Monday, September 27, 2010

Remebering the Patron Saint of Charity after 350 years

Saint Vincent DePaul: Pray for me!Pray for us!You were an interesting man who became a patron saint for the poor! happy feast day, remembering you after 350 years, may you rest in peace!

Quotes by this remarkable man:
"You will find out that Charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the kettle of soup and the full basket. But you will keep your gentleness and your smile. It is not enough to give soup and bread. This the rich can do. You are the servant of the poor, always smiling and good-humored. They are your masters, terribly sensitive and exacting master you will see. and the uglier and the dirtier they will be, the more unjust and insulting, the more love you must give them. It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them."

"We should strive to keep our hearts open to the sufferings and wretchedness of other people, and pray continually that God may grant us that spirit of compassion which is truly the spirit of God".

"It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed to God as your prayer. ... Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity. With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor, especially outcasts and beggars. They have been given to us as our masters and patrons".

Saint Vincent DePaul

Saint Vincent de Paul (24 April 1581 – 27 September 1660) was a priest of the Catholic Church] dedicated to serving the poor. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. He was canonized in 1737. Life at a Glance De Paul was born in Pouy, renamed Saint-Vincent-de-Paul since 1828, Landes, Gascony, France, to a family of peasant farmers. He had four brothers and two sisters.

De Paul studied humanities in Dax, France with the Cordeliers and he graduated in theology at Toulouse. He was ordained in 1600, remaining in Toulouse until he went to Marseille for an inheritance. In 1605, on his way back from Marseille, he was taken captive by Turkish pirates, who brought him to Tunis and sold him into slavery. After converting his owner to Christianity, Vincent de Paul escaped in 1607.

After returning to France, De Paul went to Rome. There he continued his studies until 1609, when he was sent back to France on a mission to Henry IV of France; he served as chaplain to Marguerite de Valois. For a while he was parish priest at Clichy, but from 1612 he began to serve the Gondi, an illustrious family. He was confessor and spiritual director to Mme de Gondi, and he began giving peasant missions on the estate with her aid. In 1622 De Paul was appointed chaplain to the galleys, and in this capacity he gave missions for the galley-slaves.

In 1625 De Paul founded the Congregation of the Mission, a society of missioning priests commonly known as the Vincentians. In 1633, with the assistance of Louise de Marillac he founded the Daughters of Charity.[1] He also fought against the Jansenist heresy. De Paul was renowned for his compassion, humility and generosity.

Patron Saint of charities; horses; hospitals; leprosy; lost articles; Madagascar; prisoners; Richmond, Virginia; spiritual help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory; Vincentian Service Corps; volunteers.

In 1705, the Superior-General of the Lazarists requested that the holy process of de Paul's canonization be instituted. On 13 August 1729, Vincent was declared blessed by Pope Benedict XIII. He was canonized nearly eight years later by Pope Clement XII on 16 June 1737. In 1885, Pope Leo XIII gave him as patron to the Sisters of Charity.[3] He is also patron to the Brothers of Charity.

St. Vincent's body was exhumed in 1712, 53 years after his death. The written account of an eye witness states that "...(t)he eyes and nose alone showed some decay." However, when the body was exhumed again during the canonization in 1737 it was then discovered to have decomposed due to an underground flood. His bones have been encased in a waxen figure which is displayed in a glass reliquary in the chapel of the headquarters of the Vincentian fathers in Paris. His heart is still incorrupt, and is displayed in a reliquary in the chapel of the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity in Paris.[4]

In 1737, his feast day was included in the Roman Calendar on 19 July, because his day of death was already used for the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian. It was originally to be celebrated with the rank of "Double", which was changed to the equivalent rank of "Third-Class Feast" in 1960.[5]

St. Vincent is honored with a feast day in the Church of England and the Episcopal Church (USA) on September 27.

One of the feasts celebrated by the French Deist Church of the Theophilanthropy was dedicated to Vincent de Paul.

Pope Paul VI transferred to 27 September the celebration of his memorial, Cosmas and Damian having been moved to 26 September to make way for him, as he is now better known in the West.[6]

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, a charitable organisation dedicated to the service of the poor, was established by French students in 1833. The Society is today present in 132 countries.[7]

DePaul University takes its name from Vincent de Paul

Remembering a pope after 420 years

Pope Urban VII: remembering you on this day after 420 years, may you rest in peace on this day of your death!

Pope Urban VII (4 August 1521 – 27 September 1590), born Giovanni Battista Castagna, was Pope for thirteen days in September 1590. He was of Genoese origin, although born in Rome. He was created Cardinal-Priest of S. Marcello in 1584. He was chosen successor of Pope Sixtus V (1585–90) on 15 September 1590, but died of malaria (27 September 1590) before coronation, making his the shortest papal reign in history.

He had previously served as governor of Bologna and as archbishop of Rossano, and was for many years nuncio to Spain; his election to the papacy was largely backed by the Spanish faction.

Urban VII's short passage in office gave rise to the world's first known public smoking ban, as he threatened to excommunicate anyone who "took tobacco in the porchway of or inside a church, whether it be by chewing it, smoking it with a pipe or sniffing it in powdered form through the nose."

Urban VII

Giovanni Battista Castagna born 1521

Pope Urban VII was born at Rome, on the 4th of August, 1521, of a noble Genoese family. He took the degree of doctor in the civil civil and canon law at Bologna. His uncle, Cardinal Verallo, being legate in France, Giovanni Battista became his auditor. Julius III made him referendary of the signature of justice, and then, about 1553, Archbishop of Rossano; as such he attended the Council of Trent. By order of Pius IV, no decree affecting the pontifical authority was to be adopted without the sanction of Castagna. The Fathers, seeing his talent and his aptitude, made him prefect of the congregations. He gave much advice that secured a happy issue to the operations of that assembly. Julius III made him governor of Fano, and Paul IV invested him with similar authority over Perugia and Umbria. By command of Pius IV he accompanied to Spain Cardinal Buoncompagni, subsequently Pope Gregory XIII. Giovanni Battista had been made nuncio, and for seven years resided with that title at Madrid, where he held, at the baptismal font, Isabella, the eldest daughter of Philip II. On his return to Rome he resigned, without a pension, the archbishopric of Rossano; and Gregory XIII sent him as nuncio to Venice, whence Gregory removed him to be for a year governor of Bologna. Thence he passed to Cologne, to aid the Bishop of Liège in bringing about a treaty that would restore peace between the Catholic king and the United Provinces. At length, after this active life, full of important services to the Church, he was created by Gregory XIII cardinal, on the 12th of December, 1583, and sent as legate to Bologna.

After the funeral of Sixtus V, on the 7th of September, when Anthony Boccapaduli had delivered a discourse for the election of the successor, fifty-three cardinals entered into conclave. An attempt was first made to place the tiara on the head of Mark Antony Colonna; but they could not agree upon him, and then, by common consent, they elected Cardinal Castagna, on the 15th of September, 1590. He chose the name of Urban VII, that he might not forget, as he said, the urbanity which he wished to show to everyone. It was said that Sixtus V, who greatly loved him, predicted his elevation. It is related that, as they dined together at a country house, Sixtus, helping himself to some pears, found a decayed one, and said: "Just now the Romans do not like pears (Peretti); they will soon have chestnuts (Castagna)." Desirous of showing the fitness of his name, Urban caused the poor of Rome to be numbered, that he might give them alms; and he at the same time granted liberal aid to cardinals whose income was insufficient.

Very early in his reign he ordered the reform of the datary, and determined upon continuing the buildings commenced by Sixtus V, saying that when they were finished inscriptions should be placed upon them in honor of Sixtus, and not the armorial bearings of the new pope.

Some of his relations hastened to Rome. He sent them back by the same road, without office, dignity, or any other advantage. He signified to his nephew, Mario Millini, governor of the Castle of Sant' Angelo, that hw was not to accept the title of excellency, which is commonly given by courtesy to near relations of a pope, and forbade any of his kindred to assume a title superior to that previously enjoyed. Nevertheless, he gave a canonship of Saint Peter's to Fabricius Verallo, his nephew, exhorting him to keep within the primitive moderation and religiously to exercise the office of canon.

He would not employ any of his relations in the court offices, in order that he might the more severely punish agents guilty of misconduct.

The fine qualities of this pope excited hopes of a corresponding administration, when symptoms of illness, which appeared on the day after his election, excited fears for his life. From that moment until his death he daily confessed and communicated, and the whole city of Rome incessantly put up prayers to God in his behalf. Public processions were made, the Holy Sacrament was exposed, and no pious exercise was omitted to obtain from God the restoration of so good a pope.

Then he thought of removing to Monte Cavallo, where the air is purer, and many of the cardinals prepared to accompany him. But the etiquette which is so austerely observed by the masters of the ceremonies at Rome would not allow the pope to be seen in Rome before he was crowned; and instead of his being removed by night, when no one would have seen him, the projected removal was abandoned altogether.

The pope continued to grow weaker. He confirmed his will, by which he left to the Brotherhood of the Annunciation his whole patrimony, amounting to thirty thousand crowns, to furnish marriage portions for poor girls. He then returned thanks to God for recalling him so soon, so that he would have no account to give of his papacy. Yet surely he would not have blasted the favorable hopes entertained of him. But, at the end of a reign of only thirteen days, he died, not quite seventy years of age, on the 27th of September, 1590, without having been crowned. However, the medal for his coronation had already been struck, and it served for his successor, with only the alteration of the name and head. Urban was deposited at the Vatican until a tomb was raised for him in the Church of the Minerva.

