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Monday, December 21, 2009

CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: MON. DEC.21, 2009















CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: MON. DEC.21, 2009: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE: CONDEMNS HOLOCAUST IN YEAR END REMARKS & OTHER NEWS-
EUROPE: SPAIN: HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES VOTES ON LIFE-
AMERICA: USA: POPE ACCEPTS RESIGNATION OF ARCHBISHOP PILARCZYK; AGE 75-
AFRICA: KENYA: ECUMENICAL PRAYER SERVICE HELD FOR PEACE-
AUSTRALIA: 78 SRI LANKAN ASYLUM SEEKERS RESCUED BY CUSTOMS SHIP-
ASIA: INDIA: ATTACK ON CHRISTMAS FAIR IN MADYA PRADESH-

VATICAN
POPE: CONDEMNS HOLOCAUST IN YEAR END REMARKS

Pope Benedict XVI condemned the Holocaust and the ideology that motivated it on Monday in year’s end remarks to the heads, officials and staff of Vatican Dicasteries and the Governatorate of Vatican City State Monday morning in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace. Pope Benedict called the Holocaust an utterly unjustifiable episode in which people blindly driven by a hate filled ideology murdered millions of innocents in an effort to drive God out of the world and erase the very sign of His presence from human history.
DECREES OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE CAUSES OF SAINTS VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorised the promulgation of decrees concerning the following causes: MIRACLES - Blessed Stanislao Soltys, called Kazimierczyk, Polish professed religious of the Order of Canons Regular Lateranense (1433-1489). - Blessed Andre Bessette (ne Alfred), Canadian professed religious of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (1845-1937). - Blessed Mary of the Cross MacKillop (nee Mary Helen), Australian foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart (1842-1909). - Blessed Giulia Salzano, Italian foundress of the Congregation of Sisters Catechists of the Sacred Heart (1846-1929). - Blessed Battista da Varano (nee Camilla), professed nun of the Order of Poor Clares and foundress of the monastery of St. Clare in the Italian town of Camerino (1458-1524). - Venerable Servant of God Giuseppe Tous y Soler, Spanish professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins and founder of the Capuchin sisters of the Mother of the Divine Shepherd (1811-1871). - Venerable Servant of God Leopoldo Sanchez Marquez de Alpandeire (ne Francesco), Spanish professed layman of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins (1864-1956). - Venerable Servant of God Manuel Lozano Garrido, Spanish lay person, (1920-1971). - Venerable Servant of God Teresa Manganiello, Italian laywoman of the Third Order of St. Francis (1849-1876). - Venerable Servant of God Chiara Badano, young Italian lay woman (1971-1990). MARTYRDOM - Servant of God Jerzy Popieluszko, Polish diocesan priest (1947-1984). HEROIC VIRTUES - Blessed Giacomo Illirico da Bitetto, professed layman of the Order of Friars Minor (circa 1400-1496). - Servant of God Pope Pius XII (ne Eugenio Pacelli), Supreme Pontiff, born in Rome 2 March 1976, died at Castelgandolfo 9 October 1958. - Servant of God Pope John Paul II (ne Karol Wojtyla), Supreme Pontiff, born at Wadowice, Poland 18 May 1920, died in Rome 2 April 2005. - Servant of God Louis Brisson, French priest and founder of the Oblates of St. Francis of Sales (1817-1908). - Servant of God Giuseppe Quadrio, Italian professed priest of the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco (1921-1963). - Servant of God Mary Ward (nee Joan), English foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, today called the Congregation of Jesus (1585-1645). - Servant of God Antonia Maria Verna, Italian foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (1773-1838). - Servant of God Maria Chiara Serafina Farolfi (nee Francesca), Italian foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (1853-1917). - Servant of God Enrica Alfieri (nee Maria Angela), Italian professed nun of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Jeanne-Antide Thouret (1891-1951). - Servant of God Giunio Tinarelli, Italian layman of the "Pia Unione Primaria Silenziosi Operai della Croce" (1912-1956).CSS/DECREES/AMATO VIS 091221 (480)
