Wednesday, January 13, 2010


(VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, held in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope launched an appeal "for the dramatic situation currently being experienced in Haiti". "My thoughts go in particular to the population hit just a few hours ago by a devastating earthquake which has caused serious loss of human life, large numbers of homeless and missing people, and vast material damage. "I invite everyone to join my prayers to the Lord for the victims of this catastrophe and for those who mourn their loss. I give assurances of my spiritual closeness to people who have lost their homes and to everyone who, in various ways, has been affected by this terrible calamity, imploring God to bring them consolation and relief in their suffering. "I appeal to the generosity of all people so that these our brothers and sisters who are experiencing a moment of need and suffering may not lack our concrete solidarity and the effective support of the international community. The Catholic Church will not fail to move immediately, through her charitable institutions, to meet the most immediate needs of the population".AG/EARTHQUAKE/HAITI VIS 100113 (200)

MENDICANT ORDERS: PROFOUND ECCLESIAL RENEWAL VATICAN CITY, 13 JAN 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis, during the general audience held this morning in the Paul VI Hall, to the mendicant orders that came into being in the thirteenth century, focusing on the most famous: Franciscans and Dominicans founded, respectively, by the Italian Francis of Assisi and the Spanish Dominic de Guzman. "The saints", said the Pope, "guided by the light of God, are the true reformers of the life of the Church and society. Teachers by their words and witnesses by their example, they are able to promote stable and profound ecclesial renewal". Saints such as Francis of Assisi and Dominic de Guzman "were able to read the 'signs of the times', and discern the challenges the Church of their time had to face". One of these challenges was the expansion of groups and movements of faithful who, though inspired by a legitimate desire for authentic Christian life, often placed themselves outside ecclesial communion". These groups included the Cathars or Albigensians who revived such ancient heresies as "disdain for the material world, the negation of free will and the existence of a principal of evil comparable with God". Movements such as these proved successful, "not only because they were well organised, but also because they denounced a disorder that really did exist in the Church, caused by the un-exemplary behaviour of various members of the clergy". And yet the Franciscans and Dominicans showed "that it is possible to live evangelical poverty without separating oneself from the Church". They rejected not only the possession of material goods but also refused the idea that the community could own lands and estates, living "an extremely sober life in order to remain close to the poor and placing their trust in Providence alone. "This individual and community lifestyle of the mendicant orders", the Holy Father added, "united to their complete adherence to Church teaching and authority, was much appreciated by the Pontiffs of the time, ... who gave their complete support to these new ecclesial experiences, recognising in them the voice of the Spirit". "Today too, though we live in a society in which 'having' often prevails over 'being', we are still receptive to examples of poverty and solidarity", Pope Benedict observed, and he recalled how Paul VI had affirmed that "the world is willing to listen to teachers when they are also witnesses. There is a lesson that must never be forgotten in the work of spreading the Gospel: we must ourselves live what we announce, be mirrors of divine charity". The mendicant orders likewise responded to the widespread need for religious instruction felt at the time, preaching and "dealing with topics close to people's lives, especially the practice of the theological and moral virtues, using concrete and easily understood arguments". Because of the importance of the mendicant orders, lay institutions such as the guilds and civil authorities often consulted them. Thus Franciscans and Dominicans became "the spiritual animators of mediaeval cities, ... putting into effect a pastoral strategy that was adapted to the transformations of society". At a time in which the cities were expanding they built their monasteries in urban areas and travelled from place to place "abandoning the principle of stability which had characterised monastic life for many centuries". To this end they adopted a new form of organisation, "giving greater importance to the order per se and to the superior general" as opposed to the autonomy which individual monasteries had enjoyed until then. "Thus they were better prepared to meet the needs of the universal Church". Another great challenge of the age were the "cultural transformations", which gave rise to lively debate in universities. The friars did not hesitate "to enter the universities themselves, as students and teachers, erecting study centres" of their own "and profoundly influencing the development of thought". The Holy Father concluded: "Today too there is a 'charity of and in truth', an 'intellectual charity' that must be brought into play in order to illuminate minds and associate faith with culture. The commitment shown by Franciscans and Dominicans in mediaeval universities is an invitation to us to remain present in the places where knowledge is produced in order to throw the light of the Gospel, with respect and with conviction, on the fundamental questions that concern man, his divinity and his eternal destiny".AG/MENDICANT ORDERS/... VIS 100113 (730)
HOLY FATHER RECEIVES SUSANNA MAIOLO VATICAN CITY, 13 JAN 2010 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. released the following declaration late this morning: "At the conclusion of this morning's general audience, the Holy Father had a brief private meeting with Susanna Maiolo in a room adjoining the Paul VI Hall. "Ms Maiolo told the Holy Father of her regret for the incident that happened at the beginning of the celebration of Midnight Mass last month. For his part, the Pope expressed his forgiveness, as well as his cordial concern and his best wishes for her health. "Ms Maiolo was accompanied by two members of her family. "As for the investigations launched by the magistrates of Vatican City State, they will follow their course to their conclusion".OP/.../MAIOLO VIS 100113 (140)



AsiaNews / Agencies report:

"Total chaos" in the capital Port-au-Prince. Thousands of survivors roam the city in search of help. Haiti is the poorest country in the northern hemisphere. 78% live on less than $ 2 per day. In Taipei a team of 140 firefighters and 8 dogs, specializing in emergencies is ready. A magnitude 7 earthquake struck the island of Haiti overnight, the poorest nation in the northern hemisphere, destroying entire buildings and leaving hundreds and perhaps thousands dead. Haiti is one of the countries of Central America that has diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The Foreign Office in Taipei has already expressed willingness to send teams specialized in emergency aid and earthquakes. In Haiti all communication is down and the only news so far is via satellite. According to eye witness accounts from workers on the ground in a Catholic NGO, Port-au-Prince, the capital is "total chaos" smoke and dust rising from the ruins, survivors and injured people who go around seeking help, people who are still under the rubble. Thousands of people wander the streets crying, which shows, each step revealing new destruction. The UN, which has 7 thousand peacekeeping soldiers and 2 thousand policemen on the island, said that a building of its headquarters was damaged, and "a large number of its staff scattered”. The UN has been present on the island since 2004, when the then President of Haiti, Bertrand Aristide went into exile. Haiti, with a population of approximately 9.6 million inhabitants, was recovering from various natural disasters - 4 tropical storms or hurricanes - which killed 800 people in 2008. The poverty of the country is abysmal. The World Bank estimates, the average income per person is 560 U.S. dollars, 54% of Haitians live on less than $ 1 a day and 78% with less than $ 2 per day. In Taipei, Foreign Ministry spokesman Henry Chen said that his ministry is collecting information on the disaster to see how and when to intervene. Specialized teams of firefighters are ready to depart. Among them there are 140 people specializing in emergency and 8 dogs trained for rescue. The group was launched in 2000 after an earthquake that struck Taiwan in September 1999, and caused thousands of deaths.


CNA report:

The Italian daily La Repubblica reported the death of Archbishiop Serge Miot, Archbishop of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince at 4:44 a.m. (CDT). According to the brief report, his body was found in the rubble of the archbishop's office. They also reported that the Vicar General, Msgr. Benoit, was still missing.
According to the Vatican's Fides news agency, Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, Archbishop Bernardito Auza was reported as saying:
"Port-au-Prince is totally devastated. The cathedral, the Archbishop's Office, all of the big churches, all of the seminaries have been reduced to rubble. The same luck for the Ministry buildings, the Presidential Palace, the schools. The Parish Priest of the Cathedral, who was spared, told me that the archbishop of Port-au-Prince would have died under the rubble, together with hundreds of seminarians and priests that are under the ruins."



CNA report:
The Church of the Most Holy Trinity at the Shrine of Fatima in Portugal was attacked last weekend by vandals who sprayed Islamic graffiti on several statues, including one of Venerable Pope John Paul II.
According to the newspaper La Razon, officials at the shrine said the statues were defaced with the words, “Islam, moon, sun, Muslim and mosque,” which led officials to believe the vandals were linked to the Muslim faith.
Police officers said these kinds of acts “do not occur often” and called the incident “absolutely isolated, not organized or related to any organization.”
“Shrine officials lament these acts and call on Portuguese police to investigate the matter,” a statement said.
The Shrine of Fatima is one of the main centers of Marian pilgrimage in Portugal and the world, centered upon the apparition of Our Lady to the three shepherd children, Francisco, Jacinto and Lucia, between May 13 and October 13, 1917.(source:



CISA report:
A Catholic missionary from the congregation of Missionaries of Africa also known as White Fathers died in a fire tragedy last Tuesday in the capital of Tunisia, Tunis and the cause of the fire is still under investigation by police.54 year old Fr Gian-Battista Maffi of the Missionaries of Africa died in a fire in the library of the Institut des Belles Lettres Arabes (Institute of Arabic Literature) in Tunis last Tuesday afternoon. Fr Gerard Chabanon, Superior General of the White Fathers, told MISNA that Fr Maffi's body will be repatriated to Italy in the next few days after post-mortem results. A letter sent Thursday by the priest's provincial, Fr José Maria Cantal, stated that he arrived on the scene only minutes after the blast and found Fr Maffi already lying dead on the floor amid the flames. Fr Jose said the tragedy was very hard on Fr Maffi's confreres and especially difficult for his mother who is 87. He praised the emergency services that were very supportive and stayed all night with the community. The requiem Mass for the late was celebrated on Saturday in the Cathedral of Tunis, presided by Bishop Maroun Lahham, and con-celebrated with local Catholic clergy.Fr Chabanon said that besides Catholic friends and family present: “The Cathedral was crowded with many Muslims as a sign of their solidarity and friendship.” “About 60 percent of the library was destroyed by fire and water. For us and the locals the fire in the library, home to thousands of ancient and precious volumes, was a great loss for Arab culture and inter-cultural dialogue,” Fr Chabanon said.The late priest from Mozzanica (Bergamo) was director of the library for two years. Ordained in 1984, Fr Maffi carried out his first mission in Mali, after training in Italy.He then worked for seven years as librarian at the Pontifical Institute of Arab and Islamistic Studies (PISAI) in Rome, Italy.The Library founded in 1926 by the Missionaries of Africa, like the Christian-Islamic research centre is situated in the popular neighborhood of Makal Ezzam, near the Medina.(source:

Cath News report:
An Egyptian man in Australia lives in fear of a backlash against his family because of his conversion from Islam to Christianity.
"Mina", 36, is afraid for the safety of his family here and in Egypt, for defying the police and fleeing the country after he converted to the Coptic Orthodox Christian faith. He had been arrested and beaten numerous times, The Age reports.
His Melbourne lawyer Jimmy Morcos said that after the arrest "Mina" was thrown in a room with Islamic radical prisoners who were encouraged to beat him.
Mina is one of 70,000 Coptic Orthodox Christians who have fled persecution in Egypt and resettled in Australia since 1971, according to their bishop in Victoria, Bishop Suriel.
He will be one of 12,000 expected to march to the Egyptian consulate in the city tomorrow to protest over the killing of six Coptic Orthodox Christians in a drive-by shooting in Egypt last month.
The protest would call on the Australian Government to break its silence on the attacks on Copts in Egypt which has drawn wide condemnation round the world, including from the Pope.


CNA report:
A chapel to St. Anthony in India which was severely damaged in several 2008 attacks by religious extremists is now under reconstruction with the assistance of an international charity.
The chapel, on the island of Rameswaram in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, was attacked several times between June and August 2008. The attacks took place at about the same time as anti-Christian violence in Orissa state left more than 80 dead and drove 30,000 from their homes.
The charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has promised about $29,000 towards the cost of a new shrine.
Parish priest Fr. Michael Raj told ACN that the chapel was “heavily damaged twice” by “unidentified anti-social and religious elements” and “fanatic religious groups.”
“This is repeatedly happening here and there are intruders who break the holy cross… They plan to remove the Christian symbols from this site,” he added.
The new chapel will have a protective wall around the compound. The local church also intends to erect a house for visiting pilgrims and to extend the hall at the shrine.
Despite the attacks, Fr. Raj said, “our faith is stronger and we are sure that the God in whom we believe, amidst all these struggles, will save our faith and our place of worship – which is the shrine of St. Anthony.”
The number of pilgrims to the church is “constantly increasing,” he reported.
Though religious groups are suspected in the attacks, the priest said that most members of other faiths on the island support the campaign to save the chapel.
A “reasonable number” of Hindus and Muslims come to the site as pilgrims and visitors, he told ACN.
A shrine to St. Anthony has been on the island of Rameswaram since missionaries first arrived in the 19th century. The original chapel was destroyed by a cyclone in 1964 and a replacement was severely damaged by 2004’s tsunami.
St. Anthony is patron of mariners and fishermen, and so the shrine attracts many visitors on an island where families depend on the sea for their livelihood.
The costs of the shrine project total over $61,000. Local people have already raised more than $16,000 towards the total, despite being from the poorer social classes.
“Though our people are at the bottom of the society in all the spheres they are known for Faith and Commitment towards, and for, the Holy Mother Church,” Fr. Raj told ACN. “I thank God for all that he is doing for me in serving him and practising our faith in this land where we are having a time of persecution and a test in saving our faith and places of worship.”(source:


St. Hilary of Poitiers
Feast: January 13
Feast Day:
January 13
300, Poitiers
368, Poitiers

Bishop, born in that city at the beginning of the fourth century; died there 1 November, according to the most accredited opinion, or according to the Roman Breviary, on 13 January, 368. Belonging to a noble and very probably pagan family, he was instructed in all the branches of profane learning, but, having also taken up the study of Holy Scripture and finding there the truth which he sought so ardently, he renounced idolatry and was baptized. Thenceforth his wide learning and his zeal for the Faith attracted such attention that he was chosen about 350 to govern the body of the faithful which the city had possessed since the third century. We know nothing of the bishops who governed this society in the beginning. Hilary is the first concerning whom we have authentic information, and this is due to the important part he played in opposing heresy. The Church was then greatly disturbed by internal discords, the authority of the popes not being so powerful in practice as either to prevent or to stop them. Arianism had made frightful ravages in various regions and threatened to invade Gaul, where it already had numerous partisans more or less secretly affiliated with it. Saturninus, Bishop of Arles, the most active of the latter, being exposed by Hilary, convened and presided over a council at Béziers in 356 with the intention of justifying himself, or rather of establishing his false doctrine. Here the Bishop of Poitiers courageously presented himself to defend orthodoxy, but the council, composed for the most part of Arians, refused to hear him, and being shortly afterwards denounced to the Emperor Constantius, the protector of Arianism, he was at his command transported to the distant coasts of Phrygia.
But persecution could not subdue the valiant champion. Instead of remaining inactive during his exile he gave himself up to study, completed certain of his works which he had begun, and wrote his treatise on the synods. In this work he analysed the professions of faith uttered by the Oriental bishops in the Councils of Ancyra, Antioch, and Sirmium, and while condemning them, since they were in substance Arian, he sought to show that sometimes the difference between the doctrines of certain heretics and orthodox beliefs was rather in the words than in the ideas, which led to his counselling the bishops of the West to be reserved in their condemnation. He was sharply reproached for his indulgence by certain ardent Catholics, the leader of whom was Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari. However, in 359, the city of Seleucia witnessed the assembly in synod of a large number of Oriental bishops, nearly all of whom were either Anomoeans or Semi-Arians. Hilary, whom everyone wished to see and hear, so great was his reputation for learning and virtue, was invited to be present at this assembly. The governor of the province even furnished him with post horses for the journey. In presence of the Greek fathers he set forth the doctrines of the Gallic bishops, and easily proved that, contrary to the opinion current in the East, these latter were not Sabellians. Then he took part in the violent discussions which took place between the Semi-Arians, who inclined toward reconciliation with the Catholics, and the Anomoeans, who formed as it were the extreme left of Arianism.
After the council, which had no result beyond the wider separation of these brothers in enmity, he left for Constantinople, the stronghold of heresy, to continue his battle against error. But while the Semi-Arians, who were less numerous and less powerful, besought him to become the intermediary in a reconciliation between themselves and the bishops of the West, the Anomoeans, who had the immense advantage of being upheld by the emperor, besought the latter to send back to his own country this Gallic bishop, who, they said, sowed discord and troubled the Orient. Constantius acceded to their desire, and the exile was thus enabled to set out on his journey home. In 361 Hilary re-entered Poitiers in triumph and resumed possession of his see. He was welcomed with the liveliest joy by his flock and his brothers in the episcopate, and was visited by Martin, his former disciple and subsequently Bishop of Tours. The success he had achieved in his combat against error was rendered more brilliant shortly afterwards by the deposition of Saturninus, the Arian Bishop of Arles by whom he had been persecuted. However, as in Italy the memory still rankled of the efforts he had made to bring about a reconciliation between the nearly converted Semi-Arians and the Catholics, he went in 364 to the Bishop of Vercelli to endeavour to overcome the intolerance of the partisans of the Bishop Lucifer mentioned above. Almost immediately afterwards, that it might be seen that, if he was full of indulgence for those whom gentleness might finally win from error, he was intractable towards those who were obstinate in their adherence to it, he went to Milan, there to assail openly Auxentius, the bishop of that city, who was a firm defender of the Arian doctrines. But the Emperor Valentinian, who protected the heretic, ordered Hilary to depart immediately from Milan.
He then returned to his city of Poitiers, from which he was not again to absent himself and where he was to die. This learned and energetic bishop had fought against error with the pen as well as in words. The best edition of his numerous and remarkable writings is that published by Dom Constant under the title: "Sancti Hilarii, Pictavorum episcopi opera, ad manuscriptos codices gallicanos, romanos, belgicos, necnon ad veteres editiones castigata" (Paris, 1693). The Latin Church celebrates his feast on 14 January, and Pius IX raised him to the rank of Doctor of the Universal Church. The Church of Puy glories in the supposed possession of his relics, but according to one tradition his body was borne to the church of St-Denys near Paris, while according to another it was taken from the church of St-Hilaire at Poitiers and burned by the Protestants in 1572. (SOURCE:


Mark 1: 29 - 39
And immediately he left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
Now Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her.
And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.
That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons.
And the whole city was gathered together about the door.
And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.
And Simon and those who were with him pursued him,
and they found him and said to him, "Every one is searching for you."
And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out."
And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.

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