Monday, November 16, 2009











VATICAN CITY, 14 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following two communiques at midday today:

"This morning the Holy Father received in audience Boris Tadic, president of the Republic of Serbia. 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.

"During the meetings, which took place in a very cordial atmosphere, the positive state of bilateral relations was highlighted. Particular attention was given to the main regional challenges and to Serbia's journey towards full integration into the European Union. The contribution the Catholic Church wishes to make to Serbian society was underlined, with mention being made of the factors appropriate to ensuring her presence and activities therein. Furthermore, the positive dialogue with the Orthodox Church was noted, also with a view to the 2013 commemoration of the Edict of Milan, the work of the emperor Constantine who was born in Nis".

The second communique announces that the Pope also received in audience Jan Fischer, prime minister of the Czech Republic. He too 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 opportunity to continue conversations that had begun during His Holiness Benedict XVI's recent apostolic trip to the Czech Republic. The good relations that exist between the Holy See and the Czech Republic were highlighted, and the mutual desire confirmed to continue constructive dialogue on bilateral themes concerning relations between the ecclesial and civil communities. Finally, an exchange of opinions took place on questions concerning current international relations, in particular the coming into effect of the Treaty of Lisbon".



VATICAN CITY, 14 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received in audience prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Region South 1, which includes the city of Sao Paulo), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

The Pope began his remarks to them by pointing out that the Brazilian people "guard in their hearts a strong religious sentiment and noble traditions. These are rooted in Christianity and are given deeply-felt and genuine expression in religious and civil life; a heritage rich in values which you make every effort to defend ... and promote. I invite you to continue this constant and methodical work of evangelisation, in the certainty that the authentically Christian formation of consciences is decisive for a profound life of faith, as well as for social maturity and the authentic and balanced wellbeing of the human community".

"Since a well-formed conscience leads to the true good of human beings", the Holy Father went on, "the Church, by defining that good, illuminates men and women and, through all of Christian life, attempts to educate their consciences. The Church's teaching - due to its source (God), its content (truth) and the place it seeks to occupy (the conscience) - finds a profound and persuasive echo in the heart of each person, believer or non-believer".

"The question of life, and its defence and promotion, is not just a prerogative of Christians. ... The 'people of life' are happy to share their commitment with others in such a way that they may become ever more numerous and the new culture of love and solidarity may grow, for the true good of human civilisation".

Benedict XVI encouraged the prelates to speak "to people's hearts" and "to unite their efforts ... in order to face the growing wave of violence and contempt for human beings" who, "from being a gift of God welcomed in the loving intimacy between man and woman, have reached the point of being considered as mere human products".

In this context he quoted his own recent Encyclical "Caritas in veritate": "A particularly crucial battleground in today's cultural struggle between the supremacy of technology and human moral responsibility is the field of bioethics. In this most delicate and critical area, the fundamental question asserts itself forcefully: is man the product of his own labours or does he depend on God? Scientific discoveries in this field and the possibilities of technological intervention seem so advanced as to force a choice between two types of reasoning: reason open to transcendence or reason closed within immanence".

"The conviction - founded on proper reason and the certainty of faith - that human life, from conception to natural death, belongs to God and not to man, gives life that sacred character and individual dignity which justify the only correct legal and moral attitude: one of profound respect", said the Pope.

"We must never lose heart in our call to people's consciences", the Holy Father concluded, and he invited the bishops to work for the cause of God, "not with the sadness of those who see only shortcomings and dangers, but with the firm trust of those who know they can be sure of Christ's victory".

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VATICAN CITY, 14 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Holy Father, written in Latin and dated 14 October, in which he appoints Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as his special envoy to the closing ceremony of celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the evangelisation of Taiwan, due to take place in Taipei on 22 November.

The cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Bishop John-Baptist Tseng Chien-tsi, auxiliary of the diocese of Hwalien, and by Fr. Ruben Martinez O.P., pastor of the Immaculate Conception at Wanchin in the diocese of Kaohsiung.



VATICAN CITY, 15 NOV 2009 (VIS) - In his remarks before praying the Angelus today, Benedict XVI spoke of the end of the liturgical year, quoting the passage from the Gospel of St. Mark in which Christ speaks of the end of time in these words: "heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away".

"Jesus declares that everything is destined to 'pass away'", said the Pope. "Not only the earth but heaven too, here to be understood in its cosmic sense and not as a synonym for God. Sacred Scripture knows no ambiguity: all creation is finite, including the elements deified by ancient mythologies. There is no confusion between the creation and the Creator - rather, there is a clear difference - and with this net distinction Jesus affirms that His words 'will not pass away'; that is, they are of God and, hence, eternal".

Those who listen to Christ's words "form part of the Kingdom of God; that is, they live under His lordship. They remain in the world but they are no longer of the world. They carry in themselves the seed of eternity, a principle of transformation which even now reveals itself in living a good life, animated by charity, which in the end will lead to the resurrection of the flesh".

The Holy Father continued: "The Virgin Mary is the living sign of this truth. Her heart was the 'good earth' which accepted the Word of God with complete readiness, so that all her life, transformed in accordance with the image of her Son, was introduced body and soul into eternity, anticipating the eternal vocation of all human beings".

After praying the Angelus Benedict XVI greeted participants in the plenary assembly of the European Episcopal Commission for the Media, which is currently being held in the Vatican. He then recalled the fact that today marks the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

In this context he said: "I entrust the deceased to God, and encourage those who travel the roads of the world to be prudent and to show a spirit of responsibility for the gift of health and life, their own and that of others".



VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2009 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI visited the Rome headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for the occasion of the World Summit on Food Security, being held there from 16 to 18 November.

Given below are some excerpts from the Holy Father's address to the gathering:

"The international community is currently facing a grave economic and financial crisis. Statistics bear witness to the dramatic growth in the number of people suffering from hunger, made worse by the rise in price of foodstuffs, the reduction in economic resources available to the poorest peoples, and their limited access to markets and to food - notwithstanding the known fact that the world has enough food for all its inhabitants.

"Indeed, while low levels of agricultural production persist in some regions, partly owing to climate change, sufficient food is produced on a global scale to satisfy both current demands and those in the foreseeable future. From these data we may deduce that there is no cause-and-effect relationship between population growth and hunger, and this is further demonstrated by the lamentable destruction of foodstuffs for economic gain.

"In the Encyclical Letter 'Caritas in veritate' I pointed out that ... 'what is missing is a network of economic institutions capable of guaranteeing regular access to sufficient food and water ... and also capable of addressing the primary needs and necessities ensuing from genuine food crises'".

There is a "need to oppose those forms of aid that do grave damage to the agricultural sector, those approaches to food production that are geared solely towards consumption and lack a wider perspective, and especially greed, which causes speculation to rear its head even in the marketing of cereals, as if food were to be treated just like any other commodity.

"The weakness of current mechanisms for food security and the need to re-examine them are confirmed, one might say, by the mere fact that this summit has been convoked".

"The concept of co-operation, though, must be consistent with the principle of subsidiarity. ... This is because integral human development requires responsible choices on the part of everyone and it demands an attitude of solidarity - meaning that aid or disaster relief should not be seen as opportunities to promote the interests of those who make resources available or of elite groups among the beneficiaries".

"Within this overall context of responsibility, every country has the right to define its own economic model, taking steps to secure its freedom to choose its own objectives. In this way, co-operation must become an effective instrument, unbeholden to interests that can absorb a not insignificant part of the resources destined for development. Moreover, it is important to emphasise that an attitude of solidarity regarding the development of poor countries also has the potential to contribute to a solution of the current global crisis".

"In the current situation there is a continuing disparity in the level of development within and among nations that leads to instability in many parts of the world, accentuating the contrast between poverty and wealth".

A risk exists, "namely the tendency to view hunger as structural, an integral part of the socio-political situation of the weakest countries, a matter of resigned regret, if not downright indifference. It is not so, and it must never be so! To fight and conquer hunger it is essential to start redefining the concepts and principles that have hitherto governed international relations, in such a way as to answer the question: what can direct the attention and the consequent conduct of States towards the needs of the poorest? The response must be sought not in the technical aspects of co-operation, but in the principles that lie behind it: only in the name of common membership of the worldwide human family can every people and therefore every country be asked to practice solidarity, that is, to shoulder the burden of concrete responsibilities in meeting the needs of others, so as to favour the genuine sharing of goods, founded on love".

"If the aim is to eliminate hunger, international action is needed not only to promote balanced and sustainable economic growth and political stability, but also to seek out new parameters - primarily ethical but also juridical and economic ones - capable of inspiring the degree of co-operation required to build a relationship of parity between countries at different stages of development.

"This, as well as closing the existing gap, could favour the capacity of each people to consider itself an active player, thereby confirming that the fundamental equality of all peoples is rooted in the common origin of the human family, the source of those principles of 'natural law' that should inspire political, juridical and economic choices and approaches in international life".

"In order to combat hunger and promote integral human development, ... access to international markets must be favoured for those products coming from the poorest areas, which today are often relegated to the margins. In order to achieve these objectives, it is necessary to separate the rules of international trade from the logic of profit viewed as an end in itself, directing them towards the support of economic initiative in countries with greater need of development; once they have greater income at their disposal, these countries will be able to advance towards the self-sufficiency that leads to food security.

"Nor must the fundamental rights of the individual be forgotten, which include, of course, the right to sufficient, healthy and nutritious food, and likewise water; these rights take on an important role in the realisation of others, beginning with the primary one, the right to life".

"Methods of food production likewise demand attentive analysis of the relationship between development and protection of the environment. ... While the entire human race is called to acknowledge its obligations to future generations, it is also true that States and international organisations have a duty to protect the environment as a shared good".

"Norms, legislation, development plans and investments are not enough, however: what is needed is a change in the lifestyles of individuals and communities, in habits of consumption and in perceptions of what is genuinely needed. Most of all, there is a moral duty to distinguish between good and evil in human action, so as to rediscover the bond of communion that unites the human person and creation. ... 'Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other. Herein lies a grave contradiction in our mentality and practice today: one which demeans the person, disrupts the environment and damages society'.

"Hunger is the most cruel and concrete sign of poverty. Opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greater proportions. ... The Catholic Church will always be concerned for efforts to defeat hunger; the Church is committed to support, by word and deed, the action taken in solidarity - planned, responsible and regulated - to which all members of the international community are called to contribute. The Church does not wish to interfere in political decisions: she respects the knowledge gained through scientific study, and decisions arrived at through reason responsibly enlightened by authentically human values, and she supports the effort to eliminate hunger.

"This is the most immediate and concrete sign of solidarity inspired by charity, and it brooks neither delay nor compromise. Such solidarity relies on technology, laws and institutions to meet the aspirations of individuals, communities and entire peoples, yet it must not exclude the religious dimension, with all the spiritual energy that it brings, and its promotion of the human person".



VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Holy Father to Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, for the plenary assembly of that dicastery, currently being held on the theme: "St. Paul and the new areopaghi".

The reference to the Areopagus in Athens where St. Paul announced the Gospel "represents a pressing call to make good use of today's 'areopaghi', where the great challenges of evangelisation are to be found", the Pope writes.

He also highlights how "the missionary activity of the Church must be oriented towards these nerve centres of society in the third millennium. Nor should we undervalue the influence of a widespread relativist culture, usually lacking values, which enters into the sanctuary of the family infiltrating the field of education and other areas of society, contaminating them and manipulating consciences, especially among the young. At the same time however, despite these snares, the Church knows that the Holy Spirit is always at work.

"New doors are being opened to the Gospel and a longing for authentic spiritual and apostolic renewal is spreading throughout the world", the Pope adds. "As in other periods of change, the pastoral priority is to show the true face of Christ. ... This requires each Christian community and the Church as a whole to offer witness of faithfulness to Christ, patiently building that unity He wanted and called for from all His disciples. In fact, Christian unity will make it easier to evangelise and to face the cultural, social and religious challenges of our time".