Pope Sixtus V having died 27 August, 1590, the cardinals, 54 in number, entered the conclave at the Vatican on 7 September, and elected Cardinal Castagna as pope on 15 September. The news of his election was a cause of universal joy. The new pontiff was not only highly esteemed for his piety and learning, he had also, in the many important and difficult positions which he filled as archbishop and cardinal, manifested extraordinary prudence and administrative ability. He chose the name Urban in order that this name, which in Latin signifies "kind", might be a continuous reminder to him to show kindness towards all his subjects. One of his first acts was to have a list made of all the poor in Rome that he might alleviate their needs. He also gave liberal alms to those cardinals whose income was insufficient, paid the debts of all the monts-de-piété in the Ecclesiastical State, and ordered the bakers of Rome to make larger loaves of bread and sell them cheaper, indemnifying their losses out of his own purse. Desirous of checking the luxury of the rich, he forbade his chamberlains to wear silk garments. In order to give occupation to the poor, he ordered the completion of the public works that had been commenced by his predecessor.

He appointed a committee of cardinals, consisting of Paleotti, Fachinetti, Lancelotti, and Aldobrandini, for the reform of the Apostolic Datary. Strongly opposed to nepotism, he expressed his purpose never to appoint any of his relatives to an office in the Curia and forbade them to make use of the title "Excellence", which it was customary to give the nearest relatives of the pope. A few days after his election he became seriously ill. The faithful united in prayers for his recovery; public processions, expositions of the Blessed Sacrament, and other pious exercises were conducted.

The pope confessed and communicated every day of his illness. He once expressed a desire to remove to the Quirinal, where the air was purer and more wholesome, but, when told that it was not customary for the pope to be seen in the city before his coronation, he remained in the Vatican. He died before the papal coronation could take place and was buried in the Vatican Basilica. On 22 September, 1606, his remains were transferred to the Church of S. Maria sopra Minerva, where a magnificent monument was erected in his honour. His temporal possessions, consisting of 30,000 scudi, he bequeathed to the Archconfraternity of the Annunciation to be used as dowries for poor girls.

Today is the 470th anniversary of the Jesuits

I think this is a great image on showing what Saint Ignatius of Loyola had shown the rules to Pope Paul III on this day in 1540.

the symbol of the Jesuits
Here is Peter O'Toole portraying the late Pope Paul III in the Showtime series, "The Tudors" and I believe he did an excellent job portraying this Pope!

the Confrontation between King Henry VIII and Pope Paul III

The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu, S.J. and S.I. or SJ, SI) is a religious order of men called Jesuits, who follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. Jesuit priests and brothers — also sometimes known colloquially as "God's marines" — are engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations on six continents reflecting the Formula of the Institute (principle) of the Society. They are known in the fields of education (schools, colleges, universities, seminaries, theological faculties), intellectual research, and cultural pursuits in addition to missionary work, giving retreats, hospital and parish ministry, promoting social justice and ecumenical dialogue.

The Society was founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, who after being wounded in a battle, experienced a religious conversion and composed the Spiritual Exercises in order to help others more closely follow Christ. In 1534, Ignatius gathered six young men, including St. Francis Xavier and Bl. Pierre Favre, and together they professed vows of poverty and chastity, and then later, obedience, including a special vow of obedience to the Pope. Rule 13 of Ignatius' Rules for Thinking with the Church said: "I will believe that the white that I see is black if the hierarchical Church so defines it".

Ignatius' plan of the order's organization was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 by the bull containing the Formula of the Institute. The opening lines of this founding document would declare that the Society of Jesus was founded to "strive especially for the propagation and defense of the faith and progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine."[4] The Society participated in the Counter-Reformation and later in the implementation of the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church.

The Society of Jesus is consecrated under the patronage of Madonna Della Strada, a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is led by a Superior General, currently Adolfo Nicolás. The headquarters of the Society, its General Curia, is in Rome. The historic curia of St Ignatius is now part of the Collegio del Gesù attached to the Church of the Gesù, the Jesuit Mother Church.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola (Basque: Ignazio Loiolakoa, Spanish: Ignacio de Loyola) (1491 to July 31, 1556) was a Spanish knight from a Basque noble family, hermit, priest since 1537, and theologian, who founded the Society of Jesus and was its first Superior General. Ignatius emerged as a religious leader during the Counter-Reformation. Loyola's devotion to the Church was characterized by unquestioning obedience to everything said by her hierarchy. Father General of the Jesuits
Ignatius was chosen as the first Superior General of his religious order, invested with the title of Father General by the Jesuits. He sent his companions as missionaries around Europe to create schools, colleges, and seminaries. Juan de Vega, the ambassador of Charles V at Rome had met Ignatius there. Esteeming him and the Jesuits, when Vega was appointed Viceroy of Sicily he brought Jesuits with him. A Jesuit college was opened at Messina; success was marked, and its rules and methods were afterwards copied in other colleges. In 1548 Spiritual Exercises was finally printed, and he was briefly brought before the Roman Inquisition, but was released.

Ignatius wrote the Jesuit Constitutions, adopted in 1540, which created a monarchical organization and stressed absolute self-abnegation and obedience to Pope and superiors (perinde ac cadaver, "well-disciplined like a corpse" as Ignatius put it). His main principle became the Jesuit motto: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam ("for the greater glory of God"). The Jesuits were a major factor in the Counter-Reformation. During 1553-1555, Ignatius dictated his life's story to his secretary, Father Gonçalves da Câmara.

This autobiography is a valuable key for the understanding of his Spiritual Exercises. It was kept in the archives for about 150 years, until the Bollandists published the text in Acta Sanctorum. A critical edition exists in Vol. I (1943) of the Fontes Narrativi of the series Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu. He died in Rome on July 31, 1556 as a result of the "Roman Fever", a severe case of malaria that recurred in Rome, Italy at different points in history.

Famous Quote of Loyola:

“ That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which appears to our eyes to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtingly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same; ... ”

Canonization and legacy
Ignatius was beatified by Pope Paul V on July 27, 1609 and canonized by Pope Gregory XV on March 13, 1622. His feast day is celebrated annually on July 31, the day he died. Saint Ignatius is venerated as the patron saint of Catholic soldiers, the ordinariate of the Philippine military, the Basque country and various towns and cities in his native region.

Of the institutions dedicated to Saint Ignatius, one of the most famous is the Basilica of St Ignatius Loyola, built next to the house where he was born in Azpeitia, the Basque Country. The house itself, now a museum, is incorporated into the basilica complex.

His legacy includes many Jesuit schools and educational institutions worldwide. In the United States alone there are 28 Jesuit colleges and universities and more than 50 secondary schools.

Pope Paul III (29 February 1468 – 10 November 1549), born Alessandro Farnese, was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1534 to his death in 1549. He came to the papal throne in an era following the sack of Rome in 1527 and rife with uncertainties in the Catholic Church following the Protestant Reformation. During his reign, and in the spirit of the Counter-Reformation, new Catholic religious orders and societies, such as the Jesuits, the Theatines, the Barnabites and the Congregation of the Oratory, attracted a popular following and he convened the Council of Trent in 1545. He was a significant patron of the arts and employed nepotism to advance the power and fortunes of his family. It is to Pope Paul III that Nicolaus Copernicus dedicated De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres). It was not foreseen at Rome in 1540, when the Church officially recognized the young society forming about Ignatius of Loyola, (founder of the Society of Jesus), what large results this new organization was destined to achieve; yet a deliberate and gradual course of action against Protestantism dates from this period. The second visible stage in the process becomes marked by the institution, or reorganization, in 1542, of the Holy Office.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Remembering a great & wonderful actor after 2 years

Paul Newman: Sir, you were one of my favorite old time actors in a dozen films but one of my favorites was Road to Perdition when you had your last screen appearance was as a conflicted mob boss in this particular film, thanks for the great acting and you will be missed, remembering you 2 years later, may you rest in peace!

Paul Newman once quoted : "I'd like to be remembered as a guy who tried — tried to be part of his times, tried to help people communicate with one another, tried to find some decency in his own life, tried to extend himself as a human being."

"This is the life we chose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven"- Paul Newman as John Ronney in Road to Perdition! Truly a wondeful piece of film!

Paul Newman

Paul Leonard Newman (January 26, 1925 – September 26, 2008) was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and auto racing enthusiast. He won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for best actor for his performance in the 1986 Martin Scorsese film The Color of Money and eight other nominations, three Golden Globe Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Emmy award, and many honorary awards. He also won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing, and his race teams won several championships in open wheel IndyCar racing.

Newman was a co-founder of Newman's Own, a food company from which Newman donated all post-tax profits and royalties to charity. As of August 2010, these donations had exceeded US $300 million.

Early work
Newman made his Broadway theater debut in the original production of William Inge's Picnic with Kim Stanley. He later appeared in the original Broadway productions of The Desperate Hours and Sweet Bird of Youth with Geraldine Page. He would later star in the film version of Sweet Bird of Youth, which also starred Page.

His first movie for Hollywood was The Silver Chalice (1954), followed by acclaimed roles in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), as boxer Rocky Graziano; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), opposite Elizabeth Taylor; and The Young Philadelphians (1959), with Barbara Rush and Robert Vaughn. However, predating all of these above was a small but notable part in an August 8, 1952 episode of the science fiction TV series Tales of Tomorrow entitled "Ice from Space", in which he played Sergeant Wilson, his first credited TV or film appearance.

In February 1954, Newman appeared in a screen test with James Dean, directed by Gjon Mili, for East of Eden (1955). Newman was testing for the role of Aron Trask, Dean for the role of Aron's fraternal twin brother Cal. Dean won his part, but Newman lost out to Richard Davalos. The same year, Newman co-starred with Eva Marie Saint and Frank Sinatra in a live —and color —television broadcast of Our Town, a musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder's stage play with the same name. Newman was a last-minute replacement for James Dean.[19] In 2003, Newman acted in a remake of Our Town, taking on the role of the stage manager.

Major films
Newman was one of the few actors who successfully made the transition from 1950s cinema to that of the 1960s and 1970s. His rebellious persona translated well to a subsequent generation. Newman starred in Exodus (1960), The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), Harper (1966), Hombre (1967), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Towering Inferno (1974), Slap Shot (1977), and The Verdict (1982). He teamed with fellow actor Robert Redford and director George Roy Hill for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973).

