DIVINE WORSHIP COMMITTEE PUBLISHES Q&A ON SWINE FLU, MASS

April 30, 2009

Ministers of Holy Communion should wash hands before Mass
Ministers’ use of anti-bacterial gels before, after Communion advised
People feeling ill should avoid receiving Communion from the cup

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship has posted on the Web a series of 10 questions and answers related to participation at Mass during the time of the swine influenza (swine flu).

The information echoes that published in 2006 at the time of the avian (bird) flu and was developed in conjunction with the U.S. Center for Disease Control.

The 10 questions and answers can be found at http://usccb.org/liturgy/swineflu.shtml

Previously, the Q&A noted, “in those localities where the outbreak of the disease has been the most significant, bishops have introduced several liturgical adaptations in regard to such practices as the distribution of Holy Communion and the Exchange of the Sign of Peace in order to limit the spread of contagion.”

The Q&A also re-emphasized “the need to practice good hygiene” now.

“Ministers of Holy Communion should be encouraged to wash their hands before Mass begins, or even to use an alcohol based anti-bacterial solution before and after distributing Holy Communion.”

The Q&A added that priest, deacons and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion ministers “should instruct people who feel ill not to receive from the cup.”

The Q&A also noted that “the need for the introduction of widespread liturgical adaptations for the prevention of the transmission of influenza in the diocese of the United States of America is not evident at this time.”

Asian And Pacific Catholics To Mark Heritage Month With Marian Pilgrimage To National Shrine In Washington On May 9

April 30, 2009

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - Asian and Pacific Catholics  in the Mid-Atlantic area will hold the Seventh “Asians for Mary Pilgrimage” on Saturday, May 9, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. The event is co-sponsored by the Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Cultural Diversity Secretariat of the U.S. Bishops Conference.
           
Held in observance of Asian and Pacific Heritage Month, the annual pilgrimage has grown in size over the years as Asian and Pacific Catholics honor the Virgin Mary with prayers and songs reminiscent of Marian devotions in their homelands observed during the month of May.
           
This year’s pilgrimage will begin with a Marian procession at  noon, led by Indonesian prayer dancers and will bring to the altar images and icons of the Blessed Mother in the tradition of the Bangali, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Vietnamese Catholic communities.  
           
Korean Teen Drummers and the Korean Youth Orchestra of the St. Andrew Kim Parish in Olney, an Indonesian Gamelan ensemble and young Bangali and Indian musicians will perform during a colorful Call to Prayer.  A multilingual Rosary will follow led by children from various ethnic communities. The afternoon will reach is climax with a Multicultural Mass presided by Bishop Martin D. Holley, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington. 
           
Cecile Motus, assistant director for Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church related how in past years the Asians for Mary Pilgrimage has joyfully gathered Asian and Pacific Catholic families, parishes and friends.
           
“It has been a powerful source of grace, resulting in deeper devotion to our Blessed Mother, increased interest on Asian and Pacific Catholics heritage and their faith practices, a deeper commitment to serving as volunteers in parish evangelization programs, and a greater openness on part of the different cultures to share and dialogue with others,” Motus said.
           
For information about the Seventh Asians for Mary Pilgrimage, please contact the Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs of the USCCB at 202-541-3384.

Catholic Bishops Urge Participation in 2010 Census

April 30, 2009

Communities of color, immigrant communities traditionally undercounted
Census numbers key to determine allocation of public funding

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - Through the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to encourage participation in the Census 2010, in order to reach hard-to-count communities.

“By reaching out to more than 25,000 parishes and missions, we hope to trumpet the importance of being counted as well as channel interested persons toward employment as census takers,” said Beverly Carroll, assistant director for African American Affairs of the Secretariat.

Archbishop José Gomez of San Antonio, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Cultural Diversity, urged parishes and dioceses to encourage local people to participate.

“It is important to get the word out because some of the populations we serve tend to normally be undercounted,” Archbishop Gomez said. “Pastors have a responsibility to know their flock. The Church commends to bishops, priests and their many co-workers the care of all Catholics in their parishes and dioceses. The U.S. Census is a useful tool for learning about God’s people, who and where they are, and many other facts that shed light on their lives, possibilities and struggles. A Church that seeks to evangelize is characterized by outreach. The U.S. Census gives us important information to do that.”

The information gathered by the Census is confidential and only shared in aggregate numbers (statistics) once the surveys are completed.

Jesuit Father Allan F. Deck, executive director of the Cultural Diversity Secretariat stressed the social and political urgency of being counted. 

“It is in peoples’ best interest to be counted,” Father Deck said. “This is how our country makes decisions about allocation of resources and local representation, regardless race or immigration status. Your participation is vital to insure that your community gets its fair share of federal funds for schools, roads, parks and other services.”

The 2010 Census preparatory efforts are already under way through address canvassing and partnership recruitment.

Approximately 140,000 census workers, hired from within each local community, will cover most neighborhoods to identify each residential address. This will help ensure that everyone residing in the United States receives a 2010 Census questionnaire. Combined with the use of new technologies, organizers hope the result of this effort will be the most comprehensive U.S. address list in existence. The Office of the Census Bureau has expressed the importance of community partnerships to raise awareness and increasing participation in hopes of gathering more complete data and offering a more accurate picture of each U.S. neighborhood.

“It’s easy, important and safe to participate,” said Cecile Motus, assistant director for Asian and Pacific Island Affairs of the Secretariat. “We are joining hands with other churches and community groups to encourage the participation and involvement of everyone in Census 2010 for the sake of our communities.”

“We urge Hispanics/Latinos to make sure they are counted,” said Alejandro Aguilera, the Secretariat’s assistant director for Hispanic Affaires.  “At stake is congressional representation as well as the allocation of more than $300 billion annually in federal funds. We want to make sure the neighborhoods where we live get their fair share. It is also vital to get a more accurate picture of the diversity in the U.S. population,” Aguilera said.

A growing number of Catholic dioceses have already begun working with the Census Bureau.

22 Groups Sponsor Ad Demanding DHS Secretary Napolitano’s Removal

April 30, 2009

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - Twenty organizations are sponsoring the No Political Profiling ads (www.NoPoliticalProfiling.com) demanding the removal of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for the department’s recent report “Rightwing Extremism,” which smears veterans, gun owners, pro-lifers and immigration-reform advocates, among others.

Current sponsors include: American Family Association, Religious Freedom Coalition, Let Freedom Ring, United States Justice Foundation, Faith2Action, Georgia Christian Alliance, Population Research Institute, Vision America, American Decency Association, Americans for Truth, AFA of Pennsylvania, Center for Security Policy, Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education, Eagle Forum of Alabama, Federal Intercessors, Legacy Church (Albuquerque, NM), Liberty Counsel, Move America Forward, Operation Rescue, Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ, Take Back Our Country and Traditional Values Coalition.

The color ad is running in today’s Washington Times. (click here to see the ad), also as a full-page ad The Washington Times Weekly edition. The No Political Profiling Coalition is currently raising the funds to place the ad in other major newspapers.

The ad demands Napolitano’s removal , retraction of the report, and an apology from President Barack Obama.

Coalition Chairman Janet Folger Porter (who hosts a nationally syndicated daily talk show and is the president of Faith2Action) observed: “If we don’t speak out against this unconscionable attack on law-abiding citizens now, the left will use it to discredit everything we do from this point forward.”

Porter added: “Those who care about freedom are urged to sign our petition at www.nopoliticalprofiling.com/demand.php?eurl=-1. Organizations interested in sponsoring future ads are asked to contact Don Feder at 508-405-1337 or [email protected].

The ad can be viewed by clicking here. For more information or to schedule an interview with Porter, contact Don Feder (above).

Free Father Mattaos — Coptic (Egyptian Christian) Priest is Unjustly Tried and Imprisoned in Egypt

April 30, 2009

Egypt, April 29  (MetroCatholic) -  Father Mattaos Wahba, is the priest of Archangel Michael Church at Kerdasa, Geza, Egypt.  He is a pious man of God who encourages his congregation with Jesus’ message of loving one’s enemy, blessing those who curse you; doing good to those who hate you; and praying for those who despitefully use and persecute you. (Mathew 5:44) Fr. Mattaos is a model Egyptian citizen that has not ever committed a crime or seen the inside of a prison other than in the context of ministering to inmates.

Recently Father Mattaos’ life abruptly changed overnight.  He was arrested, charged and tried for aiding a young Muslim woman in getting an ID card that had falsified data indicating her religion as Christian rather than Muslim. The ID card was said to enable her to marry a Christian man and to flee the country. On October, 2008, the court found him guilty and sentenced him to 5 years at hard labor.

However, the facts dictate entirely a different story. The young woman, named Reham Abdel Aziz Rady, was born to a Muslim family. She converted to Christianity and underwent unbearable degrees of torturous harassments from her family and Egypt’s Secret Police.  She was subsequently released from custody without an ID card.  Such prevents her rightful privileges of citizenship.  She cannot get employment, rent living quarter, apply for a passport; much less apply for a marriage license.  Even, if she still possessed her old Muslim ID, it would prevent her from marrying a Christian.  There is no legal way to change the religion of a Muslim in an ID card.

