Thursday, November 5, 2009




(VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Basilica the Pope presided at the traditional November Mass for the souls of cardinals and bishops who died over the course of the year. Members of the College of Cardinals concelebrated with the Holy Father. At the beginning of his homily, Benedict XVI recalled the names of the cardinals who passed away during the last twelve months: Avery Dulles, Pio Laghi, Stephanos II Ghattas, Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung, Umberto Betti, and Jean Margeot, expressing his affection for them and for the many archbishops and bishops who also died this year. "In these our venerated brothers we like to recognise the servants of whom the gospel parable speaks", said the Pope in his homily, "faithful servants whom the master, returning from the wedding banquet, finds watchful and alert; pastors who have served the Church, assuring the necessary care for Christ's flock, witnesses of the Gospel who, in their variety of gifts and tasks, gave proof of assiduous vigilance, of generous dedication to the cause of the Kingdom of God". Separation from loved ones is painful, observed the Holy Father, and death "is an enigma charged with anxiety". Yet, "for believers, however it comes, it is always illuminated by the 'hope of immortality'. The faith sustains us in these moments full of human sadness and distress". Commenting then on the First Letter of St. Peter, the second reading of today's Mass, Benedict XVI noted how it encourages us "during our earthly pilgrimage to maintain the prospect of hope, a 'living hope', alive in our hearts, ... because God in His great mercy has regenerated us 'through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead'. "This", he added, "is the reason we must be 'full of joy', even if we are afflicted by suffering. If, indeed, we persevere in goodness, then our faith, purified by many trials, will one day shine forth in all its splendour and resound to our praise, glory and honour when Jesus appears in His glory". And the Holy Father concluded: "Here is the reason for our hope, which already brings us to exult 'with an indescribable and glorious joy' as we journey towards the goal of our faith: the salvation of souls".HML/DECEASED CARDINALS BISHOPS/... VIS 091105 (390)


(VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, and Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, held a press conference to present Benedict XVI's forthcoming meeting with artists, due to take place on 21 November in the Sistine Chapel. Archbishop Ravasi recalled how the meeting, promoted by his dicastery, is to be celebrated on the tenth anniversary of John Paul II's Letter to Artists of 4 April 1999, and the forty-fifth anniversary of Paul VI's meeting with artists of 7 May 1964. "The event", he explained, "is not like a general audience of the Holy Father, open to any artist or exclusively to Christian-inspired artists, rather it aims to be representative of the desire for dialogue between the Church and the world of the arts, a dialogue which must necessarily develop over various stages and using various means". The 255 artists who have accepted the invitation to attend come from various continents and are divided into five categories: painting and sculpture; architecture; literature and poetry; music and song; cinema, theatre, dance and photography. The Sistine Chapel Choir will sing at the beginning and end of the 21 November meeting and, before the Pope's address, extracts of John Paul II's Letter to Artists will be read out to the assembly. After the meeting, a reception will be held in the "Braccio Nuovo" of the Vatican Museums during which the artists will receive a medal in the Pope's name to commemorate the event.OP/MEETING POPE ARTISTS/RAVASI:PAOLUCCI VIS 091105 (280)


(VIS) - The "Church and Sport" section, founded by John Paul II in 2004 as part of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, has announced its third study seminar which is to have as its theme: "Sport, education and faith: a new season for Catholic sport associations". The aim of the event is to explore the relationship between sporting activity, the formation of the human person, and faith, within the field of Catholic sport associations. The seminar, according to a communique published today, will take place on 6 and 7 November in the Villa Aurelia Conference Centre in Rome. It is due to be attended by representatives of sport and youth ministry from episcopal conferences, presidents of Catholic associations at the national and international level, and personalities from the worlds of professional and amateur sport. The morning of 6 November will be dedicated to the Church's mission within the world of youth sports. After the reading of a Message from Benedict XVI and some opening remarks from Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, attention will turn to the role of sport associations in the Catholic world, in the light of Church teaching. Afterwards Mike McNamee, professor at Swansea University in Wales, will deliver a lecture on a possible correlation between sports and human virtue. The afternoon will see a panel discussion in which professional sportspeople will discus what it means to be a champion, "that is to say, to offer an idea of success that is not limited to mere fame or victory but is rather defined by virtuous behaviour that is lived both on and off the field". The day will conclude with an analysis of the relationship between sport and spiritual life, offered by Susan Saint Sing, former U.S. Olympic rower. The second day of the conference will begin with a contribution on new approaches and educational strategies in sports environments, delivered by Edio Costantini, president of the John Paul II Sports Foundation. Afterwards a panel discussion will explore the opportunities offered by Catholic sport associations for bearing witness to Christ "through the work of evangelisation, the exercise of Christian charity, or in ecumenical and inter-cultural dialogue". The conference will conclude with an address by Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.CON-L/SPORTS SEMINAR/RYLKO VIS 091105 (400)


(VIS) - The Holy Father: - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Seville, Spain, presented by Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo O.F.M., upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Juan Jose Asenjo Pelegrina. - Appointed Archbishop Eliseo Antonio Ariotti, apostolic nuncio to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, as apostolic nuncio to Paraguay. - Appointed Msgr. Orazio Pepe, official at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as bureau chief at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. - Appointed Fr. Vladimir Fekete S.D.B. as ecclesiastical superior of the "sui iuris" mission to Baku, Azerbaijan. He succeeds Fr. Jan Capla S.D.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same "sui iuris" mission was accepted by the Holy Father.RE:NN:NA/.../... VIS 091105 (150)


(VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks: - Bishop Francis Baldacchino O.F.M. Cap. of Malindi, Kenya, on 9 October at the age of 73. - Bishop Antonio do Carmo Cheuiche O.C.D., former auxiliary of Porto Alegre, Brazil, on 14 October at the age of 82. - Archbishop-bishop Joan Marti Alanis, emeritus of Urgell, Spain, on 11 October at the age of 80. - Bishop Hermann Raich S.V.D., emeritus of Wabag, Papua New Guinea, on 9 October at the age of 75. - Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli, emeritus of Wilmington, U.S.A., on 8 October at the age of 77. - Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil O.C.D. of Verapoly, India, on 26 October at the age of 70. - Bishop Lazaro Perez Jimenez of Celaya, Mexico, on 25 October at the age of 66. - Archbishop Marian Przykucki, emeritus of Szczecin-Kamien, Poland, on 16 October at the age of 85. - Bishop Vasile Louis Puscas, emeritus of Saint George in Canton of the Romanians, U.S.A., on 3 October at the age of 94. - Bishop Libero Tresoldi, emeritus of Crema, Italy, on 22 October at the age of 88. - Bishop George Patrick Ziemann, emeritus of Santa Rosa, U.S.A., on 22 October at the age of 68..../DEATHS/... VIS 091105 (220)



CNA reports that a 43 year-old prioresses has revolutionized an old Poor Clares convent in Spain, turning it onto a magnet for dozens of young professional women.
Sister Veronica joined the Poor Clares Convent of the Ascension founded in 1604 in Lerma (Spain) at at time when it was going through a vocations crisis. It was January 22, 1984, and Marijose Berzosa - Sr. Veronica's name prior to entering the convent - decided, at age 18, to leave behind a career in medicine, friends, nightlife and baketball.
"Nobody understood me. There were bets that it would not last, but they did not feel the force of the hurricane that drew me in," says Sr. Veronica. "I was a classic teenager looking for a way out ... and I made a decision in just 15 days."
Sr. Veronica joined the convent which had not seen a new vocation in nearly 23 years.
Sr. Pureza de Maria Lubian, 70, now abbess of the convent in Burgos, was her formation director and remembers her Sr. Veronica as "a lovely girl.”
“Very noble and very good,” recalls Sr. Puerza de Maria. Sr. Vernoica “was 18 and had a future. She left everything. She followed the call of God. She had a rich personality. She was always a leader. And, spiritually, she had a great vocation.”
Sr. Puerza de Maria also notes that though Sr. Veronica faced many “struggles and difficulties,” she perservered and submitted to God's plan for her life.
The Spanish daily El Pais, one of the newspapers most sympathetic to the current Socialist government’s campaign against the Catholic Church in Spain, could not resist publishing an extensive report on Sr. Veronica. According to the newspaper, she “has become the biggest phenomenon in the Church since Teresa of Calcutta,” as “she has made the old convent of Lerma into an attractive recruiting banner for female vocations, with 135 professional women with a median age of 35 and 100 more on a waiting list.” The paper adds that Sr. Vernoica has also “opened a house in the town of La Aguilera, 24 miles from Lerma, at a huge monastery donated by her Franciscan brothers."
"It is an unexpected boom in vocations when the Jesuits have just 20 novices in all of Spain, the Franciscans, five, and the Vincentians, two. And it’s happening at a time when nuns are being imported from India, Kenya or Paraguay to prevent the closure of convents inhabited by elderly nuns, and when most of our priests are above the age of 60," the report indicated.
On weekends the convent welcomes hundreds of pilgrims: families, young members of ecclesial movements and church groups arrive in buses to attend the prayers, theatrical plays and talks on fully living the Christian life.
According to El Pais, the majority of the young sisters who have been attracted to the cloister "have been in relationships and had careers.” The women are strong in their knowledge of theology, and are “urban and educated.”
In addition, “None are immigrants. There are five sisters from the same family, eleven pairs of blood sisters and a few twins. Most are from the middle class. And they have college degrees. This community offers a complete roster of lawyers, economists, physicists and chemists, roadway engineers, industrial workers, agricultural workers and aeronautics engineers, architects, doctors, pharmacists, biologists and physical therapists, librarians, philologists, teachers and photographers.”
One of the sisters in the community interviewed by El Pais defines the cloister as "an house open to those who knock on our door. We want to share our faith, to make known what is happening to us. And if they see Jesus in us, go ahead. Spain is so pagan that we need to share our faith, not live it alone. It is time to act."
The growth of the cloister since the arrival of Sister Veronica has been explosive: in 1994, when she was appointed mistress of novices at the age of 28, nearly 30 sisters entered. In 2002 there were 72, in 2004, there were 92. In 2005, the number rose to 105. Late last September there were 134.
Originally in a 16th century convent built to accommodate 32, the sisters are being leased the monastery of La Aguliera by the Franciscan Friars of Lerma. It is located adjacent to the sanctuary and the tomb of St. Peter Regalado.
The monastery is quickly being renovated to provide a modern, functional and well-lit space, with energy obtained through solar panels.
The new monastery has 100 cells, each with bed, table and kneeler, while a parlor with a capacity of 400, a hospice, bathrooms for visitors, and a new chapel are currently being constructed.
Recently, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher of the Papal Household, preached to 140 Poor Clares in Lerma. The visit by the Italian Capuchin was broadcast by the RAI network (Italian Radio and Television) in prime time in Italy. (SOURCE:


CNA reports that the Redemptorists have elected Fr. Michael Brehl, formerly the Provincial of the Edmonton-Toronto Province, as the new Superior General for the order.
Fr. Brehl, who was introduced to the Redemptorists while he was a university student, was impressed by their dedication to issues of peace and justice as well as their involvement with the poor. “So far,” he says in his online biography, “it’s been an exciting life – and it’s lived up to the promise I first experienced at Gerard House all those years ago.”
Father Brehl is the first Canadian to be elected Superior General of the Redemptorists, who were founded by St. Alphonsus Ligouri in 1732. Born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1955, he professed his vows as a Redemptorist on August 15, 1976 and was ordained to the priesthood on March 15, 1980.
Since finishing formation, completing a theology degree, and being ordained, Fr. Brehl has worked in numerous capacities. He has served as a parish priest, been on a retreat team, directed the Redemptorist's formation house and been elected to three terms as the Provincial of the Province of Edmonton-Toronto.
Fr. Brehl described getting to know the Redemptorists all over the word as one of the highlights of his experience.
In his free time, Fr. Brehl writes, “I’ve always tried to stay active – and I enjoy sports of many kinds: cycling, running, squash, golf. As well, I like reading, crossword puzzles, and movies.” He says he has made many good friends in different places and that he values cultivating those relationships.
For the next six years, Fr. Michael Brehl will be living in Rome at the Redemptorist General House, executing his duties as the Superior General. (SOURCE:



CISA reports that the National Union of Somali Journalists has strongly condemned a wave of arrests of journalists and media house raids across Southern Somali regions last week.According to Eastern Africa Journalists Agency (EAJA) press statement, A group of armed men loyal to the Al-Shabaab administration in Baidoa town, the regional headquarters of Bay region stormed Warsan Radio compound late Saturday October 31, and detained one of the reporters. Warsan Radio was ordered closed on October 21, indefinitely by the Al Shabaab administration.Journalist Muhyadin Husni, a reporter with Warsan Radio who is also the regional correspondent for Shabelle Media Network is still in custody and the Al-Shabaab administration is yet to comment on the reason of his arrest.“A group of masked armed men came to the radio station on Saturday afternoon and arrested our reporter Muhyadin Husni,” said Hilal Sheik Shuayb, the Director of Warsan Radio in Baidoa.“The armed men are still within the radio compound and they have taken the keys to the radio station from the guards,” Hilal said. In the capital Mogadishu, a Somali war photographer and Award winning journalist, Mohamed Dahir, an AFP photo reporter, and Mohamoud Muktar Koofi, a Universal TV cameraman, were kept for 48 hours in a detention centre at Villa Somalia by the government soldiers.The journalists were said to have allegedly been taking photographs of African Union tankers firing Bakara market, after insurgents attacked the bases of the government forces and that of the African Union (AU) peacekeepers along Maka Al-Mukarama road on Wednesday morning.Before they were detained, the police were ordered to erase the films and photographs, according to the journalists.“They did not torture us, but they interrogated us on Wednesday night around 2:00 am, alleging we were Al-Shabaab spies. That was the most difficult case we faced during our detention.” Dahir said.The journalists were later released upon the intervention of Yusuf Mire Seeraar, a Somali MP who heard of the arrest on Thursday. (SOURCE:



UCAN reports that priests have joined civic groups in demonstrating against police brutality after video footage was released apparently showing a policeman assaulting a mentally challenged youth, resulting in his death by drowning.

Two priests and a nun join civic groupsin protesting against police brutality
"People are tired and scared of the immunity enjoyed by the police force," said Father Terrence Fernando of Colombo archdiocese.
The video, released on television and the Internet, showed the youth chased into the sea by policemen wielding sticks, with one policeman actually hitting him.
Media reports say the youth was depressed following a failed love affair and was undergoing treatment. He was throwing stones at trains and vehicles when the police made their move.
Some 700 human rights activists, Christian priests, nuns, laypeople and politicians demonstrated in front of the harbor railway station in Colombo on Nov. 4 in the incident's aftermath.
They held placards with messages such as "Khaki-uniform killers" and "Bring all to book."
Sri Lanka has been under emergency rule for decades due to the civil war with Tamil separatists in the north. Critics say this has led to an authoritarian culture with extended police powers and the suspension of constitutional rights that provides immunity for the police.
Father Fernando said there are thousands of cases of human rights violations by the country's security forces, including police, in which no one has been prosecuted.
"It is a total misuse of power by police. It is the time for religious leaders to raise their voices for the people," he said.
"Now that the war mania is over, (police) should be trained on how to deal with the people," says Sister Noel Christine from Shramabimani center, an NGO.

Video shot of policemen cornering a mentally challenged man
Anglican Father Marimuthupillai Sathivel, parish priest of St. Michael's Church, also joined the demonstration and condemned the incident.
Catholic Father Sarath Iddamalgoda told UCA News that the elected government is responsible for "murders" because of its "continued neglect in dealing with police criminality."
Incidents of alleged police brutality are growing.
In August, two youths, Danushka Aponso and Dinesh Tharanga Dernando, died in Angulana village on the outskirts of Colombo after being arrested on a minor offense. Their bullet-ridden bodies were discovered a short distance from the police station.
Later the same month, Nipuna Ramanayake, a student of Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) was allegedly abducted and tortured for several hours by police constables. The student claims they beat him with cricket stumps until they broke and kicked him in the face.
Anglican Bishop Duleep de Chickera of Colombo condemned the most recent killing and said that "public confidence in our law enforcement authorities must be maintained under all circumstances otherwise the country can quickly descend into a state of lawlessness."
Police Inspector General Mahinda Balasuriya has promised "the police will look into the problem."



Cath News reports that the position of chaplain at the Lismore Base Hospital could be axed due to budget cutbacks, after almost 20 years of service to the patients, families and staff.
"Most rural hospitals don't have a full time, salaried chaplain," health service chief executive Chris Crawford said, according to The Northern Star.
"We've been looking up hill and down dale for where we can remove positions that won't impact clinical, frontline services.
"If I had to choose between providing clinical services and paid religious services, I'd have to go with the clinical services."
Mr Crawford said the chaplain's work could be done by volunteers.
He said a final decision to abolish the post had not yet been made, but The Northern Star understands the current chaplain, the Reverend Ivan Dehnert, has been offered voluntary redundancy with a view to winding up the job by next Friday.
But former Lismore Base Hospital chaplain the Reverend Peter Hill said the position was vital, offering counselling, palliative care, coordinated trauma groups, establishing cardiac groups and often assisting in intensive care.
"A lot of that wouldn't be there to be offered," Mr Hill said. "The chaplain is very much the person on the ground."

