Sunday, November 1, 2009




Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the Feast of All Saints this Sunday in remarks ahead of the Angelus prayer with the faithful gathered in St. Peters Square.In our lives, said Pope Benedict, We are never alone: we are part of spiritual company governed by a solidarity that runs deep. The good of each member is to the advantage of all together, and the general happiness fills each individual member.The Holy Father also looked forward to Mondays Solemnity of All Souls, inviting the faithful to live the annual recurrence according to the authentic Christian spirit, in the light that shines forth from the Paschal Mystery.(SOURCE:


CNA reports that the Award-winning director Roland Joffé discussed his upcoming film “There Be Dragons” in a Thursday press conference. The film, set during the brutal Spanish Civil War and based on the life of St. Josemaria Escriva, can teach about love and forgiveness between families and enemies, Joffé said.
The film begins with a young journalist, estranged from his military father Manolo, who conducts research on the life of Opus Dei founder and priest St. Josemaria Escriva. He discovers his father was a childhood friend of the future saint, and also uncovers family secrets.
The movie then flashes back to the Spanish Civil War. There, a young Manolo played by actor Wes Bentley becomes obsessed with the Hungarian revolutionary Ildiko, played by actress Olga Kurylenko. She rejects him in favor of the militia leader Oriol, moving Manolo to jealousy and betrayal.
At the same time Josemaria Escriva, played by Charlie Cox, grows in his life of faith.
Joffé, director of "The Mission" and "The Killing Fields," explained to the Thursday press conference that he had initially intended to decline “There Be Dragons.” While writing his “thank you, but no” letter, Joffé explained, he watched a DVD of St. Josemaria sent by one of the producers. At one point in the DVD, a girl told St. Josemaria about her intent to convert to Catholicism and the problems it could cause with her Jewish parents. To this, the priest emphasized the necessity for her to honor her parents as “absolutely close to God.”
It was such a “warm reply,” Joffé said, that he sketched a dramatic scene of a similar event and was “hooked.” He then accepted the offer to direct the film.
According to Joffé, St. Josemaria “saw that saintliness didn’t require withdrawal into religious order or require one to become a priest. Saintly acts could be performed by ordinary people in their everyday lives, which was a radical idea.”
This idea is open to so many people, Joffé said, because it encourages a spiritual relationship with God in “very simple things,” in cooking a meal, being with one’s family, or even having a fight.
This provided an insight for the movie, which faced the difficulty of dramatizing a saint’s life. Joffé said he could portray ordinary people trapped in war in an “extraordinary and touching way.”
Redemption and forgiveness
Joffé added that Christian redemption is a major theme of the movie. Christianity is based on love and forgiveness, and redemption “can’t come without love.”
Describing the character Manolo as the “antithesis” of Josemaria, the director reported that he commits a horrible act but must try to come to terms with it.
The director also noted the importance of forgiveness for a community and for Christianity.
“Nobody in Christianity is outside. You’re constantly offered the chance to arrive at the point to understand and accept redemption… There is no ‘end’ to this journey, it’s a continuing one in which each person is finding their own route. But it is a journey, and even your failure is part of that.”
Whole vs. divided
The director Joffé further explained the movie, naming as another of its themes the difference between a whole and a divided character.
The character Manolo is pulled in different directions, he explained, and is in some ways a Judas figure. However, the final action between him and Ildiko is a “saintly act” that people may find “shocking.”
War and Reconciliation
Noting the troubled legacy of the Spanish Civil War, Joffé said he hoped Spanish viewers will come to see the “complexity in human relationships” which is not often included in history.
“Take the hatred away,” he exhorted. “Love and affection has to stay, but can’t be allowed to ossify into ideological rigidities.
“I would be the proudest man in the world if only 10 percent came out of the cinema thinking ‘reconciliation matters.’”
The world audience for “There Be Dragons,” Joffé said, can find a common touchstone in the recognition that civil war is a metaphor for the family.
“Most families are in civil wars,” he claimed. “You can look at life as a metaphor for mistrust and fear, or as an opportunity for love… It’s a choice, and in making that decision you become free. You do not become free when you hate. The weird thing is when you really love, you feel it like a breath of freedom, you think ‘Oh my God, I’ve chosen this, and it’s beautiful’.”
The $35 million film was shot in Argentina and Sepulveda, Spain. Many individual investors were approached by the producers and invested large and small sums. Some investors were members of Opus Dei, while Spanish television money also helped fund the project.
“There Be Dragons” will be released sometime in 2010. Its website is at