SAINTS ARE PART OF THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF THE CHURCH VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2009 (VIS) - At midday today the Pope received members, consultors, postulators and officials of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for the fortieth anniversary of that dicastery. Saints, said the Pope in his address, "are not representatives of the past; rather, they form part of the present and future of the Church and society. ... The lives of these extraordinary believers, who come from every region of the earth", are characterised by "their relationship with the Lord, ... and by an intense dialogue with Him". The lives of the saints likewise reveal "a continuous search for evangelical perfection, the rejection of mediocrity and a tendency towards total adherence to Christ". "The principal stages in the Church's recognition of sanctity - beatification and canonisation - are united by a coherent bond. ... The gradual approach to the 'fullness of light' emerges in a unique way in the passage" from one stage to the other, said the Pope. The passage from beatification to canonisation "involves events of great religious and cultural significance, in which invocation in the liturgy, popular devotion, imitation of virtues, historical and theological study, and attention to the 'signs from on high' come together and mutually enrich one another. ... The truth is that the witness of the saints highlights ever new aspects of the evangelical message, and makes them known". The Pope then reiterated some words pronounced in the opening address by Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, affirming that "in the process of recognising saintliness there emerges a spiritual and pastoral richness which involves the entire Christian community. Sanctity - in other words, the transfiguration of people and of human reality in the image of the risen Christ - represents the final goal in the plan of divine salvation".AC/CAUSES SAINTS/AMATO VIS 091221 (320)
CHILDREN OF CATHOLIC ACTION: IMITATE ZACCHAEUS VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Children from Italian Catholic Action were received this morning by Benedict XVI who, in his address to the group, compared them to the Gospel figure of Zacchaeus who climbed a tree in order to see Jesus. "You too", he told his audience, " are small like Zacchaeus" whom "the Lord, raising His eyes, saw amidst the throng. Jesus sees and hears you too, even though your are small, even though sometimes adults do not consider you as you would wish". "Imitate the example of Zacchaeus who immediately descended from the tree and welcomed Jesus into his house with great joy and feasting. Welcome Him into your lives every day, into your games and your work, into your prayers, when He asks your friendship and your generosity, when you are happy and when you are afraid. ... He always speaks to you of the 'greater love', capable of giving itself unlimitedly and of bringing peace and forgiveness". "Thus", the Holy Father concluded, "you will be able to tell your friends, parents and teachers that you have managed to establish a contact with Jesus", also as "you stand alongside the many boys and girls who are suffering, especially those from faraway countries who are often abandoned, without parents or friends".AC/.../ITALIAN CATHOLIC ACTION VIS 091221 (230)
DECLARATION ON THE PROTECTION OF THE FIGURE OF THE POPE VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2009 (VIS) - This morning the Secretariat of State of the Holy See ordered the publication of the following declaration concerning the protection of the figure of the Pope: "Recent years have witnessed a great increase of affection and esteem for the person of the Holy Father. There has also been a desire to use the Pope's name in the title of universities, schools or cultural institutions, as well as associations, foundations and other groups. "In light of this fact, the Holy See hereby declares that it alone has the right to ensure the respect due to the Successors of Peter, and, therefore, to protect the figure and personal identity of the Pope from the unauthorised use of his name and/or the papal coat of arms for ends and activities which have little or nothing to do with the Catholic Church. Occasionally, in fact, attempts have been made to attribute credibility and authority to initiatives by using ecclesiastical or papal symbols and logos. "Consequently, the use of anything referring directly to the person or office of the Supreme Pontiff (his name, his picture or his coat of arms), and/or the use of the title 'Pontifical', must receive previous and express authorisation from the Holy See"..../
PROTECTION FIGURE POPE/... VIS 091221 (230) AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life and rector of the Pontifical Lateran University. - Gianni Letta, under secretary of the Italian council of ministers, accompanied by members of his family. - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.AP/.../... VIS 091221 (70)
