CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: SUN. SEPT. 13, 2009: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE: ANGELUS "ASKS PILGRIMS IF THEIR FAITH..."-
AMERICA: DIOCESE OFFERS MONTHLY HOLY HOUR FOR VOCATIONS-
EUROPE: DOCUMENTARY OF FR. MATTEO RICCI-
AUSTRALIA: FINANCIAL TROUBLES IN DIOCESE-
AFRICA:SUDAN: CRITICISM OVER GOVERNMENT CUTS-
ASIA: CHINA: CATHOLIC-ORTHODOX INTERACTIONS-
POPE: ANGELUS "ASKS PILGRIMS IF THEIR FAITH WAS REFLECTED..."
Vatican Radio reports that in his Sunday Angelus Address Pope Benedict asked pilgrims if their faith was reflected in all they do, adding that if it was not then they cannot call themselves true believersTaking his cue from today's Gospel, the Pope recalled how faith itself is dead if is not followed by deeds. Every believer, therefore, is called to testify in practice the teachings of Jesus, who by his very existence has shown us that only love can change the world. "If you love your neighbour with a pure and generous heart - explained the Pope - it means that you really know God”. “If you say you have faith but do not love your brothers, then your are not a true believer”.“In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus puts a question to his disciples: Who do you say I am? On behalf of the others, it is Peter who answers: You are the Christ. Throughout history, it has been the task of Peter’s successors to continue to make that proclamation of faith in Jesus Christ. And all of us are called to join Peter as we resolve to place the Lord at the centre of our lives. I pray that all of you may grow in your faith and love for the LordOn the eve of the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and Our Lady of Sorrows, "We learn from the Virgin Mary, Pope Benedict concluded, to witness our faith with a life of humble service, ready to pay in person to remain faithful to the Gospel of charity and truth, and certain that nothing we do is lost ".
POPE TO TRAVEL TO MALTA
Pope Benedict’s first overseas voyage of 2010 was confirmed this weekend. The Pope will make an apostolic visit to Malta in April next year. The Maltese Bishops announced the news to the nation on Saturday. This is the third papal visit to the archipelago after those of John Paul II in 1990 and 2001. Dr. Alberto Gasbarri, head of the Pope's apostolic voyages outside Italy, will travel to Malta in October for the organization of the program. Pope Benedict XVI accepted the invitation made him in recent months by local bishops and the President of Malta. The visit will take place marking the 1950 anniversary of St Paul’s shipwreck on the archipelago, which tradition holds occurred in 60 AD during his journey towards Rome. The Apostle to the Gentiles – recounts the Acts of the Apostles - was welcomed by local people “with a rare humanity”. He stayed three months before setting sail for Sicily: bitten by a viper, he was left unharmed, many islanders who had diseases came to him and were healed. On June 16, 2005, in a message to the new Maltese ambassador to the Holy See, Antonio Ganado, Pope Benedict recalled the deep Christian roots of Malta and its "wealth of cultural and religious values" on which it can build "a future of solidarity and peace." He further stressed Malta’s role in giving life " to a united and supportive Europe” which “must be able to combine the legitimate interests of each nation with the requirements of the common good of the whole Continent. " In this regards, in a recent interview with Osservatore Romano, the Archbishop of Malta, Paul Cremona, appealed that his fellow nationals welcome migrants just as they welcomed the shipwrecked St Paul. He explained that in accepting the apostle Paul, the Maltese showed "a strong sense of openness toward the 'other', the stranger. “A feeling - he added - which must be preserved and practiced even in the current historical moment marked by mass migration”: a familiar phenomenon in Malta, situated as it is in the centre of the Mediterranean, and often the first place illegal migrants from Africa land. " We need to "eliminate prejudices - he said - and consider immigrants as people first." Malta member of the EU since May 2004, gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964. The nation counts more than 410 thousand inhabitants, 98% of whom Catholic. (SOURCE: http://www.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?c=316144
DIOCESE OFFERS MONTHLY HOLY HOUR FOR VOCATIONS
CNA reports that the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina is offering its prayers for holy priests by spending time in front of the Eucharist. While parishes and schools in the diocese have committed to holding a Holy Hour for Vocations on the first Friday of each month, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge will travel to one Deanery a month where the faithful will be invited to join him in a Holy Hour dedicated to vocations.
The first Deanery Holy Hour for Vocations was celebrated Wednesday, September 2 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Raleigh. Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge presided with Diocesan Vocations Director Fr. Ned Shlesinger the homilist.In his homily, Father Shlesinger discussed a trip he took this summer to Honduras with Father Pat Keane, Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Newton Grove and newly ordained Deacon Vic Gournas, who is entering his final year of Theology at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. Father Shlesinger noted the shortage of priests in that Central American country, where there is one priest for every 13,000 Catholics. He said many Hondurans are hungry for the Eucharist, having access to the sacrament only a few times a year.“The greatest desire of God ... is to give Himself to us,” Father Shlesinger said. “To have us share in His life, to join us to Him.”“As Vocations Director,” Father Shlesinger added, “I pray God will give us holy Priests so no one in our diocese will go hungry.”
For more diocesan information about vocations and the Year for Priests, visit: http://www.dioceseofraleigh.org/how/vocations/yfp/
DOCUMENTARY OF FR. MATTEO RICCI
CNA reports that a new documentary on the life of Fr. Matteo Ricci, a pioneering Jesuit missionary to China, was screened at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday. The film is part of a revival of interest in Ricci, whom Pope Benedict XVI has called a model for a “fruitful meeting” between civilizations.
The movie, directed by Italian filmmaker Gjon Kolndrekaj, was shot in China and Italy.
Political and religious dignitaries from both countries attended the screening, ANSA reports. They included the Patriarch of Venice Cardinal Angelo Scola, China’s Ambassador to Italy Sun Yuxi and the Chinese Embassy’s cultural counselor Zhang Jianda.
Matteo Ricci was born in 1552 in the Marche town of Macerata. He became a Jesuit priest and a scholar of mathematics and astronomy before leaving for the Far East at the age of 26.
Audience members from Ricci’s hometown of Macerata included Bishop Claudio Giuliodori, Mayor Giorgio Meschini. The Governor of Marche Gian Maria Spacca was also in attendance.
Ricci spent four years in Goa on the west coast of India before traveling to China. There, he settled in Zhao Qing in the southernmost Guangdong Province and began studying Chinese. During his time there he produced his global Great Map of Ten Thousand Countries, which revolutionized the Chinese understanding of the rest of the world.
In 1589 he moved to Zhao Zhou and began sharing European mathematics discoveries with Chinese scholars. He became known as “Li Madou” and was renowned for his extraordinary memory and knowledge of astronomy. He eventually became a member of the court of Ming Emperor Wanli.
In 1601 he was allowed into the Forbidden City of Beijing, where he worked until his death in 1610.
Ricci’s work is familiar to Chinese schoolchildren of all ages but he was not well known in Italy until recently, ANSA says. Two successive exhibitions and a TV film have revived interest in his life.
Governor Spacca said that Father Ricci is one of his region’s “most important sons.”
“The fact this film is being shown on September 10 is also a special coincidence, as this was the very day in 1583 when Ricci left Macao and set out for inland China, the province of Canton,” he continued, according to ANSA.
Pope Benedict XVI recently sent a message to the Bishop of Marcerata which described the Jesuit missionary as a model for a “fruitful meeting” between European and Chinese civilizations.
“Matteo Ricci sets an example for our communities of people from different cultures and religions to bloom in the spirit of hospitality and mutual respect,” the Pontiff said.
FINANCIAL TROUBLES IN DIOCESE
Parishioners and supporters of South Melbourne priest Father Bob Maguire crammed into the Saints Peter and Paul Church for Mass yesterday, while information about his financial management of the parish was revealed by the archdiocese.
Fr Bob told those gathered that the Mass was not a protest meeting and that anybody who attacks Archbishop Denis Hart attacks him, the Herald Sun cited from an AAP report.
The Sunday Age quoted Archbishop Hart saying Fr Bob, who has been the parish priest for South Melbourne since 1973, has poorly managed the finances of the parish, and only managed to keep it afloat by selling off assets worth millions of dollars.
The archdiocese said more than seven properties have been sold between 1980 and 2004 for more than $3 million to help Fr Bob's parish cover its operating expenses.
Archbishop Hart said he could no longer keep silent about the financial problems at the South Melbourne parish, the Herald Sun report said.
"I am very sorry I have got to do this, but there has been so much adverse publicity for the Catholic Church," he was quoted saying.
Archbishop Hart told The Sunday Age: "Outgoings have been considerable so that basic bills can't be met and we (the archdiocese) have had to help with that."
But according to Fr Bob, he was only able to sell property over the years with the full knowledge of the archbishop, the AAP report said.
"What we have done we have done with his signature - if I am guilty, then he is guilty," the Father Bob told reporters after Mass.
"This joint has more assets than it needs. What we need now is cash."
Port Phillip mayor Frank O'Connor said the parish had the support of leading politicians and business leaders who were trying to convince Archbishop Hart to let Father Bob continue his work, the AAP report adds.
SUDAN: CRITICISM OVER GOVERNMENT CUTS
CISA reports that an international Catholic refugee agency has criticized the government of South Sudan for slashing its budget for education by 25 per cent in the last three years.This is despite the fact that school enrolment has been going up, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) said in a statement to mark the International Literacy Day today.According to a UNICEF report last year, school attendance rates in Southern Sudan have tripled in the last four years. Since 2005, they have increased from 343,000 then the lowest in the world to more than 1.3 million.JRS called on the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), aid agencies and the international community to allocate sufficient funds and assistance to improve education in the semi-autonomous region that is recovering from over 20 years of civil war.Literacy rates are at 20 percent, and 10 percent among women.According to JRS, GoSS has slashed its education budget by more than 25 percent, from USD 134 million to USD 100 million, in the past three years.“This is particularly disappointing given the remarkable improvements in enrolment rates since the 2005 peace agreement,” the refugee organization said.“Education is the key to development. It enhances human dignity, helping people reach their full potential, improve their quality of life and become politically mature citizens,” said the statement, signed by Fr Frido Pflueger, JRS director for Eastern Africa.Fr Pflueger also said that more needs to be done to convince Southern Sudanese parents and communities of the value of education, especially for girls.“The attendance rates for girls remain much lower than those for boys because of the economic hardship, in addition to socio-cultural values and practices, such as early marriage, which continues to prevent girls from attending school.”Shortages of trained and paid teachers pose another major challenge to education, according to JRS. “Only seven percent of primary teachers in Southern Sudan have received formal training. While another 48 percent have participated in in-service training, the remainder have received no training.”In the border county of Kajo Keji, JRS has trained three-quarters of the teachers since 2001. “But more teachers need to be recruited and salaries will have to be paid regularly if student-teacher ratios and staff motivation are to be enhanced”, Andre Atsu Agbogan, JRS Southern Sudan director, said. (SOURCE: http://www.cisanewsafrica.org/story.asp?ID=4116
CHINA: CATHOLIC-ORTHODOX INTERACTIONS
UCAN reports that a Catholic bishop in northeastern China says he is looking forward to more dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox Christians following the consecration of a Russian Orthodox church in a remote city.
Father Mikhail Wang Quansheng performs the consecration rites. Photo courtesy of ‘Orthodoxy in China’ website.
Bishop Joseph Wei Jingyi of Qiqihar in Heilongjiang province noted there has been little contact between the two Churches in E’erguna, near the Russian border.
He said he hopes this will change following the consecration of St. Innocent of Irkutsk Church in the city, located in the Hulunbuir region, on Aug. 30.
The current number of Russian Orthodox Christians in E’erguna is not known but their ancestors arrived here more than a century ago, the bishop said.
There are about 20 Han Chinese Catholics living in E’erguna without a church or resident priest, while about 7,000 Catholics live scattered in the 264,000-kilometer-square Hulunbuir region.
The Orthodox church, which comes under the Diocese of Chita and Transbaikal in Russia, is believed to be the first such church to be consecrated in mainland China in over 50 years. The St. Innocent of Irkutsk Church is one of four Orthodox churches that enjoy official status in China.
Father Mikhail Wang Quansheng, an elderly Chinese Orthodox priest from Shanghai, performed the consecration rites as the new church does not have a priest yet.
Orthodox Christians from the Hailar district of Hulunbuir, Harbin in Heilongjiang, Shanghai, Beijing and the ethnic Russian villages of Tryokhrechye, located near E’erguna, attended the consecration.
Orthodox Archpriest Dionisy Pozdnyaev, who is in charge of the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Hong Kong, and Wang Yanming of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs attended the ceremony and had a meeting afterward.
E’erguna was formerly called Labdarin or Labudalin. The original St. Innocent Church was built in 1967. In 1999, a new church was constructed with funds from the Chinese government. However, it was not until 2008 that it received the long awaited iconostasis -–- the screen partitioning the sanctuary from the rest of the church –- held by China’s customs department since 2000.
St. Innocent of Irkutsk Church. Photo courtesy of ‘Orthodoxy in China’ website.
According to the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church arrived in China in 1685 but failed to attract many followers until the second half of the 19th century.
The anti-Western and anti-missionary Boxer Rebellion (1898-1900) in China saw violent attacks on converts to Christianity, including Orthodox believers who numbered about 6,000 by 1902.
By 1949, the year the People’s Republic of China was founded, there were 106 Orthodox churches in China. Most parishioners were Russian refugees while their Chinese counterparts numbered about 10,000. However, the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) almost destroyed the fledging Orthodox Church in China.
The Orthodox revival in China started in the middle of the 1980s. The church in Harbin was opened first and a few Russian refugees and Orthodox Chinese were allowed to pray there since 1986.
For years, the Chinese government and the Russian Orthodox Church have been discussing matters relating to the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church. These include the sending of mainland seminarians to Russia for religious education, the lack of Orthodox clergy to serve in China and the return of Church properties by the government.
St. John Chrysostom
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: September 13
Commana in Pontus, 14 September, 407
Constantinople, education, epilepsy, lecturers, orators, preachers
Doctor of the Church, born at Antioch, c. 347; died at Commana in Pontus, 14 September, 407.
John -- whose surname "Chrysostom" occurs for the first time in the "Constitution" of Pope Vigilius in the year 553 -- is generally considered the most prominent doctor of the Greek Church and the greatest preacher ever heard in a Christian pulpit. His natural gifts, as well as exterior circumstances, helped him to become what he was.LifeBoyhood
At the time of Chrysostom's birth, Antioch was the second city of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. (SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/J/stjohnchrysostom.asp
TODAY'S MASS READINGS
YEAR B: 24 SUN. ORD. TIME
Isaiah 50: 5 - 9
The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I turned not backward.
I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
For the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been confounded; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me.
Behold, the Lord GOD helps me; who will declare me guilty? Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.
Psalms 116: 1 - 6, 8 - 9
I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I beseech thee, save my life!"
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.
The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.
For thou hast delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling;
I walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
James 2: 14 - 18
What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?
If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food,
and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?
So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
But some one will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
Mark 8: 27 - 35
And Jesus went on with his disciples, to the villages of Caesare'a Philip'pi; and on the way he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?"
And they told him, "John the Baptist; and others say, Eli'jah; and others one of the prophets."
And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ."
And he charged them to tell no one about him.
And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
And he said this plainly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter, and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men."
And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.