Prayer, not strategic campaign, is needed during crisis, Pope says

VATICAN CITY - When a community is faced with crisis, persecution and trouble, it should come together in prayer for strength from God, not formulate strategic plans to defend itself from difficulties, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Unity is fundamental, he said, and the community needs to come together and ask "only to proclaim the word of God fearlessly in the face of persecution," not to avoid tests, trials and tribulation.

    Sisters of St. Ann turn to province to preserve history

    VICTORIA, B.C. - After more than 150 years serving the people of British Columbia, the Sisters of St. Ann (SSA) have a lot of history.

    Now the sisters are entrusting their entire historical collection of artifacts to the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria. The world famous museum will keep the collection alive for many future generations to view.

    More than 100,000 photographs, 500 pieces of art, a million archival records and 1,000 artifacts chronicling the sisters’ pioneering experience in British Columbia will be handed over in early 2013.

      Saint Paul University grants honorary doctorate to Fr. Ron Rolheiser

      OTTAWA - If you dream your dream alone, you may make a splash but you will not make a real difference in peoples’ lives, Fr. Ron Rolheiser told Saint Paul University graduates April 13 after receiving an honorary doctorate.

      After accepting the award, the popular author, speaker and columnist told the Saint Paul graduates to dream in community if they want to make a real difference in peoples’ lives. He told the story of the founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Eugene de Mazenod, who dreamed of serving the poor.

        Swiss Cardinal marks Pope's birthday, anniversary defending his teaching

        VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI does not want to undo the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, but he is working to ensure that "the foundation and heart of the Christian faith shines again," said Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch in a book released in time for the seventh anniversary of the pope's election.

        Bishops, theologians and concerned Catholic have an obligation to help the faithful understand the theology and teaching of the pope, Cardinal Koch wrote in the book that was to be presented in Rome April 16, Pope Benedict's 85th birthday and just three days before the anniversary of his election.

          Encounter the risen Lord in the Scriptures, Eucharist, Pope says

          VATICAN CITY - With Easter flowers and blossoming trees still decorating St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI held his weekly general audience and encouraged Catholics to let the risen Lord into their hearts and to share his peace with the world.

          As he did with the disciples after Easter, "even today the risen Lord can enter into our homes and hearts even if, sometimes, the doors are closed," the Pope said April 11.

          "He alone can roll back the burial stone that man often puts over his feelings, relationships and behavior; stones that sanction death, division, hatred, anger, jealousy, mistrust, indifference," Pope Benedict said.

            Pope asks Christians to reread Gospel accounts of Easter

            CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy - Like many residents of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI spent the Easter Monday holiday outside the city, but he suggested that people use at least part of the extra day off to look again at the Gospel accounts of the Easter story.

            Reading the accounts "allows us to meditate on this stupendous event that transformed history and gives meaning to the life of every person," the pope said April 9 as he greeted visitors gathered in the courtyard of the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo.

            Before reciting the "Regina Coeli," a Marian prayer used in place of the Angelus from Easter to Pentecost, he said the four Gospels do not try to describe or explain the moment of Jesus' resurrection; "that remains mysterious -- not in the sense of less real, but hidden."

            Instead, the Gospels describe how the women went to the tomb and found it empty.

            "In all the Gospels, the women have a great space in the accounts of the apparitions of the risen Jesus, just as they do in the accounts of the passion and death of Jesus," the pope said.

            "At that time in Israel, the witness of the women could not have an official, juridical value," he said, but the Gospels' emphasis on their stories demonstrates that they "lived an experience of a special bond with the Lord."

            That special bond, he said, "is fundamental for the concrete life of the Christian community and this is true always, in every age, and not just at the beginning of the church's story."

            Pope Benedict was scheduled to return to the Vatican April 11 for his weekly general audience, then head back to the papal villa, about 15 miles south of Rome, until April 13.

              Christ's resurrection changed the world, Pope says at Easter

              VATICAN CITY - Light and darkness, truth and lies, hope and despair are in a constant battle in the world, but with his death and resurrection Jesus conquered sin and death for all time, Pope Benedict XVI said on Easter.

              "If Jesus is risen, then -- and only then -- has something truly new happened, something that changes the state of humanity and the world," the Pope told tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square before giving his Easter blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world).

                Adoring cross in stocking feet, Pope leads Good Friday celebrations

                VATICAN CITY - Uncovering the cross and genuflecting before it in his stocking feet, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the Liturgy of the Lord's Passion in St. Peter's Basilica.

                The Pope presided at the service April 6 and chanted the solemn prayers of intercession for the church, for himself and for the world, but during the homily he sat and listened.

                Following tradition, the homily was delivered by the preacher of the papal household, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa.

                  Deacon’s ministry to truckers seen as ‘a meeting of two souls’

                  FORISTELL, Mo. - Deacon Richard Seveska hears all kinds of stories at his local truck stop, but he fondly remembers one particularly appreciative driver.

                  “I had a trucker one night say, ‘Rich, this is not a meeting of two people,” Seveska said. “It’s a meeting of two souls.’ ” 

                  Seveska’s passion the last dozen years has been his truck-stop ministry. The deacon spends evenings saying hello to truckers, identifying himself as a chaplain and looking for people who may want to talk.

                    Joys, sufferings of families focus of Pope's Good Friday Via Crucis

                    VATICAN CITY - An Italian couple, married 59 years, let the joys and sufferings of families guide the reflections they prepared for Pope Benedict XVI, thousands of pilgrims and potentially millions of television viewers to meditate on during the Stations of the Cross at Rome's Colosseum.

                    The Pope asked Danilo and Annamaria Zanzucchi to write the meditations for his Good Friday service April 6 in Rome. The Zanzucchis, who have five children and 12 grandchildren, are the co-founders and were the longtime leaders of the Focolare's New Families Movement.

                      At Holy Thursday Mass, Pope criticizes dissent from church teachings

                      VATICAN CITY - During a Mass in which priests renew their promises of fidelity to Christ, Pope Benedict XVI firmly criticized dissent from church teachings and disobedience of God's will as illegitimate pathways toward reform and renewal.

                      Surrounded by more than 1,600 priests, bishops and cardinals, the Pope cautioned against calls for women's ordination, saying such campaigns seemed more "a desperate push" to fulfill one's own preferences rather than a sincere attempt to conform one's life more closely to Christ.

                      During the April 5 chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, which focuses on Holy Thursday as the day Jesus shared his priesthood with the apostles, the Pope said he wanted to use the occasion to ask all priests, including himself, to meditate upon what their consecration really means.