Monday, January 4, 2010



(VIS) - The Pope has sent a Message to Archbishop Julian Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, for the solemn opening of the Compostela Holy Year which took place this evening in the cathedral of Santiago. The Holy Year is celebrated in years in which the feast of the Apostle James (25 July) falls on a Sunday. In the message, which Archbishop Barrio read out during the course of the Eucharistic celebration that followed the opening of the Holy Door, Benedict XVI writes that the theme of this latest Compostela Holy year - "On pilgrimage towards the light" - and the pastoral letter written for the occasion - "Pilgrims of faith and witnesses of the risen Christ" - are in faithful keeping with tradition and "re-present that tradition as a call to evangelisation to the men and women of today, recalling the essentially pilgrim nature of the Church and of Christians in this world". "Pilgrims, open to wonder and to transcendence, must allow themselves to be instructed by the Word of God so as to divest their faith of ungrounded beliefs and fears", the Pope writes. "This is what the Lord did with His disciples who, dazed and discouraged, travelled the road to Emmaus". The Holy Father asks God "to accompany pilgrims, to make Himself known and enter their hearts. ... This is the true goal, the grace which the mere physical journeying of the Way cannot achieve alone, and which leads pilgrims to become witnesses before others to the fact that Christ lives and is our undying hope of salvation". "During this Holy Year, in keeping with the current Year for Priests, a decisive role falls to the clergy, whose spirit of welcome and commitment to the faithful and to pilgrims has to be particularly generous", writes Pope Benedict. In this context he calls on priests to pay particular heed to "the administration of the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, because the most sought-after, valuable and characteristic element of the Holy Year is forgiveness and the encounter with the living Christ". Benedict XVI likewise expresses his "particular closeness to the pilgrims who are arriving and will continue to arrive in Santiago", inviting them "to treasure the profound experiences of faith, charity and fraternity they encounter on their journey, and to seek especially to live the Way as an interior experience, responding to the call that the Lord makes to each one of them". "I invite them too", he concludes, "as they say their prayers, not to forget those who were unable to accompany them, their families and friends, the sick and the needy, emigrants, those whose faith is fragile and the People of God with their pastors".MESS/COMPOSTELA HOLY YEAR/BARRIO VIS 100104 (470)
INCREASE THE SENSE OF BELONGING TO THE CHURCH VATICAN CITY, 31 DEC 2009 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 6 p.m. today, the Pope presided at first Vespers of the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. This was followed by the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the singing of the traditional "Te Deum" of thanksgiving for the conclusion of the year, and the Eucharistic blessing. Commenting on the reading from today's liturgy in which St. Paul the Apostle speaks of "the fullness of time", the Pope explained that "with the incarnation of the Son of God, eternity entered into time and the history of mankind was opened to fulfilment in the absoluteness of God. Time was, so to say, 'touched' by Christ, Son of God and of Mary, and from Him received new and surprising meanings: it became a time of salvation and grace. "It is from this point of view that we must consider the year that is ending and that which is beginning", the Pope added, "in order to place the various events of our lives - the large and the small, simple or undecipherable, joyful or sad - under the sign of salvation and accept the call God makes to us to lead us towards a goal that is beyond time: the goal of eternity". Referring then to God's closeness to all humankind, which is a specific aspect of the mystery of Christmas, Benedict XVI explained that "God became man and man was given the unprecedented chance to become the son of God. All this fills us with great joy and makes us raise praises to Him" as is customary on this day with the singing of the "Te Deum". Pope Benedict gave thanks for the "abundant graces" the diocese of Rome has received over the last twelve months and expressed his appreciation for the "pastoral decision to dedicate time to studying the progress made thus far" which, he said, will "increase the sense of belonging to the Church and favour pastoral co-responsibility". After then highlighting how "many families, numerous teachers and parish communities dedicate themselves to helping young people build their future upon solid foundations, in particular upon the rock that is Jesus Christ", the Pope pointed out that "the Word - believed, announced and lived - impels us to perform acts of solidarity". In this context he encouraged people "to continue their commitment to alleviating the difficulties facing so many families today, sorely-tried by the economic crisis and unemployment". Before concluding his homily, the Holy Father reiterated "Rome's need for priests who courageously announce the Gospel and, at the same time, reveal the merciful face of the Father. I invite young people not to be afraid to respond, with the complete giving of their lives, to the call the Lord makes to them to follow Him on the path of priesthood or consecrated life". Following the celebration, the Pope made a brief visit to the nativity scene in St. Peter's Square.HML/VESPERS TE DEUM/... VIS 100104 (500)
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 31 DEC 2009 (VIS) -The Holy Father appointed Fr. Matthieu Nguyen Van Khoi, pastor of the cathedral of Quy Nhon, Vietnam, and professor at the "Maria Stella" seminary of Nha Trang, as coadjutor of Quy Nhon (area 17,087, population 3,734,903, Catholics 68,011, priests 89, religious 400). The bishop-elect was born in Phuoc Son, Vietnam in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1989.NEC/.../KHOI VIS 100104 (70)
COMMITMENT TO BUILDING A WORLD MORE WORTHY OF MANKIND VATICAN CITY, 1 JAN 2010 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 10 a.m. today, Benedict XVI presided at a Eucharistic celebration for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God and the forty-third World Day of Peace, which has as its theme this year: "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation". At the beginning of his homily the Pope explained that "the entire biblical narrative can be read as a progressive discovery of the face of God, up until His complete revelation in Jesus Christ. ... God took on a human face, allowing Himself to be seen and recognised in the Son of the Virgin Mary who, for this reason, we venerate with the exalted title of 'Mother of God'". After them highlighting how "meditation on the mystery of the face of God and of man is a privileged path that leads to peace", the Holy Father pointed out that peace actually "begins by looking at the face of others with respect and recognising therein a person, whatever the colour of their skin, nationality, language or religion". "Only if we have God in our hearts", Pope Benedict continued, "are we able to see in the face of the other a brother in humanity, not a means but an end, not a rival or an enemy but another self, another facet of the infinite mystery of human beings. Our perception of the world and, in particular, of our fellow man, essentially depends on the presence of the Spirit of God within us". "In order, then, to recognise and respect one another as we truly are - that is, as brothers - we need to refer to the face of a common Father Who loves us all, despite our limitations and our errors. "From earliest childhood it is important we be educated to respect others, even when different from ourselves", the Pope added. And in this context he explained that "the face of children are like a reflection of God's vision of the world. Why, then, dampen their smiles?" he asked. "Why poison their hearts? Unfortunately the icon of the tender Mother of God has its tragic opposite in the disturbing images of so many children and their mothers who are at the mercy of wars and violence. ... Faces hollowed out by hunger and sickness, faces disfigured by suffering and desperation". And he went on: "The faces of these little innocents are a silent appeal to our sense of responsibility. In the face of their defencelessness, all the false justifications for war and violence collapse. We must simply turn to projects of peace, lay down arms of all kinds and together commit ourselves to building a world more worthy of mankind". Turing then to comment on the theme of his Message for the forty-third World Day of Peace - "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation" - the Pope explained that "man is capable of respecting other creatures in the degree to which he carries in his own spirit a complete sense of the meaning of life, otherwise he will be led to despise himself and his surroundings and to have no respect for the environment in which he lives: the creation". "There is, in fact, a close correlation between respect for man and the protection of creation", said the Holy Father. "If man is degraded, the environment in which he lives is degraded; if culture tends towards nihilism (if not theoretical, then practical) nature cannot but pay the consequences". "Thus I renew my appeal to invest in education", he concluded. "An education that has as its objective, apart from the necessary transmission of technical-scientific knowledge, a broader and deeper 'ecological responsibility' based on respect for man and his fundamental rights and duties. Only in this way can commitment to the environment truly become education for peace and construction of peace".HML/PEACE CREATION/... VIS 100104 (660)
WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CREATION VATICAN CITY, 1 JAN 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, shortly after celebrating Mass in the Vatican Basilica, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Recalling the theme of his Message for the forty-third World Day of Peace - "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation" - the Pope pointed out that "we are all responsible for the protection and care of creation. Hence education is vital in this field too: in order to respect nature we 'must increasingly begin with far-reaching decisions on the part of individuals, families, communities and States'. "And if we must care for the creatures that surround us", he added, "how much more consideration must we have for people, for our brothers and sisters! how much respect for human life!" On this first day of the year Benedict XVI also launched "an appeal to the consciences of members of armed groups of whatever kind. To all of you I say: stop, reflect and abandon the way of violence. In the immediate, this step may seem impossible but, if you have the courage to take it, God will help you and you will feel the joy of peace return to your hearts, a joy you may perhaps have long forgotten. I entrust this appeal to the intercession of Mary Mother of God". After recalling how Jesus' name means "God saves", the Holy Father affirmed that "Jesus is the face of God, He is a blessing for all individuals and all peoples, He is the peace of the world. Thank you, Most Holy Mother, for having given birth to the Saviour, the Prince of peace".ANG/CREATION PEACE/... VIS 100104 (300)
OUR HOPE IS IN GOD WHO GUIDES US TO HIS KINGDOM VATICAN CITY, 3 JAN 2010 (VIS) - "On this Sunday - the second after Christmas and the first of the new year - I am happy to renew my best wishes for all good in the Lord", said the Pope before praying the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. "There is no lack of problems, in the Church and in the world, as well as in the everyday life of families. But, thanks to God, our hope does not take account of improbable prognostications, and not even of economic forecasts, important though they may be. "Our hope is in God", the Pope added, "but not in the sense of a generic religiosity, or of a fatalism dressed up as faith. We trust in the God Who in Jesus Christ fully and definitively revealed His will to remain with men and women, to share their history and to guide us all to His Kingdom of love and life. It is this great hope that animates and sometimes corrects our human hopes". "Humanity's real reason for hope is this: history has a meaning because it is 'inhabited' by the Wisdom of God. Nonetheless the divine plan is not accomplished automatically, because it is a project of love and love generates freedom and demands freedom. The Kingdom of God will certainly come - or rather, its is already present in history and thanks to the coming of Christ has already defeated the negative power of evil - but each man and woman is responsible for welcoming it into their own lives day by day. And hence the year 2010 will be more or less 'happy' in the measure to which each person ... is able to collaborate with the grace of God". The Holy Father called upon the faithful to turn to the Virgin Mary "in order to learn this spiritual attitude from her. The Son of God became flesh through her, and not without her consent. Each time the Lord wishes to take a step forward, with us, towards the 'promised land', He first knocks at the doors of our heart and, so to speak, awaits our 'yes', in the little choices as in the great. "May Mary", the Pope added in conclusion, "help us always to welcome God's will with humility and courage so that even the trials and sufferings of life my help to hasten the coming of His Kingdom of justice and peace".ANG/HOPE/... VIS 100104 (420) MSGR.

The Austrian Cardinal Schoenborn made a private visit to Medjugorje. He saw many positive fruits of the apparitions. He commented that Medjugorje is a school of the normal Christian life. He saw Faith in Christ, prayer, Eucharistic celebrations, and brotherly love. He also noted the great importance of Confession among the pilgrims. His visit sheds a positive light on the site of the Marian apparitions.


St. Thomas Aquinas College press release:
SANTA PAULA, CA-December 23, 2009-President-elect Dr. Michael F. McLean has announced that the Dan Murphy Foundation of Los Angeles had approved at its December 1st meeting a grant of $2 million to Thomas Aquinas College in honor of the school's late president, Dr. Thomas E. Dillon, who was killed in an automobile accident last spring. Said Richard A. Grant, President of the Dan Murphy Foundation, "The Trustees of the Dan Murphy Foundation are pleased to make this contribution in memory of Dr. Dillon, in recognition of his great achievements on behalf of Thomas Aquinas College."
Dr. McLean explained further, "This magnificent grant is being made as a lead gift to the college's new capital campaign, the goal of which is to complete all of the funding for Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel. That was a project dear to Tom's heart, and we are so grateful the Dan Murphy Foundation has chosen to honor him in this way."
According to Vice President for Development John Quincy Masteller, the $7 million capital campaign will be 18 months in duration, concluding on June 30, 2011. "During that time, officials of the college plan to approach old friends and new," he explained, "seeking major gifts for the chapel project." When finished, the entire chapel project, including related infrastructure and road, will have been completed.
Said Richard Grant, "It is hoped the Foundation's grant will be an impetus to complete the College's capital campaign as a tribute to Dr. Dillon's tireless efforts in building the Thomas Aquinas campus. This beautiful chapel exemplifies Tom Dillon's devotion to the Roman Catholic Church and Thomas Aquinas College."
Noting that Dr. Dillon's successor has now been chosen, Mr. Grant added, "The Foundation's trustees make the contribution in the confidence that Thomas Aquinas College, under the leadership of Dr. Michael McLean, will attain new levels of academic excellence as an institution devoted to Catholic liberal education."
For more information and to view photographs of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel, visit the college's website at:
ABOUT THOMAS AQUINAS COLLEGENamed a 2010 "Best Value" college by The Princeton Reivew and Kiplinger's, Thomas Aquinas College is a four-year, co-educational, Catholic liberal arts college with a fully-integrated curriculum composed exclusively of the Great Books, the seminal works in the major disciplines by the great thinkers who have helped shape Western civilization. There are no textbooks, no lectures and no electives. Instead, under the guidance of faculty members and using only the Socratic method of dialogue in classes of no more than 20, students read and discuss the original works of authors such as Euclid, Dante, Galileo, Descartes, the American Founding Fathers, Adam Smith, Shakespeare, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Aristotle, Plato, St. Augustine, and of course, St. Thomas Aquinas. Alumni consistently excel in the many world-class institutions at which they pursue graduate degrees in fields such as law, medicine, business, theology and education. They have distinguished themselves serving as lawyers, doctors, business owners, priests, military service men and women, educators, journalists and college presidents. (source:


The New Vision reports:
CARDINAL Emmanuel Wamala has slammed the newly registered Catholic Apostolic National Church, describing it as a group of ‘false prophets’. Cardinal Wamala also said he has not received any information indicating that the group’s top leaders were ever priests in the Catholic Church in Uganda. “I don’t know these so-called priests and the Church should not be scared,” the cardinal said yesterday. The New Vision on Wednesday reported the emergence of a new religious sect that claimed to be linked to the Catholic Church, based in Jinja, eastern Uganda. The Catholic Apostolic National Church, also known as the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church, is an independent church established in 1945 by Brazilian bishop Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, who originally was a Roman Catholic bishop. Costa, started the church after falling out with the Catholic Church and he was excommunicated. The church allows divorce and can marry divorced persons. It also allows its priests to marry. “Many such people have emerged in Uganda and gone. I advise Ugandans neither to follow nor listen to them because they intend to divide the church,” Wamala said. The retired Archbishop of Kampala said for the past 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has stood the emergence of such groups and has not been shaken. He cited apostle Paul, who wrote that such false prophets would rise but the world should not listen to them. Throughout the Bible, Wamala said, there are warnings of false prophets and Messiahs. “They come putting on sheep’s clothes but inwardly they are wolves who want to snatch the good values in the Church,” he warned. Information has emerged that the leader of the sect, Fr. Leonard Lubega, was never ordained a Catholic Church priest in Uganda. Also another sect’s priest, Fr. Matovu Seguya, has until recently been serving as an Orthodox priest in Mityana and was not previously a priest in the Catholic Church. Asked about his background, Fr. Lubega told The New Vision that he previously was a Catholic Brother before he joined the St Mbaaga Seminary in Kampala. But he admitted that he left Uganda before he was ordained a Catholic priest and went to Cameroon, where he reportedly became a priest in the Apostolic National church. Born on May 3, 1972, Lubega said he joined the Bannakaroli Religious Brothers in Masaka, where he had two years of postulancy and novitiate, after which he was reportedly posted to Kabuyanda parish in Mbarara diocese for pastoral training. Lubega says he became a Munnakaroli religious brother in 1994 in Kiteredde, Masaka, before he went to pursue a diploma in Business Administration at Nile Institute of Management and Accountancy in Kampala. Lubega says he joined St. Mbaaga Major seminary in Ggaba in 1998 and later left the mainstream Catholic Church and joined the Apostolic National Church in Cameroon. He also claims he went to St. James Theological Seminary in Florida, US. “It is from this seminary that Archbishop Cyril Tonye sent me to Alexandria in Virginia in 2001 for pastoral work,” Lubega said. From Alexandria, Lubega said, he joined Uganda Christian University in Mukono where he did a Masters degree in education administration and planning before he went back to Florida for a PhD in Biblical Theology and Counselling. He said he was ordained a priest of the Apostolic National Church in 2002 by Archbishop Cyril Tonye in Florida. Lubega is named on the website as belonging to the Catholic Charismatic Church and Holy Resurrection Parish in Uganda. Lubega on Wednesday held a meeting with the Deputy RDC of Jinja, Apollo Bwebale, during which he said their sect has no intention of fighting other religions in the country.(SOURCE:



Asia News reports that although the area is under heavy snow, thousands of faithful are expected for the funeral. The government bans display of Episcopal insignia, prohibits the publication of obituaries and allows only three priests to attend the ceremony. In 2009, 7 Chinese bishops died. In China only 94 pastors remain.
– Coadjutor Bishop Leo Yao Liang of Xiwanzi, Hebei province, died in hospital Dec. 30 at the age of 86, almost one year after his release from a 30-month detention. Authorities have tightened security ahead of his funeral.
Meanwhile the ordinary Bishop Hou Jinli 93, is quite ill, suffering from diabetes. Both prelates are not recognized by the government-sanctioned open Church in China.
The death of Bishop Yao has left 94 bishops alive in mainland China - 38 from the underground and 56 from the official Church, according to Anthony Lam, senior researcher of Holy Spirit Study Centre in the Hong Kong diocese. Speaking to AsiaNews, he adds that seven bishops in China - three from underground (including Yao) and four from the official Church - passed away, in 2009.
Despite heavy snow in northern China, thousands of local Catholics are expected to attend Bishop Yao’s funeral Mass at Xiwanzi town church, Chongli county, Hebei province, on Jan. 6. Local sources say public security has been tightened, preventing people from outside the county from attending the funeral.
Government officials only recognized Bishop Yao as a priest and as such will only permit the funeral for priest not for a bishop. Only three priests of the diocese are allowed to celebrate the funeral Mass, and local Catholics are not allowed to issue a Church obituary on the prelate.
Bishop Yao was brought away by police in July 2006 and was returned to the church on Jan. 25, 2009, the Chinese New Year Eve, after a 30-month detention (see. 03/08/2006 Hebei: bishop, priest and 90 unofficial Catholics arrested). Since then, the prelate had been under close surveillance. Bishop Hou in near by Zhangbei county is also closely monitored. Despite this Bishop Yao had started to build a church in Xiwanzi, and its foundation has just been laid.
Born in 1923, Yao was ordained a priest in 1948 and clandestinely ordained coadjutor bishop in 2002. His body will be buried in the clergy graveyard, about 10 minutes from the Xiwanzi church, in which the last Bishop Melchior Zhang Kexing of Xiwanzi who died in 1988, and other priests were buried.
Succeeding Bishop Zhang, Bishop Hou was clandestinely ordained a bishop in 1984. Hou was born in 1916 and ordained a priest in 1943.


Cath News Australia reports that the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society and UnitingCare Wesley say dumping fees, incurred for clearing unusable goods dumped on them, are preventing money going to help the needy.
Salvos Stores area manager Ian Smith said dumping unusable items costs it in excess of $500,000 each year. Mr Smith said councils should help them shoulder the cost.
Stores increasingly are being used as "dumping grounds", especially in the Christmas/New Year period, The Adelaide Advertiser reports.
UnitingCare Wesley senior policy officer Mark Henley also believed councils should share the cost.
"We'd like to think the local government could assist with dumping fees," he said. "There continues to be negotiations around who pays for what's dumped on public property."
St Vincent de Paul spokesman Wayne Broadbridge said anything councils could do to help with the cost of dumping would be of great assistance, the report added.
"Dumping is something we would like to eliminate," Mr Broadbridge said. "It's not just the cost of dumping but the sorting and everything else that goes with it that's a problem."
Local Government Association assistant director of services and strategic projects Barry Parsons was cited saying that any decision "would be up to the individual council".


St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Feast: January 4
Feast Day:
January 4
28 August 1774 in New York City, New York, USA
4 January 1821 in Emmitsburg, Maryland
14 September 1975 by Pope Paul VI
Patron of:
Catholic Schools; State of Maryland

This first American-born saint accomplished more in twelve years than most people do in a whole lifetime. From 1809 to 1821, the year she died, she laid the foundation for the Catholic parochial system in the United States, founded her Sisters of Charity, and ran her school and lived with her community at her headquarters in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Elizabeth Ann Bayley was the daughter of a distinguished colonial family in New York City, her father a physician and professor at what later became Columbia University. Her grandfather was rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Staten Island.
Born in 1774 she married William Magee Seton, a wealthy young businessman, in 1794. They had five children. Mr. Seton had reversals in business and lost his fortune, and a sea voyage was recommended to recover his health. The couple, along with their eldest daughter, embarked for Italy in 1803 and were given hospitality by the Filicchi family of Leghorn. William Seton died in Pisa less than three months later.
Influenced by her stay in Italy, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton became a Catholic upon her return to the United States, against the opposition of her family. In August 1807, she was invited by the superior of the Baltimore Sulpicians to found a school for girls near the Sulpician seminary in Baltimore. With the help of Archbishop Carroll, she organized a group of young women to assist her in her work, received a religious rule and habit from him, and took the vows of religion.
In 1809, she moved her headquarters to Emmitsburg, adopted a modified version of the rule of St. Vincent de Paul for the French Sisters of Charity, and laid the foundation for the Catholic parochial school system in the United States. She trained her sisters for teaching, wrote textbooks for classrooms, worked among the poor, the sick, and the black people of the region, and directed the work of her congregation. In 1814, she sent her nuns to open an orphanage in Philadelphia and another in New York City in 1817.
She died at Emmitsburg on January 4, 1821, and was canonized by Pope Paul VI on September 14, 1975. Her body is enshrined at the motherhouse of the American Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg.
Thought for the Day: Mother Seton seems almost like a neighbor down the street. But she is St. Elizabeth Seton, who found God through very difficult times. She was loving wife, devoted mother, foundress, and saint.
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': . . . "Come along with me and I will show you how to fish for the souls of men!" And they left their nets at once and went with him.-Matthew 4:19-20


Monday, January 4, 2010St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Memorial)

Matthew 4: 12 - 17, 23 - 25
Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee;
and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Caper'na-um by the sea, in the territory of Zeb'ulun and Naph'tali,
that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
"The land of Zeb'ulun and the land of Naph'tali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles --
the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned."
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.
So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.
And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decap'olis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.

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