He appeared with his wife, Joanne Woodward, in the feature films The Long, Hot Summer (1958), Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!, (1958), From the Terrace (1960), Paris Blues (1961), A New Kind of Love (1963), Winning (1969), WUSA (1970), The Drowning Pool (1975), Harry & Son (1984), and Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990). They both also starred in the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, but did not have any scenes together.

In addition to starring in and directing Harry & Son, Newman also directed four feature films (in which he did not act) starring Woodward. They were Rachel, Rachel (1968), based on Margaret Laurence's A Jest of God, the screen version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972), the television screen version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Shadow Box (1980), and a screen version of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie (1987).

Twenty-five years after The Hustler, Newman reprised his role of "Fast" Eddie Felson in the Martin Scorsese-directed The Color of Money (1986), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He told a television interviewer that winning an Oscar at the age of 62 deprived him of his fantasy of formally being presented with it in extreme old age.

Last works
In 2003, he appeared in a Broadway revival of Wilder's Our Town, receiving his first Tony Award nomination for his performance. PBS and the cable network Showtime aired a taping of the production, and Newman was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie.

His last screen appearance was as a conflicted mob boss in the 2002 film Road to Perdition opposite Tom Hanks, although he continued to provide voice work for films.

In 2005 at age 80, Newman was profiled alongside Robert Redford as part of the Sundance Channel's tv series Iconoclasts.

In keeping with his strong interest in car racing, he provided the voice of Doc Hudson, a retired race car in Disney/Pixar's Cars. Similarly, he served as narrator for the 2007 film Dale, about the life of the legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, which turned out to be Newman's final film performance in any form. Newman also provided the narration for the film documentary The Meerkats, released in 2008.

Retirement from acting
Newman announced that he would entirely retire from acting on May 25, 2007. He stated that he did not feel he could continue acting at the level he wanted to. "You start to lose your memory, you start to lose your confidence, you start to lose your invention. So I think that's pretty much a closed book for me."

With writer A.E. Hotchner, Newman founded Newman's Own, a line of food products, in 1982. The brand started with salad dressing, and has expanded to include pasta sauce, lemonade, popcorn, salsa, and wine, among other things. Newman established a policy that all proceeds, after taxes, would be donated to charity. As of early 2006,the franchise has donated in excess of $250 million.

He co-wrote a memoir about the subject with Hotchner, Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good. Among other awards, Newman's Own co-sponsors the PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award, a $25,000 reward designed to recognize those who protect the First Amendment as it applies to the written word. His daughter, Nell Newman, took the helm of the company with his death.

One beneficiary of his philanthropy is the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a residential summer camp for seriously ill children, which is located in Ashford, Connecticut. Newman co-founded the camp in 1988; it was named after the gang in his film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Newman's college fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, adopted Hole in the Wall as their "national philanthropy" in 1995. One camp has expanded to become several Hole in the Wall Camps in the U.S., Ireland, France, and Israel. The camps serve 13,000 children every year, free of charge.

In June 1999, Newman donated $250,000 to Catholic Relief Services to aid refugees in Kosovo.

On June 1, 2007, Kenyon College announced that Newman had donated $10 million to the school to establish a scholarship fund as part of the college's current $230 million fund-raising campaign. Newman and Woodward were honorary co-chairs of a previous campaign.

Paul Newman was one of the founders of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), a membership organization of CEOs and corporate chairpersons committed to raising the level and quality of global corporate philanthropy. Founded in 1999 by Newman and a few leading CEOs, CECP has grown to include more than 175 members and, through annual executive convenings, extensive benchmarking research, and best practice publications, leads the business community in developing sustainable and strategic community partnerships through philanthropy.

Newman was named the Most Generous Celebrity of 2008 by He contributed $20,857,000 for the year of 2008 to the Newman's Own Foundation, which distributes funds to a variety of charities.

Upon Newman's death, the Italian newspaper (a "semi-official" paper of the Holy See) L'Osservatore Romano published a notice lauding Newman's philanthropy. It also commented that "Newman was a generous heart, an actor of a dignity and style rare in Hollywood quarters.

Illness and death
Newman was scheduled to make his professional stage directing debut with the Westport Country Playhouse's 2008 production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, but he stepped down on May 23, 2008, citing health issues.

In June 2008 it was widely reported that Newman, a former chain smoker, had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was receiving treatment at Sloan-Kettering hospital in New York City. Photographs taken of Newman in May and June showed him looking gaunt. Writer A.E. Hotchner, who partnered with Newman to start the Newman's Own company in the 1980s, told the Associated Press that Newman told him about the disease about eighteen months prior to the interview.

Newman's spokesman told the press that the star was "doing nicely," but neither confirmed nor denied that he had cancer. In August, after reportedly finishing chemotherapy, Newman told his family he wished to die at home. He died on September 26, 2008, aged 83, surrounded by his family and close friends.His remains were subsequently cremated after a private funeral service near his home in Westport.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Feast day of Padre Pio

Padre Pio: you are the new saint that I pray to for guidance and wisdom. I am pleased that the Vatican accepted you as a Saint. Please protect me and my family and give us guidance and wisdom! Pray for Us! remembering you after 42 years, you are a remarkable man and I am proud to say that I pray to you alot!

Padre Pio
Birth: May 25, 1887, Italy
Death: Sep. 23, 1968, Italy

Roman Catholic Cleric, Religious Leader. The Stigmata Saint, 20th century's most remarkable Capuchin monk - Francesco Forgione was born into a simple farming family. He was a sickly child, a condition that followed him to adulthood. Invested with the habit of a Capuchin monk in 1907 and taking the name Pio of Pietralcina ( a Franciscan order known for vows of poverty) Pio went on to be ordained a priest in 1910.

Upon discharge from the Italian army in 1916, due to bad health, he was made director of studies at the seminary in San Giovanni Rotondo where he remained the rest of his life. His fame was launched-and the suspicions of fraud against him began in 1918 when word spread that he had been marked by stigmata-wounds on his hands, feet and side similar to those of Jesus on the cross. He began to receive pilgrims from all over the world transforming San Giovanni Rotondo into a world famous pilgrim center. He lived in a tiny crypt especially constructed for him where a small window allowed him to visit.

In 1947 a young priest journeyed from Poland to confess before Padre Pio, who would hear confessions for hours. He was to become Pope John Paul II. Pio died peacefully in his sleep. His funeral was attended by over 100,000. In June, 2002, before 200,000 in attendance, Pope John Paul II elevated Padre Pio to sainthood. San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, a city of 27,000, has replaced Lourdes, France as Europe's premier pilgrimage site with 7.5 million visitors in 2002. Padre Pio souvenirs have become the largest selling keepsake items in Europe. Police in Italy reported finding a Pio medal alongside a handgun in the pocket of Mafia boss Antonino Giuffre when arrested in Sicily.

Pio of Pietrelcina (25 May 1887 – 23 September 1968) was a Capuchin priest from Italy who is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church. He was born Francesco Forgione, and given the name Pio when he joined the Capuchins; he was popularly known as Padre Pio after his ordination to the priesthood. He became famous for his stigmata. On 16 June 2002, he was canonized by Pope John Paul II.

Patron Saint of civil defense volunteers, Catholic adolescents

Transverberation and visible stigmata
Based on Padre Pio's correspondence, even early in his priesthood he experienced less obvious indications of the visible stigmata for which he would later become famous. In a 1911 letter, Padre Pio wrote to his spiritual advisor, Padre Benedetto from San Marco in Lamis, describing something he had been experiencing for a year:

Then last night something happened which I can neither explain nor understand. In the middle of the palms of my hands a red mark appeared, about the size of a penny, accompanied by acute pain in the middle of the red marks. The pain was more pronounced in the middle of the left hand, so much so that I can still feel it. Also under my feet I can feel some pain.

His close friend Padre Agostino wrote to him in 1915, asking specific questions such as when he first experienced visions, whether he had been granted the stigmata, and whether he felt the pains of the Passion of Christ, namely the crowning of thorns and the scourging. Padre Pio replied that he had been favoured with visions since his novitiate period (1903 to 1904). He wrote that although he had been granted the stigmata, he had been so terrified by the phenomenon he begged the Lord to withdraw them. He did not wish the pain to be removed, only the visible wounds, since, at the time he considered them to be an indescribable and almost unbearable humiliation.[13] The visible wounds disappeared at that point, but reappeared in September 1918.[13] He reported, however, that the pain remained and was more acute on specific days and under certain circumstances. He also said that he was indeed experiencing the pain of the crown of thorns and the scourging. He was not able to clearly indicate the frequency of this experience, but said that he had been suffering from them at least once weekly for some years.

These experiences are alleged to have caused his health to fail, for which reason he was permitted to stay at home. To maintain his religious life as a friar while away from the community, he said Mass daily and taught at school.

St. John of the Cross describes the phenomenon of transverberation as follows:

The soul being inflamed with the love of God which is interiorly attacked by a Seraph, who pierces it through with a fiery dart. This leaves the soul wounded, which causes it to suffer from the overflowing of divine love.

World War I was still going on, and in July 1918, Pope Benedict XV, who had termed the World War "the suicide of Europe", appealed to all Christians urging them to pray for an end to the World War. On 27 July of the same year, Padre Pio offered himself as a victim for the end of the war. Days passed and between 5 August and 7 August, Padre Pio had a vision in which Christ appeared and pierced his side.

As a result of this experience, Padre Pio had a physical wound in his side. This occurrence is considered as a "transverberation" or piercing of the heart indicating the union of love with God.

As a side-note, a first-class relic of Padre Pio, which consists of a large framed square of linen bearing a bloodstain from "the wound of the transverberation of the heart" in Padre Pio's side, is exposed for public veneration at the St. John Cantius Church in Chicago.

With his transverberation began another seven-week long period of spiritual unrest for Padre Pio. One of his Capuchin brothers said this of his state during that period:

During this time his entire appearance looked altered as if he had died. He was constantly weeping and sighing, saying that God had forsaken him.

In a letter from Padre Pio to Padre Benedetto, dated 21 August 1918, Padre Pio writes of his experiences during the transverberation:

While I was hearing the boys’ confessions on the evening of the 5th [August] I was suddenly terrorized by the sight of a celestial person who presented himself to my mind’s eye. He had in his hand a sort of weapon like a very long sharp-pointed steel blade which seemed to emit fire. At the very instant that I saw all this, I saw that person hurl the weapon into my soul with all his might. I cried out with difficulty and felt I was dying. I asked the boy to leave because I felt ill and no longer had the strength to continue. This agony lasted uninterruptedly until the morning of the 7th. I cannot tell you how much I suffered during this period of anguish. Even my entrails were torn and ruptured by the weapon, and nothing was spared. From that day on I have been mortally wounded. I feel in the depths of my soul a wound that is always open and which causes me continual agony.

On 20 September 1918, accounts state that the pains of the transverberation had ceased and Padre Pio was in "profound peace".[2] On that day, as Padre Pio was engaged in prayer in the choir loft in the Church of Our Lady of Grace, the same Being who had appeared to him and given him the transverberation, and who is believed to be the Wounded Christ, appeared again and Padre Pio had another experience of religious ecstasy. When the ecstasy ended, Padre Pio had received the Visible Stigmata, the five wounds of Christ. This time, however, the stigmata were permanent and would stay on him for the next fifty years of his life.

In a letter from St. Padre Pio to Padre Benedetto, his superior and spiritual advisor, Padre Benedetto from San Marco in Lamis dated 22 October 1918, Padre Pio describes his experience of receiving the Stigmata as follows:

On the morning of the 20th of last month, in the choir, after I had celebrated Mass I yielded to a drowsiness similar to a sweet sleep. I saw before me a mysterious person similar to the one I had seen on the evening of 5 August. The only difference was that his hands and feet and side were dripping blood. This sight terrified me and what I felt at that moment is indescribable. I thought I should have died if the Lord had not intervened and strengthened my heart which was about to burst out of my chest. The vision disappeared and I became aware that my hands, feet and side were dripping blood. Imagine the agony I experienced and continue to experience almost every day. The heart wound bleeds continually, especially from Thursday evening until Saturday. Dear Father, I am dying of pain because of the wounds and the resulting embarrassment I feel deep in my soul. I am afraid I shall bleed to death if the Lord does not hear my heartfelt supplication to relieve me of this condition. Will Jesus, who is so good, grant me this grace? Will he at least free me from the embarrassment caused by these outward signs? I will raise my voice and will not stop imploring him until in his mercy he takes away, not the wound or the pain, which is impossible since I wish to be inebriated with pain, but these outward signs which cause me such embarrassment and unbearable humiliation.

Though Padre Pio would have preferred to suffer in secret, by early 1919, news about the stigmatic friar began to spread in the secular world. Padre Pio’s wounds were examined by many people, including physicians.[2] People who had started rebuilding their lives after World War I began to see in Padre Pio a symbol of hope.[9] Those close to him attest that he began to manifest several spiritual gifts including the gifts of healing, bilocation, levitation, prophecy, miracles, extraordinary abstinence from both sleep and nourishment (One account states that Padre Agostino recorded one instance in which Padre Pio was able to subsist for at least 20 days at Verafeno on only the Eucharist without any other nourishment), the ability to read hearts, the gift of tongues, the gift of conversions, and the fragrance from his wounds.

Papal views on the situation in the 1930s to 1960s
By 1933, the tide began to turn, with Pope Pius XI ordering the Holy See to reverse its ban on Padre Pio’s public celebration of Mass. The Pope said, "I have not been badly disposed toward Padre Pio, but I have been badly informed."[9] In 1934, he was again allowed to hear confessions. He was also given honorary permission to preach despite never having taken the exam for the preaching licence.[9] Pope Pius XII, who assumed the papacy in 1939, encouraged devotees to visit Padre Pio. According to a recent book, Pope John XXIII (1958–1963) apparently did not espouse the outlook of his predecessors, and wrote in 1960 of Padre Pio’s “immense deception." [20] However, it was John XXIII's successor, Pope Paul VI, who, in the mid-1960s, firmly dismissed all accusations against Padre Pio.

The deterioration of Padre Pio's health started during the 1960s in spite of which he continued his spiritual works. On 21 September 1968, the day after the 50th anniversary of his receiving the Stigmata, Padre Pio experienced great tiredness.[21] The next day, on 22 September 1968, Padre Pio was supposed to offer a Solemn High Mass, but feeling weak and fearing that he might be too ill to complete the Mass, he asked his superior if he might say a Low Mass instead, just as he had done daily for years. Due to the large number of pilgrims present for the Mass, Padre Pio's superior decided the Solemn High Mass must proceed, and so Padre Pio, in the spirit of obedience to his superior, went on to celebrate the Solemn High Mass. While celebrating the Solemn High Mass, Padre Pio appeared extremely weak and in a fragile state. His voice was weak when he said the Mass, and after the Mass had concluded, he was so weakened that he almost collapsed as he was descending the altar steps and needed help from a great many of his Capuchin confreres. This would be Padre Pio's last celebration of the Mass.

Early in the morning of 23 September 1968, Padre Pio made his last confession and renewed his Franciscan vows.[9] As was customary, he had his rosary in his hands, though he did not have the strength to say the Hail Marys aloud. Till the end, he repeated the words "Gesù, Maria" (Jesus, Mary). At around 2:30am, he said, "I see two mothers" (taken to mean his mother and Mary). At 2:30 a.m. he breathed his last in his cell in San Giovanni Rotondo with his last breath whispering, "Maria!"

His body was buried on 26 September in a crypt in the Church of Our Lady of Grace. His Requiem Mass was attended by over 100,000 people. He was often heard to say, "After my death I will do more. My real mission will begin after my death".

The accounts of those who stayed with Padre Pio till the end state that the stigmata had completely disappeared without even leaving a scar. Only a red mark "as if drawn by a red pencil" remained on his side which then disappeared.

St. Pio of Pietrelcina is currently known as the patron saint of civil defense volunteers, after a group of 160 of them petitioned the Italian Bishops’ conference. The Bishops forwarded the request to the Vatican, which gave its approval to the designation.[22] He is also “less officially” known as the patron saint of stress relief and the “January blues,” after the Catholic Enquiry Office in London proclaimed him as such. They designated the most depressing day of the year, identified as January 22, as Don’t Worry Be Happy day, in honor of Padre Pio’s famous advice: “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”


Padre Pio showing the stigmataOn 20 September 1918, while hearing confessions, Padre Pio is said to have had his first occurrence of the stigmata—bodily marks, pain, and bleeding in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. This phenomenon continued for fifty years, until the end of his life. The blood flowing from the stigmata is said to have smelled of perfume or flowers, a phenomenon mentioned in stories of the lives of several saints and often referred to as the odour of sanctity.

His stigmata, regarded by some as evidence of holiness, was studied by physicians whose independence from the Church is not known. The observations were reportedly unexplainable and the wounds never became infected.

His wounds healed once, but reappeared.[35] The wounds were examined by Luigi Romanelli, chief physician of the City Hospital of Barletta, for about one year. Dr. Giorgio Festa, a private practitioner also examined them in 1920 and 1925. Professor Giuseppe Bastianelli, physician to Pope Benedict XV agreed that the wounds existed but made no other comment. Pathologist Dr. Amico Bignami of the University of Rome also observed the wounds, but could make no diagnosis. Both Bignami and Dr. Giuseppe Sala commented on the unusually smooth edges of the wounds and lack of edema. Dr. Alberto Caserta took X-rays of the hands in 1954 and found no abnormality in the bone structure.

It was reputed, however, that his condition caused him great embarrassment, and most photographs show him with red mittens or black coverings on his hands and feet where the bleedings occurred. At Padre Pio's death in 1968, his body appeared unwounded, with no sign of scarring. There was even a report that doctors who examined his body found it empty of all blood.[38] Photos taken of his bare feet and hands during his funeral procession created some scandal with allegations of stigmata fraud, although believers saw the disappearance of the marks as yet another miracle.

Accusations of fraud
Historian Sergio Luzzatto and others, both religious and non-religious, have accused Padre Pio of faking his stigmata. Luzzatto's theory, namely that Padre Pio used carbolic acid to self-inflict the wounds, is based on a document found in the Vatican's archive — the testimony of a pharmacist at the San Giovanni Rotondo, Maria De Vito, from whom he ordered 4 grams of the acid.[39] According to De Vito, Padre Pio asked her to keep the order secret, saying it was to sterilise needles. The document was examined but dismissed by the Catholic Church during Padre Pio's beatification process.

One commentator expressed the belief that the Church likely dismissed the claims based on witnesses that stated the acid was in fact used for sterilization: "The boys had needed injections to fight the Spanish Flu which was raging at that time. Due to a shortage of doctors, Padres Paolino and Pio administered the shots, using carbolic acid as a sterilizing agent.”

In 1982, the Holy See authorized the Archbishop of Manfredonia to open an investigation to discover whether Padre Pio should be considered a saint. The investigation went on for seven years, and in 1990 Padre Pio was declared a Servant of God, the first step in the progression to canonization.

Beginning in 1990, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints debated how heroically Padre Pio had lived his life, and in 1997 Pope John Paul II declared him venerable. A discussion of the effects of his life on others followed, including the cure of an Italian woman, Consiglia de Martino, which had been associated with Padre Pio's intercession. In 1999, on the advice of the Congregation, John Paul II declared Padre Pio blessed.

After further consideration of Padre Pio's virtues and ability to do good even after his death, including discussion of another healing attributed to his intercession, the Pope declared Padre Pio a saint on 16 June 2002.[27] Three hundred thousand people were estimated to have attended the canonization ceremony.

Padre Pio is one of only two saints who were priests living after the Second Vatican Council; the other being Saint Josemaria Escriva. Both priests had permission from the pope to offer the traditional Latin Mass without any of the liturgical reforms that stemmed from the Council.

Later recognition
On 1 July 2004, Pope John Paul II dedicated the Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church in San Giovanni Rotondo to the memory of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. A statue of Saint Pio in Messina, Sicily attracted attention in 2002 when it allegedly wept tears of blood Padre Pio has become one of the world's most popular saints. There are more than 3,000 "Padre Pio Prayer Groups" worldwide, with three million members.

There are parishes dedicated to Padre Pio in Vineland, New Jersey and Sydney, Australia. A 2006 survey by the magazine Famiglia Cristiana found that more Italian Catholics pray to Padre Pio than to any other figure. This prayer, more properly understood as a request, is not to be confused with worship which the Catholic Church teaches is due only to God himself.

A statue of Padre Pio will be built on a hill near the town of San Giovanni Rotondo in the southern province of Puglia, Italy, close to the town where he is commemorated. The project will cost several million pounds, with the money to be raised from his devotees around the world. The statue will be coated in a special photovoltaic paint which will enable it to trap the sun's heat and produce solar energy, making it an "ecological" religious icon.


The incorrupt body of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina wearing a silicone mask.On 3 March 2008, the body of Saint Pio was exhumed from his crypt, 40 years after his death, so that his remains could be prepared for display. A church statement described the body as being in "fair condition". Archbishop Domenico D'Ambrosio, papal legate to the shrine in San Giovanni Rotondo, stated "the top part of the skull is partly skeletal but the chin is perfect and the rest of the body is well preserved".[45] Archbishop D’Ambrosio also confirmed in a communiqué that “the stigmata are not visible.”[46] He went on to say that St. Pio's hands "looked like they had just undergone a manicure". It was hoped that morticians would be able to restore the face so that it will be recognizable. However, due to its deterioration, his face was covered with a life-like silicone mask.

Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, celebrated Mass for 15,000 devotees on 24 April at the Shrine of Holy Mary of Grace, San Giovanni Rotondo, before the body went on display in a crystal, marble, and silver sepulcher in the crypt of the monastery.

Padre Pio is wearing his brown Capuchin habit with a white silk stole embroidered with crystals and gold thread. His hands hold a large wooden cross. 800,000 pilgrims worldwide, mostly from Italy, made reservations to view the body up to December 2008, but only 7,200 people a day will be able to file past the crystal coffin. Officials extended the display through September, 2009.

Saint Pio's remains were placed in the church of Saint Pio, which is beside San Giovanni Rotondo. In April 2010 they were moved to a special golden "Cripta".



Sunday, 16 June 2002

1. "For my yoke is easy and my burden light" (Mt 11,30).

Jesus' words to his disciples, which we just heard, help us to understand the most important message of this solemn celebration. Indeed, in a certain sense, we can consider them as a magnificent summary of the whole life of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, today proclaimed a saint.

The evangelical image of the "yoke" recalls the many trials that the humble Capuchin of San Giovanni Rotondo had to face. Today we contemplate in him how gentle the "yoke" of Christ is, and how truly light is his burden when it is borne with faithful love. The life and mission of Padre Pio prove that difficulties and sorrows, if accepted out of love, are transformed into a privileged way of holiness, which opens onto the horizons of a greater good, known only to the Lord.

2. "But may I never boast except in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal 6,14).

Is it not, precisely, the "glory of the Cross" that shines above all in Padre Pio? How timely is the spirituality of the Cross lived by the humble Capuchin of Pietrelcina. Our time needs to rediscover the value of the Cross in order to open the heart to hope.

Throughout his life, he always sought greater conformity with the Crucified, since he was very conscious of having been called to collaborate in a special way in the work of redemption. His holiness cannot be understood without this constant reference to the Cross.

In God's plan, the Cross constitutes the true instrument of salvation for the whole of humanity and the way clearly offered by the Lord to those who wish to follow him (cf. Mk 16,24). The Holy Franciscan of the Gargano understood this well, when on the Feast of the Assumption in 1914, he wrote: "In order to succeed in reaching our ultimate end we must follow the divine Head, who does not wish to lead the chosen soul on any way other than the one he followed; by that, I say, of abnegation and the Cross" (Epistolario II, p. 155).

3. "I am the Lord who acts with mercy" (Jer 9,23).

Padre Pio was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making himself available to all by welcoming them, by spiritual direction and, especially, by the administration of the sacrament of Penance. I also had the privilege, during my young years, of benefitting from his availability for penitents. The ministry of the confessional, which is one of the distinctive traits of his apostolate, attracted great crowds of the faithful to the monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo. Even when that unusual confessor treated pilgrims with apparent severity, the latter, becoming conscious of the gravity of sins and sincerely repentant, almost always came back for the peaceful embrace of sacramental forgiveness. May his example encourage priests to carry out with joy and zeal this ministry which is so important today, as I wished to confirm this year in the Letter to Priests on the occasion of Holy Thursday.

4. "You, Lord, are my only good".

This is what we sang in the responsorial psalm. Through these words, the new Saint invites us to place God above everything, to consider him our sole and highest good.

In fact, the ultimate reason for the apostolic effectiveness of Padre Pio, the profound root of so much spiritual fruitfulness can be found in that intimate and constant union with God, attested to by his long hours spent in prayer and in the confessional. He loved to repeat, "I am a poor Franciscan who prays" convinced that "prayer is the best weapon we have, a key that opens the heart of God".

This fundamental characteristic of his spirituality continues in the "Prayer Groups" that he founded, which offer to the Church and to society the wonderful contribution of incessant and confident prayer. To prayer, Padre Pio joined an intense charitable activity, of which the "Home for the Relief of Suffering" is an extraordinary expression. Prayer and charity, this is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio's teaching, which today is offered to everyone.

5. "I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because ... these things ... you have revealed to little ones" (Mt 11,25).

How appropriate are these words of Jesus, when we think of them as applied to you, humble and beloved Padre Pio.

Teach us, we ask you, humility of heart so we may be counted among the little ones of the Gospel, to whom the Father promised to reveal the mysteries of his Kingdom.

Help us to pray without ceasing, certain that God knows what we need even before we ask him.
Obtain for us the eyes of faith that will be able to recognize right away in the poor and suffering the face of Jesus.

Sustain us in the hour of the combat and of the trial and, if we fall, make us experience the joy of the sacrament of forgiveness.

Grant us your tender devotion to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother.

Accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage toward the blessed homeland, where we hope to arrive in order to contemplate forever the glory of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.




Monday, 17 June 2002

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. It is a great joy for me to meet you again the day after the solemn canonization of the humble Capuchin of San Giovanni Rotondo. Dear pilgrims and devotees, I greet you with affection who have gathered in Rome in such large numbers for this special occasion. I first of all greet the bishops, priests and religious who are present here. I want to pay special attention to the Capuchin Franciscans who in communion with the whole Church praise and thank the Lord for the marvels he has worked in their exemplary confrere. Padre Pio is an authentic model of spirituality and humanity, two characteristic features of the Franciscan and Capuchin tradition.

I greet the members of the "Padre Pio Prayer Groups" and the representatives of the family of the "Home for the Relief of Suffering", that great institution for the treatment and the care of the sick that came forth from the new saint's charity. I embrace you, dear pilgrims from the noble land that gave birth to Padre Pio, from the other regions of Italy and from every part of the world. By your presence here, you witness to how widespread are devotion to and confidence in the holy Friar of the Gargano in the Church and on every continent.

2. But what is the secret of such great admiration and love for this new saint? He is first of all a "friar of the people", a traditional characteristic of the Capuchins. He is also a saint who is a miraculous healer, as the extraordinary events which are part of his life attest. However, above all Padre Pio is a religious who is deeply in love with the crucified Christ. He even shared physically in the mystery of the Cross during his life.

He liked to link the glory of Tabor with the mystery of the Passion, as we read in one of his letters: "Before exclaiming with St Peter "Oh how good it is to be here', it is necessary first to climb Calvary, where one sees only death, nails, thorns, suffering, extraordinary shadows, abandonment and fainting" (Epistolario III, p. 287).

Padre Pio made his journey of demanding spiritual ascesis in communion with the Church. The temporary misunderstandings he had with one or other ecclesial authority did not put a brake on his attitude of filial obedience. Padre Pio was a faithful and courageous son of the Church and in this situation following the shining example of the "Poverello" of Assisi.

3. May this holy Capuchin to whom so many people turn to from every corner of the earth point out to us the means to reach holiness which is the goal of our life as Christians. How many faithful in every social condition, from the most diverse places and the most difficult situations hurried to ask his help! He knew how to offer them all what they needed most, which they were often groping for without being fully aware of it. He passed on to them the comforting and enlightening Word of God, enabling each person to draw from the sources of his grace through his diligent dedication to the ministry of the confessional and the fervent celebration of the Eucharist.

So it was that he wrote to one of his spiritual daughters: "Do not be afraid to come to the Lord's altar to be fed with flesh of the Immaculate Lamb, because no one will better reconcile your spirit than your king, nothing will warm it more than his sun, and nothing will soothe it better than his balm" (ibid., p. 944).

4. The Mass of Padre Pio! It was an eloquent reminder to priests of the beauty of the priestly vocation. For the religious and the lay people who flocked to San Giovanni Rotondo even at the early morning hours, it was an extraordinary catechesis on the value and importance of the Eucharistic sacrifice.

Holy Mass was the heart and the source of his whole spirituality: "There is in the Mass", he used to say, "the whole of Calvary". The faithful who crowded round his altar were profoundly impressed by the intensity of his "immersion" in the Mystery, and perceived that "the Father" participated in his person in the Redeemer's sufferings.

5. St Pio of Pietrelcina presented himself to everyone - priests, men and women religious and lay people - as a credible witness to Christ and to his Gospel. May his example and intercession spur everyone to greater love for God and concrete solidarity with his neighbour, especially those who are in greatest need.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom Padre Pio called by the beautiful name of "Our Lady of Grace" (Santa Maria delle Grazie), help us to follow in the footprints of this religious who is so beloved by the people!

With this hope, I cordially bless you who are present here, your loved ones and all who are committed to following in the spiritual footsteps of the beloved saint of Pietrelcina.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Today is the feast day of Saint Matthew

O Almighty God,

whose blessed Son called Matthew the tax collector

to be an apostle and evangelist:

give us grace to forsake

the selfish pursuit of gain

and the possessive love of


that we may follow in the way

of your son Jesus Christ,

who is alive and reigns with


in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Collect for Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Common Worship)

This reflection draws on the SIFT method of hermeneutics: sensing, intu­ition, feeling, and thinking (see Leslie J. Francis and Andrew Village: Preach­ing with All our Soul, Continuum, 2008).

This collect is about Matthew, apostle and Evangelist. Become sensing people, and recall the mo­ment of Matthew’s call.

See Matthew going about his business, doing his day job as an officer of the occupying Roman forces. See Matthew applauded by the foreign rulers. See Matthew des­pised, feared, and hated by his fellow countrymen. What kind of self-interest would lead to such treachery?

See Jesus approach and expect the stern rebuke. Surely Jesus could be no friend of tax-collectors and sinners? Watch Jesus’s lips and read the call: “Follow me.” Watch Jesus’s lips, and see Matthew turn his back on his old way of life, and walk toward the new beginning.

Become intuitive people, and re­flect on the possessive love of riches.

For Matthew, the possessive love of riches led him to the custom-house. The attractions of a secure job are understandable enough. The pension scheme underwritten by a successful international consortium linked to the ruling classes makes good sense. Have you been tempted to follow the same path?

For Matthew, the possessive love of riches led him away from his cultural heritage, away from his family roots, away from the religious traditions of his ancestors, and away from obedience to his God. Have you been tempted to follow the same path?

Become feeling people, and experience the pain that Matthew’s call caused to the early disciples. Here was a newly formed group of people charged to proclaim God’s reign through what they did and taught. Then suddenly the credibility of the whole group was undermined by Matthew’s call.

Publicly, the Pharisees ridiculed the new leader’s lack of discernment, his lack of discrimination. “He eats,” they said, “with tax-collectors and with sinners.”

Privately, the common people looked askance. The new leader re­cruited disciples who could not be trusted. Was Matthew not a mole for the occupying forces? Probably, the Roman rulers wondered what had happened to their trusted tax-collector, who had gone missing so suddenly from the custom-house.

I wonder whether today’s Church would be so eager to run the risk of recruiting Matthew to proclaim God’s reign.

Become thinking people, and reflect on the distinctive voice of Matthew’s Gospel.

Without Matthew’s voice, the be­ginning of the Gospel would now feel so incomplete. Without Matthew, there are no angelic announcement to Joseph, no arrival of Magi from the east, no star of Bethlehem, no gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, no flight into Egypt, and no massacre of the innocents.

Without Matthew’s voice, the Gospel ending would now feel so incomplete. Without Matthew, there is no commission to go forth to make all nations disciples of Jesus, and no commission to baptise people everywhere in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Without Matthew’s voice, the call of Levi, the tax-collector in Mark, remains the recruitment of the enig­matic 13th disciple. At least the re-designation of the tax-collector as Matthew sorted out the mathematics of the leaders of God’s new people.

The Revd Dr Leslie J. Francis is Professor of Religions and Education, University of Warwick, and Canon Theologian of Bangor Cathedral.

Saint Matthew:Thanks for your book. You have led many, many, people to the Lord. Thank you very much for your words. May you guide me into a life of service for Jesus Christ. I look forward to seeing you in heaven one day and I am pleased to have your name, which means Gift from God!

Saint Matthew

Apostle, Evangelist, Martyr
Died near Hierapolis or Ethiopia
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Churches
Eastern Catholic Churches
Anglican Communion
Lutheran Church
some other Protestant Churches
Canonized pre-congregation
Major shrine Salerno, Italy
Feast 21 September (Western Christianity)
16 November (Eastern Christianity)
Attributes Angel
Patronage Accountants, Salerno, Italy, and others

Matthew the Evangelist (מתי/מתתיהו, "Gift of Yahweh", Standard Hebrew and Tiberian Hebrew: Mattay or Mattithyahu; Septuagint Greek: Ματθαῖος, Matthaios) was, according to Christian tradition, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus and one of the four Evangelists.

Matthew, a former tax collector, composed the Gospel of Christ. In addition, the Gospel according to the Hebrews is alleged to have been written by Matthew as well.

Among the early followers and apostles of Jesus, a Matthew is mentioned in Mt 9:9 and Mt 10:3 as a former tax collector from Capernaum who was called into the circle of the Twelve by Jesus. He is also named among the number of the Twelve, but without identification of his background, in Mk 3:18, Lk 6:15 and Acts 1:13. He is often equated with the figure of Levi, son of Alpheus, also a tax collector, who is mentioned in Mk 2:13 and Lk 5:27.

Early church fathers Epiphanius of Salamis and Jerome mention a first gospel, the now lost Gospel of the Hebrews, said to have been written by Matthew.[3] Epiphanius does not make his own the claim about a Gospel of the Hebrews written by Matthew, a claim that he merely attributes to the heretical Ebionites.[4] Some modern biblical scholars believe Matthew was the author of the canonical gospel, while some others disagree.[5][6][7][8] There is currently no consensus on this question, and the reasons cited by both sides are widely open to debate. Those who hold that the gospel was written by someone other than the apostle refer to the gospel author as "Matthew the Evangelist" and the apostle as "Matthew the Apostle". Those who view the gospel author and the apostle as the same person use both titles when referring to him.

Early life
Matthew was born in First Century Judea. He was a Galilean and the son of Alpheus During the Roman occupation, Matthew collected taxes from the Hebrew people for Herod Antipas. His Tax Office was located in Capernaum. Jews who became rich in such a fashion, were despised and considered outcasts. However, as a tax collector he would have been literate in Aramaic (but probably not Greek or Latin).

It was in this setting, near what is today Almagor, that Jesus called Matthew to be one of the Twelve Disciples. After his call, Matthew invited the Lord home for a feast. On seeing this, the Scribes and the Pharisees criticized Jesus for eating with tax collectors and sinners. This prompted Jesus to answer, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners”

Matthew's Ministry

Matthew's ministry in the New Testament is likewise complex. When Matthew is mentioned he usually paired him with Thomas. As a disciple, he followed Christ, and was one of the witnesses of the Resurrection and the Ascension. Afterwards, Matthew along with Mary, James and other close followers of the Lord, withdrew to the Upper Chamber, in Jerusalem. At about this time James succeeded Jesus of Nazareth as the head of the Church in Jerusalem.

They remained in and about Jerusalem and proclaimed that Jesus son of Joseph was the promised Messiah. These early Jewish Christians were thought to have been called Nazarenes. It is near certain that Matthew belonged to this sect, as both the New Testament and the early Talmud affirm this to be true.

Matthew, for 15 years, preached the Gospel in Hebrew to the Jewish community in Judea. Later in his ministry, he would travel to Gentile nations and spread the Gospel to the Ethiopians, Macedonians, Persians, and Parthians.[citation needed] He is said to have died a natural death either in Ethiopia or in Macedonia. However, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church each hold the tradition that Matthew died as a martyr.

Matthew's Gospel

St. Matthew and the Angel by RembrandtOrigen said the first book was written by Matthew.This Gospel was composed in Hebrew near Jerusalem for Hebrew Christians and translated into Greek, but the Greek copy was lost. The Hebrew original was kept at the Library of Caesarea. The Nazarene Community transcribed a copy for Jerome which he used in his work.[29] Matthew's Gospel was called the Gospel according to the Hebrews or sometimes the Gospel of the Apostles and it was once believed that it was the original to the Greek Matthew found in the Bible, but this has been largely disproved by modern Biblical Scholars.

Matthew is recognized as a Saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican churches.[citation needed] His feast day is celebrated on September 21 in the West, November 16 in the East (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 16 November currently falls on 29 November of the modern Gregorian Calendar). He is also commemorated by the Orthodox, together with the other Apostles, on 30 June (13 July), the Synaxis of the Holy Apostles.

Like the other evangelists, Matthew is often depicted in Christian art with one of the four living creatures of Revelation 4:7. The one that accompanies him is in the form of a winged man. The three paintings of Matthew by Caravaggio in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, where he is depicted as called by Christ from his profession as gatherer, are among the landmarks of Western art.

Prayers to St. Matthew
Patron of Accountants & Bankers

to Look Beyond

Dear Levi, now known as Matthew, you were first a publican, a tax collector, and then a gatherer of souls for Christ after immediately following His call. Later you wrote wonderful accounts of your Jewish brethren of what Jesus, descendant of David, said and did as Teacher and Savior.
Make all accountants imitate your example in giving careful and honest accounts. Amen.

God, You chose St. Matthew the Publican to become an Apostle. By following his example and benefiting by his prayers, may we always follow and abide by Your will. Amen.

God of mercy, You chose a tax collector, St. Matthew, to share the dignity of the apostles. By his example and prayers, help us to follow Christ and remain faithful in Your service. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

feast day: September 21

Monday, September 20, 2010

Remembering a true Jewish hero after 5 years

Simon Wiesenthal: sir its been a pleasure doing a report about you when I took a class about the terrible times in Europe in 1940s, you are truly an inspiration for all the Jews throughout the world! remembering you 5 years later, may you rest in peace!

Simon Wiesenthal KBE (December 31, 1908 – September 20, 2005) was an Austrian-Jewish Holocaust survivor who became famous after World War II for his work as a Nazi hunter who pursued Nazi war criminals.

Following four and a half years in the German concentration camps such as Janowska, Plaszow, and Mauthausen during World War II, Wiesenthal dedicated most of his life to tracking down and gathering information on fugitive Nazis so that they could be brought to justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity. In 1947, he co-founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Center in Linz, Austria, in order to gather information for future war crime trials. Later he opened Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna. Wiesenthal wrote The Sunflower, which describes a life-changing event he experienced when he was in the camp.

Wiesenthal died in his sleep at age 96 in Vienna on September 20, 2005, and was buried in the city of Herzliya in Israel on September 23. He is survived by his daughter, Paulinka Kriesberg, and three grandchildren. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, located in Los Angeles in the United States, is named in his honor.

A biography by Guy Walters asserts that many of Wiesenthal's claims regarding his education, wartime experiences and Nazi hunting exploits are untrue or exaggerated.[1] Walters wrote an op-ed in the Daily Mail on September 10, 2010 titled "Why I believe the king of the Nazi hunters, Simon Wiesenthal, was a fraud", reasserting his claims, stating "unfortunately, Wiesenthal’s intelligence was useless." This followed a BBC interview with Wiesenthal biographer Tom Segev on September 7, 2010, where Segev accused Wiesenthal of being a liar "who lived between reality and fantasy" and ruined innocent people's lives.

In the 1970s, he became involved in Austrian politics when he pointed out that several ministers in Bruno Kreisky's newly formed Socialist government had been Nazis when Austria was part of the Third Reich. Kreisky, himself Jewish, responded by attacking Wiesenthal as a Nestbeschmutzer (someone who dirties their own nest). In Austria, which took decades to acknowledge its role in Nazi crimes, Wiesenthal tended to be ignored and often insulted. In 1975, after Wiesenthal had released a report on FPÖ party chairman Friedrich Peter's Nazi past, Chancellor Bruno Kreisky suggested Wiesenthal was part of a "certain mafia" seeking to besmirch Austria and even claimed Wiesenthal had collaborated with Nazis and the Gestapo to survive. Wiesenthal labeled the claim ridiculous, sued Kreisky for libel and won.

Over the years, Wiesenthal received many death threats. In 1982, a bomb placed by German and Austrian neo-Nazis exploded outside his house in Vienna, Austria.

During the Waldheim affair, Wiesenthal defended the Austrian president, for which he was severely criticized.

Even after turning 90, Wiesenthal spent time at his small office in the Jewish Documentation Center in central Vienna. In April 2003, he announced his retirement, claiming that he had found the mass murderers he had been looking for and said: "I have survived them all. If there were any left, they'd be too old and weak to stand trial today. My work is done." And he added that the last major Austrian war criminal still alive is Alois Brunner, Adolf Eichmann's right-hand man, who was last seen by reliable witnesses in 1992. However, Prior to his retirement, Wiesenthal was also believed to be working on the case of Aribert Heim, one of the most notorious and wanted Nazi concentration-camp doctors.

Wiesenthal spent his last years in Vienna, where his wife, Cyla, died of natural causes on November 10, 2003, at age 95. They are survived by their daughter, Paulinka Kriesberg, and three grandchildren. Wiesenthal was buried in Herzliya, Israel.

In a statement on Wiesenthal's death, Council of Europe chairman Terry Davis said, "Without Simon Wiesenthal's relentless effort to find Nazi criminals and bring them to justice, and to fight[ing] anti-Semitism and prejudice, Europe would never have succeeded in healing its wounds and reconciling itself.... He was a soldier of justice, which is indispensable to our freedom, stability and peace."

In October 2006, the Vienna city council overwhelmingly approved renaming a street the Simon-Wiesenthal-Gasse, formerly Ichmanngasse. The previous name honored Franz Ichmann, a songwriter in the early 20th century and card-carrying member of the Nazi party.

In 2010 Wiesenthal was honoured by a commemorative stamp, a joint issue by the postal administrations of Austria and Israel; first day of issue was June 14, 2010.

He was called the "Conscience of the Holocaust," and was a pioneer against anti-semitism. Best known for his role in locating Adolf Eichmann, the one-time SS leader who organized the extermination of 6 million Jews, in Argentina and was abducted by Israeli agent Peter Maulkin and others in 1960 to be tried and hanged for war crimes committed against the Jews!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Today Pope Benedict XVI beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman

“I would also like to mention another citizen of Viterbo, Blessed Domenico Bàrberi (1792-1849), the Passionist priest who, in 1845, welcomed John Henry Newman — who later became a cardinal — into the Catholic Church. Newman was a high profile intellectual and a man of luminous spirituality.”

Blessed John Henry Newman, C.O. (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890),often referred to as Cardinal Newman, was an important figure in the religious history of England in the 19th century. He was known nationally by the mid-1830s.

Originally an evangelical Oxford academic and priest in the Church of England, Newman was a leader in the Oxford Movement. This influential grouping of Anglicans wished to return the Church of England to many Catholic beliefs and forms of worship. He eventually converted to Roman Catholicism (1845) and rose to become a cardinal.

His beatification was officially proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the United Kingdom on 19 September 2010.

Newman was also a literary figure of note, his major writings including his autobiography Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1865–66), the Grammar of Assent (1870), and the poem Gerontius, which formed the text for composer Edward Elgar's Dream of Gerontius.

Conversion to Roman Catholicism
An interval of two years then elapsed before Newman was received into the Roman Catholic Church (9 October 1845) by Blessed Dominic Barberi, an Italian Passionist, at the College in Littlemore. The personal consequences for Newman of his conversion were great: he suffered broken relationships with family and friends, attitudes to him within his Oxford circle becoming polarised.[34] The impact on the wider Tractarian movement is still debated, since Newman's leading role is regarded by some scholars as overstated, as is Oxford's domination of the movement as a whole. Tractarian writings had a wide and continuing circulation after 1845, well beyond the range of personal contacts with the main Oxford figures, and Tractarian clergy continued to be recruited into the Church of England in numbers.

Newman's conversion

The College, Littlemore where Dominic received Newman into the Church, Whilst in Italy and latterly in Belgium, Dominic had always kept up a keen interest in the Oxford Movement. In 1841 a letter by John Dobree Dalgairns appeared in L'Univers explaining the position of the Anglican High Church party. Dominic decided to respond to this letter which he believed represented the views of the entire faculty of Oxford University (Dalgairns was an undergraduate when he had written the letter). In his 'Letter to University Professors at Oxford' Dominic describes his long hopes for the conversion of England and his belief that the men of Oxford would be instrumental in such a conversion. The letter, through the help of Ignatius Spencer eventually ended up in the hands of Dalgairns who was residing with John Henry Newman at Littlemore. Dominic repudiated the Anglican claim that the 39 Articles could be interpreted in a Catholic light. In their continued correspondence Dalgairns and Dominic debated the Catholic position and Dalgairns requested copies of the Passionist Rule and Dominic's 'The Lament of England'. Eventually Dalgairns was received into the Catholic Church by Dominic at Aston in September 1845.

In October of that same year Dominic visited Littlemore where Newman made his confession to him, Newman relates in his Apologia of how Dominic arrived soaked from the rain and as he was drying himself by the fire Newman knelt and asked to be received into the Catholic Church. This event is marked by a sculpture in the Catholic Church of Blessed Dominic Barberi at Littlemore. Two of Newman's companions at Littlemore were also received and Dominic celebrated Mass for them the following morning. Newman and Dominic always afterward followed each others careers.

After an illness, Newman returned to England and thenceforward resided at the Oratory until his death, making occasional visits to London and chiefly to his old friend, R. W. Church, Dean of St Paul's, who as proctor had vetoed the condemnation of Tract 90 in 1841. As a cardinal, Newman published nothing beyond a preface to a work by Arthur Wollaston Hutton on the Anglican Ministry (1879) and an article "On the Inspiration of Scripture" in The Nineteenth Century (February 1884).

From the latter half of 1886, Newman's health began to fail and he celebrated Mass for the last time on Christmas Day in 1889. On 11 August 1890,[4] he died of pneumonia at the Birmingham Oratory. Eight days later, his body was buried in the cemetery at Rednal Hill, Birmingham, at the country house of the Oratory.

In accordance with his expressed wishes, Newman was buried in the grave of his lifelong friend, Ambrose St. John.[4] Previously, they had shared a house. The pall over the coffin bore his cardinal's motto Cor ad cor loquitur ("Heart speaks to heart").[4] Inseparable in death as in life, a joint memorial stone was erected for the two men; the inscription bore words Newman had chosen: Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem ("Out of shadows and phantasms into the truth").

On 27 February 1891, Newman's estate was probated at £4,206.

Newman's grave was opened on 2 October 2008, with the intention of moving any remains to a tomb inside Birmingham Oratory (contrary to Newman's express wishes) during Newman's consideration for sainthood; however, no remains were found because the coffin was wooden and the burial took place at a damp site.

Canonization of John Henry Newman
Blessed John Henry Newman, CO (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890) was a Roman Catholic priest and cardinal who converted to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism in October 1845. In early life, he was a major figure in the Oxford Movement to bring the Church of England back to its Catholic roots. Eventually his studies in history persuaded him to become a Roman Catholic.

Canonisation would make Cardinal Newman the first English person who has lived since the 17th century, officially recognised as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. In 1991, Cardinal Newman was proclaimed "Venerable" by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints - the first stage in the canonization process. He was beatified on 19 September 2010 at an open air mass in Birmingham.

A file on Newman’s beatification was first opened in 1958.

In 1991, Newman was proclaimed Venerable after a thorough examination of his life and work by the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints. One miracle attributed to Newman's intercession was required to have occurred and been fully investigated and approved by the Vatican before he could be beatified. A second miracle would then be necessary for his canonization.

In October 2005, Fr Paul Chavasse, provost of the Birmingham Oratory, who is the postulator responsible for the cause, announced that a miraculous cure had occurred

Jack Sullivan, a deacon from Marshfield, Massachusetts in the United States, attributed his recovery from a spinal cord disorder to Cardinal Newman. The claimed miracle occurred in the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Boston, whose responsibility it was to determine its validity. In August 2006 the Archbishop of Boston, Sean O'Malley announced he was passing details to the Vatican.

On 24 April 2008, the press secretary to the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory reported that the medical consultants at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints had met that day and voted unanimously that Sullivan's recovery defied any scientific or medical explanation. The question of the genuineness of the alleged miracle then went to the panel of theological consultors, who unanimously agreed to recognize the miracle a year later on 24 April 2009. The panel's vote, presumably having been verified by the prelate members of the Congregation, allowed Pope Benedict XVI to beatify Newman at a date of his choosing following a meeting with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (then Archbishop Angelo Amato) to formally approve the Congregation's voting process.

On 3 July 2009, Pope Benedict XVI recognised the healing of Deacon Jack Sullivan in 2001 as a miracle, resulting from the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God, John Henry Newman. This decision paved the way for Cardinal Newman’s beatification, which occurred on 19 September 2010.

Although it had been originally announced that Newman would be beatified at an open air mass at Coventry Airport but this was later switched to Cofton Park in Longbridge. And so, it was during the first Papal state visit to the UK that Pope Benedict XVI himself performed the beatification on 19 September 2010.

Steps towards sainthood
A second miracle needs to be confirmed before Newman can be canonized as a saint. The Vatican's Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints is expected to consider the case of a 17-year-old New Hampshire resident, who fully recovered from severe head injuries suffered in a car accident after invoking Cardinal Newman.

Fr Chavasse expanded on his remarks at the Michaelmas 2006 dinner of the Oxford University Newman Society (held in November), suggesting that Benedict XVI has shown a personal interest in Newman's cause.

Vatican Radio announced that on 3 July 2009, Pope Benedict authorized Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect for the Vatican's Congregation of the Causes of Saints, to promulgate decrees on the progress of several would-be Catholic saints, including Newman. This included a recognition of the validity of Newman's miracle in Boston, effectively declaring his beatification imminent.

Movement of remains
In 2008, the Vatican decided to enact plans to move Newman's remains from The Lickey Hills, near Rednal, Worcestershire where he was buried, to the Oratory in Birmingham city centre in anticipation of his being declared a saint. The move required prior permission from the Ministry of Justice; in preparation the area was enclosed by steel fencing incorporating The Oratory country house, a mortuary chapel and a small graveyard which contained his shared grave (with Ambrose St. John).

The planned exhumation and move of Cardinal Newman's remains were finally agreed by the UK authorities as a special case, as UK law prohibits the removal of a body from a graveyard to a church tomb. Licence was finally granted on 11 August 2008, the 118th anniversary of Newman's death in 1890, to permit the move by undertakers.

Newman's grave at Rednal was opened on 2 October 2008. It had been hoped that his body had been buried in a lead coffin and would be well preserved. However, the exhumation revealed that Newman had been buried in a wooden coffin and his body had completely decomposed; there were no human remains. The only artefacts retrieved, including an inscription plate, were wooden, brass and cloth. These artefacts, along with locks of hair, which had been sent to Sullivan before his inexplicable cure (and had always been in the possession of the Birmingham Oratory), were placed in a glass sided casket for a Vigil of Reception. The relics were then solemnly placed in the Chapel of St Charles Borromeo situated to the right of the Sanctuary. They will rest in the Chapel while the process of Beatification continues in Rome. The Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory have decided that the specially made green Italian marble sarcophagus will not be placed between the columns opposite the Holy Souls' Altar in the Oratory Church, Birmingham as originally planned.

The proposed movement of Newman's body angered some gay rights campaigners, who saw it as an attempt to deliberately separate him from his close companion Ambrose St John, with whom he was buried in accordance with his personal wishes. In their view, this was to deliberately downplay the intense nature of the relationship between the two men who had been companions for 30 years. Peter Tatchell entered the debate in an article in The Times on 19 August 2008, accusing the Vatican of "moral vandalism", and renewed his criticisms on the Sunday programme on BBC Radio 4 on 24 August 2008.

In response the Vatican commissioned Father Ian Ker, a theologian at Oxford University, to rebut the allegations in an article for the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Tatchell went on to criticise the Home Office of collusion with the Vatican. According to his interpretation of heavily censored documents released to him under the Freedom of Information Act, Tatchell claimed that the Catholic Church had "put the government under sustained pressure" to obtain the authorisation to exhume the body.

Nevertheless, Ker and Fr. Paul Chavasse, current provost of the Birmingham Oratory, maintain that Newman would have been glad to submit to the wishes of the Vatican in whatever they asked, no matter his previous wishes - Newman had stated "I wish, with all my heart, to be buried in Fr Ambrose St John's grave — and I give this as my last, my imperative will", he wrote, later adding: "This I confirm and insist on."

Pope beatifies John Henry Newman before 50,000 faithful in Birmingham
Cardinal John Henry Newman moves one step closer to sainthood after beatification by Pope in Birmingham's Crofton Park.
by Maria Mackay
Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2010, 11:17 (BST)

Around 50,000 Catholics gathered in Birmingham’s Crofton Park this morning to witness the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman by the Pope.

The beatification of the Victorian cardinal, who converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, is the first to take place under Pope Benedict XVI and the first ever to be performed in Britain.

The cool temperatures and overcast sky gave the open-air Mass a more sombre tone than those held in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park on Thursday and London’s Hyde Park yesterday.

Addressing the crowds, the Pope acknowledged the sacrifice and bravery of Britons in the Battle of Britain, the seventieth anniversary of which is being marked today.

“For me as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany, it is deeply moving to be here on this occasion, and to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology,” he said.

“My thoughts go in particular to nearby Coventry, which suffered such heavy bombardment and massive loss of life in November 1940.

“Seventy years later, we recall with shame and horror the dreadful toll of death and destruction that war brings in its wake, and we renew our resolve to work for peace and reconciliation wherever the threat of conflict looms.”

He went on to describe Cardinal Newman as a “saintly Englishman” of “heroic virtue” and praised his continuing influence on education.

“His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilised society, and into the need for a broadly-based and wide-ranging approach to education were not only of profound importance for Victorian England, but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world,” he said.

“I would like to pay particular tribute to his vision for education, which has done so much to shape the ethos that is the driving force behind Catholic schools and colleges today.

“Firmly opposed to any reductive or utilitarian approach, he sought to achieve an educational environment in which intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment would come together.”

Beatification is the third of four stages in the canonisation of a deceased Catholic. The beatification of Cardinal Newman fell on the last day of the Pope’s official state visit to Britain.

Cardinal Newman’s motto, ‘Cor ad cor loquitur’ or ‘Heart speaks unto heart’, was the theme for the papal visit, the first to Britain since John Paul II made a pastoral visit in 1982 and the first official state visit by a pontiff.

The Pope is due to meet with Catholic bishops from England, Scotland and Wales later in the day before departing for Rome this evening.

Pope Benedict beatifies Cardinal Newman
By Mark Greaves on Sunday, 19 September 2010

The sanctuary at Cofton Park (Photo: PA)

Pope Benedict XVI today beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman in a historic Mass at Cofton Park, Birmingham – the first beatification ever to take place on British soil.

In his homily, the Pope placed Cardinal Newman in a tradition of English martyrs and saintly scholars, and praised the “warmth and humanity” of his priestly ministry.

He also noted that it was the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and paid tribute to English men and women who resisted the “evil ideology” of Nazism.

He said: “For me as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany, it is deeply moving to be here with you on this occasion, and to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology.

“My thoughts go in particular to nearby Coventry, which suffered such heavy bombardment and massive loss of life in November 1940,” the Pope said.

He explained Newman was the latest in a “long line” of saintly British scholars, including St Bede, St Hilda, St Aelred, and Blessed Duns Scotus. It was a tradition, he said, “of gentle scholarship, deep human wisdom and profound love for the Lord”.

He pointed to Newman’s “devoted care for the people of Birmingham … visiting the sick and the poor, comforting the bereaved, caring for those in prison”.

“No wonder,” he said, “that on his death so many thousands of people lined the local streets as his body was taken to its place of burial not half a mile from here”.

The Pope said that given his holiness it was fitting he should take his place beside England’s martyrs, “whose courageous witness has sustained and inspired the Catholic community here for centuries”.

Pope Benedict said his vision of education had “done so much to shape the ethos that is the driving force behind Catholic schools and colleges today”.

He quoted Cardinal Newman’s appeal for a well-instructed laity as a goal for all teachers of religion. He said: “ ‘I want a laity not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it.’ ”

The Pope added: “I pray that, through his intercession and example, all who are engaged in the task of teaching and catechesis will be inspired to greater effort by the vision he so clearly sets before us.”

He also spoke about Newman’s holiness, saying it was a “profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God”.

The Pope spoke in front of tens of thousands of pilgrims, some of whom had slept overnight at Cofton Park in sleeping bags. Others had set off from parishes as early as 2am in special pilgrim buses. Fr Tim Finigan, parish priest at Blackfen, Kent, tweeted: “Apologies to the neighbours for waking them up last night singing ‘God bless our Pope’ as the coach left for Birmingham. Won’t happen again.”

According to Simon Caldwell, the Catholic Herald’s news editor, rain poured down all morning until just before the Pope’s helicopter landed nearby, when the sun finally came out.

Deacon Jack Sullivan, who was healed of a severe spinal disorder after praying for Newman’s intercession, proclaimed the Gospel during the Mass. It was his inexplicable healing that led to Newman being made a Blessed.

A choir of 1,200 sung a new setting of the Mass by composer James MacMillan. The prayers of the faithful were made in German, Welsh, French, Vietnamese and Punjabi.