Thursday, September 3, 2009

Catholic World news: Fri. Sept. 4, 2009




ST. AUGUSTINE IN EASTERN AND WESTERN TRADITION VATICAN CITY, 4 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Made public yesterday afternoon was a Message from Benedict XVI to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and participants in an inter-Christian symposium on St. Augustine being held in Rome from 3 to 5 September. The symposium has been promoted by the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality at Rome's Antonianum Pontifical Athenaeum, and by the Orthodox Theological Faculty of the University of Aristotle in Salonika, Greece. In his Message the Pope notes how the theme chosen for the meeting - "St. Augustine in Western and Eastern Tradition" which is being examined in co-operation with the Augustinianum Patristic Institute in Rome - is of "great interest" and may "promote more profound study of Christian theology and spirituality in East and West". "The saint of Hippo, a great Father of the Latin Church, is of fundamental importance for the theology and for the very culture of the West", writes the Holy Father, noting how "the reception of his ideas in Orthodox theology has proved to be somewhat problematic. Hence, it is indispensable to understand - with historical objectivity and fraternal cordiality - the doctrinal and spiritual wealth that form the heritage of the Christian East and West, not only to evaluate them better, but also to promote greater mutual appreciation among all Christians". Benedict XVI concludes his Message by expressing the hope that the symposium may prove fruitful in "discovering common doctrinal and spiritual ground which may help to build the City of God where His children can live in peace and fraternal charity".

MESS/INTER-CHRISTIAN SYMPOSIUM/KASPER VIS 090904 (280) AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 4 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Five prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Jose Moreira Bastos Neto of Tres Lagoas. - Archbishop Milton Antonio dos Santos S.D.B. of Cuiaba - Bishop Protogenes Jose Luft S.C. of Barra do Garcas. - Bishop Canisio Klaus of Diamantino. - Bishop Derek John Christopher Byrne S.P.S. of Guiratinga. - Valentin Vassilev Bozhilov, ambassador of Bulgaria, on his farewell visit.AL.AP/.../... VIS 090904 (90)



All Africa reports that women and children are being increasingly targeted in the escalating attacks against communities in Southern Sudanese states, exacerbating the dire humanitarian situation, say officials.
"We have seen a drastic escalation in violence across Southern Sudan this year - from the Equatorial States besieged by LRA [rebel Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army] attacks, to the brutal clashes in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Lake States," Jonathan Whittall, head of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Southern Sudan, said.
"The violent clashes are different to the traditional 'cattle rustling' that normally occurs each year," he said in a 3 September statement. "Women and children, usually spared in this fighting, are now deliberately targeted and the number of deaths [is] higher than the number of wounded."
On 1 September, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak of the Episcopal Church said the church no longer viewed the clashes as "tribal conflicts", but rather as "deliberately organized attack[s] on civilians by those that are against the peace in Southern Sudan".
At least 140,000 people have been displaced by clashes between communities in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Lake States. Separate attacks by the LRA in the Equatorial states have also reportedly forced 65,000 Sudanese from their homes this year.
"This combination of violent attacks across the region aggravates an already dire humanitarian situation for the people of Southern Sudan," MSF warned.
In the latest attack, 42 people were reported killed in a 29 August clash between communities in Twic East County, Jonglei State. More than 60 were wounded and 24,000 displaced from 17 villages, mainly in Panyangor and Kongor.
"In the last six violent incidents that MSF responded to in Jonglei and Upper Nile States over the last six months... 1,057 people were killed in contrast to 259 wounded, with more than 60,000 displaced," the medical charity said. "This is new - the intention is to attack a village and to kill. The result is a population living in total fear, with significant humanitarian and medical needs."
Undermining CPA
Continuing violence, the Archbishop warned, could damage the smooth implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), under whose auspices elections are being planned for 2010 and a referendum on possible Southern autonomy in 2011.
"The timeframe given for the elections and referendum is already too short for the democratic processes to be effectively organized, and by the provisional dates chosen for voting... much of the South will already be suffering from logistics problems caused by the onset of the wet season," he warned in a statement.
"This is an indication to the citizens of the Sudan that the people on the ground are not being regarded or included in the politics of peace and that we are vulnerable to future violations of the CPA and an uncertain future for peace in the Sudan."
Food shortages
Separately, the UN World Food Programme warned that an urgent food security situation had been created in the region by poor rainfall, continued high levels of insecurity and high cereal and low livestock prices.
According to the recently released Annual Needs and Livelihood Assessment Mid-Year Review, about 1.5 million people in Southern Sudan face severe food insecurity, while aid delivery has been complicated by insecurity and poor roads.


LEGIONARIES OFFER WORDS OVER FAILINGS OF FOUNDER reports that the letter shares the thoughts and recommendations of the Legion’s General Director, Father Alvaro Corcuera for the future of the Legion.
'As tragic as the failings of our founder are, they should not cause us to diminish our efforts to bring souls to Christ, and to serve him and the Church selflessly in all our brothers and sisters.'
DENVER (CNA) - In a letter to Regnum Christi members and friends of the Legion of Christ, two territorial directors of the religious organization have expressed regret for the victims of their founder’s sexual misconduct and announced the recent steps taken to move forward. The letter, dated September 1 was signed by Fr. Scott Reilly, LC, territorial director of Atlanta and Fr. Julio Martí, LC, territorial director of New York. The authenticity of the letter was confirmed to CNA by Jim Fair, U.S. spokesman for the Legion of Christ. The priests explain the purpose of their letter is to share the thoughts and recommendations of the Legion’s General Director, Father Alvaro Corcuera, for the future of the Legion and Regnum Christi. “As priests,” Reilly and Marti write, “our hearts go out to all those who have been harmed or scandalized” by the actions of Father Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ who passed away in 2008. It was revealed last winter that Fr. Maciel lived a double life and fathered children. “To all we extend a special apology on behalf of the Legion and our General Director, Father Alvaro Corcuera, who has, in fact, begun to reach out personally and in private to those he knows may have suffered most, offering his heartfelt apology and consolation, and will continue to do so.” In reaction to the announcement by the Mexican lawyer José Bonilla Sada that six more people in Mexico are claiming to be children of Fr. Maciel, the letter acknowledges “more recently, there have been allegations of other relationships and other children,” but it also says that “given the partial nature of the information available and the impossibility to evaluate immediately and in a definitive manner these complex allegations, the Legion of Christ cannot, at this time, make a statement regarding them.” The letter also explains that the wide range of emotions, along with “the vast tangle of information, supposition, speculation and opinion, the different cultural sensitivities, and the Christian duty not to publicize the sins of others, have made it difficult to publish the sort of direct statement that many expected of us.” “Added to this,” Fr. Reilly and Fr. Martí say, “is the fact that we did not know the whole truth, we may not know it yet, and new information may well continue to come to light. What we do learn, we will address, respecting the privacy of those who request it of us.” The Image of Fr. Maciel “We wish to be close to anyone who has suffered in any way, and at the same time ask them to live the Christian virtue of pardon from the depth of their hearts,” the letter adds. Revealing that many Regnum Christi members “have rightly asked if the Legion has made or will make changes in its life,” the letter responds, “Yes…we have, we are and we will,” before listing some of the policies recently implemented. “One of the questions that come to mind refers to the ‘safe environment and child protection.’” In this regard, the Legion is currently “in the process of accreditation by Praesidium, a risk management organization now helping a great number of religious institutions in North America.” “Praesidium is conducting a full review of our internal rules and policies, as well as our training of all those who deal with minors. They will shortly be conducting on-site visitation of several of our institutions to verify that what is on paper is being applied,” the priests explain. Fr. Reilly and Fr. Martí also reveal that in the U.S., the Legion has also “set up an external review board so that in the event of allegations of sexual abuse, we have the advantage of ‘outside eyes’ to weigh the evidence, issues and provide us with recommendations.” On the financial side, the letter notes that in recent years, “due to the growth of our operations, we have put in place a still more professional system of business management through the services of Integer Group. Staffed by lay professionals, Integer has further improved our operating and management processes to ensure the integrity of all our operations.” A critical area of adjustment, the letter explains, is “the way we refer to Father Maciel in the Legion and Regnum Christi.” “While we cannot deny that Father Maciel was our founder and did much good,” the letter says, “neither can we deny the reality of what has recently come to light and his grave human failings.” The priests then say that “progressive steps” have been taken to ensure “there is no inappropriate reference to Father Maciel,” by removing pictures of him from their center, editing the Legion and Regnum Christi websites and creating new editions of writings and brochures. According to Fr. Reilly and Fr. Martí, this is “an ongoing and difficult process given the need to discern his person from ...
the solid Catholic doctrine that he transmitted and the legitimate institutional aspects of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christ.” Regarding the visitation ordained by the Holy See, Fr. Reilly and Fr. Martí say that “Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput of Denver has been appointed as Visitor for the Legion in the United States and Canada. Archbishop Chaput will visit our seminaries and religious houses, see our life up close and interview whomever he wants.” “His mandate,” it continues, “will be to question, probe and assess with depth and objectivity. Legionaries are free to speak and write to him with all their comments and questions. He sets his own timetable and the points he wishes to probe, and he will present his findings and recommendations directly to the Holy See.” Changes in Legion Formation Two other major issues are addressed in the six-page long letter. The first change involves the “private vow of charity” which was professed in the Legion. In their letter, the priests say that the vow was created “to ensure that the grievances one could have with his superior were brought to those who could resolve them and thus avoid irresponsible criticism or internal factions that degrade unity.” The vow had been approved by the Church and had been in place since 1957, but, the letter explains, Pope Benedict XVI asked them to remove it two years ago – a request which the religious organization followed. The letter also addressed the practice of superiors being spiritual directors or confessors of their subjects. This policy was also abandoned upon the request of Benedict XVI. “We are seeing positive fruits from this change of practice,” the priests report. Though some members of the Legion and Regnum Christi have opted to separate themselves from the organization, others are evaluating whether or not they will stay following the Apostolic Visitation, and yet others have decided that they will remain part of the community. Fr. Reilly and Fr. Martí called on members and friends of the Legion and Regnum Christi to “have great Christian understanding and respect for all. Each of us must presume the best and purest intention in the other, pray for each other, and recognize that each one of us suffers and recovers in different ways and at different times.” “As tragic as the failings of our founder are, they should not cause us to diminish our efforts to bring souls to Christ, and to serve him and the Church selflessly in all our brothers and sisters,” the letter concludes, announcing that “we enter now into a new chapter of our history which must be focused on the pursuit of holiness and love for souls.” (SOURCE:



Asia News reports that in India people remember Father Colombo and “the greatness of this humble servant of the Lord”About 40,000 people are present at his funeral, including state ministers and many Hindus. Mgr Joji, bishop of the capital of Andhra Pradesh, remembers his “tireless work” for the emancipation of Dalits and people living with leprosy. However, the clergyman was above all, a “saintly priest”. Hyderabad (AsiaNews) – About 40,000 people gathered to say farewell to Fr Augusto Colombo, a missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) who passed away Monday night at the age of 82. His funeral was held at the Ashram Kristu Jyoti and he was buried at the Bala Yesu Shrine (Infant Jesus Shrine Church) in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh.
“The funeral was a testimony of the greatness of this humble servant of the Lord,” Mgr Marampudi Joji, archbishop of Hyderabad, told AsiaNews. “Three MPs, three State ministers and three MLAs and many local Hindus were present at the funeral. About 200 priests, and men and women religious also attended.”
“Just a few months ago, in May, I spent about ten days with him in Ooty, talking about PIME’s work in Andhra Pradesh,” the archbishop said. “Since PIME Fathers arrived in India in 1855 they have been involved in hard work. Their love and compassion for people has given the population an opportunity to live with dignity and become aware of their value. This is their greatest gift. They have supported the emancipation of Dalits and people living with leprosy, bringing about changes in the life of these two social groups, which are the most marginalised of the population.”
Father Colombo was fluent in Telugu, the local language, and could speak to villagers in their dialect. For this reason too, he was seen as a member of the community, an Indian among Indians.
“Today the poorest and marginalised people in the districts of Khammam and Warangal, who were literally social outcastes just eking out a living at the mercy of the powerful majority communities, are living with dignity and self sufficiency,” the archbishop of Hyderabad said, as he remembered Father Colombo’s work as a missionary and “his tireless action for the social emancipation of the population” .
Father Colombo was a “saintly priest,” Mgr Joji said. “His life was a testimony to the Gospel. His life and work enabled many to serve God and [help] needy people. He truly loved others and was father to so many rural poor. Today I can say that I lost a dear friend.” (NC) (SOURCE:



