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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Catholic World News: Thurs. Aug. 27, 2009




Catholic world news: Thurs. Aug. 27, 2009: headlines:

VATICAN: NEW US AMASSADOR ARRIVES IN ROME
AMERICAS: CALIFORNIA TO HOST GABRIEL PROJECT CONFERENCE: SEPT. 12
EUROPE: ENGLAND: NEW WEBSITE FOR TWEENS ON THE FAITH
AUSTRALIA: HOWARD OPPOSES BILL OF RIGHTS
AFRICA: UN STAFF MEMBER DEAD: ACCUSED OF ABUSE
ASIA: SRI LANKA: PRIESTS RELEASED FROM CAMPS
TODAY'S SAINT: ST. MONICA



VATICAN

NEW US AMASSADOR ARRIVES IN ROME



CNA reports that that this morning Dr. Miguel Diaz arrived in Rome with his family to begin serving in his new position as the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. Ambassador-designate Diaz said that he and his family are looking forward to the coming weeks and that he hopes to "deepen and expand upon the special relationship" between the U.S. and the Vatican.
Dr. Miguel Humberto Diaz, arrived with his family this morning at Rome's Fiumicino International Airport. Prior to leaving the U.S. he was sworn in as ambassador on August 21 in Washington D.C., the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See said in a statement.
"I look forward to the coming weeks as my family and I put down new roots in Rome. I will be honored to serve President Obama and the American people in my new role, and it will be a unique honor to meet his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI," Ambassador-designate Díaz said.
Since President Ronald Reagan established formal diplomatic ties with the Holy See in 1984, the two states have worked together on a host of shared priorities, including religious freedom, inter-faith dialogue, peace and security, trafficking in persons, the environment, human rights and global health.
"I welcome the opportunity to deepen and expand upon the special relationship that has evolved between the United States and the Vatican over the past 25 years of formal diplomatic ties," Ambassador-designate Díaz added.
According to diplomatic protocol, Diaz will not assume his full responsibilities until he presents his letter of credentials from President Barack Obama to Pope Benedict XVI on a mutually agreed upon date. Díaz will refrain from granting interviews or participating in official events until that point in time, the embassy noted.(Source: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=16952



AMERICA



CALIFORNIA TO HOST GABRIEL PROJECT CONFERENCE: SEPT. 12

CNA reports the Archdiocese of San Francisco is hosting a Gabriel Project conference to train Catholics from across northern California how to support pregnant women in distress. San Francisco’s archbishop has encouraged all pastors and parochial vicars to consider promoting the effort in their parish. The Gabriel Project uses signs, pamphlets, bumper stickers and a toll free hotline to alert pregnant mothers that help is available. Callers to the hotline are referred to the local Gabriel Project Coordinator, who connects them to a trained mentor.
The mentor, one of the parish’s “Gabriel Angels,” is responsible for ongoing contact with the mother throughout her pregnancy and somewhat beyond.
Through these mentors and the assistance of the parish community, mothers receive needed spiritual, material and emotional support during their pregnancy.
“Gabriel Project parishes embrace each pregnant woman who comes to them as their daughter, sister, friend,” the Archdiocese of San Franciso said in a flyer about the event.
The conference will take place at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco on Saturday, September 12. It will begin with a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m., while the program itself will last from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Cathy McConn, founder of the Gabriel Project in Houston, will train attendees in “every aspect” of the ministry and instruct them how to best implement it in their parishes, an announcement said.
In an August 24 letter to pastors and parochial vicars of the archdiocese, Archbishop George Niederauer said clergy and parishes must reach out to women in difficult pregnancies with “real, concrete help.”
He endorsed the Gabriel Project as a practical and effective means to fulfill that task, explaining that it was first introduced into the Bay Area in 1997 under Cardinal William Levada.
The archbishop also encouraged the clergy to consider the ministry for their parish and to send a small team of interested parishioners to the conference.
He noted that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities” says a parish pro-life committee should aim to develop a ministry to pregnant women and their children.
“The Gabriel Project answers this call. It embodies the practical support that the bishops promise pregnant women,” Archbishop Niederauer said.
Registration information about the conference is available from the San Francisco Archdiocesan Respect Life Program of the Office of Public Policy & Social Concerns, which is organizing the gathering.





EUROPE

NEW WEBSITE FOR TWEENS ON THE FAITH

The English confernce of Bishops posted the following: How many times is cheese mentioned in the Bible? Who was shipwrecked and imprisoned repeatedly? How many loaves and fish fed five thousand people? These are just some of the questions being posed as part of a new Catholic Bible Detectives’ resource for tweenagers.
The monthly Bible Detectives’ Quiz is one of the many downloads available on the http://www.yfaith.co.uk/ website. The aim of the Detectives’ resource is to further 11-13 year olds learning about Jesus and to encourage them to read the Scriptures.
Emily Davis, Yfaith Project Co-ordinator, said: ‘Engaging young people with the Bible can be a real challenge. Youth ministry is often about finding fun ways to explore faith, and that’s what we’re trying to do with the Bible Detectives’ Quiz. It’s really rewarding to see this age group grow in confidence in using their Bibles as they find out fun facts as well as key truths about their faith. The quiz is an ideal tool for evangelisation.’
Each month the children who complete the quiz are invited to enter a prize draw to win a Bible, a Yfaith t-shirt and pen.
Gemma Wildsmith, a secondary School Chaplain, said: ‘It’s really helpful to have an exciting way of getting the pupils into reading their Bibles - I’m looking forward to the possibility of my school becoming the first Bible Detectives’ School.’
http://www.yfaith.co.uk/ is a site designed to enable 11-13 year old Catholics to engage with, explore and express their faith. It is also a vehicle for supporting catechists, youth workers, parents, grandparents and chaplains, by providing downloadable resources for use with this age-group. Schools and youth groups are invited to become ‘Bible Detective Schools’, or ‘Bible Detective Youth Groups’, whilst families of this age group could do the quiz together.
Also available on the Yfaith website are weekly commentaries on the Sunday Gospel; monthly discussion starters; magazine style articles and quizzes; and downloadable prayers for those who want to join the ‘virtual prayer group’.
The website is an initiative of the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation (CASE). For more information email: yfaith@caseresources.org.uk or call 020 7901 4863
Notes
For more information about the Catholic Bible Detectives’ Quiz, please call 0770 939 1998 or e-mail: clare.ward@caseresources.org.uk
Alternatively, contact the CCN on 020 7901 4800.
For more information about the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation (CASE), an agency of the Bishops’ Conference, see: http://www.caseresources.org.uk/ and http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk/
What tweenagers think of the site:
‘I like the quizzes and all the interactive things you can do.’ George, aged 12
‘Yfaith is an awesome site… It helps me know more about how to communicate with God.’ Rachel, aged 11
AUSTRALIA

