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 Se├ín 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.

No comments: