EUROPE: ROME: EVIDENCE THAT SHAKESPEARE WAS CATHOLIC-
AMERICAS: USA: METHODIST/CATHOLIC DIALOGUE OVER GOD'S CREATION-
AUSTRALIA: CHURCH LEADERS URGE FOR A RENEWAL OF HOPE & GENEROSITY-
An exhibition at the Venerable English College has revealed cryptic names in its guest books for visiting pilgrims, suggesting that the playwright sought refuge there, the Times Online reports.
"Arthurus Stratfordus Wigomniensis" signed the book in 1585, while "Gulielmus Clerkue Stratfordiensis" arrived in 1589.
According to Fr Andrew Headon, vice-rector of the college and organiser of the exhibition, the names can be deciphered as "(King) Arthur's (compatriot) from Stratford (in the diocese) of Worcester" and "William the Clerk from Stratford".
A third entry in 1587, "Shfordus Cestriensis", may stand for "Sh(akespeare from Strat)ford (in the diocese) of Chester," he said.
The entries fall within the playwright's "missing years" between 1585, when he left Stratford abruptly, and 1592, when he began his career as playwright in London.
"There are several years which are unaccounted for in Shakespeare's life," Fr Headon said, adding that it was very likely that the playwright had visited Rome and was a covert Catholic.
The "Shakespeare" entries are being kept in the college's archive for security reasons but have been reproduced for the exhibition, which illustrates the history of the college from its origins as a medieval pilgrims' hospice to a refuge for persecuted Catholics during the Reformation. (source: http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=18479
Father Olivier Schmitthaeuslerblesses prisoners with holy water
"We must not only sit and talk but also take action," said Father Un Son, parish priest of Kompot parish in Kompot province. "We should do something to bear witness to our faith," added the priest, who coordinated the visit.
On Dec. 21, 30 people comprising Catholic priests and laypersons, Buddhist monks, Muslim and Protestant leaders, and officials from the Ministry of Religions and Cults visited 347 inmates at Kompot Prison in southern Cambodia.
Kompot parish has organized such annual Christmas visits for Catholics since 2003. It held its first interreligious visit last year.
"Do not lose hope. Show your solidarity and help each other," Paris Foreign Missions Father Olivier Schmitthaeusler told the prisoners. The priest, who is vicar general of Phnom Penh apostolic vicariate, added that during this Christmas time, the leaders of various religions are here "to share joy with all of you."
The visitors prayed with the prisoners, blessed them and gave them gifts of food and blankets.
Chhu Ann, one of the Catholic visitors, said "It was only a short time we were with them but it was very meaningful." She added that some prisoners were moved to tears by the visit.
Buddhist monk Venerable Sum Chan said it is very important that prisoners remain motivated and hopeful so that they can contribute to society when they are released.
For Muslim representative Ly Ahs Mat, the visit was an opportunity for people of different religions to exchange experiences based on their faiths. He also emphasized the importance of compassion for those who needed it most.
Father Son noted that the visit not only benefits the prisoners, it also helps foster better relations among people of different religions in the Kompot area.
Cardinal George Pell who announced that Christmas Mass tomorrow at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney would for the first time be streamed live on the internet, will urge his followers to extend charity to strangers as well as friends and family, The Australian reports.
"We thank God Australia has escaped the recession and has done better than most countries, but many individuals and families still struggle financially... they need a hand," Cardinal Pell said yesterday.
"God requires all of us to do our bit to bring hope to friends and strangers, especially those who are down on their luck, and especially at this season of Christmas."
Anglican church primate Phillip Aspinall said he would remind his congregation in a sermon at St John's Cathedral in Brisbane tomorrow that despite the many disasters of the past year, financial and natural, God was "present in the nitty-gritty of our lives", the report adds.
"The Christmas story is not always all sweetness and light," Archbishop Aspinall is quoted saying. "It recognises the harsh realities of human life, but it is a life of decency, courage, fearlessness and of selflessness."
Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart is cited saying in The Age that everyone has the power to make a difference and should ask how best to help others.
"As we remember God's great giving to us we keep in mind our need to be there to support other people, particularly the sick, the burdened, the lonely."
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Philip Wilson said in a Christmas message that every new life offered new possibilities, and this was the great truth of the birth of Jesus.
"The pattern of regeneration that began with the birth of Christ is what gives meaning and direction to our lives, not as a burden but as a response to the graciousness of God." (SOURCE: http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=18499
St. John of Kanty
Feast: December 23
23 June 1390, Kęty, Oświęcim, Poland
24 December 1473, Kraków Academy
1767 by Pope Clement XIII
When he died St. John was greatly mourned, and was already accounted a worker of miracles; but he was not canonized until 1767.
Luke 1: 57 - 66
Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son.
And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechari'ah after his father,
but his mother said, "Not so; he shall be called John."
And they said to her, "None of your kindred is called by this name."
And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called.
And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, "His name is John." And they all marveled.
And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.
And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea;
and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, "What then will this child be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him.