Church and World Events

Masterpieces from the Holy Land on Display in Compostela

An exhibition of works of art from Jerusalem has been organized by the Gaiás Museum Centre in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and will be open to the public until August 4. The collection, entitled Royal Treasures. Masterpieces from the Terra Sancta Museum, brings together part of the little-known artistic treasures donated to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre by European royal houses over the course of five hundred years.

Among the pieces on display are valuable religious objects fashioned from precious metals and stones, chalices, jewels, codices, ornaments and liturgical vestments of fine workmanship.

The exhibition will also visit other cities in Europe and the United States.

Ninety years since the canonization of St. John Bosco

On April 1, the Salesian community celebrated the 90th anniversary of its founder St. John Bosco’s canonization. The holy wonder-worker and friend of the young was beatified in 1929 and canonized in 1934 by Pope Pius XI.

The remembrance of this important date highlights the role of St. John Bosco in the history of the Church, the importance of his preventive system for the education and formation of young people and the monumental work for the glory of God that was born from his close relationship with Mary Help of Christians, and which still bears abundant fruit today.

Mass draws hundreds of young people in France

The beauty of the Eucharistic Liturgy can convert multitudes. That is what is happening at a college in France, where a unique candlelight Mass accompanied by the singing of a polyphonic choir is raising a movement for the restoration and revival of the Faith. The initiative began in 2016 with just six students from the Catholic University of Lille, and today gathers almost a thousand participants every Tuesday.

The “Miracle of Lille”, as the phenomenon has come to be known, is flourishing with large numbers of conversions and Baptisms, leading young people to God who are estranged from religion, having been brought up in a heavily de-Christianized nation.

Ecuador renews consecration to the Sacred Heart

As part of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Ecuador’s consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – originally made on March 25, 1874 by the then-president of the Republic, Gabriel García Moreno – the Archbishop of Quito and Primate of Ecuador, Alfredo José Espinoza Mateus, SDB, renewed the historic act of entrustment during a Mass celebrated in the Basilica of the National Vow in Quito.

The prelate emphasized the importance of the consecration, by which “Ecuador places its heart in the Heart of Jesus to love and to serve,” desiring God’s intervention in national events: “Everything is Yours; save Ecuador!”

Eight hundred open churches in Vienna

In April, the Archdiocese of Vienna held its first Open Doors Day, which aims to keep all the city’s churches open for a whole day. The date chosen to launch the initiative was April 21, the feast of St. Conrad, noted for having been devoted to welcoming and serving pilgrims while serving as doorkeeper of his monastery.

The city has eight hundred churches, and campaign organizers hope to encourage the faithful to a greater participation in their parishes.

French Bishops’ Conference releases video on exorcism

The Bishops’ Conference of France has released a short video on the ministry of exorcism, with the aim of standardizing the use of this sacramental and enlightening the faithful about its nature and purpose.

In the video, entitled A Priest Explains Catholic Exorcism, Fr. François Buet recounts his personal experience as an exorcist in the Diocese of Marseille and discusses the dangers to which the devil exposes souls, the spiritual remedies needed to overcome demonic action and even the duration of exorcism sessions.

In addition to working together with collaborators and psychologists to better assess cases among the faithful who need help, the exorcist asserts that prayer and the Sacrament of Penance are important weapons in the fight against the evil one.

New proof of the Holy Shroud’s authenticity

William Meacham, an American archaeologist who is a member of the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association and has been an expert on the Holy Shroud since 1981, has released the results of a recent study carried out on a small sample of the Holy Shroud of Turin in order to determine the origin of the fabric. Meacham’s tests, carried out at the Stable Isotope Laboratory at the University of Hong Kong, gathered linen samples from regions in Europe, Egypt and the Near East, and point to Israel as the country of origin of the fabric of the Holy Shroud.

The result reinforces previous findings that indicate the Levant as the Holy Shroud’s place of origin, such as the presence of pollen from Eastern Mediterranean floral species, the wounds around the head that suggest a crown of thorns in the shape of a helmet, characteristic of this Middle Eastern region, and the existence of coins on the eyes of the Holy Face, a Jewish funerary custom.

Historic bell returns to St. Mary Major

After an absence of 140 years, the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major has recovered the bell known as La Sperduta – The Lost One, in memory of a pilgrim who got lost during the night and who, thanks to the ringing of the bell, found her way back to the city.

The historic bell, whose origin dates back to the artistic zenith of Pope Nicholas IV in the 13th century, was donated to the basilica by the Roman senator Pandolfo Savelli and installed at the top of the sacred building’s tower – the highest in Rome to this day. However, after it was broken, it was transferred to the Vatican Museums by order of Pope Leo XIII. Now it is back in its basilica and will be on display along the route that leads to the Loggia of Blessings.

Our Lady of Penha gathers almost 3 million faithful in Brazil

The traditional celebration of Our Lady of Penha in Vila Velha, Espírito Santo State, drew more than 2.7 million devotees to the feet of this image of the Virgin Mary between March 31 and April 8.

The event, held annually for 454 years exceeded the expectations of organizers, who estimated that this year more than 1.2 million pilgrims walked the route between Vitória Cathedral and the Penha Convent in a single day. There were 250 thousand participants at the Solemn Mass at the end of the festival, eleven pilgrimage groups and more than fifty Eucharistic celebrations in praise of the Patroness.

Austrian abbey completes 950 years

The Monastery of Admont, in the Austrian region of Styria, is celebrating the 950th anniversary of its foundation. The abbey, erected in 1074 by Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg and sponsored by the Countess of Friesach-Zeltschach, St. Emma von Gurk, is the site of almost a thousand years of uninterrupted Benedictine monastic tradition.

Opening the celebrations of this historic milestone, a solemn Mass was celebrated by the monastery’s abbot, Dom Gerhard Hafner, OSB, and an exhibit entitled 950 Years of a Living Monastery was inaugurated.

Amidst prayer and work: over seventy years of chocolate!

The history of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Peace in Castagniers, France, began 160 years ago with a young woman from Provence, Marie-Bernard Barnouin, who brought together a group of women who wanted to consecrate themselves to God by offering Him a life of work and prayer, in accordance with the rule of St. Benedict.

Today, the fourteen nuns of this community are known locally as “the chocolate sisters” thanks to the traditional manufacture of cocoa products that they have maintained as part of their daily activities since 1950. In the long journey since its foundation, the community has experienced various vicissitudes, difficulties and successes, to which it now adds the sweetness of chocolate, crafted for the love of God.




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