Showing posts with label Vatican. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vatican. Show all posts

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Vatican panel approves Archbishop Fulton Sheen miracle

News excerpt and photo from Catholic News Agency (CNA)

The Bishop of Peoria has rejoiced at a Vatican medical panel’s unanimous approval of a reported miracle attributed to the famous television personality and evangelist, Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

“There are many more steps ahead and more prayers are needed. But today is a good reason to rejoice,” Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, Ill. said March 6.

“Today is a significant step in the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of our beloved Fulton Sheen, a priest of Peoria and a Son of the Heartland who went on to change the world.”

The approval came from a seven-member board of medical experts advising the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Diocese of Peoria reports.

The reputed miracle involves the unexplained recovery of James Fulton Engstrom, a boy born apparently stillborn in September 2010 to Bonnie and Travis Engstrom of the Peoria-area town of Goodfield. He showed no signs of life as medical professionals tried to revive him. The child’s mother and father prayed to Archbishop Sheen to heal their son.

Although the baby showed no pulse for an hour after his birth, his heart started beating again and he escaped serious medical problems.

The Vatican’s medical advisory panel ruled that there is no medical explanation for the healing of the baby. The ruling means that a board of theologians will now review the case. If they approve the case, its consideration could pass to the cardinals and bishops who advise Pope Francis on beatifications.

If the case reaches Pope Francis, his approval would recognize Archbishop Sheen as “blessed,” the final stage before possible canonization as a saint.

Read more: Fulton Sheen Miracle

Saturday, June 08, 2013

A 3D virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel

News from

(Click on the link for a 3D Tour of the Sistine Chapel)

It's known as the most famous chapel in the world. Generation after generation, its priceless artwork is admired by art lovers. For centuries its frescoes have witnessed the conclave, when the successor of Peter is elected to lead the Church.

The Sistine Chapel as we now know it, was completed in the 15th century under the orders of Pope Sixtus IV, which now bears his name. Six centuries later, technology allows everyone to virtually see the Chapel and the Vatican Museums.  By logging onto everything is just a click away.

In the first stage of the visit, our guide explains that the Conclave, where Cardinals elect a new Pope, takes place right before Michelangelo's  Last Judgment frescoes. Through the chimney installed at the Chapel, they communicate with the world. Black smoke means a candidate has not yet been elected and white smoke means there is a new Pope.

The second stop is in front of the Chapel's frescoes. Anywhere they look, visitors are surrounded by biblical episodes. The north wall illustrates different passages in the history of Jesus Christ, including His Baptism, the Sermon on the Mount and the Last Supper. On the opposite side, the south wall features scenes from the life of Moses. To the east, one can view the resurrection of Jesus and the dispute over the body of Moses.

But undoubtedly, the third and final stop in the tour is the most impressive. Michelangelo's masterpiece, the Last Judgment. The biblical scene recounts the end of time, when Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead. All of humanity is depicted in front of the High Altar.

The guide also explains the history of Creation, through nine scenes from the book of Genesis, which are depicted on the Chapel's ceiling. It's the end of a relaxing and detailed 3D virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel.

The website's creators are already working on their next project, which includes a virtual tour of Saint Peter's Basilica.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rachel Lozano's recovery from cancer could be labeled a miracle by the Vatican

Rachel Lozano

The following excerpt is from

By Art Holliday

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - "Whether the church says it or was or not, I believe it was a miracle."

That "M" word: miracle. During the nine years she's been cancer free, Rachel Lozano has used that word a lot, explaining over and over again why she's still among the living.

"Sometimes it's a little overwhelming at times," said Lozano. "I think of this time as my extra years on earth."

Most of Rachel's high school years at St. Joseph's Academy were spent fighting a rare and sometimes fatal form of cancer, Askin's tumor. She had multiple surgeries and underwent a bone marrow transplant. Chemotherapy claimed her hair, but she whimsically turned her bald head into a canvas for colorful artwork. In her high school graduation photo, she was smiling brightly, even though she was fighting for her life.

"It was strange. I actually had a peacefulness when I would think and pray about it," said Lozano. "I didn't know what that peacefulness meant. I didn't know if that meant dying or that meant living."

When the cancer appeared for the third time, the doctors delivered the worst news possible.

"That I pretty much had a few weeks to live at the most, depending on which organ was hit first, because the tumor recurred between my heart, lung, and spine."

During one last surgery to remove cancer, Rachel Lozano's doctors were shocked to find no cancerous tissue. The cancer was gone.

A 2000 photograph shows Lozano at the gravesite of Father William Chaminade, founder of the Marianists in 1817. She had flown to Rome to attend a ceremony honoring Father Chaminade. Feeling a strong connection to the priest, Lozano prayed to Chaminade to cure her cancer.

"He also overcame a lot of obstacles in his life and never gave up hope," said Lozano. "I see the parallels in our lives that way."

Eventually Rachel Lozano's recovery was declared to be a miracle by the St. Louis Archdiocese and the investigation was passed along to the Vatican. If the Vatican certifies that Lozano's case is a miracle, it would be the second miracle attributed to Father Chaminade, and the Pope could declare Chaminade a saint. She doesn't know if or when that will happen.

Read More: Rachel Lozano

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Did prayer to wartime priest lead to East Bay man’s cancer recovery?

Father Franz Stock, center, is pictured with Archbishop Angelo Roncalli
the future Pope John XXIII – at a German prisoner of war camp, Sept. 18, 1945.

Report on case sent to Rome in sainthood investigation of German Father Franz Stock

The photograph and following excerpt is from the website of Catholic San Francisco:

By Valerie Schmalz

If the Vatican authenticates the 1997 healing of an East Bay man diagnosed with incurable gastric cancer days before his wedding, then the Catholic Church will beatify Father Franz Stock, a German Army chaplain to Paris prisoners of the Nazis.

Father Stock was “the last human face” hundreds, perhaps thousands, saw before their execution.

He is a symbol of reconciliation in France and Germany, where streets and schools are named for him and national leaders have honored him. A French postage stamp commemorating Father Stock was issued in 1998 for the 50th anniversary of his death from pulmonary edema on Feb. 24, 1948, at age 43.

The Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of San Francisco investigated the 1997 medical case and sent its report to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints on March 16. If the Vatican authenticates the miracle, Father Stock would be declared blessed. He would be canonized if a second miracle is verified.

Three months after doctors said a 33-year-old East Bay resident had at most three months to live, he was declared cancer-free in October 1997. Medical tests continue to show no traces of cancer.

“The doctors were flabbergasted because he was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and they sent him home to get his affairs in order and die,” said Robert Graffio, canon lawyer for the Archdiocese of San Francisco and notary for the investigation.

The man married his fiance a couple of weeks later than they had planned. The couple has two children, 7 and 9.

“This is yet another assurance that the Lord is with us still, to this day, working miracles in our midst,” said Msgr. Michael Padazinski, chancellor and judicial vicar in the Archdiocese of San Francisco who oversaw the investigation as episcopal delegate.

The man who recovered unexpectedly became the object of prayers to Father Stock through family members who knew of the priest’s story.

A Franciscan priest who wrote the only English-language biography of Father Stock was pastor of a New Jersey parish where the stricken bridegroom’s older brother, his wife and children attended Mass. When Mary G. – her full name is withheld by request – called to place her brother-in-law on the parish prayer list in 1997, Franciscan Father Boniface Hanley said, “Pray, pray to Father Franz Stock,” she said, and made up a holy card for them to use.

“We kept praying the whole time. He had his whole stomach removed. He had lymph nodes that were positive,” said Mary G., who as a nurse cared for her brother-in-law as he recovered instead of dying. “It’s 15 years later and he is still cancer free.”

Read more: Father Franz Stock

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ambassador says Padre Pio miraculously cured his son

Ambassador says Padre Pio miraculously cured his son

The follwing excerpt is from

( Fernando Sanchez is the ambassador of Costa Rica to the Vatican, but his story has nothing to do with his job. He says, his son is alive thanks to a miracle of Padre Pio. He talks about it in his book “Birth of a spiritual child: Our history with Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.”

It happened three years ago. His child was born with serious heart problems. The doctors said there was no hope for him, but then something happened that changed everything.

Fernando Sánchez
Costa Rica's ambassador to the Vatican
“They called me to say, 'Look, Don Fernando, there is a priest with your son'. I imagined the worst and I ran for the neonatal ward in the intensive care unit and I found the father with a relic of Padre Pio praying over my son's crib. I joined him and nothing else.”

After two hours the child's heart was beating normally and the next day the doctors stopped all treatment and took him off medication.

Since then, Fernando Sanchez and his wife have no doubt that Padre Pio interceded in the healing of their son.

Fernando Sánchez
Costa Rica's ambassador to the Vatican
“Since then we have felt his presence. I have no doubt that he is interceding for us.”

Read more: Padre Pio Miracle

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vatican Investigating Possible Miracle Attributed to Blessed Kateri

Blessed Kateri
Photograph by Loci B. Lenar

KOMO News: Vatican investigating possible miracle in Washington state

The following excerpt is from

FERNDALE, Wash. - The Vatican is investigating a possible miracle right in Washington state.

