POPE TO BISHOPS: SEEK NEW PATHS OF EVANGELISATION
VATICAN CITY, 1 OCT 2011 (VIS reports) - The Pope has exhorted European bishops "courageously to identify new missionary paths of evangelisation, especially in serving the new generations". These words are contained in a message signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and addressed to Cardinal Peter Erdo, president of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE). The council, which is currently celebrating the fortieth anniversary of its foundation, is holding its plenary assembly in Tirana, Albania, from 29 September to 2 October. (IMAGES SOURE: RADIO VATICANA)
Benedict XVI describes the CCEE as "a vital structure connecting the European episcopates, which for forty years has promoted fruitful collaboration in pastoral and ecumenical activities".
The council has chosen to dedicate its assembly this year to the subject of the new evangelisation, also in view of the Synod on that subject called by the Pope for October 2012. In the opening session of the plenary, Cardinal Erdo recalled how the mission of the CCEE "is to support the Church throughout the continent of Europe, focusing particular attention on those Churches which, during the course of last century, suffered greatly under the dictatorship of atheist regimes. ... Today we can confidently affirm that the rebirth of the Church in those countries is proof of Divine Providence and of faith in Christ, Who was crucified and rose again".
VATICAN CITY, 2 OCT 2011 (VIS) - Late yesterday Benedict XVI returned to the Vaticanfollowing his summer stay at Castelgandolfo. At midday today he appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
The Pope commented on today's Gospel reading which ends with a particularly severe admonition addressed by Jesus to the chief priests and Pharisees: "Thekingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom".
"These words", Holy Father explained, "make us think of the great responsibility of those who, in all ages, are called to work in the vineyard of the Lord, especially in positions of authority. They encourage us to pledge total faithfulness to Christ. He is 'the stone that the builders rejected' because they judged Him to be an enemy to the law and a danger to public order. But, although rejected and crucified, He rose again, becoming the cornerstone upon which every human life all over the world can rest with absolute confidence. ... Firmly anchored in the faith to the cornerstone that is Christ, let us abide in Him. ... Only in Him, for Him and with Him can we build the Church, the people of the new Covenant".
"The Lord is always near and operates in human history", the Pope said. "He accompanies us with the presence of His angels, whom the Church today venerates as 'Guardian Angels'; in other words, ministers of God's concern for each man and woman. From life's beginning until the hour of death, human life is under their incessant protection. ... The angels crowned ... our Blessed Lady of the Rosary who on the first Sunday of October, at this very moment, in the Shrine of Pompeii and all over the world, receives fervent prayers that evil be defeated and that God's goodness be revealed in all its fullness".
After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father reminded those present that Sr. Antonia Maria Verna, foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception, is due to be beatified this afternoon in the Italian town of Ivrea. "She was", he said, "an exemplary model of a consecrated woman and educator".
Finally the Holy Father had words of encouragement for "the volunteer institutions and associations which work to dismantle architectural barriers".
VATICAN CITY, 3 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
- Seven prelates from the Indonesian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Aloysius Sudarso S.C.I. of Palembang.
- Bishop Hilarius Moa Nurak S.V.D. of Pangkal-Pinang.
- Bishop Andreas Henrisusanta S.C.I. of Tanjungkarang.
- Archbishop Hieronymus Herculanus Bumbun O.F.M.Cap. of Pontianak.
- Bishop Blasius Pujaraharja of Ketapang.
- Bishop Giulio Mencuccini C.P. of Sanggau.
- Bishop Agustinus Agus of Sintang.
On Saturday 1 October, he received in separate audiences ten prelates from the Indonesian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Johannes Liku Ada' of Makassar.
- Bishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi M.S.C. of Amboina.
- Bishop Joseph Theodorus Suwatan M.S.C. of Manado.
- Archbishop Anicetus Bongsu Antonius Sinaga O.F.M.Cap. of Medan.
- Bishop Ludovikus Simanullang O.F.M.Cap. of Sibolga.
- Archbishop Nicolaus Adi Seputra M.S.C. of Merauke.
- Bishop Aloysius Murwito O.F.M. of Agats.
- Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar O.F.M. of Jayapura.
- Bishop Datus Hilarion Lega of Manokwari-Sorong.
- Bishop John Philip Sakil of Timika.
Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – A double murder has marked the Christian community in Kirkuk this weekend. In the northern Iraqi city, considered strategic for the huge oil fields in the center of a bitter political and economic dispute between Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds, Christians continue to die in the complete indifference of the authorities. Kidnappings for extortion, assassinations and attacks on churches and Christians are now episodes of daily life, and the local and national government seem incapable of defending them. AsiaNews sources in Kirkuk, anonymous for security reasons, denounced that "the attacks on Christians continue and the world remains totally silent. It’s as if – he continues- we’ve been swallowed up by the night. "
Yesterday afternoon, Bassam Isho a 30 year old Catholic restaurant employee in the district of Muthana, was shot dead by a group of strangers. After the murder, the band scattered covering their tracks and, so far, there is no further information. The young man will be buried in Telkef. On October 1, on the outskirts of Kirkuk, the corpse of a second Christian was found, also shot to death. The body of Hanna Polos Emmanuel, born in 1951, lay sprawled on the edge of the road that leads from the city to Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.
The weekend killings are only the latest in a long trail of blood and violence: on August 15 last a few bombs exploded against the church of St. Ephrem in Kirkuk. The Syriac Orthodox Church is a few hundred meters from the Chaldean cathedral in the center of the city. Again, August 2 a car bomb exploded in front of the Syrian Catholic Church of the Holy Family, injuring 15 people. On the same day, another car bomb, parked next to a Presbyterian church, was defused before it exploded.
Christians in Iraq have increasingly become the target of Islamic fundamentalism which is still active. At the same time, they are also targeted in local feuds. Kirkuk, with its 900 thousand inhabitants, and most important deposits of oil in Iraq, has long been the center of a political-ethnic conflict between Arabs, Turkmens and Kurds. The latter want it annexed to the Kurdistan region, while both Arabs and Turkmen want to maintain links with the Iraqi central government. (DS)
MISSION 2 FILMS RELEASE: Penned by John O'Brien and Anton Casta, this adaptation of Michael O'Brien's hugely popular apocalyptic novel brings to screen the gripping tale of Father Elijah Schäfer, a Carmelite priest, on a secret mission for the Vatican which embroils him in a series of crises and subterfuges affecting the ultimate destiny of the Church and the world.
Mission2Films is in the process of attracting top-tier film actors, DOP's, directors, and co-producers to appeal to financiers and secure distribution before production begins. For more information, to join the team, to help produce or endorse this noble project, please contact Anton Casta
We are grateful to Michael O'Brien for his endorsement of this adaptation and for his unswerving support for the last many years of its development and promotion.
Father Elijah News
Through a genererous wave of benefaction we were able to raise $6500 in May, June, and July of 2011 to cover the cost of a re-write of the Father Elijah film script. That screenplay has now been completed and is being considered by various parties who can help us bring the project to the silver screen and international distribution. We thank you for the opportunity to continue our labours in this corner of the Lord's garden.
Update: August 18th, 2011
We are now in discussion with distributors, producers, directors and talent on both sides of the Atlantic to hammer out a viable game plan. Your continued support and prayers would be greatly appreciated! So much more needs to be done, so much of our time devoted to this work that it can not be done without the help of many hands, in prayer and in offering.
To complete a great screenplay is only part of the equation. A most important part. But there is much more on the horizon: to secure distribution and financing, and the perfect talent behind and in front of the camera. It is a diffficult business and a complex art form. But when it works, by being a conveyor of authentic story it feeds the whole person and changes hearts, openning them wide to Christ.
If you can, please help us in this journey.
Donations can be made either by contacting us directly at the information below or via Paypal on our donation page. All monies collected will be used only for the Father Elijah project as we work to build alliances and head towards production.Anton R. CastaProducer and Director
IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: During 1 - 7 October the Catholic community in England and Wales is being invited to participate in Little Way Week which is an initiative that encourages people to do seven small actions – one a day for a week – to witness to their faith through service.
The initiative takes its inspiration from St Thérèse of Lisieux, the universal Patroness of Mission, who gave to the Church a teaching called the ‘Little Way’ - the saint lived by this pathway which is a commitment to do small tasks every day with love. It is a simple way of witnessing to the love of God and neighbour.
This year the initiative is being offered in support of the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the UK who said to those gathered in Oscott in 2010: “I know that you will take a lead in calling for solidarity with those in need. The prophetic voice of Christians has an important role in highlighting the needs of the poor and disadvantaged, who can so easily be overlooked in the allocation of limited resources. In their teaching document Choosing the Common Good, the Bishops of England and Wales underlined the importance of the practice of virtue in public life. Today’s circumstances provide a good opportunity to reinforce that message.”
Bishop Kieran Conry (Arundel and Brighton), Chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference and Patron of the initiative said: “In our communities many people are in need and it is the task of every Christian to reach out to them in love and service. During 1 – 7 October you are invited to be especially attentive to those who might need help, ready to share as appropriate the reason for your actions – that you are following the command of Jesus Christ to love your neighbour as yourself.”
Resources for individuals, parishes and school can be dowloaded here:http://www.catholicchurch.org.uk/Catholic-Church/Home-Mission/Latest-News
Source: Bishops Conference
The International Red Cross defines the situation in Sirte "desperate", Gaddafi's home town, were the fighting between the forces of the Transitional National Council and the faithful of the Libyan leader deposed are concentrated. According to the Red Cross, as well as water, electricity and food, medicine is beginning to lack in the city. Until now about 10 thousand people have left Sirte, which had 70 000 inhabitants. Of these 10 000, at least one third have decided to set up camps in desert areas a few kilometers from the city, so as not to stray too far from their homes. Meanwhile, the situation is getting worse in hospitals where patients continue to die due to lack of oxygen and fuel for generators.
"The fact that we continue to fight saddenes me very much", continues Mgr. Martinelli. "Here in Tripoli people are optimistic about the rapid conclusion of the siege in Sirte and Beni Walid, but in reality there is a resistance that does not sleep. We hope that a peaceful solution is found as soon as possible to avoid more victims".
As far as Tripoli is concerned, Mgr. Martinelli states that "essential services are pretty much guaranteed. We are also happy that by early November, the re-establishment of flights from Tripoli have been announced".
"The life of the Church continues, and we have the joy of having here with us Archbishop Tommaso Caputo, Apostolic Nuncio to Malta and Libya, on a visit to Tripoli for contacts with the new authorities", concludes Mgr. Martinelli. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 03/10/2011)
Sydney Archdiocese REPORT-
30 Sep 2011
On his monthly visits to the remote Curtin Detention Centre in Western Australia, Bishop Christopher Saunders has seen an increase in the despair and despondency among the 1400-plus asylum seeker inmates.
The facility is severely over-crowded with as many as 40 men in crowded dormitories that have been hastily created from recreation rooms.
In a scathing report by the Australian Human Rights Commission, the detention centre at the former air force base near Derby in Western Australia, was criticised for "dehumanising" detainees by referring to them by numbers, not names, as well as treating inmates with a lack of respect and dignity. The report severely condemned the facility saying indefinite detention at Curtin was very damaging on the mental health of inmates, with sharp increases in self harm, sleeplessness, and attempted suicide.
The Bishop of Broome, who is also Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council agrees with the Commission's findings, and says despite the Government's insistence on mandatory detention, there are other alternatives that should and must be explored.
"There are 200 charities ready and willing to help and oversee these people so they can live amongst the community while waiting for their refugee claims to be assessed," he says, adding there is enough suffering in life generally without forcing more suffering on people simply to score a political point.
"We do not have the right to inflict and project this sort of suffering on people through draconian measures such as mandatory detention," he says. "These people have done nothing wrong and have fled homelands that are in tatters or failed states in a bid to find safety for themselves and their children. They are already vulnerable and traumatised but instead of supporting and helping them, we lock them up."
Australians should be ashamed of how we treat asylum seekers, he says. "If we as a nation were invaded or wracked by civil war or if we were members of an ethnic group targeted for persecution, none of us would think twice of jumping into a boat in a bid to find safety for ourselves and our families."
Curtin Detention Centre saw a high rate of suicides and riots during the Howard Government years. Sited hundreds of kilometres from main centres, Curtin had difficulties in attracting staff and critics say inmates had little access to health services such as dentistry, medical specialists and psychiatric counselling, let alone the torture and trauma services inmates so desperately needed.
Despite the controversy surrounding the Centre, which was closed by the Howard Government, it was reopened in April 2010.
Initially it was supposed to house 500 male detainees but this has ballooned to 1400 with many sleeping in marquees or in the hastily converted dormitories.
As before, the problems attracting staff and access to all important medical and health facilities and support continue. As one inmate told the Human Rights Commission, "if we have a physical problem they give us panadol, if we have a mental problem they give us sleeping pills."
However despite the Report slamming the chronic overcrowding, remote location, intense heat and lack of activities for the men housed at Curtin, Bishop Saunders believes the real problem is the length of time they are being kept in detention, with some having been incarcerated for almost two years.
"The issue is one of time for these people. They have no idea how long they will be kept there and having done nothing wrong, are in despair," he says.
One tragic case he cites is that of a 13-year-old and 14-year-old at Curtin who were found to be genuine refugees but as children they had been forced to join the Tamil Tigers, considered a terrorist group by ASIO. So they remain in detention with no security clearance and no idea when or even if they will ever be free.
"If they (the authorities) told us you will be here for three years, maybe it will be easier instead of always waiting for next month, next month and it never comes," one Sri Lankan man at Curtin explained to the Commission.
Another detainee's plea was even more poignant. "People cry for animals kept in cages - why aren't they crying for us, we are human beings in a cage?"
Feast: October 1
895 at Staves, Namur, Belgium
3 October 959 at Brogne, Belgium
Born at Staves in the county of Namur, towards the end of the ninth century; died at Brogne or St-Gérard, 3 Oct. 959. The son of Stance, of the family of dukes of Lower Austrasia, and of Plectrude, sister of Stephen, Bishop of Liège, the young Gérard, like most omen of his rank, followed at first the career of arms. His piety, however, was admirable amid the distractions of camp. He transformed into a large church a modest chapel situated on the estate of Brogne which belonged to his family. About 917, the Count of Namur charged him with a mission to Robert, younger brother of Eudes, King of France. He permitted his followers to reside at Paris, but himself went to live at the Abbey of St-Denis, where he was so struck by the deifying lives of the monks that, at the conclusion of his embassy, with the consent of the Count of Namur and Bishop Stephen, his maternal uncle, he returned to St-Denis, took the religious habit, and after eleven years was ordained priest. He then requested to be allowed to return to Brogne, where he replaced the lax clerics with monks animated by a true religious spirit. Thereupon he himself retired to a cell near the monastery for more austere mortification. From this retreat he was summoned by the Archbishop of Cambrai who confided to him the direction of the community of St-Ghislain in Hainault. Here also he established monks instead of the canons, whose conduct had ceased to be exemplary, and he enforced the strictest monastic discipline. Gradually he became superior of eighteen other abbeys situated in the region between the Meuse, the Somme, and the sea, and through his efforts the Order of St. Benedict was soon completely restored throughout this region. Weighed down by age and infirmities, he placed vicars or abbots in his stead, in the various abbeys with which he was charged, and retired to that of Brogne. He still had courage to take a journey to Rome in order to obtain a Bull confirming the privileges of that abbey. On his return he paid a final visit to all the communities which he had reorganized, and then awaited death at Brogne. His body is still preserved at Brogne, now commonly calledSt-Gérard.
25And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"26He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?"27And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."28And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live."29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"30Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.31Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion,34and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.35And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.'36Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?"37He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."