EUROPE: CHOIR PERFORMS AT WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL-
AMERICAS:US: BISHOPS HEALTH CARE REFORM-
AFRICA: KENYA: GOLDEN JUBILEE OF NGONG DIOCESE-
AUSTRALIA:INVESTED MEMBERS OF EQUESTRIAN ORDER OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE-
The concert, which was titled "Young People Against War (1939-2009)" took place yesterday evening in the Auditorium on Rome's Via della Conciliazione.
The musical celebration was played by the "InterRegionales Jugendsinfonie Orchester" and conducted by Jochem Hochstenbach. The programme included compositions by Gustav Mahler and Felix Mendelsshon-Bartholdy and texts by Johan Wolfgang Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Paul Celan and Berthold Brecht, as well as two poems by children imprisoned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, read by Michelle Breedt and Klaus Maria Brandauer.
Organizations that helped put the event together included the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism, the German embassy to the Holy See and the European "KulturForum" of Mainau.
Following the concert, Pope Benedict said that it was a joy for him to participate in the event and that the universal language of music is able to "encourage young people to build the future of the world together, drawing inspiration from the values of peace and the brotherhood of man."
Turning to the fact that it was the tragedy of World War II that occassioned the concert, the Pope called it "a terrible page of history steeped in violence and inhumanity which caused the death of millions of people, leaving the winners divided and Europe to be rebuilt. The war, instigated by National Socialism, affected many innocent peoples in Europe and on other continents, while with the drama of the Shoah it particularly affected the Jewish people, who were victims of a planned extermination."
And yet, the Pontiff noted, "calls for reason and peace were not lacking from many sides. Here in Rome, the heartfelt cry of my venerated predecessor Pius XII rang out. In his radio message of 24 August 1939 - on the very eve of the outbreak of war - he decisively proclaimed: 'nothing is lost with peace. Everything may be lost with war'. ... May the recollection of those sad events be a warning, especially to the new generations, never to yield to the temptation of war."
Pope Benedict then went on to mention the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, "an eloquent symbol of the end of the totalitarian Communist regimes of Eastern Europe," he said. "Europe and the entire world thirst for freedom and peace. Together we must build true civilisation, not founded on force but on the 'fruit of our victory over ourselves, over the powers of injustice, selfishness and hatred which can even go so far as to disfigure man.'"
"The ecumenical movement," he concluded, "can help to build [this civilization], working together with the Jews and with all believers. May God bless us and grant humankind the gift of peace." (SOURCE: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17350
CHOIR PERFORMS AT WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL
Catholic Herald reports that the choir of Notre Dame senior school in Cobham, Surrey, performed before 2,000 people at Westminster Cathedral at evening Mass on September 26, including the Mayor of Elmbridge, Councillor James Vickers, who spoke of the performance as a significant event for the borough. The school is well known for the quality of its music and provided a 120-voice choir, including 90 girls from Year 7 to the sixth form, staff and parents.The opulent Byzantine interior of the Cathedral provided a magnificent backdrop to the Mass celebrated by Bishop Bernard Longley. The bishop made specific reference to Notre Dame senior school's participation at Westminster, one of the most important centres for Catholic worship in the country. For nine years, Bishop Longley was chaplain to the Sisters of the Company of Mary Our Lady, who founded the school in 1937 in Cobham, and he expressed his pleasure at seeing the school singing at the cathedral. Comments from individuals who attended included "awe-inspiring" and "a choir of angels". One member of the audience said the event was "such a spiritually uplifting experience, much needed in these difficult times". Another said the choir was "undoubtedly one of the better school choirs in the country".The congregation expressed its appreciation by giving the choir a round of applause as the singers descended from the choir stalls to have a picture taken with Bishop Longley in front of the altar.The choir's repertoire included an impressive setting of the hymn "Christ Triumphant", in honour of Benedict XVI's ascension to the papacy, the Notre Dame Mass and an Ave Verum, all composed by their director of music, Dr Robin Fenton, who was delighted with the performance. Kathryn Singleton, a vocal tutor at the school, sang the Ave Verum during Holy Communion."The girls responded to this opportunity like true professionals and gave a spine-tingling performance," Dr Fenton said. "I am pleased that they were able to share their talents with such a large congregation. It was an amazing experience for us all and I am sure the girls will be talking about this for a considerable time to come."The performance that Saturday evening was the first part of a programme that will culminate in an appearance at the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela in Spain.St Jeanne de Lestonnac, born in 1556, set up the order of the Company of Mary Our Lady in Bordeaux. Her father was a prominent politician and her mother was drawn to Protestantism by the influence of the Calvinists in France. Jeanne wanted to found an institution which responded to the dearth of formal education of women in 17th century France. Her order is considered to be one of the first such organisations to believe in educating girls and guiding them to independence. She discovered the presence of Jesus in the poor and through charity she met young people who wanted to make a commitment to her apostolic endeavour. (SOURCE: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/life/cl0000500.shtml
Father John Bosco Byeon Seung-sik (second from right) submits to a National Assembly official (extreme left) Catholics' appeal against the death penalty
On Oct. 8, the Korean bishops' Subcommittee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment held a press conference in the National Assembly building, during which they urged lawmakers to end capital punishment.
