The Holy Father was on a one day pastoral visit to the diocese of Lamezia Terme and Serra San Bruno, which lies in the heartland of the region home to the infamous Ndrangeta mafia. Calabria is Italy’s southernmost region, and one of its’ poorest and least developed with an unemployment rate touching 27%. The setting for Sunday’s mass was particularly poignant, a disused plastics factory, one of the many empty warehouses in the industrial complex just outside the town.
Welcoming Pope Benedict Sunday, Mayor Gianni Speranza spoke of a land of “extraordinary potential and resources” but also of “unacceptable unemployment, and dramatic injustice and violence”. He said “We cannot allow the dominion of the mafia and organised crime to grow stronger, or healthy industries be taken over by illegality”. “Your presence”, the Mayor concluded “gives courage and a voice to all of those who so desperately need it”.
In his homily Pope Benedict responded “never give in to the temptations of pessimism and retreat in on yourselves. Rely on the resources of your faith and your human capacities; strive to grow in the ability to collaborate, to take care of each other and the public good”.
He continued “If we observe this beautiful region, we recognize it as a seismic land not only from the geological point of view but also from a structural, behavioural and social standpoint; a land, that is, where acute and destabilizing problems occur, a land where unemployment is worrying, where an often vicious criminality wounds the social fabric; a land that seems to live in a state of constant emergency”.
“Do not be afraid to live and witness to faith in the various sectors of society, in many situations of human existence! You have every reason to show yourselves strong, confident and courageous, and this by the light of faith and the power of love. And when you encounter the opposition of the world, make your own the words of the Apostle: "I can do all things in him who strengthens me".
Earlier in his homily Pope Benedict had reflected on the Sunday Gospel, which recounts Jesus’ parable of the king’s wedding feast: “In the Gospel Jesus speaks to us about the response given to God's invitation - represented by a king - to participate in this his banquet (cf. Mt 22:1-14). The guests invited are many, but something unexpected happens: they refuse to participate in the feast, they have something else to do, and indeed some show their contempt of the invitation. God is generous to us, He offers us His friendship, His gifts, His joy, but often we do not accept His words, we show more interest in other things, we put our material concerns, our interests first”.
“The invitation of the king even meets with hostile, aggressive reactions. But that does not bridle his generosity. He is not discouraged and he dispatches his servants to invite many other people. The rejection of the first guests invited results in the extension of the invitation to all, even the poorest, the abandoned and neglected. The servants gather all those whom they find, and the hall is filled: the goodness of the king knows no boundaries and all are given the opportunity to respond to his call. But there is a condition for remaining at this marriage feast: they must wear wedding garments. And on entering the hall, the king sees someone who has not wanted to wear the wedding garment, and for this reason he is excluded from the feast. I would like to pause for a moment on this point with a question: why did this guest accept the king’s invitation, enter the banquet hall, the door was opened for him, but he did not put on the wedding garment? What is this wedding garment? In the Mass of the Lord's Last Supper this year I made reference to a beautiful comment on this parable by St. Gregory the Great. He explains that the guest has responded to God's invitation to participate in his banquet, he, in a certain way, has the faith that opened the door of the hall for him, but he is lacking in something essential: the wedding garment, which is charity, love. And St. Gregory adds: "Each of you in the Church, then, who has faith in God has already taken part in the wedding banquet, but can claim to have the wedding garment if you do not cherish the grace of Charity" (Homily 38.9 PL 76.1287). And this garment is symbolically interwoven on two pieces of wood, one above and one below: love of God and love of our neighbour (cf. ibid., 10: PL 76.1288). We are all invited to be guests of the Lord, to come with faith to His banquet, but we must wear and cherish the wedding garment, charity, a life of profound love for God and neighbour”.
“Cherish the wedding garment of love”, urged Pope Benedict, “persevere in the witness of human and Christian values so deeply rooted in faith and in the history of this territory and its population”.
In short their can be no future for this tormented region if first there is no charity.
At the end of mass beneath a sky that threatened rain, Pope Benedict again returned to the need to care more for one another in his midday Angelus address: “Let us invoke the intercession of Mary for the most serious social problems in this area and the whole of Calabria, especially those related to unemployment, young people and the protection of persons with disabilities who require greater attention from all, especially the institutions”.
Then, looking ahead to his Sunday afternoon appointment with the community of monks at the renowned Certosa monastery in Serra San Bruno, Pope Benedict concluded: "Saint Bruno came to this land nine centuries ago, and has left a profound mark on it by the strength of his faith. The faith of the Saints renews the world! With the same faith, today you too, can renew your beloved Calabria!"'
Funeral Mass - Wednesday, October 12
2:00 pm - Funeral Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral, 385 Sussex Dr., presided by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ.
4:00 pm (approx) - Rite of Committal at Hope Cemetery, 4660 Bank St.
- We encourage you to consider carpooling or using public transit to go to the Cathedral. Although Ottawa police will be hooding the parking meters in the area of Sussex, Guigues, and St Patrick, it will still be difficult to find parking.
- We expect large numbers to participate in the funeral Mass. Once the Cathedral is full, people will be directed downstairs to the hall, where chairs and a large screen will be set up. Michael Hanley of Food for Life television ministry will be providing a live broadcast of the liturgy on the screen. Priests will come down to distribute holy communion.
Plans by the Society of Jesuits to open a liberal arts university have faced recent challenges, while the temporary head of the proposed university yesterday addressed the scope and aim of the institution.
The university has been slated for opening in 2014, though seven other institutions have tendered bids, along with the Jesuits, to secure the plot of land for the institution. Moreover, the original plan was to serve 3,000 students, but the government’s requirement is to offer 8,000 places to students.
Father Michael McFarland, outgoing president of Holy Cross College in the US, told a gathering of alumni and celebrities during a luncheon yesterday that the new university would provide students with a holistic approach to their studies, instill critical thinking skills and train future leaders.
In addition to humanities, sciences and social sciences, “religious studies will be a required subject for all students, though this will not be limited to Catholic knowledge,” he said.
The project needs HK$400 million (US$51.39 million) to get started, and fundraising has been ongoing over the last six months, a representative from the Society of Jesuits said.
The Jesuits will approach alumni from two Jesuit-run high schools in Hong Kong, as well as local and overseas funding agencies and foundations, to raise the necessary funds.
“Everyday in my field of work, I see children who are sick, who have pneumonia, malaria. These poor mothers who can't afford to get the medicine,” said Tesfaye Hailu, a doctor from Ethiopia.
Doctor Tesfaye Hailu works in Ethiopia. He's part of a world wide campaign called “Save the Children-Every One.” It recently made its way to Rome where it was welcomed by local children, television actors, professional soccer players and local politicians.
Mayor of Rome
“We can't sleep calmly knowing that a child's life is threatened.”
The problem is worldwide. According to the campaign this year alone, nearly 9 million children will die from basic illnesses that can be treated with relatively cheap medicine. It's a reality that even these young children are quite aware of.
“We can send medicine and money that can help with the construction of hospitals so we can fix the problem.”
Save the Children (Ethiopia)
“There is progress definitely. But it's not enough to meet the Millennium development goal in 2015.”
The development goal was passed in the year 2000. That's when world leaders decided to take action so that the number of children who die from treatable illnesses worldwide, is reduced to roughly two thirds by the year 2015.
ALL AFRICA REPORT: Various businesses and communities in Tsumeb and Grootfontein last week participated in the Walk-for-Bibles in aid of the Bible Society of Namibia.
About 300 entries were received, and N$29 031 was raised through the event. Children from Hope Centre and S.O.S also participated in the event.
Due to the success of the project the organisers are planning to make it a yearly occurrence.
PERTH DIOCESE REPORT: Article by: B Spinks, Photos by: Fr R Cross
Feast: October 9
Third century, Italy
258 at Montmarte
Abbey of Saint-Denis, Saint Denis Basilica
France; Paris; against frenzy; against strife; headaches; hydrophobia; possessed people; rabies
Bishop of Paris, and martyr. Born in Italy, nothing is definitely known of the time or place, or of his early life. His feast is kept on 9 October. He is usually represented with his head in his hands because, according to the legend, after his execution the corpse rose again and carried the head for some distance. That, however, while still very young he was distinguished for hisvirtuous life, knowledge of sacred things, and firm faith, is proved by the fact that Pope Fabian (236-250) sent him with some other missionary bishops to Gaul on a difficult mission. The Church of Gaul had suffered terribly under the persecution of the Emperor Decius and the new messengers of Faith were to endeavour to restore it to its former flourishing condition. Denis with his inseparable companions, the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius, arrived in the neighbourhood of the present city of Paris and settled on the island in the Seine. The earliest document giving an account of his labours and of his martyrdom (Passio SS. Dionsyii, Rustici et Eleutherii), dating from the end of the sixth or the beginning of the seventh century and wrongly attributed to the poet Venantius Fortunatus, is interwoven with much legend, from which, however, the following facts can be gleaned.
On the island in the Seine Denis built a church and provided for a regular solemnization of the Divine service. His fearless and indefatigable preaching of the Gospel led to countless conversions. This aroused the envy, anger and hatred of the heathen priests. They incited the populace against the strangers and importuned the governor Fescenninus Sisinnius to put a stop by force to the new teaching. Denis with his two companions were seized and as they persevered in their faith were beheaded (about 275) after many tortures. Later accounts give a detailed description of the confessors' sufferings. They were scourged, imprisoned, racked, thrown to wild beasts, burnt at the stake, and finally beheaded. Gregory of Tours simply states: "Beatus Dionysius Parisiorum episcopus diversis pro Christi nomine adfectus poenis praesentem vitam gladio immente finivit" (Hist. Franc. I, 30). The bodies of the three holy martyrs received an honourable burial through the efforts of a pious matron named Catulla and a small shrine was erected over their graves. This was later on replaced by a beautiful basilica (egregium templum) which Venantius celebrated in verse (Carm. I, ii).
From the reign of King Dagobert (622-638) the church and the Benedictine monastery attached to it were more and more beautifully adorned; the veneration of St. Denis became by degrees a national devotion, rulers and princes vying with one another to promote it. This development is due in no small degree to an error prevailing throughout the Middle Ages, which identified St. Denis of Paris with St. Dionysius the Areopagite, and with the Pseudo-Dionysius, the composer of the Areopagitic writings. The combining of these three persons in one was doubtless effected as early as the eighth or perhaps the seventh century, but it was only through the "Areopagitica" written in 836 byHilduin, Abbot of Saint-Denis, at the request of Louis the Pious, that this serious error took deep root. The investigations of Launoy first threw doubt on the story and the Bollandist de Bye entirely rejected it. Hilduin was probably deceived by the same apocryphal Latin and Greek fictions. The possession of the Areopagitic writings (since 827 in Saint-Denis) strengthened his conviction of this truth. Historiographers of the present day do not dispute this point. All attempts of Darras, Vidieu, C. Schneider, and others to throw some light on the subject have proved fruitless.
6On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined.7And he will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.8He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken.9It will be said on that day, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."10For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain, and Moab shall be trodden down in his place, as straw is trodden down in a dung-pit.
|Psalms 23: 1 - 6|
|1||The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want;|
|2||he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters;|
|3||he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.|
|4||Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.|
|5||Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows.|
|6||Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.|
12I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.13I can do all things in him who strengthens me.14Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.19And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
|Matthew 22: 1 - 14|
|1||And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying,|
|2||"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son,|
|3||and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come.|
|4||Again he sent other servants, saying, `Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.'|
|5||But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business,|
|6||while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.|
|7||The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.|
|8||Then he said to his servants, `The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy.|
|9||Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.'|
|10||And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.|
|11||"But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment;|
|12||and he said to him, `Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless.|
|13||Then the king said to the attendants, `Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.'|
|14||For many are called, but few are chosen."|