Wednesday, September 30, 2009





(VIS) - During his general audience, celebrated this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope reminisced about his recent apostolic trip to the Czech Republic, which took place from 26 to 28 September. The Holy Father gave thanks to God for his journey which "was a true pilgrimage and, at the same time, a mission into the heart of Europe" on the theme: "The love of Christ is our strength". This strength, he explained, "inspires and animates true revolutions, peaceful and liberating, and upholds us in moments of crisis, enabling us to arise once more when the freedom, so arduously regained, risks losing itself and the truth it contains". On the first stage of his journey, in the church of Our Lady Victorious where the famous statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague is venerated, Benedict XVI gave assurances that he had prayed "for all children, for parents, for the future of the family. The true 'victory' we ask of Mary today is the victory of love and life in families and in society", he said. The Pope then recalled how, in his address to the political and civil authorities and members of the diplomatic corps, he had mentioned "the indissoluble bond that must always exist between freedom and truth. We must not be afraid of truth, because it is a friend of man and his freedom. Indeed, only by sincerely seeking truth, goodness and beauty can we truly offer a future to the young people of today and to future generations". "Leaders in the fields of politics and education must know how to draw from the light of that truth which is the reflection of the eternal wisdom of the Creator. And they are called to bear witness in person to this with their own lives". The Holy Father went on: "For the communities of Central and Eastern Europe this a difficult time: to the consequences of the long winter of atheist totalitarianism are being added the harmful effects of a certain form of Western secularisation and consumerism. Hence, I encouraged everyone to draw fresh energy form the risen Lord in order to become evangelical leavening in society and commit themselves, as is already happening, to charitable work and, even more so, to education". During the two Eucharistic celebrations of his Czech trip - first in Brno then in Stara Boleslav, site of the martyrdom of St. Wenceslas - the Pope "presented a message of hope founded upon faith in Christ". Talking then about the ecumenical meeting he had attended, the Holy Father highlighted how "the struggle to proceed towards ever fuller and more visible unity among believers in Christ makes our shared commitment to rediscovering the Christian roots of Europe stronger and more effective". During the encounter with the academic community "I underlined the role of universities, ... as a vital institution for society, a guarantee of freedom and development", said Pope Benedict. "Twenty years after the so-called 'Velvet Revolution'", he concluded, "I again presented the idea of integral human formation, based on a unity of knowledge rooted in truth, in order to counter a new dictatorship, that of relativism linked to the dominance of technology. Humanistic and scientific culture cannot be separated, they are two sides of the same coin. The Czech lands themselves remind us of this, being home to great writers like Kafka and to abbot Mendel, pioneer of modern genetics".AG/VISIT CZECH REPUBLIC/... VIS 090930 (590)

BENEDICT XVI'S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR OCTOBER VATICAN CITY, 30 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for October is: "That Sunday may be lived as the day on which Christians gather to celebrate the risen Lord, participating in the Eucharist". His mission intention is: "That the entire People of God, to whom Christ entrusted the mandate to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, may eagerly assume their own missionary responsibility and consider it the highest service they can offer humanity".BXVI-PRAYER INTENTIONS/OCTOBER/... VIS 090930 (90)

INTERDEPENDENCE AMONG PEOPLES AND IMPORTANCE OF UN VATICAN CITY, 30 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, yesterday addressed the 64th UN General Assembly which, he noted, is focusing on "effective responses to global crises: strengthening multilateralism and dialogue among civilizations for international peace, security and development". Speaking English the papal nuncio highlighted how the various G8 and G20 meetings made clear "the necessity to give legitimacy to the political commitments assumed, confronting them with the thought and needs of the entire international community, so that the devised solutions would be able to reflect the points of view and the expectations of the populations of all continents". "The more the interdependence of peoples increases", the archbishop went on, "the more the necessity of the United Nations becomes evident", as an organisation "capable of responding to the obstacles and increasing complexity of relations between peoples and nations. ... The United Nations will advance toward the formation of a true family of nations to the extent that it assumes the truth of the inevitable interdependence among peoples, and to the extent that it takes up the truth about the human person, in accordance with its Charter". Referring then to "the nature of development and the role of donor and recipient countries", Archbishop Migliore noted that "true development necessarily involves an integral respect for human life which cannot be disconnected from the development of peoples. Unfortunately in some parts of the world today, development aid seems to be tied rather to the recipient countries' willingness to adopt programmes which discourage demographic growth of certain populations by methods and practices disrespectful of human dignity and rights. ...Yet such a practice is by its nature not one of reciprocity but imposition, and to predicate the decision to give development aid on the acceptance of such policies constitutes an abuse of power". The Holy See permanent observer also touched on "the equity of the international commercial system and world financial architecture", expressing the hope that "the creation of permanent sources of jobs, stability of work, the just retribution of local production and the availability of public and private credit for production and work, especially in the poorest countries" will prevent "new and more serious global crises". Turning then to the principle of the "responsibility to protect", as formulated at the 2005 World Summit, Archbishop Migliore said: "The recognition of the ... dignity of every man and woman, ensures that governments always undertake with every means at their disposal to prevent and combat crimes of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and any other crimes against humanity. Thus, recognizing their interconnected responsibility to protect, States will realise the importance of accepting the collaboration of the international community as a means of fulfilling their role of providing responsible sovereignty". The permanent observer specifically mentioned the "suffering, frustration and hardships" of the Honduran people "from the already too long political upheaval", and he called on all parties "to make every effort to find a prompt solution in view of the good of the people of Honduras". Then, with reference to the recently concluded summit on climate change, he concluded by affirming that "the protection of the environment continues to be at the forefront of multilateral activities, because it involves in cohesive form the destiny of all nations and the future of every individual man and woman".DELSS/MULTILATERALISM/MIGLIORE VIS 090930 (570)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 30 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed: - Jean-Marie Le Mene, president of the "Foundation Jerome Lejeune" of Paris, France, as an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. - As members of the presidential committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family: Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop of Milan, Italy; Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland; Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, U.S.A.; Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil; His Beatitude Fouad Twal, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins; Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, Philippines, and Archbishop Francisco Gil Hellin of Burgos, Spain. - As members of the Pontifical Council for the Family: Attila and Julia Gergel, Hungary; Jaime Armando Miguel and Ligia Maria Moniz da Fonseca, India; David E. and Mary‑Joan Osatohanmwen Osunde, Nigeria; John S. and Claire Grabowski, U.S.A.; Umberto Diaz Victoria and Isabel Botia Aponte, Colombia; Leon Botolo Magoza and Marie Valentine Kisanga Sosawe, Democratic Republic of Congo; Naser and Amira (Simaan) Shakkour, Israel; Tomas Melendo Granados and Lourdes Millan Alba, Spain, and Jose Luis and Veronica Villasenor, Mexico. - As consultors of the Pontifical Council for the Family: Msgr. Livio Melina, president of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, Rome; Msgr. Augusto Sarmiento, professor at the faculty of theology of the University of Navarra, Spain; Msgr. Brice de Malherbe, professor at the "Ecole Cathedrale" and at the faculty of Notre‑Dame of Paris, France; Fr. Edoardo Scognamiglio, O.F.M. Conv., minister provincial of the Friars Minor Conventual in Naples, Italy; Pierpaolo Donati, professor at the department of sociology of the University of Bologna, Italy; Francesco Belletti, member of the national consultancy for family pastoral care of the Italian Episcopal Conference's office for the pastoral care of the family; Stefano Zamagni, professor at the faculty of economics of the University of Bologna, Italy; Rafael Navarro‑Valls, professor of law at the "Universidad Complutense" of Madrid, Spain; Nicolas Jouve de la Barreda, professor of genetics at the "Universidad de Alcala", Spain; Salvatore Martinez, president of the "Mons. Francesco Di Vincenzo" Institute for human promotion, Italy; Jose de Jesus Hernandez Ramos, counsellor of the Doha International Institute For Family Studies and Development, Mexico; Frank and Julie Laboda, U.S.A.; Germina Namatovu Ssemogerere, consultor of the "Capacity Building Programme for Ministry of Local Government Civil Service Personnel", Uganda; Eugenia Scabini, dean of the faculty of psychology of the Sacred Heart Catholic University of Milan, Italy; Teresa Stanton Collet, professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law of Minneapolis, U.S.A.; Susanne Tiemann, professor of social law at the "Katholische Fachhochschule Nordrhein‑Westfalen" of Cologne, Germany, and Michaela Heereman Von Zuydtwyck, volunteer of the "Elternverein Nordrhein‑Westfalen" Association, Germany.NA/.../... VIS 090930 (460)


CNA reports that former Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich, a recent convert to Catholicism, is producing a forthcoming documentary about Pope John Paul II’s first return visit to Poland in June 1979. Titled “Nine Days that Change the World,” the film explores the impact of the visit on the collapse of Communism.
The film’s website says that the Polish trade union movement “languished” before June of 1979. Following the visit of Pope John Paul II and the 1980 Gdansk shipyard strike, the Solidarity movement became the first officially recognized free trade union in the Communist bloc and had over 10 million members.
Nine Days that Changed the World seeks to examine what happened during John Paul II’s nine-day visit, why millions of Poles came to see the Pope and what made John Paul II’s visit such a “liberating moment.”
The story of Pope John Paul II’s role in the overthrow of Communism, in Gingrich’s view, will show that our true humanity is found “only in a relationship with God.”
“I hope people will see the film and think about their relationship to Christ and the importance of courage,” Gingrich added, speaking to Deal Hudson of
Gingrich says he hopes the film, co-produced by his wife Callista, will be an “evangelical vehicle” to counter the “secularist moment” in U.S. culture.
In the former politician’s view, the United States is “heir to a Scottish and English Enlightenment that did not reject God, unlike the atheism of the French Revolution.”
"In the face of the secularist threat," Gingrich mused, "along with that of militant Islam, endurance is what really matters."
Telling Hudson of his conversion, Gingrich said his wife did not push her faith on him but witnessed to it through her example.
“It was clear it meant a great deal to her,” he said, telling how he went to Mass with her at Washington’s basilica and wherever they traveled.
Gingrich said his wife “created an environment where I could gradually think and evolve on the issue of faith.” Reading and conversations with friends advanced his understanding until the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States. Callista’s choir was to sing vespers for the Pope, allowing Gingrich to see him up close.
He said it was clear Pope Benedict was “having the time of his life.”
“[T]he joy in his eyes belied his reputation as an austere German,” Gingrich told Hudson. “As he walked past me, I knew I wanted to become a Catholic."
"I knew that I belonged here." "No --as a Catholic, I should put it: Here is where I belong."
Nine Days that Changed the World is scheduled to be released in Fall of 2009. The website for the film is


CNA reports that Archbishop Braulio Rodriguez of Toledo, Spain said Monday that the new law on Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy approved by the Spanish government last Saturday “has little to do with sexual health” and treats abortion “as if it were a right.”
The Archbishop of Toledo faulted the legislation for using the term “reproduction” and added that “abortion is repulsive to reason.”
The archbishop made his comments to reporters immediately following a Mass to open the new academic year at several local theology institutes and the archdiocesan seminary.
Lawmakers in Europe often fall into “a sort of contradiction,” he continued, since “on the one hand they want to broaden the individual rights of the person but on the other they work less for other rights such as the right to be born, the right to life and to right to not go hungry and to employment.”
The law will now go before Spain’s Parliament, where it probably be passed, the archbishop said. “But that does not mean it is right. Future generations will judge us for laws like this,” he warned. (SOURCE:



UCAN reports that a major Christian gathering in eastern Nepal ended in tragedy when the convention center collapsed.
At least 23 Christians died and 100 were injured when a bamboo structure housing participants collapsed in Dharan on Sept 29.
Around 1,800 Christians of the El Shaddai group had gathered for a 10-day convention that began on Sept 28. The gathering was organized by the Zion El Shaddai Church.
"A three-story makeshift bamboo structure where women and children had been housed in collapsed at 11:30 p.m.," Salesian priest Father Augusty Pulickal told UCA News.
He said that participants at the convention included people from Bhutan, and Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Siliguri in India.
Father Pulickal, who is based in Dharan and who is the parish priest of St. John Bosco Parish there, is helping with relief work with a team of youths from his church.
UCA News was unable to contact members of the El Shaddai group in Dharan.
Christians at this time of the year organize conventions to take advantage of the 15-day holiday for Dashain, a Hindu festival.
According to Protestant pastor Laxmi Prasad Neupaney, members of Protestant Churches usually gather at this time of the year to "renew their faith."
"Christians belonging to the El Shaddai community from all areas in east and west Nepal and some from Kathmandu had gathered for the important convention in Dharan," Neupaney told UCA News in Kathmandu.
"Such conventions are important as representatives from all member churches, spread across regions, gather and share their experiences and annual reports and make plans for the future," he added.
Loreto Sister Sushila Kerketta, who is also based in Dharan, said the injured have been rushed to a hospital.
"Almost all the dead were among those sleeping on the ground floor and they included women and children," said Sister Kerketta, who also helped with the rescue work.
According to media reports, at least 1,500 participants were sleeping in the bamboo structure when it collapsed. The injured are being treated at the BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan. (SOURCE:



CISA reports that Global warming has led to a dramatic increase in poverty as food shortages worsen in Ethiopia, a Catholic bishop there says.Bishop Rodrigo Meija of the Vicariate of Soddo-Hosanna said food shortages in his diocese caused by lack of rain are leading to poverty, and added that people are attributing the weather changes to global warming.Bishop Rodrigo Meija told the German-based Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that a change in weather patterns was the biggest problem facing rural food growers in the Vicariate, and revealed that farmers had noticed a change occurring in the seasons over a number of years.“The rainy season is no longer regular – so people don’t know when to start planting,” he said. Traditionally Ethiopia enjoyed a regular rainy season from mid-June to mid-September but now rains are intermittent.Bishop Meija said: “At a popular level some people say it is due to global warming – this may be true – all the seasons are disturbed.” The bishop said the problems could be a side effect of global warming, but added he had not seen any scientific data on the subject.He added: “Poverty is certainly linked [to the lack of rainfall] as these people are still basically rural, and live off their own produce which depends on rain.”The bishop explained how, working in tandem with the government, Catholic Relief Services had responded quickly to the food shortage. “At the moment we are catering for the most urgent problems – so for the moment it is under control.”However, he confided in ACN that he was uncertain what would occur over the months ahead. “It is difficult to foresee [what will happen in the future], we don’t know if the effect of global warming will get worse - there is no scientific point of reference.” (SOURCE:


Cath News reports that the Northern Territory Police Association commemorated eight Territory officers who have been killed on duty, to mark National Police Remembrance Day yesterday.
The association said many officers die before their time because of the physical and mental pressures of the job, ABC reported.
One of those was Glen Huitson, a 38 year old police sergeant who was gunned down at a roadblock outside Darwin in 1999 and later died in hospital.
The main Darwin service was held at St Mary's Catholic Church. Other services were held in metropolitan and regional centres across the country to mark the national day of commemoration. (SOURCE:


St. Jerome
Feast: September 30
Feast Day:
September 30
340-342, Stridon, on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia
420, Bethlehem, Judea
Major Shrine:
Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Rome, Italy
Patron of:
archeologists; archivists; Bible scholars; librarians; libraries; schoolchildren; students; translators

Born at Stridon, a town on the confines of Dalmatia and Pannonia, about the year 340-2; died at Bethlehem, 30 September, 420.
He went to Rome, probably about 360, where he was baptized, and became interested in ecclesiastical matters. From Rome he went to Trier, famous for its schools, and there began his theological studies. Later he went to Aquileia, and towards 373 he set out on a journey to the East. He settled first in Antioch, where he heard Apollinaris of Laodicea, one of the first exegetes of that time and not yet separated from the Church. From 374-9 Jerome led an ascetical life in the desert of Chalcis, south-west of Antioch. Ordained priest at Antioch, he went to Constantinople (380-81), where a friendship sprang up between him and St. Gregory Nazianzus. From 382 to August 385 he made another sojourn in Rome, not far from Pope Damasus. When the latter died (11 December, 384) his position became a very difficult one. His harsh criticisms had made him bitter enemies, who tried to ruin him. After a few months he was compelled to leave Rome. By way of Antioch and Alexandria he reached Bethlehem, in 386. He settled there in a monastery near a convent founded by two Roman ladies, Paula and Eustochium, who followed him to Palestine. Henceforth he led a life of asceticism and study; but even then he was troubled by controversies which will be mentioned later, one with Rufinus and the other with the Pelagians.(SOURCE:


Luke 9: 57 - 62
As they were going along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head."
To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
But he said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home."
Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009




(VIS) - At 5 p.m. today the Pope travelled by car from the apostolic nunciature in Prague, Czech Republic, to the city's Stara Ruzyne airport. There he bid farewell to the president of the Republic, and to the civil, military and religious authorities, before boarding his return flight to Rome. The Holy Father thanked the Czech people for their hospitality and for the success of his visit: "I shall treasure the memory of the moments of prayer that I was able to spend together with the bishops, priests and faithful of this country", he said. "The Church", he went on, "has been truly blessed with a remarkable array of missionaries and martyrs, as well as contemplative saints, among whom I would single out St. Agnes of Bohemia, whose canonisation just twenty years ago providentially heralded the liberation of this country from atheist oppression". Benedict XVI highlighted then how his meeting with representatives from other Christian communities "brought home to me the importance of ecumenical dialogue in this land which suffered so much from the consequences of religious division at the time of the Thirty Years' War. Much has already been achieved in healing the wounds of the past, and decisive steps have been taken along the path towards reconciliation and true unity in Christ. In building further on these solid foundations, there is an important role for the academic community to play, through its uncompromising search for truth". "I was especially delighted to meet the young people, and to encourage them to build on the best traditions of this nation's past, particularly its Christian heritage. According to a saying attributed to Franz Kafka, 'anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old'. If our eyes remain open to the beauty of God's creation and our minds to the beauty of His truth, then we may indeed hope to remain young and to build a world that reflects something of that divine beauty, so as to inspire future generations to do likewise". The departure ceremony over, Benedict XVI boarded his plane bound for Rome where he arrived at 7.40 p.m. From Ciampino airport he then travelled by car to the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo.PV-CZECH REP./DEPARTURE/PRAGUE VIS 090929 (380)

PRIESTS ARE WITNESSES OF THE POWER OF GOD VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Made public today were the contents of a video Message from the Pope to participants in an international spiritual retreat for priests at the French shrine of Ars for the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney. The preacher of the retreat, which is taking place from 27 September to 3 October, is Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna, Austria, and the theme of the spiritual exercises is: "The joy of being a priest, consecrated for the salvation of the world". "The priest", says the Holy Father in his Message, "is called to serve human beings and to give them life in God. ... He is a man of the divine Word and of all things holy and, today more than ever, he must be a man of joy and hope. To those who cannot conceive that God is pure Love, he will affirm that life is worthy to be lived and that Christ gives it its full meaning because He loves all humankind". Benedict XVI then turns to address priests who have to serve a number of parishes and who "commit themselves unreservedly to preserving sacramental life in their various communities. The Church's recognition for you all is immense", he says. "Do not lose heart but continue to pray and to make others pray that many young people may accept the call of Christ, Who always wishes to see the number of His apostles increase". The Holy Father also invites priests to consider "the extreme diversity of the ministries" they perform "in the service of the Church", and "the large number of Masses you celebrate or will celebrate, each time making Christ truly present at the altar. Think of the numerous absolutions you have given and will give, freeing sinners from their burdens. Thus you may perceive the infinite fruitfulness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Your hands and lips become, for a single instant, the hands and lips of God". "This thought", the Pope added, "should bring you to ensure harmonious relations among the clergy so as to form the priestly community as St. Peter wanted, and so build the body of Christ and consolidate you in love". "The priest is the man of the future. ... What he does in this world is part of the order of things directed towards the final Goal. Mass is the only point of union between the means and the Goal because it enables us to contemplate, under the humble appearance of the bread and the wine, the Body and Blood of Him Whom we adore in eternity". "Nothing will ever replace the ministry of priests in the heart of the Church", the Pope concluded. "You are the living witnesses of God's power at work in the weakness of human beings, consecrated for the salvation of the world, chosen by Christ Himself to be, thanks to Him, salt of the earth and light of the world".MESS/SPIRITUAL RETREAT/... VIS 090929 (510)

OPENING OF SECOND SPECIAL SYNODAL ASSEMBLY FOR AFRICA VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has announced in a communique that at 9.30 a.m. on Sunday 4 October the Holy Father will concelebrate the Eucharist with Synod Fathers in the Vatican Basilica for the opening of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. The theme of the Synod is: "The Church in Africa, at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. 'You are the salt of the earth, ... you are the light of the world'".OCL/OPENING SYNOD/... VIS 090929 (100)