St. Bertille
Feast: November 5
Feast Day:
November 5
Soissons, France

St Bertille was born of one of the most illustrious families in the territory of Soissons, in the reign of Dagobert I, and by her piety acquired the true nobility of the children of God. From her infancy she preferred the love of God to that of creatures, shunned as much as possible the company and amusements of the world, and employed her time in serious duties and chiefly in holy prayer. As she grew up, by relishing daily more and more the sweetness of conversing with God, she learned perfectly to despise the world and earnestly desired to renounce it. Not daring to discover this inclination to her parents, she first opened herself to St. Ouen, by whom she was encouraged in her resolution. Self-love early disguises itself in every shape, and the devil often transforms himself into an angel of light. Not to be deceived through precipitation and rashness in so important a choice as that of a state of life, impartial advice, prayer, careful self-examination and mature deliberation are necessary. These means having been employed, the saint's parents were made acquainted with her desire, which God inclined them not to oppose. They conducted her to Jouarre, great monastery in Brie, four leagues from Meaux, founded not long before, about the year 630, by Ado, the elder brother of St. Ouen, who took the monastic habit there with many other young noblemen and established a nunnery in the neighbourhood, which became the principal house. St. Thelchildes, a virgin of noble descent, who seems to have been educated or first professed in the monastery of Faremoutier, was the first abbess of Jouarre, and governed that house till about the year 660. By her and her religious community St. Bertille was received with great joy and trained up in the strictest practice of monastic perfection. Our saint, looking upon this solitude as a secure harbour, never ceased to return thanks to God for his infinite mercy in having drawn her out of the tempestuous ocean of the world: but was persuaded she could never deserve to become the spouse of Jesus Christ unless she endeavoured to follow him in the path of humiliation and self-denial. By her perfect submission to all her sisters she seemed everyone's servant, and in her whole conduct was a model of humility, obedience, regularity, and devotion. Though she was yet young, her prudence and virtue appeared consummate, and the care of entertaining strangers, of the sick, and of the children that were educated in the monastery was successfully committed to her. In all these employments she had acquitted herself with great charity and edification when she was chosen prioress to assist the abbess in her administration. In this office her tender devotion, her habitual sense of the divine presence, and her other virtues shone forth with new lustre, and had a wonderful influence in the direction of the whole community.
When St. Bathildes, wife of Clovis II, munificently refounded the abbey of Chelles, which St. Clotildis had instituted near the Marne, four leagues from Paris, she desired St. Thelchildes to furnish this new community with a small colony of the most experienced and virtuous nuns of Jouarre, who might direct the novices in the rule of monastic perfection. Bertille was sent at the head of this holy company, and was appointed the first abbess of Chelles, in 646, or thereabouts. The reputation of the sanctity and prudence of our saint, and the excellent discipline which she established in this house, drew several foreign princesses thither. Among others Bede mentions Hereswith, Queen of the East-Angles. She was daughter of Hereic, brother or brother-in-law to St. Edwin, King of Northumberland, and married the religious King Annas, with whose consent she renounced the world and, passing into France, in 646, became a nun at Chelles. Queen Bathildes, after the death of her husband in 655, was left regent of the kingdom during the minority of her son Clotaire III, but as soon as he was of age to govern, in 665, she retired hither, took the religious habit from the hands of St. Bertille, obeyed her as if she had been the last sister in the house, and passed to the glory of the angels in 680. In this numerous family of holy queens, princesses, and virgins, no contests arose but those of humility and charity. The holy abbess, who saw two great queens every day at her feet, seemed the most humble and the most fervent among her sisters, and showed by her conduct that no one commands well or with safety who has not first learned, and is not always reader, to obey well.
St. Bertille governed this great monastery for the space of forty-six years with equal vigour and discretion. In her old age, far from abating her fervour, she strove daily to redouble it both in her penances and in her devotions. In these holy dispositions of fervour the saint closed her penitential life in 692. (SOURCE:


John 11: 17 - 27
Now when Jesus came, he found that Laz'arus had already been in the tomb four days.
Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off,
and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house.
Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you."
Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world."

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