Sunday, September 27, 2009



(VIS) - At 4.30 p.m. today Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, greeted the Holy Father at Prague Castle. The castle dates from the ninth century and has been the seat of Holy Roman emperors, kings and governors. Since 1918 it has been a fortified citadel enclosing various monuments and museums. It is the seat of the president of the Republic and is the cultural and historical symbol par excellence of Bohemia. Benedict XVI had a private meeting with President Klaus before going on to meet with Jan Fischer, prime minister of the Czech Republic, and with Premysl Sobotka and Miloslav Vlcek, presidents, respectively, of the senate and of the chamber of deputies. Subsequently, accompanied by President Klaus and his wife, the Pope visited the Spanish Hall for a brief concert by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, after which he met the country's political and administrative authorities, the diplomatic corps, university rectors and various representatives from the civil, business and cultural worlds of the Czech Republic. In his address to them the Holy Father mentioned the fact that his visit "coincides with the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the totalitarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, and the 'Velvet Revolution' which restored democracy to this nation. The euphoria that ensued was expressed in terms of freedom. Two decades after the profound political changes which swept this continent, the process of healing and rebuilding continues, now within the wider context of European unification and an increasingly globalised world. "The aspirations of citizens and the expectations placed on governments", he added, "called for new models of civic life and solidarity between nations and peoples without which the long desired future of justice, peace and prosperity would remain elusive. Such desires continue to evolve. Today, especially among the young, the question again emerges as to the nature of the freedom gained". "Every generation has the task of engaging anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs, seeking to understand the proper use of human freedom. ... True freedom presupposes the search for truth - for the true good - and hence finds its fulfilment precisely in knowing and doing what is right and just. Truth, in other words, is the guiding norm for freedom, and goodness is freedom's perfection". "Indeed, the lofty responsibility to awaken receptivity to truth and goodness falls to all leaders - religious, political and cultural, each in his or her own way", said Pope Benedict. "For Christians, truth has a name: God. And goodness has a face: Jesus Christ. The faith of Christians, from the time of Sts. Cyril and Methodius and the early missionaries, has in fact played a decisive role in shaping the spiritual and cultural heritage of this country. It must do likewise in the present and into the future. The rich patrimony of spiritual and cultural values, each finding expression in the other, has not only given shape to the nation's identity but has also furnished it with the vision necessary to exercise a role of cohesion at the heart of Europe". "As we are all aware" the Czech nation "has known painful chapters and carries the scars of tragic events born of misunderstanding, war and persecution. Yet it is also true, that its Christian roots have nourished a remarkable spirit of forgiveness, reconciliation and co-operation which has enabled the people of these lands to find freedom and to usher in a new beginning, a new synthesis, a renewal of hope. Is it not precisely this spirit that contemporary Europe requires? "Europe is more than a continent. It is a home! ... With full respect for the distinction between the political realm and that of religion - which indeed preserves the freedom of citizens to express religious belief and live accordingly - I wish to underline the irreplaceable role of Christianity for the formation of the conscience of each generation and the promotion of a basic ethical consensus that serves every person who calls this continent, 'home'". The Pope then went on to explain how his presence in this capital city, "which is often spoken of as the heart of Europe", prompts the question: in what does the 'heart' consist? "Surely", he said, "a clue is found in the architectural jewels that adorn this city. ... Their beauty expresses faith; they are epiphanies of God that rightly leave us pondering the glorious marvels to which we creatures can aspire when we give expression to the aesthetic and cognitive aspects of our innermost being. ... The creative encounter of the classical tradition and the Gospel gave birth to a vision of man and society attentive to God's presence among us". "At the present crossroads of civilization, so often marked by a disturbing sundering of the unity of goodness, truth and beauty and the consequent difficulty in finding an acceptance of common values, every effort for human progress must draw inspiration from that living heritage. Europe, in fidelity to her Christian roots, has a particular vocation to uphold this transcendent vision in her initiatives to serve the common good of individuals, communities, and nations". Having completed his address, the Holy Father went on to the cathedral of St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert for the celebration of Vespers.PV-CZECH REP./AUTHORITIES/PRAGUE VIS 090927 (900)
(VIS) - At 6 p.m. today the Pope presided at the celebration of Vespers with bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and members of lay movements in Prague's cathedral of St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert. "Love for Christ and for one's fellow men and women must be the hallmark of every Christian and every community", said the Holy Father, and in this context he encouraged those present to "nourish your love for Christ by prayer and listening to His word; feed on Him in the Eucharist, and by His grace, be builders of unity and peace wherever you go". He went on: "Twenty years ago, after the long winter of Communist dictatorship, your Christian communities began once more to express themselves freely. ... Yet you are well aware that even today it is not easy to live and bear witness to the Gospel. Society continues to suffer from the wounds caused by atheist ideology, and it is often seduced by the modern mentality of hedonistic consumerism amid a dangerous crisis of human and religious values and a growing drift towards ethical and cultural relativism. In this context there is an urgent need for renewed effort throughout the Church so as to strengthen spiritual and moral values in present-day society". "Your pastoral activity in the field of educating new generations should be undertaken with particular zeal. Catholic schools should foster respect for the human person; attention should also be given to the pastoral care of young people outside the school environment, without neglecting other groups of the faithful. Christ is for everyone! I sincerely hope that there will be a growing accord with other institutions, both public and private. It is always worth repeating that the Church does not seek privileges, but only to be able to work freely in the service of all, in the spirit of the Gospel". The Pope told bishops and priests: "it is your task to work tirelessly for the good of those entrusted to your care". To consecrated people he pointed out that, "by professing the evangelical counsels, you recall the primacy that each of us must give to God in our lives. By living in community, you bear witness to the enrichment that comes from practising the commandment of love". Finally the Pope turned to young people in seminaries or houses of formation. "Be sure", he told them, "to acquire a solid cultural, spiritual and pastoral preparation". And he concluded: "In this Year of Priests, with which I chose to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of the 'Cure of Ars', may you learn from the example of this pastor who was completely dedicated to God and to the care of souls; he was well aware that it was his ministry, nourished by prayer, that constituted his path to sanctification". Following the celebration, the Holy Father travelled to the apostolic nunciature where he spent the night.PV-CZECH REP./VESPERS/PRAGUE VIS 090927 (500)
(VIS) - This morning the Holy Father travelled by plane from Prague to Brno, the second largest city of the Czech Republic, where at 10 a.m. he celebrated Mass on the esplanade near the city airport. Among the thousands of people present were faithful from Slovak, Polish, Austrian and German dioceses. The readings of the ceremony were focused on the theme of hope. In his homily the Holy Father affirmed that "history has demonstrated the absurdities to which man descends when he excludes God from the horizon of his choices and actions, and how hard it is to build a society inspired by the values of goodness, justice and fraternity, because the human being is free and his freedom remains fragile". "In the modern age both faith and hope ... have been relegated to the private and other-worldly sphere", said the Pope, "while in day-to-day public life confidence in scientific and economic progress has been affirmed. We all know that this progress is ambiguous: it opens up possibilities for good as well as evil", yet it is "not enough to guarantee the moral welfare of society. "Man needs to be liberated from material oppressions", he added, "but more profoundly, he must be saved from the evils that afflict the spirit. And who can save him if not God, Who is Love and has revealed His face as Almighty and Merciful Father in Jesus Christ? Our firm hope is therefore Christ". Pope Benedict went on: "Here, as elsewhere, many people suffered in past centuries for remaining faithful to the Gospel, and they did not lose hope; many people sacrificed themselves in order to restore dignity to man and freedom to peoples, finding in their generous adherence to Christ the strength to build a new humanity. "In present-day society, many forms of poverty are born from isolation, from being unloved, from the rejection of God and from a deep-seated tragic closure in man who believes himself to be self-sufficient, or else merely an insignificant and transient datum; in this world of ours which is alienated 'when too much trust is placed in merely human projects', only Christ can be our certain hope. This is the message that we Christians are called to spread every day, through our witness". At the end of Mass and before praying the Angelus Benedict XVI noted how Moravia, the region in which Brno is located, "is blessed with a number of Marian shrines that are visited by crowds of pilgrims throughout the year". And he called upon the Virgin to "keep the flame of faith alive in all of you, a faith that is nourished by traditions of popular piety with deep roots in the past, which you rightly take care to maintain, so that the warmth of family conviviality in villages and towns may not be lost. At times one cannot help noticing, with a certain nostalgia, that the pace of modern life tends to diminish some elements of a rich heritage of faith. Yet it is important not to lose sight of the ideal expressed by traditional customs, and above all to maintain the spiritual patrimony inherited from your forebears, to guard it and to make it answer to the needs of the present day.PV-CZECH REP./MASS ANGELUS/BRNO VIS 090927 (560)


