Tuesday, December 1, 2009





(VIS) - Early this morning Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, with members of the International Theological Commission. In his homily the Pope described the figure of the true theologian, who does not succumb to the temptation of using the measure of his own intelligence to fathom the mystery of God. In the study of Holy Scripture over the last two hundred years, he said, "there have been great specialists and ... masters of the faith who have penetrated into the details ... of the history of salvation. But they were unable to see the mystery in itself, the central nucleus: that Christ truly was the Son of God". Yet the history of the Church, the Holy Father went on, contains a long list of men and women who were capable of humility and of reaching the truth. Among these he mentioned St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Damian de Veuster, "little people who were also wise", models from which to draw inspiration because "they were touched in the depths of their heart". "Following His Resurrection the Lord touched the heart of Saul on the road to Damascus", the Pope concluded, "Saul, who was one of the wise who could not see. ... He became blind and thus truly came to see. The great man becomes a small man and so sees the ... wisdom of God, ... which is greater than all human wisdom"..../MASS/ITC VIS 091201 (260)

BENEDICT XVI'S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR DECEMBER VATICAN CITY, 1 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for December is: "That children may be respected and loved and never be the victims of exploitation in its various forms". His mission intention is: "That at Christmas the peoples of the earth may recognise in the Word Incarnate the light which illuminates every man, and that the nations may open their doors to Christ, the Saviour of the world".BXVI-PRAYER INTENTIONS/DECEMBER/... VIS 091201 (80)

AMERICA: INCULTURATION AND FORMATION OF THE LAITY VATICAN CITY, 1 DEC 2009 (VIS) - A communique concerning the fourteenth meeting of the Special Assembly for America of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops was published yesterday afternoon. The meeting took place on 17 and 18 November this year, while the Synod for America was held in the Vatican in 1997. The meeting - presided by Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops - was attended by four cardinals and six archbishops and bishops. They examined the ecclesial and social situation on the American continent, and the inculturation of the Good News there. The communique explains that "the process of inculturation depends to a large extent on a balanced education in the faith. This task particularly falls to families, schools and Catholic universities and, especially urgently today, to the media which, if used correctly and competently, are a vehicle of extraordinary pastoral effectiveness". The cardinals and bishops likewise express their concern over "drug trafficking, the recycling of illicit profits, corruption, violence, the arms race, racial discrimination, foreign debt, inequality between social groups and the thoughtless destruction of nature". On the subject of corruption, the communique explains that "the Church supports the efforts being made by the civil authorities to defeat it, or at least limit its extent. For her part, the Church is ready to make an effective contribution to eradicate this evil from civil society through the education of the faithful and through a greater presence of qualified lay Christians who - by virtue of their family, school and parish education - promote the practice of such values as truth, honesty, hard work and the service of the common good". Another subject of concern is "the ease with which arms are able to circulate". In this context the communique calls for the particular Churches in America "to raise a prophetic voice denouncing rearmament and the scandalous trade in the materials of war, which absorb huge sums of money that should, in fact, be used for combating poverty and promoting development". The communique also mentions migration, "which particularly affects many people and families from Latin American States, who have moved to the northern regions of the continent". "One promising initiative is the great continental mission, currently underway in the countries of Latin America with the aim of promoting new evangelisation. Other signs of hope include the Church's pastoral initiatives, her human promotion, and her solidarity with the poor and the marginalised". "On the basis of the Gospel, it is necessary to promote a culture of solidarity that stimulates appropriate initiatives in support of the poor and marginalised, especially refugees", say the prelates in their communique. The text concludes by announcing that the fifteenth meeting of the Special Assembly for America of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops will be held on 16 and 17 November 2010.SE/MEETING SYNOD AMERICA/ETEROVIC VIS 091201 (490)



The USCCB provides an interactive calendar posts ideas for Advent, ChristmasSite provides information on saints of Advent, Christmas seasonFestival of lessons and carols can be downloaded
WASHINGTON—For the second consecutive year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has created a Website ( ) with suggestions for daily prayer, reading, reflection and action throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons.
New for this year are printable calendars in English and Spanish with a suggested family activity for each day of the Advent season, which begins November 29, and the Christmas season, which ends on January 10 with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord.
The interactive online calendars present a menu of resources for reading, prayer, reflection and action for each day of the two seasons. Many of the reflections are taken from “Following Christ,” “The Priesthood,” “Mary,” and “The Saints,” four of the collections from the Spiritual Thoughts Series by Pope Benedict XVI. A Festival of Lesson and Carols, which is a service of Scripture and song that dates to the late 19th century, can be heard live online or downloaded for later listening.
The USCCB Advent/Christmas Web site also features a variety of scripture resources focusing on the Old Testament. Jem Sullivan, PhD., of the USCCB Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis, starts off the Advent season with a video explaining how families can enrich their faith by reading the Old Testament. Featured throughout the calendars are video clips of USCCB members and staff discussing their favorite Old Testament stories, passages and characters.
Decorating the Web site are photos of sanctuaries adorned for Advent and Christmas from across the country including the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, and photos of seasonal events from several Catholic dioceses.
Other resources on the Website include a list of recommend holiday-themed movies from the USCCB’s Film and Broadcasting office, prayers and blessings from the USCCB publication Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, and suggestions for remembering the needs of immigrants and the poor throughout the season.
The Advent/Christmas site was created by the USCCB Department of Communications with funding from the Catholic Communication Campaign.-----(SOURCE:



CNA reports that the Pontifical Mission of Austria reaffirmed its commitment to supporting victims of AIDS in a declaration sent to Fides News agency on Monday. This year's letter from the mission casts light on the plight of orphaned children and promotes the objective of giving them dignity in life and in death.
"AIDS is a terrible scourge. Particularly with regard to orphans from AIDS. The challenge is not only medical care but above all we must try to give meaning to a life that is too often very brief for these children. The joy of life in these sick children teaches us the ultimate goal of our life: to love and be loved!" said Monsignor Leo-M. Maasburg, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Austria.
The intention of Missio Austria, as the Mission is also known, is to "attract attention primarily to the serious consequences of the pandemic in children, creating an awareness of the causes and contexts, to show real possibilities of solution." They added that they have been aiding in the psycho/social and spirituals treatments of AIDS victims, their widows and orphans for years.
Missio Austria is not without work. The letter included the statistic that 98% of deaths from AIDS occur in developing nations, where the pandemic has a greater grip and health care is scarcer. This is telling statistic for the reason behind this year's World AIDS Day theme, which is "Universal Access, Human Rights."
Missio Austria's magazine "Alle Welt" has published the testimony of a young Camillian priest named Father John Phuong Dinh Toai who works with AIDS orphans in Vietnam. He manages an orphanage for 60 children whose parents are sick, suffering or already dead. "We're almost the only ones that help mothers with AIDS and their children," Fr. Phuong said of the lack of care available in his region. He says that there are 300 more children now being cared for by their families who could be served.
"We try to make the children stay with their parents as long as possible."
The goal of his work and that of the people he collaborates with in caring for the children is to "give them a dignified life, but also a dignified death."
He does so by living out his greatest desire, which is " to serve people, to serve God and bring Christ to men."(SOURCE:



CISA reports that the Catholic diocese of Maralal in the north eastern Kenya is calling on the government to beef up security in Maralal, Wamba and Archers Post roads or otherwise they will be forced to withdraw their services until they are sure their personnel and travellers are secure.The diocese is very concerned about the recent killings and robberies along the Maralal – Wamba and Archers roads and is “demanding the government to be pro-active and bring the culprits to book while at the same time ensuring security of all people travelling on this road.”According to the Vicar General Maralal diocese, Fr Marko Prastaro, “With the continued robberies and killings, the diocese is re-thinking of withdrawing its services which may include closing down of its facilities until such a time when the security of its personnel and that of other travellers can be assured. We cannot afford to be slaves in our own country.”“We reiterate that this is not the first attack to the diocesan personnel; rarely does a month pass without the diocesan personnel being attacked and robbed violently at gun point. This has posed a serious challenge in terms of service delivery to the communities,” Fr Prastaro.He said that “It is sad that with all these attacks the government has been very reluctant to take measures to end the menace instead more and more people have continued to suffer under the hands of these criminals.” “How many more lives should be lost for the government to Act? We wish to restate that security is a basic human right guaranteed by the constitution, the robberies and killings are violating the right of the people of this area to live to their full potential. In this case the government MUST guarantee this right,” said the vicar general.Recently on November 22, two cars belonging to the diocese of Maralal were attacked on their way to Wamba from Maralal where they had attended a church function. The First car was attacked and the people on board which included foreigners were robbed of their valuables and seriously injured.The second car (An ambulance based in Archers Health centre) was also attacked at about 5:15 pm on the same spot. The driver was shot and was pronounced dead on arrival to Wamba Catholic Hospital, while the second victim is still admitted in the hospital, the other people on board were also robbed of their valuables. 11 people were also shot dead when a group of thugs raided an area a few metres from the 78-battalion army barrack in Isiolo. A homeguard who survived the ordeal said a group of 300 people attacked the area stealing an unknown number of livestock. The residents led by Catholic Bishop Anthony Ireri Mukobo petitioned the government to disarm all civilians of guns which had of late seen deaths of many innocent people especially among the pastoralist communities.According to the Kenya Red Cross, at least 58 people have been killed in cattle rustling incidents since June.(source:



Asia news reports that Church buildings belonging to the Church of South India are targeted. Christian leader says attacks are unwarranted against a minority that wants to “live in peace.” He pleads with the authorities to provide protection. Coimbatore (AsiaNews) – A group of Hindu extremists attacked a new Christian Church, the Church of South India, in Sulur, in suburban Coimbatore, a city in the southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu. The attackers struck yesterday. After they broke the church’s windows, they threw stones inside the building. A bag containing a bottle of petrol, a diesel can and cotton waste was found after the incident. It is evidence that the attackers were planning to set fire to the place of worship.
Local Christian leaders believe that the goal was to create panic among local non-Hindus. “This attack in the wee hours of Monday is the third of its kind in two days in Tamil Nadu,” Sajan George, national president of the Global Council of Indian Christian (GCIC), told AsiaNews.
On Sunday, a bomb ripped through a wall at a CSI church at Thammathukonam. Late on the same day, “a statue of St Francis Xavier was desecrated by fundamentalists at Konamkade near Colachel, Tamil Nadu, when the local congregation was preparing an Advent procession.”
“These attacks against India’s Christian minority are a shame for the country’s secular soul,” he said. “Christians live in and want peace. These incidents should lead the authorities to take the necessary measures to guarantee the security of places of worship.” (NC)(source :



Cath News reports that the community in Jindera, near Albury in NSW is being urged to weed out vandals who smashed religious statues, threw over the altar and caused other destruction over the weekend at the town's Catholic church and school.
The rampage took place Friday night or early Saturday at the St Mary's Parish Centre and three classrooms of the Blessed Mary Mackillop College in Urana Street, The Border Mail reports.
Parish priest Father Peter Murphy said the buildings had been "pillaged and ransacked", leaving a damage bill in, at least, the thousands and devastating the church community.
"They weren't just thieves they were classic vandals," he reportedly said.
"Every shelf had to be pulled down, not just graffiti on the blackboards but obscenities, they desecrated the altar and broke statues.
"If they were after money, that's one thing, but to wreck and destroy a church building and kids' classrooms and their toys and books is pretty sad.
Greater Hume Mayor and Jindera resident Denise Osborne has called on the community to speak out to prevent such acts.
"We are not a community that is going to put up with this. We simply can't allow this to happen in our community."
Jindera, with a population of just over 1,000, has suffered a spate of similar attacks in recent years with the town's Lutheran school and church, the Jindera Public School, the School of Arts and main street being hit by vandals, The Border Mail said.


