Friday, May 14, 2010
CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: FRI. MAY 14, 2010
CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: FRI. MAY 14, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE: CHARITY IS PRINCIPAL STRENGTH AND GUIDE OF THE CHURCH-
EUROPE: ITALY: 2 STUDENTS EXPELLED FOR ASSASINATION PLOT-
AMERICA: BRAZIL- NATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS OPENS MAY 13-
ASIA: SOUTH KOREA: CELEBRATION FOR THE INSTALLATION OF BISHOPS-
AFRICA: SOUTH AFRICA: HIGH INFANT MORTALITY DUE TO POOR HEALTH CARE-
AUSTRALIA: MARY- FIRST DISCIPLE NATIONAL E-CONFERENCE ON MAY 18-
POPE: CHARITY IS PRINCIPAL STRENGTH AND GUIDE OF THE CHURCH
VATICAN CITY, 13 MAY 2010 (VIS REPORT) - At 5 p.m. today Benedict XVI went to the Church of the Blessed Trinity, part of the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, where he met with representatives from social pastoral care organisations. Along with the Catholic groups present, other national institutions that provide care for the needy also attended the meeting.
Following a greeting from Bishop Carlos Azevedo, auxiliary of Lisbon, the Pope delivered his own address to our "dear brothers and sisters working in the vast world of charity".
He began: "Christ reveals to us that 'God is love' and at the same time teaches that the fundamental law of human perfection, and consequently of the transformation of the world, is the new commandment of love. ... History currently presents us a scenario of socio-economic, cultural and spiritual crisis which highlights the need for a discernment guided by a creative proposal of the Church's social message. The study of her social doctrine, which takes charity as its principal strength and guide, will enable a process of integral human development capable of engaging the depths of the human heart and achieving a greater humanisation of society".
"In its social and political dimension, this service of charity is the proper realm of the lay faithful, who are called to promote justice and the common good, and to configure social life correctly. ... Attracting new lay workers to this pastoral field surely calls for particular concern on the part of the Church's pastors as they look to the future. ... United to Christ in His consecration to the Father, we are seized by His compassion for the multitudes who cry out for justice and solidarity and, like the Good Samaritan in the parable, we are committed to providing concrete and generous responses.
"Often however", the Holy Father added, "it is not easy to arrive at a satisfactory synthesis between spiritual life and apostolic activity. The pressure exerted by the prevailing culture, which constantly promotes a lifestyle based on the law of the strongest, on easy and attractive gain, ends up influencing our ways of thinking, our projects and the goals of our service, and risks emptying them of the motivation of faith and Christian hope which had originally inspired them".
At the same time, "the many pressing requests we receive for support and assistance from the poor and marginalised of society impel us to look for solutions which correspond to the logic of efficiency, quantifiable effects and publicity. Nonetheless, this synthesis is absolutely necessary, dear brothers and sisters, if you are to serve Christ in the men and women who look to you".
Benedict XVI recalled how the Catholic Church is among "the many social institutions which serve the common good, and are close to those in need", and he explained how such institutions must have sound guiding principles in order to be "clearly identifiable" in "the inspiration of their aims" and "in the serious and effective management of their means". "Beyond this issue of identity, and connected with it, it is vital to ensure that Christian charitable activity is granted autonomy and independence from politics and ideologies, even while co-operating with State agencies in the pursuit of common goals", he said.
Educational and charitable activities "must be completed by projects of freedom whose goal is human promotion and universal fraternity. Here we can locate the urgent commitment of Christians in defence of human rights, with concern for the totality of the human person in its various dimensions".The Pope continued: "I express my deep appreciation for all those social and pastoral initiatives aimed at combating the socio-economic and cultural mechanisms which lead to abortion, and openly concerned with defending life and promoting the reconciliation and healing of those harmed by the tragedy of abortion". "Initiatives aimed at protecting the essential and primary values of life from its conception, and of the family based on indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, help to respond to some of today's most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good. Such initiatives represent, along with many other forms of commitment, essential elements in the building of the civilisation of love".
At the end of the celebration the Pope blessed the cornerstone of a new centre belonging to the Portuguese Sisters of Mercy which is being built in Fatima. He then returned to the "Casa Nossa Senhora do Carmo" for his meeting with the Portuguese episcopate.
AUTHENTIC WITNESSES TO JESUS CHRIST IN ALL SITUATIONS
VATICAN CITY, 13 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father met with the bishops of Portugal in the "Casa Nossa Senhora do Carmo" at the shrine of Fatima.
In his address to them Benedict XVI affirmed how "the Pope needs to open himself ever more fully to the mystery of the cross, embracing it as the one hope and the supreme way to gather in the Crucified One all his brothers and sisters in humanity. Obeying the word of God, he is called to live not for himself but for the presence of God in the world".
"In truth", he said, "the times in which we live demand a new missionary vigour on the part of Christians, who are called to form a mature laity, identified with the Church and sensitive to the complex transformations taking place in our world. Authentic witnesses to Jesus Christ are needed, above all in those human situations where the silence of the faith is most widely and deeply felt: among politicians, intellectuals, communications professionals who profess and promote a mono-cultural ideal, with disdain for the religious and contemplative dimension of life. Such circles contain many believers who are ashamed of their beliefs and who even give a helping hand to this type of secularism, which raises barriers before Christian inspiration. And yet, dear brothers, may all those who defend the faith in these situations, with courage, with a vigorous Catholic outlook and in fidelity to the Magisterium, continue to receive your help and your insightful encouragement in order to live out their Christian freedom as faithful lay men and women".
"What is decisive", the Pope told the prelates "is the ability to inculcate a true desire for holiness in all those engaged in the work of evangelisation, with the awareness that the results derive above all from our union with Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit.
"In fact" he added, "when many people consider that the Catholic faith is no longer the common patrimony of society, and see it as a seed threatened and obscured by the 'gods' and masters of this world, only with great difficulty can the faith touch the hearts of people by simple speeches or moral appeals, and even less by a generic call to Christian values. The courageous and integral appeal to principles is essential and indispensable; yet simply proclaiming the message does not penetrate to the depths of people's hearts, it does not touch their freedom, it does not change their lives. What attracts them, above all, is the encounter with believing persons who, through their faith, draw others to the grace of Christ by bearing witness to Him".
Turning then to consider the movements and new ecclesial communities, which he described as "new springtime" for the Church, the Holy Father said: "Thanks to their charisms, the radicality of the Gospel, the objective contents of the faith, the living flux of Church tradition, are all being communicated in a persuasive way and welcomed as a personal experience, as free adherence to the mystery of Christ".
He went on: "Naturally, it is necessary that these new groups should desire to live in the one Church, ... and submit themselves to the leadership of her bishops. It is they who must ensure the ecclesial nature of the movements".
As bishops, he explained, we "must feel responsibility for welcoming these impulses which are gifts for the Church and which give her new vitality, but, on the other hand, we must also help the movements to find the right way, correcting them ... with a spiritual and human understanding that is able to combine guidance, gratitude and a certain openness and willingness to learn".
In this Year for Priests, "rediscover, dear brothers, the role of the bishop as father, especially with regard to your priests. For all too long the responsibility of authority as a service aimed at the growth of others, primarily of priests, has been given second place. Priests are called to serve, in their pastoral ministry, and to be part of a pastoral activity of communion".
"This does not mean turning back to the past, nor a simple return to our origins; rather, it means recovering the original zeal, the joy of the initial Christian experience, of walking beside Christ like the disciples of Emmaus on the day of Easter, allowing His word to warm our hearts and His 'broken bread' to open our eyes to the contemplation of His countenance. Only in this way will the fire of charity blaze strongly enough to impel every Christian to become a source of light and life in the Church and among all men and women".
Closing his remarks to the bishops, the Pope asked them "to rekindle, as individuals and as a group, a sense of mercy and of compassion, in order to respond to grave social needs. New organisations must be established, and those already existing perfected, in order to respond creatively to all forms of poverty, including those experienced as a lack of meaning in life and an absence of hope".
He also praised their efforts "to assist dioceses most in need, especially in Portuguese-speaking countries. ... May difficulties, currently so deeply felt, not make you shrink from the logic of self-giving. May your witness as prophets of justice and peace, and defenders of the inalienable rights of the person continue in your country. Join your voice to the voices of the weakest, whom you have wisely helped to find a voice of their own, without ever being afraid of raising your voice on behalf of the oppressed, the downtrodden and the mistreated".
The meeting over, the Holy Father spent the night in the "Casa Nossa Senhora do Carmo".
PV-PORTUGAL/ VIS 20100514 (970)
THE HOPES OF THE WORLD MEET THE CERTAINTIES OF THE GOSPEL
VATICAN CITY, 14 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father left the "Casa Nossa Senhora do Carmo" at the shrine of Fatima and travelled by helicopter to Porto, Portugal's second largest city and the industrial capital of the north, where he landed at 9.30 a.m.
On arrival Benedict XVI was welcomed by Bishop Manuel J. Macario do Nascimento Clemente of Porto and by the local civil and military authorities. He then travelled five kilometres to the city's Gran Plaza de la Avenida dos Aliados greeting the crowds who had gathered there to attend Mass, which began at 10.15 a.m.
In his homily the Pope turned his attention to the figure of St. Matthias, whose feast day falls today. "He was", he said, "a witness to Jesus' public life and to His triumph over death, remaining faithful unto the end, despite the fact that many abandoned Him". He was chosen by the Apostles as one of their number after the death of Judas. "'One of these men must become with us a witness to His resurrection', said Peter. His Successor now repeats to each of you: My brothers and sisters, you need to become witnesses with me to the resurrection of Jesus. For if you do not become His witnesses in your daily lives, who will do so in your place?", the Holy Father asked. "Christians are, in the Church and with the Church, missionaries of Christ sent into the world", he said. "This is the indispensable mission of every ecclesial community: to receive the Risen Christ from God and to offer Him to the world, so that every situation of weakness and death may be transformed, through the Holy Spirit, into an opportunity for growth and life". "We impose nothing, yet we propose ceaselessly, as Peter recommends in one of his Letters: 'In your hearts, reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you'. And, in the end, everyone asks this of us, even those who seem not to. ... In fact, the most profound expectations of the world and the great certainties of the Gospel meet in the ineluctable mission which is ours". "Yet even though this certainty consoles and calms us", explained the Pope, "it does not exempt us from going forth to others. We must overcome the temptation to restrict ourselves to what we already have safely in our possession, or think we have. This would mean inevitable death for the Church's presence in the world".
"From its origins, Christian people have clearly recognised the importance of communicating the Good News of Jesus to those who do not yet know Him. In recent years the anthropological, cultural, social and religious framework of humanity has changed; today the Church is called to face new challenges and is ready to dialogue with different cultures and religions, seeking ways to build peaceful coexistence, along with all people of good will. The field of the 'ad gentes' mission appears much broader today, and can no longer to be defined on the basis of geographic considerations alone. Indeed, it is not only non-Christian peoples and distant lands that await us, but also social and cultural milieux and, above all, human hearts which are the real goal of the missionary activity of the People of God".
"Yes!", cried the Holy Father. "We are called to serve the humanity of our own time, trusting in Jesus alone, letting ourselves be enlightened by His Word. ... Everything must be defined starting with Christ, as far as the origins and effectiveness of mission is concerned: we always receive our mission from Christ Who told us what He heard from His Father, and we are appointed to mission through the Spirit, in the Church. Like the Church herself, which is the work of Christ and His Spirit, we must renew the face of the earth starting from God, always and only God".
At the conclusion of Mass, the Pope went to the municipal palace of Porto. There he signed the visitor's book then emerged onto the balcony to greet the thousands of people gathered in the square and thank them for welcoming him to the "city of the Virgin".
"I would have happily prolonged my stay in your city", he told them, "but it is not possible. So let me take my leave of you, embracing each one of you affectionately in Christ our Hope".
The Holy Father then travelled to the airport of Porto for his return journey to Rome.
PORTUGAL: RENEWED SPIRITUAL AND APOSTOLIC ARDOUR
VATICAN CITY, 14 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At 1.30 p.m. today, the Pope arrived at the international airport of the city of Porto for the departure ceremony at the end of his apostolic trip to Portugal. Following a greeting by Anibal Cavaco Silva, president of the Republic of Portugal, the Holy Father pronounced his address.
He began by expressing his "sincere gratitude" to the president, bishops, government and all the civil and military authorities "who have done their utmost with visible dedication throughout the entire journey. I offer you all good wishes. The communications media have enabled me to reach out to many people who were unable to see me in person. To them too I am most grateful", he said.
"To all the Portuguese, whether Catholic or not, to the men and women who live here, whether born here or elsewhere, I extend my greetings at this moment of leave-taking. May you live in increasing harmony with one another, a prerequisite for genuine cohesion and the only way to address the challenges before you with shared responsibility. May this glorious nation continue to manifest greatness of spirit, a profound sense of God and an openness to solidarity, governed by principles and values imbued with Christian humanism. In Fatima I prayed for the whole world, asking that the future may see an increase in fraternity and solidarity, greater mutual respect and renewed trust and confidence in God, our heavenly Father.
"It has been a joy for me to witness the faith and devotion of the Portuguese ecclesial community", the Holy Father added. "I was able to see the enthusiasm of the children and young people, the faithfulness of the priests, deacons and religious, the pastoral dedication of the bishops, the desire to search for truth and evident beauty in the world of culture, the resourcefulness of the social pastoral workers, the vibrancy of faith among the lay faithful in the dioceses that I visited. I hope that my visit may become an incentive for renewed spiritual and apostolic ardour. May the Gospel be accepted in its entirety and witnessed with passion by every disciple of Christ, so that it may show itself to be a leaven of authentic renewal for the whole of society".
The departure ceremony over, the Pope boarded his plane for the return journey to Rome, where he is due to arrive at Ciampino airport at 6 p.m. From there he will travel to the Vatican by helicopter.
VATICAN AND VODAFONE SIGN MOBILE PHONE AGREEMENT
VATICAN CITY, 14 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today published the following communique:
"The Governorate of Vatican City State and Vodafone Italia today signed an agreement for the supply of mobile telephone services. The agreement makes provision for around 2000 users.
"Vodafone won the tender called by the Governorate of Vatican City State with which it has stipulated a three-year contract, also by virtue of its extensive presence on the international scene and the high standards of service it guarantees.
"The accord was signed today in the presence of Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and Pietro Guindani, president of Vodafone Italia.
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
VATICAN CITY, 14 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Pierre-Marie Carre of Albi, France, as coadjutor of Montpellier (area 6,101, population 1,000,000, Catholics 710,000, priests 313, permanent deacons 29, religious 531), France.
ITALY: 2 STUDENTS EXPELLED FOR ASSASINATION PLOT
CNA report: Two Moroccan students who attended a university in the central Italian city of Perugia were expelled from the country last month after it was discovered that they were conspiring to kill Pope Benedict. One of them allegedly said he wished to “earn a place in Paradise.”
According to Italian weekly newspaper Panorama, conversations intercepted by Italian authorities led to the arrest and deportation of the two suspects.
The order for expulsion reportedly included the transcript of a conversation in which one of the students, Mohammed Hlal, said that he wished “death to the head of the Vatican City State” and was "ready to assassinate him to earn a place in Paradise."
The 27-year-old Hlal was speaking over the phone with 22-year-old Ahmed Errahmouni when he made the statements which earned them the attention of the local police and a trip back to Morocco.
They were deemed a “threat to national security” in the document signed by the Italian Minister of the Interior and expelled on April 29, Panorama reports.
According to investigation begun last October by the Italian anti-mafia police, the two were known to have a radical vision of Islam and had expressed a desire to obtain explosive materials. It was reported that no material used to construct explosives was found in their residence hall rooms.
Hlal studied international communications, while Errahmouni was a student of math and physics at the University of Perugia.
BRAZIL- NATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS OPENS MAY 13
Agenzia Fides report – The National Eucharistic Congress, which opened yesterday, May 13, is part of the celebrations for the anniversary of the Archdiocese and for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the city of Brasilia (see Fides 09/04/2010). In a press conference at the Brasilia metropolitan house for clergy, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Claudio Hummes, Special Envoy of the Holy Father, stressed the importance that the Pope has given to this 16th National Eucharistic Congress.
According to Cardinal Hummes, Pope Benedict XVI, on several occasions, in his homilies and in his audiences, has manifested his admiration for Brazil, not only as a country, but as an "example" of faith and Christianity. “The Holy Father has always shown a special relationship with Brazil. He speaks of it with great love and great affection - especially after the visit he made in 2007 to Aparecida, where he remained in Brazilian soil for several days. On that opportunity, he was able to witness the faith of the Brazilian people. I can testify: the visit deeply marked the sentiments of our Holy Father," said the Cardinal.
Referring to the National Eucharistic Congress, Cardinal Hummes said the Brazilian people have always had a great enthusiasm for the Eucharist and the Eucharistic Congress is always a very strong moment for the countries that host it: "The entire Church in Brazil, its Catholic population, is felt present here in Brasilia. Here, the hearts of all Catholics unite. And with the Congress, we must lead society towards the great human values such as solidarity, social justice, and fraternal society. The Eucharistic Congress is a public expression [that invites us] to go out into the streets, making everyone involved in this event of this magnitude."
The Archbishop of Brasilia, Archbishop João Braz de Aviz, said that the 16th National Eucharistic Congress will also deal with social issues. A concrete example of this concern will be manifested in the Mass that Cardinal Hummes will celebrate today, Friday, May 14, with the workers of the paper collection in Brasilia. "These people are somehow excluded from our society, so we want to celebrate with them to strengthen our ties. We want to know how they are living, so we can understand, as a Church and as a society, their needs," said the Archbishop of Brasilia.
Some numbers concerning the 16th National Eucharistic Congress: about 100-150,000 people attend the Masses every day. Preparations for the Congress began three years ago; 38 monthly meetings of preparation were held and the event was organized by 5,000 people.
SOUTH KOREA: CELEBRATION FOR THE INSTALLATION OF BISHOPS
Asia News report: The faithful around the country celebrate the installation of new bishops of Uijeongbu and Kwangju, "gardeners of the seeds scattered by the Gospel." Celebrations in Seoul mark the inauguration of the charity Foundation in memory of the card. Kim, "stimulus to improve our society."
Seoul (AsiaNews) - The Catholic Church of South Korea is celebrating its two new bishops, who according to a local faithful "show how our faith needs gardeners, who can cultivate the seeds of the Gospel." In recent weeks, in fact, the new bishops were installed of Uijeongbu and Kwangju diocese, both examples of a"vibrant Church and always looking for more development opportunities." Meanwhile, in Seoul, “Nanum Babu “Foundation was inaugurated ", dedicated to the memory of the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan.
The last in order of time to be installed in his diocese was Mgr. Peter Lee Ki-heon, bishop of Uijeongbu, who on May 4 was officially ordained bishop by the Archbishop of Seoul, Card. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, along with the Apostolic Nuncio to Korea Mgr. Osvaldo Padilla and the Bishop of Cheju, Mgr. Peter Kang U-il. On behalf of the faithful of the diocese, Bishop Emeritus Joseph Lee Han-taek gave "the warmest of welcomes" to his successor.
The new bishop left his first words to his flock until the time when the Assembly was invited to exchange the sign of peace. At this point he told the faithful that he wished to "devote his life to the mission that comes from God. I begin my Episcopal ministry as a new bishop, a new priest and a new man."
Some days earlier, on April 30, the same concelebrants gathered in the cathedral Limdong of Kwangju to celebrate the installation of the new Archbishop, Mgr. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong. In his homily, Mgr. Kim said: "I will do my best for this community. I hope to find the joys and sorrows of all the faithful, and above all I'm going to work with the marginalized, such as the disabled and immigrants. "
For the bishop, appointed auxiliary bishop in 2003 andCoadjutor Archbishop of the same diocese in 2009 "thanks to the pastoral work that we pursue in the farming and fishing villages that surround this city, our community has done and continues to do its part in protecting and developing the local traditional culture. "
A South Korean Catholic told AsiaNews: "These ceremonies are very important not only for the faithful of the specific diocese, but for us all. They demonstrate the vitality of our church and love and communion with the Holy See. The bishops are our gardeners, they are called to care for and cultivate the seeds of faith sown by the Gospel. "
This also includes the “Nanum Babu "Foundation, that last officially opened in Seoul on April 7 and was created in memory of the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan. The structure will raise funds for the poor and needy of all of Korea, regardless of creed or class. It mainly relies on donations from volunteers around the country, including non-Catholics who want to honour one of the most active figures in the fight against military dictatorship in Korea.
Card. Cheong, inaugurating the Foundation, said: "Once again, Cardinal Kim reminds us that giving is not a choice but almost a need, which manifests itself in the right people. I sincerely hope that this structure can make our society more humane, just like the great Cardinal always desired”.
SOUTH AFRICA: HIGH INFANT MORTALITY DUE TO POOR HEALTH CARE
All Africa report: Mothers and children have frequent access to healthcare facilities, but the poor quality of care they receive is leading to unnecessary deaths, a new report from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) shows.
The findings, which are in line with the conclusions of the Lancet special report on SA published last year, add to pressure on Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to improve public health services.
The HSRC report, released yesterday, shows that almost all women (97%) use antenatal care services, and most babies (95%) are born in hospitals or clinics with a doctor or nurse present at delivery. Yet SA has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world.
Maternal mortality stands at 240-400 in 100000, and infant mortality is 21 in 1000 live births.
"It is encouraging that many women deliver at hospitals, and home deliveries are rare. But what worries us is what happens when they get to facilities," said HSRC CEO Olive Shisana. "The healthcare system is not delivering good services" she said.
The HSRC report was based on a household survey conducted in 2008, which included 8966 children up to the age of 18 from all nine provinces.
Researchers used questionnaires and conducted HIV tests among willing participants. It was found that the proportion of children getting immunised against potentially deadly diseases was well below levels recommended by the World Health Organisations. There was good coverage for BCG, which is administered at birth for protection against tuberculosis, but there were much lower rates for vaccinations needed by older babies and children.
Only 62% of children had been vaccinated against measles and 65% against polio. The WHO recommends 90% coverage.
The health minister conceded the shortcomings in SA's health system, saying many deaths among women and children were preventable.
Staff often failed to follow protocols and adhere to infection control measures, he said.
Motsoaledi said he had twice met hospital CEOs in the past year to discuss improving quality, and planned to establish an independent office of standards compliance to improve the services at public health services.
He also decried the small proportion (25%) of babies who were exclusively breast-fed, saying he would support a ban on the infant formula advertisement.
The survey found HIV prevalence of 2,1% among babies under the age of two, below the 3,3% average for children under the age of four. Shisana said the relatively low rate among infants suggested that the government's programme to prevent mother-to- child transmission of HIV was beginning to bear fruit.
One in five children under the age of two had spent more than six days in hospital in the past 12 months. HIV-positive children were being admitted more frequently than other children (17% compared with 4,7%).
MARY- FIRST DISCIPLE NATIONAL E-CONFERENCE ON MAY 18
Cath News report: The upcoming Mary - First Disciple National eConference is set to draw more than 30,000 participants, organisers estimate based on the number of websites that have signed on to stream the event.
Participants from 15 countries including Australia will get onto 247 sites to take part in the conference that will be held on May 18, said a report by the Sydney archdiocese's Catholic Communications.
Schools, parish groups and Catholic organisations within the Sydney Archdiocese have signed on to take part in Australia's third e-Conference and account for the highest number of sites of all dioceses across Australia, the report said.
"While we are estimating as many as 30,000 people taking part, it is difficult to give an exact figure as we don't know the numbers of people who will be at each individual site," said Virginia Ryan, Adult Faith and Formation Coordinator for the Broken Bay Institute and one of the organisers of next week's conference.
"But we do know some sites will have as many as 600 or 700 as entire schools have registered with us, telling us they will be using their main assembly hall so all their students can participate," she added.
The conference, an initiative of the Australian Catholic Bishops Commission for Mission and Faith Formation in conjunction with the Broken Bay Institute, will be presented and led by one of the world's foremost authorities on the New Testament, Father Frank Moloney, SDB.
"Fr Moloney is an outstanding scholar on Scripture but his reflections on the Holy Mother and the answers he will give to questions emailed in as part of the conference, will be aimed at ordinary people who wish to share their experiences and deepen their faith.
"Fr Moloney will speak to them at a grass roots level so that even those who have little prior knowledge can enjoy the day and become excited by what they learn," Virginia Ryan is cited saying.
Feast: May 14
Died: Colchis in 80
Patron of: alcoholism; carpenters; Gary, Indiana; Great Falls-Billings, Montana; smallpox; tailors
The Greek Matthias (or, in some manuscripts, Maththias), is a name derived from Mattathias, Heb. Mattithiah, signifying "gift of Yahweh." Matthias was one of the seventy disciples of Jesus, and had been with Him from His baptism by John to the Ascension (Acts i, 21, 22). It is related (Acts, i, 15-26) that in the days following the Ascension, Peter proposed to the assembled brethren, who numbered one hundred and twenty, that they choose one to fill the place of the traitor Judas in the Apostolate. Two disciples, Joseph, called Barsabas, and Matthias were selected, and lots were drawn, with the result in favour of Matthias, who thus became associated with the eleven Apostles. Zeller has declared this narrative unhistoric, on the plea that the Apostles were in Galilee after the death of Jesus. As a matter of fact they did return to Galilee, but the Acts of the Apostles clearly state that about the feast of Pentecost they went back to Jerusalem.
All further information concerning the life and death of Matthias is vague and contradictory. According to Nicephorus (Hist. eccl., 2, 40), he first preached the Gospel in Judea, then in Ethiopia (that is to say, Colchis) and was crucified. The Synopsis of Dorotheus contains this tradition: Matthias in interiore AEthiopia, ubi Hyssus maris portus et Phasis fluvius est, hominibus barbaris et carnivoris praedicavit Evangelium. Mortuus est autem in Sebastopoli, ibique prope templum Solis sepultus (Matthias preached the Gospel to barbarians and cannibals in the interior of Ethiopia, at the harbour of the sea of Hyssus, at the mouth of the river Phasis. He died at Sebastopolis, and was buried there, near the Temple of the Sun). Still another tradition maintains that Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem by the Jews, and then beheaded (cf. Tillemont, "Memoires pour servir a l'histoire eccl. des six premiers siècles", I, 406-7). It is said that St. Helena brought the relics of St. Matthias to Rome, and that a portion of them was at Trier. Bollandus (Acta SS., May, III) doubts if the relics that are in Rome are not rather those of the St. Matthias who was Bishop of Jerusalem about the year 120, and whose history would seem to have been confounded with that of the Apostle. The Latin Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthias on 24 February and the Greek Church on 9 August. Clement of Alexandria (Strom., III, 4) records a sentence that the Nicolaitans ascribe to Matthias: "we must combat our flesh, set no value upon it, and concede to it nothing that can flatter it, but rather increase the growth of our soul by faith and knowledge". This teaching was probably found in the Gospel of Matthias which was mentioned by Origen (Hom. i in Lucam); by Eusebius (Hist. eccl., III, 25), who attributes it to heretics; by St. Jerome (Praef. in Matth.), and in the Decree of Gelasius (VI, 8) which declares it apocryphal. It is at the end of the list of the Codex Barrocciamus (206). This Gospel is probably the document whence Clement of Alexandria quoted several passages, saying that they were borrowed from the traditions of Matthias, Paradoseis, the testimony of which he claimed to have been invoked by the heretics Valentinus, Marcion, and Basilides (Strom., VII, 17). According to the Philosophoumena, VII, 20, Basilides quoted apocryphal discourses, which he attributed to Matthias. These three writings: the gospel, the Traditions, and the Apocryphal Discourses were identified by Zahn (Gesch. des N. T. Kanon, II, 751), but Harnack (Chron. der altchrist. Litteratur, 597) denies this identification. Tischendorf ("Acta apostolorum apocrypha", Leipzig, l85I) published after Thilo, 1846, "Acta Andreae et Matthiae in urbe anthropophagarum ", which, according to Lipsius, belonged to the middle of the second century. This apocrypha relates that Matthias went among the cannibals and, being cast into prison, was delivered by Andrew. Needless to say, the entire narrative is without historical value. Moreover, it should be remembered that, in the apocryphal writings, Matthew and Matthias have sometimes been confounded.
John 15: 9 - 17
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
17 This I command you, to love one another.