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Ethiopia: Catholic agencies build aid corridor

Image UNHCR

A joint operational mission of Caritas Italiana and Sant'Egidio Community is has started in Addis Ababa to open the first humanitarian aid corridor from Africa in accordance with the protocol signed in Rome on January 12, 2017. The Memorandum of Understanding with the Italian State, promoted by the Italian Episcopal Conference - which operates through Caritas Italiana and the Migrantes...

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Text: Pope Francis Urbi et Orbi Message

Screen shot

Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square under a sunny blue sky on Easter Sunday, to hear Pope Francis deliver his Urbi et Orbi Message, from the Central loggia of the Vatican Basilica. The official text follows: Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Easter! Today, throughout the world, the Church echoes once more the astonishing message of the first disciples: ..

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Mali: No news of kidnapped nun

Sister Gloria

A Colombian missionary nun, kidnapped in Mali more than six weeks ago is still missing.

Sister Gloria Cecilia Narváez Argoti, was abducted by a group of armed men by armed men who broke into the church in Sikasso in southern Mali where she was working in the morning on 9 February.

No groups have claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. The Catholic Church of Mali has not yet news...

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CAFOD joins DEC crisis appeal as famine threatens East Africa

Millions of families across East Africa are on the brink of starvation because drought and civil war have hit food supplies. The UN is warning that the world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945. With life-saving assistance urgently needed, CAFOD has joined forces with Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to tackle the threat of famine.

The spotlight was thrown on the growing c...

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East Africa in crisis

Women in Yirol, South Sudan, with only leaves to feed children

Across East Africa millions of families face starvation because of drought, lack of food, and civil war, as the UN warns that the world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945.

CAFOD director, Chris Bain, said: "Vulnerable people in East Africa are now on the brink of starvation and urgently need life-saving assistance. We have been working over the long-term with our partners in...

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Pax Christi welcomes beatification of conscientious objector Josef Mayr-Nusser

The beatification of Josef Mayr-Nusser will take place on 18 March 2017 in Bolzano Cathedral, Italy. Like the Austrian farmer, Franz Jägerstätter, he was killed as a consequence of his refusal to swear the military oath of loyalty to Hitler when he was forcibly conscripted into the German army. Jägerstätter was beatified in 2007, and now Pope Francis has recognised Josef Mayr-Nusser as anot...

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Glasgow: Open lecture on Unity in God, Unity of God

Boyd Orr Building

The Focolare Movement Scotland and Ahl Al Bait Society present an open lecture on: Unity in God and Unity of God on Monday, 27 February at 6.30pm in the Lecture Theatre 1, Boyd Orr Building, University of Glasgow.

The organisers said: "We are living in an historic moment in time - characterised in many ways by war, division, conflict and fear. Talk of dialogue and unity between people of ...

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Jordan: Meeting of Latin Bishops of Arab Regions

The Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions (CELRA) met in Jordan on February 13 to 15, 2017. It was an opportunity for the Bishops and Vicars to share the specific challenges in their respective countries and to unify their work. Present during the annual meeting were the Latin Bishops of Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Cyprus, Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia, Yemen and the A...

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Pope Francis: May God give us the grace to proclaim an end to war

War begins in a person's heart, for this reason we are all responsible for caring for peace. This was Pope Francis' message during his morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning.

The Holy Father spoke about the sufferings of so many people whose lives are upset by wars waged by the powerful and arms traffickers.

The dove, the rainbow, and the Covenant. The Holy Father ...

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US Bishops welcome Appeal Courts decision on Muslim travel ban

Bishop Joe Vasquez

US bishops have welcomed an appeal court's decision to overturn President Trump's Muslim travel ban. On February 9, 2017, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a unanimous decision upholding a lower court's temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the implementation of several key provisions of Executive Order 13769. The TRO was put in place...

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Bishop: 'Legalising' illegal Israeli settlements is against God-given justice

Illegal settlements

Bishop William Shomali, Patriachal Vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem for the Holy City and Palestine has strongly condemned the law passed yesterday in the Israeli parliament, which 'legalised' houses and Israeli settlements built illegally on Palestinian territory illegally occupied by the army of Israel.

This law "makes the solution two peoples-two states almost impossibl...

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5 February 2017

Christ the Saviour

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Perhaps it's just that time of year, here in the UK, where the winter grey and somber makes our days seem heavy. Spring is not yet come, nor are there many signs of its impending birth. It's a time of brooding and waiting, there is also a sense of anxious expectation in the air, when will the days get warmer, the light brighten and the banks of ...

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Trump would do well to read his Bible before enacting discriminatory policies, says Christian Aid

A rejection of refugees, whatever their faith, is a rejection of Christian values, UK-based charity Christian Aid has warned today.

Responding to President Trump's comments over the weekend, in which he asserted his intention to prioritise Syrian Christian refugees, Christian Aid has spoken out against favouring specific religious minorities, saying that to do so ignores the central mess...

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America: Catholic politician states: Why I will not be at Inauguration

Luis V Gutiérrez (District-Illinois) took to the House floor on Tuesday morning to explain why he is not going to attend the inaugural ceremonies on January 20. "The reason I am not going is that I cannot bring myself to justify morally or intellectually the immense power we are placing in that man's hands," he said of Donald Trump. Rep Gutiérrez said he would join his wife Soraida in partici...

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Saints (5 search results)


April 3rd

St Luigi Scrosoppi

Saint Of The Day

Italian priest and founder of the Sisters of Providence. St Luigi was born on 4 August 1804, at Udine in Italy, the youngest of three sons of Domenico Scrosoppi, a jeweller and his wife Antonia Lazzarini. His brother Carlo was ordained when Luigi was six, and his brother Giovanni several years later. When he was 11 or 12 years old, Luigi's home region was struck by drought, famine, typhus, and smallpox in quick succession; the sight of such misery, complete poverty, and the number of orphans had a lasting effect on him.

In his teens, Luigi felt a call to the priesthood, and entered the same seminary as his brother Giovanni. He became deacon in 1826 and was ordained priest in 1827 at the cathedral in Udine; assisted at his first Mass by his brothers. Luigi helped manage a children's centre run by his brother Carlo. As the numbers of children coming to stay grew, they both went begging on the streets in order to buy food for them.

Soon there were more orphans than space and the brothers decided to enlarge the house. Luigi went through the countryside to beg for building materials and labour.

Work began in 1834 with Luigi coordinating, begging, supervising, and working construction. The centre was completed in 1836. That year also saw another cholera epidemic, and more and more orphaned children came to live with them.

The need of the orphans, and the constant work of the brother priests, attracted the attention of several women who were also working with the poor and the abandoned.

Among them were Felicita Calligaris, Rosa Molinis, Caterina Bros, Cristina and Amalia Borghese and Orsola Baldasso. These women, under the spiritual direction of Carlo and Luigi, founded what would become the Congregation of Sisters of Providence who taught basic academic subjects and needlework. Luigi placed them under the patronage of Saint Cajetan, and the Congregation received final approval in September 1871 by Pope Pius IX.

In 1846 Luigi joined the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, a congregation devoted to charity and learning. He was elected provost of the community in November 1856. On 4 October 1854 he finished work on the Rescue Home for abandoned girls.

On 7 March 1857 he opened the school and home for deaf-mute girls. He also opened Providence House for his unemployed former students, and worked in the hospitals with the sickest and poorest of patients.

In his later years, Luigi had to deal with the anti-clericalism that swept through Italy during unification. Many houses and groups, including the Oratory, were closed, and their assets sold off. While he could not save the Oratory or parish property, he did protect his charitable institutions, and saw the Congregation grow and spread.

Luigi died on 3 April 1884 at Udine. He was canonised on 10 June 2001 by Pope John Paul II, after the miraculous cure of an AIDS patient from Zambia was attributed to him.

Peter Changu Shitima, a young catechist had been told by doctors that hi cae was terminal. His parish community prayed for the intercession of Blessed Luigi, and on the night of Oct. 9, 1996, Changu went to bed and dreamed of Blessed Kuigi. He woke up in the morning completely recovered.


May 26th

St Philip Neri

Saint Of The Day

Priest, reformer and founder. The son of a lawyer, Philip Neri was born in Florence in 1515. He was educated by the Dominicans before being apprenticed to an uncle's mercantile business. At 17 he went to Rome where he became a tutor in the house of a nobleman, wrote poetry, and studied theology and philosophy. From 1538 he formed a brotherhood of laymen who met together to pray and work with pilgrims and the sick. He spent much of his time at night praying in the catacomb of St Sebastian. In 1544 he is said to have had a mystical experience which permanently affected his physical heart.

Philip was ordained in 1551. He went to live at the clergy house at San Girolamo where he soon made a name as a confessor. An oratory was built over the church where religious addresses and discussions took place and work for the sick and needy was organised.

Musical services were also held here, consisting of a new composition on a religious theme sung by solo voices and a choir. This was the start of the oratorio.

In 1575 he formed the Congregation of the Oratory. For the next 33 years the Oratory was at the centre of religious life in Rome. Philip took a special interest in the young, and often met with the seminarians studying at the English College preparing for the perilous mission to England under Elizabeth I.

Known for his charismatic leadership, sense of humour, humility and kindly manner, he had many friends. Philip once said: 'A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than one cast down' .

Over his door he posted a small sign that read, "The House of Christian Mirth." En route to a ceremony in his honour, he once shaved off half his beard, as a way of poking fun at himself. "Christian joy is a gift from God, flowing from a good conscience," he said.

