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OCTOBER 3 - 16, 2016 VOL. 20 NO. 26 Monitor






Declare drug war ‘peace zones’, Duterte urged

By Minnie De Luna

A Catholic bish- op has called on President Rodrigo Duterte to declare dioceses or areas with ongoing drug rehabilitation pro- grams as “peace zones”.

C o n c e r n e d o v e r t h e mounting count of drug- related violence, Bishop Antonio Tobias of Novaliches said summary killings must stop by giving drug users a chance to change and get back to a life that is free from addiction. “Is it possible Mr. President that you declare as peace zones all dioceses or barangays with ongoing [drug] rehabilitation

programs in collaboration with the police?” Tobias said. “This refers to a peace zone like that in Mindanao–where no one should die in the area [related to the war on drugs]. If someone dies in the areas declared as peace zones by the President, the President and the police will call you out,” he explained. The prelate was speaking during the launching of

Mamamayang Ayaw Sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw Sa Ilegal Na Droga (MASA MASID) in Quezon City on Sept. 28. He expressed alarm that number of casualties is nearing the recorded 4,000 who died during the 20 years of Martial Law. Bishop Tobias said if this is not possible, another option would be for the police to be

transparent about who is on their list of drug dependents and pushers so the Church can help verify its veracity as well. He is hoping that such information could be passed among the parishes through the priests and the barangays engaged in the drug rehabilitation program. More importantly, he reiterated the diocese’s thrust

of healing and protection under its Community- Based Drug Rehabilitation Program (CBDRP) dubbed “Abot Kamay Alang-alang sa Pagbabago” (AKAP). According to him, the Church, particularly in the Diocese of Novaliches, is helping the Duterte administration in its fight against illegal drugs but

Drug War / A6

Faith leaders unite against summary killings

FAITH leaders are joining forces against the spate of summary killings happening in the wake of the Duterte administration’s “war on drugs”. In Pangasinan, pastors said killings must end as they call for the end to criminality without sacrificing due process. “The nation must be purged from drug dealers yet the rule of law must prevail and human rights must at all times be respected,” they said in a statement. In less than three months under the new administration, about 3,500 drug suspects have been killed, mostly by unknown assailants and the others in legitimate police operations. More than 700,000 self- confessed drug pushers and users have surrendered to authorities. The leaders from at least 17 churches said extrajudicial executions must stop “and the voice of those who are in pain must be heard.” “The threat of criminality and violence must now give way to the ministry of mercy and compassion,” they added. Church leaders are also growing increasingly concerned about political wrangling that is sowing greater division and dissension in society. According to them, the words of hate must stop and give way to hope and brotherhood. “The bickering and quarreling must cease and let the balm of kindness now flow,” they said. These churches/groups include the Catholic Archdiocese of

Unite / A6

Cardinals Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila and Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato concelebrate Mass with Bishop

Cardinals Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila and Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato concelebrate Mass with Bishop Norbert Trelle of Hildesheim to launch the Mission Sunday celebation in Germany, October 2, 2016. Organized by Mission Aachen, the focus of this year’s campaign is to support the Church’s

family ministry in the Philippines. PHOTO COURTESY OF FATHER EDWIN GARIGUEZ

German mission supports PH’s family ministry

A GERMAN missionary

agency’s support for the Philippines continues, this time dedicating its World Mission Month celebration this October for the local Church’s pastoral work with families. Missio Aachen, a part

of the Pontifical Mission Societies network, has recognized the need to support a number of projects by the Church

in the Philippines to help

families in need combat


These projects, it said, provide encouragement for family cohesion and solidarity by placing special emphasis on human dignity and the rights that emanate from this. The campaign, the agency said, aims “to demonstrate how the Church’s commitment in the Philippines gives families an outlook on the future.” Missio said it is aware of the many challenges the country is facing

due to poverty with 3.8 million families, roughly 23 million people, are affected by hunger. It also recognized the emerging culture of migration with millions of Filipinos eager to work abroad to provide the basic needs of their family. “The distance causes many marriages and families to drift apart or break up. The desire for material wealth is a factor of destabilization for the family,” it added.

