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Vol. 1, No.

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Sep-Oct 2006
AVE CRUX,
SPES UNICA!
T
The Pure Delight of the Angels
he angels, since their crea-
tion, knew the future mys-
tery of Mary and always
reverenced her as their Queen. One
can easily envisage their enthu-
siasm at seeing the brilliance of this
Morning Star and knowing that
they would become the messengers
of her graces and the missionaries
of her mercy. Ah! Just as they into-
ned hymns of joy over the poor sta-
ble in Bethlehem would they not
also have rejoiced upon seeing the
dawn of liberation through that
heavenly cloud which would
bring forth the Just one?
Our Lady
and St Anne,
Archdiocesan
Museum of
Cuzco, Peru
Fr. Thibaud
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Vol. 1, No. 1 Sep-Oct 2006
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PES U
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C
ontent
S
HERALDS

OF THE

GOSPEL
An International Association
of Pontifical Right
A bimonthly magazine of the
Vol. 1, No. 1, September-October 2006
Editor:
Fr. Timothy Joseph Ring
Editorial Board:
Luis Blanco, Juliane Campos,
Mariana Morazzani, Severiano de
Oliveira, Guy de Ridder
Published by:
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Our Readers Write ......................................................................................................... 4
Ave Crux! (Editorial) ..................................................................................................... 5
The Voice of the Pope ..................................................................................................... 6
Bartimaeus and those blind to God! ...................................................................... 10
In hoc signo vinces ....................................................................................................... 17
The true Sanctuary of the Cross of Christ ................................................................. 24
Heralds Worldwide ...................................................................................................... 26
St. Benedict Joseph Labre: The Vagabond of Christ ............................................. 30
Interview: The Charism of St. Benedict at the tomb of St. Paul ............................. 33
A Word from our Pastors ............................................................................................ 36
Church and World News ............................................................................................. 40
A Story of Faith for Children: The Monk with the Blind Eye ................................ 46
The Saints on each Day ............................................................................................... 48
Authority is a Cross! ................................................................................................... 50
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was the main attraction
for the young participants of the Fifth International Congress of the
feminine branch of the Heralds of the Gospel
H
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The Victory
Cross, in the
Basilica of
Covadonga,
Spain
(Photo by
T. Ring)
OUR READERS WRITE
4 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
WELL PRODUCED, TOPICS
WELL SELECTED
I wish to thank you for the Heralds
of the Gospel Magazine which has been
sent to me so regularly. It is a very well-
produced magazine, with carefully cho-
sen articles and information about your
various activities in the places where
you are established. With my blessing,
I remain, a servant in Christ Our Lord
and the Most Holy Virgin.
Emlio Carlos Berlie Belauzarn,
Archbishop of Yucatn (Mexico)
MY LIFE HAS CHANGED
You cant imagine my joy when I
check my mail box and see that my
magazine has arrived! It is a thera-
py for me to read the articles, prayers
and testimonies. Ever since I began
receiving it my life has changed. May
God bless all of you and may the Ho-
ly Spirit enlighten all those involved
in this divine work.
Irene Bastos,
So Paulo (Brazil)
PROFOUND SPIRITUAL BENEFIT
Each time the magazine arrives at
my house there is a competition over
who will read it first. My daughter
wants to read the childrens story; my
husband is more interested in the Gos-
pel commentary and the Popes state-
ments; I prefer the lives of the saints.
I am really happy to be receiving this
magazine which is so profound and of-
fers such spiritual benefit. Thank you!
Maria Paola P.,
Milan (Italy)
FROM HOLLAND
My cousin, who lives in Scotland,
introduced me to your magazine. I
would like to receive it monthly, if
possible. I live in Holland and I am
sending my address for this purpose. I
will be anxiously awaiting your reply.
Paola Taglialatela
(Holland)
AN AID IN PREACHING
I am a priest from the Diocese of
Passo Fundo. I am the pastor of two
parishes; I assist in hearing confes-
sions at Our Lady Aparecida Ca-
thedral, and serve as a judge at the
Northern Interdiocesan Court of Rio
Grande do Sul. I enjoy the issues of
the Heralds of the Gospel Magazine.
Its articles have served as a preaching
aid for celebrations. May you contin-
ue your good work. I pray tirelessly
that the Holy Spirit ever enlightens
you so that you may remain firm in
the holy commitment of evangeliza-
tion through social communication.
Fr. Rodimar Mascarello,
Passo Fundo (Brazil)
A WEALTH OF MATERIAL
FOR FORMATION
I want to congratulate you for the ar-
ticles contained in this marvelous mag-
azine. They are truly well prepared,
replete with facts about our Catholic
Church, and constitute a wealth of ma-
terial for my formation. Keep up the
evangelizing work through this impor-
tant means of outreach.
Jorge Taboada,
Assuncin (Paraguay)
A NEEDED COUNTER-BALANCE
TO DISCOURAGING INFORMATION
AND PERSPECTIVES
This magazine is really excellent and
very inspiring; it is a necessary counter-
balance to the widespread discourag-
ing information and perspectives one is
obliged to live with, when God calls us
to the evangelizing mission.
Margarida Hulshof,
Holambra (Brazil)
FIDELITY TO THE CHURCH
We thank you wholeheartedly
for sending the Heralds Magazine
which we appreciate so much. It is
comforting to find such a high-lev-
el publication that is faithful to the
Church and contains such profound
and instructive articles. We consid-
er the Heralds of the Gospel to be
the miracle of our times. They must
be of great comfort to the heart
of the Holy Father. And they are
messengers of hope in these times
which are so difficult for the life of
faith, for the preservation of mor-
als and the salvaging of so many
values. The Heralds give testimony
to an unshakable authenticity, es-
tablished on the firm Rock which is
Jesus Christ, along with Mary and
the Pope. We admiringly read eve-
rything printed in the magazine.
We must give thanks to the Lord
for this evangelizing work. With a
courage which comes from the Ho-
ly Spirit, the Heralds are saving so
many values that we must protect
from empty modernism thanks
be to God and to the Immaculate
Heart of Mary!
The Discalced Carmelite Nuns,
Uberaba (Brazil)
EAGER TO HELP WITH DISTRIBUTION
I was very pleased to receive
the Heralds of the Gospel Maga-
zine since I really enjoy reading ep-
isodes from the lives of the saints,
matters linked to Catholic doctrine,
the Popes teachings, and the lat-
est Church news. I wish much suc-
cess in the spreading of this maga-
zine throughout our country, and I
want to help in its widespread distri-
bution above all to school librar-
ies, prisons, the more needy parish-
es, or to young people lacking the
means acquire it.
Maria Lusa M. F. P.,
Marrazes (Portugal)
N
Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 5
E
ditorial
AVE
CRUX!
either human nor angelic imagination could conceive of a
more fitting means to redeem us and make reparation for our
sins than the death of Christ on the cross.
What riches we behold in meditating upon the cross! As
Jesus made His way towards Calvary bearing the cross up-
on His shoulders He encountered the weeping women and said to them: For
if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry? (Lc
23:31).
Clearly, if He who is God and supreme master, model and mediator em-
braced the Cross and raised it to His shoulders, how can we sinners refuse it?
We are all convinced of these realities from a merely speculative viewpoint.
What remains, is for us to put theory into practice; that is, observe it in the ac-
tual situations of our life. If any man would come after me, let him () take up
his cross and follow me (Mt 16:24).
Jesus could have worked a miracle and summoned the angels to assist Him
in visible or invisible form; however He preferred the aid of a Cyrenian, a hu-
man being like us. The fortunate Simon proved himself a worthy follower of
Jesus by corresponding to the Saviours utterance: Whoever does not bear his
own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple (Lk 14:27).
The desire to fulfill the will of the Father is manifested in the Way of the
Cross for I always do what is pleasing to him (Jn 8:29) not just on the
part of the Son of God, but also on behalf of humanity represented by the
Cyrenian. He was the fist to embrace the cross with Christ opening the way
for all of us.
How difficult it is, however, to imitate the Cyrenian! Jesus has many lov-
ers of His heavenly kingdom, but few cross-bearers, states the celebrated Im-
itation of Christ. It continues: Many desire His consolation, but few His trib-
ulation. () They who love Jesus purely for Himself and not for their own
sake bless Him in all trouble and anguish as well as in time of consolation.
Even if He never sent them consolation, they would still praise Him and give
thanks. (Book Two, Chap. 11).
Truly, it is not easy to carry our cross, but it is made possible by the grace of
God and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. She bore her own cross by not
hesitating to accompany her Son along the Via Crucis and by not abandon-
ing Him when He reached Calvary. She is for us much more than the Cyreni-
an was for Jesus: she is ever at our side to help us.
*
We unveil the first English edition of our magazine as yet another instru-
ment of evangelization at the disposal of the vast following of members As-
sociates, Companions, Supporters and friends of the Heralds of the Gos-
pel around the world. Launched in Brazil in January 2002, the magazine is al-
so available in Italian, Portuguese and Spanish and has a monthly readership
of around 600,000 subscribers in 30 countries.
We place this English edition under the protection of the Blessed Virgin
Mary, our Lady and Mother, asking that it fulfill its role and ever flourish.
6 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
The Voice of the Pope
EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW AT CASTEL GANDOLFO, AUGUST 5, 2006
In Conversation with
Pope Benedict XVI
The warmth of a pleasant conversation and the profound thought of
a great theologian united in an interview of the Pope with Vatican
Radio and German media, as part of preparations for the Holy Fathers
Apostolic Trip to Bavaria.
How do you see the present
situation of the Catholic
Church in Germany?
Benedict XVI - I would say, first of
all, that Germany is part of the West,
with its own characteristic color-
ing obviously, and that in the West-
ern world today we are experiencing
a wave of new and drastic enlighten-
ment or secularization, whatever you
like to call it. It has become more dif-
ficult to believe because the world in
which we find ourselves is complete-
ly made up of ourselves and God, so
to speak, does not appear directly
anymore. We do not drink from the
source anymore, but from the ves-
sel which is offered to us already full,
and so on. Humanity has rebuilt the
world by itself and finding God inside
this world has become more difficult.
This is not specific to Germany: it is
something thats valid throughout the
world, especially in the West.
Then again, today the West is be-
ing strongly influenced by other cul-
tures in which the original religious
element is very powerful. These cul-
tures are horrified when they expe-
rience the Wests coldness towards
God. This presence of the sacred
in other cultures, even if often veiled,
touches the Western world again;
it touches us at the crossroads of so
many cultures.
The quest for something bigger
wells up again from the depths of West-
ern people and in Germany. We see
how in young people there is the search
for something more, we see how the
religious phenomenon is returning, as
they say; even if it is a search that is
rather indefinite. But with all this the
Church is present once more and faith
is offered as the answer.
I think that this Visit, like the Vis-
it to Cologne, is an opportunity for
us to see that believing is beautiful,
that the joy of a huge universal com-
munity possesses a transcendental
strength, that behind this belief lies
something important and that to-
gether with the new searching move-
ments there are also new outlets for
the faith that lead us from one to the
other and that are also positive for
society as a whole.
A question about the situation
regarding foreign politics in
the Middle East: () What do
you see as the Holy Sees role
in relationship to the present
situation? What positive influences
can you have on the situation, on
developments in the Middle East?
Benedict XVI - Of course we
have no political influence and we
dont do not want any political pow-
er. But we do want to appeal to all
Christians and to all those who feel
touched by the words of the Holy
See, to help mobilize all the forces
that recognize how war is the worst
solution for all sides. It brings no
good to anyone, not even to the ap-
parent victors. We understand this
very well in Europe, after the two
world wars. Everyone needs peace.
There is a strong Christian commu-
nity in Lebanon, there are Christians
among the Arabs, there are Chris-
tians in Israel. Christians throughout
the world are committed to helping
these countries that are dear to all of
us. There are moral forces at work
that are ready to help people under-
stand how the only solution is for all
of us to live together. These are the
forces we want to mobilize: it is up
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Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 7
to politicians to find a way to let this
happen as soon as possible and, es-
pecially, to make it last.
A month ago you were in
Valencia for the World Meeting
of Families. Anyone who was
listening carefully () noticed
how you never mentioned the
words homosexual marriage,
you never spoke about abortion, or
about contraception. () Clearly
your idea is to go around the
world preaching the faith rather
than as an apostle of morality.
What are your comments?
Benedict XVI - Obviously, yes. Ac-
tually I should say I had only two op-
portunities to speak for 20 minutes.
And when you have so little time you
cannot immediately begin with no.
Firstly we have to know what we real-
ly want, right? Christianity, Catholi-
cism, is not a collection of prohibi-
tions: it is a positive option. It is very
important that we look at it again be-
cause this idea has almost completely
disappeared today. We have heard so
much about what is not allowed that
now it is time to say: we have a posi-
tive idea to offer, that man and wom-
an are made for each other, that the
scale of sexuality, eros, agape, indi-
cates the level of love and it is in this
way that marriage develops, first of
all, as a joyful and blessing-filled en-
counter between a man and a wom-
an, and then the family, that guaran-
tees continuity among generations
and through which generations are
reconciled to each other and even
cultures can meet.
So, firstly it is important to stress
what we want. Secondly, we can al-
so see why we do not want some
things. I believe we need to see
and reflect on the fact that it is not
a Catholic invention that man and
woman are made for each other so
that humanity can go on living: all
cultures know this.
As far as abortion is concerned, it
is part of the fifth, not the sixth, com-
mandment: You shall not kill!. We
have to presume this is obvious and
always stress that the human person
begins in the mothers womb and re-
mains a human person until his or her
last breath. The human person must
always be respected as a human per-
son. But all this is clearer if you say it
first in a positive way.
Throughout the world
believers are waiting
for the Catholic Church
to answer the most
urgent global problems,
such as AIDS and
overpopulation. Why
does the Catholic
Church pay so much
attention to moral issues
rather than suggesting
concrete solutions to
these problems that are
so crucial to humanity,
in Africa, for example?
Benedict XVI - So that
is the problem: do we re-
ally pay so much attention
to moral issues? I think
I am more and more
convinced after my con-
versations with the Afri-
can bishops that the basic ques-
tion, if we want to move ahead in
this field, is about education, forma-
tion. Progress becomes true progress
only if it serves the human person
and if the human person grows: not
only in terms of his or her technical
power, but also in his or her mor-
al awareness. I believe that the re-
al problem of our historical moment
lies in the imbalance between the in-
credibly fast growth of our technical
power and that of our moral capac-
ity, which has not grown in propor-
tion. That is why the formation of
the human person is the true recipe,
the key to it all, I would say, and this
is what the Church proposes. ()
Christianity has spread around the
world starting from Europe. Now
many people think that the future
of the Church is to be found in
other continents. Is that true? ()
Benedict XVI - I would like to in-
troduce a few subtleties. It is true, as
we know, that Christianity began in
the Near East. And for a long time its
main development continued there.
Then it spread in Asia, much more
than what we think today after the
On August 5, Benedict XVI was interviewed by the television channels ARD,
ZDF, Deutsche Welle, Bayerischer Rundfunk, and Vatican Radio at his summer
residence at Castel Gandolfo
8 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
changes brought about by Islam. Pre-
cisely for this reason its axis moved
noticeably towards the West and Eu-
rope. Europe we are proud and
pleased to say so further devel-
oped Christianity in its broader intel-
lectual and cultural dimensions. But
I think it is important to remind our-
selves about the Eastern Christians
because there is the present dan-
ger of them emigrating, these Chris-
tians who have always been an impor-
tant minority living in a fruitful rela-
tionship with the surrounding reali-
ty. There is a great danger that these
places where Christianity had its ori-
gins will be left without Christians. I
think we need to help them a lot so
that they can stay.
But getting back to your question:
Europe definitely became the cent-
er of Christianity and its missionary
movement. Today, other continents
and other cultures play with equal
importance in the concert of world
history. In this way the number of
voices in the Church grows, and this
is a good thing. It is good that dif-
ferent temperaments can express
themselves, the special gifts of Afri-
ca, Asia and America, Latin Ameri-
ca in particular. Of course, they are
all touched not only by the word of
Christianity, but by the secular mes-
sage of this world that carries to oth-
er continents the disruptive forces
we have already experienced. All the
Bishops from different parts of the
world say: we still need Europe, even
if Europe is only a part of a greater
whole. We still carry the responsibil-
ity that comes from our experiences,
from the science and technology that
was developed here, from our litur-
gical experience, to our traditions,
the ecumenical experiences we have
accumulated: all this is very impor-
tant for the other continents too. So
it is important that today we do not
give up, feeling sorry for ourselves
and saying: Look at us, we are just
a minority, let us at least try and pre-
serve our small number!. We have
to keep our dynamism alive, open re-
lationships of exchange, so that new
strength for us comes from there.
Today there are Indian and African
priests in Europe, even in Canada,
where many African priests work;
it is interesting. There is this recip-
rocal give and take. But if in the fu-
ture we receive more , we also need
to continue giving with courage and
with growing dynamism.
You will be turning 80 soon. Do you
think that, with Gods grace, youll
be able to make many more trips?
Do you have any idea of where
youd like to go? To the Holy Land,
or Brazil? Do you know already?
Benedict XVI - () I have to say
that I have never felt strong enough to
plan many long trips. But where such
Journeys allow me to communicate
a message or where, shall I say, they
are in response to a sincere request, I
would like to go, with the right dos-
age of Journeys that are possible for
me. Some are already planned: next
year there is the meeting of the Lat-
in American Episcopal Council, CE-
LAM, in Brazil, and I think that be-
ing there is an important step in the
context of what Latin America is liv-
ing so intensely, to strengthen the
hope which is so alive in that part of
the world. Then I would like to vis-
it the Holy Land, and I hope to visit
it at a time of peace. For the rest, we
will see what Providence has in store
for me.
Recently there has been talk of a
new fascination with Catholicism.
What is the attraction and the
future of this ancient institution?
Benedict XVI - I would say that
the entire Pontificate of John Paul II
drew peoples attention and brought
them together. What happened at
the time of his death remains some-
thing historically very special: how
hundreds of thousands of people
flowed towards St Peters Square in
an orderly fashion, stood for hours,
and while they should have collapsed,
they resisted as if moved by an inner
strength. Then we relived the experi-
ence on the occasion of the inaugu-
ration of my Pontificate and again in
Cologne. It is very beautiful when the
experience of community becomes an
experience of faith at the same time;
when the experience of communion
does not happen just anywhere but
that this experience becomes more
alive and gives to Catholicism its lu-
minous intensity right there in the
places of the faith. Of course, this
has to continue in everyday life. The
two must go together. On one hand,
the great moments during which one
feels how good it is to be there, that
the Lord is present and that we form
a great community reconciled beyond
all boundaries. From here we get the
impetus to resist during the tiring pil-
grimage of everyday existence, to
live starting from these bright points
and turning towards them, knowing
how to invite others to join our pil-
grim community. I would like to take
this opportunity to say: I blush when
I think of all the preparations that
are made for my Visit, for everything
that people do. My house was freshly
painted, a professional school redid
the fence. The Evangelical professor
helped to do the fence. And these are
just small details but they are a sign
of the many things that are done. I
find all of this extraordinary, and I
dont think its for me, but rather a
sign of wanting to be part of this faith
community and to serve one another.
Demonstrating this solidarity means
letting ourselves be inspired by the
Lord. It is something that touches me
and Id like to express my gratitude
with all my heart.
(The Popes interview with Bayer-
ische Rundfunk, Deutsche Welle,
ARD, ZDF and Vatican Radio was
held at Castel Gandolfo on August
5, 2006. The entire English version
is available at http://212.77.1.245/
news_services/bulletin/news/18681.
php?index=18681&lang=it)
All rights to the pontifical documents reserved by Libreria Editrice
Vaticana. Full texts at www.heralds.ca/magazine
W
Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 9
EXCERPT FROM ADDRESS TO ONTARIO BISHOPS DURING THEIR AD LIMINA VISIT
When the Creators divine plan is
ignored the truth of human nature is lost
The Pope addressed Episcopal duties relating to moral problems in dioceses and
encouraged the bishops in their efforts of spreading the message of Gods love.
hen believing is replaced
by doing and witness by
talk of issues, there is an
urgent need to recapture the profound
joy and awe of the first disciples whose
hearts, in the Lords presence, burned
within them impelling them to tell
their story (cf. Lk 24:32; 35).
Today, the impediments to the
spread of Christs Kingdom are expe-
rienced most dramatically in the split
between the Gospel and culture, with
the exclusion of God from the public
sphere. Canada has a well-earned rep-
utation for a generous and practical
commitment to justice and peace, and
there is an enticing sense of vibrancy
and opportunity in your multicultural
cities. At the same time, however, cer-
tain values detached from their mor-
al roots and full significance found in
Christ have evolved in the most dis-
turbing of ways. In the name of toler-
ance your country has had to endure
the folly of the redefinition of spouse,
and in the name of freedom of choice
it is confronted with the daily destruc-
tion of unborn children. When the
Creators divine plan is ignored the
truth of human nature is lost.
False dichotomies are not un-
known within the Christian commu-
nity itself. They are particularly dam-
aging when Christian civic leaders
sacrifice the unity of faith and sanc-
tion the disintegration of reason and
the principles of natural ethics, by
yielding to ephemeral social trends
and the spurious demands of opinion
polls. Democracy succeeds only to the
extent that it is based on truth and a
correct understanding of the human
person. Catholic involvement in po-
litical life cannot compromise on this
principle; otherwise Christian witness
to the splendour of truth in the pub-
lic sphere would be silenced and an
autonomy from morality proclaimed.
In your discussions with politicians
and civic leaders I encourage you to
demonstrate that our Christian faith,
far from being an impediment to dia-
logue, is a bridge, precisely because it
brings together reason and culture.
Within the context of the evange-
lization of culture, I wish to mention
the fine network of Catholic schools
at the heart of ecclesial life in your
Province. Catechesis and religious ed-
ucation is a taxing apostolate. I thank
and encourage those many lay men
and women, together with Religious,
who strive to ensure that your young
people become daily more appreci-
ative of the gift of faith which they
have received. More than ever this
demands that witness, nourished by
prayer, be the all-encompassing mi-
lieu of every Catholic school. Teach-
ers, as witnesses, account for the
hope that nourishes their own lives
(cf. 1 Pt 3:15) by living the truth they
propose to their pupils, always in ref-
erence to the one they have encoun-
tered and whose dependable good-
ness they have sampled with joy. ()
A particularly insidious obstacle to
education today, to which your own
reports attest, is the marked presence
in society of that relativism which, rec-
ognizing nothing as definitive, leaves
as the ultimate criterion only the self
with its desires. Within such a relativ-
istic horizon an eclipse of the sublime
goals of life occurs with a lowering of
the standards of excellence, a timid-
ity before the category of the good,
and a relentless but senseless pur-
suit of novelty parading as the reali-
zation of freedom. Such detrimental
trends point to the particular urgency
of the apostolate of intellectual char-
ity which upholds the essential uni-
ty of knowledge, guides the young to-
wards the sublime satisfaction of ex-
ercising their freedom in relation to
truth, and articulates the relation-
ship between faith and all aspects of
family and civic life. Introduced to
a love of truth, I am confident that
young Canadians will relish exploring
the house of the Lord who enlight-
ens every person who comes into the
world (Jn 1:9) and satisfies every de-
sire of humanity.
10 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
GOSPEL COMMENTARY 30
TH
SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
Bartimaeus and those blind to God!
One who has lost his sight, like the poor Bartimaeus, is to be
pitied. For him, all the marvels created by God remain unseen.
Even more pitiful, however, is the one who has buried his heart
in darkness, rejecting the light of God. For one such
as this the eternal truths do not exist.
46
They reached Jericho; and as he left Jericho wi-
th his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimaeus,
a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by
the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was
Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, Je-
sus, Son of David, have mercy on me! 48 And
many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but
he cried out all the more, Son of David, have
mercy on me! 49 And Jesus stopped and said,
Call him. And they called the blind man, saying
to him, Take courage; rise, he is calling you. 50
And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and ca-
me to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, What do
you want me to do for you? And the blind man
said to him, Lord, let me see again. 52 And Je-
sus said to him, Go your way; your faith has saved
you. And immediately he received his sight and
followed him on the way (Mk 10:46-52)
.
I - THE SACRIFICE OF
CHRIST THE PRIEST
Todays liturgy is presented in a
simple, concise manner, but is none-
theless full of substance, nuance and
meaning. The second reading, for ex-
ample, provides a lofty lookout from
which to admire the marvels chosen
and taken from Scripture for the text
of this Sunday. All of its verses focus
on the high priesthood of Christ.
Etymology of the word priest
There are two etymological sourc-
es for the word priest (sacerdos in
Latin): sacra dos, in other words,
he who gives the sacred; or sac-
ra dans, one who is anointed with a
sacred gift. Both etymologies are
valid, since the priest is an ambas-
sador of God before men and gives
to them sacred things, such as true
doctrine and charity; furthermore,
he divinizes human nature, commu-
nicating grace to it through the sac-
raments. It is incumbent upon him,
additionally, to represent society in
a GOSPEL: THE BLIND MAN OF JERICHO A
Fr. Joo S. Cl Dias
Heralds of the Gospel General President
Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 11
constitutes a priestly prayer
1
. Christ
wanted to assume human nature
bearing in mind the sacrifice of the
Cross, and perpetuates in His resur-
rected state in Heaven the offering
of His holocaust. This is one of the
differences between the priesthood
of Christ and that of priests of the
Old Testament, according to St. Paul:
And to the degree that this happened
not without the taking of an oath
for others became priests without an
oath, but he with an oath, through the
one who said to him: The Lord has
sworn, and he will not repent: You are
a priest forever to that same de-
gree has Jesus (also) become the guar-
antee of an (even) better covenant.
If God chose the
way of sacrifice to
effect Redemption,
he desired that
the Redeemer
be a Priest
Father, continually intercedes for us
through his priestly prayer. He man-
ifests to the Father His desire to save
all of us, presenting as well His as-
sumed human nature, which in itself
its relations with God. In this
case, he offers to God gifts
(prayers, oblations, etc.) and
sacrifices for sins.
This office of giving sa-
cred things, necessarily pre-
supposes that the one who
exercises it out will possess a
special power (sacra dos). If
this power is not bestowed by
God, there is no priesthood.
Priesthood, sacrifice
and redemption
On the other hand, with-
in the redemptive work, God
wanted to make special use of
the means of sacrifice and, for
this reason, the grace of Christ
is priestly. Jesus is Priest as
man, and not as God. St.
Paul affirms in todays second
Reading: Every high priest is
taken from among men and
made their representative before
God, to offer gifts and sacrifices
for sins (Heb. 5:1).
The images of priest and
sacrifice are inseparable. This
reality appears as much in the
New Testament as it does in
the Old. If God chose the way
of sacrifice to effect Redemp-
tion, he desired that the Re-
deemer be a Priest.
Jesus, Priest full of compassion
It is also St. Paul who teaches us:
Therefore, since we have a great high
priest who has passed through the
heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let
us hold fast to our confession. For we
do not have a high priest who is una-
ble to sympathize with our weakness-
es, but one who has similarly been test-
ed in every way, yet without sin (Heb.
4:14-15).
Along with the offering of sacri-
fice, it is also the office of the priest
to intercede for the people, beseech-
ing from God the necessary aid, pro-
tection and pardon. And Jesus, be-
ing seated at the right hand of the
Jesus, who is seated at the right hand of the Father,
continually intercedes for us through his priestly prayer
(Mosaic work, Martorana Church, Palermo, Italy)
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Those priests were many
because they were prevent-
ed by death from remain-
ing in office, but he, be-
cause he remains forever,
has a priesthood that does
not pass away. Therefore,
he is always able to save
those who approach God
through him, since he
lives forever to make inter-
cession for them (Heb.
7:20-25).
St. Thomas Aquinas
raises other solid argu-
ments to prove the divine
grandeur of the priest-
hood of Jesus Christ,
demonstrating how in
Him are fulfilled all the
conditions required for
the plenitude of the
priesthood.
2
He is able to deal pa-
tiently with the ignorant
and erring, St. Paul al-
so tells us in todays sec-
ond Reading (Heb 5:2).
And what would have
been our destiny and fate,
if, having being born in
and inclined toward sin, we had not a
Priest who, while being man is entire-
ly God, to offer for us a salvific sacri-
fice for our redemption?
II THE TERRIBLE
CONSEQUENCES OF SIN
St. Thomas, who never abandons
his serene equilibrium, surpass-
es what could be considered the
boundaries of exaggeration in de-
scribing the terrible effects of sin:
By sinning man departs from the or-
der of reason, and consequently falls
away from the dignity of his man-
hood, insofar as he is naturally free,
and exists for himself, and he falls in-
to the slavish state of the beasts, by
being disposed of according as he is
useful to others. This is expressed in
Ps. 48:21: Man, when he was in hon-
our, did not understand; he hath been
compared to senseless beasts, and
made like to them, and Prov. 11:29:
The fool shall serve the wise.
3
sin is an all out war of
our senses and powers of
soul against our God! The
most powerful of these is
the one which is more in-
clined to betrayals against
its King I confess, Eter-
nal Father, that I have not
kept with care (the pre-
cious jewel of Christ); but
there is still a solution,
Lord, there is always a so-
lution as long as we live in
this exile.
4
This great reformer
of Carmel, who strong-
ly manifests her horror
of sin, writes in anoth-
er of her works: Let us
imagine that God is like
a very large and beautiful
mansion or palace. This
palace, then, as I say, is
God Himself. Now can
the sinner go away from
it in order to commit his
misdeeds? Certainly not,
these abominations and
dishonourable actions
and evil deeds which
we sinners commit are
done within the palace itself that
is, within God. Oh, fearful thought,
worthy of deep consideration and
very profitable for us who are igno-
rant and unable to understand these
truths for if we could understand
them we could not possibly be guilty
of such foolish presumption! Let us
consider, sisters, the great mercy and
long-suffering of God in not casting
us straight into the depths, and let us
render Him the heartiest thanks and
be ashamed of worrying over any-
thing that is done or said against us.
It is the most dreadful thing in the
world that God our Creator should
suffer so many misdeeds to be com-
mitted by His creatures within Him-
self, while we ourselves are some-
times worried about a single word ut-
tered in our absence and perhaps not
even with a wrong intention.
5
And what would
have been our
destiny and fate, if
we had not a Priest
who, while being
man is entirely God?
War against God
These concepts are harmonized
when transposed to the field of mys-
tical spirituality of the great Doctor
of the Church, Saint Teresa of Avi-
la: Oh! We do not understand that
St. Teresa of Avila: Oh! We do not understand
that sin is an all out war of our senses and powers
of soul against our God! (Painting by Zurbaran,
Seville Cathedral, Spain)
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Blindness of soul
Sin is both mysterious and the
cause of multiple effects, one of
which and oh how terrible! is
blindness of soul, well symbolized by
physical loss of vision. The sad situ-
ation of one who cannot see, moves
the heart of the High Priest: He
is able to deal patiently with the ig-
norant and erring (Heb. 5:2); I
will gather them from the ends of the
world, with the blind and the lame in
their midst (Jer. 31:8). This is one of
the aspects of todays two readings,
and more notably, the essence of the
present Gospel.
III THE CURE OF BARTIMAEUS
46
They reached Jericho; and as he
left Jericho with his disciples and
a great multitude, Bartimaeus, a
blind beggar, the son of Timae-
us, was sitting by the roadside.
47

And when he heard that it was Je-
sus of Nazareth, he began to cry
out and say, Jesus, Son of David,
have mercy on me!
According to the narration of St.
Mark, Jesus is travelling toward Je-
rusalem, having left Caesarea Philip-
pi in the north of Galilee. As He nev-
er wasted so much as one second or
opportunity, Jesus makes use of this
journey to instruct His disciples, with
the goal of preparing them for the
great mission that would be theirs
with the founding of the Church.
At the outset of the journey, a great
multitude joins the disciples, always
desirous of witnessing another mir-
acle or of hearing the marvels over-
flowing from the lips of the Mas-
ter. The first act performed along
the way was the cure of a blind man.
St. Matthew (20: 29-34) narrates the
fact as having occurred with two
blind men rather than one. St. Mark
calls him by name: Bartimaeus, or
son of Timaeus. He adds other in-
teresting facts not found in St. Mat-
thews narration such as the efforts
of some among the people in en-
couraging the poor blind man to ap-
proach Jesus upon hearing him sum-
moned. There is also the prompti-
thew, in turn, affirms that the cure
took place as Jesus touched the eyes
of the blind man and Luke (18: 35-
43) mentions an imperative form
used by Jesus.
The ensemble of the three nar-
ratives gives us a detailed picture of
what occurred. The use of the title
Son of David, according to respect-
ed authors, was due to the prevailing
notion and by some even the be-
lief that Jesus was truly the Mes-
siah. Therefore, the hypothesis that
the blind man (or the two blind men
according to Matthew) used this ex-
pression to win favour with Jesus to
obtain a cure is easily dismissed.
There are those who raise the hy-
pothesis that Jesus performed three
Sin is both
mysterious and
the cause of
multiple effects,
one of which is
blindness of soul
tude of the latter in throwing aside
his cloak and rushing forward in the
hope of drawing close to Jesus. Mat-
St. Matthew says the
blind man was healed
when Jesus touched
his eyes (high relief,
Chartres Cathedral,
France)
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entirely distinct miracles on that oc-
casion, each narrated by one of these
three Evangelists. Others, however,
essentially the majority believe
that the common identical details are
undeniable proof of its being one and
the same miracle.
Why do Mark and Luke refer to
only one blind man? Most exegetes
surmise there were two blind men as
Matthew indicates, but that one was
so well-known that Mark could iden-
tify him by name.
Regarding the location where
the miracle occurred, the explana-
tions, although varied, seem to indi-
cate a consensus among the Evange-
lists, concluding in favour of a single
event.
7
And many rebuked him, telling
him to be silent; but he cried out
all the more. Son of David, have
mercy on me!
In these Gospel scenes there is no
shortage of colourful aspects char-
acteristic of the East. The customs,
marked by an effervescent tempera-
ment unhindered by reserve, are well
reflected in the attitude of Bartimae-
us as well as in the reaction of the
multitude against his cries. It is in-
teresting to peruse the commentaries
expressed in this regard by the saints
and Fathers of the Church, such as St.
Bede, St. Jerome, St. John Chrysos-
tom and others.
The latter, for example, has this to
say: Christ suffered them to be forbid-
den, that their desire might be the more
evidenced. ... Hence learn that though
we be repulsed, yet if we come to God
with earnestness, of ourselves, we shall
obtain that which we ask.
6
Be that as it may, this dispute be-
tween the followers of Jesus and the
blind man has a picturesque side as
well, very typical of an organic soci-
ety where a world dominated by ma-
chines is unimaginable. In such a so-
ciety, human interaction is not only
intense, but constitutes the very es-
sence of common daily life. All want
to profit from the presence of an ex-
ceptional man, overflowing with wis-
dom, who compassionately works an
abundance of miracles wherever he
goes. The multitude does not want
to miss the least opportunity to see
or hear Him. The throng, while mov-
For Bartimaeus,
this was the chance
of a lifetime.
So, while some
rebuke him, he
redoubles his cries
stancy. The determination of Jesus
created suspense within the multi-
tude, and this psychological reaction
transformed their previous irritation
into a desire to encourage the blind
man to take heart. The blind man
as happens with those who have
lost the sense of vision instinc-
tively discerned the location of the
One who could cure him, and made
toward Him in one leap heedlessly
casting aside his cloak.
51
And Jesus said to him, What
do you want me to do for you?
And the blind man said to him,
Lord, let me see again.
52
And
Jesus said to him, Go your way;
your faith has saved you. And
immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.
The Divine Master, despite know-
ing the great desire of his soul, in-
quires of the blind man what he wants
ing along, tries its best to avoid ob-
stacles to be able to hear the com-
mentaries of the Master, and the
cries of the blind man make it diffi-
cult follow the thread of His instruc-
tions. However, this, for Bartimae-
us, was the chance of a lifetime. So,
while some rebuke him, he redou-
bles his cries.
49
And Jesus stopped and said,
Call him. And they called the
blind man, saying to him, Take
courage; rise, he is calling you.
50

And throwing off his mantle he
sprang up and came to Jesus.
At a certain point, the Saviour in-
terrupts the procession and orders
the blind man to be summoned. Ac-
cording to Matthew, He Himself
takes the initiative of having him
draw near. Mark is more precise: Je-
sus, having ordered the multitude to
call him at the same time implicit-
ly prevents them from rebuking the
poor Baritmaeus. It was evident,
with so many loud cries that Christ
had already heard him; however,
He was pleased by such insistence.
This is exactly what happens with us
in our prayers. God wants our con-
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Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 15
in order to fortify his faith. Bartimae-
us, who had been invoking the Son
of David without receiving his vision,
responds by calling Him Lord (ac-
cording to Matthew and Luke), am-
ply demonstrating his firm belief in
the divinity of Jesus, and receives in
addition to praise for his faith, the
restoration of his sight.
This event is illustrative and pro-
bative of the Messiahship of Jesus.
Upon the outset of His last ascent
to Jerusalem as He walks toward
death, a blind man recovers his sight
by proclaiming the Son of David as
his Lord
Origen concludes his commentar-
ies on the final words of todays Gos-
pel in this way: We also now sitting by
the wayside of the Scriptures, and un-
derstanding wherein we are blind, if we
ask with desire, He will touch the eyes
of our souls, and the gloom of igno-
Even more pitiful
is the one who has
buried his soul in
darkness, rejecting
the light of God
rance shall depart from our minds, that
in the light of knowledge we may fol-
low Him, who gave us power to see to
no other end than that we should fol-
low Him.
7
IV THE EVIL OF
SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS
Blindness, whether physical
or spiritual is a painless evil. The
former is involuntary in its origin,
but the same cannot be said of the
latter: we enter the latter through
our own fault whenever we give in
to our passions not corresponding
to the inspirations of grace and the
admonitions of our conscience. One
who has lost his sight, like our poor
Bartimaeus, is to be pitied. For him,
all the marvels created by God are
nothing but shadows. However, even
more pitiful is the one who has bur-
ied his soul in darkness, rejecting
the light of God. For such a one the
eternal truths no longer exist. The
inextinguishable fire of Hell, the un-
imaginable celestial glories, the im-
placable Particular or Final Judge-
ment, never pass through his mind,
and therefore have no effect upon
him. Such a person can attend a cer-
emony depicting the Passion of Our
Lord of a God who became incar-
nate and died on the Cross to re-
deem us without the least pious
thought of contrition, confidence or
gratitude. The supernatural does not
move him, for he would consider it
nothing more than a human inven-
tion buried in the depths of his con-
science.
Faith is no longer the
light of his actions
Loss of sight, despite impeding us
from moving through physical space
freely and autonomously, obliges us
to be humble and submissive to oth-
ers and rely on their help. For this
reason, it can be an excellent means
of sanctification when borne with ac-
ceptance. Spiritual blindness, on the
contrary, deprives us of the funda-
mental elements necessary for our
salvation as are the very mercies
we despise and makes us run ter-
rible risks as we incite the wrath of
God.
How often do those most blind
to God consider themselves enlight-
ened
Can a blind man such as the one
in the Gospel, do anything useful be-
sides beg for alms? Yet another rea-
son to pity him!
However, the situation of the spir-
itually blind is far worse, since faith
is no longer the guiding light of his
actions; his last end is no longer be-
fore his eyes. He throws himself into
countless daily activities and projects,
tiring himself out in search of a rep-
utation that is merely fleeting, of a
wealth that others will spend, of an
illicit pleasure that is short-lived and
will merit an unending chastisement,
and of a health that will end poorly,
since his body will decay in the depths
of a grave.
One who is blind to God
ignores the power of Jesus
Bartimaeus lacked one of the es-
sential elements necessary to amass
a fortune, and as a result inevitably
fell into a state of poverty, living off
alms. From this viewpoint it is pos-
sible for one who is blind to God to
The same Jesus who was
present at the Last Supper remains
in the tabernacles of churches
(above: high relief sculpture,
Strasbourg Cathedral, France; left:
tabernacle, Heralds of the Gospel
College, So Paulo)
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make a fortune. Nevertheless, he is
even more to be pitied. When the
eyes of the body have closed forever
to this life, the eyes of the spirit will
immediately open, only too late for
him to see the immensity of his true
misery in all its horror. One can only
hope that this will not be the moment
of despair.
As we see in the narration of
Mark, the blind man, knowing that
Jesus was passing by, began to cry out
full of joy and hope, since he believed
in the Masters power to cure him.
One who is blind to God completely
ignores this power.
Even the fact that Jesus, through-
out history, has enlightened one or
another of the most inveterate sin-
ners, leading them to conversion,
means nothing to those in whom the
light of faith has been extinguished.
V LORD, LET ME SEE!
If I analyze my conscience with all
honesty, will I not find in the depths
of my soul some darkness where
the light of the supernatural has not
pierced, one or another area where
the voice of God does not penetrate?
This is the moment for me to imitate
poor Bartimaeus. Jesus Himself re-
mains in the tabernacles of church-
es. Why not benefit from the oppor-
tunity to approach Him and ask for a
miracle. I should fear that Jesus may
pass by and not return and I should
clamour continuously since He hears
better the more ardent desires
Imitating the attitude
of Bartimaeus
We can be certain of this princi-
ple: whenever one who is blind to
God embraces the path of conver-
sion, the multitude will try to dis-
courage him from following it by
creating every conceivable obstacle.
Unfortunately, to this multitude
of worldly people are joined the
multitude of his own sins and pas-
sions which attempt to silence him.
Here also it is fitting to imitate Bar-
timaeus; in other words, not to suc-
cumb to pressures, but rather, to re-
double ones ardour, hope and de-
sires. In this way, it will not be long
before the truth of the conviction of
the Apostle is confirmed: I have the
strength for everything through him
who empowers me (Ph 4:13).
Lord, let me see! should be the
petition of the one immersed in te-
pidity and above all, the one who is
blind to God. Bartimaeus did not
ask for faith, because he already pos-
sessed it. His blindness was merely
Communion without paying wor-
thy consideration to the substance
of the Blessed Sacrament; they pray
without devotion
We can find the blind even among
those who embrace the way of perfec-
tion but cease to aspire to it, content-
ing themselves, instead, with a medi-
ocre, squalid and fruitless spirituality.
They do nothing to attain this perfec-
tion, seeking it where it will never be
found.
Purity of heart
Finally, to not be blind to God it
is necessary to be pure of heart One
of the main causes of blindness in our
days is impurity. In the Sermon on
the Mount Our Lord says: Blessed
are the clean of heart, for they will see
God (Matt 5:8). This does not re-
fer exclusively to the virtue of chasti-
ty, but also in great part to an upright
intention of our desires. Both are be-
coming increasingly rare with each
passing day in this era of progressive
blindness to God
These are some of the reasons
why humanity must urgently turn to
the Mother of God, presenting to the
Divine Redeemer, through her, the
same request made by Bartimaeus:
Lord, let me see!
1) Cf. St. John Chrysostom, Comment.
in Epist. ad Hebraeos, c. 7, lect. 4.
2) Cf. Summa Theologiae III, q. 22, a.1.
3) Summa Theologiae II-II q. 64 a.2 ad
3.
4) Cf. Exclamaciones del alma a Dios
(Exclamations of the soul to God),
c. 14, in Obras completas de San-
ta Teresa de Jess (The Complete
Works of Saint Teresa of Jesus), Ed.
Aguilar, Madrid, 1942, pp. 459-460.
5) Interior Castle The Mansions, Sixth
Mansion, Chapter X-6.
6) St. John Chrysostom , Hom. 67, in
Mt 20:31.
7) Apud St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena
urea.
To not be
blind to God it
is necessary to be
pure of heart
physical. In recognizing our spiritual
necessities we can request everything
of Jesus. We can undoubtedly hope
for even a miracle, since He assured
us: Whatever you ask in my name, I
will do (Jn 14:13).
Faith is becoming the
privilege of few
The number of those in the world
suffering from physical blindness is
insignificant in comparison with the
spiritually blind. Blindness of heart
afflicts an alarming number of peo-
ple in our days. Faith is becoming
the privilege of few. There is blind-
ness not only in the way of salva-
tion but even in the ways of piety.
These blind ones lead a pseudo-
peaceful life, submerged in the dan-
gers of tepidity; they commit faults,
but often manage to quell their con-
sciences by innumerable sophisms
no longer experiencing beneficial
remorse. They approach confes-
sion from pure routine, they receive
I
Sep-Oct Heralds of the Gospel 17
In hoc
signo
vinces
Once a symbol of
ignominy and defeat,
the cross now stands at
the centre of Catholic
spirituality. It is the
distinctive sign of Christs
followers and the focal
point of the aspirations,
love, tenderness and
respect of a truly
Christian soul.
Clara Isabel Morazzani
t was the most ominous
morning in all of history.
The sun had risen
and its heat already ra-
diated over the pla-
za of the praetorium. The court of
this edifice, constructed of multicol-
oured stones, was called Lithostro-
tos, Greek for slate ground, or small
pile of stones. Nothing warms bet-
ter than stone heated by the sun. Not
even water has the same capacity to
absorb heat. There, in the full light of
the sun that He Himself had created,
God stood to be judged.
However, it was not just the
suns rays that could be felt. The
sun, a blameless and lifeless crea-
ture fulfilled its orderly function
by Gods command. However, be-
ings endowed with free will often do
not make proper use of the gifts be-
18 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
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stowed by the Lord of Creation. It
was on that morning, as never be-
fore in history, that free will was
turned with such burning hatred
against its Creator.
A Cross dividing history
The sun and stones were faith-
ful to Gods orderly plan. But a Ro-
man governor, who marked history
and is called to mind whenever we
pray the Apostles Creed, did not fol-
low his conscience and the voice of
grace He knew that he should not
condemn Jesus. However, like all
those who rationalize the absolute in
the Law of God, he wanted to find a
compromise between condemnation
and adoration
The multitudes demanded it
Undoubtedly, people have often
acted rightly in demanding the con-
demnation of a criminal. Neverthe-
less, if they have at times erred
as must have happened on many oc-
casions it was never so grievously
as on this occasion. Did the multi-
tude act alone? NoThe Phari-
sees and Scribes with their
cry of Crucify him! Crucify
him incited the crowds to
pass a sentence on their Cre-
ator which was not only un-
just, but deicidal.
Nothing could quell the
multitude until the moment
when the Cross a sym-
bol that would later adorn
crowns and steeples en-
tered the plaza. The sign of
shame, ignominy and defeat
had embarked on its trium-
phal course through history.
The Cross, embraced by
the Divine Redeemer, and
borne lovingly upon His
adorable shoulders to Cal-
vary, sent a hush through the
crowd, dividing it in two. This
was symbolic of its historic
role. In face of the cross im-
piety would mock and piety
would venerate; some would
ridicule; others would prostrate be-
fore it. Some would despise it, while
from others it would elicit heartfelt
tears; some would tremble from fear
at its sight; others would be over-
whelmed with love. And so it will
continue until that great day when
the sign of the Son of Man will ap-
pear in the sky (Mt 24:30), dividing
mankind gathered in the Valley of
Josaphat. To the right will be those
who will resurrect in their glorious
bodies; to the left those who will re-
gain their bodies to suffer greater
torments in hell. He will separate
one from another just as the shepherd
separates the sheep from the goats. He
will place the sheep at his right and the
goats at his left (Mt 25:32-33).
The cross shall forever stand at the
glorious throne of Jesus Christ, trans-
formed from the wood of torture into
a tree of light.
The most shameful punishment
In ancient times, the cross was
recognized as the most terrible and
humiliating of chastisements a
curse from God, according to the
Book of Deuteronomy (21, 23). It
was the public punishment reserved
for slaves, malefactors, assassins and
thieves. Later, during Roman domi-
nation, Roman citizens were exempt-
ed by law from this penalty regard-
less of the gravity of their crime to
maintain the dignity of the Empire.
And yet, Christ permitted this death
for Himself. He assumed the condi-
tion of a slave, not only to redeem us
from the slavery of sin, but also to
make us kings. It was the common
punishment for bandits mandated
in the penal code and therefore the
most terrible.
A physicians description
According to notable studies of
European medical experts of the
last century, suffocation is the final
cause of death on the cross. Fol-
lowing crucifixion the victim suf-
fers violent generalized con-
tractions; the face becomes
a violet colour and the face
and entire body perspire co-
piously, especially in the last
moments before death. The
duration of the agony is ap-
proximately three hours.
Death occurs after height-
ened physical struggle and
agony.
In his book The Passion
of Our Lord Jesus Christ ac-
cording to the Surgeon, Dr.
Pierre Barbet affirms: The
whole agony alternated from
extenuation to revival, from
suffocation to resumed breath.
We have the material proof of
that in the Holy Shroud, where
we can notice a double flux
of vertical blood issuing from
the wound of the hand, with
an angular distance of some
degrees. One corresponds to
The Cross, sign of ignominy, was embraced and
kissed by the Divine Redemer (Way of the Cross
from the Church of Our Lady of Tyn, Prague)
Sep-Oct Heralds of the Gospel 19
the extenuation position and the oth-
er to the revival. It is perceivable that
an exhausted individual such as Je-
sus could not endure that struggle for
much longer.
Mystery of the Cross
From a human and materialis-
tic viewpoint, the Lamb sacrificed
upon a cross appeared abject, mis-
treated and insulted a failure
and a defeat. From a supernatural
light, however this being the only
true viewpoint Jesus was raised
upon the cross like a king on His
throne of glory, attracting all crea-
tures to Himself. The Apostles
and St. Paul especially had a pro-
found understanding of this divine
mystery: I resolved to know noth-
ing while I was with you except Je-
sus Christ, and him crucified (1 Cor
2:2). And he continues: But may I
never boast except in the cross of our
Lord Jesus Christ, through which the
world has been crucified to me, and I
to the world (Gal 6:14).
Gradual revival of the Cross
The cross retained its terrible stig-
ma for the first Christians, imbued as
they were with ancient concepts and
traditions. Several centuries elapsed
before the first depictions of the cru-
cified Saviour were made. A simi-
lar repulsion was felt by many mem-
bers of the nascent Church who had
witnessed relatives suffering similar
martyrdoms during the bloody perse-
cutions of the pagan emperors.
Therefore, during the second and
third centuries the faithful preferred
to adopt the figure of a fish (Ich-
thys, in Greek), as a representation
of Christ. In that symbolization the
letters of the word Ichthys form the
phrase Iesous Christos Theou Yi-
os Soter, meaning Jesus Christ, Son
of God, Saviour. From the Fourth
Century onward, after the accept-
ance and recognition of Christianity
by Emperor Constantine the Great,
the representation of the fish gradu-
ally gave way to the cross as the cho-
sen symbol for adorning sarcoph-
agi, coffers and the like. It eventu-
ally became the foremost symbol
of Christianity. One of the earliest
Western depictions of the sacrifice
of Calvary is to be found on the fa-
mous cypress door of the basilica of
Santa Sabina allAventino in Rome,
built during the first decades of the
Fifth Century.
At that same time, the Sign of
the Cross was adopted officially as a
Christian prayer, although the pious
custom of marking the forehead, the
lips and the chest with three succes-
sive crosses was already in use. This
practice symbolized the placing of
the three noblest characteristics of
From left to right: Fishes from the Catacomb of Domitila
(Rome); Christian monogram from the Fourth Century
(Vatican Museums, Rome); cross from the Basilica of San
Vitale (Ravenna, Italy); processional Byzantine cross from the
Sixth Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York); cross
from the Carmelite convent of Trie-en-Bigorre (Metropolitan
Museum of Art The Cloisters, New York)
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20 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
the human person intel-
ligence, love and strength
under the protection of
the cross.
Saint Helen rescues
the True Cross
At the beginning of the
Fourth Century the ho-
ly sites were inexplicably
abandoned to such an extent
that even the hill of Golgo-
tha was covered with debris.
Around this same time, Em-
press Helen had obtained the
conversion of her son Constan-
tine by means of maternal sup-
plication. As an answer to her
prayers, the splendid miracle
at Ponte Milvia took place en-
suring this conversion and
the consequent liberation of
Christianity (October 28,
312.) Moved by a strong
impulse of grace, she un-
dertook an arduous trip to
Jerusalem with the goal of
recovering the True Cross
of Our Lord.
Saint Helen delved deep-
ly into the meaning of the
mysteries that had just oc-
curred. A luminous cross had
appeared in the heavens before
the awe-stuck gaze of the Em-
peror Constantine. It was sur-
rounded by the inscription: In
hoc signo vinces (By this sign
you shall conquer). Was this
not a clear manifestation of
the designs of Divine Provi-
dence? Was this not a fore-
telling of the triumphant
rebirth of the Church by
the scandal of the Cross?
Seeking the cross would have
proven a daunting task for anyone
except the elderly yet energetic em-
press Helen who had not succumbed
under financial misfortune or the tri-
als of life. After several weeks of toil,
and much excavation during which
she encouraged the workers by her
prayer and determination three
crosses were discovered in a trench to
the great surprise of witnesses.
However, the problem remained
of how to recognize the sacred wood
on which the Redeemer suffered His
sorrowful agony, bathing it with the
last drops of His blood. St. Helen
summoned St. Macarius, the Pa-
triarch of Jerusalem who hastened
to her aid. He gathered the people
and prayed fervently, beseeching the
Lord to intervene in verifying the au-
thenticity of the discovery. He then
ordered that a poor woman who was
beyond the aid of physicians and
who was in fact at the brink of death
be carried to the site. The ailing
woman remained insensible to con-
tact with the first two crosses. But
as she touched the third cross, she
arose, entirely cured, praising God
amidst the joyful cries of the enthu-
siastic multitude.
These tidings spread quickly
through the Christian world and thus
began the great devotion to the relics
of the Passion.
Returning from her pilgrimage,
after having erected several church-
es in honour of the Passion of Our
Lord, the virtuous empress brought
with her a sizeable piece of the Ho-
ly Cross and the five nails found on
that same occasion, giving them as a
gift to her son Constantine who or-
dered that one of the five be placed
This page, scenes from the conversion of Constantine; following
page, the finding of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem (Details from
the Stavelot Triptych, enamel worked in gold, Seventh Century
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
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Sep-Oct Heralds of the Gospel 21
upon the imperial diadem. Perhaps
this was the origin of the beautiful
custom of placing a cross on the top
of the crowns of Catholic monarchs.
Triumphant arrival of the
Holy Cross in Jerusalem
Three centuries after these admi-
rable events, Cosroes II, King of Per-
sia, sacked the Holy City, killing a
great number of Christians and tak-
ing possession of the precious Wood,
which figured among the many riches
comprising his spoils.
The faithful of the Oriental
Church were greatly perturbed to see
these treasures of inestimable value
in the hands of idolaters. It was then
that the Emperor Heracles began a
campaign for their recovery. He re-
claimed them after 15 years of strug-
gle and adventure, arriving at length
in Jerusalem giving thanks to the
Lord for the victory.
A great ceremony was organ-
ized to receive the Cross with all so-
lemnity and pomp. Faithful from all
over gathered to venerate the relic
that had been triumphantly recov-
ered. The emperor himself carried
the true Cross upon his shoulders
in the company of Patriarch Zach-
ary, and surrounded by high-rank-
ing court officials, countless clerics
and a fervent multitude. The em-
peror intended to enter Jerusalem
through the gate leading to Calvary,
but as he approached the gate, he
was unable to move. He had not the
strength to take even a single step.
Zachary, who accompanied him, in-
dicated to the emperor that his roy-
al and sumptuous garments were
not in keeping with Jesus exam-
ple of humility in carrying the Cross
through these same streets, wound-
ed and covered with opprobri-
um. Thus instructed, Heracles, re-
moved the royal insignia and golden
crown and donned sackcloth. Walk-
ing barefoot he continued his pious
procession without further difficul-
ty. The Cross was then triumphantly
entrusted to Patriarch Zach-
ary, amidst the rejoicing of
a reverent and captivated
multitude.
The exact dates of the
discovery of the Cross by
Empress Helen, and its re-
covery by the august Her-
acles are unknown, but for
centuries throughout the
Christian West, the finding
of the Holy Cross has been
celebrated on May 3 and its Tri-
umph on September 14.
The Cross a sign
of salvation
Gradually, from amidst a
putrefying and pagan deca-
dence, a new world, shaped
by the cross emerged. It was
a world bathed by the pure
and flaming light of the
doctrine of the Gospels. It
was illuminated in a mys-
terious and suave manner,
by the dulcis praesentia
(sweet presence) of He,
who from the height of the
cross, with His divine face
covered with wounds and
spittle, uttered from wound-
ed lips that painful cry that has
echoed through the ages: My
God, my God, why have Thou
forsaken me? (Mk 15:34).
However, an ineffable note of
peace and joy now emanates
from a strong, imponderable
sense of victory, giving im-
petus to the progressive de-
velopment of the Mystical
Spouse of Christ.
The cross now stands at
the centre of Catholic spir-
ituality. It is the distinc-
tive sign of Christs fol-
lowers and the focal point
of the aspirations, love, ten-
derness and respect of a truly
Christian soul.
The noble symbol of Re-
demption covers all with its
22 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
protective mantle, reminding us of
the immense sorrows borne with in-
finite patience by the God-Man for
the benefit of a piteous mankind, im-
mersed in the darkness of error, sin
and death. At the same time, it trans-
mits a voiceless but undeniably el-
oquent! message of hope: Good
will triumph! I will make your ene-
mies your footstool.
Saint Andrew of Crete exclaims
in inspired words: Had there been
no cross, Christ could not have been
crucified. Had there been no cross, life
itself could not have been nailed to the
tree. And if life had not been nailed to
it, there would be no streams of im-
mortality pouring from Christs side,
blood and water for the worlds cleans-
ing. The legal bond of our sin would
not be canceled, we should not have
obtained our freedom, we should not
have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life
and the gates of paradise would not
stand open. Had there been no cross,
death would not have been trodden
underfoot, nor hell despoiled.
Therefore, the cross is something
wonderfully great and honorable. It
is great because through the cross the
many noble acts of Christ found their
consummation very many indeed,
for both his miracles and his suffer-
ings were fully rewarded with victo-
ry. The cross is honourable because
it is both the sign of Gods suffering
and the trophy of his victory. It stands
for his suffering because on it he free-
ly suffered unto death. But it is also
his trophy because it was the means
by which the devil was wounded and
death conquered; the barred gates of
hell were smashed, and the cross be-
came the one common salvation of
the whole world.
We see the cross adorning the
crowns of monarchs, prominent upon
the vestments of bishops and presid-
ing over solemn liturgies. We behold
it atop the spires of imposing basilicas
and cathedrals as well as modest and
obscure chapels and oratories; we see
it depicted on military flags or fixed in
the midst of silent cloisters. The cross
is continuously borne by the untir-
ing hands of missionaries, carried on
the weary shoulders of penitents, and
raised to the trembling lips of the dy-
ing During the ceremonies of Holy
Week, the Church chants these beau-
tiful verses to honour the cross:

Faithful Cross! above all other,
one and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit thy peers may be;
sweetest wood and sweetest iron!
sweetest Weight is hung on thee
Tree, which solely wast found wor-
thy,
The worlds Victim to sustain.
harbour from the raging tempest!
ark, that saved the world again!
Tree, with sacred blood anointed
of the Lamb for sinners slain.
There is only one true cross,
though on Calvary there were three!
Yes, only one, because of the three
condemned, only One was Innocent!
No one has ever thought of raising a
second cross, despite the fact that St.
Dimas was canonized while still alive
by the very voice of the Saviour. Yes,
it is the spotless blood alone which
is worthy of veneration since God
alone merits adoration. Only one
cross attracts the multitudes. The
Cross of Christ alone has marked
history and eternity!
In adoration of the Holy Cross, let
us unite ourselves to she who stood
adoring her Son, on that instrument
of martyrdom Stabat Mater dolo-
rosa juxta crucem lacrimosa. Full of
hope, let us gather the most pure
tears of Our Lady, as they are for us
a pledge of confidence and an assur-
ance of forgiveness.
If it had not been for the
cross, death would not
have been conquered nor
hell vanquished (crucifix
from the Monastery of
Batalha, Portugal)

Sep-Oct Heralds of the Gospel 23
Crux Fidelis!
Gall he drinks; his strength subduing,
Reed and thorn and nail and spear
Plot his gentle frames undoing;
Blood and water thence appear,
With their cleansing tide renewing
Earth and sea and starry sphere.
Hail, true cross, of beauty rarest,
King of all the forest trees;
Leaf and flower and fruit thou bearest
Medicine for a worlds disease;
Fairest wood, and iron fairest
Yet more fair, who hung on these.
Bend thy branches down to meet him,
Bend that stubborn heart of thine;
Let thy native force, to greet him,
All its ruggedness resign;
Gently let thy wood entreat him,
Royal sufferer, and divine.
Victim of our race, he deigned
On thy arms to lay his head;
Thou the ark, whose refuge gained,
Sinful man no more may dread;
Ark, whose planks are deeply stained
With the blood the Lamb hath shed.
Honour, glory, might and merit
To the eternal Trinity,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Throned in heaven co-equally;
All that doth the world inherit,
Praise one God in Persons three.
Morning Prayer, Good Friday Hymn.
Liturgy of the Hours.
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24 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
f we were to turn back
the pages of history to the
distant year of 270, we
would encounter a gra-
cious young girl at a lodg-
ing house in Drepanum, Bithynia. Full
of charm and innocence, she was the
treasure of her parents.
Her virtues shone forth in such a
way that the Roman Emperor Con-
stancius Clorus, upon beholding her
countenance, decided to take her as
his wife. Thus, the young Helen be-
came empress and gave birth to a son
she called Constantine.
In the court she became acquaint-
ed with the Christian religion and
converted. The emperor was so an-
gered by her baptism that he dis-
owned her. Thus Helen suddenly was
reduced from her elevated position to
an existence shrouded in gloom. All
that remained was the tireless love of
her son to console her.
After some years, Constantine
succeeded his father Constancius to
the imperial throne.
Enchanted as always by his moth-
ers virtue, Constantine immediate-
ly called her to his court, granting her
the title of Augusta, and giving her a
sumptuous palace in Rome, the Ses-
sorianum.
As a good mother, Saint Helen de-
sired to bring her son to the Catholic
BASILICA OF THE HOLY CROSS IN JERUSALEM
The true Sanctuary
of the Cross of Christ
Faith, but at that time Constantine re-
sisted her efforts, being preoccupied
with other concerns. Nevertheless,
God never fails to heed the prayers of
a mother, and with the miracle of Pon-
te Milvia, Constantine became open
to accepting the Catholic Faith.
After the proclamation of the Edict
of Milan which was greatly facilitat-
ed by the cooperation of Saint Helen
she obtained from her son an order for
the destruction of pagan temples, which
Adrian had long before commanded to
be built on Mount Calvary and over the
Holy Sepulchre, with the objective of
smothering Christian worship.
However, in her heart she longed
for more than this. Helen could not
endure seeing the Holy Places aban-
doned. Inspired by a holy courage,
she undertook a long and dangerous
journey, with the goal of recovering
the memory and the relics of the Pas-
sion of Christ.
Saint Helen finds the True Cross
On the way to Golgotha, the sol-
diers who accompanied her beheld
that elderly woman, that venerable
mother, walking amid the debris, and
kneeling among the ruins say: Behold
the battlefield: where is the victory? I
am on a throne and the Cross of the
Lord is in the dust? I am surrounded
by gold, and the triumph of Christ is
in ruins? Devil, I see what you have
done so that the sword which defeat-
ed you would be buried!
With these words, Saint Ambrose
describes the arrival of Saint Helen at
Calvary. Such faith could not go un-
rewarded. Guided by the light of the
Holy Spirit, the empress found the
true Cross of the Saviour, as well as
the other relics of the Passion.
According to tradition, she or-
dered that the True Cross be divided
into three portions: one she left in Je-
rusalem; the other she sent to her son
in Constantinople, and the third she
brought with her to Rome, together
with other relics.
The Sessorian Basilica
After arriving in the Eternal City,
it was necessary to construct a worthy
temple to house such holy and won-
drous marvels. For this noble cause,
Saint Helen did not hesitate to give
up her own palace the Sessorianum
that in former times has served as
the residence of the emperors.
Personally overseeing the project,
she transformed the most splendid
room of the palace into a basilica.
With holy generosity, she gave up her
own apartments to be transformed
into a chapel, placing there the earth
she had brought from Calvary and a
relic of the True Cross.
Seeking a worthy temple for the relics of the Holy Cross, St.
Helen offered her own palace to be transformed into a basilica.
Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 25
With the great influx of pilgrims,
the place soon came to be known as
the Basilica Sanctae Crucis in Hieru-
salem (Basilica of the Holy Cross in
Jerusalem), as it housed the relic of
the Cross, as well as earth taken from
Calvary. The Romans, however, in-
sisted on calling it the Sessorian Ba-
silica. To this day both names are
still commonly used.
Rites and documents
confirm tradition
With the passing of time, the
Chapel of the Relics became known
as the Chapel of Saint Helen, as
it had once been her personal living
quarters.
There are various documents
confirming the discovery, transfer,
preservation and veneration of the
relic of the Holy Cross. Each frag-
ment taken from it throughout the
course of the centuries has been dil-
igently recorded.
In addition, the various rites of
Adoration of the Cross prove its au-
thenticity. In ancient times, the pon-
tifical ritual had been established
that the ceremonies of Good Fri-
day be held in the Basilica
in Hierusalem. The Pope
would process barefoot
from the Basilica of Saint
John Lateran, accompa-
nied by the clergy and the
faithful, to adore the True
Cross. It is there that the
special rites of the Feast
of the Triumph of the Holy
The lignum crucis (centre), is
venerated at the Basilica of the
Holy Cross in Jerusalem along
with a fragment from the Pillar
at which Jesus was scourged,
one of the nails, a finger of St.
Thomas, a thorn from the
Crown of Thorns and the plaque
from the Cross bearing the
inscription INRI.
Cross were and are still celebrated on
September 14.
The present Sessorian Basilica
During the course of its 1,600-
year existence, the basilica has under-
gone several transformations, mak-
ing it difficult to imagine the appear-
ance of the original Domus Sessori-
ana. The relics themselves, for vari-
ous reasons, have been transferred to
a new chapel the Sanctuary of the
Cross built within the confines of
the sacristy.
As time went by, other relics were
brought to the Sessorian Basilica:
the plaque from the Cross (a tablet
with part of the inscription Jesus the
Nazarene, the King of the Jews); a
nail, two thorns of the crown, the hor-
izontal beam of the cross of the Good
Thief, a finger of Saint Thomas, as
well as fragments from the Grotto of
Bethlehem and the Pillar at which Je-
sus was scourged.
This is why, during his visit there
on March 25, 1979, Pope John Paul
II exclaimed: This is the true Sanc-
tuary of the Cross of Christ!
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26 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
FIFTH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF HERALDS FEMININE BRANCH
Drawing young people to Jesus in the Eucharist
iscovering fresh ways of attract-
ing youth is a challenge faced by an-
yone dedicated to evangelization.
And whenever a youth congress is be-
ing prepared, it is an issue that must
be faced. The question arises: where should organiz-
ers focus their efforts? Should theatrical productions
be ventured, or would a series of lively talks better
catch the interest of participants? The musical com-
ponent surely plays an important role in this type of
event, since a good choir lends a note of solemnity that
young people seek in liturgical celebrations. Consider-
ing these elements is important in ensuring that a con-
gress of the Heralds of the Gospel bears good fruits.
These are not, however, the deciding factors.
If the reader had attended the Fifth Internation-
al Congress of the Feminine Branch of the Heralds
of the Gospel (July 23-25) he would have heard first-
hand the perhaps surprising consensus among the 400
participants as to its highlight: Being close to Jesus in
the Eucharist. Yes! Jesus always has something new
to say to each soul that draws close to Him. Of all the
Heralds methods, bringing youth close to Jesus in the
Eucharist is the most innovative.
That is why the chapel where the Blessed Sacra-
ment was permanently exposed was the most eagerly
visited place throughout the entire congress.
Over the course of three days several plays where
performed, illustrating the theme of the talks deliv-
ered by Fr. Joo Cl Dias. The aim of these talks was
to motivate the young people to approach the sacra-
ments with fervour.
Four priests made confession available throughout
the congress. Seven participants were baptized and six
received their First Holy Communion.
Meetings
Theatrical production
Discussions
At snack time: much happiness and a friendship
The participation of all is key to a successful meeting.
Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 27
FIFTH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF HERALDS FEMININE BRANCH
Drawing young people to Jesus in the Eucharist
iscovering fresh ways of attract-
ing youth is a challenge faced by an-
yone dedicated to evangelization.
And whenever a youth congress is be-
ing prepared, it is an issue that must
be faced. The question arises: where should organiz-
ers focus their efforts? Should theatrical productions
be ventured, or would a series of lively talks better
catch the interest of participants? The musical com-
ponent surely plays an important role in this type of
event, since a good choir lends a note of solemnity that
young people seek in liturgical celebrations. Consider-
ing these elements is important in ensuring that a con-
gress of the Heralds of the Gospel bears good fruits.
These are not, however, the deciding factors.
If the reader had attended the Fifth Internation-
al Congress of the Feminine Branch of the Heralds
of the Gospel (July 23-25) he would have heard first-
hand the perhaps surprising consensus among the 400
participants as to its highlight: Being close to Jesus in
the Eucharist. Yes! Jesus always has something new
to say to each soul that draws close to Him. Of all the
Heralds methods, bringing youth close to Jesus in the
Eucharist is the most innovative.
That is why the chapel where the Blessed Sacra-
ment was permanently exposed was the most eagerly
visited place throughout the entire congress.
Over the course of three days several plays where
performed, illustrating the theme of the talks deliv-
ered by Fr. Joo Cl Dias. The aim of these talks was
to motivate the young people to approach the sacra-
ments with fervour.
Four priests made confession available throughout
the congress. Seven participants were baptized and six
received their First Holy Communion.
Opening of Adoration in the improvised chapel
Processional Rosary
Adoration following Mass
Chanting the Liturgy of the Hours
The participation of all is key to a successful meeting.
South Africa
The Catholics of
Johannesburg now
have their own
beautiful statue of
the Immaculate Heart
of Mary exposed for
veneration in a shrine
erected outside the
Heralds house. Fr.
John Finlayson,
Vicar General of the
diocese, blessed
the new chapel of
the house, in which
the first Mass was
celebrated.
Britain At the request of Fr. Philip Kehoe, Provincial
of the Sons of Divine Providence, the Heralds organ-
ized a procession in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes in
Hampton Wick, London.
In the church of Isleworth, London, during a Mass
celebrated by Fr. Joseph Tirello FDP, new Companions
and friends of the Heralds made their consecration to
Mary according to the method of St. Louis de Montfort.
Canada: Youth Evangelization In the Halifax area, the Heralds visited some parish youth groups,
including that of Blessed Pope John XXIII Parish in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (above). St. Bernadette Elementary
School in Ajax (Ontario) celebrated Music Monday in Canada with the Heralds. The students enthusiastically inter-
acted throughout the presentation and eagerly learned more about their faith (left). The Heralds traveling the
Western provinces have also been visiting various schools (above right).
28 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
U
Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 29
pon completing a period of prepara-
tion, 27 young people received the
habit of the Association from the
hands of Fr. Joo S. Cl Dias in a solemn cere-
mony on July 20, 2006.
Prior to this, everyone renewed their conse-
cration to Our Lady according to the formu-
la of St. Louis de Montfort in an act of self-re-
nouncement and entire dedication to the serv-
ice of God and the Holy Church.
The scapular that the Heralds wear is a
representation of the mantle of the Blessed
Virgin whose maternal protection enfolds,
with special care, those who consecrate
themselves to her.
It is also a symbol of placing ones life, being
and will, into the hands of the Queen of Heaven.
Reception of Habit
Guatemala The pilgrim
statue of Our Lady of
Fatima was carried in
mission to more than
a thousand homes
in 10 parishes in the
countrys interior.
More than 1,500
holy cards of the
Immaculate Heart of
Mary were distributed.
All donations went to
the benefit of the parishes.
A torrential rainstorm could not
dampen the fervour of the faithful.
Mexico
Crossing
the mighty
Papagayo
River, the
statue of the
Immaculate
Heart of Mary
arrived in
Cacahuatepec
where a fervent
and vibrant
multitude acclaimed
her with prayers, folk
music and traditional dances.
The charism of the Heralds calls and attracts
youths of diverse ethnicity and culture:
among those receiving the habit are a
Mozambican and a Canadian.
Victor Toniolo
from Rome
R
The Vagabond of Christ
30 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
ST. BENEDICT JOSEPH LABRE
During the middle of the 18
th
Century when Western
society had reached an apex in refinement of manners,
culinary art, culture and other facets of life, a beggar
served as a reminder of eternal truths.
omes innumer-
able churches
hold an irresist-
ible attraction.
A busy passer-
by will gladly interrupt his or her
daily affairs to enter this or that one
for a moment of prayer, reflection
or recollection.
Even those who have lived some
time in the Eternal City experience
this devotional curiosity. Strolling
through the intricate streets and al-
leyways of the old city centre, one is
certain to discover for oneself a re-
mote or hitherto unknown church
nestled inconspicuously among its
more secular neighbours.
This is what I experienced recently
as I turned down a side street off the
Roman Forum. My eye caught an in-
scription mounted on a large faade,
which read: Santa Maria dei Mon-
ti (Our Lady of the Hills). It was un-
doubtedly a church ... I eagerly en-
tered to quench my curiosity.
Particularly striking is the fresco
over the high altar: The Madonna
dei Monti to whom countless mira-
cles are attributed. Many great saints
including St. Paul of the Cross, St.
Joseph Calasanz, and St. Alphon-
sus Maria de Liguori prayed be-
fore this painting for the foundation
of their work and bore a special devo-
tion to this Madonna.
It was a side altar however the
final one on the left that especially
attracted my attention.
A small sign reads: Here lies St. Ben-
edict Joseph Labre, a French pilgrim
who lived many years begging alms in
front of this church as a vagabond of
Christ. I instinctively thought: a vag-
abond of Christ? How can this be?
God called him, but did not
want him in a monastery
Benedict Joseph Labre was born
March 23, 1748 at Amettes, in the
French Artois region. From ear-
ly age he manifested a spirit of holy
devotion and self-denial. It was dur-
ing his studies in preparation for his
First Communion that he felt attract-
ed by grace, and embraced a life of
piety and austerity well advanced of
his years.
At age 16 he resolved to become
a Trappist monk; his family, however,
toiled relentlessly to dissuade him.
In face of this attitude, a painful cri-
sis robbed him of his peace of mind;
he was only able to regain it by prac-
ticing the Trappist rule in his home.
Some time later, upon the advice of
his maternal uncle, a priest, his par-
ents granted him permission to join
the Carthusians an order consid-
ered less austere.
A period of great humiliation was
to begin for Benedict. The Carthu-
sians of Val-Sainte refused him ad-
mission. He was accepted at the Neu-
ville Carthusians, but a violent illness
stemming from anxiety prevented him
from remaining. He travelled on foot
to Normandy in search of another
monastery. He knocked on the doors
of the great Mortagne Trappists. The
abbot denied him admission since he
was merely 20 years of age.
He finally gained re-admittance
at the Neuville Chartreuse, but again
succumbed to the same illness. Upon
his second leave-taking, the prior of-
fered him this well-discerned coun-
sel: Divine Providence is not calling
you to our way of life. Follow divine
inspiration!
Journeying on foot and living from
alms, Benedict undertook a four-week
trek to the Trappists of Sept-Fons,
where he was admitted as a novice.
After some months, however, he again
experienced a crisis of scruples which
Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 31
made him physically ill, and which led
the abbot to tell him definitively:
You were not born for our mon-
astery. God wants you in another
place.
Overcome with sadness Benedict
replied: Let the will of the Lord be
done.
Journeying from shrine to
shrine as a mendicant pilgrim
Yes, to do Gods will! Benedict de-
sired nothing else. But the question
remained, how to discern Gods de-
signs? On one hand he felt called to
the recollected and austere life of a
cloister; on the other, it seemed that
God was withholding this way of life
from him. Uncertain of the Lords
will in his regard, he began wander-
ing from one French shrine to anoth-
er. He later branched out, making
his way to Spain then Germany, pro-
ceeding from one shrine to the next.
He lived from alms, his scanty pos-
sessions consisting of a cross upon his
chest, a Rosary around his neck, his
Breviary and some books in a bag.
In 1770 he decided to proceed to
Rome, for he heard of various mon-
asteries there of disciplined and aus-
tere life, and hoped to be admitted
into one of them.
Arriving at the Eternal City after
a long journey, he chose the Colise-
um as a place to live. Many passers-
by, faced with his strange presence,
asked what he was he doing. His re-
ply was emphatic:
I am doing the will of God!
If this man had been a priest
The poor man of the Coliseum,
as he came to be known, adopted the
custom of praying at various church-
es. He was often denied Communion
because of his peculiar appearance.
When, moved by compassion, the
celebrating priest administered the
Blessed Sacrament to him, he would
see two tears fall upon the paten.
He was an ardent devotee of the
Holy Eucharist, participating in all
Forty Hours Devotions in the city.
From early dawn he could be seen be-
fore the Blessed Sacrament, his hands
crossed on his breast, his lips
moving in prayer. Many wit-
nessed a golden light radiating
from him on these occasions.
A certain parish priest, Fr.
Gaetano Rogger gave the fol-
lowing testimony during the
canonization process: If that
man had been a priest, he
would have taken on all the ad-
oration hours by himself What
a shame on us, priests, who suf-
fer so much in spending only an
hour before the Blessed Sac-
rament! And to pray we need
comfortable cushions! Behold
a poor man who teaches us to
pray. Fr. Rogger once observed Ben-
edict spend six hours in prayer before
the Blessed Sacrament!
Benedict would often ask the sac-
ristan for the privilege of remaining
the entire night in the church. Many
times this request was denied. Never-
theless, on the following morning, he
would be found inside the sanctuary.
How he managed to gain entrance re-
mained a mystery.
Way of sanctification found by
adhering to divine inspiration
Our Lady of the Hills was Bene-
dicts favourite church. Arriving early
while the doors were locked he would
kneel on the steps, hat in hand, gaz-
ing into the heavens.
He was once asked why he lived as
he did, and if it would not have been
better to have joined a mendicant or-
der. Sighing deeply, Benedict replied:
Should that have been Gods wish,
He would have disposed of things in
another way.
He begged for his meals at several
of the Pontifical Citys numerous con-
vents; frequently, he gave the alms he
received to other, poorer beggars.
From Rome he went on frequent
pilgrimages to Loreto, St. Nicholas
of Bari, Camaldoli, and even to Ein-
siedeln in Switzerland. He travelled
the same routes so many times that
his hosting convents would ask him to
Within a small
lateral altar in the
church Santa Maria
dei Monti rest the
mortal remains of
St. Benedict Joseph
Labre the vagabond
of Christ
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carry mail from one place to anoth-
er. To avoid hearing blasphemies and
entering non-religious places he nev-
er sought lodging in hotels or pension
houses.
On a certain occasion, a priest
from Loreto offered to procure him a
place in the Camaldula of Monte Co-
naro. After much reflection, Benedict
answered: God does not want me to
be in the way you propose. This an-
swer clearly shows that he had finally
discovered his path of sanctification
by following divine inspiration.
Another priest proposed a simi-
lar solution, suggesting he obtain em-
ployment since many attributed
the fact that he was a beggar to mere
slothfulness. Benedict replied: Fa-
ther, it is Gods desire that I live from
alms. Lift the confessional curtain
and see. The priest did as he was
bidden and witnessed a supernatural
light radiating from the beggars face,
illuminating the entire chapel.
Illustrious by his self-denial
and voluntary poverty
Thus Benedict dedicated himself
to prayer and the interior life, wholly
detached from material goods not
because he could not have obtained
them if he had wished, but because
he had renounced them. This de-
tachment won him such progress in
the way of sanctity that he was soon
called by God to join Him.
On Wednesday of Holy Week, 1783,
upon leaving the church of Madonna
dei Monti he fell ill. He was carried to
a nearby house where he surrendered
his soul to God. His funeral was rem-
iniscent of the public outpouring up-
on the death of St. Philip Neri. An un-
countable multitude filled the streets
of Rome. Those who had the chance
to touch his coffin considered them-
selves well blessed.
God Himself seemed desirous of
manifesting to the eyes of all, how
well-pleased He was with His servants
holy life. Over a period of 70 days fol-
lowing his death, 36 miraculous heal-
ings were registered at Labres tomb.
Hence, within fewer than four months,
the process that led to the beatifica-
tion of the vagabond of Christ was
started. It culminated, in 1881 with
Labres canonization by Leo XIII who
proclaimed him illustrious by his self-
denial and by the worth of an extreme
voluntary poverty.
A special way of holiness
The Compendium of the Cate-
chism of the Catholic Church teach-
es us that, holiness is the vocation
of each of her [the Churchs] mem-
bers (#165). But the paths to holi-
ness are many and varied, and some
saints are called by God to trav-
el very singular ones. This was the
case, for instance, with St. Sime-
on Stylites, who lived for years on
a small platform atop a column of
more than 15 metres, fasting con-
tinuously, and spending most of his
time on his feet.
Frequently, a saint will be called
to combat a historical deviation of his
era. In the 18
th
Century, the refine-
ment of Western Civilization, in it-
self praiseworthy, was being distorted
by mundane and relativistic tenden-
cies, leading numerous people to lose
their faith. Under these circumstanc-
es, St. Benedict Joseph Labres, ex-
treme detachment from worldy goods
served that brilliant but frivolous so-
ciety as an example of the emptiness
of a life which does not take for its
objective, the glory of God, the good
of ones neighbour and the service of
the Church.
Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 33
INTERVIEW WITH
FR. JOHANNES PAUL ABRAHAMOWICZ
The Charism
of St. Benedict
at the tomb of
St. Paul
A brilliant writer,
exceptional singer
and fervent monk,
Fr. Johannes Paul
Abrahamowicz is the
Prior of the Benedictine
Abbey adjoining the
Basilica of St. Paul
Outside-the-Walls, in
addition to being the
Procurator General of
his Order in Austria.
He is in charge of the
intense evangelizing work
undertaken by the sons of
St. Benedict at the tomb
of St. Paul the Apostle.
Eduardo Caballero
From Rome
Has someone opened the tomb
to verify that the remains
are those of St. Paul?
It has never been opened for veri-
fication because there was never any
doubt that this was in fact the tomb
of St. Paul.
Has this sanctuary always
been respected, even during
times of persecution?
In those times, when a sanctuary
was erected around a tomb, Roman
law considered that a cella memori-
ae had been established, a small en-
closure in memory of the deceased.
Since the law prescribed that the
tomb could not be touched, this cel-
la memoriae enjoyed immunity simi-
lar to that of embassies in our days.
Christians, however, were
free to approach the tomb?
Not only could they approach the
tomb, but they also brought small vo-
tive lights and flowers in accordance
with Roman custom. Consequent-
ly, even in the catacombs, around the
tombs of the most celebrated martyrs,
these small votive lights, burning the
finest olive oil, could always be found.
What is the origin of the Basilica
of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls?
The erection of the basilica is di-
rectly linked to the tomb of St. Paul.
In the year 69 of the Christian Era
there are ongoing controver-
sies about the exact date St. Paul
was martyred at the place where to-
day we find the Abbey of the Three
Fountains, about two kilometres
from here. His disciples brought his
body to the closest cemetery, which
was located here. To this day, the
tombs from this ancient cemetery
can be seen under the marble floor
of the basilica.
How was the tomb of the
Apostle positively identified?
In every cemetery there are some
tombs that are better maintained
than others depending in large part
on the devotion to those buried there.
And this is exactly why the tomb of
St. Paul was always very meticulously
maintained. Thus, when Constantine
arrived here to venerate the mortal
remains of the great saint, the tomb
was easily identified. Furthermore,
a small sanctuary had already been
built by that time.
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34 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
This is why to this day there are always
votive lights lit around the tomb of St.
Paul, one of which burns olive oil. It is
interesting to note that the responsibil-
ity of ensuring a supply of the best ol-
ive oil, making the wicks and keeping
the lamp perpetually lit belongs sole-
ly to one of the monks of the Benedic-
tine abbey adjoining the basilica. The
replenishing of the olive oil and chang-
ing of the wick is a daily ritual. In this
way the monk recalls the unceasing
veneration to St. Paul, since for almost
two thousand years this votive lamp
has been burning before his tomb. It
also calls to mind the constancy of the
pilgrims who never fail to appear here,
every day of the year. And finally, it
symbolizes the vow of stability taken
by each Benedictine monk.
The pilgrims must be pleased
to be welcomed by monks
It is really interesting for them.
Above all when their visit coincides
with the singing of the Liturgy of the
Hours, which we sing in Gregorian
chant. The melodies are very ancient,
dating back to the Fourth Century, and
having been transcribed around the
Ninth Century. Due, perhaps, to their
great age they are imbued with an in-
tense transcendental spirit. So those
who hear the melodies
feel as though they are
in an altogether differ-
ent world, because the
text the very words
of Our Lord is
transformed into mu-
sic and invites the lis-
tener to follow in the
footsteps of Jesus.
Of course, this hap-
pens above all when it
is well sung, because
Gregorian chant is very
difficult to master. In
his Rule, St. Benedict
says that the soul and
the heart should be
as one. Today, howev-
er, the problem is the
opposite, or at least different, in that
the heart becomes one with the soul
in such a way that often the singing is
guided by the former, and is therefore
weak, romantic, or even agitated.
Can you say a few words
regarding the Rule of
St. Benedict?
The Rule of St. Benedict is a very
ample, comprehensive and broad com-
pilation of the norms of conduct so that
throughout the centuries the monas-
teries could adapt to the particular cir-
cumstances of the time and place. In
Austria, for example, the Benedictines
were established almost a thousand
years ago, and from the beginning they
have had several parishes entrusted to
their care, something that would be un-
thinkable in Italy. The abbey of Gtt-
weig, from which I come, was founded
920 years ago, with five parishes under
its jurisdiction. Today, thirty parishes
are entrusted to its care. On the other
hand, in the United States practically
all of the abbeys are attached to large
schools or universities. There are al-
so inter-diocesan seminaries there un-
der the care of the Benedictines. Thus,
the bishops are free to send their fu-
ture priests to us for formation. Such
a thing would be impossible in Eu-
rope. In Germany there is the Abbey
of Sankt Ottilien, founded for the mis-
sions. There are very few monks in the
abbey itself, but there are many active
in its missions in Africa, Latin Ameri-
ca, Korea, China
And one same rule allows
for all this diversity?
This is the wisdom of St. Benedict,
who focused on what was essential. He
himself experienced the change from a
cloistered life to the life of a mission-
ary. He lived as a monk in a place of
penance, as was Subi-
aco, and he later un-
dertook a life of evan-
gelization in Monte-
cassino. He went from
hidden recesses to
the top of the moun-
tain, from a grotto to a
monastery, from a life
of adventure to a well-
regulated life.
This is why St.
Benedict is so well
balanced regarding
the recitation of the
psalms in the abbey.
However, he leaves
the abbey free to make
the necessary adap-
tations, as long as the
A lamp perpetually lit recalls the
unceasing veneration to St. Paul,
and the vow of stability taken by
the Benedictine monks
The Rule of St. Benedict is a very ample, comprehensive and
broad compilation of the norms of conduct so that throughout
the centuries the monasteries could adapt to the particular
circumstances of the time and place
Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 35
psalms are not neglected during the
course of the week. The Rule, without
absolutely any changes, has guided
the Benedictine monks for 1500 years.
And I firmly believe this has been the
case because the Rule does not permit
that type of moralism that follows the
letter of the law, but rather it focuses
on the spirit of St. Benedict.
The Rule is made for
ordinary people or
The Rule of St. Benedict is not
made for extraordinary individuals. It
is conceived precisely for those peo-
ple who say: I want to, but alone I
cannot; I need a rule, a superior, I
need the bellI need a community
in which to pray, a community to live
in and to live with.
Whoever recognises these weak-
nesses, or in other words, this normal
human state, is welcome in the Bene-
dictine Order. That is why we do not
make a point of looking for voca-
tions, of searching for people and in-
viting them to be monks.
Would you like to highlight any
other aspect of the Benedictine
presence in this basilica?
St. Paul was the apostle of the gen-
tiles. He went in search of those who
were not Jews so that they would con-
vert and believe in the teaching of
Christ. Thus, it had seemed for some
time that it would be appropriate for us
to make some initiatives of an ecumen-
ical nature in the basilica. Naturally, we
were counselled to proceed with care
and attention. Nevertheless, as the Ho-
ly Spirit does not err, things progressed
very well, to such a degree that Bene-
dict XVI in the Motu Proprio The
Ancient and Venerable Basilica, of
May 31, 2005, in which he establishes
the new guidelines with respect to the
Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls
determined that the Benedictines
should promote, develop and organize
these ecumenical programs.
The results of this experience are
really impressive. Orthodox, Angli-
cans, Protestants, Chaldeans, Cal-
vinists; all of them have been com-
ing to venerate the tomb of the
Apostle. We welcome them, give
them a tour, and try to transmit to
them the true image of the Roman
Catholic and Apostolic Church.
They are deeply moved. Someone
might wonder what we have been
doing to attract them, or why we are
interested in attracting them. I re-
ally do not know, and in truth they
themselves cannot really explain
why they come here. The one who
calls them is not the Pope, nor is it
us. It is the Apostle of the Gentiles,
St. Paul himself, who is continuing
his mission from Heaven.
Why is it called St. Paul
Outside-the-Walls?
The title Outside-the-Walls or
Without-the-Walls refers to the
fact that the basilica is located out-
side the ring of walls that protected the
Eternal City in the time of the Roman
Empire. The place of the martyrdom
of the Apostle, where the Abbey of the
Three Fountains was built, as well as
the location of his tomb, where the Ba-
silica Outside-the-Walls was erected,
are both some distance from the cen-
tre of the City. They are near the Via
Ostiense, the ancient Roman road that
led to the Ostian Gate. This is why the
Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls is
also called the Ostian Basilica.
The Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls is some distance from the
centre of the City, and near the ancient Roman road that led to the Ostian
Gate. This is why the Basilica is also called the Ostian Basilica
R
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A WORD FROM OUR PASTORS
It would never have
entered the human
consciousness to
conceive of purity
if we were not to
look forward to
a resurrection
of the body
The Most
Mysterious of Virtues
The virtue of purity is intimately linked to the Christian hope of the
resurrection of the body. The Major Penitentiary of the Holy Roman
Church used this original approach while expounding on the theme
of chastity during a homily at the Fatima Sanctuary.
he sixth commandment
calls the baptized to the
practice of the virtue of
purity. The command-
ment encompasses the
whole of human sexuality and is inti-
mately related to the ninth command-
ment which directly addresses the pu-
rification of the heart. Both command-
ments insist that absolute continence is
a duty of those who are not united in
the bonds of lawful marriage.
I will explore something uniquely
Christian about the virtue of purity. It
is the most mysterious of the virtues.
Christians would never have thought
of it if they had not looked forward to
the resurrection of the body.
Purity and chastity are of as
much interest to the married
as to the unmarried
In 1956 Flannery OConnor, a
Catholic writer from the American
South, developed this point of view.
She shared in a letter to a friend her
remarkable views on the virtue of
purity. By purity she meant chasti-
ty both among the married and un-
married. Purity, she claimed, involves
more than renunciation, I dont as-
sume that renunciation goes with
submission, or even that renunciation
is good in itself. Always you renounce
a lesser good for a greater; the oppo-
site is what sin is. ()
The resurrection of the body
is an encouragement to
the practice of chastity
In a 1955 letter [OConnor] re-
veals the depths of her faith by bold-
ly and brilliantly founding the origins
of the virtue of purity in the resurrec-
tion of the body. For me it is the vir-
gin birth, the Incarnation, the res-
urrection which are the true laws of
the flesh and the physical. Death, de-
cay, destruction are the suspension of
these laws. I am always astonished at
the emphasis the Church puts on the
body. It is not the soul she says will
rise but the body, glorified. I have al-
ways thought that purity was the most
mysterious of virtues, but it occurs to
me that it would never have entered
the human consciousness to conceive
of purity if we were not to look for-
ward to a resurrection of the body,
which will be flesh and spirit united in
peace, in the way they were in Christ.
The resurrection of Christ seems the
high point of the law of nature....
OConnor is saying here that it is
primarily the remembrance of Christs
Paschal mystery and of ones own
James Francis Card. Stafford
Major Penitentiary of the Holy Roman Church
Many who are still influenced by
19th century mechanism believe that
the Churchs teachings on virtue are
hideous and they especially reject her
teaching on the virtues of chastity and
purity. They deride the observance of
the sixth commandment as emotion-
ally disturbing, even downright repul-
sive and against nature. ()
baptism that provide the foun-
dation and motivation for the
practice of the virtue of purity
and of all other virtues. St. Paul
taught exactly this norm when he
wrote,Finally, brethren, we be-
seech and exhort you in the Lord
Jesus, that as you learned from
us how you ought to live and to
please God, just as you are doing,
you do so more and more.......For
this is the will of God, your sanc-
tification: that you abstain from
unchastity (1 Thes 4: 1, 3). ()
God will judge the immoral
and the adulterous
The reading we have heard this
evening from the Letter to the He-
brews speaks of the virtues which
should inform the relationships be-
tween Christians. () Finally, the
author underscores the catechetical
theme chosen for the year 2006 at the
Sanctuary of Fatima mentioned earli-
er: The Sixth Commandment, Protect
Chastity. He elaborates on marital
purity, Let marriage be held in hon-
or among all, and let the marriage
bed be undefiled; for God will judge
the immoral and adulterous.
The writer of the Letter to the He-
brews has placed these moral exhor-
tations clearly within a new and total
form of life into which human seek-
ing has been forged under the tu-
telage of faith in the God of Jesus
Christ. He introduces the moral part
of his letter with the proclamation of
the indivisible unity of faith and life,
Therefore, since we are surround-
ed by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight, and
sin which clings so closely, and let us
run with perseverance the race that is
set before us, looking to Jesus the pi-
oneer and perfecter of our faith, who
for the joy that was set before him en-
dured the cross, despising the shame,
and is seated at the right hand of the
throne of God (Heb 12: 1-2).
The inviolability of marital chastity is
likewise a prominent theme in the early
Goretti. Present in St. Peters Square on
that occasion were both her mother and
her murderer, Alessandro Serenelli. At
the time of her martyrdom in defense of
her purity, I was seventeen years of age.
Her witness to purity and courage be-
came the polar star of my generation.
Her martyrdom began on Ju-
ly 5, 1902. The family of her assailant
Cardinal James Francis Staf-
ford is the Major Penitentia-
ry of the Holy Roman Church.
This post makes him responsi-
ble, before the Pope, for the Tri-
bunal of the Apostolic Peniten-
tiary. This tribunal has jurisdic-
tion over matters in the inter-
nal forum. The head of the Ap-
ostolic Penitentiary, the Major
Penitentiary, is one of the few
Vatican officials who retains his
position sede vacante.
St. Maria Goretti
understood
that purity
was intimately
connected with
the dignity of the
human body
shared the same house with the
Gorettis . It was located above an
old barn among the poor farm-
ers of the Pontine Marshes south
of Rome. Her assailant, Alessan-
dro, was twenty years old at the
time of the attack on the 12 year
old Maria. He later testified that
Maria appealed to him to stop
his assault for the safety of his
soul and urged him not to com-
mit such a grave sin. Before dying
of stab wounds the following day,
she forgave him and prayed that
God would forgive him.
Like Flannery OConnor, St.
Maria Goretti, whose memori-
al the Church just celebrated on Ju-
ly 6,understood that purity was inti-
mately connected with the dignity of
the human body. She was aware that
the Church taught that it was not the
soul but the body which will arise, glo-
rified. With the Church she confessed
each Sunday, I believe in the resurrec-
tion of the body. She witnessed to the
mystery that the Incarnation and resur-
rection of Jesus are the true laws of na-
ture, of the flesh and of the physical.
St Maria Goretti, Pray for us!
(Homily at F atima Sanctuary, 12-
07-2006. Full text at http://
www.vatican.va/roman_curia/
tribunals/apost_penit/documents/
rc_trib_appen_doc_20060712_
stafford-fatima_en.html
Cardinal James Francis Stafford during
his recent trip to Fatima
Church. St. Ignatius of Antioch writes
to Polycarp. Tell my sisters to love the
Lord and be contented with their hus-
bands in body and spirit. In the same
way charge my brethren also in the
name of Jesus Christ to love their wives
as the Lord loves the church . ()
Recalling Saint Maria Goretti
I recall how deeply I was affected
by the canonization on June 24, 1950
of the youthful virgin-martyr, Maria
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Cardinal Pell hails
vote of American bishops
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, has expressed his satisfaction with the
approval of the new translation of the Roman Missal by the American bishops.
After three years of hard work by
the ICEL translators it was encour-
aging to hear that the bishops of the
United States had joined the bishops
of Australia, England, Wales and Scot-
land in approving the new ICEL Eng-
lish translation of the Order of Mass.
As chairman of Vox Clara, the
small group of cardinals and bish-
ops from around the English-speak-
ing world who advise the Vatican on
the translation of the Roman Mis-
sal, I have followed this closely and
know the quality and excellence of
the translation. I had publicly antic-
ipated this approval by the bishops
conferences.
The new single translation for all
the English speaking world captures
the theological richness of the orig-
inal Latin and the English is clear,
dignified and accessible. Catholics
will quickly get used to it and come
to love it.
The new text will not be immedi-
ately available in the parishes as it is
Archbishop Nichols on a NHS Trust plan
to sack hospital chaplains
only one part of the Missal and time-
tabling arrangements have yet to be
finalized by bishops conferences and
the Holy See, which has the last word
on translations.
Finally we are seeing the fruits of
years of hard and hidden work. The
new translations will give a consid-
erable boost to prayers, worship and
sound teaching. They will be a bless-
ing for the Church.
(Source: http://www.sydney.catho-
lic.org.au/News)
In a letter to the Worcester Acute Hospitals Trust, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of
Birmingham, has criticized their decision to sack six of its seven hospital chaplains.
I am responsible for the pasto-
ral care of Catholics throughout the
Archdiocese. For Catholics, ac-
cess to the ministry of the Church,
and in particular the sacraments,
is an essential part of life. Despite
a welcome growth in co-operation
there are specific religious bound-
aries, which in the end entail that
some faith communities can only be
ministered to by those of their own
faith. The NHS Chaplaincy Guide-
lines recognise this and NHS trusts
are obliged take this into account in
their planning.
The Human Rights Act enshrines
in law the right of the individual to
religious observance. This underlines
the obligation on NHS Trusts to pro-
vide appropriate world faith repre-
sentatives and worship spaces for faith
communities within the healthcare
population. It would seem that your
proposed cutback could place your
Trust in breach of these obligations.
In addition, the failure to make
arrangements for Catholic patients
to be able to receive the sacraments,
should they so wish, can become a
source of major anxiety to them. It
will directly and deleteriously impact
on their health and healing.
The lack of effective co-ordina-
tion which will be the effect of your
proposed redundancies will very se-
riously affect the future ministry of
Catholic part time chaplains and vol-
unteers to patients. It also seems on-
ly just that the unique contribution
of our Catholic chaplains should be
recognised by their remuneration as
members of the Hospital staff.
(Full text available at http://www.
birminghamdiocese.org.uk/ourstand-
ard.asp?pageid=153)
A call
to holiness
The beatification of the Italian
couple Quattrocchi, during the pon-
tificate of John Paul II, shows that
married couples can become models
of a very laudable Christian lifestyle.
Theirs can be a living out of the call
to holiness in ordinary day-to-day
activities. The recent beatifications
and canonizations are a clear and
compelling message to Catholics that
it is possible, in these times of spirit-
ual turbulence, to be genuine disci-
ples of Jesus Christ, that it is possi-
ble to live and promote the values of
the kingdom and to walk faithfully in
the footsteps of Sts. Peter and Paul.
The new saints are to serve as an an-
tidote to the spiritual tepidity of our
times. They are to serve as concrete
examples of the ability of men and
women to rise above material things
and above human limitations in or-
der to pursue and to live the Chris-
tian ideal.
The lay apostolate is a response to
the command to be perfect, as your
heavenly Father is perfect, and a re-
sponse to the Popes relentless efforts
to raise men and women to the state
of sainthood for their heroic faith-
fulness in small things. Well done,
good and faithful servant; you have
been faithful over a little, I will set
you over much; enter into the joy of
your master (Mt 25: 21). And it is in
response to the pursuit of the Chris-
tian ideal that we understand the role
of lay movements in the Church.
Archbishop Buti Tlhagale O.M.I.
Bishop of Johannesburg
Those involved in the lay apos-
tolate movement are encouraged (in
the words of the Council Fathers) to
let their light shine forth so that those
who see their good works should be
moved to glorify our Father who is
in heaven (Decree on Lay Apostolate
# 6). Lay people, the Church invites
you to strengthen and encourage each
other to a more fervent Christian life-
style. The Church invites you to re-
new the temporal order, to participate
in the promotion of Christian and hu-
man values and to participate fully in
the moral regeneration of our society.
So, there is a two-fold invitation to
lay people. The Church is looking for
saints of the ordinary life. Lay peo-
ple, you are invited to sanctify your-
selves in the routine of your daily ac-
tivities, in the ups and downs of daily
living and challenges.
Secondly, you are invited to carry
out your lay apostolate in the public
square, as it were; you are to bring to
bear the positive influence of the val-
ues you embrace on the communities
in which you live and work. As Chris-
tians, you are to strengthen the moral
fibre of your families and of the soci-
ety in which you live.
We know, from the teachings of the
popes, that the holiness of lay people
is not secondary in relation to the ho-
liness of clergy and religious. We also
know from the Second Vatican Coun-
cil that the vocations of both clergy
and laity are distinct and complemen-
tary. The distinction and complemen-
tarity has not always been clear in the
Church. The laity has its own distinct
mission to fulfil. The challenge in this
regard is to give concrete form to what
we believe in theory: acceptance of lay
people as equal partners in the work
of the Church even though the roles
of both clergy and laity are distinct.
As Church, we face new spiritual
and political challenges. These chal-
lenges compel us to enlist the help of
the laity and in the process to clari-
fy the role and the relationship of the
laity to the hierarchy and clergy.
There are a number of moral ques-
tions and practices that deviate radi-
cally from the moral teachings of the
Catholic Church. Rights of citizens
clearly opposing the Churchs teach-
ing have brought the nature of the
conflict concerning moral issues in-
to sharp relief. The moral battle can
no longer be seen as a task for the hi-
erarchy alone, nor be relegated to la-
ity when the hierarchy fails to turn
the tide. Furthermore, the Catholic
Church needs to fully cooperate with
other churches, faith communities
and organizations intent on restoring
the moral fibre of our society.
We welcome the collaboration of
the Heralds of the Gospel Magazine to
these efforts in the field of commu-
nication, contributing with their own
charism and pedagogic methods to
the peace of Christ in the Reign of
Christ in our days.
40 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
Pontifical Elections Display
Rome Habemus Papam: Papal
Elections from St. Peter to Benedict
XVI is the theme of an exhibition at
the Vatican Valentini Palace.
The exhibition will be open to the
public from December 7, 2006 to
April 9, 2007 in the Representation
Apartment of the Lateran Apostol-
ic Palace. The project is organized by
the Vatican Museums and the Euro-
pean Centre for Tourism, and spon-
sored by numerous institutions. Its
objective is to reconstruct the work-
ings of one of the most complex elec-
tive processes in history by depicting
its evolution through the centuries
and outlining its most significant mo-
ments.
Sydney 2008 Countdown Begins
Australia Organisers of World
Youth Day 2008 scheduled for Syd-
ney, began a two-year period of prep-
aration in August.
During a week of meetings in
Rome the team responsible for the
gathering contacted several Vatican
offices and ecclesial communities.
We take all preparative steps very
seriously, because we understand that
the benefit of a World Youth Day can-
not be limited to one day, one week
or one month, but to a lifetime, said
Danny Casey, head of the executive
committee for WYD 2008.
Franciscan Community Where
Moses Saw Promised Land
Holy Land In 1932 the Franciscan
Custody of the Holy Land acquired
the lands of Mount Nebo, in present-
day Jordan. According to Holy Scrip-
ture, it was from the summit of Mount
Nebo that Moses saw the Promised
Land. A sanctuary was constructed
which continues to attract pilgrims.
Given the great significance and the
beauty of the place, the Franciscans
have decided to establish a community
in the shrine at the site. The monastery
adjoining the sanctuary has been ca-
nonically erected, and a fraternity will
remain living on the holy mountain.
Public Display on Shroud
Jerusalem The Pontifical Institute,
Notre Dame of Jerusalem Centre, has
organized a permanent display on the
Holy Shroud of Turin. The exhibition is
set in a privileged place near the Holy
Sepulchre and will be open daily.
Visitors will be able to ponder imag-
es produced by artist Luigi Mattei. Us-
ing innovative computer technology,
he has carved a three dimensional
image of Christs body in bronze, and
made a digital reproduction of the Ho-
ly Shroud through which one may gain
an understanding of the process used
in the burial of the Saviours body.
Objects relating to the Passion, in-
cluding thorns, nails, scourge and coins
are also displayed. A history section
shows the travels of the treasured relic
from the Holy Land to Turin, Italy.
Organisers say the objective of the
display is to supply an historic and sci-
entific supplement to those undertak-
ing spiritual experiences in Jerusalem
by visiting the sacred places.
French Youths Promote
Eucharistic Adoration
Inspired by their participation in
World Youth Day in Paris in 1997, and
the Year of the Eucharist established
by Pope John Paul II in 2004, more
than 700 French youths gathered at the
Basilica of the Sacre Coeur of Paray-le-
Monial, where Jesus appeared to Saint
Margaret Mary Alacoque.
Over five days of prayer and medi-
tation centred on the Eucharist, partic-
ipants exchanged experiences and indi-
vidually resolved to promote a weekly
adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in
their particular community, recogniz-
ing that Eucharistic worship requires
silence and communion in refocusing
life with Christs love at the centre.
Several priests rendered spiritual
assistance throughout the congress in-
cluding the ministration of the Sacra-
ment of Reconciliation.
Cardinal speaks of state-
sponsored sectarianism
The Archbishop of Edinburgh, Car-
dinal Keith OBrien, said that the Brit-
ish state promotes state-sponsored
sectarian discrimination. Speaking
to the paper Scotland on Sunday,
Cardinal OBrien has condemned the
Act of Settlement, which prohibits ac-
cess to the throne for Catholics or for
those married to Catholics. He said:
Our constitution contains legislation
which describes my faith as the pop-
ish religion and defines me and my
co-religionists as papists. That this
arcanely offensive language enjoys le-
gal sanction is outrageous.
The late Cardinal Winning, of
Glasgow, had already battled for the
repeal of the law. And in 2002 the
Archbishop of Westminster, Cardi-
nal Cormac Murphy OConnor, com-
mented that this law was an act of
discrimination not only against Ro-
man Catholics but against the roy-
al family as well. He stated: I think
the future monarch should be al-
lowed to marry who he wants. Prince
William can marry by law a Hindu or
Buddhist, but not a Roman Catholic.
That seems to me anomalous. I think
it should go.
Cardinal OBrien has appealed
to Scottish First Minister Jack Mc-
Connell to lobby to bring about the
amendment of the law. Responding
to Cardinal Keith OBriens call to re-
peal the Act of Settlement, the Scot-
tish National Party (SNP) leader, MP
Alex Salmond, once again declared
his support to abolish the law.
Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 41
Cardinal Stafford nominated
as papal envoy for
celebrations in Baltimore
Pope Benedict XVI has nominat-
ed Cardinal James Francis Stafford,
Major Penitentiary of the Holy See, as
his special envoy for the dedication of
a new altar in the Basilica of the As-
sumption, in Baltimore (Maryland), on
November 4. The Cardinal is a native
of Baltimore, where he was ordained a
priest in 1957 and appointed Auxiliary
Bishop in 1976.
The Basilica will commemorate its
bicentennial and the completion of a
privately funded two-year restoration
and renovation. Festivities will be held
from November 4-12, culminating with
a Mass concelebrated by the bishops of
the United States. The first American
cathedral, officially known as the Ba-
silica of the National Shrine of the As-
sumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it
is recognized as one of the most histor-
ically important churches in the coun-
try. Built from 1806 to 1821, it was the
first major religious building construct-
ed in the United States after the adop-
tion of the Constitution.
The current restoration includes a
complete incorporation of modern sys-
tems throughout the building, while al-
so restoring the interior to the original
design of Benjamin Henry Latrove (ar-
chitect of the U.S. Capitol), under the
guidance of Bishop John Carroll.
Baltimores Fort McHenry, the in-
spiration for Francis Scott Keys The
Star-Spangled Banner, will fire three
cannon volleys in salute to the Basilica
as the doors swing open on November
4 and the historic cathedrals bells are
rung. The Fort McHenry Guard will
participate in the Basilica reopening
ceremony as will the U.S. Army Old
Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
More information can be found at
the site www.baltimorebasilica.org.
Birmingham to host huge
young Catholic gathering
The largest gathering of young
Catholics in a quarter of a century is
going to take place in Birmingham next
month. 4000 young adults, are expect-
ed to descend on the National Indoor
Arena, Birmingham on 6 October, for
24 hours of workshops, speakers, dis-
cussion, Mass, vigil and other activities.
The organisers say: Oct.06 will focus
on real people, real lives and real is-
sues. It will demonstrate how the Word
of God is alive and active in the 21st
Century, with the invitation to Find it,
Own It and Live It for yourself.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-
OConnor, Archbishop of Westmin-
ster, said: I look forward to join-
ing you at Oct.06. What better way of
spending a weekend? You will meet
other people from across England and
Wales; your faith will be challenged
and nourished; and there will be plen-
ty of chance to put faith into action. I
hope every young Catholic adult will
endeavour to be there.
(Independent Catholic News 2006)
Christian Caf
Portugal A Christian Caf, the
first of its kind on the Iberian Peninsu-
la installed in an area of 400 square
metres was inaugurated in Setu-
bal by local bishop, Most Rev. Gilber-
to Canavarro dos Reis. Patrons will not
be served alcoholic beverages but will
find tables stocked with bibles, books
and notepaper. There is also a chap-
el for private prayer and meditation.
Confession will be made available, and
there will be a monthly Celebration of
the Eucharist.
The Christian Caf came about as
an answer to the challenges of the New
Evangelisation, said Lina Andrade, an
organizer from Agncia Ecclesia.
Bishops of Oceania to implement
Apostolic Exhortation
Eighty-two Catholic bishops from
the vast Oceania region met for a week
in Suva, Fiji Islands, at the beginning of
August for their 5th Assembly. In ad-
dition to the Bishops Conferences of
Australia, New Zealand, Papua New
Guinea and the Solomon Islands, the
other member of the Federation the
Episcopal Conference of the Pacific
represents all the other Pacific nation
states except Hawaii.
The meeting coincided with the
400th anniversary of the first Mass ev-
er celebrated in Oceania on the island
of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu in 1606.
The Spanish explorer Pedro de Qui-
ros, commanding three small ships, was
journeying to find the reputed Great
Southern Land of the Holy Spirit to
claim it for Spain and the Church, with
the support of Pope Clement VIII. On
arrival in Vanuatu on Pentecost Sun-
day, the first Mass was celebrated in
this part of the world.
Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, Gen-
eral Secretary of the Synod of Bishops
in Rome brought a personal message
from Pope Benedict XVI. The bishops
discussed the implementation of the
post-synod Apostolic Exhortation Ec-
clesia in Oceania. Several reports pre-
sented by the participants stressed the
challenges for the Church in the face
of increasing secularism and relativ-
ism, especially in Australia and New
Zealand. Archbishop Eterovic reiterat-
ed the centrality of the Eucharist in the
life of Catholics in Oceania. Among
other topics discussed by the bish-
ops were Sydneys plans for the World
Youth Day in 2008.
At the conclusion of the Assembly,
the Special Council for Oceania of the
General Secretariat of the Synod of
Bishops issued a statement emphasiz-
ing the growth of vocations in this vast
region, which covers a quarter of the
earths surface.
Beatification of a
Great Missionary
The Church of Myanmar (previ-
ously Burma) may soon have its first
Blessed in Fr. Clemente Vismara, a
priest from the Pontifical Institute
for Foreign Missions PIME. He
died in 1988 at 91 years of age shortly
after being acclaimed the protector
of children, for having always lived
among hundreds of orphans who he
I
42 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
n Europe, the month of August is especially suited to
folk celebrations. It is the time when orchards yield
their choicest fruit, fields their best grain, and grapes
reach their ideal condition for wine production.
Amid the rejoicing for Gods gifts, is an ancient cus-
tom of savouring this time as one of and rest and remem-
brance usually linked to some liturgical celebration
when feasts and fairs unfold over several days.
In the gracious lands of Portugal we had the chance of
participating in one such feast entitled Medieval Journey
in the Land of St. Mary, which recalled the vibrant times
of King Afonso V.
It was a unique experience transporting us back in time
to glimpse other mentalities and cultures within the pic-
turesque framework of medieval times.
The sound of fifes and drums, the babble of merchants,
the bustle of artisans and the delicious fare of yesteryear
were enjoyed in an atmosphere of simple joy.
Picturesque Medieval Fair
A Medieval Journey in the Land of St. Mary recalls the vibrant times of King Afonso V.
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gathered from villages destroyed by
war or from among those dispersed
by hunger or tragedy.
In 1996 Cardinal Martini opened
the beatification process, now in its
final stage, in Agrate Brianza, in
the Archdiocese of Milan (Visma-
ras homeland). Today Fr. Vismaras
tomb attracts numerous Buddhists,
Muslims, Protestants and Animists
who come requesting favours and
blessings, in a country where Catho-
lics account for only 8 per cent of the
population.
Cardinal leads multi-faith
prayers for Darfur
Cardinal Cormac Murphy
OConnor, Archbishop of Westmin-
ster, joined Christian, Muslim and
Jewish leaders in prayers for peace in
Sudan, as part of an international day
of action. London, New York, Mel-
bourne, Seoul, Berlin, Stockholm and
other cities united to end the conflict
between the rebels and the govern-
ment-backed Arab militia.
The Cardinal said: Desperation
is growing for the innocent people
of Darfur. The conflict has left hun-
dreds of thousands dead and driven
millions more from their homes. If
the humanitarian situation continues
to worsen, many more will be affect-
ed. It will be on the conscience of the
world if we allow Darfur to descend
further into suffering.
The event was organised by CA-
FOD and other aid agencies. Baron-
ess Amos, the Leader of the House
of Lords, said the British government
would press for further sanctions and
for human rights abuses to be inves-
tigated. Events have been getting
worse, and the Sudanese government
is refusing to allow United Nations
peacekeepers in Darfur.
Cathedral of St. Vitus in Prague
returned to the Church
Thanks to a decision of the mu-
nicipal court in Prague, the Prague
Castle Administration official-
ly handed over the management of
the Cathedral of St. Vitus to the
Catholic Church. Although the
state still refuses to accept the ver-
dict and plans an appeal to the Su-
preme Court of the Czech Repub-
lic, the municipal court decided
that the Cathedral belongs to the
Church. A 1954 government resolu-
tion gave Prague Castle the author-
ity to manage the cathedral and sur-
rounding property but the Prague
City Court ruled that the transfer of
New Director for
Holy See Press Office
On July 11 Pope Benedict XVI ac-
cepted the resignation of Dr. Joaquim
Navarro-Valls from the office of di-
rector of the Holy See Press Office
manifesting his gratitude for his long
and generous service.
At the same time Benedict XVI
appointed Fr. Federico Lombardi,
SJ as the new director. Fr. Lombardi
was born August 29, 1942 in Saluzzo,
Italy. He was ordained to the Priest-
hood in 1972 and shortly after joined
the College of Writers of the famous
magazine Civilt Cattolica, of which
he became vice-director in 1977.
From 1984 to 1990 he was Provincial
for the Society of Jesus in Italy.
In 1991 he was appointed pro-
gram director of Vatican Radio, a
post he kept until 2005 when he be-
came its director general. He is al-
so presently director general of the
Vatican Television Centre. The Pope
decided that Fr Lombard will hold
these two responsibilities concur-
rently with that director of the Holy
See Press Office.
On the occasion of his appoint-
ment, Fr. Lombardi sent a letter to
all journalists associated with the
Holy See expressing his attitudes to-
wards his new function:
For some time already I have
worked, as have you, that the work
of the Holy Father and the realities
of the Church may be known and
understood in an objective and ade-
quate manner.
Dr. Navarro-Valls has given his
long service in this field with ex-
ceptional capacity, intelligence and
dedication.
I cannot pretend to imitate him,
but you may count on the pledge to
which I dedicate myself, with my
limitations but with all available
strength, to serve the Holy Father
and your good work.
Fr. Frederico Lombardi SJ,
during his first press conference
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44 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
management did not imply a trans-
fer of ownership. After the end of
the Communist period, Church and
State have been involved in a judi-
cial dispute that lasted 13 years.
In a statement cited by the Cath-
olic News Agency, the Archbishop
of Prague, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk,
said there are plans to make im-
provements to the Cathedral to bring
more dignity to the liturgy, as well as
to dedicate a chapel to St. Adalbert,
who was bishop of Prague, evange-
lized the Hungarians and the Poles,
and suffered martyrdom at the hands
of the Prussians in 997.
Religious Persecutions
China The Cardinal Kung
Foundation made the grave an-
nouncement of the imprisonment
the Most Rev. Yao Liang, 82-year-
old auxiliary bishop of Xiwanzi. The
arbitrary detention of the prelate,
stemming from his fidelity to the
Holy See, resulted in protests dur-
ing which 33-year-old Fr. Li Huish-
eng, and 90 lay faithful were arrest-
ed. Of the latter, 70 were immedi-
ately released. The bishop remains
imprisoned in Zhangjiakou and the
priest in an unknown location.
Bishop Yao Liang was previously
imprisoned by Chinese authorities in
March, for his religious belief and ac-
tivities, according to the report from
the Cardinal Kung Foundation.
World Trade Centre attack
changed some priests forever
The World Trade Centre attack
changed some priests forever, accord-
ing to reports from clergy involved in
9/11. Writing to the US Conference
of Catholic Bishops Office for Voca-
tions and Priestly Formation, priests
manifested how deeply the experi-
ence marked parishioners, firefight-
ers, families and themselves.
A Brooklyn priest, Father Robert
J. Romano, deputy chief chaplain
of the New York City Police De-
partment, recalled walking through
the rubble. I started to find out
that many of the cops I knew were
among the dead, he wrote. He
found that a college seminary
classmate, several of my altar boys
and my godson also perished that
day. Father Romano said Mass on
Sundays and holy days for work-
ers at Ground Zero. I would tell
them, Give me 22 minutes and Ill
give you faith, he wrote.
Bishop Blase Cupich, chairman
of the Bishops Committee on Vo-
cations and Priestly Formation, said
the stories summarized the mean-
ing of priesthood for him. The men
showed the very human face of Christ
to those in need, he said. Through
Mass and the sacraments they
brought grace to an otherwise grace-
less moment. They selflessly entered
into the pain of those in their care
and it changed them and their priest-
hood forever.
The stories of the priests of 9/11
can be found at www.usccb.org/voca-
tions/wewerethere.shtml
(Independent Catholic News 2006)
Remembering
Cardinal Willebrands
he eldest member of the
College of Cardinals, and
President Emeritus of the
Pontifical Council for Promoting
Christian Unity, Johannes Cardinal
Willebrands, passed away on Au-
gust 2, 2006 at the age of 97.
He was born in the Dutch city of
Bovenkarspel, and was ordained a
priest at 25 years of age. In 1960 he
was appointed secretary of the re-
cently founded Secretariat for Pro-
moting Christian Unity. He worked
extensively during the
Second Vatican Council
on the preparation of
documents concerning
ecumenism. Pope Paul
VI elevated him to the
Episcopate in 1964, and
conferred on him the Cardinals hat
in the consistory of 1969. In the same
year he named him president of the
Secretariat for Promoting Christian
Unity, which was later transformed
into a Pontifical Council.
In 1975 he was made Archbish-
op of Utrecht and the Primate of the
Netherlands. He governed this Arch-
diocese until 1983 and presided over
the Pontifical Council for Promoting
Christian Unity until 1989.
W
Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 45
BECOME A CO-COORDINATOR OF A SHRINE OF
THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
MARY, QUEEN OF THE THIRD MILLENNIUM
SHRINE APOSTOLATE
The human embryo is a human
being with its own life
hen is the exact moment of
the beginning of a human
being? This is a question
of utmost interest because life must be
defended from its first instant.
This was the theme of the Interna-
tional Congress The Human Embryo
in the Pre-implantation Stage Sci-
entific Aspects and Bioethical Consid-
erations, gathering 350 experts and
scholars, at the Vaticans New Synod
Hall, from February 27-28, 2006.
When does life in a new
human being begin?
From the fusion of the sperma-
tozoid with the ovule comes the zy-
gote. The new biological human indi-
vidual starts precisely at the moment
of that fusion. During a lengthy inter-
view with the news agency Zenit, Dr.
Ana Giuli, a molecular biologist and
professor of bioethics at the Faculty of
Medicine of the Catholic University of
the Sacred Heart (Rome), and author
of a highly documented book: The
Beginning of the Human Individu-
al: Biological Bases and Bioethical
Implications (published by ARAC-
NE), affirms: From the biological
data available today, it is evident that
the zygote or single-celled embryo is
already a new biological individual-
ity from the fusion of the two gam-
etes, at the moment of rupture of the
existing two gametes, and the forma-
tion of a new human being. From the
zygotes formation, one can observe a
constant and gradual development of
the new human organism which will
evolve in time and space, following a
precise guideline under the control of
the new genome already active in the
pro-nuclear stage (a most precocious
phase in the unicellular embryo).
The embryo is an
individual, a child
Today many people debate this
question: Couldnt the human
embryo, before its implanting in
the maternal uterus for develop-
ment, be used for scientific exper-
iments or medicinal purposes for
the good of humankind, as is done
with animals and plants? The an-
swer is a categorical no, for Al-
so prior to implantation the em-
bryo is a being with his own life
apart from his mother; a human
being under the biological view-
point; an individual and a be-
ing having an intrinsic finality of
originating a human person, said
Bishop Willem Jacobus Eijk, Bish-
op of Groningen (Netherlands) a
moral theologian, medical doctor
and bioethics expert.
Bishop Elio Sgreccia, President
of the Pontifical Academy for Life
goes much further by affirming,
the human embryo is a child, in-
cluding when he is manipulated or
destroyed before being implanted
in the maternal uterus.
UNITED KINGDOM
PHONE: (44) 20 8943 4159
lumenmaria@aol.com
SOUTH AFRICA
PHONE/FAX: (27) 11-453-6351
heralds@heralds.org.za
CANADA
PHONE: 1-905-939-0807
FAX: 1-905-939-9778
shrine@heralds.ca
PHILIPPINES
PHONE/FAX: (63) 32-214-594
heraldsphilippines@hotmail.com
HOW TO CONTACT US:
Brbara Honrio
The Monk with the Blind Eye
I
46 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
A STORY OF FAITH FOR CHILDREN OF FOR ADULTS FULL OF FAITH!
Theodores happiness was such that he could not sleep that night.
It was only as the first rays of dawn filtered through his window
that he noticed he had lost the power of sight in his right eye.
n an ancient abbey built
at the edge of a forest,
lived a pious communi-
ty of monks dedicated
to prayer, study and the
humble works prescribed by the rule
of their order.
Among them was Theodore, who
stood out from the rest by his ardent
devotion to the Blessed Virgin. For
years he had striven to know and love
her better. Ardently he had prayed
for this, and assiduously had he
studied everything written by
the saints in her honour.
The more he prayed, the
more he grew in devo-
tion; the more he read,
the more his thirst to
know increased.
One day, as he
was reading the
New Testament,
his attention
was caught by
the following
passage of St.
Paul: What
the mind of
man cannot vis-
ualise; all that
God has prepared
for those who love
him. (1 Cor. 2:9)
After much con-
sideration, Theod-
ore concluded: Yes, nothing that has
been written about the Blessed Vir-
gin is sufficient. Oh! If I could but see
her with my own eyes! And from that
moment onward this idea remained
fixed in his mind. With this desire he
awakened and with this desire he re-
tired at night. While occupied with
work, a sigh would occasionally es-
cape him: Ah, if I could see her just
once! His countless prayers were for
no other intention, and he knocked
so insistently on the doors of heaven
that at last they were opened
One night, the simple cell of the
ardent monk filled with a resplendent
light. Awaking in some alarm, Theo-
dore found himself in the presence of
an angelic figure, who addressed him
with these words:
Theodore, I am your Guardi-
an Angel! The Queen of Heaven has
heard your insistent prayers and she
desires to attend you. However, to
obtain the treasured gift of contem-
plating her face-to-face in this life, a
difficult sacrifice is required: the loss
of sight in your right eye. Are you
willing to make this offering?
But only this?!, the monk
thought to himself. And promptly he
replied:
Why, of course! I most happily
accept!
Then the angel bent over him,
made a rapid movement with his
arms, and vanished from sight. Mean-
while the heavenly light redoubled its
intensity, and an unspeakably sweet
perfume pervaded the air; a marvel-
lous melody could be heard.
Lo and behold! Preceded by a co-
hort of angles appeared the Moth-
er of God. She looked upon Theod-
ore with maternal goodness.and
smiled! It was the most beautiful
smile ever to be seenThe fortunate
monk was beside himself with happi-
ness. After a few moments the reful-
gent light began to diminish, the vi-
sion gradually faded, and Theod-
ore was once more by himself in the
darkness of the night.
Theodores happiness was such
that sleep was impossible. Never had
something been so well etched upon
his memory. It was only as the first
rays of the sun filtered through his
window that he noticed he had lost
the power of sight in his right eye.
All the other monks sympathized
with the poor man who had so inex-
plicably been struck blind in one eye.
They were edified though, to see him
not sad, but on the contrary, cheerful
as never before. Theodore revealed
to nobody what had taken place that
night.
The days and months passed. The-
odore lived happily from the remem-
brance of that unforgettable mo-
ment when heaven touched earth be-
D
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The Monk with the Blind Eye
Sep-Oct 2006 Heralds of the Gospel 47
fore his very eyes. He learned to ac-
cept the inconvenience of seeing only
from one eye, and when he suffered
some nuisance or mishap because of
his limited vision, he would quick-
ly say to himself: Yes, it was worth-
while! This is nothing compared to
that incomparably beautiful smile!
Meanwhile, as the years passed,
his happiness was at times mixed
with a certain sorrow. Theodore
felt longings for that indescribable
vision. A spectacle that charmed
the other monks would seem ex-
pressionless to him. The beautiful
hues of a sunset, the harmonious
strains of an organ, or an illuminat-
ed stained-glass window could in
no way compare with the celestial
countenance of the Virgin Mary.
The organs harmonies were a mere
shadow to the music he had heard.
And how poorly did the fragrant
flowering mountainside in spring-
time compare with the aroma that
filled his cell on that blessed night.
In his heart the old desire was
reborn: If I could only see her
again! He set to praying with re-
doubled insistence, requesting that
this incomparable grace be granted
him once more.
And it came to pass, that in the
same way as had taken place years
earlier, the supernatural light that
preceded the apparition of the angel
again illuminated his cell. Once more
he found himself in the presence of
his angel.
Theodore, I have returned! If you
really desire to see the Blessed Virgin
again, you must know that this will
cost you another sacrifice, greater
than the first. Are you willing to offer
what sight remains to you?
In a moment, Theodore recalled
the all difficulties that his loss of sight
had occasioned. Now he would be
completely blind! On the other hand,
his love had grown stronger, so with
vigour he responded:
Yes, I accept! To see Our Lady
once more if only for a few sec-
onds it would be
well worth the suf-
fering of spending
the rest of my life
blind!
Then, in the
same manner as
during the first vi-
sion, he contem-
plated once more
the celestial counte-
nance of the Moth-
er of God for some
moments. What joy!
What happiness!
Alone in the
darkness of his
cell, Theodore lay
awake for a long
time, caught up in
the memory of what
he had seen. Only
after midnight did he reflect thus:
Now I should prepare myself for a
life of blindness. So, he fell asleep
at last, his happiness mixed with res-
ignation; the memory of past bless-
ings mingled with the knowledge of
future troubles.
The sound of the bell echo-
ing through cloister and corridor
aroused the monks for another
day. Rising rapidly, Theodore dis-
covered to his great astonishment
that he could still see! Not only
that he could see with both eyes!
He opened the window, and to his
great satisfaction beheld the green
of the meadows, the blue of the sky
and the flowers in the garden.
The sight he had lost had been re-
stored!
Shedding tears of happiness and
gratitude, Theodore made haste to
the chapel to pour out his heart-
felt thanks. Seeing in amazement,
that he was cured, the entire com-
munity gathered around him. Final-
ly deciding to reveal his secret, he
recounted to them the details of all
that had taken place. Dumbfound-
ed, the monks make their way to his
cell, which was still permeated by
the sweet perfume of the heavenly
visitor.
Much awed, the aged and experi-
enced abbot spoke thus to his monks:
The demon, the father of lies,
never delivers on a promise. God,
on the contrary, always gives more
than we had hoped for. And, as the
old saying goes, if we give Our La-
dy an egg, she gives us an ox. Broth-
ers, we mustnt fear in giving our-
selves to God, since, as He Himself
said, My yoke is easy, and my burden
light. This miraculous occurrence
teaches us that we should confide
ever more in our Holy Mother and
Lady, Mary Most Holy!
And all went on their way praying
and giving thanks.
Theodore, on his part, comforted
by the sublime gift he had received, pa-
tiently withstood this earthly life, await-
ing Gods call to contemplate Him and
His Most Holy Mother for all eternity.
The happy monk died a holy death at
an advanced age and those who knew
him testified that until the end of his
days he could read the smallest print
without the least difficulty, for as they
said: Never was there a monk blessed
with such good sight
1. Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordi-
nary Time
St. Therese of the Child Jesus, vir-
gin and doctor. Memorial (Omitted
on Sundays)
St. Gerald Edwards, priest and
martyr (+1588). Put to death along
with Bl. Robert Wilcox, Bl. Christo-
pher Buxton and Bl. Robert Widmer-
pool during the persecution ordered
by Queen Elizabeth I of England.
2. Guardian Angels. Memorial.
Bl. John Beysym (+1912). Polish
Jesuit priest who evangelized the lep-
ers of Madagascar Island.
3. St. Dionysius Areopagite, con-
verted by St. Paul the Apostle at the
Areopagus of Athens.
4. St. Francis of Assisi. Memorial.
5. St. Benedict the Black, also
known as St. Benedict the Moor. Op-
tional memorial.
Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos (+1867).
Redemptorist priest dedicated to as-
sisting the children, youth and immi-
grants of New Orleans. Op-
tional memorial in the USA.
St. Froilan, bishop
(+905).
6. St. Bruno, priest and Found-
er of the Carthusian Order. Option-
al memorial.
Bl. Marie Rose Durocher, virgin
(+1849) Founded the Sisters of the
Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in
Canada for the formation of young
women. Optional Memorial in Cana-
da and the USA.
7. Our Lady of the Rosary. Memo-
rial.
Bl. John Hunot, priest and mar-
tyr (+1794). Detained for 10 months
along with 821 others priests in the
hold of two sea vessels; offered his
sufferings and his life for the Faith.
8. Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Or-
dinary Time
St. Pelagia, virgin and martyr (cir-
ca 302). Died for the Faith at the age
of 15.
9. St. Denys and companions, mar-
tyrs. Optional memorial.
St. John Leonardi, priest. Option-
al memorial.
St. Louis Beltran, priest (+1581).
Missionary, converted several South-
American indigenous tribes, and de-
fended them from their oppressors.
10. St. Daniel Comboni, first
Catholic bishop of Central Africa
(+1881). Spread the Gospel in Afri-
ca, worked to abolish the slave trade
and ministered to the poor. Memori-
al in South Africa.
St. Paulinus, first bishop of York.
Optional memorial in England.
11. St. Philip, one of the sev-
en deacons chosen by the Apostles
(cf At 6, 1-6). Converted the region
of Samaria, baptized the minister of
Queen Candace of Ethiopia.
St. Canice, abbot (+600), found-
ed several monasteries, including
the Abbey of Finglas, one of the two
most influential in Ireland. Optional
Memorial in Ireland.
12. St. Wilfred, bishop (+709),
one of the greatest pillars of the An-
glo-Saxon Church. Optional memori-
al in England.
13. St. Edward the Confessor
(+1066), King of England, his reign
was one of almost unbroken peace;
he settled internal affairs with pru-
dence. Before marrying the virtu-
ous Edita, he asked her agreement to
live with him as a sister, since he had
made a vow of chastity. Edward was
also the first king of England known
to be able to cure skin disease, the
kings evil, by laying hands on those
afflicted by it, the kings touch. Op-
tional Memorial in England.
14. St. Callistus I, pope. Optional
memorial.
St. Dominic Loricato, priest
(+1060).
15. Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Or-
dinary Time
St. Teresa of Avila, virgin and doc-
tor. Memorial (Omitted on Sun-
days).
Bl. Gonalo de Lagos, priest
(+1422).
16. St. Hedwig, religious and St.
Margaret Mary Alacoque, virgin.
Optional memorial.
St. Marguerite dYouville, religious
(+1771), was born at Varennes, near
Montreal. After becoming widowed,
she founded the Grey Nuns and the
General Hospital of Quebec. Memo-
rial in Canada.
Ss. John de Brbeuf and
Isaac Jogues, priests and
martyrs, and Companions
(Sacred Heart of Jesus
Church, Montreal, Canada)
St. Richard Gwyn, martyr (+1584).
The father of a family and teacher
in Wales, converted to the Catholic
Faith, was tortured and hanged for at-
tempting to convert others. Optional
memorial in Wales.
St. Gall, hermit (+645). Born in
Ireland, he became the apostle of
Switzerland, where he founded the
famous Abbey of St. Gall. Optional
memorial in Ireland.
17. St. Ignatius of Antioch, bishop
and martyr. Memorial.
18. Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist.
St. Peter de Alcntara, priest
(+1562). A Franciscan of austere
and penitent life, he was a councillor
of St. Teresa of Jesus in the Reform
of the Carmelite Order.
19. Ss. John de Brbeuf and Isaac
Jogues, priests and martyrs, and Com-
panions. Optional memorial (memo-
rial in the USA, in Canada, celebrat-
ed as Feast on September 26).
St. Paul of the Cross, priest. Op-
tional memorial.
Bl. Agnes de Jesus Galand, vir-
gin (+1634). Prioress of the Domin-
ican monastery of Langeac (France).
A victim of calumny and envy, she of-
fered these sufferings to God for the
formation of the priests of France.
20. Bls. Daudi Okelo and Jildo
Irwa, catechists, martyrs (+1918)
killed in Uganda while still youths.
Memorial in South Africa
Saint Paul of the Cross, priest.
Optional memorial in the USA.
21. St. Viator, lector (after 481). Dis-
ciple and minister of St. Just, Bishop of
Lyon, followed him to Egypt for a life
of solitude and penance in the desert.
22. Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordi-
nary Time
St. Abertius, bishop (Third Cen-
tury). Bishop of Hierapolis, in Frigia,
spread the Faith to various regions.
23. St. John of Capistrano, priest.
Optional memorial.
Bl. John Bono, hermit (+1249).
During his youth he travelled through
several regions of Italy as a comedi-
an. At age 40 he converted and aban-
doned the world to surrender himself
to Christ and to the Church.
24. St. Anthony Mary Claret, bish-
op. Optional memorial.
St. Maglorius, bishop (circa 605).
He was a disciple of St. Iltud in the
Monastery of Llantwit, in Wales,
along with his cousin St. Sampson,
future bishop of Dol, whom he suc-
ceeded in that diocese.
25. The Six Welsh Martyrs and their
Companions, tortured and executed
in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth cen-
turies. Optional memorial in Wales.
St. Gaudentius, bishop (circa
410). Ordained Bishop of Brescia,
by St. Ambrose. Illustrious in his
doctrine and virtues, he instructed
his people by means of sermons and
literary works.
26. Ss. Chad and Cedd, bishops.
Chad (+672) and Cedd (+664) were
brothers who were educated at Lin-
disfarne under Aidan. St. Cedd was a
founder of monasteries, and evange-
lised the East Saxons, establishing his
See in Essex. St. Chad founded the
See of Lichfield in Mercia. Optional
memorial in England.
St. Rustic, bishop (circa 461). He
evangelised the people of Narbona,
France.
27. St. Evaristus, pope (+108).
Fourth successor of St. Peter, he
guided the Church during the time of
the Emperor Trajano.
St. Otteran, abbot (+548). His
grave was an object of veneration
in Iona. He is purportedly the first
to have been buried in the monas-
tic cemetery of the Norseman, where
chieftains and great men from all
parts of Europe are buried. He was
later named patron of the diocese.
Optional Memorial in Ireland.
28. Feast of the Apostles Ss. Si-
mon and Jude.
St. Vincent, St. Sabina and St.
Christeta, martyrs (circa 305). Vin-
cent and his two sisters were mar-
tyred together in the city of Avila,
during the persecution of Diocletian.
29. Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary
Time
St. Colman of Kilmacduagh, ab-
bot and bishop (+632), son of the
Irish chieftain, Duac. He lived as a
hermit, and then, contrary to his de-
sires, was made bishop. Optional Me-
morial in Ireland.
St. Theodarius, abbot (circa 575).
30. St. Marcellus, martyr (circa
300). A centurion from Tingis (Mo-
rocco), he refused to worship the Ro-
man gods, relinquishing his soldiers
insignia before the legions standards.
Optional Memorial in South Africa.
Bl. Alexis Zaryckyj, priest and
martyr (+1963). He died for the
Faith after 15 years of forced labour
at a concentration camp in Dolinka,
Kazakhstan.
31. St. Wolfgang, bishop (+994).
St. Teresa of Avila and St. John
of the Cross (St. Teresas Convent,
Avila, Spain)
I
Jos A. Dominguez
50 Heralds of the Gospel Sep-Oct 2006
Authority is a Cross!
The authority of one who governs does not exist for
personal gain or glory but rather for the common good.
Conscious of this reality, Catholic sovereigns adopted
the custom of adorning the crown with a cross.
n speaking of kings and
queens, the image of a
crown comes quickly to
mind What was the ori-
gin of the first crown? Did
kings of ancient times wear them? The
theme is shrouded in the mysterious
shadows of history.
From the pen of Fustel de Cou-
langes, a Nineteenth Century French
historian, comes a masterful descrip-
tion of these ancient times. He out-
lines the manner in which great fam-
ilies generated tribes, which in turn
formed primitive kingdoms. At a giv-
en point, clan leaders recognized that
their venerable patriarchs, descend-
ing in a direct line from the founders
of their emerging nations, surpassed
the condition of mere tribal or familial
leaders in authority and importance.
Whether a king was anointed by a
high priest, elected by elders or ac-
claimed by the people, we do not
know. But it is clear that from the
moment in which a king was pro-
claimed, it was considered neces-
sary to create an insignia to distin-
guish him. Even the most primitive
societies recognized the inestimable
worth of symbols. It was in this way,
perhaps, that the royal crown was
born. It is probable that the crown
had not yet assumed its current fa-
miliar form, but it is undisputed, that
it aimed at distinguishing the sover-
eign and adorning his brow as an af-
firmation of his dignity.
The sovereign is, in effect, to the
nation what the head is to the body.
To him pertains the noble function
of presiding over an entire domain.
Therefore, the crown, as a symbol
of authority, appropriately adorns
the head of the monarch, since the
head is the noblest member of the
body, governing all other members
and organs. Just as someone called
to lead a human assembly should be
endowed with the loftiest virtue, so
too should a crown be set with the
most precious of gems symbolizing
the virtues of the sovereign.
The evolution of the design of roy-
al diadems throughout history certain-
ly reflects, in some way, the prevailing
mentality of a given epoch. Through-
out antiquity, for instance, the con-
cept of strength was linked to that of
authority. An example of this can be
found in the Roman Empire where
the legal system was highly developed
and juridical science bore little weight
in the selection or acclamation of a
Caesar. The strongest, most victori-
ous general was most frequently cho-
sen. Strength was idolised to such a
degree that the Romans, so reasona-
ble in other matters, fell into the ab-
surd worship of the emperor as a god!
This worship, mandated by law, was
only abolished, and not without con-
siderable difficulty, by Constantine.
The symbolization of justice was
still absent from the laurel wreath of
In ancient times, authority
was linked to the concept of
strength (Bust of Julius Caesar,
Metropolitan Museum of Art,
New York)
G
u
s
t
a
v
o

K
r
a
l
j
Roman Caesars. This virtue would
only shine resplendently within the
Catholic Church.
Constantine was the first Chris-
tian emperor to introduce a substan-
tial change in the concept of authori-
ty, and in the crown of the sovereign.
Upon receiving the relics of the Pas-
sion from his pious mother, the Em-
press St. Helen, he ordered that one
of the nails used in the Crucifixion of
Our Lord be set in his crown. In do-
ing this, he recognized that authority
not only proceeds from God, but also
ity is to be borne as a cross. This sym-
bolism is valid for all sectors of soci-
ety, including the family, wherein the
father exercises his authority as head
of the home. A true leader must be
first in the field of action and the pri-
mary example of virtue for his subor-
dinates. When, as so often happens, a
subordinate casts aside his cross from
discouragement or lack of resigna-
tion, his superior is obliged to take up
and carry that cross.
Consequently, those invested with
authority are granted honours or ti-
tles in acknowledgment of the sacri-
fice inherent to the exercise of pow-
er. A case in point is the Supreme
Roman Pontiff, the highest spiritu-
al authority on earth. Among his
many titles, the most beautiful is
undoubtedly, Servant of the
servants of God.
that the exercise of power signifies a
true crucifixion, as authority does not
exist for the gain and personal glo-
ry of the ruler, but for the common
good. It can in this way be compared
with the priesthood.
Conscious of this reality, Catho-
lic sovereigns adopted the custom of
placing a cross atop their crowns. In
many crowns the bands of the frame
do not meet to form an arch, but rath-
er are bowed, as if under the weight
of the cross. This beautiful symbol-
ism serves as a reminder that author-
Imperial Crown of
the Holy Roman
Empire (Museum of
Art History, Vienna)
A
u
s
t
r
i
a
n

A
r
c
h
i
v
e
s
/
C
o
r
b
i
s
/
L
a
t
i
n
S
t
o
c
k
Pilgrim statue of the
Immaculate Heart of
Mary, belonging to the
Heralds of the Gospel
T
.

R
i
n
g
A
lthough there is no
lack of anxiety and
suffering, and although
there are still reasons for
apprehension about the
future of humanity, what
the Lady in White
promised the shepherd
children is consoling: In
the end, my Immaculate
Heart will triumph.

(Benedict XVI, Regina Cli,
May 14, 2006)