Saturday, October 10, 2009





CNA reports that Pope Benedict XVI attended a concert on Thursday evening as part of commemorations for the 70th anniversary of World War II. The Holy Father prayed that "the recollection of those sad events be a warning, especially to the new generations, never to yield to the temptation of war," and pointed to the ecumenical movement as a means to held build a civilization of peace.
The concert, which was titled "Young People Against War (1939-2009)" took place yesterday evening in the Auditorium on Rome's Via della Conciliazione.
The musical celebration was played by the "InterRegionales Jugendsinfonie Orchester" and conducted by Jochem Hochstenbach. The programme included compositions by Gustav Mahler and Felix Mendelsshon-Bartholdy and texts by Johan Wolfgang Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Paul Celan and Berthold Brecht, as well as two poems by children imprisoned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, read by Michelle Breedt and Klaus Maria Brandauer.
Organizations that helped put the event together included the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism, the German embassy to the Holy See and the European "KulturForum" of Mainau.
Following the concert, Pope Benedict said that it was a joy for him to participate in the event and that the universal language of music is able to "encourage young people to build the future of the world together, drawing inspiration from the values of peace and the brotherhood of man."
Turning to the fact that it was the tragedy of World War II that occassioned the concert, the Pope called it "a terrible page of history steeped in violence and inhumanity which caused the death of millions of people, leaving the winners divided and Europe to be rebuilt. The war, instigated by National Socialism, affected many innocent peoples in Europe and on other continents, while with the drama of the Shoah it particularly affected the Jewish people, who were victims of a planned extermination."
And yet, the Pontiff noted, "calls for reason and peace were not lacking from many sides. Here in Rome, the heartfelt cry of my venerated predecessor Pius XII rang out. In his radio message of 24 August 1939 - on the very eve of the outbreak of war - he decisively proclaimed: 'nothing is lost with peace. Everything may be lost with war'. ... May the recollection of those sad events be a warning, especially to the new generations, never to yield to the temptation of war."
Pope Benedict then went on to mention the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, "an eloquent symbol of the end of the totalitarian Communist regimes of Eastern Europe," he said. "Europe and the entire world thirst for freedom and peace. Together we must build true civilisation, not founded on force but on the 'fruit of our victory over ourselves, over the powers of injustice, selfishness and hatred which can even go so far as to disfigure man.'"
"The ecumenical movement," he concluded, "can help to build [this civilization], working together with the Jews and with all believers. May God bless us and grant humankind the gift of peace." (SOURCE:



Catholic Herald reports that the choir of Notre Dame senior school in Cobham, Surrey, performed before 2,000 people at Westminster Cathedral at evening Mass on September 26, including the Mayor of Elmbridge, Councillor James Vickers, who spoke of the performance as a significant event for the borough. The school is well known for the quality of its music and provided a 120-voice choir, including 90 girls from Year 7 to the sixth form, staff and parents.The opulent Byzantine interior of the Cathedral provided a magnificent backdrop to the Mass celebrated by Bishop Bernard Longley. The bishop made specific reference to Notre Dame senior school's participation at Westminster, one of the most important centres for Catholic worship in the country. For nine years, Bishop Longley was chaplain to the Sisters of the Company of Mary Our Lady, who founded the school in 1937 in Cobham, and he expressed his pleasure at seeing the school singing at the cathedral. Comments from individuals who attended included "awe-inspiring" and "a choir of angels". One member of the audience said the event was "such a spiritually uplifting experience, much needed in these difficult times". Another said the choir was "undoubtedly one of the better school choirs in the country".The congregation expressed its appreciation by giving the choir a round of applause as the singers descended from the choir stalls to have a picture taken with Bishop Longley in front of the altar.The choir's repertoire included an impressive setting of the hymn "Christ Triumphant", in honour of Benedict XVI's ascension to the papacy, the Notre Dame Mass and an Ave Verum, all composed by their director of music, Dr Robin Fenton, who was delighted with the performance. Kathryn Singleton, a vocal tutor at the school, sang the Ave Verum during Holy Communion."The girls responded to this opportunity like true professionals and gave a spine-tingling performance," Dr Fenton said. "I am pleased that they were able to share their talents with such a large congregation. It was an amazing experience for us all and I am sure the girls will be talking about this for a considerable time to come."The performance that Saturday evening was the first part of a programme that will culminate in an appearance at the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela in Spain.St Jeanne de Lestonnac, born in 1556, set up the order of the Company of Mary Our Lady in Bordeaux. Her father was a prominent politician and her mother was drawn to Protestantism by the influence of the Calvinists in France. Jeanne wanted to found an institution which responded to the dearth of formal education of women in 17th century France. Her order is considered to be one of the first such organisations to believe in educating girls and guiding them to independence. She discovered the presence of Jesus in the poor and through charity she met young people who wanted to make a commitment to her apostolic endeavour. (SOURCE:



USCCB announced that three chairmen of the bishops’ committees working on health care reform urged the U.S. Congress to improve current health care reform legislation, expressing their “disappointment that progress has not been made on the three priority criteria for health care reform” cited in their previous letters. The October 8 letter from Bishop William Murphy, Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop John Wester reiterated the bishops’ main concerns: that no one should be forced to pay for or participate in an abortion, that health care should be affordable and available to the poor and vulnerable, and that the needs of legal immigrants are met. Bishop Murphy, Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Wester chair the U.S. bishops’ committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Pro-Life Activities and Immigration, respectively. The bishops reaffirmed their commitment to working with Congress and the Administration toward genuine health care reform, but stated, “If final legislation does not meet our principles, we will have no choice but to oppose the bill.” “We sincerely hope that the legislation will not fall short of our criteria,” wrote the bishops. “However, we remain apprehensive when amendments protecting freedom of conscience and ensuring no taxpayer money for abortion are defeated in committee votes.” The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has advocated for health care reform for decades. The bishops wrote that “Catholic moral tradition teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential to protecting human life and dignity. Much-needed reform of our health care system must be pursued in ways that serve the life and dignity of all, never in ways that undermine or violate these fundamental values. We will work tirelessly to remedy these central problems and help pass real reform that clearly protects the life, dignity and health of all.” (SOURCE:



UCAN reports that Church representatives have appealed to Korea’s National Assembly to abolish the death penalty and submitted a petition signed by over 100,000 Catholics.
Father John Bosco Byeon Seung-sik (second from right) submits to a National Assembly official (extreme left) Catholics' appeal against the death penalty
On Oct. 8, the Korean bishops' Subcommittee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment held a press conference in the National Assembly building, during which they urged lawmakers to end capital punishment.
After the conference, the bishops submitted the petition containing the signatures of 100,481 Catholics, including their own. The appeal came on the same day that 53 Korean lawmakers submitted a bill proposing the abolition of the death penalty.
Father John Bosco Byeon Seung-sik, undersecretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK), said the Catholic Church's appeal was made based on respect for life and human rights.
He recognized that as violent crimes increase, there are those who would like to see executions resume in the country. But he insisted that the international trend is moving toward the abolition of capital punishment, and expressed his hope the 18th National Assembly would do so too.
On Dec. 30, 2007, South Korea marked 10 years since its last executions, when 23 people were hanged, thus becoming an abolitionist country "in practice" as defined by international human rights group Amnesty International.
Presently, there are 58 convicts awaiting execution by hanging.
Father Byeon said the petition was organized to fulfill the wishes of the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan of Seoul, who strongly supported abolition. Cardinal Kim died on Feb. 16 this year.
The petition, started in December last year, was conducted in all 1,543 parishes in South Korea over three months.
The subcommittee decided to wait for the 53 lawmakers to submit their bill before handing in their petition to the Legislative Counseling Office of the National Assembly in order to achieve more impact.
The bill calls for the abolition of the death penalty and its replacement with life imprisonment without parole or commutation. It argues that the death penalty does not deter violent crimes but its abolition would protect and respect human rights.
However, the bill looks likely to be rejected like other similar bills before it.
During the previous National Assembly, an anti-death penalty bill endorsed by 175 legislators -- more than half the assembly -- was submitted. However, conservative lawmakers in the Legislation and Judiciary Committee blocked discussion on it.
According to National Assembly regulations, any proposed bill must be discussed in that committee before being forwarded to the assembly.
In the present National Assembly, 167 lawmakers from the 290-seat house come from the conservative Grand National Party. President Lee Myung-bak, who is from this party, also favors keeping the death penalty.
According to a Ministry of Justice survey last February, 64.1 percent of Koreans are also in favor of capital punishment, while only 18.5 percent oppose it. Others were undecided.
However, Kim Boo-kyum, a main sponsor of the bill from the opposition Democratic Party, expects some progress. He told UCA News, "This time, I got a promise from the chairperson of the committee to discuss the bill."
"If committee members discuss the bill, it will become an issue and their understanding of it will deepen," he said.
The committee chairperson is Peter Lew Seon-ho from the Democratic Party, one of the co-signers of the bill.
Andrew Kim Duck-jin, secretary general of the Catholic Human Rights Committee, told UCA News, "The abolition of the death penalty should not be swayed by party interests since it deals with respecting human life and human rights."



CISA reports that the Catholic Diocese of Ngong will mark its golden jubilee since its inception and at the same time launch the Year of Priests during the Eucharistic celebration on October 29, 2009 at St. Joseph�s Pro Cathedral.The Mass will be held at 10am and His Eminence John Cardinal Njue will be the main celebrant. Bishop Emeritus Colin Davies will also be present during the celebrations.Fr Francis Mwangi vicar general in the diocese said, �The Diocese of Ngong has come from far and today there is a lot of development seen in all aspects of life. There are a number of dispensaries, schools, homes for the physically challenged.�Fr Mwangi said that the Diocese is grateful to various partners and donors who have helped in one way or the other.However, he said that there is still a lot to be done in some of the parishes like Entasekera, Lemek, Mashuru, Lenkisem, Namanga, and Magadi and others.�These parishes are still in the pre-evangelization and need a lot of attention in terms of personnel,� he said.Fr Mwangi said, �As we thank the Lord for the 50 years, we continue to pray for many vocations so that the work of evangelization may continue.�Ngong Diocese was established on October 20, 1959 and entrusted to the Mill Hill Missionaries Society. Its first four missionaries were fathers Hans Van Pinxteren, James Cronin, Tony Herrnegger and Colin Davies and Brother Hilary Rizzi.The first Prefecture Apostolic was Monsignor J. De Reeper who was appointed in January 1960 and the first parish in the diocese was opened in 1955. In 1960 other two parishes, Narok and Ngong were opened.Monsignor Fr Colin Davies was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Ngong on December 15, 1976 and was consecrated bishop on February 27, 1977.The diocese comprises four deaneries namely Ngong, Loitokitok, Narok and Transmara.There are 29 parishes served by 61 priests, 41 local clergy and 21 members of religious congregations and 19 congregations of religious women.Bishop Davies worked tirelessly up to 2003 when he handed over to Bishop Cornelius Schilder who has been the bishop of Ngong up to August 2009 when he resigned on health grounds.John Cardinal Njue was appointed by the Pope Benedict XVI to be the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese. (SOURCE:



Cath News reports that Federal Senator Julian McGauran and four others were invested as knights and dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem at Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral.

The order's Grand Master, American cardinal John Foley, led the Mass at the cathedral, admitting Senator McGauran, prominent lawyer Anthony Krohn, his wife Anna Krohn, lawyer John Sinisgalli and scientist Marcia Riordan, according to The Age.
The five were given the legal right to ride a horse into St Patrick's Cathedral for the ceremony.
Mr Krohn said the traditional privileges of membership include the right to confer Christian burial on executed criminals. He told the newspaper that Cardinal George Pell, when he was archbishop of Melbourne, was told of the right to ride a horse into church. "Over my dead body," he reportedly replied.
Senator McGauran said it was a deeply personal and soul felt honour that the Church thought he might be a soldier of Christ.
Cardinal Foley knighted the new members in the traditional way, touching each shoulder with a ceremonial sword.
The order was founded to protect pilgrims to the Holy Land. Today its role is still to aid Christians (and others) in the area - Israel, Palestine and Jordan - mainly through funding schools and hospitals. (SOURCE:


St. Francis Borgia
Feast: October 10
Feast Day:
October 10
October 28, 1510, Valencia, Spain
September 30, 1572, Rome, Italy
1671 by Clement X
Major Shrine:
relics translated to the Jesuit church in Madrid, Spain in 1901
Patron of:
against earthquakes; Portugal; Rota, Marianas

Francis Borgia, born 28 October, 1510, was the son of Juan Borgia, third Duke of Gandia, and of Juana of Aragon; died 30 September, 1572.


Luke 11: 27 - 28
As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!"
But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

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