In 2004, a well-intentioned person attempted to help her.  They allowed Reham to use an ID card belonging to a recently deceased young Christian woman of approximately the same age, named Mariam Nabil.  Two years later, Reham, now called Mariam, and a Christian man fell in love and decided to marry. The couple contacted Fr. Mattaos to conduct the marriage ceremonies. The priest knew nothing of the false ID and Mariam’s former Muslim background.  In good faith he conducted the ceremony and the newly wed couple fled the country.

On April 24, 2009, Mariam appeared with Brother Rasheed on the popular Arabic Al Hayat TV program “A Daring Question”.  She testified, “Father Mattaos did not have any role in getting my ID card.  I did not know him then, as this took place in 2004 and I got married in 2006.” Mariam added, “I have the right to have an ID card that reflects my true religious affiliation. The Egyptian government does not give Muslims who convert to Christianity a legal alternative to get these papers. Had I been a Christian who wanted to convert to Islam, I would have had all the help I needed.  But, because I am leaving Islam they put hurdles in my way.”

Father Mattaos did not commit a crime.  He does not deserve to be imprisoned. He is paying a price of Egypt’s present-day policy of denying religious freedom. Ironically, their policy is against the Egyptian constitution and standard human rights laws to which Egypt is a signatory. Make no mistake about it.  Father Mattaos’ imprisonment is designed to send a message to Coptic Egyptian priests and Protestant pastors:  The Egyptian government will deal harshly with any clergyman who is suspected in aiding Muslims converting to Christianity.

We call upon officials in the US State Department; Human Rights organizations; the global community of Christian believers; and all freedom loving people to join us in our outcry.  We urge you to contact the Egyptian Embassy demanding the immediate release of Father Mattaos.  Insist in strong tones that every Egyptian citizen be granted the basic human right to follow the religion of his/her choice.

EMBASSY OF THE ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT

3521 International Ct. NW Washington DC 20008

TEL: 202.895.5400 FAX: 202.244.4319

E-mail: [email protected]

Vatican Museums show solidarity with Abruzzo

April 30, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 29 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Vatican Museums, in a show of solidarity with victims of the 6 April earthquake in the Italian region of Abruzzo, will exceptionally remain open on Sunday 10 May. The Vatican Museums are usually closed on Sundays, except the last Sunday of each month.

“Accepting the proposal of the Custodians of the Museums, the Governorate of Vatican City State will donate the entire day’s taking to people affected by the tremor”, reads a communique made public today.

“All the staff of the Vatican Museums will adhere to the initiative by dedicating one day of work”.

Pope meets with representatives from Canadian aboriginal communities

April 30, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 29 APR 2009 (VIS) - At the end of today’s general audience, the Pope received a delegation of representatives from Canadian aboriginal communities, to whom he expressed his concern for aboriginal peoples in Canada who continue to suffer from the impact of the former Indian Residential Schools, according to a communique issued by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The meeting will be attended by Phil Fontaine, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Archbishop Vernon James Weisgerber, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, accompanied by representatives from Catholic dioceses and communities in the country.

In the late nineteenth century the federal government established residential schools for Canadian aboriginal children. The schools were administered by Catholic organisations and by other Christian Churches and communities, and financed by the Canadian government. “The number of students who attended residential schools is estimated at 100,000. These children were cut off from their families and forced to suppress their language, religion and traditional way of life. … As well as being subjected to the process of cultural purging, some children were also the victims of sexual and physical abuse”, says the communique.

On 11 June 2008 Stephen Harper, prime minister of Canada, and the Canadian government made a formal apology to the former students of residential schools in a special assembly at the House of Commons in Ottawa.

Pope Benedict on St. Germanus of Constantinople

April 30, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 29 APR 2009 (VIS) - During his general audience this morning Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to St. Germanus of Constantinople, who “played an important role in the complex history of the battle for images during the so-called iconoclastic crisis, and was able to resist the pressure of an iconoclastic emperor, … Leo III.

“During Germanus’ patriarchate (715-730)”, the Pope added, “the capital of the Byzantine empire, Constantinople, was subject to a threatening siege by the Saracens. On that occasion (717-718) a solemn procession was organised and passed through the streets carrying the image of the Mother of God … and the relic of the Holy Cross to call upon the Most High to defend the city. In fact, Constantinople was freed from the siege”.

This event convinced the patriarch “that God’s intervention was to be interpreted as evident approval of the reverence people showed towards holy icons. Leo III on the other hand, who came to the throne in that year of 717, … began ever more openly to show his conviction that the consolidation of empire had to begin by reorganising expressions of faith, with particular reference to idolatry, a risk to which, in his view, the people were exposed by their excessive veneration for icons”.

