Wednesday, September 9, 2009





ST. PETER DAMIAN: MONK AND CHURCH REFORMER VATICAN CITY, 9 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated the catechesis of his general audience, held this morning in the Paul VI Hall, to St. Peter Damian (1007-1072), "a monk, lover of solitude and, overall, an intrepid man of the Church who played a leading role in the reforms undertaken by the Popes of his time". Peter Damian, who lost both his parents while still very young and was raised by his siblings, received a superlative education in jurisprudence and Greek and Latin culture. As a young man he dedicated himself to teaching and authored a number of literary works, but he soon felt the call to become a monk and entered the monastery of Fonte Avellana. The monastery "was dedicated to the Holy Cross, and of all the Christian mysteries the Cross would be the one that most fascinated Peter Damian", explained Pope Benedict, expressing the hope that the saint's example "may encourage us too always to look to the Cross as God's supreme act of love towards man". As an aid to monastic life Peter Damian "wrote a Rule in which he placed great emphasis upon the 'rigour of the hermitage'. ... For him hermitic life is the apex of Christian life. It is 'the highest state of life' because the monk, free from the ties of the world and of his own self, receives 'the pledge of the Holy Spirit and his soul felicitously unites with the heavenly Bridegroom'. Today too, even if we are not monks, it is important to know how to create silence within ourselves in order to listen to the voice of God. ... Learning the Word of God in prayer and meditation is the path of life". For this saint, who was also an accomplished theologian, "communion with Christ creates a unity of love among Christians. ... Peter Damian developed a profound theology of the Church as communion. ... Thus, service to the individual becomes an 'expression of universality'. "Yet nonetheless", the Holy Father added, "this ideal image of the 'holy Church' as illustrated by Peter Damian did not, as he knew, correspond to the reality of his own time. And he was not afraid to denounce the state of corruption that existed in the monasteries and among the clergy, the result, above all, of the practice of the civil authorities conferring investiture to ecclesiastical office". In order to combat this situation, in 1057 he left the monastery to accept appointment as a cardinal. "Thus he came to collaborate fully with Popes in the difficult task of reforming the Church", in which context "he courageously undertook many journeys and missions". Ten years later he returned to monastic life, but continued to serve the papacy. He died in 1072 on his return from a mission to re-establish peace with the archbishop of Ravenna. Peter Damian, the Holy Father concluded, "was a monk par excellence, practising forms of austerity which today we might even find excessive. Yet in this way he made monastic life an eloquent witness of God's primacy and a call to everyone to progress towards sanctity, free from any kind of worldly compromise. He expended himself with great coherence and severity for the reform of the Church of his time, and dedicated all his spiritual and physical energy to Christ and to the Church". VIS 090909 (570)

REAFFIRMING ETHICAL PRINCIPLES IN THE ECONOMY VATICAN CITY, 9 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Among his greetings at the end of today's general audience, the Pope addressed some remarks to the ecclesiastical counsellors, managers and representatives of the Italian agricultural organisation "Coldiretti", who are in Rome to celebrate their national congress from 9 to 11 September. The Holy Father encouraged them "to continue in your commitment to social and spiritual service to the world of agriculture". Referring then to the theme of the congress - "Ethics and the economy today" - he expressed the hope that it "may be a stimulus for you to reaffirm ethical principles in the economy, so as to reanimate hope through solidarity". VIS 090909 (120)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 9 SEP 2009 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father received in audience Asha-Rose Migiro, vice secretary general of the United Nations.AP/.../... VIS 090909 (30)



CNA reports that as part of the Week of the Family being celebrated in the Archdiocese of Guayaquil in Ecuador, 3,000 young people made a promise of chastity at the local cathedral during a Mass with Auxiliary Bishop Anibal Nieto on Tuesday evening. The teens and young adults will make the promise before the Creed and will receive a medal of the Virgin Mary and a holy card with a prayer for purity. The Week of the Family is intended to strengthen and defend the family and is being promoted by all 280 parish pastors in Guayaquil. Father Alfonso Aviles, the archdiocesan Vicar for the Family, invited all the faithful to participate in the event. “We are living in a time in which we must strengthen the family as an institution willed and governed by God. The Church always has her arms opened to helping families,” he said. Father Aviles said some 20,000 are expected to participate in the different activities held during the week.



CNA reports that an American deacon whose cure from a crippling spine malady has been recognized as a miracle wrought though the intercession of Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman will visit Newman’s Birmingham Oratory in November.
Deacon Jack Sullivan of Massachusetts and his wife Carol will be in Birmingham from November 11 to 12. He will tour Newman’s room and library and the Oratory church, built in the early twentieth century to memorialize the nineteenth century theologian and Catholic convert. The deacon will see the desk at which Cardinal Newman wrote his Apologia Pro Vita Sua, a defense of his 1845 conversion to Catholicism.
The deacon will also visit Newman’s grave at Rednal and parts of Birmingham, such as Digbeth, where the cardinal worked in a poor neighborhood that was part of his first Oratorian parish, the Birmingham Oratory reports.
Deacon Sullivan will later visit Oxford, visiting Newman’s two colleges of Trinity and Oriel, and will also visit Littlemore, where Newman was received into the Catholic Church. The Brompton Oratory in London, which was founded by Father Newman, will be on Deacon Sullivan's itinerary too.
Deacon Sullivan will also visit Westminster Cathedral, where he will preach at Mass on the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.
Sullivan's Connection to Newman
In June 2000 he had awoken to excruciating pain. A CT scan revealed that all or most of the vertebrae and discs in his back had turned inward and were squeezing his spinal cord. A neurosurgeon advised him to have immediate surgery to prevent paralysis.
After seeing a show about the cardinal on EWTN, he first prayed to Cardinal Newman for the pain to cease so that he could continue his diaconate training. The pain ceased for a year, but came back with a fury.
Sullivan had surgery in the spring of 2001 during which his surgeon discovered that in addition to his other injuries the protective membrane surrounding his spine had been torn in at least two places.
Sullivan could not walk and suffered agonizing pain, facing the prospect of not being able to return to his diaconate classes. On August 15, 2001, four days after his surgery, he again prayed to Cardinal Newman.
“I felt tremendous heat and a tingling feeling all over that lasted for five or 10 minutes,” Sullivan told EWTN. “After I experienced this, I immediately stood up straight. I was able to walk, not with a walker or cane, but on my own, without any difficulty or pain. I walked all over the hospital, just joyful. I never needed any pain medication after that.”
Deacon Sullivan said the visit to Birmingham Oratory will be “the greatest moment of my life.”
“To visit the place where Newman prayed, lived and worked will be a wonderful experience. I call Cardinal Newman my ‘intercessor and special friend.’ Birmingham was the center of Newman’s whole life,” he said.
Writing in “A Story of a Miracle,” Deacon Sullivan has said Cardinal Newman’s writings are relevant in view of present tendencies towards intellectualism and lack of doctrine in “this so called progressive and secular age.”
“The supremacy of God has given way to the supremacy of man especially in his sense of self-sufficiency. As Newman suggested, modern man needs to recapture his former sense of awe and wonder at the majesty of God and our total dependence upon His love and mercy. I remember Newman suggests that what’s worse than the atheist is the Christian who thinks God thinks just like he does.”
Father Paul Chavasse, Provost of the Oratory and Actor of the Cause for Newman’s Canonization, said Deacon Sullivan’s visit will be a moment of “special grace.”
“God has chosen Jack’s healing as the means of Newman’s Beatification, which will be such an important moment for the Church of our times,” he commented.
The location and date of Cardinal Newman’s beatification is still undecided, the Birmingham Oratory reports.
The official website for the Cause for Cardinal Newman’s Canonization is at



UCAN reports that Ha Noi archdiocese’s former auxiliary bishop, who is remembered for serving the local Church faithfully during hard times, has died at the age of 91.

Portrait of Bishop Paul Le Dac Trongplaced at the cathedral in Ha Noi
Bishop Paul Le Dac Trong died in the early hours of Sept. 7 at a state-run hospital in the capital, according to archdiocesan sources. He was suffering from a range of diseases and had been in hospital for 10 days prior to his death.
Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Ha Noi, Auxiliary Bishop Laurence Chu Van Minh and local priests concelebrated a special Mass for Bishop Trong at the cathedral in the capital on Sept. 7.
Archbishop Kiet praised the late bishop “for defending the local Church through difficulties and challenges for decades.”
“Bishop Trong was the last witness to the local Church in hard times,” he said.
While up to a million local clergy, Religious and lay Catholics fled from the communists to the south after the country was declared independent in 1945, Bishop Trong, who was a priest at that time, remained in the capital.
Thereafter he witnessed the persecutions the local Church endured, when many of the Catholics remaining were killed, imprisoned, treated unfairly on grounds of religion and forced to live in poverty.
Churches, chapels, hospitals, schools and other properties were also confiscated by the regime.
Archbishop Kiet, 57, said Bishop Trong gave wise priestly formation to young men and provided pastoral activities for local Catholics. He was a quiet evangelist who gave catechism material to Catholics from the neighboring dioceses of Bui Chu, Phat Diem and Thai Binh.
Archbishop Kiet described the late bishop as “a man living a simple life and being very kind to all people.”
Bishop Trong’s body was placed at Nam Dinh church, 90 kilometers south of Ha Noi, and church bells rang out through the archdiocese.
Vietnamese bishops had “lost a highly respected brother and a good and wise teacher,” Bishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon of Da Lat, president of the Vietnam Bishops’ Conference, said in his condolence message to Archbishop Kiet.
Bishop Nhon, 71, said the late bishop, whose episcopal motto was “Obey God’s will,” loved the local Church and “faithfully served God’s people, even when he was old.”
Bishop Trong was ordained bishop in 1994 at the age of 76 and was a shining example of what local clergy should follow in the special Year for Priests, Bishop Nhon said.
Bishop Trong last spoke in public on Aug. 14 at a celebration of his 15th anniversary as an auxiliary bishop. The late bishop urged local clergy to work enthusiastically for the common good.
“I will spend the rest of my life praying every day for the local Church’s evangelization work. Please pray for me to fulfill my duty,” Bishop Trong told the congregation then.
The late bishop was born on June 15, 1918, in Ha Noi and ordained a priest on June 15, 1948. He then worked at local parishes and educational centers. In 1968, he became vicar general of the archdiocese and in 1992 was made vice rector of Saint Joseph Major Seminary in Ha Noi.
Pope John Paul II named him auxiliary bishop of Ha Noi on April 23, 1994. He retired in 2003.
His requiem Mass is scheduled for Sept 9.



CNS reports that members of a U.S. Catholic bishops' delegation visiting southern Africa said they were impressed with the church-run programs that treat and care for AIDS orphans and those infected with HIV.Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City said he was particularly "touched by the number of volunteers" involved in the efforts, noting that they "make it possible to get the services to the people" who need them.The bishop was part of a U.S. bishops' delegation visiting southern Africa Aug. 26-Sept. 6. Participants visited Zimbabwe Aug. 26-28, then traveled to South Africa, where most remained until Sept. 6.Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington who joined the delegation Aug. 31, and several others traveled to the landlocked kingdom of Swaziland and saw households where orphaned teenagers are raising their younger siblings.They visited St. Philip's Hostel for AIDS orphans, run by the Cabrini Sisters, who also care for victims of rape."It was wonderful to see the courage of these children, and I am grateful that people in the U.S. have a role to play in helping them," he said, noting that this help "is a great blessing for everyone."Swaziland has a population of 1.2 million, two-thirds of whom live in chronic poverty. It also has the world's highest HIV-positive rate.Members of the bishops' delegation also met with staff at the U.S. Embassy to Swaziland in Mbabane in an effort to arrange for U.S. government funding for church-run HIV and AIDS projects. The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, provides extensive funds for the AIDS projects run by the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, which includes the bishops of Swaziland, South Africa and Botswana.Bishop Wester, who visited AIDS projects in the Tzaneen Diocese in South Africa's Limpopo province, said he was "very impressed" with the parish-based services, including HIV-prevention programs, antiretroviral treatment and home-based care.The Tzaneen Diocese runs three AIDS projects -- funded by the U.S. bishops' Catholic Relief Services -- that provide HIV testing, counseling and antiretroviral drugs.The diocesan clinic in Tzaneen has "grown by word of mouth" since it opened in 2004, said Sister Anita O'Leary, a member of the Sisters of St. John of God who is responsible for the diocese's AIDS work."People see their neighbors getting better and so they come here to be treated," she said.Those who have the support of their families and are open about having HIV "have the greatest success," Sister O'Leary said, noting that there is still much stigma associated with AIDS in local communities.Anastasia Brown, director of refugee programs for the U.S. bishops' Migration and Refugee Services, said she was impressed by one woman waiting in a line for antiretroviral drugs at the Tzaneen clinic.The woman stood up and said, "You can take my picture" when the U.S. delegates said they would not be photographing patients because of privacy concerns.The woman's words "show one needn't hide in the shadows," Brown said. (SOURCE


South Melbourne's Father Bob Maguire said priests from abroad would probably fill the void left by retiring local priests.

