CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: TUES. SEPT 22, 2009: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: STATISTICS OF CZECH REPUBLIC-
AMERICAS: CANADA: APOSTOLIC NUNCIO: ARCHBISHOP VENTURA-
EUROPE: IRELAND: TO HOST EUCARISTIC CONGRESS -ASIA: SRI LANKA: ARCHBISHOP ASKS EU FOR CONCESSIONS-
AUSTRALIA: SURVEY OF MEMBERS FOR PICTURE OF RELIGIOUS LIFE-
STATISTICS OF CZECH REPUBLIC
STATISTICS CONCERNING THE CHURCH IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2009 (VIS) - For the occasion of Benedict XVI's forthcoming apostolic trip to the Czech Republic, due to take place from 26 to 28 September, statistics concerning the Catholic Church in that country have been published. The information, updated to 31 December 2008, comes from the Central Statistical Office of the Church. The Czech Republic, the capital city of which is Prague, has a population of 10,380,000 of whom 3,290,000 (31.7 percent) are Catholic. There are 9 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 2,576 parishes and 70 pastoral centres of other kinds. Currently there are 20 bishops, 1,956 priests, 1,725 religious, 160 lay members of secular institutes and 1,109 catechists. Minor seminarians number 7 and major seminarians 184. A total of 15,977 children and young people attend 79 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other institutions belonging to the Church, or run by priests or religious in the Czech Republic include 50 hospitals, 98 clinics, 134 homes for the elderly or disabled, 59 orphanages and nurseries, 58 family counselling centres and other pro-life centres, 170 centres for education and social rehabilitation, and 28 institutions of other kinds.OP/STATISTICS CZECH REPUBLIC/... VIS 090922 (200)
FIFTIETH INTERNATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS IN DUBLIN, 2012 VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses has announced, in a communique made public today, that the next International Eucharistic Congress, the fiftieth of the series, will take place from 10 to 17 June 2012 in Dublin, Ireland, on the theme: "The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another". "The choice of theme arises from the fact that the celebration of the congress coincides with the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Vatican Council II which, as Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has affirmed, was a moment of renewal for the Church's teaching and for her understanding of herself as Body of Christ and Body of God", the communique explains. "The theme has its direct inspiration in paragraph 7 of the Constitution 'Lumen gentium' which reads: 'Really partaking of the body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, we are taken up into communion with Him and with one another. 'Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread'. In this way all of us are made members of His Body, 'but severally members one of another'". The communique goes on: "The archbishop of Dublin has also emphasised the possibility of developing the theme of the next International Eucharistic Congress by reflecting on certain important topics such as: communion with Christ as a foundation for Christian life; the Eucharist as a way of life for clergy, Christian families and religious communities; the gesture of 'breaking bread' as a principle of Christian solidarity; the Eucharist, seed of life for the world of suffering and fragility; and ecumenism and the sharing of the one bread".COM-EIC/EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS/DUBLIN:MARTIN VIS 090922 (300)
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed: - Archbishop Luigi Ventura, apostolic nuncio to Canada, as apostolic nuncio to France. - As members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Archbishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and Bishop Mario del Valle Mornota Rodriguez of San Cristobal de Venezuela, Venezuela.NN:NA/.../VENTURA:ELIVEIRA:MORONTA VIS 090922 (70)
CANADA: APOSTOLIC NUNCIO: ARCHBISHOP VENTURA
The CEO of Salt and Light Catholic television network has penned a tribute to the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada Archbishop Luigi Ventura, saying he was “not just another Papal diplomat” but a friendly “bridge builder” who played a “key role” in World Youth Day Toronto.
Archbishop Ventura, who served as nuncio from 2001 to 2009, was appointed nuncio to France by Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday morning.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., the CEO of Salt and Light and former National Director and CEO of World Youth Day in Toronto, said that the archbishop had helped Pope Benedict XVI in a “remarkable and admirable way.”
“He traveled this country from sea to sea to sea, tirelessly bringing the good news of Jesus and the message of the Church from the home office on the Tiber to the most remote places of Canada. He reminded us in season and out of season of the bigger picture: the universality of the Church.”
Fr. Rosica said the nuncio made distant friends and brought strangers together, characterizing him as a “real Pontifex, a builder of bridges in a world and a country that too often erects solitudes, walls and divisions.”
“He has been an extraordinary, gentle shepherd with a universal heart who conquered our vast country with his infectious smile, genuine goodness, pastoral wisdom, and common sense,” the priest continued.
“You first learned and then taught us over the past eight years, that the great power of papal diplomacy is the hand of solidarity it extends as a sign of fraternity and love for and with everyone,” Fr. Rosica wrote.
“You encouraged and strengthened your brother bishops in their difficult but important ministries of shepherding their flocks and remaining united to Christ and the successor of Peter in Rome. To the many hard working priests of this country, you were a brother priest, listening, chiding, challenging, encouraging, and thanking them for their dedication. To the women religious of Canada you were a brother. And to the tens of thousands of young people who had the privilege of meeting you, and enjoying your warm, Italian hospitality in the Ottawa Nunciature that you called Peter’s House, you lived up to your name of Nuncio of World Youth Days.
“We thank God for the gift of Luigi Ventura,” Fr. Rosica added. “Thank you, Don Luigi for being a Good Shepherd in Canada for the past eight years. Thank you for being a servant of Christ, a servant of the faithful, and servant of all. Another great man of Brescia, Pope Paul VI, Papa Montini once said: Diplomacy is the art of making peace. Those words describe you very well. (SOURCE: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17188
IRELAND: TO HOST EUCARISTIC CONGRESS
CNA reports that soon Ireland will host the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, just as the Church prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Drawing upon that great contribution to the teaching of the Church, the theme for the upcoming congress will be, "The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another."
The International Eucharistic Congress was announced today by the Pontifical Committee tasked with organizing the gatherings. It will be held in Dublin, Ireland from June 10-17, 2012.
The first International Eucharistic Congress was held by Pope Leo XIII in Lille, France in 1881. Dublin has previously hosted a congress in 1932 under the theme, "The Eucharist and Ireland."
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin explained that the theme was chosen because the celebration of the congress coincides with the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Vatican Council II. Archbishop Martin added that, the council was a “moment of renewal for the Church's teaching and for her understanding of herself as Body of Christ and Body of God," according to the announcement from the pontifical committee.
"The theme has its direct inspiration in paragraph 7 of the Constitution 'Lumen gentium' which reads: 'Really partaking of the body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, we are taken up into communion with Him and with one another. 'Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread'. In this way all of us are made members of His Body, 'but severally members one of another,'" the statement continued.
Archbishop Martin suggested that the theme could be developed along the lines of such topics as: “communion with Christ as a foundation for Christian life; the Eucharist as a way of life for clergy, Christian families and religious communities; the gesture of 'breaking bread' as a principle of Christian solidarity; the Eucharist, seed of life for the world of suffering and fragility; and ecumenism and the sharing of the one bread."
The 49th International Eucharistic Congress was held in Quebec City in June, 2008, corresponding with that city's 400th anniversary of its founding. (Source: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17178
SRI LANKA: ARCHBISHOP ASKS EU FOR CONCESSIONS
UCAN reports that the archbishop of Colombo has urged the European Union (EU) to continue giving special trade concessions to Sri Lanka.
"I appeal to our friends in the European Community to help us bring about true peace and justice to all our citizens by continuing to accord the GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) Plus facility and all other possible assistance to the country," Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith said in a press statement.
"Such would also be the best way in which the European Community can help the speedy resettlement of internally displaced people, whose sufferings originated largely due to the destructive war foisted on this country by racial extremism," the Sept. 21 statement continued.
The prelate made his appeal at a time when the European Union is considering whether it should renew Sri Lanka's GSP Plus status in light of the human rights situation in the country.
The GSP is a trade arrangement through which the EU provides preferential access to its market to 176 developing countries and territories in the form of reduced tariffs.
More concessions are given under the GSP Plus scheme. However, beneficiaries must have ratified and effectively implemented 27 specified international conventions in the fields of human rights, core labor standards, sustainable development and good governance.
Sri Lanka was awarded GSP Plus status following the 2004 tsunami. This is renewable every three years, with the next renewal date coming up in October. The Sri Lankan apparel and shoe industries, which have generated millions of jobs, have benefited much from the trade concessions over the years.
However a report prepared by a panel of independent experts appointed by the European Commission concluded last August that Sri Lanka has not effectively implemented various conventions on human rights.
Now about 2 million jobs are in jeopardy as a result.
Human rights lawyer Kishali Pinto Jayawardena commented: "Problems may have arisen due to lack of commitment on the part of the government regarding the failure to implement the rule of law and Sri Lanka's constitutional institutions."
The present concern over the GSP Plus status comes in the wake of the government's proclaiming the end of decades of civil conflict in mid-May, when its troops overran the last Tamil Tiger rebel enclave. However, about 280,000 Tamil civilians are still languishing in government-run camps that they are not free to leave.
Archbishop Ranjith said in his statement: "We need to experience your hand of friendship and help not only in the de-mining of the areas affected and relief and humanitarian assistance for the displaced, but also their speedy resettlement, development of vital infrastructure in the different towns and villages of the north and east and means of employment and economic activity for those affected."
SURVEY OF MEMBERS FOR PICTURE OF RELIGIOUS LIFE
CathNews reports that Catholic Religious Australia is undertaking a survey of members to "fill out the national picture" of religious life in the Australian Church.
Religious congregations are being urged and encouraged to fill out the survey online by the closing date of Friday, September 25, CRA said in its Pathways e-journal.
"This will be an unique opportunity for us to capture the shape, the image and the story of religious life as it is lived at the beginning of the 21st century," wrote Sr Clare Condon, CRA President.
"The CRA National Council has commissioned this work because we believe it is an important and necessary area of research.
"It is a central area of Australian Church life that is still unknown in detail. About the only resource we have at the moment is the Catholic Directory. This research will fill out the national picture of the Church."
While research information is available about many aspects of Australian Catholics and the Catholic Church in Australia, such as the Catholic population, Mass attendees and non-attendees, parishes, young adults and others, there is no recent research into religious life, CRA said.
The last Australian study was done in 1976 by Sr Carmel Leavy and Fr Michael Mason, it added.
St. Thomas of Villanova
Feast: September 22
1555, in Valencia, Spain
November 1, 1658 by Pope Alexander VII
Educator, philanthropist, born at Fuentellana, Spain, 1488; died at Valencia, 8 September, 1555. Son of Aloazo Tomas Garcia and Lucia Martinez Castellanos, the saint was brought up in the practices of religion and charity. Every Friday his father was wont to give in alms all the meal he earned at the mill, besides his usual daily dole of bread. On great feast-days he added wood, wine, and money; while to poor farmers he loaned money and seed. On the death of her husband, Lucia continued the usual alms, and supplied indigent maidens in the neighbourhood with clothing and money. When sixteen tears old, Thomas entered the University of Alcala, where, after proceeding master of arts and licentiate in theology, he filled the chair (1514) of arts, logic, and philosophy. Among his auditors were the famed scholars Ferdinand de Encina and Dominic Soto. With Alcala, however, ended his university associations, he having declined the chair of natural philosophy at Salamanca, where he joined the Augustinians in 1516, his vows following a year later, and his ordination to priesthood the year after; his first Mass was celebrated at Christmas, 1518. At Salamanca Convent Thomas was given the class of scholastic theology because of his attachment for books, chiefly the Lombard and St. Thomas, and his exemplary life. Preaching in the pulpits of Spain was soon added to his duties, among other places at Valencia, the field of his later trials, and Valladolid, seat of the imperial Court and residence of the Emperor Charles V when on his visits to the Low Countries. In this last-named city St. Thomas was named by the emperor his court preacher, and one of his councillors of state. Rarely, however, did the saint pay visits of ceremony to the then master of Europe, though his written correspondence with Charles, who held his opinions in high esteem, was voluminous. Towards the close of his life, while at Valencia, he had all the emperor's letters destroyed; his own letters to the emperor, however, are now stored at Simancas.
