Friday, January 1, 2010




On World Day of Peace, Benedict XVI goes back to his Message to speak about «human ecology». We must rediscover the face of God in order to see all living creatures, men and nature, as a «reflection of the face of the Creator» so that we love and take care of them. Around the world, the iconic figure of the «Mother of God of Tenderness» is disfigured by the «painful images of so many children and mothers at the mercy of war and violence, living as refugees, exiles or forced migrants, their faces hollowed by hunger and disease, disfigured by pain and desperation.» Education and the rejection of nihilism are the path towards true ecology.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Christmas, the «feast of faith that becomes the feast of man and creation,» is the celebration that finds expression in decorations on trees, in the streets, and on houses. Everything blooms again because God has come among us,» said Benedict XVI as he emphasised the link between Christmas, today’s celebration, Mary Mother of God, and World Day of Peace, which is now at its 43rd edition and whose theme this year is the «protection of the environment».

«The Virgin Mother showed the Child Jesus to the shepherds in Bethlehem, and they glorified and praised God (cf Lk, 2:20). The Church renews this mystery for every generation of men, showing them the face of God so that, with his blessing, they may walk on the path of peace».

«Showing God’s face» as the root of peace was the theme in the homily the Pope pronounced during the Mass he concelebrated with several cardinals in the presence of many ambassadors to the Holy See.

Quoting from the Bible, the Holy Father said, «The entire Biblical story can be read as a gradual revelation of the face of God until it reaches its full expression in Jesus Christ.»

«The face of God took on a human form. He let himself be seen and recognised in the son of the Virgin Mary, which is the reason why we venerate her with highest title, that of ‘Mother of God’. She, who kept in her heart the secret of the divine maternity, was the first one to see God’s face made man in the small fruit of the womb.»

Taking his cue from the typical «tenderness» icons of Byzantium, the Pope said that «the face of the child Jesus leans, cheek to cheek, on that of his Mother. The child looks at the Mother, and she looks at us. [. . .] The same icon also shows us that, in Mary, we see the face of the Church, which reflects upon us and the entire world the light of Christ, the Church through which the Good News reaches every man. ‘So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God’(Gal, 4:7), we read in Saint Paul.»

«Meditating about the mystery of the face of God and man is a privileged life that leads to peace. Indeed, the latter begins with a respectful look that sees in others one‘s fellows, irrespective of their skin colour, nationality, language or religion. Who but God can, so to speak, guarantee the depth of man’s face? Indeed, only if we have God in our hearts can we recognise a fellow human being in the faces of others, not as a means to an end but as an end in himself, not as a rival or an enemy but as someone like ourselves, an aspect of the infinite mystery of man.»

“Those with an empty heart can only see flat images without much depth,» Benedict XVI said. However, «the more we are inhabited by God, the more we are sensitive to his presence in what surrounds us, in all creatures, especially in our fellow men, and this despite the fact that sometimes the human face, marked by evil and the harshness of life, can be hard to appreciate and welcome as an epiphany of God. It is even more necessary for us to refer to the face of a shared Father, one who loves us all in spite of our limits and mistakes, if we want to recognise and respect one another for what we are, brothers.»

In his address, the Pope went on to mention a typical situation that is found in many parts of the world, namely that of children from different national or racial backgrounds who come together in school. «The smaller they are, the more we react we tenderness and joy to what comes across as their obvious innocence and sense of brotherhood. In spite of their differences, they cry and laugh the same way; they have the same needs; they communicate spontaneously, playing together . . . . The faces of children are like a reflection of God’s vision on the world.»

Unfortunately, there are events in this world that poison the hearts of children and dim their smiles, Benedict XVI said. The same image of the Mother of God of Tenderness «finds its tragic opposite in the painful images of so many children and mothers at the mercy of war and violence, living as refugees, exiles or forced migrants, their faces hollowed by hunger and disease, disfigured by pain and desperation. The faces of the little innocent ones are a silent appeal to our sense of responsibility. Given their defencelessness, all false justifications for war and violence collapse. We must simply convert to projects of peace, lay down every weapon and commit to build together a world worthy of man.»

