Relaunched Website Offers Place for Abstinent Singles to Meet Each Other, Share Lifestyle Choice

December 20, 2010

LOS ANGELES, (MetroCatholic) — Singles on the dating scene know how difficult it is to meet someone with precisely the same interests and values. When one of those values is abstinence, the odds of meeting that special someone become increasingly slimmer - that is, until the launch of online dating site WeAbstain.com.
The site, formerly YouAndIAbstain.com, was founded by husband-and-wife team Jose and Lety Colin. They are a team not only in business but in their personal life as well. The couple shared the value of abstinence prior to tying the knot. They know from personal experience how important - and how difficult - it is to meet other abstinent singles. That’s where their website concept began.

WeAbstain.com is designed as a place for abstinent singles to meet one another. “Because all the members are like-minded,” said Jose, “there is no social stigma attached to being abstinent. In fact, it’s seen as a big plus.”

WeAbstain.com also directs users to another online venue where abstinent singles can mingle - the Second Life virtual reality site. At Second Life, visitors will find 11 Abstinence Parks, available to Platinum Members of WeAbstain.com.

Lety and Jose said they hope WeAbstain.com will raise awareness and keep the concept - and practice - of abstinence alive. “We know from experience that abstinence is a powerful choice to create and sustain stronger bonds in couples,” Lety concluded.

The site also welcomes individuals who identify themselves as “born-again virgins.” These individuals, who have had sex at some point in life but have decided to abstain from further sex until they reach a serious commitment with another person, are a significant part of the abstinence community at WeAbstain.com.

“We think that the relaunch of WeAbstain.com comes at a perfect time,” said Lety. As the New Year approaches, individuals re-evaluate their priorities and often make resolutions, she noted. “While our focus is on abstinent individuals, we welcome with open arms those who are choosing abstinence after being sexually active. Many people decide to start the year anew, with a new set of values and a newfound commitment to abstinence.”

Free Standard Membership is available to all approved membership applicants. Standard Members may search member profiles and receive private messages from other members - but not reply to them. For a limited time only, all new applicants who are approved as Standard Members can upgrade to Platinum Membership at no cost. Platinum Members may reply to messages, as well as send private messages; participate in IM, chat and 3D chat; send “winks”; and participate in polls.

For more information, visit http://www.weabstain.com.

Basic Catholic Rules On Indulgences

November 29, 2010

Bridegroom Press
November 2010

“I remember indulgences from when I was a kid!” Many people mention this, and the people who do always have questions.

Where Has The Time Gone?
When we learned about indulgences twenty, thirty, forty or more years ago, we remember how the nuns explained it to us: doing an indulgence got us time off purgatory. We didn’t know exactly what that meant, but it sounded like a good deal.

God bless the nuns, but they either deliberately misled us because they didn’t think we would understand the real explanation, or they didn’t know the real explanation themselves. Prior to Vatican II, all indulgences had a certain amount of time associated with them - saying this prayer or doing that deed was worth 300 days, or 10 years or somesuch. But the time listed was never meant to refer to time in Purgatory. It was a little more complicated than that.

Long, Long Ago…
You see, in the very early Church, the first 300 to 400 years, the sacrament of reconciliation was not celebrated as commonly as it is now. In fact, it was unusual to receive it as often as once every five or ten years. Everyone who entered the Church came in as adults - while the Church was happy to baptize children if the parents wanted, She spent most of her time teaching pagan adults the Faith.
If I were a pagan adult who was interested in becoming Christian, I would probably take between three and five solid years of instruction, being taught every day, practicing the Faith every day, having the community watch me practice every day. Everyone knew my name, and I would learn everyone’s name myself. Only after the whole community had seen me prepare and felt I was ready, only then would I be permitted to enter the Church.

The Church took this long because the bishop and the community wanted to make sure I really understood what I was getting into. They also wanted to make sure that I understood all the responsibilities I was undertaking. They wanted to see a real conversion in the way I approached the world, a real hunger for baptism and the washing away of sins.

Penance IS Purgation
What’s this got to do with indulgences? Well, once I was finally permitted to be baptized, the power of that baptism combined with the pre- and post-baptismal instruction was supposed to make me so solid in Christ Jesus that I would never commit another mortal sin.

Sure, I would be tempted - that went without saying. But I was not expected to commit any more mortal sins. I was an adult, I was giving my word to God that I had left that life of sin behind me, and God gave me His grace to empower me so that I would no longer succumb, so why would I sin?

