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The Vatican

Vatican: 2 living popes may honour 2 dead ones at April canonization for John Paul, John XXIII

 

the 2 popes

VATICAN CITY – Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be declared saints on April 27 at a ceremony that might see two living popes honouring two dead ones.

The Vatican on Monday said retired Pope Benedict XVI might join Pope Francis in the saint-making ceremony for their predecessors, noting that there was no reason why Benedict should have to watch the ceremony on TV.

“There’s no reason — either doctrinal or institutional — that he couldn’t participate in a public ceremony,” the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said. “I don’t have any reason to exclude it.”

He noted there was still time before the ceremony and that Benedict was free to decide what to do.

Benedict, who became the first pope in 600 years to retire when he stepped down in February, had said he would spend his final days “hidden from the world” in the Vatican monastery.

But he has taken on a more public profile recently, writing a letter to an Italian atheist that was published last week in Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper and appearing with Francis over the summer at a ceremony to unveil a Vatican statue.

Francis had announced in July he would canonize two of the 20th century’s most influential popes together, approving a miracle attributed to John Paul’s intercession and bending Vatican rules by deciding that John XXIII didn’t need a second one to be canonized.

Analysts have said the decision to canonize them together was aimed at unifying the church, since each pope has his admirers and critics. Francis is clearly a fan of both: On the anniversary of John Paul’s death this year, Francis prayed at the tombs of both men — an indication that he sees a great personal and spiritual continuity in them.

Both popes are also closely identified with the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that brought the Catholic Church into modern times, an indication that Francis clearly wants to make a statement about the council’s role in shaping the church today.

A spokesman for Poland’s bishops’ conference, the Rev. Jozef Kloch, said the dual canonizations would stress the fact that John Paul II continued the ideas introduced by John XXIII, who called Vatican II.

Originally, the canonization was expected to have taken place Dec. 8. But Polish bishops complained that a December date would make it difficult for Polish pilgrims to come to the Vatican by bus along snowy, icy roads. As a result, the first Sunday after Easter was chosen instead — a feast day established by John Paul himself.

It was on that same feast day — Divine Mercy Sunday — that John Paul was beatified in 2011, drawing 1.5 million pilgrims to Rome.

John Paul made Jorge Mario Bergoglio — the current Pope Francis — a cardinal. Francis’ immense popular appeal has also been likened to that of John XXIII, dubbed the “good pope.”

___

Monika Scislowska contributed from Warsaw.


Pope Francis in a Selfie …

Pope Francis in a selfie photo

@Pontifex and the #Sabbath Selfies

John McCarthy  |  Aug. 29, 2013 National Catholic Reporter

 

Oxford University Press announced that the word “selfie” has been added to the online dictionary of the English language. In case you were wondering, selfie (plural is, of course, “selfies”) is defined as: “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” I bet at this point, you’re asking, “Why does this matter for the church?”

The Holy Father posed for a selfie with a group of young people visiting the Vatican. You can see that photo here.  Selfies are the new rage, and everyone is posing for them. Chelsea Clinton took one; Bret Michaels, Donald Trump and Donald Trump’s hair, too. P. Diddy and the Mona Lisa do a pose here (that’s my personal favorite).

Now last time I wrote about popular culture and the church (What Catholics can Learn from Shark Week), some people thought the idea was silly. However, I’m going to give it another try.

Think about this: It would have been very easy for the Holy Father to turn these young people down. He could have just as easily suggested that they pose for a formal photo taken by a Vatican photographer. Instead, he embraced the silliness of the opportunity and posed for a photo with the visitors (as a result, making their lives complete).

Catholics around the world can take away an important lesson here: Engage the culture.

At World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis said, “The results of our pastoral work do not depend on a wealth of resources, but on the creativity of love … At times we lose people because they don’t understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people.”

When I read that statement, it really hit me. Why aren’t we talking more about the “creativity of love”? Why is it that every day, we fail to ask ourselves, “How can I bring love into the lives of others?” I happen to think it’s because there is growing sentiment that the world is scary, unsafe and unworthy of our faith. Our biggest barrier is this prevailing sense that we must “protect the church” from some outside, unnamed impeding force.

We make long theologically correct statements about why we can’t do something or who can be called Catholic versus who cannot. This is not to say that certain moments do not call for seriousness, but we need to learn how to take a joke every now and then. People are viewing the church as an exclusive, cold, barred-off entity. How can we let people in if the walls are so high? The “creativity of love” must begin with meeting people where they are, and joining them on life’s journey.

So take out your phones and tweet about going to church. Maybe download a Catholic iPhone app, or suggest to your friends that they read a Catholic blog (shameless plug). Moral of the story: Let’s take a step back and remember our simplicity — and pose for a selfie.


Spiritual Experience

John Paul in Chapel

If you know anything about the Late Pontiff John Paul II, then you would know that this is the place he spent a great deal of his time – the apostolic Chapel in the pope’s private residence in the papal apartments.

I bring this up because we read from Appendix II in the back of the Big Book, “Spiritual Experience.”

I’ve been in a “right state” these past few days. And my friends have been on top of things making sure I don’t crack up. That’s why I am friends with certain people, because they invest in my life. And there are times, when we talk, that I am sure that God is present amongst us.

As Spiritual Experiences go, I have had a few in  my life, and the most important ones came well before I ever hit the room of A.A.

My presentation to God by my Grandmother comes to mind when I was a child.

The two appearances of my friend David after his death when I was in seminary.

Going to Rome, getting to see John Paul II in person twice in a years time.

Visiting the Vatican, touring the catacombs, and climbing the staircase to the top of the cupola of the Vatican looking down over St. Peter’s Square and the Papal Gardens. And attending mass IN the Vatican, how many people can claim a visit like this to the Vatican?

As I drank my way across Europe as a young man, I had this sober experience of God, in one of the most hallowed locations in Christendom.

For the whole of my young life I knew God. And He knew who I was. We were close for a very long time, and I believe now that it was God and faith that contributed to my surviving my life as it was lived.

After my expulsion from Seminary, I turned on God, thinking that He had turned on me. But now I know that the men who spoke for God, were egos and attitudes and men who, later on, fell from grace, in their own time.

God cleared the score, so to speak.

I can’t tell you that I was steeped in the Book the first time I got sober, but I did read at meetings and with my sponsor, but like I have said before, there were other matters on the table that took precedence over life, like survival…

When I came in the second time, the book was presented to us, as were the steps, prior to my coming to Montreal. And at the end of my first year of sobriety I worked my steps in a Step group the First time.

That is when I read “There is a solution” and in that chapter we are introduced to Appendix II and Spiritual Experience.

The book actually refers you to this reading, AS you read the book. It appears in the first few chapters almost inviting you to partake. But how many people, at that point in early sobriety, are ready to take that leap of faith and understand and accept a religious axiom or religious concept.

The out there is Genius. Bill W gives us his explanation.

“GOD as WE understood Him.”

Have I experienced Spiritual Experiences in Sobriety? Yes.

It took some time, going to the same meetings, in the same space, for a period of time that I grew able to recognize them in others, and not necessarily in myself.

My sober theorem states:

In life, where ever we are, we carry, above our heads, a blinking sign. That sign flashes what is going on in our hearts and heads.

We cannot see the sign, but others can.

I have proved this theorem at my home group, the space called St. Leon’s Church.

You come to the doors outside. And you come down 12 steps. How providential.

I grew able to see the signs of all the folks who came to our meeting, and later ALL the meetings that I attend in that room, over the past twelve years. Newly sober people have varied signs. Saying many things.

And as you return, over and over, those signs change. As people get sober and change, so does the sign.

Today, I go to meetings with my friends. I admit that I pick and chose who I choose to spend my time with. Since the Round Up, I have grown picky in my choice of those I share my life with. My friends are intuitive. They are smart, and they invest in our lives of each other. And I appreciate this so much, because I know my friends have my back.

You can’t go to a meeting and not invest. I mean you can, it’s been done. Folks who come to a meeting and warm a chair, but do not engage or invest. And that is a terrible things. But it is to be expected in early sobriety. Newly sober people cannot invest in others, until they stop existing in their heads making everything about themselves. While the ego is in motion, folks are unapproachable.

You can’t get sober and keep your ego…

For me, every meeting has the potential to be a spiritual experience. Because you never know what someone else is going to say on varied topics we speak about at meetings, be it from the book, a topic or an open discussion.

Over the past twelve years, almost, I have seen countless people come to their first spiritual experience. Sitting in a group in St. Leon’s hall, someone realizes something BIG, when the elevator rises to the top of the tower and the light goes on, and the experience takes place.

I can tell you that God favors that hall. Because I have seen Him move amongst the people many times. And to be blessed to be able to see with those eyes, God move in a room, is a blessing. And that doesn’t come over night, it comes over years.

I am eternally grateful for my friends in the rooms tonight. A few in particular who went out of their way to be with me over the past few days. To be in places that I might travel in hopes of speaking to me in private – outside the room.

We hosted a small group, but we went the entire hour.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Second Miracle Attributed to Pope John Paul II; Set for Fastest Sainthood in Modern History

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By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
June 19, 2013|7:55 pm

Pope John Paul II, The popular Polish pope who served from 1978 until his death in 2005, has had a second miracle attributed to his name, setting him on course toward the fastest canonization in modern Roman Catholic Church history.

The Vatican Insider reported on Tuesday that doctors and a commission of theologians agreed to attribute a second miracle to his name, meaning that now the final step for Pope John Paul II to become a saint is for cardinals and bishops to agree on the decision.

The miracle is the healing of a Costa Rican woman, who suffered from severe brain damage before she had an “inexplicable recovery.” According to The Independent, Italian newspaper Il Giornale quoted Vatican officials who claimed that a double miracle had actually been performed, because not only was the woman healed, but the faith of her family had been restored.

While the Vatican has yet to release the full details behind the case, the miracle supposedly occurred in May 2011, the day of John Paul II’s beatification.

The first miracle attributed to the pontiff, which led to his beatification, concerned another healing –a French nun who recovered from Parkinson’s disease in 2005. Sister Marie Simon-Pierre had said that her illness suddenly vanished when her order started praying on her behalf, and she wrote down Pope John Paul II’s name on a piece of paper.

The 2005 miracle left the pope only steps away from sainthood, and if in the coming weeks the Congregation for the Causes of Saints’ commission of cardinals and bishops verifies this reported second miracle, he will become the fastest saint to be recognized by the Church in its modern history, just eight years following his death.

The Atlantic Wire reminded readers that up until this point, the person to go through the quickest path to sainthood was Josemaria Escriva, the Spanish priest who founded Opus Dei, canonized 27 years after his death by Pope John Paul II himself.

Canonizations were a regular event during the Polish pope’s reign. He proclaimed 482 saints which is more than during the leadership of the previous 17 popes put together.

While Pope John Paul II’s canonization is not yet set in stone, The Insider speculated that the fast process suggests that the current pope, Francis, is also in favor of the proposed sainthood.

 


Church must help the poorest, not dissect theology, pope says

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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis shared personal moments with 200,000 people on Saturday, telling them he sometimes nods off while praying at the end of a long day and that it “breaks my heart” that the death of a homeless person is not news.

Francis, who has made straight talk and simplicity a hallmark of his papacy, made his unscripted comments in answers to questions by four people at a huge international gathering of Catholic associations in St. Peter’s Square.

But he outdid himself in passionately discussing everything from the memory of his grandmother to his decision to become a priest, from political corruption to his worries about a Church that too often closes in on itself instead of looking outward.

“If we step outside of ourselves, we will find poverty,” he said, repeating his call for Catholics to do more to seek out those on the fringes of society who need help the most,” he said from the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica

“Today, and it breaks my heart to say it, finding a homeless person who has died of cold, is not news. Today, the news is scandals, that is news, but the many children who don’t have food – that’s not news. This is grave. We can’t rest easy while things are this way.”

The crowd, most of whom are already involved in charity work, interrupted him often with applause.

“We cannot become starched Christians, too polite, who speak of theology calmly over tea. We have to become courageous Christians and seek out those (who need help most),” he said.

To laughter from the crowd, he described how he prays each day before an altar before going to bed.

“Sometimes I doze off, the fatigue of the day makes you fall asleep, but he (God) understands,” he said.

CRISIS OF VALUES

Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, said the world was going through not just an economic crisis but a crisis of values.

“This is happening today. If investments in banks fall, it is a tragedy and people say ‘what are we going to do?’ but if people die of hunger, have nothing to eat or suffer from poor health, that’s nothing. This is our crisis today. A Church that is poor and for the poor has to fight this mentality,” he said.

Many in the crowd planned to stay in the square overnight to pray and prepare for Francis’ Mass on Sunday, when the Catholic Church marks Pentecost, the day it teaches that the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles.

On Saturday morning, Francis met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and discussed Europe’s economic crisis.

Apparently responding to his criticism of a heartless “dictatorship of the economy” earlier in the week, Merkel, who is up for re-election in September, later called for stronger regulation of financial markets.

On Thursday, Francis appealed in a speech for world financial reform, saying the global economic crisis had made life worse for millions in rich and poor countries.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)


Pope heads into busy Christmas season tired, weak, raising questions about future

By Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press – Sat, 17 Dec, 2011

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI seems worn out.

People who have spent time with him recently say they found him weaker than they’d ever seen him, seemingly too tired to engage with what they were saying. He no longer meets individually with visiting bishops. A few weeks ago he started using a moving platform to spare him the long walk down St. Peter’s Basilica.

Benedict turns 85 in the new year, so a slowdown is only natural. Expected. And given his age and continued rigorous work schedule, it’s remarkable he does as much as he does and is in such good health overall: Just this past week he confirmed he would travel to Mexico and Cuba next spring.

But a decline has been noted as Benedict prepares for next weekend’s grueling Christmas celebrations, which kick off two weeks of intense public appearances. And that raises questions about the future of the papacy given that Benedict himself has said popes should resign if they can’t do the job.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi has said no medical condition prompted the decision to use the moving platform in St. Peter’s, and that it’s merely designed to spare the pontiff the fatigue of the 100-meter (-yard) walk to and from the main altar.

And Benedict rallied during his three-day trip to Benin in west Africa last month, braving temperatures of 32 Celsius (90F) and high humidity to deliver a strong message about the future of the Catholic Church in Africa.

Wiping sweat from his brow, he kissed babies who were handed up to him, delivered a tough speech on the need for Africa’s political leaders to clean up their act, and visited one of the continent’s most important seminaries.

Back at home, however, it seems the daily grind of being pope — the audiences with visiting heads of state, the weekly public catechism lessons, the sessions with visiting bishops — has taken its toll. A spark is gone. He doesn’t elaborate off-the-cuff much anymore, and some days he just seems wiped out.

(more…)


Fallout …

Courtesy: Suitep

What an incredible few days it has been, on many fronts. What a weekend it was for Mr. President. A very gutsy man with balls of steel and a resolve just the same. Who knew from Adam what was going on in his head over the weekend seeing him traveling in the U.S. and yukking it up at the Correspondents dinner on Saturday night.

And who knew what Sunday would bring … I just cannot imagine.

I am sure that Mr. Obama’s stock has risen over the past few days. This kill shot was something that I think will translate into better numbers and even help him in the long run for re-election. At least I hope that is what happens. That’s all we need is for some jamokey republican asshole to win an election, God forbid.

At this point I think the White House is channeling some Ricky Ricardo when he says to Lucy “You got some ‘splainin to do!” Pakistan is not going to skate away with this gigantic intelligence flub. Someone was protecting Osama. Someone must have known he was there, I mean it’s pretty clear from all the information that has been released about this event.

*** *** *** ***

We have had a Royal Wedding, The beatification of John Paul II in Rome, the killing of Osama bin Laden and an election here in Canada. The fallout from the election is huge. The Orange wave came to Quebec and took the province by storm. There were incredible losses for the Bloq. The Bloq leader lost his seat in an upset, and in the end resigned from his position as party leader, not to mention the Bloq lost party status in the House of Parliament. You must have at least 12 seats to be afforded party status, and the Bloq lost in a bloodbath last night. So the Bloq is all but kaput. So much for that referendum.

Mr. Layton won a huge number of ridings here in Quebec. Many freshman young M.P’s are going to Ottawa, and we are so proud of the huge wins by the NDP. Not to mention with 102 seats won, for the first time in history the NDP wins the coveted title of Official Opposition Party in the commons. I mean the room went nuts when Jack Layton walked out to greet the party. My vote made a difference.

The Conservatives won a majority. As I have read on other blogs tonight, the earth did not shift on its axis, we will all survive this. And in the end we hope the government does what it said it will do. Canada needs to work to protect the people of Canada, we need more jobs, a secure financial sector and we need to solidify our place in the worlds eyes.

I questioned the ability of Mr. Ignatieff to win anything that’s why a lot of voters went with Jack. The Liberal party was decimated last night. The leader of the party as well, lost his seat and resigned from the party this morning. A leadership convention is coming. There is rumbling about Justin Trudeau, can he step up, if he is tapped as the heir apparent? Can the magic happen? Justin won’t say what he is going to do to that end just yet. At least he won his riding for the Liberal party, beating out the Bloq incumbent.

We saw history happen last night. The total collapse of the Bloq and the Liberal party. I heard it mentioned on the news coverage about Canada moving towards a two party system in Parliament. It seems the voters were over all the drama and political bullshit and we all voted for change and hope. The voters have spoken. Now the parties MUST rise to the occasion and do what they have been mandated to do.

A good chunk of Quebec went orange, with hints of red and blue here and there. Mr. Layton’s crop of young bloods have got some serious shoes to fill.

So much to look forwards to in the coming months.

*** *** *** ***

Here on the home front we are in the final weeks of classes. I have class tomorrow night and then a final and essay due on Thursday night, which I still have to write yet, then my final interview to come next week on the 9th.

It rained today. But numbers were nominal for the meeting. Lots of new faces and the conversation was nice and lively. We are pleased with what we have for today.

*** *** *** ***

So what do we know ???

  1. The Princess got her man
  2. Obama got Osama
  3. The NDP won big in Canada

Life goes on and we will all survive. The world is a safer place because the face and person of evil is dead and is floating at the bottom of the Arabian Sea, Thanks be to God.

The era of Osama is over.

Well Done Mr. President. We are so very proud of you…


Pope beatifies John Paul II before a crowd of over 1 million, tears and cheers erupt

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI beatified Pope John Paul II before more than a million faithful in St. Peter’s Square and surrounding streets Sunday, moving the beloved former pontiff one step closer to possible sainthood.

The crowd in Rome and in capitals around the world erupted in cheers, tears and applause as an enormous photo of a young, smiling John Paul was unveiled over the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica and a choir launched into hymn long associated with the Polish-born pope.

“He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope,” Benedict said in his homily, which was dotted with personal recollections of a man Benedict said he came to “revere” during their near-quarter century working together.

Beatification is the first major milestone on the path to possible sainthood, one of the Catholic Church’s highest honours. A second miracle attributed to John Paul’s intercession is needed for him to be canonized.

The beatification, the fastest in modern times, is a morale boost for a church scarred by the sex abuse crisis, but it has also triggered a new wave of anger from victims because the scandal occurred under John Paul’s 27-year watch.

Police placed wide swaths of Rome even miles (kilometres) from the Vatican off limits to private cars to ensure security for the estimated 16 heads of state, seven prime ministers and five members of European royal houses attending.

Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, wearing a black lace mantilla, mingled with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, Poland’s historic Solidarity leader and former President Lech Walesa and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who sidestepped an EU travel ban to attend.

“He went all over the world,” said Bishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, Mali, who came to Rome for the ceremony. “Today, we’re coming to him.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood when he dispensed with the traditional five-year waiting period and allowed the beatification process to begin weeks after his April 2, 2005, death. Benedict was responding to chants of “Santo Subito!” or “Sainthood Immediately” which erupted during John Paul’s funeral.

On Sunday, a group of pilgrims from Krakow affixed a banner to a fence outside the square that says “Santo Subito,” evidence that for many of the faithful, John Paul already is a saint.

“John Paul was a wonderful man and it’s a privilege to be here. It’s wonderful to see people from all across the world,” said Anne Honiball, 48, a nursing home administrator from Worthing, England who carried a small Union Jack flag.

“We missed the royal wedding but we are Catholics and this was a bit more important, I suppose,” said Honibal, a former Protestant who converted to Catholicism 10 years ago.

Around the world, Catholics celebrated the beatification, jamming churches from Mexico to Australia to pray and watch broadcasts of the Rome Mass on television.

“He was a model and an inspiration who united the world with his extraordinary charisma,” said John Paul Bustillo, a 16-year-old medical student named after the pontiff who turned out Sunday along with more than 3,000 for a six-mile (10-kilometre) race followed by a Mass near Manila Bay in the Philippines.

In John Paul’s native Poland, tens of thousands of people gathered in rain in a major sanctuary in Krakow and in Wadowice, where the pontiff was born in 1920 as Karol Wojtyla. Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his wife Malgorzata watched the ceremony together with Wadowice residents.

“I wonder what we would have been like and what would not have happened if we had not had our pope,” the PAP agency quoted Tusk as saying. “All that good that we all have received is still working.”

Speaking in Latin, Benedict pronounced John Paul “Blessed” shortly after the start of the Mass, held under bright blue skies and amid a sea of Poland’s red and white flags — a scene reminiscent of John Paul’s 2005 funeral, when some 3 million people paid homage to the pope.

Benedict recalled that day six years ago, saying the grief the world felt then was tempered by immense gratitude for his life and pontificate.

“Even then, we perceived the fragrance of his sanctity,” Benedict said, explaining the “reasonable haste” with which John Paul was being honoured.

Benedict said that through John Paul’s faith, courage and strength — “the strength of a titan, a strength which came to him from God” — John Paul had turned back the seemingly “irreversible” tide of Marxism.

“He rightly reclaimed for Christianity that impulse of hope which had in some sense faltered before Marxism and the ideology of progress,” Benedict said.

Police, government officials and the Vatican all put the figure of those attending the Mass at over a million; only a few hundred thousand could fit into St. Peter’s Square and the surrounding streets but others watched it on some of the 14 huge TV screens set up around town or listened to it on radios in Polish or Italian.

“I am disappointed but also happy to be here for the atmosphere,” said Boleslaw Wisniewski, 83, who came with five members of his family by bus from Warsaw. He stood listening to the music drifting over the packed crowd, but could see nothing.

“He’s our holy father — a Pole — and we are proud,” he said.

During the Mass, Benedict received a silver reliquary holding a vial of blood taken from John Paul during his final hosptalization. The relic, a key feature of beatification ceremonies, will be available for the faithful to venerate.

It was presented to him by Sister Tobiana, the Polish nun who tended to John Paul throughout his pontificate, and Sister Marie Simone-Pierre of France, whose inexplicable recovery from Parkinson’s disease was decreed to be the miracle necessary for John Paul to be beatified.

Helicopters flew overhead, police boats patrolled the nearby Tiber River and some 5,000 uniformed troops patrolled police barricades to ensure priests, official delegations and those with coveted VIP passes could get to their places.

Thousands of pilgrims, many of them from John Paul’s native Poland, spent the night in sleeping bags on bridges and in piazzas around town, and then packed St. Peter’s as soon as the barricades opened over an hour in advance because the crowds were too great.

They stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the main boulevard leading to the Vatican, Via della Conciliazione, as well as on side streets around it and the bridges crossing the Tiber leading to St. Peter’s.

It’s the fastest beatification on record, coming just six years after John Paul died and beating out the beatification of Mother Teresa by a few days.

The beatification ceremonies kicked off officially with a all-night prayer vigil that began on Rome’s ancient Circus Maximus field and continued as pilgrims spent the night moving around eight churches that stayed open all night, a “white night” of prayer in honour of the late pope.

“The weather is mild and so it will not be a problem to pass the night here, and there is also a very nice atmosphere,” said Pauline Rosenfeld, a 20-year-old pilgrim from Paris sitting with friends in her sleeping bag gearing up for a night spent outdoors.

The beatification is taking place despite a drumbeat of criticism about the record speed with which John Paul is being honoured, and continued outrage about clerical abuse: Many of the crimes and coverups of priests who raped children occurred on John Paul’s 27-year watch.

Vatican officials have insisted that John Paul deserves beatification despite the fallout from the abuse scandal, saying the saint-making process isn’t a judgment of how he administered the church but rather whether he lived a life of Christian virtue.

But victims’ groups such as the U.S. Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests have said the speedy beatification was just “rubbing more salt in these wounds” of victims.

Rome itself seemed invaded by Poles overjoyed that their native son was being honoured. Special trains, planes and buses shuttled Poles in for the beatification.

Anna Fotyga, a former Polish foreign minister and member of Poland’s parliament, arrived on a special train Sunday morning carrying the Polish parliamentary delegation. She reminisced about John Paul’s impact on communist Poland in the late 1970s and 80s.

“I was a student at that time, and actually seeing him, listening to him started transformation in Poland, I am sure,” she said.

___

Associated Press writer Daniela Petroff contributed.


Blessed Johannes Paulus II – Celibratione a la Vaticano


Thousands jam St. Peter’s for beatification of John Paul, celebration to boost scarred church


Huge crowds descend on Vatican for Beatification.

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of people converged on St Peter’s Square in one of the biggest crowds ever seen at the Vatican on Sunday to participate in the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

Streams of people some 30 wide moved toward the Vatican area from all directions from before dawn to get a good spot for the Mass where Pope Benedict was to move his predecessor a step closer to sainthood.

The crowd of people, some carrying national flags and singing songs, was the largest seen in the capital since millions turned out for his funeral six years ago.

Many pilgrims camped out during the night. The entire Vatican area was sealed off as stewards marshaled the huge crowd toward St Peter’s Basilica, which was bedecked with posters and photos of the late pope.

Up to 200,000 people attended a prayer vigil on Saturday evening in the Circus Maximus, the huge oval once used by the ancient Romans for chariot races. Some Rome churches threw their doors open all night to give pilgrims a space to pray.

At the mass due to start at 0800 GMT Benedict will pronounce a Latin formula proclaiming one of the most popular popes in history a “blessed” of the Church.

A place of honor is reserved for Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, a French nun who suffered from Parkinson’s disease but whose inexplicable cure has been attributed to John Paul’s intercession with God to perform a miracle, thus permitting the beatification to go ahead.

The Vatican will have to attribute another miracle to John Paul’s intercession after the beatification in order for him to be declared a saint.

Some 90 official delegations from around the world, including members of five European royal families and 16 heads of state, will attend the beatification.

They include Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has been widely criticized for human rights abuses in his country. Mugabe is banned from traveling to the European Union, but the Vatican — a sovereign state — is not a member of the bloc.

COFFIN ON DISPLAY

Pope John Paul’s coffin was exhumed on Friday from the crypts below St Peter’s Basilica and will be placed in front of the main altar. After Sunday’s beatification mass, it will remain there and the basilica will remain open until all visitors who want to view it have done so.

It will then be moved to a new crypt under an altar in a side chapel near Michelangelo’s statue of the Pieta. The marble slab that covered his first burial place will be sent to Poland.