The campaign was launched during a Mass presided over by Bishop Norbert Trelle in the city of Hildesheim on October 2. C a r d i n a l s L u i s Antonio Tagle of Manila and Orlando Quevedo o f C o t a b a t o a l s o concelebrated the Mass. The activity was also launched with various Philippine partners i n c l u d i n g C a r i t a s Philippines, the social action arm of the

Mission / A6

Students protest extrajudicial killings with noise barrage

STUDENTS of a Catholic school staged a noise barrage on Friday, Sept. 30, to protest drug-related killings in the country. Dubbed #ShoutForLife, students of St. Paul University-Manila come together and created noise to call for an end to summary executions. Organized by the Pro- Life Paulinians and Stop The Killings Network, the students called on the Duterte administration to do “significant actions” to stop the summary killings of suspected drug pushers and users. “As Catholics, these killings are not okay for us, said Nica Dominique Ondoy, Pro-Life Paulinians president.

Useless justice system They called on the Duterte government to observe due process in its “war on drugs”. “We want due process. Being not proven guilty of crimes makes the justice system, the courts, the judges and lawyers, useless,” stressed Ondoy. “But how can we attain this if these people are killed in the so-called process which is the extrajudicial killings?” she said. “What this country needs is restorative justice and not the outright killings of people.” The students made noise by shouting “No to Killings” with most of them holding placards reading “Though Shall not Kill”. They also

Protest / A6

reading “Though Shall not Kill”. They also Protest / A6 Dubbed #ShoutForLife, students of St. Paul

Dubbed #ShoutForLife, students of St. Paul University-Manila come together and created noise to call for an end to summary executions on Sept. 30. ROY LAGARDE

Vigilance urged with SC TRO against RH law


organization is calling citizens to

vigilance in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the full implementation

of the Reproductive Health Law.

The Alliance for the Family Foundation, Inc. (ALFI), in a communiqué from its president and legal counsel, Atty. Maria Concepcion S. Noche, while expressing its satisfaction over the Supreme Court decision of Aug. 24 denying the motion filed by the Office of the Solicitor General to lift the TRO, appealed to affiliated organizations and families to be vigilant and to help spread to the public the correct information on the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10354) or the “RH Law”.

No full implementation “Legally, therefore, there can be no full implementation of the ‘RH Law’,” declared Noche. On the High Court’s decision, the legal counsel explained, “The Supreme Court likewise declared

as void all the certifications and re-certifications issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of some 77 contraceptive drugs and devices, including Implanon and Implanon NXT, for having been done without the observance of the basic tenets of due process. “The FDA, therefore, has been directed to conduct public hearings

to determine whether contraceptive

drugs and devices are abortifacient

or non-abortifacient and are safe,”

said Noche, elaborating on the SC’s decision.

In favor of the unborn

“Further, the Supreme Court emphasized that the standards to be applied are those laid out in its earlier decision, specifically, those which do not harm or destroy life

of the unborn from conception or

fertilization and that all reasonable doubts shall be resolved in favor of

the protection and preservation of the right to life of the unborn from conception or fertilization.” “Also, a complete list of reproductive health programs and

services that will be conducted will have to be generated by Department

of Health (DOH) for the information

and guidance of all concerned,” continued the ALFI president. “We ask for more prayers and more efforts in spreading information on the abortifacient nature of these drugs,” added the lawyer.

Learning from St. Mother Teresa “Abortion has become the greatest threat to world peace,” no less than the

RH / A6


October 3 - 16, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 26

CBCP Monitor

t Vatican Briefing

Pope in Georgia blasts gender theory as the ‘great enemy’ of marriage

In a lengthy, off-the-cuff speech in Georgia, Pope Francis said the world today is at war with marriage, and urged couples to fight against modern threats to the sacrament such as gender theory. Speaking to Irina, a Georgian wife and mother who gave her testimony in front of Pope Francis and hundreds of priests, seminarians and religious Oct. 1, the Pope said “you mentioned a great enemy of marriage today: gender theory.” “Today the whole world


at war trying to destroy marriage,” he said, noting that

this war isn’t being fought with arms “but with ideas.” There are “certain ideologies that destroy marriage,” he said. “So we need to defend ourselves from ideological colonization.” (CNA)

Pope Francis concerned by North Korean nuclear tests

Pope Francis is troubled by the international tensions arising from recent North Korean nuclear tests, said Greg Burke, director of the Holy See Press Office. “Responding to a question about the delicate situation on the Korean peninsula, I can confirm the concern of the Holy Father and the Holy See about the continuing tensions in the area on account of the nuclear tests carried out by North Korea,” Burke stated in a statement released Sept. 27. This concern, he added, “was reiterated today by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, the Holy See’s Undersecretary for Relations with States” during a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency held in Vienna. On Sept. 9, the communist country carried out its fifth nuclear test with an underground explosion. (CNA)

Body of third priest kidnapped in Mexico found


Less than a week after two Catholic priests in Mexico

were found murdered after having been abducted from their parishes, the body of a third slain priest, Fr. José Alfredo López Guillén, has been found. Fr. López Guillén, pastor of Janamuato in Mexico’s central state of Michoacan, was taken from the rectory of his parish by unknown persons Monday, Sept. 19. His car had been found overturned on a road nearby. According to


message written on the archdiocese’s Facebook page,

the priest had been killed several days before his lifeless body was found near the town of near Puruandiro. His abduction occurred on the same day that authorities found the lifeless bodies of previously-kidnapped Fathers Alejo Nabor Jiménez Juárez and José Alfredo Juárez de la Cruz, in the Diocese of Papantla, in Veracruz state. (CNA)

Journalism can’t be a ‘weapon of destruction’, Pope says

Emphasizing the importance of respect for human dignity, Pope Francis told journalists Thursday that their profession can never be used as a destructive weapon, nor should it be used to nourish fear. “Certainly criticism is legitimate, and, I would add, necessary, just as is the denunciation of evil, but this must always be done respecting the other, his life, and his affect. Journalism cannot become a ‘weapon of destruction’ of persons or even nations,” the Pope said Sept. 22 at the Vatican’s Clementine Hall. “Neither must it nourish fear in front of changes or phenomena such as migration forced by war or by hunger.” (CNA)

Pope green-lights opening of French priest beatification process

The French diocese of Rouen has officially begun an inquiry into the beatification of French priest Jacques Hamel, killed by Islamic extremists earlier this summer, after receiving a note from Pope Francis waiving the traditional five-year waiting period. Rouen’s Archbishop Dominique Lebrun made the announcement after celebrating a Mass Oct. 2 to re-open the church of Saint- Étienne-du-Rouvray, where Fr. Hamel was killed by supporters of the Islamic State while saying Mass in July. According to an Oct. 2 statement released by the French Bishops Conference, Archbishop Lebrun was informed by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints that Pope Francis “has dispensed of five year waiting period usually required before starting the official investigation of the beatification.” (CNA)

Pope condemns ‘arrogant’ abuse of power that leads to war, violence

In a passionate speech, Pope Francis condemned as arrogant the mentality of revenge and the abuses of power that lead to violent conflicts. “Violence begets violence, and we have the impression of being caught up in a spiral of arrogance and inertia from which there is no escape,” the Pope told members of charitable and humanitarian organizations Sept. 29, adding that the evil “which grips our will and conscience should challenge us.” Acts of violence such as this are part of the “mysterium iniquitatis,” he said, referring to “that evil which is present in man and in history and which needs to be redeemed.” (CNA)

Memory of Shimon Peres should inspire peace efforts, Pope says

Upon learning about the death of Shimon Peres, Pope Francis sent a telegram offering his condolences and his appreciation for the former president of Israel’s tireless efforts for peace and the common good. “As the State of Israel mourns Mr. Peres,” the Pope wrote, “I hope that his memory and many years of service will inspire us all to work with ever greater urgency for peace and reconciliation between peoples.” In the Sept. 28 telegram, sent to current President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, the pontiff expressed hope that the work which Peres, 93, began during his lifetime will continue. “I fondly recall my time with Mr. Peres at the Vatican and renew my great appreciation for the late President’s tireless efforts in favor of peace,” he said. (CNA)

Pope sees ‘global war’ against marriage, urges church help for couples

Pope Francis said a global war against marriage is underway and Catholics must respond by helping couples stay strong and by providing pastoral care to

those experiencing difficulty. ”Today there is a global war to destroy marriage,” the pope said Oct. 1 during a meeting in Tbilisi with priests, religious, seminarians and laypeople active in parish life. “Today you do not destroy with weapons, you destroy with ideas,” the pope said. “It


ideological colonization that destroys.” The only way to

defend marriage against the onslaught, he said, is to help

couples “make peace as soon as possible, before the day ends, and don’t forget the three words: ‘May I?’ ‘Thank you’ and ‘Forgive me.’” (CNS)

At the heart of the Church, EWTN launches new Rome office

ROME, Italy— The EWTN News Rome Bureau is now is just minutes from St. Peter’s Square, having launched its new office on Wednesday. The occasion sparked reflection on Mother Angelica’s legacy and the media network’s mission to serve the gospel. “Today with this launch we step out in a new chapter in how we can serve our EWTN family with information from Rome,” Michael Warsaw, president of EWTN Global Catholic Network, told CNA Sept. 29. The new office is on the Via Della Conciliazione in the shadow of St. Peter’s Basilica, the dome of which is visible from the building’s rooftop terrace. “You can’t help but be here in Rome and in this place, so close to St. Peter’s Basilica, the tomb of St. Peter, and not be energized by that,” Warsaw said. “For all of us at EWTN that’s my hope, that this presence in Rome, so close to St. Peter, will energize us for the work of the New Evangelization in the years ahead.” M o n s i g n o r D a r i o Edoardo Viganò, prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat f o r C o m m u n i c a t i o n s , blessed the new location in the presence of dozens of EWTN staff, supporters, and guests. Several hundred people gathered for a rooftop reception. Among the guests were Syriac Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan of Antioch, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, and Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Knights of Malta. Other guests included Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household; several other cardinals and bishops; U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Ken Hackett and several other ambassadors to the Holy See; and members of the Vatican press corps. The office includes access

of the Vatican press corps. The office includes access EWTN CEO Michael Warsaw and Msgr. Dario

EWTN CEO Michael Warsaw and Msgr. Dario Viganò, prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, celebrate the dedication of the EWTN News Rome Bureau, Sept.


to professional recording studios on the sixth-floor rooftop, advanced technical infrastructure, and a much improved and spacious workspace. Warsaw said the new Rome office “really positions the network in an even better way to be able to bring news and information from the heart of the Church to our audience around the world.” “It gives us a much bigger base of operations to be able to use at the service of the Church,” he said. About 17 people work full- time in the EWTN News Rome office, as do three part-time employees. The multi-national, multi-lingual staff comes from the United States, Italy, Spain, Peru, and Kazakhstan. From the Rome office, the EWTN News Bureau and its related EWTN agencies provide video news services in English, Spanish, and German, and written news services in English, Spanish, and Italian. This effort is complemented by EWTN News’ internet presence. Its social media reached 100 million people the weekend of Mother Teresa’s canonization. The office will support staff and media production from various EWTN News sections: the National

Warsaw agreed “I think Mother would be very, very pleased to see this development in Rome,” he said. “It was always her hope that the network could be a vehicle for bringing news and information about the Holy Father and the Vatican to our audience around the world.” Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston also saw the new Rome office as part of Mother Angelica’s legacy. “I am convinced that Mother Angelica is now happy in heaven thinking that after all his work, there is now finally this place here in Rome,” Cardinal O’Malley told Vatican Radio. “The story of Mother Angelica is the story of a miracle. A cloistered nun has managed to do what the bishops and the U.S. Catholic foundations

Catholic Register; CNA Group members Catholic News Agency, ACI Stampa, and ACI Prensa; and ChurchPop. The impact of EWTN founder Mother Angelica, who passed away on Easter Sunday 2016, was still felt in Rome. “If she could see this place here in Rome, she would see part of her dream realized,” Alan Holdren, EWTN News Bureau Chief, told Vatican Radio.

have failed to do.” “EWTN is an important

reality in the United States to reach Catholics,” the cardinal continued. “To have

a headquarters here in Rome

will help a lot to communicate to our people the message of the Holy Father and what happens here in Rome.” Cardinal O’Malley said EWTN faces the challenge of communicating the faith to new generations. “In the U.S. we now have

a huge Hispanic population, and we are very pleased that EWTN also has programs in Spanish, for our migrants,” he said. The beneficiaries of EWTN are truly international. During Mother Teresa’s

c a n o n i z a t i o n , h e r

Missionaries of Charity sisters in India were watching the EWTN broadcast from St. Peter’s Square. “That would be enough to motivate our work,” commented Holdren. He noted the world’s many crises, including those in the Middle East. “We serve an evangelical voice, we serve the voice of Christ, we serve the Pope’s message,” he said. “To reach these places of crisis is a challenge. Through the satellite that Mother Angelica bought many years ago, we were able to reach these countries.” “The challenge is to keep this widespread reach, but also reach people in modern Western society. In the face of so many problems and so many challenges, there are many hopes. We want to reach out with this Gospel message to deliver that truth which we believe leads everyone to the salvation that it accompanies.” EWTN Global Catholic Network is now in its 36th year. Based in Irondale, Alabama, it is the largest religious media network in the world. (CNA)

Card. Zen at the Umbrella Movement:

‘The Church must denounce injustice, undeterred’

HONG KONG— “We must remember that the task of the Church is also denounce injustices. And without being discouraged. “ This was said yesterday by card. Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, during a Mass in memory

of the two years since the beginning of the events that gave rise to the Occupy Central movement and the “Umbrellas”. Mass presided over by Fr. Stephan Chan, OFM, was attended by about 200 people, with members of the Catholic communities of the base of the Umbrella Movement and the Justice and Peace Commission of the diocese. The people gathered for the ceremony

in front of the complex of the Legislative

Council (parliament of Hong Kong), an

expression of democracy. Its democracy

is the “desire” to be maintained alive,

said Card. Zen, “persistently, peace, love.” The Occupy Central protests have emerged at the end of September 2014, after China decided to again postpone the idea of full democracy for the territory , excluding the universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive and remaining indifferent the democratic demands of the majority of

the population. They were then called “movement of umbrellas” because the demonstrators (mostly teenagers and college) used

umbrellas to defend themselves from the stinging spray and from hydrants used by the police to disperse them. After

a disproportionate use of violence by

security forces, hundreds of thousands of people have flooded some areas of the center (in particular Admiralty and Mong Kok) and lasted until December. The movement ended without any political victory, and China has even accused the youth of being manipulated by “hostile foreign forces.” Along with the Mass in the Central

neighborhood, in different parts of the city they were held demonstrations in

parts of the city they were held demonstrations in memory of umbrellas movement. All events began

memory of umbrellas movement. All events began at 6 pm, the time when two years ago the first tear gas by the police had been launched. Admiralty, the center of past demonstrations, gathered about 1000 people. The professor. Benny Tai, Protestant, one of the trio who launched the campaign Occupy Central, addressing the crowd he asked them

not to forget what had brought them to Admiralty two years earlier. “Two years ago - he said - we came here to fight for democracy in Hong Kong.” He noted that with the elections to the Legislative Council a few weeks ago, several members of Occupy Central were elected, and this is a hope for the future of the pro-democracy movement. (AsiaNews)

CBCP Monitor

October 3 - 16, 2016 Vol. 20 No. 26


Need help for works of mercy? Turn to Blessed Alvaro

MANILA--Do you need help

in realizing a work of mercy? Do you want to help a loved one be reconciled with God? Is your NGO undergoing financial difficulties in sustaining a project for the


Perhaps this blessed priest can help you. Two years after the beatification of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo on Sept. 27, 2014, the Office for the Causes of the Saints of the Prelature of Opus Dei in the Philippines continues to receive letters of many favors received attributed to the intercession of this holy priest. Many acknowledgements of favors deal with health issues and work. There are also many accounts that testify to the effectiveness of the intercession of Blessed Alvaro in reconciling family members and in helping people live the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

Favors granted “I received a favor through the inspiration of Blessed Alvaro,” wrote a young man. “After more than six months of praying and offering sacrifices, I finally convinced my mother to go to Confession. Please pray so that she will be regular in

go to Confession. Please pray so that she will be regular in Blessed Alvaro del Portillo

Blessed Alvaro del Portillo OPUS DEI

daily prayer, Sunday Mass and Confession.” Another letter related: “My sibling has not been going to Mass for some years. Through Blessed Alvaro’s intercession this sibling finally went to Confession and has been regular in attending Sunday Mass since then.” A student from Pasig City wrote, “Our school announced that it will be cutting down on scholarships once the K-12 program is implemented. Our class decided to set up a small business as our project for one of our major subjects.

In spite of the difficulties, we were able to raise 430,000 pesos in one month to help fund incoming scholars into our university. I personally believe that this was made possible through the intercession of Blessed Alvaro.” A president of an NGO wrote of a big favor received from Blessed Alvaro. “A president of another NGO shared with me a deep concern since his group had fallen short of funds to sustain a program for the benefit of poor farmers. “We brought up the matter

to the board and prayed for help from Blessed Alvaro. After that fateful meeting I received a call from a government entity informing that it had agreed to our proposal to provide the needed resources to complete the program.”

Moved people to works of mercy Del Portillo, as Prelate of Opus Dei, visited Manila and Cebu in 1987. As he personally saw the glaring gap between the rich and the poor, he reminded his audiences in the Philippines of their duty as Catholics to live charity towards their neighbor. Pope Francis, on the occasion of the beatification of del Portillo, wrote a letter to the Prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevarria, and pointed out “the Servant of God Alvaro knew the need we have of God’s mercy, and devoted a lot of his own energy to encouraging the people he met to go Confession the sacrament of joy.” Readers who wish to receive more information on Blessed Alvaro del Portillo may visitwww.alvarodelportillo. org or write to (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCP News)

The modern – and little known – miracles of Padre Pio

ROME, Italy— Known around the globe as simply “Padre Pio,” Saint Pio of Pietrelcina has been called one of the “most active” saints in the Church, and continues to work miracles for those who pray through his intercession. “St. Padre Pio is a pretty powerful intercessor…a priest said to me once that he’s probably one of the most

active saints in the Church,” Fr. John Paul Zeller MVFA, told CNA in an interview.

A friar with the Franciscan

Missionaries of the Eternal Word and a Missionary of Mercy from Birmingham, Ala., Fr. Zeller is the proud owner of a first-class relic of Padre Pio, and has witnessed several healings in first-person after praying through Padre Pio’s intercession with the relic in hand. Fr. Zeller said that while he initially had no specific devotion to Padre Pio, he developed one after taking a trip to San Giovanni Rotondo, where Padre Pio served as a priest for the majority of his life, after the 2014 canonization of St. John Paul II. After learning more about Padre Pio’s life, the priest said he was moved, and worked up the courage to ask one of the superiors in San Giovanni for a relic. The superior agreed, and gave Fr. Zeller not one but two pieces of a blood-soaked bandage Padre Pio had wrapped around the wounds of his stigmata. Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione May 25, 1887, to a devout Catholic family in Pietrelcina, Italy. At the age of 15, he joined the Capuchin Friars, and eventually became a priest with the order. Throughout his life, Padre Pio was known as a mystic who experienced the stigmata for 50 years. Many

miracles and wonders have been attributed to him, including reports of healing, soul-reading, levitation and even bi-location.

Fr. Zeller said that after he received the relics, he gave one to his community, founded by Mother Angelica, and was granted permission to keep the other for himself.

“I keep that relic on me at all

times,” he said, noting that in his role as Director of the pilgrimage department at EWTN’s headquarters in Birmingham, “I have the opportunity to pray with a lot of people.” “I’ve prayed with people and there have been cases where there have been, I would say, some healings,” the

priest said, explaining that people will come up to him several months, even

a year, after he prayed with them and recount experiences of healing. One such experience happened only

a few months ago during a healing service at the Shrine of the Most

Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, he said, recalling how during the service, he and two other priests prayed over people with the two blood-soaked bandages as well as a glove of Padre Pio’s that belonged to Mother Angelica. As they were praying a woman suffering from sciatica came up “and I prayed over her,” Fr. Zeller said, noting that the woman approached him later and said that after she went back to her seat, she told her husband “I’m healed.” Sciatica “is a very serious back condition that doesn’t really go away and is very painful,” the priest said, noting that “it totally went away” for this woman after he prayed over her with the relic. In another instance, Fr. Zeller recalled how shortly after he received the relic he was talking with some friends and found out that their 12-year-old daughter had been suffering from an ear infection that “wouldn’t seem to go away.” He asked the girl if he could pray over her with his relic, and when she said yes, “I showed her mom and I showed her and I said ‘which ear is it?’” Fr. Zeller said that as soon as he put the relic to the girl’s ear and began to pray “she dropped to the ground. She totally slipped out of my hands.” “I should have caught her, but I didn’t know what was happening, I was kind of scared that something happened to her, but she totally slipped out of my hands and fell on the ground,” he said, noting that while he was anxious over the situation, the girl’s mother was calm, saying “that would be ‘Slain in the Spirit.’” “The ear infection was completely knocked out of her,” he said, noting that from that point on, “from what I know she didn’t have the ear infection.” In yet another case “there was a lady that had some kind of heart disease for 40 years that she’d suffered from in her life,” he said, adding that while he didn’t have time to get into the specifics, “she’s totally healed” after having been prayed over with the relic of Padre Pio. “It’s a longer story than that, but she’s totally free from that,” Fr. Zeller said, recalling how another women recently came to him, saying she “had experienced some kind of physical healing” after being prayed over with the relic. Referring to the healings, Fr. Zeller stressed that “that’s not me, that’s the intercession of St. Padre Pio.” Although he initially had no devotion to Padre Pio until just a few years ago, the priest said he feels like the sudden connection that came is because the saint chose him, rather than the other way around. “One of my professors at seminary

used to say that we don’t choose saints, saints choose us,” he said, noting that while we may have “a particular liking of a saint, we may look at a saint’s personality and be drawn to them…I think there is a truth to saints choosing us rather than us choosing them.” Padre Pio “was really a joyful friar,” he said, explaining that he had always envisioned the saint as being “really stern” and was afraid to ask for his intercession, lest Padre Pio “be stern with me.” However, it was during his trip to San Giovanni Rotondo that he learned who Padre Pio really was, Fr. Zeller said, explaining that in his view, the reason for the saint’s seemingly serious disposition is that “he knew when people were not repentant.” “It was said that he could even smell sin, and I don’t even imagine what eternal separation from God smells like,” the priest said. “So that was his concern for the salvation of people’s souls. He was concerned about people’s souls and bringing them God’s mercy and God’s forgiveness.” To honor his upcoming Sept. 23 feast, devotees in Rome will celebrate with an entire week of events and activities. Thousands of devotees with 600 groups will gather in the Roman parish of San Salvatore in Lauro, adjacent to Rome’s famous Piazza Navona, which will serve as a hub for the people attending the various activities linked to Padre Pio’s feast. Inside San Salvatore numerous relics of Padre Pio, including his cloak, gloves, stole and blood from the wounds of the stigmata that marked his body for 50 years. Festivities opened Sept. 18 with a special Mass celebrated by Rome’s auxiliary bishop Guerino Di Tora. On Sept. 20 Padre Pio’s relics were exposed in San Salvatore for veneration, and a special Mass celebrated by another of Rome’s auxiliary bishops, Angelo De Donatis. Two days later, on the 22nd, the “Vigil of Transit” commemorating what is believed to be the exact moment of Padre Pio’s death will be celebrated. After the vigil, Mass will be celebrated by Msgr. Carmelo Pellegrino, Promotor of Faith of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Celebrations will culminate on Padre Pio’s Sept. 23 feast with several Masses said throughout the day as well as a procession of a statue of the saint and his relics from San Salvatore to Piazza Navona, which will take place in the afternoon. A special blessing will be given and a prayer offered for the victims of the recent earthquake that devastated several cities in Central Italy.

101-year-old woman receives first communion

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil— At 101 years old, Doña Penha

has seen quite a bit of life. But the centenarian experienced something new on September 28, as she received her First Communion during Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel nursing home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For those who witnessed the occasion, it was a great testimony to the love of God. “It was a very beautiful moment that showed us that it

is never too late to receive the

Eucharist, which for someone seeking God, neither time nor shame can prevent,” said the administrative assistant of the nursing home, Josiane Ribeiro. She added that occasions like this help “reaffirm faith.” Ribeiro told CNA that Doña Penha arrived about a year ago at the nursing home,

which is run by the Sisters of

the Our Lady of the Rosary of

Fatima Association. There is


chapel on site where Mass


celebrated during the week. Doña Penha began to

yet received Communion and asked the sisters to prepare

her to receive the sacrament, Ribeiro recalled. After that preparation,


Communion for the first time. According to nursing home officials, those who were with her could see that “that was what she really wanted.” Even at 101 years

of age, they said, “she is very lucid, and prepared to receive First Communion from the

heart.” For Ribeiro, the occasion was a witness of God’s love

– not just for the people who

live with Doña Penha at the nursing home, but also for the many others who could share the moment through social media. “We put the photos on the nursing home’s Facebook page, and many people saw it, commented and congratulated,” she said. The nursing home’s

Facebook post received

hundreds of likes and shares. Among the comments, one

subscriber emphasized:

“There is always time, and her time was now! God bless you!” (CNA/EWTN News)

o ñ a P e n h a r e c e i v e d

attend Mass with the other women. One day, she asked

to go to Confession. Father

Domingos Sávio Silva Ferreira realized she had not

‘Our generation can stop abortion’, says pro-life leader

W A R S A W ,


M a g d a l e n a


Kaliszuk, director

o f

f o r C i t i z e n G o in Poland, has pointed to last week’s progress

of a bill in the

Polish parliament banning abortion as a “triple victory,” saying, “our generation can stop abortion.” On Sept. 23, with a 267- 154 vote in favor, Polish lawmakers sent a bill that

seeks the total ban of abortion in the country to committee

for further consideration.

Abortion is currently allowed in the case of rape or incest, grave risk to the health of the mother, and serious deformities in the baby in the womb. At most, 2,000 legal abortions are procured annually in Poland, though it is estimated that there may be 10,000 performed

illegally, according to the BBC.

The legislative proposal will

be debated for an unlimited

time until a final draft is written, which will finally


limits abortion on the single grounds of serious risk to the mother’s health.”

She said that “this victory is proof that good people cannot just defend these values when they are attacked, but also take the initiative and change the world.”

K o r z e k w a - K a l i s z u k

expressed her confidence that Poland’s case “can spread to other countries in the European Union so they can stop abortion.”

C u r r e n t l y , t h e o n l y

European states that ban abortion entirely are Malta and Vatican City. “It must serve as an argument for those pro-

lifers who are under a lot of pressure and think that change is not possible, because the protection of life from conception is possible, and it’s happening in Poland now,” she pointed out. While she expressed caution because “we have to hope that the law will finally be changed,” the Polish pro-life leader emphasized that “this victory means that Poland has an unique opportunity to end the legacy of communism, when abortion was available without a problem for Poles.” “In 1993 the first great change was wrought and

it significantly limited the

number of legal abortions in the country, but not all could be prevented. In recent

years, abortions performed in Poland were about 1,000

a year and most of them,

almost 90 percent, were for fetal deformities.”

Korzekwa-Kaliszuk added that “all pro-life Poles are aware the fact that the battle

is not over and that the most

important votes will take place in the coming months.” There are many dangers, she warned, including

that both the bill limiting grounds and the one totally banning abortion “can be held up for months in the

parliament committee, and can be amended or even voted down.” (CNA/EWTN News)

c a m p a i g n s


submitted to a vote by


members of parliament,

which is ruled by the Law and Justice Party. It came to parliament after a citizens’ group, Stop Abortion, delivered a petition with 450,000 signatures calling for a complete ban

on abortion. The bill would

criminalize the performance of abortion by physicians. Speaking to Actuall news

Sept. 28, Korzekwa-Kaliszuk explained that “this is the first time that a citizen initiative focused on stopping abortion

… which was introduced with

almost a half a million citizen

signatures, has been passed

by parliament thanks to 267

votes in favor, 11 abstentions, and 154 against and now will be debated in the Justice and

Human Rights Committee.” “The second victory came with the defeat of another

bill voted on last Friday, introduced by feminists who were calling for abortion on demand for the first 12 weeks and which was defeated by

the majority in the chamber,”

she said.

A third victory she noted

“has to do with another bill which was also sent to the committee and which

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