Building peace and protecting creation is possible only if we start again from a «human ecology» that refers to the face of God and the face of man. Going back to some of the issues mentioned in his Message, Benedict XVI said, «Man has the means to respect living creatures to the extent that in his spirit he carries a full sense of life; otherwise, he will tend to despise himself and what surrounds him, and will show no respect for the environment in which he lives, which is Creation. Those who can recognise in the cosmos the reflections of the invisible face of the Creator are more inclined than others to love living creatures and be more sensitive about their symbolic value.»

«If man debases himself, he debases the environment in which he lives. If culture moves towards nihilism, practical if not theoretical, nature cannot but pay the consequences”.

«I therefore renew my appeal,» the Pontiff said, that we «invest in education with the objective, in addition to the necessary transmission of technical and scientific knowledge, of further developing and expanding our sense of ‘environmental responsibility‘, based on the respect for man, his fundamental rights and duties. Only this way can a commitment to the environment truly build peace and educate for peace.»

For the texts and comments on the Message for the 2010 World Day of Peace, see dossier Peace Message 2010: The Pope’s advice to Copenhagen


Benedict XVI appeals to «all armed groups» to have the courage to strive for peace. Families and individuals have a responsibility in promoting an education that changes «lifestyles». The Pontiff sent his greetings to the people taking part in the march promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio.
Benedict XVI expressed his best wishes for the New Year during the first Angelus of 2010. In it, he made an appeal to all armed groups to abandon the «path of violence», and urged one and all to take care of creation, something which begins with education and a change in lifestyle.
After celebrating Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica on the World Day of Peace , the Pope appeared at his window overlooking a square that was overflowing with tens of thousands of faithful. He wished everyone «that the year that just began may be one in which, with the help of the Lord, we may be able to improve our common house, the world.»

Referring to his Message for peace «If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation», Benedict XVI stressed the responsibilities of the heads of states who met in Copenhagen at the time when his message was published. «However, at this moment, I want to stress the importance of protecting the environment for it is the result of the choices made by individuals, families and local administrations,» the Pope said. ‘A change in outlook is necessary to have everyone adopt new lifestyle‘ (cf Message, nº 11).

Everyone of us in fact has a responsibility in protecting and taking care of creation. Therefore, even on this matter, education is fundamental in order to learn respect for nature and move towards ‘far-reaching decisions on the part of individuals, families, communities and state’ (ibid).»

Yet, taking care of living creatures also means «considering people» and «respecting human life». «On the first day of the year, I want to appeal to the conscience of those who belong to all armed groups. To each and everyone of them I say: Stop, reflect and abandon the path of violence! On the short run, this might seem impossible to you, but if you have the courage to do it, God will help you, and you will feel the joy of peace feel your hearts once more, something that perhaps you had forgotten».

The Pope entrusted his appeal to the «intercession of the Holiest Mother of God, Mary. [. . .] Thank you Holy Mother, who gave birth to the Saviour, the Prince of Peace!»

At the end of the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI thanked all those who sent him greetings. He also expressed his best wishes to the President of Italy. Lastly, he sent a «cordial greeting to all those who took part in the ‘Peace in All Lands‘ march, promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio in Rome and in many other countries around the world.»

«I express my spiritual closeness to the many peace initiatives organised by individual Churches, associations and Ecclesial movement,» he added. Among them, Benedict XVI mentioned the «Family Love Movement» and the young people of the Opera Don Orione who, last night, «held a watch in Saint Peter’s Square, praying for unity and peace within families and between nations.»(SOURCE:

Press release from Conference of Catholic Bishops of Ireland:
Statement by Cardinal Seán Brady on the death of Cardinal Cahal Brendan Daly
It is with great sadness that I heard the news of the death of Cardinal Cahal Daly, who died peacefully this evening in the presence of family and friends at the City Hospital in Belfast, after a short illness.At this time my thoughts and prayers are with his sister Rosaleen, his brother Paddy and sisters-in-law Barbara and Mavis, his nieces and nephews, his extended family and all who mourn him in the dioceses of Ardagh & Clonmacnois, Down & Connor and Armagh.It is difficult to do full justice to the significance and achievements of his long, full and happy life but I believe, when fully assessed and appreciated, the legacy of Cardinal Cahal Daly to the ecclesiastical and civil history of Ireland will be seen as immense.Having attended the Seconded Vatican Council as an expert theologian he worked untiringly for the renewal which it promoted. This was especially evident in his commitment to liturgical reform, renewal of religious life, the vocation of the lay faithful, catechetics, the social doctrine of the Church and unity among Christians. His writings in philosophy and theology were widely acclaimed and the influence of his keen intellect and energy on the work and publications of the Irish Bishops’ Conference was vast.At a critical and troubled time in Irish history, he was prophetic in his conviction that lasting peace can only be built on justice, mutual understanding and respect for the traditions and aspirations of others. He was firm and courageous in his absolute rejection of violence as a means of achieving political ends. With leaders of other Christian traditions, his work for reconciliation helped to create the environment and principles upon which a lasting political accommodation was eventually reached.In all of this, Cardinal Daly remained, first and foremost, a kind and gentle shepherd of God’s people who, on his appointment as Cardinal, in June 1991, prayed that he might never lose the sense of enthusiasm for the following of Christ and for his Gospel. That was never likely to happen for I knew him as a man of deep prayer and unshakable faith. In the words of one of his favourite verses from St. Paul, he was resolute in his belief that God’s power ‘working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask for or imagine’ (Ephesians 3:20-21).A natural teacher, a consummate scholar, a kind friend and a faithful and holy priest, Cardinal Daly will be missed by those whose lives he graced. Our country has lost one of its brightest lights and most able sons, who played a vital role in promoting reconciliation, peace and justice at a critical moment in our history. His total commitment to the service and good of others was rooted in the central conviction of his life, captured by the words of his Episcopal motto – ‘Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be forever’ (Hebrews 13:8).May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.



Asia News reports that the cardinal died yesterday aged 81. Benedict XVI recalled his commitment to spreading the Gospel, promoting justice and peace and for the reception of refugees.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI sent a telegram to the Archbishop of Tokyo, Mgr. Peter Takeo Okada, expressing his condolences to the entire Archdiocese for the death of the card. Peter Seiichi Shirayanagi, who died yesterday morning at the age of 81.

In the message, the pope recalls his continued commitment "to spreading the Gospel, .... his work promoting justice and peace and his tireless efforts for the refugees. "

The cardinal, a native of Tokyo, was ordained priest in 1954 and in 1970 became archbishop of the Japanese capital. In his ministry he worked for his country to cancel the foreign debt of poor countries, for the reception of Vietnamese refugees, for peace in a world without nuclear arms.

In February '81 he welcomed John Paul II to Japan, a memorable visit for the esteem shown the head of the Catholic Church by a society where the faithful are tiny minority. Shirayanagi long sighted vision was the main driving force behind the Church in Japan for the beatification of 188 Japanese martyrs of the seventeenth century, which took place at a ceremony he presided at Nagasaki on 24 November 2008.

Shirayanagi was the 4th Japanese to receive the title of cardinal. Currently among the cardinals there is no Japanese. (SOURCE:


CNN reports that a suicide car bomb exploded Friday in the middle of a group of men playing volleyball in northwest Pakistan, killing 75 and wounding 60, district police officials told CNN.
The attack was the second this week in Pakistan to inflict major civilian casualties following Monday's suicide bombing in Karachi targeting a Shiite procession which left at least 40 people dead.
The terror attack happened in a residential neighborhood in the Lakki Marwat district of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, police said. Some of the casualties were residents from houses around the volleyball court, district police Chief Mohammed Ayub Khan told CNN.
Khan said eight houses in the neighborhood collapsed, and the blast was so powerful it could be felt from 11 miles (18 kilometers) away.
He said he believes that more than 600 pounds of explosives (300 kilograms) were used.
Volleyball is a popular sport in the area, and more than 200 people were watching the game when the bomb went off, the police chief said.
District police officer Asmat Ullah said it exploded in the village of Shah Hassan Khel, which is about 10 miles south of the district capital, also called Lakki Marwat, he said.
The area used to be a hub for militants before the military flushed them out about two months ago, the police chief said. Since then, militants have been making threats to the community, Mushtaq Marwatt, a member of a local peace committee, said on a local TV channel.
Earlier Friday in the nearby district of North Waziristan, a suspected U.S. drone attack killed four people, a Pakistani intelligence official said.
A guided missile was fired at a car carrying militants at 8:50 a.m. in the village of Naurak, about 9.3 miles east of Miran Shah, according to an official from the political administration and an intelligence official.
One other person was hurt in the attack, the officials said.
It was not immediately clear whether those killed and injured were militants, the officials said. Two of the dead were Pakistanis. The nationality of the other two could not be immediately confirmed.
The largely autonomous tribal region of North Waziristan is near the rugged border with Afghanistan. The border area has been the scene of heavy fighting between Pakistani military forces and the Taliban, the Islamic militia that also is battling U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
The U.S. military routinely offers no comment on reported drone attacks. However, it is the only country operating in the region known to have the ability to launch missiles from remote-controlled aircraft.
A third unrelated attack Friday also took place near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.
A remote-controlled explosive struck a car and killed five civilians, according to a representative from the Frontier Corps and a political administration official. It happened around 10 a.m. in the Salar Zar subdivision, in the Bajaur agency of the North West Frontier Province.(source:


Colombian priest Father Emir Jaramillo Cardenas was killed between December 20 and 21 at his home, located in Santa Rosa de Osos, about 74 km from the city of Medellin. According to some acquaintances of the priest, who was in charge of the Chapel "Our Lord of Humility", Father Jaramillo had not received any death threats. His body was found by a relative who, surprised by the fact that he had not come to the chapel, went looking for him. The door of his apartment was open and, on entering, he found the body of the priest with knife wounds.
The Bishop of the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Osos, Bishop Jairo Jaramillo Monsalve, delivered a statement of his grief for the death of the priest: "The diocese is united with his family by rejecting this barbaric act and praying for his eternal rest," the prelate said. Father Jaramillo was also Director of the Diocesan Archive Office: "He was very interested in history. He was a member of the Center for History of Santa Rosa de Osos. He was also a permanent consultant for all the processes of the diocese," said Fabian Rendon Ospina, Director of Communications for the diocese.
Emir Don Jaramillo was born in 1936 and was ordained priest in 1966. Since 1999, he worked at the chapel dedicated to “Our Lord of Humility,” a place rich in history and spirituality, much frequented by the faithful of this city. The Diocese of Santa Rosa de Osos, built February 5, 1917, has 92 parishes and priests in sufficient number for the pastoral labor. A good number of priests are working in other jurisdictions in the Church and are committed to the mission "ad gentes.” Three institutes of consecrated life were begun here: the Xaverian Missionaries of Yarumal, the Missionary Sisters of St. Therese, and the Sisters Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy.
Although Santa Rosa de Osos is rich in vocations, it is also experiencing a situation of generalized violence that plagues all of Colombia. In the last year alone, several priests have been murdered and bishops have been threatened. A few days ago, the Colombian Episcopal Conference (CEC) launched a campaign against weapons and the Secretary of the CEC, Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba Villota, has called for an agreement for peace and non-violence in the country.(SOURCE:

MANY MOURN DEATH OF CHILD IN CRASH reports that Skye Sassine, the little 'princess' who will never grow up after her parents' car was slammed into by two alleged armed robbers being pursued by police.
The 19-month-old died and her father Justin, known as Jay, and mother Aimee, who is 8 1/2 months pregnant, were injured in the crash on the M5 in Sydney just before 7pm on Thursday.
Family and friends yesterday paid tribute to Skye, pouring out their grief in Facebook posts to a little girl they said "made everyone's lives brighter".
"You can't justify this . . . my little princess is gone. I'm empty," Nikki Sassine wrote. "I love you Skye."
Her grandfather Albert Sassine wrote: "Bye my little princess Skye, we will see each other in heaven."
Her parents were recovering from injuries in hospital yesterday and her father was too distraught to speak about their loss.
Two men, believed to be a passenger aged 21 and a driver aged 26, allegedly committed a string of armed robberies before the pursuit and were arrested close to the crash scene.
One of the men was in hospital yesterday with injuries from being run over by another motorist before being arrested.
Neither has been charged over the toddler's death.
Police said the pair were armed with a gun and a knife when they robbed a bottle shop about 6pm and within minutes struck again at another store.
Officers in two highway patrol vehicles spotted the pair's white Chrysler Voyager getaway car soon after and began a chase.
It is believed police will claim the alleged thieves' Voyager vehicle crashed into the Sassine car on a section of the M5 bordered by barriers because of road works.
As an off-duty police officer tried desperately to revive little Skye, the alleged robbers attempted to leave the scene.
NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Dave Owens said an investigation would be conducted but he backed the officers involved.(SOURCE:


All Africa reports that the death toll from the Bauchi religious crisis of 28 Monday has continued to rise following the reported death of some of those injured during the shootout with security operatives.
Vanguard gathered from some of the aid workers that rescued most of the injured people that more deaths were recorded among those taken to the Specialist Hospital for medical attention saying that most of those who had serious gunshots and cutlass wounds later died.
One of the aid workers, who refused to disclose his identity, also said that between Monday night and Tuesday morning a few more corpses of those who ran away with various degrees of injuries were discovered around Zango.
He added that it was discovered that some people took away their injured relatives who later died.
Police Commissioner denies death reports
In his reaction, the Bauchi State Police Commissioner, Atiku Yusuf Kafur denied the report saying that no fresh report of more deaths has reached his office.
He assured that as soon as he has such report he will make it public as the Police have nothing to hide, disclosing that investigations so far carried out by his men have revealed a lot of things that led to the crisis.
On those arrested, Kafur assured that as soon as investigations were completed, all those found implicated in one way or the other will be prosecuted.
He stated that no one implicated will be spared, no matter his or her status in the society and urged the people to stop spreading rumour as such can lead to the escalation of the already calm situation.(SOURCE:


Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Feast: January 1
Feast Day:
January 1

The solemnity of the Mother of God, which now coincides with the octave-day of Christmas and the beginning of the new year, was probably assigned this day because of the influence of the Byzantine Church, which celebrates the synapsis of the most holy Theotokos on December 26. This is in accordance with the Eastern practice of honoring secondary persons on the day after the feast of the principal personage (in this case, the birth of Christ). The Coptic Church celebrates this feast on January 16, but in the West, as early as the fifth century, the feast was celebrated on the Sunday before Christmas, although in France it was celebrated on January 18 and in Spain on December 18. Even before Pope Sergius introduced four Marian feasts in the seventh century (the Birth of Mary, the Annunciation, the Purification and the Assumption), the octave day of Christmas was celebrated in Rome in honor of the Maternity of Mary. Later, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the feast of the Circumcision was added, although it had been introduced into Spain and France at the end of the sixth century and was later included in the Missal of Pope St. Pius V. The recent liturgical reform has restored the original Roman practice, which replaced the pagan feast of the New Year, dedicated to the god Janus, with this feast honoring the Mother of God.A popular movement began in Portugal in the eighteenth century for a feast honoring Mary's maternity, and in 1914 the date of the feast was fixed at October 11. It was extended to the entire Latin Church in 1931, the fifteenth centenary of the Council of Ephesus. The restoration of the feast to January 1, which falls in the Christmas season and has an ecumenical significance, coincides with other anniversaries; for example, the octave day of Christmas, the circumcision of the Infant Jesus (assigned to the first Sunday of January); the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (which dates back to 1721); and the day for peace, introduced by Pope Paul VI.In the encyclical Marialis Cultus (1974) Pope Paul VI states: "This celebration, assigned to January 1 in conformity with the ancient liturgy of the city of Rome, is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the 'holy Mother . . . through whom we were found worthy . . . to receive the Author of life.' It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewed adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels, and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace. For this reason . . . we have instituted the World Day of Peace, an observance that is gaining increasing support and is already bringing forth fruits of peace in the hearts of many" (no. 5). (SOURCE:


Friday, January 1, 2010- Octave Day of Christmas: Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

Numbers 6: 22 - 27
The LORD said to Moses,
"Say to Aaron and his sons, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
The LORD bless you and keep you:
The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
"So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them."

Psalms 67: 2 - 3, 5 - 6, 8
that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee!
Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee!
The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.

Galatians 4: 4 - 7
But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir.


Luke 2: 16 - 21
And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child;
and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.
But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

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