Sunday, January 31, 2010



Asia News report: An invitation to join in prayer for peace in the Holy Land and some thoughts on how many are losing their jobs because of the economic crisis, in the words of Benedict XVI to twenty thousand people present in St Peter's Square, despite the rainy day, after the midday Angelus prayer, before the recital of which the pope spoke of charity, as "the badge of Christianity."
Taking a cue from the passage of St Paul in this Sunday’s liturgy, the so-called "hymn of charity”, the Pope stressed that "Paul shows us the 'path' to perfection. This - he says - does not consist in possessing exceptional qualities: speaking new languages, knowing all mysteries, having wonderful faith or carrying out heroic gestures. Rather it consists in charity - agape - that is in true love, what God has revealed to us in Jesus Christ. Charity is the ‘greatest gift’, which gives value to everything else, but it 'does not boast, it is not swollen with pride,' indeed, it 'rejoices in the truth' and the good of others. Who really loves 'does not seek his own interests', he 'takes no account of evil received', he 'bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things' (cf. 1 Cor 13:4-7). Eventually, when we meet face to face with God, all the other gifts will be less; the only one that will remain forever is charity, because God is love and we shall be like Him, in perfect communion with Him. "
"For now - he continued - while we are in this world, charity is the badge of a Christian. It is the synthesis of his whole life for what he believes and what he does. For this reason, at the beginning of my pontificate, I wanted to dedicate my first Encyclical to the theme of love: Deus Caritas Est. As you recall, this encyclical is composed of two parts, which correspond to the two aspects of love: its meaning, and therefore its implementation. Love is the essence of God himself, it is the sense of creation and history, it is the light that gives goodness and beauty to every human existence. At the same time, love is, so to speak, the 'style' of God and he who believes, it is the behaviour of those who, responding to the love of God, lays down his own life as a gift of self to God and to neighbour. In Jesus Christ these two aspects form a perfect unity: He is Love Incarnate. This love is revealed to us fully in Christ crucified. "
Many themes were touched upon by Benedict XVI, after the Marian prayer. The Holy Land as well as those suffering from leprosy. "The last Sunday of January - he said - is the World Day of Leprosy Suffers. One thinks immediately of Father Damien de Veuster, who gave his life for these brothers and sisters, and who last October, I declared a saint. To his celestial protection I commend all the people who unfortunately are still suffering from this disease, as well as health workers and volunteers who devote themselves so there might be a world without leprosy. I greet in particular the Italian Association Amici di Raoul Follereau”.
"Today - he said then - it also celebrates the second day of intercession for peace in the Holy Land. In communion with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Custody of the Holy Land, I unite myself spiritually in prayer with the many Christians from all over the world, while I warmly greet those who are gathered here for this occasion. "A message of peace - added the Pope – is also brought to us by the boys and girls of Catholic Action Rome." Traditionally, they conclude the month of January with the "Peace Caravan" and the end of the audience two of them are invited to the Papal apartments from where they release two doves from the window, a symbol of peace.
A thought, finally, for those who are losing their jobs, with the statement that "this situation requires a great sense of responsibility on the part of all: employers, workers, governments. “

UCAN report: Father Ewald Hauck Dinter of the Divine Word Missionaries today received the Saint Joseph Freinademetz award in honor of more than 30 years of work with the indigenous Mangyan people on Mindoro Island.
“I never had an agenda to convert but [only] for them to experience the love of God”, the 72-year-old priest told UCA News after accepting the award.
Working with Mangyan people was a “journey” the priest said brought him fulfillment. Walking up to 19 hours to visit the cultural communities to say Masses was no sacrifice, he said.
The German priest arrived in Manila in 1967 after studying anthropology and special courses in addition to philosophy and theology.
Father Dinter said this helped him “get a wider view and grasp” of cultures and languages.
In 1969, he became the first rector of the St. Augustine Major Seminary before serving as Divine Word Provincial Superior for six years.
He began fulltime work with the Mangyan in 1986. That was the highlight of his ministry, he says.
Father Dinter was appointed coordinator of the Mangyan Mission, a Church-based non-governmental organization in Mindoro Oriental, in 1988.
He says education was the most valuable development of the mission.
On February 1989, the Mangyan Mission called 39 Mangyan to plan programs to address their own needs. They identified insecurity over land ownership, preserving their culture, health care, building community, education and earning a livelihood as major issues.
The priest helped collect 36,000 signatures from churchgoers in 1996 to support Mangyan people’s right to their ancestral land and to practice their traditions.
The Mangyan Mission is now part of the South Central Group of the Episcopal Council on Indigenous Program supported by the government’s education department and “adopted” by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Commission on Indigenous People, Father Dinter said.
The award was made by the International Catholic Missionary Congregation of Priests and Brothers and Saint Jude Catholic school.
It is part of the congregation’s commemoration of its centennial in the country (1909-2009).


CNA report: St. Vincent College of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the United States’ oldest Benedictine college, has announced it has chosen as its next president Br. Norman W. Hipps, OSB, a mathematics professor and administrator.
Br. Norman, a Benedictine monk, is presently the college’s executive vice president and dean of the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing, the college reported in a press release.
“I am honored to be given the opportunity to serve as President of Saint Vincent College and I formally accept this appointment with gratitude and humility,” Br. Norman said at a news conference.
He said that for more than 160 years the college has served students by offering an education that prepares students to make a living and also prepares them “how to live.”
“This philosophy of education combines the basics necessary for success in a profession with the creative, life-affirming values of the Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts tradition. We will continue to build on our strong academic programs, as well as our community that makes it possible for us to grow in learning and in love.”
Br. Norman thanked outgoing President Jim Towey for his leadership and said they would work together during the transition.
The monk also thanked his fellow Benedictine brothers, alumni and benefactors for their support.
Towey said he was excited for Br. Norman and the college.
“Br. Norman has been a big part of Saint Vincent College’s success and it is fitting that his decades of leadership on this campus culminate in this appointment,” he commented.
Archabbot Douglas of the St. Vincent Benedictines explained that after a review of candidates it was decided a “superior candidate” was available within the community. He said Br. Norman will pursue the college’s mission with an emphasis on enhancing its financial resources and academic reputation.
J. Christopher Donahue, chair of the college’s board of directors, praised as “unparalleled” Br. Norman’s leadership and administrative skills, his love for the college and his ability to win supporters.
“Furthermore, his endless patience, his wisdom, outstanding educational background and experience, and his demonstrated commitment to community service and to the values and teachings of the Catholic tradition, bring together in one unique individual all of the qualities needed to take Saint Vincent College confidently into the future,” Donohue commented.
Br. Norman professed simple vows with the St. Vincent Benedictines in 1963 and made his solemn vows in 1966. He has served on the faculty of St. Vincent’s College since 1972 and has filled many administrative roles.
His community outreach includes work in small business programs, drug and alcohol abuse prevention projects, and science and math education efforts.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree from St. Vincent College in 1966, he pursued graduate studies in theology at St. Vincent Seminary. At Northwestern University he earned a Master of Arts degree in Mathematics in 1972 and a Ph.D. in Mathematics in 1976.
Br. Norman is a member of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America.
The most recent two presidents of St. Vincent’s College have been laity. With Br. Norman, the college returns to having a president who is a member of the Benedictine Order.(SOURCE:

Cath News report: Catholic schools in Western Australia are making it mandatory for Year 12 students to sit a Tertiary Entrance Exam religion subject.
Students already studying courses like physics and chemistry will have an extra three-hour exam to cram for, reports The Sunday Times. Non-religious students "will be forced to rigorously study Catholic values" to get into university, the paper said.
The report attributes the the idea to make all the students sit a religion exam to Archbishop Barry Hickey.
Catholic Education Office of WA director Ron Dullard conceded the decision had upset some parents.
"Initially, there was some concern," he said. "I don't think the parents totally understood the implications that it actually does count towards their (child's) TEE and university entrance - and the fact that, irrespective of whether they were doing the exam, they still had to devote that amount of time as part of the policy of their Catholic education obligation to religion anyway."
The subject Religion and Life was designed to be non-denominational by the Curriculum Council so that students from every school could study it, the report adds. (SOURCE:

All report:
Unidentified gunmen have shot and killed two traditional elders in Harardere town in Mudug region overnight, just as tense situation between the Somali pirates rose in Hobyo, a strong hold of the Somali pirates in the north of the country.
Locals said that unknown armed gunmen opened fire at each other at Harardere town and caused the deaths of two traditional elders who were round where the fire exchange happened as they were trying to negotiate gunmen who were fighting adding that most of the people in town had expressed shocking about the murdering.
The murderers escaped instantly as they shot the elders who were trying to solve the two men according the reports from Harardere town on Saturday morning in Mudug region and it is unclear the main aim of the two sides' gun battle.
On the other hand tense situation between the Somali pirates has risen at Hobyo district, a stronghold of the pirates in Mudug region in north Somalia.
Residents said that more armed vehicles could be seen pouring into the town adding that most of the people in the area expressed concern about the violence between the two sides and the possibility of heavy fighting that breaks out in the town. (source;


CNA report:
Britain’s national Catholic Youth Ministry Congress will take place in London on Feb. 27. Organizers say they have scheduled some of the best known Catholic speakers for the event, which will also present new research into the life and faith of young Catholics.
The Congress, organized by the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation for England and Wales (CYMFed), has as its theme “We have set our hope on the living God.” Over 700 youth leaders, chaplains, teachers and priests have registered to attend.
Headline speakers at the Congress are Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, who is former Master of the Dominicans, and Abbot Christopher Jamison, a television host and author.
Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols will deliver the closing exhortation at the final liturgy, CYMFed reports.
Other keynote speakers include Bob and Maggie McCarty, an American couple involved with the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry. Their vision helped shape the creation of the CYMFed.
The event’s master of ceremonies will be David Wells, director of education for the Diocese of Plymouth.
Fr. Dominic Howarth, Chair of CYMFed, said the Congress is “delighted with the range and caliber of the speakers, and with the support from the bishops.”
“It is the first time for many years that there has been a national event on this scale for those working with young people in our Church, and we hope it marks the beginning of a fresh revitalisation of national Catholic Youth Ministry, to complement and strengthen the wonderful work happening in many places locally.”
The results of a wide-ranging survey will be presented at the Congress. It explored young Catholics’ understanding of their world and their faith and also examined the perceptions of the Church among Mass goers and those Catholics who do not attend church.
The research was commissioned for CYMFed by the Young Christian Workers (YCW), the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
Danny Curtin, YCW President, will present the research with Abbot Christopher.
Curtin said it was “illuminating’ to discover how young people understand and practice their faith. He predicted the results will “transform” many people’s approach to working with young Catholics.
“Although there are challenges in our research, it is also an opportunity of hope; hope for the Church to learn from our own young people, and hope that young people will be best served by us as youth ministers.”
Over 700 tickets have been sold for the event, whose website is at


St. John Bosco
Feast: January 31
Feast Day:
January 31
August 16, 1815, Castelnuovo, Piedmont, Italy
January 31, 1888, Turin, Italy
April 1, 1934, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Major Shrine:
The Tomb of St John Bosco - Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians, Turin, Italy
Patron of:
Christian apprentices, editors, publishers, schoolchildren, young people

"In his life the supernatural became the natural and the extraordinary the ordinary." So spoke Pope Pius XI of the beloved Don Bosco, renowned for his educational pioneering and his affectionate care for the fatherless. Born Giovanni Melchior Bosco in 1815, the future saint was the youngest son of a peasant farmer in the hamlet of Becchi, in the Piedmont district of north Italy. He lost his father at the age of two and was brought up by a devoted and industrious mother, Margaret Bosco, who had a hard struggle maintaining the home and the three children, all of them boys. A dream that little Giovanni had at the age of nine revealed to him his vocation. He seemed to be surrounded by a mob of fighting and swearing children whom he tried in vain to pacify, at first by arguments and then by hitting them. Suddenly there appeared a mysterious woman who said: "Softly, softly . . . if you wish to win them! Take your shepherd's staff and lead them to pasture." Even as she spoke, the children were transformed first into wild beasts and then into gentle lambs. From that time on, the boy thought, it was his clear duty to lead and help other boys. He began with those of his own village, teaching them the Catechism and bringing them to church. As an inducement, he would amuse them first with acrobatic and conjuring tricks, at which he became very clever. One Sunday morning when an itinerant juggler and gymnast was holding the children spellbound by his performance, young John challenged him to a competition and beat him at his own tricks. Then he marched off to church, followed by his admiring audience. It was more or less by chance that this talented boy learned to read. He was staying with an aunt who was servant to the priest, and when the priest was told of John's ambition, he taught him gladly. But John didn't want to stop with reading and writing; he wished to study for the priesthood. Many difficulties had to be overcome before he could even begin his preliminary studies. When, at sixteen, he entered the seminary at Chieri, he was so poor that money for his maintenance and his clothes had to be supplied by charity. The village mayor contributed a hat, one friendly person gave him a cloak, and another a pair of shoes. People were eager to help a boy who was himself so eager and ambitious. After his ordination as deacon, he attended the theological school at nearby Turin, finding time to continue his volunteer work with homeless or neglected boys. Having won the approbation of his superiors for what he was doing, he began to gather around him regularly on Sunday afternoons a band of these waifs and young apprentices.
After taking Holy Orders, his first appointment was assistant chaplain of a home for girls, founded by the Marchesa Barolo, a wealthy and philanthropic woman. This post left Don Bosco free on Sundays to devote himself to his group of boys. He set up for them a sort of combined Sunday School and recreation center on grounds belonging to the Marchesa, which he called "the festive Oratory." But the Marchesa quickly withdrew her permission, because the boys were, naturally, noisy and unruly, and sometimes even made so bold as to pick the flowers in the garden. For more than a year the group was regarded as a nuisance and sent from pillar to post. No property owner was able to put up with them for long. When at last Don Bosco was able to hire an old shed as a meeting place, and the future seemed promising, the Marchesa delivered herself of an ultimatum. He must choose between giving up the boys—who now numbered several hundred—or resigning his post at the girl's orphanage. Don Bosco promptly resigned, to devote himself wholly to the boys.
In the midst of these anxieties, he was prostrated by a severe attack of pneumonia that came near ending his life. As soon as he had recovered, he went to live in some poor rooms adjoining a new Oratory, or gathering place, with his mother as housekeeper. For ten years this good woman served as his adjutant and loyal helper, extending her motherly care over all the waifs and strays her son brought to her. Don Bosco now applied himself to consolidating his work and planning for the years to come. A night school which had been opened the previous year took shape, and as the Oratory was soon overcrowded, he opened two more youth centers in other parts of Turin. About the same time he began housing a few destitute boys. His next step was to build for his flock a small church which he placed under the patronage of his favorite saint, Francis de Sales. With that completed, he started to build a home for his steadily growing family. No one knew just how he managed to raise the money for these various projects, but his natural persuasiveness had much to do with it.
Those enrolled as boarders in the school were of two sorts: young apprentices and craftsmen, and other youths of more than average intelligence in whom Don Bosco discerned future helpers, with, possibly, vocations to the priesthood. At first they attended classes outside, but, as more teachers were enlisted, academic and technical courses were given at the house. By 1856 a hundred and fifty boys were in residence; there were four workshops, including a printing shop, and four Latin classes, with ten young priests as instructors; all this in addition to the oratories with their five hundred children. He cultivated in all of them a taste for music, and he was a believer in the therapeutic value of play. Don Bosco's understanding of young people, their needs, and their dreams, gave him great influence. He could manage them without punishment. "I do not remember to have used formal punishment," he wrote, "and with God's grace I have always obtained-and from apparently hopeless children-not alone what duty exacted but what my wish simply expressed." With an approach that seems quite modern, he planned programs that combined play, song, study, prayer, and manual work. He knew that straight academic learning was not enough. "Knowledge gives more power in the exercise of good or evil," he said, "but alone it is an indifferent weapon, lacking guidance."
Don Bosco's outgoing personality made him popular as a preacher, and there were many demands on his time to speak to various congregations. As a third form of activity, in the few hours that remained to him, he wrote useful and popular books for boys. In that day there was almost no attractive reading matter written especially for young people, and Don Bosco set himself to fill this need. He wrote stories based on history, and sometimes popular treatises on the faith. Often he toiled far into the night, until, in later life, his failing eyesight compelled him to give up writing.
A plan for some sort of religious order, to carry on the work when he had passed away, had long been in Don Bosco's mind, and at last he felt he had the strong nucleus of helpers that was required. "On the night of January 26, 1854, we were assembled in Don Bosco's room," writes one of the men present. "Besides Don Bosco, there were Cagliero, Rocchetti, Artiglia, and Rua. It was suggested that with God's help we should enter upon a period of practical works of charity to help our neighbors. At the close of the period, we might bind ourselves by a promise which could subsequently be transformed into a vow. From that evening, the name of Salesian was given to all who embarked on that form of apostolate." The name of course honored the great bishop of Geneva, St. Francis de Sales. It was not a propitious time for launching a new order, for in all its history Piedmont had never been so anti-clerical. The Jesuits and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart had been expelled, many convents suppressed, and laws were being passed curtailing the rights of religious orders. The statesman Urbano Rattazzi, one of those most responsible for the anti-clerical legislation, was deeply interested in popular education. As a resident of Turin, Rattazzi was familiar with Father John's activities, and, on meeting him by chance one day, urged him to found a society to further his valuable work, promising the support of the government.
The project grew, and in 1858 John went to Rome, taking with him the rules of the institution. From Pope Pius IX he received preliminary approbation. Sixteen years later he obtained full sanction, together with permission to present candidates for Holy Orders. The new society grew rapidly. Within five years there were thirty-nine Salesians; at the time of the founder's death there were eight hundred, and by 1929 the number had increased to about eight thousand. One of Father John's dreams was realized when he sent his first missionaries to the bleak and faraway land of Patagonia; other areas of South America were soon the scene of missionary endeavor. He lived to see twenty-six houses started in the New World and thirty-eight in the Old.
His next great work was the foundation in 1862 of an order of women to do for poor girls what the Salesians were doing for boys. The original group consisted of twenty-seven young women to whom he gave the name of Daughters of St. Mary Auxiliatrix, the Helper. The organization now numbers many thousands, with elementary schools in Italy, Brazil, and Argentina. To supplement the work of these two congregations, Father John organized his outside lay helpers into a new kind of Third Order, which he called Salesian Cooperators. They were men and women of all classes who pledged themselves to assist in practical ways the educational labors of the Salesians.
Any account of the life of this saint would be incomplete without some mention of his achievements as a builder of churches. His first little church of St. Francis de Sales soon proved inadequate, and he undertook the construction of a much larger building. This he finished in 1868, dedicating it to St. Mary the Helper. Later he found means to put up another spacious and much-needed church in a poor quarter of Turin, and this he placed under the patronage of St. John the Evangelist. But the immense effort of money-raising had left Don Bosco weary and depleted. He was not allowed time to recover his strength before another task was put before him. During the last years of Pope Pius IX, a project had been formed of building at Rome a church in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Pius himself had donated money to buy the site. His successor, Leo XIII, was eager for the work to be carried forward, but there was difficulty in raising funds. It was suggested to the Pope that this was something that Don Bosco did better than anyone else, and when he was asked to undertake it, he accepted the challenge.
After obtaining a considerable sum in Italy, Don Bosco went to France, where devotion to the cult of the Sacred Heart was particularly intense at this time. He was successful in his appeals, money came flowing in, and the early completion of the church was assured. As the day appointed for its consecration drew near, he was sometimes heard to murmur that if there were any delay, he would not live to witness it. Two years before the doctors had said that this generous-hearted man had worn himself out and that complete retirement offered the only chance of prolonging his life. Don Bosco had the joy of living a few months beyond the consecration of the church, which took place on May 14, 1887. He said one Mass before the new high altar.
Later in the year it became plain that his days were numbered; he gradually weakened, and on the morning of January 31, 1888, he died in his home city of Turin. Forty thousand persons came to the church to do honor to Don Bosco, and the entire city turned out as his remains were borne to their resting place. His memory was cherished and his work carried on by his followers. Not many years had elapsed before a movement was begun for his beatification. He was declared Venerable by Pope Pius X in 1907, beatified by Pius XI in 1929, and canonized by him in 1934. Don Bosco exemplified a new trend in the treatment of children, anticipating in some respects the practices of modern psychologists. Intuitively he knew that the loving care and attention of a wise, interested adult was essential to the healthy growth of every child, and he gave his very best to those children who had the least. (source:


Jeremiah 1: 4 - 5, 17 - 19

4 Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,
5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."
17 But you, gird up your loins; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.
18 And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests, and the people of the land.
19 They will fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, says the LORD, to deliver you."
Psalms 71: 1 - 6, 15 - 17

1 In thee, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame!
2 In thy righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline thy ear to me, and save me!
3 Be thou to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for thou art my rock and my fortress.
4 Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
5 For thou, O Lord, art my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
6 Upon thee I have leaned from my birth; thou art he who took me from my mother's womb. My praise is continually of thee.
15 My mouth will tell of thy righteous acts, of thy deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.
16 With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come, I will praise thy righteousness, thine alone.
17 O God, from my youth thou hast taught me, and I still proclaim thy wondrous deeds.

1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 13

4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;
5 it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Luke 4: 21 - 30
And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, "Is not this Joseph's son?"
And he said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, `Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Caper'na-um, do here also in your own country.'"
And he said, "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country.
But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Eli'jah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land;
and Eli'jah was sent to none of them but only to Zar'ephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Eli'sha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Na'aman the Syrian."
When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.
And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong.
But passing through the midst of them he went away.

Saturday, January 30, 2010




The Vatican officially erected a third diocese in East Timor on Saturday. Fr. Norberto Do Amaral will be the new bishop of the newly created Diocese of Maliana.
According to Saturday's communique from the Holy See, after completing his seminary studies in Indonesia, 53-year old Fr. Do Moral was ordained a priest in 1988. Since then, he has worked in parish ministry and has served as the rector of the minor seminary of the Diocese of Dili. After he completed studies in dogmatic theology at Rome's Urbaniana University, he was a professor and prefect of the major seminary of Dili.
In 2008, he was named Chancellor of the Diocese of Dili and Director of the diocesan magazine "A Seara."
The newly delineated Diocese of Maliana is formed of 10 parishes serving just over 200,000 Catholics, who represent more than 98% of the area's population. Six diocesan and 25 non-diocesan priests, along with 108 religious brothers and sisters, are assigned within the new diocese's limits.
The Diocese of Dili was divided to create the new diocese, which now joins the Diocese of Baucau as the nation's third. (SOURCE:


CNA report:
The well-loved Notre Dame professor and scholar Ralph McInerny passed away Friday morning at 7:45 a.m. at the age of 83. First Things editor Joseph Bottum reported McInerny's death in an article on the magazine's website on Friday afternoon.
In his article, Bottum reprinted a letter sent to him on Friday by Associate Professor Christopher Kaczor at Loyola Marymount who was one of McInerny's students. Prof. Kaczor describes the late academic's life accomplishments as well as his personal relationship with him.

Ralph McInerny had retired from the philosophy department at the University of Notre Dame as the Michael P. Grace Professor of Medieval Studies after serving in that position since 1955, said Prof. Kaczor.

“He wrote wrote more than 40 books in philosophy and other disciplines (including poetry), authored thousands of scholarly and general audience articles, edited three national magazines, authored more than 80 mystery novels (including the Father Dowling Mysteries), and I’m confident directed more dissertations than anyone in the history of Notre Dame,” wrote Prof. Kaczor.
The Fr. Dowling books eventually became a successful TV series.
McInerny was also credited with co-founding Crisis Magazine in 1982. The monthly lay publication was recognized for its orthodoxy in Catholic opinion.
“One might think such a person would neglect his students, au contraire (a McInerny habit was to end sentences in lectures in Latin or French),” Prof. Kaczor quipped. “He was my dissertation advisor and at the time he had around 7 other students as well. He was available for us virtually every afternoon in his 7th floor office of Hesburgh Library.”

“If we gave him a dissertation chapter, he’d have it back to us like a serve in tennis. He gave us laptops. He arranged for extra funding (many of us had two or three kids, and none of us made more than $10,000 a year). He took us out to lunch (The Great Wall of China and the University Club were favorites). He’d give us copies of his scholarly books and novels. He helped get us jobs.”

“When I think about how I hope to live the rest of my life,” reflected Prof. Kaczor, “he is the model : Scholar, teacher, writer, family man, person of faith. No doubt he is enjoying his reward, meeting his Maker and, as an incidental benefit, his own model of the intellectual life, Thomas Aquinas.”(SOURCE:



CNA report:
Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Tadeusz Pieronek of Sosnoviec, Poland, has roundly denied having referred to the Holocaust as “a Jewish invention.” Regarding what he called “a complete misunderstanding,” he explained that the Italian website “Pontifex,” which quoted him for an article this week, clearly failed to capture his meaning.
“I was referring to the fact that the Jews have created the term ‘Shoah’ to define the tragedy that didn’t have a precedent in history,” specified Bishop Pieronek to ANSA news agency. “The journalist interpreted my words as if I had been saying that the Jews had invented the Shoah.”
The bishop asked increduously, “How could I have said something so absurd?”
“Everyone who knows me knows my position on the crimes of the Nazis and on the horror of what happened,” added the 75-year-old former spokesman of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, who has previously publicly condemned anti-Semitism.
The original article posted on Pontifex last Monday, reported under the title of “The Shoah, an invention of the Jews,” that Bishop Pieronek had made other incendiary statements, including, “undoubtedly, the majority of those who died in the concentration camps were Jews, but also on the list were Poles, Gypsies, Italians and Catholics. So do not steal this tragedy in the name of propaganda.” The article has since been pulled from Pontifex.
The article also quoted him as saying that “they, the Jews, have a good press, because the powerful have the financial resources - extremely powerful with the unconditional support of the United States. And this promotes a kind of arrogance, which I consider to be unbearable.”
Upon finding out about the questionable content of the Pontifex article the bishop criticized the site for “the manipulation of (his) words in an unauthorized interview.”
Following the Polish bishop’s reaction and the disappearance of the article from their website, Pontifex rebutted by posting a message on Thursday calling for Bishop Pieronek to publicly recognize the alleged comments as true within 10 days or face “legal action for defamation.”


Asia News report:
Leprosy, a disease that has always been feared, has also generated a continuing disregard for the sick. Yet for 2000 years Christians have made it one of the fields of their mission. The example of Jesus, St. Francis of Assisi, Fr Father Damien de Veuster, the Apostle of Molokai. Gandhi made the treatment of leprosy one of the pillars of his commitment. The testimony of Fr Vijay Rayarala, PIME, in his ashram Swarga dwar (Gate of Heaven) for the rehabilitation of lepers.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Every year the last Sunday of January we celebrate the World Day for the Sick of leprosy. In Italy the Aifo (Friends of Raoul Follereau) calls upon the leaders of some of the projects financed by them, to speak in parishes and schools. One of them, this year, and P. Vijay Rayarala, PIME, head of the ashram Swarga dwar (Gate of Heaven) who is a rehabilitation center for lepers near Mumbai in India. His departure for Rome we interviewed.
Is leprosy still a problem in India? Unfortunately it is. The government has officially declared that leprosy has been eradicated from India (which means, according to the criteria of 'World Health Organization, there is one case per 10,000 people) but older cases of people with deformity, although healed, are always in need of rehabilitation, this is what we do in Swarga Dwar ashram where over forty lepers with their work produce enough rice and enough milk for their needs.
Could you tell us something about this disease? Leprosy is an infection that begins by destroying the peripheral nerves of the hands and feet and is caused by the bacillus of Hansen (1873), producing numbness and, then, deformities of hands and feet. It is one of the oldest diseases known to mankind and has always been feared and despised by people. Now it is treatable with a combination of three medicines (sulfone, rifampin and clofazimine). Unfortunately there is still no vaccine to prevent it. The strategy is to control it with a early diagnosis and treatment.
Why do missionaries always take care of lepers?The treatment of leprosy has always had a religious aspect and a symbolic meaning. According to the prophet Isaiah, Jesus became like lepers on the cross to save humanity. Even for Jesus healing the lepers was a sign of the Kingdom of Heaven. It was like a sign of righting a cosmic injustice. For this reason the disciples of Jesus have always taken care of lepers. Francis of Assisi who kissed a leper has become an icon of Christian tradition. Equally Fr. Damiano, who withdrew to the island of Molokai to give religious assistance to lepers segregated there, was considered a saint even before canonization. Moved by the example of Jesus, St. Francis and Fr. Damiano hundreds of missionaries around the world have chosen the care of lepers as a sign of Christian witness. We in India also remember the example of Mahatma Gandhi who included the control of leprosy as a Constructive Program and personally cared for a leper, Parchure Sastri, in his ashram in Wardha. (SOURCE:


CISA report: Anonymous messages spreading panic and inciting new violence are being sent to cell phones of citizens of Jos, Central Nigeria where in recent days there have been serious clashes that have claimed hundreds of lives.
“Anonymous cell phone threats are spreading fear that will incite further violence,” Archbishop of Jos has told Fides.
Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Jos says, "The situation over the past few days is quieter, but the city's citizens continue to receive anonymous [threatening] messages on their cell phones.”
“I fear that this may be part of a strategy aimed at extending the violence in the city of Jos, as these messages can be forwarded by the frightened citizens to their relatives and acquaintances in other parts of Nigeria," Archbishop Kaigama told Fides.
Despite the threats, on January 24, the city's churches were full of faithful according to the bishop.
"Because of the curfew, which has been reduced, we had to organize only one celebration in each church. The faithful gathered in prayer, in defiance of fear,” the archbishop of Jos said.
"I went to the Church of St. Michael to encourage the faithful, who were still frightened by the false reports on the destruction of their parish, to try to bring them serenity and establish a peaceful climate, so as to restore peace in our city," said Archbishop Kaigama.


Cath News report:
First-century Roman building work has been uncovered beneath the Domus Australia (Australia House) pilgrim centre being created for Australians in Rome.
Cardinal George Pell and the ambassador to the Holy See, Tim Fischer, yesterday inspected renovation work on the centre that will open next year, The Australian reports.
Architect Chiara Scandaletti pointed out the foundations of a large Roman building, a herringbone stone pathway, a first-century sewer and Roman pipes running alongside the 21st-century pipes. "We don't know what Roman building was here but the size of the foundations show it was a large building," Ms Scandaletti said. The finds would be protected and retained as part of the renovated development. (SOURCE;


St. Hyacintha of Mariscotti religious of the Third Order of St. Francis and foundress of the Sacconi; born 1585 of a noble family at Vignanello, near Viterbo in Italy; died 30 January, 1640, at Viterbo; feast, 30 January; in Rome, 6 February (Diarium Romanum). Her parents were Marc' Antonio Mariscotti (Marius Scotus) and Ottavia Orsini. At Baptism she received the name Clarice and in early youth was remarkable for piety, but, as she grew older, she became frivolous, and showed a worldly disposition, which not even the almost miraculous saving of her life at the age of seventeen could change; neither was her frivolity checked by her education at the Convent of St. Bernardine at Viterbo, where an older sister had taken the veil. At the age of twenty she set her heart upon marriage with the Marquess Cassizucchi, but was passed by in favour of a younger sister. She was sadly disappointed, became morose, and at last joined the community at St. Bernardine, receiving the name Hyacintha. But, as she told her father, she did this only to hide her chagrin and not to give up the luxuries of the world; and she asked him to furnish her apartments with every comfort. She kept her own kitchen, wore a habit of the finest material, received and paid visits at pleasure.
For ten years she continued this kind of life, so contrary to the spirit of her vows and such a source of scandal to the community. By the special protection of God, she retained a lively faith, was regular in her devotions, remained pure, always showed a great respect for the mysteries of religion, and had a tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin. At length she was touched by God's grace, and the earnest exhortations of her confessor at the time of serious illness made her see the folly of the past and brought about a complete change in her life. She made a public confession of her faults in the refectory, discarded her costly garments, wore an old habit, went barefoot, frequently fasted on bread and water, chastised her body by vigils and severe scourging, and practised mortifications to such an extent that the decree of canonization considers the preservation of her life a continued miracle. She increased her devotion to the Mother of God, to the Holy Infant Jesus, to the Blessed Eucharist, and to the sufferings of Christ. She worked numerous miracles, had the gifts of prophecy and of discerning the secret thoughts of others. She was also favoured by heavenly ecstacies and raptures. During an epidemic that raged in Viterbo she showed heroic charity in nursing the sick. She established two confraternities, whose members were called Oblates of Mary or Sacconi. One of these, similar to our Society of St. Vincent de Paul, gathered alms for the convalescent, for the poor who were ashamed to beg, and for the care of prisoners; the other procured homes for the aged. Though now leading a life so pure and holy, Hyacintha always conceived the greatest contempt for herself. At her death great sorrow was felt at Viterbo and crowds flocked to her funeral. She was beatified by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726, and canonized 14 May, 1807, by Pius VII.


Mark 4: 35-41
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great storm of wind arose, adn the waves beat in to the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stem, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care if we perish?" And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?" And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?"

Thursday, January 28, 2010





Vatican channel:
All those who work in the field of law must be guided by justice, Benedict XVI observed this in his address to the Roman Tribunal. The Pope noted further that the activities of those who administer justice must not exclude charity; the love towards God and neighbor must inform every action, including the seemingly most technical and bureaucratic. In the field of law, charity helps to remember that it is always before persons who are marked with their own problems and suffering. Speaking specifically of marriage, Benedict XVI urged those who work in law to labor in favor of maintaining the marriage bond, so as not to reduce every difficulty into a symptom of lack of validity. The marital union is in fact an indissoluble sacramental tie and this essential fact must not be over looked. (source:


USCCB release:
Bishops Call for a Longterm Strategy in Haiti That Focuses on Poverty Reduction
WASHINGTON—The U.S. needs “a long-term coherent strategy for recovery, development and poverty reduction in Haiti,” helping Haiti rebuild and get back to the path of long-term sustainable development, said the chair of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace in a January 26 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk.Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, New York, said such a strategy for rebuilding Haiti in the wake of this month’s devastating earthquake needs to coordinate “different U.S. government agencies in a comprehensive approach, engaging other groups with expertise and experience with Haiti.” Bishop Hubbard recommended that the strategy include: debt relief, trade preferences, extension of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians living in the United States as needed, and sustained reconstruction and development assistance to Haiti.Bishop Hubbard expressed gratitude for President Obama’s response to the earthquake in Haiti and added, “When the international community and Haitians move beyond the most urgent aspects of the emergency, we urge a substantial and sustained commitment by the U.S. Government to provide long-term funding for reconstruction and poverty reduction.” Highlighting the importance of working with Haitians, Bishop Hubbard wrote, “At the same time, our nation should work to support and strengthen the role of the Haitian Government and institutions in the reconstruction and long-term development of their nation.” The letter from Bishop Hubbard can be found online at:


UCAN report: A Catholic priest in Goa was arrested after leading a protest of some 300 people against accidents and environmental pollution caused by mining trucks.
Father Felix Lobo was detained after blocking the road in Usgao village Jan. 28 but was later granted bail.
The priest of Saint Joseph Church led the protest to highlight a head-on collision between two trucks that injured a seven-year-old girl in the parish-run St. Xavier’s school.
Trucks loaded with iron and manganese ore have become a safety hazard as they pass daily through the village’s narrow street, speeding from mines to the sea port.
Villagers have been demanding route changes and restrictions.
They say on top of the danger, the ore dust causes pollution and respiratory diseases.
The little girl’s injuries were the final straw, villagers say.
The protesters set up an impromptu road blockade which caused chaos for nearly two hours.
Another group, reportedly supported by the trucking companies, confronted the priest and others, leading to heated arguments. Some said the priest was also roughed up.
Police said Father Lobo and five others, including a woman, were arrested for blocking a public road and holding an unlawful assembly.
The crowd moved to the police station demanding the release of the priest. The police tried to disperse the crowd using canes.
Father Lobo and the others were eventually granted bail. At first the priest refused to accept it.
“If we come to the streets, authorities say it is against the law. But what about the overloaded trucks that travel at high speed? Is there no law for them?” said Father Lobo.
Senior police official Bosco George told UCA News they “managed to persuade” Father Lobo to take the bail offer. “We will look out for an amicable solution to the issue,” George said.
The government later ordered a halt on trucks one hour each in the morning and afternoon, when children come to and leave school.
The government also agreed to limit tonnage carried by truckers and marking a “No Parking” zone for truckers, as demanded by the priest.



Catholic Herald report: The Sacred Made Real exhibition at the National Gallery has "exceeded all expectations" with almost 100,000 visitors - triple the number of visitors expected by the gallery. The exhibition of Counter-Reformation Spanish painting and sculpture, from 1600 to 1700, opened on October 21 and closed on January 24. On Monday the National Gallery announced that it attracted 99,136 people.The exhibition included polychrome wooden sculptures that had never been seen outside Spain, where they are used in devotional ceremonies. They included the simple but realistic Mary Magdalen Meditating on the Crucifixion (1664) by Pedro de Mena.The paintings and sculptures were a product of the Spanish Counter-Reformation, when religious patrons, including the Dominican, Franciscan and Carthusian orders, challenged artists to bring the sacred to life. When the National Gallery launched the exhibition it said it was "created to shock the senses and stir the soul". Many of the works displayed the brutal treatment of Christ: the sculptures Christ as the Man of Sorrows (1673) by Pedro de Mena and Dead Christ (1625-30) by Gregorio Fernández, which used the bark of a cork tree to simulate the effect of coagulated blood, and bull's horn for Christ's fingernails. The artist's intention was that believers should feel truly in the presence of the dead Christ. Both sculptors used glass eyes and tears and ivory teeth in their sculptures for greater realism. The sculptures were displayed alongside more familiar paintings, which included Diego Velázquez's Immaculate Conception (1618-1619).As well as the themes of the Immaculate Conception and the Passion of Christ, the 16 paintings and 16 sculptures portrayed a number of saints.It took the curator Xavier Bray three years to put the exhibition on, including persuading Spanish churches and monasteries to part with their devotional works. Pedro de Mena's St Francis Standing in Meditation (1663) had never before left the sacristy of Toledo Cathedral.The National Gallery had expected around 30,000 people to view the exhibition; the fact that three times that number came astonished them. Dr Bray told The Catholic Herald that it was "the immediacy of the images" that drew such a large number of people. He said: "The images of Christ were very truthful, profound depictions; you were meeting the Virgin, Christ and the saints in a very direct way."He said the visitors were of all ages, art students, Catholics, Anglicans and members of other religions. In a crowded gallery, he said, "there was a wonderful sense of silence - awe-inspired people. I met a Sufi woman in tears."When the exhibition was over and the last member of the public had left, Dr Bray spent about three hours in the gallery on his own. "I said goodbye to every single piece," he said.The impact of the exhibition was so strong that he hoped it would be remembered for the next 10 years. He alleged that his "dream exhibition" would be on Goya as a religious painter.Days before the exhibition began in October Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster took the press on a tour of three of the sculptures: The Dead Christ by Gregorio Fernandez, St Francis Standing in_Meditation and Mary Magdalene Meditating on the Crucifixion, both by Pedro de Mena. He said the sculpture of St Francis "takes us to the very heart of who St Francis is". "His face is raised to God, his eyes open, his mouth slightly open, and a posture that's both of utter surprise and also of recognition. Astonished delight to be approaching the presence of God as he was. But there's also recognition: this is fulfilment," he said. (SOURCE:


