Friday, September 10, 2010









VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2010 (VIS REPORT) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram to Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome, for the Jewish festivities of Rosh Hashanah 5771 (New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), which all fall in the month of September.

On these feast days, writes the Pope, "it is my pleasure to express the most cordial and sincere best wishes to you and to the entire Jewish community of Rome, together with the hope that these festivities may bring copious blessings from the Eternal One and be a source of intimate joy. May we all feel a growing desire to promote justice and peace, of which the world today has such need.

"With gratitude and affection I recall my visit to the Great Synagogue. May God, in His goodness, protect the entire community and enable it to develop in shared friendship, both in Rome and in the world".


VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

"This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Pal Schmitt, president of the Republic of Hungary. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

"The cordial discussions provided an opportunity to examine the situation in the country, with particular reference to the contribution the Catholic Church makes to the common good, especially in the fields of family and social life. Attention also turned to the forthcoming six-month Hungarian presidency of the European Union and to certain problems concerning the current international political situation".


VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Northeast region 3), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. In his address to them, he highlighted how "the evangelising activity of the Catholic Church was and continues to be crucial in determining the identity of the Brazilian people, an identity characterised by harmonious coexistence among people from different regions and cultures. However, although the values of the Catholic faith have moulded the hearts and minds of Brazilians, today we are seeing that new elements in society, practically unknown just a few decades ago, are exercising a growing influence. This has led to many Catholics abandoning Church life and even the Church herself, while in the religious panorama of Brazil we see the rapid expansion of Evangelical and neo-Pentecostal communities".

"In a certain sense", he told the bishops, "the success of these groups is a sign of a widespread thirst for God among your people. It is also indicative of an evangelisation, at a personal level, which is sometimes superficial. ... In this context it is necessary, first and foremost, for the Catholic Church in Brazil to commit to a new evangelisation which spares no efforts in seeking out lapsed Catholics and people who know little or nothing of the evangelical message, bringing them to a personal encounter with the living person of Jesus Christ Who is active in His Church. Moreover, with the growth of new groups who claim to follow Christ, though divided among various communities and confessions, it is necessary for Catholic pastors to seek compromise and build bridges to establish contact through ecumenical dialogue in truth".

Benedict XVI highlighted how "the lack of unity is a cause of scandal which, in the final analysis, undermines the credibility of the Christian message proclaimed in society. Today such proclamation is perhaps even more necessary than it was some years ago, because ... intellectual and mortal relativism is having an increasingly negative influence of peoples lives".

Referring then to the many obstacles impeding the search for unity among Christians, the Pope underlined the need "to reject an erroneous view of ecumenism, one which leads to a certain doctrinal indifference and seeks (in a kind of uncritical irenicism) to level all 'opinions' to a kind of ecclesiological relativism. At the same time the continual increase of new Christian groups, some of which adopt aggressive proselytism, continues to pose a challenge; this shows how the ecumenical panorama continues to be highly diverse and confused".

The Holy Father encouraged the bishops to continue their efforts "to dialogue with the Churches and ecclesial communities which belong to the National Council of Christian Churches and which, through initiatives such as the Campaign of Ecumenical Fraternity, help to promote Gospel values in Brazilian society".

"Dialogue among Christians", Pope Benedict went on, "is a current imperative and an indispensable option for the Church. As Vatican Council II said, prayer, conversion and the sanctification of life must lie at the heart of all efforts towards unity".

Benedict XVI concluded by highlighting how "pastors must remain obedient to the will of the Lord, promoting concrete initiatives free from any kind of conformist reductionism but realised with the sincerity and realism, the patience and perseverance, which flow from the providential action of the Holy Spirit".


VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See will once again participate in the celebration of European Heritage Days, an initiative of the Council of Europe in which more than 50 countries on the continent take part. The celebrations this year will take place on Sunday 26 September and have as their theme: "European Heritage for Inter-cultural Dialogue".
A communique made public today explains that the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, the Vatican Museums and the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology are all collaborating in the event.
On 26 September visitors will be able to enter the Vatican Museums free of charge. Entrance to all catacombs in Rome that are normally open to the public (San Callisto, Domitilla, Priscilla, St. Agnes and St. Sebastian) will also be free.
Also on 26 September a photographic exhibition will be inaugurated at the San Callisto Catacombs on the Old Appian Way. The exhibition - entitled "The origins of the catacombs of San Callisto: art and history" - will remain open until 27 October.
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VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Bishop Ottorino Assolari C.S.F. of Serrinha, Brazil, on his "ad limina" visit.