The Catholic Herald reports that a Holocaust survivor has given evidence to support the canonisation of an English nun who hid Jews from the Nazis in wartime Rome.Piero Piperno testified on behalf of Mother Mary Richard Beauchamp Hambrough, whose Cause for Canonisation has been opened by the Vatican. He was among witnesses invited to give their testimonies to establish that "Mother Riccarda" lived a life of heroic virtue. Mother Riccarda was baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church in Brighton as a four-year-old after her Anglican parents converted to the Catholic faith. She joined the Bridgettines at the age of 24, and soon became deputy to the founding mother of her branch of Bridgettines, Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad.Together the two women helped save the lives of over 60 people by hiding them in their motherhouse in Piazza Farnese in Rome, and Blessed Mary Elizabeth has been honoured as a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem on behalf of the efforts of all of the nuns who lived there.Mr Piperno, an Italian Jew who was among those saved from Nazi persecution by the Bridgettines, delivered his testimony to the Vatican last week. He is an important witness for furthering Mother Riccarda's Cause because everyone else, he said, had either died or was too young during the period to understand the role played by the individual sisters. Mr Piperno spoke at the ceremony when the Blessed Mary Elizabeth was declared Righteous among Nations in 2004. Although the proceedings leading up to beatification are secret, Mr Piperno told the Times that Mother Riccarda was the personification of "sweetness and sympathy".He said: "We called Mother Riccarda 'mammina' as if she was our mother. She was Mother Mary Elizabeth's right hand. They were two faces of the same coin." One was kind, the other strict, he said.The Piperno family moved to Siena to avoid the racial laws imposed by the Fascist government after the outbreak of the war. When Mussolini was ousted and the Nazis occupied Italy in 1943, Siena was no longer safe. The family sought refuge first in a farm, where they survived on mushrooms and sparse food provided by the farmer who sheltered them, but they decided to return to Rome, hoping to find safety in the city. They were taken in by their former cleaning ladies, but this became dangerous when neighbours began to suspect their identity. An aunt recommended going to the Bridgettine's motherhouse in the Piazza Farnese and they were introduced there as refugees from the south. According to Mr Piperno, who is 80, Blessed Mary Elizabeth suspected their real identity and eventually his mother told her they were Roman Jews. He said: "We were three families, 13 in all. We stayed in three rooms, all the men in one, except an uncle who slept in a dark, small room with no windows, and another two for the women. In the beginning we all ate in one room by ourselves." For six months - until the Allies liberated Rome - the Piperno family hid in the convent, at every moment fearing potential arrest.The nuns did not discriminate between the people they helped, he said, and took in Fascist refugees as well as Jews. He said: "Something which bothered me back then, but which I now understand, was that the nuns that helped us also helped Fascist families. There was great solidarity because everybody was suffering and everybody finally realised we were all in the same boat. " (SOURCE:



Severe domestic squalor is twice as common as previously believed, brought to light by the Severe Domestic Squalor Project run by Catholic Community Services, the Daily Telegraph reported.
"It is such a widespread problem. I think everyone is aware of someone in their neighbourhood who collects things or has excess goods on their front veranda," said the organisation's senior coordinator Ruth Melville said.
Typical is the home of the 85 year old Ashfield woman who went to great lengths to stop people entering her home, the news report said. When anybody, even her own daughter, came to the house, she was reluctant to let them in.
"People really didn't see the situation." Ms Melville said.
The $375,000 Severe Domestic Squalor Project was funded by the NSW State Government after a Sydney University study found one in every 1,000 elderly people live in severe domestic squalor. Ms Melville said ongoing funding for the program was yet to be secured.


St. Boniface I
Feast Day:
September 4
September 4, 422

Elected 28 December, 418; d. at Rome, 4 September, 422. Little is known of his life antecedent to his election. The "Liber Pontificalis" calls him a Roman, and the son of the presbyter Jocundus. He is believed to have been ordained by Pope Damasus I (366-384) and to have served as representative of Innocent I at Constantinople (c. 405).
At he death of Pope Zosimus, the Roman Church entered into the fifth of the schisms, resulting from double papal elections, which so disturbed her peace during the early centuries. Just after Zosimus's obsequies, 27 December, 418, a faction of the Roman clergy consisting principally of deacons seized the Lateran basilica and elected as pope the Archdeacon Eulalius. The higher clergy tried to enter, but were violently repulsed by a mob of adherents of the Eulalian party. On the following day they met in the church of Theodora and elected as pope, much against his will, the aged Boniface, a priest highly esteemed for his charity, learning, and good character. On Sunday, 29 December, both were consecrated, Boniface in the Basilica of St. Marcellus, supported by nine provincial bishops and some seventy priests; Eulalius in the Lateran basilica in the presence of the deacons, a few priests and the Bishop of Ostia, who was summoned from his sickbed to assist at the ordination. Each claimant proceeded to act as pope, and Rome was thrown into tumultuous confusion by the clash of the rival factions. Boniface's reign was marked by great zeal and activity in disciplinary organization and control. . He was buried in the cemetery of Maximus on the Via Salaria, near the tomb of his favorite, St. Felicitas, in whose honor and in gratitude for whose aid he had erected an oratory over the cemetery bearing her name.
(Edited from:


A man who fails to love the Mass fails to love Christ. We must make an effort to "live" the Mass with calm and serenity, with devotion and affection. And this is why I have always suspected that those who want the Mass to be over with quickly show, with this insensitive attitude, that they have not yet realized what the sacrifice of the altar means.
-- St. Josemaría Escriva de Balaguer


Luke 5: 33 - 39
And they said to him, "The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink."
And Jesus said to them, "Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days."
He told them a parable also: "No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it upon an old garment; if he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old.
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.
But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.
And no one after drinking old wine desires new; for he says, `The old is good.'"

Catholic World News: Thurs. Sept. 3, 2009

Catholic World News: Thurs. Sept, 3, 2009: headlines-
(VIS) - Yesterday afternoon in the "Sala degli Svizzeri" of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI attended the screening of an abbreviated version of the film "St. Augustine", an Italian, German, Polish co-production. The film was made by Lux Vide/Rai Fiction, Bayerischer Rundfunk/Tellux Film, Eos Entertainment Rai Trade and Grupa Filmova Baltmedia. It was directed by Christian Duguay. At the end of the screening, the Holy Father expressed his thanks to everyone involved in the project and pronounced some brief remarks. "I feel this film to be a spiritual journey in a spiritual continent, far distant from us yet at the same time very near because the human drama remains the same", he said. "We have seen how, in a context far removed from our own, the reality of human life is represented with all its problems, sadness and failures, just as we have seen how, in the end, Truth is stronger than any obstacle and seeks out man. This is the great hope that remains at the end: we alone cannot seek out Truth, but Truth, which is a Person, seeks out us. Seen from the outside, the life of St. Augustine seems to finish tragically as the world for which and in which he lived comes to an end. But as was made clear in this film, his message remains and, even as the world changes, it endures because it comes from Truth and guides us to Charity, which is our shared destination. "Thank you to everyone", he added in conclusion. "Let us hope that many people, watching this human drama, may be sought out by Truth and so discover Charity".OP/ST. AUGUSTINE FILM/... VIS 090903 (300)

PASTORAL VISIT TO VITERBO AND BAGNOREGIO ON SUNDAY VATICAN CITY, 3 SEP 2009 (VIS) - On Sunday 6 September Benedict XVI will make a pastoral visit to the towns of Viterbo and Bagnoregio, in the Italian region of Lazio. The Pope will depart from the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo at 8.30 a.m., arriving in Viterbo half an hour later. Following the welcome ceremony on the steps of the Palazzo dei Papi in Piazza San Lorenzo, the Holy Father will make a brief private visit to the Hall of the Conclave. At 10.15 a.m. he will preside at a Eucharistic concelebration in Viterbo's Valle Faul. At midday he will pray the Angelus. In the afternoon, the Holy Father will visit the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of the Oak. On his way there he will pause briefly at the Shrine of Santa Rosa. At 5 p.m. he will travel by helicopter to Bagnoregio to visit the cathedral of St. Nicholas where he will venerate the relics of St. Bonaventure. At 5.45 p.m., Pope Benedict will meet with local citizens in Bagnoregio's Piazza Sant'Agostino, before returning to Castelgandolfo by helicopter.OP/PASTORAL VISIT/VITERBO:BAGNOREGIO VIS 090903 (190)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 3 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences six prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop Vitorio Pavanello S.D.B. of Campo Grande, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Pinheiro da Silva S.D.B. - Bishop Segismundo Martinez Alvarez S.D.B. of Corumba. - Bishop Antonino Migliore of Coxim. - Bishop Redovino Rizzardo C.S. of Dourados. - Bishop Jorge Alves Bezerra S.S.S. of Jardim.AL/.../... VIS 090903 (80)

CNS reports that Churches, the South African government and other agencies need to step up their help to Zimbabweans crossing the border into South Africa as the numbers increase, said members of a U.S. Catholic delegation.Without church and other groups helping Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa's Limpopo province, "many people wouldn't survive" after crossing the border from Zimbabwe, said Kevin Appleby, director of migration and refugee policy for the U.S. bishops in Washington. He told Catholic News Service "the most vulnerable are women, victims of violence and unaccompanied minors."Appleby, Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City and Anastasia Brown, director of refugee programs for the U.S. bishops' Migration and Refugee Services, visited Limpopo Aug. 31-Sept. 2 as part of a larger U.S. Catholic delegation's Aug. 28-Sept. 6 visit to South Africa.For some Zimbabweans, resettlement in another country is their "only hope," Appleby said, noting that they "are targets at home and in South Africa" with its high level of xenophobia.Brown said many Zimbabwean women "told me of their persecution." Some were victims of "sexual violence for political purposes, one had seen her husband beaten to death and another had seen two people shot" in Zimbabwe, she said, noting that "political violence is continuing in Zimbabwe" despite the formation of a coalition government there in February.Thandi Hadebe, project director with Jesuit Relief Service in Makhado, about 120 miles from the Zimbabwean border, said agency workers see "fewer people coming with stories of beatings" than in 2008, but added she has heard stories of intimidation and violence from Zimbabweans who fled recently.Hadebe said JRS staffers counsel victims of torture and people who have been traumatized."A lot of people come (to South Africa) with high hopes," she said, "but they can't find a place to live and find that the grass is not so green on the other side of the fence."The trafficking of girls is a problem, Hadebe said, noting that "some parents pay people to bring their daughters to join them in South Africa and they never see them again."Young Zimbabwean girls in Limpopo's towns "need an intervention so that they don't end up in prostitution," Brown said, noting that she "heard stories of trafficking of girls for sexual and labor purposes."Brown said South Africa needs a "robust education campaign" so its citizens "understand the vulnerabilities of Zimbabweans coming into their country, even in the face of their own difficulties" of high unemployment and poverty.The Zimbabweans the U.S. group saw coming through the official border post at Beitbridge Sept. 1 were "not in the same condition as those we saw in the shelters" run by churches in Musina and Makhado, Brown said. Refugees in shelters had climbed through a barbed-wire fence and walked miles to get to South Africa, Brown said, noting that those crossing officially were "dressed fairly well and looked healthier."The children in the shelters are "particularly vulnerable" and need a "much larger-scale response" from South African authorities as well as the international community, Brown said.Bishop Wester said he was "impressed with the work" he saw being done by the churches, nongovernmental organizations and the South African government.The group saw three South African soldiers patrolling the three-layer barbed-wire fence that marks the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe."I could tell that the soldier I spoke to was genuinely troubled by what he saw, the evidence of women being raped and beaten up" as they made their way across the Limpopo River and through the African bush, Bishop Wester said. The soldier "kept shaking his head and touching his heart," he said.The river bed was dry when the delegation saw it Sept. 1. At its fullest, there are still places where people can cross the river on foot, but there are dangers of being eaten by crocodiles or washed away, Tobias Hlambelo, a Zimbabwean who works for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Musina, told the delegation Sept. 1.Hlambelo said the gangs at the border that rape and steal from Zimbabweans are fellow Zimbabweans "preying on our own people."Speaking the local language, the thieves "lure those trying to flee and take their money," said Hlambelo, who was an opposition activist in Zimbabwe when he fled in 2004 after being captured and tortured by President Robert Mugabe's forces.Bishop Wester said South Africa seems to have "positioned itself as a welcoming country" for Zimbabwean refugees, noting that he has "seen other governments that are not as open."The police-run detention center in Musina that the delegation visited Sept. 1 takes Zimbabweans who have crossed the border without documentation to the local South African Home Affairs office to fill out asylum papers, then releases them."This gives them a chance to establish themselves as asylum seekers," Bishop Wester said.He said the Zimbabweans he spoke to during the Limpopo visit "seem very patient, very long-suffering. There is a graciousness about them."Bishop Wester said that, at a night shelter for boys in Musina, a 13-year-old who "had faced great dangers in crossing the border" told him he "wants to work to support his family back home."A Zimbabwean mother told him "she had left her children with her parents and came alone" to try to earn money to send back to them, Bishop Wester said."They make great sacrifices for their families," he said. (SOURCE:



CNA reports that the Queretaro State Congress in Mexico reformed its constitution Tuesday with a 21-0 vote guaranteeing protection for human life from conception to natural death. The decision makes it the fifteenth Mexican state to enact such legislation. The new law, which was supported by some 60,000 signatures from Queretaro voters,establishes the right to life as “the first of all fundamental rights” and declares that the State has the duty protect human life from all attacks. State representatives said the reform was in accord with the Mexican Constitution and with the international treaties ratified by Mexico. In response to protests from some feminist and pro-abortion groups who called the reform an “attack” on the rights of women, several representatives dismissed the claims as completely false and said the reform would lead to policies that benefit both women and the unborn. They also pointed out that the changes in the law are not intended to “criminalize women” and that the law allows for abortion in cases of rape, life of the mother or fetal deformation. Queretaro is now the fifteenth state to enact pro-life changes to its constitution. The other states are Baja California, Chihuahua, Campeche, Colima , Puebla, Durango, Jalisco, Nayarit, Quintana Roo, Guanajuato, Yucatan, Sonora, Morelos and San Luis Potosi.


Catholic Herald reports that a well-known Scottish actor is starring in a new film about the founder of Opus Dei, St Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer. Dougray Scott - who starred in Mission Impossible II - is in Argentina filming There Be Dragons, a feature film about the life of St Josemaria. The Glenrothes-born actor plays a young journalist, estranged from his father, who begins to investigate the life of one of his father's friends, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer. The journalist, played by Mr Scott, follows their uneasy relationship from their childhood to their time during the Spanish Civil War. St Josemaria is played by the English actor Charlie Cox, who is a Catholic. His previous films include Stardust and Casanova. Mr Cox said: "I've been to many Opus Dei centres, and met many Opus Dei members [in doing research for the movie]. And I've yet to encounter anything odd- seeming."I've been brought up a Catholic. I'm not a great practising Christian. I've been to church infrequently, but I've never stopped going."He also said that there was "an inner journey I've been going on during this film. I don't know where it will lead. My relationship with the Catholic Church and with God has certainly been profoundly affected for the better throughout this process," he added.When Mr Cox was asked whether St Josemaría was really a saint, he replied: "It's an impossible question to answer ... I have to leave that up to the Catholic Church and not to myself."Roland Joffe, the Oscar-winning director of The Mission and The Killing Fields, is directing the Opus Dei-funded film, despite criticism from mainstream cinema critics. After rejecting the offer to do the film with a screenplay provided by the Opus Dei, Mr Joffe wrote the screenplay for There Be Dragons. He said that the group had not interfered with the film, that he had not been told how to write the screenplay nor had he been directed on how to present either Opus Dei or St Josemaria.Mr Joffe said St Josemaría had "made no attempt to influence the people he worked with in terms of their politics". "At that time, that's pretty heroic. That's a time when almost all human beings were faced with making extraordinary choices," he said.He added: "We found ourselves making a film about love - human love and divine love. About hate - which I guess is human - about betrayal and mistakes."I don't know if there's anybody who wants to live his life without meaning. So it's also a story about people trying to find meaning about their lives, and that's a powerful kind of story."Mr Joffe said he has researched as much as he could on St Josemaría but said that history could only be attempted. He said: "There were certain liberties I could take if those liberties could take us to the personal issues that people felt." One thing that struck Mr Joffe was St Josemaría's idea that "a way to God is found through everyday life. And that life is also found through the Spanish Civil War." "That is still felt by Spaniards very much today," he said.During the making of The Mission, which dealt with Jesuit missionaries in 17th-century Latin America, Mr Joffe used two Jesuits as advisers. One was very "Right-wing" and the other was the famous left-wing Jesuit, Fr Daniel Berrigan. Fr John Wauck, an Opus Dei priest who is a professor of literature and communication of the faith at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome was asked "whether he'd serve the same purpose as Daniel Berrigan - explain to Charlie (Cox) what he knew about Josemaria ... in as open and honest way as he could, what it means to be a priest. That's what he gave up his rather precious time to do, and I'm grateful for it."There Be Dragons cost an estimated £20 million and is expected to come out in the summer or autumn of next year.


UCAN reports that Hue archdiocesan leaders have asked local priests to pray for jailed priest Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly who was denied a presidential pardon recently.
"Father Ly is reportedly in bad health," Auxiliary Bishop Francis Xavier Le Van Hong of Hue reportedly told priests during their Sept. 1 retreat at the archdiocesan pastoral center.
Bishop Hong asked the priests to pray for Father Ly to be in good health and be freed soon. Some 100 priests attended the retreat where they concelebrated Mass together with Archbishop Etienne Nguyen Nhu The of Hue.
Some of the priests told UCA News that two of Father Ly's relatives had told Bishop Hong about Father Ly's health on Aug. 27. The relatives had visited him at his detention camp three days earlier and gave him food and medicine.
The 63-year-old priest of Hue archdiocese has been held in a special ward of Ba Sao camp in the northern Ha Nam province since 2007.
One of the priests reported the relatives as saying that "Father Ly suffers severely from heart ailments." His relatives are allowed to visit him every other month.
Father Ly was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in December 1983 for undermining national unity and causing public disorder and then in 2001 was sentenced to 15 years for disseminating anti-government propaganda.
He was released from prison in February 2005, but remained under house arrest in the Hue archbishop's residence. He was arrested again on Feb. 18, 2007 and sentenced to eight years in March that year for anti-government activities after he helped organize a pro-democracy party.
He was refused a presidential pardon on Aug. 31 this year, when the government announced a list of 5,459 prisoners who would be released to mark Vietnam's National Day on Sept 2.
State-run media quoted Vice Minister of Public Security Le The Tiem as saying Father Ly would not be released for lack of sincere repentance.
The priest "is still in good enough health to serve his sentence," Tiem reportedly said.
A Church source told UCA News local Church leaders plan to petition government authorities to allow priests to visit Father Ly. The source said so far two priests have been allowed to visit him once year for less than an hour. These priests also gave him food.
Father Ly, who was ordained in 1974, is the former pastor of An Truyen parish.

CathNews reports that author Mary Ryllis Clark's book on the Loreto sisters, Loreto in Australia, chronicling the founding and development of the order in the country, has been launched.
The book follows the tale of the small band of Irish nuns who arrived in Ballarat in 1875, with their charismatic leader Mother Gonzaga Barry. It explores the women's influence on Catholic education in Australia and follows the growth of the order's work, which has now expanded into indigenous and other disadvantaged communities, as well as into tertiary institutions and other positions in public life.
"Its original founder, the seventeenth century Yorkshire woman Mary Ward, links them to one of the bloodiest periods in British history when being Catholic was tantamount to treachery," according to a media release.
"Mary Ward established a community of women in Europe who followed a rule based on that of the Jesuits. They did not observe enclosure or wear habits and governed themselves, which was unacceptable to the Church at the time. Ward was eventually imprisoned for heresy and her work suppressed, but her Institute survived."
"Loreto in Australia is the story of women of great strength, charm and deep spirituality fulfilling Mary Ward's prediction that 'women in time to come will do great matters'."


St. Gregory the Great
Feast: September 3
540 at Rome, Italy
12 March 604 at Rome, Italy
Patron of:
against plague, choir boys, educators, England, gout, masons, musicians, papacy, Popes, schoolchildren, singers, stone masons, stonecutters, students, teachers, West Indies

Doctor of the Church; b. at Rome about 540; d. 12 March 604.
Gregory's father was Gordianus, a wealthy patrician, probably of the famous gens Amicia, who owned large estates in Sicily and a mansion on the Caelian Hill in Rome, the ruins of which, apparently in a wonderful state of preservation, still await excavation beneath the Church of St. Andrew and St. Gregory. His mother Silvia appears also to have been of good family, but very little is known of her life. She is honoured as a saint, her feast being kept on 3 November (see SILVIA, SAINT). Besides his mother, two of Gregory's aunts have been canonised, Gordianus's two sisters, Tarsilla and Æmilians, so that John the Deacon speaks of his education as being that of a saint among saints. In 573, when little more than thirty years old, Gregory decided to abandon everything and become a monk. This event took place most probably in 574. His decision once taken, he devoted himself to the work and austerities of his new life with all the natural energy of his character. His Sicilian estates were given up to found six monasteries there, and his home on the Caelian Hill was converted into another under the patronage of St. Andrew. However, he was soon drawn out of his seclusion, when, in 578, the pope ordained him, much against his will, as one of the seven deacons (regionarii) of Rome. Popo Pelagius II accordingly dispatched a special embassy to Tiberius, and sent Gregory along with it as his apocrisiarius, or permanent ambassador to the Court of Byzantium. The date of this new appointment seems to have been the spring of 579, and it lasted apparently for about six years. In the year 586, or possibly 585, he was recalled to Rome, and with the greatest joy returned to St. Andrew's, of which he became abbot soon afterwards. The monastery grew famous under his energetic rule, producing many monks who won renown later. Then, in February, 590, as if to fill the cup of misery to the brim, Pelagius II died. The choice of a successor lay with the clergy and people of Rome, and without any hesitation they elected Gregory, Abbot of St. Andrew's. As the plague still continued unabated, Gregory called upon the people to join in a vast sevenfold procession which was to start from each of the seven regions of the city and meet at the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin, all praying the while for pardon and the withdrawal of the pestilence. This was accordingly done, and the memory of the event is still preserved by the name "Sant' Angelo" given to the mausoleum of Hadrian from the legend that the Archangel St. Michael was seen upon its summit in the act of sheathing his sword as a sign that the plague was over. At length, after six months of waiting, came the emperor's confirmation of Gregory's election. The saint was terrified at the news and even meditated flight. He was seized, however, carried to the Basilica of St. Peter, and there consecrated pope on 3 September, 590. The story that Gregory actually fled the city and remained hidden in a forest for three days, when his whereabouts was revealed by a supernatural light, seems to be pure invention.
As pope Gregory still lived with monastic simplicity. (Edited from


Whether, therefore, we receive what we ask for, or do not receive it, let us still continue steadfast in prayer. For to fail in obtaining the desires of our heart, when God so wills it, is not worse than to receive it; for we know not as He does, what is profitable to us.
St. John Chrysostom:

Luke 5: 1 - 11
While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennes'aret.
And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets."
And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking,
they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken;
and so also were James and John, sons of Zeb'edee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men."
And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.