Wednesday, January 20, 2010


(vis) - Before his general audience, held this morning in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI blessed a marble state of St. Rafaela Maria Porras y Ayllon, foundress of the Sisters Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which has been positioned in a niche in the external wall of the Vatican Basilica. The theme of the papal catechesis in today's audience was the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which is currently being celebrated and which, the Holy Father noted, invites us to pray to the Lord for "the visible unity of all Christians", because unity is "first and foremost a gift of God". He then remarked how the theme chosen for this year's Week - "you are witnesses of these things" - raises two questions: "what are these things?" and: "how can we be witnesses of these things?". The answer to the first question is "the mystery of the Passion and the gift of the Resurrection", said the Pope. "By knowing Christ we know the face of God. ... In Christ, the distant God becomes close". As for the second question, he explained that "we can only be witnesses of Christ, ... by knowing Him personally, ... and truly meeting Him in our life of faith, and thus we can contribute to the novelty of the world, to eternal life". "The modern ecumenical movement has undergone such considerable development in the last century as to become an important element in the life of the Church. ... It not only favours fraternal relations between Churches and ecclesial communities, in response to the commandment to love, ... but also stimulates theological research. Furthermore, it involves the real life of Churches and ecclesial communities, with themes that concern pastoral care and sacramental life". "Since Vatican Council II the Catholic Church has forged fraternal relations with all the Churches of the East and ecclesial communities of the West. In particular, with most of them, she has established bilateral theological dialogue that has been able to find points of convergence, even consensus, on various matters, thus strengthening our bonds of communion. Over the last twelvemonth, the various dialogues have made important progress". Turning then to refer specifically to "the study of a crucial theme in dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox: 'the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church in the first millennium'", a study which will subsequently "also extend to the second millennium", the Holy Father recalled how he had asked Catholics to pray "for this delicate dialogue which is so essential for the entire ecumenical movement". The Holy Father likewise referred to such events as "the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, which Catholics and Lutherans celebrated together on 31 October 2009", and "the visit to Rome of Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, ... who held discussions on the situation currently facing the Anglican Communion. The joint commitment to continue dialogue is a positive sign, an expression of how intense the desire for unity is, despite the obstacles that stand in its way", said the Pope. And he went on: "Ecumenical work is not a linear process, the old problems that arose in another age lose their importance, giving way to problems and difficulties of our own time. For this reason we must always be willing to accept a process of purificationm, through which the Lord makes us capable of unity". The Holy Father concluded by asking people "to pray for the complex question of ecumenism, for the promotion of dialogue, and that the Christians of our time may show the world a shared witness of faithfulness to Christ".AG/CHRISTIAN UNITY/... VIS 100120 (630)
CONCLUSION OF NINTH MEETING OF HOLY SEE-ISRAEL COMMISSION VATICAN CITY, 20 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel released a communique at the conclusion of their 17-20 January meeting in Rome. The text, written in English, highlights how during this meeting, the ninth since its creation, the commission participated "in the historic visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the great synagogue in Rome. "At this event", the communique adds, "the Pope categorically reaffirmed the commitment of the Catholic Church to dialogue and fraternity with the Jewish people, as well as unequivocally condemning anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism. He also highlighted the significance of the work of the bilateral commission itself, about to hold its meeting on the subject of Catholic and Jewish teaching on creation and the environment, wishing it a 'profitable dialogue on such a timely and important theme'. Similarly Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome, in his words on this occasion emphasised the mutual obligation of Christians and Jews to work together to protect the environment in keeping with the biblical charge. "However, the meeting also took place in the shadow of the catastrophic tragedy in Haiti. Indeed, the aforementioned gathering in the synagogue, opened with a minute of silence in solidarity with the victims. The members of the commission expressed their prayers for the victims and for the recovery of the survivors and applauded the international rescue and aid for the reconstruction of Haiti. "During the course of the meeting the members attended the moving presentation of Fr. Patrick Desbois at the Pontifical Gregorian University that highlighted the work of 'Yachad in Unum' to locate and memorialise the unidentified sites in Eastern Europe of mass murder during the Shoah. The commission urged the respective religious communities to support and publicise this very important work, in order to learn from the tragedies of the past to protect and respect the sanctity of human life everywhere so that atrocities will never reoccur"..../JEWISH CATHOLIC DIALOGUE/... VIS 100120 (340)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 20 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Bishop Edney Gouvea Mattoso, auxiliary of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as bishop of Nova Friburgo (area 9,866, population 652,000, Catholics 599,659, priests 70, permanent deacons 16, religious 62), Brazil. He succeeds Rafael Llano Cifuentes, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Erected the new apostolic vicariate of Hosanna (area 12,000, population 2,400,000, Catholics 135,000, priests 35, religious 51) Ethiopia, with territory taken from the current apostolic vicariate of Soddo-Hosanna. He appointed Fr. Woldeghiorghis Mathewos, spiritual father of the major seminary of Soddo-Hosanna in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Wassera, Ethiopia in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1969. - Gave his assent to the declaration of impediment of the eparchial see of Stryj of the Ukrainians, Ukraine, canonically issued by the Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church, because of the state of health of Julian Gbur S.V.D., in accordance with canon 233 para. 