Tuesday, October 6, 2009





SECOND GENERAL CONGREGATION VATICAN CITY, 5 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Second General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops began at 4.30 p.m. today in the Synod Hall, in the presence of the Holy Father. The session was dedicated to the presentation of five reports on how the theme of the Synod is perceived on five continents: South America, North America, Asia, Europe and Oceania, and a single report on the Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Africa". The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and there were 227 Synod Fathers present.

SOUTH AMERICA: ARCHBISHOP RAYMUNDO DAMASCENO ASSIS OF APARECIDA, BRAZIL, AND PRESIDENT OF THE LATIN AMERICAN EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE (CELAM). "I would like to suggest some points that could be a theme for dialogue for a possible fraternal exchange between the Churches of the two continents. From the episcopal point of view, we could share with Africa the great wealth of the 54 years of existence of the episcopal organisation I represent: the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM), an instrument of episcopal communion and mutual service among our bishops. Another possibility would be - with the support of the Holy See - to invite bishops of the Catholic Church on both continents for an exchange of collegial, pastoral and organisational experiences ... As concerns seminarians and priests, I think that it would be possible, and mutually enriching, to offer the seminaries of particular Churches in Latin America, which have greater resources, for the first period of priestly formation".

NORTH AMERICA: ARCHBISHOP WILTON DANIEL GREGORY OF ATLANTA, U.S.A. "The Church in the U.S.A. continues to benefit from those people from Africa who recently have come as visitors and new residents to our shores. These new arrivals come, not like those of an earlier moment in time, wearing chains and as human chattel, but as skilled workers, professionally trained businessmen, and students eager to make a new life in a land that they view as promising. Many of these new peoples bring with them a profound and dynamic Catholic faith with its rich spiritual heritage. These wonderful people challenge us to rediscover our own spiritual traditions that so often are set aside because of the influence of our secular pursuits".

ASIA: ARCHBISHOP ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO O.M.I. OF COTABATO, PHILIPPINES, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION OF ASIAN BISHOPS' CONFERENCES (FABC). "The Church in Africa and the Church in Asia are raising questions of deep import. ... As I understand it, the Church in Africa is exploring the theological and pastoral implications of the Church as the Family of God. For us in Asia, guided by Holy Scripture and the living Magisterium of the Church, we have been led by the Holy Spirit, we believe, to explore in the Asian context the theology of Church as communion and as humble servant of the Gospel and of Asian peoples. This theological perspective has opened up the pastoral option of ongoing radical renewal of the Church in Asia, an option more of being than of doing. ... The Church in Africa and the Church in Asia bear similar experiences of sorrow and joy. Sorrow at the many forces of a culture of death ... such as the increasing poverty and marginalisation of our peoples; ... injustices against women and. children; ... our inability to compete with the powerful in a global economic order unguided by juridical and moral norms; religious intolerance instead of a dialogue of reason and faith. ... On the other hand we experience great joy and hope in movements of justice and peace, ... in the solidarity of people of good will from different social classes and religious traditions to work for a more just, more peaceful, more fraternal social order".

OCEANIA: BISHOP PETER WILLIAM INGHAM OF WOLLONGONG AUSTRALIA, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS' CONFERENCES OF OCEANIA (FCBCO). "As in Africa, the Church now exists in Oceania, because of heroic missionaries who came mainly from Ireland, France, Germany and Italy. The faith in Oceania also has some wonderful role models in martyrs and saints in addition to those already canonised and beatified, but nowhere near the glorious tradition of saints and martyrs that witness to the faith in Africa. ... In both Oceania and Africa, great work is being done by the Church and its agencies to help people recover their equilibrium in their communities and to manage risks that could arise from natural disasters. We can and must learn from one another. I ask your prayers for Samoa and Tonga in their grief after the recent earthquake and tsunami".

