Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pope Benedict helped the Church to close a shameful chapter

Vatican City, Apr 23, 2008 / 09:17 am (CNA).- In statements broadcast by Vatican Radio, the director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, said that with his recent visit to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI has helped the Church in that country to close a chapter of shame and sorrow over the sex abuse scandal.

“The Pope has helped the American Church to close a chapter of shame and sorrow over the faults and grave responsibilities of the past,” Father Lombardi said, and that he did so “without escaping from the difficulties, with loyalty, honesty and clarity of conscience.”

According to Vatican Radio, despite having been in only two cities—New York and Washington DC—the Pope “had a packed schedule that allowed him to reiterate on American soil some essential themes of his pontificate. The central point of his trip was the speech on human rights at the UN. The most emotional moment was his visit to Ground Zero.”

“The Pope also praised the American secular model, which instead of excluding, encourages the presence of faith in public discourse. This presence allows democracy to remain healthy and vital, without losing ‘it’s values’,” Vatican Radio reported.(Catholic News Agency)

Monday, April 21, 2008

I was so sad to see him leave...

New York, Apr 20, 2008 / 08:14 pm (CNA).- Pope Benedict took his leave this evening from the United States at JFK International Airport in the presence of over 3,000 well-wishers.

“The time has come for me to bid farewell to your country,” the Pope said.

“These days that I have spent in the United States have been blessed with many memorable experiences of American hospitality, and I wish to express my deep appreciation to all of you for your kind welcome. It has been a joy for me to witness the faith and devotion of the Catholic community here,’ Benedict XVI shared.

The Holy Father then recalled the various highlights of his trip:

“It was heart-warming to spend time with leaders and representatives of other Christian communities and other religions, and I renew my assurances of respect and esteem to all of you. I am grateful to President Bush for kindly coming to greet me at the start of my visit, and I thank Vice-President Cheney for his presence here as I depart. The civic authorities, workers and volunteers in Washington and New York have given generously of their time and resources in order to ensure the smooth progress of my visit at every stage, and for this I express my profound thanks and appreciation to Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington and Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York.”

The Pope also noted the anniversaries of the different dioceses and his meetings... (Continued here).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Check out "Joan's Rome" blog

Check out "Joan's Rome" blog. Joan is the EWTN News Bureau Chief and has been covering our Holy Father's trip to the United States. Check her blog at the EWTN website: Joan's Rome. I have been enjoying getting to see Joan report on our Holy Father Benedict's Apostolic visit to the United States during EWTN's television LIVE coverage.

I have to tell you that I am a bit partial to Joan. She had my daughters and me over for dinner at her home right near the Vatican recently while I was in Rome participating at the international congress on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem which was penned by our dear Pope John Paul the Great. Joan also interviewed me from the international congress on her Vatican radio show, "Vatican Insider." We spent some time together during the week there and I'd like to say that Joan is truly one in a million.

Our Holy Father's Farewell address tonight...

Pope Benedict XVI giving his farewell address:

"Mr. Vice-President,
Distinguished Civil Authorities,
My Brother Bishops,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The time has come for me to bid farewell to your country. These days that I have spent in the United States have been blessed with many memorable experiences of American hospitality, and I wish to express my deep appreciation to all of you for your kind welcome. It has been a joy for me to witness the faith and devotion of the Catholic community here. It was heart-warming to spend time with leaders and representatives of other Christian communities and other religions, and I renew my assurances of respect and esteem to all of you. I am grateful to President Bush for kindly coming to greet me at the start of my visit, and I thank Vice-President Cheney for his presence here as I depart. The civic authorities, workers and volunteers in Washington and New York have given generously of their time and resources in order to ensure the smooth progress of my visit at every stage, and for this I express my profound thanks and appreciation to Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington and Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York.

Once again I offer prayerful good wishes to the representatives of the see of Baltimore, the first Archdiocese, and those of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville, in this jubilee year. May the Lord continue to bless you in the years ahead. To all my Brother Bishops, to Bishop DiMarzio of this Diocese of Brooklyn, and to the officers and staff of the Episcopal Conference who have contributed in so many ways to the preparation of this visit, I extend my renewed gratitude for their hard work and dedication. With great affection I greet once more the priests and religious, the deacons, the seminarians and young people, and all the faithful in the United States, and I encourage you to continue bearing joyful witness to Christ our Hope, our Risen Lord and Savior, who makes all things new and gives us life in abundance.