After the conference, the bishops submitted the petition containing the signatures of 100,481 Catholics, including their own. The appeal came on the same day that 53 Korean lawmakers submitted a bill proposing the abolition of the death penalty.
Father John Bosco Byeon Seung-sik, undersecretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK), said the Catholic Church's appeal was made based on respect for life and human rights.
He recognized that as violent crimes increase, there are those who would like to see executions resume in the country. But he insisted that the international trend is moving toward the abolition of capital punishment, and expressed his hope the 18th National Assembly would do so too.
On Dec. 30, 2007, South Korea marked 10 years since its last executions, when 23 people were hanged, thus becoming an abolitionist country "in practice" as defined by international human rights group Amnesty International.
Presently, there are 58 convicts awaiting execution by hanging.
Father Byeon said the petition was organized to fulfill the wishes of the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan of Seoul, who strongly supported abolition. Cardinal Kim died on Feb. 16 this year.
The petition, started in December last year, was conducted in all 1,543 parishes in South Korea over three months.
The subcommittee decided to wait for the 53 lawmakers to submit their bill before handing in their petition to the Legislative Counseling Office of the National Assembly in order to achieve more impact.
The bill calls for the abolition of the death penalty and its replacement with life imprisonment without parole or commutation. It argues that the death penalty does not deter violent crimes but its abolition would protect and respect human rights.
However, the bill looks likely to be rejected like other similar bills before it.
During the previous National Assembly, an anti-death penalty bill endorsed by 175 legislators -- more than half the assembly -- was submitted. However, conservative lawmakers in the Legislation and Judiciary Committee blocked discussion on it.
According to National Assembly regulations, any proposed bill must be discussed in that committee before being forwarded to the assembly.
In the present National Assembly, 167 lawmakers from the 290-seat house come from the conservative Grand National Party. President Lee Myung-bak, who is from this party, also favors keeping the death penalty.
According to a Ministry of Justice survey last February, 64.1 percent of Koreans are also in favor of capital punishment, while only 18.5 percent oppose it. Others were undecided.
However, Kim Boo-kyum, a main sponsor of the bill from the opposition Democratic Party, expects some progress. He told UCA News, "This time, I got a promise from the chairperson of the committee to discuss the bill."
"If committee members discuss the bill, it will become an issue and their understanding of it will deepen," he said.
The committee chairperson is Peter Lew Seon-ho from the Democratic Party, one of the co-signers of the bill.
Andrew Kim Duck-jin, secretary general of the Catholic Human Rights Committee, told UCA News, "The abolition of the death penalty should not be swayed by party interests since it deals with respecting human life and human rights."
The order's Grand Master, American cardinal John Foley, led the Mass at the cathedral, admitting Senator McGauran, prominent lawyer Anthony Krohn, his wife Anna Krohn, lawyer John Sinisgalli and scientist Marcia Riordan, according to The Age.
The five were given the legal right to ride a horse into St Patrick's Cathedral for the ceremony.
Mr Krohn said the traditional privileges of membership include the right to confer Christian burial on executed criminals. He told the newspaper that Cardinal George Pell, when he was archbishop of Melbourne, was told of the right to ride a horse into church. "Over my dead body," he reportedly replied.
Senator McGauran said it was a deeply personal and soul felt honour that the Church thought he might be a soldier of Christ.
Cardinal Foley knighted the new members in the traditional way, touching each shoulder with a ceremonial sword.
The order was founded to protect pilgrims to the Holy Land. Today its role is still to aid Christians (and others) in the area - Israel, Palestine and Jordan - mainly through funding schools and hospitals. (SOURCE: http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=16939
JESUIT LEADER OF THE COUNTER-REFORMATION
Feast: October 10
October 28, 1510, Valencia, Spain
September 30, 1572, Rome, Italy
1671 by Clement X
relics translated to the Jesuit church in Madrid, Spain in 1901
against earthquakes; Portugal; Rota, Marianas
Francis Borgia, born 28 October, 1510, was the son of Juan Borgia, third Duke of Gandia, and of Juana of Aragon; died 30 September, 1572.
As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!"
But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"