Monday, January 11, 2010




(VIS) - The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel met on 7 January to continue its work on an Agreement pursuant to article 10 para. 2 of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement between the two Parties, announces a communique made public today. The talks proved useful and were held in un atmosphere of cordiality. Some important topics for forthcoming meetings were spelled out. The next meeting will take place on 10 February at the headquarters of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the plenary meeting of the commission will be held in the Vatican on 27 May..../ PERMANENT WORKING COMMISSION/... VIS 100111 (130)

POPE VISITS CARDINAL ETCHEGARAY IN HOSPITAL VATICAN CITY, 9 JAN 2010 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. released the following declaration to journalists this evening: "This evening the Holy Father travelled to Rome's Gemelli hospital to visit Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who was admitted there following a fracture he suffered during the incident at the beginning of Midnight Mass on 24 December last year, which required a surgical operation. "The visit took place at around 7 p.m. and lasted for about half an hour. It was characterised by a very cordial conversation in French between the Pope and the cardinal. The Pope expressed his concern and his spiritual closeness, and was able to assure himself personally of the favourable progress and post-operative rehabilitation of Cardinal Etchegaray, whose clinical conditions are excellent. During the conversation the two men were seated and at the end the cardinal walked with the Pope accompanying him to the door. Cardinal Etchegaray's release from hospital is expected for the middle of next week. On his way out the Holy Father also greeted a number of other patients".OP/POPE VISIT/ETCHEGARAY VIS 100111 (190)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 9 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. - Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo. - Cardinal William Wakefield Baum, major penitentiary emeritus. - Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia O.P., secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.AP/.../... VIS 100111 (70)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 9 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed: - Fr. Jean Marie Vianney Prida Inthirath, pastor and rector of the major seminary of Savannakhet, Laos, as apostolic vicar of Savannakhet (area 48,100, population 3,680,000, Catholics 15,000, priests 10, religious 55). The bishop-elect was born in Muang Phine, Laos in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1986. - Msgr. Luigi Lemmo of the clergy of the archdiocese of Naples, Italy, pastor of the parish of "Madonna della Libera" and dean of the fifth deaconate, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 274, population 1,744,000, Catholics 1,736,000, priests 1,064, permanent deacons 232, religious 3,086). The bishop-elect was born in Naples in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1973. - As members of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology: Fr. Enrico Dal Covolo S.D.B., professor at Rome's Pontifical Salesian University; Fr. Angelo Di Berardino O.S.A., president emeritus of the "Augustinianum" Patristic Institute in Rome; Giovanni Maria Vian, director of "L'Osservatore Romano" and professor of patristic philology at Rome's "La Sapienza" University; Jean Guyon, director of research at the "Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique", France, and Hugo Brandenburg of the German Archaeological Institute in Rome, professor emeritus at the "Institut fur Klassiche Archaologie und Fruhchristliche Archaologie" of the "Westfalische Wilhems-Universitat" in Munster, Germany.NER:NEA:NA/.../... VIS 100111 (220)

REDISCOVERING AND BEARING WITNESS TO THE GIFT OF FAITH VATICAN CITY, 10 JAN 2010 (VIS) - As is customary on today's Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, this morning in the Sistine Chapel the Pope presided at the celebration of the Eucharist during which he baptised fourteen newborn children, seven boys and seven girls. In his homily the Holy Father explained how "today Jesus showed Himself, on the banks of the River Jordan, to John and the People of Israel". The Baptism of the Precursor was "a Baptism of penance, a sign inviting people to conversion, to change their lives because the One is coming Who 'will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire'. Indeed, we cannot aspire to a new world while wallowing in selfishness and in the habits of sin", he said. "The Son of God, He Who is without sin", the Pope went on, "comes among sinners, He shows how close God is to man's journey of conversion. Jesus takes on His shoulders the weight of sin of all humanity. He begins His mission by placing Himself in our position, the position of sinners, from the perspective of the cross". Referring then to the babies he was about to baptise, Benedict XVI explained that "they will receive as a gift the grace of Baptism, and the Holy Spirit will dwell in them as in a temple, transforming the depths of their heart. ... Today they are baptised in the faith of the Church, as professed by their parents, their godparents and by the Christians present, who will then lead them by the hand in the following of Christ". And he went on: "Today is a great day for these children. With their Baptism, having become participants in the death and resurrection of Christ, they begin with Him the joyful and exciting adventure of being disciples". "It is Baptism that illuminates us with the light of Christ, opens our eyes to His splendour and introduces us to the mystery of God through the divine glow of the faith. The children who are about to be baptised must walk in this light all their lives, helped by the word and example of their parents and godparents who should undertake - through their words and the witness of their own lives - to feed the torch of the children's faith that it may shine in this world of ours, which is often groping in the shades of doubt, and bring the light of the Gospel which is life and hope". "In our days too, the faith is a gift to be rediscovered, cultivated and witnessed. With this celebration of Baptism, the Lord grants each of us the chance to live the beauty and joy of being Christians, that we too may introduce baptised children to the fullness of following Christ. "We entrust these little one to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary", added the Holy Father in conclusion. "We ask her that they, dressed in white as a sign of their newly-acquired dignity, may be faithful disciples of Christ for all their lives, courageous witnesses of the Gospel".HML/BAPTISM/SISTINE CHAPEL VIS 100111 (530)

VIOLENCE MUST NEVER BE USED TO RESOLVE DIFFERENCES VATICAN CITY, 10 JAN 2010 (VIS) - At the end of today's Mass in the Sistine chapel, during which he baptised a group of newborn infants, at midday the Pope appeared at the widow of his private study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square below. "Baptism", said the Pope, "gives a very good idea of the overall meaning of the Christmas festivities, during which the predominant theme is that of becoming children of God thanks to the fact that the only-begotten Son adopted our humanity. He became man that we might become children of God. God was born that we might be reborn". With the Sacrament of Baptism, the Holy Father continued, human beings "truly become children, children of God. From that moment the goal of their lives consists in achieving, freely and consciously, that which was mankind's aim from the beginning. 'Become what you are' is the basic educational principle of human beings redeemed by grace. ... Generated by Baptism to a new life, Christians begin their journey of growth in the faith, which will bring them consciously to invoke God as 'Abba- Father'". "Baptism also provides a model for society: that of being brothers. Fraternity cannot be created through an ideology, even less so by a decree on the part of some authority. We recognise one another as brothers on the basis of a humble but profound awareness of being children of the one heavenly Father. As Christians, and thanks to the Holy Spirit we received at Baptism, our lot is to have the gift and the commitment of living as children of God and as brothers, in order to become a 'leaven' for a new humanity, united and rich in peace and hope". After praying the Angelus the Holy Father spoke of two events that had caught his attention over recent days: "the situation of migrants who seek a better life in countries which, for various reasons, have need of their presence; and the conflicts in certain parts of the world in which Christians are subject to sometimes violent attacks. "We must return to the heart of the problem", he added. "We must return to the meaning of the human person. An immigrant is a human being, different by background, culture and tradition, but a person to be respected, and possessing rights and duties, particularly in the area of work where the temptation to exploitation is greater, but also in the area of living conditions. Violence must never be a way to resolve difficulties. The problems is first and foremost human. I invite people to look at the face of the other and discover that he too has a soul, a story and a life. He is a person and God loves him just as He loves me". And the Holy Father continued: "I would like to make similar considerations concerning man in his religious diversity. Violence towards Christians in certain countries has aroused the indignation of many people, also because it happened on the days most sacred to Christian tradition. It is important for both political and religious institutions not to renege ... on their responsibilities. There can be no violence in the name of God, nor can we think to honour Him by offending the dignity and freedom of our fellow man".ANG/BAPTISM IMMIGRATION FREEDOM/... VIS 100111 (570)

DEFENCE OF CREATION, FOCUS OF POPE'S ADDRESS TO DIPLOMATS VATICAN CITY, 11 JAN 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Sala Regia of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Benedict pronounced his traditional annual address to members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. He also received the greetings of the ambassadors formulated in a speech delivered by Alejandro Emilio Valladares Lanza of Honduras and dean of the diplomatic corps. The Holy See currently maintains full diplomatic relations with 178 States, to which must be added the European Union and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. It also has relations of a special nature with the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Furthermore, the Holy See has observer-State status at the United Nations, as well as being a member of seven organisations and agencies of the UN system, observer in eight others, and member or observer in five regional organisations. Ample extracts of the Holy Father's address are give below: "At Christmas we contemplated the mystery of God and the mystery of creation: by the message of the angels to the shepherds, we received the good news of man's salvation and the renewal of the entire universe. That is why, in my Message for the 2010 World Day of Peace, I urged all persons of good will - those same men and women to whom the angels rightly promised peace - to protect creation". "The Successor of Peter keeps his door open to everyone in the hope of maintaining relations which can contribute to the progress of the human family. It is a cause for deep satisfaction that, just a few weeks ago, full diplomatic relations were established between the Holy See and the Russian Federation. The recent visit of the president of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was likewise very significant; Vietnam is a country close to my heart, where the Church is celebrating her centuries-long presence by a Jubilee Year. In this spirit of openness, throughout 2009 I met many political personalities from all over the world; I also visited some of them and would like to continue to do so, in so far as is possible. "The Church is open to everyone because, in God, she lives for others! She thus shares deeply in the fortunes of humanity, which in this new year continues to be marked by the dramatic crisis of the global economy and consequently a serious and widespread social instability. In my Encyclical 'Caritas in veritate', I invited everyone to look to the deeper causes of this situation: in the last analysis, they are to be found in a current self-centred and materialistic way of thinking which fails to acknowledge the limitations inherent in every creature. Today I would like to stress that the same way of thinking also endangers creation. "Each of us could probably cite an example of the damage that this causes to the environment the world over. I will offer an example, from any number of others, taken from the recent history of Europe. Twenty years ago, after the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the materialistic and atheistic regimes which had for several decades dominated a part of this continent, was it not easy to see the great harm which an economic system lacking any reference to the truth about man had done not only to the dignity and freedom of individuals and peoples, but to nature itself, by polluting soil, water and air? "The denial of God distorts the freedom of the human person, yet it also devastates creation. It follows that the protection of creation is not principally a response to an aesthetic need, but much more to a moral need, inasmuch as nature expresses a plan of love and truth which is prior to us and which comes from God. "For this reason I share the growing concern caused by economic and political resistance to combating the degradation of the environment. This problem was evident even recently, during the 15th Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Copenhagen from 7 to 18 December last. I trust that in the course of this year, first in Bonn and later in Mexico City, it will be possible to reach an agreement for effectively dealing with this question. The issue is all the more important in that the very future of some nations is at stake, particularly some island States. "It is proper, however, that this concern and commitment for the environment should be situated within the greater framework of the major challenges now facing mankind. If we wish to build true peace, how can we separate or even set at odds the protection of the environment and the protection of human life, including the life of the unborn? It is in man's respect for himself that his sense of responsibility for creation is shown". "I would like to stress again that the protection of creation calls for an appropriate management of the natural resources of countries and, in the first place, of the economically disadvantaged. ... How can we forget, for that matter, that the struggle for access to natural resources is one of the causes of a number of conflicts, not least in Africa, as well as a continuing threat elsewhere?" "I forcefully repeat that to cultivate peace, one must protect creation! Furthermore, there are still large areas, for example in Afghanistan or in some countries of Latin America, where agriculture is unfortunately still linked to the production of narcotics, and is a not insignificant source of employment and income. If we want peace, we need to preserve creation by re-channelling these activities; I once more urge the international community not to become resigned to the drug trade and the grave moral and social problems which it creates". "The protection of creation is indeed an important element of peace and justice! Among the many challenges which it presents, one of the most serious is increased military spending and cost of maintaining and developing nuclear arsenals. Enormous resources are being consumed for these purposes, when they could be spent on the development of peoples, especially those who are poorest. For this reason I firmly hope that, during the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference to be held this May in New York, effective decisions will be made towards progressive disarmament, with a view to freeing our planet from nuclear arms. "More generally, I deplore the fact that arms production and export helps to perpetuate conflicts and violence, as in Darfur, in Somalia or in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Together with the inability of the parties directly involved to step back from the spiral of violence and pain spawned by these conflicts, there is the apparent powerlessness of other countries and the international organisations to restore peace, to say nothing of the indifference, amounting practically