Holocaust Never Again, Bomb Outside Baghdad Parish, Fostering Vocations

Catholic.net News Report: April 25, 2011.
by CNS Staff Writer | Source: CNS

Bishop says recalling Holocaust will ensure such evil is never repeated

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CNS) -- In a letter to a leading rabbi, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento stressed the need to "purposefully remember" the Holocaust to ensure that "never again will such dark evil prevail." The bishop addressed his letter to Rabbi Reuven Taff, president of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Sacramento, to mark the upcoming May 1-8 Days of Remembrance for Holocaust victims. The eight-day period was designated by the U.S. Congress for civic commemorations and special educational programs that help people remember and draw lessons from the Holocaust. It occurs annually on the Sunday before the Jewish observance of Holocaust Memorial Day, which commemorates the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising, and continues through the following Sunday. The United Nations designated another date, Jan. 27, to commemorate Holocaust victims. Called International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the date commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, the largest Nazi concentration camp. "Thinking of the Holocaust, the soul shudders, remembering the horror of the Shoah," Bishop Soto wrote in his letter, dated April 13. He said the commemoration of the Holocaust not only recalled the "multitude of innocent victims" but also served as a reminder to "remain ever vigilant against the possibility of genocide." The bishop noted that Jews and Christians "share an immense spiritual patrimony" and said that the "righteous voices from the centuries of religious witness demand that we never tire of the ceaseless task to overcome evil with good. Only a world at peace, with justice for all, can avoid repeating the mistakes and terrible sins of the past."

Bomb explodes outside Baghdad church on Easter

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A bomb exploded outside Sacred Heart Church in Baghdad April 24 after the Easter Masses had finished and parishioners had gone home. The blast injured at least four people -- two police officers patrolling the street outside the church and two civilians walking by, according to news reports. Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad told Vatican Radio that Catholics in Iraq are trying to unite their sufferings with the suffering of Christ on the cross so that their country eventually experiences resurrection. "So, our hope is fortified because we are placing everything in the hands of the Lord," Bishop Warduni told Vatican Radio after the bomb exploded. "We pray that the crucified Lord would unite all people, that the risen Lord would give us the grace to live the joy of the resurrection," he said.

Papal envoy meets Gypsies seeking refuge in Basilica of St. Paul

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI sent a top Vatican official to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls on Easter to convey the pope's concern for a group of Gypsies who had sought refuge in the church after their camp was bulldozed by the city of Rome. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said April 24 that Archbishop Fernando Filoni, who is in charge of the general affairs section of the Vatican Secretariat of State, had gone to "express the closeness of the Holy Father to the group of Roma," which is what the Gypsies prefer to be called. About 100 Gypsies entered the basilica courtyard and the church April 22, Good Friday, after city officials dismantled their camp on the edge of Rome. The camp was one of four bulldozed during Holy Week, displacing close to 1,000 people, including children, said the Rome diocesan charity, Caritas. Caritas Rome, working with a private charity, found temporary accommodation for the group in the early evening on Easter, Father Lombardi said. First, however, the Gypsies ate an Easter lunch on the lawn outside the basilica. According to Italian news reports, there were moments of tension late April 23 when the Vatican police, who patrol the basilica and the property surrounding it, opened the basilica for the faithful to attend the Easter Vigil, but tried to keep a small group of Gypsies out of the church itself, directing them instead to an adjacent room set aside for them. "The behavior of the Vatican gendarmes was always proper and humane," Father Lombardi said. They worked closely with officials from Caritas and Rome public safety officers, he said.

Archbishop says Catholic homes play major role in fostering vocations

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The theme of Pope Benedict XVI's message for the upcoming World Day of Prayer for Vocations points to the important role Catholic home life plays in the promotion of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, said Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis. "The theme which the Holy Father chose places the burden on the local church to reflect on how it develops a culture of vocations," said the archbishop, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. "We know that the vocation comes out of the home." The papal message for the day of prayer, which will be observed May 15, was released Feb. 10 at the Vatican. The 2011 theme is "Proposing Vocations in the Local Church." The pope said: "Every Christian community, every member of the church needs consciously to feel responsibility for promoting vocations," especially in an era when God's voice "seems to be drowned out by 'other voices' and his invitation to follow him by the gift of one's own life may seem too difficult." Pope Paul IV instituted the day of prayer in 1964 as a way for Catholics to focus on and pray for vocations. In an interview with Catholic News Service while he was in Washington in March, Archbishop Carlson said the majority of newly ordained priests said they were influenced by the parish in their discernment for the priesthood. According to results of a survey of members of the 2011 ordination class, released April 25, 66 percent of the respondents said it was their parish priest who encouraged them. Forty-two percent identified their mothers as having a major influence on their decision. The annual national survey is conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University for the USCCB's Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.

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