JUNE 7, 2009, VOL 59, NO 12

PERTH, Australia – Australia’s first potential saint appears closer to canonisation after a Vatican medical board concluded that there was “no scientific explanation” for a cure attributed to the intercession of Blessed Mary MacKillop (above).

The current miracle attributed to Blessed MacKillop’s intercession was the 1995 cure of a woman suffering from an invasive and inoperable cancer. The first miracle that led to her beatification was the 1961 cure of a woman from leukaemia. - cns

Born to a farm family and a man of little education, John was not a very good student, and his Latin was terrible. It took him several years of study to finally get ordained as a priest. Three years later, he was assigned to a parish in a tiny village which had very lax attendance.

Father John began visiting his parishioners, especially the sick and poor, and spent days in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, did penance for his parishioners, and leading his people by example.

Today John Mary Vianney is known as the patron saint for diocesan priests and confessors. Come Jun 19, Pope Benedict XVI will proclaim him as patron saint of all priests of the world at the inauguration of the Year For Priests to be held in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The theme for the year, during which the 150th death anniversary of St. John Vianney will be celebrated on Aug 4, is “Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of priests”. Celebrations include the publication of a directory for confessors and spiritual directors, and a collection of texts by the pope on essential aspects of the life and mission of priests in our time.
There are many reasons why Catholics leave the Church. More than 90 percent leave because of the human element of the Church. The other 10 percent probably never believed in the divine element in the first place

FAITH IS A gift. If you try to bring back lapsed Catholics, be careful. As a rule, they don’t like any kind of pressure.

For instance, if you say jokingly, “When are you coming back to the Church?” you might hear, “Back to what, the same old stuff?”

VATICAN CITY – Recent Vatican communications controversies have shown that in the Internet age the Church cannot avoid debate and in fact must be prepared to explain its teachings more convincingly through new media, the Vatican’s spokesman said.

(Left) U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich presents small replicas of the U.S. Capital to Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in this May 30, 1998 photo. CNS photo

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has opened up about his Mar 29, 2009 conversion to Catholicism

NEWT GINGRICH WAS reported to have said on “Fox News Sunday” last month that he “found over the course of the last decade, attending the basilica ... reading the literature, that there was a peace in my soul and a sense of well-being in the Catholic Church, and I found the Mass of conversion last Sunday one of the most powerful moments of my life”. Mr Gingrich was a Baptist before his conversion.

He is now in Europe to shoot a documentary on Pope John Paul II’s 1979 trip to Poland and how it helped to lay the groundwork for bringing down the Soviet Union, according to U.S. News & World Report. The film, “Nine Days That Changed the World”, is slated for release later this year.