John Paul’s beatification has set a new speed record for modern times, taking place six years and one month after his death on April 2, 2005.

While the overwhelming number of Catholics welcome it, a minority are opposed, with some saying it happened too fast.

Liberals in the church say John Paul was too harsh with theological dissenters who wanted to help the poor, particularly in Latin America. Some say John Paul should be held ultimately responsible for the sexual abuse scandals because they occurred or came to light when he was in charge.

Ultra-Conservatives say he was too open toward other religions and that he allowed the liturgy to be “infected” by local cultures, such as African dancing, on his trips abroad.

The pope is being beatified on the day the Church celebrates the movable Feast of Divine Mercy, which this year happens to fall on May 1, the most important feast in the communist world.

The coincidence is ironic, given that many believe the pope played a key role in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

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VATICAN CITY – Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims jammed St. Peter’s Square and the streets around it Sunday for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, a joyful celebration to honour one of the best loved popes and a morale boost for a church scarred by the priestly sex abuse scandal.

The scene at dawn around the Vatican was reminiscent of John Paul’s final days in 2005, when some 3 million people staged around-the-clock vigils underneath his studio window and then paid their final respects once he had died.

On Sunday, the mood was ebullient: nuns sat in circles playing guitars and singing hymns, fathers hoisted their children on their shoulders so they could see above the masses, scouts and young Catholic groups toted flags from Poland, France, Britain and Argentina.

“He went all over the world,” said Bishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, Mali, who came to Rome for the ceremony. “Today, we’re coming to him.”

Security was tight, with wide areas of Rome even miles (kilometres) from the Vatican off limits to private cars, helicopters flying overhead, police boats in the nearby Tiber River and some 5,000 uniformed troops patrolling police barricades to ensure priests, official delegations and those with coveted VIP passes could get to their places.

Thousands of pilgrims, many of them from John Paul’s native Poland, spent the night in sleeping bags on bridges and in piazzas around town, and then packed St. Peter’s as soon as the barricades opened over an hour in advance because the crowds were too great.

They stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the main boulevard leading to the Vatican, Via della Conciliazione, as well as on side streets around it and the bridges crossing the Tiber leading to St. Peter’s, where Pope Benedict XVI was to celebrate the beatification Mass at 0800 GMT (4 a.m. EDT).

“I’m very proud of John Paul. He was my pope when I was growing up,” said Alice Wirwicka, a 21-year-old from Szczecin, Poland, who travelled 17 hours by bus for the beatification. She was standing on line to get into the square along with friends toting Solidarity banners in honour of the Polish-born pope credited with helping bring down communism.

It’s the fastest beatification on record, coming just six years after John Paul died.

Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood when he dispensed with the traditional five-year waiting period and allowed the beatification process to begin weeks after his April 2, 2005, death. Benedict was responding to chants of “Santo Subito” or “Sainthood Immediately” which erupted during John Paul’s funeral.

On Saturday night, a “Santo Subito” banner was emblazoned on the side of the Circus Maximus field, where an all-night prayer vigil kicked off the beatification celebrations in earnest. The event featured testimony of the French nun whose inexplicable cure from Parkinson’s disease was deemed miraculous by the Vatican, the miracle needed for John Paul to be beatified.

“He died a saint,” Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul’s longtime secretary, told the crowd.

After the vigil officially ended, many pilgrims spent the night moving around the centre visiting eight churches that stayed open all night, a “white night” of prayer in honour of the late pope.

“The weather is mild and so it will not be a problem to pass the night here, and there is also a very nice atmosphere,” said Pauline Rosenfeld, a 20-year-old pilgrim from Paris sitting with friends in her sleeping bag gearing up for a night spent outdoors.

The beatification is taking place despite a steady drumbeat of criticism about the record-fast speed with which John Paul is being honoured, and continued outrage about clerical abuse: Many of the crimes and coverups of priests who raped children occurred on John Paul’s 27-year watch.

“I hope he didn’t know about the pedophiles,” said Sister Maria Luisa Garcia, a Spanish nun attending the vigil. “If he did, it was an error. But no one is perfect, only God.”

At the very least, she said, the church has learned as a result of the scandal, “that a person’s dignity, especially a child’s, is more important than the church’s image.”

Video montages used during the vigil showed various scenes of John Paul’s lengthy pontificate, his teachings about marriage and justice. One of the first shown was of his final Easter, when he was unable to speak from his studio window, too hobbled by Parkinson’s, and only managed a weak blessing of the crowd.

Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, the French nun cured of Parkinson’s, said that at the time she couldn’t bear to watch John Paul’s condition worsen because she knew his slow decline would be her fate.

“In him, I was reminded of what I was living through,” she told the crowd. “But I always admired his humility, his strength, his courage.”

Wearing her simple white habit and a black cardigan, she recounted to the crowd her now well-known tale: She said that on June 2, 2005, she told her superior she felt she could no longer continue her work helping new mothers because her Parkinson’s symptoms had worsened and she had little strength left.

Her superior, she said, told her that “John Paul II hasn’t had the last word” and that she should pray.

She said she woke up the following morning “feeling something had changed in me.” She said she went to the chapel and prayed. “I wasn’t the same. I knew I had been cured.”

The Vatican’s complicated saint-making procedures require that a miracle attributed to the candidate’s intercession be confirmed before beatification, the first step to possible sainthood, and a second one for canonization.

The crowd on the Circus Maximus had the feel of a World Youth Day, the event once every three years John Paul launched to energize young Catholics that became a hallmark of his pontificate. Groups of young people danced and sang, many carrying backpacks and sleeping bags in preparation for a night to be spent outdoors.

Rome itself seemed invaded by Poles overjoyed that their native son was being honoured. Special trains, planes and buses shuttled Poles in for the beatification, which was drawing some 16 heads of state and five members of European royal houses.

Anna Fotyga, a former Polish foreign minister and member of Poland’s parliament, arrived on a special train Sunday morning carrying the Polish parliamentary delegation. She reminisced about John Paul’s impact on communist Poland in the late 1970s and 80s.

“I was a student at that time, and actually seeing him, listening to him started transformation in Poland, I am sure,” she said.

In Krakow, where John Paul was archbishop, two TV screens at two different sites were set up to broadcast the beatification ceremony Sunday from Rome. Houses were decorated with Poland’s white-and-red flags and the Vatican’s white-and-yellow colours.

The vigil featured televised hookups from five Marian shrines in Krakow, Mexico, Tanzania, Portugal and Lebanon, where the faithful were also celebrating.

Thousands of Mexicans held a prayer vigil in Mexico City’s Virgen of Guadalupe Basilica on Saturday while two large screens inside the church projected the celebrations in Rome.

Jorge Lopez Barcenas, a 70-year-old painter and body shop worker, travelled from central Hidalgo state to witness the beatification from the Basilica.

“He was a person who elevated the faith,” said Lopez, who saw the pope during two of his five visits to the country.

On Saturday night, dozens of mainly young people gathered at the Basilica to wait overnight for the culmination of John Paul II’s beatification.

Michelle Lopez, 19, said she first saw John Paul II from a distance as a girl during his 1999 visit and he has been an important figure in her life ever since.

“He looked like a small porcelain doll, very nice,” she said. “He is like a saint to us.”

In the Dominican Republic, members of the Santo Domingo youth pastoral prepared for a midnight Saturday vigil to remember John Paul II and watch the beatification ceremony on giant television screen.

Vatican officials have insisted that John Paul deserves beatification despite the fallout from the abuse scandal, saying the saint-making process isn’t a judgment of how he administered the church but rather whether he lived a life of Christian virtue.

But victims’ groups such as the U.S. Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests have said the speedy beatification was just “rubbing more salt in these wounds” of victims.

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Associated Press writers Daniela Petroff and Alba Tobella in Rome, E. Eduardo Castillo in Mexico City and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw contributed to this report.


The Week that was and what will be …

Here is a complete family photo. Images released from Britain of the royal wedding party.

The week has come and gone we are down to the last week of class with final exams and essays due in the next week. It’s almost over and I need to get through one more writing exam in French and my final interview to come the week following. I have an essay and final exam on next Thursday.

The week was a success and ended on a very high note with the Royal Wedding on Friday morning. I worked two phone shifts this week. One on Thursday which was uneventful. Thank God we have a computer that works in the office.

Thursday night I stayed up all night watching live coverage of the wedding from here in Montreal. I had to work a shift on Friday afternoon which meant that I did not get much sleep going into Friday. I think I finally got to sleep around 7:30 in the morning on Friday and I had to be up by 11 to get on my way by noon on the train out of town.

It was a very hazy day – when I got to the office You Tube was streaming  a rebroadcast of the wedding so I got to see the portion of the day that I missed because I was sleeping.

The Friday shift was again uneventful. I didn’t get may calls so I used the time wisely farming and watching You Tube videos all afternoon. I worked until 6 and came home. I was pretty beat. We ordered pizza in and chilled around the tv until midnight when we both turned in.

Oh, on the way home from working my shift I ran by the Circuit City, I think that’s what it’s called I had to buy some cable to run from the computer to the speakers in the bedroom, because we pipe in Coast to Coast on Friday and Saturday nights.

Cable is expensive, and I also bought a new pair of Logitech speakers because the ones we have were shot. I have to say that they work quite well, the sound is crisp and clear, much better than our old speakers.

I got a good night’s sleep and today we watched some tv, SNL is on now and I will hit the sack in a couple of hours.

Tomorrow I will hit a meeting and get into the books to study for a while.

Tonight You Tube is streaming the Beatification of John Paul II from Rome from 1 to 4 am. I may watch for a little bit.

So that was the week that was.

More to come, stay tuned…


Rome …

So I guess I’ve been a little MIA. I haven’t had the desire to write much and the prompts we’ve been getting just bore me to tears.

But it is snowing at this hour. Environment Canada says 5 to 10 cm. Nice, just what we need is more snow. Oh well, at least I don’t have to go out in it.

Feast your eyes upon the great Airbus A-380.

I can’t get enough of it. I read a blog written by an airline pilot in the U.S. and he had a video up of a 737-800 take off and I was hooked. Then the other night I was farting around on You Tube and found collections of videos of the A-380 from all over the world. So that’s what I’ve been up to as of late.

I’ve been floating the idea in my head of going to Rome for the Beatification of John Paul II the end of April. It would be a weekend event. I was trolling Travelocity’s Website today and flights are not cheap.

A regular flight across the pond will run me $980.00 round trip. I even looked into flights across the Atlantic on an airline that flies the A-380, since I am on the topic, and those flights run $1900.00 round trip. Alitalia and Air France fly the jet transatlantic in both directions, which bumps up the airfare quite a bit. One goes through London, the other through Charles de Gaul in Paris.

From the videos I gather that the planes are pristine, beautiful and sleek. I saw videos from Emirates Air, Singapore Airlines, British Airways and Air France and Alitalia. It is quite the experience.

Add to that a hostel for 2 nights at $480.00 ca and I’ve spent a pretty penny on a papal mass at the Vatican. I don’t know if I can justify the spending to hubby. It’s not like we are awash in money or anything like that, but it was a thought.

I did my homework. I know how much it’s gonna run. The mass isn’t on the Vatican website yet. The schedule only goes through April. But we know from the announcement that I posted last week was for May the 1st.

I have to find a way to bring up the topic gingerly. After watching all those airline videos, I am in the mood to take a trip somewhere, so why not make it count if I get the chance? You only live once.

Other than that, it was an uneventful week. Wednesday we had that snow storm and there was snow all over the place, so I skipped class because I didn’t feel like walking to school in the middle of a snow blow.

Thursday we had class and it went well. We are reading Plato. Fun !!!

Friday I slept in and farted around on the interwebs. Hubby has been keeping himself busy going here and there. He went to visit a friend this evening and now he has to walk home in the middle of a snow blow.

So we’ll see how this all plays out in the coming weeks.

More to come, stay tuned…


Friday Finking …

Courtesy: Untiltheacropolis

It was a quiet day. The news of the beatification comes soon after I finished reading the canonization report written about the investigation into his beatification.”Why he is a Saint” was an enlightening read.

Good news for those of us who are Vatican watchers. I wish I could plan to be in Rome in May, that would be amazing. Maybe… we shall see what’s possible.

This was like any other Friday. Although tonight I got a call from Rick asking if I wanted to hit a meeting tonight, and we got over to Wesley United for the 8 p.m. speaker meeting. It’s a double share, a 10 min quickie and a 40 minute main speaker.

Listening to the speakers tonight reminds me of why it is important to get to meetings whenever possible, even with time under my belt. Hearing new people speak, and listening to an old timer at the same meeting gives perspective.

Tomorrow gives another chance to get to a meeting in Verdun. I’m still on vacation until the 19th, so I can get out and about during the weekend. There is definite snow in the forecast for tomorrow. A little dusting, nothing major.

Rome is looking for another miracle. Let’s hope they find it. There are plenty of people lined up to give testimony about the late Pontiff.

More to come, stay tuned…


Vatican prepares to move pope John Paul’s body: Report

VATICAN CITY – Works are underway in St. Peter’s Basilica to make space for Pope John Paul II’s tomb following his expected beatification this year, the religious news agency imedia reported on Thursday.

Preparations are being made in the Chapel of St. Sebastian, on the right-hand side of the nave, between the Chapel of Michelangelo’s Pieta and the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, the French agency said.

According to tradition, the remains of popes who are beatified are moved up from the crypt to the nave of the basilica, the agency added.

Italian media have reported Pope Benedict XVI is likely to sign a decree on Friday at the earliest authorizing the beatification of the Polish pontiff, who died aged 84 on April 2, 2005 after 27 years as pope.

On Wednesday, the Congregation of the Causes for Saints approved John Paul’s first miracle, a key step on the path to beatification.

The commission confirmed that French nun Marie Simon-Pierre was miraculously cured of Parkinson’s disease through the intercession of the Polish pope, who also suffered from Parkinson’s.

Italian media have suggested two possible dates for the beatification ceremony: Sunday April 3, the day after the sixth anniversary of John Paul’s death, and Sunday October 16, the day he was elected pope.

The process of canonising John Paul kicked off immediately after his death. Banners waved in St Peter’s Square during his funeral in 2005 read “Santo Subito!” (Sainthood Now!)

Once the ex-pontiff is beatified, one more miracle will be needed to achieve full sainthood.


Pope John Paul II will be beatified after Easter

By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times

MANCHESTER, England – The late Pope John Paul II will be beatified this spring, the Vatican announced Friday after the current pontiff, Benedict XVI, certified that his predecessor had met the requirements.

The move puts the former pope a step closer to sainthood on what is already an unusually accelerated timetable that Benedict launched within weeks of John Paul’s death almost six years ago.

The Vatican said Benedict had approved findings by the church that John Paul had performed a miracle after his death, a prerequisite for beatification. A nun who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, as did the late pope, said she was healed of her affliction after praying to John Paul soon after he died.

The beatification is to take place May 1, the first Sunday after Easter, the Vatican said.

The decision to elevate John Paul, who inspired millions worldwide with his tough stance against communism and his resilience after a 1981 assassination attempt, is a spot of good news for the Roman Catholic Church, which has been battered by countless allegations of sexual abuse by priests, nuns and other religious workers.

Many of those acts of abuse were alleged to have occurred during John Paul’s 27-year papacy. But much of the blame for the church’s slow and largely defensive response to the complaints has now shifted to today’s Vatican.

After John Paul’s death on April 2, 2005, mourners and pilgrims at his funeral in St. Peter’s Square waved signs calling for “sainthood right now,” in a mark of their devotion. Weeks later, Benedict said he would immediately open the process leading to canonization, overriding rules that dictate a five-year wait after a person dies.

At the end of 2009, Benedict gave formal recognition of John Paul’s “heroic virtues” and granted him the title of “venerable.” After his beatification, the late pontiff will be known as “blessed.”

For sainthood, a second confirmed miracle is required.

Reports surfaced last year that at least some church investigators were doubtful of claims by Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a French nun, to have been cured of Parkinson’s through John Paul’s intercession.

But the panel overseeing such investigations concluded that the nun’s recovery from the degenerative disease had no other explanation _ in other words, that it was a genuine miracle.

Although accelerated procedures toward sainthood are unusual, they are not without precedent. John Paul himself put Mother Teresa on the fast track to beatification after her death in 1997. She was beatified in 2003.