THEME FOR 2010 WORLD DAY OF SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2009 (VIS) - "The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word" is the theme of the Pope's Message for the next World Day of Social Communications which is celebrated every year on 24 January, Feast of St. Francis of Sales, patron saint of journalists. A communique made public today explains that the aim of the Message is "to invite priests in particular, during this Year for Priests and in the wake of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to consider the new communications media as a possible resource for their ministry at the service of the Word. Likewise, it aims to encourage them to face the challenges arising from the new digital culture". The text continues: "The new communications media, if adequately understood and exploited, can offer priests and all pastoral care workers a wealth of data which was difficult to access before, and facilitate forms of collaboration and increased communion that were previously unthinkable". The communique concludes by noting that "if wisely used, with the help of experts in technology and the communications culture, the new media can become - for priests and for all pastoral care workers - a valid and effective instrument for authentic and profound evangelisation and communion".CON-CS/THEME COMMUNICATIONS DAY/... VIS 090929 (230)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Constancio Miranda Weckmann of Atlacomulco, Mexico, as metropolitan archbishop of Chihuahua (area 73,956, population 1,351,777, Catholics 1,205,174, priests 136, permanent deacons 10, religious 226), Mexico. The archbishop-elect was born in Las Cruces, Mexico in 1952, he was ordained a priest in 1977 and consecrated a bishop in 1998. He succeeds Archbishop Jose Fernandez Arteaga, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.NER:RE/.../MIRANDA:FERNANDEZ VIS 090929 (90)


CISA reports that the second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops announces a theme that touches the core of Africa’s contemporary socio-political, cultural, religious, and economic predicament: reconciliation, justice, and peace. The Synod’s focus represents a kairos for the church and for the continent (cf. Instrumentum Laboris, no. 146). Wherever we look, Africa yearns for reconciliation, justice, and peace – from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Somalia, from the war-ravaged Sudan’s Darfur region to the combustible Niger-Delta region in Nigeria. The cry for reconciliation echoes from divided communities; the demand for justice rises from millions of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and the longing for peace flows in the tears of millions of victims of war and conflict in Africa. These collective cries and echoes from the continent set the framework within which to consider the theme of the synod.The question can be asked: in what ways does the Synod’s theme concern communities and institutes of consecrated persons in Africa? In responding to this question we need to be aware of a longstanding prejudice that religious live on the margins of real life in Africa. Not only does religious life insulate its members, it also shelters them from the scorching heat of injustice and the harsh realities of division and strife. This is only a prejudice. In truth, religious life places consecrated persons at the heart of God’s actions in the world. Just like the church, the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of millions of African peoples are also those of institutes of consecrated persons (see Gaudium et spes, no. 1). Viewed from this perspective, the second African Synod represents yet another invitation for religious and their communities to engage more intensely in God’s project of re-creating the earth and building a reconciled, just, and peaceful African continent.This brief reflection for religious institutes in Africa presupposes three basic principles. First, the mission of reconciliation, justice, and peace are constitutive of the life, teaching, and ministry of Jesus Christ (see Luke 4:14-21). Thus the responsibility of religious in Africa – and, indeed, all Christians – to participate in themission announced by the African Synod stems from the invitation to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ (cf. IL, no. 40). Secondly, it is important to consider religious life within the context of the community called church. Religious communities inAfrica as in elsewhere do not form a separate church. As Lumen Gentium demonstrates clearly, religious form an integral part of the People of God. Consequently, we can reasonably expect that whatever poses challenges to the church in Africa will also finddeep resonances within religious communities. A third and final principle is the principle of sacramentality: the mission of reconciliation, justice, and peace embodies first and foremost a way of life rather than ideologies to be foisted on other people.The church and religious communities in Africa bear responsibility for practicing these virtues as a prerequisite for preaching them.This brief article addresses a simple question: considering the theme of the second African Synod, what are some challenges posed to members of religious institutes for their life and mission in Africa?As indicated above, reconciliation is a lived virtue. Examples abound of how Africa has been torn asunder by tribalism and ethnicity. Not only does this negative process destroy the lives of millions of Africans; it also retards the socio-economic and political development of the continent. In this context, the witness demanded of religious is to model a reconciled community for the rest of the continent. Like the church, religious institutes “must become more and more a reconciled community, a place where reconciliation is proclaimed to all people of good will” (Ibid, Preface). To take but one example, during the post-election violence in Kenya in early 2008, the veil of tranquility covering religious life was torn to shreds by tribal and ethnic sentiments as sisters turned against sisters and brothers against brothers. Professing the same vows and promoting the same charism did not shield some religious communities from theatrocious strife and divisive sentiments that assailed the rest of the Kenyan society. What happened in Kenya gives an indication of the larger continental profile. On the eve of the second African Synod, religious institutes in Africa face the pertinent challenge of how to overcome the scourge of tribalism and ethnicity and thus become a symbol or a sacrament of a reconciled community, a beacon for the rest of Africa. This challenge embodies a call to religious institutes and their members to assume more concretely the “ministry of reconciliation,” in deeds, rather than by words (Ibid, no. 42). It implies setting an example for the rest of the church and Africa “through the witness of their lives”(Ibid). As the synod’s Instrumentum Laboris rightly asserts, peace, like reconciliation, “is primarily born from within, in the interior of individuals and communities” (Ibid, no. 47).The principle that those who preach justice and peace must first be seen to be just and peaceful holds true for religious as it does for the rest of the church. There is no dearth of situations in Africa crying out for justice and peace. Whether in the oil-rich and impoverished Niger-Delta region in Nigeria or the war zones of Darfur in Sudan, the longing for justice and peace remains ineluctable. Yet in turning our attention to these cases of flagrant violation of justice and abuses of human rights, we risk overlooking the challenges of justice and peace for religious communities as well.When it comes to justice, one issue that the church in Africa and, therefore, religious communities continue to struggle with concerns the dignity of women. Across the continent of Africa thousands of religious women proclaim the reign of God in concrete acts of charity and compassion. Yet the question remains: to what extent is the dignity of these consecrated women honored, recognized, and celebrated in church and in society? Instrumentum Laboris candidly admits that “women and the laity in general are not fully integrated in the Church’s structures of responsibility and the planning of her pastoral programmes” (no. 20, cf. no. 30); “women continue to be subjected to many forms of injustice. . . . women are oftentimes given an inferior role” (nos. 59-61; cf. no. 117). Beyond admissions, the church faces the challenge of translating expressions of concern into deeds of justice, fairness, and equality. This assertion invites religious institutes to be at the forefront of the mission of promoting justice, dignity, and peace for African women in church and in society. Since it is impossible to give what one does not have, consecrated women and men face the challenge of practicing justice, equality, and fairness within their institutes and communities as living witnesses to the church and the African society.A frequently repeated nomenclature for the church in the documents of the African Synod is “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”. Surprisingly little or no mention is made of the question of the integrity of creation in Instrumentum Laboris. This is a disturbing omission. In the present context of debates about global climate change, the church and religious communities cannot enjoy the luxury of silence, apathy, and indifference. Globalization has placed Africa on the receiving end of the depletion of the ozone layer, disastrous change of weather patterns, and unregulated carbon emissions. If the church and religious communities remain silent or indifferent, as it seems the case in Instrumentum Laboris, even the stones of the earth would cry out! The mission of reconciliation, justice, and peace “extends itself to all creation” (Ibid, Preface). In today’s globalised world, religious communities in Africa face the challenge of how to preach and internalized principles of eco-justice, harmony with the created world, and honoring the integrity of creation. In keeping with the principles articulated above, honoring the integrity of creation requires adopting concrete steps and means with regard to how religious consume and replenish the goods of the earth. To date, little reflection exists on the theme of the integrity of creation and the challenges it poses for the life and mission of religious institutes in Africa. The occasion of the second African Synod offers an opportune time to initiate this reflection.On the whole, the challenges facing religious communities and institutes in Africa on the eve of the Synod contain important implications for the formation of consecrated women and men. How do religious communities form their members to live thesevalues of reconciliation, justice, and peace? (cf. IL, no. 54). For consecrated women and men in Africa, an authentic participation in the Synod’s theme requires a radical reevaluation of their formation programmes (cf. Ibid, nos. 126-127). If taken seriously, this process of reevaluation could signal a significant shift away from the perception of religious life as insulation from serious issues facing the world to religious life as a mission to immerse and engage fully in the challenges of today’s globalised world. Of these challenges, the quest for reconciliation, justice, and peace generates myriad priorities for action.Some questions for reflection: 1) Several indigenous African communities practice different forms of reconciliation: how can religious institutes in Africa adopt and adapt some of these practices in order to live as reconciled communities?2) What are some indicators of a lack of justice and respect for human dignity within religious institutes in Africa and what concrete steps can be taken to practice greater justice and promote dignity, equality, and peace within religious communities?What concrete steps do religious communities take to use more renewable forms of energy and practice more energy-efficient ways of living?[Published with permission of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, USG/UISG Secretariat, Rome. Web:]



CNA reports that the Pastoral Council of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Brazil, issued a statement Friday expressing its rejection of various measures moving through the Brazilian Congress that would legalize electronic bingo and another that would eliminate the one year separation period required before spouses could get a divorce.
The bishops said the approval of such measures would bring “serious consequences for Brazilian society.”
The legalization of electronic bingo and gambling, they argued, “would make it possible for an evil that was already overcome to return, endangering the risk and well-being of families, subjecting so many people to exploitation and turning them into dependents. Even graver still, as was said in the debates in Congress, is the possibility that a new field would be opened for the practice of a wide range of crimes, which include money laundering.”
The bishops said the argument that casinos would create 300,000 new jobs “does not legitimize the harmful practice of these games. In recent years the number of jobs has increased in the country without the need for policies that promote moral degradation, such as electronic bingo or gambling.”
Instantaneous divorce
Referring to the proposal to eliminate the one year waiting period required for spouses seeking a divorce, the bishops said this time period required “by the current Constitution at least allows for the possibility that spouses in difficulties have more time to reflect on the consequences of separation for themselves, their children and society.”
The proposal to hurry along separation “without allowing time for reflection, the help of friends, family members and counselors in defense of the bond that unites them, constitutes a banalization of the institution of marriage, with grave and painful consequences for all of society,” they added.
“The bishops exhorted the representatives of the people to a profound reflection about the proposals, and they expressed their support of lawmakers who oppose them,” the statement indicated.
The Brazilian prelates brought their statement to a close by calling on all people of good will, especially Christian leaders, to voice their disagreement to the representatives and to explicitly ask them to express their opposition. (SOURCE:



CNA reports that the Archdiocese of Madrid issued a statement Friday explaining that laicized or married priests cannot exercise their ministry. The clarification was made in response to some media reports that said married priests would be celebrating Mass.
“The Church expressly prohibits laicized priests or priests who have left and married, thus abandoning their priestly commitments, from exercising the priestly ministry, and therefore, from celebrating Mass as well as the other sacraments,” the statement indicated.
When the Archdiocese of Madrid verifies that such a situation has occurred, the clarification said, “ecclesial authorities immediately communicate this prohibition to person in question.”
The archdiocese also underscored that it has no knowledge of any priest in such a state who is celebrating the sacraments at any parish or place of worship within the archdiocese.
Lastly, the Archdiocese of Madrid expressed its desire that “this Year for Priests would stir up in every priest a generous and renewed commitment to the ideals of total donation to Christ and the Church, an essential condition for responsible exercise of the priestly ministry.” (SOURCE:



Cath News reports that Jenny Bill, a counsellor, says she was asked to remove two crosses from around her neck while working at Centacare Fraser Coast in Queensland and her refusal to comply led to her being ignored at work and feeling ridiculed.
"This is a shameful thing, especially for a Christian organisation," Ms Bill was cited as saying by the Fraser Coast Chronicle.
Centacare executive director Peter Selwood said the organisation had to strike the right balance between being a church organisation and government funded and had to be careful about being overly church focused.
But he acknowledged that it was "certainly inappropriate that Jenny was told to remove her crosses."
"I refused to take my crosses off because this was blatant religious discrimination, let alone that wearing a cross in 2009 is also considered fashionable," Ms Bill said.
Ms Bill said she was told within the first few days of employment by one of her superiors, that she was ordered by the organisation's service director, Jo Chorny, to remove her crosses. In a later meeting with Ms Chorny, she was made to understand that if the crossed weren't removed "I would be risking losing out on future employment there."
When she made a formal complaint, she says she was "subject to being ignored at work, given seething looks and the silent treatment and overheard conversations among staff loyal to senior management that left me feeling ridiculed, very uncomfortable and intimidated."
She has since left the organisation.
Ms Chorny has sent Ms Bill a written apology for any "unintended consequences" and the order coming off as "intimidatory in nature" or as "reflective of Centacare Community Support Services' policy."
But Ms Bill said the letter did not contain an apology for asking her to take off the crosses. (SOURCE:


UCAN reports that Hue archdiocesan leaders have expressed concern over the way authorities have reacted to Catholics who were trying to prevent the construction of a wall around a former Church-run school building.

Auxiliary Bishop Hong speaking withlocal Catholics in Loan Ly church on Sept. 2.
On Sept. 22, Archbishop Etienne Nguyen Nhu The of Hue and four priests met four officials from Thua Thien-Hue province's bureau for religious affairs at their headquarters in Hue, according to a report on the archdiocesan website.
One of the priests was Father Paul Ngo Thanh Son, pastor of Loan Ly church located near the Lang Co elementary school, the building at the heart of the conflict.
Archbishop The, 73, reportedly "expressed the great concern of local Catholics" for actions taken by provincial authorities to resolve a government-Church dispute over the building.
On Sept. 14, workers, under orders from government authorities, started building a brick wall around the school. When some 400 parishioners tried to stop the construction, police and security officers hit them severely and dragged them out of the school compound.
On that day and the next, police also blocked the road outside the church and other paths leading to the school.
The communist government had confiscated the building in 1975 and used it as an elementary school on weekdays. However, it allowed the parish to continue teaching catechism there to children on Sundays.
On Sept. 9 and 12, local officials asked the parish to stop catechism classes. They prevented children from attending classes on Sept. 13, when the parish started a new catechism course.
In the report on the archdiocesan website,, Archbishop The noted that the Church had for years tried to "engage in dialogue with local authorities to resolve religious issues."
He condemned government authorities for "not having any dialogue with the local Church and using brute force on parishioners." Such violence "seriously damages religious sentiments and local Catholics' belief in the government," he charged.
During his one-hour meeting with officials, Archbishop The said such action by local authorities "shows that the government is changing its policy on religions, especially Catholicism." Duong Viet Hong, head of the bureau, promised to report what Archbishop The said to his superiors, according to the archdiocesan website.

Father Son stands in front of the wallthat now surrounds the school building
On Sept. 24 Auxiliary Bishop Francis Xavier Le Van Hong of Hue and three priests visited and consoled Catholics at Loan Ly church.
Bishop Hong praised parishioners for bravely witnessing to the truth in the face of force and for reacting peacefully. He urged them to trust in God's providence. "As citizens, we have the right to fight for social justice and truth. As God's children we must also forgive people, even our enemies," Bishop Hong said. They then sang Saint Francis of Assisi's prayer for peace.
In his Sept. 23 message to Catholics in his archdiocese, Archbishop The said the Church shares in the sufferings of Loan Ly parishioners. He urged local Catholics to pray for the parish, and for justice and truth to be respected in the country. His message was read during weekend Masses in the archdiocese's 78 parishes.
Father Son told UCA News that his parishioners are still traumatized by the incident. Fifty people, mostly women and children, were severely hurt, he said.
The parish has around 1,000 Catholics, most of whom are fisher folk. Their forebears, who came from Quang Tri province in 1954, constructed the school building for catechism and basic education in 1956, according to the priest.
He said that on Sept. 25, provincial authorities met local Church leaders at the Archbishop's House, but details of the meeting have not been released.
He added that the parish has petitioned the government for ownership of a 10,000 square-meter plot of land near the church, on which Catholics have used to plant trees although without proper title deeds. He fears that the government wants to confiscate the plot of land and use it for a holiday resort. (SOURCE:


St. Michael, St. Gabriel, & St. Raphael
Feast: September 29
Feast Day:
September 29

The Sacred Scriptures have revealed the proper names of only three Angels, all of whom belong to the Choir of the Archangels. The names are well known to all, namely: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael. Ancient apocryphal literature of the Old Testament contains several other names of Archangels in addition to the three just mentioned. Like the sources themselves, these other names are spurious. Names like Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jeremiel are not found in the canonical books of Sacred Scripture, but in the apocryphal book of Enoch, fourth book of Esdras, and in rabbinical literature. The Church does not permit proper names of Angels that are not found in the canonical books of the Bible. All such names that were taken from apocryphal writings were rejected under Pope Zachary, in 745. There must have been danger of serious abuses in this regard during that century, because a similar step was taken in a synod held at Aix-la-Chapelle in 789.

Michael from the Hebrew Mikael, meaning: ? His name is a battle cry; both shield and weapon in the struggle, and an eternal trophy of victory. The popularity of this name in the Old Testament appears from the fact that no less than ten persons bearing the name of Michael are mentioned in the sacred books, like: "Sthur the son of Michael." A similar name is found also in the Accadian language with a meaning identical to that of Michael; the Accadian equivalent is
As the proper name of one of the great Archangels, the word Michael appears for the first time in the book of the prophet Daniel, where he is called: "Michael, one of the chief princes," and again: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people."

The name Gabriel seems to be composed of the Hebrew words, : man, and <'el>: God. It means, therefore, , or,
Practically all the missions and manifestations of this Archangel are closely connected with the coming of the Messias. The most accurate prophecy regarding the time of the coming of Christ was made by Saint Gabriel through the prophet Daniel.
Immediately before the coming of Christ we meet the Archangel Gabriel in the temple of Jerusalem, announcing to Zachary the birth of a son, John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ: "I am Gabriel, who stand before God, and am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings."


John 1: 47 - 51
Jesus saw Nathan'a-el coming to him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"
Nathan'a-el said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."
Nathan'a-el answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these."
And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."

Monday, September 28, 2009



VIS) - This afternoon at the archbishop's palace in Prague the Holy Father met with members of the Ecumenical Council of Churches of the Czech Republic. The Holy Father arrived at 5.15 p.m. to be greeted by Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague. Having then been welcomed by the president of the ecumenical council, Benedict XVI pronounced his address. "It is hard to believe that only two decades have passed since the collapse of former regimes gave way to a difficult but productive transition towards more participatory political structures", said the Pope. "During this period, Christians joined together with others of good will in helping to rebuild a just political order, and they continue to engage in dialogue today in order to pave new ways towards mutual understanding, co-operation for peace and the advancement of the common good. "Nevertheless", he added, "attempts to marginalize the influence of Christianity upon public life - sometimes under the pretext that its teachings are detrimental to the wellbeing of society - are emerging in new forms. ... The artificial separation of the Gospel from intellectual and public life should prompt us to engage in a mutual 'self-critique of modernity' and 'self-critique of modern Christianity', specifically with regard to the hope each of them can offer mankind ... in a period marked by proliferating world views". He went on: "Christianity has much to offer on the practical and ethical level". Yet "God offers a deeper reality which is nonetheless inseparable from the 'economy' of charity at work in this world: He offers salvation". The term salvation "is replete with connotations", the Pope explained, "yet it expresses something fundamental and universal about the human yearning for wellbeing and wholeness. ... It is the central truth of the Gospel and the goal to which every effort of evangelisation and pastoral care is directed. And it is the criterion to which Christians constantly redirect their focus as they endeavour to heal the wounds of past divisions". "The Church's proclamation of salvation in Christ Jesus is ever ancient and ever new. ... As Europe listens to the story of Christianity, she hears her own. Her notions of justice, freedom and social responsibility, together with the cultural and legal institutions established to preserve these ideas and hand them on to future generations, are shaped by her Christian inheritance. Indeed, her memory of the past animates her aspirations for the future". Pope Benedict went on to mention Sts. Adalbert and Agnes who spread the Gospel in "the conviction that Christians should not cower in fear of the world but rather confidently share the treasury of truths entrusted to them. Likewise Christians today, opening themselves to present realities and affirming all that is good in society, must have the courage to invite men and women to the radical conversion that ensues upon an encounter with Christ and ushers in a new life of grace. "From this perspective", he added, "we understand more clearly why Christians are obliged to join others in reminding Europe of her roots. It is not because these roots have long since withered. On the contrary! It is because they continue - in subtle but nonetheless fruitful ways - to supply the continent with the spiritual and moral sustenance that allows her to enter into meaningful dialogue with people from other cultures and religions. Precisely because the Gospel is not an ideology, it does not presume to lock evolving socio-political realities into rigid schemas. Rather, it transcends the vicissitudes of this world and casts new light on the dignity of the human person in every age". "Let us ask the Lord", the Pope concluded, "to implant within us a spirit of courage to share the timeless saving truths which have shaped, and will continue to shape, the social and cultural progress of this continent". At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father travelled to Prague Castle to meet with members of the academic community.PV-CZECH REP./ECUMENISM/PRAGUE VIS 090928 (680)

