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Living Our Faith: The veneration of relics

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Relics of the saints continue in the 21st century to attract vast numbers of believers.

Worshippers venerate the relics of St. Anthony of Padua (a rib and piece of facial skin) at St. John Bosco Parish in Chicago June 16, 2013. The word "relic" comes from the word for remains or something left behind from a holy person. (CNS photo, Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)

Worshippers venerate the relics of St. Anthony of Padua (a rib and piece of facial skin) at St. John Bosco Parish in Chicago June 16, 2013. The word “relic” comes from the word for remains or something left behind from a holy person. (CNS photo, Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)

Visits to the tombs of saints call to mind the strengths and virtues that stood out forcefully in their earthly lives. But these visits may also highlight similar, but hidden, strengths of our own.

The origin of venerating such mementos is not medieval, but biblical. The tablets of the Ten Commandments, Elijah’s mantle, even the bones of Elisha (2 Kings 13:21), all these were relics imbued with God’s power and revered by God’s people.

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Beau Biden’s funeral Mass will be Saturday at St. Anthony’s in Wilmington

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Beau Biden, a former attorney general of Delaware and the oldest son of Vice President Joe Biden, died May 30 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda of brain cancer. He was 46.

In a statement posted on the younger Biden’s website, the family said: “It is with broken hearts that (we) announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life.”

Former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden is pictured in a 2012 photo. Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, died of brain cancer May 30, less than two years after he was diagnosed with the disease. He was 46. He  (CNS photo/Jason Reed, Reuters)

Former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden is pictured in a 2012 photo. Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, died of brain cancer May 30, less than two years after he was diagnosed with the disease. He was 46. He (CNS photo/Jason Reed, Reuters)

“The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words. We know that Beau’s spirit will live on in all of us — especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter.”

In Wilmington, Bishop Malooly said in a June 1 statement he “was saddened to hear of Beau Biden’s passing” and offered “heartfelt condolences” to the entire Biden family.

“I pray that Our Lord will give them strength during this time of sadness and that they find consolation and hope in the knowledge that Beau is in the presence of a merciful God,” the bishop said. “Beau Biden was an outstanding husband and father and a hard-working public servant who left his mark on Delaware and our nation. … He was truly a real gentleman in every way possible. May the Lord now provide him eternal life.”

On June 2, Vice President Biden’s office announced the funeral Mass for his son will be Saturday, June 6, at 10:30 a.m. in St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington.

President Obama will deliver a eulogy in honor of Beau Biden at the Mass.

On Friday, June 5, there will be viewing at St. Anthony’s between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

On Thursday, June 4, Beau Biden will lie in honor at Legislative Hall in Dover between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Joseph Robinette “Beau” Biden III was born Feb. 3, 1969, in Wilmington to Joe Biden and Neilia Hunter Biden. In 1972 his mother and infant sister, Naomi, were killed in an automobile accident, and he and his brother, Hunter, were seriously injured.

While he was a U.S. senator, Joe Biden would commute from Washington to Wilmington and back by train each day so he could serve in Congress and then be home as much as he could to spend time with his sons and attend their athletic events and other school activities. Joe Biden married Jill, an educator, in 1977.

In May 2010, Beau Biden suffered a mild stroke. In August 2013, he was admitted to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and diagnosed with brain cancer. A lesion was removed at that time; Biden had radiation and chemotherapy treatments, and the cancer was in remission.

On May 20 of this year, he was admitted to Walter Reed when doctors found his brain cancer had returned; he died there 10 days later.

A graduate of Syracuse University College of Law, he worked at the U.S. Justice Department in Philadelphia from 1995 to 2004. He was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office when in 2004 he became a partner in a Wilmington law firm. He worked there for two years before being elected Delaware attorney general.

He won on a campaign that outlined his plans to deal with sex offenders, Internet predators, senior abuse and domestic abuse, and he also was a defender of the death penalty.

Biden had joined the military in 2003 as a member of the Delaware Army National Guard and was a major in the Army’s Judge Advocate General Corps. His unit was activated to deploy to Iraq Oct. 3, 2008, and he spent a year on active duty there.

“Beau’s life was defined by service to others,” the family said in its statement. “As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star.

“As Delaware’s attorney general, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse.”

The statement said that more than his professional accomplishments, “Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. … Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.”

On behalf of the Biden family, Hallie Biden has requested that in lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a contribution in memory of Beau Biden do so to the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children at: www.beaubidenfoundation.org

 

 

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EWTN to air documentary on Father Balducelli, Jan. 29

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The good news is EWTN will broadcast “A Man for Others: The Life of Father Roberto Balducelli,” on Jan. 29.

However, the Catholic cable channel will show the documentary at 5 a.m. Thursday, so Father Roberto admirers will have to set their DVRs to record the hour-and-a-half program, if they don’t think they’ll be awake before dawn.

Fr. Roberto Balducelli

Fr. Roberto Balducelli

EWTN reportedly first scheduled the program for a Sunday afternoon, but bumped that time for a rebroadcast of the Jan. 22 March for Life.

In its schedule, EWTN describes “A Man for Others,” this way:

“The life and work of Italian immigrant priest Father Roberto Balducelli of the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, who had been an inspiration to everyone who knew him, from victims he aided during World War II to the local Italian community.”

“A Man for Others” is directed by Nina Juliano, who grew up as a parishioner of St. Anthony of Padua in Wilmington and attended Padua Academy.

Juliano included an interview with Father Balducelli in a previous piece she directed “The Essence of the Spirit,” an hourlong film that profiles a Philadelphia priest and nun, in addition to Father Balducelli.

When Juliano talked to The Dialog in 2013, she said her film centering on Father Balducelli might include an interview with Father Balducelli’s sister, Maria.

An Oblate priest for 77 years, Father Balducelli, a native of Italy, served as a priest and pastor of St. Anthony’s for 77 years. He died in August 2013 at 100.

 

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A pilgrim’s report from Catholic Youth Ministry’s cross walk

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Special to The Dialog

 WILMINGTON — On March 31, a cold and rainy Saturday, I joined 900 other young people for a three-mile walk, carrying the Pilgrimage Cross through the streets of Wilmington.  The third annual diocesan We Walk by Faith Pilgrimage, sponsored by Catholic Youth Ministry, was an opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment to our faith and to remember Jesus’ journey through the streets of Jerusalem.

When we began our journey at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Bishop Malooly reminded us of the three practices he encourages us to live out each day: to pray every day, serve others, and smile. Bishop Malooly told us that as we walked, we could show others how important our faith was as we demonstrated these practices.

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