CHRISTMAS IS GOD'S RESPONSE TO THE DRAMA OF HUMANKIND VATICAN CITY, 20 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Bethlehem, considered as a symbol of peace, was the theme of the Pope's reflections before praying the Angelus at midday today with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Pope began by referring to today's liturgy in which the prophet Micah invites people to look to "Bethlehem of Ephrathah, ... one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel". Bethlehem, the Pope explained, "is also the symbolic city of peace, in the Holy Land and throughout the world. "Unfortunately", he added, "in our own time it does not represent a firm and stable peace, but a peace still sought and awaited. Yet God never resigns Himself to this state of affairs and thus, this year too, in Bethlehem and throughout the world, the mystery of Christmas will be renewed in the Church, a prophecy of peace for all mankind which calls on Christians to enter into the closures and dramas of the world, often unknown and unseen, and into the conflicts of the contexts in which they live. There they must being the sentiments of Jesus so that everywhere they may become instruments and messengers of peace and bring love where there is hatred, forgiveness where there is injury, joy where there is sadness and truth where there is error, in the words of a famous Franciscan prayer". The Holy Father concluded by saying that "today, as in Jesus' own time, Christmas is not a children's fable but God's response to the drama of humankind as it seeks true peace. 'He shall be the one of peace' says the prophet referring to the Messiah. It is up to us to open wide the doors to welcome Him. ... Happy Christmas to everyone!"ANG/CHRISTMAS/... VIS 091221 (310)
POPE TO CURIA: 2009,
A YEAR PASSED UNDER THE SIGN OF AFRICA VATICAN CITY, 21 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Today in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father held his traditional meeting with the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and members of the Roman Curia and of the Governorate of Vatican City State, in order to exchange Christmas greetings. Opening his address, the Pope recalled two events that marked the year 2009 - the conclusion of the Pauline Year and the beginning of the Year for Priests - affirming that both St. Paul and the saintly "Cure of Ars" demonstrate "the broad scope of priestly ministry". "The year now drawing to a close passed largely under the sign of Africa", said the Holy Father. In this context he mentioned his apostolic trip to Cameroon and Angola where, "in the meeting with the Pope, the universal Church became manifest, a community that embraces the world and that is brought together by God through Christ, a community that is not founded on human interests but that arises from God's loving attention towards us". In Africa "the celebrations of the Eucharist were authentic feasts of faith" characterised by "a sense of holiness, by the presence of the mystery of the loving God moulding ... each individual gesture", said Benedict XVI. He also recalled his meeting with African bishops in Cameroon and the inauguration of the Synod for Africa with his consignment to them of the "Instrumentum laboris". His visit to Africa likewise "revealed the theological and pastoral force of pontifical primacy as a point of convergence for the unity of the Family of God". And, when the Synod itself was celebrated in Rome in October, "the importance of the collegiality - of the unity - of the bishops emerged even more powerfully", he said. "The Vatican Council II renewal of the liturgy took exemplary form" in the liturgies in Africa while, "in the communion of the Synod, we had a practical experience of the ecclesiology of the Council". Referring then to the theme of the 2009 Synod - "The Church in Africa at the service of reconciliation, justice and peace" - the Pope described it as "a theological and, above all, a pastoral theme of vital relevance. Yet", he said, "it could also be misunderstood as a political theme. The task of the bishops was to transform theology into pastoral activity; in other words, into a concrete pastoral ministry in which the great visions of Holy Scripture and Tradition are applied to the activities of bishops and priests in a specific time and place". The problem of "a positive secularism, correctly practised and interpreted", which was the focus of the African bishops' concerns, was "also a fundamental theme of my Encyclical 'Caritas in veritate'", published in June. That document "returned to and further developed the question concerning the theological role - and the concrete application - of Church social doctrine". On the subject of reconciliation, which "the Synod attempted to examine profoundly ... as a task facing the Church today", the Pope noted that "if man is not reconciled with God, he is also in disharmony with the creation. ... Another aspect of reconciliation is the capacity to recognise guilt and to ask forgiveness, of God and of neighbour", he said. "We must learn the ability to do penance, to allow ourselves to be transformed, to go out to meet others and to allow God to grant us the courage and strength for such renewal. In this world of ours today we must rediscover the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation". In this context, the Holy Father described the fact that people are confessing less than they used to as "a symptom of a loss of veracity towards ourselves and towards God; a loss that endangers our humanity and diminishes our capacity for peace". "If the power of reconciliation is not created in people's hearts, political commitment lacks the interior precondition necessary for peace. During the Synod, the pastors of the Church worked for this interior purification of man, which is the essential preliminarily requirement for creating justice and peace. But such interior purification and maturity ... cannot exist without God". The Holy Father then turned his attention to the pilgrimage he made in May to Jordan and the Holy Land. In this respect, he thanked the king of Jordan for "the exemplary manner in which he works for peaceful coexistence among Christians and Muslims, for respect towards the religion of others and for responsible collaboration before God". The Pope also thanked the Israeli government "for all it did to ensure my visit could take place peacefully and securely", and for having enabled him "to celebrate two great public liturgies: in Jerusalem and in Nazareth". He likewise expressed his thanks to the Palestinian Authority for its "great cordiality" and for having given him the opportunity to celebrate a "public liturgy in Bethlehem and to perceive the suffering and the hopes present in their territory". "The visit to Yad Vashem represented a disturbing encounter with human cruelty, with the hatred of a blind ideology which, with no justification, consigned millions of human beings to death and which, in the final analysis, also sought to drive God from the world: the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, and the God of Jesus Christ". Thus the museum is, "first and foremost, a commemorative monument against hatred, a heartfelt call to purification, forgiveness and love". The Holy Father also mentioned his September trip to the Czech Republic where, "I was always told, agnostics and atheists are in the majority and Christians now represent only a minority". In this context he noted how "people who describe themselves as agnostics or atheist must also be close to our hearts, as believers. When we speak of a new evangelisation these people may perhaps feel afraid. ... Yet the critical question about God also exists for them. ... We must take care that man does not shelve the question of God, the essential question of his existence". In closing his address, the Holy Father again mentioned the current Year for Priests. "As priests", he said, "we are here to serve everyone. ... We must recognise God ever and anew, and seek Him continually in order to become His true friends". "This is my hope for Christmas," he concluded, "that we become ever greater friends of Christ, and therefore friends of God, and that in this way we may become salt of the earth and light of the world".AC/.../ROMAN CURIA VIS 091221 (1100)
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 21 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Monterrey, Mexico, presented by Bishop Jose Lizares Estrada, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law. - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Cincinnati, U.S.A., presented by Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr. - Appointed Msgr. Donald Bolen, vicar general of the archdiocese of Regina, Canada, as bishop of Saskatoon (area 44,800, population 292,000, Catholics 88,900, priests 88, permanent deacons 3, religious 225), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Gravelbourg, Canada in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1991. On Saturday 19 December it was made public that he appointed Fr. Maurice Muhatia Makumba of the clergy of Kakamega, Kenya, rector and professor of the major national seminary of St. Thomas Aquinas in Nairobi, as bishop of Nakuru (area 18,149, population 1,571,097, Catholics 224,653, priests 134, religious 202), Kenya. The bishop-elect was born in Lirhanda, Kenya in 1968 and ordained a priest in 1994.RE:NER/.../... VIS 091221 (200)

EUROPE
SPAIN: HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES VOTES ON LIFE


CNA reports that Spain’s House of Representatives voted 184 to 158 to pass a reform to the country’s abortion laws that would allow for the procedure up to the 14th week of pregnancy and limit the conscientious objections of medical professionals. The bill, which now moves to the Senate, would also permit 16 year-olds to obtain abortions and force medical schools to teach abortion as a subject.
Socialists, together with other left-wing lawmakers, gathered enough votes to ensure the bill’s passage in the House.
Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Pla of Alcala, who is also president of the the Spanish Bishops’ Subcommittee on Life and the Family, told the COPE Network, “This is a long-term battle. We are experiencing a time of darkness, of crisis in which reason has been overshadowed by perverse freedom.”
“Today we must say to the House of Representatives: Don’t do it,” he added.
The pro-life organizations HazteOir (HO) and Right to Life have strongly rejected the new bill. HO president Ignacio Arsuaga emphasized that the measure would only lead to greater opposition among Spaniards.
“Knowing that this is nothing more than one battle in the long struggle to defend life and women, we will not cease to insist that they listen to society, who is now faced with the profoundly unjust legal reform they are trying to impose on us,” he added.(SOURCE: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/socialists_vote_to_approve_new_abortion_law_for_spain/
AMERICA
USA: POPE ACCEPTS RESIGNATION OF ARCHBISHOP PILARCZYK; AGE 75
The USCCB reports that Pope Benedict XVI has acaccepted the resignation of Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, 75, from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Cincinnati. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, 61.The resignation and succession were announced at the Vatican, December 21. Pope Benedict had named Archbishop Schnurr co-adjutor archbishop of Cincinnati with the right of succession, October 17, 2008. Archbishop Schnurr previously had been bishop of Duluth, Minnesota.Archbishop Schnurr is a native of Sheldon, Iowa and was named Bishop of Duluth January 18, 2001, when he was General Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa, July 21, 1974.Dennis Marion Schnurr was born June 21, 1948, and raised in Hospers, Iowa. He was educated in local Catholic schools and Loras College, Dubuque, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. He studied for the priesthood at North American College and the Gregorian University, Rome, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Theology in 1974. He was awarded a Doctorate in Canon Law from The Catholic University of America in 1980.After ordination to the priesthood, he worked in parish assignments and as vice-chancellor and chancellor of the Sioux City Diocese. In 1985, he was assigned to the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, where he gave advice on canon law, monitored financial affairs and researched issues of interest to the church. In 1989, he was appointed Associate General Secretary of the United States Catholic Conference/National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB/USCC), where he supervised pubic policy departments and was principal staff person for an assessment and overhaul of the Conferences’ budget and staffing procedures. In 1995, the bishops elected him General Secretary of the NCCB/USCC.After being named a bishop, Archbishop Schnurr served on the USCCB Administrative Committee and Executive Committee and was vice-president of the Priorities and Plans Committee, a member of the board of trustees of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., and on the Task Force on Promotions of Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life. Archbishop Pilarczyk, a native of Dayton, Ohio, was ordained December 20, 1959, for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati where he was chancellor and on the faculty of St. Gregory Seminary. He was named Auxiliary Bishop of Cincinnati in 1974, and named Archbishop of Cincinnati, November 2, 1982. He holds a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Urban University, Rome, and a Doctorate in Classics from the University of Cincinnati. He served as vice-president of the NCCB/USCC from 1986-1989, and president from 1989-1992. He also served as a consultant to the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs.The Cincinnati Archdiocese includes 19 counties in Ohio. The total population of the archdiocese is estimated at 2,988,285 people, with 485,112 of them Catholic.
(SOURCE: http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2009/09-265E.shtml


AFRICA
KENYA: ECUMENICAL PRAYER SERVICE HELD FOR PEACE


CISA reports that an ecumenical prayer service was held in Nairobi on December 10 for peace in the Horn of Africa region.The ecumenical prayers were jointly organized by the regional church bodies; the Association Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA), the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), Christian Councils in 40 African countries and the Fellowship of Christian Councils in the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa regions (FECLAHA).Participants at the prayer service observed that many a people in the region lacked peace, which was necessary for human and spiritual development.Justice and peace coordinator of AMECEA, Fr. Jude Waweru said, “In the face of this unfortunate scenario, we have desperately witnessed to the sufferings of our brothers and sisters in the Horn of Africa.”Fr Waweru further said although God created us, a free people to speak, to move, to interact and socialize, we see serious constraints. Fear has engrossed your people and poverty has become their bread.”The Horn of Africa is arguably the most troubled plagued by conflict, poverty and poor governance, in Africa.In poor Somalia, an 18-year civil war has forced more than a million people from their homes, leaving behind a safe haven for pirates and, possibly, Islamic terrorists. In Ethiopia, an increasingly authoritarian, Western-backed government has jailed opposition leaders and clamped down on the press and human rights activists. In tiny Eritrea, a government that once won the admiration of legions of Western diplomats and journalists for its self-sufficiency and discipline has become an isolated dictatorship.(SOURCE: http://www.cisanewsafrica.org/story.asp?ID=4299




