Saturday, August 15, 2009

Catholic World News: Sat. Aug. 15, 2009

Catholic world news: Sat. Aug. 14, 2009: headlines:


The Feast of the Assumption is one of the most popular Marian feasts in the liturgical year and was celebrated world wide this Saturday with mass, moments of prayer, pilgrimages and festivals. In Sri Lanka thousands gathered to give thanks and pray for peace at the Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu, while India’s 14 million Catholics, who were also marking Independence day, entrusted the future of their Homeland to Our Lady’s care.Also on Saturday a smaller Catholic community high in the Roman Hills were joined by thousands of pilgrims to honour Mary. They are the parishioners of St Thomas of Villanova in Castel Gandolfo, a church that stands across the square from the Papal Summer residence and where Pope Benedict XVI chose to celebrate the Assumption with early morning mass.In his homily Pope Benedict told the community that “The Assumption reminds us that Mary's life, like that of every Christian is a journey to follow Jesus, a path that has a clearly defined goal, a future already mapped out: the final victory over sin and death and full communion with God”.Drawing on the Gospel of the Magnificat he remarked : “All of life is an ascent, all of life is meditation, obedience, trust and hope even in darkness and all of life is this sacred haste that knows that God is always the priority and nothing else should create haste in our lives”.Following Mass Pope Benedict XVI made his way through the throngs from the Church to his Summer Residence where yet more pilgrims waited for him in the Palace’s enclosed internal courtyard, many more spilling out on to the square. “As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, we are invited to raise our eyes to heaven and contemplate Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother. She who on earth believed in God’s word is now glorified in body and soul”.The Pope emphasized the relationship between Mary and priests, recalling once again the Year for the Priest and St. John Mary Vianney. "The heart of this good Mother is love and mercy, her only desire to see us happy, we need only to turn to Her to be heard”.Pope Benedict concluded : “May Mary’s intercession and example guide you always and renew your hearts in faith and hope. May God grant you and your families abundant blessings of peace and joy!”(SOURCE:


UCAN reports that building relations with the government, other religions and the poor as well as defending Catholic values, have been the hallmark of the Thai Church under Cardinal Michael Michai Kitbunchu’s leadership, say prominent Church leaders. Cardinal Michai, 80, is set to step down as administrator of Bangkok archdiocese on Aug. 16 after 36 years as Archbishop of Bangkok, and head of the Catholic Church in Thailand. The most significant developments under his leadership are the Thai Church’s strengthened relations with the government and with other religions, said Bishop Michael Bunluen Mansap, retired bishop of Ubon Ratchathani. The bishop, who is the same age as Cardinal Michai, explained that virtually all Bangkok archbishops before Cardinal Michai were foreigners, and that the Church had difficulties dealing with government officials then because of the cultural barriers. The government and other religious leaders had thought of Catholicism as a foreign religion, but thanks to Cardinal Michai’s skills in interpersonal relations, the Thai Church is now seen as being more integrated into Thai society. The first-ever Thai cardinal has also held much dialogue with other religions, and visited Buddhist temples and mosques. Bishop Bunluen was among several prominent Church leaders who spoke to UCA News ahead of Cardinal Michai’s retirement. Aug. 16 also marks the installation of Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovitvanit as head of Bangkok archdiocese. Bishop-elect Joseph Phibul Visitnonthachai, who succeeds Archbishop Kriengsak as head of Nakhon Sawan diocese, said Cardinal Michai’s engagement with Thai society extended particularly to the weak and marginalized. Retired The bishop-elect, who served as director of the Thai Bishops' Catholic Office for Emergency Relief and Refugees (COERR), pointed out that the cardinal has supported the building of orphanages and homes for the aged, as well as centers for handicapped people and people with HIV/AIDS all over Thailand. Every time there was a natural disaster in Thailand or abroad, Cardinal Michai would be the first to invite all priests and laypeople to respond through prayers and donations, the bishop-elect noted. For example, after the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami struck the western coast of southern Thailand, Cardinal Michai immediately called on Catholics to provide relief. He visited the disaster-hit areas many times and supported the Surat Thani diocese, which covers the tsunami-hit zones, in building homes for the affected people. Chalor Wannaprathip, a leading Bangkok archdiocesan social worker, said Cardinal Michai was very much concerned about Catholic education. The cardinal has “urged Catholic schools to help families find ways to pay their children’s tuition fees,” said Chalor. For Father Pipat Rungruangkanokkul, deputy secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand, Cardinal Michai did a lot to “evangelize” Thai society by promoting Catholic values. Cardinal Michai greeting Massgoersin Bangkok -- Photo by Worapoj Singha “It’s hard to evangelize in predominantly Buddhist Thailand,” the priest admitted, “but Cardinal Michai has always been a courageous defender of the faith by his firm position against abortion.” He also said the cardinal fought against the prevailing consumerism and materialism in today’s society, adding that he spoke against these values in his homilies during Mass and also during interreligious meetings. The cardinal has also emphasized inculturation within the Catholic Church, according to Father Pipat. For example, the cardinal had pushed for priests from the northeastern part of the country, which has its own unique culture and dialect, to serve there. Cardinal Michai was ordained a priest on Dec. 20, 1959, and appointed Archbishop of Bangkok on Dec. 18, 1972. The late Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal on Feb. 2, 1983. Pope Benedict XVI on May 14 accepted his resignation as Bangkok archbishop. (SOURCE:


CNA reports during a cordial meeting on Wednesday with President Michele Bachelet, the executive committee of the Chilean Bishop’s Conference proposed a “Jubilee Indult” for prisoners in order to mark Chile’s bicentennial celebration of independence in 2010. During the meeting which was described as “amicable and productive,” the bishops discussed a wide range of issues affecting the country with President Bachelet. “Among other issues discussed, we presented to Madam President some of our expectations for the upcoming Bicentennial Independence Celebration and told her of the Church’s interest that it be an occasion for the whole of Chilean society to reflect on the great values that characterize our peaceful life together,” the bishops said. They also presented Bachelet with their idea of granting a “Jubilee Indult” to those who have been “condemned by the courts of justice” and said they would soon lay out a “concrete proposal” that could be put before the Chilean people for consideration. The bishops expressed gratitude for the good will Chileans have shown toward their proposal, which stems from “our gospel mandate in keeping with one of the oldest traditions of the Bible and of our country’s history.” The Jubilee Indult could involve the release of prisoners who took part on both sides of dictator Augusto Pinochet's “dirty war,” which involved a brutal crack down on dissidents and citizens in the 1970s and 80s. (SOURCE:


EUROPE Only the family can guarantee authentic education in values, says Vatican officialvar The Fifth World Congress of Families began in Amsterdam today, under the theme, “Modern Families: Traditional Values.” In his augural address, the under secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Bishop Carlos Simon Vasquez, said only the family “can guarantee an authentic education in values.” Speaking on behalf of Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, the president of the dicastery, Bishop Vasquez said family associations are an urgent need today, in order to promote the true identity of the family. The Church cannot put families on the same plane as the individual or the State, he stated. “The natural family, which is the source and treasure of society, must be sustained at every level,” he said. Bishop Vasquez also recalled several passages from Pope Benedict XVI’s recent encyclical “Caritas in Veritate,” underscoring that only the family “can guarantee an authentic education in human values, because it ensures altruism and temporal continuity, which are essential in education.” “Only the vocation to paternity and maternity can transmit a responsible education in responsible procreation, which brings with it the necessary union between personal and social ethics through a harmonious existence that only the family can offer,” he added. Moreover, only the family “can serve as a counterpoint to the current global economic crisis, because at its center it is a source of social solidarity and civil progress,” the bishop said. The World Congress of Families is an international pro-family network of organizations, experts and people of good will from more than 60 countries whose purpose is to defend the importance of the family as a social institution. It was founded in 1997 by The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society in Rockford, Illinois. Previous sessions of the congress were held in Prague (1997), Geneva (1999), Mexico City (2004) and Warsaw (2007).(SOURCE:


ALLAFRICA reports that at least 30 people were killed in central Somalia fighting between rival Islamist groups, Radio Garowe reports. The fighting started on Thursday in El Dher district of Galgadud region, which has been the scene of numerous battles between Al Shabaab and Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamee'a militias. Sheikh Abdullahi Abdirahman "Abu Qadi," spokesman for Ahlu Sunnah, claimed victory and said Ahlu Sunnah fighters control the town. "We counted 27 dead bodies as Al Shabaab fighters who attacked us ran away," Abu Qadi said, adding that ten Al Shabaab members were "captured alive." He stated that the Ahlu Sunnah leadership believes "these young men were misled and will be returned to their families." Al Shabaab, or "the youth" in Arabic, is a group of Islamist hardliners that Western powers accuse of having links to Al Qaeda. Separately, Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali "Dheere" Mohamud told reporters in Mogadishu that Al Shabaab seized control of El Dher district. "Praise to Allah, we achieved victory in our battle against Ahlu Sunnah, which is supported by Ethiopia," Sheikh Ali Dheere said. Local sources in El Dher district said that the warring factions "remain on the outskirts of town." Ahlu Sunnah militias peacefully took control of El Dher district earlier this week. READ: Ahlu Sunnah take district in central Somalia, Shabaab withdraw Ahlu Sunnah and Al Shabaab have been fighting for control of Galgadud region since late 2008, when the Ahlu Sunnah militia was formed to fight against Al Shabaab's northbound expansion. (SOURCE:


AUSTRALIAN NEWS reports 2 people have been arrested after a 60-year-old man was beaten to death in his suburban Adelaide home. A police spokesman said two people had not yet been charged with any offences, but were arrested at a Woodville Road, Woodville, address on Sunday afternoon. A family member found the 60-year-old man's body about 10am (CST) yesterday in the home they shared. The man had spent Friday evening socialising at a local hotel and was believed to have left for home about 1.30am. Two men were spotted at a nearby train station in the early hours of the morning, even though no trains were in service.(SOURCE:,25197,25937001-26103,00.html


The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Feast: August 15
Feast Day:
August 15

The Assumption is the oldest feast day of Our Lady, but we don't know how it first came to be celebrated.
Its origin is lost in those days when Jerusalem was restored as a sacred city, at the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337). One of the memories about Jesus' mother centered around the "Tomb of Mary," close to Mount Zion, where the early Christian community had lived.
On the hill itself was the "Place of Dormition," the spot of Mary's "falling asleep," where she had died. The "Tomb of Mary" was where she was buried.
At this time, the "Memory of Mary" was being celebrated. Later it was to become our feast of the Assumption.
For a time, the "Memory of Mary" was marked only in Palestine, but then it was extended by the emperor to all the churches of the East. In the seventh century, it began to be celebrated in Rome under the title of the "Falling Asleep" ("Dormitio") of the Mother of God.
Soon the name was changed to the "Assumption of Mary," since there was more to the feast than her dying. It also proclaimed that she had been taken up, body and soul, into heaven.
Today, the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary stands on the spot of her tomb.
At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capitol. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that "Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later . . . was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven."
In the eighth century, St. John Damascene was known for giving sermons at the holy places in Jerusalem. At the Tomb of Mary, he expressed the belief of the Church on the meaning of the feast: "Although the body was duly buried, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay. . . . You were transferred to your heavenly home, O Lady, Queen and Mother of God in truth."
The prayer for the feast reads: "All-powerful and ever-living God: You raised the sinless Virgin Mary, mother of your Son, body and soul, to the glory of heaven. May we see heaven as our final goal and come to share her glory."
In 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution , Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church in these words: "The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven."
(Edited from:

St. Tarsicius
Feast: August 15
3rd century
Major Shrine:
San Silvestro in Capite, Rome
Patron of:
altar servers and first communicants

Martyr. Tarsicius carrying the Blessed Sacrament, was attacked by a heathen rabble, and he suffered death rather "than surrender the Sacred Body [of Christ] to the raging dogs". )
(Edited from:

St. Stanislaus Kostka
Feast Day:
August 15
October 28, 1550, Rostkowo
August 15, 1568, Rome
Patron of:
Jesuit novices, students, Poland

Born at Rostkovo near Prasnysz, Poland, about 28 October, 1550; died at Rome during the night of 14-15 August, 1568. He entered the Society of Jesus at Rome, 28 October, 1567, and is said to have foretold his death a few days before it occurred. His father, John Kostka, was a senator of the Kingdom of Poland and Lord of Zakroczym; his mother was Margaret de Drobniy Kryska, the sister and niece of the Dukes Palatine of Masovia and the aunt of the celebrated Chancellor of Poland, Felix Kryski. The marriage was blessed with seven children, of whom Stanislas was the second. He was sent to Vienna with his tutor to attend the Jesuit college that had been opened four years before, reaching Vienna, 25 July, 1564.
On the eve of the feast of St. Lawrence, Stanislas felt a mortal weakness made worse by a high fever, and clearly saw that his last hour had come. He wrote a letter to the Blessed Virgin begging her to call him to the skies there to celebrate with her the glorious anniversary of her Assumption (ibid., 636). His confidence in the Blessed Virgin, which had already brought him many signal favours, was this time again rewarded; on 15 August, towards four in the morning, while he was wrapt in pious utterances to God, to the saints, and to the Virgin Mary, his beautiful soul passed to its Creator. (Edited from:

Bl. Isidore Bakanja

Feast Day:
August 15
1887 at northeast Republic of the Congo
8 or 15 August 1909
24 April 1994 by Pope John Paul II

One of "the least brothers" of Jesus, was born in northeast Zaire (then, Belgian Congo) sometime between 1885 and 1890. His baptismal record is the first document about him, as he was attracted to Christ when he was about 18 years of age, working for white colonizers as an assistant mason. He never forgot the lessons taught him by the Trappist missionaries from Westmalle Abbey in Belgium: a follower of Jesus should be characterized by prayer and witness. He should be recognized by the rosary and scapular (Mary's habit, as it was rendered in Isidore's native tongue). Often with rosary in hand, he looked for opportunities to share his new-found faith with others, to the extent that many thought of him as a catechist. He definitively left his native village because there were no fellow followers of Christ there. In a larger settlement, he found employment with the agent of a Belgian company that controlled the rubber plantations in the region. He was hired as a domestic boy. He was told to stop teaching his fellow workers how to pray: "You'll have the whole village praying and no one will want to work", one agent shouted at him. Isidore was told to discard his scapular. When he did not, he was twice flogged. The second time, the agent flew into one of his rages. He jumped at Isidore, tore the scapular from around his neck and threw him to the ground. He had two servant boys hold Isidore by his hands and feet and a third domestic flogged him. The Isidore asked for mercy. "My God, I'm dying", he muttered. But the colonizer kept kicking Isidore in the neck and head, and ordered his domestic to scourge him harder still. After 100, those assisting lost count of the number of blows. Isidore's back was one open wound; some of his bones were exposed. After scourging he was thrown, legs chained, into a hut for processing rubber. He could not even move to relieve himself. Since an inspector was due, Isidore was banished to another village. But because he could not walk, he fell by the wayside and hid in the forest. He dragged himself before the inspector, who was horrified at the sight of this modern Job. The inspector himself left a written account of his impression: "I saw a man come from the forest with his back torn apart by deep, festering, malodorous wounds, covered with filth, assaulted by flies. He leaned on two sticks in order to get near me -he wasn't walking; he was dragging himself". The agent appeared on the scene and tried to kill "that animal of mon pere", but the inspector even physically prevented him. He took Isidore to his own settlement, hoping to help him heal. But Isidore felt death in his bones. He told someone who had pity on him: "if you see my mother, or if you go to the judge, or if you meet the priest, tell them that I am dying because I am a Christian". Two missionaries spent several days with him. He devoutly received the last sacraments. He told them the reason for his beating: "The white man did not like Christians.... He did not want me to wear the scapular.... He yelled at me when I said my prayers". The missionaries urged Isidore to forgive the agent; he assured them that he had already done so and that he nursed no hatred for him. This "animal of mon pere", this convert of two-and-a-half years proved that he knew what it meant to follow Jesus - even to the point of being flogged like him, even to the point of carrying the cross, even to the point of dying. The missionaries urged Isidore to pray for the agent. "Certainly I shall pray for him. When I am in heaven, I shall pray for him very much". His agony - more painful than the actual flogging - lasted six months. He died on either 8 or 15 august 1909, rosary in hand and the scapular of Our Lady of Mt Carmel around his neck. (Edited from:


Luke 1: 39 - 56
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,
and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth.
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."
And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.

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