Wednesday, January 6, 2010




Following the Epiphany Mass in the Vatican basilica, Pope Benedict XVI recited the Marian Angelus prayer with the public in St. Peter's Square. In his traditional message, the Pontiff exalted the unity between intelligence and faith, which was manifested in the actions and openness of the Magi.
The wise men were men of science, but their knowledge was open to "higher revelations and divine calls," the Pope said.
He also highlighted the humility of the Eastern Kings in stopping to ask directions to the prophesied site of the savior's birth. Despite their status and intelligence, said the Pope, they consulted scribes and priests along the way to ensure that they were on the right path.
This path led them to Bethlehem where they would find the Child with his mother.
They could have expressed disappointment at finding the Child there, noted the Pope, but they remained open to a mysterious surprise and recognized in the Child, the Savior, King and Son of God.
We can look to the Eastern Kings as models of true wisdom, concluded the Pontiff, calling them "authentic seekers of God, capable of living the profound harmony that exists between reason and faith, science and revelation."
In his post-Angelus message, the Pope sent a special greeting to the members of the Eastern Churches who will be celebrating Christmas tomorrow. He also remembered the Missionary Day of the Children, originally promoted by Pope Pius XII in 1950 to educate children to be open to the world and sympathetic to their poorest peers. This World Day coincides with the celebration of the Epiphany and is primarily celebrated in Italy. (SOURCE:


CNA reports that Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the Mass of the Epiphany this morning at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, accompanied by hundreds of clergy and thousands of the faithful. In his homily, the Holy Father called for authentic humility to “start walking the road” indicated by "the star" of the Lord.
On the feast of the Epiphany, the church celebrates the arrival of the Magi to the nativity. These Eastern Kings, said the Pope, came from a distant land to give homage while those who were in nearby Bethlehem and Jerusalem neglected the signs and remained ignorant of the savior's birth.
We run the same risk today "even though the few in Bethlehem have become many, the believers in Jesus Christ always seem to be few,” the Holy Father cautioned.
"Many have seen the star, but only a few have understood the message."
Despite possessing the knowledge to see and find the Lord, many are impeded by "too much confidence in themselves, the pretext of perfectly knowing the reality..." he added.
The presumption of forming a definitive judgment on the workings of the world, continued the Pontiff, closes a person's heart and makes it "insensitive to the novelty of God." This trust in self rather than in God makes many think it impossible that He could be great enough to reduce himself to our size and to be approachable, he explained.
"What is lacking is authentic humility to know how to submit to that which is great with authentic courage, which leads us to believe in that which is truly great, even if it is manifested in a defenseless Child," the Pope stated.
The answer, he said, is that we must have the "evangelical capacity to be children at heart ... and to allow ourselves to start walking on the road indicated by the star, the way of God."
The Pontiff added that "The Lord ... has the power to render us capable of seeing and of saving us. So, we want to ask Him to give us a wise and innocent heart, one that permits us to see the star and his mercy, to start walking on his road (and) to find him and be inundated by the great light and the true joy that he brings to this world."(SOURCE:


USCCB release:
Launch Web sites, post card campaignUrge Congress to act for reform as soon as possibleMigration should be driven by choice, not necessity
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on January 6, announced steps to push for the enactment of immigration reform legislation in 2010. Bishop John C. Wester, bishop of Salt Lake City, Utah, and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, bishop of Albany, New York, and chairman of the International Policy Committee of the USCCB, made the announcement.
“It is our view, and that of others, that the American public, including the Catholic and other faith communities, want a humane and comprehensive solution to the problems which beset our immigration system, and they want Congress to address this issue,” said Bishop Wester.
Steps announced by Bishop Wester include:
The launch of a nationwide postcard campaign under the Justice for Immigrants campaign, with 1.5 million postcards already ordered;
The launch of two Web sites, a new Justice for Immigrants Web site with tools for parishes (, and the National Migration Week Web site, which provides other resources (; and
A nationwide action alert asking for Congress to enact immigration reform as soon as possible.
Bishop Hubbard, chairman of the International Policy Committee, spoke to the root causes of irregular migration and how the long-term and humane solution to the problem is integral human development. “The first principle of the U.S. bishops with regard to immigration is that migrants have the right not to migrate---in other words, to be able to find work in their own home countries so they can support their families in dignity,” he said. “Migration should be driven by choice, not necessity.”Sister Rita Mary Harwood, a Sister of Notre Dame and Secretary for Parish Life and Development in the Diocese of Cleveland, spoke about support for immigration reform in Ohio, where nearly 300,000 postcards will be distributed throughout the state.“In the end, to stand with those who are frightened, alone or in danger; to educate, to speak with and for, and to pray---this is the message of the Gospel and the work of the Church,” she said.Sister Mary Beth Hamm, justice coordinator of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Philadelphia, outlined what her religious order and other orders are doing to support immigration reform.Bishop Wester concluded that the Church will work to make sure that legislators act on this issue in the near future.“We remain committed to moving immigration reform as soon as possible,” he said. “We hope to make sure that our federal legislators are committed to that goal as well.”(SOURCE:


CNA reports that on the eve of Epiphany, Right to Life in Spain opted to send a float from a parade overflowing with coal instead of a gift to Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero because of the pro-abortion policy his government has been implementing in Spain.
In Spain, as well as in other European countries, it is a tradition to give children presents on the feast of the Epiphany, in remembrance of the three wise men who brought gifts to the child Jesus in Bethlehem. Children who have been disobedient during the year receive coal in their stockings instead of gifts.
The float, which was earlier used in a parade to celebrate Epiphany in the Spanish capital, was driven to the offices of the European Union in Madrid since Zapatero is currently president of the EU.
Right to Life spokesman, Gador Joya, criticized President Zapatero for his pro-abortion policies, which undermine “the right to life” and reveal “his scorn for women and their health.”
The organization also announced it has joined with the Catholic Confederation of Parents to ask the president to hold a referendum on the new abortion law. It said one million signatures supporting the request will be presented to the government at the end of January.(SOURCE:


All Africa reports that Bill Sutherland, unofficial ambassador between the peoples of Africa and the Americas for over fifty years, died peacefully on the evening of January 2, 2010. He was 91.
A life-long pacifist and liberation advocate, Sutherland became involved in civil rights and anti-war activities as a youthful member of the Student Christian Movement in the 1930s. Sutherland was raised in New Jersey, the son of a prominent dentist and youngest brother to Reiter Sutherland and to Muriel Sutherland Snowden of Boston, who founded Freedom House in 1949 and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship "genius" grant. He spent four years at Lewisburg Federal Correctional Facility in the 1940s as a conscientious objector to World War Two, striking up what became life-long friendships with fellow C.O.s Ralph DiGia, Bayard Rustin, George Houser, Dave Dellinger, and others. In 1951, in the early days of the Cold War, Sutherland, DiGia, Dellinger, and Quaker pacifist Art Emory constituted the Peacemaker bicycle project, which took the message of nuclear disarmament to both sides of the Iron Curtain.
In 1953, in coordination with the War Resisters International and with several activist groups and independence movement parties on the continent, he moved to what was then known as the Gold Coast. An active supporter of Kwame Nkrumah, he married playwright and Pan African cultural activist Efua Theodora, and became the headmaster of a rural secondary school. The call of Pan Africanist politics was very strong, and Sutherland was instrumental—along with a small group of African Americans living in Ghana at the time, including dentists Robert and Sara Lee–in hosting the visit of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King to the 1957 independence celebrations. In the early days of the first Ghanaian government, Sutherland also served on the organizing team of the All African Peoples Congress. He was appointed private secretary to Finance Minister Komla Gbedema. He was also central to the development of the Sahara Protest Team, which brought together African, European, and U.S. peace leaders to put their bodies in the way of nuclear testing in the Sahara Desert.
Sutherland left Ghana in 1961, working in both Lebanon and Israel for the founding of Peace Brigades International, and for the Israeli labor organization Histadrut. It was also in this period that he began a friendship with Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan of the Ismaili community, working in support of displaced persons as Sadruddin became United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He settled in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1963, as a civil servant. Sutherland's chief work in Dar involved support for the burgeoning independent governments and liberation movements. A close friend and associate of Tanzania's Julius Nyerere and Zambia's Kenneth Kaunda, Sutherland helped develop the Pan African Freedom Movement of East and Central Africa (PAFMECA).
He served as hospitality officer for the Sixth Pan African Congress - held in Dar in 1974 - working with C.L.R. James and other long-time colleagues to bridge the gap between Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora. He hosted countless individuals and delegations from the U.S. in these years, including assisting Malcolm X in what would be his last trip to Tanzania. His home in Dar became a camping ground for liberation leaders in exile from Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa and throughout the region. His love of music, especially jazz, his passion for tennis (which he played well into his 80s), and the pleasure he got from dancing, were hallmarks of his interactions, shared with political associates and personal friends the world over.
Despite Sutherland's close association with those engaged in armed struggle, he maintained his connections with and commitment to revolutionary nonviolence, and joined the international staff of the Quaker-based American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in 1974. As the AFSC pushed for the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to South African anti-apartheid clergyman Bishop Desmond Tutu, Sutherland was working as the AFSC international representative. In 2003, the AFSC initiated an annual Bill Sutherland Institute, training Africa lobbyists and advocates in various policy issues and educational techniques. Sutherland was also the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from Bates College, and served as a Fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics. He was awarded a special citation from the Gandhi Peace Foundation in India, and, in 2009, received the War Resisters League's Grace Paley Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2000, Africa World Press published Sutherland's Guns and Gandhi in Africa: Pan African Insights on Nonviolence, Armed Struggle, and Liberation, co-authored by Matt Meyer. Archbishop Tutu, who wrote the foreword for the book, commented that "Sutherland and Meyer have looked beyond the short-term strategies and tactics which too often divide progressive people . . . They have begun to develop a language which looks at the roots of our humanness." On the occasion of Sutherland's 90th birthday last year, Tutu called in a special message, noting that "the people of Africa owe Bill Sutherland a big thank you for his tireless support."
Bill Sutherland is survived by three children—Esi Sutherland-Addy, Ralph Sutherland, and Amowi Sutherland Phillips—as well as grandchildren in Accra, Ghana; Spokane, Washington; Lewiston, Maine; New Haven, Connecticut; and Brooklyn, New York. In addition to scores of family members, friends, and loved ones, he will be missed by his niece, Gail Snowden, his loving partner Marilyn Meyer, and his "adopted" sons Matt Meyer and john powell. There will be a private funeral for family members this week, and memorial services will be organized for later this year.