St. Nahum the Prophet
Feast: December 1
Feast Day:
December 1

Around 612 BC, the minor prophet Nahum prophesied against Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire. Assyria had conquered and cruelly ruled much of the Middle East for 300 years, and in 622 conquered the northern Kingdom of Israel and deported its people. The Book of Nahum contains prophecies of God’s judgment on Nineveh, which fell to the Medes and Babylonians shortly after they were uttered.
N.B. The Martyrologium Romanum (Vatican Press, 2004), the Church’s official list of holy men and women, lists the saints of the Old Law alongside those of the New.

St. Edmund Campion & Companions
Feast: December 1
Feast Day:
December 1
January 24, 1540, London
December 1, 1581, Tyburn, England
October 25, 1970 by Pope Paul VI

English Jesuit and martyr; he was the son and namesake of a Catholic bookseller, and was born in London, 25 Jan., 1540; executed at Tyburn, 1 Dec., 1581. A city company sent the promising child to a grammar school and to Christ Church Hospital. When Mary Tudor entered London in state as queen, he was the schoolboy chosen to give the Latin salutatory to her majesty. Sir Thomas White, lord mayor, who built and endowed St. John's College at Oxford, accepted Campion as one of his first scholars, appointed him junior fellow at seventeen, and, dying, gave him his last messages for his academic family. Campion shone at Oxford in 1560, when he delivered one oration at the reburial of Amy Robsart, and another at the funeral of the founder of his own college; and for twelve years he was to be followed and imitated as no man ever was in an English university except himself and Newman. He took both his degrees, and became a celebrated tutor, and, by 1568, junior proctor. Queen Elizabeth had visited Oxford two years before; she and Dudley, then chancellor, won by Campion's bearing, beauty, and wit, bade him ask for what he would. Successes, local responsibilities, and allurements, his natural ease of disposition, the representations, above all, of his friend Bishop Cheyney of Gloucester, blinded Campion in regard to his course as a Catholic: he took the Oath of Supremacy, and deacon's orders according to the new rite. Afterthoughts developing into scruples, scruples into anguish, he broke off his happy Oxford life when his proctorship ended, and betook himself to Ireland, to await the reopening of Dublin University, an ancient papal foundation temporarily extinct. Sir Henry Sidney, the lord deputy, was interested in Campion's future as well as in the revival which, however, fell through. With Philip Sidney, then a boy, Campion was to have a touching interview in 1577.
As too Catholic minded an Anglican, Campion was suspected, and exposed to danger. Hidden in friendly houses, he composed his treatise called "A History of Ireland" Written from an English standpoint it gave much offence to the native Irish, and was severely criticized, in the next century, by Geoffrey Keating In his Irish history of Ireland. Urged to further effort by the zeal of Gregory Martin, he crossed to England in disguise and under an assumed name, reaching London in time to witness the trial of one of the earliest Oxonian martyrs, Dr. John Storey. Campion now recognized his vocation and hastened to the seminary at Douai. Cecil lamented to Richard Stanihurst the expatriation of "one of the diamonds of England" At Douai Campion remained for his theological course and its lesser degree, but then set out as a barefoot pilgrim to Rome, arriving there just before the death of St. Francis Borgia; " for I meant", as he said at his examination, "to enter into the Society of Jesus, thereof to vow and to be professed". This he accomplished promptly in April (1573), being the first novice received by Mercurianus, the fourth general. As the English province was as yet non-existent, he was allotted to that of Bohemia, entering on his noviceship at Prague and passing his probation year at Brunn in Moravia. Returning to Prague, he taught in the college and wrote a couple of sacred dramas; and there he was ordained in 1578. Meanwhile, Dr. Allen was organizing the apostolic work of the English Mission, and rejoiced to secure Fathers Robert Parsons and Edmund Campion as his first Jesuit helpers. In the garden at Brunn, Campion had had a vision, in which Our Lady foretold to him his martyrdom. Comrades at Prague were moved to make a scroll for P. Edmundus Campianus Martyr, and to paint a prophetic garland of roses within his cell. Parsons and Campion set out from Rome, had many adventures, and called upon St. Charles Borromeo in Milan, and upon Beza in Geneva. Campion was met in London, and fitly clothed, armed, and mounted by a devoted young convert friend. His office was chiefly to reclaim Catholics who were wavering or temporizing under the pressure of governmental tyranny; but his zeal to win Protestants, his preaching, his whole saintly and soldierly personality, made a general and profound impression. An alarm was raised and he fled to the North, where he fell again to writing and produced his famous tract, the "Decem Rationes". He returned to London, only to withdraw again, this time towards Norfolk. A spy, a former steward of the Roper family, one George Eliot, was hot upon his track, and ran him and others down at Lyford Grange near Wantage in Berkshire on 17 July, 1581.
Amid scenes of violent excitement, Campion was derisively paraded through the streets of his native city, bound hand and foot, riding backwards, with a paper stuck in his hat to denote the " seditious Jesuit". First thrown into Little Ease at the Tower, he was carried privately to the house of his old patron, the Earl of Leicester; there he encountered the queen herself, and received earnest proffers of liberty and preferments would he but forsake his papistry. Hopton having tried in vain the same blandishments, on Campion's return to the Tower, the priest was then examined under torture, and was reported to have betrayed those who had harboured him. Several arrests were made on the strength of the lie. He had asked for a public disputation. But when it came off in the Norman chapel of the Tower, before the Dean of St. Paul's and other divines, Campion had been denied opportunity to prepare his debate, and had been severely racked. Thus weakened, he stood through the four long conferences, without chair, table, or notes, and stood undefeated. Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, who was looking on in the flush of worldly pride, became thereby inspired to return to God's service. The privy council, at its wits' end over so purely spiritual a "traitor", hatched a plot to impeach Campion's loyalty, and called in the hirelings Eliot and Munday as accusers. A ridiculous trial ensued in Westminster Hall, 20 Nov., 1581. Campion, pleading not guilty, was quite unable to hold up his often-wrenched right arm, seeing which, a fellow prisoner, first kissing it, raised it for him. He made a magnificent defence. But the sentence was death, by hanging, drawing, and quartering: a sentence received by the martyrs with a joyful shout of Haec dies and Te Deum. Campion, with Sherwin and Briant, who were on a separate hurdle, was dragged to Tyburn on 1 December. Passing Newgate arch, he lifted himself as best he could to salute the statue of Our Lady still in situ. On the scaffold, when interrupted and taunted to express his mind concerning the Bull of Plus V excommunicating Elizabeth, he answered only by a prayer for her, "your Queen and my Queen". He was a Catholic Englishman with political opinions which were not Allen's, though he died, as much as ever Felton did, for the primacy of the Holy See. The people loudly lamented his fate; and another great harvest of conversions began. A wild, generous-hearted youth, Henry Walpole, standing by, got his white doublet stained with Campion's blood; the incident made him, too, in time, a Jesuit and a martyr.
Historians of all schools are agreed that the charges against Campion were wholesale sham. They praise his high intelligence, his beautiful gaiety, his fiery energy, his most chivalrous gentleness. He had renounced all opportunity for a dazzling career in a world of master men. Every tradition of Edmund Campion, every remnant of his written words, and not least his unstudied golden letters, show us that he was nothing less than a man of genius; truly one of the great Elizabethans, but holy as none other of them all. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 9 December, 1886, and canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970. Relics of him are preserved in Rome and Prague, in London, Oxford, Stonyhurst, and Roehampton. A not very convincing portrait was made soon after his death for the Gesù in Rome under the supervision of many who had known him. Of this there is a copy in oils at Stonyhurst, and a brilliantly engraved print in Hazart's "Kerckelycke Historie" (Antwerp, 1669), Vol. III (Enghelandt, etc.), though not in every copy of that now scarce work.(SOURCE:


Luke 10: 21 - 24
In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
Then turning to the disciples he said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see what you see!
For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it."

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