Tuesday, October 6, 2009





SECOND GENERAL CONGREGATION VATICAN CITY, 5 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Second General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops began at 4.30 p.m. today in the Synod Hall, in the presence of the Holy Father. The session was dedicated to the presentation of five reports on how the theme of the Synod is perceived on five continents: South America, North America, Asia, Europe and Oceania, and a single report on the Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Africa". The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and there were 227 Synod Fathers present.

SOUTH AMERICA: ARCHBISHOP RAYMUNDO DAMASCENO ASSIS OF APARECIDA, BRAZIL, AND PRESIDENT OF THE LATIN AMERICAN EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE (CELAM). "I would like to suggest some points that could be a theme for dialogue for a possible fraternal exchange between the Churches of the two continents. From the episcopal point of view, we could share with Africa the great wealth of the 54 years of existence of the episcopal organisation I represent: the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM), an instrument of episcopal communion and mutual service among our bishops. Another possibility would be - with the support of the Holy See - to invite bishops of the Catholic Church on both continents for an exchange of collegial, pastoral and organisational experiences ... As concerns seminarians and priests, I think that it would be possible, and mutually enriching, to offer the seminaries of particular Churches in Latin America, which have greater resources, for the first period of priestly formation".

NORTH AMERICA: ARCHBISHOP WILTON DANIEL GREGORY OF ATLANTA, U.S.A. "The Church in the U.S.A. continues to benefit from those people from Africa who recently have come as visitors and new residents to our shores. These new arrivals come, not like those of an earlier moment in time, wearing chains and as human chattel, but as skilled workers, professionally trained businessmen, and students eager to make a new life in a land that they view as promising. Many of these new peoples bring with them a profound and dynamic Catholic faith with its rich spiritual heritage. These wonderful people challenge us to rediscover our own spiritual traditions that so often are set aside because of the influence of our secular pursuits".

ASIA: ARCHBISHOP ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO O.M.I. OF COTABATO, PHILIPPINES, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION OF ASIAN BISHOPS' CONFERENCES (FABC). "The Church in Africa and the Church in Asia are raising questions of deep import. ... As I understand it, the Church in Africa is exploring the theological and pastoral implications of the Church as the Family of God. For us in Asia, guided by Holy Scripture and the living Magisterium of the Church, we have been led by the Holy Spirit, we believe, to explore in the Asian context the theology of Church as communion and as humble servant of the Gospel and of Asian peoples. This theological perspective has opened up the pastoral option of ongoing radical renewal of the Church in Asia, an option more of being than of doing. ... The Church in Africa and the Church in Asia bear similar experiences of sorrow and joy. Sorrow at the many forces of a culture of death ... such as the increasing poverty and marginalisation of our peoples; ... injustices against women and. children; ... our inability to compete with the powerful in a global economic order unguided by juridical and moral norms; religious intolerance instead of a dialogue of reason and faith. ... On the other hand we experience great joy and hope in movements of justice and peace, ... in the solidarity of people of good will from different social classes and religious traditions to work for a more just, more peaceful, more fraternal social order".

OCEANIA: BISHOP PETER WILLIAM INGHAM OF WOLLONGONG AUSTRALIA, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS' CONFERENCES OF OCEANIA (FCBCO). "As in Africa, the Church now exists in Oceania, because of heroic missionaries who came mainly from Ireland, France, Germany and Italy. The faith in Oceania also has some wonderful role models in martyrs and saints in addition to those already canonised and beatified, but nowhere near the glorious tradition of saints and martyrs that witness to the faith in Africa. ... In both Oceania and Africa, great work is being done by the Church and its agencies to help people recover their equilibrium in their communities and to manage risks that could arise from natural disasters. We can and must learn from one another. I ask your prayers for Samoa and Tonga in their grief after the recent earthquake and tsunami".

EUROPE: CARDINAL PETER ERDO, ARCHBISHOP OF ESZTERGOM-BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, AND PRESIDENT OF THE "CONSILIUM CONFERENTIARUM EPISCOPORUM EUROPAE" (CCEE). "Christ is the light of the world. He illumines even the darkness of human history, and no obscurity, no hate, no evil can overcome Him. Our hope is in Him. Even if the Church's voice and the witness of each Christian seems weak, even if they often do not appear on the front page of the great communications media, this subtle voice is stronger than any noise, lie, propaganda, or manipulation. We are witnesses to the strength of the martyrs. ... We European Catholics have learned from our own history closely to follow the fate of African Christians, and we have also learned to respect your faithfulness, your witness, and the African martyrs who give their lives - year after year in worryingly-large numbers - for Christ and for His Church, and in the same way also for us. The Church in Africa has earned our gratitude and our profound respect".

ARCHBISHOP LAURENT MONSENGWO PASINYA OF KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. "We must recognise that the spirit and dynamism of the First Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops gave fresh impulse to the life and mission of the Church in Africa. Not only did the local Churches enthusiastically embrace the post-Synodal Exhortation 'Ecclesia in Africa', which they published and presented, but they also followed its directives, options and guidelines, both in calling diocesan synods at national or regional level, and in organising congresses, symposia and seminars on the key theme of Church-Family of God. ... The Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops is called to commit the Church and society in Africa to the path of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace, through justice in truth: 'reconciled in the Church-Family of God for the salvation of a numerous people'".SE/SECOND CONGREGATION/... VIS 091006 (1100)

THIRD GENERAL CONGREGATION VATICAN CITY, 6 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Third General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops began this morning in the presence of the Holy Father. The session was attended by 226 Synod Fathers, and the president delegate on duty was Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier O.F.M., archbishop of Durban, South Africa. At the beginning of today's session His Holiness Abuna Paulos, patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, addressed participants, thanking the Pope for his invitation to participate in this Synod. "We have to exercise our peculiar responsibility as religious leaders and heads of Churches: to acknowledge and sustain, when we deem it necessary, the suggestions that come from the people, as, on the contrary, to reject them when they contradict the respect and love for Man", said the patriarch speaking English. "African religious leaders not only have to worry about social work but also answer the great spiritual needs of the women and men of Africa. Apostleship and social works cannot be treated separately. Social work is the meaning of apostleship. Apostleship is the root of a real and compassionate social work. Our land needs to be nourished by the teachings of its religious fathers and I feel obliged together with you to translate in practice our preaching. I feel the imperative to enhance the awareness of the people to honour life, peace and justice. Thus, leaders of the African Churches, with the power of the Almighty God and of the Holy Spirit, need to voice the language of the Church". The Pope responded briefly to the patriarch's words. "Your presence", he said, also in English, "bears eloquent witness to the antiquity and rich traditions of the Church in Africa. ... Your people's fidelity to the Gospel continues to be shown not only by their obedience to this law of love, but also, as you have reminded us, by perseverance amid persecution and the supreme sacrifice of martyrdom for the name of Christ. "Your Holiness has recalled", the Benedict XVI added, "that the proclamation of the Gospel cannot be separated from the commitment to build a society which conforms to God's will, respects the blessings of His creation and protects the dignity and innocence of all His children. In Christ we know that reconsolidation is possible, justice can prevail, peace can endure! This is the message of hope which we are called to proclaim. This is the promise which the people of Africa long to see fulfilled in our day".

CARDINAL ANGELO SODANO, DEAN OF THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS. "Today we can see more clearly the enormity of the disasters provoked by nationalism and the exaltation of the concept of race. ... How can we forget that also in Africa homicidal rage between different ethnic groups has devastated entire countries? ... I believe we should repeat to everyone, with greater insistence, that love of one's nation (concretely, of one's people, one's compatriots) is certainly a Christian duty, but we also have to add that the deviation of nationalism is wholly un-Christian. ... Christianity favoured the coming together of the peoples of a certain region, giving life to the concept of a people or a nation, with its own specific cultural identity. Christianity, though, has always condemned any deformation in this concept of nation, deformations that frequently descend into nationalism or even racism, the true negation of Christian universality. The truth is that the two basic principles of the Christian community have always been the dignity of each human person, on the one hand, and the unity of the human race, on the other. These are two inviolable frontiers, within which various concepts of nation can evolve, depending on time and place. ... The present 53 African nations will have a great future in the concert of the 192 nations that today make up the entire human family, if they are able to overcome their divisions and co-operate together for the material and spiritual progress of their peoples".

CARDINAL POLYCARP PENGO, ARCHBISHOP OF DAR-ES-SALAAM, TANZANIA, AND PRESIDENT OF THE "SYMPOSIUM DES CONFERENCES EPISCOPALES D'AFRIQUE ET DE MADAGASCAR" (SCEAM). "The theme of this Synod is of great urgency today for the Church in Africa. In order to develop and deepen the theme as required, questions like selfishness, greed for material wealth, ethnicity resulting in ethnic conflicts and others which are the root causes of lack of peace in many Africans societies must be confronted without fear or favour, and be followed up with specific pastoral directives. The wars and conflicts affecting our continent are dividing our people, sowing a culture of violence and destroying the spiritual, social and moral fabric of our societies. It is sad to have to state that there are allegations against some of us pastors being involved either through our omissions or even by direct commissions in these conflicts. In this Synod we must have the courage to denounce even against ourselves things like the misuse of the role and practice of authority, tribalism and ethnocentrism, political partisan of the religious leaders etc. The Church in Africa will not be able to speak with one voice about reconciliation, justice and peace if there is a clear lack of adequate unity and communion and appropriate responsibility for SECAM on the part of individual bishops and national as well as regional episcopal conferences".

ARCHBISHOP FIDELE AGBATCHI OF PARAKOU, BENIN. "The Synodal Fathers should consider the practical aspects - so abundantly underlined in the 'Instrumentum laboris' - of applying the exegetical and theological principles of reconciliation, justice and peace which stem from the One Triune God. ... Such a task carried out by the Synod Fathers would help Africa take up her historical responsibility before the Gospel, which she has received and has the duty to fulfil. ... This would help her rid herself of fear. In fact, Africa is afraid and lives in fear. Jealously protecting her discoveries about the world and nature, she naturally falls into mistrust, suspicion, a defensive attitude, aggressiveness, charlatanism ... and syncretism, facets that contribute to obstructing the search for the true God. How much this continent, mother of us all, hopes to see the even more radiant lustre of the light of the crucified and risen Christ! What I wish for this Synod is a Paschal future and, after so much suffering, the resurrection of Africa".

BISHOP MAROUN ELIAS LAHHAM OF TUNIS, TUNISIA. "The specificity of Islamic-Christian relations in the Churches of North Africa could enrich the experiences of dialogue elsewhere (in Europe or in sub-Saharan Africa) and defuse the reactions of fear and the rejection of Islam that we are beginning to see in certain countries. We all know that fear is a bad counsellor. ... Two propositions: (1) May the Synod for the Middle East, scheduled for October 2010, also include the dioceses of North Africa, especially as regards the Christian minorities and relations and dialogue with Islam. (2) A discussion about Islam in Africa that takes account of the variety of African experiences, from Tunis to Johannesburg".SE/THIRD CONGREGATION/... VIS 091006 (1180)


CNA reports that the Italian daily Il Foglio published an article today entitled "L'ascia del vescovo pellerossa - Charles J. Chaput contro Notre Dame e l'illustre cardinale sedotto dall'abortista Obama" (The ax of the red skin Bishop - Charles J. Chaput against Notre Dame and the illustrious cardinal seduced by the pro-abortion Obama) in which the Archbishop of Denver contests some of the strongly pro-Obama assertions made by Cardinal Georges Cottier last July in the international Catholic magazine "30 Days."
Il Foglio is one of the most influential intellectual dailies in Italy, dedicated more to analyzing than covering the news. Its director is one of the most famous contemporary Italian thinkers, Giuliano Ferrara.
Despite being an agnostic, Ferrara is a long-time admirer of the thought of Joseph Ratzinger.
In its Tuesday edition, Il Foglio published a front page interview with Cardinal Francis George, and devoted its third page to Archbishop Chaput's comments on Cottier's original essay.
The archbishop's article, originally submitted under the more modest title of "Politics, Morality and a President: an American View," focuses on what it meant to American Catholics to have President Obama speak at the University of Notre Dame and be honored with a law degree, an event which Cardinal Cottier, Theologian Emeritus of the Pontifical Household, described in 30 Days in a very positive light.
Catholic News Agency exclusively presents below the full text of Archbishop Chaput's article published today in Il Foglio.
Politics, Morality and a President: an American View
One of the strengths of the Church is her global perspective. In that light, Cardinal Georges Cottier's recent essay on President Barack Obama ("Politics, morality and original sin," 30 Days, No. 5), made a valuable contribution to Catholic discussion of the new American president. Our faith connects us across borders. What happens in one nation may have an impact on many others. World opinion about America's leaders is not only appropriate; it should be welcomed.
And yet, the world does not live and vote in the United States. Americans do. The pastoral realities of any country are best known by the local bishops who shepherd their people. Thus, on the subject of America's leaders, the thoughts of an American bishop may have some value. They may augment the Cardinal's good views by offering a different perspective.
Note that I speak here only for myself. I do not speak for the bishops of the United States as a body, nor for any other individual bishop. Nor will I address President Obama's speech to the Islamic world, which Cardinal Cottier mentions in his own essay. That would require a separate discussion.
I will focus instead on the President's graduation appearance at the University of Notre Dame, and Cardinal Cottier's comments on the President's thinking. I have two motives in doing so.
First, men and women from my own diocese belong to the national Notre Dame community as students, graduates and parents. Every bishop has a stake in the faith of the people in his care, and Notre Dame has never merely been a local Catholic university. It is an icon of the American Catholic experience. Second, when Notre Dame's local bishop vigorously disagrees with the appearance of any speaker, and some 80 other bishops and 300,000 laypeople around the country publicly support the local bishop, then reasonable people must infer that a real problem exists with the speaker – or at least with his appearance at the disputed event. Reasonable people might further choose to defer to the judgment of those Catholic pastors closest to the controversy.
Regrettably and unintentionally, Cardinal Cottier's articulate essay undervalues the gravity of what happened at Notre Dame. It also overvalues the consonance of President Obama's thinking with Catholic teaching.
There are several key points to remember here.
First, resistance to President Obama's appearance at Notre Dame had nothing to do with whether he is a good or bad man. He is obviously a gifted man. He has many good moral and political instincts, and an admirable devotion to his family. These things matter. But unfortunately, so does this: The President's views on vital bioethical issues, including but not limited to abortion, differ sharply from Catholic teaching. This is why he has enjoyed the strong support of major "abortion rights" groups for many years. Much is made, in some religious circles, of the President's sympathy for Catholic social teaching. But defense of the unborn child is a demand of social justice. There is no "social justice" if the youngest and weakest among us can be legally killed. Good programs for the poor are vital, but they can never excuse this fundamental violation of human rights.
Second, at a different moment and under different circumstances, the conflict at Notre Dame might have faded away if the university had simply asked the President to give a lecture or public address. But at a time when the American bishops as a body had already voiced strong concern about the new administration's abortion policies, Notre Dame not only made the President the centerpiece of its graduation events, but also granted him an honorary doctorate of laws – this, despite his deeply troubling views on abortion law and related social issues.
The real source of Catholic frustration with President Obama's appearance at Notre Dame was his overt, negative public voting and speaking record on abortion and other problematic issues. By its actions, Notre Dame ignored and violated the guidance of America's bishops in their 2004 document, "Catholics in Political Life." In that text, the bishops urged Catholic institutions to refrain from honoring public officials who disagreed with Church teaching on grave matters.
Thus, the fierce debate in American Catholic circles this spring over the Notre Dame honor for Mr. Obama was not finally about partisan politics. It was about serious issues of Catholic belief, identity and witness – triggered by Mr. Obama's views -- which Cardinal Cottier, writing from outside the American context, may have misunderstood.
Third, the Cardinal wisely notes points of contact between President Obama's frequently stated search for political "common ground" and the Catholic emphasis on pursing the "common good." These goals – seeking common ground and pursuing the common good – can often coincide. But they are not the same thing. They can sharply diverge in practice. So-called "common ground" abortion policies may actually attack the common good because they imply a false unity; they create a ledge of shared public agreement too narrow and too weak to sustain the weight of a real moral consensus. The common good is never served by tolerance for killing the weak – beginning with the unborn.
Fourth, Cardinal Cottier rightly reminds his readers of the mutual respect and cooperative spirit required by citizenship in a pluralist democracy. But pluralism is never an end in itself. It is never an excuse for inaction. As President Obama himself acknowledged at Notre Dame, democracy depends for its health on people of conviction fighting hard in the public square for what they believe – peacefully, legally but vigorously and without apologies.
Unfortunately, the President also added the curious remark that ". . . the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt . . . This doubt should not push us away from our faith. But it should humble us." In a sense, of course, this is true: On this side of eternity, doubt is part of the human predicament. But doubt is the absence of something; it is not a positive value. Insofar as it inoculates believers from acting on the demands of faith, doubt is a fatal weakness.
The habit of doubt fits much too comfortably with a kind of "baptized unbelief;" a Christianity that is little more than a vague tribal loyalty and a convenient spiritual vocabulary. Too often in recent American experience, pluralism and doubt have become alibis for Catholic moral and political lethargy. Perhaps Europe is different. But I would suggest that our current historical moment -- which both European and American Catholics share -- is very far from the social circumstances facing the early Christian legislators mentioned by the Cardinal. They had faith, and they also had the zeal – tempered by patience and intelligence – to incarnate the moral content of their faith explicitly in culture. In other words, they were building a civilization shaped by Christian belief. Something very different is happening now.
Cardinal Cottier's essay gives witness to his own generous spirit. I was struck in particular by his praise for President Obama's "humble realism." I hope he's right. American Catholics want him to be right. Humility and realism are the soil where a commonsense, modest, human-scaled and moral politics can grow. Whether President Obama can provide this kind of leadership remains to be seen. We have a duty to pray for him -- so that he can, and does.
CNA reports that the Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, remarked to Catholics recently that the Venezuelan government decided long ago to expel religion from schools, and therefore they should avoid the temptation to fall into secularism or yield to its onslaught.
“This is the immense challenge that we face, amidst the onslaught of secularism. Once we learn of the laws and norms that will exclude religious education—which was never obligatory or compulsive—from school curricula and the school day, we will have to come up with creative ways to carry out our sublime mission,” the cardinal said.
While noting that the new federal law does not in itself prohibit religious education from the classroom, the implementation of the law is where the attempt will be made to do so, he explained.
This is the interpretation that has already been applied to the new law in certain regions of the country, the cardinal warned, saying the government had long decided it would move to expel religion education from schools.
Cardinal Urosa stressed that evangelization through education is also part of the Church’s mission, and therefore he called for the defense of “the identity of Catholic schools and insistence on our right to educate students in the faith.”
“If there is a temptation in which we must not fall it is the temptation of secularism, of softening the proclamation of our faith, of giving up carrying out the glorious mission of being messengers of the Kingdom of God, of resigning ourselves to do nothing about it,” the cardinal said. Cardinal Urosa recalled the words of Christ, telling his flock, “Be not afraid” and trust in the Lord. “We have the structures, the personnel, the experience, and above all, we have the grace of God,” he added.
Venezuela’s new law on education was approved by the National Assembly, which is dominated by the party of Hugo Chavez. The vote was pushed through without any consultation with the opposition or other sectors of society. (SOURCE:
CNS reports that for the "cycle of violence, humiliation, oppression and exploitation" in Zimbabwe to stop, the truth about the country's violence needs to be told, said Zimbabwe's Catholic bishops."We recommend that there be open and public admission that violence has been part of our life and history," the bishops said, noting that "victims need to tell their stories in a free and supportive environment" and perpetrators "need to take responsibility for their sins."In an Oct. 1 pastoral letter on national healing and reconciliation, the bishops said "the church is prepared to offer the mechanism" and to "play a significant role not only in healing and cohesion but also in the much-needed reconciliation."They said those who have used their positions of power "to direct, command, plan or directly commit acts of violence should not be allowed to hold any public office" that could be used to perpetrate further violence."For national reconciliation and healing to take place effectively, it is necessary that the entire nation participates in a comprehensive, all-inclusive, holistic and clearly defined national process underpinned by strong political will and desire to reconcile and heal the nation," the bishops said.When Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980, "we all pretended that we could start afresh in a new Zimbabwe without dealing with our past or defining collectively what future we desired for our nation," the bishops said."We pretended that the anger and hatred that had accumulated over many years could simply vanish with independence. This failure to deal with our past continues to haunt us," they said.The southern African country's "political history is characterized by the use of state institutions as partisan tools to support the ruling party," they said, noting that people "who have opposed the ruling party have been marginalized and sometimes criminalized" and the lack of space for "healthy political debates" has caused "frustration and resentment."The main cause of conflicts in Zimbabwe "is the consistent violation of human dignity and therefore human rights," the bishops said.Noting that Zimbabweans have "a second chance" that they must use, the bishops urged the government "to show political willingness by creating a conducive environment for national healing, reconciliation and integration."Under the deal that brought President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change into a coalition government in February, the parties agreed to consider setting up a mechanism for national healing, the bishops said.There is a general admission in Zimbabwe "that our situation is a real crisis which cannot be left unattended," the bishops said, noting that while the deal that led to the coalition government has limitations they regard it "as a moment of grace that can and should be turned into a new beginning.""Genuine healing and reconciliation can only take place when the environment is open, free and democratic," they said, noting that "when such an environment does not exist, as is currently the case, the church commits herself to working toward its establishment."The bishops said Zimbabwe "is deeply divided" politically and, besides having conflict between different racial groups, its painful history includes "hurtful memories from ethnic rivalry" between the Shona and Ndebele people."We, as leaders of the church, are committed to helping this country achieve normalcy," they said.Calling on all people of good will, the government and civil society "to support this effort to heal those who have been wounded" in Zimbabwe, the bishops said "restorative justice will help to heal those whose rights were undermined and, with the help of the Lord, they will achieve reconciliation and peace."This is not "an easy or short-term task," they said, noting that they have begun this work in caring for victims of "inhuman torture" and "desire to complete it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit."The bishops appealed "to the perpetrators of these atrocities, accomplices and instigators of violence to acknowledge the evil deeds" and to make restitution.They also appealed to the victims to forgive, noting that this is difficult."Do not expect total compensation but what the community can afford," they said."We are all guilty, for those who have been victims at one time have been aggressors at another, and many more have done nothing in the face of atrocities perpetrated before their eyes. Today, we all need healing from these hurts and from our guilt," they said.Noting that reconciliation is a "demanding responsibility which calls for great commitment, dedication and sacrifice," the bishops said a framework for national healing and reconciliation drawn up by Zimbabwe's churches and civil society in May "could serve as a starting point for healing our nation."The framework "proposes a comprehensive process for intervention" by the government, the church, civil society and other sectors, they said. (SOURCE:


Cath News reports that the Federal Government's School Enrolment and Attendance Measure, to link school attendance with welfare payments in six Northern Territory communities, is being hampered by a critical lack of resources.
The measure, introduced earlier this year, is being compromised because teachers in the schools charged with implementing it were only able to follow up with a fraction of the families whose children don't attend school, The Australian reports.
The principal of the Tiwi Islands' Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic School at Nguiu, Leah Kerinauia, said 29 children were identified who were chronically absent from school. The school was only able to prioritise five cases per term.
Ms Kerinauia said the school had relied on a liaison officer to help it deal with the significant workload involved in negotiating with parents who did not send their children to school. With 248 children enrolled and only 10 teachers, the exercise was time consuming.
The SEAM program asks school principals to inform the NT education department or the Catholic Education Office about students who regularly miss school. The departments can recommend to Centrelink that the child's parents have their welfare payments suspended.



UCAN reports that Chinese Catholics say they appreciate the holding of cultural celebrations, such as the Mid-Autumn Festival, in church.
Children gather in church with their lanterns
At least six parishes in the predominantly-Chinese city state celebrated the Oct. 3 Chinese festival in some way recently.
At Blessed Sacrament Church, children, accompanied by parents and catechists, held paper lanterns and walked in procession around the church after a special Children’s Mass held in the evening.
Carrying lanterns is part of the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations that Chinese celebrate on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar.
During the Children’s Mass, paper lanterns were also given as offertory gifts. Mooncakes were distributed to parishioners after the celebrations.
Parish organizers said the Mass aimed to commemorate the canonization of Blessed Damien of Molokai scheduled for Oct. 11, and the carrying of lanterns was to encourage children to be the “light of the world,” just as Blessed Damien was.
The Belgian priest ministered to leprosy patients in Hawaii in the 19th century. He died of the disease in 1889. The Blessed Sacrament Church in Singapore is run by the same congregation that Blessed Damien belonged to, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Parishioner David Woon, 35, said the special Mass and lantern procession was “a very good event” which brought “children and families together.”
“I hope such events continue,” he said, adding that he found the incorporation of such cultural celebrations in church meaningful.
Another parishioner, Catherine Chia, 60, speaking in Mandarin, said: “Most people think Chinese traditions and the Catholic Church do not link. But Chinese customs are not incompatible with the Church. We do invite our non-Catholic friends and relatives to join such festivities.”
Massgoers sampling mooncakes at the Church of the Holy Trinity
At the Church of the Holy Trinity, which celebrated the festival a day earlier, parishioners set up a stall for people to sample mooncakes.
They also organized a magic show and lantern procession, while Mandarin-Chinese speaking parishioners put on song performances.
For Indian national Albert Christudasen, 34, who has lived in Singapore for nine years, the celebration evoked memories of the harvest festival back home where Catholics would celebrate with a Mass and a social gathering.
“We celebrate the culture behind the festival,” he said. “To me, it’s blending the local culture with the Catholic culture to give us a better identity.”
Other parishes which celebrated the festival included the Church of St. Mary of the Angels, St. Anne’s Church, Church of St. Bernadette and Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Father Henry Siew, pastor of Nativity church, said Catholics celebrate various cultural feasts when there are big congregations of believers from those cultures. This is “the integration of cultures and faith,” he said. “These festivities are occasions to build a communion of communities in line with the Church’s understanding of Church as a community of love.”
Parishes in Singapore also celebrate the Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year with a special Mass during which oranges are blessed and distributed.
Various Chinese linguistic groups form about 75 percent of Singapore's nearly 5 million people.


St. Bruno
Feast: October 6
Feast Day:
October 6
1030 at Cologne, Germany
1101 at Torre, Calabria, Italy
Patron of:
possessed people

Confessor, ecclesiastical writer, and founder of the Carthusian Order. He was born at Cologne about the year 1030; died 6 October, 1101. He is usually represented with a death's head in his hands, a book and a cross, or crowned with seven stars; or with a roll bearing the device O Bonitas. His feast is kept on the 6th of October.
According to tradition, St. Bruno belonged to the family of Hartenfaust, or Hardebüst, one of the principal families of the city, and it is in remembrance of this origin that different members of the family of Hartenfaust have received from the Carthusians either some special prayers for the dead, as in the case of Peter Bruno Hartenfaust in 1714, and Louis Alexander Hartenfaust, Baron of Laach, in 1740; or a personal affiliation with the order, as with Louis Bruno of Hardevüst, Baron of Laach and Burgomaster of the town of Bergues-S. Winnoc, in the Diocese of Cambrai, with whom the Hardevüst family in the male line became extinct on 22 March, 1784.
We have little information about the childhood and youth of St. Bruno. Born at Cologne, he would have studied at the city college, or collegial of St. Cunibert. While still quite young (a pueris) he went to complete his education at Reims, attracted by the reputation of the episcopal school and of its director, Heriman. There he finished his classical studies and perfected himself in the sacred sciences which at that time consisted principally of the study of Holy Scripture and of the Fathers. He became there, according to the testimony of his contemporaries, learned both in human and in Divine science. (SOURCE:


Luke 10: 38 - 42

38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house.

39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me."

41 But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;

42 one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her."




VATICAN CITY, 4 OCT 2009 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. today in the Vatican

Basilica, Benedict XVI presided at a Eucharistic concelebration with 239 Synod Fathers and 55 collaborators, for the opening of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, which will be held in the Vatican's Synod Hall until 25 October.
In his homily, the Holy Father commented on three aspects of today's liturgy of the Word that are, he said, "particularly apt in accompanying the opening of a synodal assembly dedicated to Africa": the primacy of God, Creator and Lord; marriage; and children.
"As to the first aspect,Africa is the repository of an inestimable treasure for the whole world: its deep sense of God. ... When we speak of the treasures of Africa, our thoughts immediately turn to the resources its land is rich in and that, unfortunately, have become and often continue to be a reason for exploitation, conflict and corruption. The Word of God, instead, makes us look at another inheritance: the spiritual and cultural inheritance, of which humanity has even greater need than it does of raw materials".
Africa, the Pope went on, "represents an enormous spiritual 'lung' for a humanity that appears to be in a crisis of faith and hope. But this 'lung' can take ill as well. And, at the moment, at least two dangerous pathologies are attacking it: firstly, an illness that is already widespread in the West, that is, practical materialism, combined with relativist and nihilist thinking".
"There is", he went on, "absolutely no doubt that the so-called First World has exported and continues to export its spiritual toxic waste that contaminates the peoples of other continents, in particular those of Africa. In this sense, colonialism which is over at a political level, has never really entirely come to an end".
The "second 'virus' that could hit Africa", he said, "is religious fundamentalism, mixed with political and economic interests. Groups who follow various religious creeds are spreading throughout the continent of Africa: they do so in God's name, but following a logic that is opposed to divine logic, that is, teaching and practicing not love and respect for freedom, but intolerance and violence".
Matrimony, the Holy Father went on, "as it is presented to us in the Bible, does not exist outside of the relationship with God. Married life between a man and a woman, and therefore of the family that springs from that, is inscribed into the communion with God and, in the light of the New Testament, becomes the symbol of Trinitarian love and the Sacrament of the union of Christ with the Church. In as much as it protects and develops its faith, Africa will discover immense resources to support the family built on matrimony".
In the episode in which Jesus welcomes the children, the Pope explained, "we see the image of the Church that, in Africa, and in every other part of the planet, demonstrates her maternal concern especially for the smallest, even before they are born".
"Naturally, the primary task of evangelisation remains valid and relevant, or rather of new evangelisation that takes account of the rapid social changes of our era and the phenomenon of globalisation".
The present Synod - which has as its theme "The Church in Africa, at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. 'You are the salt of the earth, ... you are the light of the world'" - is, said the Holy Father, "the propitious moment to rethink pastoral activity and renew the impulse of evangelisation. To become the light of the world and the salt of the earth one must always aim at the 'high measure' of Christian life, that is to say holiness".
"May the Church in Africa always be a family of true disciples of Christ, where the difference between the different ethnic groups becomes a reason and a stimulus for mutual human and spiritual enrichment", he said.
The Holy Father also highlighted how reconciliation "is the stable foundation upon which peace is built, the necessary condition for the true progress of mankind and society, according to the project of justice ordained by God".
Before concluding his homily, the Pope called upon everyone to pray for the fruits of the Second Special Assembly for Africa, which begins its work tomorrow.



VATICAN CITY, 4 OCT 2009 (VIS) - At midday today, following the Eucharistic concelebration with Synod Fathers in the Vatican Basilica for the opening of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
"The Synod", he told them, "is always an intense ecclesial experience, an experience of collegial pastoral responsibility that focuses on a specific aspect of life in the Church or, as in this case, a specific segment of the Christian people defined on the basis of geographical area. The Pope and his closest collaborators gather with the designated members of the assembly, with experts and auditors, to study the chosen theme.
"It is important to stress that this is not a study session or a planning assembly", he added. "We all know that it is not us who are not the main players, it is the Lord, the Holy Spirit Who guides the Church. What is important is for everyone to listen: to listen to one another and, all together, to listen to what the Lord wishes to tell us".
"Africa is a continent with extraordinary human wealth", he went on. "Currently its population numbers around one billion people, and its overall birth-rate is the highest in the world. Africa is a land rich in human life, but unfortunately this life is marked by many forms of poverty and sometimes suffers great injustice. The Church is committed to overcoming these things with the power of the Gospel and the concrete solidarity of many charitable institutions and initiatives".
After praying the Angelus the Pope spoke of his concern for "people of the Pacific and of Southeast Asia, who in recent days have been struck by violent natural catastrophes: the tsunami in Samoa and Tonga; the typhoon in the Philippines that then went on to affect Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and the devastating earthquake in Indonesia. ... My thoughts also go to those suffering for the floods in Sicily, especially in the area of Messina. I invite everyone to join me in prayer for the victims and their loved ones. ... I appeal that these our brothers and sisters may not lack our solidarity and the support of the international community".
He went on: "Nor can I forget the conflicts currently endangering the peace and security of the people of Africa. Over these days I have followed with grave concern the episodes of violence that have affected the people of Guinea. My condolences go to the victims' families, as I invite all parties to engage in dialogue and reconciliation, certain they will spare no efforts to reach a just and equitable solution".



VATICAN CITY, 5 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The first General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops was held this morning in the Synod Hall. The meeting was presided by the Pope, and 226 Synod Fathers were present.
Benedict XVI made some brief opening remarks in which he referred to the problems of Africa and to the goals of reconciliation, justice and peace. "It is right to carry out empirical studies", he said, "yet practical analyses, though conducted with precision and competence, do not indicate the true problems of the world if we do not see everything in the light of God".
"Hence", he explained, "our analyses are deficient if we do not realise that behind the injustice of corruption, and all such things, is an unjust heart, a closure towards God and thus a falsification of the fundamental relationship upon which all other relationships are founded".
Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and president delegate on duty, also pronounced some brief words at the beginning of this morning's session.
Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, then explained the activities of the council of the secretariat general since the last synodal assembly (First Special Assembly for Africa of 1994) and illustrated the preparations for the current Synod.
Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, relator general of the Synod, then read out the English-language "Relatio ante disceptationem", (report before the discussion) of which extracts are given below:
"Pope John Paul II described the 1994 Synod, which he concluded with the promulgation of his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation 'Ecclesia in Africa', as a 'Synod of resurrection and hope'. That synod assembly, which had been convoked against the background of a predominantly pessimistic world view of Africa, and against a background of a peculiarly challenging and a 'deplorably unfavourable' situation of the continent for the evangelizing mission of the Church in those closing years of the twentieth century, was nevertheless expected to mark a turning point in the history of the continent".
"The situation on the continent was as harshly ambivalent as it was paradoxical; and the close succession of such events as the collapse of apartheid and the sad outbreak of the Rwandan genocide typified this paradox very well. In view of this paradoxical blend, in which evil and distress seemed to prevail over good and virtue, the Paschal setting of the First Special Assembly for Africa inspired a message of hope for Africa".
"This post-synodal period is now in its fourteenth year; and while the situation of the continent, its islands, and of the Church still bears some of the 'lights and shadows' that occasioned the first Synod, it has also 'changed considerably. This new reality requires a thorough study in view of renewed evangelisation efforts, which call for a more in-depth analysis of specific topics, important for the present and future of the Catholic Church on the great continent'".
The Cardinal then listed some ecclesial data concerning "the exceptional growth of the church in Africa: ... The ascendancy of African members of missionary congregations to leadership positions and roles: council members, vicars general, and even superiors general. The pursuit of self-reliance on the part of local Churches. ... An observable growth in ecclesiastical structures and institutions" He also listed some of the "formidable challenges" facing the Church in Africa: "The talk about a thriving Church in Africa conceals the fact that the Church hardly exists in large parts north of the equator. The exceptionally growing Church in Africa is to be found generally south of the Sahara. The fidelity and commitment of some clergy and religious to their vocations. ... The loss of members to new religious movements and sects".

"In 1963, at a meeting of the Organization for African Unity, African leaders decided to retain a vestige of the colonial rule, maintaining the colonial boundaries and descriptions of states, regardless of their artificial character. That decision, however, has not been followed by a corresponding development of a sense of nationalism that makes ethnic diversity mutually enriching, and that extols the common national good over parochial ethnic interests. Thus ethnic diversity continues to be a seedbed of conflicts and tensions, which even defy the sense of belonging together as members of a Church-Family of God.

Slavery and enslavement, which the Arab world initiated on the East African coast, and Europeans, with the collaboration of Africans themselves, took over into the fourteenth century and extended over the continent, represented forced movement of Africans. These days, the voluntary migration of Africa's sons and daughters to Europe, America and the Far East for various reasons, land them in servile conditions, which require our attention and pastoral care".

"The period after the First Special Assembly for Africa, namely, the dawn of the Third Millennium, appears to have coincided with an emerging continental desire on the part of African leaders themselves for an 'African renaissance'. ... African political leaders appear determined to change the face of political administration on the continent; and they have spearheaded a critical self-appraisal of Africa, which identified poor and bad governance on the continent as the cause of Africa's poverty and woes. Accordingly, they have charted the path of good governance and the formation a political class, capable of taking the best of ancestral traditions in Africa and integrating them with principles of governance of modern societies. They have adopted a strategic framework (NEPAD) to guide performance, and to set the tone for Africa's renewal through transparent political leadership".
"The radical relationship between governance and economy is clear; and it demonstrates that bad governance begets bad economy. This explains the paradox of the poverty of a continent which is certainly the most richly endowed in the world. The spin-off of this 'governance-economy equation' is that there is hardly any African country that can meet its budgetary obligations, namely, its planned national financial programme, without outside assistance in the form of grants or loans. This continual underwriting of national budgets by means of loans inflates a bludgeoning debt burden. The universal Church joined the Church in Africa in a campaign to eradicate it during the Great Jubilee Year".
"There are also certain global phenomena and international initiatives, whose impact on the African society and some of its structures, are worth assessing, and which pose new challenges to the Church. While the prominence, which is increasingly being given to the place and role of women in society is a happy development, the global emergence of lifestyles, values, attitudes, associations, etc., which destabilize society, is disquieting. These attack the basic props of society (marriage and family), diminish its human capital (migration, drug-pushing and arms' trade) and endanger life on the planet".
"It is clear that, although the continent and the Church on the continent are not yet out of the woods, they can still modestly rejoice in their achievement and positive performance, and begin to disclaim stereotypical generalizations about its conflicts, famine, corruption and bad governance. The forty-eight countries that make up Sub-Sahara Africa show great differences in the situations of their churches, their governance and their socio-economic life. Out of these forty-eight nations, only four: Somalia, Sudan, Niger and parts of Democratic Republic of Congo are presently at war; and at least two are at war because of foreign interference: the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. Indeed, there are fewer wars in Africa than in Asia. Increasingly, war mongers and war criminals are being denounced, held accountable for crimes and prosecuted".
"The truth is that Africa has been burdened for too long by the media with everything that is loathsome to humankind; and it is time to 'shift gears' and to have the truth about Africa told with love, fostering the development of the continent which would lead to the well-being of the whole world. The G8 countries and the countries of the world must love Africa in truth! Generally considered to occupy the tenth position in world economy, Africa is however the second emerging world market after China. Thus, it is as the just-ended G8 summit labelled it, a continent of opportunities. This needs to be true also for the people of the continent. It is hoped that the pursuit of reconciliation, justice and peace, made particularly Christian by their rootedness in love and mercy, would restore wholeness to the Church-Family of God on the continent, and that the latter, as salt of the earth and light of the world, would heal 'wounded human hearts, the ultimate hiding place for the causes of everything destabilizing the African continent'. Thus, will the continent and its islands realize their God-given opportunities and endowments.
"Peace does not have just a secular sense, it being the absence of conflict, the presence of harmony in the home and within the family, individual and communal (national) security and prosperity. Peace, is not just when human beings and their societies fulfil their respective duties and recognize the rights of other persons and societies; and it is not just one of the results of working for justice. Peace essentially transcends the world and human efforts. It is a gift of God bestowed on the 'righteous/just'. ... Peace is an activity that goes beyond strict justice and requires love. It derives from communion with God and is aimed at the wellbeing of man".
When the Synod exhorts the Church in Africa to be 'servants of reconciliation, justice and peace' as 'salt of the earth'", it is "making use of a polyvalent symbol to express the multiple tasks and demands of being a disciple and of being Church (family of God) in Africa. ... On a continent, parts of which live under the shadow of conflict and death, the Church must sow seeds of life: life-giving initiatives. She must preserve the continent and its people from the putrefying effects of hatred, violence, injustice and ethnocentrism. The Church must purify and heal minds and hearts of corrupt and evil ways; and administer her life-giving Gospel message to keep the continent and its people alive".
"At this Synod, the earth and the world, for which Catholics on the continent and its islands must be 'salt' and 'light', as servants of reconciliation, justice and peace are Africa of our day. ... It is there that, Jesus Christ, after revealing Himself through Scriptures as our reconciliation, justice and peace, now calls and commissions His disciples in Africa and its islands to expend themselves, like salt and light, to build the Church in Africa as a veritable family of God through the ministries of reconciliation, justice and peace, exercised in love, like their Master".



VATICAN CITY, 3 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as his special envoy to the closing ceremony of celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the evangelisation of Taiwan, due to take place in Taipei on 22 November.

- As judges of the Court of Appeal of Vatican City State: Msgr. Giovanni Battista Defilippi, Msgr. Agostino De Angelis and Msgr. Giovanni Vaccarotto.

NA/.../... VIS 091005 (80)

CNA reports that the Archdiocese of St. Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro issued a press release this week in which Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta thanked God for the city’s selection as host of the 2016 Olympic Games.

Archbishop Tempesta said, “We are very happy with this celebration and we hope that starting now peace, harmony and joy in our people are promoted even more.”
“May the blessing of the Redeemer and the intercession of St. Sebastian accompany us. Long live Rio 2016!” he exclaimed.
Well-aware of the fact that Rio de Janiero is the most violent city in Latin America, Archbishop Tempesta said a few days ahead of the vote, “Sports are an opportunity both to spread peace and to see to that is possible for people who are different to live side by side with each other.”


CNA reports that during his remarks at the opening of the Plenary Assembly of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe, the prefect for the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, referred to Pope Benedict XVI’s recent encyclical “Caritas en veritate” and said, “Only faith and reason together will save man.”

In his speech the cardinal said, “Reason always needs to be purified by the faith and at the same time religion always needs to be purified by reason in order to show its authentic human face.”
He also stressed the importance of promoting an appropriate relationship between Church and State, “a healthy secularism that allows co-existence and collaboration between faith and reason, so that they mutually help one another.”
The current crisis affecting Europe, Cardinal Re said, “constitutes a challenge” for believers, who must not yield in their efforts to save “non-negotiable values such as life, the family, the centrality of the human person, freedom of education and of religion.”
place of free circulation, but rather it must become an authentic community of nations that desire to unite their destinies and live in justice and solidarity, promoting what Paul VI called the civilization of love.”


CISA reports that an international aid agency has launched £9.5 million emergency food appeal to reach some 750,000 drought-stricken people in East Africa.

Approximately 23 million East Africans are in risk of starvation due to failed rains in the last five years, Oxfam warns.
“A severe and persistent five-year drought, deepened by climate change, is now stretching across seven countries in the region and exacting a heavy human toll, made worse by high food prices and violent conflict,” the charity said.
It cited Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda as the worst affected countries. Other countries hit are Sudan, Djibouti and Tanzania.
Malnutrition is now above emergency levels in some areas and hundreds of thousands of cattle, people’s key source of income, are dying.
Paul Smith Lomas, Oxfam’s East Africa Director said: “This is the worst humanitarian crisis Oxfam has seen in East Africa for over ten years. Failed and unpredictable rains are ever more regular across East Africa as raining seasons shorten due to the growing influence of climate change.”
Lomas said that droughts have increased from once a decade to every two or three years. In Wajir, northern Kenya, almost 200 dead animals were recently found around one dried-up water source. People are surviving on two litres of water a day in some places.
In Kenya, 3.8 million people, a tenth of the population, are in need of emergency aid. Food prices have spiraled to 180 percent above average. In Somalia, half of the population, over 3.8 million people, is affected.
In Ethiopia, 13.7 million people are at risk of severe hunger. Many are selling their cattle to buy food. In northern Uganda farmers have lost half of their crops and more than two million people across the country desperately need aid.
Some 160,000 people mainly around the wild life tourist area of Ngorongoro in north-eastern Tanzania are also at risk. In Djibouti there are worrying levels of increased malnutrition, and in South Sudan conflict has put 88,000 people at particular risk.



UCAN reports that Samuel Magallanes, 49, survived the recent typhoon Ketsana but his 18-year-old son Muelmar did not, dying a hero after saving a reported 30 people in the floods on Sept. 26.
Bagong Silangan residents made homeless by typhoon Ketsana staying in a covered basketball court
Speaking of his loss during a Mass in Bagong Silangan for the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecology, Magallanes spoke of his grief.“It is painful for me that he is gone.”
He went on to tell the congregation of 200 about his family’s ordeal and recounted how his son had helped him climb on to the roof of their home after the water rose to the second floor.
He then helped the older man cross to neighbors’ roofs until they found a safer place.
"Then he told me 'Pa, stay here first, I will help those asking for help,'" the elder Magallanes said. "He knew how to swim so he went to a house where there were many children," Magallanes said.
It was the last time he was to see his son alive.
Despite the big loss to the family, “we are proud of the heroism he showed in helping his neighbor,” he said.
Father Robert Reyes of Cubao diocese, lead organizer of the “Mass of Reconciliation with Nature,” praised Muelmar Magallanes, the “martyr who offered his life to save many others.”
Magallanes and his family are temporarily staying at the basketball court along with some of the 600 displaced residents.
One of them, Fernanda Francisco, told how she had seen Muelmar saving a neighbor when tragedy happened.
“I told him to go to the (local government center) to ask for a boat because he had already rescued many people, but then a wall fell on him,” the 54-year-old woman said.
She said water began rising from 10 a.m. trapping her family in the house. In less than an hour, flood waters reached their second floor.
“We could only manage to grab some clothes to bring to our third floor packed with about 300 people, including a three-month-old baby,” Francisco said.
She said they prayed all night, and when water subsided around 5:30 a.m., theirs was the only house left undamaged and bodies lay in the streets.
Hernando Malubay, 36, praised Muelmar for helping save his child by hauling him through flood waters in a basin. He thanked God for his family's "second life."
Father Reyes later led residents and volunteers who are helping clean up and provide relief services in a procession of a statue of St. Francis around the neighborhood. They carried candles, brooms, medicines and relief goods bought with help from overseas Filipino workers.
Reconciliation was needed because man’s abuse of nature was causing floods and natural disasters, the priest said.
The crowd then went back to continue the clean-up, provide medical help and provide soup kitchens, blessings and the distribution of relief goods.
Volunteers included members of Kubol Pag-asa (tent of hope, civic group), Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabayan (nationalist revolutionary movement), political campaign groups and University of the Philippines and other youth movements.
The number of dead in Bagong Silangan is 42 with 38 other residents still missing.
Father Robert Reyes blesses a Manila area community ravaged by the typhoon
Around the country, the National Disaster Coordinating Council’s (NDCC) Oct. 4 update on Typhoon Ketsana announced official figures of 288 dead and 42 people missing, with 135 dead in Metro Manila alone, 54 in Quezon City northeast of the capital where Bagong Silangan is located and 50 in Marikina City east of Manila.
Bagong Silangan (new east) is a resettlement area of squatters removed from various areas in Metro Manila in the mid-1980s.
It is surrounded by middle-class villages, a dumpsite community and is crossed by two small creeks that rise when it rains. In 2003, houses began mushrooming in the grassy area among the community.
Sister Angie Jamola, a full-time pastoral worker of Franciscan Missionaries of Mary who was away during the flood, welcomed the volunteers saying the feast of the patron of ecology “reminds us that what we do to nature will cause a reaction from nature.”
NDCC on Oct. 5 reported 16 more people died and two were missing after Typhoon Parma hit northern Philippines on Oct. 3. Buenget province more than 200 kilometers northwest of Manila was reportedly worst hit with 10 dead in two landslides in Itogon and La Trinidad towns.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Oct. 2 declared a state of national calamity allowing local government officials to tap five percent of their funds for emergency purposes in anticipation of the second typhoon.


Cath News reports that using fake documents and sad stories about suffering, cancer surgery and her mother dying, Olivia Raymond convinced 83 year old Melbourne priest Father Paul Kane to give her nearly $400,000 from parish accounts and $50,000 of his own.

 court heard that the money, which she stole over a period of about two years, was used for gambling and drugs, said an AAP report in The Australian.
Fr Kane reportedly gave her the sum from accounts belonging to St Matthew's Parish in the north Melbourne suburb of North Fawkner, and from much of his life savings.
Her mother sat in the Victorian County Court as Raymond pleaded guilty to five counts of obtaining property by deception and one of making a false document.
Victoria's chief Crown Prosecutor Gavin Silbert SC, asked Judge Howard Mason to jail Raymond, 31, of Epping, for between three and five years, the report says.
He said the priest was a "very vulnerable" and unworldly elderly man.
Judge Mason remanded Raymond, who is also known as Melissa Edgell, in custody to be sentenced at a date to be fixed.


St. Faustina Kowalska

Feast: October 5
Information: Feast Day: October 5

Born: 25 August 1905, Głogowiec, Poland
Died: October 5, 1938, Kraków, Poland
Canonized: 30 April 2000, Pope John Paul II
Major Shrine: Shrine of Divine Mercy in Łagiewniki, Kraków, Poland
Patron of: World Youth Day

St Mary Faustina Kowalska was born on 25 August 1905 in Glogowiec, Poland, to a poor, religious family of peasants, the third of 10 children. She was baptized with the name Helena in the parish church of Swinice Warckle. From a very tender age she stood out because of her love of prayer, work, obedience and her sensitivity to the poor. At the age of nine she made her First Holy Communion and attended school for three years. At the age of 16 she left home and went to work as a housekeeper in Aleksandrow, Lodz and Ostrowek in order to support herself and to help her parents.
At the age of seven she had already felt the first stirrings of a religious vocation. After finishing school, she wanted to enter the convent but her parents would not give her permission. Called during a vision of the suffering Christ, on 1 August 1925 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and took the name Sr Mary Faustina. She lived in the congregation for 13 years, residing in Krakow, Plock and Vilnius, where she worked as a cook, gardener and porter.
Externally, nothing revealed her rich mystical interior life. She zealously performed her tasks and faithfully observed the rule of religious life. She was recollected, yet very natural, serene and full of kindness and disinterested love for her neighbour. Although her life was apparently insignificant and monotonous, she hid within herself an extraordinary union with God.
It is the mystery of God's mercy, which she contemplated in the word of God as well as in her everyday activities, that forms the basis of her spirituality. The process of contemplating and getting to know the mystery of God's mercy helped to develop within Sr Mary Faustina the attitude of childlike trust in God and of mercy towards her neighbour. "0 my Jesus, each of your saints reflects one of your virtues; I desire to reflect your compassionate heart, full of mercy; I want to glorify it. Let your mercy, 0 Jesus, be impressed upon my heart and soul like a seal, and this will be my badge in this and the future life" (Diary 1242). Sr Faustina was a faithful daughter of the Church. Conscious of her role in the Church, she cooperated with God's mercy in the task of saving lost souls. At the specific request of the Lord Jesus and following his example, she made a sacrifice of her own life for this very goal. Her spiritual life was also distinguished by a love of the Eucharist and a deep devotion to the Mother of Mercy.
The years she spent in the convent were filled with extraordinary gifts, such as revelations, visions, hidden stigmata, participation in the Passion of the Lord, bilocation, the reading of human souls, prophecy and the rare gift of mystical espousal and marriage. Her living relationship with God, the Blessed Mother, the angels, the saints, the souls in purgatory—with the entire supernatural world—was as real for her as the world she perceived with the senses. In spite of being so richly endowed with extraordinary graces, Sr Mary Faustina knew that they do not in fact constitute sanctity. In her Diary she wrote: "Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God" (Diary 1107).

Sr Mary Faustina, consumed by tuberculosis and innumerable sufferings, which she accepted as a voluntary sacrifice for sinners, died in Krakow at the age of 33 on 5 October 1938, with a reputation for spiritual maturity and a mystical union with God. Her reputation for holiness grew, as did the devotion to the Divine Mercy and the graces received from God through her intercession. Pope John Paul II beatified Sr Faustina on 18 April 1993. Her mortal remains rest at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Krakow-Lagiewniki.



Luke 10: 25 - 37

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?"

27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."

28 And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live."

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.

32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion,

34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.'

36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?"

37 He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."