Wednesday, February 3, 2010


(VIS) - In St. Peter's Basilica at 5.30 p.m. yesterday Benedict XVI presided at the celebration of Vespers for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the Day of Consecrated Life. The Pope recalled how it was John Paul III who, in 1997, decided that this Day should coincide with the Feast of the Presentation. "In fact", he said, "the oblation of the Son of God - as symbolised by His presentation in the Temple - represents a model for all men and women who consecrate their lives to the Lord. "This Day", he added, "has a triple aim: firstly, to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of consecrated life; secondly, to promote awareness and respect for consecrated life among all the People of God; and finally, to invite those who have fully dedicated their own lives to the cause of the Gospel to celebrate the marvels the Lord has worked in them". The Holy Father then went on to comment on one of the readings from today's liturgy, a passage from the Letter to the Hebrews in which "Christ is presented as the Mediator: He is true God and true man, and therefore truly belongs to the divine and the human worlds", the Pope said. "It is, in fact, only on the basis of this faith, of this profession of faith in Jesus Christ the one and definitive Mediator, that consecrated life has meaning in the Church, a life consecrated to God through Christ. It has meaning only if He truly is the Mediator between God and us, otherwise it would merely be a form of sublimation or evasion". "Consecrated life", the Pope went on, "is a 'strong' expression of God's and man's reciprocal search for one another. ... Consecrated people, by the very fact of their existence, represent a kind of 'bridge' towards God for everyone they meet. ... This is by virtue of the mediation of Christ, Who was consecrated by the Father. He is the foundation, He Who shared our frailty that we might share in His divine nature". "Consecrated people experience the grace, mercy and forgiveness of God, not only for themselves but also for their brothers and sisters, being called to carry in their hearts and their prayers the anguish and desires of mankind, especially those who are far from God. Cloistered communities in particular, with their specific commitment to faithfulness in 'being with the Lord' and in 'standing under the cross', often play this intermediate role, united to Christ in the Passion, taking upon themselves the suffering and trials of others and joyfully offering everything for the salvation of the world". Consecrated life "is a testament to the superabundance of love which stimulates us to 'lose' our own life in response to the superabundance of the love of the Lord, Who first 'lost' His life for us. At this moment my thoughts go to consecrated people who feel the burden of a daily fatigue that offers scant human gratification, I think of elderly and sick religious, and those who face difficulties in their apostolate. None of them are useless, because the Lord associates them with the 'throne of grace'; rather, they are a precious gift for the Church, and for the world which thirsts for God and His Word". Benedict XVI concluded by expressing the hope that the current Year for Priests "may be a further opportunity for regular priests to intensify their journey to sanctification, and a stimulus for all consecrated people to accompany and support their ministry with fervent prayer".HML/CONSECRATED LIFE/... VIS 100203 (610)
ST. DOMINIC, A TRUE PREACHER OF THE GOSPEL VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2010 (VIS) - In today's general audience, held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Pope spoke about the life and work of St. Dominic de Guzman, founder of the Order of Preachers, or Dominican Order. St. Dominic was born in Caleruega, near the Spanish city of Burgos, in the year 1170. While still a student he "distinguished himself for his interest in the study of Sacred Scriptures and his love for the poor". Having been ordained a priest he was elected as canon of the cathedral of Osma, however "he did not consider this as a personal privilege, nor as the first step in a brilliant ecclesiastical career; rather, as a service to be rendered with dedication and humility. Do not career and power represent a temptation to which even those who have roles of leadership and government in the Church are not immune?" the Pope asked. He then explained how the bishop of Osma "soon noted Dominic's spiritual qualities and sought his collaboration. Together they travelled to northern Europe on diplomatic missions. ... On his journeys Dominic became aware of ... the existence of peoples still un-evangelised, ... and of the religious divides that weakened Christian life in the south of France, where the activity of certain heretical groups created disturbance and distanced people from the truth of the faith". Pope Honorius III asked Dominic "to dedicate himself to preaching to the Albigensians" and he "enthusiastically accepted this mission, which he undertook through the example of his own life of poverty and austerity, through preaching the Gospel and through public discussions". "Christ", the Pope went on, "is the most precious treasure that men and women of all times and places have the right to know and love! It is consoling to see how also in today's Church there are many people (pastors and lay faithful, members of ancient religious orders and of new ecclesial movements) who joyfully give their lives for the supreme ideal of announcing and bearing witness to the Gospel". As more and more companions joined him, Dominic established his first house in the French city of Toulouse, from which the Order of Preachers came into being. "He adopted the ancient Rule of St. Augustine, adapting it to the requirements of an itinerant apostolic life in which he and his confreres would move from one place to another preaching, but always returning to their convents, places of study, prayer and community life". St. Dominic, the Holy Father continued, "was keen that his followers should have a solid theological formation, and did not hesitate to send them to the universities of the time". There they dedicated themselves to the study of theology, "founded on Holy Scripture but respectful of the questions raised by reason". The Pope encouraged everyone, "pastors and lay people, to cultivate this 'cultural dimension' of the faith, that the beauty of Christian truth may be better understood and the faith truly nourished, strengthened and defended. In this Year for Priests, I invite seminarians and priests to respect the spiritual value of study. The quality of priestly ministry also depends on the generosity with which we apply ourselves to studying revealed truths". Dominic died in Bologna in 1221 and was canonised in 1234. "With his sanctity, he shows us two indispensable means for making apostolic activity more incisive", the Pope concluded; "firstly, Marian devotion", especially the praying of the Rosary "which his spiritual children had the great merit of popularising", and secondly, "the value of prayers of intercession for the success of apostolic work".AG/ST. DOMINIC/... VIS 100203 (610)

CISA report:
A three year campaign to reduce mother to child aids infection has been launched in Kenya.The campaign, dubbed Campaign to End Paediatric HIV/Aids, seeks to increase coverage rates in preventing HIV transmission from mothers to children and scale up treatment for those infected.Initially, the campaign will focus on six countries-Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and Nigeria.A paediatrician, Dr. Iren Inwani said during the launch that despite providing septrin treatment, about 40,000 children are infected by HIV annually and this is unacceptably high.The government is currently providing anti-retroviral treatment to about 30,000 children living with the disease.According to reports, 60,000 are in need of Anti Retroviral drugs.(SOURCE:


Report from Bishops Conference of England:
Bishop John Hine, Chair of the Bishops’ Committee for Marriage and Family Life, will launch a Catholic Marriage Preparation Survey during Marriage Week UK (February 8-14). All those involved in preparing couples for marriage are invited to take part in the survey, including priests, deacons, marriage preparation providers, and of course the couples themselves. The short surveys can be filled in online at and
Questions include:
Why did you take part in the marriage preparation course? Was it easy to find information in advance? How has the course affected your understanding of yourself, your partner and your relationship? How did you come to be involved in marriage preparation? Which topics do you cover in your course? What months are you generally busiest?
The survey aims to look at:
how many people are involved in marriage preparation, their background and experience, and what they offer to couples preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony
how many couples the Catholic community are preparing for this lifetime's commitment
how couples experience this ministry of the Catholic community
In a recent visit to the Pontifical Council for the Family, Bishop Hine received backing for the survey:
"The sacrament of matrimony is a blessing that lasts for a lifetime, not just the day of the ceremony. Preparation for such a great commitment, then, is an essential step in the journey towards marriage. I discussed the Committee’s plans to better understand how couples are currently prepared for marriage during my visit to the Pontifical Council for the Family last week. They welcomed the survey which will undoubtedly give us a much better indication of how we can further develop this vital family ministry in future."
Rt Rev John HineDiocesan Administrator, Archdiocese of SouthwarkChair, Bishops’ Conference Committee for Marriage and Family Life
"I’m delighted that the Committee have launched this enquiry into marriage preparation. The survey will yield a great deal of useful information that will help us better understand the ways in which this critical form of sacramental preparation is delivered. I’m especially keen to encourage participation from priests and from marriage preparation providers who are not affiliated to any national or diocesan programme."
Elizabeth DaviesMarriage and Family Life Project Officer
To mark Marriage Week UK, celebrations of marriage will take place in many dioceses across England and Wales:
A Mass in thanksgiving for the Sacrament of Marriage will be held in the Diocese of Shrewsbury on Saturday 13th February at 2pm in St Columba's Church, Chester, with Bishop Brian as Principal Celebrant. Contact Clara Donnelly, Marriage and Family Life CoordinatorTel: 0151 691 2811Email:
On Sunday, 14th February, Archbishop Vincent Nichols will be leading prayers in the Archdiocese of Liverpool at the annual celebration of marriage and family life at Liverpool Cathedral on Sunday at 3pm.Contact: Veronica Murphy, Coordinator for Faith FormationTel: 0151 522 1048Email:
Bishop Malcolm McMahon will be presiding at St. Barnabas Cathedral in the Diocese of Nottingham at 3pm.Contact: Rev. John Sherrington, Chair, Marriage and Family Life Commission, Tel 0115 9268288Email:
More information
Marriage Week UK celebrates the diversity and vibrancy of marriage as the basis for family life in the UK. It has been held since 1997 and spans the week including Valentine’s Day.
Marriage Week website.
Elizabeth DaviesMarriage and Family Life Project OfficerCBCEW39 Eccleston SquareLondon, SW1V 2BXt. 07817 479694e. (SOURCE:


CNA report:
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has announced its new seminary chapel at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Nebraska will be consecrated on March 3. Cardinal William Levada will attend the ceremony, which will be broadcast live on EWTN at 11 a.m. Eastern Time.
The ceremony is open to the public, but because of limited space rooms and television screens will be provided to those outside the chapel.
Bishop of Lincoln Fabian Bruskewitz will celebrate the Pontifical Consecration and Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) is dedicated to the celebration of the Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962. In a press release, the FSSP said it was “delighted” at Cardinal Levada’s presence, describing him as one of the highest ranking officials in the Catholic Church.
The FSSP said his attendance is connected with his position as President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclessia Dei, which is dedicated to facilitating the full incorporation of communities and individuals attached to the Extraordinary Form.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary is located in rural Denton, Nebraska and is the FSSP’s English-speaking seminary. The seminary itself has 100 seminary rooms and 13 priest suites. It began construction in the fall of 1998.
The chapel consecration will “crown the heart and jewel of the seminary,” the Fraternity explained.
The seminary chapel, designed by architect Thomas Gordon Smith, reflects a “contemporary rebirth” of classical Catholic architecture, the FSSP said in a press release. Behind its mahogany doors are an elevated main altar with a 31-foot marble canopy, called a “baldachino.” The chapel has seven side altars and liturgical choir stalls, which seat 92 seminarians and priests.
The chapel immerses the visitor in “beauty and grandeur,” the FSSP said.
The seminary website is at

Asia News report:
Organization for Human Rights condemns the continuing abuses of police and armed forces in the prisons of 11 districts of Terai (southern Nepal). Mainly affected the ethnic and religious minorities. Among the tortured children aged 9 years.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Summary executions and the use of torture in prisons in the region of the Terai (southern Nepal) a hotbed of ethnic conflict, are on the increase. The Human Rights organization Advocacy Forum (AF) in a 93-page report released yesterday documents the repeated violence - murders, rapes, kidnappings, torture – carried out between January and September 2009 by police and armed forces against ethnic minorities in the region.
The Af report entitled "Torture and extrajudicial executions amid widespread violence in the Tarai" refers to a total of 15 executions that remained unpunished. According to the organization, the Nepal Police (NP) is responsible for 13 killings, while two were committed by members of the Armed Police Force (AF). The dead belong mostly to political groups linked to the Madeshi community, the ethic minority in the region that is fighting for autonomy. Witnesses said the victims were arrested during clashes between police and Madeshi members and killed on the spot by the officials.
"Once again we see how the Nepalese government has failed to conduct credible investigations and prosecute those responsible for these crimes," said Mandira Sharma, director of AF. "Impunity – she adds - shows the lack of an adequate security system. All this only adds to the resentment of ethnic groups towards the central government in Kathmandu.
The document is also a survey based on interviews with 1473 inmates. This shows the prevalence of torture in prisons in 11 districts: Banke, Barda, Dhanusha, Jhapa, Kanchapur, Kapilvastu, Morang, Siraha, Sunsari, Rupandehi and Udayapur. In the prison in the district of Dhanusha more than 30% of respondents admitted to having been tortured. In particular, women complained of continuous sexual abuse by the guards. Torture also cover 52% of children, in some cases as young as 9 years old. Mainly the ethnic and religious minorities are subjected to torture. Prisoners belonging to the Terai ethnic groups or Muslims are the most affected, while Hindus are given a better treatment.
In July 2009 the Nepalese government launched a special security plan to limit police violence, particularly in the region of Terai. Nevertheless it has not yet been implemented and no measure has been taken against the policemen responsible for violence.
"Until the law is applied and there is more investigations of these facts - says Mandira Sharma - the police will continue to use electric shock treatment in prisons, to carryout extrajudicial executions and use violence against detainees, including children, without having to account anyone.


Cath News report: NSW resident Henry Carlon has been awarded the Vatican's Order of Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St Gregory the Great, a distinction that recognises service to the Church, unusual labours and support of the Holy See. Bishop Luc Matthys conferred the award following the celebration of the Eucharist in St Joseph's Church, Uralla, near Armidale, on January 30, the Australasian Religious Press Association said. The Order of St Gregory was established in 1831 by Pope Gregory XVI. Other famous recipients of the order have included Rupert Murdoch, and Bob Hope. It is understood that there are about 50 Papal knights throughout Australia. Henry Carlon has been a life-long member of St Joseph's Parish, Uralla. He and his wife Pamela have been married for 57 years. He has been an acolyte in the parish for 30 years. He serves at the altar at Mass on weekends and for many years he has taken communion to the elderly, and the sick. "Henry Carlon has led a remarkable life, a life that has been marked by a deep commitment to the Catholic Church and his Catholic faith. His contribution to the church on a parish and diocesan level has been outstanding. His contribution to Ecumenical affairs has been an example for good for people ofall Christian denominations," said the media release. Henry spent his working life in the development of fine Merino wool on his family sheep property, "Talisker" near Uralla. There are no privileges associated with the Order. However, recipients are allowed to ride on horseback through the Basilica, in Rome. No one has taken up the offer for many years. "Give me a Yamaha trail bike anytime," quipped Henry. (SOURCE:


St. Blaise
Feast: February 3
Feast Day:
January 24
Patron of:
Animals, builders, choking, veterinarians, throats, infants, stonecutters, carvers, wool workers

It is not known precisely when or where St. Blaise lived, but according to tradition he was a bishop of Sebaste, Armenia, in the early part of the fourth century, and suffered martyrdom under the Roman emperor Licinius, who had commanded the governor of the province, one Agricolaus, to prevent the spread of Christianity in his territory. After this edict had been promulgated, Blaise fled to the mountains and lived in a cave frequented by wild beasts. He used his skill to heal the animals that he found wounded or sick, and when the emperor's hunters, bent on collecting wild animals for the royal games, discovered him in this cave, they carried him off to Agricolaus as a special prize. On the way, the story goes, they met a poor woman whose pig had been seized by a wolf. At the command of Blaise, the wolf restored the pig to its owner, alive and unhurt. During the course of this journey he also miraculously cured a child who was choking to death on a fishbone. For this reason St. Blaise is often invoked by persons suffering from throat trouble. When he had reached the capital and was in prison awaiting execution, the old woman whose pig he had saved came to see him, bringing two fine wax candles to dispel the gloom of his dark cell. When he was finally killed, he is supposed to have been tortured with an iron comb or rake, and afterwards beheaded. In the West there was no cult honoring St. Blaise prior to the eighth century.
One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, his emblems are an iron comb and a wax taper.


Mark 6: 1 - 6
He went away from there and came to his own country; and his disciples followed him.
And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands!
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.
And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house."
And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them.
And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.

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