Tuesday, December 29, 2009




(VIS) - In a Message addressed to the annual meeting promoted by the Taize Community, being held this year in the Polish city of Poznan from 29 December to 2 January, the Pope calls on the young participants "to go and meet men and women who have lost the sense of God, who seek uncertainly for Him, sometimes without realising it. "They need to encounter true witnesses", the English-language Message adds, "so that the face of Christ may shine for them. May God inspire the actions and words that will make accessible to others, when you return home to your countries, the hope that gives you life and the vitality that the Spirit wants to give to every human life! "Yes, rejoice in the thirst that He himself has placed in you: it expresses your dignity as sons and daughters of God. During this 32nd European meeting in Poland (a new stage of your pilgrimage of trust on earth) you will discover the joy of drawing from the wellsprings of the living God all together, the joy of fellowship in Christ. It is to this joy that His call leads you". Benedict XVI concludes his Message by imparting his apostolic blessing to all those taking part in the meeting, to "the brothers of Taize, to everyone who helped organise the pilgrimage, to the pastors and believers who welcome you, and to your families".MESS/YOUNG PEOPLE/TAIZE VIS 091229 (250)


Cardinal Brady asks for prayers for Cardinal Daly
The Archbishop Emeritus of Armagh, Cardinal Cahal Brendan Daly (92), was taken to hospital yesterday. Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, issued the following statementtoday:"I visited Cardinal Daly in hospital yesterday evening. Cardinal Daly is seriously ill and is being treated at the coronary intensive care unit of Belfast City Hospital. He is being lovingly supported by his family and friends."At this time I ask Catholics to pray for Cardinal Daly, that he may be given all the graces that he needs. While this is a sad time for all, we should be heartened and nourished by Cardinal Daly's motto which is 'Jesus Christ, yesterday and today' (Hebrews 13:8)."I know that throughout Ireland today people will be remembering Cardinal Daly in their prayers."ENDSNotes for Editors
Cardinal Cathal B Daly was born in Loughguile, Co Antrim on 1 October 1917. He was educated at St Patrick's National School in Loughguile, and then as a boarder in St Malachy's College, Belfast in 1930.
He studied Classics at Queen's University in Belfast and earned his BA with Honours and also the Henry Medal in Latin Studies in 1937 and completed his MA the following year.
He entered St Patrick's College, Maynooth, and was ordained to the priesthood on 22 June 1941. He continued studies in theology in Maynooth, from where he obtained a doctorate in divinity (DD) in 1944.
His first appointment was as Classics Master in St Malachy's College (1944-1945). In 1945, he was appointed Lecturer in Scholastic Philosophy at Queen's University, Belfast. From 1952–1953 Queens granted him sabbatical leave, which he spent studying at the Catholic Institute of Paris where he received a licentiate in philosophy.
He was a peritus, or theological expert, at the Second Vatican Council (1963–1965) to the late Bishop William Philbin, former Bishop of Down and Connor, during the first session of the Council and to the late Cardinal William Conway, former Archbishop of Armagh, for the rest of the Council.
Cardinal Daly was ordained Bishop of Ardagh & Clonmacnois in 1967 and was subsequently consecrated as Bishop of Down and Connor in 1982.
Cardinal Daly was consecrated as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland on 16 December 1990 and served until his retirement, at the age of 79, where he was succeeded by Cardinal Brady on 1 October 1996. Cardinal Daly was created a cardinal in by the late Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1991. Cardinal Daly has the motto, "Jesus Christ, yesterday and today" taken from Hebrews 13:8.
Upon his retirement Cardinal Daly returned to his study of theology and philosophy. He is the author of a series of books on violence and the search for peace in Northern Ireland including a book of memoirs 'Steps on My Pilgrim Journey' which was published in 1998. Among his otherpublished works are 'Philosophy in Britain from Bradley to Wittgenstein' and 'The Minding of Planet Earth', published in 2004. In March 2007 the late Dr Thomas Kelly, former head of the Department of Philosophy at NUI Maynooth, launched 'Philosophical Papers', a collection of articles previously published in various journals by Cardinal Daly. (source:


The USCCB reports that the Catholic Church worldwide will celebrate the 43th World Day of Peace on New Year’s Day. Pope Benedict XVI has chosen “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation” as the theme for 2010 celebration.
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, welcomed Pope Benedict’s message for World Day of Peace (WDP) as he called on Catholics in the United States to work and pray for peace.
“Pope Benedict seamlessly weaves together concerns for peace, poverty and care for creation. He calls on us to act to protect both human and environmental ecology for the two are inseparably linked,” Cardinal George said.
“In union with the Holy Father, at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) we are working hard to address the moral and human dimension of the closely connected issues of poverty, peace, environmental protection and climate change. We are working to protect God’s creation and human life and dignity, to link human ecology and natural ecology because they are inseparable.”
Pope Benedict’s 2010 WDP message states that “integral human development is closely linked to the obligations which flow from man’s relationship with the natural environment. The environment must be seen as God’s gift to all people, and the use we make of it entails a shared responsibility for all humanity, especially the poor and future generations.”
The pope also poses some poignant questions.
“Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions? Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of “environmental refugees,” people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement? Can we remain impassive in the face of actual and potential conflicts involving access to natural resources?” Pope Benedict asks in his message.
USCCB has prepared resources to help local parishes, schools, campus ministries, and others to explore the pope’s WDP message. They include a bulletin insert and quotes, a primer on Catholic social teaching and the environment, a prayer, and stories from Catholic Relief Services that illustrate the issues alluded to in the message. They can be found at


UCAN reports that the Catholic Office for Emergency Relief and Refugees (COERR), the only aid group assisting more than 4,000 ethnic Hmong asylum-seekers in the north of Thailand, was refused access to them as the Thai army arrived to deport them to Laos.
Hmong boys
The Hmong were seeking asylum, claiming that they faced persecution from the Laotian regime for fighting alongside US forces during the Vietnam War.
"As of this morning (Sunday) their access to the camp was denied but their staff are still waiting,” Tomoo Hozumi, Thailand representative for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) which supports COERR, was quoted as saying.
Thailand ignored opposition to the deportation from the UN, the US and human rights groups, who fear that the deportees could face persecution upon their return to Laos.
“We deeply regret this serious violation of the international humanitarian principles that Thailand has long been known for championing,” the US State Department said.
New York-based Human Rights Watch branded the deportation "appalling" and a low point for the Thai government.
Some 5,000 troops and officials were involved in the operation in Thailand's northern Phetchabun province. Troops entered the camp on Dec. 27 to prepare to bus the Hmong over the border. Media reports on Dec. 29 say the deportees have arrived in Laos.
Some of those being deported are children
Many Laotian Hmong who had fought for the US during the Vietnam War fled in 1975 when the communist Pathet Lao took over the country. Thousands were resettled in the United States.
Thai authorities have repeatedly denied the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees access to Hmong camps to verify claims for refugee status.
The Thai government has said it received assurances from the Laos government that the deportees would not be mistreated.
COERR was established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand in 1978 as a relief agency for refugees and displaced persons.
It replaced Medecins Sans Frontieres at the Hmong refugee camp in Phetchabun's Khao Kho district in June this year after the French organization withdrew. Medecins Sans Frontieres said military restrictions had hindered its humanitarian operations.


ASIA NEWS reports that the phenomenon is visible over a Coptic church in one of the capital’s suburbs. Some say it is an apparition; a woman says she can see again. A Muslim man is the first person to see it. Other Muslims say it is a hoax done with laser beams. Cairo (AsiaNews) – A bird flew over the tower of the Coptic Church in Al-Warrak, a suburban neighbourhood in the Egyptian capital. Someone dressed in white and blue robes appeared. For Christians and some Muslims, it was an apparition of Our Lady. For others it is a hoax created by using laser beams, Middle East online reported.
For several weeks, a silent crowd running in the thousands has been gathering in front of the church at around 3 am, looking up into the sky. The appearance of a mysterious light over the church tower jolted them into a frenzy of astonished cries. (SOURCE:


All Africa reports that thirty eight people died at Zango village on the outskirts of Bauchi yesterday in what the police said was a clash between members of a fringe Muslim sect described as the Kala Kato. The sect members had earlier in the day killed a soldier and a policeman, who were on security duties for the state's Operation Flush.
Among those killed yesterday was the sect leader Malam Badamasi, who was from Alkaleri Local Government Area in Bauchi State.
Residents said the sect members had held a preaching session the previous night at which they espoused views regarded by the wider Muslim community as heretical. Early yesterday morning, the sect members numbering more than 500 also embarked on a procession.
Bauchi State Police Commissioner Atiku Yusuf Kafur told newsmen in Bauchi yesterday that "the sect members burnt four houses, two belonging to them while two belonged to their neighbours." He said 16 people were injured including a police man and "we rescued 16 people and arrested 20 suspects, nine adults and eleven juveniles. We recovered explosive devices, two AK 47 rifles, 7 rounds of ammunition and hundreds of dangerous weapons of various types, as well as some with blood stains."
Narrating the cause of the incident, Commissioner of Police Atiku Kafur said, "the leader [of the sect] lived in the area for so many years and he had an illness, something like pox came in to his body. He was advised by some of his followers to go to the wife of one of them who used to cure sickness, and he went to her. The woman told him that one of his followers used charms on him, the situation that led to division within the sect because some of his followers left him and started a plot to kill him."

The commissioner added that the members of the sect were fighting among themselves and because of the fight, the sect leader became aggrieved and he made an inciting preaching yesterday morning. He said the sect leader's neighbours were disturbed and they complained to members of the state's security team Operation Flush, which then carried out a field operation to monitor and maintain peace in the area.
He said the police received a report that six soldiers went there trying to stop the preaching, not knowing that the militants were well armed. They attacked the soldiers and killed one, then went away with his rifle.
Yusuf Kafur added that upon receiving the complain, they deployed mobile policemen to the area. He said even though the sect members were well armed and they were using their arms against the police, but police used over 100 smoke canisters to force them out of their enclave "and we successfully moved them in where we traced that they killed themselves. We evacuated 37 dead bodies inside the enclave even though some of them were alive but they passed away in the hospital."
The commissioner said Police used guns to defend themselves but it took them "several hours to move members of the sect from their enclave and the situation was brought under control around 2pm in the afternoon." He said the area was now calm. He asked residents that run into the bush to return to their homes, saying "we are still pursuing other members of the group that sneaked away." He said the fight ended in the village and it did not spread to any part of Bauchi town.
Mallam Ayuba Musa, a resident of the area, told Daily Trust that the residents of the area were disturbed by the manner in which the members of the Kala Kato sect did their preaching and were inciting the public; hence t hey reported the matter to the security agencies. Ayuba Musa added that the crisis begin when the Kala Kato members killed two soldiers and a policeman and burnt people's houses.
In his own account of the situation, Ustaz Sadiq sufyan said the Kala Kato members were preaching when they made statements that were inciting, condemning the government for arresting members of the Boko Haram sect.
"The soldiers came and stayed in one place waiting, and on the other hand I saw ten members of the sect in long white jumpers. There were weapons in their hands like knives, swords, daggers and guns. We started hearing gun shots. When we enquired, we were told that the Kala Kato group killed a soldier with a knife and seized his rifle." Ayuba added that "these members of the Kala Kato, even when you shoot them, the gun will not fire. They will just clear their jumper and continue fighting the security men."
State Secretary of the Nigeria Red Cross Alhaji Adamu Abubakar told Daily Trust that "we moved 20 corpses and 16 causalities from the scene of the incident to the Bauchi State Specialist hospital, but the situation was brought under control with the efforts made by security personnel."
Alhaji Adamu said 1000 displaced persons had taken refuge at the building of Defense Industry situated in the industrial area near Zango. He said their major problem was how to feed the refugees, and that they were waiting for the state's Emergency Relief Committee to move in.
Abubakar said before they were subdued, the sect members were shouting at the top of their voices that they were the real Yan Tatsine, i.e. followers of the late sect leader Muhammadu Marwa alias Maitatsine who was killed during a major uprising in Kano in 1980. Some of them also shouted that they were the real Boko Haram, he said.
The State Commissioner overseeing the Ministry of Information Captain Bala Jibrin told Daily Trust on telephone that there was a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government Ahmed Ibrahim Dandija which explained the truth of the matter. He then read from the statement, which said "there was a little fracas that occurred in a small village called Zango near Bauchi as a result of misunderstanding between members of an Islamic sect and their followers and the situation was brought under control. People should go about their normal businesses. People should open their shops and continue with their real business. The area is now calm and government is in full control of the situation."
The commissioner said government noted that some agents of mischief were over blowing the matter and warned that anybody caught doing so will be dealt with decisively. He said adequate security had been deployed to the area to ensure peace.
The State Police Public Relations Officer ASP Mohammed Barau told newsmen that there was a fracas in the area and security personnel were deployed to quell the situation, adding that Police will brief the press on the truth of all that had happened at the end of the Security Council meeting going on at the time of filing this report.
In their separate account of the crisis, some of the people residing in the area told Daily Trust that they went to their various places of work when they were called back by their families and told that there was a problem in their area. (SOURCE:


The Australian reports that sixteen Tamil refugees rescued by the Oceanic Viking will begin arriving in Australia today, six via the Christmas Island detention centre.
Forty of the Sri Lankan Tamils left Indonesia's Tanjung Pinang detention centre yesterday morning, courtesy of a special deal underwritten by the Rudd government to fast-track their resettlement in exchange for ending their month-long standoff aboard the Customs boat.
In an unlikely twist, The Australian has been told six of the Tamils will travel straight from Indonesia to Christmas Island, where three of them - a mother and her two young children - will be reunited with their husband and father.
It is understood the woman asked to be taken to her husband, who came to Australia via a separate asylum boat about six months ago.
The remaining three are refugees whose security checks have not yet been finalised.
The Sri Lankans will touch down amid renewed debate over the generous terms offered by Australia, with Tony Abbott slamming the deal as an inducement to people-smugglers.
Yesterday, the Rudd government backed away from calls by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry for Australia to help resettle 255 Tamils moored off the port of Merak . The boat was stopped by Indonesia in October after a phone call from Kevin Rudd to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
For almost three months, the boat's passengers have refused to leave, demanding that they be taken to Australia.
In the days before Christmas, one of the men aboard the boat died from what Indonesian officials said was a stomach complaint.
Yesterday, refugee advocate Ian Rintoul said a seven-year-old girl had been taken to hospital with similar symptoms.
Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said it was up to the Indonesians to resolve the standoff.
"It is incumbent now upon those passengers to disembark (from) that vessel so that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees can properly process their claims," Mr O'Connor said yesterday.
"Ultimately, of course, this whole arrangement and this matter is something that has to be undertaken and dealt with by the Indonesian authorities."
His comments came as Customs and Border Protection staff intercepted two asylum-seeker boats within 48 hours.
On Monday, a boat carrying 11 people was stopped near Ashmore Island, and yesterday a boat carrying 33 people was intercepted off Gove, in the Northern Territory.
This year, 58 boats carrying more than 2700 people have arrived in Australia.
The mass exodus from Tanjung Pinang began yesterday morning, with 40 of the 78 Sri Lankans being moved out over the course of the day.
Most of the Sri Lankans - 24 - will fly to a UN refugee transit centre in Romania, where they will join the 13 Canada-bound Tamils flown out before Christmas.
Yesterday, a spokesman for the Canadian Immigration Department, Douglas Kellam, told The Australian the Tamils might have to wait up to six months before being admitted to Canada.
Once vetted by immigration staff, 21 will travel to the US and three will be resettled in Norway.
The 16 Sri Lankans bound for Australia will begin arriving today, with most expected to go to Melbourne. The mass departure leaves just 23 of the 78 Tamils in Indonesian detention.
Yesterday, Mr Abbott said people smugglers would be encouraged by the generous terms offered to the Sri Lankans and expect similar treatment if they reached Indonesia.
"Its not just now if you get to Christmas Island you get to Australia but if you get to Indonesia you also get to Australia," Mr Abbott said in Sydney.
The Opposition Leader said the government's recent changes to border protection were the catalyst for the recent spate of boat arrivals.
"It's pretty obvious that Mr Rudd has lost control of Australia's borders," Mr Abbott said.
Mr Abbott's comments echoed those of Sri Lanka's high commissioner to Canberra, Senaka Walgampaya, who last week attacked the decision to resettle the Oceanic Viking refugees.
Mr Walgampaya warned that it could encourage other potential asylum-seekers to make the journey to Australia.
"But we don't like this sending the wrong signal to Sri Lanka for the prospective asylum-seekers," he said. "The fact that these people are taken, of course, sends a bad message, so that may in a way encourage people to come here."
The 78 Tamils from the Oceanic Viking sparked a diplomatic and political furore when they refused to leave the Australian customs vessel that rescued them from their wooden boat in October. They were eventually promised resettlement to a third country within four to 12 weeks if they agreed to disembark and be processed by officials in Indonesia.
Mr Abbott said Mr Rudd needed to come clean about any promises he made with the Indonesian government about the group of 250 Tamils at Merak.
The Merak Tamils - whose plight predates that of the Oceanic Viking's Tamils - have refused to leave their boat since they were allowed entry to the port following Mr Rudd's intervention in October. They have not been offered any fast tracking.


St. Martha
Feast: July 29
Feast Day:
July 29
Palaestina (modern-day Israel)
80, Tarascon, Gaul (modern-day France) or Cyprus
Patron of:
butlers; cooks; dietitians; domestic servants; homemakers; hotel-keepers; housemaids; housewives; innkeepers; laundry workers; maids; manservants; servants; servers; single laywomen; travellers

Mentioned only in Luke, x, 38-42; and John, xi; xii, sqq. The Aramaic form occurs in a Nabatfan inscription found at Puteoli, and now in the Naples Museum; it is dated A.D. 5 (Corpus Inscr. Semit., 158); also in a Palmyrene inscription, where the Greek translation has the form Marthein, A.D. 179.
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are represented by St. John as living at Bethania, but St. Luke would seem to imply that they were, at least at one time, living in Galilee; he does not mention the name of the town, but it may have been Magdala, and we should thus, supposing Mary of Bethania and Mary Magdalene to be the same person, understand the appellative "Magdalene". The words of St. John (xi, 1) seem to imply a change of residence for the family. It is possible, too, that St. Luke has displaced the incident referred to in c. x. The likeness between the pictures of Martha presented by Luke and John is very remarkable. The familiar intercourse between the Saviour of the world and the humble family which St. Luke depicts is dwelt on by St. John when he tells us that "Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus" (xi, 5). Again the picture of Martha's anxiety (John, xi, 20-21, 39) accords with the picture of her who was "busy about much serving" (Luke, x, 40); so also in John, xii, 2: "They made him a supper there: and Martha served." But St. John has given us a glimpse of the other and deeper side of her character when he depicts her growing faith in Christ's Divinity (xi, 20-27), a faith which was the occasion of the words: "I am the resurrection and the life." The Evangelist has beautifully indicated the change that came over Martha after that interview: "When she had said these things, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: The Master is come, and calleth for thee."
Difficulties have been raised about the last supper at Bethania. St. John seems to put it six days before the Pasch, and, so some conclude, in the house of Martha; while the Synoptic account puts it two days before the Pasch, and in the house of Simon the Leper. We need not try to avoid this difficulty by asserting that there were two suppers; for St. John does not say that the supper took place six days before, but only that Christ arrived in Bethania six days before the Pasch; nor does he say that it was in the house of Martha. We are surely justified in arguing that, since St. Matthew and St. Mark place the scene in the house of Simon, St. John must be understood to say the same; it remains to be proved that Martha could not "serve" in Simon's house. (SOURCE:


Luke 2: 22 - 35
And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
(as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord")
and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law,
he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word;
for mine eyes have seen thy salvation
which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against
(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."
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