Catholic Herald reports that Pope Benedict XVI is to visit Britain next year, it was reported today. The visit, which some reports say could be as early as January, will be the first by a Pope since John Paul II's trip in 1982.Pope Benedict was personally invited to Britain by the prime minister, Gordon Brown, when he visited the Vatican in February. Previous invitations had been extended by Tony Blair and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. But commentators say a crucial reason for the visit is the beatification next year of Cardinal John Henry Newman, whom Benedict XVI is known to greatly admire. The beatification is expected to take place in Birmingham in May. The visit would be a triumph for Francis Campbell, the outgoing Ambassador to the Holy See. Mr Campbell, Britain's first Catholic ambassador at the Vatican since the Reformation, has helped to facilitate increasingly warm relations between Britain and Rome. John Paul II's six-day visit in 1982 was the first papal trip to Britain since the Reformation. He travelled to Canterbury, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cardiff, and celebrated Mass at Wembley stadium. (SOURCE:

MCGIVNEY SAINTHOOD PROCESS PROGRESSES reports that the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Father Michael McGivney, might be closer to recognition as a saint, as an expanded report on a possible miracle has been sent to Rome. The Knights of Columbus announced in a press release today that on Tuesday, officials of a supplemental tribunal from the Hartford Archdiocese, where Father McGivney served as a parish priest, formally sent the report to the Congregation for Saints' Causes. Carl Anderson, the supreme knight, as well as a regular ZENIT columnist, explained that this submission "marks an important step forward." He explained: "The Vatican's congregation for the causes of saints will now have valuable additional testimony that clarifies and adds significantly to the original submission. "We believe that the congregation will now have all the information it needs to complete its assessment of the case, although of course this review could take several years." The new report includes additional testimonies and interviews from witnesses and medical doctors who supported the original description of the reported miracle. Father McGivney founded the knights in 1882, and died in 1890 at age 38. The cause for his sainthood was opened by Archbishop Daniel Cronin of Hartford in 1997. In March 2008, Benedict XVI declared him venerable. "Father McGivney's beatification would be an important event," Anderson said, "not only for Knights of Columbus, but for the many thousands of parish priests who quietly do the Lord's work in parishes each day and regard him as an outstanding example for priests everywhere." The supreme knight added, "In this Year for Priests it is an especially appropriate step forward." (SOURCE:

UCAN reports that India's Catholic Religious are trying to forge a new role for themselves by getting more involved in national issues, says the national secretary of the Conference of Religious India (CRI).
According to Montfort Brother Mani Mekkunnel, how Religious can be active participants in India's socio-economic life is on the agenda for Religious major superiors to discuss at the upcoming CRI national assembly, held once every three years.
CRI represents more than 125,000 Catholic Religious brothers, priests and nuns in India.More than 500 major superiors from around the country are expected for the scheduled Sept. 26-Oct. 2 meeting in New Delhi.
The interview with Brother Mekkunnel follows:
Montfort Brother Mani Mekkunnel
UCA NEWS: How will this meeting impact the CRI?
BROTHER MANI MEKKUNNEL: The CRI is having its assembly in New Delhi for the first time in its 47-year history. That in itself aims at making a difference. Earlier meetings focused mostly on Religious and Church life, and activities of Religious. But this assembly will try to showcase the CRI as an organization that is more concerned with national issues.
In recent years, Christians have experienced turmoil in various degrees. Some groups have attacked Christians. So it is time we met with society on broader terms. We cannot remain mere spectators and the good guys of society. We have to become active agents in nation building.
Do you feel Catholic Religious were not really part of society until now?
Yes, in a sense. Earlier we used to gather and talk about Religious life and issues related to it, and then go back happy thinking we had done something good. We were not connected with national life. A change of heart is required to establish this connection. We are hoping this meeting will turn us around a bit.
The assembly is an attempt to place ourselves on the national scene and decide what we should do to create a new identity. We also want others to look at us not merely as a religious society but as a voluntary organization involved in the country's socio-economic life.
Will a new face to the CRI emerge after the meeting?
Yes, we are trying for one. We want to portray the assembly not as a religious gathering but as a national event. The program is titled "Leadership Conference" and its logo reflects a harmonious India. It is a theme that goes beyond Church circles. India is changing, so the Religious should also have to change.
Do you foresee any challenges?
The first challenge is to change the way we look at society. There has been a kind of unseen wall built between Religious life and secular society. On many occasions we have behaved as disinterested onlookers. The secular-Religious divide is too strong in many Religious. But it is breaking down and this meeting indicates that.
Indian nuns at a meeting (file photo)
The conference will help the Church to assert its voice in the modern world as decreed by Vatican II. So far, we have been quite comfortable among ourselves. The problem is with us, not with the outside world. We are not courageous enough -- or have not realized the need -- to make changes from within.
For example, we consider someone a Christian only if he or she is baptized. That ritual takes only a few minutes. After that we do not bother about how that person lives the faith. At the same time, we are not willing to accept as Christians thousands who follow Christ in spirit.
Today in Europe, only 10 percent of the population are baptized Christians, but we have no problem calling it a Christian continent. But if you say this of India, there would be a hue and cry. There are thousands of Indians brought up in the Christian tradition who live with Christian values, perhaps more than the number of Christians in Europe. In Varanasi (northern India), many people call themselves Christu bhakta (Christ devotees). They are not baptized, but live like Christians. Yet we don't accept them as Christians.
But how is this a challenge for the Religious?
Religious are supposed to be the Church's missioners and pioneers. They are the prophets in the Church. However, social factors are acting as hindrances. The Church needs a quantum movement for change. If an individual suddenly tries for change, he or she may not survive long.
But some, like Mother Teresa, have thrived.
Mother Teresa couldn't change her original congregation. Today that congregation is one of the dying congregations, although it was among the first to come to India. Change can happen from anywhere, not only from Religious. Major changes in the Church during the 13th century happened because of Saint Francis of Assisi, who was a layperson, not a monk.
Religious life started as a contestation against certain Church practices, but it gradually became part of the Church. The Religious are now busy attending to the Church's ordinary needs such as maintenance of institutions.
The CRI is considered the second most powerful group in the Catholic Church in India. Why doesn't it assert itself more?
If you speak in democratic terms, more than 125,000 members and institutions make the CRI a much larger force than any other Church body in the country. However, in terms of authority or hierarchy, the CRI is nothing. It belongs to another order of things. Its power comes from its charismatic nature or commitment, not its position. There is no position for the Religious in the Church hierarchy.
What are some of the problems with the Indian Religious?
Education, mainly. A large number of the Religious, mostly nuns, are mere matriculates (having a 10th-grade education). Nuns are the largest CRI group, so it is also a gender problem.
The women Religious are not able to play their role. Our present concern is to make the Indian Religious communicate. Many Religious superiors still think using the Internet or educating the nuns could lead to abuse. How to break that mindset and make our women communicators is a big challenge. It will happen, but if you ask me when, my answer is: "Not in our life time." Because the structure is so strong, changes can happen soon only if something out of the way happens.
I have told women leaders that nothing will happen if they leave it to bishops and priests to talk about change. The day women start talking about changes, things will start happening.
Do women get a chance to say what they want?
They are given forums, but they remain silent. It's a cultural factor. They come from homes where they are not allowed to raise their voices. The way they've been brought up also does not permit them to speak out. Even the highly qualified and Western educated become part of a silent group.
CISA DOCUMENT: Statement by the Catholic Bishops of Kenya Written By:CISA , Posted: Wed, Sep 23, 2009
“Oh Lord God Almighty, Give us a new heart” We, the Catholic Bishops of Kenya meeting in plenary session in Nairobi wish to address current issues in our country which are a source of suffering to us and all people of good will.A) CONFLICT AMONG PASTORALISTSOnce again, our hearts are torn and bleeding because of the violence seen in the past few days in Samburu District. The killings of innocent women and children add a new and terrible dimension to this conflict. The government machinery seems unable or unwilling to intervene in this situation. Coming late in the day and wringing one’s hand is not sufficient or helpful. There must be an overall plan to prevent situations like this. The problem is caused by lack of food, water, education and the proliferation of small arms. Sending in GSU for two weeks is not a permanent solution. The problem between these two communities can only be solved by dialogue and responsible efforts. The law of jungle (survival for the fittest) must not be the rule of the day. The people involved should be guided by an upright conscience and respect for human life. “Do not do to others what you would not want done to you” The pastoralists’ problem is as a result of neglect by successive governments. There has been no meaningful development that has taken place. Outside help is necessary, so we expect the government to take a meaningful approach to the problem.B) POLITICS VERSUS THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLEOur political class – all of them are out of touch with the aspirations of the ordinary people, i.e., discussing for hours on end political partisanship when their first duty is look after the poor and deprived in our society. Many people in the country are unable to get a proper meal and our politicians do not seem to care.C) THE DEGRADATION OF OUR ENVIRONMENTIt is obvious that the Mau and other water catchment areas must be restored. The government must not be deviated from dealing with the problem immediately. It is however necessary to have a viable mechanism to prevent politically inspired clashes again as has been threatened in certain quarters.Immediate action is necessary. Kindly, note what is happening to Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru so visible examples of degradation.D) INSECURITYInsecurity is a problem. We look at our sources of law and order to ensure that people feel secure in their homes and Shambas. They have neglected their duties and involved themselves in self enrichment. This factor must be taken as a priority by the new Police Commissioner and let him take effective steps to make this country safe for all its citizens.E) TRIBALISMAre we, Kenyans, rally able to overcome the curse of Tribalism? Are our schools doing enough to eradicate this evil? The inculcation of patriotic ethics must be a priority in our schools. We appeal to all our Catholics and people of good will to fight the disease of tribalism as we are all children of God and we have one Father.F) FOOD SECURITYThere must be an immediate plan put in place to secure sufficient food both for now and the coming years. Where will we get the food? Where will we get the money to buy the food? This will be a test of the quality and sincerity of our leaders. Yes a large part of our country is arid. But famine can be overcome by meaningful planning of boreholes, dams and irrigation.G) INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONSThis problem must be solved now. For how long will people starve and live in squalor in their own country? Is hunger, famine and inhumanity synonymous with being Kenyan? We appeal to the Government to work extra hard to resettle the IDPs before the next rainy seasonH) THE WAY FORWARDWe continue to call for reconciliation and change of heart. We ask the government to look into the distribution of land and to examine how sales of land are made. Public land should remain public. People should say what they mean and mean what they say. It is necessary that our schools educate students to be honest and God-fearing.We ask all people of goodwill to pray for our country. We must pray and pray to our God ‘who causes the Rain to fall on both bad and good’.Signed by: His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi and Apostolic Administrator of Ngong, Chairman – Kenya Episcopal Conference, and all Catholic bishops of Kenya.Nairobi, Friday, September 18, 2009

