An app you might not want Mom to have

VATICAN CITY — If your parents are paying your way to World Youth Day in Madrid and you want them to know where you are, then the Vatican has an iPhone and iPad app you both might want. On the other hand, you can use it just with your friends.

The Italian version of the iPhone and iPad app for World Youth Day
(CNS photos)

The iGPII application, coming to the Apple Store Aug. 1, features a “Friend Finder” so that when you are in Madrid you can find anyone you have befriended with the device. The service is part of the application’s GPS function, which also lets you figure out where you are, where WYD events are and where there is a restaurant open nearby that will accept the WYD pilgrim meal tickets.

The app, developed for the John Paul II Foundation for Youth and carrying the Pontifical Council for the Laity seal of approval, will cost $4.99 from the Apple Store in North America and €3.99 in Europe. Although journalists got a preview peek at the Italian version today, it also will be available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Polish.

Proceeds from app sales will be used by the foundation to help young people from developing countries get to Madrid and to future celebrations of World Youth Day, said Marcello Bedeschi, president of the foundation.

Iacopo Barberini, who works for Futurtech — the techie brains behind the app — said the program comes with a password that will give users free access to wi-fi hotspots in Madrid so they can update the app without paying roaming charges.

In addition to the “Friend Finder,” the app has a detailed WYD program, prayers and papal messages, a city guide, information about the foundation, a ton of info about past WYDs, photo albums featuring Blessed John Paul and Pope Benedict XVI and a varied collection of YouTube videos featuring prayers set to music. One is Bobby McFerrin leading a crowd in singing “Ave Maria.”

Young women religious from across US make their voices heard

The voice of youth is more powerful than ever — members of the under-25 set are quickly rising to the top in multiple industries, making sure they leave their mark on the world as soon as they can, but what about the younger voice in the Catholic Church?

World Youth Day may be just around the corner, but there is another group of young people ready to ensure that they are doing what they can to impact society.

Women religious under the age of 50 gathered at Loyola University Chicago July 21-24 as part of the Giving Voice Conference. Giving Voice is an organization dedicated to providing a place for young women religious to speak about issues that are important to them and to converse with one another.

Women religious particpate in a circle of conversation. (Photo courtesy of Giving Voice)

Many attendees at the sixth national Giving Voice Conference were the youngest members of their religious communities, and have only experienced religious life since the Second Vatican Council.

The keynote speaker was Sister Sandra Schneiders, a Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and a “rock star” in the world of religious life, as one conference participant explained. Sister Schneiders is a respected theologian who has written several books on religious life.

“We are in a kairos moment that, if we seize it, could really galvanize into a whole new era of American religious life,” Sister Schneiders said during the conference.

A press release from the Giving Voice said that these young sisters “recognize they will be called to leadership in their communities and in the church in the coming years.”

Sister Susan Francois, a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace and one of the conference planning team members, told Catholic News Service that the sisters who gathered in Chicago do not fit many people’s stereotypes of Catholic nuns. “Most of us do not wear religious habits, although some of us do,” said the 38-year-old. “That’s not what matters to us. What we share is our desire to follow Jesus and serve God’s people in need.”

“We are a strong, talented, creative, passionate group with energy for making a difference in the world,” said 30-year-old Presentation Sister Jessi Beck.

Vatican nuncio to U.S. Archbishop Sambi dies

Detailed obituary: Archbishop Sambi, US nuncio since early 2006, dies at age 73

Reaction: US church had ‘highest respect, deepest affection’ for nuncio

Italian Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, is pictured at the nunciature in Washington in a 2008 file photo. He died July 27 after being placed on assisted ventilation following complications from lung surgery. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the apostolic nuncio to the United States for more than five years, died tonight, apparently from complications of lung surgery performed approximately three weeks earlier.

Last Friday, the nunciature announced that the archbishop had been “placed on assisted ventilation to attempt recovery of his lung function” after undergoing “a delicate lung surgery two weeks ago.”

Archbishop Sambi was 73.

A veteran Vatican diplomat, Archbishop Sambi was named as papal nuncio to the U.S. by Pope Benedict XVI in December 2005. At the time of his appointment he was the Vatican’s representative to Israel and Palestine, where he helped arrange Pope John Paul II’s historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2000.

After he arrived in the U.S. Feb. 24, 2006, he said in an interview with Catholic News Service in Washington that that he was impressed by the vitality of U.S. Catholicism, the level of weekly Mass attendance among U.S. Catholics and their generosity toward others.

As a papal diplomat “I travel a lot throughout the world,” he said. “It is difficult to find a part of the world where the charity of U.S. Catholics did not reach the poor or sick people.”

The archbishop is known for his warm and affable manner, sense of humor and being open and ready to listen to people.

Archbishop Sambi greets guests at a papal audience at the Vatican last year. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Archbishop Sambi greets guests at a papal audience at the Vatican last year. (CNS/Paul Haring)

During Pope Benedict’s April 2008 visit to the U.S., Archbishop Sambi accompanied the pope and during the pontiff’s stay in Washington hosted him at the nunciature, where the pope had a historic private meeting with five victims of clergy sexual abuse.

(Contributing to this story was Julie Asher.)

(Earlier)

BREAKING: We received word tonight that Archbishop Pietro Sambi has died. Last Friday night the apostolic nunciature in Washington announced that the archbishop “has been placed on assisted ventilation” since experiencing complications after he underwent “a delicate lung surgery” two weeks earlier.

Jesuits at Oxford find painting believed to be by Michelangelo

A painting of Christ’s crucifixion believed to be the work of Michelangelo has been hanging in the residence of a small Jesuit community at Oxford for more than 70 years.

Purchased at auction by the Campion Hall community in the 1930s, the painting was believed to be the work of Marcello Venusti, one of Michelangelo’s 16th-century contemporaries. But recent tests revealed that the work was indeed created by the Renaissance painter, reports  the National Jesuit News.

The discovery was made by historian and conservationist Antonio Forcellino, who used infrared technology to uncover who he believes is the true creator of the painting.

BBC News reported that the residents were both excited and concerned by the find — excited because they had something very special in their midst, but also concerned that the piece was too valuable to continue hanging on a wall in their residence.

So the work of art has been removed and sent to the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology at Oxford University for safekeeping, according to the Jesuits.

Saints’ relics ‘remind us of a world beyond our own’

CNY photo by Mary DiBiase Blaich

Father Eugene J. Carella tells Claudia McDonnell of Catholic New York that he became fascinated with saints as a small boy in Brooklyn, accompanying his great-grandmother to see shrines at their parish church. Today the Staten Island priest has a huge collection of statues and relics.

Relics “remind us of a world beyond our own” and “connect us to the communion of saints,” said the pastor of St. Adalbert’s Parish in the New York Archdiocese.

Relics  also are a reminder that saints “were people like us, struggling to live a good life,a Christ-like life, and in the end they won the battle,” he added.

Vatican ambassador to U.S. on ‘assisted ventilation’

UPDATED  7/23

By Julie Asher
Catholic News Service

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, papal nuncio to the United States, “has been placed on assisted ventilation” since experiencing complications after he underwent “a delicate lung surgery” two weeks ago, according to the apostolic nunciature in Washington.

Archbishop Sambi greets guests at a papal audience at the Vatican last year. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Archbishop Sambi greets guests at a papal audience at the Vatican last year. (CNS/Paul Haring)

The ventilation is necessary “to attempt recovery of his lung function,” the nunciature said in an announcement released in the early evening July 22.

“The apostolic nunciature and the nuncio’s family kindly ask that bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful offer sacrifices and prayers for the health of the apostolic nuncio,” it said.

A veteran Vatican diplomat, Archbishop Sambi was named as papal nuncio to the U.S. by Pope Benedict XVI in December 2005. At the time of his appointment he was the Vatican’s representative to Israel and Palestine, where he helped arrange Pope John Paul II’s historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2000.

After he arrived in the U.S. Feb. 24, 2006, he said in an interview with Catholic News Service in Washington that that he was impressed by the vitality of U.S. Catholicism, the level of weekly Mass attendance among U.S. Catholics and their generosity toward others.

As a papal diplomat “I travel a lot throughout the world,” he said. “It is difficult to find a part of the world where the charity of U.S. Catholics did not reach the poor or sick people.”

The archbishop is known for his warm and affable manner, sense of humor and being open and ready to listen to people.

During Pope Benedict’s April 2008 visit to the U.S., Archbishop Sambi accompanied the pope and during the pontiff’s stay in Washington hosted him at the nunciature, where the pope had a historic private meeting with five victims of clergy sexual abuse.

(EARLIER)

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this evening posted the following advisory from the apostolic nunciature on the condition of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican representative to the U.S.:

The Most Reverend Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio, underwent a delicate lung surgery two weeks ago. Unfortunately, there have been post-surgery complications. Currently he has been placed on assisted ventilation to attempt recovery of his lung function. The Apostolic Nunciature and the Nuncio’s family kindly ask that Bishops, priests, religious, and lay faithful offer sacrifices and prayers for the health of the Apostolic Nuncio.

English parishes get game on for London Olympics

British organizers of the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics have more than the crown, court and commons rolling up their sleeves to welcome some 10,500 athletes and twice as many journalists to the two events. They also have every Catholic parish in greater London already hard at work.

Sam Adams reports in this week’s international Catholic weekly, The Tablet, that the Catholic 2012 Committee plans on deploying a team of more than 20 chaplains for around-the-clock pastoral care throughout the games, two hospitality centers and 24-hour exposition of the Eucharist.

The church also is offering a “Joshua Camp,” where 1,200 youths will be trained to offer hospitality as volunteers for the games.

The church wants to bring special attention to some tough social issues before and during the games. It hopes to shine some light on a dark side of such large gatherings — the inevitable increase in human trafficking, especially sex workers. Adams notes that during the 2000 Athens games, sex trafficking almost doubled. The church will be offering shelter for the men, women and children who are victims.

Parishes across London are opening their parish halls and starting sports clubs for at-risk youths who might otherwise be temped to get involved in gang violence during the games. Individual Catholics and families are being encouraged to open their homes to the friends and relatives of the athletes.

This is all part of Britain’s More Than Gold project, an effort to involve Christian churches in the 2012 Olympics.

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