Doctors at Children's Hospital worked miracles five years ago to save a young boy's life. But now the pope wants to know if more than medicine played a role.

To look at him today, nobody would guess Jake Finkbonner nearly died.

"He was as sick as any case ever seen," says Dr. Craig Rubens.

In the last minute of the last game of his 2006 season, Jake cut his lip.

"I fell down and hit my lip on the base of the basketball hoop," he says.

A flesh-eating bacteria raced through his lip and devoured his face. Now 11 years old, Jake recalls the day he died.

"I went and saw God up in heaven, and it was so beautiful I asked if I could stay. And he refused to let me stay - said my family needed me here on earth," Jake remembers.

His mother, Elsa Finkbonner, says, "That was his day in heaven, our day in hell."

Surgeons couldn't stay ahead of the fast-spreading infection.

"It got to the point where we called in a priest to give his last rites," says Jake's mother.

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
Photograph by Loci B. Lenar

Father Tim Sauer urged the Finkbonner family to pray for the intercession of Blessed Kateri, a Native American who converted to Catholicism. Smallpox scarred her face, and legend claims the scars disappeared when she died.

Kateri is now in the early stages of sainthood.

The day a friend named Kateri visited the Finkbonners, they gave them a relic of the blessed Kateri that the family placed on their son's hospital bed. It's the same day Jake's school prayed for him, and it's the same day his disease stopped.

"If it's a coincidence - wow," says Jake's mother.

"I think it's a matter of a miracle," says Jake.

The Vatican is investigating whether Kateri should become a saint and sent an investigative team from Rome to question Jake's family.

"We've given them everything," says Elsa. "They've spoken with all of our family friends and priests."

Read more: Jake Finkbonner

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vatican Publishes Guide about Angels

A “Guide” About Angels Published by the Vatican

The Video and following excerpt is from the website of Rome Reports:

The angels have had cities and shrines named after them, and have been the inspiration for many hymns. However, they are a great unknown and have always been surrounded by a halo of mystery.

The Italian priest Marcello Stanzione has been studying them for years, and has written over 40 books on them. The Vatican Publishing House published the last one: An essential guide to the angels.

Msgr. Marcello Stanzione

"The Angels: An Essential Guide”

“The angels have elements from God and elements from the human being in this sense. Like us, the angels were also created, so they are creatures. But they do not die, and this is part of God's eternity.”

Msgr. Adriano Paccanelli

Vatican Secretariat of State

“They are invisible ministers of God, they are our custodians. They are spiritual beings”.

The most famous Angels are the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. The Catholic Church celebrates their feast on September 29. The tradition divides the angels into three groups. The first, seraphim, cherubim and thrones, the second, dominations, virtues and powers. And third, principalities, archangels and angels.

Throughout history, the Orders of the Benedictines, Franciscans and Jesuits have studied them most.

In addition, all the great saints have had a close relationship with the angels.

Msgr. Marcello Stanzione

"The Angels: An Essential Guide”

"Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer was a devotee of the angels and when he entered in any church, he stood a moment. His associates knew the reason: he said he first let his angel pass and he would pass him."

Popes have also conveyed the importance of interacting with angels. The most famous prayer to Archangel Michael was written by Leo XIII.

John Paul II said on several occasions that every day he asked for help to his guardian angel and spoke about the angels in various general audiences. His successor, Benedict XVI, has carried on this devotion to the angels.

Read More: A Guide about Angels

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Miracle at Knock - Claim Sent to Vatican

Our Lady of Knock Stained Glass Window
Photograph by Loci B. Lenar

Miracle at Knock claim sent to Vatican - Irish News - Irish Central

Woman with Multiple Sclerosis says she was cured

The following excerpt is from the website of Irish Central:


The Vatican will shortly receive a petition to acknowledge the first miracle at Knock after a woman has claimed that a visit to the shrine cured her of multiple sclerosis.

Other miracles have been claimed at Knock but none have actually been forwarded to the Vatican for verification.

The Sunday Times reported that Marian Carroll, now aged 59, says she was cured of multiple sclerosis after a visit to the shrine almost 20 years ago.

The claim is accompanied by several medical evaluations that accept that something remarkable happened to her when she visited Knock.

Mrs Carroll wrote an autobiography ‘I Was Cured at Knock’, in which she describes her recovery from the MS condition that left her unable to walk, blind in one eye and without the control of her bladder.

During the ceremony she felt a weight lift from her and she was able to get up and walk. She has had no symptoms since.