EUROPE: CARDINAL PETER ERDO, ARCHBISHOP OF ESZTERGOM-BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, AND PRESIDENT OF THE "CONSILIUM CONFERENTIARUM EPISCOPORUM EUROPAE" (CCEE). "Christ is the light of the world. He illumines even the darkness of human history, and no obscurity, no hate, no evil can overcome Him. Our hope is in Him. Even if the Church's voice and the witness of each Christian seems weak, even if they often do not appear on the front page of the great communications media, this subtle voice is stronger than any noise, lie, propaganda, or manipulation. We are witnesses to the strength of the martyrs. ... We European Catholics have learned from our own history closely to follow the fate of African Christians, and we have also learned to respect your faithfulness, your witness, and the African martyrs who give their lives - year after year in worryingly-large numbers - for Christ and for His Church, and in the same way also for us. The Church in Africa has earned our gratitude and our profound respect".

ARCHBISHOP LAURENT MONSENGWO PASINYA OF KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. "We must recognise that the spirit and dynamism of the First Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops gave fresh impulse to the life and mission of the Church in Africa. Not only did the local Churches enthusiastically embrace the post-Synodal Exhortation 'Ecclesia in Africa', which they published and presented, but they also followed its directives, options and guidelines, both in calling diocesan synods at national or regional level, and in organising congresses, symposia and seminars on the key theme of Church-Family of God. ... The Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops is called to commit the Church and society in Africa to the path of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace, through justice in truth: 'reconciled in the Church-Family of God for the salvation of a numerous people'".SE/SECOND CONGREGATION/... VIS 091006 (1100)

THIRD GENERAL CONGREGATION VATICAN CITY, 6 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Third General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops began this morning in the presence of the Holy Father. The session was attended by 226 Synod Fathers, and the president delegate on duty was Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier O.F.M., archbishop of Durban, South Africa. At the beginning of today's session His Holiness Abuna Paulos, patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, addressed participants, thanking the Pope for his invitation to participate in this Synod. "We have to exercise our peculiar responsibility as religious leaders and heads of Churches: to acknowledge and sustain, when we deem it necessary, the suggestions that come from the people, as, on the contrary, to reject them when they contradict the respect and love for Man", said the patriarch speaking English. "African religious leaders not only have to worry about social work but also answer the great spiritual needs of the women and men of Africa. Apostleship and social works cannot be treated separately. Social work is the meaning of apostleship. Apostleship is the root of a real and compassionate social work. Our land needs to be nourished by the teachings of its religious fathers and I feel obliged together with you to translate in practice our preaching. I feel the imperative to enhance the awareness of the people to honour life, peace and justice. Thus, leaders of the African Churches, with the power of the Almighty God and of the Holy Spirit, need to voice the language of the Church". The Pope responded briefly to the patriarch's words. "Your presence", he said, also in English, "bears eloquent witness to the antiquity and rich traditions of the Church in Africa. ... Your people's fidelity to the Gospel continues to be shown not only by their obedience to this law of love, but also, as you have reminded us, by perseverance amid persecution and the supreme sacrifice of martyrdom for the name of Christ. "Your Holiness has recalled", the Benedict XVI added, "that the proclamation of the Gospel cannot be separated from the commitment to build a society which conforms to God's will, respects the blessings of His creation and protects the dignity and innocence of all His children. In Christ we know that reconsolidation is possible, justice can prevail, peace can endure! This is the message of hope which we are called to proclaim. This is the promise which the people of Africa long to see fulfilled in our day".

CARDINAL ANGELO SODANO, DEAN OF THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS. "Today we can see more clearly the enormity of the disasters provoked by nationalism and the exaltation of the concept of race. ... How can we forget that also in Africa homicidal rage between different ethnic groups has devastated entire countries? ... I believe we should repeat to everyone, with greater insistence, that love of one's nation (concretely, of one's people, one's compatriots) is certainly a Christian duty, but we also have to add that the deviation of nationalism is wholly un-Christian. ... Christianity favoured the coming together of the peoples of a certain region, giving life to the concept of a people or a nation, with its own specific cultural identity. Christianity, though, has always condemned any deformation in this concept of nation, deformations that frequently descend into nationalism or even racism, the true negation of Christian universality. The truth is that the two basic principles of the Christian community have always been the dignity of each human person, on the one hand, and the unity of the human race, on the other. These are two inviolable frontiers, within which various concepts of nation can evolve, depending on time and place. ... The present 53 African nations will have a great future in the concert of the 192 nations that today make up the entire human family, if they are able to overcome their divisions and co-operate together for the material and spiritual progress of their peoples".

CARDINAL POLYCARP PENGO, ARCHBISHOP OF DAR-ES-SALAAM, TANZANIA, AND PRESIDENT OF THE "SYMPOSIUM DES CONFERENCES EPISCOPALES D'AFRIQUE ET DE MADAGASCAR" (SCEAM). "The theme of this Synod is of great urgency today for the Church in Africa. In order to develop and deepen the theme as required, questions like selfishness, greed for material wealth, ethnicity resulting in ethnic conflicts and others which are the root causes of lack of peace in many Africans societies must be confronted without fear or favour, and be followed up with specific pastoral directives. The wars and conflicts affecting our continent are dividing our people, sowing a culture of violence and destroying the spiritual, social and moral fabric of our societies. It is sad to have to state that there are allegations against some of us pastors being involved either through our omissions or even by direct commissions in these conflicts. In this Synod we must have the courage to denounce even against ourselves things like the misuse of the role and practice of authority, tribalism and ethnocentrism, political partisan of the religious leaders etc. The Church in Africa will not be able to speak with one voice about reconciliation, justice and peace if there is a clear lack of adequate unity and communion and appropriate responsibility for SECAM on the part of individual bishops and national as well as regional episcopal conferences".

ARCHBISHOP FIDELE AGBATCHI OF PARAKOU, BENIN. "The Synodal Fathers should consider the practical aspects - so abundantly underlined in the 'Instrumentum laboris' - of applying the exegetical and theological principles of reconciliation, justice and peace which stem from the One Triune God. ... Such a task carried out by the Synod Fathers would help Africa take up her historical responsibility before the Gospel, which she has received and has the duty to fulfil. ... This would help her rid herself of fear. In fact, Africa is afraid and lives in fear. Jealously protecting her discoveries about the world and nature, she naturally falls into mistrust, suspicion, a defensive attitude, aggressiveness, charlatanism ... and syncretism, facets that contribute to obstructing the search for the true God. How much this continent, mother of us all, hopes to see the even more radiant lustre of the light of the crucified and risen Christ! What I wish for this Synod is a Paschal future and, after so much suffering, the resurrection of Africa".

BISHOP MAROUN ELIAS LAHHAM OF TUNIS, TUNISIA. "The specificity of Islamic-Christian relations in the Churches of North Africa could enrich the experiences of dialogue elsewhere (in Europe or in sub-Saharan Africa) and defuse the reactions of fear and the rejection of Islam that we are beginning to see in certain countries. We all know that fear is a bad counsellor. ... Two propositions: (1) May the Synod for the Middle East, scheduled for October 2010, also include the dioceses of North Africa, especially as regards the Christian minorities and relations and dialogue with Islam. (2) A discussion about Islam in Africa that takes account of the variety of African experiences, from Tunis to Johannesburg".SE/THIRD CONGREGATION/... VIS 091006 (1180)


