Over 4,000 Rosary Rallies Planned for October 10

September 30, 2009

HANOVER, PA (MetroCatholic) - Ninety two years after the Marian apparitions in Fatima, Catholics in the United States are gearing up to commemorate the anniversary with over 4,000 public square rosary rallies.

America Needs Fatima is coordinating the event, set for noon local time on October 10, the Saturday closest to October 13, the day of the Miracle of the Sun.

“More than 4,000 Catholics have already volunteered to hold peaceful rosary rallies in their respective cities,” said Robert Ritchie, executive director of America Needs Fatima.

The Catholic group’s web site (http://www.anf.org/) offers material to start a rosary rally, such as posters, banners, leaflets and a detailed map that indicates rally locations by state and city.

“An amazing network is forming to honor the Mother of God and to pray for the conversion of America,” said Ritchie. “It’s important to remember that Our Lady of Fatima appeared asking mankind to stop offending God in order to avert punishment. She asked for prayer, penance and amendment of life. However, God continues to be offended. Just consider how abortion, pornography, blasphemy and sins against nature are so widespread.”

“If anything can reverse the moral crisis in society, it’s the power of the Rosary,” he said.

California Pro-Lifers Launch Human Rights Amendment Petition Campaign

September 30, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC (MetroCatholic) -  California has joined the race to recognize human rights and personhood for all human beings from the biological beginning of development.

The state’s most outspoken pro-life advocates submitted the California Human Rights Amendment to Attorney General Jerry Brown following a press conference Monday in Sacramento.

“The preborn, while demonstrably alive and demonstrably human, are not protected ‘persons’ under our state constitution,” said Lila Rose, the 21-year-old student pro-life activist, president of Live Action and cosponsor of the amendment. “Our laws must protect each person’s basic human right to life, from the beginning of his or her life until the end.”

The push is backed by the California Civil Rights Foundation, a coalition of pro-lifers including Rose and sponsor Walter Hoye, the pastor arrested and imprisoned in 2008 for standing in silent witness outside an abortion mill.

“The California Human Rights Amendment recognizes that valuing human life is fundamental to life itself,” Hoye said at the press conference, “and is the cornerstone of peace and prosperity for any society.”

Hoye and Rose were joined by Judie Brown, president of American Life League and Keith Mason, founder of PersonhoodUSA.

The activists stressed that personhood fulfills the dream of the civil rights movement.

“The injustice of denying the personhood of whole classes of human beings is an injustice that cannot go unchallenged,” Brown said. “Now is the time for justice. Nothing less is acceptable in a republic based on the principle of equal justice for one and all.”

California joins personhood movements in Missouri, Florida, Montana and Colorado. California state law requires a petition be circulated and signed by a number of people equal to at least 8 percent of votes cast for governor during the last state election.

  The California Human Rights Amendment reads:
  Article 1, Section 7

(c) The term “person” applies to all living human organisms from the beginning of their biological development as human organisms — regardless of the means by which they were procreated, method of reproduction, age, race, sex, gender, physical well-being, function, or condition of physical or mental dependency and/or disability.

American Life League was cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to natural death.

THEME FOR 2010 WORLD DAY OF SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS

September 30, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2009 (VIS) - “The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word” is the theme of the Pope’s Message for the next World Day of Social Communications which is celebrated every year on 24 January, Feast of St. Francis of Sales, patron saint of journalists.

A communique made public today explains that the aim of the Message is “to invite priests in particular, during this Year for Priests and in the wake of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to consider the new communications media as a possible resource for their ministry at the service of the Word. Likewise, it aims to encourage them to face the challenges arising from the new digital culture”.

The text continues: “The new communications media, if adequately understood and exploited, can offer priests and all pastoral care workers a wealth of data which was difficult to access before, and facilitate forms of collaboration and increased communion that were previously unthinkable”.

The communique concludes by noting that “if wisely used, with the help of experts in technology and the communications culture, the new media can become - for priests and for all pastoral care workers - a valid and effective instrument for authentic and profound evangelisation and communion”.

PRIESTS ARE WITNESSES OF THE POWER OF GOD

September 30, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Made public today were the contents of a video Message from the Pope to participants in an international spiritual retreat for priests at the French shrine of Ars for the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney. The preacher of the retreat, which is taking place from 27 September to 3 October, is Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna, Austria, and the theme of the spiritual exercises is: “The joy of being a priest, consecrated for the salvation of the world”.

“The priest”, says the Holy Father in his Message, “is called to serve human beings and to give them life in God. … He is a man of the divine Word and of all things holy and, today more than ever, he must be a man of joy and hope. To those who cannot conceive that God is pure Love, he will affirm that life is worthy to be lived and that Christ gives it its full meaning because He loves all humankind”.

Benedict XVI then turns to address priests who have to serve a number of parishes and who “commit themselves unreservedly to preserving sacramental life in their various communities. The Church’s recognition for you all is immense”, he says. “Do not lose heart but continue to pray and to make others pray that many young people may accept the call of Christ, Who always wishes to see the number of His apostles increase”.

The Holy Father also invites priests to consider “the extreme diversity of the ministries” they perform “in the service of the Church”, and “the large number of Masses you celebrate or will celebrate, each time making Christ truly present at the altar. Think of the numerous absolutions you have given and will give, freeing sinners from their burdens. Thus you may perceive the infinite fruitfulness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Your hands and lips become, for a single instant, the hands and lips of God”.

“This thought”, the Pope added, “should bring you to ensure harmonious relations among the clergy so as to form the priestly community as St. Peter wanted, and so build the body of Christ and consolidate you in love”.

“The priest is the man of the future. … What he does in this world is part of the order of things directed towards the final Goal. Mass is the only point of union between the means and the Goal because it enables us to contemplate, under the humble appearance of the bread and the wine, the Body and Blood of Him Whom we adore in eternity”.

“Nothing will ever replace the ministry of priests in the heart of the Church”, the Pope concluded. “You are the living witnesses of God’s power at work in the weakness of human beings, consecrated for the salvation of the world, chosen by Christ Himself to be, thanks to Him, salt of the earth and light of the world”.

HOLY FATHER BIDS FAREWELL TO THE CZECH PEOPLE

September 30, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. today the Pope travelled by car from the apostolic nunciature in Prague, Czech Republic, to the city’s Stara Ruzyne airport. There he bid farewell to the president of the Republic, and to the civil, military and religious authorities, before boarding his return flight to Rome.

The Holy Father thanked the Czech people for their hospitality and for the success of his visit: “I shall treasure the memory of the moments of prayer that I was able to spend together with the bishops, priests and faithful of this country”, he said.

“The Church”, he went on, “has been truly blessed with a remarkable array of missionaries and martyrs, as well as contemplative saints, among whom I would single out St. Agnes of Bohemia, whose canonisation just twenty years ago providentially heralded the liberation of this country from atheist oppression”.

Benedict XVI highlighted then how his meeting with representatives from other Christian communities “brought home to me the importance of ecumenical dialogue in this land which suffered so much from the consequences of religious division at the time of the Thirty Years’ War. Much has already been achieved in healing the wounds of the past, and decisive steps have been taken along the path towards reconciliation and true unity in Christ. In building further on these solid foundations, there is an important role for the academic community to play, through its uncompromising search for truth”.

“I was especially delighted to meet the young people, and to encourage them to build on the best traditions of this nation’s past, particularly its Christian heritage. According to a saying attributed to Franz Kafka, ‘anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old’. If our eyes remain open to the beauty of God’s creation and our minds to the beauty of His truth, then we may indeed hope to remain young and to build a world that reflects something of that divine beauty, so as to inspire future generations to do likewise”.

The departure ceremony over, Benedict XVI boarded his plane bound for Rome where he arrived at 7.40 p.m. From Ciampino airport he then travelled by car to the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo.

You Can Help Save Babies And Assist Their Mommies

September 29, 2009

Donate Here

Dallas, TX (MetroCatholic) - Hike for Life Texas’ signature event is held once a year in cities across Texas. Proceeds of this event go to crisis pregnancy centers throughout the state. A crisis pregnancy center is a place a woman, who suspects that she is pregnant, can go to receive counseling, pre and post natal care, monetary assistance if needed, and, if she chooses, adoption services for her baby in the event she is unable to care for the child.

No abortions are held at any of these crisis centers! Christians do not believe that abortion solves any problems. It only creates numerous problems in the life of the mom, dad, families, and of course the baby who will never know the joys of life.

I am participating in the 2009 Hike for Life Texas fund raiser so I can help protect the unborn. Just think, $625 can save a child’s life. Can you give a financial gift so we can work together in this effort? My goal is to raise enough money to save several unborn children, but I need your help.

Please visit my personal donation page.

Thank you, George

Catholic Charities Dallas Among Justice Department Grants to Fight Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination

September 29, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC (MetroCatholic) - The Justice Department today announced that it has awarded $723,000 in grants to twelve groups serving communities throughout the country to conduct public education programs for workers and employers about federal protections against immigration-related job discrimination.

The grants, which range from $48,000 to $87,000, are being awarded by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) of the department’s Civil Rights Division. Recipients will assist discrimination victims; conduct seminars for workers, employers and immigration service providers; distribute educational materials in various languages; and place advertisements in local communities through both mainstream and ethnic media to educate workers and employers about their rights.

OSC enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which protects U.S. and authorized immigrant workers against citizenship and national origin discrimination. As part of its mission, OSC also educates workers and their employers about the anti-discrimination provision.

“Awarding grants to professional and community-based organizations better enables us to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities under federal immigration law,” said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Our grant recipients, who are well-known and respected in their communities, will collaborate with us to prevent immigration-related discrimination in the workplace.”

The OSC grant recipients are: Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Division

  Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California
  Catholic Charities of Dallas
  Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fla.
  Colorado Legal Services
  Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA)
  National Farm Worker Service Center
  National Immigration Law Center (NILC)
  New York City Human Rights Commission
  Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
  University of Iowa
  Washington Farm Labor Association

For more information about protections against job discrimination under federal immigration law, call 800-255-7688, 202-616-5594, email: [email protected] or visit http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

U.S. Department of Labor awards nearly $59 million to eliminate exploitive child labor in 19 countries

September 29, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC (MetroCatholic) -  Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced nearly $59 million in grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor in fiscal year 2009 to combat exploitive child labor in 19 countries. The grants will help rescue more than 85,000 children from exploitive labor, and offer them hope for the future through education and training. The grants will also help improve collection and analysis of child labor data and support for the development and implementation of national action plans to address the problem.

“Protecting children from exploitation and ensuring that their education and healthy development is not compromised is our moral duty,” said Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis. “With these new funds, we are furthering our commitment to working with the international community to find effective and lasting solutions to this global challenge.”

In Africa, the department awarded $20.4 million in grants to combat exploitive child labor in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Zambia. Groups such as the International Labor Organization’s International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC), the International Rescue Committee, Winrock International and the Forum of African Women Educationalists will implement projects to address exploitive child labor in sectors such as cocoa, coffee, tea and sugar.

The department awarded $15.8 million for projects in Latin America. ILO-IPEC, Catholic Relief Services, Desarrollo y Autogestion and World Learning will implement projects in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Paraguay. A regional South America project will eliminate forced labor and child labor through improved labor inspections, education and sharing of best practices, including many developed in Brazil.

In Asia, $15.3 million was awarded for projects in India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines. Implementing organizations include ILO-IPEC, Save the Children, Terre Des Hommes, World Education and World Vision. These projects will combat child labor, including in the production of bricks and embroidered textiles, mining, domestic service, plantation agriculture, portering and commercial sexual exploitation.

A final $7.4 million in grants will support policy and research projects. In addition, the department awarded a $500,000 contract to the Center for Reflection, Education, and Action (CREA) to assist the department in identifying and disseminating best practices to eliminate child labor and forced labor in supply chains. CREA will work with a variety of stakeholders to develop a framework for evaluating business practices.

Since 1995, Congress has appropriated approximately $720 million to the Labor Department to support efforts to combat exploitive child labor internationally. As a result of that funding, the department has rescued approximately 1.3 million children from exploitive child labor. For more information, visit the department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs Web pages at http://www.dol.gov/ilab .

Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists Mark Tenth Anniversary Of Historic Agreement

September 29, 2009

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will join other church leaders in downtown Chicago, October 1, to commemorate the signing of a joint agreement on the Doctrine of Justification, a matter that for centuries divided Christians.
           
Leaders from the Catholic, Lutheran, and Methodist churches will gather at Old Saint Patrick’s Church for a service of Evening Prayer that will include talks paying tribute to the Joint Declaration, signed on October 31, 1999, by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation.
           
“This is an historic moment on the journey toward Christian unity,” said Father James Massa, USCCB Executive Director for the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.  “The Joint Declaration expressed a common understanding of how human beings are made right with God through the life-giving death of Jesus Christ,” Father Massa said. 
           
The Joint Declaration was the product of nearly 35 years of Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in the United States and abroad. In 2006, the World Methodist Council affirmed this agreement as an expression of how Methodist too understand the character of salvation as a gift that equips believers for good works of justice and compassion in the world.  
           
