to this lady?” he explained. “The only thing I could think of to say was, ‘You need to go to confession.’” The woman replied that it was unthinkable.

“I said, ‘Well, just know that the door is open if you ever want to go’ … I didn’t know what else to do.”

“Six or seven weeks later, I got an email from her,” Madrid continued. “She said: ‘Dear Patrick, you were right, I needed to go to confession.’”

“She came back to the Catholic Church,” Madrid concluded. “All I really needed to do was keep my mouth closed. And when the moment came, God would provide the words that needed to be said.”

The ‘privileged place’ of the Eucharist

After a day of talks that focused heavily on confession and repentance, Colorado Springs Bishop Michael J. Sheridan celebrated the closing Mass. He offered a homily on the Eucharist as the center of Christian life.

“What we are doing now, what you do every Sunday – this is the heart of what it means to be a Catholic,” he explained.

“This is the privileged place where we recognize Jesus, in the breaking of the bread,” he taught. “Never, ever miss Sunday Mass.”


Anglican priests ordained as Catholic deacons

AYLESFORD, England, MAY 9, 2011 ( A dozen Anglican priests were ordained Catholic deacons last weekend, as a group of some 50 clergy continue their journey toward ministry as priests in the Catholic Church.

Following the time schedule outlined shortly after the establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, ordinations to the diaconate will be taking place through the Easter season. The men will be ordained Catholic priests around Pentecost.

The rapid ordination process is enabling the clergy to continue ministering to those former Anglicans of their communities who have chosen to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. The formation of these deacons and soon-to-be priests will continue after their ordination.


Abortion pills found more dangerous than surgical procedures

Chemical abortions using the drug RU-486 are more dangerous to mothers than surgical abortions, an Australian study has found.

Researchers who examined almost 7,000 cases found that 3.3% of the women who used the “abortion pill” for first-trimester abortions had complications sufficient to put them in hospital emergency rooms. The comparable figure for surgical abortions was 2.2%. The differences were even more pronounced among women whose post-abortion complications required a hospital stay.

The study shows that the use of RU-486 involves significant medical risks. It also serves as a reminder that surgical abortion is not a risk-free procedure for a pregnant woman. The figures from the Australian study, applied to US abortion statistics, would indicate that more than 25,000 women appear in emergency rooms each year as a result of “safe, clean, legal” abortions.


Attack on Egyptian churches leaves 12 dead, hundreds injured

Giza, Egypt, May 10, 2011(CNA).- Members of the Salafist Jihadi Islamist movement attacked three Coptic churches in the Egyptian city of Giza on May 7, killing a dozen people and injuring more than 200.

“We have no law or security – we are in a jungle,” said Giza’s Coptic Orthodox Bishop Anba Theodosius. “We are in a state of chaos. One rumor burns the whole area. Every day we have a catastrophe.”

But the Copts “will never leave our country,” the bishop added according to the Assyrian International News Agency,

The attack began on the evening of May 7 when a mob of 3,000 Muslims, thought to be followers of the hardline Salafist school of Islam, converged on St. Mina’s Church. Leaders of the mob accused members of the Coptic clergy of kidnapping a Christian woman who had married a Muslim man.

Their kidnapping story sounded like a familiar pretext, a variation on a story used to stir up tensions and justify violence against Middle Eastern Christians in the past. None of the parishioners had ever heard of the woman being “tortured” inside of their church.

When the mob said they wanted to “search” the church, the Christians refused. Afraid of what would happen next, they made emergency calls trying to get police protection. One priest said that six police officers showed up, but left the church as rioters and snipers began shooting parishioners.

When the army arrived, nearly five hours later, they made an attempt to seal off the neighborhood. But they did not stop rioters from attacking St. Mina’s Church, hurling Molotov cocktails at Coptic homes, and proceeding to two other churches in the area.

“The army was not able to control the situation,” Deacon Youssel Edward stated. “The mob was chanting ‘Islamic, Islamic.’”

According to local reports, the 3,000-strong crowd of Salafists prevented firefighters from reaching the nearby Church of St. Mary and St. Abanoub as they attacked it and shot parishioners. A third church, St. Mary’s, had its entire first floor burned.

When the violence ended 14 hours later, 12 people were dead and 232 were reportedly wounded. Hundreds of outraged Christians and sympathetic Muslims demonstrated in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Sunday, demanding better protection from the police and military for Coptic Christians.

Nabil Sharaf el Din, an Egyptian journalist, told a Coptic television station that the army “is either incapable, or is an accomplice to the Salafis.” He said that the Egyptian military, which took power after the Feb 11 resignation of former president Hosni Mubarak, could end up discredited if it fails to take a “stern position” with the hardline Muslim group.

Of the 3,000 people who reportedly stormed the three churches, 190 have been arrested. The military and civil courts have not reached an agreement on how to prosecute those accused of the attacks.

From Catholic News Agency

World Youth Day attracts many to Madrid

World Youth Day will take place August 16-21 in Madrid, Spain.

Pope Benedict XVI will be present for a Vigil and a Mass during the biennial event.

Figures released today show that some 340,000 youth from 170 countries have registered and are slated to attend.

The Concho Padre

Blessed John Paul II still evangelizing

Vatican Spokesman Reflects on Beatification

VATICAN CITY, MAY 8, 2011 ( John Paul II’s beatification was a “powerful return” of the Polish Pontiff, who is continuing his work of evangelization from heaven, according to a Vatican spokesman.

This was the evaluation given by Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, in regard to the May 1 beatification of John Paul II.

The spokesman spoke of the event — which brought 1.5 million people to Rome and was broadcast around the world — on the most recent edition of Vatican Television’s “Octava Dies.”

Father Lombardi recounted what the Pope’s longtime secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, shared at the April 30 vigil: “When I saw the coffin holding his body being raised up from the open tomb,” the cardinal said, “I thought: Here he is, coming back to us!”

Father Lombardi said Cardinal Dziwisz thus “expressed the feelings that flooded the hearts of those who were present in that moment, and also of those who wanted to file once again past the remains of the new Blessed, in the center of the basilica, near Peter’s tomb, as they did in the days after his death.”

“Of course, for the believer,” the spokesman continued, “John Paul II had always been alive and present, but it cannot be denied that the days of his beatification have represented a powerful return for him among the people of God in prayer and celebration.”

Father Lombardi called them “days of grace” and spoke of the “meaning and importance of every beatification but in particular, of this one, in the life of the Catholic Church.”

The Jesuit reflected on the living legacy of John Paul II in the lives of the faithful.

“Among the innumerable people who had waited from the previous night, waiting to get into St. Peter’s Square,” he said, “there were many young families, with children born in the last decade, children who certainly didn’t know Pope John Paul II, but who are heirs of the generation of ‘his’ young people.

“John Paul II knew he had the mission of taking the Church into the third millennium, and at the end of the Great Jubilee he said to us, he said to all of God’s people: ‘Duc in altum! Put out into the deep!'”

Father Lombardi affirmed that the Church does go “into the deep sea of the third millennium but knows it can continue to count on the support of an effective intercessor who invites us not to be afraid.”

He concluded by echoing the prayer Benedict XVI addressed to his predecessor at the beatification: “Continue, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God’s people. You often blessed us. Today we pray: Holy Father, bless us!”

(From Zenit in Rome)

People trump buildings and customs

Today’s readings can be found at:

In our reading today, we find the Jewish authorities plotting against Stephen, because they are worried that the temple (a building) and the customs of the people and Moses would be destroyed by the teachings of Jesus which Stephen was professing openly to the people. I think that we should try to learn a lesson from this Scripture. That lesson is that the Church is not made up of simply buildings and customs. What if a tornado or hurricane destroyed our church building. Would that mean that the Church ceases to exist? Of course not! The Church is not a building, but a people. In fact, the Second Vatican Council refers to the Church as the People of God. Customs, too, cannot take precedence over the good of people. This was the beginning of the end for St. Stephen, as we shall see in tomorrow’s reading. Stephen gave his life for Christ — the first martyr — because he could not go against the Holy Spirit who was within him, telling him to speak out boldly about Jesus and his Good News. Perhaps that is why our reading for today says that he had a face like an angel!

The Concho Padre

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