Friday, February 26, 2010




DETAILS OF SPIRITUAL EXERCISES OF POPE AND ROMAN CURIA VATICAN CITY, 24 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father and the Roman Curia are currently continuing their annual Lenten spiritual exercises, the theme of which this year is: "The 'Lessons' of God and of the Church on the priestly vocation". On Monday 22 February they focused their reflections on the figure of St. Augustine and prayed for priestly vocations, while yesterday they meditated on St. John Mary Vianney, the "Cure of Ars", and prayed for missionaries. Today, the day of Penance, attention will turn to certain biblical references to vocation, with meditations on the themes of "Temptation, doubt and resistance form part of our history" and "Always sinners and always forgiven". The meditation will focus on Georges Bernanos' book "Diary of a Country Priest". Tomorrow, the Christological day, will be dedicated to the vocation of the first disciples, followed by a meditation on Venerable Servant of God Giuseppe Quadrio S.D.B. (1921-1963). Friday 26 February is the Marian Day. Attention will focus on the Magnificat of Mary, and on another biblical reference to vocation: "God's approval; the story of the Annunciation". In the evening, participants will meditate on Venerable Servant of God John Paul II. At 9 a.m. on Saturday 27 February, the last day of the spiritual exercises of the Pope and the Roman Curia, Lauds will be celebrated in the Vatican's "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel with a concluding meditation on the call of the first deacons..../SPIRITUAL EXERCISES/... VIS 100224 (250)

CARDINAL KASPER GREETS PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW I VATICAN CITY, 24 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has sent a message to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, who will celebrate his seventieth birthday on Monday. The cardinal writes of his "grateful recollection of the many fraternal meetings we have had over the last ten years. The friendship, mutual trust and sincerity which has always characterised our conversations are ... a great gift and a sign of progress in relations between our Churches", he says. The cardinal concludes his message: "My hope is that Your Holiness may continue to show tireless commitment in contributing to ever deeper knowledge and more fruitful collaboration between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, so as to offer the world a common witness of our faith in our One Lord Jesus Christ"..../ECUMENISM/KASPER:BARTHOLOMEW VIS 100224 (150)



CNA report: The Spanish Senate voted Wednesday to pass the Socialist government’s new law on abortion. The decision will allow women over the age of 16 to obtain the procedure up until the 14th week of pregnancy.
The new law, which will go into effect in four months, was passed by a vote of 132-126. Members of the Socialist government, including Bibiana Aido, Minister of Equality, Trinidad Jimenez, Minister of Health, and Francisco Caamano, Minister of Justice, celebrated the outcome as “a great victory.”
For girls under the age of 16, the law states they must inform at least one parent or guardian of their desire to have an abortion, unless they can prove this would put them in physical danger.
Ironically, during his remarks at the World Congress against the death penalty being held this week in Geneva, Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who supports abortion, said, “Nobody has the right to take the life of another human being - absolutely nobody.”
Inhumane law
Following the passage of the law, the spokesperson for the Popular Party, Carmen Duenas, accused the Socialist government of both “imposing abortion on demand” on Spanish society and for having “scorn” for “the voice of the people,” who reject the law “by a clear majority.”
Duenas also slammed President Zapatero’s cabinet for wanting to “do away with the family, one of the pillars of Spanish society” and for “leaving life unprotected.”
“They are already destroying our country’s present; let them not destroy the future as well.
She also criticized the decision for “letting men off the hook from their responsibilities” and for placing abortion over motherhood. She added, “and you call that historic achievement, social advancement, progress and feminism. If anything it’s backwards and outdated feminism.”
On various occasions, the Bishops’ Conference of Spain and many individual bishops expressed their firm rejection of the new law, calling it a “serious step backward” in the protection of the unborn.”
“The state is calling something a right which, is actually an attack on the fundamental right to life,” the bishops said. “The protection of the fundamental good of human life and of the right to life are essential obligations of those in authority.”
“The inclusion of abortion among the instruments necessary for health care is in and of itself a grave falsity. Medicine is supposed to prevent illness or cure it. Pregnancy will never be an illness, even though it might entail complications to one’s health, be unplanned or even the result of violence.
“For this reason, abortion is never healing, it is always killing,” the bishops concluded.



CNA report: St. Joseph’s Seminary in La Plata, Argentina has become the formation center with the highest number of students in the country. Twenty-one seminarians entered during a Mass on Monday, bringing the grand total of students to 92.
During a Mass welcoming the students, Auxiliary Bishop Antonio Marino of La Plata remarked that in the world today, “we must swim against the tide.” He asked the seminarians to look to St. John Vianney, patron of priests, as a model “of self-denial, sacrifice and commitment.”
“The Church needs holy priests, and St. John Marie Vianney is a true model for this path.”
After the Mass, the bishop pointed out that the new students entered the seminary on the feast of the Chair of Peter, and called them to strive to “love and be faithful and obedient to the Holy Father.”
St. Joseph’s Seminary was founded in 1992 and provides formation for seminarians from various dioceses in Argentina.



Asia News report: Local Christians are in shock after an attack by about a hundred soldiers on 19 February. About 1,800 people are hiding in the forest, fearing more violence. Police chief pledges security, but for Christian man, they are “meaningless words”. Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Christians living in Baghaichhari Upazila (district) in southeastern Bangladesh are shaken by an attack against them carried out by about a hundred soldiers. Around 10 pm on 19 February, soldiers beat up people and set fire to three churches, a Buddhist pagoda and 41 homes. They had moved into the area, ostensibly to stop clashes between indigenous tribal groups and Bangladeshi settlers. At present, more than 500 families for a total of some 1,800 people have fled into the forest fearing more attacks.
Clinton Chakama, a member of the Gongarama Baptist Church, told AsiaNews that he was “still scared” just to think about “the sudden attack by the army”. At the beginning, “they started beating us, then poured liquid fuel on the church. We tried to stop them but they started shooting at us,” he said.
After the attack, Christians fled into the nearby forest. “Many people were hurt,” Chakama said. “Some tribal leaders (pictured) organised demonstrations”.
As a result of the attack, the army torched the Baptist Church in Gongarama, that of Joralchori and the Christ Church in Desimon Chara, in Baghaichhari Upazila, about 400 kilometres from the capital Dhaka.
Soldiers are believed to have attacked a fourth church and a Buddhist pagoda as well. A Protestant clergyman in Mangamati, on condition of anonymity, said that “the situation is very tense; 41 homes have been set on fire [. . .], more than 500 families for about 1,800 people are now living in the deep jungle.”
The military moved in to stop clashes between local tribal minorities and Bangladeshi settlers. However, by its actions, it has exacerbated tensions. The conflict between the two groups began as a dispute over land in the early 1980s. At that time, the Bangladeshi government tried to settle thousands of Bangladeshi, mostly flood victims, in the hill region of Chittagong, igniting the conflict.
On Tuesday, the military on government orders harassed a group of journalists in order to prevent them from reporting the episode.
In addition, Clinton Chakama reported that suffering by locals includes “more than 100 children who are ill from water-borne diseases caused by pollution”. All of them are in need of urgent medical care.
Fr Robert Gonsalves, from St Joseph’s Church in Rangamati, said he and his congregation are praying for the “persecuted”. He stressed that the Church is close to the Christians and Buddhists victimised in the attack. He also insisted that Lent is also a time to keep in mind “forgiveness and the desire for justice and peace.”
Yesterday, the police chief in Rangamati visited the scene of the attack along with government officials and a minister. He said, “We shall do our best to guarantee security”. He did not however answer questions addressed by AsiaNews about the church burning and the harassment Christians had to endure.
“They promised food and security,” Clinton Chakama said, “but we know that those are meaningless words. They are not going to take any steps against the army”, which has a past of forcibly seizing land, torturing people and raping women.,-three-churches-on-fire,-thousands-flee-17729.html


CISA report:
Italian Consolata Missionary, Fr. Joseph Ettorri has passed on after a short illness.Fr. Ettorri who was in Rome for the last eight months after along stint of teaching at both the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) and Tangaza College was diagnosed with Leukemia a few days ago. According to Fr. Anthony Magnante, the Superior of the Allamano house, the late priest succumbed to complications early on Tuesday morning in Rome, Italy.He was born in October 31, 1949 in Marta - Viterbo, Italy. The late priest took his final vows in 1975 and was ordained in January 5, 1977. Thereafter, he served in Maralal diocese and later took up teaching in Nairobi. He spent more than 25 years as a missionary in Kenya.



Cath News report: Brisbane Catholic Education's director for School Services Centre South, Neil Bloxsidge died of a suspected heart attack on Monday night.
Mr Bloxsidge, a former Brothers rugby league star, mentor and trainer at the Ipswich Jets and local teacher for many years, died during a touch football game on the Gold Coast, the The Queensland Times and The Catholic Leader reported.
Principal of St Augustine's College, Ipswich, Leon Capra, said Mr Bloxsidge had left an amazing legacy, The Queensland Times said.
"He was an educator, a sportsman and a mentor to many," Mr Capra said. "He was highly influential in the Ipswich education scene."
Mr Bloxsidge is survived by his wife Janet, who is a teacher at St Mary's College, Ipswich; his son Danny, a teacher at St Vincent's Primary School, Clear Island Waters; and his daughter Leah, who was returning from a teaching post in England, The Catholic Leader said.
Details of his funeral are yet to be announced, but it will be held early next week in either Ipswich or the Gold Coast.


St. Ethelbert
Feast: February 24
Feast Day:
February 24
24 February 616

King of Kent; b. 552; d. 24 February, 616; son of Eormenric, through whom he was descended from Hengest. He succeeded his father, in 560, as King of Kent and made an unsuccessful attempt to win from Ceawlin of Wessex the overlordship of Britain. His political importance was doubtless advanced by his marriage with Bertha, daughter of Charibert, King of the Franks (see BERTHA I). A noble disposition to fair dealing is argued by his giving her the old Roman church of St. Martin in his capital of Cantwaraburh (Canterbury) and affording her every opportunity for the exercise of her religion, although he himself had been reared, and remained, a worshipper of Odin. The same natural virtue, combined with a quaint spiritual caution and, on the other hand, a large instinct of hospitality, appears in his message to St. Augustine when, in 597, the Apostle of England landed on the Kentish coast
In the interval between Ethelbert's defeat by Ceawlin and the arrival of the Roman missionaries, the death of the Wessex king had left Ethelbert, at least virtually, supreme in southern Britain, and his baptism, which took place on Whitsunday next following the landing of Augustine (2 June, 597) had such an effect in deciding the minds of his wavering countrymen that as many as 10,000 are said to have followed his example within a few months. Thenceforward Ethelbert became the watchful father of the infant Anglo-Saxon Church. He founded the church which in after-ages was to be the primatial cathedral of all England, besides other churches at Rochester and Canterbury. But, although he permitted, and even helped, Augustine to convert a heathen temple into the church of St. Pancras (Canterbury), he never compelled his heathen subjects to accept baptism. Moreover, as the lawgiver who issued their first written laws to the English people (the ninety "Dooms of Ethelbert", A.D. 604) he holds in English history a place thoroughly consistent with his character as the temporal founder of that see which did more than any other for the upbuilding of free and orderly political institutions in Christendom. When St. Mellitus had converted Sæbert, King of the East Saxons, whose capital was London, and it was proposed to make that see the metropolitan, Ethelbert, supported by Augustine, successfully resisted the attempt, and thus fixed for more than nine centuries the individual character of the English church. He left three children, of whom the only son, Eadbald, lived and died a pagan. SOURCE


Luke 11: 29 - 32
When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.
For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nin'eveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation.
The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
The men of Nin'eveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
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