ASIA NEWS reports that two African priests denied visas, the priests from Europe reduced to a one year visa. Church authorities are worried (for now) afraid to raise their voice for fear of the consequences. The cause for restrictions: the fundamentalism of the Shas party. The Fundamental Agreement of '93 establishes freedom of the Church in being able to "deploy" its staff in the land of Christ. At risk the universal and international character of the Church. A new "visas crisis”is about to break out.
Tel Aviv (AsiaNews) - The Israeli Ministry of Interior is refusing entry visas to priests and members of religious orders and is also reducing their period of stay in the Holy Land. Among them there are not only figures from the Arab world, but also well-known personalities and biblical experts from Europe and Africa. The restrictive policy has been exacerbated by the Shas, the fundamentalist party, that has returned to control the Ministry of Interior in the new Netanyahu government. It is causing new problems in the relationship between Israel and the Catholic Church and the Vatican.
The latest round in the Holy See-Israel negotiations concluded on Thursday 29 October, as foreseen, with a renewed reference to the good "atmospherics" and mutual good will, though with no sign as to when the much needed Agreement may be expected. Observers think it very positive though that a two day session for November also has been confirmed, and with it also the Plenary planned for 10 December, in the Vatican. It will be the first occasion for the new Under-Secretary for Relations with States, Monsignor Ettore Balestrero, to lead the Papal delegation.

The Agreement, which has been under discussion for more than ten years now, is intended to achieve security for the Church in Israel, in terms of reconfirming her historic tax exemptions and safeguarding the property of the Holy Places.

However new challenges for the Church's security appear daily, and not only in the fiscal or property sphere.

As expected, the return of the Fundamentalist party Shas to control of the powerful Interior Ministry in the present Israeli government has brought with it renewed trouble for clergymen and members of religious orders. In the nature of things in the Holy Land, the majority of those come from other countries and need admission to the territory of the State to be able to function.

In Israel's first years as a State, they were able to become residents (although even then almost never citizens). Later the State adopted a policy of denying residence and offering only "visas" that need to be renewed periodically. At first, such visas were given for five years at a time, later the period was reduced to one year for citizens of Arab countries (citing security concerns) and two years for Europeans.

On the last occasion that Shas controlled the Foreign Ministry, several years ago, the issuance and renewal of such visas was stopped altogether and a couple of hundred Church personnel were reduced to the category of illegal immigrants and risked arrest and deportation.

Only world-wide publicity and strong international pressure brought about the resumption of issuing visas, though under worse conditions.

Now Church sources report, problems are no longer confined to Arab clergy and religious. At least two priests from Africa expected at a biblical study centre in Jerusalem have not been issued visas, while several European priests, who have worked and lived in Israel for many years, have seen their applications for renewal of their two-year visas denied. Instead they have been offered only one year visas, even though Israel has been their home for many years and they are very well known.

At stake is the international character of the presence of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land. Like Rome, the Holy Land is a place where the world-wide Catholic Church becomes visible in all her diversity. Making it impossible in practice for seminarians, priests and religious from all over the world to live, worship and minister in the Holy Land threatens this unique character of the Church's presence in the earthly homeland of the Redeemer.

Catholic authorities in the Holy Land are extremely worried by this trend, but are mostly hesitant to speak out, for fear that any public statement might have adverse consequences for their institutions. However, if the present trend is not soon reversed, another very public "visa crisis" may not be far off.

In seeking to persuade the State to take back control of visa policy from the fundamentalists, Church officials can rely on the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel (1993). There, in Article 3, Paragraph 2, the State recognises the right of the Church to "deploy" its own personnel to Israel.
Reached by AsiaNews, the noted expert on Church-State relations in Israel, Franciscan Father David-Maria A. Jaeger, who was part of the bilateral team that wrote the Agreement, confirmed that this was understood on both sides as being the meaning of that treaty provision, and the precise reason for the otherwise unusual use of the word "deploy" in reference to Church personnel.
“Of course - he adds - later in that text, the Church recognises the right of State to ensure the safety of its people, and that this means, in the present context, that the State can in good faith decline to permit the entry of individuals who might pose a risk to public safety, but that the State may not otherwise substitute its judgement for that of the Church with regard to the personnel the Church may wish to 'deploy" from anywhere in the world to its own institutions, for its own purposes, in Israel”.

Father Jaeger has clarified that he cannot comment on the facts and violations here reported. But that as jurist he says he is “confident that the key to resolving any difficulties in the matter lies in the 1993 Fundamental Agreement



CNA reports that before moving into Casa de Vida, a residential program for young, pregnant women, 22-year-old Dominique Sawyer had two options: the street or a homeless shelter. “It was the shelter, the streets or here,” said Sawyer, who is expecting a baby girl in December. “I thank God every day that I was sent here. Everything turned around for me. It opened a lot of doors.” Casa de Vida in Reno provides support and services for young, pregnant woman who have nowhere to turn. They may be homeless. They may be drug addicts. They may be rejected by their family and friends for being pregnant out of wedlock and refusing to have an abortion.
Some girls are as young as 12.
“A lot of the girls would not be in a very good situation,” said Valerie Luevano, executive director. “This is a ray of hope for them.”
Casa de Vida, a nonprofit program, gives them a roof over their heads, nutritious meals that support maternal health and access to medical care. For many of the women, it’s the first time there’s been enough to eat.
“Sometimes there’s some hoarding and stockpiling of food,” Luevano said. “So we really have to teach them that it’s safe to be here. You never have to worry about being hungry.”
Casa de Vida was founded in 1982 by three Catholic women: Pat Glenn, Terry Ricciardi and Sister Peter Damian. The women were answering phones at a crisis pregnancy hotline and realized the community lacked a residential resource for the women they were counseling.
The program, which is privately funded through grants and donations, has the capacity to house six women. Some women stay after the babies’ births in order to get on their feet. A social worker provides case management services to the clients, as well as any other pregnant or parenting women in the
community. The women receive individual and group counseling by a behavioral health care professional, and classes on parenting, budgeting and child development.
“When girls come in, we make sure they are physically prepared to care for their babies,” Luevano said.
In return, the women must attend school, take parenting classes, abide by the 9 p.m. weekday and 11 p.m. weekend curfews, stay sober and perform simple daily chores.
The women receive assistance in completing their educational goals and finding jobs, health care and permanent housing. Some attend adult education on site through the Washoe County School District, while the younger women leave the home each day to continue high school at Cyesis-Washoe High School for pregnant teens.
Before moving to Casa de Vida, Sawyer didn’t have a high school diploma. Today, she is making plans for nursing school.
Sawyer wakes up each day by 7:30 a.m., attends classes to receive her high school equivalency diploma, then performs daily chores and attends parenting classes.
“I am very determined to get my GED,” she said. “I need extra help with the math, and the people here encourage me to stay in school.”
Following the birth of her daughter, Sawyer plans to move in with her mother and grandmother. The baby will be named Mary LaRae after her grandmother.
“I’m doing this for me and the baby,” she said, rubbing her belly.
In the house’s basement, each resident has a locker where their parenting essentials are stored, including a stroller, a crib and a car seat. The residents will take the items with them when they leave.
Ongoing resources are available on-site at Wanda’s Baby Closet, which provides free infant, child and maternity clothing, along with diapers, formula, baby furniture and toys to Casa de Vida clients and anyone in need in the community.
From July 20 to Aug. 20, 294 children received goods from the store, Luevano said. There are no qualifications to receive aid, and clients can visit every three months.
Donations of size 4, 5 and 6 diapers always are needed, she said.
In the future, Luevano would like to expand Casa de Vida’s services to provide a day program for the women after they’ve had their babies.
“We’re here to have healthy babies, but we’re not satisfied with that,” Luevano said. “We want healthy toddlers, children and adults. We want to make sure they aren’t repeating the same cycle.”
If women do need help immediately after their baby is born, Casa de Vida offers House of Hope, a transitional home for new mothers and their babies younger than 6 months old.
Residents pay a fee and must be 18 or older, with priority given to former Casa de Vida residents.
The women at House of Hope must either be working or in school and meet weekly with a social worker.
Printed with permission from Northern Nevada Catholic, newspaper from the Diocese of Reno, Nevada.(SOURCE:


All Africa reports that an airplane that transported Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed back to the capital Mogadishu was targeted by insurgent mortars on Wednesday, as at least 10 people were killed in attacks, Radio Garowe reports.
The President's private plane landed at Mogadishu's Aden Adde International Airport with mortars hitting inside airport grounds, according to a spokesman.

"The anti-government forces targeted the airport with mortars as the President's plane landed...fortunately, nothing happened," said Abdikadir Barnamij, the presidential spokesman.
It is the second attack on Somali President Sheikh Sharif within a week. On Oct. 22, upwards of 25 people were killed as the President's delegation traveled from Villa Somalia presidential compound to the international airport.
The Somali president's delegation visited Uganda, Djibouti, Yemen and Kuwait, but did not address journalists upon returning back to Mogadishu.

Meanwhile, at least 10 people died in violence in different parts of Mogadishu after insurgents exploded an army vehicle belonging to African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM).
AMISOM peacekeepers shelled parts of Bakara Market, Hodan, Wardhigley, Waberi, Medina and Howlwadaag districts in response insurgent attacks.
The fighting lasted for more than five hours, with medical sources saying 23 wounded persons were rushed to hospitals for treatment.
Mogadishu has been gripped by insurgent attacks since early 2007, with human rights groups saying 18,000 people have been killed in the conflict since.


Cath News reports that online registrations opened Sunday for Pray 2010, a three day program envisioned by Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby to reinvigorate the prayer life of Catholics.
"I have often stressed the importance of worship as being the anchor point of our relationship with God amidst turbulent and often busy lives," Archbishop Bathersby said in The Catholic Leader.
"If we are to change our own lives and make an impact for the better in the world, then it is essential that we cultivate a spiritual heart that gives us an awareness and willingness to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit."
The comprehensive program from July 7-10 will feature more than 300 workshops, 40 keynote speeches and 130 presenters.
Presenters of international standing and reputation, such as Dr Donna Orsuto, Monsignor Paul McPartlan and Benedictine Father Lawrence Freeman, will appear alongside Australians like Benedictine Sister Hilda Scott (seen on ABC TV series The Abbey), Jesuit Father Frank Brennan, and Byron and Francine Pirola.
Franciscan Father Stan Fortuna, whose rap music and preaching proved a hit with young people at World Youth Day in Sydney last year, will also be returning.


All Saints Day
Feast: November 1
Feast Day:
November 1

The church in this great festival honours all the saints reigning together in glory; first, to give thanks to God for the graces and crowns of all his elect: secondly, to excite ourselves to a fervent imitation of their virtues by considering the holy example of so many faithful servants of God of all ages, sexes, and conditions, and by contemplating the inexpressible and eternal bliss which they already enjoy, and to which we are invited: thirdly, to implore the divine mercy through this multitude of powerful intercessors: fourthly, to repair any failures or sloth in not having duly honoured God in his saints on their particular festivals, and to glorify him in the saints which are unknown to us, or for which no particular festivals are appointed. Therefore our fervour on this day ought to be such that it may be a reparation of our sloth in all the other feasts of the year; they being all comprised in this one solemn commemoration, which is an image of that eternal great feast which God himself continually celebrates in heaven with all his saints, whom we humbly join in praising his adorable goodness for all his mercies, particularly for all treasures of grace which he has most munificently heaped upon them. In this and all other festivals of the saints God is the only object of supreme worship, and the whole of that inferior veneration which is paid to the saints is directed to give sovereign honour to God alone, whose gifts their graces are: and our addresses to them are only petitions to holy fellow creatures for the assistance of their prayers to God for us. When, therefore, we honour the saints, in them and through them we honour God, and Christ, true God and true man, the Redeemer and Saviour of mankind, the King of the Saints, and the source of all their sanctity and glory. In his blood they have washed their robes: from him they derive all their purity, whiteness, and lustre. We consider their virtues as copies taken from him, the great Original, as streams from his fountain, or as images of his virtues produced by the effusion of his spirit and grace in them. His divine life is their great exemplar and prototype, and in the characteristical virtues of each saint some of his most eminent virtues are particularly set forth: his hidden life in the solitude of the anchorets; his spotless purity in the virgins; his patience or charity in some; his divine zeal in others; in them all in some degree his plenitude of all virtue and sanctity Nor are the virtues of the saints only transcripts and copies of the life or spirit of Christ; they are also the fruit of his redemption; entirely his gifts and graces. And when we honour the saints we honour and praise him who is the Author of all their good; so that all festivals of saints are instituted to honour God and our Blessed Redeemer.
In all feasts of saints, especially in this solemn festival of All Saints, it ought to be the first part of our devotion to praise and thank God for the infinite goodness he has displayed in favour of his elect. A primary and most indispensable homage we owe to God is that of praise, the first act of love and complacency in God and his adorable perfections. Hence the Psalms, the most perfect and inspired model of devotions, repeat no sentiments so frequently or with so much ardour as those of divine adoration and praise. This is the uninterrupted sweet employment of the blessed in heaven to all eternity; and the contemplation of the divine love and other perfections is a perpetual incentive inflaming them continually afresh in it, so that they cannot cease pouring forth all their affections and exhausting all their powers; and conceive every moment new ardour in this happy function of pure love. So many holy solitaries of both sexes in this life have renounced all commerce and pleasures of the world, to devote themselves wholly to the mixed exercises of praise and love, and of compunction and humble supplication. In these, all servants of God find their spiritual strength, refreshment, advancement, delight, and joy. To aid our weakness and supply our insufficiency in magnifying the infinite Lord of all things, and exalting his glory, we have recourse to the spotless victim, the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, put into our hands for us to offer a holocaust of infinite price, equal to the majesty of the Godhead. We also rejoice in the infinite glory which God possesses in himself, and from himself. Deriving from himself infinite greatness and infinite happiness, he stands not in need of our goods, and can receive no accession from our homages as to internal glory; in which consists his sovereign bliss. But there is an external glory which he receives from the obedience and praise of his creatures, which, though it increase not his happiness, is nevertheless indispensably due to him, and an external homage with which all beings are bound to sound forth his sovereign power and sanctity. Nor do we owe him this only for his own greatness and glory, which he possesses in himself, but also for the goodness, justice, wisdom' and power which he manifests in all his works. Compounds of the divine mercies as we are, we are bound to give to God incessant thanks for all the benefits, both in the order of nature and of grace, which he has gratuitously conferred upon us. We owe him also an acknowledgment of praise and thanksgiving for all his creatures from the beginning, and for all the wonders he has wrought in them or in their behalf. For this the psalmist and the prophets so often rehearse his mighty works, and invite all beings to magnify his holy name for them. (SOURCE:



Revelation 7: 2 - 4, 9 - 14
Then I saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea,
saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads."
And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, out of every tribe of the sons of Israel,
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!"
And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen."
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, "Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?"
I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Psalms 24: 1 - 6
The earth is the LORD's and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein;
for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers.
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

1 John 3: 1 - 3
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.


Matthew 5: 1 - 12
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.

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