CNS report: A Nigerian archbishop said the cause of recent violence between Muslims and Christians in the African country was more ethnic and political than religious. More than 200 people were believed dead after clashes in mid-January in the central Nigerian city of Jos, where similar riots in 2008 killed about 300. Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos said the origin of the current conflicts, like those of 2008, was a struggle for political control of the city between the Hausa people, who are predominantly Muslim, and the indigenous residents, who are mostly Christians. Media reports describing the violence as a religious clash between Muslims and Christians were inaccurate, Archbishop Kaigama told the Vatican missionary news agency Fides.While speaking with journalists Jan. 24, Kaigama reiterated his remarks and denied a report that a Muslim attack on a parish spawned the recent violence there."In particular, it is not true that a church was attacked and burned," he said. "The origin of the conflicts of today, like those of November 2008, are the contrasts between the Hausa ... and the indigenous peoples."The archbishop told Fides Jan. 20 he met with several Christian and Muslim leaders to clarify the situation, assess the damage and ascertain the exact number of victims. He said it was still unclear how many people had died and how many houses, churches, or mosques have been burned. "I fear that both Christians and Muslims will inflate figures regarding their victims," the archbishop said. "The spread of false information incites the people and increases the violence," he said, adding that authorities need to be impartial and honest in presenting data on casualties and damage to structures. Archbishop Kaigama told Fides the situation in Jos had calmed. He said police and army troops were patrolling the streets of the city and enforcing a curfew imposed soon after the violence broke out Jan. 17. The archbishop said most of the Christian churches that were set on fire were not Catholic. Archbishop Kaigama said the Islamic-Christian joint committee was scheduled to meet Jan. 25 to "assess the situation and take measures to avoid similar incidents from happening again." The bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Ibadan in southwestern Nigeria denounced the violence in Jos, saying that "some extremists claiming to be Muslims suddenly set upon Christians in their churches and homes, killing and burning." "It is sad that such occurrences in the recent past have not been convincingly investigated and addressed and are not found preventable," the bishops said after meeting Jan. 18 and 19. They also said the government's continued insistence that all is well despite a lack of presidential leadership had "dangerous consequences for the nation." Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua left for Saudi Arabia in mid-November for treatment for a serious heart condition but did not cede power to the vice president. "Nigerians deserve better than a presidency by remote control," the bishops said. "Any society living with such self-deceit is surely courting disintegration." Jos has been the scene of serious intra-community clashes in the past decade.In addition to the 2008 clashes, in 2001 a conflict resulted in more than 900 deaths, as well as the burning of churches and mosques.(source:


Cath News report:
The drift from public to private schools has slowed, according to new figures from the the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The ABS preliminary schools data show that independent school enrolments grew by almost 10,000 between 2008 and 2009, but this represented a substantial drop.
While independent and Catholic schools continue to show steady growth, the data showed that the numbers amounted to a 37 percent share of the extra enrolments across all of the nation's schools, a dramatic reduction on the 90 percent share of enrolment growth independent schools took between 2007 and 2008, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
In that period enrolments in government schools actually declined by 3823. Between 2008 and 2009, they grew by 9360 - a 35 percent share of the extra enrolments.

Bill Daniels, executive director of the Independent Schools Council of Australia, said the extremely high rates of enrolment growth in independent schools, which peaked in 2002 with a 4.4 percent year-on-year increase, were unsustainable.
"Enrolment growth is continuing, albeit at a slightly lower rate," he said. "We would expect growth to tail off."
Meanwhile, the My School website is expected to publicly show the financial resources of every school in Australia in its next version, due later this year, the newspaper also said.
Peter Hill, the chief executive of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, which is responsible for My School, said data about each school's financial resources would be published in a second version of the site, along with results from this year's national literacy and numeracy tests.
"A lot of people will be very interested in finances of schools, because, of course, some schools have much more in terms of financial resources than others and this may go a long way to explaining some of the differences we're observing," Dr Hill said.
Criticism from education experts continued over the website, The Australian reports, saying it was "poorly planned" and would not give teachers and principles time to fully digest the data.
The president of the Australian Primary Principals Association, Leonie Trimper, said schools should have been given full access to the site during the holiday period to avoid being swamped in the back-to-school rush.
"It would have been good if principals had it at least a week before so they could have had a serious look at the figures before the term began," she said. "The first week of school is one of the most hectic times of the year. There is no way any teacher or principal could have had a good look at the data in today's rush."
Primary school principal and president of the Australian Catholic Primary Principals Association Bruno Benci said he was fearful the site would simply be turned into a "ranking exercise".
"Our major concern is that the information provided would be taken out of context and put into league tables," Mr Benci said.
"We have to stress that the information provided is just a snapshot performance . . . there is more to schooling than just marks." (SOURCE:


St. Gildas the Wise
Feast: January 29
Feast Day:
January 24
516, traditionally Strathclyde in modern Scotland
570, Street, Somerset or Rhuys
Major Shrine:
Glastonbury Abbey, now destroyed, or Rhuys Church, extant.
Patron of:
Welsh historians; bell founders

He was son to a British lord, who to procure him a virtuous education, placed him in his infancy in the monastery of St. Iltutus in Glamorganshire. The surname of Badonicus was given him, because, as we learn from his writings, he was born in the year in which the Britons under Aurelius Ambrosius, or, according to others, under king Arthur, gained the famous victory over the Saxons at Mount Badon, now Bannesdown, near Bath, in Somersetshire. This Bede places in the forty-fourth year after the first coming of the Saxons into Britain, which was in 451. Our saint, therefore, seems to have been born in 494; he was consequently younger than St. Paul, St. Samson, and his other illustrious school-fellows in Wales: but by his prudence and seriousness in his youth he seemed to have attained to the maturity of judgment and gravity of an advanced age. The author of the life of St. Paul of Leon, calls him the brightest genius of the school of St. Iltut. His application to sacred studies was uninterrupted, and if he arrived not at greater perfection in polite literature, this was owing to the want of masters of that branch in the confusion of those times. As to improve himself in the knowledge of God and himself was the end of all his studies, and all his reading was reduced to the study of the science of the saints, the greater progress he made in learning, the more perfect he became in all virtues. Studies which are to many a source of dissipation, made him more and more recollected, because in all books he found and relished only God, whom alone he sought. Hence sprang that love for holy solitude, which, to his death, was the constant ruling inclination of his heart. Some time after his monastic profession, with the consent, and perhaps by the order of his abbot, St. Iltut, he passed over into Ireland, there to receive the lessons of the admirable masters of a religious life, who had been instructed in the most sublime maxims of an interior life, and formed to the practice of perfect virtue, by the great St. Patrick. The author of his Acts compares this excursion, which he made in the spring of his life, to that of the bees in the season of flowers, to gather the juices which they convert into honey. In like manner St. Gildas learned, from the instructions and examples of the most eminent servants of God, to copy in his own life whatever seemed most perfect. So severe were his continual fasts, that the motto of St. John Baptist might in some degree be applied to him, that he scarce seemed to eat or drink at all. A rough hair-cloth, concealed under a coarse cloak, was his garment, and the bare floor his bed, with a stone for his bolster. By the constant mortification of his natural appetites, and crucifixion of his flesh, his life was a prolongation of his martyrdom, or a perpetual sacrifice which he made of himself to God in union with that which he daily offered to him on his altars. If it be true that he preached in Ireland in the reign of king Ammeric, he must have made a visit to that island from Armorica, that prince only beginning to reign in 560: this cannot be ascribed to St. Gildas the Albanian, who died before that time. It was about the year 527, in the thirty-fourth of his age, that St. Gildas sailed to Armorica, or Brittany, in France: for he wrote his invective ten years after his arrival there, and in the forty-fourth year of his age, as is gathered from his life and writings. Here he chose for the place of his retirement the little isle of Houac, or Houat, between the coast of Rhuis and the island of Bellisle, four leagues from the latter. Houat exceeds not a league in length; the isle of Hoedre is still smaller, not far distant: both are so barren as to yield nothing but a small quantity of corn. Such a solitude, which appeared hideous to others, offered the greatest charms to the saint, who desired to fly, as much as this mortal state would permit, whatever could interrupt his commerce with God. Here he often wanted the common necessaries and conveniences of life; but the greater the privation of earthly comforts was in which he lived, the more abundant were those of the Holy Ghost which he enjoyed, in proportion as the purity of his affections and his love of heavenly things were more perfect. The saint promised himself that he should live here always unknown to men: but it was in vain for him to endeavor to hide the light of divine grace under a bushel, which shone forth to the world, notwithstanding all the precautions which his humility took to conceal it. Certain fishermen who discovered him were harmed with his heavenly deportment and conversation, and made known on the continent the treasure they had found. The inhabitants flocked from the coast to hear the lessons of divine wisdom which the holy anchoret gave with a heavenly unction which penetrated their hearts. To satisfy their importunities, St. Gildas at length consented to live among them on the continent, and built a monastery at Rhuis, in a peninsula of that name, which Guerech, the first lord of the Britons about Vannes, is said to have bestowed upon him. This monastery was soon filled with excellent disciples and holy monks. St. Gildas settled them in good order; then, sighing after closer solitude, he withdrew, and passing beyond the gulf of Vannes, and the promontory of Quiberon, chose for his habitation a grot in a rock, upon the bank of the river Blavet, where he found a cavern formed by nature extended from the east to the west, which on that account he converted into a chapel. However, he often visited this abbey of Rhuis, and by his counsels directed many in the paths of true virtue. Among these was St. Trifina, daughter of Guerech, first British count of Vannes. She was married to count Conomor, lieutenant of king Childebert, a brutish and impious man, who afterwards murdered her, and the young son which he had by her, who at his baptism received the name of Gildas, and was godson to our saint: but he is usually known by the surname of Treuchmour, or Tremeur, in Latin 'Trichmorus. SS. Trifina and Treuchmeur are invoked in the English Litany of the seventh century, in Mabillon. The great collegiate church of Carhaix bears the name of St. Treuchmour: the church of Quim per keeps his feast on the 8th of November, on which day he is commemorated in several churches in Brittany, and at St. Magloire's at Paris. A church situated between Corlai and the abbey of Coetmaloon in Brittany, is dedicated to God under the invocation of St. Trifina.
St. Gildas wrote eight canons of discipline, and a severe invective against the crimes of the Britons, called De Excidio Britanniae, that he might confound those whom he was not able to convert, and whom God in punishment delivered first to the plunders of the Picts and Scots, and afterwards to the perfidious Saxons, the fiercest of all nations. He reproaches their kings, Constantine, (king of the Danmonians, in Devonshire and Cornwall,) Vortipor, (of the Dimetians, in South Wales,) Conon, Cuneglas, and Maglocune, princes in other parts of Britain, with horrible crimes: but Constantine was soon after sincerely converted, as Gale informs us from an ancient Welsh chronicle. According to John Fordun he resigned his crown, became a monk, preached the faith to the Scots and Picts, and died a martyr in Kintyre: but the apostle of the Scots seems to have been a little more ancient than the former. Our saint also wrote an invective against the British clergy, whom he accuses of sloth of seldom sacrificing at the altar &c. In his retirement he ceased not with tears to recommend to God his own cause, or that of his honor and glory, and the souls of blind sinners, and died in his beloved solitude in the island of Horac, (in Latin Horata,) according to Usher, in 570, but according to Ralph of Disse, in 581.[6] St. Gildas is patron of the city of Vannes. The abbey which bears his name in the peninsula of Rhuis, between three and four leagues from Vannes, is of the reformed congregation of St. Maur since the year 1649. The relics of St. Gildas were carried thence for fear of the Normans into Berry, about the year 919, and an abbey was erected there on the banks of the river Indre, which was secularized and united to the collegiate church of Chateauroux in 1623. St. Gildas is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on the 29th of January. A second commemoration of him is made in some places on the 11th of May, on account of the translation of his relics. His life, compiled from the ancient archives of Rhuis by a monk of that house, in the eleventh century, is the best account we have of him, though the author confounds him sometimes with St. Gildas the Albanian. It is published in the library of Fleury, in Bollandus, p. 954, and most correctly in Mabillon, Act. SS. Ord. Saint Bened. t. 1, p. 138. See also Dom Lobineau, Vies des Saints de Bretagne, (for. an. 1725,) p. 72, and Hist. de la Bretagne, (2 vol. fol. an. 1707) and the most accurate Dom Morice, Memoires sur l'Histoire de Bretagne, 3 vol. fol. in 1745, and Hist. de la Bretagne, 2 vol. fol. an. 1750.