CathNews reports that Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls has approved a plan that will allow church run organisations to refuse employment to anyone who undermines their beliefs.
Mr Hulls said a new Equal Opportunity Bill will be introduced into parliament next year with changes that state religious groups will not be able to discriminate on the grounds of race, disability, age, physical features, political belief or breastfeeding, according to The Sunday Age.
Church groups must prove why any person refused employment must meet certain religious beliefs. Victims must make an official complaint for action to be taken.
The Sunday Age said the plan will allow church groups to discriminate on grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status and parental status.
Critics are unhappy with the concessions but the move was welcomed by church leaders. Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart told the paper the move strikes "a fair and correct balance".


St. Vincent de Paul
Feast: September 27
Feast Day:
September 27
April 24, 1581, Pouy, Gascony, France
September 27, 1660, Paris, France
16 June 1737, Rome by Pope Clement XII
Major Shrine:
St Vincent de Paul chapel, Rue de Sèvres, Paris, France
Patron of:
charities; horses; hospitals; leprosy; lost articles; prisoners; spiritual help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Vincentian Service Corps; volunteers

Like his fellow saint, Francis de Sales, who was his friend and contemporary, Vincent de Paul performed an invaluable service to the Catholic Church in a period of confusion and laxness. But unlike the aristocratic bishop of Geneva, Vincent was born in poverty, of peasant stock. His birthplace was Pouy, near Dax in Gascony, in southwest France; the year was 1576. Jean de Paul and Bertrande de Moras, his parents, were sturdy farming people who reared a family of four sons and two daughters. Observing young Vincent's quick intelligence, his father sent him to be educated by the Cordelier Brothers at Dax. When the boy had been at school for four years, a lawyer of the town engaged him as tutor to his children, thus enabling Vincent to go on with his studies without further expense to his parents. Vincent continued his education at the Spanish University of Saragossa, and then returned to France to attend the University of Toulouse. At the age of twenty-four he was ordained priest by' the bishop of Perigueux, but remained at Toulouse for another four years to take the degree of Doctor of Theology.



Numbers 11: 25 - 29
Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did so no more.
Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested upon them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp.
And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp."
And Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, "My lord Moses, forbid them."
But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD's people were prophets, that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!"

Psalms 19: 8, 10, 12 - 14
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
But who can discern his errors? Clear thou me from hidden faults.
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

James 5: 1 - 6
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.
Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.
Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.
Mark 9: 38 - 43, 45, 47 - 48
John said to him, "Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us."
But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me.
For he that is not against us is for us.
For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward.
"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

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