Knock shrine is where an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Joseph, St John the Evangelist and Jesus Christ is said to have occurred in 1879.

Diarmuid Murray, a doctor who runs a practice in the shrine grounds, is gathering the evidence to present the case to the Vatican for approval.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Communion Miracles on Display in Hilton Head

Photograph by Loci B. Lenar

Communion miracles on display in Hilton Head -

Church exhibit features photos, descriptions of miracles around Eucharist

By Dana Clark Felty

The 14th-century nun Juliana Falconieri was so ill during the last days of her life, she could not take communion.

But so strong was her devotion, she asked that the Eucharist be placed on her chest.

As she recited a prayer, the bread disappeared and left on her skin an image of the cross.

This and roughly 125 more stories of miracles involving communion will be featured in an exhibition opening June 5, 2010 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Hilton Head.

The display is part of the Vatican International Exhibition of the Eucharistic Miracles of the World sponsored in the United States by the Illinois-based Real Presence Association.

Each of the 126 panels includes features, images and descriptions of the "Eucharistic Miracles" recognized by the Vatican.

The weekend also includes Sunday Mass celebrated by the Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone, bishop of the Diocese of Charleston.

Exbition Information:

What: Vatican International Eucharistic Miracles Exhibition

When: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. June 5; 9 a.m.-2 p.m. June 6

Where: Holy Family Catholic Church, 24 Pope Ave., Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Miraculous Stories of Archangel Michael's Intervention

Photograph by Loci B. Lenar

Archangel Michael is recognized for being the defender of the church and protector of God's people.  From the website of the Saint Michael Parish, located in Bedford, MA, you will find numerous stories regarding the intervention of Archangel Michael.


Constantinople, 337 A.D.

At Constantinople Michael was considered both a heavenly physician and a military protector. The Emperor Constantine the Great attributed his brilliant victory over the pagan Emperor Maxentius to the assistance of Saint Michael, and in gratitude built a magnificent church in Sosthenion, some 50 miles south of Constantinople. He dedicated it to the archangel and called it the Michaelion. In 337 Michael appeared to Constantine at this sanctuary, saying: "I am Michael, the chief of the angelic legions of the Lord of hosts, the protector of the Christian religion, who whilst thou wast battling against godless tyrants, placed the weapons in thy hands." The Michaelion became the scene of many miracles and a place of pilgrimage. Many sick and infirm were cured in it. The sick often slept in this church at night waiting for a manifestation of the archangel.

Monte Gargano, Italy, 493 A.D.

Another apparition of the archangel occurred at Monte Gargano (since renamed Monte Sant'Angelo) in the kingdom of Naples. It is said he showed himself there to the Bishop of Siponto in the year 493 and produced another spring of curative waters. In this apparition, "St. Michael intimated to the bishop that the place was under his protection and that it was his will that God should be worshipped there, in honor of himself and the angels." It is also said that the archangel left his red cloak there when he departed.

A sanctuary, the Santurio di San Michele, was built over the caverns where Michael had appeared. In this sanctuary the Lombards of Sipontum (now called Manfredonia) proclaimed that their May 8, 663 victory over the Greek Neapolitans was due to Michael's intercession.

Today in Gargano, the Santurio (also known as the Basilica of St. Michele Arcangelo) remains a place of devotion and a pilgrimage site. The small fountain in the grotto (actually a small opening in the rocks) is said to still retain its miraculous powers.

Marazion, England, 495 A.D.

St. Michael's Mount, a rocky island called Ictis by the ancient Romans, dominates the bay between Lands End and Lizard Point in West Cornwall. Legend says that in 495 Saint Michael, standing on a ledge on the western side of the island, appeared to Cornish fishermen and hermits to ask that a church be built on the summit. Edward the Confessor founded a Benedictine abbey on the Mount in 1044. A 14th Century castle stands there today.

Rome, 600 A.D.

During a plague which greatly depopulated the city of Rome, Pope Gregory I (Gregory the Great) ordered a penitential procession in which he himself carried a statue of the Blessed Virgin. As the procession reached the bridge across the Tiber, the singing of angels was heard. Suddenly Gregory saw an apparition of a gigantic archangel, Michael, descending upon the mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian. In his right hand, Michael held a sword, which he thrust into its scabard. Gregory took the vision as an omen that the plague would stop, which it did, and so he renamed the mausoleum the Castel Sant' Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel) in Michael's honor.

Avranches, France, 708 A.D.

In France, Saint Michael is the patron of mariners. His statue atop Mont Saint-Michel on the Normandy coast is visible far out to sea. In the year 708 the archangel is said to have appeared to St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches, three times in the bishop's dreams. Each time he commanded Aubert to erect a monastery on a rocky outcrop that rose from the sea a mile off the beach. Aubert obeyed: the site was named Mont-Saint-Michel and the famous sanctuary was built there. Inspired by this famous sight twelve centuries later, Henry Adams wrote in his best-selling book "Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres," that "the Archangel loved heights. Standing on the summit of the tower that crowned his church, wings upspread, sword uplifted, the devil crawling beneath, and the cock, symbol of eternal vigilance, perched on his mailed foot, Saint Michael held a place of his own in heaven and on earth. . . . His place was where the danger was greatest."

Monte Pirchiriano, Italy, 987 A.D.

Just east of Turin, high above an Alpine pass connecting Italy and France, sits a Benedictine abbey known as “La Sacra di San Michele, una abbazia costruita dagli angeli” (“Consecrated by Saint Michael, an abbey made by angels”). The abbey is built around a church which was built around three ancient chapels atop Monte Pirchiriano. The church was built in 987 A.D. by Saint Giovanni Vincenzo after a dream in which Michael and other angels appeared, asking him to build a church and marking its location with a vision of flames on the summit of the mountain (hence the mountain's name, Pirchiriano, meaning “the Lord’s fire”). According to local legend, the first chapel on the site was built into the rock by Michael and his angels around 400 A.D. and the other two chapels were added soon thereafter.

France, 1429

In Fifteenth Century France, Joan of Arc was inspired and urged on to otherwise impossible feats by "voices" coming out of a blaze of light which she identified as those of St. Michael and other angels and saints. It was in vain that she resisted them, saying: "I am a poor girl; I do not know how to ride or fight." The voices only reiterated: "It is God who commands it." She went into battle and was supposedly guided by Michael in her brilliant campaign against the English during the Hundred Years' War.

Mexico, 1631

In April, 1631, Saint Michael visited Tlaxcala, Mexico. On three separate occasions he appeared there to a local Indian, Diego Lazaro by name, and commanded him to "Make my message known." The message was an announcement of a new spring of water, infused and aglow with the "virtue of God." The story handed down to us tells that Diego overcame his initial reticence with difficulty and finally carried out the angel's request. The water soon became famous for its miraculous curative powers. Pilgrims still visit this holy water well, and the statue of Saint Michael, both of which are located at the basilica in the Nativitas district of San Miguel del Milagro (Saint Michael's Miracle), about 40 miles east of Mexico City.

The Vatican, 1884

One day, after celebrating Mass, the aged Pope Leo XIII was in conference with the Cardinals when suddenly he sank to the floor in a deep swoon. Physicians who hastened to his side could find no trace of his pulse and feared that he had expired. However, after a short interval the Holy Father regained consciousness and exclaimed with great emotion: "Oh, what a horrible picture I have been permitted to see!" He had been shown a vision of the activities of evil spirits and their efforts against the Church. But in the midst of the horror the archangel Michael appeared and cast Satan and his legions into the abyss of hell. Soon afterwards the pope composed the following prayer to Saint Michael:

Latin: Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae coelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute, in infernum detrude.

English: St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

Photograph of Archangel Michael Copyright 2010 Loci B. Lenar

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Call for Peaceful Coexistence Between Christians and Muslims

Cardinal Bertone calls for religious freedom and respect for human rights in Arab countries

The following article appeared on the Catholic News Agency (CNA):

Rome, Italy, Dec 12, 2009 - In what constitutes the first interview for a documentary on the Vatican produced by the Al Jazeera network in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, encouraged the fostering of religious freedom and respect for human rights in Arab countries, especially in the Middle East.

According to L'Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Bertone explained that dialogue between Catholics and Muslims is an "important factor for peace and respect.” He also encouraged "a peaceful coexistence of all with all," explaining that the Church "defends the rights of all: the right to live, the right to education, the right of association, the rights of all minorities."

In that sense, he said, "it is necessary to ensure freedom to worship for everyone, dialoguing and working together to help those who are most in need." "The Church,” he added, "promotes the welfare of peoples regardless of their religion." Given that fact, he urged the defense of minorities, especially Christians "who are in Muslim countries,” a task that "we must pursue together."

Cardinal Bertone went on to discuss his telephone conversation with the Patriarch of Baghdad, Cardinal Emmanuel Delly, after the terrible attacks that hit the offices of the Chaldean Patriarchate, among other areas.

Addressing the people of the Middle East, the Cardinal urged "Arab Christians to stay, because they play a positive role, although some may make mistakes." This is an issue that is often raised when policy makers from the region visit the Vatican, he said.