HOWARD OPPOSES BILL OF RIGHTS

Former Prime Minister John Howard maintained his opposition to an Australian Bill of Rights saying it would give power to "unelected judges" to decide in matters of priority to the nation.
"The essence of my objection to a Bill of Rights is that contrary to its very description, it reduces the rights of citizens to determine matters over which they should continue to exercise control," he said in a lecture as part of the Menzies Series at the University of Western Australia.
"It does this by transferring decision making authority to unelected judges, accountable to no one except in the barest theoretical sense."
"I had always thought that a member of parliament was a decision maker and not a buckpasser. I have always held to the classical view that the public elects members of parliament who pass laws, hopefully in the public interest, and those laws are in turn interpreted and enforced by the courts. That sentiment is at the heart of my objection to a Bill of Rights."
He said a Federal bill would "further diminish the prestige of parliament; it would politicise the appointment of judges; it would increase the volume of litigation and it would not increase the rights and protections now available to Australian citizens."
"In the Australian context the adoption of a Charter or Bill of rights would represent the final triumph of elitism in Australian politics - the notion that typical citizens, elected by ordinary Australians, cannot be trusted to resolve great issues of public policy, and that the really important decisions should be taken out of their hands and given to judges who, after all, have a superior capacity to determine these matters". (SOURCE:http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=16022
AFRICA
UN STAFF MEMBER DEAD: ACCUSED OF ABUSE
UN news reports that the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) today reported the death of one of its civilian staff members who was under investigation for alleged sexual exploitation and abuse of minors.
Dale Fosnight, a United States national, died on 24 August at his home in the capital, Monrovia, according to a statement issued by the Mission, which added that the circumstances of his death are being investigated.
The staff member was the subject of an investigation into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of minors.
“The United Nations takes all allegations of sexual crimes against children extremely seriously and is committed to preventing this abhorrent practice, in compliance with the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy,” the Mission said.
While the Mission is cooperating fully with the Liberian Government’s investigation into the allegations, the UN, in accordance with its own policy concerning allegations of staff member misconduct, also conducts an independent investigation.
“UNMIL reiterates strongly that it is the UN’s policy and practice to promptly investigate every single allegation of misconduct by its staff and to take appropriate action if a staff member is found guilty.”
(SOURCE: http://www0.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=31858&Cr=unmil&Cr1=
ASIA
SRI LANKA: PRIESTS RELEASED FROM CAMPS

UCAN reports that Hindu and Catholic priests displaced by the civil war and living in refugee camps for the past three months have been released.
"We appreciate the gesture and see it as a first step of the state government in moving in the right direction," said Oblate Father Paul Jayanthan Pachchek, director of the Oblate Social Service in Mannar Catholic diocese. "It will definitely give hope to other detainees."
The government ordered the Aug. 26 release of 177 Hindu priests and their families, five Catholic priests and two nuns from camps in Vavuniya in the north.
Father Pachchek said the government must now release other people who are still detained. He said the detainees should be helped to return to their "normal life in their villages."
The government proclaimed the end of decades of civil conflict in mid-May, when its troops overran the last Tamil rebel enclave, but about 300,000 Tamil civilians are still languishing in refugee camps.
The military says it is still screening the people for possible rebel connections.
The priests and nuns were released at the military headquarters in Vavuniya in the presence of Basil Rajapaksa, a government minister and adviser to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his brother.
All the freed priests were from northern areas including Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Mannar.
Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, Bishop Thomas Savundaranayagam of Jaffna, opposition parliamentarians, rights activists and international organizations have continually appealed to the president to release all civilians and priests.
Conditions in the camps have worsened in recent weeks with the onset of monsoon rains, which have caused flooding.
Pro-government Tamil politician Dharmalingam Siddarthan described conditions in the camps as "a living hell" after visiting recently.
According to media reports, the Sri Lankan government is preparing a 180-day resettlement plan for refugees to return to their homes. It resettled 1,094 people from relief centers on Aug. 5 in what was said to be the first phase of the scheme.
TODAY'S SAINT

St. Monica
WIDOWED MOTHER OF ST. AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO
Feast Day:
August 27
Born:
322 at Tagaste (Souk Ahrus), Algeria
Died:
387 at Ostia, Italy
Major Shrine:
Sant'Agostino, Rome
Patron of:
patience, married women, homemakers and housewives, mothers, wives, widows, alcoholics, difficult marriages, disappointing children, victims of adultery or unfaithfulness, and victims of (verbal) abuse

Widow; born of Christian parents at Tagaste, North Africa, in 333; died at Ostia, near Rome, in 387. We are told but little of her childhood. She was married early in life to Patritius who held an official position in Tagaste. He was a pagan, though like so many at that period, his religion was no more than a name; his temper was violent and he appears to have been of dissolute habits. Consequently Monica's married life was far from being a happy one, more especially as Patritius's mother seems to have been of a like disposition with himself. There was of course a gulf between husband and wife; her almsdeeds and her habits of prayer annoyed him, but it is said that he always held her in a sort of reverence. Monica was not the only matron of Tagaste whose married life was unhappy, but, by her sweetness and patience, she was able to exercise a veritable apostolate amongst the wives and mothers of her native town; they knew that she suffered as they did, and her words and example had a proportionate effect.
Three children were born of this marriage, Augustine the eldest, Navigius the second, and a daughter, Perpetua. Monica had been unable to secure baptism for her children, and her grief was great when Augustine fell ill; in her distress she besought Patritius to allow him to be baptized; he agreed, but on the boy's recovery withdrew his consent. All Monica s anxiety now centred in Augustine; he was wayward and, as he himself tells us, lazy. He was sent to Madaura to school and Monica seems to have literally wrestled with God for the soul of her son. A great consolation was vouchsafed her -- in compensation perhaps for all that she was to experience through Augustine -- Patritius became a Christian. Meanwhile, Augustine had been sent to Carthage, to prosecute his studies, and here he fell into grievous sin. Patritius died very shortly after his reception into the Church and Monica resolved not to marry again. At Carthage Augustine had become a Manichean and when on his return home he ventilated certain heretical propositions she drove him away from her table, but a strange vision which she had urged her to recall him. It was at this time that she went to see a certain holy bishop, whose name is not given, but who consoled her with the now famous words, "the child of those tears shall never perish." There is no more pathetic story in the annals of the Saints than that of Monica pursuing her wayward son to Rome, wither he had gone by stealth; when she arrived he had already gone to Milan, but she followed him. Here she found St. Ambrose and through him she ultimately had the joy of seeing Augustine yield, after seventeen years of resistance. Mother and son spent six months of true peace at Cassiacum, after which time Augustine was baptized in the church of St. John the Baptist at Milan. Africa claimed them however, and they set out on their journey, stopping at Civit' Vecchia and at Ostia. Here death overtook Monica and the finest pages of his "Confessions" were penned as the result of the emotion Augustine then experienced.
St. Monica was buried at Ostia, and at first seems to have been almost forgotten, though her body was removed during the sixth century to a hidden crypt in the church of St. Aureus. About the thirteenth century, however, the cult of St. Monica began to spread and a feast in her honour was kept on 4 May. In 1430 Martin V ordered the relics to be brought to Rome. Many miracles occurred on the way, and the cultus of St. Monica was definitely established. Later the Archbishop of Rouen, Cardinal d'Estouteville, built a church at Rome in honour of St. Augustine and deposited the relics of St. Monica in a chapel to the left of the high altar. The Office of St. Monica however does not seem to have found a place in the Roman Breviary before the sixteenth century. In 1850 there was established at Notre Dame de Sion at Paris an Association of Christian mothers under the patronage of St. Monica; its object was mutual prayer for sons and husbands who had gone astray. This Association was in 1856 raised to the rank of an archconfraternity and spread rapidly over all the Catholic world, branches being established in Dublin, London, Liverpool, Sidney, and Buenos Ayres. Eugenius IV had established a similar Confraternity long before.
SAINTLY QUOTE

A pure soul is like a fine pearl. As long as it is hidden in the shell at the bottom of the sea, no one thinks of admiring it. But if you bring it into the sunshine, this pearl will shine and attract all eyes. Thus, the pure soul which is hidden from the eyes of the world, will one day shine before the angels in the sunshine of eternity. St. John Vianney
TODAY'S GOSPEL

Matthew 24: 42 - 51
42
Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
43
But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into.
44
Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
45
"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?
46
Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing.
47
Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.
48
But if that wicked servant says to himself, `My master is delayed,'
49
and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken,
50
the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know,
51
and will punish him, and put him with the hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.
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