CNA reports that the Italian daily Il Foglio published an article today entitled "L'ascia del vescovo pellerossa - Charles J. Chaput contro Notre Dame e l'illustre cardinale sedotto dall'abortista Obama" (The ax of the red skin Bishop - Charles J. Chaput against Notre Dame and the illustrious cardinal seduced by the pro-abortion Obama) in which the Archbishop of Denver contests some of the strongly pro-Obama assertions made by Cardinal Georges Cottier last July in the international Catholic magazine "30 Days."
Il Foglio is one of the most influential intellectual dailies in Italy, dedicated more to analyzing than covering the news. Its director is one of the most famous contemporary Italian thinkers, Giuliano Ferrara.
Despite being an agnostic, Ferrara is a long-time admirer of the thought of Joseph Ratzinger.
In its Tuesday edition, Il Foglio published a front page interview with Cardinal Francis George, and devoted its third page to Archbishop Chaput's comments on Cottier's original essay.
The archbishop's article, originally submitted under the more modest title of "Politics, Morality and a President: an American View," focuses on what it meant to American Catholics to have President Obama speak at the University of Notre Dame and be honored with a law degree, an event which Cardinal Cottier, Theologian Emeritus of the Pontifical Household, described in 30 Days in a very positive light.
Catholic News Agency exclusively presents below the full text of Archbishop Chaput's article published today in Il Foglio.
Politics, Morality and a President: an American View
One of the strengths of the Church is her global perspective. In that light, Cardinal Georges Cottier's recent essay on President Barack Obama ("Politics, morality and original sin," 30 Days, No. 5), made a valuable contribution to Catholic discussion of the new American president. Our faith connects us across borders. What happens in one nation may have an impact on many others. World opinion about America's leaders is not only appropriate; it should be welcomed.
And yet, the world does not live and vote in the United States. Americans do. The pastoral realities of any country are best known by the local bishops who shepherd their people. Thus, on the subject of America's leaders, the thoughts of an American bishop may have some value. They may augment the Cardinal's good views by offering a different perspective.
Note that I speak here only for myself. I do not speak for the bishops of the United States as a body, nor for any other individual bishop. Nor will I address President Obama's speech to the Islamic world, which Cardinal Cottier mentions in his own essay. That would require a separate discussion.
I will focus instead on the President's graduation appearance at the University of Notre Dame, and Cardinal Cottier's comments on the President's thinking. I have two motives in doing so.
First, men and women from my own diocese belong to the national Notre Dame community as students, graduates and parents. Every bishop has a stake in the faith of the people in his care, and Notre Dame has never merely been a local Catholic university. It is an icon of the American Catholic experience. Second, when Notre Dame's local bishop vigorously disagrees with the appearance of any speaker, and some 80 other bishops and 300,000 laypeople around the country publicly support the local bishop, then reasonable people must infer that a real problem exists with the speaker – or at least with his appearance at the disputed event. Reasonable people might further choose to defer to the judgment of those Catholic pastors closest to the controversy.
Regrettably and unintentionally, Cardinal Cottier's articulate essay undervalues the gravity of what happened at Notre Dame. It also overvalues the consonance of President Obama's thinking with Catholic teaching.
There are several key points to remember here.
First, resistance to President Obama's appearance at Notre Dame had nothing to do with whether he is a good or bad man. He is obviously a gifted man. He has many good moral and political instincts, and an admirable devotion to his family. These things matter. But unfortunately, so does this: The President's views on vital bioethical issues, including but not limited to abortion, differ sharply from Catholic teaching. This is why he has enjoyed the strong support of major "abortion rights" groups for many years. Much is made, in some religious circles, of the President's sympathy for Catholic social teaching. But defense of the unborn child is a demand of social justice. There is no "social justice" if the youngest and weakest among us can be legally killed. Good programs for the poor are vital, but they can never excuse this fundamental violation of human rights.
Second, at a different moment and under different circumstances, the conflict at Notre Dame might have faded away if the university had simply asked the President to give a lecture or public address. But at a time when the American bishops as a body had already voiced strong concern about the new administration's abortion policies, Notre Dame not only made the President the centerpiece of its graduation events, but also granted him an honorary doctorate of laws – this, despite his deeply troubling views on abortion law and related social issues.
The real source of Catholic frustration with President Obama's appearance at Notre Dame was his overt, negative public voting and speaking record on abortion and other problematic issues. By its actions, Notre Dame ignored and violated the guidance of America's bishops in their 2004 document, "Catholics in Political Life." In that text, the bishops urged Catholic institutions to refrain from honoring public officials who disagreed with Church teaching on grave matters.
Thus, the fierce debate in American Catholic circles this spring over the Notre Dame honor for Mr. Obama was not finally about partisan politics. It was about serious issues of Catholic belief, identity and witness – triggered by Mr. Obama's views -- which Cardinal Cottier, writing from outside the American context, may have misunderstood.
Third, the Cardinal wisely notes points of contact between President Obama's frequently stated search for political "common ground" and the Catholic emphasis on pursing the "common good." These goals – seeking common ground and pursuing the common good – can often coincide. But they are not the same thing. They can sharply diverge in practice. So-called "common ground" abortion policies may actually attack the common good because they imply a false unity; they create a ledge of shared public agreement too narrow and too weak to sustain the weight of a real moral consensus. The common good is never served by tolerance for killing the weak – beginning with the unborn.
Fourth, Cardinal Cottier rightly reminds his readers of the mutual respect and cooperative spirit required by citizenship in a pluralist democracy. But pluralism is never an end in itself. It is never an excuse for inaction. As President Obama himself acknowledged at Notre Dame, democracy depends for its health on people of conviction fighting hard in the public square for what they believe – peacefully, legally but vigorously and without apologies.
Unfortunately, the President also added the curious remark that ". . . the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt . . . This doubt should not push us away from our faith. But it should humble us." In a sense, of course, this is true: On this side of eternity, doubt is part of the human predicament. But doubt is the absence of something; it is not a positive value. Insofar as it inoculates believers from acting on the demands of faith, doubt is a fatal weakness.