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. - Accepting the proposal of the Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church, appointed Bishop Taras Senkiv O.M., auxiliary of Stryj of the Ukrainians, Ukraine, as apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the same circumscription.NER:RE:ECE:NA/.../... VIS 100120 (240)
CNA report:
The Consolata Missionaries marked the first anniversary since the untimely death of Italian Fr. Giuseppe Bertaina at a colourful celebration that also marked the dedication of the Consolata Language Centre to his memory.Fr. Matthew Ouma, the General Councillor in charge of Africa, reminded the congregation that, although it may seem strange to many, one of the most productive avenues for growth, transcendence, is found through the experience of death. Taking the example of the late Fr. Bertaina, who dedicated his life to the formation of missionaries through the Consolata Institute of Philosophy, Fr. Ouma brought out that a seed does not produce anything unless it dies (John 12:24).Fr. Ouma brought out the legacy of Fr. Bertaina as someone to be emulated. The Mass, which was attended also by all the Rectors of the religious Institutes whose students study at the Consolata Institute of Philosophy, became a period of soul searching for many. He noted that death is perhaps the best reminder that our time in this world is limited and that we would better accomplish our purpose here on earth before our time runs out.The commemoration was also coupled with the dedication of the Consolata Language Centre to Fr Bertaina�s memory. A plague was unveiled with an apt message�. �May his love for education and learning inspire all who pass thro this centre.�Fr. Bertaina was found dead in his office on January 17, 2009 and two people are being prosecuted for his murder in the Kenyan courts.(SOURCE:
CNA report:
The body of Vicar General Charles Benoit was found beneath the ruins of the Port-au-Prince Cathedral today, a week after the catastrophic earthquake that wreaked havoc on the Haitian community. Vicar General Charles Benoit was discovered with his hands around a reliquary which contained a host inside. Despite the bad news, rescuers were encouraged by a dramatic two hour rescue that took place Wednesday. Enu Zizi, 60, had been trapped beneath the rubble in the Port-au-Prince Cathedral since the devastating quake hit last Tuesday evening local time. Zizi's first words upon being pulled from the wreckage were to tell her rescuers, “I love you.” Caritas worker Ruth Schoffl translated Zizi's message for her fellow rescuers and said, “It was like witnessing a small miracle.” “After a week of searching we heard this voice. I was able to speak to her, translating for the rescue team,” said Schoffl. The Cancun Mexico Rescue Brigade and the South African Relief Team are credited with rescuing Enu,who, aside from injured lips and a possible broken leg, was not critically hurt. “The rescue of Zizi has been the best thing in the team we have experienced,” said Ahmed Bham, leader of the South African Relief Team. “It is the first time we have saved somebody's life after such a long time after the quake.” “The team has got an energy boost,” he continued, “and we are heading out to do more work as there is still hope.”(SOURCE:
AsiaNews report:
They are suspected of having caused the fire and throwing stones against the church Metro Tabernacle, of the Assembly of God. Police are investigating their links with the other 10 attacks on places of worship, after the controversy on even Christians being allowed to use of the word Allah. The political exploitation of the Umno. Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Malaysian police have arrested eight youths on suspicion of burning of a church in the capital, the first in a series of attacks on Christian places of worship. Bakri Zinin, chief of federal police investigator said that young people, 21 to 26 years, "are suspected of being involved in the criminal fire of the Metro Tabernacle Church”. The building, which belongs to the Assembly of God community, is located on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. On January 8, some people threw stones and incendiary objects at the building resulting in serious damage. Bakri Zinin also stated that the investigation will determine whether the young people themselves are linked to other attacks. In recent weeks, there were 10 other attacks against churches and places of worship in Malaysia after the one at Metro Tabernacle. The series of violence seems to have been unleashed after the High Court decision to allow non-Muslims to use the word "Allah" to define "God", on 31 December. This has caused the anger of local Islamic groups that defend the exclusive use of the word for Islam, accusing other religions (including Christians) of aiming to subtly proselytize. In fact the word "Allah" is commonly used by Christians throughout the Middle East and Indonesia. In Malaysia there is evidence of the Christian use of the term since the 17th century. The government supports the Islamic groups and has declared its intention to appeal against the decision of the court. According to analysts, government support to fundamentalist groups has electoral purposes. By aligning itself with them the majority party, the Umno, hopes to have more electoral support. The Islamic opposition party, Pas, advocates the use of speech for Christians and Jews. A multiethnic country, Malaysia has about 25 million inhabitants. The majority is Malay and Muslim (60%). Then there are Chinese (25%) and Indians (8%). The Christians are 10%, Catholics 3.17%. (SOURCE:


Cath News report:
Some details of the case under investigation regarding a possible miracle attributed to Venerable Pope Pius XII have been made public, and the story involves Pope John Paul II, the Catholic News Agency reports. Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli published an article in Il Giornale, saying a case involving Pope John Paul II was brought to the attention of Benedict XVI shortly before he declared Pius XII as venerable. In 2005, a 31-year-old teacher was expecting her third child in the city of Castellammare di Stabia. She began to have strong pains, which after many tests and a biopsy, signalled the presence of Burkitt's lymphoma. The condition is typified by swollen lymph nodes, often starting in the abdominal region, and the cancer can spread to bone marrow and spinal fluid. Her health and the health of her child was in danger. The woman's husband first prayed for the intercession Pope John Paul II, who reportedly appeared to him in a dream. The spouse described to Tornielli what he saw that night, "He had a serious face. He said to me, 'I can't do anything, you must pray to this other priest...' He showed me the image of a thin, tall, lean priest. I didn't recognize him; I didn't know who he might be." Several days passed before he, "by chance," came across a picture of Pope Pius XII in a magazine and recognised him as the man John Paul II had shown him in the dream. The man prayed for Pius XII's intercession. Following her very first treatments, the woman's tumour disappeared. She was cured so quickly that her doctors pondered the notion that they may have originally misdiagnosed the pathology. The tests and charts were reconsulted and the initial diagnosis was confirmed. A local news source, the Sorrento & Dintorni, said a Tribunal has been organised by Archbishop Felice Cece of Sorrento-Castellammare to determine the nature of the occurrence and whether it will move on to the Vatican. (source:
Cath News report:
Brisbane priest Father Tim Harris said there is growing support for former parishioner, Scott Rush, who is on death row in Bali, since a statement by fellow "Bali Nine" Renae Lawrence that he was just a first time courier. Fr Harris, Corinda-Graceville parish priest, told The Catholic Leader that results of a recent online survey showed about 38,000 people believed that the 24-year-old Brisbane man should not receive the death penalty for his involvement in heroin smuggling. "This was more than twice the number that said that Scott should face the death penalty," Fr Harris said. "In the past, responses to such questions had been about 50-50 or worse. "It seems likely the change has been brought about by Renae's recent admission that she had made a number of drug runs into Bali but that this was Scott's first attempt. She received 20 years jail, the priest said, but Rush got the death penalty after an appeal. "When you look at these facts, Scott's death sentence would seem to be particularly out of proportion." Rush's Indonesian legal team has already lost two appeals seeking to reverse the death sentence. A third and final appeal is permitted. If this was to fail, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd could appeal to the Indonesian Government for clemency as a last resort. (source:
St. Sebastian MARTYR Feast: January 20 Information: Feast Day: January 20 Died: 288 Patron of: Soldiers, plagues, arrows, athletes St Sebastian was born at Narbonne, in Gaul, but his parents were of Milan, in Italy, and he was brought up in that city. He was a fervent servant of Christ, and though his natural inclinations gave him an aversion to a military life, yet to be better able, without suspicion, to assist the confessors and martyrs in their sufferings, he went to Rome and entered the army under the emperor Carinus about the year 283. It happened that the martyrs, Marcus and Marcellianus, under sentence of death, appeared in danger of being shaken in their faith by the tears of their friends: Sebastian—seeing this, steps in and made them a long exhortation to constancy, which he delivered with the holy fire that strongly affected all his hearers. Zoe, the wife of Nicostratus, having for six years lost the use of speech by a palsy in her tongue, fell at his feet, and spoke distinctly; by the saint making the sign of the cross on her mouth. She, with her husband Nicostratus, who was master of the rolls, the parents of Marcus and Marcellianus, the jailer Claudius, and sixteen other prisoners, were converted; and Nicostratus, who had charge of the prisoners, took them to his own house, where Polycarp, a holy priest, instructed and baptized them. Chromatius, governor of Rome, being informed of this, and that Tranquillinus, the father of SS. Marcus and Marcellianus, had been cured of the gout by receiving baptism, desired to be instructed in the faith, being himself grievously afflicted with the same distemper. Accordingly, having sent for Sebastian, he was cured by him, and baptized with his son Tiburtius. He then enlarged the converted prisoners, made his slaves free, and resigned his prefectship. Chromatius, with the emperor's consent, retired into the country in Campania, taking many new converts along with him. It was a contest of zeal, out of a mutual desire of martyrdom, between St. Sebastian and the priest Polycarp, which of them should accompany this troop, to complete their instruction, and which should remain in the city to encourage and assist the martyrs, which latter was the more dangerous province. St. Austin wished to see such contests of charity amongst the ministers of the church. Pope Caius, who was appealed to, judged it most proper that Sebastian should stay in Rome as a defender of the church. In the year 286, the persecution growing hot, the pope and others concealed themselves in the imperial palace, as a place of the greatest safety, in the apartments of one Castulus, a Christian officer of the court. St. Zoe was first apprehended, praying at St. Peter's tomb on the feast of the apostles. She was stifled with smoke, being hung by the heels over a fire. Tranquillinus, ashamed to be less courageous than a woman, went to pray at the tomb of St. Paul, and was seized by the populace and stoned to death. Nicostratus, Claudius, Castorius, and Victorinus were taken, and, after having been thrice tortured, were thrown into the sea. Tiburtius, betrayed by a false brother, was beheaded. Castulus, accused by the same wretch, was thrice put on the rack, and afterwards buried alive. Marcus and Marcellianus were nailed by the feet to a post, and having remained in that torment twenty-four hours, were shot to death by arrows. St. Sebastian, having sent so many martyrs to heaven before him, was himself impeached before the Emperor Diocletian, who, having grievously reproached him with ingratitude, delivered him over to certain archers of Mauritania, to be shot to death. His body was covered with arrows, and he left for dead. Irene, the widow of St. Castulus, going to bury him, found him still alive, and took him to her lodgings, where, by care, he recovered of his wounds, but refused to flee, and even placed himself one day by a staircase where the emperor was to pass, whom he first accosted, reproaching him for his unjust cruelties against the Christians. This freedom of speech, and from a person, too, whom he supposed to have been dead, greatly astonished the emperor; but, recovering from his surprise, he gave orders for his being seized and beat to death with cudgels, and his body thrown into the common sewer. A pious lady, called Lucina, admonished by the martyr in a vision, got it privately removed, and buried it in the catacombs at the entrance of the cemetery of Calixtus. A church was afterwards built over his relics by Pope Damasus, which is one of the seven ancient stationary churches at Rome, but not one of the seven principal churches of that city, as some moderns mistake; it neither being one of the five patriarchal churches, nor one of the seventy-two old churches which give titles to cardinals. Vandelbert, St. Ado, Eginard, Sigebert, and other contemporary authors relate that, in the reign of Louis Debonnair, Pope Eugenius II gave the body of St. Sebastian to Hilduin, Abbot of St. Denys, who brought it into France, and it was deposited at St. Medard's, at Soissons, on the 8th of December, in 826 With it is said to have been brought a considerable portion of the relics of St. Gregory the Great. The rich shrines of SS. Sebastian, Gregory, and Medard were plundered by the Calvinists in 1564, and the sacred bones thrown into a ditch, in which there was water. Upon the declaration of two eye-witnesses, they were afterwards found by the Catholics, and in 1578 enclosed in three new shrines, though the bones of the three saints could not be distinguished from each other. The head of this martyr, which was given to St. Willibrord by Pope Sergius, is kept at Esternach, in the duchy of Luxemburg. Portions of his relics are shown in the cathedral at St. Victor's; the Theatins and Minims at Paris; in four churches at Mantua; at Malacca, Seville, Toulouse; Munich in the ducal palace; Tournay in the cathedral; Antwerp in the Church of the Jesuits; and at Brussels in the chapel of the court, not at St. Gudule's, as some have mistaken. St. Sebastian has been always honoured by the church as one of her most illustrious martyrs. We read in Paul the deacon in what manner, in the year 680, Rome was freed from a raging pestilence by the patronage of this saint. Milan in 1575, Lisbon in 1599, and other places, have experienced in like calamities the effects of his intercession with God in their behalf.(SOURCE:
St. Fabian POPE, MARTYR Feast: January 20 Information: Feast Day: January 20 Died: January 20, 250 Rome, Italy He succeeded St. Anterus in the pontificate in the year 236. Eusebius relates that in an assembly of the people and clergy, held for the election of a pastor in his room, a dove, unexpectedly appearing, settled, to the great surprise of all present, on the head of St. Fabian, and that this miraculous sign united the votes of the clergy and people in promoting him, though not thought of before, as being a layman and a stranger. He governed the church sixteen years, sent St. Dionysius and other preachers into Gaul, and condemned Privatus, a broacher of a new heresy in Africa, as appears from St. Cyprian. St. Fabian died a glorious martyr in the persecution of Decius, in 250, as St. Cyprian and St. Jerome witness. The former, writing to his successor, St. Cornelius, calls him an incomparable man, and says that the glory of his death had answered the purity and holiness of his life. The saints made God, and the accomplishment of his holy will, the great object of all their petitions in their prayers, and their only aim in all their actions. "God," says St. Austin,[3] "in his promises to hear our prayers, is desirous to bestow himself upon us; if you find any thing better than him, ask it, but if you ask any thing beneath him, you put an affront upon him, and hurt yourself by preferring to him a creature which he framed: pray in the spirit and sentiment of love, in which the royal prophet said to him, 'Thou, O Lord, art my portion.'[4] Let others choose to themselves portions among creatures; for my part, Thou are my portion, Thee alone I have chosen for my whole inheritance."(SOURCE:

Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi PRIEST Feast: January 20 Information: Feast Day: January 20 Born: September, 1903, Aguleri, Anambra, Nigeria Died: January 20, 1964, Leicester, England Beatified: March 22, 1998 by Pope John Paul II Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi was born in 1903 in Igboezunu, at the edge of: the forest near the ancient city of Aguleri in southern Nigeria. His parents, Tabansi and Ejikwevi, were Igbo farmers who practised the "traditional religion" and gave him the name Iwene at birth. In 1909 he was sent to the Christian village of Nduka, where he was baptized three years later by Irish missionaries and given the name Michael. His peers described him as studious and very demanding with himself, with a precocious personality and deep piety. At the age of 16 he received his first school leaving certificate, which qualified him for teaching. He taught at Holy Trinity Primary School in Onitsha for three years and served for a year as headmaster at St Joseph School in Aguleri. In 1925, against the wishes of his family, he entered St Paul's Seminary in Igbariam. After finishing his philosophical and theological studies, he was ordained a priest in the cathedral of Onitsha on 19 December 1937 by the missionary Bishop Charles Heerey. The second indigenous priest of Onitsha and the first in the Aguleri region, he began his pastoral ministry in the parish of Nnewi. In 1939 he was appointed parish priest of Dunukofia (Umudioka region), where he courageously tackled immoral customs and destroyed the harmful myth of the "cursed forest", which weighed heavily on the peace of consciences and families. To combat premarital cohabitation, he set up marriage preparation centres where girls and young women could be sheltered and receive Christian formation. For the moral education of young people he also established the League of Mary, with remarkable success. On foot or bicycle, Fr Tansi went from village to village preaching, catechizing and setting up prayer centres that eventually became parishes. He spent hours and hours hearing confessions, even until late at night. His zeal, shining example and life of prayer and penance transformed the people into a true Christian community resulting in so many vocations to the priesthood and religious life that his parish held the diocesan record. The same energy characterized his years as parish priest of Akpu, where he served from 1945 until his transfer to Aguleri in 1949. On an unspecified date between 1949 and 1950, during a priests' day of recollection, Bishop Heerey expressed the desire that one of his priests would embrace the monastic life so that he could later establish a contemplative monastery in his Diocese. Fr Tansi immediately said he was willing. Bishop Heerey contacted the Trappist Abbey of Mount St Bernard in Leicestershire, England, which was willing to receive him for a trial period as an oblate. In the summer of 1950 he led his parishioners on a pilgrimage to Rome for the Holy Year and left from there for Mount St Bernard. After two and a half years as an oblate, he was admitted to the novitiate on the vigil of the Immaculate Conception, taking the name Cyprian. One year later he took his simple vows and was solemnly professed on 8 December 1956. For the next seven years he lived a hidden life of prayer and work, humility and obedience, in faithful and generous observance of the Cistercian rule. In 1963, after 13 years of valuable experience as a Trappist, the time now seemed ripe for establishing a monastery in Nigeria. However, political tensions led his superiors to choose neighbouring Cameroon for the foundation instead. This was a hard blow for Fr Cyprian, who had been appointed novice master for the African monastery. It was the only time in 13 years of monastic life that he ever lost his temper, but he quickly regained control and accepted God's will with supernatural heroism. In January 1964 he began experiencing intense pain in one of his legs. Diagnosed as having thrombosis, the following morning he was found unconscious and was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Leicester, where examination revealed an aortic aneurysm. He died the following morning, 20 January 1964. He was buried at Mount St Bernard on 22 January. Present for the funeral liturgy were several Nigerian priests living in London, including his spiritual son, Fr Francis Arinze, the future Archbishop of Onitsha, Cardinal and President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. His body was exhumed in 1988 and reburied in the priests' cemetery near the cathedral of Onitsha, where he had been ordained a priest 51 years earlier. After the beatification ceremonies, his remains will be buried in the parish church of his native village, Aguieri. (SOURCE:
Mark 3: 1 - 6 1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here." 4 And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Hero'di-ans against him, how to destroy him.





