Thursday, September 17, 2009





(VIS) - This morning in Castelgandolfo the Holy Father received a group of prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Northeast 2), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. Highlighting the functions of the various members of the Church, the Pope explained how "the particular identity of priests and laity must be seen in the light of the essential difference between priestly ministry and the 'common priesthood'. Hence it is important to avoid the secularisation of clergy and the 'clericalisation' of the laity". "In this perspective", he went on, "the lay faithful must undertake to give expression in real life - also through political commitment - to the Christian view of anthropology and the social doctrine of the Church. While priests must distance themselves from politics in order to favour the unity and communion of all the faithful, thus becoming a point of reference for everyone". Benedict XVI indicated that "the lack of priests does not justify a more active and abundant participation of the laity. The truth is that the greater the faithful's awareness of their own responsibilities within the Church, the clearer becomes the specific identity and inimitable role of the priest as pastor of the entire community, witness to the authenticity of the faith, and dispenser of the mysteries of salvation in the name of Christ the Head". "The function of the clergy is essential and irreplaceable in announcing the Word and celebrating the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. ... For this reason it is vital to ask the Lord to send workers for His harvest; and it is necessary that priests express joy in their faithfulness to their identity". The Pope made it clear that "the shortage of priests must not come to be considered as a normal or typical state of affairs for the future". In this context he encouraged the prelates "to combine efforts to encourage new priestly vocations and find the pastors your dioceses need, helping one another so that all of you have better-trained and more numerous priests to support the life of faith and the apostolic mission". Referring then to the 150th anniversary of the death of the "Cure of Ars", which the Church is currently commemorating with the Year for Priests, Benedict XVI indicated that St. John Mary Vianney "continues even now to be a model for priests, especially in living a life of celibacy as a requirement for the total giving of self, expressed through that pastoral charity which Vatican Council II presents as the unifying centre of a priest's being and actions". The Holy Father concluded by assuring the prelates of the existence of "many signs of hope for the future of particular Churches, a future that God is preparing through the dedication and the faithfulness with which you exercise your episcopal ministry".AL/.../BRAZIL VIS 090917 (480)


(VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today: "This morning Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, met with Emil Boc, prime minister of Romania. The prime minister was received by the Holy Father Benedict XVI at the end of the general audience yesterday, 16 September. "The cordial discussions enabled a fruitful exchange of opinions to take place concerning the current international situation, with particular focus on certain aspects of bilateral co-operation between the Holy See and Romania. Some important questions concerning relations between the Catholic Church and the Romanian State were also touched upon. In this context, the secretary of State expressed an interest in, among other things, the situation of St. Joseph's Cathedral in Bucharest and of Catholic communities in Romania".OP/MEETING ROMANIAN PREMIER/BERTONE VIS 090917 (160) AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 17 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences four prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop Antonio Muniz Fernandes O. Carm. of Maceio, accompanied by Archbishop emeritus Edvaldo Concalves Amaral S.D.B. - Bishop Dulcenio Fontes de Matos of Palmeira dos Indios. - Bishop Valerio Breda S.D.B. of Penedo.AL/.../... VIS 090917 (70)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 17 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the apostolic vicariate of Mitu, Colombia, presented by Bishop Jose Gustavo Angel Ramirez M.X.Y., upon having reached the age limit. - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Dublin, Ireland, presented by Bishop Fiachra O Ceallaigh O.F.M., in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law. - Appointed Bishop Vincenzo Manzella of Caltagirone, Italy, as bishop of Cefalu (area 1,718, population 113,254, Catholics 110,930, priests 96, permanent deacons 8, religious 133), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Francesco Sgalambro, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.NER:RE/.../... VIS 090917 (130)



CNS reports that Bishop Cornelius Arap Korir of Eldoret opposed a proposed political alliance between Kenya's two main tribes, saying it was a threat to the peace process in the country.Bishop Korir, whose diocese was the scene of postelectoral violence in late 2007 and early 2008, said political leaders will divide Kenyans along tribal lines if they start political alliances aimed at forming a government in the 2012 general elections."It is a self-serving scheme by politicians," the bishop told CNS in mid-September.Bishop Korir said dialogue was the only option for peace in the country, especially in the Rift Valley, which includes territory covered by his diocese.The bishop has been involved extensively in the efforts to reconcile communities that clashed during 2002 tribal clashes and ethnic violence after the 2007 elections.He said peace cannot be worked out in the capital, Nairobi, then forced on the people. Nor can it be made by a few individuals or in secret, he said: It must be initiated and driven by the people who were at the center of the conflict.In early September, members of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin ethnic groups have been discussing a political alliance. Since Kenya declared independence from Britain in 1963, all of its presidents have come from those two ethnic groups, although the nation has at least 40 other tribes. (SOURCE:



USCCB reports that at a series of meetings at Capitol Hill, a delegation of Hispanic Bishops discussed with Democrat and Republican legislators of both houses, four areas of deep concern and offered principles of Catholic social teaching to help in the current debates.
Archbishop José Gomez of San Antonio, Texas, led the September 17 delegation, representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“The bishops are keenly aware of the substantial contributions Hispanic communities make to the prosperity and well-being of the United States,” said Archbishop Gomez. “Yet those same communities suffer under the weight of a broken immigration policy, as well as lack of access to quality education, adequate medical care and economic opportunities.”
Archbishop Gomez summarized the purpose of the meeting.
“We met with our political leaders of both parties to re-affirm the principles of Catholic social teaching about the dignity of all human beings from conception to natural death and the centrality of the common good. We offered these principles grounded in social ethics and our religious heritage as constructive guidelines for achieving a just and equitable resolution of the public policy debates around these key issues,” he said.
“We join with other Hispanic leaders and all people of good will in raising our voices to affirm as clearly as we can the basic principles of social justice for all,” Archbishop Gomez added.
Other members of the delegation included Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, NM, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, CA, Bishop James Tamayo of Laredo, TX, Bishop Carlos Sevilla of Yakima, WA, and Auxiliary Bishop Edgar Da Cunha of Newark, NJ.
A summary of the topics raised by the bishops with legislators follows.
Health Care and Immigration. The U.S. Bishops have for decades been in favor of health care reform that is truly universal and respects the life and dignity of all, including the poor and legal immigrants. Health care legislation must allow all legal immigrants, regardless of income level, to participate in any new health care system and oppose any ban that would prevent them from participating for five years. Such legislation must also support the inclusion of pregnant women and children, regardless of their legal status.
Just Immigration Reform. The U.S. Bishops support just immigration reform, which contains several core elements. This would include broad-based legalization through a program that provides an opportunity for “earned” permanent residency and a new worker program that includes a living wage. The U.S. Bishops support family-based immigration reform and a restoration of due process protections lost in the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. The U.S. Bishops also support addressing the root causes of migration and the inclusion of the DREAM Act and AgJOBS in reform legislation.
Hispanics and Poverty (Housing). The U.S. Bishops support a national housing policy that includes preservation and production of quality housing for low income families, the elderly and other vulnerable people. The U.S. Bishops also call for an end to abusive lending penalties and urge Congress to fund the National Housing Trust Fund, which will preserve or produce 1.5 million rental homes in the next ten years and 200,000 new housing choice vouchers annually for ten years.
Hispanics and Education. The U.S. Bishops encourage the federal government to promote programs that keep students in school, include Catholic students and teachers in federal education program, especially reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, reauthorize the D.C. Scholarship program to assist low income students in the District of Columbia to receive financial assistance to attend private schools, and support funding for students to attend community colleges where many Hispanic youth are educated.



Catholic Herald reports that in his first pastoral letter the Archbishop of Westminster has said that daily prayer is essential for well-being.In a letter issued almost exactly four months after his installation, Archbishop Vincent Nichols thanked the faithful in his new diocese for their encouragement and prayers and urged them to partake in the shared life of faith and prayer, "especially as experienced and strengthened in the parish". Quoting from the letter of St James he said that "our relationship with Christ, expressed in prayer, is central to the stability and fruitfulness of our lives. "A sound practice of daily prayer is essential for our well-being," he said.He explained that three people who illustrated the importance of prayer were being held up as examples in the coming weeks and months.In the letter, read out in churches days after St Thérèse of Lisieux's relics arrived in Britain, the Archbishop said the 19th century French Carmelite should serve as an example for placing prayer at the heart of daily routine, "knitted into the regular tasks of the day".The relics, which arrived on British soil on Tuesday, were brought to Portsmouth Cathedral on Wednesday and will tour the country for a month. St Thérèse's remains will stop at 28 locations. They will be in the Westminster diocese in October, towards the end of the visit. The relics will travel around England and Wales from September 16 to October 16. Her bones have travelled to 40 different countries. Organisers expect large crowds. Archbishop Nichols said: "Many people find that, in her presence, their faith is strengthened, their prayer is deepened and they turn to God afresh, through repentance and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. "I encourage you most earnestly to come to her in these two places during these few days. A plenary indulgence may be gained, in the presence of these relics, under the normal conditions of Reconciliation, Holy Communion and prayers for the Holy Father."Cardinal John Henry Newman, who is due to be beatified in the early summer of 2010 and will be the first English person in over 600 years to be declared a "Confessor of the Catholic Faith", was the second example of the importance of prayer that Archbishop Nichols wrote about.Writing of Cardinal Newman he said: "As you know, he came only gradually to the fullness of Catholic faith. It was a difficult journey for him. Yet, in his own words, he came to recognise our faith as 'a working religion', not concerned with ideas or vague generalities, but taking us up into the true worship of Christ himself. At the heart of Newman's sense of the realism of our faith was the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, 'as real', he said 'as we are real'."We can learn from him to reawaken in ourselves this faith in Christ's real, abiding presence in the Holy Eucharist, reserved in the Tabernacle. When this happens, we behave accordingly in His presence, giving Him our attention and the love of our hearts whenever we are in church. "In this way we not only build up our own life of prayer but also encourage each other, in church, to give this precious time to Him. After all, He is the only one who can bring lasting peace into our lives."Archbishop Nichols spoke about Cardinal Newman's example as a parish priest in Birmingham. At his funeral procession in August 1890 over 20,000 people lined the streets for him, paying tribute "to a fine and devoted parish priest". It was providential that John Henry Newman's beatification would take place during the Year for Priests which was proclaimed last June by the Pope, he said. The Archbishop also said that during the Year for Priests the faithful were asked to pray for priests in a special way, "to thank and encourage them".He said: "The life of a priest has its own particular demands and we all know the crucial leadership given by the priest in the parish. "So, I ask you, cherish your priests and care for them. Remember not only the sacrifice priests have made but also the gift of sacramental life they bring to you through their ministry and the pastoral care they give."Both St Thérèse and Cardinal Newman were examples during the Year for Priests, he said, Thérèse because of her "special love for priests" and Cardinal Newman because he was "a great example of a faithful, hardworking priest". The Archbishop said the third person being held up for the faithful was the Curé of Ars, St John Vianney, whom Pope Benedict XVI declared the patron of the Year for Priests. Archbishop Nichols said: "He is the patron saint of priests. He too reminds us of the centrality of prayer and repentance in our lives, and of the astonishing gift we are given in the Real Presence of the Lord in our churches."May these holy men and this holy woman pray for us. May these coming months bring blessings on our families and parishes. And from those sources of strength and encouragement, may we be renewed in our faith and in our generosity towards all in need."


UCAN reports that a low-key funeral has been held for Bishop Bartholomew Yu Chengti of Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, who died of stomach cancer on Sept. 14 at the age of 90.

Bishop Bartholomew Yu Chengti
Only around 1,000 Catholics were allowed to attend the Sept. 17 funeral at the rural church in Yuwang village, the bishop's hometown.
The elderly Vatican-approved bishop had ministered in the "underground" Church community since he was clandestinely ordained a bishop in 1981. He retired in 2003.
The Chinese government recognized him only as a priest, and local officials expressed "grave concern" over the funeral, but the diocese insisted on honoring him as a bishop. In the end, officials ordered that each parish send only a few representatives, and did not allow the diocese to publicize the obituary nor invite guests from outside Hanzhong.
Despite this official disapproval, a dozen priests from neighboring dioceses in Shaanxi, Gansu and Sichuan provinces joined Hanzhong diocese's 27 priests to concelebrate the funeral Mass and pay tribute to the highly respected prelate.
Bishop Louis Yu Runchen of Hanzhong, who is recognized by the government and in communion with the pope, presided at a requiem Mass in the morning. A memorial service and burial in the church compound followed.
However, authorities did not allow a planned funeral procession around the village, a common practice to honor a deceased person in northern China.
Bishop Bartholomew Yu had been hospitalized since April 13, Easter Monday. His condition steadily worsened until he could barely eat or drink and was kept alive by injections of nutrients. The hospital discharged him on Aug. 20 to spend his last days at the Yuwang church.
Bishop Louis Yu described the late prelate as "enthusiastic" in all aspects. "He performed pastoral work honestly and modestly, and won respect and support from his priests and laypeople," the 78-year-old prelate told UCA News.
The two bishops had worked together since the 1980s on the formation of priests, the restoration of a convent and Church properties, and the opening of new churches.
Catholics from the diocese's "open" and underground communities gradually put aside disputes and achieved reconciliation four years ago, according to Bishop Louis Yu.
A requiem Mass for the late Pope John Paul II in 2005 marked the first occasion that the two bishops and their priests celebrated together.
From then, all seven priests ordained by Bishop Bartholomew Yu and 20 priests ordained by Bishop Louis Yu concelebrated Chrism Masses together with both bishops on various occasions including Holy Thursday each year. On Holy Thursday, diocesan priests traditionally join their bishop in blessing the oil used for baptism and other sacraments.
A Hanzhong priest ordained by the late Bishop Yu told UCA News the prelate had preserved his faith until the last moment of his life despite enduring much hardship.
"He taught us to fulfill priestly ministry and spread the Good News diligently. If we did our best to develop the Church's evangelization work, it would be a great consolation for his soul in heaven," he added.
Born in 1919, Bishop Yu entered the seminary when he was 17. He was ordained a priest in October 1949, the same year the Communists founded the People's Republic of China. He was imprisoned when the Church faced political turmoil in the 1950s but was released on parole after a few years due to illness.
He returned to the diocese and served in Chenggu county as religious activities gradually revived after the Cultural Revolution (1966-76).
The bishop lived under government surveillance and faced official pressure even after his retirement.
Hanzhong diocese is home to an estimated 20,000 Catholics.


CathNews reports that the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council will hold its 2009 NATSICC Assembly in Brisbane next week, seeking to focus on youth and the council's elders.
"We're planning to encourage our youth and the Assembly this year is based around youth," said NATSICC Chairperson Elsie Heiss.
"This year, we also are honouring the Elders with an honour roll 'Celebrating the Spirit'.
"Many of these Elders have been around in support of NATSICC for a long time. This particular year, we are looking at past NATSICC Councillors. We are acknowledging them, and giving them a badge for their work over the years.

"Also, we're trying to revive Catholicism in our communities. We are coming together to celebrate who we are as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics. It's the one occasion when we can all come together in song and worship. It is also a chance to meet friends and who we don't see as often."
NATSICC Assemblies are held every three years at the culmination of the Council's term. In attendance will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ministries, clergy, religious, community groups, Catholic Education groups, Aboriginal youth groups and others with an interest in Aboriginal ministries.


St. Robert Bellarmine
Feast: September 17
Feast Day:
September 17
October 4, 1542, Montepulciano, Italy
September 17, 1621, Rome, Italy
June 29, 1930, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Major Shrine:
Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio, Rome, Italy
Patron of:
Preparatory; canonists; canon lawyers; catechists; catechumens

A distinguished Jesuit theologian, writer, and cardinal, born at Montepulciano, 4 October, 1542; died 17 September, 1621. His father was Vincenzo Bellarmino, his mother Cinthia Cervini, sister of Cardinal Marcello Cervini, afterwards Pope Marcellus II. He was brought up at the newly founded Jesuit college in his native town, and entered the Society of Jesus on 20 September, 1560, being admitted to his first vows on the following day.

The Sacred Stigmata of Saint Francis of Assisi
Feast: September 17
Feast Day:
September 17

Early in August, 1224, Francis retired with three companions to "that rugged rock 'twixt Tiber and Arno", as Dante called La Verna, there to keep a forty days fast in preparation for Michaelmas. During this retreat the sufferings of Christ became more than ever the burden of his meditations; into few souls, perhaps, had the full meaning of the Passion so deeply entered. It was on or about the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14 September) while praying on the mountainside, that he beheld the marvellous vision of the seraph, as a sequel of which there appeared on his body the visible marks of the five wounds of the Crucified which, says an early writer, had long since been impressed upon his heart. Brother Leo, who was with St. Francis when he received the stigmata, has left us in his note to the saint's autograph blessing, preserved at Assisi, a clear and simple account of the miracle, which for the rest is better attested than many another historical fact. The saint's right side is described as bearing on open wound which looked as if made by a lance, while through his hands and feet were black nails of flesh, the points of which were bent backward. After the reception of the stigmata, Francis suffered increasing pains throughout his frail body, already broken by continual mortification. For, condescending as the saint always was to the weaknesses of others, he was ever so unsparing towards himself that at the last he felt constrained to ask pardon of "Brother Ass", as he called his body, for having treated it so harshly. Worn out, moreover, as Francis now was by eighteen years of unremitting toil, his strength gave way completely, and at times his eyesight so far failed him that he was almost wholly blind.
Know that the experience of pain is something so noble and precious that the Divine Word, who enjoyed the abundant riches of Paradise, yet, because He was not clothed with this ornament of sorrow, came down from Heaven to seek it upon the earth.
-- St Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi

LUKE 9: 23 - 26
And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.
For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

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