CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: MON. DEC. 13, 2010: HEADLINES-
IT IS GOD, NOT GRAND PROMISES, WHO CHANGES THE WORLD
VATICAN CITY, 12 DEC 2010 (VIS REPORT) - This morning the Pope made a pastoral visit to the parish of St. Maximilian Kolbe on the outskirts of Rome, where he celebrated Mass. As of the year 2009, the parish community has a new church, dedicated to that Polish Franciscan saint and martyr.
In his homily, the Pope highlighted how "Advent is a pressing invitation to us all to allow God to enter ever more deeply into our lives, our homes, our neighbourhoods, our communities, that we may have light amidst so much darkness and so much daily fatigue".
Noting how "with the passage of time the parish community has grown and become partly transformed, with the arrival of many people from the countries of Eastern Europe and other States", the Pope underlined the importance "of creating opportunities for dialogue and favouring mutual understanding between people from different cultures, backgrounds and social conditions".
"Here, as in all parishes", he said, "it is necessary to begin with those 'close by' then reach those 'far away', in order to bring an evangelical presence into the places in which we live and work. In parishes, everyone should be able to enjoy an adequate formation and to experience the community dimension which is a fundamental characteristic of Christian life", a community "that involves everyone, united in listening to the Word of God and in celebrating the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist".
Commenting then on today's Gospel reading in which John the Baptist asks whether Jesus is the Judge Who will change the world, or whether we must wait for another, Benedict XVI affirmed that "many prophets, ideologues and dictators have come and said: 'No, not him! He has not changed the world! We have!' And they created their empires, their dictatorships, their totalitarian regimes which were meant to change the world. And they did change it, but destructively. Today we know that all that is left of these grand promises is great emptiness and great destruction".
"The Lord, in the silent way characteristic of Him, replies: 'See what I have done. I have not brought a bloody revolution, I have not changed the world by force; but I have lit many lights which together form a great path of light over the millennia".
The Pope then turned his attention to St. Maximilian Kolbe "who volunteered to die of hunger in order to save the life of a married man", to St. Damian de Veuster "who lived and died with and for lepers", and to Mother Teresa of Calcutta "who brought light to so many people who, after a life spent without light, died with a smile because they were touched by the light of God's love.
"And so we could go on", he added, "and we would see, as the Lord said in His reply to John, that it is not violent revolution or great promises that change the world, but the silent light of truth, of God's goodness, which is the sign of His presence and gives us the certainty that we are fully loved, that we are not forgotten, that we are not the result of chance but of a will to love".
The Pope concluded his homily by highlighting how "God is close, ... but we are often far away. Let us, then draw close, let us come into the presence of His light, let us pray to the Lord and, in the contact of prayer, let us become a light for others".
COMMUNIQUE CONCERNING DOCUMENTS PUBLISHED BY WIKILEAKS
VATICAN CITY, 11 DEC 2010 (VIS REPORTS) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following communique on the subject of U.S. State Department documents published by the website Wikileaks.
"Without venturing to evaluate the extreme seriousness of publishing such a large amount of secret and confidential material, and its possible consequences, the Holy See Press Office observes that part of the documents published recently by Wikileaks concerns reports sent to the U.S. State Department by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.
"Naturally these reports reflect the perceptions and opinions of the people who wrote them and cannot be considered as expressions of the Holy See itself, nor as exact quotations of the words of its officials. Their reliability must, then, be evaluated carefully and with great prudence, bearing this circumstance in mind".
VATICAN CITY, 11 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed as members of the Congregation for Catholic Education Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia; Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany, and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, and of the Co-ordinating Council of Pontifical Academies.
- Appointed Bishop Lino Fumagalli of Sabina - Poggio Mirteto. Italy, as bishop of Viterbo (area 2,161, population 187,500, Catholics 183,400, priests 177, permanent deacons 10, religious 310), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Lorenzo Chiarinelli, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
VATICAN CITY, 12 DEC 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, having returned from his pastoral visit to the Roman parish of St. Maximilian Kolbe, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square below.
Following a Roman tradition on this third Sunday of Advent, the Pope blessed statuettes of the Baby Jesus which were brought to the square by some two thousand local children and which are destined to be placed in nativity scenes in homes, schools and parishes.
Quoting a passage from today's reading of the Letter of St. James - "Be patient therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord" - the Holy Father said: "I believe it is important, in our time, to underline the value of constancy and patience, virtues which were part of the everyday baggage of our forebears, but which seem less popular today in a world which exalts change and the capacity to adapt to new and diverse situations. Without detracting from these aspects, which are also human qualities, Advent calls us to strengthen that inner tenacity, that resistance of heart which enables us not to lose hope as we wait for a good that is late in coming, but to await it - indeed, to prepare for its arrival - with confidence".
Continuing his commentary on the Letter, in which the Apostle proposes the example of the patience of farmers as they await their crop, Benedict XVI said: "Farmers are not fatalists but the model of a mentality which harmoniously unites faith and reason. On the one hand they know the laws of nature and skilfully carry out their work while, on the other, they trust in Providence because certain fundamental things are not in their hands but in the hands of God. Patience and constancy are, indeed, a blend of human commitment and trust in God.
"'Strengthen your hearts' says the Scripture. How can we do this?" the Pope asked. "How can we strengthen our hearts which, in themselves, are somewhat fragile and become even more instable in the culture which surrounds us? Help is not wanting: we have the Word of God. For indeed, while everything else passes and changes, the Word of the Lord does not pass. If the events of life make us feel lost and all our certainties seem to crumble, we have a compass to find our way, we have an anchor so as not to drift with the current".
In this context, the Holy Father recalled "the model of the prophets; that is, of the people whom God has call to speak in His name. The prophet finds his joy and strength in the Word of the Lord and, while men and women often seek happiness by following ways which turn out to be mistaken, he announces the true hope, the hope that does not delude because it is founded on the faithfulness of God. All Christians, by virtue of their Baptism, have received prophetic dignity. May each of us rediscover this and nourish it by listening assiduously to the divine Word".
After praying the Angelus the Pope addressed some words to the children of Rome. "Dear young friends", he said, "when you place the statuette of the Baby Jesus in the grotto or the manger, say a prayer for the Pope and for his intentions.Thank you!"
According to information gathered by Fides, the priest was to celebrate Mass at 7:00 pm, but he did not appear. The parishioners went to look for him at home, and found him dead. Father Juan Luna, head of the Franciscans of Ecuador, said in a statement that the priest had cuts to his neck and to other parts of the body, from which it follows that he struggled with the murderer. It seems that when Fr Miroslaw opened the rectory to his attackers, he was alone. After they killed him, hitting him with a large crucifix, the criminals stole the priest's mobile phone and computer. Police said that the priest had already been assaulted a year ago in his house, and had laid eyes on the criminals who threatened to kill him if he denounced them.
From the General Curia OFM Conv. we learn that Miroslaw belonged to the Province of St Maximilian Kolbe (Poland - Gdansk). Born in 1965 in Polczyn Zdrój, he was ordained a priest in 1993 in Koszalin. After his ordination he worked for two years in the convent of St Maximilian in Gdynia. In 1995 he left for Ecuador. Most recently he was the guardian of the convent of St Anthony of Padua in Santo Domingo de los Colorados.
Colombo (AsiaNews) - In Sri Lanka Muslims and Catholics are mobilizing together to save the life of Rizana Nafeek, the Muslim maid sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for the alleged murder of a newborn. Yesterday, three mosques in the district of Galle in southern Sri Lanka, hosted prayers in for the girl, and organized a petition to be sent to King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, asking him to grant a pardon and save the life of the young Sinhalese woman.
Fr. George Sigamony, national director of Caritas Sri Lanka, has been working for the release of Rizana since 2007. Since the beginning of this case, he has appealed to all Catholics to pray for the salvation of the girl.
In Galle on 10 December last - the World Day for Human Rights - the imams of three other mosques have shown their solidarity by dedicating a few minutes of the noon prayer for Rizana. They also signed the petition to be sent to the Saudi king. On the same day, many Catholics went to the church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Jaela (Gampaha District) for the weekly novena and signed the "Save Rizana” petition.
A statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission (Ahcr), released today, said that "A campaign entitled" Save Rizana ", organized by Janasansadaya and Ahcr was launched in Galle 10 December 2010, the World Day for Human Rights ". According to that statement, more than 1,500 people participated in this campaign.
The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has officially asked for a pardon for Rizana, according to an announcement released by the presidential secretariat.
Rizana Nafeek has been locked in a Saudi prison since 2005. The Muslim girl, originally from a poor family in the village of Mutur (the eastern district of Trincomalee), had arrived in Saudi Arabia at just 17 years - with a false passport - to work as a maid. If the sentence is confirmed by the king, she could be executed at any time.
ALL AFRICA REPORT: Catholic nuns from the congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood marked 125 years since inception at St John the Baptist Catholic Church in Riruta, Kenya on December 8.
The occasion was marked with pomp and glamour at a Mass presided over by Bishop Alfred Rotich, Chairman of the Bishops' Commission for Social Communication.
During the occasion Sr Mary Frances Starker marked her golden jubilee and two other nuns, Sr. Therese Nduku Munywoki and Sr. Juliana Mwende Muya made their final professions.
In his speech at the main house of the nuns in East Africa, Bishop Rotich admired the discipline and integrity with which the nuns carry on their activities and noted the need for evangelization especially to the young so that they grow up knowing what integrity means.
In a letter dated November 15, His Eminence John Cardinal Njue of the Archdiocese of Nairobi singled out the education of the girl child among the many works the congregation has done in Nairobi and Kenya in general.
"Education is the gateway to opening opportunities in the world and by educating the girl child you have not only educated one person but the nation," the letter said.
"Your presence in the Archdiocese of Nairobi is being felt and seen through the good work manifested by administrators, managers and mothers who passed through your hands when they were young."
Apart from the tremendous work in the education sector the nuns are also involved in medical, catechetical and social work in the society.In another letter dated October, 2010 to friends and benefactors, the provincial mother superior, Sr. Magna Pittig observed, "We thank God for his guidance for our congregation throughout these 125 years we appreciate all who have found us as associates and we ask for God's grace that we may live our beautiful charism even more faithfully and be authentic witnesses to the redeeming love of Christ in our service to the church in east Africa."
The congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood was founded in South Africa in 1885 by Abbot Francis Pfanner and Mother Paula Emunds. It arrived in Kenya in 1909.
|Matthew 21: 23 - 27|
|23||And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?"|
|24||Jesus answered them, "I also will ask you a question; and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things.|
|25||The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven or from men?" And they argued with one another, "If we say, `From heaven,' he will say to us, `Why then did you not believe him?'|
|26||But if we say, `From men,' we are afraid of the multitude; for all hold that John was a prophet."|
|27||So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.|