Wednesday, August 18, 2010








Radio Vaticana report: The unfolding tragedy of Pakistan’s flood victims was the focus of a renewed appeal by Pope Benedict XVI to the International community this Wednesday. Speaking from his hill top summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, the Pope said: “My thoughts go at this time to the dear people of Pakistan, recently hit by severe flooding, which has caused many victims and left many families homeless”.

He went on to say: “As I entrust to the merciful goodness of God all those who are tragically gone, I express my spiritual closeness to their families and all who suffer because of this disaster. Our solidarity and the concrete solidarity of the international community must not be lacking to these our sorely tried brothers and sisters!”.

Tasnim Aslam is Pakistan’s Ambassador to Italy, she says “the proportions of this disaster are overwhelming, no government could possibly cope with this on their own”. Ambassador Aslam says the government are particularly concerned about the plight of millions of young children often the first victims of disease.

The Holy Father’s appeal came at the end of his catechesis, this week dedicated to the figure of Pope Saint Pius X. Over two thousand pilgrims packed into the Papal Palace’s inner courtyard for this Wednesday’s audience, 50 km Nouth of the Alban hills in a hot St Peter’s Square thousands more followed the Pope’s words on giant screens.

“My dear brothers and sisters, today we recall Pope Saint Pius the Tenth, whose feast we celebrate this coming Saturday. He left an indelible mark in very many aspects of the Church’s life and activity, his overarching goal being to “renew all things in Christ” through our intimate personal union with our Saviour. By Pope Saint Pius’s prayers, may we grow daily in love for Christ and help open others to his love. God’s abundant blessings upon you all”!

Pope Benedict XVI’s next public appointment is this Sunday for the recitation of the traditional midday Angelus  


UCAN REPORT: About 60 people attacked a Catholic school in the central Indian Madhya Pradesh state this morning, destroying furniture, computers, windows and door, says an eye witness.

The slogan-shouting mob barged into St. Pius Higher Secondary School and vandalized the office in the administrative block, said Father Biju Thiruthanathil.
He said the attackers are suspected to be members of the student wing of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), regarded as the political arm of pro-Hindu groups.
Father Thiruthanathil, who works in the school, said the attackers arrived before school started and closed the gates, preventing students from entering.
The attack is believed to have been instigated by some staff members who were demanding a pay hike.
Khandwa diocese’s education secretary Father Saji V. Kurian said salaries had recently been increased but some staff members had sought a further rise. “We had agreed to consider it but wanted some time as the bishop was out of country. We are really shocked over the development,” Father Kurian said.
The attackers left when police arrived soon after the school management called for help. However, no one has been arrested yet.
The school has suspended classes for the day.
Church leaders have noted that attacks on Christians increased after the BJP came to power in December 2003. Christians have experienced a total of 184 attacks, including this latest one.
Catholic leaders last year filed a petition in the Madhya Pradesh High Court demanding protection for Christians and their institutions. A final verdict is still pending


Cath News report: The Swiss Guards have the colourful uniforms and the heroic legends, but the Vatican police and firefighters have the ancient church.
Actually, the Church of San Pellegrino inside the Vatican once belonged to the Swiss Guards and still is decorated with the coat of arms of each commander of the corps from 1517 to 1982.

But since 1977, the church has been the chapel of the 150 Vatican gendarmes, as the police are called, and the 30 Vatican firefighters.

Their chaplain, Msgr. Giulio Viviani (pictured), celebrates Mass in the church daily at 7 a.m. and usually stays in his office there until about 8:30 a.m., in case one of the men wants to talk or go to confession.

The rest of his day is spent fulfilling the obligations of his full-time position as an official in the office coordinating papal liturgies.

Other than during the summer, he also offers the police and firefighters topical religious education classes, such as explaining what the Eastern Catholic churches are and how members of the Eastern hierarchy dress. That way, the police officers will know a bishop when they see one and salute, as tradition dictates.