The Pope concludes his Message with a call "to imitate the lifestyle and the apostolic spirit" of the Apostle of the Gentiles, "focusing entirely on Christ. Through such complete adherence to the Lord, Christians will easily be able to transmit the heritage of faith to new generations, a heritage capable of transforming even difficulties into opportunities for evangelisation".



VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2009 (VIS) - This evening, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in separate audiences two prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Antonio Fernando Brochini C.S.S. of Jaboticabal.

- Bishop Paulo Sergio Machado of Sao Carlos.

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VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Queenstown, South Africa, presented by Bishop Herbert Nikolaus Lenhof S.A.C., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

On Saturday 14 November it was made public that the Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Philippe Ranaivomanana of Ihosy, Madagascar, as bishop of Antsirabe (area 16,000, population 1,840,000, Catholics 821,000, priests 100, religious 501), Madagascar. He succeeds Bishop Felix Ramananarivo M.S., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Harrisburg, U.S.A., as bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend (area 15,200, population 1,262,788, Catholics 158,899, priests 276, permanent deacons 12, religious 869), U.S.A. He succeeds Bishop John M. D'Arcy, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Joseph Luechai Thatwisai of the clergy of Udon Thani, Thailand, professor at the Lux Mundi major national seminary of Sampran, and secretary of the episcopal conference's biblical commission, as bishop of Udon Thani (area 50,046, population 5,346,154, Catholics 17,000, priests 33, religious 100). The bishop-elect was born in Phonsung, Thailand in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1990. He succeeds Bishop George Yod Phimphisan C.Ss.R., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Jerome E. Listecki of La Crosse, U.S.A., as metropolitan archbishop of Milwaukee (area 12,323, population 2,287,185, Catholics 681,781, priests 663, permanent deacons 164, religious 2,165), U.S.A. The archbishop-elect was born in Chicago, U.S.A. in 1949, he was ordained a priest in 1975 and consecrated a bishop in 2001.

- Appointed Bishop Dominique Bulamatari, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, as bishop of Molegbe (area 79,000, population 3,966,000, Catholics 1,875,000, priests 54, religious 119), Democratic Republic of Congo.

- Appointed Bishop Alick Banda of Solwezi, Zambia, as coadjutor of Ndola (area 32,000, population 2,140,000, Catholics 954,200, priests 164, religious 354), Zambia.

- Appointed Fr. Giovanni D'Ercole F.D.P., bureau chief in the First Section of the Secretariat of State, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of L'Aquila (area 1,516, population 111,700, Catholics 110,500, priests 169, permanent deacons 8, religious 288), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Morino, Italy in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1974.


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All Africa reports that after a meeting between President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and the "Aaron Team" picked by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to represent it in talks with the Federal Government took place, the militant group has for the first time spoken well of the authorities.

MEND, a group that has been a thorn in the flesh of the government, said the meeting shows the Federal Govern-ment's seriousness on issues concerning the troubled Niger Delta region.

According to Jomo, its overall field commander, Mr. Farah Dagogo who had earlier embraced the amnesty offer of the government, thereby surrendering his arms at the Rivers State Headquarters of the State Security Service (SSS), was in attendance. Also at the meeting, he said, was another of its leaders, Henry Okah. Both men attended as observers.

The group noted through an email message that all members of the "Aaron Team" were in attendance but for Professor Sabella Abbide who could not make it.


"The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) can confirm that a formal first meeting between the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the MEND Aaron team took place on Saturday, November 14, 2009 in Abuja Nigeria. The parley which lasted for over two hours was frank, cordial and useful," said the message.

It continued: "This meeting heralds the beginning of serious, meaningful dialogue between MEND and the Nigerian government to deal with and resolve root issues that have long been swept under the carpet. Present for the Aaron Team were Vice Admiral Mike Okhai Akhigbe (rtd), Major General Luke Kakadu Aprezi (rtd), Professor Wole Soyinka and Mr. Amagbe Denzel Kentebe."

"We use this opportunity to thank the Aaron Team for their sacrifice in offering their time and the donors who sponsored their travel expenses but wish to remain anonymous," MEND said in the statement.

The meeting was a reversal of the tough talk by Minister of Defence, Gen. Godwin Abbe, who had vowed that the government would not talk with the team put forward by MEND describing them as without a face.

The meeting which took place at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, also had Architect Denzi Amagbe Kentebe in attendance.

Presidential spokesman, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, had said it was held in furtherance of the president's desire to find a lasting solution to the problem of the Niger Delta following his earlier promise to meet with any individual or group that would facilitate that goal.

Adeniyi said: "The president used the session to reiterate his commitment to the overall peace and development of the Niger-Delta."

Following the end of the amnesty programme, the Federal Government was initially hesitant to engage in talks with the Aaron Team named by MEND to negotiate on its behalf.

The meeting has finally taken place with both sides expressing some sort of satisfaction with the new process that has kicked off towards the actualisation of post-amnesty plans.

Yar'Adua had offered a comprehensive development package as part of the government's post-amnesty plan. They include community ownership which will give oil communities 10 per cent stake in all joint venture businesses.

Under the plan, five per cent stake in all joint venture businesses would be exclusively accessed by all Nigerians, of which people of Niger Delta will have up to one per cent direct individual participation.

Also, the government would embark on the dualisation and completion of the East-West highway. The construction of a fast train system from Calabar to Benin City, in the first phase, and from Benin City to Lagos, in the second phase is in the works as well.

There is the planned completion of the Ajaokuta - Warri rail system, which will be extended to Warri Port to give maritime traffic to the rail line and designated the central line. It will be extended from Ajaokuta to Abuja and a container terminal will be built in Owa-Oyibu, Delta State, to service the East.

The ownership scheme will be reflected in the new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) while the infrastructural development plan was billed to be presented as a supplementary budget to the National Assembly after the input of Niger Delta stakeholders, including ex-militants. (SOURCE;



CNA reports that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn will visit Medjugorje, the small town in Bosnia-Herzegovina where six young people have allegedly been witnesses of apparitions from the Virgin Mary. But according to the Archdiocese of Vienna, the trip is “completely private” and does not imply a statement from the cardinal on the veracity of the apparitions.

“It was supposed to be a completely private visit, it was not supposed to go out to the internet,” Fr. Johannes Fürnkranz, personal secretary to the Archbishop of Vienna, explained to CNA.

The cardinal’s visit will take place between December 8th and January 4th.

“The cardinal's visit was supposed to be absolutely personal and not public, but since it has been leaked, I can only confirm that it will take place. There is no statement whatsoever involved (in the visit),” Fr. Fürnkranz told CNA.

The local Church authorities, including Bishop Ratko Peric, whose diocese encompasses Medjugorje, have declared that the alleged apparitions are not to be published or promoted.

Bishop Peric has reaffirmed the official statement of his predecessor, Bishop Pavao Zanic, who in July 1987 wrote to the pastor of Medjugorje:

“I demand from you that you remove the 'visionaries' from public display and put an end to their 'visions' in the parish church. They have had 'visions' in Mostar, and earlier in Sarajevo, Visoko and Dubrovnik. Let them now have them at their homes: people say that they had them at their homes during 1981... You must stop talking about apparitions and also cease publicizing messages. The devotions that grew out of the 'apparitions' and their messages must be eliminated, sales of souvenirs and printed material which propagate the 'apparitions' must also stop.”

In June 2009, Bishop Peric addressed the parish in Medjugorje and insisted that “the presumed daily apparitions, known as the 'phenomenon of Medjugorje,' have not been declared as authentic by the Church. Not even after the investigations of various commissions nor after 28 years of media hype. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we cannot behave as if these 'apparitions' are authentic and approved.”

Nevertheless, 22 years later, the popularity of Medjugorje as a Marian destination for pilgrims remains.

Speaking on background, an official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told CNA that the Roman dicastery remains behind the bishops of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“The local bishops have the ultimate authority on this matter, and their arguments against the alleged apparitions are doctrinally solid,” the official said.

Asked if Medjugorje should not be judged by its fruits of many conversions and vocations to the Church, the official responded: “It is not the duty of this Dicastery to make a pastoral assessment, but a doctrinal one. But regarding the argument, it can equally be argued that God can write straight with crooked lines, just as it has been proven in several previous occasions with patently false apparitions.”




CNA reports that Muslims and Catholics met at the Midwest Catholic Muslim Interreligious Dialogue in Milwaukee Oct. 25-27. There they discussed common concerns such as religion in the public square and efforts to maintain religious practice among younger generations.

The annual meeting was hosted by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Initiatives and the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit Francis Reiss represented the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as co-chair of the meeting, while the Muslim co-chair was Dr. Syyid M. Syeed of the Islamic Society of North America.

The meeting began on Oct. 25 with a well-attended public lecture titled “Faithful Citizenship – Catholic and Muslim Engagement in Civic Life,” held at the Islamic Center School, the USCCB reports.

Michael Hovey, coordinator for the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs, delivered a Catholic perspective on the topic. Dr. Irfan Omar, Professor of Islamic Studies at Marquette University, gave an Islamic perspective.

On Oct. 26 the dialogue continued at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist with the lecture “The Nature and Dignity of the Human Person: Implications for the Public Square.” The lecturers were Fr. Leo Walsh, associate director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and Dr. Zeki Saritoprak of John Carroll University in Cleveland.

The speakers noted several points of commonality in the experiences of both Catholics and Muslims, especially their histories of being immigrant communities in the U.S.

Speaking at a luncheon, Bishop Reiss emphasized that practical cooperation between Catholics and Muslims in the public square is increasingly important in an era when society does not value the contribution of theology and religious conviction in public discourse.

According to the USCCB, other sessions at the meeting explored the dignity of the family. Presenters included Joan Crist, PhD., who is a Calumet College of St. Joseph professor and Coordinator of Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs for the Diocese of Gary, Indiana. Dr. Zulfiquar Ali Shah, Imam for the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, was also a speaker.

The speakers said cultural and socio-economic factors such as suburban sprawl are challenges to all people of faith, as is the need to maintain family life and religious heritage in the next generation.

Members of the dialogue discussed plans to publish the results of their conversations and expressed a desire to work with the members of the West Coast and Mid-Atlantic regional Muslim-Catholic dialogues.

The next meeting of the Midwest Muslim-Catholic Dialogue is scheduled for October 2010, the USCCB says. The Dialogue has been sponsored by the USCCB’s interreligious committee and the Islamic Society of North America since 1996.




UCAN reports that a new cathedral has opened in the eastern city of Baruipur, thanks to contributions from Christians, Muslims and Hindus in the region.


People throng the newly opened cathedral

"It was a sign of goodwill that helped promote harmony among various faiths," Bishop Salvadore Lobo of Baruipur told UCA News.

Sister Mary Prema, superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, opened the Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral, located 40 kilometers south of Kolkata, on Nov. 12.

Blessed Teresa of Kolkata has been declared a patron of the cathedral as well, and it was "appropriate" that the nun's successor should open it, said Bishop Lobo.

Archbishop Lucas Sirkar of Calcutta blessed the new church before a congregation of some 2,000 people and five bishops.

Mohammed Inul Khan, a Muslim who manages a stationery shop near the new cathedral, donated toward the building costs as a symbol of unity. "God is the same although he is called by different names, and God will bless me and my family," he told UCA News.

Ranjit Ghosh, a Hindu, said he had contributed to the building fund as a goodwill gesture to show how people of different religions can support each other.


Sister Mary Prema inaugurating the opening of the cathedral
as Archbishop Lucas Sircar of Calcutta (extreme left) looks on

He said many local Christians donate money during popular Hindu festivals and he was keen to reciprocate.

The cathedral cost 10 million rupees (US$218,000) to build, and features 24 paintings and 32 stained glass windows produced by local artists.

Bishop Lobo said the artworks help explain various aspects of the Catholic faith.

Paul D'Rozario, a Catholic lay leader, said he found the paintings "simple and appealing."

"They help visitors journey through the history of salvation" in their depictions of the parables and miracles of Jesus, he said.

Bishop Lobo, who took over the diocese in 1994, said the diocese has grown with the establishment of eight parishes in the past 15 years.

"Now is the opportune time for the diocese to have a cathedral.` He said.



Cath news reports that retired former Fairy Meadow priest Father Kelvin Gerald Sharkey pleaded guilty to repeatedly sexually assaulting an altar boy 40 years ago.

Fr Sharkey, 80 was too frail to enter the dock or stand yesterday when Wollongong District Court Judge Paul Conlon asked how he pleaded to two counts of indecently assaulting a male and one of buggery, the Illawarra Mercury reports.

The victim, now aged 50, was abused from the age of 10 to 16, including inside St John Vianney's Catholic Church at Fairy Meadow, the report adds. It provides details about various incidents of abuse that occurred since the end of 1969.

"You can't tell your mum or dad or you'll go to hell," Sharkey reportedly told the victim after the first time.

Sharkey retired from the church in 1988.

He is not on bail and has been excused from attending court on his next appearance in December, the report said.

Defence lawyer Mark Dennis told the court Sharkey suffered age related health issues and he would not be ready to be sentenced until he could track down his client's medical records.(SOURCE:



St. Gertrude the Great


Feast: November 16


Feast Day: November 16
Born: 6 January 1256 at Eisleben, Germany
Died: November 17, 1302, Helfta, Germany
Canonized: received equipotent canonization, and a universal feast day declared in 1677 by Pope Clement XII
Patron of: nuns, travellers, West Indies

Benedictine and mystic writer; born in Germany, 6 Jan., 1256; died at Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony, 17 November, 1301 or 1302. Nothing is known of her family, not even the name of her parents. It is clear from her life (Legatus, lib. I, xvi) that she was not born in the neighbourhood of Eisleben. When she was but five years of age she entered the alumnate of Helfta. The monastery was at that time governed by the saintly and enlightened Abbess Gertrude of Hackerborn, under whose rule it prospered exceedingly, both in monastic observance and in that intellectual activity which St. Lioba and her Anglo-Saxon nuns had transmitted to their foundations in Germany. All that could aid to sanctity, or favour contemplation and learning, was to be found in this hallowed spot. Here, too, as to the centre of all activity and impetus of its life, the work of works—the Opus Dei, as St. Benedict terms the Divine Office—was solemnly carried out. Such was Helfta when its portals opened to receive the child destined to be its brightest glory. Gertrude was confided to the care of St. Mechtilde, mistress of the alumnate and sister of the Abbess Gertrude. From the first she had the gift of winning the hearts, and her biographer gives many details of her exceptional charms, which matured with advancing years. Thus early had been formed between Gertrude and Mechtilde the bond of an intimacy which deepened and strengthened with time, and gave the latter saint a prepondering influence over the former.


St. Margaret of Scotland


Feast: November 16


Feast Day: November 16
Born: 1045, Castle Réka, Mecseknádasd, in the region of Southern Transdanubia, Hungary
Died: 16 November 1093, St Margaret's Chapel in Edinburgh Castle, Midlothian, Scotland
Canonized: 1251 by Pope Innocent IV
Major Shrine: Dunfermline Abbey
Patron of: death of children, large families, learning, queens, Scotland, widows

Born about 1045, died 16 Nov., 1092, was a daughter of Edward "Outremere", or "the Exile", by Agatha, kinswoman of Gisela, the wife of St. Stephen of Hungary. She was the granddaughter of Edmund Ironside. A constant tradition asserts that Margaret's father and his brother Edmund were sent to Hungary for safety during the reign of Canute, but no record of the fact has been found in that country. The date of Margaret's birth cannot be ascertained with accuracy, but it must have been between the years 1038, when St. Stephen died, and 1057, when her father returned to England. It appears that Margaret came with him on that occasion and, on his death and the conquest of England by the Normans, her mother Agatha decided to return to the Continent. A storm however drove their ship to Scotland, where Malcolm III received the party under his protection, subsequently taking Margaret to wife. This event had been delayed for a while by Margaret's desire to entirereligion, but it took place some time between 1067 and 1070.



Luke 18:
35 - 43

35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging;
36 and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant.
37 They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."
38 And he cried, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
40 And Jesus stopped, and commanded him to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him,
41 "What do you want me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, let me receive my sight."
42 And Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well."
43 And immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

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