The habit of doubt fits much too comfortably with a kind of "baptized unbelief;" a Christianity that is little more than a vague tribal loyalty and a convenient spiritual vocabulary. Too often in recent American experience, pluralism and doubt have become alibis for Catholic moral and political lethargy. Perhaps Europe is different. But I would suggest that our current historical moment -- which both European and American Catholics share -- is very far from the social circumstances facing the early Christian legislators mentioned by the Cardinal. They had faith, and they also had the zeal – tempered by patience and intelligence – to incarnate the moral content of their faith explicitly in culture. In other words, they were building a civilization shaped by Christian belief. Something very different is happening now.
Cardinal Cottier's essay gives witness to his own generous spirit. I was struck in particular by his praise for President Obama's "humble realism." I hope he's right. American Catholics want him to be right. Humility and realism are the soil where a commonsense, modest, human-scaled and moral politics can grow. Whether President Obama can provide this kind of leadership remains to be seen. We have a duty to pray for him -- so that he can, and does.
CNA reports that the Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, remarked to Catholics recently that the Venezuelan government decided long ago to expel religion from schools, and therefore they should avoid the temptation to fall into secularism or yield to its onslaught.
“This is the immense challenge that we face, amidst the onslaught of secularism. Once we learn of the laws and norms that will exclude religious education—which was never obligatory or compulsive—from school curricula and the school day, we will have to come up with creative ways to carry out our sublime mission,” the cardinal said.
While noting that the new federal law does not in itself prohibit religious education from the classroom, the implementation of the law is where the attempt will be made to do so, he explained.
This is the interpretation that has already been applied to the new law in certain regions of the country, the cardinal warned, saying the government had long decided it would move to expel religion education from schools.
Cardinal Urosa stressed that evangelization through education is also part of the Church’s mission, and therefore he called for the defense of “the identity of Catholic schools and insistence on our right to educate students in the faith.”
“If there is a temptation in which we must not fall it is the temptation of secularism, of softening the proclamation of our faith, of giving up carrying out the glorious mission of being messengers of the Kingdom of God, of resigning ourselves to do nothing about it,” the cardinal said. Cardinal Urosa recalled the words of Christ, telling his flock, “Be not afraid” and trust in the Lord. “We have the structures, the personnel, the experience, and above all, we have the grace of God,” he added.
Venezuela’s new law on education was approved by the National Assembly, which is dominated by the party of Hugo Chavez. The vote was pushed through without any consultation with the opposition or other sectors of society. (SOURCE:
CNS reports that for the "cycle of violence, humiliation, oppression and exploitation" in Zimbabwe to stop, the truth about the country's violence needs to be told, said Zimbabwe's Catholic bishops."We recommend that there be open and public admission that violence has been part of our life and history," the bishops said, noting that "victims need to tell their stories in a free and supportive environment" and perpetrators "need to take responsibility for their sins."In an Oct. 1 pastoral letter on national healing and reconciliation, the bishops said "the church is prepared to offer the mechanism" and to "play a significant role not only in healing and cohesion but also in the much-needed reconciliation."They said those who have used their positions of power "to direct, command, plan or directly commit acts of violence should not be allowed to hold any public office" that could be used to perpetrate further violence."For national reconciliation and healing to take place effectively, it is necessary that the entire nation participates in a comprehensive, all-inclusive, holistic and clearly defined national process underpinned by strong political will and desire to reconcile and heal the nation," the bishops said.When Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980, "we all pretended that we could start afresh in a new Zimbabwe without dealing with our past or defining collectively what future we desired for our nation," the bishops said."We pretended that the anger and hatred that had accumulated over many years could simply vanish with independence. This failure to deal with our past continues to haunt us," they said.The southern African country's "political history is characterized by the use of state institutions as partisan tools to support the ruling party," they said, noting that people "who have opposed the ruling party have been marginalized and sometimes criminalized" and the lack of space for "healthy political debates" has caused "frustration and resentment."The main cause of conflicts in Zimbabwe "is the consistent violation of human dignity and therefore human rights," the bishops said.Noting that Zimbabweans have "a second chance" that they must use, the bishops urged the government "to show political willingness by creating a conducive environment for national healing, reconciliation and integration."Under the deal that brought President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change into a coalition government in February, the parties agreed to consider setting up a mechanism for national healing, the bishops said.There is a general admission in Zimbabwe "that our situation is a real crisis which cannot be left unattended," the bishops said, noting that while the deal that led to the coalition government has limitations they regard it "as a moment of grace that can and should be turned into a new beginning.""Genuine healing and reconciliation can only take place when the environment is open, free and democratic," they said, noting that "when such an environment does not exist, as is currently the case, the church commits herself to working toward its establishment."The bishops said Zimbabwe "is deeply divided" politically and, besides having conflict between different racial groups, its painful history includes "hurtful memories from ethnic rivalry" between the Shona and Ndebele people."We, as leaders of the church, are committed to helping this country achieve normalcy," they said.Calling on all people of good will, the government and civil society "to support this effort to heal those who have been wounded" in Zimbabwe, the bishops said "restorative justice will help to heal those whose rights were undermined and, with the help of the Lord, they will achieve reconciliation and peace."This is not "an easy or short-term task," they said, noting that they have begun this work in caring for victims of "inhuman torture" and "desire to complete it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit."The bishops appealed "to the perpetrators of these atrocities, accomplices and instigators of violence to acknowledge the evil deeds" and to make restitution.They also appealed to the victims to forgive, noting that this is difficult."Do not expect total compensation but what the community can afford," they said."We are all guilty, for those who have been victims at one time have been aggressors at another, and many more have done nothing in the face of atrocities perpetrated before their eyes. Today, we all need healing from these hurts and from our guilt," they said.Noting that reconciliation is a "demanding responsibility which calls for great commitment, dedication and sacrifice," the bishops said a framework for national healing and reconciliation drawn up by Zimbabwe's churches and civil society in May "could serve as a starting point for healing our nation."The framework "proposes a comprehensive process for intervention" by the government, the church, civil society and other sectors, they said. (SOURCE:


Cath News reports that the Federal Government's School Enrolment and Attendance Measure, to link school attendance with welfare payments in six Northern Territory communities, is being hampered by a critical lack of resources.
The measure, introduced earlier this year, is being compromised because teachers in the schools charged with implementing it were only able to follow up with a fraction of the families whose children don't attend school, The Australian reports.
The principal of the Tiwi Islands' Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic School at Nguiu, Leah Kerinauia, said 29 children were identified who were chronically absent from school. The school was only able to prioritise five cases per term.
Ms Kerinauia said the school had relied on a liaison officer to help it deal with the significant workload involved in negotiating with parents who did not send their children to school. With 248 children enrolled and only 10 teachers, the exercise was time consuming.
The SEAM program asks school principals to inform the NT education department or the Catholic Education Office about students who regularly miss school. The departments can recommend to Centrelink that the child's parents have their welfare payments suspended.



UCAN reports that Chinese Catholics say they appreciate the holding of cultural celebrations, such as the Mid-Autumn Festival, in church.
Children gather in church with their lanterns
At least six parishes in the predominantly-Chinese city state celebrated the Oct. 3 Chinese festival in some way recently.
At Blessed Sacrament Church, children, accompanied by parents and catechists, held paper lanterns and walked in procession around the church after a special Children’s Mass held in the evening.
Carrying lanterns is part of the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations that Chinese celebrate on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar.
During the Children’s Mass, paper lanterns were also given as offertory gifts. Mooncakes were distributed to parishioners after the celebrations.
Parish organizers said the Mass aimed to commemorate the canonization of Blessed Damien of Molokai scheduled for Oct. 11, and the carrying of lanterns was to encourage children to be the “light of the world,” just as Blessed Damien was.
The Belgian priest ministered to leprosy patients in Hawaii in the 19th century. He died of the disease in 1889. The Blessed Sacrament Church in Singapore is run by the same congregation that Blessed Damien belonged to, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Parishioner David Woon, 35, said the special Mass and lantern procession was “a very good event” which brought “children and families together.”
“I hope such events continue,” he said, adding that he found the incorporation of such cultural celebrations in church meaningful.
Another parishioner, Catherine Chia, 60, speaking in Mandarin, said: “Most people think Chinese traditions and the Catholic Church do not link. But Chinese customs are not incompatible with the Church. We do invite our non-Catholic friends and relatives to join such festivities.”
Massgoers sampling mooncakes at the Church of the Holy Trinity
At the Church of the Holy Trinity, which celebrated the festival a day earlier, parishioners set up a stall for people to sample mooncakes.
They also organized a magic show and lantern procession, while Mandarin-Chinese speaking parishioners put on song performances.
For Indian national Albert Christudasen, 34, who has lived in Singapore for nine years, the celebration evoked memories of the harvest festival back home where Catholics would celebrate with a Mass and a social gathering.
“We celebrate the culture behind the festival,” he said. “To me, it’s blending the local culture with the Catholic culture to give us a better identity.”
Other parishes which celebrated the festival included the Church of St. Mary of the Angels, St. Anne’s Church, Church of St. Bernadette and Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Father Henry Siew, pastor of Nativity church, said Catholics celebrate various cultural feasts when there are big congregations of believers from those cultures. This is “the integration of cultures and faith,” he said. “These festivities are occasions to build a communion of communities in line with the Church’s understanding of Church as a community of love.”
Parishes in Singapore also celebrate the Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year with a special Mass during which oranges are blessed and distributed.
Various Chinese linguistic groups form about 75 percent of Singapore's nearly 5 million people.


St. Bruno
Feast: October 6
Feast Day:
October 6
1030 at Cologne, Germany
1101 at Torre, Calabria, Italy
Patron of:
possessed people

Confessor, ecclesiastical writer, and founder of the Carthusian Order. He was born at Cologne about the year 1030; died 6 October, 1101. He is usually represented with a death's head in his hands, a book and a cross, or crowned with seven stars; or with a roll bearing the device O Bonitas. His feast is kept on the 6th of October.
According to tradition, St. Bruno belonged to the family of Hartenfaust, or Hardebüst, one of the principal families of the city, and it is in remembrance of this origin that different members of the family of Hartenfaust have received from the Carthusians either some special prayers for the dead, as in the case of Peter Bruno Hartenfaust in 1714, and Louis Alexander Hartenfaust, Baron of Laach, in 1740; or a personal affiliation with the order, as with Louis Bruno of Hardevüst, Baron of Laach and Burgomaster of the town of Bergues-S. Winnoc, in the Diocese of Cambrai, with whom the Hardevüst family in the male line became extinct on 22 March, 1784.
We have little information about the childhood and youth of St. Bruno. Born at Cologne, he would have studied at the city college, or collegial of St. Cunibert. While still quite young (a pueris) he went to complete his education at Reims, attracted by the reputation of the episcopal school and of its director, Heriman. There he finished his classical studies and perfected himself in the sacred sciences which at that time consisted principally of the study of Holy Scripture and of the Fathers. He became there, according to the testimony of his contemporaries, learned both in human and in Divine science. (SOURCE:


Luke 10: 38 - 42

38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house.

39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me."

41 But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;

42 one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her."

No comments: