THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST CANNOT BE BUILT BY FORCE
VIS REPORTS: VATICAN CITY, 26 OCT 2011 (VIS) - Because of the rain, the Holy Father presided over this morning's celebration of the Word in the Paul VI Hall, rather than in St. Peter's Square as had been scheduled. The celebration of the Word took the place of the usual general audience, in view of the event due to take place tomorrow in the Italian town of Assisi: "Day of Reflection, Dialogue and Prayer for Peace and Justice in the World: Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace". Before the celebration this morning, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims gathered in the Vatican Basilica who had been unable to find space in the Paul VI Hall. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
Following a greeting from Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Pope's vicar general for the diocese of Rome, and the readings from the Bible, the Holy Father pronounced his homily.
"As Christians", he said, "we are convinced that prayer is the most precious contribution we can make to the cause of peace. For this reason we, the Church of Rome and pilgrims from elsewhere, are gathered here today to listen to the Word of God and to invoke the gift of peace".
The Pope then quoted from the reading from the Prophet Zechariah, in which God promises salvation through a king. "But the announcement does not refer to a king with human powers and force of arms", he explained. "It does not refer to a king who dominates with political and military might. This is a gentle king who reigns with humility and gentleness before God and man, a king quite different from the great sovereigns of the earth".
The Apostles recalled the prophet's words particularly "following Christ's passion, death and resurrection when, ... with the eyes of faith, they reconsidered their Master's joyful entry into the Holy City. He rode a donkey which had been lent to Him, ... not a horse as the powerful did. He did not enter Jerusalemaccompanied by a mighty army of chariots and horsemen. He is a poor king, the king of the poor of God, ... of those who have inner freedom enabling them to overcome the greed and selfishness of the world, of those who know that God alone is their treasure. ... He is a king who will make the chariots and steeds of battle disappear, who will break the weapons of war, a king who brought peace on the Cross, uniting heaven and earth and building a bridge between all mankind. The Cross is the new arch of peace, the sign and instrument of reconciliation, ... the sign that love is stronger that any form of violence or oppression, stronger than death. Evil is overcome through goodness, through love".
"The kingdom that Christ inaugurates is universal. The horizon of this poor and meek king is not the territorial horizon of a State, it is the confines of the world. He creates communion, He creates unity. And where do we see His announcement take concrete form today? In the great network of Eucharistic communities covering the earth, wherein the prophecy of Zechariah re-emerges in splendour. ... Everywhere, in all cultures, ... He comes and is present; and by entering into communion with Him, mankind is united into a single body, overcoming divisions, rivalry and rancour. The Lord comes in the Eucharist to divest us of our selfishness, our fixations which exclude others, to make us a single body, a single kingdom of peace in a divided world.
"And yet", the Holy Father added, "how can we build this kingdom of peace in which Christ is king? ... Like Jesus, the messengers of peace of His kingdom must begin a journey. ...They must journey, but not with the might of war or the force of power. ... It is not with power, force or violence that Christ's kingdom of peace grows, but with the giving of self, with love carried to its extreme consequences, even towards out enemies. Jesus does not conquer the world by force of arms but by the power of the Cross, which is the true guarantee of victory".
Continuing his homily, Benedict XVI mentioned the statues of Sts. Peter and Paul which stand in front of the Vatican Basilica. St. Peter holds the keys and St. Paul a sword, "the weapon with which he suffered martyrdom, with which his blood was spilt", said the Pope. St. Paul "dedicated his life to transmitting the Gospel's message of reconciliation and peace, using his every energy to ensure it reached the ends of the earth. His strength lay in the fact that he did not seek a quiet life, ... free from difficulties and setbacks. Rather, he was consumed by the Gospel, he gave all of himself without reserve, and thus became the great messenger of peace and reconciliation in Christ. The sword St. Paul holds in his hand also recalls the power of truth, which can sometimes wound and inflict pain, The Apostle remained faithful to this truth unto the end, ... he gave his life for it. The same logic holds true for us, if we wish to bring the kingdom of peace announced by the Prophet Zechariah and achieved by Christ: we must be ready to pay in person, to suffer ... misunderstanding, rejection and persecution. It is not the sword of the conqueror that builds peace, but the sword of those who suffer and give up their own lives".
The Holy Father concluded: "As Christians, we wish to invoke the gift of peace from God, we wish to pray that He might make us instruments of His peace in a world still torn apart by hatred, division, selfishness and wars, we wish to ask him that tomorrow's meeting in Assisi might favour dialogue between people from different religions, and bring a ray of light to illuminate the minds and hearts of all men and women; that rancour may give way to forgiveness, division to reconciliation, hatred to love, violence to humility, and that peace may reign in the world".
VATICAN CITY, 26 OCT 2011 (VIS) - This morning's general audience in the form of a celebration of the Word, which was to have taken place in St. Peter's Square, was moved to the Paul VI Hall because of rain. One group of pilgrims, unable to find space in the Paul VI Hall, gathered in the Vatican Basilica where the Holy Father went to greet them before the audience began. "I ask you to accompany me in prayer as I journey tomorrow to Assisi for the celebration of the Day of Reflection, Dialogue and Prayer for Peace and Justice in the World, together with representatives of different religions", he said speaking English. Switching to French he expressed the hope that "this pilgrimage for truth and peace may help us to march towards God together, and to reinforce our commitment to serve peace".
At the end of the celebration of the Word in the Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI addressed the young, the sick and newlyweds. "May the example of St,. Francis of Assisi, over whose tomb I will pray tomorrow, support you, dear young people, in your daily commitment to Christ", he said. "May it encourage you, dear sick people, always to follow the example of Jesus in your trials and suffering; and may it help you, dear newlyweds, to make your family a place of constant encounter with the love of God and of our fellows".
VATICAN CITY, 26 OCT 2011 (VIS) - Having greeted the pilgrims who attended this morning's celebration of the Word, Benedict XVI launched an appeal for victims of the recent earthquake inTurkey. "At this time", he said, "our thoughts go out to the people of Turkey, who have been so severely affected by the earthquake which caused grave loss of human life, leaving many missing and causing great damage. I invite you to join me in prayer for the people who have lost their lives, and to remain spiritually close to those who have been so sorely tried. May Almighty God support everyone involved in rescue efforts".
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
26 Oct 2011
Along with English, History, Maths, Science and other academic subjects, students at St Vincent's College, Potts Point are committed to helping the less fortunate and reaching out to those in need.
From Year 7 through to Year 12, the school's 620 students participate in the school's wide-ranging social justice program which sees the teenagers volunteering at St Canice's Soup Kitchen, going out on St Vincent de Paul Society's Night Patrol to help provide food, blankets and encouraging words to the city's homeless or packing up Christmas hampers for CatholicCare.
"Founded by the Sisters of Charity, our school has a long history of social justice," says Rachel McLean, Director of Faith Formation and Mission at St Vincent's College. "But in the past year we have rewritten our Outreach portfolio so that students in each year have an opportunity to learn about a specific charity and find ways in which they can help."
The college firmly believes that along with academic and sporting success, a rounded education means learning about the ways students can make a difference to the lives of others, particularly to those who are disadvantaged, poor, lonely and struggling.
"Potts Point and the adjacent Kings Cross are areas of extremes where you see the very rich and the very poor," says Rachel pointing out that there is never a shortage of those in need of help whether they are the elderly, living isolated and alone, or the homeless who rely on St Canice's Soup Kitchen for food as well as shelter, with many bedding down in front of the church's main doors.
The girls at St Vincent's also learn about charity fundraising and in August, an enthusiastic group of 42 headed for Martin Place to sell daffodils, yellow pins and yellow buttons as part of Daffodil Day, the Cancer Council's major annual fundraiser.
The volunteer students collected more than $3000 to support Daffodil Day with another group out in force again on Friday last week, enthusiastically collecting for breast cancer at the Cancer Council's other big fund raiser, Big Ribbon Day.
"The great thing about our Outreach program is that every student is involved and has the opportunity to participate. In the program it is not just the class leaders and standout students who join in, but those who are quieter or more shy and less forthcoming," says Rachel.
Not only does the program teach the students about Christ's love and what it means to follow in His footsteps, but the girls develop emotional maturity and greater capacity to both give love and receive love, as well as a lifelong commitment to helping others.
"When students leave school and do a gap year between their HSC and beginning Uni, rather than tour Europe like many of their peers, they opt to work with the poor in developing countries," Rachel says. "And when they choose careers, the most popular choices seem to be working in the care industry as nurses or doctors, or in the field of medical research, or in social work and social education. We also have quite a few girls going into law to make a difference there."
A key part of the Outreach program at St Vincent's College is how each morning one of the groups from the school's different classes gives an update on their particular charity or project.
One of the reports given by a group of girls aged from 15 to 17 that continues to resonate among students came after the 15 students who joined St Vincent de Paul Society's Night Patrol. During their time with the patrol, where the girls helped organise care packages, they met Ivan, a homeless man who scribbles poetry on scraps of paper.
Among the poems he gave the girls was one called "A Bed of Roses".
"I have slept near
The bed of roses
With the colours of
White, red and blue
I have named the most sensational ones
"The incredible You."
The parish hall next to St Columban Cathedral in northernMyitkyina diocese was destroyed by fire early yesterday morning.
The blaze, which eyewitnesses said began at around 3am, quickly engulfed the two-story building, giving firefighters little chance of saving the structure. The cathedral itself was not damaged.
“Smoke was seen coming from inside the building at around at 3am [8:30pm GMT Monday] but by the time firefighters arrived around an hour later the blaze had taken hold,” said Zau Hkawng, an eyewitness.
Two students from the parish were slightly hurt trying to put out the flames, while a fireman was in more serious condition in hospital after suffering burns to the upper part of his body.
On hearing the news Lajawn Ngan Seng, the chief minister of Kachin State, inspected the scene and pledged to provide any necessary assistance to the injured and parishioners.
The exact cause of the fire has yet to be established, but faulty wiring is suspected, since very little repairs had been done on the building since it was built in 1976.
Foul play though has not been ruled out as security services have been on alert around Myitkyina in the wake of a bomb attack on a railway bridge in the area two weeks ago.
"One million and 800,000 people living in Humanitarian Emergency and 830,000 people are living in Acute Food and Livelihood Crisis in both urban and rural areas. 750,000 people continue to live in famine conditions, including 260,000 IDPs and 450,000 residents in rural areas", says the Report.
"The much needed rain has begun to fall in much of Somalia, yet the production of this season’s harvest will not be enough to sustain the population as a whole", continues the Report. Heavy rains have destroyed an estimated 100 dwellings in the Gedo region, displacing hundreds of people. Flooding threatens many low-lying areas, especially in Juba as well as the Shabelles and Mogadishu".
Consequently, there is a large concern for disease outbreaks associated with the start of the rainy season. Acute diarrhea, malaria, dengue fever and pneumonia due to hypothermia. WHO (World Health Organization) has recently warned of a possible cholera outbreak in Mogadishu due to the increasing rains and poor conditions involving drainage and sanitary conditions in the IDP camps.
In southern Somalia, advancing Kenyan troops in a border area between the two Countries has resulted in new fleeing of the population, but at present it is unclear if there will be an increase in arrivals in the refugee camps in Dadaab (in Kenya ).
Caritas Somalia, Caritas Switzerland and Luxembourg and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) continue their activities, both in Somalia and neighboring countries to assist populations in need.
Caritas Somalia and Caritas Internationalis have convened all Caritas organizations working in Somalia to a meeting that will be held in Nairobi on November 9th. The purpose of the meeting is to provide an update on Caritas programs in Somalia, brainstorm possible mid-to-long-term solutions for the country and discuss possible Caritas advocacy initiatives. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 26/10/2011)
Feast: October 26
Date of birth unknown; died about 107. In the Liberian Catalogue his name is given as Aristus. In papal catalogues of the second century used by Irenaeus and Hippolytus, he appears as the fourth successor of St. Peter, immediately after St Clement. The same lists allow him eight years of reign, covering the end of the first and the beginning of the second century (from about 98 or 99 to about 106 or 107). The earliest historical sources offer no authentic data about him. In his "Ecclesiastical History" Eusebius says merely that he succeeded Clement in the episcopate of the Roman Church which fact was already known from St. Irenaeus. This order of succession is undoubtedly correct. The "Liber Pontificalis" says that Evaristus came of a Hellenic family, and was the son of a Bethlehem Jew. It also attributes to him the allotment of definite churches as
22He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.23And some one said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them,24"Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.25When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, `Lord, open to us.' He will answer you, `I do not know where you come from.'26Then you will begin to say, `We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.'27But he will say, `I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!'28There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out.29And men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God.30And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last."