Wednesday, June 23, 2010




VATICAN CITY, 23 JUN 2010 (VIS REPORT) - In today's general audience, celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope delivered the last in a series of three catecheses on the figure of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Holy Father explained how St. Thomas' masterpiece, the "Summa Theologica", contains 512 questions and 2,669 articles in which the saint "precisely, clearly and pertinently" outlines the truths of faith as they emerge from "the teachings of Holy Scripture and of the Fathers of the Church, especially St. Augustine". This exertion "of the human mind was always illuminated - as St. Thomas' own life shows - by prayer, by the light that comes from on high.
"In his 'Summa'", the Pope added, "St. Thomas starts from the fact that God exists in three different ways: God exists in Himself, He is the principle and end of all things, so all creatures come from and depend upon Him. Secondly, God is present through His Grace in the life and activity of Christians, of the saints. Finally, God is present in a very special way in the person of Christ, and in the Sacraments which derive from His work of redemption".
"St. Thomas dedicates special attention to the mystery of the Eucharist, to which he was particularly devoted", said Benedict XVI, encouraging people "to follow the example of the saints and love this Sacrament. Let us participate devotedly in Mass in order to obtain its spiritual fruits; let us feed from the Body and Blood of the Lord that we may be incessantly nourished by divine Grace; let us pause willingly and often in the company of the Blessed Sacrament".
The Holy Father went on: "What St. Thomas explained with academic rigour in his main theological works such as the ' Summa Theologica' was also expressed in his preaching", the content of which "corresponds almost in its entirety to the structure of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Indeed, in a time such as our own of renewed commitment to evangelisation, catechism and preaching must never lack the following fundamental themes: what we believe, i.e., the Creed; what we pray, i.e., the Our Father and the Ave Maria; and what we live as biblical revelation teaches us, i.e., the law of the love of God and neighbour and the Ten Commandments".
"In his brief 'Devotissima expositio super symbolum apostolorum', St. Thomas explains the importance of faith. Through it, he says, the soul is united to God, ... life is given a clear direction and we can easily overcome temptations. To those who object that faith is foolish because it makes us believe something that does not enter into the experience of the senses, St. Thomas offers a very detailed response, claiming that this is an inconsistent objection because human intelligence is limited and cannot know everything.
"Only if we were able to have perfect knowledge of all things visible and invisible would it be foolish to accept truth out of pure faith", said the Pope. "Moreover, as St. Thomas observes, it is impossible to live without entrusting ourselves to the experience of others, when our personal knowledge does not extend far enough. Thus it is reasonable to have faith in God Who reveals Himself, and in the witness of the Apostles".
Commenting on the article of the Creed concerning the incarnation of the Divine Word, St. Thomas says that "the Christian faith is reinforced in the light of the mystery of the Incarnation; hope emerges more trustingly at the thought that the Son of God came among us as one of us, to communicate His divinity to mankind; charity is revived because there is no more evident sign of God's love for us than to see the Creator of the universe Himself become a creature", said the Holy Father.
"St. Thomas, like all saints, was greatly devoted to the Blessed Virgin", Pope Benedict concluded. "He gave her a stupendous title: 'Triclinium totius Trinitatis'; in other words, the place where the Trinity finds repose because, thanks to the Incarnation, the three divine persons dwell in her as in no other creature, and experience the delight and joy of living in her soul full of Grace. Through her intercession we can obtain any kind of help".


CNN report -- The sight of a baby girl suckling on the breast of her dead mother changed the course of Abebech Gobena's life forever.

The year was 1980 and Ethiopia lay in the grip of what would become one of the most devastating famines in its history.
Gobena, a devout Christian, was on a pilgrimage to a holy site in the north-east region of the country when she came across the dead mother and her baby, lying amid a sea of people who were starving to death.
"When I was returning, there were so many of these hungry people sprawled all over, you could not even walk," Gobena told CNN.
Video: Educating a generation of children "I had some bread on me, so I tried to feed them. I fed two men. When I reached this woman, she was dead, but the child was still suckling at her breast," she continued.
"One of the chauffeurs charged with picking up the corpses said to me, 'I am waiting for the child to die so I can pick up both bodies. I just can't bear to take the child as well while she is still alive,'" Gobena said.
Without a second thought, Gobena bundled the tiny girl into her arms and smuggled her to the country's capital, Addis Ababa. In that instant, she transformed both the baby's future and her own.
Haunted by the images of the dying people, it wasn't long before Gobena headed back to the countryside in an effort to source water for the destitute locals. She came across another child in the arms of his dying father.
Find out more about Gobena and her orphanage.
Gobena told CNN: "At the end of the day, as we were going home we came upon five people, three of them dead, two alive. One of the men dying by the side of the road said to me, 'This is my child. She is dying. I am dying. Please save my child.'"
Gobena took the baby boy home which posed a threat to her own safety, she explained to CNN.
"It was a terrible famine. There were no authorities. The government at that time did not want the famine to be public knowledge. So I had to pretend the children were mine and smuggle them out."
By the end of 1980, Gobena had taken in 21 children. But her desire to save the young children caused friction in her family.
"My family, my husband gave me an ultimatum, choose the children or choose your life," she told CNN.
"My relatives, even my mother said, 'She has gone mad, she should be checked at the mental institution.'"
My family, my husband gave me an ultimatum, choose the children or choose your life.
--Abebech Gobena, founder of the Abebech Gobena orphanage.

Gobena continued: "I was not welcome at home. So I decided to move to some land I had bought with the intention of raising some chicken. I moved into this forest area with the kids."
Thirty years on and Gobena, now more famously known as "Africa's Mother Theresa," is the founder of Ethiopia's oldest orphanage. Gobena's thirty-year legacy means she has raised a generation of Ethiopia's abandoned children, orphaned by the ravages of famine, war and HIV/AIDS.
However, leaving her own family was a tough decision for Gobena, who had struggled since childhood to gain an education, job and secure family life.
Born in 1938, she was only a month-old when her father was killed during the Ethio-Italian war. As tradition dictated, she was brought up by her father's parents until the age of 11, when she was married off without her consent.
Revolting against her marriage, Gobena ran away from home to Addis Ababa, where she scraped a basic education, gained a job as a quality controller and remarried.
She told CNN: "I suffered because of the traditions of the country I was born in. But things have improved. My goal is not to marry them off, but to raise them as adults who can take care of themselves."
Gobena has come a long way since 1980 when she struggled to survive, resorting to selling her possessions and tearing up her own dresses to make clothes for the infants. Now her orphanage, as well as sheltering, also acts as a school, educating over 700 children.
But she says: "I have no regrets. God has helped me get to this point. I always had great faith in God.
"I knew we would survive, even selling small things by the roadside. I am so happy because none of the children died, and all of them grew up."

JESUSCARITASEST.ORG report: The best-selling Catholic author and artist Michael O´Brien, has written a new fictional novel on the life of St. Luke. Theophilos is the character addressed in St. Luke´s Gospel. This novel is example historical fiction. At a private book reading of this latest novel Michael O´Brien explained his inspiration. It was during his time spent at Eucaristic Adoration that he received the call to write this work. O´Brien described how Our Lord presented him with visions of the childhood of Christ during his weekly Holy Hour of prayer. Mr. O´Brien explained that these visions seemed to be out of time. They were accompanied by great peace. These visions are described in the book.
With this book O´Brien transports the reader in time. The descriptive passages are mystical in nature and thus the reader is able to see the visions along with Michael. This is truly a brilliant work which will captivate the hearts and  minds of its audience. Mr. O´Brien compares this work to his famed "Father Elijah" novel. This work helps to illuminate the Gospel. By recreating the historical surroundings of the Gospel, Mr. O´Brien aids the biblical reader to experience the life of Christ in a new way.
Famed author and professor Peter Kreeft of Boston College comments on the book cover: "An arresting work, totally credible both historically and psychologically. There´s not a single false note in this music. Do you want to get inot a time machine and actually live in the first century world? Then read this book!" O´Brien also paints religious icons that are sold via his studio He has six children and lives with his wife in Canada.  


Asia News report: Father Claudio Gazzard (PIME) celebrates 60 years of priesthood dedicated to concrete inculturation, the result of study, understanding and encountering people. Nursery schools and games of football every morning.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - The Italian missionary Claudio Gazzard can be considered a model of inculturation and globalization. A few days ago, Sunday, June 13, in a modest Catholic church on the outskirts of the city of Imari, in southern Japan, the 85 year old presided over the celebration of Mass on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of his ordination
Among the many present at the ceremony and dinner that followed, only two of his compatriots: the representative of the Roman direction of his Institute (PIME) and the local superior, who, while participating in the common joy, were reserved, almost as if not to distract attention from the main players of the event: the man who was being celebrated, inseparably united to the other participants, all of them Japanese.
A rare diamond
"Congratulations on your diamond ". This is how one of the speakers began his address at the following dinner. The Japanese are not picky purists, if they can not find a term in their own vocabulary to express a Western concept, they transliterate the pronunciation of the English, often delimiting its meaning. And so "dayamondo" has become synonymous with celebration of a glorious sixty years.
And in fact the word "dayamondo" began the refrain in speeches and conversations that day. In the context of Japanese society of missionary life Gazzard, or rather his sixty years of missionary priesthood may be called a "diamond", a diamond that has gradually formed through the interaction of two cultures, that from which he originated and that in which he has lived.
When the mid 1950s, Father Claudio left for Japan, the word "globalization" was little known. Now it's on everyone's lips even though its true meaning is often not directly perceived. Not so much the media as the meeting of people of different cultures create the global society.
For over half a century Gazzard, the missionary priest, has become an active subject of intercultural communication. The hardships he faced to be faithful, year after year, to the initial inspiration that allowed him to become positively rock-like and splendid, like a diamond, in fact.
From Milan to Tokyo
In order to become what he became Claudio, who was not a man of study, had to faced in spite of himself a profound process of "inculturation," another unfamiliar word in his language.
"To leave home to go and live in an unknown cultural environment requires uncommon courage and zeal," said an admirer of the old missionary. And in fact for him this process, which began early on, was neither easy nor quick: the desire to become a priest, born in his heart at the age of 12, seemed impossible, because the peasant family from rural Lombardy where he grew up, lived on the margins of poverty.
The seminary for young boys from poor families, founded in Cottolengo Turin solved the problem. And here the process of inculturation began with the study Latin, which at the time was a must for all students. But the process took a revolutionary turn when he decided to join a missionary organization to realize his ideal not in Italy, but in a non-European continent.
Gradually he realized that inculturation in a "global" context was not the choice of scholars but the normal dimension of the missionary, who must be a man of dialogue. A second cultural development was necessary, one that was offered him in Milan, then headquarters of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME). But in 1954 a further culture shock, we could say tragic, awaited him, when the missionary institute did not send him among the primitives in an African forest or to Latin America, culturally similar to Europe, but to Tokyo, the metropolis of Japanese culture. All of a sudden he found himself blind, deaf and dumb.
From the Babylon of the capital to the desert of the south island.
After two years of daily study, his eyes and ears were opened and his tongue loosened, a little, but the process of the formation of the diamond was far from finished.
As district missionary Gazzardi was assigned the region of Saga, one of the smallest of Japan’s prefectures, over a thousand kilometres from Tokyo on the large island in the south (Kyushu). If the capital had seemed a Babylon because of linguistic difficulties, then the area of Saga must have appeared like a desert for its substantial lack of Christian and Western references.
Fortunately, the novice missionary noticed he had something within him that he could communicate, something that was greatly needed. Faith, one would naturally say. Certainly, but the missionary knows that this gift comes from on High, if it considers it his, he ends up losing it. What he realized was that culture he had forged in Italy could be an effective tool for communication in the context of dialogue on a global level. The image of the missionary-teacher was superseded by that of the missionary-man of dialogue.
The nursery oasis of cultural dialogue
"In kindergarten during the year there are several events in which our director, even now at 85, still energetically and willingly takes part. I have often wondered where he gets all of this energy from. In this attitude I and other teachers glimpse the life of the priest who follows the strict religious precepts every day”, so says Mrs. Sakaki Matsuo, principal of the Catholic kindergarten in the city of Imari.
Reading the text of speech I admire, along with the high quality of style a nobility of sentiments. I write this to make known to the readers the privileged place where for decades Gazzardi and PIME missionaries have nurtured intercultural dialogue in this little known prefecture.
Italy and the West in general perceive Japan to be a highly secularized nation. This is not the case in the provinces where religious meaning is still widespread.
In the mid1950s a veteran missionary in China, superior of the Saga Group, planned to build churches in the seven major cities of the prefecture. Gazzardi, who had an instinctive aversion to theoretical studies offset by significant abilities in management, became his right hand man.
The "Chinese method" did not work: the churches, except for Sunday services, they failed to attract the small Christian flock. Instead they were drawn to the "nursery schools" that the missionary-manager, together with other brothers, took care to build in each residence. For six days a week from eight in the morning to late afternoon these kindergartens are oases full of life: thousands of children have passed through them with two generations of young mothers. The heart of these institutions is the group of teachers gathered around the "shunin sensei", the head teacher. But the director is always the "shimpusama, the Catholic priest, to whom the teachers listen for spiritual guidance.
The "Japanese" Catholic Church as such is little known in the provinces, not as much as the universal Church: the mothers will gladly send their boys and girls there because the director is a shimpusama.
The morning football game
"The shimpusama is a zealous person, whatever he does, he does it seriously: prayer, football, work, so says Father Sakurai. The mention of "football" next to "prayer and work" in a sentence pronounced during the homily of the Mass for the 60th anniversary of priestly ordination, may surprise. But the speech by the Director of Education during the dinner, proved that this approach outlines the identity of the Imari nursery school director.
"Everybody knows - Matsuo said - that the father takes part in a soccer game with children every morning, that game is part of the school’s daily program. He is both coach and famous player”.
Gazzardi knowing that among the youth of Japan this sport is no less popular than baseball or "sumo wrestling", also made the game of football a place of intercultural dialogue, where the interlocutors are children of nursery school.
The precious pearl
It the place where the Italian missionary was able to effectively experience a particular cultural dialogue was with the priest Japanese Naoki Sakurai. The son of a professor of English literature, a Catholic, Naoki was an infant when Gazzardi took on responsibility for the church in Saga, and now, at 51 years, was given the parish of the Cathedral Fukuka, the metropolis of Kyushu.
In order to avail of a particular theological formation, Sakurai as a young priest lived for some years in Rome and Canada. So, thanks to an unbroken relationship with his old pastor of Saga he is the realisation of a successful encounter in faith between the Japanese and European culture.
He was the obvious choice for to hold the homily for the 60th anniversary of his forming father’s priesthood.
"The poor and humble life of this father (Gazzardi) - he said – does not shine light a diamond from material wealth but from the love of God that he has transmitted to many people in the difficult society of modern Japan”.
The main theme of the entire homily, although based on the person being celebrated, was the relationship between God and Japanese society. This was illustrated with an anecdote. "Last year – he said - during a vacation in Italy I went along with his father Gazzardi to Switzerland, where visiting a museum we saw a video that was the beginning of the universe and of life. Leaving the museum, Father Claudio said to me: 'Why do they not recognize God? God saved Moses and his people from Egypt. God created the world? ". Sakurai said. "If man does not recognize this, man does not give importance to life or the universe and therefore many destroy life and the universe”.
Anyone who has lived for decades in Japan can not but admire the high quality of Japanese culture, but also realize a widespread atmosphere of gloom which too frequently leads to tragic gestures.
"Transmitting the reality of God - said Sakurai - father Gazzardi taught us how to live life in joy. Things and the money alone cannot make man happy. We all know the father’s (Gazzardi) sense of humour. A person can not express humour if there is no joy in his life. Giving importance to God, as father did, brings happiness".


Cath News report: Welfare legislation passed by the Senate to allow the blanket imposition of compulsory income management is an "invasion of private lives, a denial of dignity, and a removal of self-determination", says the St Vincent de Paul Society.

"In passing this degrading legislation the Parliament has turned its back on the fundamental human rights of low-income Australians," said Vinnies National Council Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon.
"It is extremely disappointing to see political points being scored on the backs of people who are doing it tough.
"It is inconceivable to us that a Government that has committed itself to a social inclusion agenda can act in such a disrespectful manner to people who are unemployed or who are struggling on a low income to raise a young family," said the society's National President Mr Syd Tutton.
"This policy worsens the social and financial divide in Australia. You can't build a strong economy on the back of a fractured society."
Meanwhile, Dr Falzon writes in Eureka Street today that preventing homelessness is a justice issue that requires political will.
"The founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society, 19th century French activist academic, Frederic Ozanam, wrote: 'Charity is the Samaritan who pours oil on the wounds of the traveller who has been attacked. It is the role of justice to prevent the attack.'
"We would be poorer as a nation without the outpouring of human kindness through charities. But the prevention of homelessness should be seen as a matter of justice, and for that charity is no substitute."
While participating in last week's CEO Sleepout, Dr Falzon said the most "useful element" from the experience was a presentation given by a couple of people who had been experiencing homelessness.


Agenzia Fides report – The Missions Commission of the Archdiocese of Valencia has issued a new handbook to encourage the formation of more Missionary Childhood groups and offer existing groups guidelines for activity. The aim of Missionary Childhood groups, which report to the Pontifical Mission Societies PMS, is to foster missionary spirit among Catholic children, stimulating and encouraging them to evangelise according to their means in their own environment, and also to help them realise the necessity of helping other less fortunate children.

The 134 page handbook was presented by Fr, padre Ramón Rodríguez Guerrero of Valencia, during a National Assembly of Diocesan Directors of the PMS, held in Madrid and presided by the Archbishop of Pamplona and Tudela, Mgr. Francisco Pérez, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Spain.

The handbook is already in use in the dioceses of Orihuela-Alicante and Valencia, and has been requested by other dioceses, according to the diocesan publication "Paraula-Iglesia en Valencia". The handbook was produced mainly to offer help and support to catechists, teachers and animators of Holy Childhood groups in parishes and schools, in organising meetings and activity with children.


St. Etheldreda of Ely

Feast: June 23
Information: Feast Day: June 23
Born: 630
Died: 23 June, 679
Patron of: neck ailments, throat ailments, widows
Queen of Northumbria; born (probably) about 630; died at Ely, 23 June, 679. While still very young she was given in marriage by her father, Anna, King of East Anglia, to a certain Tonbert, a subordinate prince, from whom she received as morning gift a tract of land locally known as the Isle of Ely. She never lived in wedlock with Tonbert, however, and for five years after his early death was left to foster her vocation to religion. Her father then arranged for her a marriage of political convenience with Egfrid, son and heir to Oswy, King of Northumbria. From this second bridegroom, who is said to have been only fourteen years of age, she received certain lands at Hexham; through St. Wilfrid of York she gave these lands to found the minster of St. Andrew. St. Wilfrid was her friend and spiritual guide, but it was to him that Egfrid, on succeeding his father, appealed for the enforcement of his marital rights as against Etheldreda's religious vocation. The bishop succeeded at first in persuading Egfrid to consent that Etheldreda should live for some time in peace as a sister of the Coldingham nunnery, founded by her aunt, St. Ebba, in what is now Berwickshire. But at last the imminent danger of being forcibly carried off by the king drove her to wander southwards, with only two women in attendance. They made their way to Etheldreda's own estate of Ely, not, tradition said, without the interposition of miracles, and, on a spot hemmed in by morasses and the waters of the Ouse, the foundation of Ely Minster was begun. This region was Etheldreda's native home, and her royal East Anglian relatives gave her the material means necessary for the execution of her holy design. St. Wilfrid had not yet returned from Rome, where he had obtained extraordinary privileges for her foundation from Benedict II, when she died of a plague which she herself, it is said, had circumstantially foretold. Her body was, throughout many succeeding centuries, an object of devout veneration in the famous church which grew up on her foundation. One hand of the saint is now venerated in the church of St. Etheldreda, Ely Place, London, which enjoys the distinction of being the first—and at present (1909) the only—pre-Reformation church in Great Britain restored to Catholic worship. Built in the thirteenth century as a private chapel attached to the town residence of the Bishop of Ely, the structure of St. Etheldreda's passed through many vicissitudes during the centuries following its desecration, until, in 1873-74, it was purchased by Father William Lockhart and occupied by the Institute of Charity, of whose English mission Father Lockhart was then superior.


Matthew 7: 15 - 20

15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?

17 So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit.

18 A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

20 Thus you will know them by their fruits.

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