Much of St Philip Neri's humour was a way of keeping himself humble, as he engaged in what could only be called acts of public silliness, like wearing a cushion on his head like a turban and wearing a foxtail coat in the middle of the summer.

When a young priest asked Philip what prayer would be the most appropriate to say for a couple after a wedding Mass, the future saint said, "A prayer for peace."

Often described as the 'Second Apostle of Rome' Philip however did not escape criticism. Some were shocked by his friendliness and informality. He said that the path of perfection was for laypeople as much as for the clergy and religious. He preached more about love and spiritual integrity than physical austerity. He was very fond of cats. St Philip died in Rome in 1595. He was canonised in 1622.


June 8th

St William of York

Saint Of The Day

Archbishop. A patron saint of victims of injustice. St William of York's early career in the church was very successful. As a young man in 1130, he was appointed treasurer of York and chaplain to King Steven. He was known as a kind and good-natured person. When the Archbishop of York died, the authorities chose William as his successor. But from that time on things went badly wrong, as he became the innocent victim of malicious gossip. Bernard and the Yorkshire Cistercians accused him of a number of wicked deeds shortly before he was to be installed as Archbishop of York. This set off a wrangle that was to last for years.

William retired to Winchester and lived devoutly as a monk until 1153, when his name was cleared. Enormous crowds greeted him when he returned to York. But he died suddenly, possibly of poisoning, just a month later.

He was buried in his cathedral and many miracles began to be reported at his tomb. Pope Honorius II appointed the monks of Fountains and Rievaulx to investigate his life and miracles. He was canonised in 1227. In 1421 the famous St William window was made, depicting his life, death, translation and miracles in 62 scenes.

St William's shrine flourished for centuries. It was destroyed during the Reformation. Some pieces have since been excavated and are now in the collection of the Yorkshire Museum, York.

St William's tomb is still in the Minster. His stone coffin was actually a reused Roman sarcophagus, although the top is modern. On St William's day, in June, small services are still held in the Western Crypt, and the area around the tomb is used as an area of quiet reflection.

A few modern churches are named after him.


August 25th

St Joseph Calasanz

Saint Of The Day

Patron saint of Christian schools. St Joseph was born in 1550, the youngest son of an Aragonese nobleman. Some time after being ordained priest in 1583, he was made vicar-general of Lerida diocese and sent to work in the remote valleys of Andorra.

But St Joseph felt called to working with the urban poor, so he resigned his office and left for Rome where a plague was raging. Together with St Camillus de Lellis, he worked with the sick and dying. Later he returned home and set up the first of several free schools for poor children.

The most painful time in his life began when he was 65 and became the victim of some malicious and false charges. The Inquisition arrested him and he was carted through the streets like a criminal, only escaping imprisonment through the intervention of Cardinal Cezarini.

It was many years before the truth came out and his name was completely cleared. St Joseph bore all these trials with great patience, dying at the age of 90 in Rome. His order, which was called the Piarists, flourished, especially in Italy, Spain and South America. Today there are more than 1,300 Piarists teaching 115,000 students in 32 countries around the world

St Joseph was canonised in 1767.


November 1st

All Saints Day

Saint Of The Day

This feast was originally kept in the springtime, in the Eastern Church and dedicated to 'the martyrs of the whole world' as witness by John Chrysostom and Ephrem of Syria. In the West, Maximus of Turin preached on the same feast on the same day, the first day of Pentecost.

On 13 May, 610, Pope Boniface IV gathered up around 28 wagonloads of bones of martyrs that had been plundered from the catacombs by invaders, and reinterred them beneath the Pantheon, a pagan temple which had been dedicated to all the gods. He rededicated this shrine to St Mary and the Martyrs. Many historians see this as the origin of All Saints Day.

Gradually the Church began to recognise other paths to sanctity. The 7th Century lectionary the Comes of Wurzbourg describes the feast as one of all the saints, not only martyrs.

It is not clear why the Western Church came to celebrate this feast in November. The Anglo-Saxon theologian Alcuin observed the feast on November 1 in 800, as did his friend Arno, Bishop of Salzburg. The Irish Church also kept this date, according to the manuscripts of Oengus. Rome finally adopted 1 November as All Saints Day in the ninth century.

In the early centuries the only criterion for sainthood was popular acclaim, even when the bishop's approval became the final step in placing a commemoration on the calendar.

The first papal canonisation occurred in 993. The lengthy process now required before someone is beatified and canonised was formalised in the last 500 years.

There are 1,255 ancient churches in England dedicated to All Saints.

Today's feast honours the obscure as well as the famous - those saints each of us have known.

Watch the Litany of the Saints, recorded in the Franciscan Friary in Pantasaph in North Wales: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI7tHS6zneE