Wednesday, October 7, 2009



FOURTH GENERAL CONGREGATION VATICAN CITY, 6 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Fourth General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops began today at 4.30 p.m. The session was attended by 225 Synod Fathers, and the president delegate on duty was Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier O.F.M., archbishop of Durban, South Africa. Extracts from some of the Synod Father's speeches are given below: ARCHBISHOP FRANCOIS XAVIER MAROY RUSENGO OF BUKAVU, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO. "Considering the damage caused by wars and violence in the east of our country, ... we feel that reconciliation can no longer be limited solely to the harmonisation of interpersonal relations. It must inevitably take into consideration the profound causes behind the crisis in relations, associated with the interests and natural resources of the country which must be exploited and managed openly and fairly for the good of everyone. ... As we speak during these meetings, pastoral workers in our archdiocese are being attacked by the enemies of peace. One of the parishes of our archdiocese was burnt down on Friday 2 October 2009, the priests were attacked, others taken hostage by men in uniform who demanded a very high ransom which we were forced to pay to save the lives of our priests, whom they threatened to kill. Through these acts, it is the Church - the only support that remains for a terrorised, humiliated, exploited and dominated people - whom they would reduce to silence. Lord, may your will be done, may your kingdom of peace arrive".

CARDINAL WALTER KASPER, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN UNITY. "While there has been, thanks to God, a rapid growth of the Church in Africa, there is sadly also an increasingly deeper fragmentation among Christians. ... There are today also many new divisions in Africa itself when we think on the more recent Charismatic and Pentecostal communities, the so called independent Churches and the sects. ...Their vitality on the African continent is reflected in the growth of the African Independent Churches, which have now formed an official institution, the OAIC based in Nairobi. ... A serious dialogue with these groups is not easy if not in many cases totally impossible because of their aggressive behaviour and ‑ to say the least ‑ their low theological standard. We have to face the urgent challenge by a self‑critical attitude. For it is not enough to tell, what is wrong with them, we have to ask what is wrong or what is deficient with our own pastoral work. Why do so many Christians leave our Church? What are they missing with us and searching elsewhere?"

BISHOP MARTIN MUNYANYI OF GWERU, ZIMBABWE. "Zimbabwe had very difficult and inhuman socio‑political experiences traceable from the pre‑colonial, the colonial and post‑colonial eras which need to be dealt with urgently. It would be a mistake, in the search for lasting reconciliation, simply to ask people to forget the past. Reconciliation is needed not only in the nation at large but also in the Church, for we see simmering tension in some of our parishes due to language and ethnic differences. In Africa, when we talk of justice we certainly talk of affected parties including their families. Communities need to sit together and discuss their problems in a 'palaver scenario'. And retributive and restorative justice should be established before the death of either party in a case. Issues of justice in the Church are obvious in not paying our workers enough that constitutes a just wage and in the misuse of Church resources by priests at the expense of the communi­ties. Some Church practices tend to have a bias against the girl child. For example, the girl is punished while the boy is not. As a local Church, we have set up structures such as Commission for Justice and Peace to address negative historical aspects of our experience".

BISHOP ARMANDO UMBERTO GIANNI O.F.M. CAP., OF BOUAR, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, PRESIDENT OF THE CENTRAL AFRICAN EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE. "We have the delicate but necessary task of helping those priests who have problems to return to the way of truth. We wait for the Synod to express a clear and convincing word in this field. Then there is the greater challenge: how to help priests form true priestly families. One senses the need to have a directory for priestly life. ... The Church has continued to be present everywhere in our country. Even in the so called red zones, that is the unstable areas; she has continued to attend to her work in education and healthcare, close to displaced and handicapped people. I would like to point out the willingness of staff at the missions, in this setting of insecurity, to assure a service of mediation between government and rebel forces, at times even with bandits. ... The Church's voice is heard and sought after because it is credible".

BISHOP GIOVANNI INNOCENZO MARTINELLI, O.F.M., APOSTOLIC VICAR OF TRIPOLI, LIBYA. "We know that on the African continent there are more than ten million displaced persons, migrants looking for a country, a land of peace. The phenomenon of this exodus reveals the face of injustice and socio-political injustice in Africa. We in Libya have intense experience of this tragedy. ... People come to Libya to be rejected by Europe. Thousands of immigrants enter Libya every year from sub-Saharan African countries. Most of them are fleeing from war and poverty in their own lands and come to Libya, where they look for jobs to help their families or as a means to reach Europe in the hope of finding a better and more secure life. ... For many immigration is a tragedy, especially because they fall victim to trafficking and exploitation (in particular women), and their human rights are disregarded. However we thank the Lord for their Christian witness. It is a community that suffers and searches, precarious but full of joy in the expression of faith, making the Church credible in a Muslim social and religious context, living the dialogue of life with many Muslims".

