Tuesday, January 5, 2010





(VIS) - During the course of the year 2009, a total of 2,243,900 faithful and pilgrims participated in general or special audiences, in the Sunday Angelus or in liturgical celebrations presided by the Pope. According to statistics released by the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, more than half a million people attended the Wednesday general audiences, the month of April registering the highest attendance figures, and 1,120,000 were present for the Sunday praying of the Angelus. A communique concerning the statistics explains that the figures are approximate, being calculated on the basis of various factors: formal requests received to attend the events, tickets issued, and (in the case of the Angelus or large celebrations in St. Peter's Square and the Vatican Basilica) calculations of the number of faithful present. The statistics, the communique concludes, refer exclusively to celebrations and events held in the Vatican and Castelgandolfo, and do not take account of the Pope's meetings with large numbers of faithful during his pastoral visits within Italy or on his apostolic trips to other countries.PD/POPE AUDIENCES/... VIS 100105 (190)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 5 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Munich and Freising, Germany, presented by Bishop Franz Dietl, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law. - Appointed Msgr. Wolfgang Bischof of the clergy of the archdiocese of Munich and Freising, Germany, regional pastor for the northern pastoral zone and vicar of the cathedral chapter, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 12,081, population 3,533,000, Catholics 1,818,661, priests 1,307, permanent deacons 226, religious 3,122). The bishop-elect was born in Freising in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1988. - Appointed Fr. Abba Lisane-Christos Matheos Semahun, vicar general of the archieparchy of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, as auxiliary of the same archieparchy (area 291,424, population 25,892,000, Catholics 28,132, priests 83, religious 402) with specific pastoral responsibility for the zone of Bahir Dar. The bishop-elect was born in Gurage, Ethiopia in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1988. - Appointed as members of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications: Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins of Toronto Canada; Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok, Thailand; Bishop Bechara Rai O.M.M. of Jbeil, Byblos of the Maronites, Lebanon; Bishop Hector Luis Gutierrez Pabon of Engativa, Colombia, and Bishop Joan Piris Frigola of Lleida, Spain.RE:NEA:NA/.../... VIS 100105 (230)

IN MEMORIAM VATICAN CITY, 5 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks: - Bishop Estevao Cardoso de Avellar O.P., emeritus of Uberlandia, Brazil, on 3 December 2009 at the age of 92. - Bishop Gilbert Duchene, emeritus of Saint-Claude, France, on 29 November 2009 at the age of 90. - Bishop Emilio Eid, former vice president of the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, on 30 November 2009 at the age of 84. - Archbishop Piergiorgio Silvano Nesti C.P., emeritus of Camerino-San Severino Marche, Italy, on 13 December 2009 at the age of 78. - Bishop Anthony Saliu Sanusi, emeritus of Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria, on 8 December 2009 at the age of 98. - Bishop Lucas Abadamloora of Navrongo-Bolgatanga, Ghana, on 23 December 2009 at the age of 71. - Bishop Roberto Amadei, emeritus of Bergamo, Italy, on 29 December 2009 at the age of 76. - Bishop Adrian Kivumbi Ddungo, emeritus of Masaka, Uganda, on 30 December 2009 at the age of 86. - Bishop Jerome Michel Martin O.F.M. Cap., emeritus of Berberati, Central African Republic, on 4 December 2009 at the age of 68. - Archbishop Arnaldo Ribeiro, emeritus of Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, on 15 December 2009 at the age of 79. - Bishop Youssef Ibrahim Sarraf of Le Caire of the Chaldeans, Egypt, on 31 December 2009 at the age of 69. - Bishop Henry Anthony A. van Lieshout C.M.M., emeritus of Lae, Papua New Guinea, on 24 December 2009 at the age of 77. - Bishop Joseph Voss, auxiliary of Munster, Germany, on 16 December 2009 at the age of 72..../DEATHS/... VIS 100105 (280)



The Catholic Herald reports that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has defended his decision to visit Medjugorje after he was criticised by the local bishop. The Archbishop of Vienna said that his visit to the Bosnian town was an attempt to "de-dramatise" the "Medjugorje phenomenon". Cardinal Schönborn said the unusual goings-on in Medjugorje - the alleged Marian apparitions which were first reported in the 1980s - had taken a secondary place in Medjugorje, which he described as "a school of normal Christian life". He said: "[Medjugorje] is about faith in Christ, prayer, the Eucharist, about lived love of neighbour, about the essentials of Christianity and the strengthening of Christian daily life." The cardinal, who leads the Austrian bishops' conference and is a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said he did not intend to make a decision ahead of the universal Church and make a pronouncement on the supernatural aspects of the reported Marian apparitions in Medjugorje. He said he wanted to stick to the guidelines set up by the 1991 Zadar Declaration, the last formal statement about the apparitions, which forbids official pilgrimages to Medjugorje, and which he described as "wise and directing". He said he had come to Medjugorje to see the "tree" that had borne such fruits as Cenacolo, a community which helps to rehabilitate drug users, and Mary's Meals, which helps feed starving children around the world. He made his comments to the Austrian Church's official newswire four days after he paid a private visit to Medjugorje. He celebrated Midnight Mass in St James's Church in Medjugorje as well as meeting Franciscans and hearing confessions. He also visited the hillside where the Virgin Mary is alleged to appear, with Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti, one of the six reported visionaries. On Saturday, Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno issued a statement heavily criticising Cardinal Schönborn, in which he said the cardinal's visit contributed new suffering to the local Church and did not contribute to "peace and unity [that is] so necessary". Bishop Peric said Cardinal Schönborn's public appearance at Medjugorje gave "some believers the erroneous impression that the cardinal's presence acknowledged the authenticity of the Medjugorje 'apparitions'". He said the cardinal had not notified either the diocese or the parish that he planned to make a visit to the place where six children witnessed the alleged apparitions. Bishop Peric also said he was surprised by Cardinal Schönborn's visit. The bishop said: "I understand that the cardinal of the Holy Roman Church enjoys the right to profess and preach the Gospel throughout the Catholic Church. But with regard to public appearances outside their own diocese there exists also among bishops a certain ecclesiastical code of conduct; the bishop or cardinal who intends to come to another diocese and appear publicly, announces himself in first instance to the local bishop, which is encouraged also by ecclesiastical prudence. I hold that such ecclesiastical prudence and such a rule should have been especially applied in this case." During his homily at St James's Church, the cardinal is reported to have said: "These days, we have all come to Medjugorje to be especially close to the mother of the Lord. To be more exact, we have to say that we have come here because we know that the mother of the Lord wants to be close to us. "With her, we want to begin the New Year. And the first thing that moves me when I think about the manger and the shepherds is that there were no angels present. Although here there is an angel at the nativity set, but in the gospel there are no angels waiting there. They were on the field with the shepherds... an entire host of angels. But Mary and Joseph only heard about it. The shepherds told them. "We also didn't see the Gospa. But there are people here who told about it. And we trust that the Mother of God really is close to us. Belief comes from hearing. And it impresses me that first, in the gospel of today, there is talk about hearing. We have to listen to the good news first. We have two ears, two eyes, and only one mouth. That means we have to listen much, watch much, and then talk also. And what are we supposed to say? We are supposed to report what we have seen and heard. The world needs a new evangelisation and that is only possible through people for whom it is impossible to keep silent about what they have seen and heard," he said. In 1981 six children reported seeing the Virgin Mary on a hillside outside the town of Medjugorje. Since the first sighting, she has reportedly appeared to the seers over 40,000 times and has conveyed hundreds of messages to them. The Vatican has not ruled definitively on the apparitions. Over 30 million pilgrims have visited the site and several hundred thousand visitors come annually from the British Isles. Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, the papal preacher, cancelled a retreat he was scheduled to give in 2007 at Medjugorje after he was told he did not have the diocesan bishop's permission to appear there officially. (SOURCE:



CNA The Bishops’ Conference of Colombia has denounced the kidnapping and murder of the Governor of the State of Caqueta, Luis Francisco Cuellar. The governor was taken from his home on December 21 by members of the FARC rebel group and was found dead two days later.
In a statement released several days ago and signed by Bishop Jaime Prieto Amaya of Cucuta, the bishops condemned “this act of violence which, because of its transcendence and its implications for families, communities and society, has become a crime against humanity.”
After expressing their condolences to the governor’s family and friends, the bishops reiterated that “everything against life, from kidnapping to murder, everything that violates the integrity of the human person, every act of violence no matter where it originates, deserves our strongest rejection.”
“As representatives of the Catholic Church, we always act with autonomy and the logic of the Gospel,” the bishops continued. “We are neither delegates nor representatives of the government or of illegally armed groups.”
The bishops also expressed their commitment to working with the commission given the task of securing the release of all hostages being held by FARC.(SOURCE:



All Africa reports that a nursing mother and her eight-month-old baby in Ilorin, Kwara State, were shot to death by police bullet last Sunday.
In a swift reaction, the state police command has arrested the trigger-happy policemen fingered in the tragic shooting incident.
The deceased, Mrs. Titilayo Olatunde and her late baby were amongst the six passengers in a taxi cab, when the policemen opened fire on them along New Yidi Road, Ilorin, the state capital.
A competent source told Daily Champion that late Mrs Olatunde, her baby and taxi cab driver where hit by police's bullet about 6.30pm last Sunday.
The driver identified as Isiaka Rasaki was said to have failed to stop at a check-point mounted by the cops.
His taxicab's registration is XB 384 PTG.
Our source said four other passengers in the taxicab were not hit by the police's bullet.
He noted that late Mrs. Olatunde's baby died on the spot while the nursing mother died later at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hispital (UITH).
Rasaki who was hit at the rear is still receiving treatment at the UITH.
The Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) of Kwara State Police command, Mr. Daboh Ezekiel confirmed the incident he said the four policemen on patrol have been arrested for interrogation and they would be dealt with accordingly if they are found guilty.
He said the driver of the taxi was still responding to treatment and the police will investigate the issue and make public the outcome of their investigation.



For Fr Rohan Silva, from the Centre for Society and Religion, Churches should do more. Human rights activists agree. The bishop of Jaffna talks about the Tamil situation.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – Human rights activists and representatives from the Catholic Church in Colombo who took part in a round table on Sunday organised by the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) agree people must become more aware of what is at stake in the 26 January presidential election. They also concluded that Christians can play a key role in the political debate.
"Hardly anything [during the campaign] is said about the real issues that matter to the people," CSR Director Fr Rohan Silva told AsiaNews. However, "elections are an opportunity to educate voters" about "civic responsibility".
"We believe people of faith need to be involved in the political process and vote with a sense of empowerment and conscience," he added. "Unfortunately, Churches have not sufficiently educated their clergy and faithful on the civic responsibility to play a pro-active role in the political process".
Human rights activists agree. "The clergy should help the population become more aware of their rights," said Buddhist attorney S. G. Punchihewa, who attended the CSR meeting.
"Those who will not vote for current President Mahinda Rajapaksa or General Sarath Fonseka can choose among 20 more candidates," Punchihewa said. "What counts is voting. "
"For our part, we shall call on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka to issue a pastoral letter on the election," Father Rohan said. "We shall collect signature for those who want a free and fair race, and shall write to all candidates that they insist on having an election without manipulation."
Meanwhile Mgr Thomas Savundaranayagam, bishop of Jaffna, met opposition candidate General Fonseka to discuss the aftermath of the war on Tamils.
"We hope that Tamils will not make the mistakes of the past, and that this time they will vote," the prelate said. "However, restrictions imposed on them must be lifted and they must feel free to choose according to their conscience. After this election, the Tamil question must be solved once and for all."(source:



Cath News reports that the Australian Catholic Film Office has awarded its 2009 Film of the Year to Warwick Thornton and Kath Shelper's Samson & Delilah.
"The jury deliberated over Balibo, Beautiful Kate, Blessed, Mao's Last Dancer, Mary and Max, Samson & Delilah and The Boys Are Back, before deciding on this universally acclaimed drama," jury chair Fr Richard Leonard SJ said.
Samson & Delilah is about young love in a remote indigenous community which survives a move away from country, drug addiction, homelessness and desperate poverty. "Delilah's fidelity to Samson is the moral core of this magnificent film," Fr Leonard observed.
Untrained and, until now, unknown actors, Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibson, give performances that would be worthy of veterans as they chart the descent and rise of this symbolic couple.
In Judges 16 the flawed Samson falls in love with the scheming Delilah who uses her relationship with Samson to neuter his power and allow the Philistine enemy to destroy the giant. It all ends in death and destruction. After her treachery, we never hear about Delilah again.
In Warwick Thornton's hands, a flawed Samson falls in love with Delilah alright, but after she cuts her hair in a grieving ritual for her grandmother, her power and strength increases as she saves Samson from his spiral towards death and destruction. Her presence in Samson's life is redemptive.


St. John N. Neumann
Feast: January 5
Feast Day:
January 5
28 March 1811 at Prachititz, Bohemia
5 January 1860
19 June 1977 by Pope Paul VI
Major Shrine:
National Shrine of Saint John Neumann, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Neumann was born in Prachatice, Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic), then within the Austrian Empire. He attended school in Budweis before entering seminary there in 1831. Two years later he transferred to the University of Prague, where he studied theology. He was interested in astronomy and botany. He intended to be ordained, but his bishop, in 1835, decided there would be no more ordinations, as Bohemia had a high number of priests already.
Neumann, who spoke eight languages then wrote to other bishops in Europe, but they all replied that they also had too many priests already. He was inspired by the missionary writings of Bishop Frederic Baraga in America, and because he had learned English by working in a factory with English-speaking workers, Neumann wrote to bishops in America, requesting to be ordained in the United States. In 1836, he arrived in the United States with very little money, and was ordained to the priesthood there. He was assigned by the Bishop of New York to work with recent German immigrants in mission churches in the Niagara Falls area, where he visited the sick, taught catechism, and trained teachers to take over when he left. After four years of service there, he realized his own need for support and came to realize the importance of communal activity in his work. He thus applied to the Redemptorists. He was accepted, and entered the novitiate of the order in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In January, 1842, he took the vows to enter the order in Baltimore, Maryland, and became the first Redemptorist in the New World. After six years of difficult but fruitful work with the order, he was appointed the order's provincial superior in the United States. Neumann was naturalized as a citizen of the United States in Baltimore on February 10, 1848.
In March 1852, Neumann was consecrated in Baltimore, as Bishop of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the first to organize a Catholic diocesan school system and increased the number of Catholic schools in his diocese from one to two hundred. He also introduced the School Sisters of Notre Dame to the New World to assist in religious instruction and staffing the orphanage. In 1853, he established Saint Peter's Parish in Riverside, New Jersey.
Neumann was not a popular bishop and received criticism. He had to deal with the Know Nothings, a political group determined to deprive foreigners and Catholics of their civil rights; the group burnt down convents and schools. Discouraged, Neumann unsuccessfully wrote to Rome and asked for someone else to take his place.
Neumann wrote in many Catholic newspaper and magazine articles. He also published two catechisms and a Bible history in German. There were also many teaching orders brought in by him.
In 1860, Neumann died due to a stroke at the age of 48 while walking down a street in Philadelphia. After his death people began to talk of how great he had been.(SOURCE:


Mark 6: 34 - 44
As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, "This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late;
send them away, to go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat."
But he answered them, "You give them something to eat." And they said to him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?"
And he said to them, "How many loaves have you? Go and see." And when they had found out, they said, "Five, and two fish."
Then he commanded them all to sit down by companies upon the green grass.
So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.
And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all.
And they all ate and were satisfied.
And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.
And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

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