Saturday, November 14, 2009











Pope Benedict received the President of Serbia, Boris Tadic, and the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Jan Fischer, in separate audiences this morning.

In the meeting with Prime Minister Fischer, talks focused on Pope Benedict’s recent Apostolic visit. Mention was also made of the Czech Republic's adoption of the Lisbon reform treaty.


The Serbian integration into the European Union, positive dialogue between the Catholic Church and Serbian Orthodox Church and the upcoming commemoration of Emperor Constantine’s edict of Milan were the focus of discussions between Pope Benedict and Serbian President Boris Tadic. (SOURCE;



CNA reports that following threats of war by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez against Colombia, the diocesan newspaper in Cucuta, Colombia reported this week on a soccer game for peace, which Colombian and Venezuelan priests will play at a field on the border between the two countries.

Bishop Jaime Prieto Amaya of Cucuta said the purpose of the game is to bring together Colombians and Venezuelans, “as sister nations,” to “share in prayer and sport, and in a festive environment to reiterate to the world that here we are brothers and sisters, that nothing and nobody can separate us from the love we have for each other.”

The players will wear white jerseys as “a sign of purity and of the dignity of the children of God, in order to affirm that there is no room for armed confrontation in the hearts of those who love peace.”




CNA reports that despite Archbishop Mike Neary's recent warning that alleged apparitions at the Shrine of Knock risk “misleading God's people and undermining the faith,” crowds of people swarmed the shrine on Saturday Oct. 31. Close to 10,000 people from all over Ireland came to the shrine in hopes of seeing an apparition of Mary which was predicted by self-proclaimed visionary Joe Coleman.

Pat Lavelle, manager of the Shrine of Knock, explained how the situation unfolded in a phone interview with CNA on Friday.

“Our basilica was left in a terrible state after. Chairs turned upside-down; food, drinks spilled. The basilica was closed for three days. Every one of the 5,000 chairs in the basilica had to be lifted in order to clean the floor and [be] put back into position.”

According to Lavelle, the clairvoyant Joe Coleman had predicted that Our Lady would appear inside the basilica at 3 p.m. that afternoon. The basilica has seating for 5,000, however, Lavelle said that he and private security allowed 7,000 inside. “I was afraid, actually, that if we stopped at 5,000 the other 5,000 would charge the building,” said Lavelle.

At around 2 p.m., Joe Coleman walked into the basilica and prayed a Rosary, and then prayed in front of the altar. Minutes passed and nothing happened.

As time worn on, the crowd became restless and began to trickle outside. “I was viewing [the crowd] from our sound room which looks down into the basilica, because I was concerned about safety,” Lavelle told CNA. “The atmosphere was like a social occasion. People were talking, people were on the phone, taking photographs. There was no sense of dignity in the building at all. There was just a sense of anticipation, people were waiting for something to happen.”

At 3:30, a loud bang from outside sent the people indoors into a frenzy, all stampeding to get out. Lavelle revealed that the private security guards found someone had let off a small firecracker on the grounds outside.

Shortly after this, the “visionary,” Joe Coleman, left the building and ran in the direction of the museum. Lavelle told of how Coleman was being mobbed by the crowd and how people were falling on the ground in efforts to reach him. “It was very dangerous,” continued Lavelle, who explained how his security guards had to lead Coleman to safety.

Coleman has since claimed that Mary appeared to him privately that afternoon and he has predicted that another apparition of Our Lady will take place on Dec. 5.

When asked by CNA if the Shrine of Knock will prevent Coleman from returning, Lavelle said that they will not intentionally close the basilica on that day, as people are welcome whenever the shrine is open. However, “as the manager of the shrine I am concerned about safety,” he said. “Joe Coleman can make his predictions and stand away from it. If something happens to someone here, he's ultimately not responsible.” The shrine manager added that discussions have taken place among the staff about ensuring that stricter safety measures are taken on Dec. 5.

Although the spectacle created by Coleman's predictions has been largely negative, Lavelle revealed that he has had a flood of very positive responses from the “real supporters of Knock.” Letters and calls have come in from people who have been “disgusted” and and “distraught” at how the basilica was left.

“People who come to Knock are not looking for signs,” said Lavelle, who concluded, “Our Lady is here everyday. She responds to everyone who comes here quietly and gives people a lot of hope as she did in 1879.”




CISA reports that a Catholic bishop from Nigeria has condemned some spiritual and political leaders who have the habit of extorting money from their followers and called on them to desist from that ungodly attitude and practice.

Bishop Michael Fagun of the Catholic Diocese of Ekiti was speaking on November 4 at Oyo in his homily at the 75th birthday anniversary and canonical retirement of Bishop Julius Adelakun.

Bishop Fagun implored them to use the moral rectitude of retired Bishop Babatunde Adelakun of the Diocese of Oyo, South West Nigeria as a parameter for behaviour.

He further challenged Nigerian spiritual leaders to find a role model in the life style of the retiring Bishop Adelakun.

He said, “Many so called pastors of some Christian churches founded by some charismatic leaders make ridicule of the Christian religion thorough their monetary exploitation of the credulous and gullible.

Bishop Fagun, also regretted that it was unfortunate that a few of the Catholic priests who lack authenticity in their calling, try to make money by imitating the false prophets with the pretext of working some bogus miracles.

The clergyman, who has also been the bishop of Ekiti, Southwest Nigeria since 1971 advised political leaders in Nigeria to lead the people without milking them dry.

Recalling Adelakun achievements, the bishop of Ekiti said that Adelakun’s ministry had been people oriented without being self-oriented, decent living without being affluent in the midst of poverty stricken populace.

Adelakun retired from the Catholic Diocese of old Oyo where he served for 22 years and that of new Oyo for 15 years respectively following the creation of Osogbo diocese from the old Oyo Diocese.

“Adelakun facilitated the setting up of eleven nursery and primary schools, seven secondary schools, one hospital, two medical centres, one eye clinic and two trade centres for his people.”

Archbishop Felix Job of Ibadan Archdiocese also commended Adelakun for his selfless service to the diocese and the development of the Catholic faith in the area in the last 45 years in the priesthood.

Bishop Adelakun in his remarks expressed appreciation to priests, laity and donor agencies that assisted him for 37 years as a bishop in the development of the old and new dioceses.

He said that he would devote his retirement to the development of the Bishop Adelakun Foundation (BAF) a non governmental organization devoted to the improvement of the physically challenged, the indigent, widows and orphans.(SOURCE:



UCAN reports that the Mandalay Catholic youth song contest may not have the glitz of American Idol, but it is just as effective at revealing talents among many young people here.


A young competitor sings a gospel song at the recent contest

One competitor, Ann Gu, says standing up on stage to sing a gospel song at the recent contest helped her overcome shyness.

The Mandalay Archdiocese Youth Commission, which organized the event, says its music program not only helps develop the young people's talents but draws them into Church activities.

"I wanted to develop my talent by performing in the competition. It wasn't important whether I won a prize or not," said Ann, who performed a song she composed herself.

Ann was one of 38 young contestants, some of whom preformed solo and others in groups, in the Nov. 7-8 event. Singer Lwin Min Ko won first prize, with two runners up and 10 other prizewinners.

Singer Elvin Tin Nyi Htet hopes he can be included in an album the youth commission is planning to record next year.

"The song competition has helped everyone make friends and also shown how we can develop our talents," Nyi Htet said.

Youth commission officials say music is a key part of its ministry, although they admit that finding talented teachers and producers is difficult.

Apart from singers, the youth commission hopes also to encourage and help train musicians to play keyboards, drums and guitars in parishes.

The Church throughout the country is sponsoring classes in musical instruments, and conducting praise and worship programs.

According to the Mandalay performers, music programs culminating in the competition have provided a release for them as they struggle with the pressures of studying or trying to earn a living.

"The challenge for many young people in our parish is simply to survive," Ann said.

Participants also acknowledged that music has brought them together and improved their relationship with their parish priest. (Source:



Cath News reports that stakeholders agree school performance data needs to be more transparent but differ on how it should be presented, said a Sydney Morning Herald report.

Associate Professor of Education at the University of Technology Sydney Geoff Riordan believes the benefits of publishing national test data on a national website outweigh the potential for "naming and shaming" individual schools.

John DeCourcy, a data analyst from the Catholic Education Office, Parramatta, has welcomed legislation preventing the publication of school comparisons using data from national literacy and numeracy tests, known as NAPLAN.

"We advocate just this sort of regulation. Otherwise, any usefulness that the tests might have in revealing anything about student literacy and numeracy will be masked by 'teaching to the test' and other distortions," he is quoted saying.

"Why do we want to go down the path of making a useful, contributing insight into students' learning like NAPLAN into a high stakes, distorted measure of schools?"

Dr DeCourcy said educators were generally in favour of transparency, but opposed to league tables, the report adds.

Jennifer Buckingham, a research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies and the author of two books on school education, was in favour of publishing national school test data, but advocates publishing reader guides to any published tables and explaining the limitations of the data.(SOURCE:


St. Lawrence O'Toole


Feast: November 14


Feast Day: November 14
Born: 1128, Castledermot, Kildare, Ireland
Died: November 14, 1180, Normandy, France
Canonized: 1225 by Pope Honorius III
Major Shrine: St Lawrence's church in Chorley, England

Confessor, born about 1128, in the present County Kildare; died 14 November, 1180, at Eu in Normandy; canonized in 1225 by Honorius III.

His father was chief of Hy Murray, and his mother one of the Clan O'Byrne. At the age of ten he was taken as a hostage by Dermot McMurrogh, King of Leinster. In 1140 the boy obtained permission to enter the monastic school of Glendalough; in that valley-sanctuary he studied for thirteen years, conspicuous for his piety and learning. So great was his reputation in the eyes of the community that on the death of Abbot Dunlaing, early in 1154, he was unanimously called to preside over the Abbey of St. Kevin. Dermot, King of Leinster, married Mor, sister of St. Lawrence, and, though his character has been painted in dark colours by the native annalists, he was a great friend to the Church. He founded an Austin nunnery, of the reform of Aroaise, in Dublin, with two dependent cells at Kilculliheen (County Kilkenny) and at Aghade (County Carlow), in 1151. He also founded an abbey for Cistercian monks at Baltinglass, and an abbey for Austin canons at Ferns.


Luke 18: 1 - 8

And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
2 He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man;
3 and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, `Vindicate me against my adversary.'
4 For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, `Though I neither fear God nor regard man,
5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.'"
6 And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says.
7 And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?
8 I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?"


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