BISHOP JOSE NAMBI OF KWITO-BIE, ANGOLA. "The absence of true civic education of citizens is evident, something that favours manipulation. This, associated with illiteracy in rural areas, makes for a very unstable situation. People's critical faculties are weak. Some of them believe everything they are told by the social communication media. Because of this it is vital to promote the civil education of citizens and reinforce their critical awareness. This also means promoting the defence of freedom of expression and of opinion, as a democratic prerogative. ... The laity who are members of various civil institutions, of political parties, of parliament, are called to be true witnesses of reconciliation, of justice and of peace. Therefore, we believe it is fundamental to continue to invest in their formation at all levels".SE/FOURTH CONGREGATION/... VIS 091007 (1150)

SYNOD FATHERS MEET IN LANGUAGE GROUPS VATICAN CITY, 7 OCT 2009 (VIS) - This morning, while the Holy Father held his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Synod Fathers met in language group to elect moderators and relators and begin their deliberations on the "Relatio ante disceptationem," (report before the discussion). The Fifth General Congregation will be held in the Synod Hall this afternoon.SE/LANGUAGE GROUPS/... VIS 091007 (70)

JOHN LEONARDI: ECCLESIAL RENEWAL AND FIDELITY TO CHRIST VATICAN CITY, 7 OCT 2009 (VIS) - During his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI focused his catechesis on St. John Leonardi, patron of pharmacists, the 400th anniversary of whose death falls on 9 October. St. John Leonardi was born in the Italian town of Diecimo in the year 1541. He studied pharmacology but abandoned it to focus on theology and was later ordained a priest. Together with Msgr. Juan Vives and the Jesuit Martin de Funes he helped to found a Holy See congregation specifically dedicated to missions: the Urban College of "Propaganda Fide" in which countless priests have been formed for the evangelisation of peoples. His apostolic zeal even led him to send a memorial to Pope Paul V suggesting certain criteria for the authentic renewal of the Church. Yet he never lost his passion for pharmacology, convinced that "God's medicine, which is Jesus Christ Who was crucified and rose again, is the measure of all things". "The resplendent figure of this saint invites all Christians, first and foremost priests, to strive constantly towards the 'highest measure of Christian life', which is sanctity", said Benedict XVI. "Indeed, it is only from faithfulness to Christ that authentic ecclesial renewal can arise. In those years, in the cultural and social passage from the sixteenth to the seventeenth century, the premises of contemporary culture began to be outlined, characterised by an unwarranted fracture between faith and reason which, among the negative effects it has produced, marginalised God and created the illusion of a possible complete autonomy of man, who chooses to live 'as if God did not exist'. "This is the crisis of modern thought which I have frequently had occasion to highlight and which often leads to forms of relativism", the Holy Father added. "John Leonardi understood what the true medicine for these spiritual ills was, and he summarised it in the expression: 'Christ above all'. ... This was his prescription for all spiritual and social reform". "In various circumstances", St. John Leonardi, "reiterated that the living encounter with Christ comes about in His Church, which is holy but fragile, rooted in history and in its sometimes murky future where wheat and weeds grow together, but always Sacrament of salvation. Clearly aware that the Church is as the field of God, he was not scandalised by her human weaknesses and, in order to counteract the weeds, he chose to become good wheat; that is, he chose to love Christ in the Church and to contribute to making her a more transparent sign of Him". "He understood that any reform must be accomplished within the Church and never against the Church", the Pope concluded. "In this, St. John Leonardi was a truly extraordinary figure and his example remains relevant. It is clear that reform affects structures, but in the first place it must affect believers' hearts. Only the saints, men and women who allow themselves to be guided by the divine Spirit, ready to make radical and courageous choices in the light of the Gospel, can renew the Church and make a decisive contribution to building a better world".AG/ST. JOHN LEONARDI/... VIS 091007 (540)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 7 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Msgr. Egidio Bisol of the clergy of the diocese of Vicenza, Italy, "fidei donum" priest in the diocese of Roraima, Brazil, as bishop of Afogados da Ingazeira (area 11,034, population 355,000, Catholics 330,000, priests 27, permanent deacons 8, religious 31), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Bassano del Grappa, Italy in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1972. - Appointed Msgr. Bernard A. Hebda of the clergy of the diocese of Pittsburgh, U.S.A., under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, as bishop of Gaylord (area 28,932, population 524,000, Catholics 71,700, priests 69, permanent deacons 18, religious 45), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Pittsburgh in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1989. He succeeds Bishop Patrick R. Cooney, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Bishop Oscar Vicente Ojea, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as coadjutor bishop of San Isidro (area 1,379, population 1,123,000, Catholics 1,010,000, priests 141, permanent deacons 32, religious 171), Argentina. - Appointed Bishop Patrick Le Gal, military ordinary for France, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Lyon (area 5,087, population 1,755,000, Catholics 1,209,000, priests 562, permanent deacons 60, religious 2,208), France. - Appointed Fr. Luc Ravel C.R.S.V., director of formation at the abbey of Saint-Pierre in Champagne-sur-Rhone, France, as military ordinary for France. The bishop-elect was born in Paris, France in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1987.NER:RE:NEA:NEC/.../... VIS 091007 (260)



