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New EWTN documentary on Bl. Carlo Acutis available to watch for free

Bl. Carlo Acutis / carloacutis.com

Denver, Colo., May 7, 2021 / 11:00 am (CNA).

A new documentary about Blessed Carlo Acutis, the first millennial to be beatified by the Catholic Church, is available to watch for free this month.

“I Am With You,” an EWTN special documentary about Acutis’ life, is available to watch online throughout the entire month of May. Users who sign up for EWTN’s free on-demand program can also receive two free eBooks: 12 Stations of the Eucharist and 7 Lessons in Holiness from Blessed Carlo Acutis. 

Carlo, who was born in 1991 and grew up in Milan, had an aptitude for computer programming. This led him at age 12 to create a website chronicling Eucharistic miracles. The site is still active to this day. 

The Italian teenager, who also loved soccer and video games, spent time volunteering at a soup kitchen in Milan run by both the Capuchins and Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. People who knew him say had a great love for the poor, especially the homeless. 

Acutis, who died of leukemia in 2006, would have turned 30 this month. The young man offered up his suffering in his final days for the Pope and for the Church. 

Carlo was designated “Venerable” in 2018. Pope Francis beatified him in Assisi on Oct. 10, 2020.

The documentary on his life commences with extensive reflections on the Real Presence, and covers Acutis’ passionate devotion to the Eucharist that began during his childhood. The film features interviews with Carlo’s mother Antonia Salzano, as well as one of Carlo’s best friends, Mattia Pastorelli.

Antonia recalled her son fondly as her “little savior.” In the documentary, she talks about how Carlo was always a devout child despite not growing up in a devout family. 

Another interviewee, family friend Rajesh Moher, called Carlo his “spiritual master.” Rajesh’s friendship with Carlo led him, a former Hindu, to accept baptism in 1999. 

“I Am With You” contains many striking images of Assisi and the Basilica of St. Francis; Acutis was buried in Assisi, a place he loved dearly. 

After his death at age 15, his cause for canonization began in 2013. The documentary also includes information about the first miracle that took place through Carlo’s intercession in Brazil in 2013.

‘There is always the power of prayer’: Why this bishop prays daily for President Biden

Bishop Joseph Coffey / EWTN Pro-Life Weekly

Washington D.C., May 7, 2021 / 10:00 am (CNA).

One U.S. bishop has committed to pray daily for President Joe Biden, because of the president’s pro-abortion policies.

Bishop Joseph Coffey, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Military Services, U.S.A., has pledged to pray daily for the president. He told EWTN Pro-Life Weekly why the matter is so important to him, in an interview that aired on Thursday night.

“What I would like to say to him, if I could,” Bishop Coffey said, “is that none of us are promised tomorrow. And each day could be the last day on earth, and he has such power as the most important, most powerful man in the world as president.”

“It’s very, very sad, because he said that he is personally opposed to abortion, but wouldn’t want to impose his values on others,” Coffey said of Biden. “Well that makes no sense.”

Biden, he added, has actually “imposed” pro-abortion policies through executive actions. In January, the president repealed the Mexico City Policy, allowing U.S. global health assistance to go to international pro-abortion groups. He also instructed his administration to begin reviewing the Protect Life Rule – the first step toward allowing federal funding of clinics that refer for abortions through the Title X program. The administration in April followed that order by proposing to repeal the pro-life rule.

“That’s exactly what he’s doing, he’s imposing his values on those orders,” Coffey said of Biden’s executive actions on funding pro-abortion groups.

“So for those two reasons, I am committed to praying for this president, that he would change those views,” he told EWTN Pro-Life Weekly.

He emphasized the power both of prayer and of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in bringing about conversion.

“I always try to remember that whenever I’m preaching on a homily, that those who have had to make a terrible choice that they regret – there’s always redemption, healing, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, confession. I always stress that,” he said. “And there is always the power of prayer for conversion.”

Bishop Coffey is also episcopal vicar for veterans’ affairs at the archdiocese, and a decorated Navy captain. He told EWTN Pro-Life Weekly that the pro-life cause was close to his heart “for many, many years.”

Coffey said he was 12 years old and one of nine children when the Supreme Court in 1973 struck down state abortion bans in its Roe v. Wade decision, legalizing abortion throughout the United States. His father talked about the issue at the family dinner table the night of the ruling. “That’s when I committed to being a pro-lifer,” Coffey recalled.

He was involved with the group Operation Rescue for years. In 2020, Coffey told the National Catholic Register “We were always peaceful and nonviolent,” adding that he would sit in front of abortion clinics to give sidewalk counselors a chance to reach women as they tried to access the clinic. He was arrested “in about a dozen cities,” he said of his time in Operation Rescue – including one arrest with his mother and several siblings on Good Friday in 1989.

Ordained a priest 25 years ago, Coffey said he prays first for the Holy Father and then the president, at the Prayer of the Faithful during Sunday Mass.

“Throughout various administrations, Republican and Democrat, I have committed to pray for our president every Sunday,” he said. “So I am ramping that up now to pray especially every day for this president, for his conversion, so that he will be more pro-life.”

Biden is just the second Catholic president in U.S. history. While he has taken positions contrary to Church teaching on life and sexuality, the president is still Catholic, Coffey maintained – which makes his positions all the more “tragic.”

“I think we all hear sometimes ‘he’s no Catholic.’ Well he is. Everyone who is baptized is Catholic,” Coffey said. “That’s why this is so tragic, and that’s why I am asking all Catholics to pray for him, really, every day.”

Vatican provides vaccines to 300 more of Rome's poor

On Saturday, the Vatican offers Covid-19 vaccines to the homeless and vulnerable people. The Office of Papal Charities is coordinating the initiative, which will take place in the Paul VI Hall. Meanwhile, the “suspended vaccine” campaign, which has already made it possible to help countries in serious difficulty due to the pandemic, is continuing, with contributions exceeding expectations.

CAR’s Cardinal Nzapalainga: Hopes and challenges of peacemaking.

In a recently published book, Cardinal Nzapalainga reflects on his life as a Spiritan priest, Archbishop of Bangui, Cardinal, peacemaker, hopes and challenges of life in CAR.

Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Reading I Acts 15:22-31

The Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church,
decided to choose representatives
and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. 
The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas,
and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
This is the letter delivered by them:
“The Apostles and the presbyters, your brothers,
to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
of Gentile origin: greetings.
Since we have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind,
we have with one accord decided to choose representatives
and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas
who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals,
and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these,
you will be doing what is right. Farewell.’“

And so they were sent on their journey.
Upon their arrival in Antioch
they called the assembly together and delivered the letter.
When the people read it, they were delighted with the exhortation.

Responsorial Psalm 57:8-9, 10 and 12

R.    (10a)  I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast;
    I will sing and chant praise.
Awake, O my soul; awake, lyre and harp!
    I will wake the dawn.
R.    I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O LORD,
    I will chant your praise among the nations.
For your mercy towers to the heavens,
    and your faithfulness to the skies.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
    above all the earth be your glory!
R.    I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 15:15b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 15:12-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

- - -

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Indian Christians observe day of fasting, prayer against Covid-19

Indian Christians observed a day of fasting and prayer on Friday for deliverance from the scourge of Covid-19 that has ravaged the nation with massive waves of infections and deaths, stretching the nation’s healthcare system to breaking point.

British Migration Bishop: Migrants and refugees enrich our society

Bishop Paul McAleen welcomes Pope Francis’ message for the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees saying they have a valuable contribution to make to society.

Church leaders call for truce in Indonesian province of Papua

Escalating violence in the province of Papua, Indonesia, has prompted Church leaders in the region to call on the military and separatist groups to declare a ceasefire in order to find “a dignified, humane, open, and respectful solution” to the crisis.

Biden's National Day of Prayer proclamation lacks mention of God

President Biden addresses the 2021 National Prayer Breakfast . Credit: National Prayer Breakfast

Washington D.C., May 6, 2021 / 23:01 pm (CNA).

US President Joe Biden issued on Wednesday the annual proclamation of a National Day of Prayer, without mentioning any deity in it.

The May 5 statement says that "throughout our history, Americans of many religions and belief systems have turned to prayer for strength, hope, and guidance. Prayer has nourished countless souls and powered moral movements — including essential fights against racial injustice, child labor, and infringement on the rights of disabled Americans."

This year the National Day of Prayer is observed May 6.

In the proclamation Biden wrote that "today, we remember and celebrate the role that the healing balm of prayer can play in our lives and in the life of our Nation. As we continue to confront the crises and challenges of our time — from a deadly pandemic, to the loss of lives and livelihoods in its wake, to a reckoning on racial justice, to the existential threat of climate change — Americans of faith can call upon the power of prayer to provide hope and uplift us for the work ahead."

"On this National Day of Prayer,” his statement continued, “we unite with purpose and resolve, and recommit ourselves to the core freedoms that helped define and guide our Nation from its earliest days. We celebrate our incredible good fortune that, as Americans, we can exercise our convictions freely — no matter our faith or beliefs. Let us find in our prayers, however they are delivered, the determination to overcome adversity, rise above our differences, and come together as one Nation to meet this moment in history."

The National Day of Prayer was designated by Congress in 1952, and scheduled in 1988 to be observed annually on the first Thursday in May.

Biden's proclamation, which also invites "citizens of our Nation to give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I join all people of faith in prayers for spiritual guidance, mercy, and protection” is the first in memory to exclude any reference to the name of God or the concept of a deity, excepting a reference to the year of our Lord 2021.

Baton Rouge diocese to celebrate 60th anniversary by celebrating St Joseph

St. Joseph with the Infant Jesus, by Guido Reni. / Public Domain

Baton Rouge, La., May 6, 2021 / 22:01 pm (CNA).

The Diocese of Baton Rouge plans to celebrate the Year of St. Joseph in conjunction with its 60th anniversary. 

The diocese, which has St. Joseph as its patron, announced that it will celebrate “60 Years in the Year of St. Joseph” starting May 1, 2021 and going until March 19, 2022. 

“St. Joseph has played a prominent role in our diocese since its inception in 1961, and as we began planning for the 60th anniversary celebration this year, it seemed only natural to celebrate not only the rich history of our diocese but its beloved patron,” Bishop Michael Duca said May 4. 

Pope Francis in December 2020 announced a Year of St. Joseph, concluding Dec. 8, 2021, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the saint’s proclamation as patron of the universal Church.

Bishop Duca said a planning committee will be arranging various liturgical celebrations throughout the year for the faithful of the Baton Rouge diocese to take part in. The bishop says the goal is to support Pope Francis’ desire for “the faithful across the world to rediscover St. Joseph and imitate his life of heroic virtue.”

The diocesan committee is working to create prayer cards, coloring books, videos and a diocesan-wide pilgrimage guide, in the hopes of creating “opportunities for the lay faithful to learn more about the history of the local church while also celebrating its patron.”

The history of Catholicism in Baton Rouge goes back nearly 300 years. French missionaries brought Catholicism to the area, celebrating the first Mass in Baton Rouge in 1722 on the site of what would become the Louisiana capitol building. 

The Diocese of New Orleans was established in 1793, and in 1961, St. John XXIII established the Diocese of Baton Rouge, taking territory from the New Orleans diocese. The pope named St. Joseph Church as the diocese’s cathedral. 

Then-Bishop Alfred Hughes declared St. Joseph the patron of the Baton Rouge diocese in the 1990s.