And if I did commit a mortal sin, then I needed to show real remorse for it in order to demonstrate to the community that I had no plans to repeat the experience. So, if I had gone to confession in the early Church, this is the kind of penance I might receive: “Well, you’ve made a good confession,” the bishop might say, “so I will give you a light penance. For the next two years, you are not permitted to attend Mass or receive the Eucharist. Instead, you will spend every Sunday walking around the Church, praying the penitential Psalms while we are celebrating Mass.

Then, for the two years following that, you may attend Mass through the Gospel reading, but when all the unbaptized are ushered out of the Church after that Gospel reading, you will go with them and again walk about the courtyard praying the penitential Psalms.”

“If you do this faithfully, then for the two years following that, you are permitted to be present for the consecration, but you must be face down in front of the community, reciting the penitential Psalms.

And if all of this goes well and you continue to show true and deep remorse, then following this, you may be admitted to the Eucharist once again. Go in peace, my son.”

An eight or ten year penance was not at all uncommon. For certain sins, like murder or participation in abortion, you might be  told to perform penance for the rest of your life, not permitted to receive the Eucharist again until you lay dying.

A VERY Sweet Deal
So, the time periods associated with the indulgenced prayers were not meant to be time off purgatory after death, rather, they were indications that the Church had remitted the normal, early penance of 300 days or ten years in exchange for your saying this one prayer. She was promising to release to you the grace you would otherwise have had to spend a decade in prayer to win. Obviously, this was a pretty sweet deal. There was only one problem.

No one understood or seemed to remember the connection between the early penances and the current time values associated with indulgences. Instead, the faithful were getting a fairly silly understanding of how Purgatory and indulgences worked. Ultimately, after Vatican II, the Church threw up her hands and said, “Never mind the time periods. Every indulgence is just partial or plenary now. You can either win back for the world some of the grace you took out of it (partial) or all of the grace you took out of it.”

What Indulgences Count?
This leaves an obvious question. What do we do with all those old holy cards we have that say we get 300 days off? The Church also answered that question.
Since indulgences are matters of particular law, no prayer is indulgenced unless the Church says it is. Every generation or so, the Church releases a new handbook listing all the indulgences for which She opens the treasury of heaven.
These indulgences are listed in the Handbook of Indulgences, and that Handbook (aka Enchiridion) supercedes all previous rules. So, if you have an old holy card or book (like a Raccolta) that lists indulgences, none of those prayers carry the indulgence described unless that prayer also happens to be in the latest list from Rome.

And even if the prayer you are looking at is in the latest list, it no longer carries the indulgence the old list said it had. Now, it has only the indulgence - partial or plenary - that the Church has most recently assigned it. Don’t worry too much, though. All of the prayers have been retained with at least a partial indulgence. It’s only the plenary indulgences that may have been altered in a significant way.

So, if you want to do an indulgenced work or pray an indulgenced prayer, you have to have the latest handbook (currently, a translation of the 1999 edition) or you can use the prayers and acts conveniently described in the latest edition of the Beauty of Grace, Calendar of Indulgences 2010. We’ve gone through the book and laid out the rules in an easy-to-use calendar, so you don’t have to worry about all the details in the book. You can find it at www.bridegroompress.com

We hope you like it. We certainly enjoyed putting it together. Now, go and get some purgatory time out of the way.

Steve Kellmeyer
Bridegroom Press

Thomas More College Consecrated to Sacred Heart, Faculty Profess Fidelity to the Church

November 3, 2010

Thomas More College Sacred Heart 2Merrimack, New Hampshire (MetroCatholic) — On November 1, the faculty, staff, and students at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts gathered together on the Feast of All Saints to renew its consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“Pius XII referred to the devotion to the Sacred Heart as the ‘devotion of devotions,’” said Thomas More College President, William Fahey.  “It is a simple spiritual and intellectual acceptance of the person and mission of Our Lord.  I like to explain the Sacred Heart devotion as a deep meditation on the Kyrie of the Mass—we accept Jesus as the Christ, the redeemer, as our Sovereign Lord, and we accept His mission as a mission of mercy for all men.”

Dr. Fahey added that, “both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have emphasized that our own humanity is best understood to the degree that we know and experience the humanity of Christ. It seems natural that our College, which is so focused on the humanities, should have this as a central liturgical moment in its academic year.”

