Friday, February 19, 2010



PRIESTS: MEN OF GOD, OBEDIENT TO HIS WILL (VIS) - During his meeting yesterday with parish priests of the diocese of Rome, Benedict XVI commented on certain verses from the Letter to the Hebrews. Beginning with the Old Testament view of the Messiah, and comparing it to what Christ actually represented in the history of salvation, the Pope noted how "Christ is the true King, the Son of God. But He is also the true priest, and thus all worship, all the reality of sacrifices, ... and of the true sacrifice, finds its key and its fulfilment in Christ". Thus, he explained, does the priest "emerges in all his pureness and his profound truth". And he went on: "A priest, in order truly to be a mediator between God and man, must be a man, and the Son of God became man precisely in order to become a priest, in order to accomplish the mission of a priest. ... This is the mission of the priest: ... to be a mediator, a bridge that unites and thus brings man to God, to His redemption, to His true light, to His true life". If the priest is a "bridge" bringing humankind into communion with the divinity, his soul must draw nourishment from constant daily prayer and from the Eucharist, said the Pope. "Only God", he went on, "can enter my life and take me by the hand. ... Ever and anew we must return to the Sacrament, return to this gift in which God gives me what I could never give. ... A priest must truly be a man of God, he must know God up close", and he achieves this "in communion with Christ. We must live this communion". Benedict went on to point out that the life choice priests to make requires them to develop their feelings and affections in accordance with God's will. This conversion is anything but simple if we consider the misleading self-indulgence that lies in the modern mentality, he said. "Thus do people say: 'He lied, he is human. He robbed, he is human'. But this is not the true human being. Human means being generous, human means being good, human means being a person of justice. ... And so, to leave behind, with Christ's help, this cloud over our nature ... is a life process which must begin with education to the priesthood then continue throughout our life". A priest, who is above all other things a completely-fulfilled man, has a heart dedicated to "compassion". Sin is not a sign of "solidarity" with human weakness; rather, such solidarity is evident in the strength to share the burden of sin in order to redeem and purify it, showing the same capacity for emotion which Jesus showed during His life, and which enabled him to carry His cry of compassion "unto the ears of God". "We priests cannot withdraw into exile", said the Pope. "We are immersed in the passion of this world and must, with the help of Christ and in communion with Christ, seek to transform it and lead it towards God". Finally, on the subject of obedience, the Pope said: "It is an unpopular word in our time, when obedience seems like a form of alienation, an attitude of servility. ... Yet on the contrary, ... the word 'obedience' and the word 'freedom' are inseparable, ... because the will of God is not a tyrannical will; ... rather, it is the place where we find our true identity".AC/PRIESTHOOD/ROMAN PASTORS VIS 100219 (600)
POPE TO CANONISE SIX BLESSEDS ON 17 OCTOBER VATICAN CITY, 19 FEB 2010 (VIS) - At 11 a.m. today in the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father presided at an ordinary public consistory for the canonisation of the following Blesseds: - Stanislao Soltys, called Kazimierczyk, Polish professed religious of the Order of Canons Regular Lateranense (1433-1489). - Andre Bessette (ne Alfred), Canadian professed religious of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (1845-1937). - Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola (nee Juana Josefa), Spanish founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus (1845-1912). - Mary of the Cross MacKillop (nee Mary Helen), Australian foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart (1842-1909). - Giulia Salzano, Italian foundress of the Congregation of Sisters Catechists of the Sacred Heart (1846-1929). - Battista da Varano (nee Camilla), professed nun of the Order of Poor Clares and foundress of the monastery of St. Clare in the Italian town of Camerino (1458-1524). At the end of the meeting, the Pope announced that the canonisation ceremony will take place on 17 October.OCL/CONSISTORY CANONISATION/... VIS 100219 (190)
SPIRITUAL EXERCISES OF POPE AND ROMAN CURIA VATICAN CITY, 19 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The annual spiritual exercises of the Pope and the Roman Curia are due to begin on 21 February, the first Sunday of Lent. This year's meditations will be directed by the Salesian priest, Fr. Enrico Dal Covolo.. The theme of the spiritual exercises, which will take place in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, is: "The 'Lessons' of God and of the Church on the priestly vocation". The retreat will begin at 6 p.m. with Eucharistic exposition, the celebration of Vespers, an introductory meditation, adoration and Eucharistic blessing. Over the following days there will be the celebration of Lauds and meditation at 9 a.m.; celebration of Terce and meditation at 10.15 a.m.; meditation at 5 p.m.; and Vespers, adoration and Eucharistic blessing at 5.45 p.m. The spiritual exercises will come to an end at 9 a.m. on Saturday 27 February with the celebration of Lauds and a closing meditation. During the retreat all audiences will be cancelled, including the weekly general audience of Wednesday 24 February.PD/CURIA RETREAT/DAL COVOLO VIS 100219 (190)


