Large families find strength, grace at world meeting in Milan

MILAN (CNS) -- One thing the Tuncaps and the Wongs have in common, other than attending their first World Meeting of Families with five children each, is they've had a lot of people tell them they were crazy.

Paula Wong, 42, said that back home in Coogee, Australia, people at the supermarket often say "I'm so glad I'm not you!" as she pushes her cart with her tousle-haired kids.

Her husband Hendrikus, 45, said his relatives still can't understand why he would want so many children when his mother grew up poor in Jakarta in a family of 10.

    Pope opens possibility of US visit, says faith builds strong families

    MILAN - As Pope Benedict XVI closed the World Meeting of Families in Italy's capital of finance and fashion, he opened the possibility of his heading to the United States when he named the Archdiocese of Philadelphia the next venue of the world gathering.

    "God willing," he said, he would attend in 2015 as he greeted Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and "the Catholics of that great city," saying he looked forward to meeting U.S. Catholics and other families from around the world there.

      Philadelphia to host World Meeting of Families in 2015

      MILAN - When the Archdiocese of Philadelphia hosts the United States' first World Meeting of Families in 2015, it will need to be a significantly smaller affair than the enormous gatherings seen since its inception in 1994, said the city's archbishop.

      It is only with a reduced number of participants that "we could manage through special gifts and the like that people would be willing to give to support such a gathering," Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia told Catholic News Service shortly after Pope Benedict XVI's announcement.

        For Michael O’Brien, faith is life

        TORONTO - The Catholic Civil Rights League has named Michael O’Brien, a world-renowned Canadian author and artist, the 2012 recipient of the Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life.

        This annual award recognizes “outstanding lay achievement in advocacy, education, life issues, media and culture, and philanthropy.”

          IEC is Ireland's largest religious event since 1979 papal visit

          DUBLIN - The weeklong 50th International Eucharistic Congress, which gets under way in Dublin June 10, will be Ireland's largest religious event since Pope John Paul II visited in 1979.

          The celebration of faith offers a lively mixture of prayer, reflection and liturgy with participation from some of the leading voices in the Catholic world.

          Organizers promise an estimated 12,000 overseas visitors the traditional Irish "cead mile failte" --"a hundred thousand welcomes." Many Dubliners have opened their homes to pilgrims.

            Pope deplores 'VatiLeaks' scandal, prays for quake victims [w/ video]

            VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI voiced regret for the turmoil surrounding the recent publication of leaked Vatican documents, but thanked the vast majority of people who work at the Vatican for their dedication and fidelity.

            Speaking at the end of his weekly general audience May 30, the pope said much of the media coverage of the leak of private letters and of the arrest May 23 of his personal assistant has been exaggerated and "completely gratuitous, and has gone far beyond the facts, offering an image of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality."

              Pope likens world to latter-day Babel, announces new doctors of church

              VATICAN CITY - The modern world is a latter-day Babel, where arrogance inspired by technological progress leads people to play God and sets them against each other, a predicament from which people can escape only through divinely inspired humility and love, said Pope Benedict XVI.

              The pope made his remarks during his homily May 27, Pentecost Sunday, during Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

                Catholics can gain indulgence by praying for families, going to Milan

                VATICAN CITY - Catholics who dedicate themselves to special prayers and efforts to promote the holiness of Christian families can receive special indulgences during the World Meeting of Families May 30-June 2 in Milan.

                Pope Benedict XVI authorized the indulgences for those who, "truly repentant and motivated by charity, dedicate themselves to the sanctification of the family," said a decree published May 25 by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, which deals with indulgences.

                  Vatican publishes rules for verifying Marian apparitions

                  VATICAN CITY - To help bishops determine the credibility of alleged Marian apparitions, the Vatican has translated and published procedural rules from 1978 that had previously been available only in Latin.

                  The "Norms regarding the manner of proceedings in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations" were approved by Pope Paul VI in 1978 and distributed to the world's bishops, but never officially published or translated into modern languages.

                    Dublin's city center 'Camino' takes pilgrims to seven historic churches

                    DUBLIN - A new city center "Camino," or pilgrim walk, has been launched in Dublin as part of the celebrations surrounding the International Eucharistic Congress set for June 10-17.

                    The walk, involving prayerful visits to seven of Dublin's most historic Catholic and Anglican churches, is partly inspired by the famous pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain and partly inspired by the traditional Dublin devotion of visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday.

                      Each human being is a miracle loved by God the father, Pope says

                      VATICAN CITY - Addressing God as "Father" is an acknowledgement that God is the one who created, supports and guides humanity, Pope Benedict XVI said.

                      "Maybe people today do not understand the beauty, greatness and deep consolation" that comes from recognizing God as father, "because the paternal figure is not sufficiently present today," the Pope said May 23 during his weekly general audience.