to resignation, of public opinion worldwide. ... Finally, how can I fail to mention terrorism, which endangers countless innocent lives and generates widespread anxiety". "The grave acts of violence to which I have just alluded, combined with the scourges of poverty, hunger, natural disasters and the destruction of the environment, have helped to swell the ranks of those who migrate from their native land. ... Here I wish to mention in particular the Christians of the Middle East. Assailed in various ways, even in the exercise of their religious freedom, they are leaving the land of their forebears, where the Church took root during the earliest centuries. To offer them encouragement and to make them feel the closeness of their brothers and sisters in faith, I have convened for next autumn a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Middle East". "Sadly, in certain countries, mainly in the West, one encounters in political and cultural circles, as well in the media, scarce respect and at times hostility, if not scorn, directed towards religion and towards Christianity in particular. It is clear that if relativism is considerated an essential element of democracy, one risks understanding secularity solely in terms of excluding or, more precisely, denying the social importance of religion. But such an approach creates confrontation and division, disturbs peace, harms human ecology and, by rejecting in principle attitudes other than its own, finishes in a dead end. There is thus an urgent need to delineate a positive and open secularity which, grounded in the just autonomy of the temporal order and the spiritual order, can foster healthy co-operation and a spirit of shared responsibility". "I express my hope that in building its future, Europe will always draw upon the wellsprings of its Christian identity. As I said during my apostolic visit last September to the Czech Republic, Europe has an irreplaceable role to play "for the formation of the conscience of each generation and the promotion of a basic ethical consensus that serves every person who calls this continent 'home'. "To carry our reflection further, we must remember that the problem of the environment is complex. ... Creatures differ from one another and can be protected, or endangered, in different ways, as we know from daily experience. One such attack comes from laws or proposals which, in the name of fighting discrimination, strike at the biological basis of the difference between the sexes. I am thinking, for example, of certain countries in Europe or North and South America. ... Freedom cannot be absolute, since man is not God, but the image of God, God's creation. For man, the path to be taken cannot be determined by caprice or wilfulness, but must rather correspond to the structure willed by the Creator. "The protection of creation also entails other challenges, which can only be met by international solidarity. I think of the natural disasters which this past year have sown death, suffering and destruction in the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Taiwan. Nor can I pass over Indonesia and, closer to us, the Abruzzi region, hit by devastating earthquakes". "Yet, in addition to solidarity, the protection of creation also calls for concord and stability between States. Whenever disagreements and conflicts arise among them, in order to defend peace, they must tenaciously pursue the path of constructive dialogue. This is what happened twenty-five years ago with the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Argentina and Chile, reached thanks to the mediation of the Apostolic See. That treaty has borne abundant fruits of co-operation and prosperity which have in some way benefited all of Latin America". "I am gratified by the agreement concluded between Croatia and Slovenia on the arbitration regarding their sea and land borders. I am also pleased by the accord between Armenia and Turkey for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations, and I express my hope that, through dialogue, relations will improve among all the countries of the southern Caucasus. "In the course of my pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I urgently appealed to the Israelis and the Palestinians to dialogue and to respect each others' rights. Once again I call for a universal recognition of the right of the State of Israel to exist and to enjoy peace and security within internationally recognised borders. Likewise, the right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign and independent homeland, to live in dignity and to enjoy freedom of movement, ought to be recognised. I would also like to request the support of everyone for the protection of the identity and sacred character of Jerusalem, and of its cultural and religious heritage, which is of universal value. Only thus will this unique city, holy yet deeply troubled, be a sign and foreshadowing of that peace which God desires for the whole human family. "Out of love for the dialogue and peace which protect creation, I exhort the government leaders and the citizens of Iraq to overcome their divisions and the temptation to violence and intolerance, in order to build together the future of their country. The Christian communities also wish to make their own contribution, but if this is to happen, they need to be assured respect, security and freedom. Pakistan has been also hard hit by violence in recent months and certain episodes were directly aimed at the Christian minority. I ask that everything be done to avoid the reoccurrence of such acts of aggression, and to ensure that Christians may feel fully a part of the life of their country. "With regard to acts of violence against Christians, I cannot fail to mention also the deplorable attack which the Egyptian Coptic community suffered in recent days, during its celebration of Christmas. Concerning Iran, I express my hope that through dialogue and co-operation joint solutions will be found on the national as well as the international level. I encourage Lebanon, which has emerged from a lengthy political crisis, to continue along the path of concord. I hope that Honduras, after a period of uncertainty and unrest, will move towards a recovery of normal political and social life. I desire the same for Guinea and Madagascar with the effective and disinterested aid of the international community". "Looking to Christ, I exhort every person of good will to work confidently and generously for the sake of human dignity and freedom. May the light and strength of Jesus help us to respect human ecology, in the knowledge that natural ecology will likewise benefit, since the book of nature is one and indivisible. In this way we will be able to build peace, today and for the sake of generations to come".AC/NEW YEAR/DIPLOMATIC CORPS VIS 100111 (2260)


CISA reports that for the 52nd time, in the days before and after the Epiphany, the "Star Singers" (Sternsinger) of the German Holy Childhood Association have taken to the streets of Germany with their carols."Kids find new ways" is the motto of the campaign this year, which will once again be celebrated in German dioceses by around half a million German girls and boys who go from door to door dressed up as the Magi, carrying a star with them. The focus country for this year's collection, which has German children working for their peers who are suffering, is Senegal. With the motto "Utub yoon bu bees - Kids find new ways," the 2010 campaign wants to remember that above all the children of so-called developing countries must find new ways for its development, to build their own future and to take responsibility for their lives.In many parts of the world, thanks to the efforts of the Star Singers, children have the opportunity to find a way for their education and training. But even in Senegal, the benefit country for the campaign in 2010, children must go a long way to get from the countryside to the city where they attend school.Together with local partners, the Pontifical Holy Childhood Association in Germany is also committed to ensuring that children of West African countries have access to new forms of communication such as Internet and e-mail. To prepare the ground for the campaign and support the initiative, from 15 September 2009 until January 17, 2010 a typical multicolored minibus-taxi from Senegal is traveling around Germany. Stopping in the streets and squares of many German cities, Missio staff were able to offer information on the lives of children in Senegal. The collection taken up by the “Star Singers” of Germany has become the largest initiative of solidarity worldwide, which sees children working for their peers in need. Meanwhile in tracing the origin of the Collection at Epiphany, it is acknowledged that Cardinal Lavigerie, Fonder of the Missionaries of Africa was instrumental in the process of not only ending slavery but also initiating support to the church in Africa. At the close of the 19th century, around 1886, Cardinal Lavigerie, Founder of the Missionaries of Africa (Formerly White Fathers and the White Sisters) was revolted by the inhuman situation whereby Africans were auctioned like vulgar cattle. Throughout the world, he undertook to raise awareness in public opinion and addressed the governments of the day to implement the cessation of the raids that reduced men to slavery, obliged to work without wages far from their countries and totally dependent on their owners. At Paris, he founded the Anti-Slavery League and became its first Director General. This Association was commissioned to raise funds to redeem these slaves from their masters, in order to release them, making them free. Echoing Cardinal Lavigerie's, initiative, Pope Leo XIII wrote to Bishops throughout the world on the 20th November 1890 and instituted World Africa Day on the Epiphany, calling for an 'Imperative Collection'. He requested its continuance until Africans could take complete charge of their own Church communities. In 1967, since at least officially, slavery had not been in evidence for several decades, the Anti-Slavery Society took the name of AID TO THE AFRICAN MISSIONS. In 1992, it became AID TO THE CHURCH IN AFRICA. The Church in Africa has become autonomous and today most Bishops are African-born.The Epiphany Collection, it tries to raise awareness every year among the Christians of France of the needs of the Church in Africa, by an information campaign to Bishops, parishes and missionary cooperation teams. The amounts collected are redistributed to African dioceses (mainly French-speaking, but also English- and Portuguese-speaking) for the needs of those Churches. This Epiphany Collection is under the aegis of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, Rome, and funds are distributed with its agreement. In for instance, 2005, € 934,300 were sent to dioceses in 26 African countries, including North Africa, Madagascar, and the Indian Ocean Islands, as well as various Services of the Mission in France.The French Association of AID TO THE CHURCH IN AFRICA throughout the year receives donations from individuals. These amounts enable a direct response to be made for micro-projects submitted by African Christian communities for catechesis, (children, youth, adult), catechist training, parish pastoral activities, or the building of a chapel in the villages or in sub-parishes.(SOURCE:



USCCB report:
With House and Senate leaders meeting behind closed doors to forge a health care overhaul bill, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has reactivated its grassroots campaign to encourage Catholics nationwide to tell lawmakers they oppose federal funding of abortion.
USSCB Director of Domestic Policy Kathy Saile

Bulletin inserts, a prayer campaign and pulpit announcements are all part of the effort to help ensure that the final version of the health care reform bill sent to President Obama will include Hyde amendment protections explicitly preventing the use of federal money in promoting, performing, or paying for abortions.
The bulletin insert, distributed to over 19,000 parishes, notes that the House health care bill, passed on November 7, 2009, “reaffirms the essential, longstanding and widely supported policy against using federal funds for elective abortions and includes positive measures on affordability and immigrants.”
However, the insert stresses, the Senate version of the bill “requires federal funds to help subsidize and promote health plans that cover elective abortions. All purchasers of such plans will be required to pay for other people’s abortions through a separate payment solely to pay for abortion.”
“Outside the abortion context, neither bill has adequate conscience protection for health care providers, plans or employers,” it adds.
The insert summarizes the current legislative process by saying, “These two bills must now be combined into one bill that both the House and Senate will vote on in final form. Provisions against abortion funding and in favor of conscience protection, affordability, and immigrants’ access to health care must be part of a fair and just health care reform bill, or the final bill must be opposed.”
Commenting on the health care situation, Kathy Saile, Director of Domestic Social Development for the USCCB, said in a video statement, “Health care is a human right. And heath care reform is a moral imperative and a national priority.”
“Elements in the proposed bills do a great deal of good… But this reform has been sadly politicized by efforts to expand funding for abortion,” Saile remarked.
“The goals of the bishops are modest. They are not trying to advance an agenda. But rather they seek to keep in place the long-standing policies of no federal funding of abortion,” Saile said.
Noting that the health care reform package is expected to come to a vote this month, the Catholic bishops are urging the faithful to contact their Representatives and Senators. (SOURCE:


Cardinal Armand Gaetan Razafindratandra, the former Archbishop Antananarivo in Madagascar, died on January 9 at the age of 84. A native of Madagascar, he had been ordained as a priest in 1954 and named Bishop of Majunga in 1978. He became Archbishop of Antananarivo in 1978, remaining at that post until he retired in 2005 at the age of 80. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II in 1994.


The blast took place yesterday morning shortly before mass. Abu Sayyaf Muslim rebels main suspects of the attack. In recent months, two grenades have exploded near the cathedral. The last attack dates to 31 December. Sulu Bishops says Church will not close its mission in Jolo.
Cotabato City (AsiaNews) - Yesterday morning, a grenade exploded in front of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Caramel of Jolo (Sulu-Mindanao) shattering the windows. According to local police the blast occurred around 5 am, an hour before the celebration of mass. No-one was involved in the blast, but tension remains high among the population.
"I was preparing for mass at 5.40 - said Fr Jose Ante, Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate - when the grenade exploded in the churchyard". "The church – he continued - was still empty at the time of the explosion, which is why there were no injuries. God protected us again".
Immediately after the explosion of the bomb the church authorities closed the building and suspended services. The police have increased security measures around the church.
"We do not know the reasons for this attack - said Mgr. Angelito Lampon, bishop of Sulu - but this event will not stop the Church's mission in Jolo".
This is the third attack near the cathedral since October. The last occurred on 31 December and wounded two soldiers.
Although there have been no claims so far, local police suspect that the Islamic rebels of Abu Sayyaf, an extremist group linked to al-Qaeda, are behind the attack. According to authorities the group aims to maintain a climate of tension among the population. Members of Abu Sayyaf have been accused of previous attacks. The most serious occurred on 7 July and caused 6 deaths and 40 wounded.,-no-injuries-17315.html


Cath News report:

Christian Brother Frank McCarthy, reputedly the oldest registered working teacher in Australia, died this week, aged 89.
"Br McCarthy was still teaching at St Kevin's until Term 3 of 2009 at the age of 88 years and is the oldest registered working teaching in Australia," said a spokeswoman for the Headmaster of St Kevin's College in Victoria.
"With great sadness St Kevin's College mourns the passing of Br McCarthy," the college said of his death on January 7.
"A scholar of exceptional ability, his Cambridge doctorate was but a glimpse of his giftedness. Headmasterships of Parade College, CBC St Kilda and St Kevin's were highpoints of his professional career."
A vigil will be held at the College today at 7.30pm, a requiem Mass will be celebrated at St Ignatius Church Richmond at 11.00am tomorrow and a memorial service next Wednesday at the College's Smith Hall.


St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch
Feast: January 11
Feast Day:
January 11
423 at Garissus, Cappadocia (modern Turkey)
529 at Cathismus

St Theodosius was born at Mogariassus, called in latter ages Marissa, in Cappadocia, in 423. He imbibed the first tincture of virtue from the fervent example and pious instructions of his virtuous parents. He was ordained reader, but some time after being moved by Abraham's example to quit his country and friends, he resolved to put this motion in execution. He accordingly set out for Jerusalem, but went purposely out of his road to visit the famous St. Simeon Stylites on his pillar, who foretold him several circumstances of his life, and gave him proper instructions for his behaviour in each. Having satisfied his devotion in visiting the holy places in Jerusalem, he began to consider in what manner he should dedicate himself to God in a religious state. The dangers of living without a guide made him prefer a monastery to a hermitage; and he therefore put himself under the directions of a holy man named Longinus, to whom his virtue soon endeared him in a very particular manner. A pious lady having built a church under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin, on the high road to Bethlehem, Longinus could not well refuse her request that his pupil should undertake the charge of it; but Theodosius, who loved only to obey, could not be induced by any entreaties to consent to this proposal: absolute commands were necessary to force him to a compliance. Nor did he govern long; for dreading the poison of vanity from the esteem of men, he retired into a cave at the top of a neighbouring desert mountain, and employed his time in fasting, watching, prayers, and tears, which almost continually flowed from his eyes. His food was coarse pulse and wild herbs: for thirty years he never tasted so much as a morsel of bread. Many desired to serve God under his direction: he at first determined only to admit six or seven, but was soon obliged to receive a greater number, and at length came to a resolution, which charity extorted from him, never to reject any that presented themselves with dispositions that seemed sincere. The first lesson which he taught his monks was that the continual remembrance of death is the foundation of religious perfection; to imprint this more deeply in their minds, he caused a great grave or pit to be dug, which might serve for the common burial-place of the whole community, that by the presence of this memorial of death, and by continually meditating on that object, they might more perfectly learn to die daily. The burial-place being made, the abbot one day, when he had led his monks to it, said, The grave is made, who will first perform the dedication?" Basil, a priest, who was one of the number, falling on his knees, said to St. Theodosius, "I am the person, be pleased to give me your blessing." The abbot ordered the prayers of the church for the dead to be offered up for him, and on the fortieth day Basil wonderfully departed to our Lord in peace without any apparent sickness. When the holy company of disciples were twelve in number it happened that at the great feast at Easter they had nothing to eat; they had not even bread for the sacrifice: some murmured; the saint bid them trust in God and he would provide; which was soon remarkably verified by the arrival of certain mules loaded with provisions. The lustre of the sanctity and miracles of St. Theodosius drawing great numbers to him who desired to serve God under his direction, his cave was too little for their reception, therefore, having consulted heaven by prayer, he, by its particular direction, built a spacious monastery at a place called Cathismus, not far from Bethlehem, at a small distance from his cave, and it was soon filled with holy monks. To this monastery were annexed three infirmaries: one for the sick, the gift of a pious lady in that neighbourhood; the two others St. Theodosius built himself, one for the aged and feeble, the other for such as had been punished with the loss of their senses, or by falling under the power of the devil, for rashly engaging in a religious state through pride, and without a due dependence on the grace of God to carry them through it. All succours, spiritual and temporal, were afforded in these infirmaries, with admirable order, care, and affection. He erected also several buildings for the reception of strangers, in which he exercised an unbounded hospitality, entertaining all that came, for whose use there were one day above a hundred tables served with provisions: these, when insufficient for the number of guests, were more than once miraculously multiplied by his prayers. The monastery itself was like a city of saints in the midst of a desert, and in it reigned regularity, silence, charity, and peace. There were four churches belonging to it, one for each of the three several nations of which his community was chiefly composed, each speaking a different language; the fourth was for the use of such as were in a state of penance, which those that recovered from their lunatic or possessed condition before-mentioned, were put into, and detained till they had expiated their fault. The nations into which his community was divided were the Greeks, which was by far the most numerous, and consisted of all those that came from any provinces of the empire; the Armenians, with whom were joined the Arabians and Persians; and, thirdly, the Bessi, who comprehended all the northern nations below Thrace, or all who used the Runic or Sclavonian tongue. Each nation sung the first part of the mass to the end of the gospel in their own church, but after the gospel all met in the church of the Greeks, where they celebrated the essential part of the sacrifice in Greek, and communicated all together.

The monks passed a considerable part of the day and night at their devotions in the church, and at the times not set apart for public prayer and necessary rest every one was obliged to apply himself to some trade or manual labour, not incompatible with recollection that the house might be supplied with conveniences. Sallust, Bishop of Jerusalem, appointed St. Sabas superior general of the hermits and our saint of the Cenobites, or religious men living in community throughout all Palestine, whence he was styled the Cenobiarch. These two great servants of God lived in strict friendship, and had frequent spiritual conferences together; they were also united in their zeal and sufferings for the church.
The Emperor Anastasius patronised the Eutychian heresy, and used all possible means to engage our saint in his party. In 513 he deposed Elias, Patriarch of Jerusalem, as he had banished Flavian II, Patriarch of Antioch, and intruded Severus, an impious heretic, into that see, commending the Syrians to obey and hold communion with him. SS. Theodosius and Sabas maintained boldly the right of Elias, and of John his successor; whereupon the imperial officers thought it most advisable to connive at their proceedings, considering the great authority they had acquired by their sanctity. Soon after, the emperor sent Theodosius a considerable sum of money, for charitable uses in appearance, but in reality to engage him in his interest. The saint accepted of it, and distributed it all among the poor. Anastasius, now persuading himself that he was as good as gained over to his cause, sent him a heretical profession of faith, in which the divine and human natures in Christ were confounded into one, and desired him to sign it. The saint wrote him an answer full of apostolic spirit; in which, besides solidly confuting the Eutychian error, he added that he was ready to lay down his life for the faith of the church. The emperor admired his courage and the strength of his reasoning, and, returning him a respectful answer, highly commended his generous zeal, made some apology for his own inconsiderateness, and protested that he only desired the peace of the church. But it was not long ere he relapsed into his former impiety, and renewed his bloody edicts against the orthodox, dispatching troops everywhere to have them put in execution. On the first intelligence of this, Theodosius went over all the deserts and country of Palestine, exhorting every one to be firm in the faith of the four general councils. At Jerusalem, having assembled the people together, he from the pulpit cried out with a loud voice: "If any one receives not the four general councils as the four gospels, let him be anathema." So bold an action in a man of his years inspired with courage those whom the edicts had terrified. His discourses had a wonderful effect on the people, and God gave a sanction to his zeal by miracles: one of these was, that on his going out of the church at Jerusalem, a woman was healed of a cancer on the spot by only touching his garments. The emperor sent an order for his banishment, which was executed; but, dying soon after, Theodosius was recalled by his catholic successor, Justin, who, from a common soldier, had gradually ascended the imperial throne.
Our saint survived his return eleven years, never admitting the least relaxation in his former austerities. Such was his humility that, seeing two monks at variance with each other, he threw himself at their feet, and would not rise till they were perfectly reconciled; and once having excommunicated one of his subjects for a crime, who contumaciously pretended to excommunicate him in his turn, the saint behaved as if he had been really excommunicated, to gain the sinner's soul by this unprecedented example of submission, which had the desired effect. During the last year of his life he was afflicted with a painful distemper, in which he gave proof of a heroic patience, and an entire submission to the will of God. Perceiving the hour of his dissolution at hand, he gave his last exhortations to his disciples, and foretold many things, which accordingly came to pass after his death; this happened in the one hundred and fifth year of his age, and of our Lord 529. Peter, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the whole country, assisted with the deepest sentiments of respect at the solemnity of his interment, which was honoured by miracles. He was buried in his first cell called the Cave of the Magi, because the wise men who came to adore Christ soon after his birth were said to have lodged in it. A certain count being on his march against the Persians, begged the hair shirt which the saint used to wear next his skin, and believed that he owed the victory which he obtained over them to the saint's protection through the pledge of that relic. Both the Romans and Greek calendars mention his festival on the 11th of January.


Mark 1: 14 - 20
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,
and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel."
And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen.
And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men."
And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zeb'edee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets.
And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zeb'edee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him.

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