The pastoral letter is written with a broad and diverse audience in mind – ranging from young unmarried adults to married couples to those who offer pastoral ministries to those whose work informs and shapes opinion and public policy about marriage. The bishops write, “We address this pastoral letter first and foremost to the Catholic faithful in the United States. In a spirit of witness and service we also offer our message to all men and women in the hope of inspiring them to embrace this teaching.”
The letter presents the essential points of Catholic teaching on marriage that are foundational for understanding the nature and purposes of marriage, for living it faithfully, and for preserving and defending it as a necessary and unique social institution.
“Our pastoral letter is an invitation to discover, or perhaps rediscover, the blessing given when God first established marriage as a natural institution and when Christ restored and elevated it as a sacramental sign of salvation,” the bishops write.
“Today, more than ever, people are asking whether and how it is possible to make and keep a lifetime commitment in a marriage,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, chairman of the Bishops’ Subcommittee on Marriage and Family and a key person in the development of the pastoral letter. “The Catholic Church has a vision for marriage that can sustain spouses in good times and in bad times – one that can lead them to happiness and holiness in their relationship. This message is based on both reason and faith; it is God’s plan for the good of the spouses, their children and family, and society as a whole.”
At the conclusion of the pastoral letter the bishops “urge a renewed commitment by the entire Catholic community to helping those called to the vocation of married life to live it faithfully, fruitfully, and joyfully.” They make a “pledge to be a marriage-building Church, drawing strength from God’s grace while creatively using the gifts and resources entrusted to us.”In the coming years the bishops have adopted strengthening marriage as one of their five national priorities. “This letter will be the launch for several new projects that will offer resources for local pastoral ministries,” said Dr. Richard McCord, the Executive Director of the USCCB Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. “We also plan to continue developing what has already been successful, especially a public service media campaign on the good effects of marriage as well as our popular website, http://www.foryourmarriage.org/, that provides an abundance of practical materials for engaged and married couples.”
For media inquiries, e-mail us at email@example.comDepartment of Communications 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194 (202) 541-3000 © USCCB. All rights reserved.
Although he acknowledged that it may be difficult for the Pope to grant his request, Bishop Burillo said he would nonetheless extend a formal invitation to the Holy Father requesting “the inestimable grace of his presence among us.”
The bishop expressed his “deepest desire that His Holiness the Pope visit Avila for this centenary, as did his predecessor John Paul II in 1982 on the occasion of the closing of the 400th anniversary of the death of St. Teresa.”
Regarding the request for a Jubilee Year, Bishop Burillo said it would be a time “in which the Church would grant singular spiritual graces to the faithful to mark the anniversary of the birth of this Doctor of the Church.”
St. Teresa was proclaimed the first female Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI on September 27, 1970.
The bishop also invited the faithful of his diocese to enthusiastically join with the Carmelite Order, founded by the saint in 1562, in preparing for the celebrations.(SOURCE: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17414
Bishop Thomas Dabre of Poonagiving the keynote address atthe Indian Mission Congress
"When a Christian incarnates and lives his faith, all false charges of conversion by fraudulent means, enticement and force sound hollow" because these stem from misunderstanding and prejudice, said Bishop Thomas Dabre of Poona.
The prelate was speaking during his Oct. 14 keynote address at the ongoing Indian Mission Congress.
Some 1,500 delegates from India's 160 dioceses are attending the Oct. 14-18 event, called "Prabhu Yesu Mahotsav" (Lord Jesus grand festival) in Mumbai, the country's commercial capital.
The festival's theme is "Let Your Light Shine: Become the Message and the Messenger. The event is a follow-up to the Asian Mission Congress held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2006, in which one resolution was to hold similar national, regional and diocesan gatherings.
In his address, titled "Let the Messenger Become the Message," Bishop Dabre cited last year's attacks against Christians in Orissa, eastern India, as an example of Christians suffering courageously to carry out the mission of evangelization.
In his speech, Bishop Dabre stressed that it is only by living fully in Christ that Catholics can effectively become both Christ's "messenger" as well as his "message."
When the message and the messenger become one, a new bright path opens out whereby the light of Christ can be shared with everyone in India and around the world, said the prelate, who is chairman of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India's Commission for Doctrine and Theology.
Bishop Dabre said the Church's commitment to serve others is reflected in its extensive network of educational establishments, health services, relief and rehabilitation programs and other social services.
"We become true missionaries when we declare that we take care of the poorest of the poor for the sake of Christ," said the prelate, who is former professor of theology at Jnana-Peetha Vidyapeeth, Asia's largest Catholic seminary in Pune.
Bishop Dabre also emphasized that evangelization demands "we don't relativize or water down the necessity of the Church for salvation."
"It is not right to say 'yes' to Christ and 'no' to the Church, for Christ makes himself present in the Church," he explained.
The Church today, the prelate said, encourages the laity to be an effective and fruitful witness to Christian life in the temporal and secular sphere. "In the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural Indian society, the laity should be proactive in promoting the mission of the Church."
The prelate said he has always been impressed by Hindus who have expressed a desire to receive Holy Communion. "This I understand as a longing for Jesus Christ, the savior of the world", he said.
Many people, the prelate said, attend prayers and devotions in churches, prayer halls and pilgrimage shrines, which is indicative of India's spiritual hunger.
The prelate said the Church is basically missionary and Christians are urged to follow the examples of people like Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata, Saint Francis Xavier and Saint Alphonsa, India's first woman saint, to spread the light of Christ through deeds of love and service.
Many missioners carry out this mission amid suffering, atrocities and persecutions in India and elsewhere in the world, Bishop Dabre added.
"The stories behind each person's trafficking experience are very complex, but one of the themes that emerged in my research was poverty. It is the same reason many women are trafficked into Australia, it is a major cause of their vulnerability," she said in a media statement.
Sr Angela will present a research report, An Exploration of Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation in Cebu, Philippines, at the October 22-24 forum in Manila. In her study, she has found that women who have been trafficked into prostitution are a vital source of information and wisdom when developing programs to prevent the trafficking or when developing rehabilitation programs for survivors.
The report includes stories from two trafficked women in a red light district in Cebu City.
"We often have experts speak at these international gatherings, but we seldom hear from the people who are the subjects of our discussions," Sr Angela said.
Her research was assisted by Sr Tonette Go, a Good Shepherd Sister who runs a shelter for those working in the Cebu red light district. Sr Tonette also runs a micro-finance scheme for the women who want to leave prostitution and earn a fair wage.
Sr Angela, a trained primary school teacher and counsellor, worked for many years as manager of Mercy Care, a safe house in Melbourne for women and children who have experienced domestic violence. She believes some of those who came to the facility were also victims of trafficking.
Sr Angela is the Victorian Convener of the Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH), an organisation of women from religious orders who have joined forces and resources to try and combat trafficking.
St. Ignatius of Antioch
Feast: October 17
50 in Syria
between 98-117, Rome
Relics are in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome
against throat diseases, Church in eastern Mediterranean; Church in North Africa
Also called Theophorus (ho Theophoros); born in Syria, around the year 50; died at Rome between 98 and 117.
He was arrested and led before Trajan, who was then sojourning in Antioch. Accused by the emperor himself of violating the imperial edict, and of inciting others to like transgressions, Ignatius valiantly bore witness to the faith of Christ. If we may believe the account given in the "Martyrium", his bearing before Trajan was characterized by inspired eloquence, sublime courage, and even a spirit of exultation. Incapable of appreciating the motives that animated him, the emperor ordered him to be put in chains and taken to Rome, there to become the food of wild beasts and a spectacle for the people.
"And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God;
but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
And every one who speaks a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious how or what you are to answer or what you are to say;
for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."