Monday, November 30, 2009





VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received in separate audiences Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of Argentina, and Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile, to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the two States. The Pope subsequently met with the two presidents together, each accompanied by a delegation, in the Vatican's Clementine Hall. In his address to them he recalled how the treaty "brought to an end the territorial dispute the two countries had maintained over a long period of time". "This", he said, "is an appropriate and joyful commemoration of those intense negotiations which, through pontifical mediation, concluded with a dignified, reasonable and equitable solution, thus avoiding an armed conflict which was on the point of breaking out between the two peoples". The Holy Father went on to highlight how the "Treaty of Peace and Friendship, and the meditation which made it possible, are indissolubly linked to the figure of Pope John Paul II who, moved by feelings of affection towards those beloved nations and in keeping with his tireless efforts as messenger and architect of peace, did not hesitate to accept the delicate and crucial task of mediator in the conflict". In this he was able to rely on "the priceless help of Cardinal Antonio Samore, who personally followed all the vicissitudes of those long and complex negotiations until the ... signing of the Treaty in the presence of delegations from both countries and of the then secretary of State, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli". "Twenty-five years on, we may note with satisfaction that that historic event made a beneficial contribution to strengthening fraternal feelings in both countries, and to ensuring greater co-operation and integration, which takes concrete form in numerous economic plans, cultural exchanges and important infrastructure projects, thus overcoming the prejudices, suspicions and reserve of the past", said the Pope. He also pointed out that "Chile and Argentina are not only neighbour States, but much more; they are brother peoples with a shared vocation of fraternity, respect and friendship which, to a large extent, is the fruit of the Catholic tradition lying at the foundations of their history and of their rich cultural and spiritual heritage". Referring once again to the treaty being commemorated today, the Holy Father described it "as a shining example of the force of the human spirit and of the will for peace against the barbarism and unreason of violence and war". In this context he also highlighted the need "always to persevere with firm resolve (and until the final consequences) in seeking to resolve controversies, with a true desire for dialogue and agreement, through patient negotiation and necessary compromise, and always bearing in mind the just requirements and legitimate interests of everyone". "In order for the cause of peace to open a way into the minds and hearts of all human beings, and especially of those called to serve their fellow citizens from the highest offices of State, it must be founded on firm moral convictions, on serenity of soul, ... and on the constant search for the common good at the national, regional and global level". Benedict XVI concluded by underlining the fact that achieving peace "requires the promotion of a true culture of life which fully respects human dignity, and the strengthening of the family as the basic cell of society. It also requires the combating of poverty and corruption, access to quality education for everyone, greater economic solidarity, the consolidation of democracy and the eradication of violence and exploitation, especially against women and children".AC/PEACE TREATY/ARGENTINA: CHILE VIS 091130 (610)

POPE RECEIVES PRESIDENTS OF ARGENTINA AND CHILE VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today. "This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, for the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Chile and Argentina, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in separate audiences Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of the Argentine Republic, and Michelle Bachelet, president of the Republic of Chile. The two illustrious guests also met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. The Holy Father subsequently delivered an address to the delegations of the two presidents gathered in the Clementine Hall. "During the cordial discussions, grateful recollection was made of the meritorious efforts undertaken by Servant of God Pope John Paul III and by the late Cardinal Antonio Samore who, by following the path of dialogue, helped the two States to resolve a long-standing territorial controversy. Attention dwelt particularly on the fact that, in the course of this last quarter of a century, the agreement has brought tangible fruits of goodness and prosperity to the two brother peoples, and continues to stand as an example and model for the countries of Latin America and for the entire international community. Opinions were also exchanged on the current international situation".OP/AUDIENCE/ARGENTINA: CHILE VIS 091130 (240)

ADVENT INVITES US TO PERCEIVE THE PRESENCE OF GOD VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica this evening, Benedict XVI presided at first Vespers for the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year for the Church. In his homily the Pope reflected upon the meaning of the word Advent which "Christians used", he said, "to express their relationship with Jesus. ... The meaning of the expression advent also includes that of 'vistatio', ... a visit, which in this case means a visit from God: He enters my life and wishes to address Himself to me". "In daily life we all know the experience of having little time for the Lord, and little time for ourselves. We end up becoming absorbed by 'doing'. Is it not often true that it is activity itself that possesses us, society with its multiple distractions that monopolises our attention? Is it not true that we dedicate a lot of time to entertainment and leisure activities of various kinds?" "Advent, this potent liturgical period we are entering, invites us to remain silent as we come to appreciate a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the individual events of the day are signs God addresses to us, signs of the care He has for each of us. How often does God make us aware of some aspect of His love! To maintain what we might call an 'inner diary' of this love would be a beautiful and rewarding task in our lives. Advent invites us and encourages us to contemplate the living Lord. Should not the certainty of His presence help us to see the world with different eyes?" The Holy Father went on: "Another fundamental aspect of Advent is that of waiting: a wait that is, at the same time, a hope. ... Hope marks the journey of humankind, but for Christians it is enlivened by a certainty: the Lord is present in the events of our lives, He accompanies us and will one day dry our tears. One not-far-distant day everything will reach fulfilment in the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of justice and peace. "Yet", he added, "there are many different ways to wait. If the present time is not filled with meaning, the wait risks becoming unbearable. If we await something, but at this moment have nothing - in other words, if the present is empty - then every passing instant seems exaggeratedly long and the wait becomes an over-heavy burden because the future remains too uncertain. When, on the other hand, time has meaning and at every instant we perceive something specific and valid, then the joy of waiting makes the present richer". The Holy Father encouraged the faithful "intensely to live the present, where we already obtain the gifts of the Lord. Let us live projected towards the future, a future charged with hope". The Messiah, "coming among us, brought us and continues to bring us the gift of His love and His salvation. He is present among us and speaks to us in many ways: in Sacred Scripture, in the liturgical year, in the saints, in the events of daily life, in all creation, which changes its appearance depending upon whether [we see Him] behind it or whether [we see it] shrouded in the fog of an uncertain origin and uncertain future". "We in our turn", Pope Benedict concluded, "can address Him, present Him the sufferings that afflict us, the impatience and the questions that arise in our hearts. We are certain that He always listens to us! And if Jesus is present, then there can be no meaningless or empty time. If He is present we can continue to hope, even when others can no longer offer us their support, even when the present becomes burdensome".HML/ADVENT/... VIS 091130 (640)

THIRD PHASE OF CATHOLIC-ANGLICAN DIALOGUE TO BEGIN IN 2010 VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today published the following communique concerning the preparatory committee for the third phase of the "Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission" (ARCIC). "Following the 21 November meeting in the Vatican between Benedict XVI and Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, in the course of which they reiterated their desire to strengthen ecumenical relations between Anglicans and Catholics, on 23 November the meeting took place of the committee entrusted with preparing the third phase of the 'Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission' (ARCIC). It was decided that this new phase will begin during next year. "The third phase will focus on fundamental questions concerning the Church - local Church and universal Church - understood as communion, and on the way in which the local and universal Church can, in communion, discern just moral teaching. "Over coming months the members of the commission will be appointed, and the date of its first meeting will be announced".OP/ARCIC/WILLIAMS VIS 091130 (180)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Archbishop Anton Stres C.M. coadjutor of Maribor, Slovenia, as metropolitan archbishop of Ljubljana (area 6,134, population 768,647, Catholics 570,895, priests 438, permanent deacons 9, religious 604), Slovenia. He succeeds Archbishop Alojzij Uran, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. - Appointed Bishop Peter Stumpf S.D.B., auxiliary of Maribor, Slovenia, as bishop of Murska Sobota (area 1,102, population 119,818, Catholics 95,135, priests 64, religious 26), Slovenia. - Appointed Bishop Marjan Turnsek of Murska Sobota, Slovenia, as coadjutor archbishop of Maribor (area 3,682, population 419,849, Catholics 356,427, priests 199, permanent deacons 3, religious 136), Slovenia. The archbishop-elect was born in Celje, Slovenia in 1955, he was ordained a priest in 1981 and consecrated a bishop in 2006.RE:NER:NEC/.../... VIS 091130 (150)

ADVENT IS A TIME OF HOPE. APPEAL TO COMBAT AIDS VATICAN CITY, 29 NOV 2009 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Pope began by recalling how today marks the beginning of "a new liturgical year, which naturally opens with Advent, the period of preparation for the Lord's Nativity". In this context he explained how Vatican Council II, in its constitution on the liturgy, affirmed that the Church, 'within the cycle of a year, unfolds the whole mystery of Christ, from the incarnation and birth until the Ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of blessed hope and of the coming of the Lord'". The Council, he went on, "underlined the fact that the focus of the liturgy is Christ, like the sun around which revolve, like planets, the Blessed Virgin Mary (the closest), then the martyrs and the other saints, who 'sing God's perfect praise in heaven and offer prayers for us'. "This", the Pope added, "is the reality of the liturgical year seen, so to say, 'from God's side'. And what, we might ask, of the side of man, of history and of society? What importance can they have? "The answer is given us by the journey of Advent itself, which we begin today. The modern world has need, above all, of hope. It is needed by people in developing countries, but also by the economically evolved. We are becoming ever more aware that we are all in the same boat and must save ourselves together. Above all, we are aware that, as we see so many false hopes collapse, we need a reliable hope, and this is only to be found in Christ Who, as the Letter to the Hebrews says, 'is the same yesterday and today and forever'". Christ "embraces all dimensions of time because He died and rose again. He is 'the Living One' and, while sharing our precarious human condition, remains forever and offers us the stability of God Himself. ... Those who thirst for freedom, justice and peace, can stand up and raise their heads because in Christ freedom is drawing close". "Thus we can affirm that Jesus Christ concerns not only Christians, or only believers, but all men and women, because He, Who is at the centre of the faith, is also the foundation of hope. And hope is something of which all human beings have constant need". After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father mentioned World AIDS Day which falls on 1 December. "My thoughts and prayers go", he said, "to everyone suffering from this disease, especially to children, the poor and those who are rejected. "The Church", he added, "never ceases to strive to combat AIDS through her institutions and personnel dedicated to that task. I call upon everyone to make their contribution, with prayer and tangible assistance, so that people affected by the HIV virus may experience the presence of the Lord Who offers comfort and hope. Finally, I trust that, by increasing and co-ordinating efforts, we may manage to halt and eradicate this disease".ANG/ADVENT AIDS/... VIS 091130 (530)

HOLY FATHER RECEIVES PRESIDENT OF PERU VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today: "This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Alan Garcia Perez, president of the Republic of Peru. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. "The cordial discussions provided an occasion for a fruitful exchange of opinions on questions concerning the current international situation, especially in the region. "Attention then focused on certain aspects of the situation in Peru, especially the government's commitment to eradicating poverty, on promoting the rule of law, on protecting the environment and on areas of collaboration between Church and State".OP/AUDIENCE/PRESIDENT PERU VIS 091130 (140)

MESSAGE TO BARTHOLOMEW I FOR THE FEAST OF ST. ANDREW VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2009 (VIS) - As is traditional for the Feast of St. Andrew, the Pope has written a Message to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. The Message was delivered during the course of a visit to Istanbul by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. In his English-language Message for the feast of the patron of the patriarchate of Constantinople, the Pope recalls how that saint was brother to St. Peter and, like him, suffered martyrdom. "The memory of the holy martyrs compels all Christians to bear witness to their faith before the world", he writes. "There is an urgency in this call especially in our own day, in which Christianity is faced with increasingly complex challenges". "Our Churches have committed themselves sincerely over the last decades to pursuing the path towards the re-establishment of full communion, and although we have not yet reached our goal, many steps have been taken that have enabled us to deepen the bonds between us". The Holy Father goes on to note that "this openness has guided the work of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue, which held its eleventh plenary session in Cyprus last month" on the theme "the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church in the first millennium". This subject was "certainly complex and will require extensive study and patient dialogue if we are to aspire to a shared integration of the traditions of East and West", he says. "The Catholic Church understands the Petrine ministry as a gift of the Lord to His Church. This ministry should not be interpreted in the perspective of power, but within an ecclesiology of communion, as a service to unity in truth and charity. The Bishop of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity ... is understood to be the 'Servus Servorum Dei' (Servant of the Servants of God). ... It is a question of seeking together, inspired by the model of the first millennium, the forms in which the ministry of the Bishop of Rome may accomplish a service of love recognised by one and all". And, "even as we make this journey towards full communion, we should already offer common witness by working together in the service of humanity, especially in defending the dignity of the human person, in affirming fundamental ethical values, in promoting justice and peace". Our Churches, Pope Benedict concludes, "can work together in drawing attention to humanity's responsibility for the safeguarding of creation".MESS/ST. ANDREW/BARTHOLOMEW I VIS 091130 (440)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Thirteen prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop Dedeus Grings of Porto Alegre, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Remidio Jose Bohn and Alessandro Carmelo Ruffinoni C.S. - Bishop Irineu Silvio Wilges O.F.M. of Cachoeira do Sul. - Bishop Gironimo Zanandrea of Erexim. - Bishop Zeno Hastenteufel Novo Hamburgo. - Bishop Jaime Pedro Kohl P.S.D.P. of Osorio. - Bishop Jacinto Bergmann of Pelotas. - Bishop Jose Mario Stroeher of Rio Grande. - Bishop Aloisio Sinesio Bohnm of Santa Cruz do Sul. - Bishop Helio Adelar Rubert of Santa Maria. - Bishop Jose Clemente Weber of Santo Angelo - Bishop Federico Heimler S.D.B. of Cruz Alta. - His Royal Imperial Highness Otto von Hapsburg, archduke of Austria, accompanied by an entourage. On Saturday 28 November he received in audience Bishop Airton Jose dos Santos of Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Paulo Antonino Mascarenhas Roxo, on their "ad limina" visit.AL/.../... VIS 091130 (180)



CNA reports that the New Jersey bishops asked pastors to read a statement to their parishioners last weekend which explained the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage and encouraged the faithful to pray that New Jersey will not pass a same-sex “marriage” measure. Same-sex “marriage” advocates are working to put the bill before the current governor who has promised to sign it before he leaves office in January.
His successor has promised to veto the bill.
The bishops began their letter by acknowledging a shift toward “secular individualism” noted in the “recent authorization of 'marriage' between individuals of the same sex in a few states and the call for passage of a same sex 'marriage' law in New Jersey.”
“As Catholics, we must not stand by in silence in the face of the many challenges that threaten marriage and, in turn, children and the public good,” they asserted. “We must not shirk from our responsibility.”
“Marriage faces challenges from a society more focused on individual satisfaction than on the Gospel,” the bishops' letter stated. “We must protect and promote marriage. We must not abandon the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage and the complementarity of the sexes – a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by the major cultures of the world.”
They continued calling for support for those who struggle with same-sex attraction: “We must pledge our support to all family members, including those who choose to remain single. We must help those entering marriage to prepare for the challenges, sacrifices and joys to come. We must reach out with the special compassion of Christ to those married couples and families experiencing difficulties, anxiety, and illness.”
The bishops then stressed that defining marriage between one man and one woman would not take away from same-sex couples' rights to have hospital visitation privileges or employee benefits.
“In New Jersey, same sex couples have every benefit and right without exception that the State of New Jersey grants to heterosexual married couple,” the bishops noted. “Same sex civil unions may represent a new and a different type of institution, one in which government grants to same sex couples benefits and protections, but same sex unions are not marriage.”
The bishops the argued that the same-sex marriage initiative is an attempt to redefine marriage entirely and change the structure of marriage from being the union of one man and one woman.
“In New Jersey, the debate about same sex marriage is not about benefits and rights. The Civil Union Act [N.J. Statutes 37:1-31(a)] settled that issue once and for all. In New Jersey, same sex couples have every benefit and right without exception that the State of New Jersey grants to heterosexual married couples. The same sex “marriage” initiative is an attempt to change the historic structure of marriage as a union only of a man and a woman. This initiative ignores human nature because throughout all of human history marriage has required the complementarity of man and woman.”
The bishop's letter comes in wake of the victory of Maine's Question 1, which repealed a same-sex “marriage” law enacted by the Maine legislature. Same-sex unions are also highly contested in Washington D.C. where the city council, which will be voting on a same-sex “marriage” proposition on Dec.1, has refused to allow a petition which would allow voters to weigh in on the issue.
In this year's election, New Jersey voters elected Chris Christie, a practicing Catholic who said he would veto the same-sex marriage bill. Christie takes office on January 19. Pro-gay lawmakers are scrambling to put the bill before the current Governor Jon Corzine, who said that he would sign the bill, before he leaves office.
However, according to the Christian Post, a Quinnipiac University poll released last Wednesday shows that 49% of New Jersey voters oppose the bill while only 46% support it. (SOURCE:



CNA reports that the Catholic Conference of Italian Bishops will broadcast a series of spots on national television meant to raise awareness for the economic needs of Italy's 38,000 diocesan priests. The commercials, due to be released in the days leading up to the feast of the Immaculate Conception, emphasize the continual efforts of the conference to collect funds for the clergy.
For the last 20 years, the Catholic Conference of Italian Bishops (CEI) has footed the costs of its 38,000 diocesan priests, 600 of whom work in foreign missions. The CEI has been creative in pushing new initiatives for their fundraising outreach, counting a flash-based website among their inventory of resources for receiving donations.
The new 30-second spots, filmed in black and white, follow three priests as they carry out their vocations of service to the Gospel.
These “commercials” include specific information on how the viewer can make an offering to a fund and "sustain the activity of... diocesan priests, above all those in the smallest communities and communities where there is the most need."
In Italy, these donations are put into a collective fund for the shared use of all of the dioceses.
Diocesan priests also receive a stipend from the state. Since 2006, there has been a program in place called 5 per mille, or five per thousand, through which a person is able to specify the destination of 0.5% of their annual taxes. They may choose to give this cut to any one of a number of non-profits, research institutions or social initiatives in place of the Church, but if none of these options is indicated, the percentage is destined to the CEI.
Bishop of Caserta Pietro Farina, President of the Committee for the Promotion of Economic Support for the dioceses of Italy, comments on the CEI website on the value of these funds to the country, "We all know how much the Church, through its multiple activities, pastoral and social actions and, most of all, through the presence of its ministers is important for the well-being of our country. What would our cities be without our priests?
"Educating the community to sustain them," he continues, "even though an offering goes not only your own parish priest, but to all priests, means educating the community as to the sense of fraternal communion, of active participation and of real ecclesial co-responsibility."(SOURCE:



Asia News reports that the country's bishops have repeatedly, and so far unsuccessfully, asked the authorities to be allowed reuse the property - formerly owned by the Vatican - as a seminary. The Bishops' Conference now appeals to the Prime Minister.
Da Lat (AsiaNews) - Authorities in Da Lat, southern Vietnam, are knocking down the Pontifical Institute of St. Pius X in Da Lat to make a "cultural and urban park". And despite the repeated requests made by the bishops of the country for its return for use as a seminary in what was a property of the Vatican's representative in Vietnam, where some 13 bishops and 306 priests currently operating in the country graduated from.
The Institute opened its doors to its first class September 13, 1958. It was built by Jesuit Father Ferdinand Lacretelle, who arrived in Saigon in 1957, at the request of the Vietnamese bishops and the Vatican entrusted it to the Society of Jesus. It was managed by religious from France, Italy, Spain and Canada.
On August 1961, Ambassador Mario Brini laid the foundation stone for the reconstruction of the structure and Msgr. Francesco De Nittis, representing the nuncio, organized its inauguration April 23, 1964. On 21 September of that year, a decree (604BCTNG/ND/HC.TC. 3) of the government of then South Vietnam guaranteed "the perpetual title of the plot No 54, page 20 of Dalat City, an area of 79,200 square meters to the Vatican Consulate”.
Until 1975, the Institute gathered seminarians from the Diocese of the South, resulting in the formation of 14 bishops. With the exception of Mgr. Peter Nguyen Van Nho, who has since died, the others are still working for the Vietnamese Church. With them 306 priests, 227 diocesan and 79 religious were formed in the St. Pius X institute. In the political situation created after 1975, the Pontifical Institute ceased its training activities in the summer of 1977 and in 1980 the government took it from the Conference of Bishops.
In 1987, the Vietnamese government opened the door to a market economy and, step by step, the country has entered a period of renewal and integration with the rest of the world. At the same time, the Vietnamese Church has found itself with a shortage of priests to send to the parishes. So the bishops have asked the government for the return of the Pontifical Institute for the chance to give a high quality formation to priests. Since then, whenever given the opportunity, the Episcopal Conference and the Diocese of Da Lat have renewed its request.
At present, however, local authorities are knocking down the Institute. The Bishop of Da Lat (pictured), who is president of the Episcopal Conference, has once again made a plea for the need of the Church. "When - said Msgr. Nguyen Van Nhon - I saw that in the are of the Pontifical Institute was being transformed into a park, on November 22, 2008, on behalf of the episcopate, the office of Bishop of Da Lat sent a petition to the authorities of the province of Lam Dong to stop the work. In response, we received a letter (8860/UBND-DC) from the provincial People's Committee, alleging that the diocese should have given its’ support to the construction of the park”.
The bishop turned to the authorities of Da Lat informing them that "on behalf of the Vietnamese biushops, December 19, 2008 I sent a message to the head of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs to present the Church's needs and informing them of the petition of 22 November”.
"Recently - says the bishop - when I saw a large building under construction in the Pontifical Institute of St. Pius X, on behalf of the Episcopal Conference, on 11 February this year, I appealed to the Prime Minister and senior authorities of the province Lam Dong to ask them to reconsider the aspirations of the Episcopal conference, to be able to use the structure for the formation of priests". "Following the instructions of the leaders of the Episcopal Conference and the three archbishops of Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City - he concludes - we will continue to submit to the Prime Minister the really pressing aspirations of the Catholic Church in Vietnam".(SOURCE:



CNS reports that Church officials in southern Africa said many people in their region still "live in abject poverty" because of "bad governance, corruption and human irresponsibility."General secretaries of bishops' conferences who met in Harare, Zimbabwe, in mid-November expressed concern about excessive militarization, bribery in the public and private sectors and poor delivery of services.Church officials representing Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe discussed the role of church leaders in eliminating corruption and promoting good governance for the common good. Those countries form the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa.The church officials expressed concern over nations' judicial systems and the awarding of bids to "political friends or family members." They said political leaders should be "elected by the people, not to enrich themselves, but to work for the common good" and civil servants "are employed to serve the public.""Nurses and doctors have to combine efficiency and compassion, teachers have to remember that the future of the next generation is in their hands" and the military and police should protect all citizens and defend the whole nation, the church officials said.Institutions such as electoral commissions and the judiciary "must jealously guard their independence and resist being dictated to by the political authorities," it said, noting that political leaders "should challenge each other" and use mechanisms available such as the African Peer Review Mechanism, which encourages member states to hold each other's leaders accountable."We urge governments in our region to secure the right of access to public information and participation in policy formulation, implementation and monitoring," the church officials said, noting that "our region is not helpless. Its destiny is in the hands of those who live in it."They said "active collaboration" is needed "to achieve the ideals of a corruption-free, peaceful and prosperous society."(source:



Cath News reports in a letter to mark the International Day of People with Disability, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Bishops' Delegate for Disability, Peter Elliot, urged communities to embrace people with disability.
"The Church has taken this day as an opportunity to encourage a truly pastoral view that embraces our total community as the living Body of Christ," he wrote in the letter.
The day is observed annually on December 3 and coincides with the beginning of Advent.
This year's theme, "Empowering people with disabilities and their families" focuses on people with disability who live in poverty.
"People with disability are among the poorest in Australia and our world," said Bishop Elliot. "We are called and challenged to take action to ensure our communities are open and active in promoting opportunities that include people with disability.
"In particular we need to ensure that people with disability living in remote and rural areas, those who are new to our country and those struggling with the ever increasing daily expense of living are supported and encouraged in the most practical and appropriate manner." (SOURCE:


St. Andrew the Apostle
Feast: November 30
Feast Day:
November 30
early 1st Century, Bethsaida
mid-late 1st Century, Patras
Major Shrine:
Church of St. Andreas at Patras
Patron of:
Scotland, Russia, Sicily, Greece, Romania, Amalfi, Luqa (Malta) and Prussia; Army Rangers, mariners, fishermen, fishmongers, rope-makers, singers and performers

St Andrew was a native of Bethsaida, a town in Galilee, upon the banks of the lake of Genesareth. He was the son of Jonas, or John, a fisherman of that town, and brother to Simon Peter, but whether elder or younger the Holy Scriptures have not acquainted us. They had afterwards a house at Capharnaum, where Jesus lodged when he preached in that city. It is no small proof of the piety and good inclinations of St. Andrew, that when St. John Baptist began to preach penance in the desert, he was not content with going to hear him as others did, but became his disciple, passed much of his time in hearing his instructions, and studied punctually to practice all his lessons and copy his example; but he often returned home to his fishing trade. He was with his master when St. John Baptist, seeing Jesus pass by the day after he had been baptized by him, said, "Behold the Lamb of God." Andrew, by the ardour and purity of his desires and his fidelity in every religious practice, deserved to be so far enlightened as to comprehend this mysterious saying, and without delay he and another disciple of the Baptist went after Jesus, who drew them secretly by the invisible bands of his grace, and saw them with the eyes of his spirit before he beheld them with his corporal eyes. Turning back as he walked and seeing them follow him, he said, "What seek ye?" They said they desired to know where he dwelt; and he bade them come and see. There remained but two hours of that day, which they spent with him, and, according to several fathers, the whole night following. "O how happy a day, how happy a night did they pass I " cries out St. Austin. "Who will tell us what things they then learned from the mouth of their Saviour!"
Andrew, who loved affectionately his brother Simon, called afterwards Peter, could not rest till he had imparted to him the infinite treasure which he had discovered, and brought him to Christ that he might also know him. Simon was no sooner come to Jesus than the Saviour of the world admitted him as a disciple and gave him the name of Peter. The brothers tarried one day with him to hear his divine doctrine, and the next day returned home again. From this time they became Jesus’ disciples, not constantly attending upon him, as they afterwards did, but hearing him frequently, as their business would permit, and returning to their trade and family affairs again. Jesus, in order to prove the truth of his divine doctrine by his works, wrought his first miracle at the marriage at Cana in Galilee, and was pleased that these two brothers should be present at it with his holy mother. Jesus, going up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, stayed some days in Judea, and baptized in the Jordan. Peter and Andrew also baptized by his authority and in his name. Our Saviour being come back into Lower Galilee in autumn, and meeting one day Peter and Andrew fishing in the lake, before the end of the same year, he called them to a constant attendance upon the ministry of the gospel, saying that he would make them fishers of men. Whereupon they immediately left their nets to follow him, and never went from him again. The year following, the Son of God formed the college of his apostles, in which our two brothers are named by the evangelists at the head of the rest. Not long after Jesus went down to Capharnaum and lodged at the house of Peter and Andrew and, at the request of them both, cured Peter's wife's mother of a fever, by taking her by the hand and rebuking the fever, by which it left her When Christ would not send away the multitude of five thousand persons who had followed him into the desert till they were refreshed with some food, St. Philip said two hundred pennyworth of bread would not suffice. But Andrew seemed to express a stronger faith, saying there was a boy who had five barley loaves and two small fishes—which, indeed, were nothing among so many—but Christ could, if he pleased to exert his power, seeing he was greater than Eliseus who, with twenty loaves, fed a hundred men. When Christ was at Bethania, at the house of Lazarus, a little before his Sacred Passion, certain Greeks who came to worship God at the festival, addressed themselves to Philip, begging him to introduce them to Jesus. Philip did not undertake to do it alone; but spoke to St. Andrew, and they both together spoke to their divine master and procured these strangers that happiness. This shows the great credit St. Andrew had with Christ; on which account St. Bede calls him the Introductor to Christ, and says he had this honour because he brought St. Peter to him. Christ having foretold the destruction of the temple, Peter, John, James, and Andrew asked him privately when that should come to pass, that they might forewarn their brethren to escape the danger.
After Christ's resurrection and the descent of the Holy Ghost, St. Andrew preached the gospel in Scythia, as Origen testifies. Sophronius, who wrote soon after St. Jerome and translated his catalogue of illustrious men and some other works into Greek, adds Sogdiana and Colchis. Theodoret tells us that he passed into Greece; St. Gregory Nazianzen mentions particularly Epirus and St. Jerom Achaia. St. Paulinus says this divine fisherman, preaching at Argos, put all the philosophers there to silence. St. Philastrius tells us, that he came out of Pontus into Greece, and that in his time people at Sinope were persuaded that they had his true picture, and the pulpit in which he had preached in that city. The Muscovites have long gloried that St. Andrew carried the gospel into their country as far as the mouth of the Borysthenes, and to the mountains where the city of Kiou now stands, and to the frontiers of Poland. If the ancients mean European Scythia, when they speak of the theatre of his labours, this authority is favourable to the pretensions of the Muscovites. The Greeks understand it of Scythia, beyond Sebastopolis in Colchis, and perhaps also of the European; for they say he planted the faith in Thrace, and particularly at Byzantium, afterwards called Constantinople. But of this we meet with no traces in antiquity. Several Calendars commemorate the feast of the chair of St. Andrew at Patrae, in Achaia It is agreed that he laid down his life there for Christ. St. Paulinus says, that having taken many people in the nets of Christ he confirmed the faith which he had preached by his blood at Patrae. St. Sophronius, St. Gaudentius, and St. Austin assure us that he was crucified; St. Peter Chrysologus says, on a tree; Pseudo-Hippolytus adds, on an olive-tree. In the hymn of Pope Damasus it is barely mentioned that he was crucified. When the apostle saw his cross at a distance, he is said to have cried out, "Hail, precious cross, that hast been consecrated by the body of my Lord, and adorned with his limbs as with rich jewels. I come to thee exulting and glad: receive me with joy into thy arms. O good cross, that hast received beauty from our Lord's limbs; I have ardently loved thee; long have I desired and sought thee: now thou art found by me, and art made ready for my longing soul; receive me into thy arms, taking me from among men, and present me to my master; that he who redeemed me on thee, may receive me by thee." The body of St. Andrew was translated from Patrae to Constantinople in 357, together with those of St. Luke and St. Timothy, and deposited in the Church of the Apostles, which Constantine the Great had built a little before. St. Paulinus and St. Jerome mention miracles wrought on that occasion. The churches of Milan, Nola, Brescia, and some other places, were at the same time enriched with small portions of these relics, as we are informed by St. Ambrose, St. Gaudentius, St. Paulinus, &c.
It is the common opinion that the cross of St. Andrew was in the form of the letter X, styled a cross decussate, composed of two pieces of timber crossing each other obliquely in the middle. That such crosses were sometimes used is certain; yet no clear proofs are produced as to the form of St. Andrew's cross. It is mentioned in the records of the duchy of Burgundy, that the cross of St. Andrew was brought out of Achaia and placed in the nunnery of Weaune, near Marseilles. It was thence removed into the abbey of St. Victor, in Marseilles, before the year 1250, and is still shown there. A part thereof, enclosed in a silver case gilt, was carried to Brussels by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and Brabant, who, in honour of it, instituted the Knights of the Golden Fleece, who for the badge of their Order, wear a figure of this cross, called St. Andrew's cross, or the cross of Burgundy. The Scots honour St. Andrew as principal patron of their country, and their historians tell us that a certain abbot, called Regulus, brought thither from Patrae in 369, or rather from Constantinople some years later, certain relics of this apostle, which he deposited in a church which he built in his honour with a monastery called Abernethy, where now the city of St. Andrews stands. Usher proves that many pilgrims resorted to this church from foreign countries, and that the Scottish monks of that place were the first who were called Culdees. Hungus, King of the Picts, soon after the year 800, in thanksgiving for a great victory which he had gained over the Northumbrians, gave to this church the tenth part of all the land of his dominions. Kenneth II, King of the Scots, having overcome the Picts, and entirely extinguished their kingdom in North Britain, in 845, repaired and richly endowed the Church of St. Regulus, or Rueil, in which the arm of St. Andrew was reverently kept. The Muscovites say he preached the faith among them, and honour him as the principal titular saint of their empire. Peter the Great instituted under his name the first and most noble order of knighthood, or of the blue ribbon; leaving the project of a second Order of St. Alexander Newski, or of the red ribbon, to be carried into execution by his widow.
St. Andrew, by conversing with Christ, extinguished in his breast all earthly passions and desires, and attained to the happiness of his pure divine love. We often say to ourselves that we also desire to purchase holy love, the most valuable of all treasures, and the summit of dignity and happiness. But these desires are fruitless and mere mockery unless we earnestly set about the means. We must first, with the apostle, leave all things; that is to say, we must sincerely and in spirit forsake the world (though we live in it), and must also renounce and die to ourselves before we can be admitted to the familiar converse of our Redeemer and God, or before he opens to us the treasure of his choicest graces. In the same proportion that the world and self-love are banished from our hearts shall we advance in divine love. But this great virtue is learned, exercised, and improved by conversing much with God in holy meditation, reading, and assiduous prayer and recollection; also by its external acts, in all manner of good works, especially those of fraternal charity and spiritual mercy.(SOURCE:


Matthew 4: 18 - 22
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zeb'edee and John his brother, in the boat with Zeb'edee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.
Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

Sunday, November 29, 2009





Many believers gathered in the Basilica of St. Peter, Saturday, November 28th, for the celebration of First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent, presided over by Benedict XVI and inspired by the Sistine Chapel choir and the Mater Ecclesiae choir. In his homily, referring to the passage of the First Epistle to the Thessalonians read during the recitation of Vespers, the Holy Father reflected on the meaning of Advent, the "arrival", the "coming", the "visitation" of God who enters our life and desires to speak directly to us. In this light, said Pope Benedict, all the events of the day are signs that God sends us, signs of the attention that has for each of us. For more of the homily see link: (SOURCE:


The World Day against AIDS falls on December 1st of this year. My thoughts and my prayers go to each person affected by this disease, especially children, the poorest, and those who are rejected. Through Her institutions and Her dedicated personnel, the Church is engaged in ceaseless efforts to combat AIDS. I urge everyone to contribute with prayer and concrete attention, so that those affected by HIV might experience the presence of the Lord who gives comfort and hope. I hope finally, that by multiplying and coordinating efforts, we come to stop and eradicate this disease.(SOURCE:


Pope Benedict XVI prayed the Angelus with the faithful gathered this Sunday morning in St Peters Square. In remarks before the prayer, Pope Benedict said Jesus Christ is not only for Christians, not just for believers: He is for all men, because it is He who is the center of faith, and the foundation of hope. Every human being, said Pope Benedict, is in constant need of Hope. On this first Sunday of Advent, the Holy Father spoke of the significance of the liturgical year, saying "Above all else, the world today needs hope, people in developing countries need it, just as do people in economically advanced societies. (SOURCE:



CNA reports that a selection of 28 documentaries about AIDS victims and the response of the local Catholic Church will be made available to Catholic broadcasters through the Catholic Radio and Television Network (CRTN). The network says the programs, selected from Spanish, French and English speaking producers, show how love, care and education in faithfulness and abstinence are the most effective weapons against the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The documentaries provided by CRTN include the Metanoia Media production “The Change is On” about the response to HIV/AIDS in South Africa. The Spanish-language series from Goya Producciones, “The Culture of Life,” reflects “the Church’s love and experience as the world’s primary HIV/AIDS care giver,” CRTN says.
While condom use is often offered as the primary method to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, the Catholic Church, which considers condom use to be a corruption of the marital act, has questioned this approach. Pope Benedict XVI triggered international controversy with a March 2009 comment saying that condoms will not stop the spread of AIDS.
Some researchers also doubt the practicality of condom use in many HIV prevention programs. Dr. Edward Green, a Senior Research Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, has said no association between condom use and lower HIV rates in Africa has been discovered.
According to a CRTN press release, AIDS has killed more than 27 million people since it was first identified in 1981. More than 35 million worldwide are infected with HIV. In Africa, more than 11 million children are AIDS orphans.
More information about the documentaries is available at