AUSTRALIA
78 SRI LANKAN ASYLUM SEEKERS RESCUED BY CUSTOMS SHIP

Cath News reports that the first of 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers rescued by the Australian Customs ship Oceanic Viking have left Indonesia, with two granted resettlement in Australia and 13 others likely to be settled in Canada.
The two being granted an Australian visa and who arrived yesterday were "a vulnerable individual and his carer", the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Their identities were not released for reasons of privacy, said a spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Evans.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had referred the two to Australia for resettlement and the pair had met the legal requirements for a visa grant under normal immigration processes, the spokesman said.
The 13 others had been processed and referred for possible resettlement in Canada. They were flown to Europe at the weekend to a refugee transit centre there.
"Canada has agreed to consider those with close family links to Canada and who meet Canadian resettlement criteria, including security requirements," Senator Evans's spokesman said.
The US, New Zealand and Norway are also expected to take some of the 78 Tamils, following intense diplomatic lobbying by the government to find homes for them, The Australian reports. (SOURCE: http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=18442


ASIA
INDIA: ATTACK ON CHRISTMAS FAIR IN MADYA PRADESH

UCAN reports that an attack on a Christmas fair in Madhya Pradesh has spread panic among Christians in the state, says an organizer of the event.

Father Anand Muttungal
Thugs chanting Hindu slogans torched representations of biblical scenes at the fair in the town of Gwalior on Dec. 20. The police have arrested one of four men they named in connection with the incident.
The group evoked the names of Hindu deities and started damaging the biblical artworks depicting scenes from the life of Christ, said fair coordinator Raju Francis.
The Catholic layman told UCA News that local Christians had held the two-day fair before Christmas for eight years on public land near a market.
"Everything went well on the first day," he said. On the second day, the troublemakers not only spoiled the fair but sent panic through the Christian community in the state, he said.
Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal said the attack "is a matter of serious concern for Christians especially when we are preparing to celebrate Christmas."
The prelate has sent a three-member fact finding team to Gwalior, headed by Father Anand Muttungal, spokesperson of the Catholic Church in the state. The archbishop has asked the team to submit its report in two days.
Archbishop Cornelio said he would in turn submit the report to the state government and seek protection for Christians and their institutions, especially during Christmas Eve midnight Masses.
Christians, who form less than 1 percent of the state's population, have experienced sporadic violence since the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)) came to power in December 2003.
Archbishop Cornelio told UCA News it is the government's duty to protect its citizens from attacks.
He says the morale of anti-Christian groups is "very high" as the state government seldom takes action against them.
(SOURCE: http://www.ucanews.com/2009/12/21/christmas-fair-attacked/

TODAY'S SAINT

St. Peter Canisius
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: December 21
Information:
Feast Day:
December 21
Born:
May 8, 1521, Nijmegen in the Duchy of Guelders, Netherlands
Died:
December 21, 1597
Canonized:
May 21, 1925, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Patron of:
Catholic press, Germany

