Catholic World News: Sun., Aug. 9, 2009: Headlines
Vatican City: Pope speaks of Martyrs who: "Show us the true face of God, who is love":
Asia: Bangladesh appointment of Catholic State Minister:
Europe: Patriarch Visits Ukraine:
Africa: Bishops' Conference starts meeting
Australia: Australian killed in Iraq
America: Documentary on stories of Catholic Women under Communism
Pope speaks of Martyrs who: "Show us the true face of God, who is love":
Edith Stein, Maximilian Kolbe, Pope Pontian and Lawrence, all saints and all martyrs for the faith. They are a sign of the “true face of God and the true face of man” said Pope Benedict XVI Sunday, as for a second week in a row he drew from upcoming feast days of saints for his Angelus reflection, delivered in the tiny enclosed courtyard of the Papal Summer Palace in Castel Gandolfo.This week the Pope wanted to concentrate on the stark difference between "Christian humanism" and "atheistic humanism". Pope Benedict said saints are witnesses of “this antithesis which spans history, but that with the contemporary nihilism, has come to a crucial point". And so he cited in particular the World War II martyrs Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein. Edith Stein was “born in the Jewish faith and was won over by Christ in adulthood, she became a Carmelite nun and sealed her life with martyrdom”. St. Maximilian Kolbe, is a “son of Poland and St. Francis of Assisi”. Both are martyrs killed in the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. "The Nazi concentration camp – noted Pope Benedict - as every death camp, can be considered an extreme symbol of evil, of the hell that comes to earth when man forgets God, and when He is replaced, usurping from Him the right to decide what is good and what is evil, to give life or to take life. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not confined to the death camp. It is rather the culmination of an extensive and widespread reality of often nebulous boundaries. " This reality is precisely the antithesis that became clear at the end of the second millennium, "the opposition between atheistic humanism and Christian humanism, between holiness and nihilism”. "On the one hand - continued the pope - there are philosophies and ideologies, but also on an increasing scale ways of thinking and acting, which extol the freedom of man as the only principle, as an alternative to God, and thus transform man into a god, whose system behaviour is of an arbitrary nature. On the other hand, we note the saints, who, practicing the gospel of love, make reason of their hope, they show the true face of God who is Love, and at the same time, the true face of man, created in image and likeness of God. " From them we can learn, concluded Pope Benedict “especially our priests, evangelical heroism that inspires us, without fear, to give our life for the salvation of souls. Love conquers death!”. (SOURCE: http://www.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?c=308460
Bangladesh appointment of Catholic State Minister
UCAN reports that Catholics in Bangladesh have welcomed the appointment of the country's first Catholic government minister, hoping he will highlight minority and tribal concerns.
Advocate Promod Mankin, 71, was appointed state minister for cultural affairs on July 31 and will be responsible for the country's cultural development and its sustainability. He comes from the tribal Garo community in Mymensingh diocese and is also a member of the government's Ministry of Religion.
"The expectations of Christians are enormous. I am fully aware of their concerns as a result of my three terms in government and as member of parliament," Mankin told UCA News at his government residence in Dhaka Aug. 5. "People have to understand that I am now a state minister and have to look after the cultural affairs of the whole nation and protect the interests of the national culture. But since I am from the Christian community, I will not forget my roots," he assured.
Since 2003, Mankin has also been chairman of the Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA), a major inter-denominational Christian forum.
He said he will push for a proposal he made to parliament and the permanent committee of the Ministry of Religious Affairs to declare Christmas and Easter public holidays.
Mankin said another of his priorities is to consider the interests of all the 45 minority ethnic groups in Bangladesh.
Another goal is to establish a Christian Religion Welfare Foundation which will be separate from the BCA. The foundation will deal directly with the Ministry of Religious Affairs to provide support for the Christian community and a better working relationship with the government.
"This is the first step I want to take under the banner of the BCA as I am also its chair," he said. "Now it is easier for me to share things directly with the prime minister," he added.
His fellow Catholics have welcomed his appointment, and have expressed the hope he will be able to be a voice for Christians and other ethnic minorities in the country.
Catholic Bishop's Conference of Bangladesh secretary, Father Subrato Boniface Gomes said: "We are proud to have him as the state minister. He can add our voice to the government's policy-making process."
Benjamin Marak, a Garo layperson from Mymensingh diocese told UCA News he hopes Mankin's appointment would mean justice for ethnic people in the case of false accusations, and a better transport and communication infrastructure in tribal areas.
Mankin himself credited the Church for his rise to the Cabinet. He said the Church "financed my studies at school and college." Caritas Bangladesh had also given him a job in the organization which helped him develop his leadership and people skills. "Now I am able to provide leadership at the national level," he said.
(Edited from: http://www.ucanews.com/2009/08/07/appointment-of-catholic-state-minister-raises-hopes/
Patriarch Visits Ukraine
AsiaNews reports that Patriarch Kirill’s visit to Ukraine has drawn to a close. Yesterday, the patriarch of Moscow met with Russian President Medvedev, stressing the profound unity between the two countries.
The visit, which began July 27 last, had a deeply religious motive: the celebrations for the 1020 anniversary of the baptism of Prince Vladimir in the waters of the Dnieper River, which initiated the conversion of the Rus, considered the starting point of Russian Orthodoxy.
During all his meetings Kirill repeatedly emphasized the spiritual bond and unity between Orthodox Russians and Ukrainians. But various nationalist groups questioned his intentions, accusing him of using the spiritual element to bring the Ukrainian nation to the obedience of Moscow.
Yesterday, in a press conference Archbishop Hilarion declared the patriarch’s visit a success and claimed that in Ukraine "there is no real opposition to the Russian Orthodox Church." Since the 1990’s three different Orthodox Churches have existed in Ukraine: the Ukraine-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), Ukraine-Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP) and Ukrainian Autocephalous Church (UAOC).
The Patriarch’s trip tended to emphasize that the Church of Moscow is the Church of Rus and therefore the search for unity makes sense while legal independence from the patriarchate does not. Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Moscow Patriarchate for external relations, said that Kirill’s pilgrimage underscored that the church extended far beyond geopolitical borders or terminology. “We are not the church only of the Russian Federation , nor only, as sometimes said, of the Russian people”.
Added to the tensions within the Orthodox world are external political ones. Since 2004 and the "Orange Revolution" that brought to Viktor Yushenco power, relations between Russia and Ukraine have been strained because of Kiev’s desire for unification with Europe, a desire opposed by Moscow.
Yesterday, Patriarch Kirill met with Russian President Dimitri Medvedev and related to him the impressions of his trip to Ukraine, stressing that political differences between the two countries were "resolvable" thanks to the deep spiritual unity between the two countries.
"Based on this unity, respecting the sovereignty and accepting the realities of existing policies - said Kirill - we should make every effort so that people feel more united and closer, remaining sons and daughters of the Russian Orthodox Church, regardless of the fact they reside in different states”.
Medvedev said that he will take Patriarch impression’s in progress in relations between Russia and Ukraine.
(Edited from: http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=15996&size=A
Bishops' Conference starts meeting
CISA reports that the Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa began their August Plenary meeting on Thursday at Mariannhill with an hour of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament for the priests of the territory.Twenty-eight bishops are in attendance, among them the newly appointed bishop of De Aar, Adam Musialek, SCI, who will be ordained on September 24. The session was officially opened by Archbishop Jabulani Nxumalo, OMI. The Plenary meeting continues until the 12th of August.Each bishop had a list of the priests working in his diocese. After lighting a candle, each bishop placed the names of the priests before the Blessed Sacrament. The bishops then spent time reflecting on Pope Benedict’s letter for the Year of the Priest.The plenary session will include extended reflection sessions on the priesthood and on the priesthood of the baptized. The bishops will also discuss liturgy, HIV/Aids, seminaries and the forth coming Synod for Africa in Rome in October. This Plenary session will also see the election of a new SACBC president and vice presidents.The first day of the meeting focused on administration issues and conflict situations in Africa. The Secretary General’s report, outlined particularly the formation of priests and pointed out a number of issues around good governance. A new manual on Good Governance was proposed for implementation in the territory.Fr Sean O’Leary of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI) explained the work of the institute and the status of conflict situations in Africa. Of particular concern was the situations in Eritrea, Sudan and the DRC. Fr Sean warned that the situations could deteriorate, threatening the stability of the whole continent.The Lenten Appeal Director, Fr Michael Flattery, reported a minor increase in the Lenten Appeal Collection. Fr Richard Menatsi, Director of IMBISA (the Inter-regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa – Botswana, Angola, Swaziland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland) discussed the significant challenges facing IMBISA, based in Harare.Sr Patricia Finn, Catechetical Co-ordinator for the territory, facilitated a discussion on training of catechists. Many Bishops remarked on how difficult it was to retain the interest of catechists.The final session of the day was a report from the Liturgy Commission. Sr Jordana Maher and Bishop Eddie Risi reported on the progress in the renewal of the liturgy, particularly in English. Bishop Risi also gave an extensive report on the work of the English Language Pastoral Region on the next steps in the adoption of the renewed ICEL translations.
(Edited from http://www.cisanewsafrica.org/story.asp?ID=4065
Australian killed in Iraq
The Australiannews reports that a security contractor - described by his daughter as the "best dad in the world" - was shot dead during an alleged squabble with a co-worker in Iraq yesterday.
Shot dead ... Australian Darren Hoare was allegedly killed by a British contractor / The Daily Telegraph
Darren Hoare, 37, was working for ArmorGroup Iraq when he was allegedly killed by a British contractor. The British contractor, armed with a pistol, allegedly killed Mr Hoare and British man Paul McGuigan and wounded an Iraqi in the protected Green Zone in Baghdad. Mr Hoare, from Amberley in Queensland, is a father-of-three who celebrated his birthday in Iraq last month. His family, which includes his partner Mollyjoe Collis, have been told of his death. His sons James and Trent, and daughter Jennifer recently wrote heartfelt birthday messages to him on his Facebook account. "Hi Daddy, Have a good 37th B'day . . . I hope your (sic) not too lonely in Iraq without me. What did your cake taste like? Your (sic) the best Dad in the world. Lots of Love your favourite daughter Jennifer."
His sons wrote: "Hi Daddy . . . Happy B'day Daddy . . . I hope you've had a good time. Love Trent", while James said, "Happy B'day Dad. Wish I could be there with you", to which Mr Hoare replied he wished he was at home. The contractor has been charged with murder. "It started as a squabble," Iraqi military spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi said. "The suspect is facing a premeditated murder charge." It was the second incident in less than three months involving contractor killings.
The accused could be the first Westerner to face an Iraqi trial on murder charges since a new security pact took effect on January 1. (Edited from: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25907359-5006786,00.html
Documentary on stories of Catholic Women under Communism
CNA reports of a new documentary tells the stories of Greek and Roman Catholic women religious who lived their faith under communist harassment and persecution in Eastern and Central Europe.
The one-hour documentary, “Interrupted Lives: Catholic Sisters Under European Communism,” will be distributed to ABC television stations and affiliates on September 13. It will be scheduled at the discretion of local stations.
Between World War II and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, many women religious endured imprisonment, exile to Siberia, forced farm and factory labor, deportation, seizure of their schools and hospitals and even expulsion from their convents.
Some sisters were nurses or educators while others cared for orphans, the elderly and the mentally ill, a Friday press release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) says. “Interrupted Lives” tells their stories and interviews the “secret sisters” who joined religious life during the Communist period and lived their vocations in the underground.
The sisters and European scholars interviewed offer a “powerful testimony to the faith, courage and endurance of these religious women,” the USCCB says. “Their own stories raise awareness of those who still today undergo persecution for political or religious beliefs.”
The documentary was filmed on location in Ukraine, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and the United States. It tells the sisters’ stories, taking viewers to the apartments, prisons, concentration convents and seized properties where Communism affected the sisters’ lives.
Sr. Margaret Nacke, a Sister of St. Joseph, was one of the executive producers of the documentary.
“We are inspired and strengthened by the faith and commitment of these sisters who endured over forty years of oppression under communism,” she said.
“Interrupted Lives” is part of the Vision & Values series created by the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission. Its members include the USCCB, the National Council of Churches of Christ, the Islamic Society of North America, and a consortium of national Jewish organizations.
The program was produced by NewGroup Media of South Bend, Ind. with Sister Nacke and Sister of St. Joseph Mary Savoie as executive producers. It was funded in part by the USCCB’s Catholic Communication Campaign and Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe.
More information on the documentary is available at http://www.interfaithbroadcasting.com/.
(Edited from: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=16799
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
October 12, 1891, Breslau, German Empire
August 9, 1942, Auschwitz concentration camp, Nazi-occupied Poland
May 1, 1987, Cologne, Germany by Pope John Paul II
Europe; loss of parents; martyrs; World Youth Day
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, was born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland), on 12 October 1891, the youngest of 11.
Edith's father, who ran a timber business, died when she had just turned two.
On 1 January 1922 Edith Stein was baptized.
Edith Stein entered the Carmelite convent of Cologne on 14 October and was clothed in the habit on 15 April 1934. Edith Stein was arrested by the Gestapo on 2 August 1942, while she was in the chapel with the other sisters. She was to report within five minutes, together with her sister Rosa, who had also converted and was serving at the Echt convent. Her last words to be heard in Echt were addressed to Rosa: "Come, we are going for our people".
On 7 August, early in the morning, 987 Jews were deported to Auschwitz. It was probably on 9 August that Sr Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, her sister and many others of her people were gassed.
(Edited with picture from: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/T/stteresabenedictaofthecross.asp
Good example is the most efficacious apostolate. You must be as lighted lanterns and shine like brilliant chandeliers among men. By your good example and your words, animate others to know and love God. St. Mary Joseph Rossello
TODAY'S MASS READINGS
1 Kings 19: 4 - 8
But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree; and he asked that he might die, saying, "It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers."
And he lay down and slept under a broom tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, "Arise and eat."
And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank, and lay down again.
And the angel of the LORD came again a second time, and touched him, and said, "Arise and eat, else the journey will be too great for you."
And he arose, and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.
Psalms 34: 2 - 9
My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad.
O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!
O fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no want!
Ephesians 4: 30 - 32
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice,
and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. -Ephesians 5: 1 - 2
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
John 6: 41 - 51
The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven."
They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, `I have come down from heaven'?"
Jesus answered them, "Do not murmur among yourselves.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.' Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father.
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."