Friday, November 6, 2009





(VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today: "Today, Friday 6 November 2009, His Holiness Benedict XVI received in audience Nursultan Nazarbayev, president of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Mr Nazarbayev subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. "During the course of the cordial discussions, attention turned to questions concerning the economic crisis in the light of the Encyclical 'Caritas in Veritate', to inter-religious dialogue and to the promotion of peace, on the eve of Kazakhstan's presidency of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). "At a bilateral level consideration was given, with satisfaction, to the good relations that exist between the Holy See and the Republic of Kazakhstan, and to certain themes concerning the current situation of life in the country. Mention was also made of the peaceful coexistence between faithful of various religions, and the hope expressed that believers may have an ever more active role in the life of the nation and in favour of the common good".OP/AUDIENCE/PRESIDENT KAZAKHSTAN VIS 091106 (200)


(VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Five prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Jacyr Francisco Braido C.S. of Santos. - Bishop Manuel Parrado Carral of Sao Miguel Paulista, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Fernando Legal S.D.B. - Bishop Caetano Ferrari O.F.M. of Bauru. - Bishop Sergio Krzywy of Aracatuba. This evening he is scheduled to receive in separate audiences: - Cardinal William Joseph Levada, perfect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.AL:AP/.../... VIS 091106 (110)


(VIS) - The Holy Father appointed: - Fr. Giuseppe Sandri M.C.C.J., provincial superior of the Combonian Missionaries in South Africa, as bishop of Witbank (area 56,886, population 2,614,000, Catholics 103,278, priests 38, permanent deacons 8), South Africa. The bishop-elect was born in Faedo, Italy in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1972. - Fr. Vincent Nguyen of the clergy of the archdiocese of Toronto, Canada, adjunct judicial vicar and vice chancellor, and Fr. William Terrence McGrattan of the clergy of the diocese of London, Canada, rector of the Saint Peter major seminary, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Toronto (area 13,000, population 5,556,000, Catholics 1,889,000, priests 835, permanent deacons 110, religious 1,176). Bishop-elect Nguyen was born in Vietnam in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1988. Bishop-elect McGrattan was born in London, Canada in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1987.NER:NEA/.../SANDRI:NGUYEN:MCGRATTAN VIS 091106 (150)



Catholic Herald reports that Archbishop Vincent Nichols has warned Britons that old age is being "emptied of meaning" and that our society will be judged by the way it treats the elderly. The Archbishop of Westminster was speaking at the launch of a report exploring the role of the Catholic community in caring for an ageing population. Introducing the report, he said: "I would like to remind you of an old adage that the true value of a society is to be judged by the way in which it treats its elderly and those who are most vulnerable. I think that is a sobering thought, which gives the lie to claims that are sometimes made that we are a most well developed society. "This is a measure of the challenge that we face, within the Church and within society, in which the experience of being aged, dependent and terminally ill is emptied of meaning and therefore of respect." He stressed the importance of the "fundamental truth strongly expressed in Catholic teaching" that "recognises the inner value and the dignity of every person from the first moments of life until our natural dying".His comments came days before parishes across England and Wales were urged to oppose changes to the guidelines regulating the prosecution of assisted suicide in a Church-wide effort to stop the eventual legalisation of euthanasia.The new report - commissioned by Caritas Social Network (CSAN) from Middlesex University's Social Policy Research Centre and entitled National Mapping of Services Provided by the Catholic Community - found that Catholic provisions for the elderly, which include residential care homes and visiting services, provided an important spiritual dimension for older people as well as a consistently high level of care.Archbishop Nichols said he welcomed two aspects of the report in particular. The first was the fact it took note of the "high level of spiritual provision" provided by Catholics. The second aspect was that it acknowledged the Church's advantage of being both "local and universal".The report identified problems in the care being provided by the Catholic community, which ranged from the organisational - before the report there was no comprehensive list of Catholic residential care homes - to questions of human resources and funding. The number of religious vocations, for example, has decreased, and this has affected the ability of certain religious communities to care for the elderly. Recommendations included more collaboration between the different Catholic care providers and more emphasis on lay involvement as vocations to religious life continue to decline. Demographic projections for the next 10 years predict a substantial rise in the population over 65, which will increase by 25 per cent, reaching 11.1 million people in 2019. The number of dementia sufferers is on the rise as well. Today more than 700,000 people in Britain suffer from dementia. This number is expected to grow to almost a million in the next six years. Using information provided by Catholic deaneries around the country, the report identified "loneliness and isolation" as the main problems facing the elderly, though poor physical health and spiritual needs were also highlighted. Researchers were hampered by the fact that there was little existing information about Catholic services for older people because most of the community support for old people was held at parish level, whether it was the Legion of Mary providing prayer and company for the elderly, or parish visits by volunteers or the Society of St Vincent de Paul. Philippa Gitlin, the director of CSAN, said: "Although the report found it hard to quantify the Catholic community's contribution in financial terms, it is clear that the Catholic community makes a sizeable contribution to the care and support of older people of all faiths and none."As the demographic projection shows an increasingly ageing population, this will be of even more significance in the future and I think it is an area where the voice of the Catholic community should be heard more loudly."She also said that the Church was "ideally placed to set up intergenerational projects for the mutual benefit of both older people and younger people". Both the report and the Archbishop of Westminster's speech came against the backdrop of a public consultation on a new set of guidelines produced by Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), which will clarify which cases of assisted suicide he will prosecute. Last Sunday, parishes across England and Wales were urged to write to the DPP criticising the new guidelines, which the bishops say would place vulnerable people at risk.The bishops said that the new guidelines raised problems because "they identify factors which are not relevant to non-prosecution and the inclusion of which could have serious harmful effects on society".They cited "disability or state of health of the victim", "the victim's determination to commit suicide as demonstrated by previous suicide attempts" and "being a spouse, partner and close family member" as problematic aspects of the new guidelines. The bishops said that "a sick or disabled person's life should merit the same protection by law", and a history of suicide "is more likely to be a sign of depression" and was "a factor in favour of prosecution" rather than against it. They said that the law should not assume that family relationships were always supportive because "crimes of violence are very commonly carried out by someone known to the victim", including family members.Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff, chairman of the bishops' conference Department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, said: "Most of us have great compassion for those who come to despair of life. What they need is our love and support. "But there are some people who may not have the best of motives for helping someone to kill themselves - they may be exhausted by caring for a sick or disabled relative or they may want to benefit from an inheritance or it may be one of the increasing number of cases of abuse of the elderly. "But the fact of the matter is that the people who ask for the help to kill themselves are often depressed or worried about the burden of care they're putting on their families or carers - or about the money they are using up in nursing home fees that they would prefer to give to their children. "At the moment people in this position are protected by the law. It's a criminal offence to assist someone's suicide and there are serious penalties for anyone who is convicted of that crime. The result is that we don't see many cases in this country: the law as it stands deters most people from doing it." (SOURCE:


CNA reports that Pennsylvania Catholic priest Fr. Larry Richards, aiming to clear up “gender confusion” and to challenge men to pursue holiness, has released a new book titled “Be A Man: Become the Man God Created You to Be.”
In the book, Fr. Richards recounts his own efforts to learn “true manhood” and shares inspiring stories from men he has counseled and served in his decades as a priest, a press release from Ignatius Press says.
He encourages men to appreciate the differences between men and women, to set the right goals in life, to acknowledge personal faults and limitations, and to be masculine without being “macho.”
“Would you take a bullet if someone was raping your wife?” is one of his provocative questions to men.
Be A Man looks at King David, St. Paul, and Jesus as role models for men.
“Jesus Christ Himself reveals to us what it is to be a man,” Fr. Richards said. “It is about taking the one life that God has given us and give it away. When men are invited to die for others, they put others’ needs above their own. To be like Christ, and like all great men, will cost men their very lives.”
“There is a difference in the way men and women were created,” he remarked. “Men are not called to be women and vice versa. We are different – not better, but different – and men are called to be fully men. This needs to be dealt with up front because it’s a problem – in the Catholic Church and in the world itself.”
Fr. Richards said he encourages men to become men of “true love and wisdom” and to pursue holiness and find strength in faith and love. Each chapter of his book ends with a list of tasks that must be accomplished and questions for discussion and reflection.
“Read the book. Accomplish the tasks at the end of each chapter, no matter how hard or how “hokey” you may think them to be,” Fr. Richards urged. “I guarantee that if a man commits himself to each task and challenge, in the end his life will be changed forever!”
Be A Man is published by the San Francisco-based Ignatius Press. (SOURCE:


UCAN reports that Tamil refugees are slowly returning to their villages six months after fighting ended in the country's 26-year civil war. But many are returning to find their homes ruined and are seeking refuge in damaged churches.

Tamil refugees getting on buses to return to their villages
The government says it is finally speeding up the resettlement process.
Refugees are gradually being released from detention camps in Menik Farm, about 30 kilometers southwest of Vavuniya city in the north, to their villages in the former war zone.
Many face months of hardship.
Father Santhia Joy Peppi Sosai, director of Caritas "Valvuthayam" Mannar diocese, who visited villages on Nov. 6, said "99 percent" of houses in the area are damaged or destroyed, the rubble overgrown with weeds.
Refugees are finding shelter from heavy rain in six damaged churches or in temporary sheds in the churchyards, he added. "Essential services are woefully underdeveloped. The refugees have no access to Church relief efforts and are heavily dependent on state aid."
Caritas has applied for permission from the government Special Task Force but so far only United Nation's agencies have been allowed into the villages.
Father Sosai said that there is an urgent need for tarpaulins. One returnee, Vincent Pathinathar, 44, a father of four, and his wife, say they face an uncertain future.
"We are not sure what's going to happen but it couldn't be any worse than what we have been through," he said, adding that he puts his faith in his patron saint.
Some 60 buses escorted by military vehicles delivered the refugees to Alkattiveli, Manthai, Adampan, and six other farming villages, some six kilometers to the southeast of Mannar city. Media and the public have been barred from entering the area.

Oblate priest Father Celestine Mascringe, parish priest of St Anthony's church in Cheddikulam village, five kilometers away from the Menik Farm, is one of the priests providing pastoral care for the resettled refugees.
He said they are coping with the difficult conditions.
"Vincent and others are managing to pull their lives together," he said. The villagers are starting to rebuild their houses while sheltering at the parish church.
Father Surenthiran Ravel Leenus, secretary to Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar, said that some 1,500 families, mostly Catholics, had been resettled in 10 villages since mid-October.
On Nov. 2, Bishop Joseph celebrated Mass in an open area for the resettled refugees in Nedunkandal village. A temporary altar was arranged under a tree, as St. Anthony's Church in the village had been destroyed.
Speaking to UCA News over the phone, he said that donations of tarpaulins and bicycles would be greatly welcomed. He said there are no transport facilities for villagers who live away from the main road.
He added that he had asked the military to allow priests to enter villages to repair churches.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the region on Nov. 4 and tried to reach out to the villagers. "You can trust me that the government is committed to providing you with necessary facilities," he said, in a TV broadcast.
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama briefing the diplomatic community in Colombo on Nov. 5, said about 158,990 will be resettled in the coming weeks.



CNS reports that Church-run reconciliation workshops in Zimbabwe that include lessons in political participation are drawing large crowds, say church officials in the southern African country. "It is very exciting; the fear in people is slowly going away and they want to participate in forming a new order," Father Edward Ndete, parliamentary liaison officer for the Zimbabwe bishops' conference, told Catholic News Service in an Oct. 30 telephone interview from the capital, Harare. Most Zimbabweans want a rift in the country's coalition government to be fixed, Father Ndete said, noting that President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is "very afraid" of losing power. While the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans "have changed enormously for the better" since the government was formed by longtime rivals Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February, "it is in Zanu-PF's interest for the unity government to fail because it doesn't like to share power," he said. Tsvangirai, the prime minister, withdrew from Cabinet meetings in mid-October to protest a crackdown on his supporters and a deadlock over key appointments. "People are fearful of losing the donor funding that has been trickling in since the unity government was set up" in the poverty-stricken country, said Joseph Buchena Nkatazo, Bulawayo coordinator of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, in an Oct. 30 telephone interview.Part of the reason for the huge turnout at church meetings around the country is to show support for the church after the bishops' Oct. 1 pastoral letter on national healing and reconciliation, Father Ndete said. In the letter, the bishops said the truth about the country's violence needs to be told for the "cycle of violence, humiliation, oppression and exploitation" in Zimbabwe to stop. They said "victims need to tell their stories in a free and supportive environment" and perpetrators "need to take responsibility for their sins." Several priests were "called for questioning" by police and asked to explain what the letter was about, Father Ndete said, noting that "wherever we go we are told by authorities, 'You people (Catholics) are a problem.'" More than 2,000 people attended an Oct. 24 meeting in Chegutu, Zimbabwe, hosted by the local justice and peace commission, Father Ndete said. "Vibrant discussions about human rights, how to put one's ideas forward about the constitution" and other matters "went on until I said Mass to conclude the meeting at 4 a.m." the next day, he said. Father Ndete is coordinating the church's participation in the constitution-making process. Zimbabwe is to draft a constitution that will go before voters for approval in a referendum in 2010, clearing the way for new government elections. At another justice and peace commission-run meeting in late October, in the town of Nyabira, the 600 participants had "mixed feelings" about the church's work in Zimbabwe, Father Ndete said, noting that "so many people were tortured and they felt they were not protected by the church." Brutal state-sponsored violence targeting the opposition after disputed March 2008 elections left more than 80 people dead and 200,000 displaced, human rights groups said. Nkatazo said the workshops, which combine themes of healing and reconciliation with how to report abductions, as well as how to participate in the formation of the constitution, are also "very popular" in the Bulawayo Archdiocese. "One topic opens the door for the next, and people show a lot of interest in taking part," he said. Nkatazo said Zimbabwe "has not seen the movement on drawing up the constitution that we hoped for," noting that "airwaves and newspapers" are still state-controlled and the state media encourage "hate language toward any opposition to Zanu-PF." This "does not augur well for national healing," he said. (SOURCE:

Cath News reports that Prisoners in Sydney's Long Bay and Silverwater prisons joined thousands of people from across Australia and as far away as Rome, Britain, the US and Ireland yesterday to learn more about the Gospel of Luke in an eConference.
Bishop David Walker, a member of the Bishops Commission for Mission and Faith Formation, and in whose diocese the forum was hosted, said the eConferences were tapping into a need for top quality adult faith formation in an accessible format.
"We know from the feedback we received from the St Paul eConference that while everybody recorded a positive experience, those who were especially appreciative were those who were isolated and were not usually able to access such high quality speakers," Bishop Walker said.
The eConference, entitled "Luke: Come to the Table", is the second of its kind, following on from the enormously successful eConference on the writings of St Paul, held in June this year. The events are a joint effort between The Broken Bay Institute and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
The eConference was webcast into about 200 sites across Australia as well as sites in Rome, Guernsey in Britain, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the United States, as well as the Philippines, Korea, Fiji and New Zealand.
The keynote speakers for the event included Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Sr Elizabeth Dowling. There were also personal sharings by lay speakers about their responses to the Gospel of Luke.
Sessions from the conference will be archived on the Broken Bay Institute's website and available for free access. (SOURCE:


St. Leonard
Feast: November 6
Feast Day:
November 6
Patron of:
political prisoners, imprisoned people, prisoners of war, and captives, women in labor, as well as horses

St Leonard, or Lienard, was a French nobleman of great reputation in the court of Clovis I, and in the flower of his age was converted to the faith by St. Remigius, probably after the battle of Tolbiac. Being instructed in the obligations of our heavenly warfare, wherein the prize of the victory is an assured crown of immortal glory, he resolved to lay aside all worldly pursuits, quitted the court, and became a constant disciple of St. Remigius. The holy instructions and example of that saint made every day deeper impressions upon his tender soul, and Leonard seemed to have inherited the very spirit of his master, and to be animated with the same simplicity, disinterestedness, modesty, zeal, and charity. He preached the faith some time; but finding it very difficult to resist the king's importunities, who would needs call him to court, and burning with a desire of giving himself up entirely to the exercises of penance and contemplation, he retired privately into the territory of Orleans, where St. Mesmin or Maximin governed the monastery of Micy (called afterwards St. Mesmin's), which his uncle St. Euspicius had founded, two leagues from the city, in 508. In this house St. Leonard took the religious habit and inured himself to the fervent practices of regular discipline under the direction of St. Mesmin and of St. Lie or Laetus, a holy monk of that house, who afterwards died a hermit.
St. Leonard himself aspiring after a closer solitude, with the leave of St. Mesmin left his monastery, travelled through Berry, where he converted many idolaters, and coming into Limousin, chose for his retirement a forest four leagues from Limoges. Here, in a place called Nobiliac, he built himself an oratory, lived on wild herbs and fruits, and had for some time no other witness of his penance and virtues but God alone. His zeal and devotion sometimes carried him to the neighbouring churches, and some who by his discourses were inflamed with a desire of imitating his manner of life joined him in his desert, and formed a community which, in succeeding times, out of devotion to the saint's memory, became a flourishing monastery, called first Noblat, afterwards St. Leonard le Noblat. The reputation of his sanctity and miracles being spread very wide, the king bestowed on him and his fellow-hermits a considerable part of the forest where they lived. The saint, even before he retired to Micy, had been most remarkable for his charity toward captives and prisoners, and he laid himself out with unwearied zeal in affording them both corporeal and spiritual help and comfort, and he obtained of the governors the liberty of many. This was also the favourite object of his charity after he had discovered himself to the world in Limousin, and began to make frequent excursions to preach and instruct the people of that country. It is related that some were miraculously delivered from their chains by his prayers, and that the king, out of respect for his eminent sanctity, granted him a special privilege of sometimes setting prisoners at liberty; which about that time was frequently allowed to certain holy bishops and others. But the saint's chief aim and endeavours in this charitable employment were to bring malefactors and all persons who fell under this affliction to a true sense of the enormity of their sins, and to a sincere spirit of compunction and penance, and a perfect reformation of their lives. When he had filled up the measure of his good works, his labours were crowned with a happy death about the year 559, according to the new Paris Breviary. Many great churches in England of which he is the titular saint, and our ancient calendars, show his name to have been formerly no less famous in England. In a list of holidays published at Worcester in 1240, St. Leonard's festival is ordered to be kept a half-holiday, with an obligation of hearing mass and a prohibition of labour except that of the plough. He was particularly invoked in favour of prisoners, and several miracles are ascribed to him. His name occurs in the Roman and other Martyrologies.
Solitude has always charms to the devout servant of God, because retirement from the world is very serviceable to his conversing with heaven. Solitude and silence settle and compose the thoughts; the mind augments its strength and vigour by rest and collection within itself, and in this state of serenity is most fit to reflect upon itself and its own wants, and to contemplate the mysteries of divine grace and love, the joys of heaven and the grounds of our hope. How shall a Christian who lives in the world practice this retirement? By not loving its spirit and maxims, by being as recollected as may be in the midst of business, and bearing always in mind that salvation is the most important and only affair; by shunning superfluous amusements and idle conversation and visits; and by consecrating every day some time, and a considerable part of Sundays and great festivals, to the exercises of religious retirement, especially devout prayer, self-examination, meditation, and pious reading. (SOURCE:


Luke 16: 1 - 8
He also said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods.
And he called him and said to him, `What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.'
And the steward said to himself, `What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.
I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.'
So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, `How much do you owe my master?'
He said, `A hundred measures of oil.' And he said to him, `Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.'
Then he said to another, `And how much do you owe?' He said, `A hundred measures of wheat.' He said to him, `Take your bill, and write eighty.'
The master commended the dishonest steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.

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