(VIS) - The Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" released the following English-language communique late yesterday: "In light of the request of the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum' that Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the international humanitarian agency of the Bishops of the United States, co-ordinate the Church's relief efforts in Haiti at this stage, CRS has been holding on-site meetings with the Haitian Episcopal Conference, the apostolic nuncio and several foreign Catholic charitable agencies, now operating in Port-au-Prince, to asses and respond to the disaster. "The group initiated immediately the provision of food, water, clothing, shelter and medical aid for the displaced survivors in informal camps. Twelve sites have now been jointly determined as distribution points for further provision with security and operational assessments already undertaken. Personnel and supplies from neighbouring Santo Domingo and other nations continue to arrive through a variety of Catholic aid organisations. "As with previous disasters, the concrete generosity of Churches, institutions and individuals worldwide is again being manifested. The needs and challenges remain significant, particularly on the level of movement of goods and people and security, and are likely to grow as the effects of the earthquake in and beyond Port-au-Prince become increasingly evident".CON-CU/EARTHQUAKE/HAITI VIS 100119 (210)

DRAFT GUIDELINES FOR OCTOBER'S MIDDLE EAST SYNOD VATICAN CITY, 19 JAN 2010 (VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, presented the "Lineamenta" of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. The synodal meeting is due to be held in the Vatican from 10 to 24 October on the theme: "The Catholic Church in the Middle East. Communion and Witness. Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul". The "Lineamenta" or draft guidelines on the theme of the Synod have been published in Italian, English, French and Arabic, and are made up of an introduction, three chapters and a conclusion. The text includes a general questionnaire concerning the topics covered, the answers to which (thirty-two in all) must be sent to the general secretariat of the Synod no later than Easter. A summary of the answers will then be compiled, and this will form the "Instrumentum laboris" or working document of the Synod, which the Pope will hand to representatives of the Eastern Catholic Churches during his apostolic trip to Cyprus scheduled for 4-6 June. Archbishop Eterovic explained how the first chapter of today's document, "The Catholic Churches in the Middle East", briefly reviews the history of the Eastern Churches and presents the current challenges, including: "political conflicts in the region (Israel-Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon); ... and freedom of worship and of conscience, lamenting the considerable number of obstacles to exercising this fundamental right of individuals and of all religious communities". "Ecclesial communion", the title of chapter two of the "Lineamenta", focuses on "the question of communion within the Catholic Church; that is, among the various Eastern Catholic Churches. ... Obviously, communion is also expressed in the relations between the bishops of the various Eastern Catholic Churches, as well as between them and the faithful", said the archbishop. He then went on to explain how chapter three, "Christian witness", turns the spotlight on "the witness of Catholics within the Church herself, especially by means of catechesis and works, as well as outside the Church. "Dialogue with other Churches and Christian communities exists", he added, "but it needs to be increased". The chapter also mentions Jewish-Christian dialogue "which exists in Palestine and in Israel thanks to various associations". On the subject of relations with Muslims, the archbishop noted the document's focus on the "need to promote dialogue, also in order to know one another better, ... and as the best way to resolve problems". The conclusion to the "Lineamenta" presents "the reasons - not so much political reasons as those of faith - why it is essential that Christians remain in the Middle East and continue to make their specific contribution for a more just, peaceful and prosperous society". For his part Msgr. Fortunato Frezza, under secretary of the Synod of Bishops, explained that what we call the Holy Land "is not simply a geographical entity. ... That small space wedged between sea and desert was the stage for nearly two thousand years of history of the Jewish people, from the coming of Abraham to the Hasmonean dynasty of the second century BC and, subsequently, for the human history of the Son of God made man, and that of His disciples and Apostles". He went on: "The Synod will concern itself with all the Middle East from Asia Minor to Iraq, and the Holy Land is a geographical part of that vast and heterogeneous area, a spiritually eminent part that is by no means historically inferior or insignificant for civilisation. There, and specifically in Jerusalem, the three monotheistic religions have vital roots and bonds, each in its own way". "These vital bonds directly concern the original stages of each of the historical religions, yet we must ask whether belonging to this portion of the Middle East can foment an awareness of the authenticity and purity of faith and of religious practice. We must also ask", he concluded, "whether a shared land of origin and coexistence can favour reciprocity of recognition and respect, going so far as to have a positive influence on relations in the entire area of the Middle East".SE/LINEAMENTA/MIDDLE EAST VIS 100119 (710)

BENEDICT XVI TO PRESIDE AT VESPERS IN ST. PAUL'S BASILICA VATICAN CITY, 19 JAN 2010 (VIS) - A communique released today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announces that in the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls on Monday 25 January, the Holy Father will preside at the celebration of second Vespers of the Solemnity of the Conversion of St. Paul, for the closing of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the theme of which this year is: "You are witnesses of these things". The celebration will be attended by representatives from other Churches and Christian communities present in Rome.OCL/VESPERS CHRISTIAN UNITY/... VIS 100119 (110)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 19 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father elevated the apostolic prefecture of Donkorkrom (area 4,285, population 160,000, Catholics 17,000, priests 12, religious 7), Ghana, to the rank of apostolic vicariate with the same name and territorial configuration as before. He appointed Fr. Gabriel Edoe Kumordji S.V.D., currently apostolic prefect of Donkorkrom, as first apostolic vicar of the new vicariate. The bishop-elect was born in Accra, Ghana in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1985.ECE:NER/.../KUMORDJI VIS 100119 (80)


Asia News report:
The Campaign for Free and Fair elections (CaFFE) releases its report. Head of Election Commission says he will quit right after the election, accuses media of giving in to political pressure. The race between Rajapaksa and Fonseka is played out on the two rivals’ personality and charisma. Colombo (AsiaNews) – The election campaign for Sri Lanka’s presidency, scheduled for 26 January, has been marred by a high number of incidents, many caused by supporters of incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Campaign for Free and Fair elections (CaFFE) reported. Elections Commission Chairman Dayananda Dissanayake is said to resign because of the violence once the election is over.
The CaFFE report that was released today contains a detailed list of clashes, targeted attacks against political rivals and murders. The first death occurred on 12 January in Hungama (Hambantota district), Rajapaksa’s home area. An armed man opened fire against a bus carrying supporters of General Fonseka, leader of the opposition and the president’s main challenger. One person was killed and ten were wounded in the action, which was blamed on pro-government militias.
The following day, Rajapaksa supporters clashed with Fonseka sympathisers in Polonnaruwa, North-Central province. Thousands of people were involved, with many getting hurt.
On the same day, people close to the president attacked opposition leader supporters who were organising a rally in Kolonnawa, a Colombo district. On 15 January, also in Kolonnawa, pro-government militias attacked the headquarters of the United National Party (UNP), which, along with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), backs General Fonseka.
Rajapaksa called early elections to take advantage of his high ratings following his victory over the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) last May. Opposition parties are behind General Fonseka, the “war hero” who masterminded the defeat of the northern separatist rebels.
However, the two candidates are not far apart at a policy level. The campaign is in fact based on differences in personality and charisma between the two leaders. This has poisoned the political atmosphere, and made it more violent. What is more, Rajapaksa is accused of using state media to promote his own electoral campaign.
Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake expressed his displeasure and frustration at the violations of the recommendations made to ensure the fairness of the poll. In a meeting with party secretaries, he pointed the finger at the media for giving in to political pressure and not maintaining a balance among candidates. At the end of his address, he said he would resign after the election.
In the meantime, the Sunday Times released the findings of a poll of business leaders and academics. It found that 82.7 per cent of respondents believed that election violence was greater than during the 2005 presidential election. It also reported that 84.6 per cent felt that the 2010 election would not be free and fair.(SOURCE:’s-presidential-campaign-marred-by-deaths-and-violence-17397.html


CNA report:
The secretary general of the Congregation of the Redemptorists, Fr. Joseph P. Dorcey, told Fides news agency that the Church of St. Gerard in Port-au-Prince was completely destroyed by the January 12 earthquake, however no Redemptorists were killed. According to information provided by Fr. Mario Boies, C.Ss.R., Provincial Superior of the Province of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré, of which Haiti is a part, “No Redemptorist has died from the earthquake. They are all alive.” He added that one Redemptorist was “slightly wounded” and another “lost his mother and sister.” Fr. Dorcey said the Church of St. Gerard was “reduced to rubble” and the “new part of the students’ house was also destroyed,” leaving the students to sleep in the yard.
Reconstruction will cost an estimated two million dollars. (source:


CNA report:
An estimated 25,000 pro-life advocates took part in the sixth Paris March for Life on Sunday to mark the 35th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in France and to protest its “blatant injustice” towards the unborn and the “unspeakable sufferings” it causes women.
The March for Life, called “Marche pour la Vie” in French, brought together 15 French pro-life groups for the non-sectarian and non-partisan event. Organizers said a majority of participants were families or under 25 years old.
Participation increased from last year’s attendance of 15,000 people. The 2010 event saw an unprecedented mobilization effort on social networks like Facebook, March organizers said.
Cécile Edel, president of the group Choisir La Vie, called upon French citizens to reflect upon the “disastrous result” of 35 years of legal abortion and the “unspeakable sufferings” of millions of women.
She denounced the “blatant injustice” committed against millions of the unborn.
A dozen international delegations took part in the event, including a representative from the British group Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).
Dolores Meehan, co-founder of San Francisco’s West Coast Walk for Life, also addressed the event.
“Future generations of Europeans will be able to bring about a culture of Life thanks to your courage to come and publicly say ‘No!’ to abortion,” she declared.
France has the second highest abortion rate in Western Europe and also one of the highest contraception rates. The 1975 abortion law’s sponsor, Simon Veil, herself has deemed the high abortion rate “distressing.”
“The way forward is one of compassion and justice: compassion by providing expectant mothers with the real choice, that of preserving their unborn life; and justice with the comprehensive abolition of abortion,” the Paris March for Life’s mission statement reads.(SOURCE:


CISA report:

The Catholic diocese of Rumbek is mourning the death of Fr. John Lee TaeSoak, a member of the Congregation of the Salesians of Don Bosco from South Korea, according to the Provincial of the Salesians, Fr. Ferrington.Until he was taken ill returning to South Korea for special treatment, Fr. John Lee was serving in Tonj Mission in Rumbek Diocese. He was described as one of the �most talented, self giving and totally consecrated soul united to Christ in suffering during the excruciating agony of the last few months.�Fr. John Lee was called to the Lord Wednesday night in South Korea surrounded by members of his family and two of his confreres after suffering of cancer for several months. Fr. Ferrington described the late Fr. John Lee as �a wonderful confrere and a dedicated and zealous missionary that Sudan can boast of.�In his message to the faithful of Rumbek diocese, Bishop Caesar �We offer him to the Lord, Pray for his eternal peace and the serenity of his family in Korea and his Salesian family and we turn to him as an example and intercessor before God for the People of the mission of Tonj, where he leaves an indelible memory of priestly zeal and dedicated professional service�Fr. John Lee was an accomplished musician, a medical doctor and a zealous and dedicated priest.Funeral arrangements and burial will take place according to the Korean custom. May his should rest in eternal peace!(source:


Cath News report:

The ACT Government says it will not appropriate the funds it needs to buy Calvary Public Hospital until the sale is approved by the Vatican, as the Little Company of Mary Health Care needs Rome's endorsement to proceed.
The Government wants to buy the hospital from Little Company of Mary Health Care (LCMHC) for $77 million and LCMHC will only sell the hospital if it can buy the Clare Holland House hospice in exchange for $9 million.
The deferment buys the Government time to win the Greens support for the plan, which has raised concerns about the two sales being linked. (SOURCE:


St. Canute IV
Feast: January 19
Feast Day:
January 19
1043, Denmark
July 10, 1086, Odense
Major Shrine:
Saint Canute's Cathedral, Odense
Patron of:

Martyr and King of Denmark, date of birth uncertain; d. 10 July 1086, the third of the thirteen natural sons of Sweyn II surnamed Estridsen. Elected king on the death of his brother Harold about 1080, he waged war on his barbarous enemies and brought Courland and Livonia to the faith. Having married Eltha, daughter of Robert, Count of Flanders, he had a son Charles, surnamed the good. He was a strong ruler, as is proved by his stern dealing with the pirate Eigill of Bornholm. The happiness of his people and the interests of the Church were the objects he had most at heart. To the cathedral of Roskilde, still the royal burying-place, he gave his own diadem. His austerity was equalled by his assiduity in prayer. An expedition to England, in favour of the Saxons against William the Conqueror, planned by him in 1085, failed through the treachery of his brother Olaf. His people having revolted on account of the cruelties of certain tax-collectors, Canute retired to the island of Funen. There, in the church of St. Alban, after due preparation for death, the king, his brother Benedict, and seventeen others were surrounded and slain, 10 July, 1086. His feast is 19 January, translation, 10 July; his emblems, a lance or arrows, in memory of the manner of his death.(SOURCE:


Mark 1: 23 - 28
And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit;
and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God."
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!"
And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him."
And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.





18 JAN 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received an ecumenical delegation from Finland for the occasion of the Feast of St. Henry, patron saint of that country, which falls tomorrow. Addressing the group in English, the Pope recalled how this year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the delegation's annual visit to Rome. "The Churches of East and West, both of whose traditions are present in your country, share a real, if still imperfect, communion. This is a motive to regret the troubles of the past, but it is surely also a motive which spurs us to ever greater efforts at understanding and reconciliation, so that our brotherly friendship and dialogue may yet blossom into a perfect, visible unity in Christ Jesus", he said. The Pope also mentioned the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, signed ten years old, describing it as "a concrete sign of the brotherhood rediscovered between Lutherans and Catholics". Benedict XVI likewise expressed his pleasure at "the recent work of the Nordic Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in Finland and Sweden. ... It is greatly to be hoped", he concluded, "that the text resulting from the dialogue will contribute positively to the path which leads to the restoration of our lost unity".AC/.../FINNISH ECUMENICAL DELEGATION VIS 100118 (220)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. - Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, Archbishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont and Msgr. Antoine Herouard, respectively president, vice president and secretary general of the Conference of Bishops of France. - Rabbi Jacob Neusner, accompanied by his wife. On Saturday 16 January he received in separate audiences: - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. - Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. - Archbishop Eliseo Ariotti, apostolic nuncio to Paraguay. - Archbishop Patrick Coveney, apostolic nuncio. - A delegation from the German city of Freising, for the conferral of honorary citizenship on His Holiness.AP/.../... VIS 100118 (150)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Bishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Namur, Belgium, as metropolitan archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels (area 6,365, population 2,519,000, Catholics 1,612,000, priests 1,888, permanent deacons 89, religious 3,813), Belgium. The archbishop-elect was born in Jambes, Belgium in 1940, he was ordained a priest in 1964 and consecrated a bishop in 1991. He succeeds Cardinal Godfried Danneels, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Msgr. William Michale Mulvey of the clergy of the diocese of Austin, U.S.A., diocesan administrator, as bishop of Corpus Christi (area 29,690, population 560,614, Catholics 392,430, priests 157, permanent deacons 62, religious 195), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Houston, U.S.A. in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1975. He succeeds Edmund Carmody, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. On Saturday 16 January it was made public that the Holy Father accepted: - The resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Ndola, Zambia, presented by Bishop Noel Charles O'Regan S.M.A., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Alick Banda. - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec, Poland, presented by Bishop Janusz Zimniak, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law.NER:RE/.../... VIS 100118 (260)

ACTS OF THE ORIENTAL CHURCHES VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church, meeting at Mount St. Thomas near Ernakulam, India, from 10 to 15 January, having duty consulted with the Holy See, has adopted the following provisions and, with the prior assent of the Holy Father, has proceeded with the following episcopal elections: - Transferred the civil district of Chikmagalur from the eparchy of Mananthavady, India, to the eparchy of Bhadravathi, India. - Appointed Msgr. Pauly Kannookadan, secretary of the liturgical commission of the Syro-Malabar Church and of the commission for the clergy and for institutes of consecrated life, as bishop of the eparchy of Irinjalakuda (area 1,180, population 1,310,000, Catholics 258,320, priests 234, religious 2,490), India. The bishop-elect was born in Kuzhikattussery, India in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1985. He succeeds Bishop James Pazhayattil, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same eparchy the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 210 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. - Appointed Msgr. Remigiose Inchananiyil, secretary and chancellor of the eparchy of Thamarasserry, India, and judge of the major archiepiscopal tribunal, as bishop of the same eparchy (area 5,893, population 6,232,000, Catholics 131,417, priests 265, religious 1,627). The bishop-elect was born in Vettilappara, India in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1987. He succeeds Bishop Paul Chittilapilly, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same eparchy the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 210 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. - Erected the new eparchy of Ramanathapuram, India, appointing Msgr. Paul Alappatt, rector of the St. Mary major seminary and judge of the major archiepiscopal tribunal, as first bishop of the new eparchy. The bishop-elect was born in Edathuruthy, India in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1987 . - Erected the new eparchy of Mandya, India, appointing Msgr. George Njaralakatt, vicar general of the eparchy of Bhadravathi, India, as first bishop of the new eparchy. The bishop-elect was born in Kalayanthany, India in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1971. - Appointed Msgr. Raphel Thattil, vicar general of the archieparchy of Trichur, India, as auxiliary of the same archieparchy (area 1,000, population 2,726,300, Catholics 485,151, priests 417, religious 3,811). The bishop-elect was born in Trichur in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1980. - Appointed Msgr. Bosco Puthur, rector of the seminary of Mangalapuzha, India, as bishop of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Curia. The bishop-elect was born in Parappur, India in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1971.NER:RE:ECE:NEA/.../... VIS 100118 (430)



Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has faxed a letter of apology to Bishop Ratko Perić following the cardinal's well-publicized visit to Medjugorje. Bishop Perić, whose diocese includes the famous site of alleged Marian apparitions, had previously issued a statement expressing his displeasure at not being informed of the cardinal's visit.
At the end of December 2009, Cardinal Schönborn made what was called a private visit to Medjugorje, where the Virgin Mary has supposedly appeared on a daily basis for over twenty years. The Austrian cardinal's personal secretary said the visit was “private” and not intended to “make a statement” about the authenticity of the apparitions, which do not have Vatican approval.
However, on January 2, 2010, Bishop Perić wrote an open letter to the Viennese Cardinal, saying that the visit could not be considered private because published articles by and CNA had made the visit very public.
The bishop also emphasized that the alleged apparitions have caused turmoil in his diocese, including the presence of unapproved religious communities and openly dissenting priests. Cardinal Schönborn’s presence aggravated these problems, Bishop Perić said in his statement.
Bishop Perić also expressed his shock and disappointment at the fact that Cardinal Schönborn had failed to observe the courtesy brother bishops pay of informing the local ordinary of a diocese their plans to visit.
In its most recent statement, the Diocese of Mostar noted on its website that Cardinal Schönborn had a private audience with Pope Benedict in Rome on January 15, and shortly thereafter, the cardinal faxed a handwritten letter of apology to Bishop Perić.
The beginning of the letter reads: “ Your Excellency, Dear Brother in Christ. I have received your letter from January 2 of this year. I regret if you have the impression that my pilgrimage to Medjugorje did a disservice to peace. You can be sure that this was not my intention.”
The contents of the rest of the letter are withheld, but it concludes: “The Mother of God and her divine Son will certainly lead all things towards that which is good. In this trust, I greet you fraternally united in the Lord and remain, Yours, + Christoph Card. Schönborn O.P.”(SOURCE;



CNA report:
Bishops from Latin America are urging the faithful to offer prayers and financial assistance to earthquake victims in Haiti.
Last week, the president of the Dominican Republic bishops' conference, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez sent a letter to Archbishop Louis Kebreau of Cap-Haïtien expressing his nation's sorrow with “everything Haiti is suffering.”
The president of Caritas Peru, Bishop Miguel Irizar, noted last week that “the impact of the disaster has been devastating” and lamented that unofficial statistics indicate “the number of those affected surpasses three million and as many as 100,000 could be dead.”
Responding to the call by Pope Benedict XVI to help the earthquake-stricken nation, Caritas Peru has launched its own fund-raising appeal, the bishop said.
Last Wednesday at his general audience, the Holy Father invited "everyone" to join with him in prayer for the deceased as he also implored that God provide consolation and relief from suffering to the survivors.
He appealed especially for generosity in giving to "these brothers and sisters who are living a moment of necessity and pain, our concrete solidarity and the proactive support of the international community.”
Also last week, leaders from the bishops' conferences of Costa Rica and Colombia called on Catholics to generously contribute to a Jan. 24 second collection. (SOURCE:



UCAN report:
Some 3,000 children and youths from slums around Bangkok learned about the dangers of drug and substance abuse at a fair held for them recently.
Seminarians, nuns and students from Catholic schools helped organize activities and games, and manned stalls with anti-drug abuse posters and pamphlets at a public park.
There were also discussions on different types of addictions, their causes and effects, and ways to build awareness of such issues in communities.
Banchong Sae-Ung, from Bangkok archdiocese’s Social Action Center, organized the event for the young people from 500 Buddhist and Muslim slum communities.
Addiction for young people often means a path of crime or even premature death, said Banchong, who is also a member of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board.
He has been working in many of the slum communities to stem drug abuse and alcoholism, together with various Church bodies and congregations such as the Sacred Heart nuns.
The Jan. 17 fair was designed to educate poor children on the issues in an environment where they could also enjoy themselves.
Thailand’s Minister of Justice Pirapan Salirathavibhaga presided at the event which was also attended by many community leaders.
“The youth are the energy of the country, all communities must support them and (help) them keep clear of drugs,” he told the gathering.
Sacred Heart Sister Nora Radomkit said that although deprived communities have many problems to address, such as lack of clean water and basic amenities, “drug abuse is a major issue.”(SOURCE:

CISA report:
Amnesty International has condemned the execution of six men accused of murdering 13 policemen during clashes over a forced eviction in Khartoum, Sudan in 2005.In a statement released today, the organization has grave concerns that the defendants may have been forced to confess to the murders under torture, after the Supreme Court ignored repeated complaints by defense lawyers that the men were tortured and instead twice confirmed the death sentences. 'Six men have lost their lives due to the Courts' blatant failure to ensure their right to a fair trial. These tragic deaths highlight the growing number of executions taking place in Sudan, many of which are being carried out after unfair trials. More needs to be done to protect defendants against torture and unfair trials.' said Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Africa Director.Seven men were originally sentenced to death on 23 November 2006 for the killing of 13 policemen who died in violent clashes as they attempted to forcibly evict residents from the Soba Aradi squatter settlement in Khartoum in May 2005. Six of the defendants, Paul John Kaw, Abdelrahim Ali Al Rahama Mohamed, Idris Adam Elias, Naser El Din Mohamed Ali Kadaka, Suleiman Juma’a Awad Kambal and Badawi Hassan Ibrahim, were granted a stay of execution in early December, which expired on 6 January. The seventh defendant, Fathi Adam Mohamed Ahmed Dahab, had his sentence reduced to a five-year prison term.Between five and 30 residents of the settlement are also believed to have died in the clashes, no independent investigation has so far been launched to determine whether the security forces used excessive force during the evictions.(SOURCE:


Cath News report:
At least five families have now started legal action against the Catholic diocese in Toowoomba over the handling of sex abuse allegations at a local school.
Three sets of parents lauched a legal suit last month. The Toowoomba Chronicle said two more sets of parents have joined them, while the ABC reports that three more have joined the civil suit.
Lawyer Damian Scattini says the fact the former principal was found not guilty of failing to report allegations of abuse will not affect the claim, according to the ABC.
"We are pursuing the Church, not that individual," he said, adding that the principal was found not guilty "because he notified the Church of it, so we're holding the Church to account and that's as it should be."
Toowoomba Bishop William Morris is quoted as saying by the Toowoomba Chronicle that the victims and their families remained his highest priority.
"As I have said previously, it is not appropriate for me to comment on particular cases at this time.
"However, I understand and respect the rights of victims to pursue claims," Bishop Morris said.
"My thoughts and prayers remain with all who have been affected by this tragedy."


St. Volusian
Feast: January 18
Feast Day:
January 18

Volusian was bishop of Tours, in France, the see made famous by St. Martin two centuries earlier. He lived at a time before clerical celibacy had been enforced in the West and was married to a woman famous for her violent temper, which was a great trial to the bishop. He also lived in a time when the barbarian invasions had begun and the fear of the Goths was everywhere. In writing to a friend of his, a certain Bishop Ruricius, of nearby Limoges, St. Volusian expressed his fear of the Goths who were beginning to terrorize his diocese. Ruricius humorously replied that someone who lived with terror inside his house, meaning his wife, should have no fear of terrors from the outside.
Volusian was of senatorial rank, very wealthy, a relative of the bishop who preceded him, St. Perpetuus, and he lived in the days when Clovis was king of the Franks, the avowed enemy of the Goths.
As the Goths began to overrun Volusian's diocese, they suspected him of sympathies with Clovis and of wanting to subject them to the Franks, so Volusian was driven from his see and sent into exile.
He held the office of bishop in a very difficult time, when the whole of Western Europe was in turmoil, in the wake of the barbarian invasions from the East. Cities were sacked, government disrupted, and bishops were the only agents of stability as civil government collapsed. Gregory of Tours, who succeeded Volusian as bishop of Tours a century later, describes the turmoil of the times, and it is from his writings that we get our knowledge of Volusian.
We have no further information about Volusian's wife or his family, and we are not sure whether he died in southern France or in Spain. It is simply known that he was driven from his see, went into exile, and died after ruling as bishop for seven years.
Thought for the Day: Most of us live in very stable times, and it is difficult to imagine what it would be like if our country were invaded and national and state government ceased to exist. Our dependence on Divine Providence would be more obvious then, and our faith would have to give us strength in very different ways. The saints kept faith in the most difficult of times and leaned on God in every crisis.
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': "A tree is identified by its fruit. A tree from a select variety produces good fruit; poor varieties, don't.... A good man's speech reveals the rich treasures within him. An evil-hearted man is filled with venom, and his speech reveals it."—Matthew 12:33, 35


Mark 2: 18 - 22
Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"
And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; if he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made.
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins."