Sunday, November 8, 2009





Vatican Radio reports that in the final discourse of his visit to Brescia in the footsteps of Pope Paul VI Benedict XVI told the 300 parishioners of St Anthony’s Church in Concesio that ''It's not 'easy being a Christian”.Speaking in the small village church were the future Pope, Giovanni Battista Montini, was Baptised more than a century ago, Pope Benedict noted that “it takes courage and tenacity not to comply with the mentality of today’s world, not to be seduced by the sometimes powerful calls of hedonism and consumerism, to face, if necessary, misunderstandings and sometimes even real persecution''. For this reason - he added -''we should remain firmly united in the Church, even when we see some shadows and blemishes on its face'' ''loving her as our true mother'' and translating this love into concrete action ''within our communities'.'' Pope Benedict also urged believers not to yield to the temptation of “individualism 'and prejudice” rather to overcome “all rivalry and division”.Earlier Sunday evening Pope Benedict XVI launched an appeal for the freedom for Catholics to educate their children according to their faith and tradition.He was speaking at the inauguration of the Paul VI institute for religious studies, in the home of the late pope, Concesio Northern Italy. Retracing his own personal bond with Paul VI, and their shared commitment to education he noted that “educating the younger generation, on which the future depends, has never been easy, but in our time seems to become even more complex”.Pope Benedict said “a mentality and a culture that cast doubts on the value of the person, the meaning of truth and goodness..,is spreading”. Yet he also observed that “there is a widespread thirst for hard certainties and values”. Pope Benedict spoke of Paul VI’s involvement with the university students of his day, his promotion of an ‘intellectual charity’ that was rooted in social action in favour of the poor. “Young people” he concluded “must be educated to regarded themselves ''as people and not a mere number in the crowd''.(Source:


A ''poor and free church”, capable of speaking to 'contemporary' mankind and of addressing the challenges of today: the economic crisis, immigration, interfaith dialogue. But above all the Church that is the faithful and patient instrument of God’s love for humanity.This was the message launched by Pope Benedict XVI from the Cathedral of Brescia, the birth place of his predecessor Pope Paul VI, a message taken from the spiritual testament of the Montini Pope, but one that Pope Benedict said is still relevant today.Four giants screens relayed Pope Benedict’s words to the tens of thousands who filled the rain-swept square before the Cathedral, named in honour of the Brescian man who steered the Church through the Second Vatican Council and its difficult aftermath.Pope Benedict told them that the encounter and dialogue between the Church and humanity was particularly important to Paul VI in every stage of his life, from the early years of priesthood to his pontificate. In his homily Pope Benedict XVI dwelt on Paul VI’s encyclical Ecclesiam Suam. The major challenges that face the Church, he said, are those represented by its confrontation with other faiths and a growing secularism that leads to forgetfulness of God. The Pope said that the question of the Church, its role in the plan for our salvation and its relationship with the world today remain absolutely central. As Paul VI wrote; “more than ever humanity is in need of the precious example of the Churches love for mankind which is inseparable from that of Christ.''In the teachings of Paul VI, Pope Benedict said we can always find valuable information to address the challenges of the present, above all, the economic crisis, immigration, education of youth. At the same time, Pope Montini lost no opportunity to emphasize the primacy of God in human experience or to promote the consecrated life.Benedict XVI’s last words from Brescia in fact were for the priests of the Diocese. Marking this Year for Priests, he recalled the words of Paul VI to the Major Seminary on December 7, 1968:"Many - he said - expect the Pope to make dramatic gestures and be energetically decisive. The Pope does not believe that he must follow another line that is not that of confidence in Jesus Christ, He will calm the storm ... It is not about waiting inertly but of watchful waiting in prayer. This is the condition that Jesus has chosen for us, so that he can operate fully. Even the Pope needs to be helped by prayer”. (Source:



CNA reports that from its humble beginnings in the church of St. Francis Xavier in Phoenix, Rosary Sunday has grown into an annual event that draws more than 5,000 people in devotion to Mary. Last month, Catholics in the diocese marked the 34th year the faithful throughout the state gathered for adoration, confession, benediction and the recitation of the rosary.
Under her title, “Immaculate Heart of Mary,” and in honor of the Year for Priests, families and individuals entered the Phoenix Convention Center representing a multitude of ethnic communities and organizations.
Rudy and Barbara Martinez drove 240 miles one-way from Cameron, Ariz. to participate in the public prayer honoring the Blessed Mother.
“We come because we want to show her our love and gratitude,” Barbara said. This is the fifth year the couple has made the journey from the Navajo Indian Reservation in Northern Arizona. “It’s important for us to be here together in honor of Our Lady.”
The strong devotion to the mother of Jesus gave impetus to the Phoenix Diocese embracing an event that has attracted national attention.
Dorothy Westfall, the event’s coordinator and a Legion of Mary member, fields calls from other dioceses around the country each year on how to develop advisory committees in hopes of starting a Rosary Sunday.
“People come because they see this as an opportunity for grace,” Westfall said. “Not only for themselves, but for their family, the country and the world.”
The spirit, beauty and reverence of the afternoon was not lost on the keynote speaker.
“I am very impressed. We need one of these in the Rockford Diocese,” said Fr. James Parker. “When we pray those beads, we touch the heart of the Mother of God and simultaneously touch the heart of God.”
The Illinois priest used imagery and stories to emphasize Mary’s love, concern and protection of the faithful.
“When we pray the rosary, she wraps us in her mantle,” Fr. Parker said. “When we are close to her, we are able to maintain a peace of heart.”
The event proved to be an uplifting and spiritual opportunity for many families to pass the torch of faith and tradition on to their children.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted’s very presence got the crowd to their feet, but it was his words of encouragement that rang true with many.
In his opening address, the bishop said Mary will help each person as they join with Christ by offering daily sacrifices.
John and Anita Usher of St. Mary Parish in Chandler brought their eight children to their fourth Rosary Sunday.
The home-schooling troupe was joyful to be among a “community of like believers,” despite having recently lost a job and their home.
“We feel so welcomed and so blessed to honor Mary this way,” Anita said. “When you have God, what else do you need?”
The festivities are a visual and auditory array of music, singing, dancing and drumming, but nothing holds a candle to the silence that befalls 5,000 people, many on bended knee, during the benediction.
For Westfall, Rosary Sunday is about Catholic tradition. She was only eight when she attended her first rosary event in downtown Phoenix, which was also sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.
Those early years have given way to a $50,000 production that needs hundreds of volunteers and sponsors.
With barely a breath taken from the moment Rosary Sunday ends, planning for next year begins.
“Each year we are blessed to have so many hands involved in this process,” Westfall said. “They come out of the woodwork to make sure it’s successful.”
Sam Marshall began praying the rosary after he was inspired by a group of women in Santa Fe, NM, more than a decade ago.
“More men need to pray the rosary, but they think it’s something women do,” he said. “We all want more, inside, than we realize. We just have all this worldly stuff that gets in the way.”



Asia News reports that suspects are aged 24 and 29, linked to extreme right wing nationalist groups. The murder of the two human rights activists took place back in January of this year. Markelov and Baburova were investigating abuses by Russian soldiers in Chechnya. Moscow (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Russian police have detained two individuals in connection with the murder of human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and Novaya Gazeta freelance reporter Anastasia Baburova. The two suspects are Yevgenia Khasis, 24, and Nikita Tikhonov, 29, former militants with the banned Russian National Unity ultranationalist group. Both Tikhonov and Khasis were charged under Article 105, Section 2a, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, concerning the “murder of two or more persons”.
Markelov and Baburova were assassinated on 19 January of this year (see “Lawyer and journalist killed, had been investigating crimes in Chechnya,” in AsiaNews, 20 January 2009).
According to leaked police information, Khasis was the lookout, whilst Tikhonov was the material executor of the double murder. Using a gun with silencer, he shot the victims through the head.
Police said the two (pictured during arrest) were also suspects in the murder of Ruslan Khalilov, an Azeri student killed in Moscow on 3 September.
Nikita Tikhonov, a member of the ultra rightwing nationalist group United team-88, might also be responsible for the murder of Alexander Riukhin, who was killed in 2006 in the Moscow underground station of Domodedovo. Stanislav Markelov was the Riukhin family’s attorney.
Relatives and colleagues of the slain lawyer and journalist want investigation findings to be released; at present, the evidence against Khasis and Tikhonov is deposited at the Basmanny District Court.
Markelov and Baburova were working on abused perpetrated by Russian soldiers in Chechnya.
The two were killed after they left a meeting over a court case in Ulyanovsk that would decide whether Yuri Budanov, the first Russian soldier ever convicted of crimes against civilians in the Caucasian republic, would be released or not.
Markelov was also the lawyer representing the family of Kheda Kungayeva, an 18-year-old Chechen woman killed by Budanov in March 2000.(SOURCE;



UCAN reports that the oldest bishop in mainland China, Peter Chen Bolu of Handan, died on Nov. 5 at the diocesan Dazhong Hospital which he built. He was 96.

Bishop Peter ChenBolu (Photo courtesyof Handan diocese)
Since the healthcare pioneer opened the hospital in 1994, it has become the largest and most integrated of the 10 hospitals and clinics in the northern diocese.
Father Louis Zhang Heshan of Handan diocese, who heads the hospital, told UCA News Catholics workers in the hospital and many diocesan priests came to visit the retired bishop before he died.
The funeral of the Vatican-approved and government-recognized Church leader will be held at Qiancaozhuang village church in Yongnian county on Nov. 11.
Father Zhang said the "two pillars of Bishop Chen's long life were enduring hardships and prayers." Serving a sentence in the reform-through-labor camp in the Cultural Revolution, he was the most productive worker in the camp, the priest said.
The bishop, in his old age, spent his time in the hospital attending Masses and adoring the Blessed Sacrament every day.
In 1986, when Bishop Chen was episcopally ordained, the diocese had six elderly priests and 60,000 Catholics. Thanks to his efforts in evangelization and priestly formation, there are currently 93 priests and 130,000 Catholics.
The government-approved Church community in Handan diocese is led by Vatican-approved Bishop Stephen Yang Xiangtai, 87, and has 66 priests.
The "underground" community is split into two groups, which have 18 and 19 priests respectively.
Bishop Chen was born in 1913 and ordained a priest in 1944. He was clandestinely ordained bishop by Bishop Francis Han Tingbi of Hongdong in 1986 and openly installed as Bishop of Handan on May 29, 1988. He retired in 1999.


CISA reports that Amnesty International is calling for an immediate stop to planned demolitions by the Rivers State Government of houses along Njemanze Road in Port Harcourt, Nigeria warning that hundreds of people could be left homeless following the exercise.“The Governor of Rivers State should call an immediate halt to the planned demolitions, respect the rights of the residents to adequate and reasonable notice of any eviction, and ensure that all those affected receive adequate alternative housing and that no one is rendered homeless,” said Erwin van der Borght, Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Programme.“Many of the tenants have no where else to go and most are unable to afford the large deposit necessary to rent a new home,” said Borght.According to the rights agency, houses along the Njemanze Road in Port Harcourt are due to be demolished tomorrow morning and panic has now set into the community, with residents desperately trying to salvage what they can.Amnesty International said that the Rivers State government is not following its own Physical Planning and Development Law (2003). Under this law, they should have established an “Urban Renewal Board”, which would have declared the waterfront communities an “improvement area”, for which it would have prepared an improvement plan. This law also requires the government to provide alternative housing for all the occupants affected which they have not done, the rights organization said in a press statement.However, the state governor has repeatedly stated that demolitions along the waterfront are “to sanitize and check criminal activities.” “Rivers State government is only permitted to carry out evictions as a last resort,” said Borght. Borght said, “They are obliged, in every case, to explore all feasible alternatives to evictions and avoid or minimise the use of force.”According to the rights agency, tenants of the houses were only given seven days notice to vacate their homes and businesses and they want the government’s help to keep their children and the elderly out of the streets. The waterfront is one of the most densely populated areas of Port Harcourt. The buildings under threat stretch along approximately 2 kilometres off road, and will be demolished to give access to the site of the previously demolished Njemanze waterfront community. According to UN-HABITAT, evictions of inhabitants of Njamanze, Abonnema and surrounding areas, are to make way for a development called “Silverbird Showtime.” A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Rivers State Government and the company Silverbird Ltd agrees to ensure “peaceful evacuation and relocation of present occupants.”As part of its Demand Dignity campaign, launched in May 2009, to end the human rights violations that drive and deepen global poverty, the rights agency is also calling on governments globally to prohibit and prevent forced evictions and provide adequate housing for all of its residents. (SOURCE;


Cath News reports that the Tasmanian MP and Greens leader Nick McKim said he will keep pushing for voluntary euthanasia legislation if he is re-elected in March, despite his "Dying with Dignity" bill being defeated in parliament last week.
"I will put this bill up, or a similar bill, again and again and again if I'm re-elected because I'm absolutely convinced that law reform in this area is the right thing to do," he was cited saying in an ABC report.
"I firmly believe that one day the Tasmanian parliament will pass a law of this kind."
Tasmania's religious leaders have welcomed the defeat of the bill, but supporters believe terminally ill people will eventually be able to end their lives legally.
Archbishop Adrian Doyle is relieved by the result and has urged that appropriate palliative care be available to all terminally ill people.
"We have to ensure that they are there for everyone and can provide the very best of assistance at all times," he said. (SOURCE:

Four Crowned Martyrs
Feast: November 8
Feast Day:
November 8

The old guidebooks to the tombs of the Roman martyrs make mention, in connection with the catacomb of Sts. Peter and Marcellinus on the Via Labicana, of the Four Crowned Martyrs (Quatuor Coronati), at whose grave the pilgrims were wont to worship (De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, I, 178-79). One of these itineraries, the "Epitome libri de locis sanctorum martyrum", adds the names of the four martyrs (in reality five): "IV Coronati, id est Claudius, Nicostratus, Simpronianus, Castorius, Simplicitus". These are the names of five martyrs, sculptors in the quarries of Pannonia (now a part of Austria-Hungary, south-west of the Danube), who gave up their lives for their Faith in the reign of Diocletian. The Acts of these martyrs, written by a revenue officer named Porphyrius probably in the fourth century, relates of the five sculptors that, although they raised no objections to executing such profane images as Victoria, Cupid, and the Chariot of the Sun, they refused to make a statue of Æsculapius for a heathen temple. For this they were condemned to death as Christians. They were put into leaden caskets and drowned in the River Save. This happened towards the end of 305. The foregoing account of the martyrdom of the five sculptors of Pannonia is substantially authentic; but later on a legend sprang up at Rome concerning the Quatuor Coronati, according to which four Christian soldiers (cornicularii) suffered martyrdom at Rome during the reign of Diocletian, two years after the death of the five sculptors. Their offence consisted in refusing to offer sacrifice to the image of Æsculapius. The bodies of the martyrs were interred at St. Sebastian and Pope Melchiades at the third milestone on the Via Labicana, in a sandpit where rested the remains of others who had perished for the Faith. Since the names of the four martyred soldiers could not be authentically established, Pope Melchiades commanded that, the date of their death (8 November) being the same as that of the Pannonian sculptors, their anniversary should be celebrated on that day, under the names of Sts. Claudius, Nicostratus, Symphorianus, Castor, and Simplicius. This report has no historic foundation. It is merely a tentative explanation of the name Quatuor Coronati, a name given to a group of really authenticated martyrs who were buried and venerated in the catatomb of Sts. Peter and Marcellinus, the real origin of which, however, is not known. They were classed with the five martyrs of Pannonia in a purely external relationship. Numerous manuscripts on the legend as well as the Roman Martyrology give the names of the Four Crowned Martyrs, supposed to have been revealed at a later date, as Secundus, Severianus, Carpoforus, and Victorius. But these four martyrs were not buried in Rome, but in the catacomb of Albano; their feast was celebrated on 7 August, under which date it is cited in the Roman Calender of Feasts of 354. These martyrs of Albano have no connection with the Roman martyrs described above. Of the four Crowned Martyrs we know only that they suffered death for the Faith and the place where they were buried. They evidently were held in great veneration at Rome, since in the fourth and fifth century a basilica was erected and dedicated in the Caelian Hill, probably in the neighbourhood of spot where tradition located their execution. This became one of the titular churches of Rome, was restored several times and still stands. It is first mentioned among the signatures of a Roman council in 595. Pope Leo IV ordered the relics removed, about 850, from the Via Labicana to the church dedicated to their memory, together with the relics of the five Pannonian martyrs, which had been brought to Rome at some period now unknown. Both group of maryrs are commemorated on 8 November. (SOURCE:



1 Kings 17: 10 - 16
So he arose and went to Zar'ephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, "Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink."
And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, "Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand."
And she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a cruse; and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
And Eli'jah said to her, "Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son.
For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, `The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the cruse of oil shall not fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'"
And she went and did as Eli'jah said; and she, and he, and her household ate for many days.
The jar of meal was not spent, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD which he spoke by Eli'jah.

Psalms 146: 7 - 10
who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners, he upholds the widow and the fatherless; but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The LORD will reign for ever, thy God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!

Hebrews 9: 24 - 28
For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own;
for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,
so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Mark 12: 41 - 44
And he sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny.
And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living."

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