YEARNING FOR FREEDOM AND TRUTH CAN NEVER BE ELIMINATED VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2009 (VIS) - In Prague Castle at 6 p.m. today, the Pope met with rectors of Czech universities, staff and student representatives, and members of State and Church cultural institutions. "While some argue that the questions raised by religion, faith and ethics have no place within the purview of collective reason", said the Pope in his address, "that view is by no means axiomatic. The freedom that underlies the exercise of reason - be it in a university or in the Church - has a purpose: it is directed to the pursuit of truth, and as such gives expression to a tenet of Christianity which in fact gave rise to the university". "The great formative tradition, open to the transcendent, which stands at the base of universities across Europe, was in this land, and others, systematically subverted by the reductive ideology of materialism, the repression of religion and the suppression of the human spirit. In 1989, however, the world witnessed in dramatic ways the overthrow of a failed totalitarian ideology and the triumph of the human spirit", said Benedict XVI. He highlighted how "the yearning for freedom and truth is inalienably part of our common humanity. It can never be eliminated; and, as history has shown, it is denied at humanity's own peril. It is to this yearning that religious faith, the various arts, philosophy, theology and other scientific disciplines, each with its own method, seek to respond, both on the level of disciplined reflection and on the level of a sound praxis". Universities are responsible "for enlightening the minds and hearts of the young men and women of today" said the Pope, indicating that this task is "not merely the accumulation of knowledge or skills, but 'paideia', human formation in the treasures of an intellectual tradition directed to a virtuous life". "The idea of an integrated education, based on the unity of knowledge grounded in truth, must be regained", he insisted. "With the massive growth in information and technology there comes the temptation to detach reason from the pursuit of truth. ... The relativism that ensues provides a dense camouflage behind which new threats to the autonomy of academic institutions can lurk. "While the period of interference from political totalitarianism has passed", he added, "is it not the case that frequently, across the globe, the exercise of reason and academic research are - subtly and not so subtly - constrained to bow to the pressures of ideological interest groups and the lure of short-term utilitarian or pragmatic goals?" "The skills of analysis and those required to generate a hypothesis, combined with the prudent art of discernment, offer an effective antidote to the attitudes of self-absorption, disengagement and even alienation which are sometimes found in our prosperous societies, and which can particularly affect the young". "Not only do the proponents of this positivistic exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason negate what is one of the most profound convictions of religious believers, they also thwart the very dialogue of cultures which they themselves propose. An understanding of reason that is deaf to the divine and which relegates religions into the realm of subcultures, is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures that our world so urgently needs". "This confidence in the human ability to seek truth, to find truth and to live by the truth led to the foundation of the great European universities. Surely we must reaffirm this today in order to bring courage to the intellectual forces necessary for the development of a future of authentic human flourishing, a future truly worthy of man", the Holy Father concluded. At the end of his meeting with scholars, the Pope travelled to the apostolic nunciature where he spent the night.PV-CZECH REP./ACADEMIC WORLD/PRAGUE VIS 090928 (640)

ST. WENCESLAS PREFERRED SANCTITY TO WORLDLY POWER VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At 8.15 a.m. today the Pope left the apostolic nunciature in Prague and travelled 35 kilometres by car to the church of St. Wenceslas at Stara Boleslav. The church, which stands on the site of the saint's martyrdom, is considered to be the symbolic site of the birth of the Czech nation and is the focus of a national pilgrimage which takes place every year on 28 September. Wenceslas was born around the year 907 and ascended the throne in 925. According to tradition he was a highly cultured and religious king, a man of justice and a benefactor to the poor. He was killed for political reasons by his brother Boleslav in 935 and in 938 his remains were translated to Prague cathedral. Ever since the tenth century he has been venerated as a saint. Arriving at the church the Holy Father was greeted by the religious and civil authorities. Having paused in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, he descended to the crypt of the Mausoleum of the Czech Nation where the relics of the saint are exposed. Before leaving the building the Pope greeted a group of twenty elderly priests who reside in a house belonging to the episcopal conference. He then travelled by popemobile to the nearby esplanade of Melnik where he celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of St. Wenceslas, feast day of the Czech Republic. In his homily Benedict XVI pointed out that St. Wenceslas "is a model of holiness for all people, especially the leaders of communities and peoples. Yet we ask ourselves: in our day, is holiness still relevant? ... Do we not place more value today on worldly success and glory? Yet how long does earthly success last, and what value does it have? "The last century - as this land of yours can bear witness - saw the fall of a number of powerful figures who had apparently risen to almost unattainable heights", he added. "Suddenly they found themselves stripped of their power. Those who denied and continue to deny God, and in consequence have no respect for man, appear to have a comfortable life and to be materially successful. Yet one need only scratch the surface to realize how sad and unfulfilled these people are. "Only those who maintain in their hearts a holy 'fear of God' can also put their trust in man and spend their lives building a more just and fraternal world. Today there is a need for believers with credibility, who are ready to spread in every area of society the Christian principles and ideals by which their action is inspired. This is holiness, the universal vocation of all the baptised, which motivates people to carry out their duty with fidelity and courage, looking not to their own selfish interests but to the common good, seeking God's will at every moment". Quoting then from today's Gospel in which Christ pronounces the words: "What will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?" the Pope reiterated the fact that "the true value of human life is measured not merely in terms of material goods and transient interests, because it is not material goods that quench the profound thirst for meaning and happiness in the heart of every person. This is why Jesus does not hesitate to propose to His disciples the 'narrow' path of holiness". "The testimony of the saints assures us that it is possible" to follow this path, the Holy Father went on. "Their example encourages those who call themselves Christian to be credible, that is, consistent with the principles and the faith that they profess. It is not enough to appear good and honest: one must truly be so". "This is the lesson we can learn from St. Wenceslas, who had the courage to prefer the kingdom of heaven to the enticement of worldly power", the Holy Father concluded.PV-CZECH REP./MASS/MELNIK VIS 090928 (670)

POPE TELLS YOUNG PEOPLE: YOU ARE THE HOPE OF THE CHURCH VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At the end of today's Eucharistic celebration the Holy Father addressed a Message to the 10,000 young pilgrims gathered on the esplanade of Melnik near the site of St. Wenceslas' martyrdom. Many of them had spent the night in tents to attend the Mass presided by Benedict XVI. "Being with you makes the Pope feel young!" the Holy Father told the pilgrims, thanking them for their "enthusiasm" and "generosity". He went on: "In every young person there is an aspiration towards happiness, sometimes tinged with anxiety: an aspiration that is often exploited, however, by present-day consumerist society in false and alienating ways. Instead, that longing for happiness must be taken seriously, it demands a true and comprehensive response. At your age, the first major choices are made, choices that can set your lives on a particular course, for better or worse". Benedict XVI reminded his audience of "the experience of St. Augustine, who said that the heart of every person is restless until it finds what it truly seeks. He discovered that Jesus Christ alone is the answer that can satisfy his and every person's desire for a life of happiness, filled with meaning and value. "As he did with Augustine", the Pope added, "so the Lord comes to meet each one of you. He knocks at the door of your freedom and asks to be welcomed as a friend. He wants to make you happy, to fill you with humanity and dignity. The Christian faith is this: encounter with Christ, the living Person Who gives life a new horizon and thereby a definitive direction". "The Lord calls each of us by name, and entrusts to us a specific mission in the Church and in society". He "constantly renews His invitation to you to be His disciples and His witnesses. Many of you He calls to marriage, and the preparation for this Sacrament constitutes a real vocational journey. Consider seriously the divine call to raise a Christian family, and let your youth be the time in which to build your future with a sense of responsibility. Society needs Christian families, saintly families!" Pope Benedict continued his Message: "And if the Lord is calling you to follow Him in the ministerial priesthood or in the consecrated life, do not hesitate to respond to His invitation. In particular, in this Year for Priests, I appeal to you, young men. ... The Church in every country, including this one, needs many holy priests and also persons fully consecrated to the service of Christ, Hope of the world. "Hope! This word, to which I often return, sits well with youth. You, my dear young people, are the hope of the Church! She expects you to become messengers of hope". The Holy Father then called on his youthful listeners to participate in the next World Youth Day, due to take place in the Spanish capital city of Madrid in August 2011, and he asked them "to live your faith with joy and enthusiasm; to grow in unity among yourselves and with Christ; to pray and to be diligent in frequenting the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession". Having then greeted the young people in various languages, Benedict XVI returned to Prague by car, where he dined at the archbishop's palace with bishops of the Czech Republic.PV-REP./MESSAGE YOUTH/MELNIK VIS 090928 (570)



CNA reports that in a speech delivered today by his representative at the Becket Fund conference, “Voices: The Lay State and Religious Liberty” in Mexico City, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver addressed the necessity of lay people living their faith conscientiously and truthfully in the public square. “Politics is the arena where the struggle between truth and lies, justice and injustice, takes place,” he stated.
Due to obligations in Denver, the archbishop was unable to attend the conference, but Luis Soto of the Office of Hispanic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Denver presented the archbishop’s remarks and acted as his representative.
The archbishop's remarks began by noting three important observations regarding the interplay of religious liberty and politics, garnered from the two terms he served as a Commissioner with the U. S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
“First, most countries claim to respect religious freedom. Second, many countries lie. They actually restrict religious freedom, and many other nations don’t see it as an important issue. And third, unless ordinary lay citizens work vigorously and without apologies in public life to protect their religious liberty, they lose it.”
Thus, Soto continued reading, “Catholics have a duty to bring their Catholic beliefs to bear on every social, economic and political problem facing their country. That’s not just a privilege. It’s not just a right. It’s a demand of the Gospel.”
And conveying the gospel message quickly loses status as a privilege and a right if it is not vigorously defended by the very people who are charged with that duty, he added.
“Cardinal Rivera, the Knights of Columbus and the Becket Fund all know this simple fact: Politics is the arena where the struggle between truth and lies, justice and injustice, takes place. No country’s political life can be honest -- and no government can serve the needs of its people -- unless it welcomes the deepest convictions of its citizens into public debate,” Archbishop Chaput stated.
The archbishop's speech then noted that the evangelizing nature of the faith does not void Christians' obligation to treat others with charity, justice, and prudence. “In a democracy, the best gift any of us can give to our country is the public witness of our convictions… If we withhold our religious and moral beliefs from our nation’s political debates because of a misguided sense of good manners, we are not being ‘polite.’ On the contrary: We’re stealing from the public conversation.”
Thus, the laity cannot simply sit back and expect the clergy and Church to defend their rights and privileges, or to craft a society in which religious freedom is permitted or encouraged. They must form themselves and their leaders in the faith so that they can faithfully embody the teachings of the Church.
Having recognized this important aspect of public life and private convictions, Soto turned to three “simple points” the archbishop addressed: the nature of the state; the nature of our Christian faith; and the nature of the lay vocation.
Christians, the archbishop wrote, “owe civil rulers their respect and obedience in all things that do not gravely violate the moral law.” But, he also pointed out, “the state is not god. It’s not immortal. It’s not infallible.”
The state, he explained, is necessary for the regulation of earthly life, but it must always be cautious of not infringing upon the rights inherent to each individual human being.
In talking about the nature of our Christian faith, the archbishop emphasized that a genuine Catholic faith is “always personal but never private.” Catholics believe that each human life has a unique but interrelated meaning, and that “we were made by God to receive love ourselves, and to show love to others.”
“This means our faith has social as well as personal implications. And those social implications include the civil dimension of our shared life; in other words, the content of our politics,” the archbishop said in his talk.
Returning to the topic of the role of the laity, the archbishop’s remarks focused on a comment made by Pope Benedict XVI, who told a convention in Rome that the Church needs a change in mindset, particularly concerning laypeople.
Summarizing the Pope's comments, Archbishop Chaput explained in his talk that the laity “must no longer be viewed as ‘collaborators’ of the clergy, but truly recognized as ‘co-responsible’ for the Church’s being and action.” The laity, he said, “have exactly the same dignity as clergy and religious…They’re not second-class members of the Body of Christ.” They are charged with changing the world in the name of Jesus Christ, a change that can only be affected through a mature, intelligent, and faithful witness to Christ in every aspect of lay life.
Finally, the archbishop urged lay people to “never be embarrassed by your baptism. Never be afraid of the consequences of your faith. Take pride in your Catholic identity for the blessing and mandate it is. Act on it. Share it with others. We need to find in it once again the confidence to live and preach our faith – in everything we do -- without apologies or excuses. And if we do that, then we won’t need to ask what the ‘new evangelization’ looks like. We’ll know – because we’ll be incarnating it in our lives.” (SOURCE:



CNA reports that the Spanish daily La Razon reported this week that a relic of the Holy Cross was stolen from the Benedictine Monastery of the Valley of the Fallen, which had been in possession of the precious relic since 1960.
The paper reported the incident occurred on September 15.
The day before, which was the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Benedictine monks exposed the reliquary that contains the relic for veneration, as has been the custom for decades. The relic of the true Cross was given as a gift to the monks by Pope John XXIII in 1960.
As the monks were returning the liturgical vestments to the sacristy after Mass on September 15, they noticed that the reliquary had been opened and that the relic was no longer inside. The thief had apparently donned one of the monk’s habits in order to sneak the relic out of the monastery.
La Razon said the monks were upset at the discovery and are hoping the police will be able to recover the relic.
The Spanish daily recalled that “architect and archeologist Charles Rohault de Fleury wrote a book in 1870 in which he inventoried every known relic of the true Cross and that all together they would form less than one-third of the whole Cross.
“When she was almost 80 years old, in 326, St. Helena ordered an excavation on Calvary. She found three crosses in a quarry underneath a pagan temple. According to tradition, a woman who was ill was cured immediately when she touched one of the crosses, thus pointing out which one was the true Cross,” the newspaper recounted.



UCAN reports that least one person was killed and four injured on Sept. 27 when a bomb exploded near a camp that houses Christian victims of last year's riots in Orissa state.

A jeep set ablaze during anti-Christian violence in Orissa last year
Church people in the state capital, Bhubaneswar, said they suspected Hindu extremists were behind the blast and that it was designed to destabilize the Christian community that had begun to recover from their trauma.
The explosion happened just outside the Nandamaha refugee camp in Kandhamal district. The camp, situated in a forest, is home to 21 families, comprising about 100 Christians from violence-affected Betticola parish in Kandhamal district.
There were few details available about the deceased who did not live in the camp. The four injured are Christians, however.
Police detained for questioning the four Christians who reported the blast, Church sources said.
Those living in the camp are unable to return to their homes as Hindu extremists have threatened to kill them if they return without converting to Hinduism.
The state administration had offered them alternative land inside the forest to re-settle.
The Christians in the camp, including Catholics and Protestants, were busy clearing up the forest and building homes for each family, Church people said.
Sources in Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese, which covers Kandhamal district, said they suspect the extremists do not want to see Christians "live in peace" even inside the forest.
A Church source said the Christians were just beginning to settle down a year after the violence.
Police in G. Udayagiri town, which covers the area, have reportedly begun an investigation. Church sources said police have recovered guns near the camp.
Tribal-dominated Kandhamal district was the focus of the violence that began after Maoists gunned down Hindu leader Laxmanananda Saraswati on Aug. 23, 2008. Hindu radicals had blamed Christians for the murder.
The four-month long riots that began a day after Saraswati's murder left 90 people dead and displaced some 50,000. As many as 5,000 Christian homes were burned and 294 churches, chapels and prayer halls, eight convents, eight presbyteries and 12 hostels were destroyed.
As the Hindu extremists continue to force the displaced to convert to Hinduism, hundreds of them have either left the state or moved to other districts in Orissa.
Betticola parish had witnessed tension for several years before last year's violence and was severely affected in last year's flare-up.


CISA reports that the last Burundian refugees in Tanzania are preparing to return home, ending a humanitarian crisis that began more than 30 years ago.The Tanzanian government plans to close the last remaining camp before the end of September.Bishop Protase Rugambwa of Kigoma Diocese in the west of Tanzania told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) of his hopes for the future after UN reports stated that Burundian refugees who numbered half a million just a decade ago have fallen to 36,000.Bishop Rugambwa spoke of how for years his diocese considered support for the refugees to be an essential part of its pastoral work.“We have tried to accompany them and help them spiritually, to seek peace and change their mentality away from hatred towards reconciliation,” he said.Bishop Rugambwa described how last month he visited Mtabilia, the last remaining camp, where he conducted confirmations for candidates prepared by the Holy Ghost Fathers, a religious order of priests.There was a steady flow of Burundian refugees into Tanzania between the mid-1960s and early 1990s. About 300,000 are reported to have fled during the mass slaughter that occurred as part of ethnic struggles in 1972.Since 2002, when it was first considered safe for the refugees to return home, more than 400,000 have returned. Not everyone has wanted to return, however, and last month 3,500 Burundians were granted Tanzanian citizenship.The Holy Ghost Fathers are one of the religious orders, along with the Missionaries of Africa, doing pastoral work in the diocese.Bishop Rugambwa said, “You can be doing pastoral work, but it obliges you to enter into the social area, and found schools and so on.” The bishop described the establishment of schools and hospitals as “traditional areas of activity” in the diocese. (SOURCE:



Cath news reports that Western Australia's government is "appalled" at the level of binge drinking among teenagers, with the worst being 17 year old girls, found by the Australian School Students Alcohol and Drug survey, the state's biggest survey of student drug and alcohol use.
Some 40.2 percent of the 2,802 WA students aged between 12-17 surveyed had consumed alcohol in the past month and 26.9 percent had in the past week, The Sunday Times reported.
Among 14-17 year olds who drank in the past week, more than a quarter of the boys and nearly a third of the girls had dangerous amounts.
The study covered government, Catholic and independent schools students.
The worst group of students for binge drinking in WA were 17 year old girls, with 61.2 percent consuming alcohol at a dangerously high level in the past week, which is defined as five or more standard alcoholic drinks a day.
In comparison, the number among boys the same age was 11 percent fewer. For boys, the dangerous level is defined as seven or more standard alcoholic drinks a day.
The state government will target teenage girls in a new Rethink Drink advertisement as a result of the survey, the news report said.
"These young ladies have gone off the rails," Mental Health Minister Graham Jacobs said.
He said it was disappointing that survey findings showed that 45 percent of students who consumed alcohol in the past week had got it from a parent.
"We want to highlight to parents the long term risks of young people drinking to excess.


St. Wenceslaus
Feast: September 28
Feast Day:
September 28
903, Prague, Bohemia
September 28, 935, Stará Boleslav, Bohemia
Major Shrine:
St Vitus Cathedral, Prague
Patron of:
Bohemia, Czech Republic, Prague

Duke, martyr, and patron of Bohemia, born probably 903; died at Alt-Bunzlau, 28 September, 935.
His parents were Duke Wratislaw, a Christian, and Dragomir, a heathen. He received a good Christian education from his grandmother (St. Ludmilla) and at Budweis. After the death of Wratislaw, Dragomir, acting as regent, opposed Christianity, and Wenceslaus, being urged by the people, took the reins of government. He placed his duchy under the protection of Germany, introduced German priests, and favoured the Latin rite instead of the old Slavic, which had gone into disuse in many places for want of priests. Wenceslaus had taken the vow of virginity and was known for his virtues. The Emperor Otto I conferred on him the regal dignity and title. For religious and national motives, and at the instigation of Dragomir, Wenceslaus was murdered by his brother Boleslaw. The body, hacked to pieces, was buried at the place of murder, but three years later Boleslaw, having repented of his deed, ordered its translation to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague. The gathering of his relics is noted in the calendars on 27 June, their translation on 4 March; his feast is celebrated on 28 September.


Luke 9: 46 - 50
And an argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.
But when Jesus perceived the thought of their hearts, he took a child and put him by his side,
and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me; for he who is least among you all is the one who is great."
John answered, "Master, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he does not follow with us."
But Jesus said to him, "Do not forbid him; for he that is not against you is for you."

Sunday, September 27, 2009



(VIS) - At 4.30 p.m. today Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, greeted the Holy Father at Prague Castle. The castle dates from the ninth century and has been the seat of Holy Roman emperors, kings and governors. Since 1918 it has been a fortified citadel enclosing various monuments and museums. It is the seat of the president of the Republic and is the cultural and historical symbol par excellence of Bohemia. Benedict XVI had a private meeting with President Klaus before going on to meet with Jan Fischer, prime minister of the Czech Republic, and with Premysl Sobotka and Miloslav Vlcek, presidents, respectively, of the senate and of the chamber of deputies. Subsequently, accompanied by President Klaus and his wife, the Pope visited the Spanish Hall for a brief concert by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, after which he met the country's political and administrative authorities, the diplomatic corps, university rectors and various representatives from the civil, business and cultural worlds of the Czech Republic. In his address to them the Holy Father mentioned the fact that his visit "coincides with the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the totalitarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, and the 'Velvet Revolution' which restored democracy to this nation. The euphoria that ensued was expressed in terms of freedom. Two decades after the profound political changes which swept this continent, the process of healing and rebuilding continues, now within the wider context of European unification and an increasingly globalised world. "The aspirations of citizens and the expectations placed on governments", he added, "called for new models of civic life and solidarity between nations and peoples without which the long desired future of justice, peace and prosperity would remain elusive. Such desires continue to evolve. Today, especially among the young, the question again emerges as to the nature of the freedom gained". "Every generation has the task of engaging anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs, seeking to understand the proper use of human freedom. ... True freedom presupposes the search for truth - for the true good - and hence finds its fulfilment precisely in knowing and doing what is right and just. Truth, in other words, is the guiding norm for freedom, and goodness is freedom's perfection". "Indeed, the lofty responsibility to awaken receptivity to truth and goodness falls to all leaders - religious, political and cultural, each in his or her own way", said Pope Benedict. "For Christians, truth has a name: God. And goodness has a face: Jesus Christ. The faith of Christians, from the time of Sts. Cyril and Methodius and the early missionaries, has in fact played a decisive role in shaping the spiritual and cultural heritage of this country. It must do likewise in the present and into the future. The rich patrimony of spiritual and cultural values, each finding expression in the other, has not only given shape to the nation's identity but has also furnished it with the vision necessary to exercise a role of cohesion at the heart of Europe". "As we are all aware" the Czech nation "has known painful chapters and carries the scars of tragic events born of misunderstanding, war and persecution. Yet it is also true, that its Christian roots have nourished a remarkable spirit of forgiveness, reconciliation and co-operation which has enabled the people of these lands to find freedom and to usher in a new beginning, a new synthesis, a renewal of hope. Is it not precisely this spirit that contemporary Europe requires? "Europe is more than a continent. It is a home! ... With full respect for the distinction between the political realm and that of religion - which indeed preserves the freedom of citizens to express religious belief and live accordingly - I wish to underline the irreplaceable role of Christianity for the formation of the conscience of each generation and the promotion of a basic ethical consensus that serves every person who calls this continent, 'home'". The Pope then went on to explain how his presence in this capital city, "which is often spoken of as the heart of Europe", prompts the question: in what does the 'heart' consist? "Surely", he said, "a clue is found in the architectural jewels that adorn this city. ... Their beauty expresses faith; they are epiphanies of God that rightly leave us pondering the glorious marvels to which we creatures can aspire when we give expression to the aesthetic and cognitive aspects of our innermost being. ... The creative encounter of the classical tradition and the Gospel gave birth to a vision of man and society attentive to God's presence among us". "At the present crossroads of civilization, so often marked by a disturbing sundering of the unity of goodness, truth and beauty and the consequent difficulty in finding an acceptance of common values, every effort for human progress must draw inspiration from that living heritage. Europe, in fidelity to her Christian roots, has a particular vocation to uphold this transcendent vision in her initiatives to serve the common good of individuals, communities, and nations". Having completed his address, the Holy Father went on to the cathedral of St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert for the celebration of Vespers.PV-CZECH REP./AUTHORITIES/PRAGUE VIS 090927 (900)
(VIS) - At 6 p.m. today the Pope presided at the celebration of Vespers with bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and members of lay movements in Prague's cathedral of St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert. "Love for Christ and for one's fellow men and women must be the hallmark of every Christian and every community", said the Holy Father, and in this context he encouraged those present to "nourish your love for Christ by prayer and listening to His word; feed on Him in the Eucharist, and by His grace, be builders of unity and peace wherever you go". He went on: "Twenty years ago, after the long winter of Communist dictatorship, your Christian communities began once more to express themselves freely. ... Yet you are well aware that even today it is not easy to live and bear witness to the Gospel. Society continues to suffer from the wounds caused by atheist ideology, and it is often seduced by the modern mentality of hedonistic consumerism amid a dangerous crisis of human and religious values and a growing drift towards ethical and cultural relativism. In this context there is an urgent need for renewed effort throughout the Church so as to strengthen spiritual and moral values in present-day society". "Your pastoral activity in the field of educating new generations should be undertaken with particular zeal. Catholic schools should foster respect for the human person; attention should also be given to the pastoral care of young people outside the school environment, without neglecting other groups of the faithful. Christ is for everyone! I sincerely hope that there will be a growing accord with other institutions, both public and private. It is always worth repeating that the Church does not seek privileges, but only to be able to work freely in the service of all, in the spirit of the Gospel". The Pope told bishops and priests: "it is your task to work tirelessly for the good of those entrusted to your care". To consecrated people he pointed out that, "by professing the evangelical counsels, you recall the primacy that each of us must give to God in our lives. By living in community, you bear witness to the enrichment that comes from practising the commandment of love". Finally the Pope turned to young people in seminaries or houses of formation. "Be sure", he told them, "to acquire a solid cultural, spiritual and pastoral preparation". And he concluded: "In this Year of Priests, with which I chose to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of the 'Cure of Ars', may you learn from the example of this pastor who was completely dedicated to God and to the care of souls; he was well aware that it was his ministry, nourished by prayer, that constituted his path to sanctification". Following the celebration, the Holy Father travelled to the apostolic nunciature where he spent the night.PV-CZECH REP./VESPERS/PRAGUE VIS 090927 (500)
(VIS) - This morning the Holy Father travelled by plane from Prague to Brno, the second largest city of the Czech Republic, where at 10 a.m. he celebrated Mass on the esplanade near the city airport. Among the thousands of people present were faithful from Slovak, Polish, Austrian and German dioceses. The readings of the ceremony were focused on the theme of hope. In his homily the Holy Father affirmed that "history has demonstrated the absurdities to which man descends when he excludes God from the horizon of his choices and actions, and how hard it is to build a society inspired by the values of goodness, justice and fraternity, because the human being is free and his freedom remains fragile". "In the modern age both faith and hope ... have been relegated to the private and other-worldly sphere", said the Pope, "while in day-to-day public life confidence in scientific and economic progress has been affirmed. We all know that this progress is ambiguous: it opens up possibilities for good as well as evil", yet it is "not enough to guarantee the moral welfare of society. "Man needs to be liberated from material oppressions", he added, "but more profoundly, he must be saved from the evils that afflict the spirit. And who can save him if not God, Who is Love and has revealed His face as Almighty and Merciful Father in Jesus Christ? Our firm hope is therefore Christ". Pope Benedict went on: "Here, as elsewhere, many people suffered in past centuries for remaining faithful to the Gospel, and they did not lose hope; many people sacrificed themselves in order to restore dignity to man and freedom to peoples, finding in their generous adherence to Christ the strength to build a new humanity. "In present-day society, many forms of poverty are born from isolation, from being unloved, from the rejection of God and from a deep-seated tragic closure in man who believes himself to be self-sufficient, or else merely an insignificant and transient datum; in this world of ours which is alienated 'when too much trust is placed in merely human projects', only Christ can be our certain hope. This is the message that we Christians are called to spread every day, through our witness". At the end of Mass and before praying the Angelus Benedict XVI noted how Moravia, the region in which Brno is located, "is blessed with a number of Marian shrines that are visited by crowds of pilgrims throughout the year". And he called upon the Virgin to "keep the flame of faith alive in all of you, a faith that is nourished by traditions of popular piety with deep roots in the past, which you rightly take care to maintain, so that the warmth of family conviviality in villages and towns may not be lost. At times one cannot help noticing, with a certain nostalgia, that the pace of modern life tends to diminish some elements of a rich heritage of faith. Yet it is important not to lose sight of the ideal expressed by traditional customs, and above all to maintain the spiritual patrimony inherited from your forebears, to guard it and to make it answer to the needs of the present day.PV-CZECH REP./MASS ANGELUS/BRNO VIS 090927 (560)


Catholic Herald reports that Pope Benedict XVI is to visit Britain next year, it was reported today. The visit, which some reports say could be as early as January, will be the first by a Pope since John Paul II's trip in 1982.Pope Benedict was personally invited to Britain by the prime minister, Gordon Brown, when he visited the Vatican in February. Previous invitations had been extended by Tony Blair and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. But commentators say a crucial reason for the visit is the beatification next year of Cardinal John Henry Newman, whom Benedict XVI is known to greatly admire. The beatification is expected to take place in Birmingham in May. The visit would be a triumph for Francis Campbell, the outgoing Ambassador to the Holy See. Mr Campbell, Britain's first Catholic ambassador at the Vatican since the Reformation, has helped to facilitate increasingly warm relations between Britain and Rome. John Paul II's six-day visit in 1982 was the first papal trip to Britain since the Reformation. He travelled to Canterbury, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cardiff, and celebrated Mass at Wembley stadium. (SOURCE:

MCGIVNEY SAINTHOOD PROCESS PROGRESSES reports that the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Father Michael McGivney, might be closer to recognition as a saint, as an expanded report on a possible miracle has been sent to Rome. The Knights of Columbus announced in a press release today that on Tuesday, officials of a supplemental tribunal from the Hartford Archdiocese, where Father McGivney served as a parish priest, formally sent the report to the Congregation for Saints' Causes. Carl Anderson, the supreme knight, as well as a regular ZENIT columnist, explained that this submission "marks an important step forward." He explained: "The Vatican's congregation for the causes of saints will now have valuable additional testimony that clarifies and adds significantly to the original submission. "We believe that the congregation will now have all the information it needs to complete its assessment of the case, although of course this review could take several years." The new report includes additional testimonies and interviews from witnesses and medical doctors who supported the original description of the reported miracle. Father McGivney founded the knights in 1882, and died in 1890 at age 38. The cause for his sainthood was opened by Archbishop Daniel Cronin of Hartford in 1997. In March 2008, Benedict XVI declared him venerable. "Father McGivney's beatification would be an important event," Anderson said, "not only for Knights of Columbus, but for the many thousands of parish priests who quietly do the Lord's work in parishes each day and regard him as an outstanding example for priests everywhere." The supreme knight added, "In this Year for Priests it is an especially appropriate step forward." (SOURCE:

UCAN reports that India's Catholic Religious are trying to forge a new role for themselves by getting more involved in national issues, says the national secretary of the Conference of Religious India (CRI).
According to Montfort Brother Mani Mekkunnel, how Religious can be active participants in India's socio-economic life is on the agenda for Religious major superiors to discuss at the upcoming CRI national assembly, held once every three years.
CRI represents more than 125,000 Catholic Religious brothers, priests and nuns in India.More than 500 major superiors from around the country are expected for the scheduled Sept. 26-Oct. 2 meeting in New Delhi.
The interview with Brother Mekkunnel follows:
Montfort Brother Mani Mekkunnel
UCA NEWS: How will this meeting impact the CRI?
BROTHER MANI MEKKUNNEL: The CRI is having its assembly in New Delhi for the first time in its 47-year history. That in itself aims at making a difference. Earlier meetings focused mostly on Religious and Church life, and activities of Religious. But this assembly will try to showcase the CRI as an organization that is more concerned with national issues.
In recent years, Christians have experienced turmoil in various degrees. Some groups have attacked Christians. So it is time we met with society on broader terms. We cannot remain mere spectators and the good guys of society. We have to become active agents in nation building.
Do you feel Catholic Religious were not really part of society until now?
Yes, in a sense. Earlier we used to gather and talk about Religious life and issues related to it, and then go back happy thinking we had done something good. We were not connected with national life. A change of heart is required to establish this connection. We are hoping this meeting will turn us around a bit.
The assembly is an attempt to place ourselves on the national scene and decide what we should do to create a new identity. We also want others to look at us not merely as a religious society but as a voluntary organization involved in the country's socio-economic life.
Will a new face to the CRI emerge after the meeting?
Yes, we are trying for one. We want to portray the assembly not as a religious gathering but as a national event. The program is titled "Leadership Conference" and its logo reflects a harmonious India. It is a theme that goes beyond Church circles. India is changing, so the Religious should also have to change.
Do you foresee any challenges?
The first challenge is to change the way we look at society. There has been a kind of unseen wall built between Religious life and secular society. On many occasions we have behaved as disinterested onlookers. The secular-Religious divide is too strong in many Religious. But it is breaking down and this meeting indicates that.
Indian nuns at a meeting (file photo)
The conference will help the Church to assert its voice in the modern world as decreed by Vatican II. So far, we have been quite comfortable among ourselves. The problem is with us, not with the outside world. We are not courageous enough -- or have not realized the need -- to make changes from within.
For example, we consider someone a Christian only if he or she is baptized. That ritual takes only a few minutes. After that we do not bother about how that person lives the faith. At the same time, we are not willing to accept as Christians thousands who follow Christ in spirit.
Today in Europe, only 10 percent of the population are baptized Christians, but we have no problem calling it a Christian continent. But if you say this of India, there would be a hue and cry. There are thousands of Indians brought up in the Christian tradition who live with Christian values, perhaps more than the number of Christians in Europe. In Varanasi (northern India), many people call themselves Christu bhakta (Christ devotees). They are not baptized, but live like Christians. Yet we don't accept them as Christians.
But how is this a challenge for the Religious?
Religious are supposed to be the Church's missioners and pioneers. They are the prophets in the Church. However, social factors are acting as hindrances. The Church needs a quantum movement for change. If an individual suddenly tries for change, he or she may not survive long.
But some, like Mother Teresa, have thrived.
Mother Teresa couldn't change her original congregation. Today that congregation is one of the dying congregations, although it was among the first to come to India. Change can happen from anywhere, not only from Religious. Major changes in the Church during the 13th century happened because of Saint Francis of Assisi, who was a layperson, not a monk.
Religious life started as a contestation against certain Church practices, but it gradually became part of the Church. The Religious are now busy attending to the Church's ordinary needs such as maintenance of institutions.
The CRI is considered the second most powerful group in the Catholic Church in India. Why doesn't it assert itself more?
If you speak in democratic terms, more than 125,000 members and institutions make the CRI a much larger force than any other Church body in the country. However, in terms of authority or hierarchy, the CRI is nothing. It belongs to another order of things. Its power comes from its charismatic nature or commitment, not its position. There is no position for the Religious in the Church hierarchy.
What are some of the problems with the Indian Religious?
Education, mainly. A large number of the Religious, mostly nuns, are mere matriculates (having a 10th-grade education). Nuns are the largest CRI group, so it is also a gender problem.
The women Religious are not able to play their role. Our present concern is to make the Indian Religious communicate. Many Religious superiors still think using the Internet or educating the nuns could lead to abuse. How to break that mindset and make our women communicators is a big challenge. It will happen, but if you ask me when, my answer is: "Not in our life time." Because the structure is so strong, changes can happen soon only if something out of the way happens.
I have told women leaders that nothing will happen if they leave it to bishops and priests to talk about change. The day women start talking about changes, things will start happening.
Do women get a chance to say what they want?
They are given forums, but they remain silent. It's a cultural factor. They come from homes where they are not allowed to raise their voices. The way they've been brought up also does not permit them to speak out. Even the highly qualified and Western educated become part of a silent group.
CISA DOCUMENT: Statement by the Catholic Bishops of Kenya Written By:CISA , Posted: Wed, Sep 23, 2009
“Oh Lord God Almighty, Give us a new heart” We, the Catholic Bishops of Kenya meeting in plenary session in Nairobi wish to address current issues in our country which are a source of suffering to us and all people of good will.A) CONFLICT AMONG PASTORALISTSOnce again, our hearts are torn and bleeding because of the violence seen in the past few days in Samburu District. The killings of innocent women and children add a new and terrible dimension to this conflict. The government machinery seems unable or unwilling to intervene in this situation. Coming late in the day and wringing one’s hand is not sufficient or helpful. There must be an overall plan to prevent situations like this. The problem is caused by lack of food, water, education and the proliferation of small arms. Sending in GSU for two weeks is not a permanent solution. The problem between these two communities can only be solved by dialogue and responsible efforts. The law of jungle (survival for the fittest) must not be the rule of the day. The people involved should be guided by an upright conscience and respect for human life. “Do not do to others what you would not want done to you” The pastoralists’ problem is as a result of neglect by successive governments. There has been no meaningful development that has taken place. Outside help is necessary, so we expect the government to take a meaningful approach to the problem.B) POLITICS VERSUS THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLEOur political class – all of them are out of touch with the aspirations of the ordinary people, i.e., discussing for hours on end political partisanship when their first duty is look after the poor and deprived in our society. Many people in the country are unable to get a proper meal and our politicians do not seem to care.C) THE DEGRADATION OF OUR ENVIRONMENTIt is obvious that the Mau and other water catchment areas must be restored. The government must not be deviated from dealing with the problem immediately. It is however necessary to have a viable mechanism to prevent politically inspired clashes again as has been threatened in certain quarters.Immediate action is necessary. Kindly, note what is happening to Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru so visible examples of degradation.D) INSECURITYInsecurity is a problem. We look at our sources of law and order to ensure that people feel secure in their homes and Shambas. They have neglected their duties and involved themselves in self enrichment. This factor must be taken as a priority by the new Police Commissioner and let him take effective steps to make this country safe for all its citizens.E) TRIBALISMAre we, Kenyans, rally able to overcome the curse of Tribalism? Are our schools doing enough to eradicate this evil? The inculcation of patriotic ethics must be a priority in our schools. We appeal to all our Catholics and people of good will to fight the disease of tribalism as we are all children of God and we have one Father.F) FOOD SECURITYThere must be an immediate plan put in place to secure sufficient food both for now and the coming years. Where will we get the food? Where will we get the money to buy the food? This will be a test of the quality and sincerity of our leaders. Yes a large part of our country is arid. But famine can be overcome by meaningful planning of boreholes, dams and irrigation.G) INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONSThis problem must be solved now. For how long will people starve and live in squalor in their own country? Is hunger, famine and inhumanity synonymous with being Kenyan? We appeal to the Government to work extra hard to resettle the IDPs before the next rainy seasonH) THE WAY FORWARDWe continue to call for reconciliation and change of heart. We ask the government to look into the distribution of land and to examine how sales of land are made. Public land should remain public. People should say what they mean and mean what they say. It is necessary that our schools educate students to be honest and God-fearing.We ask all people of goodwill to pray for our country. We must pray and pray to our God ‘who causes the Rain to fall on both bad and good’.Signed by: His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi and Apostolic Administrator of Ngong, Chairman – Kenya Episcopal Conference, and all Catholic bishops of Kenya.Nairobi, Friday, September 18, 2009

CathNews reports that Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls has approved a plan that will allow church run organisations to refuse employment to anyone who undermines their beliefs.
Mr Hulls said a new Equal Opportunity Bill will be introduced into parliament next year with changes that state religious groups will not be able to discriminate on the grounds of race, disability, age, physical features, political belief or breastfeeding, according to The Sunday Age.
Church groups must prove why any person refused employment must meet certain religious beliefs. Victims must make an official complaint for action to be taken.
The Sunday Age said the plan will allow church groups to discriminate on grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status and parental status.
Critics are unhappy with the concessions but the move was welcomed by church leaders. Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart told the paper the move strikes "a fair and correct balance".


St. Vincent de Paul
Feast: September 27
Feast Day:
September 27
April 24, 1581, Pouy, Gascony, France
September 27, 1660, Paris, France
16 June 1737, Rome by Pope Clement XII
Major Shrine:
St Vincent de Paul chapel, Rue de Sèvres, Paris, France
Patron of:
charities; horses; hospitals; leprosy; lost articles; prisoners; spiritual help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Vincentian Service Corps; volunteers

Like his fellow saint, Francis de Sales, who was his friend and contemporary, Vincent de Paul performed an invaluable service to the Catholic Church in a period of confusion and laxness. But unlike the aristocratic bishop of Geneva, Vincent was born in poverty, of peasant stock. His birthplace was Pouy, near Dax in Gascony, in southwest France; the year was 1576. Jean de Paul and Bertrande de Moras, his parents, were sturdy farming people who reared a family of four sons and two daughters. Observing young Vincent's quick intelligence, his father sent him to be educated by the Cordelier Brothers at Dax. When the boy had been at school for four years, a lawyer of the town engaged him as tutor to his children, thus enabling Vincent to go on with his studies without further expense to his parents. Vincent continued his education at the Spanish University of Saragossa, and then returned to France to attend the University of Toulouse. At the age of twenty-four he was ordained priest by' the bishop of Perigueux, but remained at Toulouse for another four years to take the degree of Doctor of Theology.



Numbers 11: 25 - 29
Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did so no more.
Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested upon them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp.
And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp."
And Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, "My lord Moses, forbid them."
But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD's people were prophets, that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!"

Psalms 19: 8, 10, 12 - 14
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
But who can discern his errors? Clear thou me from hidden faults.
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

James 5: 1 - 6
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.
Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.
Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.
Mark 9: 38 - 43, 45, 47 - 48
John said to him, "Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us."
But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me.
For he that is not against us is for us.
For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward.
"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.