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United States: Easter, God’s remedy for grieving hearts – Cardinal preaches

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United States: Easter, God's remedy for grieving hearts - Cardinal preaches

The risen Christ on Easter offers hope to people experiencing sorrows in their everyday lives and in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory said at an Easter Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

“Easter is an unfolding experience of hope – hope at the very moment of grief,” Cardinal Gregory said in his homily, adding that “Easter is God’s remedy for the grieving heart.”

The Washington’s archbishop noted that in the face of the current global pandemic, he as a priest continues to grieve for the sorrow of people who must bear the loss of their loved ones in isolation, as people died of COVID-19 without family members being able to be with them.

He said he knows that he will encounter the loss of more family and friends, and that he himself will die one day.

“Still, Easter promises me and it promises you that the fear and grieving that those moments will surely offer are not our ultimate human destiny,” he said, adding, “Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to grieve; she came away filled with hope and with joy.”

Gregory said Easter “brings together many people who long to change their own sorrows to joy, their own doubts into hope and their own fears into faith.”

The message of Easter, he said, is that Christ is risen and death has been defeated.
“Easter gives us something to say in the very face of death – and that is Life and Alleluia

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Vatican: Church agency to give $9.5m to Nigeria, other Africa’s persecuted Christians

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Vatican: Church agency to give $9.5m to Nigeria, other Africa's persecuted Christians

…As Pope ordains 9 priests on Good Shepherd Sunday

A pontifical charity has announced more than $9.5 million in aid for persecuted Christians in Nigeria and other African countries facing increased extremist violence.

“Christians have been targeted by Islamic extremists in many countries in Africa. In no other region have so many priests, religious and church workers been murdered in the last three years,” Mario Oliver of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) said in the announcement.

The aid will fund trauma rehabilitation for victims of kidnapping and violence, help rebuild churches destroyed by terrorism, promote interreligious dialogue initiatives and provide logistical support and spiritual retreats for priests and religious sisters who minister under dangerous conditions.

Christian communities in Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, and the Central African Republic are listed alongside Nigeria among the recipients of the “Heal the wounds of religious extremism in Africa” campaign.

Thomas Heine-Geldern, ACN’s international executive president, said he hoped that the aid would “assuage the suffering of the people and enable them to experience a little Easter hope.”

“Africa was on a harrowing Via Dolorosa in 2020 and became the ‘continent of martyrs.’ Violence against Christians, their expulsion and murder have increased dramatically,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has marked the Good Shepherd Sunday in St. Peter’s Basilica, with the Rite of Priestly Ordination administered on nine deacons.

In his homily, the Holy Father urged the new priests to focus their gaze always on Christ as they serve His people.

He said their ministry is an expression of Christ’s own office of Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd.

“Priests,” said the Pope, “are established co-workers of the Order of Bishops, with whom they are joined in the priestly office and with whom they are called to the service of the people of God.”

He added that their task is to “preach the Gospel, to shepherd God’s people, and to celebrate the sacred Liturgy, especially the Lord’s sacrifice.”

The Pope then stressed that in becoming priests “you will be like Him: a shepherd”. This, he said “is not a career”, but “a service”.

He asked the priests to adopt four forms of closeness in their service: “closeness to God, closeness to the Bishop, closeness to each other and closeness to the people of God”.

All these, he said, must be performed with “a style of compassion and tenderness”.

Pope Francis then warned against the perils of vanity and “the pride of money”. The devil comes through your pockets, he said: “be poor, as poor are God’s holy faithful people”.

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Philippines: Diocese launches app to link Covid-19 patients

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Philippines: Diocese launches app to link Covid-19 patients

Novaliches Catholic Diocese in Manila, Philippines has launched an application, E-Pray, for spiritual accompaniment during COVID-19 isolation.

E-Pray is a free web application where patients can type in their contact details so that priests can get in touch with them, reported ucanews.com. Diocesan official said the app was developed by its social communications ministry in response to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the Philippine capital.

“With this E-Pray app, COVID patients can communicate with our diocese for spiritual advice and counseling. We can also reach out to them by allowing them to send their prayer intentions to us,” the diocese said in an announcement on social media.

“The pandemic has prevented churchgoers from accessing their priests and has deprived them of their spiritual life. During times when we feel like we are about to surrender, the presence of a priest is very important for guidance,” said Fr. Luciano Felloni, the diocese’s social communications director.

He said the internet must be maximized for the church’s mission to be more alive and active during the pandemic.

“The problem (for sick Catholics) is that there is no direct contact, because priests are not allowed to enter hospitals and quarantine facilities,” the priest added.

Although priests cannot hear confession with the app, they can use it to pray for and with the sick, he said.

“The platform will be manned by a number of volunteers who will put a sick person through to an available priest. We have enough priests and volunteers to make this work,” the diocese said, adding that more than 30 priests, including one from New York have volunteered for the project.

“Let’s not allow any single patient to go without prayer, to go without being blessed by a priest. Let’s help in our little and very simple way. Let us help with the grace of prayer,” the report added.

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United Kingdom: Police regret aftermath of Good Friday shutdown

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United Kingdom: Police regret aftermath of Good Friday shutdown

Catholic officials and members of London’s Metropolitan Police Service pledged to “move forward in friendship” after a controversial forced ending of the Good Friday service at Christ the King Polish Catholic Church in the capital.

Police officers entered the church during the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion on April 2, threatening to fine the congregation if they didn’t immediately leave. Officers said COVID-19 regulations, which mandate social distancing and mask-wearing, weren’t being observed during the service.

But parish officials insist all regulations governing religious services were followed.

On April 11, Archbishop John Wilson of Southwark and Superintendent Roger Arditti and Detective Superintendent Andy Wadey of the Metropolitan Police Service visited Christ the King.

Wilson said he was “deeply saddened” by the Good Friday events and said Church officials and the police “all share the same desire to move forward in friendship, working together for the common good.”
“We are committed to enabling freedom of worship for everyone, in safe and secure environments,” the archbishop said.

Monsignor Władysław Wyszowadzki, the pastor of the Christ the King Mission, said the interruption of the Good Friday liturgy was “very painful for our parish community,” but said the community was willing to extend their hands to the police “in order to further build a deep and lasting relationship between us, based on mutual respect and regard for the rights of worshippers to freely practice their faith.”

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