Faculty, staff, and students joined together in praying the ancient Litany of the Sacred Heart and in pledging to the Sacred Heart to strive in “person…life…actions…pains, and sufferings… to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing what is displeasing to Him.”

Thomas More College freshman, Tom LaCour, said, “I thought the ceremony consecrating the campus to the Sacred Heart was very moving.  I feel that this will bring our community even closer.  Being united in prayer will help us keep our minds and hearts focused on the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

Freshman Liam Mitchell agreed.  Mitchell noted that, “It is important to have the College consecrated to one particular thing so that we have a communal focus in our spiritual lives.  The Sacred Heart is a concentration on Christ’s love and mercy.  It is very dear and I feel blessed as a student of the college to be called to a greater devotion to it.”

Through the late 19th and early 20th centuries, entire states consecrated themselves to the Sacred Heart, including Ireland, Poland, Spain, Portugal, and Ecuador.  In the United States certain schools and colleges, religious communities, and families would enthrone the Sacred Heart and make the act of consecration.

In 1943, one day in Chicago alone, 125,000 people made the act of consecration.  In 1953, the Catholic University of America consecrated itself to the Sacred Heart.  A large painting of the Sacred Heart once faced all those who entered the University’s central building, McMahon Hall.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart has nearly disappeared among Catholic academic institutions and the images have largely been moved or taken down.

“It’s sad that there hasn’t been a greater revival,” remarked President Fahey.  “Leo XIII firmly established the devotion; Pius XII enriched its popular appeal.  John Paul II spoke about the devotion again and again, and Pope Benedict has always been a proponent of the Sacred Heart.  Recently, he issued a letter to the Jesuits encouraging its revival, and last  summer he opened the Year of the Priest on the Feast of the Sacred Heart.  I expect the newly appointed Cardinal Burke, well-known for promoting the devotion, will further advance the practice of consecration.”

Several weeks ago, the faculty at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts recited the Profession of Faith before the Tabernacle.  The Profession contains the Creed as well as a testimony accepting the entirety of Sacred Scripture, Tradition, and the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church.  It also calls for the professor to promise to “adhere with religious submission of will and intellect” to all authentic Catholic teachings which are presented by the “Roman pontiff or the College of Bishops” whenever they “exercise their authentic Magisterium.”

Dr. Fahey explained that the Oath of Fidelity and Profession is taken by all those in a place of leadership at Thomas More College.  They pledge to safeguard “the deposit of faith in its entirety” and “faithfully hand it on and explain it.”  Both the Profession and the Oath are required by Canon Law, but the knowledge of this law appears to be little known and its observance rare.  In addition to taking the Oath, all of the faculty who teach theology or Sacred Scripture at Thomas More College have also received the Mandatum from the Bishop of Manchester.

The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts provides a four-year undergraduate education which develops young people intellectually, ethically, and spiritually in the Catholic tradition and in faithfulness to the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.  Thomas More College introduces its students to the central questions of Western Civilization—and to the Church’s response.  It teaches students how to reason, engage in academic discourse, and to write.  Students from Thomas More College are shaped into becoming faithful leaders who will be able to pursue the individual vocations which God has given each of them.

National Life Chain Sunday 2010 to Bring Prayer to U.S. and Canadian Sidewalks in 1500 Cities on October 3

September 22, 2010

McKinney, TX (MetroCatholic) — Above all else, National Life Chain Sunday 2010 urges the corporate church across the U.S., Canada, and beyond to end its abandonment of preborn humanity. Toward that urgency, Life Chain asks clergy to please lead their people, young and old, to their local sidewalks on Sunday afternoon, October 3, to earnestly seek God’s intervention. The church’s détente with child killing must end. Pulpit and pew must contend for mercy and justice. Wrote Yehuda Bauer of the Jewish Holocaust: “Thou shalt not be a victim; thou shalt not be a perpetrator; but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”

Much as Nazism relied on church apathy to enable cruelty, Supreme Court jurists in 1973 saw in America a church given notably to self-interest, materialism, and an unmistakable aversion to children. They foresaw complaint without care, fret without fight, and loss of integrity without shame. Following Roe v. Wade, church structures grew in size, elegance, and comfort as deaths of mutilated preborn Americans rose to the tens of millions. Then, in 1992, the Court revisited child aversion and reconfirmed Roe with words that speak volumes about church and culture. Wrote the Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey: “…the abortion decision is of the same character as the decision to use contraception [and] for two decades…people have organized intimate relationships [and relied] on the availability of abortion in the event contraception should fail.”