CNA reports that before the thousands of faithful gathered in Belgrano Square on Sunday to celebrate Mass in honor of Our Lady of Lujan, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, prayed to the Mother of God that she might “strengthen the hearts” of her children with hope.
During his homily, the cardinal pointed out that “our Mother looks upon us all without exception, but for a long time she has looked after those who are poorest” and those who have been cast aside by society.
“Mother, look upon all these your children who have been rejected. Look upon them and strengthen their hearts with hope,” the cardinal prayed. He asked Our Lady of Lujan to give the strength of hope to those who are suffering from poverty and exclusion, and also called on young people “not to allow your hope to be taken away.”
“Together let us build a homeland of brothers and sisters,” the cardinal urged the faithful, commending them for their commitment of solidarity with whose who are suffering.
He also prayed that Our Lady of Lujan would “erase anything that might lead to confusion from our hearts,” repeating three times the theme of the pilgrimage: “Mother may your gaze renew our hope.” (SOURCE:



Cath News reports that Italian scientists say they have managed to produce a cloth with an image similar to that of the Shroud of Turin.
The 14 feet shroud that bears the reversed image of a crucified man complete with blood seeping out of wounded writs and feet is believed by many to be an image of Christ, but this is disputed by the research team of Luigi Garlaschelli, a professor of chemistry at the University of Pavia, various news reports said.
"Many still believe that the shroud has unexplainable characteristics that cannot be reproduced by human means," UK's Daily Mail cites Garlaschelli saying.
"But the result obtained clearly indicates that this could be done with the use of inexpensive materials and with a quite simple procedure."
Garlaschelli and his colleagues placed a similar linen sheet over a volunteer and rubbed a pigment with acid content over it, the Little About blog cites from an ANI report. It says a face mask was used to reproduce the face.
The cloth was dried and heated in an oven, aging it artificially, the reports said.
Garlaschelli believes the original shroud lost its colouring over time and it was given the blood stained and burnt look later.



CISA reports that the Diocesan education secretaries under the umbrella of an ecumenical Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) are calling on Ugandan government to address the quality of education and strengthen the fight against homosexuality and cultism in schools.The church educationists also called on the heads of schools to be vigilant and continuously monitor literature donated to schools to fight vices introduced within schools through books that feature vices of homosexuality and cultism.“As religious leaders, we can not ignore the challenges within society like corruption, land grabbling, poverty, human murder, homosexuality, environmental degradation, poor education and health services facilitates, violent conflicts, school strikes, drunkenness; drug abuse and human rights abuses,” they said in a statement.Lamenting the interference and influence of political leaders in the appointment of the board of directors in church founded schools, the secretaries promised to hold refresher courses and exchange programmes for chaplains to enhance their roles and to advocate for Christian Religious Education in church schools.(SOURCE:



UCAN reports that the first shipment of relief materials from one group of young Catholic aid workers to earthquake survivors in Sumatra is expected to leave the capital on Oct. 6.
Young Catholics from Jakarta archdiocese pose for a photo with relief aid they collected for earthquake victims in Sumatra
“Our aid post is now collecting clothes, blankets, tarpaulins, mats, sanitary napkins and instant noodles.
We will keep this aid post for two weeks,” said Katharina Kristie Rahmawani who is coordinating the relief efforts of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Parish of Pademangan in North Jakarta.
She together with other young people have so far collected 28 million rupiah (about US$3,000) since Oct. 2.
Some of the money will be sent to Jakarta archdiocese office which will in turn send it to the Padang diocese to be channeled to needy survivors.
Relief goods from the parish will be transported to quake survivors by a Catholic who has traveled from Padang in West Sumatra to the capital to collect them, said Rahmawani. The aid will be taken to survivors in Pariaman, a coastal city nearest to the epicenter of the quake.
The earthquake, measuring 7.6 on the Richter Scale, struck West Sumatra's coastal area on Sept. 30. According to the province’s government disaster-management coordination body (Satkorlak), the quake has killed more than 600 people and injured more than 1,000 others. Hundreds are still missing.
As well as homes, many public buildings and facilities, including hotels, hospitals, mosques and schools were severely damaged. In Padang, part of the wall of St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus Cathedral building collapsed. The diocesan building and three Catholic-run schools were also damaged.
The material losses caused from the quake is estimated at trillions of rupiah.
“We young people are concerned about the plight of survivors and feel called to help after watching news programs on television,” Rahmawani said.
Young Catholics from eight other parishes in Jakarta archdiocese are also working together to collect and distribute aid to the quake survivors.
Robby Sebastian from St. Anthony of Padua Parish of Bidaracina in East Jakarta, who is co-ordinating the efforts, said young people had collected items such as milk, rice, sugar, drinking water, soap and toothpaste from Catholics.
Padang Bishop's House that was partially destroyed in the earthquake
“We had planned to distribute these goods to the victims of the earthquake that hit Java in early September but with the earthquake in West Sumatra, we agreed to … start distributing to the victims in Padang,” Sebastian told UCA.
Sebastian said young Catholics had twice before distributed relief goods to the quake’s survivors in West Java.
The government says the 7.3 magnitude quake that struck Java on Sept. 2 killed at least 59 people and damaged more than 10,000 houses. A total of 25,242 have fled from their homes.
Father Agustinus Mujihartono, who heads the emergency response team of Caritas Indonesia (Karina) of Padang diocese, told UCA News by phone that a few hours after the quake “we directly opened aid posts in the diocesan center and parishes to meet victims’ needs.”
In response to the quake in West Sumatra, Bishop Josephus Suwatan of Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi province, sent a message to all parish priests in his diocese urging them to ask Catholics to donate to relief efforts.


Cath News reports that Rockhampton's Bishop Brian Heenan says urgent repairs expected to cost $6 million to restore the city's 110 year old St Joseph's Cathedral are due to start next week.
Bishop Heenan says the work includes repairs to the building's foundations, gutters and storm water management system, ABC reported. A public appeal has been launched for funds.
"The advice we are getting is that if it's not done now, it will become more serious," he said.


Our Lady of the Rosary
Feast: October 7
Feast Day:
October 7

Apart from the signal defeat of the Albigensian heretics at the battle of Muret in 1213 which legend has attributed to the recitation of the Rosary by St. Dominic, it is believed that Heaven has on many occasions rewarded the faith of those who had recourse to this devotion in times of special danger. More particularly, the naval victory of Lepanto gained by Don John of Austria over the Turkish fleet on the first Sunday of October in 1571 responded wonderfully to the processions made at Rome on that same day by the members of the Rosary confraternity. St. Pius V thereupon ordered that a commemoration of the Rosary should be made upon that day, and at the request of the Dominican Order Gregory XIII in 1573 allowed this feast to be kept in all churches which possessed an altar dedicated to the Holy Rosary. In 1671 the observance of this festival was extended by Clement X to the whole of Spain, and somewhat later Clement XI after the important victory over the Turks gained by Prince Eugene on 6 August, 1716 (the feast of our Lady of the Snows), at Peterwardein in Hungary, commanded the feast of the Rosary to be celebrated by the universal Church. A set of "proper" lessons in the second nocturn were conceded by Benedict XIII. Leo XIII has since raised the feast to the rank of a double of the second class and has added to the Litany of Loreto the invocation "Queen of the Most Holy Rosary". On this feast, in every church in which the Rosary confraternity has been duly erected, a plenary indulgence toties quoties is granted upon certain conditions to all who visit therein the Rosary chapel or statue of Our Lady. This has been called the "Portiuncula" of the Rosary.(SOURCE:

Luke 1: 26 - 38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"
But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.
And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."
And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"
And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
For with God nothing will be impossible."
And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

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