The Al Jazeera Documentary

The new documentary, which is intended to show the reality of the Vatican to the Muslim world and will be broadcast by in six months, also includes interviews with several cardinals. Among those prelates are: Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Academy for Vita.

According Kenawi Mohamed, Cardinal Bertone's interviewer, "the decision to make the documentary stems from the desire to make known the universal reality of the Catholic Church and the Vatican to the Arab and Muslim world, in particular the Vatican, an independent entity guided by the pope, who is both a spiritual leader and head of state."

Kenawi said the documentary, which has been well received by members of the Roman Curia, "can serve to help the Arab world better understand the figure of the pope and the role of the Holy See in the current international scenario.”

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI establishes structure for Anglicans uniting with Rome

The following story by Cindy Wooden appears on the Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has established a special structure for Anglicans who want to be in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church while preserving aspects of their Anglican spiritual and liturgical heritage, said U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada.

The cardinal, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said a new apostolic constitution would establish "personal ordinariates" -- similar to dioceses -- to oversee the pastoral care of those who want to bring elements of their Anglican identity into the Catholic Church with them.

Anglican priests who are married may be ordained Catholic priests, but married Anglican bishops will not be able to function as Catholic bishops in keeping with the long-standing Catholic and Orthodox tradition of ordaining only unmarried clergy as bishops, Cardinal Levada said.

The cardinal announced the new arrangement at a press conference Oct. 20 at the Vatican. He said the pope's apostolic constitution and norms for implementing it were undergoing final revisions and would be published in a couple of weeks.

In establishing the new jurisdictions, Pope Benedict is responding to "many requests" submitted by individual Anglicans and by Anglican groups -- including "20 to 30 bishops" -- asking to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, the cardinal said.

At the same time, Cardinal Levada said the new provision does not weaken the commitment of the Vatican to promoting Christian unity, but is a recognition that many Anglicans share the Catholic faith and that Anglicans have a spiritual and liturgical life worth preserving.

"It has always been the principal aim -- the principal aim -- to achieve the full, visible unity" of the Catholic Church and Anglican Communion, the cardinal said.

But given recent changes within many Anglican provinces with the ordination of women priests and bishops and the acceptance of homosexuality in some areas, the prospect of full unity "seemed to recede," he said.

The church recognizes and welcomes those Anglicans who fully share the Catholic faith, agree with the Catholic view that only men can be ordained priests and recognize the role of the bishop of Rome -- the pope -- as the sign and guarantor of church unity, he said.

At a press conference in London Oct. 20, Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, head of the Anglican Communion, and Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, issued a joint statement saying the new provisions are a recognition of "the substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition."

"Without the dialogues of the past 40 years, this recognition would not have been possible, nor would hopes for full visible unity have been nurtured," the two leaders said.

Archbishop Williams told reporters that some members of the Church of England are uneasy about positions their church is taking, yet they would not want to become Roman Catholic.

"This will not resolve their challenges, and we in the Church of England have to continue to engage with that," he said.

Cardinal Levada told reporters he met personally Oct. 19 with Archbishop Williams, who had been told about the new arrangement a month earlier.

In a letter to top Anglican leaders, Archbishop Williams said, "In the light of recent discussions with senior officials in the Vatican, I can say that this new possibility is in no sense at all intended to undermine existing relations between our two communions or to be an act of proselytism or aggression. It is described as simply a response to specific inquiries from certain Anglican groups and individuals wishing to find their future within the Roman Catholic Church."

"For those who wish to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church in the near future, this announcement will clarify possible options, and we wish them God's strength and guidance in their discernment," the Anglican leader said.

Cardinal Levada also said Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, had been informed about the pope's decision.

Asked Oct. 15 about the possible entrance of groups of former Anglicans into the Catholic Church, Cardinal Kasper said, "We are not fishing in the Anglican lake; proselytism is not the policy of the Catholic Church. But if there are people who, obeying their consciences, want to become Catholic, we cannot shut the door."

U.S. Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and former undersecretary of the doctrinal congregation, spoke at the press conference with Cardinal Levada.

"We have been praying for unity for 40 years. We find now that the prayers we have had are being answered in a way that we did not anticipate. So the Holy Spirit is at work here and the Holy See cannot not respond," the archbishop said.

In 1993 the Catholic bishops of England and Wales asked the Vatican not to implement special structures for former Anglicans in their country, saying that the formation of Anglican-identity Catholic parishes would only further fracture the Christian community and would make the eventual unity of the Catholic Church and Anglican Communion more difficult.

Participants in the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue also have expressed concern in the past that the movement of Catholics to the Anglican Communion is making the Anglican Communion more liberal, while the movement of Anglicans to the Catholic Church is making the Catholic community more conservative.

Archbishop Di Noia said, "The ecumenical movement has changed. There has been a tremendous shift" in the prospects for full, complete union.

Many Anglicans already consider themselves to be Catholic, Archbishop Di Noia said, and the pope's new initiative will make "explicit the bond that is already implicit."

In 1980 the Vatican made a special pastoral provision for members of the Episcopal Church, the U.S. province of the Anglican Communion, who wanted to become Catholic after the Episcopalians began ordaining women priests. The provision included permission for entire parishes of former Episcopalians to use elements of their liturgy in the Catholic Mass.

Archbishop Di Noia said only a handful of parishes took advantage of that special permission, and in 2003 the Vatican approved "The Book of Divine Worship" for their liturgical use.

But he said many of those now seeking communion with Rome wanted a stronger affirmation of their Anglican heritage and a guarantee that it would continue to have a place in the Catholic Church, which is why the pope ordered the establishment of personal ordinariates.

The number of ordinariates and their headquarters will be determined by the number of Anglicans seeking full communion, Cardinal Levada said. The head of each ordinariate will be a former Anglican clergyman, who will not necessarily be ordained a Catholic bishop.

New priests for the ordinariates will study in seminaries with other Catholic seminarians, but an ordinariate can "establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony," Cardinal Levada said.

In general, married Anglican priests and bishops who become Catholic will be ordained Catholic priests, as will married Anglican seminarians, he said.

But an unmarried man ordained a Catholic priest will not be permitted to marry, and the pope's apostolic constitution will state a clear preference for a celibate clergy, Archbishop Di Noia said.

Cardinal Levada told reporters that he realizes "for some people it seems to be a problem" that the Vatican is allowing married former Anglicans to be ordained Catholic priests, but will not allow Catholic priests who have left to marry to return to ministry.

"They are two different circumstances," the cardinal said. Respecting "the authenticity of the call to service" of Anglican clergy who were married when they came to the decision to become Catholic is different from the case of "a Catholic who knowingly commits to a celibate priesthood and then decides for different reasons to leave the priesthood for married life."

"I do not think it is an insurmountable problem," Cardinal Levada said, adding that the church needs to educate Catholics that the dispensation for former Anglican clergy is an exception and that the church continues to uphold the virtue of celibacy.


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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vatican probe next after Diocese of Metuchen reviews possible miracle

Mother Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory
(Diocese of Metuchen)

Vatican probe next after Diocese of Metuchen reviews possible miracle /
The following article from is written by Jeff Grant:
PISCATAWAY — The path to possible sainthood for a Carmelite nun whose case was investigated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen now heads to the Vatican.

A 20-minute ceremony inside the St. John Neumann Pastoral Center at diocesan headquarters formally concluded the local inquiry Monday. The case involving Mother Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory next will be reviewed by the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

"I'm pleased that the investigation was completed within four months," said Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski. "We were honored to be asked by the Vatican to investigate the possible miracle," Bootkoski added.

The case in question involves a family in the general diocesan area who has not been identified for reasons of privacy, according to diocesan spokeswoman Joanne Ward. The diocese includes parishes in Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren counties.

The family had prayed to McCrory — the foundress of The Carmelite Sisters For the Aged and Infirm in Germantown, N.Y. — to intercede with God after their unborn child was diagnosed with a genetic abnormality. When the baby was born, the defect was not present in the degree that it had been expected. The miracle and the birth occurred in the Diocese of Oakland, Calif., although few other details, including the date of the birth as well as when the family first prayed, were unavailable Monday.

McCrory was considered a woman of great faith, and spent her life caring for the elderly and ailing in long-term care facilities operated by the order, which runs 17 facilities around the country. She died in 1984 at age 91.

The diocese's review of the case, begun in May, involved interviews with doctors and other witnesses, including people who knew the medical facts of the case and people who prayed for the miracle, according to Lori Albanese, chancellor of the diocese and notary of the investigation. A total of 10 to 15 individuals were interviewed in all, Albanese said.

"We were very pleased with the quality of testimony," she said. "The witnesses were very accessible."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Miracle Approved for Newman Beatification

Excerpt of article by Peter Jennings from Independent Catholic News (ICN):

The miracle necessary for the beatification of the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman the best-known English churchman in Victorian England, has been approved by the Cardinals of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, writes Peter Jennings

Jack Sullivan, aged 70, who lives with his wife Carol in Marshfield, near Boston, Massachusetts, was cured of an extremely serious spinal disorder on 15 August 2001, the Solemnity of the Assumption, after his intense intercession to Cardinal Newman.

The Congregation is now working on the document including a résumé of the life of Cardinal Newman and the miraculous cure attributed to him of Jack Sullivan, a Permanent Deacon from the Archdiocese of Boston.

When completed, this will be taken by the Perfect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato, to Pope Benedict XVI who alone has the authority to promulgate the decree.

The Pope, who is taking a personal interest in the Cause, was first introduced to the theology of Cardinal Newman as a young seminary student in Germany in January 1946.

Beatification come from beatus, a Latin word meaning happy, blessed, holy. Beatification is an act by which the Catholic Church, through an official decree by the Pope, permits public veneration under the title Blessed of a dead person whose life is marked by holiness and the heroic practice of the virtues.

This correspondent was able to give the joyful news of the miracle by telephone to Deacon Jack Sullivan at his home on 13 June. Asked for this initial impressions upon receiving the news of the favorable recommendation of the cardinals, he responded by email 24 hours later: "When I first learned of the favorable recommendation of the Cardinals and bishops comprising the congregation for the Causes of Saints, I felt a sense of awe and immense gratitude to God and Cardinal Newman.”

Deacon Sullivan emphasised: "If it wasn't for Cardinal Newman's intercession when experiencing extremely severe spinal problems, it would have been virtually impossible to complete my diaconate formation and be ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston. Nor would I have been able to continue in my chosen profession as a magistrate in our court system to support my family."

He continued: "My fervent desire to give all that I have in my parish ministry at both St Thecla's parish in Pembroke, Massachusetts, and my prison ministry at the House of Correction in Plymouth, Massachusetts, best expresses the intense appreciation I have for God's gift and Cardinal Newman, who directs my efforts."

"I have developed a very real relationship with Cardinal Newman in frequent prayer and I try to pass on what marvelous gifts I have received to those I meet."

"Secondly, when receiving the news, I felt a very deep sense of the reality of God's love for each one of us especially during times of immense difficulties and suffering."

Deacon Sullivan added: "I realise that indeed there is such a thing as the Communion of Saints and a place of perfect peace which God has prepared for each one of us. As the kindly light of truth guided the life of Newman amidst unspeakable challenges in his world, so too I feel the same sense of direction when reflecting on these awesome gifts by realising that God dispenses His favour especially on the lowly and those who are ordinary as beautifully described in our Lady’s praises in her Magnificat."

To read complete article, please visit the following link: Newman Beatification

Friday, April 03, 2009

Wheelchair-boy 'miraculously walks again' at memorial visit to tomb of Pope John Paul II | Mail Online

The following excerpt is reprinted from Mail Online of a miracle being reported as connected to Pope John Paul II:

A child crippled by a kidney tumour was able to walk again after praying at the tomb of Pope John Paul II on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the late pontiff's death, it was claimed last night.

The nine-year-old Polish boy was brought to St Peter's Basilica on a pilgrimage to the grave of the Polish pope who died on April 2, 2005.

Last night Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the former private secretary of Pope John Paul, said that after praying at the tomb in the crypt of the Rome basilica he 'suddenly' started walking again.

Please visit the following link for the complete story: Wheelchair-boy Miraculously Walks Again

Thursday, April 02, 2009

'Miracle' Recovery of Man from Gunshot Wound Reported by ABC News

A Rosary blessed by Pope John Paul II is being attributed to the miraculous recovery of Jory Aebly from a gunshot wound to the head.

Shortly after the shooting of February 21, 2009, hospital chaplain, Father Art Snedeker, gave Jory Aebly the rosary. In a press conference, Father Snedeker said "The first night that Jory arrived and I performed the sacrament of the sick, I also asked asked Pope John Paul to pray for Jory and to protect him." Through intercessory prayer, it is believed that Pope John Paul II was helpful in Jory's recovery. Jory also gives credit to family members and everyone that prayed for him.

The Vatican is said to be investigating cases of miracles that are connected to Pope John Paul II since his passing. The Vatican is also considering possible Sainthood for Pope John Paul by examining various stories of reported miracles according to ABC News.

Hebrews 13:7 states, "Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith."

With respect to Pope John Paul II, I am reminded of Wisdom 3: 7 and 9, which states, "In time of their visitation, they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble. Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love; Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with the elect."

For additional details regarding the recovery of Jory Aebly, please visit the following link: Vatican Investigates 'Miracle' Recovery of Man