Tuesday, September 15, 2009



VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow, is due to visit Rome from 15 to 20 September at the invitation of Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, according to a communique released by the council. This will be Archbishop Hilarion's first visit to Rome since he was appointed as president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow to substitute Metropolitan Kirill following the latter's election as Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. The archbishop will be received by the Holy Father and will meet, among others, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.; Cardinal Walter Kasper; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. "In the wake of the many meetings and conversations with the Patriarch in the past", says the communique, "this visit will confirm the ties of friendship between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, on the solid basis of mutual understanding and respect, with a view to closer collaboration and to favour the presence of the Church in the lives of the peoples of Europe and the world".CON-UC/VISIT/HILARION:KASPER VIS 090915 (230)
PRIZES FOR SOLIDARITY AND DEVELOPMENT VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office a conference was held to present the forthcoming second award of the Van Thuan Prize and of the Van Thuan - Solidarity and Development Prizes. Participating in today's meeting were Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Msgr. Marco Frisina, director of the choir of the diocese of Rome and author of a composition in honour of Cardinal Van Thuan entitled: "Sentieri della speranza" (Paths of Hope). The Van Thuan Prize is awarded to people who have distinguished themselves in the promotion and defence of human rights. The award ceremony itself will take place tomorrow, 16 September, at Palazzo Colonna in Rome, on the seventh anniversary of the death of Cardinal Francois-Xavier Van Thuan, whose beatification cause was opened in 2007. The Vietnamese cardinal was Cardinal Martino's predecessor at the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The 2009 Van Thuan Prize will be awarded to Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg for his efforts to defend the right to life and religious freedom. The Van Thuan - Solidarity and Development Prizes, to the value of 15,000 euros each, will be given to four humanitarian projects: - The Skills Development Centre for the Blind run by Fr. Carlo Velardo S.D.B. in Pakkred, Thailand. - The ALAS project of the "Caminos de Libertad" Foundation in the archdiocese of Bogota, Colombia, for the building of a national centre for pastoral care in penitentiaries. - The Non-profit Organisation "Cooperazione Missionaria e Sviluppo" run by Msgr. Andrea Vece at the Our Lady of Fatima parish in Salerno, Italy. - "ROCHER L'oasis des cites", an association dedicated to educational and social projects at the service of inhabitants of "difficult" neighbourhoods of French cities.OP/VAN THUAN PRIZES/MARTINO VIS 090915 (310)
SPIRITUAL RETREAT IN TAIWAN FOR ASIAN MINISTERS OF CHARITY VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2009 (VIS) - From 6 to 11 September the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" held spiritual exercises for presidents and directors of the Church's ministry of charity throughout Asia, according to a communique released by the dicastery today. The spiritual retreat, under the theme of Jesus' words, "You did it to me ..." (Mt 25, 40), took place at Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei, Taiwan, and was attended by 450 participants from 29 nations, including five cardinals and over sixty bishops. "Participants", says the English-language communique, "prayed in a special way for those struck recently by Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan". On 6 September Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, President of "Cor Unum", travelled to the worst hit area of Kaohsiung "in order to visit personally and bring the Lord's consolation to those affected by the tragedy". The Holy Father sent a Message to the participants, transmitted by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., in which he manifested "his warm appreciation and gratitude for all those who commit themselves to the 'diakonia' of charity, an essential activity of the life of the Church and a responsibility for the entire ecclesial community". The Pope also expressed the hope that the spiritual exercises will strengthen in participants "the virtue of heartfelt compassion for all who suffer".CON-CU/SPIRITUAL RETREAT/VIETNAM:CORDES VIS 090915 (230)

CNA Archbishop Francisco Gil Hellin of Burgos, Spain told the faithful during a Mass for the 20th Marian Day of the Family that the family “is a natural institution made by God,” and that therefore “neither governments nor the parliament are the ones to be saying what makes up a family.” The Mass, held at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Angels, brought together 15,000 faithful from Spain, France, Poland and Italy in an act of devotion to Our Lady of the Angels in the north central Spanish city of Torreciudad. During his homily, the archbishop called on families to rediscover each day “that treasure of which you are the depository. God has blessed you with these loves: with your wife, your husband, your children.” “Thus the family will truly be the sanctuary of life; it will be the guarantor that every child that results from the giving of one’s self in marital fidelity will be safeguarded by the strongest crib, which is conjugal and family love,” he added. During the celebration a message from Pope Benedict XVI was read in which he called for “an unconditional yes to life” and asked spouses to surrender themselves to each other in mutual trust and fidelity. The celebration concluded with the recitation of the Rosary and Eucharistic benediction.(SOURCE:

CNS reports that Nigeria's bishops said government inaction led to the untimely death of more than 2,000 people during the recent uprising by an extremist Islamic group, Boko Haram.Despite government knowledge of plans for the violence "and despite reports made to appropriate authorities, inaction of government allowed the sect to destroy more than 2,000 lives before the insurrection was brought down," the bishops said in a statement at the end of their Sept 7-12 plenary meeting in Kafanchan."We have no democracy worth the name if government cannot protect life and property of the citizen," the bishops said. "Failure on the part of government to secure life and property of every Nigerian is less than commendable."The Boko Haram sect opposes Western education and insists on the imposition of Shariah, or Islamic law. The uprising began in late July after the arrest of some of the sect's members.In their statement, the bishops criticized the "culture of violence that prevails in Nigeria (including) kidnapping, armed robbery, dangerous driving on our roads, killing in the name of religion, to name but these.""We condemn violence on whatever excuse or disguise, and from whatever direction. We condemn it, above all, when its perpetrators blasphemously and fraudulently claim religious justifications," the bishops said."We wish to note that those who claim that they love God while hating their fellow human beings, even to the extent of killing them, are liars," they said.The bishops also commended the Nigerian government for the general amnesty it has granted to militants in the Niger Delta, where ethnic militias claiming to act on behalf of impoverished local residents have been accused of the kidnappings of oil workers, extortion, vandalism of oil facilities and the theft of crude oil.The bishops advised the government to continue on the path of drastically improving the quality of life of the people of the region, stressing that government officials should not just wave an olive branch."The situation in the Niger Delta is deeply rooted in injustice. It is simply unjust to impoverish the people who live on the land that produces the bulk of Nigeria's wealth," the bishops said."We urge government to fulfill its promise on the development of the people of the Niger Delta and equally appeal to the militants to accept the amnesty," they said. (SOURCE:

The USCCB released the following:
Does thinking about health care reform give you a headache? Are the rhetoric, the cross messages, and the overflow of information—and misinformation—tempting you give in to the pessimistic thought that the sick who are most in need of health care, the poor, the marginalized, the immigrant, don’t stand a chance, “as always,” in front of powerful financial and political interests? Do you question getting involved at all? The task seems daunting, but this is not the moment to give up or disconnect. The debate has reached a critical moment when the Catholic voice needs to be heard clearly and strongly. The U.S. Catholic bishops have spoken with one voice on the principles that should guide the discussion. They have been advocating for decades for the reform of a fragmented health system, one that is currently expensive, filled with inefficiencies and leaves too many people out. The introduction of several bills in Congress this session (there are several different versions circulating in the House and the Senate as this is being written) acknowledges this reality. This has provided the opportunity to present the Catholic teaching on this issue and, in light of the tensions and complexity of the debate, has made the clear outlining of certain basic moral principles more necessary than ever. A Catholic in good conscience cannot blindly vow support for one proposal or another without first measuring it against the fundamental principles of subsidiarity, solidarity and the common good. Following Catholic social teaching, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Supports universal health coverage which protects the life and dignity of all, from conception to natural death, especially those who are poor and vulnerable. Opposes any efforts to expand abortion funding, mandate abortion coverage, or endanger the conscience rights of health care providers and religious institutions. Supports effective measures to safeguard the health of all of society by expanding eligibility for public programs, such as Medicaid, to all low income families and vulnerable people, and by offering adequate subsidies for cost-sharing of insurance premiums and out of pocket expenses. Legal immigrants, and all pregnant women and children, regardless of immigration status, should be included. The urgency of the matter has seen many bishops present these principles in order to educate the faithful and the public, encourage them to get involved, and also ensure they are aware of the dangers, subterfuges and subtleties hidden in the different proposals. Locally each bishop has put emphasis in that which concerns him the most but, in the end, the message is always the same: it is urgent to reform the U.S. health system, but don’t do it at the expense of the poor, the children in their mother’s womb, or the consciences of doctors, nurses and other health workers. We can do better than this. There are different ways to achieve access for all. We can debate and compromise on the proper role of government. Let us find solutions where all the stakeholders can play a role and do it according to their religious convictions. Let us stop the noise and the finger-pointing and turn to the issue at hand: the health of the nation. As one of our veteran Hispanic bishops, Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, New Mexico, put it recently, “in our public discourse, let us not allow anger to suffocate wisdom, nor let slogans replace solutions.” If there is a country where the means exist to remedy the health care crisis, it is this one. But, is there a will? Solidarity and the common good come at a price. (SOURCE:


UCAN reports that Church officials in Kerala state have expressed shock and dismay after private TV channels broadcast videos of two priests and a nun under interrogation by police, who drugged them. Sister Abhaya The broadcasts on Sept. 14 showed Father Thomas Kottoor, 62, Father Jose Poothrukayil, 57, and Sister Sephy, 47, apparently admitting that they murdered another Sister Abhaya inside a convent more than 17 years ago. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India's top investigating agency, conducted the so-called narcoanalysis on the three after they were arrested in November 2008. Church leaders in Kerala as well as lawyers have accused the TV channels of violating media ethics by airing matters related to a case that is still under trial. "There is a hidden agenda and conspiracy behind the issue," says Father Paul Thelakat, spokesperson of the Syro-Malabar Church, a Catholic Oriental-rite Church based in the southern state. The three accused belong to its Kottayam archdiocese, as did Sister Abhaya. Father Thelakat said the broadcasts were "most unfortunate" and accused the media of conducting its own trial of the case. "There is an attempt from certain quarters to malign the Church's image in the Abhaya case," the priest told UCA News. The accused, he asserted, have a right to dignity and "the media have no reason to violate it." Archbishop Mathew Moolekkatt of Kottayam likewise deplored the broadcasts as "irresponsible media action that violated basic human rights." The archbishop's statement said the Kerala High Court had earlier ordered a probe into alleged tampering of the narcoanalysis video CDs. "The court should investigate and punish the culprits who are responsible for leaking the tampered CDs, because the court is monitoring the case," the archbishop's statement added. Sister Abhaya's body was found on March 27, 1992, inside the well of Pius X Convent in Kottayam. The two accused priests were teachers in a college where Sister Abhaya, 21 at the time, was a student. She and Sister Sephy belonged to the locally founded Sisters of St. Joseph's Congregation and lived in the convent. The CBI claims the two priests and the accused nun murdered Sister Abhaya to conceal a sexual escapade. Its investigators allege Sister Sephy hit the younger nun with an axe, after which the three accused dumped the body in the well. A vigilance committee that Kottayam laypeople set up, with official backing, to monitor conduct of the trial also condemned the media action and demanded an investigation. Charlie Paul, a Kerala High Court lawyer and Catholic youth leader, believes the media action infringed on the rights of the accused. He pointed out that the broadcasts occurred soon after the magistrate conducting the case handed an investigation report over to the lawyer for the accused. The media action is "sub judice and a clear violation of human rights," Paul told UCA News, referring to the law concerning coverage of a matter under court judgment. "It's a matter of concern, as the media continue Church baiting in the Abhaya case." Soon after the broadcasts began around noon, Father Poothrukayil and Sister Sephy complained to the magistrate, who ordered the channels to stop immediately. However, some channels continued to air the program until 6 p.m. "By then the damage was already done. We are all in a shock," remarked John Joseph, a Catholic layman. He regretted that the media, which should act as a guardian of human rights, had reneged on its duty. Joseph said the Church's image has suffered for a long time because of the Indian media sensationalizing the case. (SOURCE:

CathNews reports that Catholic Super was among the top ten in the list of best local superannuation and pension funds in 2009, according to research by Super Ratings. AustralianSuper, Catholic Super, First State Super, HESTA, Hostplus, NGS Super, QSuper, REST, Sunsuper and Telstra Super were tops in a list dominated by industry super funds, Investor Daily reported. Funds are assessed on over 400 qualitative and quantitative criteria including investments, fees, insurance, service delivery, member education, financial planning facilities, employer support and fund governance, the report added. "While it is never good to see super funds suffer the losses they have over recent times, some funds have performed significantly better than others through the various investment cycles of the past five years," the Courier Mail quoted Jeff Bresnahan, managing director of SuperRatings as saying. "At this point industry funds continue to dominate our best value for money fund list. Clearly there are a number of retail funds that offer good value. "However, many funds, including some not-for-profit funds, have done little to assist Australians' retirement savings during these turbulent times." BUSS(Q) Retirement Pension, Catholic Super Allocated Pension, First State Super Retirement Income Stream, QSuper Pension Account and Sunsuper Pension Option were named as the top five pension funds by SuperRatings. SuperRatings reviewed over 450 different products, accounting for over $500 billion and 15 million member accounts, to compile its results, Investor Daily added. (SOURCE:

Our Lady of Sorrows Feast: September 15 Information: Feast Day: September 15 There are two such days: * Friday before Palm Sunday, major double;* third Sunday in September double of the second class. The object of these feats is the spiritual martyrdom of the Mother of God and her compassion with the sufferings of her Divine Son. (1) The seven founders of the Servite Order, in 1239, five years after they established themselves on Monte Senario, took up the sorrows of Mary, standing under the Cross, as the principal devotion of their order. The corresponding feast, however, did not originate with them; its celebration was enacted by a provincial synod of Cologne (1413) to expiate the crimes of the iconoclast Hussites; it was to be kept on the Friday after the third Sunday after Easter under the title: "Commemoratio angustix et doloris B. Marix V.". Its object was exclusively the sorrow of Mary during the Crucifixion and Death of Christ. Before the sixteenth century this feast was limited to the dioceses of North Germany, Scandinavia, and Scotland. Being termed "Compassio" or "Transfixio", "Commendatio, Lamentatio B.M.V.", it was kept at a great variety of dates, mostly during Eastertide or shortly after Pentacost, or on some fixed day of a month (18 July, Merseburg; 19 July, Halberstadt, Lxbeck, Meissen; 20 July, Naumberg; cf. Grotefend, "Zeitrechnung", II, 2, 166). Dreves and Blume (Analecta hymnica) have published a large number of rhythmical offices, sequences and hymns for the feast of the Compassion, which show that from the end of the fifteenth century in several dioceses the scope of this feast was widened to commemorate either five dolours, from the imprisonment to the burial of Christ, or seven dolours, extending over the entire life of Mary (cf. XXIV, 122-53; VIII, 51 sq.; X, 79 sq., etc.). Towards the end of the end of the sixteenth century the feast spread over part of the south of Europe; in 1506 it was granted to the nuns of the Annunciation under the title "Spasmi B.M.V.", Monday after Passion Sunday; in 1600 to the Servite nuns of Valencia, "B.M.V. sub pede Crucis", Friday before Palm Sunday. After 1600 it became popular in France and was termed "Dominx N. de Pietate", Friday before Palm Sunday. To this latter date the feast was assigned for the whole German Empire (1674). By a Decree of 22 April 1727, Benedict XIII extended it to the entire Latin Church, under the title "Septem dolorum B.M.V.", although the Office and Mass retain the original character of the feast, the Compassion of Mary at the foot of the Cross. At both Mass and Office the "Stabat Mater" of Giacopone da Todi (1306) is sung. (2) The second feast was granted to the Servites, 9 June and 15 September, 1668, double with an octave for the third Sunday in September. Its object of the seven dolours of Mary (according to the responsories of Matins: the sorrow * at the prophecy of Simeon;* at the flight into Egypt;* having lost the Holy Child at Jerusalem;* meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary;* standing at the foot of the Cross;* Jesus being taken from the Cross;* at the burial of Christ. This feast was extended to Spain (1735); to Tuscany (double of the second class with an octave, 1807). After his return from his exile in France Pius VII extended the feast to the Latin Church (18 September, 1814), major double); it was raised to the rank of a double of the second class, 13 May, 1908. The Servites celebrate it as a double of the first class with an octave and a vigil. Also in the Passionate Order, at Florence and Granada (N.S. de las Angustias), its rank is double of the first class with an octave. The hymns which are now used in the Office of this feast were probably composed by the Servite Callisto Palumbella (eighteenth century). On the devotion, cf. Kellner, "Heortology", p. 271. The old title of the "Compassio" is preserved by the Diocese of Hildesheim in a simple feast, Saturday after the octave of Corpus Christi. A feast, "B.M.V. de pietate", with a beautiful medieval office, is kept in honour of the sorrowful mother at Goa in India and Braga in Portugal, on the third Sunday of October; in the ecclesiastical province of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, last Sunday of May, etc. (cf. the corresponding calendars). A special form of devotion is practised in Spanish-speaking countries under the term of "N.S. de la Soledad", to commemorate the solitude of Mary on Holy Saturday. Its origin goes back to Queen Juana, lamenting the early death of her husband Philip I, King of Spain (1506). To the oriental churches these feasts are unknown; the Catholic Ruthenians keep a feast of the sorrowful Mother on Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi. (SOURCE:

St. Catherine of Genoa MYSTIC, WIFE, AND HOSPITAL DIRECTOR Feast: September 15 Information: Feast Day: September 15 Born: 1447, Genoa, Italy Died: 15 September 1510, Genoa, Italy Canonized: 1737 by Pope Clement XII Born at Genoa in 1447, died at the same place 15 September, 1510. The life of St. Catherine of Genoa may be more properly described as a state than as a life in the ordinary sense. When about twenty-six years old she became the subject of one of the most extraordinary operations of God in the human soul of which we have record, the result being a marvellous inward condition that lasted till her death. In this state, she received wonderful revelations, of which she spoke at times to those around her, but which are mainly embodied in her two celebrated works: the "Dialogues of theSoul and Body", and the "Treatise on Purgatory". Her modern biographies, chiefly translations or adaptations of an old Italian one which is itself founded on "Memoirs" drawn up by the saint's own confessor and a friend, mingle what facts they give of her outward life with accounts of her supernatural state and "doctrine", regardless of sequence, and in an almost casual fashion that makes them entirely subservient to her psychological history. These facts are as follows: St. Catherine's parents were Jacopo Fieschi and Francesca di Negro, both of illustrious Italian birth. Two popes -- Innocent IV and Adrian V -- had been of the Fieschi family, and Jacopo himself became Viceroy of Naples. Catherine is described as an extraordinarily holy child, highly gifted in the way of prayer, and with a wonderful love of Christ's Passion and of penitential practices; but, also, as having been a most quiet, simple, and exceedingly obedient girl. When about thirteen, she wished to enter the convent, but the nuns to whom her confessor applied having refused her on account of her youth, she appears to have put the idea aside without any further attempt. At sixteen, she was married by her parents' wish to a young Genoese nobleman, Giuliano Adorno. The marriage turned out wretchedly; Giuliano proved faithless, violent-tempered, and a spendthrift. And made the life of his wife a misery. Details are scanty, but it seems at least clear that Catherine spent the first five years of her marriage in silent, melancholy submission to her husband; and that she then, for another five, turned a little to the world for consolation in her troubles. The distractions she took were most innocent; nevertheless, destined as she was for an extraordinary life, they had the effect in her case of producing lukewarmness, the end of which was such intense weariness and depression that she prayed earnestly for a return of her old fervour. Then, just ten years after her marriage, came the event of her life, in answer to her prayer. She went one day, full of melancholy, to a convent in Genoa where she had a sister, a nun. The latter advised her to go to confession to the nuns' confessor, and Catherine agreed. No sooner, however, had she knelt down in the confessional than a ray of Divine light pierced her soul, and in one moment manifested her own sinfulness and the Love of God with equal clearness. The revelation was so overwhelming that she lost consciousness and fell into a kind of ecstacy, for a space during which the confessor happened to be called away. When he returned, Catherine could only murmur that she would put off her confession, and go home quickly. From the moment of that sudden vision of herself and God, the saint's interior state seems never to have changed, save by varying in intensity and being accompanied by more or less severe penance, according to what she saw required of her by the Holy Spirit Who guided her incessantly. No one could describe it except herself; but she does so, minutely, in her writings, from which may here be made one short extract: -- "[The souls in Purgatory] see all things, not in themselves, nor by themselves, but as they are in God, on whom they are more intent than on their own sufferings. . . . For the least vision they have of God overbalances all woes and all joys that can be conceived. Yet their joy in God does by no means abate their pain. . . . This process of purification to which I see the souls in Purgatory subjected, I feel within myself." (Treatise on Purgatory, xvi, xvii.) For about twenty-five years, Catherine, though frequently making confessions, was unable to open her mind for direction to anyone; but towards the end of her life a Father Marabotti was appointed to be her spiritual guide. To him she explained her states, past and present, in full, and he compiled the "Memoirs" above referred to from his intimate personal knowledge of her. Of the saint's outward life, after this great change, her biographies practically tell us but two facts: that she at last converted her husband who died penitent in 1497; and that both before and after his death -- though more entirely after it -- she gave herself to the care of the sick in the greatHospital of Genoa, where she eventually became manager and treasurer. She died worn out with labours of body and soul, and consumed, even physically, by the fires of Divine love within her. She was beatified in 1675 by Clement X, but not canonized till 1737, by Clement XII. Meantime, her writings had been examined by the Holy Office and pronounced to contain doctrine that would be enough, in itself, to prove her sanctity. (SOURCE:

John 19: 25 - 27 25 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag'dalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

No comments: