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Veronica Guild Honoring Life – With Bishop William Wack

Bishop William WackThe Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel in Pensacola, FL has many ministries. Relatively new is the Veronica Guild which contains several active teams, one of which is Honoring Life. “Promoting a reverence and respect for the dignity of human life in all its forms as being created in the Image and Likeness of God.”

I am a member of this team and throughout the year, each Friday of our Holy Hour prior to Mass we celebrate Fridays for Life. And the last Friday of each month a team member leads a rosary for life at 11:30am. In addition to these things we are having several meditations on life during the year. The first one was this past Friday when our own Bishop William Wack not only provided a meditation, “Loving Care for the elders among us and the gift of the Sacrament of Anointing,” but he also celebrated the Mass following it.

In his talk he referred to the recent publication of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Declaration “Dignitas Infinita” on Human Dignity. It is long but he recommends taking the time to read it because it focusing on many issues facing our world today when it comes to respecting life. You can find the recording of the Holy Hour, Talk and Mass on the church YouTube channel here. You can fast forward to Bishop Wack’s talk if you would like.

Pope Francis’ special Urbi et Orbi blessing

Pope Francis Urbi et OrbiIn case you missed seeing the ceremony in Rome last Friday in which Pope France read his Urbi et Orbi message and then provided a unique blessing at the end of Adoration you can still see it. You can also still receive a special plenary indulgence for doing this. Here’s some information about that.

You can watch the full ceremony on the Vatican Facebook Page here. You can read the full text of his meditation here. There is also a one minute version of the blessing on the Vatican channel here.

Follow Coverage of the Conclave of Cardinals

Let’s look at some ways to follow legitimate news about the selection of our new Pope. I say legitimate because there is so much speculation and supposed news reporting that just shows a world out of touch with faith and especially the Catholic faith. I’m sure the Cardinals really appreciate media stars telling them what they need to consider when making this very important decision, not! We’re seeing it all from advice on how we should have a Pope who is a better business man to a Pope who needs to be more liberal. No where do you see these news stories talk about the need to pray for our Cardinals, that God does watch over His Church, that we need not be afraid and that we need to let our faith guide us during this time.

Cardinal Conclave

Okay, so how do we follow what is happening in Rome? How about starting with the Vatican News? They are about as close to the action as you can get. And they will have special coverage of the conclave.

Here’s a Vatican Radio report on what will happen this coming Tuesday: Vatican Radio Report

The Pope AppThen there’s the Pope App. Get it for your iOS or Android device. How’s this for transparency?

An app focused on the figure of the Pope. It will allow you to follow his events live and to set up alerts notifying you when papal events begin.

It will also give you access to all official papal-related content in a variety of formats: news and official speeches, galleries with the latest images and videos, access to his calendar, and links to other services of the Holy See.

Additionally, the app will let you see key areas of the Vatican through webcams distributed throughout St. Peter’s Square that are always broadcasting images.

Vatican Radio AppYou can also follow Vatican News on Twitter @NewsVa_En, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.

And there is a Vatican Radio app for your iOS or Android devices.

And of course there’s always L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO and EWTN.

There are so many ways to get better information than you’ll find in the media of today. Now you know what I’ll be following.

Vatican Information Service Blog

The Vatican Information Service now has its own blog. You can subscribe to the blog with this RSS feed url.

As of the morning of Friday 9 April the Vatican Information Service (VIS), apart from its daily news bulletin, now has its own blog which includes news items from the last few years in Spanish, English, French and Italian. The blog also allows access to the Vatican’s Twitter account and YouTube portal.

Follow VIS on Twitter or visit their YouTube Channel.

Theme For World Day of Social Communications

VaticanThe Pope has issued a message in advance of World Day of Social Communications. The day is celebrated on January 24 which is the feast of St. Francis of Sales, patron saint of journalists. I think it’s especially important in this era of new media communications which is allowing us to communicate in ways we never could before. Pope Benedict’s theme for the day is, “The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word.”

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”.

So priests, this means you need to get and start using your Twitter account and perhaps start a blog!

GMO’s Can Feed The World

Pope BenedictWe hear so much about the need to feed the hungry around the world. But how is that being done? Can it be done?

One of the things that will help is increasing the productivity of people who can produce food. That would be farmers. Biotechnology is helping them accomplish this. But like just about everything today it seems, there are people who want to protest it. I think most of them just don’t like big companies. They just use this as an excuse to promote their own personal agenda. Genetically modified crops are very safe and the amount of research that goes into the creation of what is essentially just speeding up a natural process is extensive. There’s never been a negative problem with a GMO.

So, why the Pope’s picture? It’s really because of the action of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and a letter from a Minnesota farmer. Thanks to Terry Wanzek who grows corn, soybeans, and wheat on his family farm in North Dakota and serves as a North Dakota Senator and board member of Truth About Trade & Technology, for bringing this to my attention.

He wrote a letter in which he mentions that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences has given it’s blessing to genetically modified crops as one solution to world hunger. Here’s the first two statutes of the Academy:

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, founded by Pius XI of hallowed memory, is placed under the exalted and direct protection of the reigning Supreme Pontiff.

The aim of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences is to promote the progress of the mathematical, physical and natural sciences and the study of epistemological problems related thereto.

Here are a couple of excerpts from Terry’s letter:

There are some people around the world who think religion and science shouldn’t get along. For some reason, they believe the men of the cloth should disagree with the men of the lab coat, now and forever.

Theyll be disappointed to learn that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences–an arm of the Vatican–has given its blessing to genetically modified crops. At a conference last month in Rome, it praised GM food for holding a great potential to improve the lives of the poor.

This is a welcome marriage of religion and science–two powerful forces joining for the good of all.

Farming is my profession. But its more than a job–its a vocation. The Catholic Church teaches us to show benevolence toward the poor, and to feed them when they are hungry. One of the best ways I can realize this goal is to grow as much food as possible and to make it available at the most reasonable prices. I believe it is important that all farmers, especially the resource-poor smallholders, have the right to choose the best technology available, including biotechnology when appropriate, to improve their hope of producing more food for themselves.

Are GM foods dangerous, as so many Europeans have been told? No substantiated environmental or health risks have been noted, says the academy. Opposition to biotechnology in agriculture is usually ideological.

Isn’t it great when science and religion can agree and even in the face of extreme emotionalism with a political agenda.

Get Vatican News On Your iPhone

Vatican News iPhone AppThe Vatican continues to develop new social media/networking applications to spread the good news of the Church. This time I found the . I just downloaded it and haven’t even tried it yet but I will.

The H2Onews application for the iPhone and iPod Touch brings you timely, insightful news about the life of the Church in the world. In collaboration with the Vatican Television Center and Vatican Radio, H2Onews connects you with video and audio news from the Vatican.

Through H2Onews, the first video news application dedicated to the Catholic world, you can follow the travels and speeches of Benedict XVI, as well as key international ecclesiastical events.

You can find more ways to connect to the Vatican on Pope2you. Here’s an excerpt of the message from Pope Benedict about using new communications technologies. You can read the full text here (pdf).

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

In anticipation of the forthcoming World Communications Day, I would like to address to you some reflections on the theme chosen for this year – New Technologies, New Relationships: Promoting a culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship. The new digital technologies are, indeed, bringing about fundamental shifts in patterns of communication and human relationships. These changes are particularly evident among those young people who have grown up with the new technologies and are at home in a digital world that often seems quite foreign to those of us who, as adults, have had to learn to understand and appreciate the opportunities it has to offer for communications.

Vatican Launches YouTube Channel

Vatican YouTube ChannelMuch has been made about our new President being so good at using today’s new media tools (blogging, Twitter, etc.) but how about our Pope?

The Vatican has officially launched its own YouTube channel which you can find at:

This channel offers news coverage of the main activities of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and of relevant Vatican events. It is updated daily. Video images are produced by Centro Televisio Vaticano (CTV), texts by Vatican Radio (RV) and CTV. This video-news presents the Catholic Churchs position regarding the principal issues of the world today. Links give access to the full and official texts of cited documents.

The channel is being offered in English, Spanish, Italian and German.

Welcome to America, Papa!!

nullOur Holy Father is here! Are you excited or what?! Tomorrow is our beloved pontiff’s 81st birthday. And Saturday will mark his third anniversary as Pope. What a privilege it is to be able to share these two very special occasions with the pope this year! Here is the Knights of Columbus’ papal visit prayer:

Almighty Father, who pours forth blessings in
abundance upon us, we humbly pray that you
will inspire, guide and protect Pope Benedict
XVI on his pastoral visit to the United States.
Lord God, bless our Holy Father who comes as
a messenger of peace and charity to all people
of faith and good will. May his presence in the
United States serve to build up the bonds that
unite us who are each made in your image and
likeness, and may his teaching and witness
strengthen the faith of the People of God.
Father, we lovingly entrust Pope Benedict’s
visit to the care of Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Americas. Through her prayers
may he be preserved from all harm, and may
he shine forth with the truth of the Gospel that
he proclaims, and may his presence among us
foster a renewal of the Church in our country.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.

Christ our Hope!

Pope Benedict’s pastoral visit to the U.S. starts tomorrow with the theme of Christ our Hope!

[M]an needs God, otherwise he remains without hope…God is the foundation of hope: not any god, but the God who has a human face and who has loved us to the end, each one of us and humanity in its entirety. His Kingdom is not an imaginary hereafter, situated in a future that will never arrive; his Kingdom is present wherever he is loved and wherever his love reaches us. His love alone gives us the possibility of soberly persevering day by day, without ceasing to be spurred on by hope, in a world which by its very nature is imperfect. His love is at the same time our guarantee of the existence of what we only vaguely sense and which nevertheless, in our deepest self, we await: a life that is “truly” life. (Spe Salvi, 23, 31)

At our Legion of Mary Acies yesterday our spiritual director urged us to offer up many prayers, especially extra rosaries, for the Pope and the success of his visit. There has been a lot of speculation as to how his trip will effect or influence politics. What is most important, however, is how the presence of our humble German Shepherd here will influence souls.

The salvation of souls is greatly needed in our country, especially among Catholics. A recent poll showed a majority of Catholics (68%) believe that they can still be “good Catholics” without going to Mass every Sunday. Indeed, only one-third of America’s Catholics attend weekly Mass. This is the “source and summit” of our Catholic faith!

Together let us pray for our beloved Holy Father, for his safety, for the success of his visit and that the people of America may be open to his message of hope!

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Below are links to some of my past posts that feature the Holy Father and his writings:

A Message From Papa Ben!
The Paradox of the Cross
The Resurrection = Event of Love
We are Awaited by His Love
Pope Confronts the “Difficult Problem of Bioethics”
An Advent Reflection on Eternal Life
Love and Suffering
When Technical Progress Becomes a Threat
The Pope on Political Priorities
Oh, and I Love the Pope, Too!
Pope Endorses Stem Cell Research
Pope Speaks About Life Issues
The Greatest Destroyer of Peace
Uniting for Life

Check out the Pope’s itinerary on Fox News and be sure to watch EWTN or visit Benedict in America for full coverage of our Holy Father’s visit to America.

A Message From Papa Ben!

Here is Pope Benedict’s video message for the U.S. The theme for his visit: Christ Our Hope

h/t: MONIALES OP ~ Dominican Nuns

Benedict in America

Pope’s Prayer Intentions

Pope BenedictPope Benedict’s prayer intentions for the month of April:

Pope Benedict’s general prayer intention is: “That Christians, even in the difficult and complex situations of present-day society, may not tire of proclaiming with their lives that Christ’s resurrection is the source of peace and of hope”.

His mission intention is: “That the future priests of the young Churches may be constantly more formed culturally and spiritually to evangelize their nations and the whole world”.

H/T American Papist. Also from the Papist: The Popemobile has arrived! Be sure to check out Benedict in America for all the details of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit in just 12 days!

Speaking of popes, today is the anniversary of the death of John Paul II. See my post at Reflections: JP II and the Culture of Life. Here are pics of your humble blog hosts greeting the late pontiff in 2001:

The Resurrection = Event of Love

Pope BenedictZenit has the Vatican’s translation of Pope Benedict XVI’s message for Easter (h/t Pope Benedict XVI Blog):

Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sum. Alleluia! I have risen, I am still with you. Alleluia! Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus, crucified and risen, repeats this joyful proclamation to us today: the Easter proclamation. Let us welcome it with deep wonder and gratitude!

Read More

Also, along with the Knights of Columbus website that dad linked to yesterday, be sure to check out Benedict in America, a blog with information about our Holy Father’s visit next month.

Pope Benedict XVI in America Website

The Knights of Columbus have created a website to help us keep up with the Pope’s trip to America next month. It’s going to be interesting to see if they do any posting onto the blog they have built into it.

They’ve also created a prayer for his trip as well.

Almighty Father, who pours forth blessings in abundance upon us, we humbly pray that you will inspire, guide and protect Pope Benedict XVI on his pastoral visit to the United States.

Lord God, bless our Holy Father who comes as a messenger of peace and charity to all people of faith and good will.

May his presence in the United States serve to build up the bonds that unite us who are each made in your image and likeness, and may his teaching and witness strengthen the faith of the People of God.

Father, we lovingly entrust Pope Benedict’s visit to the care of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of the Americas.

Through her prayers may he be preserved from all harm, and may he shine forth with the truth of the Gospel that he proclaims, and may his presence among us foster a renewal of the Church in our country.

We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.


Merry Christmas From The Vatican

Christmas at the VaticanOur Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI is busy this Christmas. You can find out all about it on the Vatican’s Christmas celebrations website.

They’ve already got information up from last night and will have a lot more as the day goes on including live broadcasts produced by the Vatican Television Center.

Here’s an excerpt from the midnight Mass homily:

Heaven does not belong to the geography of space, but to the geography of the heart. And the heart of God, during the Holy Night, stooped down to the stable: the humility of God is Heaven. And if we approach this humility, then we touch Heaven. Then the Earth too is made new. With the humility of the shepherds, let us set out, during this Holy Night, towards the Child in the stable! Let us touch God’s humility, God’s heart! Then his joy will touch us and will make the world more radiant. Amen.