Friday, February 26, 2010








The Holy Father: - Erected the new ecclesiastical province of Toamasina, Madagascar, raising the current diocese of Toamasina to the status of metropolitan church and assigning it the suffragan dioceses of Ambatondrazaka, Moramanga and Fenoarivo-Atsinana. He appointed Bishop Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina as the first metropolitan archbishop of Toamasina. The archbishop-elect was born in Amboangibe, Madagascar in 1954, he was ordained a priest in 1986 and consecrated a bishop in 2001. -

Appointed Fr. Marie Fabien Raharilamboniaina O.C.D. superior general of the Carmelite Fathers for Madagascar and the Indian Ocean, as bishop of Morondava (area 46,620, population 490,000, Catholics 43,640, priests 34, religious 113), Madagascar. The bishop-elect was born in Ambohijanahary, Madagascar in 1968 and ordained a priest in 1997. He succeeds Bishop Donald Pelletier M.S., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Peter Lee Ki-heon, military ordinary for Korea, as bishop of Uijongbu (area 2,626, population 2,615,839, Catholics 196,995, priests 156, religious 166), Korea. He succeeds Bishop Lee Han-taek S.J., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.ECE:NER:RE/.../... VIS 100226 (210)



CNA report: The Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, sent a report to the Pontifical Mission Societies this week describing the situation facing seminarians in the devastated country. He explained that the seminarians have “lost everything," adding that "putting them back to ‘normal’ life is a priority.”
According to the Fides News Agency, the archbishop said that, “The greatest needs of the seminarians are clothing, toiletries, tents to sleep in. Many of the seminarians have been sent back to their dioceses, but their dioceses are also extremely poor and in great need of assistance.
The archbishop went on to note that although some books from the library were saved, “We need to purchase Bibles and fundamental texts (Vatican II, Catechism of the Catholic Church etc.) The ones they had were all lost in the rubble.”
“The easiest, most flexible and fastest way to help these unfortunate seminarians is through financial aid that we can use according to the most urgent needs of the moment,” he added.
“Thank you also for your efforts in favor of our traumatized seminarians. We believe that putting the seminarians back to 'normal' life is a priority."
Fides reports that 15 seminarians, one professor and some staff members were killed by the January 12 earthquake.



CNA report: The German Catholic Bishops' Conference has chosen one of its own to lead investigations into the cases of abuse in the German Church in the 70s and 80s. The news was announced at the conclusion of the plenary assembly of German bishops on Thursday by conference president Archbishop Robert Zollitsch. Vatican Radio reported that the bishops' statement read, "We German bishops accept our responsibility and condemn the crimes committed by religious, priests and lay collaborators in our dioceses."
"Mortified and shocked," they asked the pardon and forgiveness of "all victims of these horrible acts."
Vatican Radio also reported that the secretary of the episcopal conference has opened an office in Bonn to coordinate activities and collaborate in legal proceedings. They are planning a "phone-a-friend" program that will soon be in place to provide further assistance to victims.
Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier is now in charge of the operation. He is also the President of the episcopal conference's Commission for Justice and Peace.
About 120 victims have come forward to date. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that, in the first legal action since news of the abuses came to light, prosecutors have now begun investigations into allegations at two German Catholic schools.
The Washington Post also reported that Abbot Barnabas Boegle, head of the Ettal Monastery which oversees one of the two schools, stepped down Wednesday after eight former students alleged abuses there by priests.
By August, Church guidelines governing cases of child sex abuse will be revised and updated. "We want everything to be clarified loyally, without false restraints," said Archbishop Zollitsch. "The victims have a right to that." The current norms have been in place since 2002.
To work towards "full prevention," the archbishop also mentioned the need for a more attentive culture within schools and pastoral ministries, as well as proper formation for future priests.



Asia News report: The sisters were attacked by plain clothes police, their guide ends up in hospital. The Bishops conference requests the correction of a news report published by the official agency according to which they had sent New Year greetings to the Patriotic Front, the Communist Party organization.
Hanoi (AsiaNews) – The tension in relations between Catholics and the Vietnamese authorities show no sign of abating, as evidenced by new episodes of violence in the parish of Dong Chiem, while the Catholic Bishops' Conference has formally requested the correction of a news report released by the official VNA. The state agency claimed that the bishops had sent New Year greetings to the Patriotic Front, an organization linked to the Communist Party. An episode strongly denied by the Bishops.
In Dong Chiem after the destruction of the crucifix that stood on the mountain that forced removal of the crosses brought there by the faithful, most of the hundreds of agents and activists who had poured into the area in January had, as emphasised by state media, since been distanced, in order to “return to normal”.
But this is not the case. On 24 February a group of nuns from the Sisters of Cross Lovers, who came from Ho Chi Minh City together with dozens of lay faithful to visit the parishioners for the New year, were attacked and beaten by officers in plain clothes, at the entrance to the town. The nuns were not seriously injured, but the Hanoi volunteer who was their guide had to be admitted to the Viet Duc hospital in serious condition.
The incident follows another episode dated to 19 February, when a dozen of the faithful of the parish of Nam Du, of the diocese of Hanoi, where submitted to a hail of large stones as they walked toward their homes. They report that police threw large stones at them, causing injuries and seriously damaging their car (see photo).
Plain clothes officers, says Father Joseph Nguyen of Hanoi, "are very aggressive." "The pilgrims who come to Dong Chiem have been threatened and even assaulted during the New Year."
What makes it more obvious that the target of violence are just the Catholics, is the fact that those who go to visit the famous Huong pagoda, which stands not far from Dong Chiem, are warmly welcomed and protected by agents who belong the same department.
Violence aside, another sign of the tense atmosphere is the decision of the Episcopal Conference, to request the rectification of a report published by VNA, the Communist Party news agency, according to which January 29 a delegation of bishops submitted season’s greetings to the Patriotic Front. The bishops have said that none of the people named by the agency had received any kind of promise, nor the task of broadcasting greetings to the organization. Individually and collectively, the bishops expressed their concern about the biased way in which the state media treat religious activities, stressing that dialogue between church and state can only take place in truth.


CISA report:
Week 1: A reflection on Food Security and Poverty Feeding the Nation Baraka villagers in Mchungani District always had enough food and livestock for their sustenance and for sale. They had enough money for their childrens school fees, medical and household expenses, and surplus for savings and investment. The district also earned the country foreign exchange from tourists and international investors. However, with the erratic rains and prolonged drought blamed on climate change, crops are drying up and there is nothing to sell or store for future use. Animals are dying and there are hardly any to sell to the national meat commission. The result has been increased poverty levels in Baraka village and in the larger Mchungani District. Mr Matawi, a well known farmer from Mchungani, organised a one-day food security workshop for residents. One villager complained that they could not irrigate their shambas using water from a nearby dam, which he lamented was benefiting just a few people and their animals. Mr Matawi advised them to resort to organic farming and drip irrigation, and also grow and keep drought resistant crops and animals. He also advised them to request the government to facilitate the introduction of water harvesting methods and animal restocking. Mrs Mgogo, a Constituency Development Fund (CDF) member, advised residents to request funds for farming and water harvesting projects from the CDF. Baraka villagers formed a committee, which was mandated to be meeting monthly. Situational analysis Over 10 million Kenyans are facing starvation. The lack of food is attributed to poor farming methods, lack of proper planning, violence and displacement. Kenya has gone through difficult times and it is now time to heal and transform our land and people. Traditional African communities encouraged a communal spirit of working together and helping each other on the farms, in building, during harvest seasons and in other activities. Harambee enabled communities to have sufficient food for all and guaranteed social security. All Kenyans should endeavour to restore the countrys lost glory. This Lenten season should be a time of reflection. All our activities and efforts should also be geared towards healing and transforming our nation Deuteronomy 26:4-10 Romans 10:8-13 Luke 4: 1-13 All of us are tempted to divert from our call. Jesus remained faithful to his Father. We too should know that we are a chosen people and must claim our identity by obeying God rather than following leaders of darkness. God loves us and he wants to lead us along the way of life. We must profess our trust in God with our life and proclaim it by word of mouth. Hunger and poverty are the result of greed. If we follow the example of Jesus, we can change for the better.
Have you, or your Small Christian Community, ever had similar experiences as the people of Baraka village? If so, what did you do?
Beside the rainfall, what other sources of water can you and your Small Christian Community use? What is drip irrigation and what are its advantages?
What are the other sources of devolved funds? How are you involved as an individual and as a Small Christian Community?
The 2007-2008 post-election violence adversely affected farming and food production. Coupled with the drought, Kenya is yet to recover. What can you and your Small Christian Community do to promote healing and transformation as you boost food production?
Discuss the spirit of harambee in your Small Christian Community and suggest how you can revitalise it. What are the advantages? The Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops view Food, land and water security Large stretches of fertile land and water resources are unscrupulously exploited by foreign and local investors in many African countries. This is causing the displacement and dispossession of poor persons and their communities, who are often powerless to oppose this assault. The Synod urgently calls upon all governments to ensure that its citizens are protected from the unjust alienation of their land and resources, and given access to water, the basic needs of all people. The Synod Fathers urge that: Our Church leaders be informed on basic land and water issues to enable them to pass this information to the local people who will be in a good position to challenge unjust decisions in these matters; All negotiations on land deals be conducted transparently and with the participation of the local communities who may be affected; Land alienation deals should not be contracted out nor signed without the free, prior and informed consent of the local communities concerned, nor should people forfeit their land without proper compensation; Agricultural workers be guaranteed a fair wage in light of the fact that investments promote the creation of employment; The professional formation of youth in farming and the raising of animals be promoted as a way to stem the uncontrolled flight from the village to the cities; The models of agricultural production respect the environment and not contribute to climate change, soil depletion and the exhaustion of drinkable water reserves; Food production for export should not endanger food security, sovereignty and the needs of future generations; Traditional land rights be respected and recognised by the law; Water not be exploited as a private economic commodity without due attention to peoples interests; and African governments be more prudent in accessing grants and loans so that they do not push their people into further debt. The poor and marginalised be empowered through initiatives such as micro-finance, agrarian and similar programmes as the Churchs concrete sign of solidarity with the poor and marginalised. We have to continue tackling poverty, which is a major obstacle to peace and reconciliation. Here suggestions for micro-finance schemes deserve careful attention. Finally, as head of his local church, the bishop has the duty to mobilise all his faithful, to become involved through appropriate roles in the planning, formulating, implementing and evaluating of diocesan policies and programmes for reconciliation, justice and peace. A commitment to development comes from a change of heart, and a change of heart comes from conversion to the Gospel. In this regard, all members of the Church, clergy, religious and lay faithful, must be mobilised to work together in a unity that brings strength. We are challenged and encouraged by the African proverb: An army of well organised ants can bring down an elephant. We should not be afraid of, less still be discouraged, by the enormity of the problems of our continent.



Cath News report: A Year 12 student from Marist College at Ashgrove, Queensland has been suspended for creating a Facebook group saying missing Queensland boy Daniel Morcombe will be handed over if the group attracts a million members.
Daniel's mother, Denise Morcombe, tracked him down as the creator of the Facebook group and contacted the school's principal, AAP reports.
"I've been in contact with the principal of the school where the boy is who started it and he's been dealt with by the principal and the police," she told ABC Radio.
She said the police can't shut it down, so a a report has been made asking Facebook to shut down the page. Daniel was abducted at the age of 13 from the Sunshine Coast in December 2003 and is still missing.
Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson described the site as "disgraceful", saying he couldn't dispute Mrs Morcombe's description of the perpetrators as "scumbags".

St. Porphyrius
Feast: February 26
Feast Day:
February 26
347, Thessalonica, Greece
February 26, 420, Gaza, Palestine

Bishop of Gaza in Palestine, b. at Thessalonica about 347; d. at Gaza, 26 February, 420. After five years in the Egyptian desert of Scete he lived five years in a cave near the Jordan. In spite of his impaired health, he frequently visited the scene of the Resurrection. Here he met the Asiatic Mark, at a later date a deacon of his church and his biographer. To effect the sale of the property still owned by Porphyrius in his native city, Mark set out for Thessalonica and, upon his return, the proceeds were distributed among the monasteries of Egypt and among the necessitous in and around Jerusalem. In 392 Porphyrius was ordained to the priesthood, and the relic of the Holy Cross was intrusted to his care. In 395 he became Bishop of Gaza, a stronghold of paganism, with an insignificant Christian community. The attitude of the pagan population was hostile so that the bishop appealed to the emperor for protection and pleaded repeatedly for the destruction of pagan temples. He finally obtained an imperial rescript ordering the destruction of pagan sanctuaries at Gaza. A Christian church was erected on the site of the temple of Marnas. In 415 Porphyrius attended the Council of Diospolis. The "Vita S. Porphyrii" of Mark the Deacon, formerly known only in a Latin translation, was published in 1874 by M. Haupt in its original Greek text; a new edition was issued in 1895 by the Bonn Philological Society.


Matthew 5: 20 - 26
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
"You have heard that it was said to the men of old, `You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.'
But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire.
So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison;
truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.
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