Apart from these burdens Thomas held many offices of trust in his order, e.g. as convent prior in various cities, among others at Valladolid in 1544, the very year he was called to the See of Valencia. Moreover, he was twice provincial-prior, first of Andalusia and Castile in 1527, then six years later of Castile alone, whence the first mission band of his brethren was sent across the Atlantic in 1533 to establish houses of their order in Mexico. On 5 Aug., 1544, he received his nomination to the Archbishopric of Valencia, a post that for well-nigh a hundred years had witnessed no bishop in residence, an appointment that was confirmed by Paul III. Previously St. Thomas had declined the See of Granada, offered him by the emperor, while that of Valencia he accepted only through obedience to his superiors. He was consecrated in the church of his order at Valladolid by Juan, Cardinal Tavera de Pardo, Archbishop of Toledo. On his entrance to his see on 1 Jan., 1545, of which he was thirty-second bishop and eighth archbishop, St. Thomas opened his career as legislator and philanthropist, which won for him the titles of "Almsgiver", "Father of the Poor", and "Model of Bishops", given him at his beatification in 1618 by Paul V. During his eleven years of episcopal rule his most noteworthy deeds were as follows: a visitation of his diocese, opened a few weeks after entrance into his see. Among other amendments he inhibited his visitators from accepting any gifts whatever. He then held a synod, the first at Valencia for many years, whereby he sought to do away with a number of abuses, as bloodshed, divorce, concubinage, and many excessive privileges or unreasonable exemptions; he abolished the underground prisons; rebuilt the general hospital at Valencia which had just been destroyed by fire; founded two colleges, one for young ecclesiastics, the other for poor students; laboured for the conversion of the
Towards the poor especially his heart was ever alive with pity; to them his palace gate was always open; daily he had a repast for every poor person that applied for help, as many even as four to five hundred thus getting their meals at his hands. In every district of the city he had almoners appointed with orders especially to search out the respectable persons who shrank from asking alms; these he had supplied with money, food, clothing, while as to indigent workmen, poor farmers, and mechanics, he replenished their stock and brought them tools, thus putting them in the way of making a living. His whole life as replete with acts of practical kindness. He spent his spare time chiefly in prayer and study; his table was one of simple fare, with no luxuries. His dress was inexpensive; he mended with his own hands whatever needed repairs. Numberless are the instances of St. Thomas' supernatural gifts, of his power of healing the sick, of multiplication of food, of redressing grievances, of his ecstasies, of his conversions of sinners. He was taken ill in August, 1555, of angina pectoris, of which he died at the age of 67, at the termination of Mass in his bedroom. His last words were the versicles: "In manus tuas, Domine", etc.; his remains were entombed at the convent Church of Our Lady of Help of his order outside the city walls, whence later they were brought to the cathedral. The saint was of well-knit frame, of medium height, with dark complexion, brilliant eyes, ruddy cheeks, and Roman nose. He was beatified by Paul V (7 Oct., 1618), who set his feast-day for 18 Sept., and canonized by Alexander VII on 1 Nov., 1658.
Various reasons are given to account for St. Thomas' non-appearance at the Council of Trent, among them that he was ill, unable to stand the fatigue of travel; that his people would not brook his absence; and that the emperor was unable to do without his aid at home. The writings of St. Thomas, mainly sermons, are replete with practical norms of mystic theology. Some twenty editions have been published, the best and most complete being probably that of Manila, 1882-1884, in 5 tomes.
Luke 8: 19 - 21
Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him for the crowd.
And he was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you."
But he said to them, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."