Valued and vitally needed pastors in the Western nations, the traditional seat of Christendom, where are your voices and battle readiness? Oh, that bold watchmen would emerge and mold a deliverance plan for those who cannot speak. Have our youngest fellow citizens lost their intrinsic worth? Do they no longer bleed? Or anguish helplessly when brutal instruments dismember their fragile bodies? With the many shepherds on duty, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, must the lambs have no safe haven? And for how long must lay pro-life leaders strive vainly for a breakthrough that only the pulpit can achieve? God has surely warned us (Psalm 82:3-4; Prov. 24:10-12; Isa. 58:6-7; Jer. 5:28 and 6:14; Amos 5:21-22; Matt. 25:35; James 1:27), that our eyes might see and ears hear. But we have not heeded during four decades of mounting bloodguilt and dishonor.

Into his 1900-year history of pro-life, George Grant wrote of the Abortion Holocaust: “It seems that during much of the twentieth century, the memory of the church was erased. Its books, its culture, and its history were all but destroyed in the mad rush toward modernity. The community of faith forgot what it was and what it should have been. The result was that, despite the heroic efforts of a remnant of dissenters, the needy, the innocent, and the helpless lost their one sure advocate…. The only urgency that drove much of the church during this dark period in history was its own satisfaction.” German theologian Helmut Thielicke wrote of worship and worshippers in his homeland during the Nazi era: “The church had overlooked its greatest danger, namely that in gaining the whole world it might lose its own soul.”

A literal holocaust in America? How could it be? In Western nations, no failure exceeds pulpit omission of why God instituted marriage and family. Few Christians hear that vital sermon today, due to clerical complacency and fear of the shunned c-word contraception. Scripture tells us that God created earth that He might create man for relationship and worship. Freed of fornication through sacred marriage, man was to procreate and “fill the earth,” thus providing God His eternal worshippers, in vast number. But we the church befell a seductive scheme. Aided over several decades by birth preventives that the church affirmed with silence, the spirit of child aversion and its allies groomed the path for legal abortion, the homosexual movement, cohabitation and divorce, illegitimacy and STD epidemics, each an arch-enemy of holy matrimony. Today, biblical marriage of man and woman is despised in many U.S. courts and struggles for survival. Warns Job 9:24: “When a land has been given into the hands of the wicked, God blindfolds its judges.” The best defender of biblical marriage is found in devout love and security for God’s future worshippers — precious preborn children and their progeny. To forsake them is perilous, for when God “avenges blood,” Psalm 9:12 affirms, “He does not forget the cry of the afflicted.”

National Life Chain Sunday 2010 is only one step toward ending the curse of legal abortion, yet it offers a strategic and peaceful opportunity for clergy and laity to forego censure of church opponents and embrace 2 Chron. 7:14. Only if graced with a new mindset will the church of today discern its likeness to German apostasy and resolve to end genocide. Relative to that crucial need, success of National Life Chain Sunday 2010 rests chiefly with pastors who will prepare and lead their people to local sidewalks. May God so grant, and may the sheep pray devotedly for their shepherds, that God’s merciful power will uproot the historic stronghold that Satan has plied against the pulpit with grievous results. [Regarding references above to child aversion and contraception, National Life Chain leadership is Protestant. Protestantism did not sanction contraception for 400 years, not until 1930 in England and 1931 in America.]

For the updates, time, and location in each city, see www.LifeChain.net.

HILDEGARD OF BINGEN: EXEMPLARY MINISTRY OF AUTHORITY

September 1, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 1 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father held his general audience this morning in the square in front of the Apostolic Place of Castelgandolfo, where he is spending the summer. His catechesis was dedicated to St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), a great seer known as the “Teutonic prophetess”.

Before focusing on the saint the Pope turned his attention John Paul II’s 1988 Apostolic Letter “Mulieris dignitatem”, which examined “the precious role women have played and continue to play in the life of the Church”. The Church, that text states, “gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine ‘genius’ which have appeared in the course of history”.

“During the centuries we customarily call the Middle Ages”, said Benedict XVI, “certain female figures also stood out for the sanctity of their lives and the richness of their teachings”. One of these was Hildegard of Bingen, born to a noble family who chose to dedicate her to the service of God.

Having received an appropriate human and Christian formation at the hands of her teacher Jutta of Spanheim, Hildegard entered the Benedictine convent of St. Disibod where she received the veil from Bishop Otto of Bamberg. In 1136 she was elected as mother superior, a role she carried out using “her gifts as a cultured and spiritually elevated woman, capable of dealing with the organisational aspects of life in the cloister”, said the Pope.

Soon afterwards, due to the large number of vocations, Hildegard founded another community, located in Bingen and dedicated to St. Rupert, where she spent the rest of her life. “The manner in which she exercised the ministry of authority remains exemplary for all religious communities”, noted the Holy Father. “She aroused saintly emulation in the practice of good works”.

While still superior of the convent of St. Disibod the saint began to dictate her mystical visions to her spiritual advisor, the monk Volmar, and to her own secretary, Richardis of Strade. “As is always the case in the lives of true mystics, Hildegard wished to place herself under the authority of the wise, in order to discern the origin of her visions, which she was afraid could be the fruit of illusions and not from God”.

To this end she spoke with St. Bernard of Clairvaux who calmed her fears and encouraged her. In 1147, moreover, she received the crucial approbation of Pope Eugene III who, in the Synod of Trier, read out one of the texts dictated by Hildegard which had been presented to him by Archbishop Henry of Mainz.

“The Pope authorised the mystic to write her visions and to speak in public. From that moment Hildegard’s spiritual prestige grew to the point that her contemporaries gave her the title of the ‘Teutonic prophetess’”, said Benedict XVI.

“The sign of an authentic experience of the Holy Spirit, the source of all charisms”, the Pope concluded, “is that the individual possessing supernatural gifts never boasts of them, never shows them off and, above all, demonstrates complete obedience to ecclesiastical authority. All gifts distributed by the Holy Spirit are, in fact, intended for the edification of the Church and it is the Church, through her pastors, who recognises their authenticity”.

Abstinence and Dating Are Not Mutually Exclusive, Assures YouAndIAbstain.com

August 13, 2010

LOS ANGELES  (MetroCatholic) — While society in general encourages teenagers to abstain from sex, the message is not as prevalent in the rest of the population. For those who live that message every day yet may not feel support for that choice from peers and greater society, there is now a dating site where they can meet like-minded individuals.

Online dating site YouAndIAbstain.com was founded by Jose and Lety Colin, who shared the value of abstinence prior to becoming husband and wife. They wanted to give single people who practice abstinence an opportunity to meet online. The Colins attribute their strong marriage to the fact that they abstained before tying the knot - and they want others to experience the power of abstinence.

“Our site is more than just a dating site,” said Lety. “We have created a community where people can connect without feeling ostracized by the rest of society.”

“It’s similar to an online support group,” added Jose. “Building a community helps encourage life-changing decisions, and it can also benefit individuals to date those who can be supportive of their path in life.”

Moreover, the site offers a welcoming community to individuals who identify themselves as “born-again virgins.” These individuals, who have had sex at some point in life but have decided to abstain from further sex until they reach a serious commitment with another person, are a significant part of the abstinence community YouAndIAbstain.com strives to nurture.

“We realize that, in today’s world, it can be very difficult to meet someone who is still ‘waiting’ for the right person,” stated Lety. “But we hope that, with YouAndIAbstain.com, people will take a chance and meet others just like them who are in pursuit of relationships not based on sex.”

“Abstinence removes many of the pressures associated with dating,” Jose explained. “It allows two people to focus fully on each other without unnecessary distractions.”

Lety and Jose said they hope the website will raise awareness and keep the concept - and practice - of abstinence alive. “We know from experience that abstinence is a powerful choice to create and sustain stronger bonds in couples,” Lety concluded.

Free Standard Membership is available to all approved membership applicants. Standard Members may search member profiles and receive private messages from other members - but not reply to them. Gold Members may reply to messages, as well as send private messages; participate in IM, chat and 3D chat; send “winks”; and participate in polls. Gold Membership is now available free during a limited-time promotional period.

For more information, visit http://www.youandiabstain.com/.

CONSECRATION OF A BISHOP IN CHINA

July 14, 2010

VATICAN CITY (VIS) — On Saturday 10 July, Msgr. Antonio Xu Jiwei, aged 75 and a priest for the last 25 years, was consecrated as bishop of Taizhou in the province of Zhejiang, China, according to a note released by the Holy See Press Office.

The bishop had guided the diocese as diocesan administrator since 1999, and was approved by the Holy See as bishop of Taizhou. The government authorities also approved his episcopal ordination.

The liturgical celebration was presided by Bishop Giuseppe Li Mingsu of Qingdao, Giuseppe Zhao Fengchang of Liaocheng, Giuseppe Xu Honggen of Suzhou and Giuseppe Han Yingjin of Sanyuan. These prelates are all in communion with the Holy See and recognised by the government.

About a thousand faithful, who had also come from Shanghai and Ningbo, participated in the consecration of the new bishop, who is the second ordinary of the diocese which has been vacant since 1962. The ecclesiastical circumscription currently has some six thousand faithful, around fifteen priests and ten nuns. There are about twenty-five churches and other places of worship.

Bishop Xu noted that his diocese is facing various challenges, but he is optimistic about a revival of evangelisation and a growth of the Catholic community.

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World Cup built African unity and self-confidence, says Cardinal Napier

July 13, 2010

Pretoria, South Africa (CNA/EWTN News).- Interviewed by Vatican Radio on the significance of World Cup, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of Durban, South Africa said that the event has served greatly to build a sense of unity both within Africa and the world community. He said that the legacy of the tournament will be that it has given the people of the continent the vision that they can do things for themselves.

Cardinal Napier said that the “first” and “most important thing” the World Cup did for South Africa was that it gave Africans a sense of belonging to the world community after having been in the spotlight for the month-long tournament. Reflecting on what that means for the continent, he said it “can only be to our advantage that we recognize ourselves as being an important part of the world community.”

The cardinal went on to comment that, as a result of hosting the greatest soccer tournament on the planet, “We believe in ourselves, we can see that we can do things, and we don’t have to wait for others to do them for us. And I think that’s going to be the most important legacy of the World Cup.”

In addition to the feeling of membership on a global level, the cardinal also recognized that the tournament had “brought about a sense of solidarity with other African countries,” being not only an event for South Africa, but “an event for Africa.”

He asserted that the tournament “will make a bigger impression on the unity of Africa than a lot of words by politicians could have ever done.”

Cardinal Napier also hoped that politicians would continue to work as hard as they did to make the tournament a success as they do on initiatives to improve health care and education in the country “when the focus of the world is not on us.”

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Despite language difficulties, Community of St. John begins youth ministry in Ethiopia

July 12, 2010

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (CNA).- Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reported that the Community of St. John was recently asked by an archdiocese in Ethiopia to head the local youth ministry, despite a lack of familiarity the brothers have with the country’s 80 languages.

Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel of Addis Ababa asked the community – which was founded in France– to provide chaplains who would set up a youth ministry program for the archdiocese.

Br. Iovane, who is one of three brothers who went to Ethiopia, told ACN that one of the biggest challenges has been learning a new language.

The brother said he along with the other two have spent three hours a day learning Amharic, the country’s official language, but one of 80 spoken in Ethiopia. He then explained how the language has similar roots to Hebrew, with an alphabet that has as many as 277 different characters.

Despite the difficulties of learning the complicated language, the new youth chaplain said that any challenges pale in comparison to the higher calling of the work he has been sent to do alongside his community.

“You have to know why you’re here. If you are here on mission, then it’s (God’s) will to spread his word to the end of the earth, as it says in Matthew’s Gospel.”

“You have to speak the language to communicate with the young people – it’s not a question of whether it’s difficult or not,” he added. “What matters is that it’s what the Lord is calling me to do.”

“When you switch on the light sometimes it doesn’t come on, when you turn on the tap sometimes no water comes out, but this is not an issue compared to the mission we have from the Lord.”

The three brothers arrived shortly after the archdiocese conducted a survey asking the youth what they wanted from the Church, with the results showing that they desired more formation in the faith. In response, the brothers have organized interactive teaching sessions, concerts, festivals and other community youth events.

Speaking on the fervent faith of the Addis Ababa Catholic youth, Br. Iovane said they “have a faith, a sense of adoration through liturgy that is just amazing, I’ve never seen that anywhere else – and I’m not talking about Eucharistic Adoration – what I mean is while singing at the entrance of Mass they are connected to God, worshiping God in a personal context.

“If they build a life on that faith they will triumph.”

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PRAYER IS NEVER DETACHED FROM REALITY

July 5, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 4 JUL 2010 (VIS) - Today at 4.30 p.m., before leaving the House for Clergy in Sulmona, the Holy Father greeted members of the committee that had organized his visit to that Italian town. He subsequently received a delegation from the nearby high-security prison made up of the director, chaplains, warders and a number of prisoners.

Benedict XVI then traveled to the cathedral for a meeting with local youth. On arrival he paused for a few moments of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament then, following some words of greeting from Bishop Angelo Spina of Sulmona-Valva, addressed the young people gathered in the building.

The Pope began by praising their “historical memory”, evident in their belief that Celestine V is a figure who still retains all his relevance today. “Without memory”, said the Holy Father, “there is no future. It used to be said that history is a teacher of life, but consumer culture tends to limit man to the present, to make him lose his sense of the past, of history. But by so doing, it also deprives him of the capacity to understand himself, to perceive problems and build the future. Therefore, dear young people, I wish to tell you that a Christian is someone who has a good memory, who loves history and seeks to understand it”.

Reflecting then on how to evaluate Pietro da Morrone’s life today in the twenty-first century, the Pope highlighted how certain things are perennial and enduring, “for example the capacity to listen to God in exterior silence, and above all in interior silence. … It is important to learn how to experience moments of interior silence in our daily lives in order to be capable of hearing the voice of the Lord”, he said.

“Be sure that if someone learns to listen to this voice and to follow it with generosity, he is afraid of nothing, he knows and feels that God is with him. … The secret of vocation lies in the relationship with God, in prayer. … And this remains true both before making the choice - in other words, at the moment of deciding to start on the journey - and afterwards, if we wish to be faithful and persevere. St. Celestine V was first and foremost… a man of prayer, a man of God”.

But “authentic prayer is not detached from reality. If prayer alienates you, removes you from real life, be aware that it is not authentic prayer. … It is not a question of simply multiplying the number of words”, the Pope explained, “but of being in God’s presence, making the expressions of the ‘Our Father’ present in our minds and our hearts, or adoring the Eucharist, … or meditating on the Gospel, … or participating in the liturgy. All this does not detach us from life; rather, it helps us truly to be ourselves in all environments, faithful to the voice of God which speaks to our conscience, free from the conditioning of the present moment”.

“Faith and prayer do not resolve problems, but enable them to be faced with a new light and a new strength, in a manner worthy of man, more serenely and more effectively. If we look at the history of the Church we see that it is rich in saints and blesseds who, on the basis of an intense and constant dialogue with God, illuminated by faith, were able to find creative and novel solutions to respond to the concrete human needs of all times: health, education, work, etc. Their resourcefulness was animated by the Holy Spirit and by a strong and generous love for their brothers and sisters, especially the weakest and most disadvantaged.

“Dear young people”, the Pope added, “allow yourselves to be conquered by Christ. Start decisively down the path of sanctity, the path (which is open to everyone) of contact with and conformity to God. Thus you too will become more creative in seeking solutions to the problems you encounter and in seeking them together; for this is another distinctive sign of Christians: they are never individualists”.

In this context, Benedict XVI explained that by choosing the hermit life Pietro da Morrone’s was not fleeing responsibility because, “in the experiences approved by the Church, the solitary life of prayer and penance is always at the service of the community, it is open to others, it never contrasts with the needs of the community. Hermitages and monasteries are oases and wellsprings of spiritual life from which everyone can draw. The monk lives not for himself, but for others. It is for the good of the Church and society that he cultivates the contemplative life, that the Church and society may be ever irrigated with new energies, with the action of the Lord”.

The Pope concluded by telling the young people to “love the Church: she gave you the faith, she brought you to know Christ. … Conserve your enthusiasm, your joy, the joy that comes from having met the Lord, and communicate this to your friends and peers. … In you, I feel, the Church is young. … Walk in the way of the Gospel; love the Church our mother: be simple and pure of heart; be mild and strong in the truth; be humble and generous”.

At the end of the meeting the Pope descended to the crypt where he venerated the relics of St. Panfilo and St. Celestine V. He then traveled to the nearby Pallozzi Stadium where he bid farewell to the authorities and, at 5.45 p.m., departed by helicopter for the Vatican.

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