ALL SAINTS: FROM EARTHLY REALITY TO ETERNITY
VATICAN CITY, 1 NOV 2011 (VIS) - "The Solemnity of All Saints is a good occasion to raise our eyes from temporal matters, which are marked by time, to the dimension of God, the dimension of eternity and sanctity", said the Pope before praying the Angelus this morning with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
"Today's liturgy reminds us that sanctity is the primary vocation of all the baptised. In fact Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit is alone holy, loved the Church as His bride and gave Himself for her so as to sanctify her. For this reason, all members of the People of God are called to become saints. ... We are, then, invited to look to the Church not only in her temporal and human guise, which is tainted by fragility, but as Christ wished her to be: a 'communion of saints'. ... Today we venerate this innumerable community of All Saints who, by their different lives, show us the different ways to sanctity, sharing the single common denominator of following Christ and conforming themselves to Him, which is the final goal of our human existence".
Benedict XVI then went on to speak of tomorrow's Feast of All Souls which, he said, "helps us to recall our loved ones who are no more, and all the souls journeying towards the fullness of life in the horizon of the heavenly Church, to which today's Solemnity had raised us.
"From the earliest years of the Christian faith", he added, "the Church on earth, recognising the communion of the entire mystical body of Jesus Christ, piously cultivated the memory of the departed and offered prayers for them. Our prayer for the dead is not only useful but necessary, in that it can not only help them but at the same time makes their intercession for us effective. Visiting cemeteries, while conserving the bonds of affection with the people we loved in this life, reminds us that we all tend towards another life, a life after death. May the sorrow of earthly separation not prevail over the certainty of the resurrection, the hope of achieving the beatitude of eternity".
VATICAN CITY, 2 NOV 2011 (VIS) - The Pope celebrated his general audience this morning in the Paul VI Hall, where he welcomed pilgrims from many different countries, focusing his remarks on today's Solemnity of All Souls and the reality of death.
"Despite the fact that death is a subject almost banned from our societies, and there are continuous attempts to remove even the thought of it from our minds, it actually concerns each one of us", Pope Benedict explained. "Faced with this mystery all of us, even unconsciously, seek something that allows us to hope, a sign that can bring consolation, a horizon open to a future".
We are afraid of death because "we are afraid of the void, of departing towards something we do not know". At the same time, "we cannot accept that all the great and beautiful achievements of a lifetime can suddenly be wiped out, that they can fall into the abyss of emptiness. Above all we feel that love calls out for eternity, and we cannot accept that it is destroyed by death in a single moment. ... When we find ourselves towards the end of life, we have a perception that there is judgment of our actions, of how we conducted our life, especially in those dark movements which, with great ability, we often remove or seek to remove from our conscience".
In today's world, the Holy Father went on, "there is a widespread tendency to think that everything must be approached with the criteria of experimental science, and that even the great question of death must be answered, not with faith, but on the basis of empirical data. We are not sufficiently aware, however, that precisely by doing so we have ended up falling into a form of spiritism, in the attempt to have some contact with the world beyond death".
However, for Christians the Solemnities of All Saints and All Souls "tell us that only those capable of recognising great hope in death are also able to live lives founded on hope. ... Man needs eternity; for him any other hope is too brief, too limited. Man is explainable only if there is a Love which overcomes all isolation, even the isolation of death, in a totality which transcends time and space. Man is explainable, he finds his most profound meaning, only if God exists. And we know that God ceased to be distant, that He came close to us".
"God truly showed Himself, He became accessible, He so loved the world 'that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life'. And by the supreme act of love upon the Cross, by emerging Himself in the abyss of death, He conquered death, He rose again and opened the doors of eternity for us too. Christ supports us through the night of death, which He Himself experienced. He is the Good Shepherd, to Whose guidance we can entrust ourselves without fear, because He knows the way, even through the darkness".
"It is precisely faith in eternal life which gives Christians the courage to love this earth of ours even more intensely, and to work to build an earthly future of true and secure hope", the Holy Father concluded.
After greeting pilgrims in a number of languages, Benedict XVI then mentioned the G20 Summit, due to take place on 3 and 4 November in the French city of Cannes "to examine the main problems of the global economy. My hope", he said, "is that the meeting may help to overcome the difficulties which, at the global level, hinder the promotion of truly human and integral development".
The audience concluded with the Our Father and the Pope's apostolic blessing.
VATICAN CITY, 3 NOV 2011 (VIS) - Yesterday evening the Holy Father descended to pray in the Vatican Grottos, where many Pontiffs are buried, and this morning he presided at the traditional November Mass in the Vatican Basilica for the souls of cardinals and bishops who died over the course of the year.
At the beginning of his homily, Benedict XVI recalled the names of the cardinals who passed away during the last twelve months: Urbano Navarrete S.J., Michele Giordano, Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente, Georg Maximilian Sterzinsky, Kazimierz Swiatek, Virgilio Noe, Aloysius Matthew Ambrozic, and Andrzej Maria Deskur. He then turned to comment on the passage from the Gospel of St. Mark in which the Apostles were afraid to ask Jesus the meaning of the phrase: "The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again".
"In the face of death", said the Pope, "we too cannot but experience feelings and thoughts dictated by our human condition. And we are always surprised and overwhelmed by a God Who came so close to us as not to pause even before the abyss of death. He crossed that abyss and remained in the grave for two days. But here the mystery of the 'third day' arises. Christ assumed our mortal flesh unto its ultimate consequences, that it might be invested with the glorious power of God by the vent of the life-giving Spirit which transforms and regenerates".
"The death of Christ is a source of life because therein God revealed all His love, like an immense cataract. ... The abyss of death is filled with another even greater abyss, the love of God. Thus death no longer has any power on Jesus Christ, nor on those who, by faith and Baptism, are associated with Him. 'If we have died with Christ", St. Paul says, 'we believe that we will also live with him'".
"Only in Christ does this hope have a real foundation", the Holy Father went on. "Before Him it risked being reduced to an illusion, a symbol drawn from the cycle of the seasons. ... However, God's intervention in the drama of human history does not obey any natural cycle, if obeys only His grace and His faithfulness. The new and eternal life is a fruit of the Cross. ... Without the Cross of Christ, all the energy of nature is impotent before the negative force of sin. A beneficial power greater than that which commands the cycles of nature is needed, a Good greater than that of creation itself: a Love which proceeds from God's very 'heart' and which, while revealing the ultimate meaning of creation, renews it and orients it towards its original and ultimate goal".
Benedict XVI concluded: "All this took place in those 'three days' when the 'grain of wheat' fell to earth and remained there the time necessary to fill the measure of God's justice and mercy. And finally it produced 'much fruit', not remaining alone but as the first of a multitude of others. Now, thanks to Christ, ... the images taken from nature are no longer mere symbols, illusory myths; they speak to us of reality".
VATICAN CITY, 3 NOV 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Fr. Charles Morerod, rector of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas and secretary general of the International Theological Commission, as bishop of Lausanne, Geneve et Fribourg (area 5,557, population 1,582,447, Catholics 687,192, priests 534, permanent deacons 22, religious 1,222), Switzerland. The bishop-elect was born in Riaz, Switzerland in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1988. He worked in pastoral ministry before gaining a doctorate in theology in 1996. Since then he has worked as a professor of theology at various academic institutes in Switzerland, Romeand U.S.A.
- Msgr. Jose Armando Alvarez Cano of the clergy of Zamora, Mexico, pastor of the parish of "San Pedro" in Paracho and president of the diocesan commission for the permanent formation of the clergy, as bishop prelate of Huautla (area 1,284, population 145,000, Catholics 131,404, priests 23, permanent deacons 1, religious 16), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Jiquilpan, Mexico in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1986. He has had experience of pastoral ministry in a number of parishes and spent two years as a "fidei donum" missionary in the diocese of Tacna, Peru.
The prayerbook, intended to be read with children aged 2-5, includes prayers for family, a sorry prayer, special occasion, thank you and night prayers. The children I read it to, loved the book and pointed out tiny details in the illustrations - expressions on people's faces and small animals and toys that are all part of the story.
The book about Our Lady is meant to be read with children aged four or read by themselves when they are a bit older. Again, it is beautifully illustrated in vibrant colours.
For more information or to buy online see: http://www.cts-online.org.uk/acatalog/Latest_Products.html#aCH37
Bishop Renato Ascencio Leon of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, celebrates Mass Nov. 2 during the annual Border Mass in Anapra, Mexico, on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez. (CNS/Joseph Kolb)
Catholic News Service
ANAPRA, Mexico (CNS) -- The Mexican bishop often exchanged glances with his American counterpart as they celebrated the All Souls' Day Mass. But instead of embracing at the kiss of peace, they touched palms -- though the chain-link fence.
Hundreds of Mexicans and Americans joined their bishops for the Mass, enduring dusty wind that created a brown haze. On the Mexican side of the border, on a lot surrounded by trash, wandering dogs, and food vendors, a handful of the 200 attendees paid little attention to the Mass but clung to the fence and stared longingly at the congregation on the U.S. side.
Bishop Armando X. Ochoa of El Paso, Texas, Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Bishop Renato Ascencio Leon of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, concelebrated the annual border Mass on either side of the fence. The theme for this year's Mass was Remembering Our Dead; Celebrating Life; Working for Justice.
Betty Hernandez, 30, a mother of three and a youth minister at Corpus Christi Church in Anapra, said the Mass helps unify El Paso and Ciudad Juarez in a common cause of remembering those who have died in the drug violence as well as those who died in the nearby deserts, hoping to immigrate to the United States. Making this Mass even more poignant for Hernandez was the death of her neighbor, who was gunned down at a nearby burrito stand the previous week.
"Where there is an abundance of pain and death is God's glory for us to hope," she said.
As a youth minister in Anapra, which has seen more than its share of the violence, Hernandez tries to keep the teens involved in church activities, from the band and singers for Masses to ushers wearing their red smocks as a deterrent to the temptation of the easy money and violence associated with drug cartels. Many of these teens sat on the outskirts of the celebration amid the trash and wood-pallet fences that surrounded some of the nearby homes.
Behind Bishop Ascencio on the altar were seminarians from Seminario Conciliar in Ciudad Juarez. Father Hector Villa, rector, said their presence underscores much of what they are learning for their future ministries.
"This Mass is a sign of solidarity, especially for immigrants who try to cross the border and encounter so many troubles to reach their goal," Father Villa said. "We're asking the authorities in the U.S. to be more just with the people who want a dignified life through work, and this is also a subtle sign for Mexico that they are responsible for providing work for these people."
Father Villa said he would like his 94 seminarians to be more exposed to real-life issues -- such as violence and immigration -- sooner rather than later.
"The church can definitely help more by being more organized and active in this moment where immigrants are seen as enemies," he said. "These people give so much to the U.S. in terms of work, culture, and money."
During the Mass, Bishop Ascencio accepted symbols of the migrants' journey to the United States: flags from Latin American countries of origin, a portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a gallon jug of water, a backpack and tennis shoes.
When the Mass was initiated in 1999 it was at the height of the infamous murders of Daughters of Juarez, female factory workers who disappeared and were later found to be sexually assaulted and murdered. Some were buried in shallow graves not far from where the Mass was celebrated. The number of these victims has been projected as high as 400.
Since 2006, Ciudad Juarez has seen about 8,500 murders as a result of a brutal drug war. And amid the death and sorrow are issues with immigration and human rights that include a redefinition of immigration from those not only seeking gainful employment in the United States, but those fleeing the violence of Ciudad Juarez. It is estimated that more than 200,000 people have fled the once vibrant city since 2006.
Before the Mass, Mexican children ran along the border fence some 50 yards behind the makeshift altar. The group quickly grew in size as a U.S. Border Patrol agent went back and forth between his unit and the fence.
Upon closer examination he was found distributing Halloween candy through the fence to the children. Asked about his covert act of generosity, he just smiled and said, "It's no big deal."
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
1 Nov 2011
Tomorrow night, Lidcombe's revamped, expanded and updated Mustard Seed Bookshop will reopen after six weeks of intensive renovations.
The new-look store not only has better displays and more than double the space for its wide selection of religious books and products, but now boasts its own coffee shop where patrons can browse, before joining friends for a light snack and a latte or cappuccino.
To celebrate the reopening of the Archdiocese of Sydney's popular not-for-profit bookstore, there will be a special blessing by Bishop Julian Porteous, Sydney's Episcopal Vicar of Evangelisation and Renewal.
Attending the reopening and blessing ceremony will be staff from Lidcombe's Catholic Adult Education Centre ceremony along with Director of Catholic Adult Education for the Archdiocese, Thomas Waugh. Mr Waugh's admired predecessor, former director, Father John Flader will also be there.
An open invitation is also extended to those across the city who would like to attend the official reopening and blessing by Bishop Porteous tomorrow night. The evening, which begins at 7pm, is also a great opportunity for Sydney booklovers to be among the first to inspect the airy, modern and expanded premises, the eye catching displays and the big increase in stock.
"With the renovations we have been able to more than double the number of books we carry," says Jesse Mansour, the Mustard Seed Bookshop's manager. "The renovations and expansion represent the next natural stage of the growth of our business."
Mr Mansour says at the Mustard Seed became more and more popular, it outgrew its old premises and urgently needed to expand.
The store, however, never closed during the six weeks renovations were carried out. Instead, he explains, the bookshop was simply relocated to a different area of the CAE Centre.
In addition to the enlarged spacious store and additional floor space, Mr Mansour says the Mustard Seed is currently developing a website specialising in local Catholic authors which will enable their works to be downloaded from the site so they can be read as e-books on IPads, Kindles and similar products.
Digital books are increasingly popular with US trade journal, Publishers Weekly reporting this week that Bible apps in America are now more frequently downloaded than internet games and describes the trend as a "digital Bible explosion."
One of the most in demand Bible apps in the US is YouVersion, contains more than 150 different Bible translations in 45 different languages.
"The Bible in book form has always been one of our biggest sellers," Mr Mansour says and is unsurprised by the surge in popularity for those wishing to also read the Bible in digital form on devices such as IPads.
As more and more people invest Ipads and similar devices, he believes the faithful will opt for two versions of the Bible - one in book form that they can touch and hold, and a light portable e-version they can carry around with them.
"This is an exciting time in publishing," he says and is delighted the Mustard Seed Bookshop is abreast of these times with its state of the art revamp and plans for expansion into digital books.
All are welcome to attend tomorrow night's blessing and official reopening of the Mustard Seed Bookshop by Bishop Porteous. The ceremony and blessing begins inside the store 7 pm, Wednesday 2 November at the Catholic Adult Education Centre at 3 Keating Street, Lidcombe.
To find out more or to RSVP, contact Maree on 9646 9000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Four Church-run educational institutions in Dhaka won a prestigious government award yesterday for their outstanding achievements this year.
Notre Dame College, St. Joseph Higher Secondary School, Holy Cross College, and Holy Cross Girls’ High School ranked 5th, 6th, 8th and 13th respectively in this year’s Top 20 Educational Institutes Awards given out by the Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board.
All four Church institutions are run by Holy Cross Congregation.
Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid handed out the prizes to the winning institutions’ headmasters and senior representatives at the board’s office in Dhaka.
He said teachers are playing a great role in implementing the government’s Vision 2021: Digital Bangladesh campaign and called on them to offer encouragement to other schools to improve their achievements.
He added that the nation can’t move forward if only a few institutions are doing well.
Vision 2021 is an ambitious campaign by the government to make Bangladesh fully digitized by 2021.
Board chairman professor Fahima Khatun said all the institutions met the necessary criteria needed to be eligible for the award which included: “study environment, academic performance, attendance and discipline.”
The Church school heads said the award will inspire everyone at their institutions and also is a wake-up call to move forward.
“It will encourage us to work better. I believe those places that are not doing well will follow our example and eventually the standard of education in the country will go up,” said Notre Dame College principal Father Benjamin Costa after receiving the award.
Feast: November 3
December 9, 1579, Lima, Peru
November 3, 1639, Lima, Peru
May 6, 1962 by Pope John XXIII
Church and Convent of Santo Domingo, Lima, Peru
black people, hair stylists, innkeepers, mixed-race people, Peru, poor people, public education, public health, public schools, race relations, social justice, state schools, television, Peruvian Naval Aviators
He was born in Lima, Peru, the illegitimate son of a Spanish knight, John de Porres, and a freed Panamanian slave named Anna. In 1594, Martin became a Dominican lay brother in Lima and served in various menial offices. Outside of the monastery he became known for his care of the poor and the sick. Martin founded an orphanage and ministered to African slaves brought to Lima. He was aided by St. Rose of Lima, who respected his penances and labors. Martin experienced many mystical gifts, including bilocation and aerial flights. When he was dying in Rosary Convent on November 3, the viceroy, the count of Chichon, knelt by his bed, seeking Martin's blessing. Martin, who is the patron of interracial justice, was canonized by Blessed Pope John XXIII (r. 1958-1963) in 1962.
|Luke 15: 1 - 10|
|1||Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.|
|2||And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them."|
|3||So he told them this parable:|
|4||"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?|
|5||And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.|
|6||And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.'|
|7||Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.|
|8||"Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?|
|9||And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, `Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.'|
|10||Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."|