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Papal Conclave 2013PAPAL CONCLAVE: A papal conclave is a meeting of the College of Cardinals convened to elect a new Bishop of Rome, also known as the Pope. The pope is considered by Roman Catholics to be the apostolic successor of Saint Peter and earthly head of the Roman Catholic Church. The conclave has been the procedure for choosing the pope for more than half of the time the church has been in existence, and is the oldest ongoing method for choosing the leader of an institution.    Click for info:   What do Cardinals look for in the next Pope?   Inside the Conclave 

The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has decided that the Conclave will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013.  A Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning. In the afternoon the cardinals will enter into the Conclave.

Conclave to elect a new Pope: Excellent BBC Interactive video
Step inside our "virtual Sistine Chapel" as the BBC's Philippa Thomas explains what happens in the conclave, the centuries-old process of electing a new Pope which begins on Tuesday.   Click on the interactive hotspots which appear throughout this video to find out more.  Click here.

Follow the Conclave Here

Keith OBrienPope accepts resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien: The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has accepted on the 18 February 2013 the resignation of His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh.   This information will be announced and published in the Osservatore Romano of Monday 25 February 2013.  Read More 

Afica Im

SECAM:  The Common Good, Respect for Human Rights and Good Governance, are social elements of the Gospel Message. 
Vatican City, 20 February 2013 (VIS) – "Governance, Common Good, and Democratic Transitions in Africa" is the title of the Pastoral Letter prepared by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences in Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) the organization gathering all the Catholic bishops of that continent, presented in Accra, Ghana by Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania and president of SECAM.

The Pastoral Letter, following after Benedict XVI's post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Africae Munus", emphasized that "the Church cannot remain indifferent and isolated in the face of Africa’s socio-political and economic challenges, and notes that "the common good, the respect for human rights, and the promotion of good government are essential elements of the Gospel Message."
Recalling the Church's prophetic mission, the text states that "the justice that the prophets demanded is not abstract; it is very practical, down-to-earth actions, which take place to ensure that the weak are protected from abuse, that the poor have what they need, and that the socially disadvantaged are cared for. It means giving to everyone what God has intended for them regardless of any distinction."
The document also comments on the lack of work in many African countries, observing that "The drama of immigration, with a growing number of young people who risk their lives to leave Africa, reflects the depth of the malaise of a continent that is still dragging its feet to provide favourable conditions for the blossoming of her sons and daughters." Also, "the situation of women is another cause for worry. It is SECAM's view that women and men are of equal dignity in their humanity before God, both were created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore we should ensure that all are given the opportunity to play their "specific role in the Church and in society at large."
In regard to good governance in Africa, the bishops of SECAM launched an appeal to all of Africa's political leaders and governments "to see poverty eradication as a priority by using proceeds from the continent's sub-soil natural resources, such as land, and forestry for the development of your countries for the benefit of the whole nation and all its citizens. We implore you not to undermine the fight against corruption. Corruption is a canker destroying our nations."
"The Church," reads the Pastoral Letter, "has been at the heart of all efforts towards better governance. In many countries, during the delicate democratic transitional period of the 1990s, the Church played a clearly visible role of support. Five out of the eight National Transitional Conferences that were organized during this epoch were chaired by Catholic Bishops. This intervention by the Church helped, in many cases, to ensure peaceful democratic transitional processes with a lot of success, through inclusive consultations and dialogue. Many Christians in some volatile situations helped in bringing about peace and reconciliation. The Church has to take her responsibilities in the socio-political domain. She has to be fully involved in the in-depth transformation of our society."

Pope Benedict XVI will resign on February 28, his spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told CNN Monday. The 85-year-old pope is resigning "because of advanced age," Benedict told the cardinals of the Catholic Church on Monday.  "Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me," the pope told the cardinals, according to the Vatican.  Read more   Click Here 

Mass Book

A debate has opened regarding the new translation of the Roman Missal, which priests often have to adapt, to make it easier for the congregation to understand.  A year since the introduction of the new English language translation of the Roman Missal, the experience of faithful who enter a church on either side of the Atlantic, is practically identical: in almost every church, the introduction has been “domesticated”. Rarely does the celebrant follow the new text word for word, but often adapts it to make it more comprehensible to the audience.  Read More
Ann Widdicombe

At a ceremony in Speaker's House, at the House of Commons, on Wednesday 31 January, Ann Widdecombe was created a Dame of the Order of St Gregory. The papal honour was conferred on her by Pope Benedict XVI for her services to politics and public life. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Emeritus Archbishop of Westminster, particularly paid tribute to Ann's work for the unborn and for the sanctity of human life. The former Prime Minister, John Major, attended the ceremony and expressed his delight at the award and said that Ann had the ability to tenaciously fight for her beliefs whilst remaining fiercely loyal to her colleagues and friends, even when she disagreed with them.  Read More

Bishop Cassidy
The retired Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Joseph Cassidy, died yesterday, 30 January aged 79. The news was announced by Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary.  In paying tribute to Archbishop Cassidy, Archbishop Neary said: “It was with much sadness that I heard the news of the passing of Archbishop Joseph Cassidy. Archbishop Cassidy was a much loved pastor throughout his long life and varied ministry. People and priests knew him as a deeply spiritual man and as a gifted teacher and communicator.    Read More

Traf Bakhita

Catholics in England and Wales are being invited to pray for all victims of human trafficking on the Feast Day of St Josephine Bakhita, 8 February 2013. "The Day of Prayer for the Victims of Trafficking is an opportunity to remember and pray for the thousands and thousands of victims of trafficking throughout the world,” said the Lead Bishop for Migration, Bishop Patrick Lynch, sscc. “It is especially appropriate that the day itself coincides with the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita who despite the suffering she experienced as a slave was a wonderful witness of how to live a life rooted in faith, inspired by hope and characterized by love. I would, therefore, encourage all people - young and old - to make a special effort to join in this Day of Prayer."
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Since 1992, the Catholic Church has celebrated World Day of the Sick on Feb. 11 — the day on which the church commemorates the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes — under the sponsorship of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care. World Day of the Sick has three consistent themes. First, it reminds the faithful to pray intensely and sincerely for those who are sick. Second, the celebration invites Christians to reflect on and respond to human suffering. And third, this day recognizes and honors all persons who work in health care and serve as caregivers.

In 2013, the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, the 21st World Day of the Sick will be solemnly celebrated at the Marian Shrine of Altötting in Germany. Message of Benedict XVI for the World Day of the Sick 2013

Bishop Cean

Canon William Crean was Ordained the 67th Bishop of Cloyne at St Colman's Cathedral, Cobh on Sunday, 27 January. The Principal Ordaining Bishop was Archbishop Charles Brown, Papal Nuncio to Ireland, assisted by the Archbishop of Cashel & Emly, Most Reverend Dermot Clifford DD and the Bishop of Kerry, Most Reverend William Murphy DD.           Read More

The banks should come to the assistance of ordinary people struggling with economic and financial difficulties, the newly ordained Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean, urged yesterday at his ordination at St Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh.  Addressing a congregation of close to 1,000 people, Bishop Crean said there was no doubt but that a feeling of desolation had swept across Ireland as people struggled to meet the various financial demands made on them in a time of economic hardship....  Read More 

Leprosy Day

WORLD DAY FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST LEPROSY:   Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – This Sunday, 27 January, will mark the 60th World Day for the Fight Against Leprosy. For the occasion, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, has published a message entitled: "A Fitting Occasion for Intensifying the Service of Charity". In the text of the document the archbishop notes that Hansen's disease is "a malady that is as old as it is grave when we consider the suffering, the social exclusion and the poverty that [it] involves".

Canon William Crean was Ordained the 67th Bishop of Cloyne at St Colman's Cathedral, Cobh on Sunday, 27 January. The Principal Ordaining Bishop was Archbishop Charles Brown, Papal Nuncio to Ireland, assisted by the Archbishop of Cashel & Emly, Most Reverend Dermot Clifford DD and the Bishop of Kerry, Most Reverend William Murphy DD.

"According to the most recent data of the WHO," the message states, "about 220,000 people,men, women and children have contracted leprosy in 2011 and many of these new cases were diagnosed when the disease was at an advanced stage.  Read more....     Holy Father Marks World Leprosy Day

Catholic Schools Week 2013:           January 27 - February 2      Theme: Catholic Schools Raise the Standards. Click here 

Peace in the Holy Land:    On Sunday Jan 27th.  the prayer for peace in the Holy Land will be offered in three thousand cities around the world.   Click here

Christian Unity Week: The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins on Friday 18th January and concludes with the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on January 25th the octave of St. Peter and St. Paul.

What does God require of us? The theme for 2013 is: What does God require of us?, a theme which invites us to reflect on and respond to our obligations to act justly in the world.
This year’s resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been prepared in conjunction with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.
Follow the conversation about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on Twitter using the hashtag #wpcu2013.         Resources

Peace Image



Poster Prize:  The work of Michael McEvoy, (see image left) a sixth-year student of Scoil Uí Mhuirí Post Primary School, Dunleer, Co. Louth, will become the signature poster of the 2013 Peace Campaign in Ireland by Instruments of Peace for the celebration of the 32nd U.N. International Day of Peace on 21st September 2013.