Agenzia Fides REPORT – A fire has destroyed the church of the Catholic Copts in the village of Hagazah, Quena Province, Upper Egypt, in the Diocese of Tebe - Luxor. Fides was informed of the event through Bishop Joannes Zakaria, Coptic Catholic Bishop of Luxor, Egypt.
Towards one o'clock in the morning of Monday, September 6, 2010, I received a dozen phone calls to inform me that a major fire had broken out in the village church of Hagazah," Bishop Zakaria told Fides. "When I arrived in Hagazah, I saw that the fire had destroyed the entire church building and that nothing had been spared."
"In the days that followed, I met with government authorities, and police chiefs, who informed me that the fire had been caused by a short circuit. During the meeting, I asked their permission to prepare a provisional arrangement to celebrate Mass next Sunday for the 600 Catholic Copts living in the village of Hagazah, but unfortunately they have responded negatively," said the Bishop of Luxor.
"This village has a difficult history of violence, tribulation, and not very good relations between Christians and Muslims," Bishop recalls Zakaria
The Coptic Catholic Church in Hagazah was founded by the Franciscan Friars Minor in 1890.
"It is worth noting that this is the third fire in my diocese. Three years ago, the third floor of the Bishop's Residence in Luxor was burned, and a year ago, part of the house of the Franciscan Sisters Minor of the Sacred Heart was burned, in the city of Isna. This year, the Catholic Church in the village of Hagazah was burnt. In all three cases, the cause of the fire was always a short circuit," says Bishop Zakaria.
"We – myself, the poor parish priest, and the 600 Coptic Catholic faithful of Hagazah - need your prayers and your solidarity, so that our courage may not fail and so that our Good Lord will help us to continue to live and witness to our faith in love and peace," concluded the Bishop of Luxor.


CNA report: - Christopher Stefanick, the Archdiocese of Denver's director of Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministry, has recorded a new video for Catholic News Agency, discussing the dangers that incoming college students will face as the school year begins.

A number of unprecedented challenges, Stefanick said, come with the new independence of undergraduate life. The experience of separation from family, friends, and previous parish communities, he said, was comparable to an animal being “separated from the herd” for the first time.

But while this independence is exciting and offers new opportunities, it also involves real dangers. Stefanick highlighted four key areas of life where college students must be especially careful in order to avoid compromising their futures and spiritual lives.

Credit cards, presented in an appealing manner and with attractive offers, “lead to so much financial pain and disaster in the lives of young people,” according to Stefanick. The youth minister explained how many college students overestimate their own finances and misunderstand what is being offered.

As a result, 19 percent of bankruptcies filed last year were by college students.

Stefanick also strongly warned against sexual promiscuity on campus. Between freshman year and graduation, one in four college students will become infected with one of the various sexually transmitted diseases, which cannot be reliably prevented by any means other than abstinence.

Besides the risk of infection or pregnancy, Stefanick warned against the lifelong psychological wounds left by sex outside of marriage, and the shipwreck of one's spiritual life. Explaining “how far is too far” in dating relationships, the youth minister offered a simple rule: “The moment you close the door, you just went too far. Keep the door open, you'll stay out of trouble.”

Drugs and alcohol, he recounted, also take a heavy toll on many students looking to relax or bond with friends. Stefanick advised that in addition to staying sober, new students should look for a reliable group of drug-free and responsible friends.
One of the most common difficulties in college is the onset of stress and depression. Suicide is a real danger in the college population, Stefanick noted, with freshman year providing some of the most stressful times of one's life. “Don't let shame isolate you” from seeking help from parents, trustworthy priests, campus ministers, or professional counselors, he advised.
Stefanick concluded his message by stressing the importance of developing meaningful friendships based on sharing and living the Catholic faith. Although it can be difficult to “find a new herd,” he said, it is the best way to avoid the dangers to one's present, future, and soul: “Everything can hinge on those friends you make in the first few days of being on campus.”
He encouraged students to connect with any available Catholic ministries, such as FOCUS missionaries or the college's Newman Center, or to contact the diocese if groups cannot be located, before arriving on campus.

With the aid of these resources, Stefanick assured viewers, students could thrive, rather than being “devoured” by the dangers of their new independence.


Asia News report: The Muslim world reacts to the ‘Burn-the-Qur‘an’ with protests. Christians come under pressure, despite their condemnation of the initiative. For the bishop of Lahore, Jones is “insane”.
Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Reactions in the Muslim world to ‘Burn-the-Qur‘an’ Day promoted by a US clergyman have included setting fire to one church and attacking others in Pakistan, demonstrations organised by Islamic groups with thousands of people in the streets of Indonesia and Afghanistan, and one death reported in the latter, this despite the fact that Rev Terry Jones, after considerable equivocation, said finally that he would not go through with his initiative.
Reports from Pakistan say that Muslim extremists have attacked three churches in Narowal District, setting one on fire in Saidpur village. Extremist groups have also announced that they would burn all Christian churches in the country if Jones burnt the Qur‘an.
Pakistan’s .8 million Christians are under tremendous pressure, even though as soon as news about the Florida clergyman’s plans became public knowledge, Churches and Christian organisations firmly condemned the initiative. Mgr Alexander John Malik, bishop of Lahore, said that Terry Jones was “insane”, adding that he was getting a lot of cheap popularity for such an evil act.
Protests have erupted around the Muslim world. One person died in Afghanistan when a crowd gathered in front of a NATO base to protest. At least five Afghan provinces have seen similar protests. In northern Kabul, hundreds of demonstrators gathered, whilst another 2,000 marched on a government building in Farah. Similar occurrences have been reported in Badghis, Ghor and Herat.
This morning, Afghan President Karzai warned the pastor against burning the Qur‘an. Indonesia and other countries have also undertaken diplomatic initiatives.
Today, a spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry called Rev Jones’ initiative “satanic” and “provocative”. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference called it an "outrageous path of hatred”.,-church-set-on-fire-in-Pakistan-19429.html


CathNews report: NSW's Same Sex Adoption legislation is "bad social engineering" and would "eliminate mothers and fathers", said Sydney's Cardinal George Pell.
He called on members of the Legislative Council to defeat the proposed legislation when it comes to vote, reports The Catholic Weekly.
"Same-sex parenting orders are already available and the proposed legislation has little to do with extending even mistaken notions of human rights," he said.

"Beyond inner Sydney it is not a popular proposal. It should be defeated in the Legislative Council."

Same-sex relationships were already appropriately recognised and provided for by NSW and Commonwealth law, he said, and they allowed same-sex partners to fully exercise all parenting responsibilities, without severing the child's legal relationship with his or her biological parents.

"My opposition to the bill is not an attack on homosexual persons or on the ability of a homosexual person to love and care for a child. That's not in question. The laws that enable same-sex parenting acknowledge that.

"But the right of every child to know and, where possible, be raised by his or her natural parents is not only recognised by major religious traditions but is affirmed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Independant Catholic News report: Racial Justice Sunday is celebrated by the Churches in Britain and Ireland on the second Sunday in September each year. On Sunday 12 September 2010, Christians across the four nations will celebrate Racial Justice Sunday with focus on the theme of "Migration' Building Bridges or Barriers?" On this Racial Justice Sunday we are challenged to examine the question 'who is my neighbour' in the light of the theme of Migration.

Bishop Patrick Lynch, chair of the Office for Migration Policy at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales said: "The phenomenon of migration has always been part of human history. The International Organisation for Migration defines migration as 'the movement of people either across an international border or within a State. It is a population movement, encompassing any kind of movement of people, whatever its length, composition and causes; it includes the migration of refugees, displaced persons, uprooted people and economic migrants'

"The Church recognises that migration of people, both voluntary and involuntary "has turned into a structural reality of contemporary society" (Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi). It is a global phenomenon, touching all regions, crossing all ecclesiastical and national boundaries and affects millions of human beings.

"In Britain over the last few years, there has been a transformation of the social character of the dioceses in England and Wales. We sometimes call it "the Changing Face of Britain". Across the country in all our dioceses but especially in our large cities, we have migrants from many parts of the world adding vibrancy to our parishes. In the 'Mission of the Church to Migrants' the Bishops of England and Wales have considered this new social reality and have called for a more visible culture of welcome, hospitality and solidarity with migrants.

"Racial Justice Sunday gives us the opportunity to recognise the suffering migrants have experienced through misunderstanding, exploitation, insecurity, uncertainty, injustice and poverty but also to celebrate the rich cultural and spiritual patrimony of migrants and to give visibility to the ways they are enriching us in our parishes and dioceses. It is an opportunity not to be indifferent to those around us, 'who unsettle us and do not look or speak like us' but to identify them as our neighbours and to reach out to the people we do not know, to migrants, to refugees and people seeking sanctuary who share the pews in our parishes. The Church calls us to be open minded and welcoming to migrants and refugees, to listen to their stories to celebrate the values they bring to our communities and to stand in solidarity with them.
"In the materials developed for parishes by the Catholic Association for Racial Justice and the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland for Racial Justice Sunday the suggested homilies remind us 'that all human beings long to find space to tell their story'. This year we are called to listen to the stories of migrants. We are invited to appreciate that 'the prodigal son is a beautiful parable about the mercy of God, but it's also a parable about the suffering that immigrants and strangers experience in their everyday lives.

"This Sunday we are encouraged to open our hearts to those suffering around us, to build bridges with those who seem different to us and to remove the barriers that separate us from truly being the family of God."

RJS Resources are available at


St. Nicholas of Tolentino

Feast: September 10
Information: Feast Day: September 10
Born: 1246 AD
Died: 1305 AD
Canonized: 5 June (Pentecost) 1446 by Pope Eugene IV

Patron of: animals; babies; boatmen; dying people; mariners; sailors; sick animals; souls in purgatory; watermen

This Nicholas was born in answer to his mother's prayers. Childless and in middle age, she had made a pilgrimage with her husband to the shrine of St. Nicholas of Bari to ask for a son whom she promised to dedicate to God's service. When her wish was granted, she named the boy Nicholas and he soon gave unusual signs of saintliness. Already at seven he would hide away in a nearby cave and pray there like the hermits whom he had observed in the mountains. As soon as he was old enough he was received into the Order of Augustinian friars. On account of his kind and gentle manner his superiors entrusted him with the daily feeding of the poor at the monastery gates, but at times he was so free with the friary's provisions that the procurator begged the superior to check his generosity. He was ordained in 1271 and said his first Mass with exceptional fervor; thereafter, whenever he celebrated the holy Mystery he seemed aglow with the fire of his love. His preaching, instructions and work in the confessional brought about numerous conversions, and his many miracles were responsible for more, yet he was careful not to take any credit for these miracles. "Say nothing of this," he would insist, "give thanks to God, not to me. I am only a vessel of clay, a poor sinner." He spent the last thirty years of his life in Tolentino, where the Guelfs and the Ghibellines were in constant strife. Nicholas saw only one remedy to the violence: street preaching, and the success of this apostolic work was astounding. "He spoke of the things of heaven," says his biographer St. Antonine. "Sweetly he preached the divine word, and the words that came from his lips fell like flames of fire. Among his hearers could be seen the tears and heard the sighs of people detesting their sins and repenting of their past lives." During the last years of his life St. Nicholas was bedridden and suffered grievously. He died surrounded by his community. In 1345 a lay Brother cut off the arms of his body intending to take them to Germany as relics, and the friars then hid his body to prevent further attempts of this kind. It has not been found to this day, but the arms have been preserved. It is recorded that they have bled on several occasions, usually, it is said, before some calamity that befell the Church or the world
TODAY'S GOSPEL: SEPT. 10: Luke 6: 39 - 42

Luke 6: 39 - 42
39 He also told them a parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?
40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher.
41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
42 Or how can you say to your brother, `Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.
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