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Los Angeles, Calif., Apr 24, 2014 / 04:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A fundraising campaign to create a movie about the notorious Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell has surpassed $1.2 million in donations, more than halfway to its goal.

“We have to keep the momentum going,” film producer Phelim McAleer said at an April 22 briefing at the Heritage Foundation.

The filmmaker considers Gosnell “the biggest serial killer in American history.”

In May 2013, Gosnell was convicted of three first-degree murder charges for killing babies who had been born alive after his failed abortion attempts. Testimony had indicated that Gosnell and his staff snipped the necks of more than 100 infants who survived abortion.

McAleer, his wife and co-producer Ann McElhinney, and fellow filmmaker Magdalena Segienda have asked thousands of donors to contribute $2.1 million or more by May 12 to help make a made-for-TV movie about Gosnell.

By the afternoon of April 23, the movie had more than $1,274,000 in donations from over 13,000 funders on the collaborative fundraising site IndieGogo. The fundraiser is an example of “crowdfunding,” relying on the ability to find many donors on the internet who are interested in the same kinds of projects.

If the moviemaking effort does not raise $2.1 million by midnight Pacific Time on May 12, all contributions will be returned to donors and the movie will go unfunded.

According to McAleer, the Gosnell movie project is “the most successful” crowdfunded movie hosted on IndieGogo. He believes it is presently about the fourth most successful crowdfunded movie project ever.

He also believes that the project is attracting first-time donors to a crowdfunded project. He said that the number of individual funders is almost as important as the donation amount to encourage wider media attention.

“If we have 20 to 30,000 people who have funded this movie to make it happen, it’s a ready audience, and their family and their friends, that’s difficult for them to ignore,” he said. “(Even) if people give only one dollar, it’s important for us and this project.”

National media covered the Gosnell case only after pro-life advocates launched a grassroots social media campaign to raise awareness about the gruesome case.

“We’re getting funded probably because the story was covered up,” McAleer said. “The media cover-up is a great part of the story too, it’s a great part of the media drama.”

Gosnell's clinic had not been inspected by the state of Pennsylvania since 1993. A federal drug raid in 2010 uncovered blood-stained rooms and filthy equipment.

According to reports, the clinic stored aborted human fetuses in a basement freezer in plastic food containers and bags next to staff lunches. Gosnell kept severed feet of unborn babies preserved in specimen jars, allegedly for future identification or DNA samples.

The abortion doctor was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient who died of an overdose in 2009. He is currently serving a life term in prison.

McAleer said the Gosnell case has many elements of a great story: whistleblowers who were ignored, a “passionate” prosecutor, and a “fascinating” trial.

Gosnell “was allowed to keep killing because of indifference, bureaucratic inertia, politics too,” McAleer said. He noted that Gosnell committed most of his crimes under a Republican governor, Tom Ridge, who had been elected after opposing restrictions on abortion access in Pennsylvania that could have stopped Gosnell.

“The word went down from on high that abortion facilities were not to be inspected,” McAleer charged. “They weren’t inspected. So he kept killing and he kept killing and he kept killing.”

In the months since the Gosnell case, attention has been given to the state of abortion clinic inspections throughout the country. In early April 2014, the New York Post reported that some eateries and tanning salons in New York City undergo more regular inspections than the city’s abortion clinics do. In mid-April, a new Arizona law ended special health inspection restrictions for abortion clinics, bringing them up to the same standards as hospitals and dialysis centers.

While the Gosnell movie internet fundraiser has gained support from many pro-life advocates, it also has other support. McAleer told the Heritage Foundation briefing that one of the movie’s biggest funders is someone who favors legal abortion with limits but wants the Gosnell story to gain more attention.

“We get many emails from people who have had abortions and they want this film to be made because they regret it,” he added.

The movie producers had intended to use the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, but switched to IndieGogo after problems with the administrators of Kickstarter.

According to McAleer, Kickstarter objected to the use of the phrase “thousands of babies murdered” in its description of Gosnell, saying it was against its community guidelines. The filmmaker contended that the site was selectively enforcing its community standards, citing other objectionable and obscene projects that the site hosts.

McAleer said one reason for poor media coverage of the effort is that the Gosnell case raises “too many awkward questions.”

“I’m not saying what the answers are, but they don’t want the questions asked,” he said. “That’s what I’m doing, I’m going to ask some questions.”

The website for the movie’s fundraising campaign is GosnellMovie.com.

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Rome, Italy, Apr 24, 2014 / 02:30 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On April 26, the evening before the canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, English speaking pilgrims from across the globe will gather at San Marco al Campidoglio in Rome.

The Church is one of 11 Roman parishes that will hold prayer vigils ahead of the canonizations.

In addition to the parish dedicated for English-speaking pilgrims, San Angese in Agone will have a vigil in Polish; San Anastasia in Portuguese; Santissimo Nome di Gesu all’Argentina in Spanish; San Andrea della Valle in French; and San Bartolomeo all’Isola Tiberina in Arabic.

A further six parishes will hold vigils for Italian speakers.

Each prayer vigil will include the opportunity for Confession, and will begin at 9 p.m. on April 26. They follow a 6 p.m. vigil at the Basilica of St. John Lateran being held for pilgrims from Bergamo, the home diocese of John XXIII.

San Marco al Campidoglio is located on the Piazza San Marco, and is the only parish in Rome dedicated to St. Mark the Evangelist.

It was constructed in the fourth century by Pope St. Mark, whose relics are located under the altar along with those of the martyrs Abdon and Sennen.

It was rebuilt in the fifth and eighth centuries, and was restored in the ninth after it was flooded when the Tiber burst its banks. A bell tower in the Romanesque style was added in the 12th century.

San Marco was again restored by its cardinal-priest, Pietro Barbo, who was elected Pope in 1464. Cardinal Barbo, who took the name Paul II, was a native of Venice and declared it the national church of Venetians in Rome.

It was later given a baroque interior, which was completed in the 1750s under its cardinal-priest, Angelo Maria Quirini.

San Marco retains ninth century mosaics in its apse, in which Pope Gregory IV is shown being presented to Christ by St. Mark the Evangelist. The mosaic was commissioned by Gregory IV, who was responsible for its restoration at the time.

In the mosaic, the Pope is shown with a square halo, showing that he was alive at the time of the mosaic’s production, and he is holding a church, symbolizing his care in restoring the flooded building.

San Marco is both a titular parish for cardinals, a minor basilica, and the station church for the Monday of the Third Week in Lent.

It has been a titular church since at least the 12th century, and is traditionally given to the Patriarch of Venice; several of its cardinal-priests have been elected Pope, including Albino Luciani, who in 1978 was elected as John Paul I.

Its current cardinal-priest is Marco Ce, who was Patriarch of Venice from 1979 to 2002.

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Seeing the Face of Christ in the Poor

Each Sunday, we hear St. Vincent’s name mentioned along with St. Louis and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne during the Eucharistic prayers. St. Louis we know was the King of France. We know St. Rose was a teacher and brought education to all children, especially the Native American Indians. We have heard of St. Vincent and we know he is associated with the poor and that the St. Vincent de Paul Society provides resources to those in need. St. Vincent was involved in the formation of priests and set up missionaries to go out among ordinary people and tell them about Jesus. About 150 years after his death, his missionaries came to the St. Louis area. They asked his intercession on their great mission of reaching out to the people in the wilderness of St. Louis, asking him to be our patron. 

In 1581, St. Vincent de Paul was born to poor farmers. He was the third son and learned how to tend the animals. His father thought this would be good for him, but Vincent was smart and everyone noticed. The neighbors convinced his father to send him to school and let one of his other brothers tend the animals. Therefore, Vincent went away to school. He got along very well and taught others. His teaching ability would become an asset to him and allow him many opportunities to bring others to Christ. Although, he lived almost 500 years ago, St. Vincent had a very interesting life. While making a journey by boat to a new city where he was assigned, St. Vincent was captured by pirates and sold into slavery. After years as a slave, his master decided to help him escape and chose to go with him. St. Vincent’s Christian example would lead his master to repent and return to the Catholic Church. 

The St. Vincent de Paul Chapel at the Cardinal Rigali Center

Everywhere St. Vincent lived and worked the example of his life would bring others to Christ. He was a tutor in a very rich household. He affected the parents of the children he tutored. In the 1500’s, dueling was the answer to any offense. Honor was everything. One day, the father of his students was in church praying before going off to duel. St. Vincent convinced the father that taking another’s life in a duel was cruel and God did not approve. The father amended his ways and followed the example of St. Vincent. The father and mother became St. Vincent’s greatest supporters and after the mother’s death, the father would go on to become a priest. 

This was the effect St. Vincent had on people. People would change their behaviors and amend their ways to live according to the church doctrines and follow the ways of Christ. St. Vincent had no desire to be rich or famous. Although he had influential friends, he was happy to stay working with the poor in every community. In a time when people lived extravagant lives with no regard to how the poor people lived, he would remind them of the vast differences in lifestyles. He found priests to be missionaries and formed Lady’s Charities. While volunteering for these charities, wealthier women would work alongside not so wealthy women to feed and shelter the poor. They founded hospitals and orphanages. Where there was a need, St. Vincent found ways to go to these people and meet them where they were. One day he decided to visit the prisoners who served their sentence rowing the large ships. The inhumane way in which these prisoners were treated saddened and shocked him. He appealed to the ship owners and gained permission to take care of these men. It was difficult work, but St. Vincent managed again to con-vert souls and bring more people to the Church. He said to his followers, “Love makes us see God and nothing else but God in each of those whom we love.” St. Vincent gave his life for others and taught everyone by his exam-ple. 

Each month our Pope has special intentions. He has general and missionary intentions. In September 2012, he asked God to send: “Help for the poorest Churches that Christian communities may have a growing willingness to send missionaries, priests, and lay people along with concrete resources to the poorest Churches.” On September 27, we celebrate St. Vincent de Paul’s feast day. This is an appropriate time to ask God to help the poorest. St. Vincent would approve, he once said, “By mutual support the strong will sustain the weak, and God’s work will be accomplished.” St. Vincent wants everyone to be an example of Christ in the world. To love all people as God loved us. --- Alethea Paradis, M.T.S.

 

St. Vincent de Paul's Legacy

Jesus said, “this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12) As Christians we are called by these words of Christ to love and care for one another. The greatest way to outwardly express our love for one another is through charity- by donating our time, talent, and treasures to those in need.

There are many ways to get involved in the Catholic ministries in the Archdiocese of St. Louis that help the poor,
abused, neglected, elderly, disabled and lonely in our community, and one way is through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. 

“Serving Christ’s needy is the first purpose of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.”

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul provides services in crisis intervention, housing, criminal justice ministry, transportation, and health.

Photo courtesy of svdpstlouis.org

Most parishes have a Society of St. Vincent de Paul conference, which are “chapters” of the Society. To find volunteer opportunities with your parish SVDP conference, you can call your parish office or look at the list of SVDP conferences.

To volunteer or donate to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul call 314.881.6000 or donate online.

 

Read more about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.


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Easter Sunday
4/24/2014 12:00:00 AM
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year. To have a correct idea of the Easter celebration and its Masses, we must remember that it was intimately connected with the solemn rite of baptism. The preparatory liturgical acts commenced on the eve and were continued during the night. When the number of persons to be baptized was great, the sacramental ceremonies and the Easter celebration were united. This connection was severed at a time when, the discipline having changed, even the recollection of the old traditions was lost. The greater part of the ceremonies was transferred to the morning hours of Holy Saturday. Commemorating the slaying of the true Lamb of God and the Resurrection of Christ, the corner-stone upon which faith is built, it is also the oldest feast of the Christian Church, as old as Christianity, the connecting link between the Old and New Testaments.   The connection between the Jewish Passover and the Christian feast of Easter is real and ideal. Real, since Christ died on the first Jewish Easter Day; ideal, like the relation between type and reality, because Christ's death and Resurrection had its figures and types in the Old Law, particularly in the paschal lamb, which was eaten towards evening of the 14th of Nisan. In fact, the Jewish feast was taken over into the Christian Easter celebration; the liturgy (Exsultet) sings of the passing of Israel through the Red Sea, the paschal lamb, the column of fire, etc.   The connection between the Jewish and the Christian Pasch explains the movable character of this feast. Easter has no fixed date, like Christmas, because the 15th of Nisan of the Semitic calendar was shifting from date to date on the Julian calendar. Since Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, had been slain on the very day when the Jews, in celebration of their Passover, immolated the figurative lamb, the Jewish Christians in the Orient followed the Jewish method, and commemorated the death of Christ on the 15th of Nisan and His Resurrection on the 17th of Nisan, no matter on what day of the week they fell. For this observance they claimed the authority of St. John and St. Philip. 
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First Reading - Acts 3:11-26
4/24/2014 12:00:00 AM
11 And as he held Peter and John, all the people ran to them to the porch which is called Solomon' s, greatly wondering.12 But Peter seeing, made answer to the people: Ye men of Israel, why wonder you at this? or why look you upon us, as if by our strength or power we had made this man to walk?13 The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom you indeed delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate, when he judged he should be released.14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you.15 But the author of life you killed, whom God hath raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.16 And in the faith of his name, this man, whom you have seen and known, hath his name strengthened; and the faith which is by him, hath given this perfect soundness in the sight of you all. 17 And now, brethren, I know that you did it through ignorance, as did also your rulers.18 But those things which God before had shewed by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.19 Be penitent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.20 That when the times of refreshment shall come from the presence of the Lord, and he shall send him who hath been preached unto you, Jesus Christ,21 Whom heaven indeed must receive, until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets, from the beginning of the world.22 For Moses said: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me: him you shall hear according to all things whatsoever he shall speak to you.23 And it shall be, that every soul which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.24 And all the prophets, from Samuel and afterwards, who have spoken, have told of these days. 25 You are the children of the prophets, and of the testament which God made to our fathers, saying to Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.26 To you first God, raising up his Son, hath sent him to bless you; that every one may convert himself from his wickedness. 
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