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Holy Father closes International Eucharistic Congress in style and with renewed vigor
John Paul II concluded the
International Eucharistic Congress this evening with a Mass in
St. Peter's Square. The Congress brought together representatives
from 80 Episcopal Conferences from different parts of the world,
50 Cardinals, 250 Bishops, and more than 1,000 priests. John Paul II brought to a close the week he described as the "heart" of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000: 7 days in which
the entire Church was united to Rome in recalling that its life
and mission have no meaning without the Eucharist, and in adoring
the sacrament day and night. continued inside.
Next International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2004
When opening the Congress on June 18, John Paul II referred to it as the "heart of the Jubilee." Sunday he placed its fruits in
Mary's hands and entrusted "the next International Eucharistic
Congress to her that, God willing, will be held in Guadalajara,
Mexico in 2004," and took advantage of the moment to greet
Mexican pilgrims, who received the news of the forthcoming
Congress with great enthusiasm.continued inside.
Church succeeds in getting clemency for 3,000 prisoners in Madagascar
Thanks to the tenacity of one priest,
the government of Madagascar has released some 3,000 prisoners
serving time for minor charges in its severely overcrowded
prisons. Father Angelo Buccarello, with the blessings of his Archbishop
Cardinal Armand Gaetan Razafindratandra, has been successful where weightier international
organizations and associations concerned with human rights, have
failed. As a sign of reconciliation during the Jubilee, he
requested this amnesty. Among its beneficiaries are minors and
many pregnant women, and others with small children, obliged to
serve time for lesser offenses in inhuman conditions.
Chinese Catholics who fail to adhere to Rome could get the bell, book and candle!
In a statement released on Saturday, June 24, the Vatican has said that the
ordination of bishops without papal authorization is "a painful wound to
Church communion." The statement goes on to say that the "seriousness" of
such an illicit episcopal ordination could merit the "severe sanctions" laid
down by canon law. The measure is aimed at Red China who have openly ordained bishops for the Patriotic Catholic Association and the Holy See has had enough.
Former Jew, now a priest sees hope for peace in Mid-East but it won't be easy
Several recent developments in the Middle
East have suggested that change may be in the air. Israel has withdrawn its
troops from southern Lebanon. Bashar el Assad has succeeded his father as
Syria's leader. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators continue to explore peace
possibilities. The Ehud Barak government in Israel appears to be fragile. Christians
and Jews in the region have been drawn closer together by the March visit
of Pope John Paul II. The agency Fides sought out a priest who is an expert on the latest developments and provide an insightful interview with him on possible peace in this region so hungry for peace. continued inside.
India's Prime Minister, who will finally meet face to face with Holy Father this week, has a lot to answer for
After Archbishop Alan Basil de Lastic's funeral tomorrow in New Delhi, India's Prime Minister will seek an audience with the Pope in response to the Church's concern with what is happening in India. The Holy See wants answers because the federal coalition government led by Prime Minister
Atal Behari Vajpayee's pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is widely
considered to be closing its eyes - if not actually
encouraging the organized attacks on church targets. Over
200 incidents of atrocities on Christians have been
reported since the BJP assumed power under Vajpayee's
leadership in 1998.
Austrian cardinal stresses need for Confession before Communion during Eucharistic Congress
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who at 55 is one of the youngest Cardinals
of the Catholic Church, addressed the topic: "Eucharist,
Conversion, and Reconciliation," revealing the intimate bond that
exists between Eucharistic communion and confession, and he
mentioned how in some countries, especially in Europe, the
practice of confession has all but disappeared. Given this fact,
he asked a very honest question: "Do we need reconciliation?" He
said that if believers today do not feel the need to be
reconciled with God it is due to the crisis of the "consciousness
of sin." continued inside.
Vatican shows capital gains as it rebounds from banking woes after Vatican II
At present, figures in the
red are a distant memory for the Vatican. Archbishop Sergio
Sebastiani, president of the Vatican Prefecture for Economic
Affairs, announced Friday morning during a press conference to
present the Vatican's Net Consolidated Revenues and Expenses for
the fiscal year 1999, which registered a net gain of $5 million,
3.5 million more than in 1998. continued inside.
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