Cath News Australia reports that Ballarat Bishop Peter Connors has given a directive that priests can cancel weekday or weekend masses when the Country Fire Authority issues a catastrophic fire danger warning.
The Ballarat diocese is believed to be the first in Victoria to approve the cancellation of services in Code Red circumstances, The Warrnambool Standard reports.
"It doesn't apply to every parish and it will be up to the individual priest. Some parishes are very much at risk this year," Bishop Connors said yesterday.
He named Apollo Bay, Casterton, Coleraine, Hamilton, Edenhope, Creswick and Daylesford as major danger spots due to their topography, which includes nearby bushland.
Bishop Connors said his decision followed a directive from the State Government to close schools in high risk areas on Code Red days and was common sense for many parishioners, according to the report
Ten schools and children's services in the south-west are on the list of 728 facilities throughout Victoria that will close on days rated as being of catastrophic fire danger.


UCAN reports that some 2,500 Catholics braved freezing conditions Jan. 6 to pay their last respects to "underground" Bishop Leo Yao Liang of Xiwanzi, who had spent almost 30 years of his life behind bars.

Coadjutor Bishop LeoYao Liang of Xiwanzi
Vatican-approved Coadjutor Bishop Yao, who the government recognized only as a priest, died on Dec. 30 at the age of 86.
He had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 1958 as he refused to join the independent Church movement, and released only in 1984. In 2002, he was clandestinely ordained as a bishop and had been detained several times since then.
The funeral service was held in Xiwanzi town, Chongli county, in Hebei province. Bishop Yao was referred to as "shepherd" during the service, after authorities disallowed the use of the term "bishop."
The government also banned Catholics outside the county from attending the funeral, while snow-covered roads prevented others from coming, according to sources.
Of the 15 diocesan priests, only three who have registered with the government were allowed to conduct the funeral Mass and the burial liturgy.
Bishop Yao's death leaves the local Church in a dilemma.
Bishop Andrew Hao Jinli of Xiwanzi, 93, is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and other illnesses, and is confined to a wheelchair.
Sources say that due to the difficult relations between the underground and government-approved Church communities, the Holy See is unlikely to appoint a younger coadjutor bishop to succeed Bishop Hao.
The issue of bishop succession had worried Bishop Yao before his death, sources say.
The prelate fell seriously ill in mid-December and died of multiple organ failure two weeks later. Authorities had prohibited him from leaving Xiwanzi parish after he was released from a 30-month detention in February 2008.