Msgr. Viviani said one of the first of his weekly classes in the fall will be about synods of bishops and about Christians in the Holy Land, so that when the officers start greeting and guarding members of the special Synod of Bishops for the Middle East in October, they'll know what's going on.
One of the most popular segments in his catechesis, he said, is the Advent series of guided visits to the other churches and chapels inside Vatican City, including the Sistine Chapel and the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Apostolic Palace.
"There are people who work at the Vatican for a lifetime without seeing anything but the place they work," the chaplain said.  


CNA REPORT.- The Archdiocese of Boston declared Monday that the prayers of its faithful were answered after a relic of the True Cross that was stolen from the Cathedral of Holy Cross earlier this month was found in rural Vermont.
“Our prayers have been answered as the Relic of the True Cross has been recovered,” the Archdiocese of Boston said in its statement. “God has blessed us with His love and capacity to forgive. We prayerfully carry on His call for forgiveness for those responsible.”

The splinter of wood from the cross, encapsulated in a brass and glass reliquary, was discovered missing on July 1.

The archdiocese also expressed gratitude for the diligent work of the Boston Police Department as well as the Vermont State Police, who were instrumental in the recovery of the relic.

According to the Pilot, the newspaper for Boston's archdiocese, the Vermont State Police were called about a domestic dispute on August 9. When they arrived on the scene, Earl Frost, a 34-year-old Vermont resident told the police he had a relic stolen from a church in Boston and wanted to return it to a church. Frost added that he received the relic from an unidentified man in Rhode Island.

He surrendered the relic at the Royalton Barracks of the Vermont State Police, but was not arrested due to a lack of evidence. The relic was identified by an official from the Archdiocese of Boston a week later.
When the police went back to look for Frost, he had disappeared.
The relic is still in the possession of the Vermont police, who are seeking a warrant for Frost’s arrest on the grounds of possession of stolen property.
The Archdiocese of Boston will hold a prayer service on Wednesday, August 18 at 7:30 p.m. to welcome the return of the relic of the True Cross to the cathedral. 

ENI REPORT. A Somali Christian leader has condemned the halting of the work of three relief organizations in Somalia by Al Shabaab, an Islamic militant group, which alleged the agencies were propagating Christianity.  "Now that they have suspended their work, it is the local people who will suffer," Pastor Ahmed Abukar Mukhtar, the leader in exile of a small Christian community in Somalia, told ENInews on 10 August in Nairobi. Abukar, who fled Somalia for Kenya, criticised Al Shabaab, which controls most of southern Somalia, for claiming that the agencies engaged in attempting to convert Muslims, who account for almost all of Somalia's people.

"I think the allegations are not true. They have used this excuse to expel the agencies," said Abukar.

On 8 August, Harakat Al Shabaab Al-Mujahideen (Movement of Warrior Youth) demanded that World Vision, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and Diakonia, a Swedish agency, immediately cease operations in Somalia.

"Acting as missionaries under the guise of humanitarian work, the organizations have been spreading their corrupted ideologies in order to taint the pure creed of the Muslims in Somalia," Al Shabaab said in a statement.

Bishop Giorgio Bertin of Djibouti, who is the Roman Catholic apostolic administrator for Somalia, told ENInews he condemned the "intolerant approach" of Al Shabaab in forcing out the three agencies.

"Of course [the agencies] were inspired by their faith," said Bertin. "But since they were giving a good service according to international humanitarian criteria, they are not to be impeded in their charitable work."

In a 9 August statement, World Vision said keys to its offices and assets were taken from staff by Al Shabaab. It said that its operations in affected areas of Somalia have been temporarily suspended while it plans its next steps.

"World Vision is surprised and disappointed by the move, which is apparently based on false accusations of spreading Christianity," the agency said.

It quoted its Somalia programme director, Chris Smoot, as saying that while World Vision is a Christian organization, "we have specific policies that prohibit proselytising and we are a signatory to the Red Cross code of conduct that guarantees impartiality in our distribution of aid".

ADRA, which has worked in Somalia since 1992, said closing operations in south-central Somalia, where it has been rehabilitating wells, working to provide livelihoods and increasing access to education, would adversely affect 180 000 people.
It noted that it is a signatory to the code of conduct that bans proselytising.
Diakonia, a Swedish Christian development agency that has been working in Somalia since 1994, said, "Our efforts are aimed at people harmed by poverty, oppression and violence in various forms, regardless of their faith, skin colour or gender. A diversity of religious convictions and non-religious organizations is represented in our network." 

Cath News report: A case of meningococcal disease has been confirmed at the Catholic Chanel College in Gladstone, Queensland, but the school said students are not considered at risk of transmission.
Principal Sharon Volp has confirmed a student has been diagnosed with probable meningococcal disease and is currently undergoing treatment in Brisbane, reports the Gladstone Observer.

A letter was sent home to parents on Monday advising them of the situation.

The letter stated that Queensland Health has no concerns with regard to the transmission of meningococcal in a school setting and class contacts are not considered to be at risk.
"The care of our students and staff is of paramount importance to us and we will continue to work closely with the Diocesan Catholic Education Office and Queensland Health to implement any future recommendations they make in relation to this matter," Miss Volp said. 
St. Helena
Feast: August 18
Information: Feast Day: August 18
Born: 248, Drepanum, Bithynia, Asia Minor
Died: 328, Constantinople, Roman
Major Shrine: The shrine to Saint Helena in St. Peter's Basilica
Patron of: archeologists, converts, difficult marriages, divorced people, empresses, Helena, the capital of Montana
The mother of Constantine the Great, born about the middle of the third century, possibly in Drepanum (later known as Helenopolis) on the Nicomedian Gulf; died about 330. She was of humble parentage; St. Ambrose, in his "Oratio de obitu Theodosii", referred to her as a stabularia, or inn-keeper. Nevertheless, she became the lawful wife of Constantius Chlorus. Her first and only son, Constantine, was born in Naissus in Upper Moesia, in the year 274. The statement made by English chroniclers of the Middle Ages, according to which Helena was supposed to have been the daughter of a British prince, is entirely without historical foundation. It may arise from the misinterpretation of a term used in the fourth chapter of the panegyric on Constantine's marriage with Fausta, that Constantine, oriendo (i.e., "by his beginnings," "from the outset") had honoured Britain, which was taken as an allusion to his birth, whereas the reference was really to the beginning of his reign.

In the year 292 Constantius, having become co-Regent of the West, gave himself up to considerations of a political nature and forsook Helena in order to marry Theodora, the step-daughter of Emperor Maximinianus Herculius, his patron, and well-wisher. But her son remained faithful and loyal to her. On the death of Constantius Chlorus, in 308, Constantine, who succeeded him, summoned his mother to the imperial court, conferred on her the title of Augusta, ordered that all honour should be paid her as the mother of the sovereign, and had coins struck bearing her effigy. Her son's influence caused her to embrace Christianity after his victory over Maxentius. This is directly attested by Eusebius (Vita Constantini, III, xlvii): "She (his mother) became under his (Constantine's) influence such a devout servant of God, that one might believe her to have been from her very childhood a disciple of the Redeemer of mankind". It is also clear from the declaration of the contemporary historian of the Church that Helena, from the time of her conversion had an earnestly Christian life and by her influence and liberality favoured the wider spread of Christianity. Tradition links her name with the building of Christian churches in the cities of the West, where the imperial court resided, notably at Rome and Trier, and there is no reason for rejecting this tradition, for we know positively through Eusebius that Helena erected churches on the hallowed spots of Palestine. Despite her advanced age she undertook a journey to Palestine when Constantine, through his victory over Licinius, had become sole master of the Roman Empire, subsequently, therefore, to the year 324. It was in Palestine, as we learn from Eusebius (loc. cit., xlii), that she had resolved to bring to God, the King of kings, the homage and tribute of her devotion. She lavished on that land her bounties and good deeds, she "explored it with remarkable discernment", and "visited it with the care and solicitude of the emperor himself". Then, when she "had shown dueveneration to the footsteps of the Saviour", she had two churches erected for the worship of God: one was raised in Bethlehem near the Grotto of the Nativity, the other on the Mount of the Ascension, near Jerusalem. She also embellished the sacred grotto with rich ornaments. This sojourn in Jerusalem proved the starting-point of the legend first recorded by Rufinus as to the discovery of the Cross of Christ.

Her princely munificence was such that, according to Eusebius, she assisted not only individuals but entire communities. The poor and destitute were the special objects of her charity. She visited the churches everywhere with pious zeal and made them rich donations. It was thus that, in fulfilment of the Saviour's precept, she brought forth abundant fruit in word and deed. If Helena conducted herself in this manner while in the Holy Land, which is indeed testified to by Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, we should not doubt that she manifested the same piety and benevolence in those other cities of the empire in which she resided after her conversion. Her memory in Rome is chiefly identified with the church of S. Croce in Gerusalemme. On the present location of this church formerly stood the Palatium Sessorianum, and near by were the Thermae Helenianae, which baths derived their name from the empress. Here two inscriptions were found composed in honour of Helena. The Sessorium, which was near the site of the Lateran, probably served as Helena's residence when she stayed in Rome; so that it is quite possible for a Christian basilica to have been erected on this spot by Constantine, at her suggestion and in honour of the true Cross.

Helena was still living in the year 326, when Constantine ordered the execution of his son Crispus. When, according to Socrates' account (Church History I.17), the emperor in 327 improved Drepanum, his mother's native town, and decreed that it should be called Helenopolis, it is probable that the latter returned from Palestine to her son who was then residing in the Orient. Constantine was with her when she died, at the advanced age of eighty years or thereabouts (Eusebius, Life of Constantine III.46). This must have been about the year 330, for the last coins which are known to have been stamped with her name bore this date. Her body was brought to Constantinople and laid to rest in the imperial vault of the church of the Apostles. It is presumed that her remains were transferred in 849 to the Abbey of Hautvillers, in the French Archdiocese of Reims, as recorded by the monk Altmann in his "Translatio". She was revered as a saint, and the veneration spread, early in the ninth century, even to Western countries. Her feast falls on 18 August. Regarding the finding of the Holy Cross by St. Helena, see CROSS AND CRUCIFIX. 

St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Feast: August 12

Information: Feast Day: August 12

Born: January 28, 1572, Dijon, Burgundy, France

Died: December 13, 1641, Moulins, France

Canonized: July 16, 1767, Rome by Pope Clement XIII

Major Shrine: Annecy, Savoy

Patron of: forgotten people; in-law problems; loss of parents; parents separated from children; widows

Born at Dijon, France, 28 January, 1572; died at the Visitation Convent Moulins, 13 December, 1641.

Her father was president of the Parliament of Burgundy, and leader of the royalist party during the League that brought about the triumph of the cause of Henry IV. In 1592 she married Baron de Chantal, and lived in the feudal castle of Bourbilly. She restored order in the household, which was on the brink of ruin, and brought back prosperity. During her husband's absence at the court, or with the army, when reproached for her extremely sober manner of dressing, her reply was: "The eyes which I must please are a hundred miles from here". She found more than once that God blessed with miracles the care she gave the suffering members of Christ. St. Francis de Sales' eulogy of her characterizes her life at Bourbilly and everywhere else: "In Madame de Chantal I have found the perfect woman, whom Solomon had difficulty in finding in Jerusalem". Baron de Chantal was accidently killed by a harquebus while out shooting in 1601. Left a widow at twenty-eight, with four children, the broken-hearted baroness took a vow of chastity. In all her prayers she besought God to send her a guide and God, in a vision, showed her the spiritual director He held in reserve for her. In order to safeguard her children's property, she was obliged to go and live at Monthelon in the home of her father-in-law, who was ruled over by an arrogant and wicked servant. This was real servitude, which she bore patiently and gently for seven years. At last her virtue triumphed over the ill will of the old man and house keeper.

During Lent, 1604, she visited her father at Dijon, where St. Francis de Sales was preaching at the Sainte Chapelle. She recognized in him the mysterious director who had been shown her, and placed herself under his guidance. Then began an admirable correspondence between the two saints. Unfortunately, the greater number of letters are no longer in existence, as she destroyed them after the death of the holy bishop. When she had assured the future security of children, and when she had provided the education of Celse-Benigne, her fourteen year old son, whom she left to her father and her brother, the Archbishop of Bourges, she started for Annecy, where God was calling her to found the Congregation of the Visitation. She took her two remaining daughters with her, the elder having recently married the Baron of Thorens, a brother of St. Francis de Sales. Celse-Benigne, impetous like those of her race, barred his mother's way by lying across the threshold. Mme de Chantal stopped, overcome: " Can the tears of a child shake her resolution? " said a holy and learned priest, the tutor of Celse-Benigne. "Oh! no", replied the saint, "but after all I am a mother!" And she stepped over child's body.

The Congregation of the Visitation was canonically established at Annecy on Trinity Sunday, 6 June, 1610. Its aim was to receive, with a view to their spiritual advancement, young girls and even widows who had not the desire or strength to subject themselves to the austere ascetical practices in force in all the religious orders at that time. St. Francis de Sales was especially desirous of seeing the realization of his cherished method of attaining perfection, which consisted in always keeping one's will united to the Divine will, in taking so to speak one's soul, heart, and longings into one's hands and giving them into God's keeping, and in seeking always to do what is pleasing to Him. "I do always the things that please him" (John, viii, 29). The two holy founders saw their undertaking prosper. At the time of the death of St. Francis de Sales in 1622, the order already counted thirteen houses; there were eighty-six when St. Jane Frances died; and 164 when she was canonized.

The remainder of the saint's life was spent under the protection of the cloister in the practice of the most admirable virtues. If a gentle kindness, vivified and strengthened by a complete spirit of renunciation, predominates in St. Francis de Sales, it is firmness and great vigour which prevails in St. Jane Frances; she did not like to see her daughters giving way to human weakness. Her trials were continuous and borne bravely, and yet she was exceedingly sensitive. Celse-Benigne was an incorrigible duellist. She prayed so fervently that he was given the grace to die a Christian death on the battle-field, during the campaign against the Isle of Re (1627). He left a daughter who became the famous Marquise de Sevigne. To family troubles God added interior crosses which, particularly during the last nine years of her life, kept her in agony of soul from which she was not freed until three months before her death.

Her reputation for sanctity was widespread. Queens, princes, and princesses flocked to the reception-room of the Visitation. Wherever she went to establish foundations, the people gave her ovations. "These people", she would say confused, "do not know me; they are mistaken". Her body is venerated with that of St. Francis de Sales in the church of the Visitation at Annecy. She was beatified in 1751, canonized in 1767, and 21 August was appointed as her feast day.

The life of the saint was written in the seventeenth century, with inimitable charm, by her secretary, Mother de Chaugy. Monsignor Bougaud, who died Bishop of Laval, published in 1863 a "Histoire de Sainte Chantal" which had a great and well-deserved success.

The words of the saint comprise instructions on the religious life, various minor works, among which is the admirable "Deposition for the Process of Beatification of St. Francis de Sales", and a great many letters. The Saint's qualities are seen in her precise and vigorous style, void of imagery but betraying a repressed emotion, and bursting forth spontaneously from the heart, anticipating in its method the beautiful French of the seventeenth century. The book which may be called her masterpiece, "Reponses sur les Regles, Constitutions et Coutumes", a truly practical and complete code of the religious life, is not in circulation. 
Matthew 20: 1 - 16
1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place;
4 and to them he said, `You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went.
5 Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, `Why do you stand here idle all day?'
7 They said to him, `Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, `You go into the vineyard too.'
8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, `Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.'
9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.
10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.
11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder,
12 saying, `These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.'
13 But he replied to one of them, `Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?
14 Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you.
15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?'
16 So the last will be first, and the first last."
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