Marriage of Jéssica and Fernando. Photo courtesy of Michelly Emily J Souza
.- The recent wedding of a young Brazilian woman with terminal cancer was a powerful witness to the sacrifice and permanence of marriage, said the priest who celebrated the sacrament for the couple.
Fr. Mario Silva celebrated the wedding of a young couple, Jessica and Fernando, in the chapel at the Napoleão Laureano Hospital in the Brazilian state of Paraíba Aug. 20.
Silva told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister agency, that the couple had been civilly married in 2012 and had a three-year-old child.
Jessica, who is now 27, has been fighting a very aggressive form of bone cancer since 2016 and had been hospitalized when the priest was called to administer the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
“That night, she was in a lot of pain, and when I finished administering the sacrament to her, I asked her… if I could do anything else, and she told me she wanted to get married,” Silva said.
“She told me she had a great desire to receive the blessing of God and she knew that was missing. That would be a great healing and grace in her life. She did not want to die without receiving the blessing of marriage, because both were Catholics and had the dream of getting married in order to have a sacramental life,” he explained.
“I called her family and they gave me the husband’s telephone number. I asked him if he were interested in getting married. I began to visit the hospital more often and to go through with the process of determining whether they could enter into marriage or not,” he related.
Fr. Silva obtained the authorization of the Archdiocese of Paraíba to celebrate the wedding in the hospital and processed the couple’s corresponding papers. He interviewed the couple to ensure that they were certain in their choice and that there were no impediments or grounds for nullity.
He also discussed the nature of sacramental marriage with them.
“I emphasized that this was not simply a social event that lasts a night and then people need another one. I told them that marriage is something that they were administering, that they were giving themselves one to another and that I was just an assistant,” he recounted.
“I explained to them about love, fidelity, joy and sadness in sickness and in health. At that moment I turned to speak to the groom: Fernando, you are aware you are marrying Jessica in a very difficult moment in her life. If your love is capable of enduring these difficulties, you will be able to give her a definitive and free ‘yes’.”
During the homily, the priest spoke “about how people have little hope for Christian marriages” and that celebrating the wedding of Jessica and Fernando was a light for the whole hospital. “I think that that was what created such a stir, besides that the bride and groom had a beautiful appearance,” the priest said.
While Jessica rarely smiled while in the hospital, Silva said, “On the day of the wedding, she was smiling and spoke with great ease which was unusual. You could see that she was very renewed.” He said the bride told her that the sacramental wedding “was like starting over or being reborn.”
“Her husband takes very good care of her and wants to accompany her every day. He left his job and everything to take care of her. He gave witness to permanence and the Catholic marriage was a concrete realization of that,” the priest emphasized. – Maria Ximena Rondon, CNA
SLOVAKIA – A 16-year-old peasant girl will be beatified as a martyr in Slovakia, seven decades after she was shot in front of her family for resisting rape by a drunken Soviet soldier.
Anna Kolesarova “embodies the faithful layperson living in their family, regularly receiving sacraments, praying the rosary and approaching God through good works. Her heroic testimony, drawn from a sincere spiritual life, is something every Catholic and believer can aspire to,” Archbishop Bernard Bober of Kosice, Slovakia, told Catholic News Service.
He said honouring Kolesarova, whose “reputation for holiness” had inspired young Slovaks, would give the local church a unique chance for spiritual growth.
“The story of 16-year-old Anna Kolesarova offers a strong message, of course, for the younger generation,” he said.
“Celebrating the divine grace which was present in her life will enable us to gather the faithful, but also to reach the wider civil society,” Archbishop Bober said. “Her story provides a spiritual response to today’s nostalgia for purity. It’s a message not confined to the younger generation, but one to move all faithful people.
“Servants of God who gave their lives for Christ in modern Slovak history were the victims of a totalitarian communist regime which suppressed religious freedom, and this will be the first layperson declared blessed,” he added.
Cardinal Giovanni Becciu, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes, was to beatify Kolaserova in Kosice on September 1. At least 30,000 Catholics are expected to attend the beatification in Lokomotiva Stadium.
Kolesarova was born 14 July 1928, at Vysoka nad Uhom, near the present Slovak-Ukrainian border. When Kolaserova was 13 her mother died, so she took over household duties and regularly attended Mass and rosary services with her father and elder brother.
When the Red Army captured the village on 22 November 1944, witnesses said Kolasarova had donned her mother’s black dress to disguise her youth; she took refuge in the cellar. Asked to find food when a drunken soldier entered the house, Kolesarova broke free when he tried to rape her. She was shot twice through the head in front of her father and neighbours.
The 16-year-old was buried at night in a makeshift coffin but was given a formal funeral a week later by Father Anton Lukac, who recorded that she had received confession and Communion before her death and made a “sacrifice of holy purity.”
In a website statement, the Kosice Archdiocese said accounts of her testimony had been secretly gathered in the 1950s by Jesuit Father Michal Potocky. The statement said her grave had become a place of pilgrimage only after the 1989 collapse of communist rule.
In a pastoral letter, read in churches on 19 August 2018, the Slovak bishops’ conference said Kolesarova had been “fully aware, despite her young age” of what awaited her, and had instinctively “followed the voice of conscience” rather than “having time to think and philosophise.”
“Today, the temptations against purity are much greater than before — they weigh on the young soul from every direction, via the internet and media,” the letter said.
“We are tempted to ignore or succumb to manifestations of our imperfect human nature and the fragilities which characterise us as sinful people. In the light of faith, however, we are called to observe limits and boundaries, to be greater and more persistent.” – Catholic Herald
DENVER, Colo – By the time he passed away, death was familiar to Joe Doak.
Doak was a devout Catholic, and a veteran, who died July 29 at 96 years old. But before his own death, Doak had spent days and nights sitting beside dying men and women in a hospice, offering them a word of comfort and the encouragement of prayer.
In 2011 Doak became a vigil volunteer for Hope-West hospice in Grand Junction, Colorado. There, he would comfort the dying with prayers, hymns, discussions, or just the consolation of his silent presence.
A devout Catholic, Joe told the Daily Sentinel in May 2018 that he wanted to be a source of hope, letting those patients know that someone would be with them during their last hours.
“The main thing is to tell them that they’re not alone. They’re not dying alone,” he said. “I just hope that I’ve comforted and consoled them and given them hope,” he added.
Doak was an electrical engineer and raised six children with his wife Phyllis, getting married about 10 years after World War II, when he served as a communications officer in the United States Navy.
His family eventually moved to Gunnison, Colorado, where Doak owned an electronic store specializing in computers. He then moved to Montrose, where the Catholic engineer spent a large portion of his retirement time volunteering.
He volunteered in a variety of community activities – he taught seniors computer skills, he aided immigrants in their English, and he helped children with their reading skills. He was also a driver for Meals on Wheels.
“That is the makeup of my dad. He wants to help people, wants to comfort people that may be alone. He is a very religious person, so I think this played into him being a devoted Catholic,” his son, Roger Doak, told Colorado Public Radio.
Doak was inspired to hospice ministry after caring for his wife Phyllis during a seven-year struggle with Alzheimer’s. After she died in 2011, he saw an ad for the vigil volunteers and decided to use his experience with Phyllis for other people.
Each time Doak received a call about a person dying, he would go to introduce himself, usually to a complete stranger. Doak would sit with patients, offering his hand, making conversation, and singing Christian hymns. A favorite of his was “Open my Ears” by Jesse Manibusan, the Daily Sentinel reported.
Roger Doak told Colorado Public Radio that his father had most likely died alone, but expressed hope that the people he comforted were there to receive him in the end.
“I’d like to think that all those people that my dad had comforted when they died, were actually there with him when he died.”
DUBLIN – The World Meeting of Families is well underway at the RDS Conference Centre in Dublin and includes a three day Pastoral Congress which is covering a wide number of themes.
One of the issues under the spotlight is that of disability.
Speaker and panelist on this topic at the Congress is Cristina Gangemi a disability advisor to the Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Director of the Kairos Forum which seeks to highlight and respond to the spiritual and religious needs of people with disabilities.
She spoke to Vatican News about her address which is about disability in the family saying, disability should be seen as a gift, a vocation and way of living, “rather than it being something that the family has to put up with or that it’s a tragedy that hit the family.” She added, that there needs to be a shift from “disability to unique abiltiy.”
The Kairo’s Director noted that great strides have been made in the area of disability and said that she was delighted to be part of this meeting because this issue had been included as “part of the general way of thinking about family life.”
Asked what she would like to see coming out of this World Meeting of Families, Cristina Gangemi said, “I would like to see that the World Gathering of Families celebrates the presence of people with disabilities just as part of the Church, not as something special, not as something sentimental, but just as they are, members of the Church that breathe the breath of God and love of Christ into their family; into their parish community and that they have some space to express that love and their faith in a way that’s right for them.” – Lydia O’Kane, Vatican News
KKIP, Telipok – Over 200 faithful from Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) Bukit Padang and Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHC) Karamunsing made a pilgrimage to the Church of the Divine Mercy here on 22 Aug 2018 in conjunction with the CMI silver jubilee (CMISJ) celebration.
The event was organised by the CMISJ committee as part of its activities to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the church in October.
Led by Father Paul Lo, SHC rector, the pilgrimage began with Morning Prayer (Lauds) in CMI before proceeding to KKIP in three buses.
Fr Lo briefed them on the meaning of a pilgrimage and told them for any first visit to any holy place, church or shrine, they are allowed to make three requests a) for the people of the place b) for those who have asked them for prayers and c) for their own needs.
And on this pilgrimage there were many first timers since the church was officially blessed and opened by Archbishop John Wong on 21 Oct 2017.
At KKIP Fr Lo presided over the bilingual (Eng/Mand) Mass followed by a potluck fellowship meal.