This doctor of the church is often called the second Apostle of Germany. Both Holland and Germany claim him as their son, for Nijmegen, where he was born, May 8th, 1521, though a Dutch town today, was at that time in the ecclesiastical province of Cologne and had the rights of a German city. His father, a Catholic and nine times burgomaster of Nijmegen, sent him at the age of fifteen to the University of Cologne, where he met the saintly young priest, Nicolaus van Esch. It was he who drew Canisius into the orbit of the loyal Catholic party in Cologne, which had been formed in opposition to the archbishop, Hermann von Wied, who had secretly gone over to the Lutherans. Canisius was chosen by the group to approach the emperor, and the deposition of the archbishop which followed averted a calamity from the Catholic Rhineland. Shortly afterwards Peter Canisius met Bd. Peter Faber, one of the first companions of St Ignatius, and made the under his direction. During this retreat he found the answer to the question he had put to himself: how best could he serve God and assist the stricken Catholic church in Germany?
He was inspired to join the Society of Jesus, and, after his ordination in 1546, soon became known by his editions of works of St Cyril of Alexandria and of St Leo the Great. In 1547 he attended the council of Trent as procurator for the bishop of Augsburg, where he became still further imbued with the spirit of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. His obedience was tested when he was sent by St Ignatius to teach rhetoric in the comparative obscurity of the new Jesuit college at Messina, but this interlude in his public work for the church was but a brief one.
Recalled to Rome in 1549 to make his final profession, he was entrusted with what was to become his life's work: the mission to Germany. At the request of the duke of Bavaria, Canisius was chosen with two other Jesuits to profess theology in the University of Ingolstadt. Soon he was appointed rector of the University, and then, through the intervention of King Ferdinand of the Romans, he was sent to do the same kind of work in the University of Vienna. His success was such that the king tried to have him appointed to the archbishopric. Though he refused this dignity, he was compelled to administer the diocese for the space of a year.
It was at this period, 1555, that he issued his famous , one of his greatest services to the church. With its clear and popular exposition of Catholic doctrine it met the need of the day, and was to counter the devastating effect of Luther's . In its enlarged form it went into more than four hundred editions by the end of the seventeenth century and was translated into fifteen languages.
From Vienna Canisius passed on to Bohemia, where the condition of the church was desperate. In the face of determined opposition he established a college at Prague which was to develop into a university. Named Provincial of southern Germany in 1556, he established colleges for boys in six cities, and set himself to the task of providing Germany with a supply of well-trained priests. This he did by his work for the establishment of seminaries, and by sending regular reinforcements of young men to be trained in Rome.
On his many journeys in Germany St Peter Canisius never ceased from preaching the word of God. He often encountered apathy or hostility at first, but as his zeal and learning were so manifest great crowds soon thronged the churches to listen. For seven years he was official preacher in the cathedral of Augsburg, and is regarded m a special way as the apostle of that city. Whenever he came across a country church deprived of its pastor he would halt there to preach and to administer the sacraments. It seemed impossible to exhaust him: 'If you have too much to do, with God's help you will find time to do it all,' he said, when someone accused him of overworking himself.
Another form of his apostolate was letter writing, and the printed volumes of his correspondence cover more than eight thousand pages. Like St Bernard of Clairvaux he used this means of comforting, rebuking and counselling all ranks of society. As the needs of the church or the individual required, he wrote to pope and emperor, to bishops and princes, to ordinary priests and laymen. Where letters would not suffice he brought to bear his great powers of personal influence. Thus at the conference between Catholics and Protestants held at Worms in 1556, it was due to his influence that the Catholics were able to present a united front and resist Protestant invitations to compromise on points of principle. In Poland in 1558 he checked an incipient threat to the traditional faith of the country; and in the same year, he earned the thanks of Pope Pius IV for his diplomatic skill in healing a breach between the pope and the emperor. This gift of dealing with men led to his being entrusted in 1561 with the promulgation in Germany of the decrees of the council of Trent.
Shortly afterwards he was called on to answer the of Magdeburg. This work, 'the first and worst of all Protestant church histories', was a large-scale attack on the Catholic church, and its enormous distortions of history would have required more than one man to produce an adequate answer. Yet Peter Canisius showed the way by his two works, , and .
From 1580 until his death in 1597 he labored and suffered much in Switzerland. His last six years were spent in patient endurance and long hours of prayer in the college of Fribourg, now that broken health had made further active work impossible. Soon after his death, December 21st, 1597, his tomb began to be venerated, and numerous miracles were attributed to his intercession, He had the unique honor of being canonized and declared a doctor of the church on the same day, June 21st, 1925.(SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/stpetercanisius.asp

TODAY'S GOSPEL

Luke 1: 39 - 45
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In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,
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and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth.
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And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
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and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
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And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
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For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
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And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
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