Cardinal George and Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will lead the prayer service, which begins at 6:30 p.m. and will include choral music and a solemn reading of the Word of God. Bishop Hanson also serves as President of the Lutheran World Federation, which has been the Lutheran partner to the Catholic Church on the global stage since the Second Vatican Council. Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Chairman of the bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and Dr. Ishmael Noko, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, also will speak.

Numerous Lutheran, Methodist and Catholic bishops are expected to attend this event, along with clergy and laity from various Christian traditions.  Representing the United Methodist Church will be Bishop Gregory Palmer, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops.

The topic of justification by faith became the first point of controversy between Martin Luther and the Catholic Church in the 16th century. For more than four centuries prior to the onset of ecumenical dialogues between the churches, Lutherans accused Catholics of believing in salvation by works, whereas Catholics contended that Lutherans and other Protestants had divorced faith from the other two supernatural virtues of hope and love.

The Joint Declaration identifies a consensus that reaches behind the heated arguments of post-Reformation theology and establishes a common ground for understanding Christ’s saving work. The declaration reads: “Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.”

The Joint Declaration does not cover everything that Catholics and Protestants teach about justification, including the meaning of merit and the practice of indulgences, yet its core agreement is a milestone of the modern ecumenical movement. Even where differences are noted in the declaration, both sides agree that they do not fall under the condemnation of either the Council of Trent or the Lutheran Confessions of the 16th century. 

Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who with Dr. Noko was one of the four official signers ten years ago, recently expressed his hope that the declaration would translate into a “joint commitment to deepen our common prayer.”

“May it encourage us to continue our theological dialogue, and building on our common foundations, may it lead to an increase in joint witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Cardinal Kasper said.

Further information regarding the U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic and Methodist-Catholic relations is at http://www.usccb.org/seia/lutheran.shtml.

POPE TELLS YOUNG PEOPLE: YOU ARE THE HOPE OF THE CHURCH

September 29, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At the end of today’s Eucharistic celebration the Holy Father addressed a Message to the 10,000 young pilgrims gathered on the esplanade of Melnik near the site of St. Wenceslas’ martyrdom. Many of them had spent the night in tents to attend the Mass presided by Benedict XVI.

“Being with you makes the Pope feel young!” the Holy Father told the pilgrims, thanking them for their “enthusiasm” and “generosity”. He went on: “In every young person there is an aspiration towards happiness, sometimes tinged with anxiety: an aspiration that is often exploited, however, by present-day consumerist society in false and alienating ways. Instead, that longing for happiness must be taken seriously, it demands a true and comprehensive response. At your age, the first major choices are made, choices that can set your lives on a particular course, for better or worse”.

Benedict XVI reminded his audience of “the experience of St. Augustine, who said that the heart of every person is restless until it finds what it truly seeks. He discovered that Jesus Christ alone is the answer that can satisfy his and every person’s desire for a life of happiness, filled with meaning and value.

“As he did with Augustine”, the Pope added, “so the Lord comes to meet each one of you. He knocks at the door of your freedom and asks to be welcomed as a friend. He wants to make you happy, to fill you with humanity and dignity. The Christian faith is this: encounter with Christ, the living Person Who gives life a new horizon and thereby a definitive direction”.

“The Lord calls each of us by name, and entrusts to us a specific mission in the Church and in society”. He “constantly renews His invitation to you to be His disciples and His witnesses. Many of you He calls to marriage, and the preparation for this Sacrament constitutes a real vocational journey. Consider seriously the divine call to raise a Christian family, and let your youth be the time in which to build your future with a sense of responsibility. Society needs Christian families, saintly families!”

Pope Benedict continued his Message: “And if the Lord is calling you to follow Him in the ministerial priesthood or in the consecrated life, do not hesitate to respond to His invitation. In particular, in this Year for Priests, I appeal to you, young men. … The Church in every country, including this one, needs many holy priests and also persons fully consecrated to the service of Christ, Hope of the world.

“Hope! This word, to which I often return, sits well with youth. You, my dear young people, are the hope of the Church! She expects you to become messengers of hope”.

The Holy Father then called on his youthful listeners to participate in the next World Youth Day, due to take place in the Spanish capital city of Madrid in August 2011, and he asked them “to live your faith with joy and enthusiasm; to grow in unity among yourselves and with Christ; to pray and to be diligent in frequenting the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession”.

Having then greeted the young people in various languages, Benedict XVI returned to Prague by car, where he dined at the archbishop’s palace with bishops of the Czech Republic.

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