Monday, February 13, 2012



Vatican City, 10 February 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received in audience twenty-five members of the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel (the sub-Saharan region of Africa which includes countries on the west coast and central part of the continent). The institution came into being following John Paul II's first trip to Africa and was formally established with a Chirograph on 22 February 1984. It is involved in managing and protecting natural resources, the struggle against drought and desertification, rural development and the fight against poverty, through the involvement of local people. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
In his address Benedict XVI recalled how in recent months the Sahel "has been seriously threatened by a significant drop in food supplies and famine, caused by low rainfall and the consequent inexorable advance of the desert. I exhort the international community to concern itself with the extreme poverty of these peoples, whose living conditions are deteriorating. And I encourage and support the efforts made by the ecclesial organisations which operate in this field".
In some of the countries in which the Foundation operates Islam is also present. In this context Benedict XVI expressed his satisfaction at the good relations that exist with Muslims, and noted "the importance of bearing witness to the fact that Christ lives, and that His love goes beyond all religions, races and cultures".
In conclusion the Pope highlighted how "Africa is the continent of hope for the Church, ... the continent of the future".

Vatican City, 10 February 2010 (VIS) - In St. Peter's Basilica at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday 18 February Benedict XVI will celebrate an ordinary public consistory for the creation of twenty-two new cardinals during which he will impose the biretta, consign the ring and assign them their title or diaconate, according to a communique released today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.
At the end of the ceremony, the Holy Father will celebrate an ordinary public consistory for the canonisation of the following Blesseds: Jacques Berthieu, French martyr and priest of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits); Pedro Calungsod, Filipino lay catechist and martyr; Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth and of the Congregation of the Humble Sister Servants of the Lord; Maria del Carmen (nee Maria Salles y Barangueras), Spanish foundress of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching; Maria Anna Cope (nee Barbara), German religious of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Syracuse U.S.A.; Kateri Tekakwitha, American laywoman, and Anna Schaffer, German laywoman.
That same afternoon, from 4.30 to 6.30 p.m. in various rooms of the Apostolic Palace, the new cardinals will receive all those who wish to pay them a courtesy visit. A list of these locations follows:
Atrium of the Paul VI Hall: Cardinals Joao Braz de Aviz, Edwin Frederick O'Brien, George Alencherry, Lucian Muresan, Julien Ries and Prosper Grech, O.S.A.
Paul VI Hall: Cardinals Francesco Coccopalmerio, Thomas Christopher Collins, Dominik Jaroslav Duka O.P., Willem Jacobus Eijk, Giuseppe Betori, Timothy Michael Dolan, Rainer Maria Woelki and John Tong Hon.
Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace: Cardinals Fernando Filoni, Manuel Monteiro de Castro and Giuseppe Bertello.
Galleria Lapidaria of the Apostolic Palace: Cardinals Santos Abril y Castello and Antonio Maria Veglio.
Sala Ducale of the Apostolic Palace: Cardinals Domenico Calcagno and Giuseppe Versaldi.
Also in St. Peter's Basilica, at 9.30 a.m. on Sunday 19 February, Solemnity of the Cathedra of St. Peter, the Holy Father will preside at a concelebrated Mass with the new cardinals.

Vatican City, 10 February 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
- Eight prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Jerome Edward Listecki of Milwaukee, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Donald J. Hying and former Auxiliary Bishop Richard John Sklba.
- Bishop David Laurin Ricken of Green Bay, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Robert Joseph Banks.
- Bishop William Patrick Callahan O.F.M. Conv. of La Crosse.
- Bishop Robert Charles Morlino of Madison.
- Bishop Peter F. Christensen of Superior.

Vatican City, 10 February 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Bishop Marco Perez Caicedo, auxiliary of Guayaquil, Ecuador, as bishop of Babahoyo (area 6,531, population 788,000, Catholics 583,000, priests 42, religious 49), Ecuador.
- Archbishop Giovanni d'Aniello, apostolic nuncio to Thailand and Cambodia, and apostolic delegate to Myanmar and Laos, as apostolic nuncio to Brazil.
- Bishop Paolo Mietto C.S.I., apostolic vicar emeritus of Napo, Ecuador, as apostolic administrator of San Miguel de Sucumbios, Ecuador.



CAM-Coat-of-arms_300Archbishop Hart announced today that Monsignor Greg Bennet has been appointed Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Melbourne. This follows the recent announcement that Pope Benedict has appointed Bishop Les Tomlinson Bishop of Sandhurst. The Archbishop also announced that Very Reverend Dr Terence Curtin PP, Greythorn has been appointed Episcopal Vicar for the Eastern Region from 28 February 2012. The Archbishop said Father Curtin will officiate at Confirmations in the Eastern Region, attend the regular Curia meetings and be a point of reference for the parishes of the Region.

To read Archbishop's announcement click here.


CISA REPORT: UJUMBURA, February 10, 2012 (CISA) -Anglican leaders from across the continent of Africa have made an emotional appeal to Muslim faith leaders to stand with them in opposition to “tragic violence that is destroying our communities”.
The appeal was issued at the end of a three-day meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa in Burundi where conflict between the two faiths was high on the agenda.
The statement read: “The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa…has noted with much sadness the increasing deterioration between Muslim and Christian communities in different parts of the world, specifically our Provinces of Sudan, Nigeria, and the Diocese of Egypt.
“As a council, coming from communities diverse in religion and culture, the present circumstances have forced us to ask whether the violence we see and experience is driven by religious intolerance from our brothers of different religions with whom we have lived together for generations, in some cases centuries, or whether in fact it is a result of a much greater problem of exploitation of ignorance and religious beliefs for political gain.
“Whatever the cause, the subsequent violence is devastating. In most cases, this societal decline has resulted in bloodshed, loss of life, livelihoods, poor living standards, and has bred bitterness and hopelessness.”
Highlighting conflict in Sudan, South Sudan, Egypt and Nigeria the statement, signed on behalf of CAPA by the outgoing Chairman Archbishop Ian Earnest, called for an end to violence that “destabilise whole communities”.
“As CAPA, we reach out to Muslim faith leaders of these affected communities to stand with us in solidarity opposed to the tragic violence that is destroying our communities in Africa. We call upon individual Christians and Muslims in Sudan, Egypt and Nigeria, especially the youth, to join hands united against religious extremism and respectful of religious and cultural differences.”
Celebrating the initiative by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar to make peace by creating “Bayt al-’ila” or a “Family home” from Muslim and Christian leaders to deal with the sectarian strife in Egypt, CAPA also urged governments of affected countries to grant Christians and other religious groups, equal rights and freedom to enjoy the benefits of full citizenship.
“We also call on our respective governments to introduce appropriate measures to guarantee freedom of citizens to live and practice their religions by providing security to their lives and property.”


UCAN REPORT; Concrete steps must be taken to combat sex addiction on the internet reporter, Lahore
February 13, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Priest urges Christians to fight porn
Young people connected to the internet
A priest this weekend urged Christian leaders to pluck up courage and educate young people about the dangers of pornography addiction during an ecumenical seminar in Lahore.
“Christian leaders are suspicious of the internet and are afraid to discuss pornography with youths,” said Capuchin Father Morris Jalal executive director of Pakistan’s only Catholic television service.
He was speaking at seminar discussing the influence modern media has on young people organized by the Theological Institute for the Laity and the Presbyterian Church.
Many speakers at the seminar agreed there is a high degree of “media illiteracy” among Christian leaders and that they should be less wary of modern communication in order to organize programs to help youths overcome porn addiction.
For the past two years Pakistan has topped the rankings when it comes to searching the term “sex” and other sexually explicit terminology, according to Google statistics.
The government confirmed earlier this month it blocked 13,000 obscene websites on the internet following directives issued by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
Fr Jalal also said many young people admitted looking at porn in a survey he carried out in his own Kot Lakhpat parish recently.
“About fifty percent use the internet daily for more than an hour. I asked some of them if they watched porn movies on the internet and they confessed to having watched them a few times,” he said.
“They would not admit to being addicts, but at least they were willing to discuss it”, he said.
Daughter of St. Paul Sister Athen Angeles, who heads a youth group in Islamabad-Rawalpindi diocese, wanted a ban on porn sites.
“This gives us a chance to train up cyber priests in the minor seminary,” she said.
Catholic rectors prohibit seminarians from using cell phones in minor and major seminaries. Major seminarians however are permitted to use the internet only to help them complete study assignments.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, Archbishop of Caracas, said that the Catholic values that every presidential candidate must have are love, justice, freedom, respect for people and for the people in general. All this is condensed in the Constitution. The Cardinal answered the journalists’ questions on the eve of the primary elections, which in Venezuela will be held on Sunday, February 12, while the presidential elections are to be held on 7 October. "Another very important value is truth, the truth and work for the good of the Venezuelan people and not for a particular political party, excluding the other", he added.
"It is not only now that the Bishops speak of national life - said the Cardinal -. We have a duty as pastors, to promote peace. Compliance with all the dignity and the common good, the need to create opportunities for all and respect for private property, are values that should always be defended".
If these values were actually applied, the Cardinal said, "we would have a much better country than we have now ... This is what we lack, to address problems early: never before have there been many problems such as corruption and lack of housing". (CE) (Agenzia Fides 10/02/2012)


Mass to mark sinking of Costa Concordia  | Bishop Guglielmo Borghetti of Pitigliano,Giglio, Costa Concordia

Happier days - Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants on visit to the ship a few months ago
Bishop Guglielmo Borghetti of Pitigliano, will celebrate Mass on the island of Giglio to remember those killed on the cruise liner Costa Concordia.
The Mass will be celebrated in the church of St Lawrence on Monday February 13, exactly one month after the tragedy.

Locals and families of those killed or injured on the ship are expected to attend. The Catholic maritime charity Apostleship of the Sea provided assistance to passengers and crew through its cruise chaplain on board. The AoS also assisted victims coming ashore in the nearby port of Savona.

Martin Foley, national director of the Apostleship of the Sea in Great Britain said: "The sinking of the Coast Concordia was a terrible tragedy. It's important that we remember those who died and also their families."

Each year the Apostleship of the Sea deploys chaplains on many cruise lines to support the pastoral and practical welfare of crew and passengers.

Last year more than 700 cruise chaplains provided 15,000 days of cruise chaplaincy across the world.
Source: AoS


St. Scholastica
Feast: February 10

Feast Day: February 10
480, Nursia, Italy
Died: 543
Patron of: convulsive children; nuns; invoked against storms and rain
This saint was sister to the great St. Benedict. She consecrated herself to God from her earliest youth, as St. Gregory testifies. Where her first monastery was situated is not mentioned; but after her brother removed to Mount Cassino she chose her retreat at Plombariola, in that neighbourhood, where she founded and governed a nunnery about five miles distant to the south from St. Benedict's monastery. St. Bertharius, who was Abbot of Cassino three hundred years after, says that she instructed in virtue several of her own sex. And whereas St. Gregory informs us that St. Benedict governed nuns as well as monks, his sister must have been their abbess under his rule and direction. She visited her holy brother once a year, and as she was not allowed to enter his monastery, he went out with some of his monks to meet her at a house at some small distance. They spent these visits in the praises of God, and in conferring together on spiritual matters. St. Gregory relates a remarkable circumstance of the I last of these visits. Scholastica having passed the day as usual in singing psalms and pious discourse, they sat down in the evening to take their refection. After it was over, Scholastica, perhaps foreknowing it would be their last interview in this world, or at least desirous of some further spiritual improvement, was very urgent with her brother to delay his return till the next day, that they might entertain themselves till morning upon the happiness of the other life. St. Benedict, unwilling to transgress his rule, told her he could not pass a night out of his monastery, so desired her not to insist upon such a breach of monastic discipline. Scholastica finding him resolved on going home, laying her hands joined upon the table, and her head upon them, with many tears, begged of Almighty God to interpose in her behalf. Her prayer was scarce ended when there happened such a storm of rain, thunder, and lightning, that neither St. Benedict nor any of his companions could set a foot out of doors. He complained to his sister, saying, "God forgive you, sister; what have you done?" She answered, "I asked you a favour, and you refused it me; I asked it of Almighty God, and he has granted it me." St. Benedict was therefore obliged to comply with her request, and they spent the night in conferences on pious subjects, chiefly on the felicity of the blessed, to which both most ardently aspired, and which she was shortly to enjoy. The next morning they parted, and three days after St. Scholastica died in her solitude. St. Benedict was then alone in contemplation on Mount Cassino, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he saw the soul of his sister ascending thither in the shape of a dove. Filled with joy at her happy passage, he gave thanks for it to God, and declared her death to his brethren, some of whom he sent to bring her corpse to his monastery, where he caused it to be laid in the tomb which he had prepared for himself. She must have died about the year 543. Her relics are said to have been translated into France, together with those of St. Bennet, in the seventh century, according to the relation given by the monk Adrevald.1 They are said to have been deposited at Mans, and kept in the collegiate church of St. Peter in that city, in a rich silver shrine. In 1562 this shrine was preserved from being plundered by the Huguenots as is related by Chatelain. Her principal festival at Mans is kept a holyday on the 11th of July, the day of the translation of her relics. She was honored in some places with an office of three lessons, in the time of St. Louis, as appears from a calendar of Longchamp written in his reign.

Louis of Granada, treating on the perfection of the love of God, mentions the miraculous storm obtained by St. Scholastica to show with what excess of goodness God is always ready to hear the petitions and desires of his servants. This pious soul must have received strong pledges and most sensible tokens of his love, seeing she depended on receiving so readily what she asked of him. No child could address himself with so great confidence to his most tender parent. The love which God bears us, and his readiness to succour and comfort us, if we humbly confess and lay before him our wants, infinitely surpasses all that can be found in creatures. Nor can we be surprised that he so easily heard the prayer of this holy virgin, since at the command of Joshua he stopped the heavens, God obeying the voice of man! He hears the most secret desires of those that fear and love him, and does their will: if he sometimes seems deaf to their cries, it is to grant their main desire by doing what is most expedient for them, as St. Austin frequently observes. The short prayer by which St. Scholastica gained this remarkable victory over her brother, who was one of the greatest saints on earth, was doubtless no more than a single act of her pure desires, which she continually turned toward, and fixed on her beloved. It was enough for her to cast her eyes interiorly upon him with whom she was closely and inseparably united in mind and affections, to move him so suddenly to change the course of the elements in order to satisfy her pious desire. By placing herself, as a docile scholar, continually at the feet of the Divine Majesty, who filled all the powers of her soul with the sweetness of his heavenly communications, she learned that sublime science of perfection in which she became a mistress to so many other chaste souls by this divine exercise. Her life in her retirement, to that happy moment which closed her mortal pilgrimage, was a continued uniform contemplation, by which all her powers were united to and transformed into God.



Mark 7: 31 - 37

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decap'olis.
32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him.
33 And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue;
34 and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Eph'phatha," that is, "Be opened."
35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
36 And he charged them to tell no one; but the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.
37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak."




Vatican City, (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office has issued a communique rejecting claims made in an article entitled "Money Laundering: Four Priests under Investigation. The Silence of the Vatican" which appeared yesterday in the Italian newspaper "L'Unita". Extracts from the communique are given below.
"The article ... unfortunately reveals a considerable lack of serious research by the author.
"We must begin by making two introductory observations. The title of the article refers to silence on the part of the Vatican. ... This is completely groundless because the Holy See and the authorities of the Vatican have duly cooperated with magistrates and other Italian authorities. The claims made in the article are merely a reworking of past criticisms. ... They are, in fact, 'recycled' accusations which the same journalist has already published on a number of occasions in the past. Repeating them once again does not make them true; rather, we must ask ourselves whether the article was not intended as a kind of advertisement for an evening television show.
"As to the contents of the article, we must clarify the following".
"The principal accusation is that the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) has been involved in illegal activity and that is has failed to assist the Italian authorities who were pursuing these individuals" (the alleged money launderers).
"This is incorrect. Firstly, the article fails to report that, beginning in the years 2006-2007, the IOR has been determinedly committed to analysing accounts and verifying clients in order to ascertain and report the presence of any suspicious transactions. These efforts by the IOR (which, strangely, the media seem to ignore) to identify suspect operations pre-date by several years the adoption by Vatican City State, on 30 December 2010, of Law No. 127 to Counter Money Laundering.
"Moreover, as the Italian authorities are aware, and as emerges from documentation in the possession of officials both of the Holy See and of the Republic of Italy, the IOR has repeatedly cooperated with the Italian authorities at all levels. ... The IOR supplied information, even outside official channels, in the period preceding the establishment of the Vatican Financial Information Authority (AIF). The cooperation of Paolo Cipriani, director general of the IOR, has been described as 'punctual and complete' in documents written by Italian officials. Indeed, in one case, it was precisely rapid action on the part of Mr. Cipriani that enabled one of the individuals identified to be accused".
"Following consultation with the AIF, we can confirm the following:
"(1) It is not true that the IOR failed to provide information to the AIF on the issues in question.
"(2) It is not true that the AIF failed to forward this information to the Italian Financial Information Unit.
"(3) The Italian authorities have never made a request to the AIF regarding one of the individuals mentioned in the article, Msgr. Messina; therefore it is clearly impossible for the AIF to 'respond' to its Italian counterpart.
"These points regarding communication between the AIF and its Italian counterpart are all confirmed by documents held by the AIF, identified with specific protocol numbers.
"Furthermore, the article does not report that on 6 June 2011 one of the individuals mentioned therein - Fr. Bonaccorsi - was declared innocent, a sentence confirmed on appeal.
"The sadly defamatory effect of the article arises from the use of the term 'incriminated' to refer to Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, president of the IOR, and to Paolo Cipriani. Neither of them has ever been incriminated, but merely investigated".
Vatican City, (VIS) - The logo for World Youth Day 2013 has been revealed in the John Paul II Centre in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. WYD 2013 will be held in that Brazilian city next year.
Vatican Radio has announced that the logo, work of a young Brazilian artist Gustavo Huguenin, portrays a heart (symbol of youth) in the colours of the national flag (green and yellow). At the centre of the heart is the silhouette of the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. At the top is a cross, in recollection of the fact that the core of WYD is Christ Himself.
Vatican City, (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, apostolic nuncio to Tanzania.
- Eighteen prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Cardinal Francis Eugene George O.M.I., archbishop of Chicago, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Francis J. Kane, George J. Rassas, Andrew Peter Wypych and Alberto Rojas.
- Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville.
- Bishop Robert Daniel Conlon of Joliet in Illinois, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, and by Bishop emeritus Joseph Leopold Imesch.
- Bishop Daniel Robert Jenky C.S.C. of Peoria.
- Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois.
- Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, auxiliary of Indianapolis.
- Bishop Charles C. Thompson of Evansville, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Gerald Andrew Gettelfinger.
- Bishop Kevin Carl Rhoades of Fort Wayne - South Bend, accompanied by Bishop emeritus John Michael D'Arcy.
- Bishop Dale Joseph Melczek of Gary.
- Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette in Indiana.


by Nirmala Carvalho
The state’s High Court makes the ruling following a petition by the Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat. Fr Prakash, director of a Jesuit human rights centre, welcomes the decision. More than a thousand people were killed in the 2002 riots; 523 places were destroyed, including three churches.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The Gujarat High Court has ruled that the government of Gujarat will have to compensate and rebuild the more than 500 places of worship destroyed during the 2002 riots. The ruling criticises Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi whose administration showed “negligence” in protecting citizens and religious structures. The decision follows a petition filed by Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat (IRCG) in the absence of government compensation for the victims of the 2002 massacre.

“We welcome the news,” said Fr Cedric Prakash, director of the Prashant Human Rights Centre in Ahmadabad. “This judgement surely comes as a relief for victims’ survivors, for those fighting for justice and for all those who cherish the secular fabric and the diversity of our country and wish to preserve it.”

On 27 February 2002, a group of Muslims attacked the Sabarmati Express, a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, especially women, children and seniors, on their way home from Ayodhya.

The attack unleashed sectarian riots across Gujarat. Local Muslims suffered the most. Of the thousand and more who are known to have died, 790 were Muslims and 254 were Hindus. In addition, 253 people are still missing.

Overall, 523 places of cult, including three churches, were destroyed. The authorities arrested 27,901 Hindus and 7.651 Muslims.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
9 Feb 2012
The Shadow Treasurer, Hon Joe Hockey praised the Catholic education system and said he also had been a great beneficiary. Mr Hockey was a special guest at the official opening and blessing of Tenison Woods House at the Australia Catholic University's North Sydney campus.
The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell blessed the latest ACU acquisition which has been named after Fr Julian Tenison Woods, who along with the now St Mary of the Cross MacKillop was co-founder of the Sisters of St Joseph.
The 22-storey building purchased last year, will allow ACU to continue with its expansion program by providing library and learning space for new courses in Allied Health, Law, Global Studies and Business.
Joe Hockey, Federal Liberal Member of Parliament for North Sydney, said ACU was an important part of the North Sydney landscape and described the university as a "wonderful institution" with its students providing growth and energy throughout the community.
"My family were also beneficiaries of Catholic education and continue to be," he said and spoke of a nephew who will shortly graduate from ACU.
Not only was this young man the first in his immediate family to attend university, but as he proudly told those present, the final year student had already secured a position as a graduate with highly-regarded international professional services network, KPMG.
"This illustrates the opportunities ACU is providing to people, many of whom may not have previously ever had the chance to attend university," the Shadow Treasurer said.
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop is patron saint of ACU and its five campuses across Australia. But until now full tribute has not been paid by the university to Fr Tenison Woods who not only helped found the Sisters of St Joseph but was instrumental in helping establish the first Josephite school in Penola, SA.
Vice Chancellor, Greg Craven says naming the 22-story building - formerly NRC House - after Fr Julian Tenison Woods was a unique opportunity to recognise a man he described as "one of the greatest figures in the history of the Australian Church."
"He was a great priest and a scholar," Professor Craven said. "The range of his academic work was such that he could, if he were alive today, walk into any chair at any university in Australia. He wrote multiple books, hundreds of scholarly articles and was a member of numerous royal societies, with a range of knowledge and research covering everything from biology to geology, history and geography. He also had a particular interest in Australia's indigenous people."
Together with students, Chancellor of ACU, former Defence Chief General Peter Cosgrove AC MC and Cardinal Pell, those who attended the official opening and blessing of Tenison Woods house included members of the Tenison Woods family.



Children are the hope and future of the nation. Consequently, the Southern African Catholic Bishops, express their deep concern about the current crisis effecting schools in the Eastern Cape Province. Access to education is a matter of simple justice for each child – and it is incumbent on Government to provide it without fail.
The lack of infrastructure and the rundown state of schools as well as the ‘go slow’ by teachers is putting the future of many of our children at risk. The Eastern Cape Provincial Government must take appropriate action to rescue the floundering education system, which is denying children their right to education. Otherwise the government will be responsible for perpetuating the second class ‘bantustan’ education system, and contributing to the wide divide between rich and poor
Education plays a crucial role in building up a democratic society. Teachers as key role players must put the children first and teach them by example to be engaged and responsible members of society, who give meaning and purpose in life by being agents of change for the good of all. In order to achieve this, teachers must make teaching a vocation that is marked by conscientious work, professionalism, care, love and a breadth of vision.
We acknowledge the efforts that are being made to end the ‘go slow’, as well as government’s attempts to arrest the slide to chaos. Nevertheless we call on national and provincial government to take full charge and control of the situation, work together with SADTU (the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union) to end the impasse as soon as is practically possible. They owe it to the future generations of the Eastern Cape to ensure that the doors of learning are open to all the children in the Province.
- Issued by the Office of the Secretary General of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.



By ED WEST on Friday, 10 February 2012
Catholic Youth Ministry aims to fill out Wembley Arena for Olympic event
Fr Howarth (third from right) at the launch at CYMFed yesterday
The Catholic Youth Ministry (CYMFed) is hoping to fill out the 11,000 capacity Wembley Arena for the Flame Congress next month.
The organisers have already sold 7,000 tickets for the event, which will be hosted on March 24 and will link sport and faith before the London Olympic Games this summer.
The event was inspired by the success of the Papal Visit of September 2010, in which large numbers of young people at Westminster Cathedral, Hyde Park and at “the Big Assembly” at Twickenham were active.
There will be ten bishops at the event, as well as Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, and among the speakers will be Sister Catherine Holum, a former Olympic speedskater, Barry and Margaret Mkizen and Paschal Uche, who spoke at the Papal Visit. There will be talks on the themes of “friendship, excellence and respect”, while the music will be composed by Edwin Fawcett, who was heavily involved in the music for the Papal Vigil.
Such is the demand for the Flame Congress, which takes its name from St Paul’s letter to Timothy – “Fan into a Flame the gifts that God gave you” – that Hexham and Newcastle Diocese have hired a train to Wembley, and filled it out already.
Fr Dominic Howarth, Flame Congress Coordinator, said: “We hope people have a good day, but we want more than that – we want it to form their faith and their character. We hope it’s an affirming day for the person who is the only young person in their parish and looks around and sees 10,000 people and realises ‘I’m not alone here’.”


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The police continue the strike and the people of Bahia, state in northeastern Brazil, live in anguish. In just six days there have been 87 murders, the result of criminal acts, and is in a wave of ransacking. Government officials of Bahia and associations of the military police in the Brazilian state met two days ago, with the Church as mediator, to try to resolve the dispute over wages.
In the residence of the Archbishop of Sao Salvador da Bahia and Primate of Brazil, Mgr. Murilo Sebastião Ramos Krieger, S.C.I., the parties sought to end the strike, but still has not solved the problem. This is the second attempt of negotiations. The first (4 days ago) lasted 10 hours. The spokesman for the archdiocese, Father Manoel Ribeiro, explained that the position of the associations concerning the counterproposal made by the government of Bahia is being debated. The governor of Bahia, Jaques Wagner, believes that negotiations with the military police are progressing and took the opportunity to urge the police not to abandon the people to themselves. But Wagner also said that there will be no amnesty for those responsible for acts of vandalism. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 09/02/2012)


Mark 7: 24 - 30
24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house, and would not have any one know it; yet he could not be hid.
25 But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet.
26 Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoeni'cian by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
27 And he said to her, "Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
28 But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."
29 And he said to her, "For this saying you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter."
30 And she went home, and found the child lying in bed, and the demon gone.


St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548). Little is known about the life of Juan Diego before his conversion, but tradition and archaeological and iconographical sources, along with the most important and oldest indigenous document on the event of Guadalupe, "El Nican Mopohua" (written in Náhuatl with Latin characters, 1556, by the Indigenous writer Antonio Valeriano), give some information on the life of the saint and the apparitions.Juan Diego was born in 1474 with the name "Cuauhtlatoatzin" ("the talking eagle") in Cuautlitlán, today part of Mexico City, Mexico. He was a gifted member of the Chichimeca people, one of the more culturally advanced groups living in the Anáhuac Valley.When he was 50 years old he was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr Peter da Gand, one of the first Franciscan missionaries. On 9 December 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. She asked him to go to the Bishop and to request in her name that a shrine be built at Tepeyac, where she promised to pour out her grace upon those who invoked her. The Bishop, who did not believe Juan Diego, asked for a sign to prove that the apparition was true. On 12 December, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac. Here, the Blessed Mother told him to climb the hill and to pick the flowers that he would find in bloom. He obeyed, and although it was winter time, he found roses flowering. He gathered the flowers and took them to Our Lady who carefully placed them in his mantle and told him to take them to the Bishop as "proof". When he opened his mantle, the flowers fell on the ground and there remained impressed, in place of the flowers, an image of the Blessed Mother, the apparition at Tepeyac.With the Bishop's permission, Juan Diego lived the rest of his life as a hermit in a small hut near the chapel where the miraculous image was placed for veneration. Here he cared for the church and the first pilgrims who came to pray to the Mother of Jesus.Much deeper than the "exterior grace" of having been "chosen" as Our Lady's "messenger", Juan Diego received the grace of interior enlightenment and from that moment, he began a life dedicated to prayer and the practice of virtue and boundless love of God and neighbour. He died in 1548 and was buried in the first chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. He was beatified on 6 May 1990 byPope John Paul II in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Guadalupe, Mexico City.The miraculous image, which is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, shows a woman with native features and dress. She is supported by an angel whose wings are reminiscent of one of the major gods of the traditional religion of that area. The moon is beneath her feet and her blue mantle is covered with gold stars. The black girdle about her waist signifies that she is pregnant. Thus, the image graphically depicts the fact that Christ is to be "born" again among the peoples of the New World, and is a message as relevant to the "New World" today as it was during the lifetime of Juan Diego.