It concluded with the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy before the journey home.
A pilgrimage to any holy place or shrine reflects the reality that the People of God are a pilgrim people on their way to their heavenly homeland.
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has writtten a letter to the whole People of God addressing the ongoing crisis of sexual abuse in the Church, calling for solidarity and penance.
“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it.”
These words, taken from St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, struck the key note for Pope Francis in an impassioned letter addressed to the whole People of God on 20 Aug 2018.
The letter comes in response to an ongoing crisis of sexual abuse by “a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons” – crimes that were covered up and perpetuated by those who should have been protecting the vulnerable.
In particular, the Holy Father referred to a report released by a Grand Jury in the US state of Pennsylvania which, he wrote, “detailed the experiences of at least a thousand survivors, victims of sexual abuse, the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately seventy years.”
However, despite being occasioned by the recent scandals, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke insisted that the letter was meant for the whole Church. “This is about Ireland, this is about the United States, and this is about Chile. But not only. Pope Francis has written to the People of God – and that means everyone.”
In his letter, the Holy Father speaks of the realisation that the “wounds” caused by abuse “never disappear and that they require us forcefully to condemn these atrocities and join forces in uprooting this culture of death.”
He admits that the Church has failed to deal adequately with the crisis of abuse. “With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realising the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives,” the Pope says. “We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”
Pope Francis calls for solidarity with those who have been abused. “Such a solidarity,” he said, “demands that we in turn condemn whatever endangers the integrity of the person.” It is a solidarity, “that summons us to fight all forms of corruption, especially spiritual corruption.”
The Pope also notes that the Church has delayed in applying the “actions and sanctions” that are necessary for the implementation of a “zero tolerance” policy, but said he is “confident that” those actions and sanctions “will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and the future.”
Pope Francis calls on all the baptised to be a part of the “ecclesial and social change we so greatly need.” This change, he continued, requires “personal and communal conversion.” And in order to experience that “conversion of heart,” he encouraged “the entire faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting” – a reference to our Lord’s words in Matthew 17:21 that “this kind [of demon] does not come out except by prayer and fasting.”
Greg Burke explained, “Pope Francis says greater accountability is urgently needed, not only for those who committed these crimes, but also for those who covered them up – which in many cases means Bishops.”
The Holy Father emphasises that the present crisis demands a response from the whole Church as a body. “Consequently, the only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God.” This response requires the “active participation of all the Church’s members,” and “will be helped by the penitential dimension of fasting and prayer.”
Pope Francis says, “It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable. Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others.” – Christopher Wells, Vatican News
PENAMPANG – Deacons Russell Lawrine and Gilbert Marcus will be ordained priests by Archbishop John Wong in November this year.
Russell, 31, will be ordained on Sat Nov 10 at St James Tenghilan while the ordination of Gilbert, 36, will be on Tue Nov 20 at Sacred Heart Church Inobong.
The two were ordained deacons by Abp Wong on 11 Mar 2018 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing.
Although Russell entered the aspirancy earlier in 2008 and Gilbert in 2010, both of them entered initiation year in 2011 and thereafter onward to St Peter’s College Kuching from 2012 to 2017.
Russell is currently serving in Sacred Heart Cathedral while Gilbert is having his pastoral ministry in St Michael Penampang.
KOTA KINABALU – The Alumni of La Salle and Sacred Heart marked 60 years of La Salle Brothers’ presence in Sabah at their 57th annual dinner on 18 August 2018 at the Port View Palace Hall (Hakka Hall) Tanjung Lipat here with the theme Achieving our Dreams Together – Animo La Salle.
In his message, Guest of Honour Anthony John Wong said: “Tonight we are not only having our annual dinner, but are also celebrating and commemorating 60 years since the La Salle Brothers took over the running of the Sacred Heart Secondary School from the Mill Hill Missionaries.”
He noted that among those who came were some former Sacred Heart teachers and some of the first La Salle 1958 Form Five students – of whom he was one.
In his turn, Brother Justin Mobilik, patron of the alumni association, lauded the alumni members’ spirit of collaboration. “Achieving dreams together is still working because of the [Lasallian] spirit…The spirit must live on,” he said.
Meanwhile, alumni president Herman Yee added a backgrounder in his speech. He touched on the arrival of Brothers Charles O’Leary, Raphael Egan, and Thomas Carney in 1958.
“We are indeed indebted to the pioneers and all the La Salle Brothers who came after them for giving us the opportunity and privilege to be educated in the holistic Lasallian way,” he said.
He urged all members to be more committed in paying it forward by giving back to their alma mater.
Yee added that the alumni’s dream of acquiring the Sri Murni apartments which began in 2009 has finally been achieved this year. He thanked all donors and contributors for making it possible.
Among the forthcoming plans of the alumni are the future relocation of the primary school, the setting up of an English Learning Centre, and a scholarship fund for deserving poor students.