One of the high-points of my visit was the opportunity to address the General Assembly of the United Nations, and I thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his kind invitation and welcome. Looking back over the sixty years that have passed since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I give thanks for all that the Organization has been able to achieve in defending and promoting the fundamental rights of every man, woman and child throughout the world, and I encourage people of good will everywhere to continue working tirelessly to promote justice and peaceful co-existence between peoples and nations.

My visit this morning to Ground Zero will remain firmly etched in my memory, as I continue to pray for those who died and for all who suffer in consequence of the tragedy that occurred there in 2001. For all the people of America, and indeed throughout the world, I pray that the future will bring increased fraternity and solidarity, a growth in mutual respect, and a renewed trust and confidence in God, our heavenly Father.

With these words, I take my leave, I ask you to remember me in your prayers, and I assure you of my affection and friendship in the Lord. May God bless America!"
--Pope benedict XVI

Tracy Simmons, Religion Features Writer from Connecticut and her Pope blog

Tracy Simmons, Religions Feature Writer from a Connecticut newspaper blogs here. She's been in the heart of all of it the last few days.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pope Benedict turns 81 years old today!

Happy Birthday, Pope Benedict!

Excellent coverage of Pope Benedict's US trip

Check here for excellent coverage from Catholic News Agency of Pope Benedict's US trip.

Pope Benedict promises he will do all he can to stop sex abuse in the Church

Aboard the papal plane, Apr 15, 2008 / 10:34 am (CNA).- While in transit to the United States today, Pope Benedict XVI took the opportunity to respond to the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, saying that he will do “everything possible to heal this wound” and that he will work to ensure pedophiles don't become priests.

The Pope’s words were part of answers he gave to questions submitted in advance by reporters aboard Shepherd One, a special Alitalia airliner that is ferrying him to the United States.

"It is a great suffering for the Church in the United States and for the Church in general and for me personally that this could happen," Benedict said. "It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission ... to these children."

"I am deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future," the pope said.

Benedict XVI also said he was determined to prevent pedophiles from becoming priests in the Roman Catholic Church... (Continued here).

Friday, April 11, 2008

Our Sunday Visitor's "Papal Visit 2008 News and Views"

Our Sunday Visitor has a great place to check out our Holy Father's visit. It's called, "Papal Visit 2008 News and Views" by John Norton, OSV Editor; Mary DeTurris Poust, OSV Contributing Editor and Russell Shaw, OSV Contributing Editor check it out!

Welcoming pope with open arms (today's article with mention of my daughter and me)

Welcoming pope with open arms: Locals say NYC visit is just what the country needs now


In his first visit this month to the U.S., Pope Benedict XVI will find an American flock wrestling with what it means to be Roman Catholic. Lay people and priests have conflicting ideas on parish life. (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)

Mary Gentile, of Waterbury, won't be traveling to New York City next weekend to attend Pope Benedict XVI's Mass at Yankee Stadium. But she's thrilled that he's coming.

On April 15 Pope Benedict XVI will fly into Andrews Air Force Base on his personal aircraft, Shepherd One, where he will be greeted by President George W. Bush. His first papal visit to the United States has been named "Christ our Hope" and is meant to send a message of faith, hope and love to the Catholic community, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"I'm very, very pleased about it and I feel he's coming close to home and Heaven knows we really need something like that," Gentile said. "Our country is in such a cesspool right now and I'm sure there's going to be an awful lot of young people attending, and maybe they'll be more aware."

She said she'll be watching the Mass on television, noting that she is fond of Pope Benedict and thinks he's following well in Pope John Paul II's footsteps.

However, studies have shown that not everyone favors the pontiff. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, together with the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, found that one in five Americans have an adverse perception of Benedict. However, in the Catholic community, 89 percent are partial to him.

A group of 30 from Hartford County plan to protest the pope's visit when he arrives in D.C. on April 15.

"The peaceful protest will be in front of the White House," protestor Anthony Ramos said. "The protest will be against what the Catholic church calls celibacy."

He noted that the recent sexual abuse cases by priests needs to be dealt with by the pope.

Others dislike Pope Benedict because of comments he's made regarding the Islam faith, in which he said that the Prophet Mohammed had brought the world only "evil and inhuman" things. The Vatican later retracted the pontiff's statement and has since reached out to various faiths.

Local reaction, however, reveals high regard for the pope.

Oxford resident Christina Watkins said she feels some people are a bit leery about Pope Benedict because of his age. He will be 81 on April 16. "When Pope John XXIII was elected he was rather old and only lasted a few years," she said, noting "The Good Pope" who was elected in 1958 and died in 1963 at age 81.

But age hasn't proven to be much of a plight and she said she's happy with the job Benedict has done thus far."Benedict now has granted those who wish to return to the Latin Mass the full chance to do so," she said. "For this, we are grateful."

The Tridentine Mass, or Latin Rite, was replaced in the 1960s by English Masses, as well as other predominant languages.

According to The Washington Post, The Tridentine Mass was codified in 1570 and remained the common Roman Catholic liturgy for nearly four centuries, until church leaders known as the Second Vatican Council ushered in major changes from 1962 to 1965.

The Rev. Bill Considine of Lourdes in Litchfield lived in Rome for 12 years and has met both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

He remembers when Pope Benedict was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and worked in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith whose mission is "to promote and safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world."

Considine said Ratzinger would walk every day, with briefcase in hand, from his apartment on one side of the Vatican, across the piazza to his office on the other side.

"He would always smile at people, and when people would say 'hello' he would nod," Considine recalled.

When Pope John Paul II died in 2005, it was Ratzinger who presided at several of the Masses, including the funeral Mass. "He did it with a great dignity and a great power that really touched many people," said Considine, who considers Ratzinger to be a natural leader.

"When he was elected pope, at first many people were a little nervous," he said."But almost right away from his first sermon, what he showed was more like a shepherd. He's a much more shy man than Pope John Paul II but nevertheless he has a warmth and a real care that started to come through from the beginning."

John Paul II, the "people's pope" was extraordinary with massive assemblies, Considine added.

"He just connected with vast crowds but if you met him one on one, he was sort of a little distant, almost looking over your shoulder to the next person, whereas with Pope Benedict all his attention was right on you, with his eyes, with his questions, with the way he responded to you, it was very impressive," Considine said.

[Caption: New Milford author Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle was one of 260 people from 46 countries and five continents to serve as a delegate at the Pontifical Council for the laity's International Congress. She heard Pope Benedict speak twicwe while she was in Rome for the conference.]

Mary-Catherine McCarthy, 16, hasn't met Pope Benedict, but heard him speak in Rome earlier this year. She went to Rome with her mother, New Milford Author Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, and sat in the front row at his weekly general audience.

"It was pretty cool," McCarthy said. "It was just really awesome to be in a room with this man who is so holy and known around the world."

She said Pope Benedict spoke, with an accent, in several languages.

O'Boyle heard Pope Benedict speak twice while she was in Rome for the conference, "Woman and Man, the Humanum in its Entirety," once with her daughter and once when he addressed the congress attendees.

"At the time I didn't know what he was saying, it was in Italian, we were waiting for a translation and were all on the edges of our seats trying to take it all in," she said. "It was a very, very beautiful experience for me to be so close to who I consider the vicar of Christ, our shepherd in the Catholic faith."

She said Benedict is a humble, regal, serving man.

"He exudes that spirit of service and love and I believe he really lives the Gospel message. It's very apparent in just watching him," she said.

O'Boyle won't be traveling to New York City for any of the upcoming papal events, but said those who are going are in for treat.

"I think that it's just going to be an unforgettable day for them, they're always going to remember it," she said.

She saw Pope John Paul II in New York City in the 1970s and again in Rome in 1988.

"It's a very memorable experience when you see the Holy Father. It stays with you," she said. "They'll definitely be blessed by it. ...

"I believe that the grace from God will help them in their own journeys by being able to have met him and hear what he had to say."

She noted that people of all faiths loved John Paul, and she feels that people are still unsure about Benedict. "He's a very loving pope but people don't know him enough yet, they want to see what he's like," she said.

Pope Benedict will celebrate his third year as pope at Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral on April 19.

Republican-American faith reporter Tracy Simmons will be covering Pope Benedict's visit to New York City April 18 through 20. For additional insight on the pope's visit, check out her blog at; also, daily updates and multimedia presentations will be available at

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pope Benedict has named five new US bishops

Vatican City, Apr 10, 2008 / 07:36 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI has named five new bishops for the United States, the largest number of prelates named in a single instance by a Pope during the last 10 years. The new bishops are Bishop Richard Edmund Pates of Des Moines, Bishop Anthony Basil Taylor of Little Rock, Auxiliary Bishop James Douglas Conley of Denver, Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantu of San Antonio and Auxiliary Bishop William J. Justice of San Francisco... (Continued here.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

So very sad - nun brutally killed by satanists

Vatican City, Apr 9, 2008 / 10:28 am (CNA).- Today at the end of the general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict spoke to a group of nuns and lay people, who were present to honor the memory of Sr. Maria Laura Mainetti, a religious sister who was killed by Satanists.

That Italian sister, said the Holy Father, "with a total giving of self, sacrificed her life while praying for those who were attacking her".

The murder of Sr. Maria Laura happened during the night of June 6-7, 2000 in the small town of Chiavenna, Italy. The sister was stabbed to death by three girls, two of whom were 17, while the third was 16.

Sister Maria Laura was well known in the small town she lived in for her social and charitable commitment to young dispossessed and poor people. Consequently, the three girls were able to draw her into an ambush by saying that a pregnant girl was in serious need of her help.

After luring Sr. Maria Laura to their ambush, the girls stabbed the sister to death as a sacrifice to Satan. As Sr. Maria Laura died, she found the strength to pray for her killers and forgive them.

Police investigators discovered the satanic plot and arrested the three girls 22 days after the sister’s murder.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints recently recognized the death of the religious as martyrdom, thus opening the way to her beatification.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

The Answer For Discouragement

Tragedies are a common part of the human experience. The late night knock on the door by a policeman to inform a mother and father that their teenage child was killed in a car accident; the wife who is abandoned by an unfaithful husband; the man who loses his job; people, young and old, that are diagnosed with a fatal illness, these are just some of the tribulations that afflict humanity. All of these situations cause such personal devastation that people just give up on God and no longer attend church or even pray.

The disciples of Emmaus were devastated by the death of Jesus. They had come to the conclusion that the new way of life that Jesus has started was finished. The devastation caused powerful negative feelings to cloud their ability to reason and therefore, they could no longer see clearly. A deep feeling of discouragement crushed them. Frustrated and disheartened, they left Jerusalem.

As the two disciples were walking back to Emmaus, the risen Jesus appears to them. Their minds and hearts clouded by overpowering negative emotions did not allow them to recognize Jesus. How many times, like the disciples of Emmaus, when tragedy and tribulations occur in our lives, are we so overwhelmed by negative emotions that we are unable to see that Jesus is by our side? We must understand that even in the darkest moments, even though we may be engulfed by irrational feelings, Jesus is there. He knows what we are going through. His hand is still there to lift us up precisely because he is risen and not dead... (Continued here.)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Author invited to Vatican

News-Times, The (Danbury, CT)

Date: March 27, 2008
Section: News
Article ID: 8717300

Author invited to Vatican
Author: Deborah Rose Staff Writer

To visit the Vatican is a trip many folks only dream of. But for New Milford resident Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, her recent trip to the Italian city-state ruled by the Pope was an opportunity of a lifetime, one that provided further insight into a theme to which she has devoted her adult life.

Mrs. Cooper O'Boyle was one of 260 people chosen from around the world -- only one of six from the U.S. -- to participate in the Pontifical Council for the Laity's International Congress at the Vatican in February.

The event marked the 20th anniversary of the apostolic letter "Mulieris dignitatem, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women," written by the late Pope John Paul II.

"I felt excited about the anniversary and that the church was recognizing the anniversary to reflect on the document and its relevance to women today," Mrs. Cooper O'Boyle said during a recent interview.

The letter's milestone is especially significant to her. She has quoted segments of it in some of her books, which focus on the theme of women, children and mothers.

"It was a pilgrimage/mission for me to travel to Rome," Mrs. Cooper O'Boyle said of her experience. "It was such an honor."

The soft-spoken, petite mother of five said she believes she was invited to attend the Congress in recognition of her continued work celebrating women and mothers by writing articles and books and giving presentations to various groups.

The author has had a respected relationship with the Catholic Church for more than two decades, having first traveled to Rome 20 years ago (while pregnant with her fourth child, Joseph) to hand-deliver papers from her spiritual director, Fr. John A. Hardon S.J., to then-president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity Cardinal Eduardo Pironio.

In addition, she met Mother Teresa in the mid-1980s and corresponded with her over the years, and has received letters from both Pope John Paul II and reigning Pope Benedict XVI, all in acknowledgement of and praise for her work while encouraging her to continue.

This trip was especially close to Mrs. Cooper O'Boyle's heart. It gave her an opportunity to be "part of a history-making event" and reflect on her faith, and her role as a woman, mother and writer, she said.

Plus, she was able to take two of her daughters, Chaldea, 26, and Mary-Catherine, 16, with her for some family time away from her attendance at the Congress.

"It was amazing to me to be in the same room with people from five continents, from some 48 or 49 countries, [who] were there for the same mission and reason -- to go deeper into our Catholic faith and the apostolic letter," she said of her experience at the Congress.

The purpose of the three-day event was to "review the progress made over the past 20 years in the field of the advancement of women and the recognition of their dignity... [and address]... the new cultural paradigms and the difficulties faced by Catholic women as they strive to live according to their identity and to collaborate with fruitful reciprocity with men in building up the Church and society" among other things, according to the letter of invitation Mrs. Cooper O'Boyle received from the Council on Laity.

Delegates attended several conferences led by theologians, Biblical scholars, women authors and others, some of whom presented panel discussions, and a workshop of their choice.

Mrs. Cooper O'Boyle said she found the workshop she attended, which focused on technology and consumerism and their relationship to women, informative and reaffirmed her belief in the importance of "hang[ing] on to family time, not allow[ing] technology to take over and not allow[ing] the demands of our culture to" impact our children.

"Women are the target of mixed messages in our culture and the demands of perfection in the workplace and home are really tough for women," Mrs. Cooper O'Boyle said.

As a delegate, Mrs. Cooper O'Boyle also attended a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Papel Palace, which turned out to be one of the highlights of her trip.

"We were all on the edges of our seats trying to get closer," Mrs. Cooper O'Boyle said, noting the Pope thanked the delegates for their attendance at the Congress and offered them a special blessing.

Another highlight was hearing the encouraging words of Cardinal Rylko during the Congress' closing ceremony.

Mrs. Cooper O'Boyle said Cardinal Rylko suggested the delegates "come down from the mountain and go against the current -- be a contradiction giving witness" and reminded them not to be concerned with being a minority.

"Salt is a minority but it gives flavor, yeast is a minority but makes the whole dough rise," he said.

These words touched a special chord in her heart, Mrs. Cooper O'Boyle said, noting she has used similar words in her presentations and books.

Hearing his words "resolidified my vow to do what I feel God calling me to do," she said with a quiet confidence.

"I'm so happy if God can use me," she said. "I'm not hiding my light under a bushel."

Copyright, 2008, The News-Times (Danbury, CT)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

My new book, "Catholic Saints Prayer Book" is out!

My book signing at the Borders store in Danbury, CT went very well. The event was called, "Tea and Fellowship" which combined the news of my recent Vatican trip (as you can see boards around me with photos and articles) and the release of my new book, Catholic Saints Prayer Books!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

On dear Papa Pope John Paul the Great's anniversary of death

On the third anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death and entrance into Eternal Life!


Vatican City, Apr 2, 2008 / 10:41 am (CNA).- Recalling with emotion the passing of Pope John Paul II three years ago today, Pope Benedict said April 2 will remain imprinted on the mind of the Church as the day when the Servant of God departed from this world.

Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for a memorial Mass in honor of the beloved pope, whose abiding memory continues to draw thousands of visitors every day to his tomb inside St. Peter's Basilica.

Pope Benedict said that the life and pontificate, was as a whole and in many specific moments, "a sign and witness of the Resurrection of Christ."

John Paul II died on the eve of the second Sunday of Easter, the fulfillment of the "day that the Lord has made."

The Holy Father said, "Like three years ago, today we are not far from Easter. The heart of the Church is still deeply immersed in the mystery of the Resurrection of the Lord. Indeed, we can read the entire life of my beloved predecessor, in particular his Petrine ministry, as a sign of the Risen Christ.”

Recalling how today is the day John Paul II died, Benedict XVI said, "His agony was beheld by all this "day," in this space-time that is the new ' "eighth day," desired by the Holy Trinity through the work of the Incarnate Word, dead and risen... (Continued here.)