CNA reports that Fr. Álvaro Corcuera, the Director General of the Legion of Christ, has sent a letter to members of Regnum Christi about the nature of Christ’s Kingdom and the need to show “limitless confidence in Christ.” He also asked forgiveness from those who have suffered on account of the “sorrowful circumstances” of the order. His letter, which is customary for the Feast of Christ the King, began by noting the words of the Our Father “Thy Kingdom come!”
“We pray these words because we know that the Kingdom is a gift from God rather than a goal we can reach through our own efforts,” Fr. Corcuera began.
He said that members of Regnum Christi, the Legion of Christ’s lay branch, find “the meaning of our existence and our mission” in God’s will that mankind cooperate in the coming of the Kingdom.
“Christ’s Kingdom is not an abstract or ill-defined reality,” Fr. Corcuera continued. “If Christ is calling us to establish his Kingdom on this earth, we can ask ourselves where and how we are to do so.”
Christians are to begin the Kingdom in their own hearts, he said.
“But Christ’s sovereignty must not be limited to our own heart,” he added. Christians are to be “real torches of Christ’s love” by helping others open themselves to Christ, by imitating Him and by letting Him “take ownership of our thoughts, words and deeds.”
“We desire to live this day with a spirit of reparation and humility, united to Christ the King, who is rich in mercy. I want to take advantage of this letter to again sincerely ask forgiveness from all those who have suffered or are suffering on account of the sorrowful circumstances we have lived. God is inviting us to live this time by intensifying our prayer life, our acts of charity and penitential spirit, so we can unite ourselves more deeply to Christ and to our fellow brothers and sisters.”
The Director General’s words are apparently an allusion to the revelations earlier this year that Legion of Christ founder Fr. Marcial Maciel led a “double life” and fathered a child.
Fr. Corcuera continued, saying that Regnum Christi’s only justification for its existence is its service to the Church, the bishops, and laity.
“All our apostolates, all our activities, our whole life is to be focused on this service,” he added, thanking God that the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi are able to offer many activities and apostolates.
He invited Regnum Christi members to serve the “local ecclesial community” under the directions of the bishops and pastors. He said a “limitless confidence in Christ” is fundamental to the mission, noting Old Testament examples of this confidence.
“They were all men, aware of their own limitations and human condition. However, they knew how to open their heart to God’s action.”
“We are not alone because Christ never leaves us. We are not alone because Regnum Christi is not an isolated reality. We are part of the great family of God in which the variety and beauty of paths enriches and encourages us all,” he added. “Our movement is only one of so many realities that God has raised up in the Church as a way to help us live out our baptismal commitment.”
“On this day of Christ the King, let us also entrust ourselves in a special way to Mary, the mirror of the Church, so that by contemplating her we will come to understand the greatness of our vocation,” Fr. Corcuera concluded, citing Mary’s words in the Gospel of John to “do whatever He tells you.”(SOURCE:

Asia News reports that the vessel overturned because of overcrowding, it was carrying more than 1000 people. The accident occurred last night at 11.45, during disembarkation. Passengers returning from the capital, after having attended the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - 20 dead, including seven children, and over 100 missing. This is the toll so far from a capsized ferry on the river Tetulia in Bangladesh. The accident occurred last night at 11.45 local time. The vessel capsized under the weight of its excessive load, one of the largest for river navigation, it was carrying between 1000 and 1500 people.
The ferry MV Coco-4 (pictured) overturned near the port of Lalmohan, a town in the district of Bhola, about 300 km south of capital Dhaka. During the disembarkation of passengers the vehicle capsized because of excessive weight and sank. A team of divers intervened to retrieve those trapped.
Nazrul Islam, police chief Lalmohan, explains that a group of police officers intervened to try to break down one of the doors. "Voices were heard from inside - he says - of desperate people seeking help”. Meanwhile, the tug "Hamazi" is on its way from Baribal, to raise the ferry and prevent its sinking.
Rescue teams have so far rescued 50 people, and brought them to hospital in the city. Seven are in a "critical" condition, says the chief of police, and "dozens are still trapped under the water." The majority of passengers on board the MV Coco-4 were returning home after having participated in Dhaka, in a ceremony celebrating the Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival which commemorates the sacrifice of Abraham.
Ferry disasters are frequent in Bangladesh, most often caused by overcrowding or lack of safety controls. Over the last 37 years more than 4,200 people have died in shipping accidents. Over 19 thousand vessels between ferries and cargo ships sail on the rivers of the country, most of which do not meet the minimum safety standards set by the government.


CISA reports that a new report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has revealed that poor women especially in Africa will be hardest hit by climate change because they are the poorest but also adds that they hold the key to climate change solutions.According to the UNFPA’s 2009 State of the World Population new report, women comprise the majority of the world’s farmers, have fewer income-earning opportunities and they manage households and hence have limited mobility making them more vulnerable to natural disasters.According to the report subtitled: Facing a changing world: women population and climate released on November 18, poor and vulnerable populations the world over are the ones who will be hardest hit by climate change despite their comparatively minute contribution to global carbon footprint.The report emphasises that climate change is more than an issue of energy efficiency or industrial carbon emissions; it is also an issue of population dynamics poverty and gender equity.UNFPA five recommendations suggest:That a better understanding of population dynamics gender and reproductive health should form a basis for climate change and environmental discussions at all levels.It advocates for fully funded family planning services and contraceptive supplies within the framework of reproductive health and rights to assure that low income is no barrier to access.It proposes that research and data collection be prioritised in order to improve the understanding of gender and population dynamics in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Existing research is heavily based on projections and estimates and research is required to fill in the gaps.It warns that we must prepare now for increases in population movements resulting from climate change and improve the disaggregation of data by sex that is related to migration flows influenced by environmental factors.Finally it emphasises that conscious efforts must be made to integrate gender considerations into global efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.The report calls for governments to remove obstacles to women’s participation in the climate change debate - not only within legislative bodies but through improving the life conditions of women - especially those related to education health and opportunity - allowing them to reach for and achieve personal and collective goals.Greater representation of women within civil society at formal climate change negotiations is a critical first step but the report goes on to say that Women’s voices will need to be forceful and heard from tribal councils to national energy ministries to the halls of the United Nations. (SOURCE:


Catholic Mission is promoting an online Gift Registry to encourage people to donate for poor children around the world, and present that gesture as a gift to someone else on Christmas.
"It is often a challenge to think of things to buy for people at Christmas. Catholic Mission's online Gift Registry is the perfect place to shop for Christmas and help people in the developing world at the same time," National Director of Catholic Mission Martin Teulan said in a statement.
"The Gift Registry has been especially designed for those people who are difficult to buy for, who may have everything they need, but would appreciate a donation on their behalf. You choose the gift and the recipient of the gift will receive a certificate explaining which area of work your donation will go to."
Donations from just $20 provide safe transport to a food relief centre for five children in war torn Baghdad, Iraq; provide medicine for 53 infants in Kholajhiri, Bangladesh or assist a child with a disability in The Congo, the organisation said.
"We traditionally give gifts to children at Christmas and Catholic Mission gifts give the gift of life to children all over the world."
Further details and information are available on the organisation's website that is linked below.


St. Saturninus
Feast: November 29
Feast Day:
November 29
third century, Patras, Greece
257, Toulouse, France
Basilique St-Sernin, Toulouse
Patron of:
Toulouse, France

St. Saturninus was, says Tillemont, one of the most illustrious martyrs France has given to the Church. We possess only his Acts, which are very old, since they were utilized by St. Gregory of Tours. He was the first bishop of Toulouse, whither he went during the consulate of Decius and Gratus (250). Whether there were already Christians in the town or his preaching made numerous conversions, he soon had a little church. To reach it he had to pass before the capitol where there was a a temple, and according to the Acts, the pagan priests ascribed to his frequent passings the silence of their oracles. One day they seized him and on his unshakeable refusal to sacrifice to the idols they condemned him be tied by the feet to a bull which dragged him about the town until the rope broke. Two Christian women piously gathered up the remains and buried them in a deep ditch, that they might not be profaned by the pagans. His successors, Sts. Hilary and Exuperius, gave him more honourable burial. A church was erected where the bull stopped. It still exists, and is called the church of the Taur (the bull). The body of the saint was transferred at an early date and is still preserved in the Church of St. Sernin (or Saturninus), one of the most ancient and beautiful of Southern France. His feast was entered on the Hieronymian Martyrology for 29 November; his cult spread abroad. The account of his Acts was embellished with several details, and legends linked his name with the beginning of the churches of Eauze, Auch, Pamplona, and Amiens, but these are without historic foundations.(SOURCE:


Jeremiah 33: 14 - 16
"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring forth for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: `The LORD is our righteousness.'

Psalms 25: 4 - 5, 8 - 9, 10, 14
Make me to know thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long.
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.

1 Thessalonians 3: 12 - 13
and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all men, as we do to you,
so that he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
1 Thessalonians 4: 1 - 2
Finally, brethren, we beseech and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, you do so more and more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.


Luke 21: 25 - 28, 34 - 36
"And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,
men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
"But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare;
for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth.
But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man."

Saturday, November 28, 2009







The peace treaty between Argentina and Chile, strongly desired by John Paul II and reached through the mediation of the Holy See was a historic event. On Saturday Benedict XVI commemorated the signing of the treaty exactly 25 years ago as he received the presidents of Argentina and Chile on visit to the Vatican. Peace, said the Pope, needs open hearts and minds, especially among politicians, and requires the defence of life and human dignity, protection of the family, efforts against poverty and corruption, economic growth , solidarity and democracy. Benedict XVI also recalled the words of Pius XII, that nothing is lost in peace, all can be lost with war.




Cath News reports that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will ask Kevin Rudd for Australian approval to reform the 300 year old rule that discriminates against women and members of the Royal family who marry Catholics, reports The Australian.
He will not advocate complete equality for Catholics and is expected to retain rules that hold only non-Catholics can become the head of state of Australia, Britain and 14 other countries ruled by the House of Windsor.
All 16 realms of Queen Elizabeth would have to approve any changes so Mr Brown will use the meeting in Trinidad of Commonwealth Heads of Government to raise the issue in private discussions with his colleagues, the report said.
The decade old complaints about the sexism built into the rules of succession, which mean that Anne, the Princess Royal, is outranked by her younger brothers and their children, have gained a sense of urgency because of concerns that the future heir Prince William, 27, could marry and have children in the next few years, The Australian adds.
It was the overthrow of King James II in favour of the Protestant William of Orange in 1688 that led to the ban on Catholics in that year's Bill of Rights and the 1701 Act of Settlement.
Mr Brown said the Act of Settlement was "outdated" and had "to be looked at" but that could only happen "in the context of the whole Commonwealth and all countries where the Queen is the head of state."
The ban on Catholics becoming head of state is seen as untouchable by the Church of England because of the monarch's dual role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.



CNA reports that the National Conference of Students for Life of America, scheduled to be held on Jan 23, 2010, has already sold out.
“I was amazed to see our national conference sell out so quickly this year. It is a true reflection of what my staff has been witnessing on college campuses for the past several months,” Kristan Hawkins, the Executive Director of Students for Life of America, told CNA.
The conference will be an opportunity for students across the U.S. to receive training on how to be effective advocates for life, be educated on all of the current issues affecting the pro-life movement, and meet and network with other pro-life students from across the country. It will be held at the Catholic University of America on January 23, the day after the March for Life in Washington, D.C.
“Pro-life students are tired of the some old politics as usual in Washington, D.C. and on their campuses. They are activating like never before to provide resources to women facing unplanned pregnancies in their communities and are standing up to the culture of death policies of Congress and the current presidential administration,” Hawkins added.
The conference's website assures readers that next year's conference will be held in a larger venue. But for the 778 participants lucky enough to be registered, the day itself will feature talks on “Knowing Your Rights on Campus” and “How Abortion Affects Real Women and Men.”
The afternoon will host a number of breakout sessions aimed at helping students become better and more effective ambassadors to their campuses. The sessions will discuss a variety of topics ranging from stem cell research and bio-ethical reform to sidewalk counseling and breaking through apathy on their campuses.
More information on the conference and the host organization can be found at (SOURCE:


CISA reports that the Church in the Sudan has appealed to its counterparts elsewhere in the world to support it on the country’s Darfur crisis issue.Addressing a two day Darfur Regional Initiative for a lasting peace in Sudan, Chad and Central African Republic (CAR) today-November 24 here-Nairobi, Deputy Secretary General of the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC), Rev. Mark Alek Cien observed that “As we congregate here today, the Darfur crisis is on the rise”.The insecurity is still biting hard, food availability is quite an issue and peace negotiation on the issue is not making much progress, stressed Rev. Cien.He added that the humanitarian situation in Darfur has been worsened by an expulsion of 13 foreign-aided non-governmental organizations by Khartoum Government.“With the rain failure in some parts of the country, the food availability for the Darfur people is likely to be quite an issue”, stressed Rev. Cien.The two day consultation held between November 23-24, organized by the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), was attended by 13 participants-clergymen and lay people, Catholics and Protestants, drawn from in Sudan, CAR and Chad.The participants had converged to access the role of the Church and Christian organizations on the Darfur crisis issue.In response, the AACC General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Andrea Karagama assured the Church in the Sudan of the organization’s commitment to the Darfur issue.“We shall journey together on this issue as we have done on other issues in the past. We shall not abandon you. This you can rest be assured”, stressed Rev. Dr. Karamaga.Earlier the participants expressed the need for the Church in the three countries’ –Sudan, CAR and Chad to closely work together on the cross border issue for example, due to its impact on the people from the three countries in terms of refugees, for example.In an interview with CISA, Rev. Fr. Paolino Tipo, who serves the Catholic Church in Chad, as peace and justice coordinator said the country was currently facing a humanitarian crisis as she was housing thousands of refugees from Sudan, and CAR.“And apart from this, there are hundreds of internally displaced Chadians”, he added.Peace in Darfur, he observed would mean peace in Chad due to its impact- on the two countries and its people.(SOURCE:


UCAN reports that Church workers are trying to help former Tamil Tiger rebels, who are said to be living in the "blackest of despair," claiming many should be released.

A Catholic priest organizes a mealfor Tamil youths from a detention camp
Press-ganged into fighting as children, many are now living with injury, disability and mental trauma, cut off from their loved ones.
The rebels should not continue to be punished because many had no option when they were under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) separatist army, says Oblate Father Paul Jayanthan Pachchek.
The former director of the Oblate Social Service (OSS), which is helping 2,000 inmates in five camps, says most rebel soldiers are little more than youths. They are depressed, cannot sleep and are plagued by discrimination and violence against ethnic Tamil minorities, he added.
The OSS swung into action soon after fighting ended in May. The International Committee of the Red Cross and other international aid organizations are banned from the camps where these former LTTE rebels are held.
In all, around 11,000 male and female former combatants are being held in 17 camps and are being interrogated by government forces.
New York-based Human Rights Watch on Nov. 24, raised concerns over the situation. It called upon the government to either bring charges against the detainees or release them.
The OSS gives these former combatants toiletries, newspapers and magazines and occasionally fresh fish, meat and vegetables. The Church also provides Hindu and Christian prayer books, bibles and rosaries.
Sri Lankan Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told media recently that the attorney general is considering an amnesty and rehabilitation plan for lower-ranking rebel soldiers.
The LTTE was branded a terrorist organization by the US and European Union. It has been accused of hundreds of suicide attacks, including the assassinations of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Sri Lankan President R. Premadasa and other politicians.


Cath News reports that the Federal Government will allow gay couples in the ACT to hold legally binding civil partnership ceremonies, adding a requirement that same sex partners must register their intention to hold a wedding.
The Australian Christian Lobby criticised the agreement, saying in a media statement that it contravenes Federal Labor's election promise "not to allow marriage to be mimicked."
"The ACT Labor government is proud of its record of achieving real and meaningful reform for gay, lesbian and transsexual people in the ACT," ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell was qouted saying in an AAP report on
"The discussions between the Australian Government and the ACT Government about the Civil Partnerships Act were conducted in good faith, and the matter has been resolved satisfactorily," according to the office of the Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland.
Registering before the ceremony was an essential amendment and consistent with the Commonwealth's framework for relationship recognition, the report said.
The two governments reached a compromise that will allow gay couples to continue holding ceremonies in front of a civil partnership notary, ABC reported.
"We have legal ceremonies and we have legal ceremony celebrants and that is a very important reform," Mr Corbell was quoted as saying by the ABC report.
"This now opens the door for other states and territories to follow the ACT's lead knowing the Commonwealth accepts ceremonies are now a legal part of the equation."
Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Managing Director Jim Wallace said in a statement that he was not at all satisfied with the agreement.
"The clear commitment from the ALP prior to the Federal election in 2007 was to not allow marriage to be mimicked - a position reaffirmed by the Federal Attorney General's statement of opposition to civil unions at the ALP National Conference last July," Mr Wallace said.
"We expect that the Federal Government will put further demands on the ACT Government to remove references to ceremonies and celebrants from the Civil Partnerships Act and so honour their election promise."


St. James of the Marches
Feast: November 28
Feast Day:
November 28
1391, Monteprandone, Marche of Ancona, Italy
November 28, 1476
10 December 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII
Major Shrine:
Franciscan church of St. Maria la Nuova
Patron of:
Patron of the city of Naples, Italy

Franciscan, b. of a poor family named Gangala, at Monteprandone, March of Ancona, Italy, 1391; d. at Naples, 28 Nov., 1476. He is generally represented holding in his right hand a chalice, out of which a snake is escaping --an allusion to some endeavours of heretics to poison him or, less likely, to the controversy about the Precious Blood.
He began his studies at Offida under the guidance of his uncle, a priest, who soon afterwards put him to school at Ascoli. At the University of Perugia he took the degree of Doctor in Civil Law. After a short stay at Florence as tutor in a noble family, and as judge of sorcerers, James was received into the Order of the Friars Minor, in the chapel of the Portiuncula, Assisi, 26 July, 1416. Having finished his novitiate at the hermitage of the Carceri, near Assisi, he studied theology at Fiesole, near Florence, under St. Bernardine of Siena. On 13 June, 1420, be was ordained priest, and soon began to preach in Tuscany, in the Marches, and Umbria; for half a century he carried on his spiritual labours, remarkable for the miracles he performed and the numerous conversions he wrought. From 1427 James preached penance, combated heretic, and was on legations in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, and Bosnia. In the last-mentioned country he was also commissary of the Friars Minor. At the time of the Council of Basle he promoted the union of the moderate Hussites with the Church, and that of the Greeks it the Council of Ferrara-Florence. Against the Turk, he preached several crusades, and at the death of St. John Capistran, in 1456, James was sent to Hungary as his successor. In Italy he fought the Fraticelli, instituted several montes pietatis, and preached in all the greater cities; Milan offered him the bishopric in 1460, which he declined. St. James belonged to the Observant branch of the Friars Minor, then rapidly spreading and exciting much envy. How much he suffered on this account is shown in a letter written by him to St. John Capistran, published by Nic. Dal-Gal, O.F.M., in "Archivum Franciscanum Historicum", I (1908), 94-97. Under Callistus III, in 1455, he was appointed an arbiter on the questions at issue between Conventuals and Observants. His decision was published 2 Feb., 1456, in a papal Bull, which pleased neither part . A few years later, on Easter Monday, 1462, St. James, preaching at Brescia, uttered the opinion of some theologians, that the Precious Blood shed during the Passion was not united with the Divinity of Christ during the three days of His burial. The Dominican James of Brescia, inquisitor, immediately cited him to his tribunal. James refused to appear, and after some troubles appealed to the Holy See. The question was discussed at Rome, Christmas, 1462 (not 1463, as some have it), before Pius II and the cardinals, but no decision was given. James spent the last three years of his life at Naples, and was buried there in the Franciscan church of S. Maria la Nuova, where his body is still to be seen. Beatified by Urban VIII, 1624, he was canonized by Benedict XIII, 1726. Naples venerates him as one of its patron saints (feast, 28 Nov.).
The works of St. James of the Marches have not as yet been collected. His library and autographs are preserved in part at the Municipio of Monteprandone (see Crivellucci, "I codici della libreria raccolta da S. Giacomo della Marca nel convento di S. Maria delle Grazie presso Monteprandone", Leghorn, 1889). He wrote "Dialogus contra Fraticellos" printed in Baluze-Mansi, "Miscellanea", II, Lucca, 1761, 595-610 (cf. Ehrle in "Archiv für Litt. u. Kirchengeschichte", IV, Freiburg im Br., 1888, 107-10). His numerous sermons are not edited. For some of them, and for his treatise on the "Miracles of the Name of Jesus", see Candido Mariotti, O.F.M., "Nome di Gesù ed i Francescani", Fano, 1909, 125-34. On his notebook, or "Itinerarium", See Luigi Tasso, O.F.M., in "Miscellanea Francescana", I (1886), 125-26: "Regula confitendi peccata" was several times edited in Latin and Italian during the fifteenth century. "De Sanguine Christi effuse" and some other treatises remained in manuscript.


Luke 21: 34 - 36
"But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare;
for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth.
But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man."

Friday, November 27, 2009





(VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, the presentation took place of the Holy Father's Message for the ninety-sixth World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The theme of this year's Message is "Underage migrants and refugees". Participating in the press conference were Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto and Msgr. Novatus Rugambwa, respectively president, secretary and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. Archbishop Veglio explained how the reasons behind the migration of minors are similar to those behind the migration of adults: "armed conflict of an ethnic or religious nature, economic and social crises, lack of future prospects". Yet at the same time their migration has a specific characteristic, in that "an unaccompanied minor cannot be repatriated". Consequently there are cases in which "parents, sometimes entire families, place all their hopes in the success of a minor who emigrates. This then becomes a powerful psychological pressure for the youth, who does not wish to disappoint them". Thus, such minors "are ready to suffer injustices, violence and mistreatment in order to obtain a residency permit, perhaps a school education, and above all a job with which to help the families who have 'invested' so much in them". For his part, Archbishop Marchetto recalled how "mobility is a macro-phenomenon of our time, one which simultaneously involves the elderly, adults and children all over the world. It is, as we say in evangelical language, a 'sign of the times'. The Church is particularly close to refugees and forced migrants, not only through her pastoral presence and material support for those in need, but also through her commitment to defend their human dignity". Turning his attention to child refugees, the prelate noted how "there are many minors who ... cross frontiers alone. ... This is, in the final analysis, a survival strategy. ... The reasons for the forced abandonment of their homes are linked to war, adverse political situations, the killing of a member of the family or the persecution of the child itself. ... These reasons are more than sufficient to request asylum, a situation for which provision is made in long-standing international humanitarian law, at least in principle". Nonetheless "it must be recognised with great sadness that members of civil society act and react to the arrival of refugees on the basis of stereotypes, preconceptions and prejudices. ... Such discrimination, ... even racism, must be met with policies appropriate for safeguarding ... the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons". "Our Christian communities", Archbishop Marchetto concluded, "have the 'duty to welcome whoever comes knocking out of need', to show solidarity, hospitality, and a pastoral commitment aimed at the needs of minors, especially unaccompanied minors and other refugees separated from their families. We must give them hope, courage and love". Referring to the problems faced by migrant and refugee children, Msgr. Rugambwa pointed out that "language in particular is an important variable linked to their suffering. ... Education and the development of new skills, especially that of speaking the new language in order to be able to communicate adequately in the host country, enable [migrants] to play an active role in integration and to take their proper place in the host society. "Unfortunately", he added, "a large number of these migrants and refugees often encounter obstacles on their educational itinerary, and in their subsequent professional training or higher education". Msgr. Rugambwa concluded by underlining the need for commitment "to counter the tendency towards scholastic segregation; ... the absence of equal-opportunity policies, and ... the lack of financial resources to resolve these difficulties".OP/WORLD DAY MIGRANTS/... VIS 091127 (620)

MESSAGE FOR WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2009 (VIS) - "Underage migrants and refugees" is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the ninety-sixth World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is due to be celebrated on 17 January 2010. Some extracts from the English-language translation of the Pope's Message are given below: "The celebration of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees once again gives me the opportunity to express the Church's constant concern for those who, in different ways, experience emigration. This is a phenomenon which, as I wrote in the Encyclical 'Caritas in Veritate', upsets us due to the number of people involved and the social, economic, political, cultural and religious problems it raises on account of the dramatic challenges it poses to both national and international communities. The migrant is a human being who possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance". "While the Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly states that the best interests of minors must always be safeguarded, recognising their fundamental human rights as equal to the rights of adults, unfortunately this does not always happen in practice. Although there is an increasing public awareness of the need for immediate and incisive action to protect minors, nevertheless, many are left to themselves and, in various ways, face the risk of exploitation". "It is my heartfelt hope that proper attention will be given to underage migrants, who need a social environment that enables and fosters their physical, cultural, spiritual and moral development. Living in a foreign land without effective points of reference generates countless and sometimes serious hardships and difficulties for them, especially those deprived of the support of their family. "A typical aspect of the migration of minors is the situation of children born in the host country or of those who do not live with their parents, who emigrated after their birth, but join them later. These adolescents belong to two cultures with all the advantages and problems attached to their dual background, a condition that can nevertheless offer them the opportunity to experience the richness of an encounter between different cultural traditions. "It is important that these young people be given the possibility of attending school and subsequently of being integrated into the world of work, and that their social integration be facilitated by appropriate educational and social structures. It should never be forgotten that adolescence constitutes a fundamental phase for the formation of human beings. "A particular category of minors is that of refugees seeking asylum, who, for various reasons, are fleeing their own country, where they are not given adequate protection. Statistics show that their numbers are increasing. This is therefore a phenomenon that calls for careful evaluation and co-ordinated action by implementing appropriate measures of prevention, protection and welcome, as set forth in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. "I now turn in particular to parishes and to the many Catholic associations which, imbued with a spirit of faith and charity, take pains to meet the needs of these brothers and sisters of ours. While I express gratitude for all that is being done with great generosity, I would like to invite all Christians to become aware of the social and pastoral challenges posed by underage migrants and refuges. "Jesus' words resound in our hearts: 'I was a stranger and you welcomed me', as, likewise, the central commandment He left us: to love God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind, and to associate this with love of neighbour. This leads us to consider that any of our interventions must first be nurtured by faith in the action of grace and Divine Providence. In this way also, hospitality and solidarity to strangers, especially if they are children, become a proclamation of the Gospel of solidarity. The Church proclaims this when she opens her arms and strives to have the rights of migrants and refugees respected, moving the leaders of nations, and those in charge of international organisations and institutions to promote appropriate initiatives for their support".MESS/WORLD DAY MIGRANTS/... VIS 091127 (700)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. - Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq. - Three prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveira D.C. of Limeira. - Bishop Antonio Carlos Altieri S.D.B. of Caraguatatuba. - Bishop Jose Maria Pinheiro, apostolic administrator of Braganca Paulista. This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. AP:AL/.../... VIS 091127 (110)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 27 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Milton Luis Troccoli Cebedio, episcopal vicar for pastoral care and for vocational pastoral care in the archdiocese of Montevideo, Uruguay, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 540, population 1,381,000, Catholics 871,800, priests 245, permanent deacons 35, religious 751). The bishop-elect was born in Montevideo in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1988.NEA/.../TROCCOLI VIS 091127 (70)



Catholic Herald reports that the bishops of England and Wales have accused Britain's chief prosecutor of encouraging people to break the country's suicide laws.They said Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), was creating categories of people whose lives would be legally considered less worthy of protection than those of others in society.The bishops said his interim policy for prosecutors in cases of assisted suicide stigmatised the disabled and the mentally and terminally ill and could send out the message that it was acceptable to help such people to kill themselves.Mr Starmer was exceeding his powers by ignoring the will of Parliament, they said, which has rejected two attempts in the last 18 months to change the law on assisted suicide and euthanasia."A sick or disabled person's life should merit the same degree of protection by law," said the bishops in a submission to the public consultation into the draft proposals, which they made public on Friday last week. "Given the clear view that Parliament has expressed on the issue, the inclusion in the guidance of the categories of terminal and generative illness and incurable disability as conditions that weigh against prosecution oversteps the role of the Director of Public Prosecutions."They said: "The inclusion of certain categories of victim - such as persons with disability - and certain categories of relationship, such as a spouse or unpaid carer, as weighing against prosecution is highly misleading and could encourage criminal behaviour."The bishops argued that the inclusion of a "victim's determination to commit suicide" as a factor against prosecution was wrong because it might be a "sign of depression or some other underlying mental disorder, and hence a factor in favour of prosecution"."They are categories irrelevant to weighing up public interest in prosecution and they give the impression of a change in the law outside of and in contradiction to the recent explicit expression of the will of Parliament," they said.Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster told a London press conference that the bishops thought the guidance "runs the risk of creating categories of people who are given less protection in the law and... seeing those categories of people as less worthy of the protection of the law".David Jones, Professor of Bioethics at St Mary's University College, London, and an adviser to the bishops, told the press conference that the sections referring to disability and family relationships "need to be taken out". "There is a suggestion that being a spouse as such is a reason not to be prosecuted," he said. "In the context of domestic violence we no longer think that. We shouldn't say that purely the family relationship should be a reason. We have to say something about the reality of the situation."The "interim policy for prosecutors", published in September, set out the circumstances in which a prosecution under the 1961 Suicide Act is likely or unlikely. Under the guidance, someone assisting in a suicide is likely to face prosecution if the "victim" is under 18, had a mental illness or was in good physical health. They will also be prosecuted if they assist in more than one case or were paid for their assistance. Although the clarification does not guarantee anyone immunity from prosecution, it says a criminal action is unlikely to be brought if the victim had a grave illness or disability, was determined to kill themselves and was aided by a close friend or relative of a helper who was motivated by compassion. Mr Starmer was ordered to produce the guidance following a July ruling in the House of Lords in a case brought by Debbie Purdy, a multiple sclerosis sufferer.Miss Purdy demanded to know if her husband would be prosecuted if he helped her to travel to the Dignitas euthanasia clinic in Switzerland to commit suicide. In an interview with The Catholic Herald, which will be published in full next week, he rejected the bishops' accusations and defended his draft guidelines. He insisted he had not exceeded his powers. "Everybody who says Parliament has already expressed its view needs to be absolutely clear as to what that view is," he said. "Parliament passed the 1961 act which criminalised assisted suicide but it also put within the same statute the requirement for the DPP's consent. It did that because it recognised that not every case should be prosecuted to trial."He said: "A review of the cases that we've had to consider in the last few years demonstrates that often these cases involved individuals with a terminal illness and what goes with the terminal illness is the clear and settled intention to commit suicide. These guidelines are intended to protect the vulnerable from pressures from others who may have something to gain through their suicide. We're absolutely determined that protection should be there in the guidelines. If that message isn't clear enough then obviously we need to go back and think again."He said he was instructed clearly by the House of Lords to draw up a list of categories.Mr Starmer said: "What was not open to me was to respond to the House of Lords by simply saying I will decide each case on its individual facts, end of policy, because that was precisely the position that the House of Lords said wasn't good enough. They said 'we need to know the sort of factors that are taken into account'."I accept that it cannot be guaranteed that because you're a spouse or close family member, your intention is necessarily good," he said. "If there's an element of gain, a prosecution is likely, even if you're a close relative."(SOURCE;



CNA reports that a priest and a religious sister of Massachusetts have been honored for their service to the black Catholic community. On Nov. 21 Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley presented the Bishop James Augustine Healy Award to Fr. Russell Best, former pastor of St. John-St. Hugh Church in Boston and former chaplain for the Division of Youth Services, Matignon High School and Cathedral High School.
The award which bears Bishop Healy’s name honors him as the first African-American bishop in the United States. The bishop, who lived from 1830 to 1900, was the second bishop of Portland, Maine and a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston.
The Healy Award is presented to an individual who has exemplified strong, effective leadership and service in the black Catholic community, the Boston Pilot reports.
Also honored was Sr. Mary Hart, RGS. She received the Robert L. Ruffin Award for helping young people in the Roxbury area receive a quality education though the after school program she developed at St. Phillip-St. Francis Parish in Roxbury. She is now engaged in similar service at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Roxbury.
The award’s namesake, Robert Leo Ruffin, was a prominent black Catholic from Boston and one of the main supporters of the first Black Catholic Congress held in Washington, D.C. in 1889.(SOURCE:


UCAN reports that some 200 students from a Jesuit leadership program joined several thousand others in a candlelight march in Kolkata on Nov. 26 to mark the first anniversary of deadly terror attacks in Mumbai.

Children taking part in thecandlelight march in Kolkata
The mostly Hindu and Muslim students from the Jesuit-managed Leadership Training Service (LTS) said they wanted to join efforts to stop violence and hatred in the country.
On Nov. 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani militants launched coordinated attacks on several sites in India's business capital including two luxury hotels, the main railway station and a Jewish community center. The three-day rampage left 174 dead including nine of the gunmen.
Shreya Kanjilal, an 11th-grader from LTS, told UCA News that by being part of the march they could help promote peace and harmony among students of different communities in school.
For Komal Gehani, 21, the march was "only a small step" in an ongoing pursuit for a fear-free nation. She said LTS has taught her to be a good person and "reach out to people" in need, irrespective of their religion.
A member of LTS for the past nine years, Gehani said the Mumbai attacks had affected her personally and was a challenge for her to promote harmony.

Jesuit Father Zenith William, the LTS national promoter, said the program promotes interfaith sharing and appreciation among its 15,000 student members. Some 50 percent of LTS members are Hindus, 30 percent Muslims, while other religions make up the rest. Christians form less than two percent, he said.
The LTS has some 3,000 members in Kolkata.
He said the LTS, which was formed 50 years ago, aims to help students appreciate the multi-religious reality of India. Every LTS meeting begins with prayers and readings from the holy books of different religions. The members also celebrate major festivals of all religions, he added.
Four Missionaries of Charity nuns also joined the Nov. 26 procession. One of them, who did not want to be named, said they wanted to pray with others for peace.


CISA repors that a HIV testing drive is on to fight Aids in which more than one million Kenyans are expected to get tested for HIV during a national campaign launched on Monday.The drive is expected to target more than 77 per cent of adults in all types of relationships who are unaware of their partners’ HIV status. Public Health and Sanitation minister Beth Mugo urged Kenyans to visit voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) centres to be set up in most towns, residential areas and social places.“We can not claim to protect our loved ones yet we do not want to get tested,” Mrs Mugo said, adding that couple testing was important to reduce the rate of new infections in steady relationships.Testing at night and at workplaces, door-to-door approach, and mobile centres are some of the strategies in this year’s campaign to increase the number of people to be tested. The campaign, which will run for three weeks at health centres countrywide, will end on December 12. In a similar campaign last year, 700,000 people were tested. The National Aids and STI Control Programme head Nicholas Muraguri cited the youth as the most vulnerable groups and called for vigorous campaigns to encourage them to get tested. Dr Muraguri pointed out that denial that the youth are at risk was one of the barriers in controlling new infections among those aged between 20 and 24 years.“Women are four times more at risk of contracting HIV compared to their male counterparts,” Dr Muraguri said in an interview with the Daily Nation. The HIV prevalence among women stood at 11 per cent compared to 3.9 per cent among men in the same age group.However, men were the most affected group after the age of 55, with 8.3 per cent prevalence.Mrs Mugo urged the youth to get tested to plan wisely for their families. She further challenged the youth to involve themselves in productive ventures to avoid boredom that later exposed them to risky sexual behaviour.“We expect to meet a target of 10 million people tested by June next year,” the minister said.According to the Kenya Aids Indicator Survey, there was an increase in HIV awareness among those aged between 15 and 49 years although two thirds had not been tested.The minister called on those who had tested positive to maintain healthy lifestyles through diet, seeking medication and adopting behaviour change to avoid infecting others and acquiring new strains of the virus.According to government statistics, 45 per cent of people who got tested are in discordant relationships, thus making difficult to monitor the spread pattern of the disease if one of the partners refused to get tested.(source:


Cath News reports that the Catholic Superannuation and Retirement Fund (CSRF) is adding the word "Australian" to its name and changing its logo in preparation for its 30th anniversary and to better reflect its nationwide membership base.
The fund will now be known as the Australian Catholic Superannuation and Retirement Fund (ACSRF), according to Super Review and a company press release.
ACSRF chief Greg Cantor said the fund had merged with many others over its 29 year history and the group wanted to reflect its Australia wide membership in its name.
ACSRF manages more than $3.6 billion in funds under management on behalf of almost 90,000 members, making it the largest Catholic super fund in Australia.


St. Virgilius
Feast: November 27
Feast Day:
November 27
8th century Ireland
784 at Salzburg, Austria
10 June 1233 by Pope Gregory IX
Patron of:
Salzburg, Austria; Slovenes

Virgilius was a scientist before his time, and in his monastery of Aghaboe in Ireland he was known as "the Geometer" because of his knowledge of geography. In 743, he left Ireland for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land but got no farther than the court of Pepin, the father of Charlemagne. In 745, Pepin defeated Odilo, duke of Bavaria, and sent St. Virgilius to be abbot of the monastery of Sankt Peter and in charge of the diocese of Salzburg.
In accordance with the Irish custom, the bishop was subject to the abbot, who was the real head of the diocese. This was contrary to continental custom, and so Virgilius consented to be consecrated bishop. His most notable accomplishment was the conversion of the Alpine Slavs; moreover, he sent missionaries into Hungary.
In his first days at Salzburg, he was involved in controversies with St. Boniface, one over the form of baptism, which the pope decided in Virgilius's favor. Virgilius also expressed a number of opinions on astronomy, geography, and anthropology, which to Boniface smacked of novelty, if not heresy. He reported these views to Rome, and the pope demanded an investigation of the bishop of Salzburg. Nothing came of this and apparently Virgilius was able to defend his views.
Virgilius built a grand cathedral at Salzburg, baptized the Slavic dukes of Carinthia, and sent missionaries into lands where no missionary had yet gone. Returning from a preaching mission to a distant part of his diocese, he fell sick and died on November 27, 784. When the Salzburg cathedral was destroyed by a fire in 1181, the grave of Virgilius was discovered and this led to his canonization by Pope Gregory IX in 1233.
His feast is kept throughout Ireland and in the diocese of Salzburg.


Luke 21: 29 - 33
And he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees;
as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.
So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all has taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.