Bishop Yao was born in 1923 and ordained a priest in 1948. Three years later, under the Communist regime, he was banned from doing pastoral work and forced to grow vegetables and cut firewood for a living.
The late bishop is remembered for laying the foundation stone of a new Gothic church building in Xiwanzi town after the older building was demolished. The new building is still being constructed.
Catholicism was introduced to Xiwanzi more than 300 years ago. In the 19th century, the village became the headquarters of the Mongolia apostolic vicariate and the base of the Immaculate Heart of Mary congregation's missionary work in the extensive region beyond the Great Wall.
Bishop Yao being buried at theCatholic cemetery in Xiwanzi

The government-approved Church had merged Xiwanzi diocese and neighboring Xuanhua diocese to form Zhangjiakou diocese in 1980. However, the two underground Church communities continue to operate despite government pressure and surveillance.



André Bessette, also called Blessed Brother Andre, (French: Frère André, born Alfred Bessette) (9 August 1845 – 6 January 1937) was a Holy Cross Brother and a significant figure of the Roman Catholic Church among French-Canadians, credited with thousands of reported miraculous healings.
Alfred Bessette was born in Saint-Grégoire d'Iberville, Quebec (then Canada East), a small town situated 40 kilometers east of Montreal. His was a working class family — his father, Isaac Bessette, was a carpenter and lumberman and his mother, Clothilde Foisy Bessette, saw to the education of her ten children (two others died in infancy). When Alfred was nine years old, his father Isaac was killed in a lumbering accident. His mother Clothilde died of tuberculosis just a few years later, and Alfred found himself orphaned at the age of twelve. He was sent to live with his mother's sister, Rosalie Nadeau, and her husband Timothée, who attempted to establish Alfred in various trades, but the boy's fragile health (which would afflict him throughout his life) made sustained manual labor difficult.
From his earliest days, Alfred exhibited an unusually intense spirituality. He would often spend his scant free time praying before a crucifix or evangelizing his friends, and his many self-imposed penances drew the admiring rebuke of his gentle aunt, who was concerned that the boy was endangering his already poor health.
When he was 20 years old, Alfred joined many Canadians who were emigrating to the United States to work in the mills of New England, then operating at full output to supply the needs of the Union army in the American Civil War. When the Canadian Confederation was formed in 1867, he returned to his native country.
The Pastor of his parish, Fr. André Provençal, noticed the devotion and generosity of the young man. He decided to present Alfred to the Congregation of Holy Cross in Montreal, writing a note to the superior, "I'm sending you a saint." Although he was initially rejected by the order because of frail health, Archbishop Ignace Bourget of Montreal intervened on his behalf, and in 1872, Alfred was accepted, and entered the novitiate of the [[congregation (Catholic), receiving the religious name of Brother André, by which he was known for the rest of his life. He made his final vows on 2 February 1874, at the age of 28.
André was given the task of porter at Notre Dame College in Côte-des-Neiges, Quebec. He fulfilled this function for some forty years while at the same time doing innumerable odd jobs for the community. At the end of his life, he would joke that when he came, he was shown the door, and stayed for forty years.
His great confidence in Saint Joseph inspired him to recommend this saint's devotion to all those who were afflicted in various ways. On his many visits to the sick in their homes, he would recommend them in prayer to St. Joseph, and would anoint them lightly with oil from the candles in the college chapel. People claimed that they had been cured through the prayers of the good Brother and Saint Joseph, and they were grateful their prayers had been heard. Brother André steadfastly refused to take any credit for these cures, and, although usually a gentle man, he was known to become enraged at those who suggested that he possessed any healing powers. Because he wanted St. Joseph to be honored, in 1904 Bessette began the construction of a small chapel on the side of Mount Royal, facing the College.
Brother André's reputation grew, and soon he was known as the miracle worker of Mount-Royal. He had to face the attacks and the criticism of numerous adversaries. He had the strong support, however, of the diocesan Church, and thousands of cures without apparent medical explanation made him the object of popular acclaim.
In 1924 construction of Saint Joseph's Oratory began on the side of the mountain, near Bessette's chapel.
Bessette died in 1937, at the age of 91. A million people filed before his coffin.[1]
The remains of Bessette lie in the oratory he helped build. His body lies in a tomb built below the oratory's main chapel, [2] except for his heart, which is preserved in a reliquary in the oratory. The heart was stolen in March 1973, but recovered in December 1974. [3]
Brother André was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 23 May 1982. The miracle cited in the beatification was the healing in 1958 of Giuseppe Carlo Audino, who suffered from cancer. In the dioceses of the United States, he is commemorated by an optional memorial on 6 January.
On 19 December 2009, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a decree recognizing a second miracle at Bessette's intercession.[4] The Church and the Oratory are declining requests for interviews from the press until the decree is announced officially in 2010.[5]

St. William of Eskilsoe
Feast: April 6
Feast Day:
April 6
1125 at Paris, France
6 April (Easter Sunday) 1203 in Denmark
21 January 1224 by Pope Honorius III

He was born of an illustrious family in Paris, about the year 1105, and received his education in the abbey of St. Germain-des-Prez, under his uncle Hugh, the abbot. By the regularity of his conduct, and the sanctity of his manners, he was the admiration of the whole community. Having finished his studies, he was ordained sub-deacon, and installed canon in the church of St. Genevieve au-Mont. His assiduity in prayer, love of retirement and mortification, and exemplary life, seemed a troublesome censure of the slothful and worldly life of his colleagues; and what ought to have gained him their esteem and affection, served to provoke their envy and malice against him.
Having in vain endeavored to prevail on this reformer of their chapter, as they called him, to resign his canonry, in order to remove him at a distance, they presented him to the curacy of Epinay, a church five leagues from Paris, depending on their chapter. But not long after, Pope Eugenius III. coming to Paris, in 1147, and being informed of the irregular conduct of these canons, he commissioned the celebrated Suger, abbot of St. Denys, and prime minister to King Louis the Young, to expel them, and introduce in their room regular canons from the abbey of St. Victor: which was happily carried into execution, Eudo of St. Victor's being made the first abbot. St. William with joy embraced this institute, and was by his fervor and devotion a pattern to the most perfect. He was in a short time chosen sub-prior.
The perfect spirit of religion and regularity which he established in that community, was an illustrious proof of the incredible influence which the example of a prudent superior has over docile religious minds. His zeal for regular discipline he tempered with so much sweetness and modesty in his injunctions, that made all to love the precept itself, and to practice with cheerfulness whatever was prescribed them. The reputation of his wisdom and sanctity reached the ears of Absalon, bishop of Roschild, in Denmark, who, being one of the most holy prelates of his age, earnestly sought to allure him into his diocese. He sent the provost of his church, who seems to have been the learned historian Saxo the Grammarian, to Paris on this errand. A prospect of labors and dangers for the glory of God was a powerful motive with the saint, and he cheerfully undertook the voyage. The bishop appointed him abbot of Eskille, a monastery of regular canons which he had reformed. Here St. William sanctified himself by a life of prayer and austere mortification; but had much to suffer from the persecutions of powerful men, from the extreme poverty of his house in a severe climate, and, above all, from a long succession of interior trials: but the most perfect victory over himself was the fruit of his constancy, patience, and meekness. On prayer was his chief dependence, and it proved his constant support.
During the thirty years of his abbacy, he had the comfort to see many walk with fervor in his steps. He never left off wearing his hair-shirt, lay on straw, and fasted every day. Penetrated with a deep sense of the greatness and sanctity of our mysteries, he never approached the altar without watering it with his tears, making himself a victim to God in the spirit of adoration and sacrifice, together with, and through the merits of the holy victim offered thereon: the dispositions in which every Christian ought to assist at it. He died on the 6th of April, 1203, and was canonized by Honorius III. in 1224.
See his life by a disciple in Surius, and at large in Papebroke's Continuation of Bollandus, t. 1, Apr. p. 620. Also M. Gourdan in his MSS. Lives of Illustrious Men among the regular Canons at St. Victor's, in Paris, kept in the library of MSS. in that house, in fol. t. 2, pp. 324 and 814.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Blessed Andre Bessette, Religious (Optional Memorial)

Mark 6: 45 - 52
Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Beth-sa'ida, while he dismissed the crowd.
And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.
And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them,
but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out;
for they all saw him, and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear."
And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded,
for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

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