CNA report:
A pregnant woman who brandished a knife at a pro-life advocate outside a Minnesota abortion clinic is now grateful the protester helped her decide not to have an abortion. One pro-life leader said the case shows that many people are “conflicted” about abortion and that anger is often the beginning of conversion.
Mechelle Hall, 26, had threatened and brandished a knife at Leah Winandy, 21, who urged her not to have an abortion. The incident took place outside the Duluth Building for Women.
On Nov. 24, 2009, Winandy and her mother, Sarah, were passing out pamphlets and protesting abortion at the building on behalf of Pro Life Ministry of Duluth. According to the Duluth News Tribune, Hall confronted the women.
“I was there to ask mothers not to kill their babies at the abortion clinic,” Winandy said, reporting that Hall walked towards her. “She pulled out a knife and waved it at me saying ‘Don’t come near me.’ I said, ‘Please don’t kill your baby. Fear God.’ I came to the edge of the courtyard. I said, ‘Look and listen to your ultrasound.’ She turned around and came back with a knife and held it up to my throat.”
Hall told the Tribune that she never had the planned abortion but decided to keep the baby after the confrontation. She said she was stressed out and the protesters made her realize that she did not want to end the life she was carrying inside her.
She said she wanted to tell the Winandys “Thank you for being there.”
“If they weren’t there, I probably would have gone through with it and regretted it for the rest of my life. It probably would have gone the other way. I’m sincerely sorry for doing that to her.”
Hall will learn the sex of her child at her ultrasound next month.
The St. Louis County Attorney’s Office asked Winandy if she was agreeable to Hall receiving probation instead of a prison sentence. Winandy agreed, the Tribune reports.
“I forgive Mechelle for what she did; I do forgive her because God has given me forgiveness in my heart for her,” Winandy said.
On Thursday Priests for Life President Fr. Frank Pavone commented on the case, saying it illustrates that those seeking abortions, like those performing abortions, are “conflicted and ambivalent.”
“Despite any effort to appear sure of what they are doing, they aren't. Despite the rhetoric about 'freedom of choice,' they resort to abortion because they feel they have no freedom and no choice,” he continued.
“And the lesson for pro-life activists is that what often presents itself as anger and upset is often the first stage of conversion. We should not be afraid of these reactions.”


All Africa report:
The Catholic University College of Ghana (CUCG), Fiapre, though growing steadily year by year since the year 2003, is faced with challenges ranging from acute water problems to bad access road and inadequate infrastructure.
Regardless of these challenges, the CUCG has not abandoned its vision of contributing to national development by producing graduates endowed with real practical objectives, a moral vision of life, and a profound religious motivation for service to mankind.
At the 10th Matriculation and 4th Congregation, the Vice Chancellor of the CUCG, Prof. James Hawkins Ephraim, emphasised on areas of concern which should be addressed for the realisation of the core objectives of the university, including physical infrastructure and human resource development, financial resources mobilisation and management, research and innovation, expansion and application of ICT, and streamlining and consolidating administrative procedures.
According to Prof. Ephraim, the earlier internet provider was unable to satisfy the needs of the University College, whilst the access road to the university from Fiapre is in a bad shape, as he made an appeal to the Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, to come to their aid.
On the acute water problem, the Vice Chancellor of CUCG said the Catholic Diocese of Sunyani promised to continue the drilling of boreholes in order to solve the situation, whilst an earlier request made to the Regional Coordinating Council was pending.
He disclosed that in August 2009, the CUCG He disclosed that in August 2009, the CUCG admitted 843 students, and this January 2010, it had admitted 312 new students, of which 308 are undergraduates, and four postgraduates, bringing the total enrolment of students to 2,482.
Despite the rapid growth of the CUCG, Prof. Ephraim stated that infrastructural development had come to a stand-still, as a result of the non-availability of funds, stressing that funds were seriously needed to ensure the continuity of projects.
Prof. Kwesi Yankah, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, commended the CUCG for establishing a niche in the competitive world of education within the private sector, which now plays a pivotal role in training middle level manpower for national development.
According to Prof. Yankah, today's global economy is dominated by knowledge-based industries, in which universities have a major role to play in producing human resource, and in undertaking the necessary research for development
He noted that the global environment, coupled with the complexities of modern day governance, advancements in science and technology, and the ICT revolution, call for a highly trained labour force.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor therefore urged the universities to closely monitor the progress of their past students in the world of work, and expressed an interest in the assessment by industry of the quality of graduates they employ to work, since according to him, that was the only way the universities could fully satisfy demands in the job market.
Prof, Yankah stated that the Ghanaian economy had achieved some level of stability, but before it can be translated into real improvement in the lives of the people, the economy has to grow, however economic growth requires the adoption of appropriate technology that can reduce cost of production, and raise productivity.

According to him, growth can be accelerated if the universities, both public and private, are better endowed, to enable them produce the manpower to manage the technology.
On his part, Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, encouraged the graduates to give full and unalloyed service to their employers, be it government, state, or private business providers, whose money would be used to pay their salaries.
He urged the graduates to be guided by the image and likeness of God that gives dignity and self-esteem, and an inalienable human right to be able to swim in today's corruption infested sea of life.


Catholic Herald report:
Christopher Langdown tells Ed West that St Peter's failings inspired him to compose - but the rest was hard graft
When one thinks of pianists one normally imagines hugely talented but hugely deranged individuals, such as Geoffrey Rush as David Helfgott in Shine. So in that sense Catholic pianist Christopher Langdown might seem rather a disappointment, being such a level-headed chap.He is certainly talented. The 38-year-old concert pianist and composer is nonetheless on to big things, after years of hard work, living proof that religious music really is on an upward course in Britain. Langdown's recital at Wigmore Hall last summer of his piece of sacred music, Deo Omnis Gloria, rec-eived such good reviews that it is to be released on CD in the spring by Divine Records. Bef-ore that he will perform Shostak-ovich with the Fitzwilliam String Quartet, who played with the composer himself for his last three performances. Any success on his part, he says, is purely down to "hard graft"."I think talent can almost be an illusion," he says. "Often people will come up to you after a concert and ask how you manage to memorise 90 minutes of piano music, but I don't have a photographic memory, it's just a skill you develop over time. I have a friend who has perfect pitch, but that's very rare. I happen to think it is 99 per cent perspiration and one per cent inspiration. " A loving family and strong faith also help, of course.Raised in Sutton Coldfield, a suburb of Birmingham, he grew up the youngest of four in a strongly Catholic family. It's something that has never left him."My faith is very important to me, central to my life. My dad is a convert and my mum was a cradle Catholic. Her father was half-Irish." It was a music-loving, though not a music-playing, household, and his love of music first developed because "my mother tells me it was the only thing that would stop me crying".Christopher followed his brother and two sisters in learning the piano, although not until he was almost 10 (a later age)."I was lucky to have a great teacher," he says, and also a mother who insisted he practise when he did not want to. "I'm grateful now although not at the time, because I was a typical teenage boy who thought computers were more interesting."After attending the local comprehensive, Bishop Walsh School, he went to the Royal College in London for six years, an experience he calls "fantastic educationally, culturally and socially". In London he also taught piano at two highly exclusive schools, Latymer in Hammersmith, and Ibstock Place in Roehampton, where he taught, among others, the children of Adrian Edmondson and Jennifer Saunders, and the son of The Who's Pete Townshend. He has since moved back to Sutton Coldfield and is now head of piano at Kings School in Leamington Spa, and is teaching perhaps his most important pupil of all - his five-year-old daughter, Emily. He and wife Jo also have a one-year-old son, Joseph.The next generation will almost certainly grow up in a more musical Catholic culture, as_Britain reacts against decades of decline in the area both of musical instrument learning and sacred music in particular. Langdown's piece is one more sign of a turnaround. "I've been really surprised by the reaction to my religious piece," he says, "because most classic musical is secular apart from Lizst or Handel. And as we live in a predominantly secular society, sacred music doesn't feature that much on the mainstream channels. Given the right marketing, popularised forms of sacred music can do really well - take the recent bestselling albums of The Priests." Deo Glorio Omnis was actually written in 2001 and premiered that same year in Spain. The piece comes in three parts; "Hymn", which represents the Mass; "Lake of Gennesaret", inspired by the miracles of the loaves and fishes and "Resurrection"."Normally a composer will say that the creation of a piece of music usually begins with a concept or idea; in other words the composer knows what the music is going to be about even before they put pen to paper. But in this case the titles only came to me near the end after all the ideas had been formulated." So after finishing the the first piece, representing the Mass, he went back and added the sung Alleluia from the Mass."The mood of the piece is reverent and joyful, and it also hints at the sounds of organ, choir and church bells."The music starts off quietly then there's the upward flourish. Most of it was written subconsciously but hopefully the music catches something of it." Part two starts off quiet and rises in intensity; it signifies a glistening lake, a boat and net, and a sense of elation, to signify Luke 5: 11. Why did that inspire him?"It's one of my favourite Gospel passages as it reminds me of the importance of trusting in God, even when things look bleak. As a youngster, I understood the part about Peter putting his faith in Jesus and being rewarded with a huge catch of fish, but I didn't really get the ending - I always thought it was a bit strange when Peter asked Jesus to leave him, especially after hitting the jackpot. When you're an adult it becomes easier to empathise with Peter's sense of unworthiness and you also appreciate the fact that Jesus totally accepts him, warts and all. I think that's a very important message because I get the impression that a lot of people misunderstand the Church and think of it as being a place for saints rather than sinners. Lots of my friends think you have to be really holy to go to church. We've all got our faults and failings, but perhaps people don't always realise that God wants us to bring those areas to Him too, not just the good bits." The final piece is based on the Resurrection. "Obviously that's quite ambitious and lots of people have tried it before," he laughs. "That's an impossible task but because of the nature and spirit of art, you still want to try. "I'm not really a composer at all and I remember feeling quite surprised to have the urge to sit down and compose something. I'm sure the Holy Spirit played an important role in the creation of these pieces and that's also reflected in the title: All Glory to God."For more information on his CD or upcoming performances go to


Asia News report:
A gang of thugs attacked Rema Amit, 26, and a friend who was in his company. The spoils of harvest is a phone and 70 cents. Police have already identified and arrested the members of the group.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - An armed gang has killed one tribal Christian student and injured a friend, to steal a phone and a tally of less than one euro. The two young men were on their way home from festivities for the 100th anniversary of St Joseph's Catholic Church, located in the district of Netrokona - Dhaka Division - about 173 km from the capital. The police confirmed the identification and arrest of all members of the group involved in the murder.
The incident occurred on 15 February in Mohammadupur, division of Dhaka. Rema Amit, 26, a student of the Institute of Science and Technology at Dhanmondi in the company of his friend Sohag, had just got off the bus, returning from the festivities for the Jubilee of St. Joseph Church. On the wayhome, in East Raja Bazar (Dhaka), the two friends were attacked by a group armed with knives and pistols, who ordered them to hand over money and valuables.
At the young men’s refusal, the assailants struck them with a large knife and then stole their money which amounted to a total of 70 taka (about 70 euro cents) and their mobile phones. Sohag, the survivor, said that "the group followed us, in a private car" and attacked them "near Amit’s home."
A police patrol on the spot immediately intervened arresting one of the assailants, Sujan (aka Monir) 24, who was in possession of a large knife. A few hours later the agents stopped the three other members of the gang, Habib, 24, Ershad alias Munna, 26, and Monirul, 25, seizing a pistol and ammunition.,-Christian-student-killed-for-less-than-a-dollar-17677.html


Cath News report: Sister Maria Casey, who led Mary MacKillop's sainthood campaign, was among those who attended last night's historic meeting in Rome.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be the one who would see it through to the end,'' said Sister Maria.
"It's a rare privilege indeed.''
Holy See ambassador Tim Fischer said: "This is a terrific salute to an outstanding Australian, a giant leader in education and many other fields.''
About 100 people were invited to last night's gathering at the Apostolic Palace, the Pope's official residence overlooking St Peter's Square in Vatican City.
The group included dozens of Rome cardinals instructed to dress in full regalia for the ceremony, broadcast live on television for the first time in the church's history.
Bishops and key figures in the sainthood process such as Sister Maria were also present, with the ceremony held in Latin and including prayers and hymns.
Five other candidates from Canada, Poland, Spain and Italy will also be made saints at the same service on October 17.


St. Conrad of Piacenza
Feast: February 19
Feast Day:
February 19
1290, Piacenza, Province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
February 19, 1351, Noto, Province of Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
Patron of:
cure of hernias

Hermit of the Third Order of St. Francis, date of birth uncertain; died at Noto in Sicily, 19 February, 1351. He belonged to one of the noblest families of Piacenza, and having married when he was quite young, led a virtuous and God-fearing life. On one occasion, when he was engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered his attendants to fire some brushwood in which game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly, and the surrounding fields and forest were soon in a state of conflagration. A mendicant, who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated, was accused of being the author. He was imprisoned, tried, and condemned to death. As the poor man was being led to execution, Conrad, stricken with remorse, made open confession of his guilt; and in order to repair the damage of which he had been the cause, was obliged to sell all his possessions. Thus reduced to poverty, Conrad retired to a lonely hermitage some distance from Piacenza, while his wife entered the Order of Poor Clares. Later he went to Rome, and thence to Sicily, where for thirty years he lived a most austere and penitential life and worked numerous miracles. He is especially invoked for the cure of hernia. In 1515 Leo X permitted the town of Noto to celebrate his feast, which permission was later extended by Urban VIII to the whole Order of St. Francis. Though bearing the title of saint, Conrad was never formally canonized. His feast is kept in the Franciscan Order on 19 February.


Matthew 9: 14 - 15
Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"
And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

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