Mark 4: 21 - 25
And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand?
For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light.
If any man has ears to hear, let him hear."
And he said to them, "Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you.
For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away."




VIS) - This morning, Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, Benedict XVI received the 300 people who yesterday participated in the annual public session of the pontifical academies. The event was attended by representatives from the following institutions: the Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Theological Academy, the Academy of Mary Immaculate, the International Marian Academy, the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature "dei Virtuosi al Pantheon", the Roman Academy of Archaeology and the "Cultorum Martyrum" Academy. Having praised the "glorious past" of these institutions, the Pope noted how at the present time "contemporary culture, and even more so believers themselves, continually petition the Church to concentrate her reflections and actions in those fields in which new problems emerge. These", he told his listeners, "are also sectors in which you operate". "You are called", the Holy Father went on, "to make your qualified, competent and enthusiastic contribution to ensure that all the Church, and particularly the Holy See, is able to exploit the appropriate opportunities, languages and means necessary to enter into dialogue with modern cultures, and provide an effective answer to the questions and challenges which face her in the various areas of human knowledge and experience. "As I have said before", he added, "modern culture is deeply marked, both by relativism and subjectivism, and by methods and approaches that are sometimes superficial, even banal. These harm the seriousness of research and reflection and, as a consequence, also of dialogue, exchange and interpersonal communication. It is, then, urgently necessary to recreate the conditions essential for ... deeper study and research, so as to make dialogue and exchange on the various problems more reasonable and effective, with a view to shared growth and a formation that promotes man in his entirety and completeness". "This task is particularly urgent in the field of forming candidates for Holy Orders, as prescribed by the Year for Priests and confirmed by the happy decision to dedicate your annual public session to" the formation of the clergy. "The philosophy and witness of St. Thomas Aquinas encourage us to dedicate careful study to emerging problems, in order to find appropriate and creative answers. Trusting in the possibilities of 'human reason', and with complete fidelity to the immutable 'depositum fidei', we must ... always draw from the richness of Tradition in a constant search for the 'truth of things'. To this end it is important that pontifical academies, today more than ever, become living and vivacious institutions, capable of acute perception, both as regards the demands of society and culture, and the needs and expectations of the Church. They must do so in order to offer an appropriate and valid contribution and so promote, with all the energies and means at their disposal, an authentic Christian humanism".AC/PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES/... VIS 100128 (480)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 28 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Seven prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Edwin Regan of Wrexham. - Archbishop Patrick Altham Kelly of Liverpool, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Anthony Williams, and by Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Vincent Malone. - Bishop John Anthony Rawsthorne of Hallam. - Bishop Seamus Cunningham of Hexham and Newcastle. - Bishop Michael Gregory Campbell O.S.A. of Lancaster. - Appointed Fr. Zdzislaw Jozef Kijas O.F.M. Conv., president of the "St. Bonaventure" Pontifical Theological Faculty in Rome, as a relator of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.AL:AP/.../... VIS 100128 (120)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 28 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Bishop Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Seoul, Korea, as bishop of Chunchon (area 17,000, population 1,157,879, Catholics 75,702, priests 98, religious 292), Korea. He succeeds Bishop John Chang Yik, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Bishop Luis Quinteiro Fiuza of Orense, as bishop of Tui-Vigo (area 1,721, population 541,000, Catholics 514,000, priests 289, permanent deacons 3, religious 544), Spain. He succeeds Jose Dieguez Reboredo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Fr. Joao Noe Rodrigues of the clergy of Witbank, South Africa, pastor of the parish of the Sacred Heart at Ackerville, as bishop of Tzaneen (area 49,500, population 2,500,000, Catholics 50,000, priests 27, permanent deacons 3, religious 43), South Africa. The bishop-elect was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1982. He succeeds Bishop Hugh Patrick Slattery M.S.C., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Fr. Eusebius Alfred Nzigilwa of the clergy of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, former rector of St. Mary's major seminary in Visiaga, and Fr. Salutaris Melchior Libena of the clergy of Mahenge, Tanzania, professor and spiritual director at St. Paul's major seminary in Kipalapala, as auxiliaries of Dar-es-Salaam (area 40,000, population 5,003,000, Catholics 1,490,000, priests 193, religious 737). Bishop-elect Nzigilwa was born in Mwanza, Tanzania in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1995. Bishop-elect Libena was born in Itete, Tanzania in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1991.NER:RE:NEA/.../... VIS 100128 (300)


CNA report:
Religious freedom provisions safeguarding the rights of British churches and other religious employers to require that employees live according to their sexual ethics have been passed in the House of Lords despite repeated opposition from the Labour government. Before the amendment, critics of the proposed Equality Bill said it treated the rights of religious believers as secondary and could have forced churches to hire youth ministers who do not support Christian ethics.
The Government claimed its plans would “clarify” the law, but churches said they narrowed important safeguards.
Lady O’Cathain had proposed the amendment to keep unchanged the current law, which allows churches and other faith-based employers to require that staff live consistently with their teachings on sexual behavior. Her amendment passed 216 to 178 in an initial vote.
According to the Christian Institute, the Government made an “extraordinary move” and broke with House of Lords convention to try to damage Lady O'Cathain's victory. In two further votes her amendment won by 195 votes to 174 and by 177 votes to 172.
It is not known whether the government will try to overturn its defeat.
“We are delighted that the House of Lords has voted to protect freedom of association for churches,” commented Mike Judge of the Christian Institute. “It is a shame that the Government didn’t listen to churches earlier. It’s almost as if they don’t care.”
The Anglican Archbishop of York John Sentamu supported the amendment during the debate in the House of Lords.
“You may feel that many churches and other religious organizations are wrong on matters of sexual ethics.
“But, if religious freedom means anything it must mean that those are matters for the churches and other religious organizations to determine for themselves in accordance with their own convictions.”
He asked for examples of actual abuses and of court rulings showing that the law is defective.
The Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff Peter Smith voiced regret that the Government had refused to meet earlier with religious groups and “work out an amendment with the right wording.”
He said the amendment was a “prudent course” to address concern that a court might construe the law’s wording “too narrowly,” the Christian Institute reported.(source:


CCCB report:
Pastoral letter on human trafficking issued within the context of preparations for the 2010 Olympic Games to be held in Vancouver.
Episcopal Commission for Justice and PeaceCanadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
What is human trafficking?
In 2010, Canada will host the Olympic Winter Games. Many are looking forward to watching some of the world’s best athletes compete. Others, in Vancouver and elsewhere – especially groups involved in the struggle against human trafficking – are worried. They know that some see this event as an opportunity to make money, no matter the cost to human dignity and human rights.
The fact is that at some major sporting events, systems are often put in place to satisfy the demand for paid sex. Unfortunately, this is likely to be the case during the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.1
As pastors of the Catholic Church in Canada, we denounce human trafficking2 in all its forms, whether it is intended for forced labour (domestic, farm or factory work) or for sexual exploitation (whether it be prostitution, pornography, forced marriages, strip clubs, or other). We invite the faithful to become aware of this violation of human rights and the trivialization of concerns about prostitution. Following the example of Jesus, who came into the world so that people “may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10), we can share in the suffering of the victims and change the behaviours and mentalities that foster institutionalized violence in this new form of slavery which is human trafficking. Jesus himself proclaimed the liberation of captives as a sign of his presence among us (Luke 4:18-19).
The scale of human trafficking is alarming. While it is difficult to find precise figures, the International Labour Organization (ILO) nevertheless estimates that 2.4 million people are victims of trafficking;3 1.3 million of these are involved in various forms of sexual exploitation.4 In another study, the United States Department of State estimates there are 800,000 victims of trafficking worldwide every year; the majority of whom are women and children.5 According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the most widespread form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation (79 percent).6 This area of organized crime brings in billions of dollars for pimps and for owners of strip clubs, massage parlours, and legal and illegal brothels. This figure does not include taxes paid to governments that often turn a blind eye to this activity.
How is human trafficking possible?
In a context of economic globalization where the gap between rich and poor countries is only increasing, the impoverished populations of the South and East remain vulnerable to trafficking. Their desire for a better life sends them across the border towards the North or the West to look for jobs. When hunger threatens their family’s lives, people are more likely to believe the promises of unscrupulous smugglers or to succumb to the attraction of earning money through sexual tourism. Today, the speed of Internet and cellphone communication makes it easy to recruit people, who may find themselves in another country just a few hours later. Often, they cannot speak the language, their passport has been taken from them, and they are at the mercy of pimps who demand to be reimbursed for the victim’s transportation costs. Women and children, usually under the influence of drugs, must then engage in prostitution under the vigilant eye of pimps who pocket the profits. If the victims try to run away or stand up for their rights, the pimps threaten to kill them or members of their families back home.
In Canada, Aboriginal women and young girls disappear from their villages and are never seen again. Increasingly, younger immigrants work the downtown streets or get jobs in strip clubs and massage parlours. Escorts answer calls that result from classified ads in the newspaper. With the support of non-governmental organizations working to combat trafficking, many of these women and girls describe their experiences as a living hell. Often their stories reveal similarities between their suffering and the symptoms of post-traumatic stress experienced by survivors of war.
What can we do?
First, we must become aware that human trafficking is happening in Canada, as it is elsewhere.7 We need to recognize it, talk about it with others, and take action in our communities to stop it. The author of the First Letter of John asks us, “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?” (1 John 3:17). We must also recognize that the demand for prostitution fuels the market for human trafficking. Without customers who ask for sexual services, there would be no prostitution, and thus no trafficking. In a country that considers equality between women and men to be a fundamental value, a country where a majority of citizens are Christians who promote the dignity of each person created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), how can we tolerate prostitution, which is a form of institutionalized violence that destroys the physical, psychological and spiritual integrity of other human beings?
Many avenues exist to help solve this problem. We can support organizations that work with those who are victims of human trafficking, and also ask our governments to set up programs to educate people and to prevent violence against women. To help women break free of prostitution, as they are generally the victims, we must provide concrete assistance: including health care, psychological counselling, detoxification programs, safe housing, decent employment, and spiritual support.
Our prayers will also strengthen the hope of those many people whose liberty and humanity have been taken from them by trafficking and the courage of those groups that assist them. We believe that we are the hands and feet of the Risen Christ today: he who passed from death to life shows us the path that leads to the liberation of those caught in the snares of death. May our faith and outrage spur us to get involved, individually and together, for the transformation of our world!
26 January 2010
Members of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace:
+ Brendan M. O’Brien, Archbishop of Kingston (Chairman)+ François Lapierre, P.M.É, Bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe+ David Motiuk, Ukrainian Eparchial Bishop of Edmonton+ Valéry Vienneau, Bishop of Bathurst
1 See Senator Mobina Jaffer’s statement: also the first report, dated November 2007, of the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women on trafficking of women and children during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The federal Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson, clearly expressed before the Standing Committee his objection to the legalization of prostitution in any form (39th Parliament, 2nd Session, 7 February 2008).2 According to Article 3 in Annex II of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, “‘Trafficking in persons’ shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs….” International Labour Organization (ILO), Combating Forced Labour: A Handbook for Employers and Business, 2008, p. 13.4 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 (June 2009), p. 8.5 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2007 (June 2007), p. 8.6 UNODC, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons (2009), p. 6.7 More information on the trafficking of women and children is available on the website of the Canadian Religious Conference, under the heading “CRC Priorities”: (SOURCE:,eng/


CISA report:
A new Catholic community-based radio, Good News FM went on air Sunday evening, January 24, in Rumbek, Sudan. Broadcasting on 89 FM, the station that is part of Sudan Catholic Radio Network (SCRN), is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek.Bishop Caesar Mazzolari of Rumbek congratulated all those who have worked hard to realize this remarkable event in the history of the diocese.The bishop told the Good News Fm director, Fr Don Bosco Ochieng, that the radio will strive to remind listeners about “God being always there in our lives through its programs.” The bishop added that Good News FM “will call us with its voice to come to the wisdom of letting what happens each day deliver a significant and constructive impact on our lives and on our world.”Bishop Mazzolari added that the radio station is intended to make events significant and not a boring routinely broadcast that does not touch lives.Fr Ochieng expressed his gratitude to all those who have helped in one way or another to realize this dream. He told SCR News over the phone that technicians were boosting the transmitter’s signal to try to cover up to Yirol, some 70 km east of Rumbek.With the new station, SCRN now has six stations broadcasting in a good part of southern Sudan: Bakhita Radio, in Juba, Voice of Peace, in Gidel – Nuba Mountains, Voice of Love, in Malakal, Radio Emmanuel in Torit, Easter FM in Yei and now Good News FM in Rumbek.Radio Don Bosco in Tonj, Warrap state, will start transmissions soon.SCRN also runs a news service, a production department and a training centre to prepare journalists and presenters for the network.(SOURCE:


Asia News report:
A Filipino nurse with ten years in Saudi Arabia talks about the dramatic situation of Christian workers, forced to embrace Islam just to keep their job. Despite abuses and violence, migrants still choose the Middle East because of the availability of work. Manila (AsiaNews) – “In my tens in Saudi Arabia, I have witnessed several Catholic or Christian Filipino migrants accept Islam under duress,” said Joselyn Cabrera, a Filipino Catholic nurse working at Riyadh hospital. Because of high unemployment levels in the Philippines, more than ten million Filipinos have left to seek jobs abroad. Every day, about 3,000 leave the country. Recently, a majority has gone to Arab countries—some 600,000 in all, 200,000 in Saudi Arabia alone.
“After some months, employers give you an ultimatum, telling you to become Muslim to keep your job,” she said. “For us, it is hard to make such a choice, but if we don’t, we become the victims of abuse.”
In her years in the kingdom, she said she saw at least 50 forced conversions at work.
“Even I have been subjected to pressures from my Muslim co-workers, but I have always refused saying that I’d rather remain Catholic. Until now, nothing has happened to me, yet.”
According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Filipino emigration towards the Middle East has grown by 29.5 per cent between 2007 and 2008, a destination of choice for many migrants, and this despite horrible working conditions that include the possibility of forced conversion and sexual abuse in the case of women.
The most recent case involves a woman who was raped at work. Because of the incident, Saudi authorities accused her of unlawful extramarital sex and on 11 September jailed her in the capital.
As a result of the rape, she became pregnant, but miscarried because of harsh conditions in the prison.
Next month, she is scheduled to appear before a court, which could sentenced her to 100 lashes (see “Riyadh: rape victim might be lashed 100 times,” in AsiaNews, 22 January 2010).(SOURCE:



Cath News report:
The Catholic Education Office Sydney says it values a national testing program "that can be used to inform on areas of need and drive improvements", but has cautioned against "simplistic, one dimensional league tables".
The remarks by the executive director of Catholic schools in the archdiocese of Sydney, Dr Dan White, follow the decision by Australian Education Union members to ban students from undertaking the NAPLAN (National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy) tests in May 2010.
The ban is in protest of the likelihood of league tables being created from data extracted from the My School website, The Catholic Weekly reports.
"For many years, Sydney Catholic systemic schools have published data about student performance on their websites," said Dr White.
"We are proud of the achievements of our schools, and we are also keen to identify areas that may need additional support or resources.
"I also recognise the need for parents to have access to meaningful information about schools so that they can make informed choices about their children's education," Dr White said.
Dr White added that supporters of league tables fail to acknowledge that comparisons between schools based on simplistic, superficial data are not meaningful.
The Sydney Morning Herald and the Herald Sun published news reports examining and explaining the My School website that went online at 1am today, and both newspapers are featuring various related coverage.
Amid concern parents could remove kids from struggling schools, Education Minister Julia Gillard was quoted by the Herald Sun that $2 billion was being spent on disadvantaged schools, boosting teacher quality and improving literacy and numeracy.
Ms Gillard admitted that launching the My School site was a controversial move, but hit back at criticism the website would allow league tables to be made.
"We will shine a light on schools that are bolting ahead and be able to share the best practice happening in those schools. We will also shine a light on schools that need an extra helping hand and we will give them that," she said.
"A crude comparison of Geelong Grammar with the most remote outback school will not tell us anything we don't already know."


St. Thomas Aquinas
Feast: January 28
Feast Day:
January 28
1225, Roccasecca, in Lazio, Italy
7 March 1274, Fossanuova Abbey, Italy
July 18, 1323, Avignon, France
Major Shrine:
Church of the Jacobins, Toulouse, France
Patron of:
Catholic universities, colleges, and schools

The great outlines and all the important events of his life are known, but biographers differ as to some details and dates. Death prevented Henry Denifle from executing his project of writing a critical life of the saint. Denifle's friend and pupil, Dominic Prummer, O.P., professor of theology in the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, has taken up the work and is publishing the "Fontes Vitae S. Thomae Aquinatis, notis historicis et criticis illustrati"; and the first fascicle (Toulouse, 1911) has appeared, giving the life of St. Thomas by Peter Calo (1300) now published for the first time. From Tolomeo of Lucca . . . we learn that at the time of the saint's death there was a doubt about his exact age (Prummer, op. cit., 45). The end of 1225 is usually assigned as the time of his birth. Father Prummer, on the authority of Calo, thinks 1227 is the more probable date (op. cit., 28). All agree that he died in 1274.
Landulph, his father, was Count of Aquino, Theodora, his mother, Countess of Teano. His family was related to the Emperors Henry VI and Frederick II, and to the Kings of Aragon, Castile, and France. Calo relates that a holy hermit foretold his career, saying to Theodora before his birth: "He will enter the Order of Friars Preachers, and so great will be his learning and sanctity that in his day no one will be found to equal him" (Prummer, op. cit., 18). At the age of five, according to the custom of the times, he was sent to receive his first training from the Benedictine monks of Monte Cassino. Diligent in study, he was thus early noted as being meditative and devoted to prayer, and his preceptor was surprised at hearing the child ask frequently: "What is God?" About the year 1236 he was sent to the University of Naples. Calo says that the change was made at the instance of the Abbot of Monte Cassino, who wrote to Thomas's father that a boy of such talents should not be left in obscurity (Prummer, op. cit., 20). At Naples his preceptors were Pietro Martini and Petrus Hibernus. The chronicler says that he soon surpassed Martini a grammar, and he was then given over to Peter of Ireland, who trained him in logic and the natural sciences. The customs of the times divided the liberal arts into two courses: the Trivium, embracing grammar, logic, and rhetoric; the Quadrivium, comprising music, mathematics, geometry, and astronomy . . . . Thomas could repeat the lessons with more depth and lucidity than his masters displayed. The youth's heart had remained pure amidst the corruption with which he was surrounded, and he resolved to embrace the religious life.
Some time between 1240 and August, 1243, he received the habit of the Order of St. Dominic, being attracted and directed by John of St. Julian, a noted preacher of the convent of Naples. The city wondered that such a noble young man should don the garb of poor friar. His mother, with mingled feelings of joy and sorrow, hastened to Naples to see her son. The Dominicans, fearing she would take him away, sent him to Rome, his ultimate destination being Paris or Cologne. At the instance of Theodora, Thomas's brothers, who were soldiers under the Emperor Frederick, captured the novice near the town of Aquapendente and confined him in the fortress of San Giovanni at Rocca Secca. Here he was detained nearly two years, his parents, brothers, and Sisters endeavouring by various means to destroy his vocation. The brothers even laid snares for his virtue, but the pure-minded novice drove the temptress from his room with a brand which he snatched from the fire. Towards the end of his life, St. Thomas confided to his faithful friend and companion, Reginald of Piperno, the secret of a remarkable favour received at this time. When the temptress had been driven from his chamber, he knelt and most earnestly implored God to grant him integrity of mind and body. He fell into a gentle sleep, and, as he slept, two angels appeared to assure him that his prayer had been heard. They then girded him about with a white girdle, saying: "We gird thee with the girdle of perpetual virginity." And from that day forward he never experienced the slightest motions of concupiscence.
The time spent in captivity was not lost. His mother relented somewhat, after the first burst of anger and grief; the Dominicans were allowed to provide him with new habits, and through the kind offices of his sister he procured some books—the Holy Scriptures, Aristotle's Metaphysics, and the "Sentences" of Peter Lombard. After eighteen months or two years spent in prison, either because his mother saw that the hermit's prophecy would eventually be fulfilled or because his brothers feared the threats of Innocent IV and Frederick II, he was set at liberty, being lowered in a basket into the arms of the Dominicans, who were delighted to find that during his captivity "he had made as much progress as if he had been in a " (Calo, op. cit., 24). Thomas immediately pronounced his vows, and his superiors sent him to Rome. Innocent IV examined closely into his motives in joining the Friars Preachers, dismissed him with a blessing, and forbade any further interference with his vocation. John the Teutonic, fourth master general of the order, took the young student to Paris and, according to the majority of the saint's biographers, to Cologne, where he arrived in 1244 or 1245, and was placed under Albertus Magnus, the most renowned professor of the order (on chronology of this period see Prummer, op. cit., p.25). In the schools Thomas's humility and taciturnity were misinterpreted as signs of dullness, but when Albert had heard his brilliant defence of a difficult thesis, he exclaimed: "We call this young man a dumb ox, hut his bellowing in doctrine will one day resound throughout the world."
In 1245 Albert was sent to Paris, and Thomas accompanied him as a student. In 1248 both returned to Cologne. Albert had been appointed regent of the new , erected that year by the general chapter of the order, and Thomas was to teach under him as Bachelor. (On the system of graduation in the thirteenth century see PREACHERS, ORDER OF—II, A, 1, d). During his stay in Cologne, probably in 1250, he was raised to the priesthood by Conrad of Hochstaden, archbishop of that city. Throughout his busy life, he frequently preached the Word of God, in Germany, France, and Italy. His sermons were forceful, redolent of piety, full of solid instruction, abounding in apt citations from the Scriptures . In the year 1251 or 1252 the master general of the order, by the advice of Albertus Magnus and Hugo a S. Charo (Hugh of St. Cher), sent Thomas to fill the office of Bachelor (sub-regent) in the Dominican at Paris. This appointment may be regarded as the beginning of his public career, for his teaching soon attracted the attention both of the professors and of the students. His duties consisted principally in explaining the "Sentences" of Peter Lombard, and his commentmies on that text-book of theology furnished the materials and, in great part, the plan for his chief work, the "Summa theologica".
In due time he was ordered to prepare himself to obtain the degree of Doctor in Theology from the University of Paris, but the conferring of the degree was postponed, owing to a dispute between the university and the friars. The conflict, originally a dispute between the university and the civic authorities, arose from the slaying of one of the students and the wounding of three others by the city guard. The university, jealous of its autonomy, demanded satisfaction, which was refused. The doctors closed their schools, solemnly swore that they would not reopen them until their demands were granted, and decreed that in future no one should be admitted to the degree of Doctor unless he would take an oath to follow the same line of conduct under similar circumstances. The Dominicans and Franciscans, who had continued to teach in their schools, refused to take the prescribed oath, and from this there arose a bitter conflict which was at its height when St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure were ready to be presented for their degrees. William of St. Amour extended the dispute beyond the original question, violently attacked the Friars, of whom he was evidently jealous, and denied their right to occupy chairs in the university. Against his book, "De periculis novissimorum temporum" (The Perils of the Last Times), St. Thomas wrote a treatise "Contra impugnantes religionem", an apology for the religious orders (Touron, op. cit., II, cc. vii sqq.). The book of William of St. Amour was condemned by Alexander IV at Anagni, 5 October, 1256, and the pope gave orders that the mendicant friars should be admitted to the doctorate.
About this time St. Thomas also combated a dangerous book, "The Eternal Gospel" (Touron, op. cit., II, cxii). The university authorities did not obey immediately; the influence of St. Louis IX and eleven papal Briefs were required before peace was firmly established, and St. Thomas was admitted to the degree of Doctor in Theology. The date of his promotion, as given by many biographers, was 23 October, 1257. His theme was "The Majesty of Christ". His text, "Thou waterest the hills from thy upper rooms: the earth shall be filled with the fruit of thy works" (Ps. ciii, 13), said to have been suggested by a heavenly visitor, seems to have been prophetic of his career. A tradition says that St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas received the doctorate on the same day, and that there was a contest of humility between the two friends as to which should be promoted first. From this time St. Thomas's life may be summed up in a few words: praying, preaching, teaching, writing, journeying. Men were more anxious to hear him than they had been to bear Albert, whom St. Thomas surpassed in accuracy, lucidity, brevity, and power of exposition, if not in universality of knowledge. Paris claimed him as her own; the popes wished to have him near them; the of the order were eager to enjoy the benefit of his teaching; hence we find him successively at Anagni, Rome, Bologna, Orvieto, Viterbo, Perugia, in Paris again, and finally in Naples, always teaching and writing, living on earth with one passion, an ardent zeal for the explanation and defence of Christian truth. So devoted was he to his sacred task that with tears he begged to be excused from accepting the Archbishopric of Naples, to which he was appointed by Clement IV in 1265. Had this appointment been accepted, most probably the "Summa theologica" would not have been written.
Yielding to the requests of his brethren, he on several occasions took part in the deliberations of the general chapters of the order. One of these chapters was held in London in 1263. In another held at Valenciennes (1259) he collaborated with Albertus Magnus and Peter of Tarentasia (afterwards Pope Innocent V) in formulating a system of studies which is substantially preserved to this day in the of the Dominican Order (cf. Douais, op. cit.). It is not surprising to read in the biographies of St. Thomas that he was frequently abstracted and in ecstasy. Towards the end of his life the ecstasies became more frequent. On one occasion, at Naples in 1273, after he had completed his treatise on the Eucharist, three of the brethren saw him lifted in ecstasy, and they heard a voice proceeding from the crucifix on the altar, saying "Thou hast written well of me, Thomas; what reward wilt thou have?". Thomas replied, "None other than Thyself, Lord" (Prummer, op. cit., p. 38). Similar declarations are said to have been made at Orvieto and at Paris. On 6 December, 1273, he laid aside his pen and would write no more. That day he experienced an unusually long ecstasy during Mass; what was revealed to him we can only surmise from his reply to Father Reginald, who urged him to continue his writings: "I can do no more. Such secrets have been revealed to me that all I have written now appears to be of little value" (, Prummer, op. cit., p. 43).
The "Summa theologica" had been completed only as far as the ninetieth question of the third part (De partibus poenitentiae). Thomas began his immediate preparation for death. Gregory X, having convoked a general council, to open at Lyons on 1 May, 1274, invited St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure to take part in the deliberations, commanding the former to bring to the council his treatise "Contra errores Graecorum" (Against the Errors of the Greeks). He tried to obey, setting out on foot in January, 1274, but strength failed him; he fell to the ground near Terracina, whence he was conducted to the Castle of Maienza the home of his niece the Countess Francesca Ceccano. The Cistercian monks of Fossa Nuova pressed him to accept their hospitality, and he was conveyed to their monastery, on entering which he whispered to his companion: "This is my rest for ever and ever: here will I dwell, for I have chosen it" (Ps. cxxxi, 14). When Father Reginald urged him to remain at the castle, the saint replied: "If the Lord wishes to take me away, it is better that I be found in a religious house than in the dwelling of a lay person." The Cistercians were so kind and attentive that Thomas's humility was alarmed. "Whence comes this honour", he exclaimed, "that servants of God should carry wood for my fire!" At the urgent request of the monks he dictated a brief commentary on the Canticle of Canticles.
The end was near; extreme unction was administered. When the Sacred Viaticum was brought into the room he pronounced the following act of faith: "If in this world there be any knowledge of this sacrament stronger than that of faith, I wish now to use it in affirming that I firmly believe and know as certain that Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, is in this Sacrament." Then he added: "I receive Thee, the price of my redemption, for Whose love I have watched, studied, and laboured. Thee have I preached; Thee have I taught. Never have I said anything against Thee: if anything was not well said, that is to be attributed to my ignorance. Neither do I wish to be obstinate in my opinions, but if I have written anything erroneous concerning this sacrament or other matters, I submit all to the judgment and correction of the Holy Roman Church, in whose obedience I now pass from this life" (Prummer, op. cit., p. 45). He died on 7 March, 1274. Numerous miracles attested his sanctity, and he was canonized by John XXII, 18 July, 1323. The monks of Fossa Nuova were anxious to keep his sacred remains, but by order of Urban V the body was given to his Dominican brethren, and was solemnly translated to the Dominican church at Toulouse, 28 January, 1369. A magnificent shrine erected in 1628 was destroyed during the French Revolution, and the body was removed to the Church of St. Sernin, where it now reposes in a sarcophagus of gold and silver, which was solemnly blessed by Cardinal Desprez on 24 July, 1878. The chief bone of his left arm is preserved in the cathedral of Naples. The right arm, bestowed on the University of Paris, and originally kept in the St. Thomas's Chapel of the Dominican church, is now preserved in the Dominican Church of S. Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome, whither it was transferred during the French Revolution.


Mark 4: 21 - 25
And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand?
For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light.
If any man has ears to hear, let him hear."
And he said to them, "Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you.
For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away."