The Holy Father went on: “Patriarch Germanus’ appeals to Church tradition and to the real effectiveness of certain images, unanimously recognised as ‘miraculous’, were all to no avail. The emperor became ever more intractable in implementing his policies of reform. … Germanus had no desire to bow to the emperor’s will in matters he considered vital to orthodox faith. … As a consequence he felt obliged to resign as patriarch, condemning himself to exile in a monastery where he died in obscurity. Nonetheless his name re- emerged at the Second Nicean Council … of 787 where his merits were recognised”.

Of Germanus’ works “certain homilies on Marian themes have survived, of which some have had a profound influence on the piety of entire generations of faithful, both in the East and the West”, including one which Pope Pius XII “set like a pearl in the 1950 Apostolic Constitution ‘Munificentissimus Deus’”, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Benedict XVI went on to recall the “great contribution” this saint made to the Byzantine tradition in which “the rhetorical forms used in preaching, and even more so in hymns and poetical compositions, … are as important to the celebration of the liturgy as the beauty of the sacred building in which it takes place”.

The Holy Father concluded by considering three aspects in which St. Germanus still has something to say to modern man. Firstly, in the need to recognise “the visibility of God in the world and in the Church”, because “God created man in His image but that image was covered with dirt and sin” and the Creator “could almost no longer see it. Thus the Son of God became man and … in Christ, the true image of God, we too can … learn to see ourselves as His image”. If, to prevent idolatry and the danger of pagan images, God prohibited the Israelites from creating His image, yet “when He became visible in Christ through the Incarnation it became legitimate to reproduce the face of Christ. … Holy images teach us to see God in the face of Christ, … of the saints and of all human beings”.

Secondly, Germanus shows us “the beauty and dignity of the liturgy”, which must be celebrated “with an awareness of the presence of God and with a beauty and dignity that enable us to glimpse His splendour”.

The third aspect is that of “love for the Church”, the Pope concluded. “It may be that in the Church, as in ourselves, we see sin and other negative things, yet with the help of faith … we can always rediscover divine beauty in the Church. In the Church, God offers Himself to us in the Eucharist, He speaks to us, … He forgives us and He teaches us to forgive. Let us pray that God may teach us to see His presence and His beauty in the Church, to see His presence in the world”.

Papal actions 4/29/09

April 30, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 29 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Stanisalus Tobias Magombo of the clergy of Dedza, Malawi, national secretary for pastoral care of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, as auxiliary of Lilongwe (area 24,025, population 4,584,000, Catholics 981,784, priests 82, religious 272), Malawi. The bishop-elect was born in Matowe Village, Malawi in 1968 and ordained a priest in 1996.

April 30 2009 - Daily Mass Readings

April 30, 2009

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

Reading 1
Acts 8:26-40

Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying: Arise, go towards the south, to the way that goeth down from Jerusalem into Gaza: this is desert. And rising up, he went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch, of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge over all her treasures, had come to Jerusalem to adore. And he was returning, sitting in his chariot and reading Isaias the prophet. And the Spirit said to Philip: Go near and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias. And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest? Who said: And how can I, unless some man shew me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. And the place of the scripture which he was reading was this:

He was led as a sheep to the slaughter: and like a lamb without voice before his shearer, so openeth he not his mouth. In humility his judgment was taken away. His generation who shall declare, for his life shall be taken from the earth?

And the eunuch answering Philip, said: I beseech thee, of whom doth the prophet speak this? Of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip, opening his mouth and beginning at this scripture, preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water. And the eunuch said: See, here is water: What doth hinder me from being baptized? And Philip said: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answering, said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still. And they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch. And he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took away Philip: and the eunuch saw him no more. And he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found in Azotus: and passing through, he preached the gospel to all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 66:8-9, 16-17, 20

R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
O bless our God, ye Gentiles: and make the voice of his praise to be heard.
Who hath set my soul to live: and hath not suffered my feet to be moved:
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Come and hear, all ye that fear God,
and I will tell you what great things he hath done for my soul.
I cried to him with my mouth: and I extolled him with my tongue.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed be God, who hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
Jn 6:44-51

No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him. And I will raise him up in the last day. It is written in the prophets:

And they shall all be taught of God.

Every one that hath heard of the Father and hath learned cometh forth me. Not that any man hath seen the Father: but he who is of God, he hath seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say unto you: He that believeth in me hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the desert: and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven: that if any man eat of it, he may not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven.

————————————————————————————

The readings on this site are not official for the Mass of Roman Rite of the Catholic Church in the USA, but are from The Challoner Douay Rheims version of the Sacred Bible, a source free from copyright and entirely in the public domain.

The Challoner Douay Rheims version was prepared by Bishop Richard Challoner, about A.D. 1749-1752, by revising the original Douay Rheims version and by comparing it to the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible.

Official Readings of the Liturgy at – http://www.usccb.org/nab/today.shtml

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