Thursday, October 15, 2009






(VIS) - The Fifteenth 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 meeting was dedicated to reading the reports of the Working Groups (or language groups). The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier O.F.M., archbishop of Durban, South Africa, and 224 Synod Fathers were present. Following are excerpts from some of the reports: PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE GROUP: COADJUTOR ARCHBISHOP GABRIEL MBILINGI C.S.SP. OF LUBANGO, ANGOLA, PRESIDENT OF THE INTER-REGIONAL MEETING OF THE BISHOPS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA (IMBISA). "Some suggestions: (1) An explicit reference to the social doctrine of the Church, which must form part of our evangelising and catechising doctrine. (2) Catechesis must follow the catechumenal model which leads people to make a personal choice for Christ. (3) Highlight the vital function of consecrated life in the life and mission of the Church. ... (4) Present the world of politics as a form of service to society, helping Christian politicians to shoulder their responsibilities in accordance with their faith. ... As for the clergy, it is important to insist that they live their priestly ministry as service to the People of God and not as an exercise of authority. ... (5) Decisively, clearly and precisely denounce serious human rights situations. (6) Have the courage to follow the path of reconciliation and purification of memory within the Church". FRENCH LANGUAGE GROUP E: FR. EDOUARD TSIMBA C.I.C.M., SUPERIOR GENERAL OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY (SCHEUT FATHERS). "The search for truth is a necessary condition for reconciliation. ... To speak of reconciliation means to speak about the mercy of God. Only a person reconciled with God, a person who lives in peace, is able to bring peace. Therefore it is necessary to recall the value of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the seriousness that agents (priests) must dedicate to this subject, setting aside all the time and preparation needed for both personal confession and community celebrations. ... The life and witness of many Christians, sometimes to the point of martyrdom, are worthy of being remembered and are a source of reinforcement for the faith. The life and example of Church workers is, without distinction, of great importance in this area of reconciliation. ... We must inspire the collaboration of men as well as women, using their qualities in the Church and in society. May all Christians, each according to their ministry, be proud of being such and of demonstrating it in their lives. ... Holiness is a plea for us all, men and women, and is worthy of an important place in the text". FRENCH LANGUAGE GROUP A: FR. GERARD CHABANON M. AFR., SUPERIOR GENERAL OF THE MISSIONARIES OF AFRICA (WHITE FATHERS). "Two important themes: (1) The family: This is the base cell of Christian society and communities. It is threatened by poverty, poor government, difficulties in teaching children, violence and the irresponsibility by fathers of families who abandon their wives and children. (2) Islam: ... There are many different situations in Africa, in particular between North and South of the Sahara. 'Arab-ness' and 'African-ness' do not always share the same values. A dialogue of life and a social dialogue could be developed between Christians and Muslims. Emphasis was given to the fact that we must aim everywhere at freedom of conscience and reciprocity of worship". ENGLISH-FRENCH LANGUAGE GROUP A: BISHOP JEAN MBARGA OF EBOLOWA, CAMEROON. "In general, the 'relatio post disceptationem' was positively received. ... However, a multi-ministerial vision of the Church would have given more importance to the place and mission of all categories of the People of God in the Church, especially lay people. The question of tribalism in the Church is still the major challenge. A balance could have been found between theological developments and the extent of the human dramas in Africa to which the Synod Fathers must find answers. The prophetic action of the 'justice and peace' commissions are deserving of greater consideration. ... Ecclesial communion is a force which must allow Africans to confront their challenges with hope and ... in universal solidarity". This afternoon and tomorrow morning, the Synod Fathers will again meet in language groups to prepare their proposals, which they will then submit to the Secretariat General of the Synod for presentation to the Holy Father.SE/FIFTEENTH CONGREGATION/... VIS 091015 (740)

CARDINAL KASPER PRESENTS A NEW BOOK ON ECUMENISM VATICAN CITY, 15 OCT 2009 (VIS) - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, presented a new book on ecumenism at a press conference held this morning in the Holy See Press Office. The work is entitled "Harvesting the Fruits. Basic aspects of Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue. Ecumenical Consensus, Convergences and Differences" and was published recently by the London publisher "Continuum". "This book", the cardinal explained, "is the result of two years of intense efforts I undertook with officials of my pontifical council, in collaboration with our consultors and ecumenical partners. ... In the work we analyse the main Protestant communities, which were the first to establish ties with us following Vatican Council II", and examine the current situation, "with an eye both to the past and to the future". During the presentation, Cardinal Kasper announced a symposium, due to be held in February 2010, which, taking the text of this book as its starting point, will discuss the future of Western ecumenism.OP/BOOK ECUMENISM/KASPER VIS 091015 (180)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 15 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Msgr. Paul D. Sirba of the clergy of the archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, U.S.A., vicar general of Duluth, U.S.A., as bishop of Duluth (area 57,875, population 439,478, Catholics 60,532, priests 82, permanent deacons 41, religious 142). The bishop-elect was born in Saint Paul in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1986. - Appointed Fr. Fernando Isern of the clergy of the archdiocese of Miami, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, as bishop of Pueblo (area 124,754, population 626,000, Catholics 121,000, priests 90, permanent deacons 33, religious 94), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Havana, Cuba in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1993. He succeeds Bishop Arthur N. Tafoya, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Fr. Jorge Carlos Patron Wong, rector of the major seminary of the archdiocese of Yucatan, Mexico, as coadjutor of the diocese Papantla (area 12,000, population 2.065,338, Catholics 1,553,432, priests 86, permanent deacons 1, religious 130), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Merida, Mexico in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1988. - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Chur, Switzerland, presented by Bishop Paul Vollmar S.M., in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law. - Appointed Msgr. Robert C. Evans of the clergy of the diocese of Providence, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of St. Philip at Greenville, as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 3,247, population 1,089,000, Catholics 651,000, priests 390, permanent deacons 104, religious 754). The bishop-elect was born in Moultrie, U.S.A. in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1973.NER:RE:NEC:NEA/.../... VIS 091015 (300)



CNA reports that the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist have announced the dates for this year's 24-hour discernment retreats for young women. The rapidly growing religious community says that the current average of participants is 100 per retreat and that they continue to see a steady uptick in interest.
When the community's vocations director Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz was asked what it is that attracts women to travel from all over the world to attend a 24-hour discernment retreat, she gave a simple answer.
“Between you and me?” she asked. “All night Eucharistic Adoration.”
The weekend schedule is void of anything but the barest of essentials: arrival, talks, prayers and dinner, a game called “White Elephant,” a Holy Hour, Confession, Adoration, Mass and a Rosary for priests.
Summing up her experience, one retreatant commented, “The whole thing constantly tugged the strings of my heart.” “The Lord brought me closer to Him and drew me in. It was not just one thing that did this, but many… .”
Other women pointed to the sisters' contagious joy. “Joy seems to be the nature of the Sisters,” one retreatant wrote. “It shows forth in their constant and contagious smiles…”
With an average age of 26, the sisters manage to keep the young women on their toes, even when they themselves are outnumbered.
And outnumbered they certainly have been. Sister Joseph Andrew estimates that over 4,000 women have made the retreats in the past 12 years, the current average being 350-400 per year.
From there, the sisters send out the women to various communities if they have a call to the religious life. “All we want for anybody is the will of God, no matter what that is. That is what the Church today needs – saintly women willing to embrace whatever God’s will for them might be,” explained Sister Joseph Andrew.
“We send young women on to a variety of solid religious communities if we think that their vocation seems to be tending in that direction,” Sister Joseph Andrew said.
Although sending young women away is hardly what you might call a recruitment strategy, it works pretty well for these sisters – 17 young women entered this August, bringing the community total up to 99. “Our God is a God of surprises,” the vocations director laughed.
For each of the last 12 years, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan have held three 24 hour discernment retreats for young women, each attracting over 100 participants. This year’s retreats will be held November 7 – 8, February 20 – 21 and May 22 – 23.
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Catholic Herald reports that St Thérèse of Lisieux shows that extreme suffering before death is not meaningless, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster said today.The Archbishop was speaking at a Mass at Westminster Cathedral this afternoon to mark the end of the St Thérèse relics tour.About 290,000 pilgrims visited the relics during their month-long trip around England and Wales and 95,000 people came to see them during their four-day stay at Westminster Cathedral, their final stop. They will remain overnight in England before departing tomorrow morning via the Channel Tunnel to the shrine of Lisieux in France. In his homily, Archbishop Nichols said the relics of St Thérèse were "God's way of opening our hearts to his unwavering love". He quoted the words of St Thérèse, written in 1896: "My vocation is love... Yes, I have found my place in the Church... in the heart of the Church. My Mother, I will be love."He reminded people that these words were written only nine months before St Thérèse’s death, when she was in great pain and suffering from tuberculosis. He said: “They are not the words of a young romantic, day-dreaming of an ideal future. They are born of abandonment to God, in darkness and desolation. They are, therefore, powerful testimony to the grace of God at work in our weakness, and not to the power of a self-centred romantic imagination. "These words speak directly to us today when, as a society, we struggle to understand and respond to the experience of terminal illness and approaching death. In the shortened perspectives of many, such moments are pointless and actually rob life of all its meaning. Therefore some seek the right to exercise the only solution that is within their own power: that of killing themselves and having others free to assist them to do so."St Thérèse lived through those same moments. She too experienced suicidal thoughts of ending the pain and the overpowering sense of futility. She warned the sister who cared for her that when she had patients who were 'a prey to violent pains' she must not 'leave them any medicines that are poisonous.' She added: 'I assure you it needs only a second when one suffers intensely to lose one's reason. Then one would easily poison oneself.'"So Thérèse too lived the tension that many experience today, the tension between her individual, autonomous choice, on the one hand, and, on the other, the bonds which bound her to her community, to her family, to those who cared for her, to life. She argues, as we do today, that reason, in the context of our relationships, must acknowledge life as a gift and not an individual possession and, at the same time, embrace death when it comes. "Here we see that St Thérèse, indeed, proclaims the Gospel for our times." (SOURCE:



CISA reports that the Catholic congregation of the Salesians of Don Bosco on October 10, celebrated 25th anniversary of apostolate and presence in Embu, Kenya.The religious congregation also celebrated the Golden Jubilee (50 years) of the religious profession of Brother Umberto Rizzetto, one of the pioneers of the institution.According to Fr James Gatiti, the occasion dubbed Friends of Don Bosco was graced by the presence of Fr Joseph Pulikkal the Provincial Superior of the Salesians of Don Bosco Eastern Africa, Fr Gianni Rolandi, the Vice Provincial and Fr Simon Asira, the institution rector, among others.Priests, brothers, sisters, students, and teachers from both boys and girls schools and parents’ associations also joined the congregation in the celebrations.The provincial superior in his speech wished the institution abundant blessings in its service to the young both in the technical and secondary education.“May the spirit of Don Bosco shine ever brighter in this institution,” Fr Pulikkal said and added, “Brother Rizzetto is a shining example of self donation of joy and humble service. May his example inspire us all to serve the young whole heartedly with love and joy.”The rector of Don Bosco stated, “As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of this complex institution we need to look back and see how God has been so good and generous with us.”“We need to raise our mind and heart to him in gratitude and continue to pray for his assistance. May God bless the vision of our pioneers and give us courage to carry on the legacy left to us by Don Bosco in the service of the young people of this region,” he added.The Salesian presence in Kenya started through the direct initiative of Emeritus Bishop of Meru Diocese, Silas Njiru.The congregation arrived in Kenya in 1980 and first served in Siakago parish. It was founded in Italy in 1854 by John Bosco. (SOURCE:


UCAN reports that the head of the Columban missioners in the Philippines has ruled out payment of any ransom for kidnapped confrere Father Michael Sinnott, while admitting there is still no news of the priest's whereabouts.

Father Patrick O’Donoghue
"We don't know yet who has taken Father Sinnott, we don't know where he has been taken and what are the circumstances and demands," Father Patrick O'Donoghue, Regional Director of the Missionary Society of St. Columban, told UCA News.
Father O'Donoghue said he would like to appeal to the kidnappers to return the priest, who has a heart condition and is without his medication.
"I would say to you, you have made a mistake," said Father O'Donoghue. "I don't know what your motives are ... if you want glory, you will get great praise from everybody if you realize the mistake you have made, if you can release him so that he can come back to his community. So please, please release him."
The priest was speaking at the St. Columban's Residence in Pagadian City, southeast of Manila, where armed men forced their way in on Oct. 11 and seized 79-year-old Father Sinnott. They bundled him into a vehicle and later headed out to sea with the priest.
The Zamboanga del Sur provincial governor's office on Oct. 15 released sketches of three suspects based on witnesses' accounts.
Father O'Donoghue said his society would not give in to ransom demands, if made. "The Church has always maintained the policy that we do not pay ransom ... from the Columbans' point of view, we do not pay ransom. The Church has never, never paid ransom," he said.
The priest also responded to comments on some blogs saying that the missionary society had been "foolhardy" with the safety of its missioners. "I think there is unfairness with that," he said.
"For us the value of service, the gift of ourselves to mission, entails risks. We don't take unnecessary risks. When we are in any danger, we would do our best to guard ourselves," he stressed.
"Nobody I've spoken to in the last few days here ever believed that in this center of Pagadian City, in our compound ... there would have been any danger of this kind."
Father O'Donoghue also spoke of his initial horror when he found out about the crime.
"Initially, in shock, I was thinking this will all be over in an hour, but when I realized there was a big problem I called Father (Daniel) O'Malley, who was living with Father Sinnott but was on vacation in Ireland.

Father Michael Sinnott
"He informed Father Sinnott's family because I did not wish them to hear it from media," he said.
Father O'Donoghue said the kidnapping has been traumatic not just for his order but for everyone who knows Father Sinnott. "His life has been about giving himself to others -- children with learning disabilities, with hearing impairments and many others, including Muslims, have shown appreciation for this.
"Yesterday I went to the school (that Father Sinnott was working in) and I realized just how much that man is loved and I just find it so hard to understand how he could be taken, a man whom everybody in this diocese respects deeply."
The Columbans are working with authorities and Father O'Donoghue says he is happy with the quick response from law enforcement agencies. "I believe they are doing what they can," he said.
He and other senior Catholics had emphasized to the authorities that the priority has to be the health of Father Sinnott.
"There are about eight kinds of medicines he should be taking. We have to ensure his health is taken care of, then we would try to work for his release ... We should be able to facilitate getting medication to Father Sinnott."
The Missionary Society of St. Columban was founded by Irish Father Edward Galvin in 1918. Its history in the Philippines dates back to 1929, when three Columbans answered an urgent plea for priests in the country. Over the next 10 years, more Columbans were sent, initially training catechists, rebuilding war-damaged churches and later establishing schools.
In recent years they have been training lay leaders for basic Christian communities in remote areas of the country.


Cath News reports that Queensland police have said scammers are using religious lures to defraud romance-seeking Christians online.
"They go into Christian chat rooms and a lot of the time when they ask for money, there's a Christian element to the [scammer's] story," Queensland police Fraud Squad chief Detective Inspector Brian Hay was quoted as sayin by the Brisbane Times.
"It's a comfort thing for the victim.
"We are seeing more targeted attacks because people put information about themselves on to the web."

Offenders could spend months developing the online relationship, before hitting the victims up for money.
In the first six months of this year, more than $4 million has been sent by Queenslanders to Nigeria, where romance scamming is a thriving cottage industry, and on average, Australians are sending about $4.5 million each month to the African nation.
"It could be an email from someone claiming to have fallen on hard times, they communicate and correspond, then there's a request for money," said Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson.
"This of course touches at the heart of people's loneliness and personal circumstances, so that's a particularly cruel scam."
Two-thirds of victims are women, targeted on social networking pages, dating sites and Christian chat rooms. (SOURCE:


St. Teresa of Avila
Feast: October 15
Feast Day:
October 15
28 March 1515, Ávila, Old Castile, Spain
October 15, 1582, Alba de Tormes, Salamanca, Spain
12 March 1622 by Pope Gregory XV
Major Shrine:
Shrine of St. Teresa of Ávila, Ávila, Spain
Patron of:
bodily ills; headaches; lacemakers; laceworkers; loss of parents; people in need of grace; people in religious orders; people ridiculed for their piety; sick people; sickness; Spain

In the Autobiography which she completed towards the end of her life, Saint Teresa of Avila gives us a description of her parents, along with a disparaging estimate of her own character. "The possession of virtuous parents who lived in the fear of God, together with those favors which I received from his Divine Majesty, might have made me good, if I had not been so very wicked." A heavy consciousness of sin was prevalent in sixteenth-century Spain, and we can readily discount this avowal of guilt. What we are told of Teresa's early life does not sound in the least wicked, but it is plain that she was an unusually active, imaginative, and sensitive child. Her parents, Don Alfonso Sanchez de Capeda and Dona Beatriz Davila y Ahumada, his second wife, were people of position in Avila, a city of Old Castile, where Teresa was born on March 28, 1515. There were nine children of this marriage, of whom Teresa was the third, and three children of her father's first marriage.



Luke 11: 47 - 54
Woe to you! for you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed.
So you are witnesses and consent to the deeds of your fathers; for they killed them, and you build their tombs.
Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, `I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,'
that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation,
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechari'ah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it shall be required of this generation.
Woe to you lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering."
As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard, and to provoke him to speak of many things,
lying in wait for him, to catch at something he might say.

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