"The headquarters has got some kind of pious thought that they're going to be able to get priests from around the world where there's a surplus," he was quoted as saying by The Age.
"Now that's beautiful, I love it, we're universalists but at the same time the local culture would say: 'Excuse me, can we have our local culture priority one with a migrant priest that receives education in the local culture because it's not fair to him or the local culture'."
Fr Maguire will mark his 75th birthday on Monday by writing to Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart with a refusal to step down, the report added.
The newspaper quoted retired North Balwyn priest and statistician Eric Hodgens warning that Victoria will only have one quarter of the priests it needs as the majority of priests, who were ordained between 1955 and 1975, reach retirement age or die.
In the Hunter Valley in NSW, priests have been recruited from India. Fr Maguire said enforcing the retirement age would result in more foreign priests being called upon.
He said another way to deal with the shortage of clerics was for parishioners to have a greater role in the running of churches.
Victorian Premier John Brumby reportedly said that Fr Maguire's retirement was a Church issue, but that the well loved priest still had plenty to offer the community and the Government might consider what other role he could play.


St. Peter Claver
Feast: September 9
Feast Day:
September 7
June 26, 1580, Verdu, Catalonia, Kingdom of Spain
September 8, 1654, Cartagena, Colombia
January 15, 1888, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:
Church of Saint Peter Claver
Patron of:
Slaves, Colombia, Race relations, and African Americans

The Blessed Peter Claver was born at Verdu in Catalonia in the year 1581, of parents eminent for piety and virtue, who instilled like qualities into his infant heart from the very cradle. In youth his piety and love of study won general admiration, and every preferment was open to him, but zeal for his neighbor's salvation led him to enter the Society of Jesus. His reputation was such that he was instantly admitted on his application in August, 1602. After a fervent noviceship, he was sent to the college of Majorca and there had the inexpressible happiness of enjoying the direction of the Blessed Alphonsus Rodriguez, then porter of the college, an eminent contemplative, from whom Claver derived much spiritual profit, and even a knowledge of his future career. Before completing his studies, he solicited the American mission, and was sent out in 1610. From that time he never asked about Spain, and seemed to have forgotten everything but the land of his labors. Completing his studies at Santa Fe de Bogota, he was ordained at Carthagena in 1615, and from that moment devoted himself to the care of the Negro slaves. No sooner did a slaver reach the port than he hastened on board with his interpreters, a basket of delicacies for the sick, and other necessaries. The sick were the first objects of his zeal. Gaining their good will by his kind and gentle manner, he instructed them in the doctrines of Christianity; and if there was danger, baptized them. He then began his regular instructions for those in health, which he continued from day to day, till they were prepared for baptism. Then, on an appointed day, he administered the sacrament to all, after a touching exhortation to persevere in virtue, The amount of his toil may be conceived, when we learn that at that time ten or twelve thousand slaves were annually landed at Carthagena. Nor did this include all, as many slavers, to avoid the custom-house duties, landed their cargo on the coast and pretended that they belonged to former licensed importations, and were already baptized. The zeal of the servant of God was more active than the interest of the government officers; he discovered most of these Negroes, instructed and baptized them. Not wearied with these labors, he visited the hospitals, and especially that of the Incurables and Lepers, whom he nursed with the greatest charity. The poor forsaken Negroes, too, in their hovels, were never too forlorn or too distant to escape him. So long did he breathe the pestiferous atmosphere of these abodes of misery, that his taste and smell were entirely lost. Besides all this, his austerities were frightful: his life was a miracle, as nothing but a miracle could have sustained it in such a climate, where a scratch is often fatal. Over the Negroes, he maintained a general direction; he had regular masses, instructions and devotions for them; he was their pastor, their father, their protector. In their behalf he frequently exercised the miraculous powers with which God, in a most eminent degree, invested him. Among the Spaniards he labored reluctantly, as they had clergy in abundance; but the poor could always have recourse to him, and for them, as for Moors, and heretics or unbelievers, he spared no toil.
During the season when slavers were not accustomed to arrive, he traversed the country, visiting plantation after plantation, to give spiritual consolation to the slaves. For a time, also, he was sent to labor among the Indians near the Isthmus, the field of the labors of St. Louis Bertrand, but, being seized with a fatal fever, he was carried back to Carthagena; there, partly recovering, he renewed his labors, but was again prostrated, and for the last four years of his life was scarcely able to move. Such was the poverty and wretchedness of the Jesuits, that he had no attendant but a Negro boy, and men were actually tearing down the house when he died, on the 8th of September, 1654, at the age of 72, a faithful imitator of the great Xavier. His canonization was immediately undertaken and almost brought to a close in 1747; but the suppression of his order and the troubles in Europe deferred the publication of the brief till the 29th of August, 1848, when he was solemnly beatified by Pope Pius IX.

Luke 6: 20 - 26
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
"Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. "Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.
"Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man!
Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
"But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation.
"Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger. "Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
"Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

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