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The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church consists of 24 particular churches and almost 3,500 dioceses and eparchies around the world. The pope, who is the Bishop of Rome (and whose titles also include Vicar of Jesus Christ and Successor of St. Peter), is the chief pastor of the church, entrusted with the universal Petrine ministry of unity and correction. The church's administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, a tiny enclave of Rome, of which the pope is head of state.
The core beliefs of Catholicism are found in the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the pope is the successor to Saint Peter, upon whom primacy was conferred by Jesus Christ. It maintains that it practises the original Christian faith, reserving infallibility, passed down by sacred tradition. The Latin Church, the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, and institutes such as mendicant orders, enclosed monastic orders and third orders reflect a variety of theological and spiritual emphases in the church.
Of its seven sacraments, the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in the Mass. The church teaches that through consecration by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated in the Catholic Church as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, honoured in dogmas and devotions. Its teaching includes Divine Mercy, sanctification through faith and evangelisation of the Gospel as well as Catholic social teaching, which emphasises voluntary support for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Catholic Church operates thousands of Catholic schools, hospitals, and orphanages around the world, and is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world. Among its other social services are numerous charitable and humanitarian organisations. (Full article...)
Mangalorean Catholics are Roman Catholics from the former South Canara district on the southwestern coast of India. They are Konkani people and speak the Konkani language. Portuguese shipping arrived in Mangalore in 1526, and Catholic missionary activities began around 1534, when Canara was placed under the ecclesiastic jurisdiction of the Bishop of Goa. Most of the ancestors of Mangalorean Catholics were Goan Catholics, who had migrated to South Canara from Goa, a state north of Canara, between 1560 and 1763 during the Goa Inquisition and the Portuguese-Maratha wars. Gradually they learned the languages of South Canara but retained Konkani as their mother tongue. In time, they referred to themselves as Mangalorean Catholics to distinguish themselves from their ancestors from Goa. The most disconsolate memory in the community's history was a 15-year captivity imposed by Tipu Sultan, the de facto ruler of Mysore, from 24 February 1784 to 4 May 1799 at Seringapatam. After the defeat of Tipu Sultan, the community resettled in South Canara, and gradually prospered under the British. The culture of Mangalorean Catholics is a blend of Canarese and Goan cultures. After migration, they adopted the local Canarese culture but retained many of their Goan customs and traditions. The Mangalorean Catholic diaspora is scattered across the globe, with emigrant communities in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf and the English-speaking world.
Father Damien de Veuster (January 3, 1840 – April 15, 1889, born Jozef de Veuster and also known as Saint Damien of Molokai) was a priest from Belgium and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a missionary religious order. Father Damien is known for his ministering of people with what was then widely known as leprosy, who had been placed under a government-sanctioned medical quarantine, on the island of Moloka'i, in the Kingdom of Hawaii. He eventually contracted the disease himself, and is widely considered a "martyr of charity". In the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions, as well as other denominations of Christianity, Damien is considered the spiritual patron for Hansen's Disease, HIV and AIDS patients as well as outcasts. In both ecumenical religious and non-sectarian communities, Damien is being adopted as the symbol of how society should treat HIV/AIDS patients in defiance of the misconceptions of the disease, much like leprosy treatment was an outgrowth of misconceptions. Several memorials have been made to Damien worldwide. The Father Damien Statue honors the priest in bronze at the United States Capitol while a full size replica stands in front of the Hawaii State Capitol. In 2005, Damien was honored with the title of De Grootste Belg, chosen as The Greatest Belgian throughout Belgian history in polling conducted by the Flemish public broadcasting service, VRT.
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Feast Day of April 23
Adalbert of Prague
: Sanctus Adalbertus
: svatý Vojtěch
: svätý Vojtech
: święty Wojciech
: Szent Adalbert
956 – 23 April 997), known in Czech Republic
by his birth name Vojtěch
), was a Bohemian missionary
and Christian saint
. He was the Bishop of Prague
and a missionary
to the Hungarians, Poles, and Prussians, who was martyred in his efforts to convert the Baltic Prussians
. He is said to be the composer of the oldest Czech hymn Hospodine, pomiluj ny
, the oldest known Polish hymn, but his authorship of it has not been confirmed. (Full article...
Patronage: Poland, Czech Republic, Archdiocese of Esztergom
See also: Saint George
||Sharing in solicitude for all the Churches, bishops exercise this episcopal office of theirs, received through episcopal consecration, in communion with and under the authority of the Supreme Pontiff. All are united in a college or body with respect to teaching the universal Church of God and governing her as shepherds.
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