Sunday, September 5, 2010









Vatican Channel: Align your life to the truth, even by making choices that are incomprehensible to the contemporary world. This was the exhortation that Pope Benedict XVI addressed to young people, a few days after the publication of his message for the next World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011 on the theme "Rooted in and founded on Christ, sound in the faith" .

In remarks at the Angelus prayer with the faithful gathered in the courtyard of the Papal Summer Residence at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father said that, in a society that too often exalts uncertainty, mobility, volatility, - "all aspects that reflect a culture undecided about its core values," he asks young people to put down their roots in Christ, loving His Church."


Kolkata (AsiaNews REPORT)On the eve of the celebrations for the Blessed, AsiaNews interviewed Mgr Henry D’Souza, archbishop emeritus of Calcutta, who spent 35 years by the nun’s side. Since 1997, he has been the postulator for her cause of canonisation.
– On the eve of the celebrations for the Blessed Mother Teresa, remembered by both Church and government in many initiatives, AsiaNews spoke to Mgr Henry D’Souza, archbishop emeritus of Calcutta (Kolkata), who spent more than 35 years by the nun’s side, and has been the postulator of Mother Teresa’s cause of canonisation since 1997.
Your Excellency, when did you first meet Mother Teresa and what struck you of that meeting?
I saw Mother Teresa helping people in hospitals during the India-Pakistan war over Bangladesh’s independence in 1971. One event that stands out deeply touched me, which I consider as the first true meeting with Mother Teresa.
At the time, I was the diocese’s vicar and was in charge of the local Caritas. The government asked us to open a hospital for refugees from Bangladesh who were filling the streets of Calcutta.
When I went to the hospital to check how things were going, I saw the nuns taking care of the patients until 2 pm before going back to their convent. I was unhappy with the situation and so I asked Mother Teresa why she would not allow her sisters to stay in the hospital for the entire day. She spontaneously answered saying, “We are not social workers. I asked my sisters to go home and pray before the Blessed Sacrament to find Jesus in their hearts and see him in the people they treat.”
That answer gave new meaning to my vocation and today is the basis of my spiritual life.
You once said that Mother wrote a letter in which she said, “With me the sunshine of darkness is bright.” Tell us about it.
The sunshine of darkness refers to the mystical and spiritual light that shines in every dramatic circumstances of life. Mother Teresa had the Grace to bring light in the spiritual darkness of people. A few days ago, a missionary of charity told me about a number of reported spiritual miracles that have occurred in the past few years. Such “healings” are not physical and do not play any role in her cause of canonisation; however, they tell of people who after a moment of desperation and darkness find faith and joy again, unexpectedly, through the intercession of Mother Teresa.

One of them spoke of a Jehovah’s Witness who was tired of his religion and decided to leave his community, but once made, the choice left him empty and he did not know how to fill his spiritual emptiness.

He looked at Catholics with disgust, but one day he woke up and decided to find out about Mother Teresa’s life on the internet. On one site, he read about her life story, her love for Jesus and her disinterested attitude towards everyone.
Thinking about someone so good made him dizzy. He printed out a picture of Mother Teresa with a child in her arms. As he looked at the image, he heard a voice tell him, “Love Jesus, don't deny Him your love. He needs you.’ These words led him to convert to Catholicism. In a letter, he wrote, “I now have Jesus, something I never had before. I feel Mother Teresa with me; I know she’s by my side.”
Mother Teresa spread the light of hope. Where there was despair, she brought hope; where there was frustration, she calmed fears. She was the incarnation of the love of Jesus, which is always present in suffering, pain, sadness, distress and joy. She transmitted the love that was around her, giving a new meaning to difficult circumstances. The real Missio Ad Gentes is to spread the light of the Gospel through one’s life, to be, as Mother Teresa always said, “the light of God’s love for the world.”
Although Macedonian by birth, Mother Teresa has come to be identified with India. What did the culture of this country mean to her?
When Mother Teresa received what she called “a call within a call”, she immersed herself in the culture of the people she met. When she left the Convent of the Sisters of Loreto, she left behind the traditional habit and veil to wear the blue-striped white sari worn by ayah, Calcutta’s street-cleaning women, and began touring the slums of the city.
Walking the streets, she met the poorest of the poor, and came into direct contact with our country’s culture, as an Indian among Indians. In walking around Calcutta’s poorest neighbourhoods, Mother Teresa saw the value and worth of the poor, qualities that too often go unseen.
She discovered the joy of the poorest among the poor, their generosity and nobility in dealing with each other, and shared these values with her sisters, who in the poor discovered the words of the Gospel.’s-first-hundred-years,-light-of-God’s-love-for-the-world-19370.html


CBN REPORT: Capt. Dale Goetz of the 4th Infantry Division stationed at Colorado's Fort Carson has become the first U.S. military chaplain killed in action since the Vietnam War.
Goetz and four others were killed in Afghanistan on Monday. They were traveling in a convoy that was attacked by insurgents, who used an improvised explosive device.
Goetz left the First Baptist Church in White, S.D. in 2003 to begin training for his work as a chaplain. Church trustee David Lucas said he was concerned about a shortage of chaplains in the military.

"I know for sure he was there asking them, 'Where are you at with the Lord' and do you know the Lord is your personal Savoir?'" Lucas said. "'And if not, I can help you get there.'"

Goetz joined the U.S. Army in 2000 and was previously deployed to Iraq in 2004. He leaves behind a wife and three sons.

The Army's chief of chaplains, Maj. Gen. Douglas Carver, said in a statement, "Dale was a selfless servant of God, a devoted husband and father, a strong American patriot, and a compassionate spiritual leader whose love for soldiers was only surpassed by his firm commitment to living his calling as a United States Army Chaplain."

More than 400 Army chaplains are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.


CNN REPORT -- Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow was enjoying a pint at his local pub in the Scottish Highlands when he got an idea that would change his life -- and the lives of thousands of others.

It was 1992, and MacFarlane-Barrow and his brother Fergus had just seen a news report about refugee camps in Bosnia. The images of people suffering in the war-torn country shocked the two salmon farmers, who'd visited there as teenagers and remembered the warmth of the Bosnian people.

"We began saying 'Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could just do one small thing to help?' " MacFarlane-Barrow says.

After talking it over, the two men took a week off work and collected food, clothing, medicine and blankets. They loaded everything into an old Land Rover, drove to Bosnia to deliver it and returned to Scotland.

"I came back here thinking that I did my one good deed and it would be back to work, but it [didn't work] out like that, " he says.

When they arrived home, the brothers found an avalanche of goods that people had continued to donate while they were away.

"I was touched by the overwhelming generosity of others," MacFarlane-Barrow remembers. "I saw all of those donations in our family home and thought, 'Wow, people really are good,' and it inspired me to be good too."

After much thought and prayer, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow quit his job, sold his home and dedicated himself to helping people in need.

He returned to Bosnia with aid 22 more times during the Bosnian War, and over the next 18 years his work expanded and evolved. Today, his program -- Mary's Meals, named after the Virgin Mary -- provides free daily meals to more than 400,000 children around the world.

MacFarlane-Barrow found his current focus in 2002 while working in Malawi -- a country ravaged by famine and AIDS -- when he met a local teenager who just wanted a decent meal and an education.

"The mother of the family was dying of AIDS. She was lying on her bare mud floor, and she had her six children around her, " he says. "I started talking to her oldest child, Edward. And Edward said, 'I'd like to have enough food to eat. I'd like to go to school one day.' "

In response, he launched Mary's Meals, which strives to break the cycle of poverty by feeding children a daily meal at school. The food -- in most places a mug of maize-based porridge -- gives students an incentive to continue their schooling and helps them focus better on their studies. It's a formula that MacFarlane-Barrow says is working.

"Pass rates go up dramatically in the schools where we start providing Mary's Meals," he says. "We've seen huge improvements in attendance rates and academic performance."

Mary's Meals partners with local residents, who handle the daily work of cooking and serving the food. In Malawi -- the group's largest effort -- more than 10,000 volunteers donate their time on a regular basis.

The program operates in more than 500 schools and child-care facilities in 15 countries, a global effort that MacFarlane-Barrow coordinates from a tin shed on his parents' property in Scotland. While the married father of six lives on the property, he spends most of his time abroad, overseeing the project and visiting the schools where meals are served.

"I see the children's faces as they eat their meal, " he says. "Knowing I can transform their lives keeps me motivated."

But there are always new challenges to overcome, most recently in Haiti, where Mary's Meals has operated since 2006. Working in partnership with a local Catholic priest, the group was feeding about 12,000 children a day when the earthquake hit in January.

Much of the infrastructure the program relied on in the slums of Cite Soleil was destroyed, so the group's mission expanded. They helped create temporary classrooms and are rebuilding eight schools in the area. In addition to their school-based feeding program, the group now feeds about 2,000 elderly Haitians and is providing additional food and medicine to the community.

MacFarlane-Barrow is driven by his Christian faith, but there is no ministry aspect to his work. "We are very careful to never link feeding and faith," he says. "We serve those who are in need ... period.

"When I think of Mary's Meals I think of it as a series of lots and lots of little acts of love, " he says. "I've learned ... that every small act of kindness does make a difference."

Want to get involved? Check out the Mary's Meals websites at  and  and see how to help.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – "The Zimbabwean refugees with whom I have spoken are very concerned about the regularization measure decided on by the South African government, as the situation in their country has not changed," Fides was told by Fr. Mario Tessarotto, Scalabrinian missionary in Cape Town who assists refugees from other African countries.
On September 2, the South African government announced that by the end of the year it will withdraw the special permit granted to thousands of Zimbabweans, allowing them to reside in South Africa without documents. "After December 31, all undocumented Zimbabweans will be treated the same way and will start being expelled," said a spokesman for the South African government.
"South Africa and Zimbabwe have very complex relationships involving the ruling parties in their respective countries," said Fr. Mario, who questions the viability of the measure: "I think this measure will be difficult to implement. The ANC, the party in power, is divided between a populist current, sympathetic to the position of the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, who supports the return of refugees, and another that wants to maintain good relations with the United States. The latter current fears that the expulsion of refugees may harm relations with Washington, especially on economic terms."
There is a strong community of Zimbabweans living in South Africa - about 1 ½ million people who left their country to escape hunger and political persecution. "Zimbabwe was once considered the breadbasket of Southern Africa; some people even called it the Switzerland of Africa. The economic policy of its leadership has plunged the country downwards, now making it among one of the poorest nations in the world with a massive unemployment rate and a crumbling agricultural economy that has forced Zimbabwe to have to import food from abroad," mentions Fr. Mario.
The presence of a high number of refugees from Zimbabwe, to which are added the immigrants from other countries like Mozambique, has led to tensions with the South African population and resulted in severe episodes of intolerance and xenophobia (see Fides 23/5/2008), which were condemned by the Catholic Church in South Africa (see Fides 29/5/2008).
"We missionaries tried to calm tempers and to promote development projects to benefit both refugees and South Africans, to make them understand that the Zimbabweans did not come to "steal their jobs." For example, we help 2,500 Zimbabweans in De Doorns, a farming village in the Cape Province, where there are still incidents of violence against them. Just a few days ago, two Zimbabwean citizens were killed," said Fr. Mario.
Several South African human rights organizations have expressed their opposition to the order revoking the special permit of residence out of concern for a possible revival of political violence in Zimbabwe, on the occasion of 2011 elections.


Cath News report: Brisbane artist Leonard Brown, who has been ordained in the Russian Orthodox Church - and once sang on stage with the Bee Gees - has won the prestigious $20,000 first prize in Australia's annual Blake Prize for religious art.
Brown's painstaking and deceptively simple abstract painting If You Put Your Ear Close, You'll Hear it Breathing pipped other more graphic and controversial works, including pedophilia in the Catholic Church (Rodney Pople) and racism (Fiona White, who won the $5000 prize for human justice), said a Sydney Morning Herald report.

The three judges described Brown's as ''a work with an enormous spiritual presence [and] outstanding visual intelligence''.

Brown, 61, laughs off his appearance with the Gibb brothers (he was only 11) and says he has stepped back from ecclesiastical duties. ''But there's no such thing as an ex-priest,'' he declares. ''With theology, as with art, there's no retirement.''

He converted to the Russian Orthodox Church from Anglicanism in 1974, and still paints traditional Byzantine icons for churches and private individuals, though not for public viewing. It's a completely different discipline to his work as an exhibiting artist.

''When I am working liturgically, I am like a scribe in an ancient scriptorium transcribing a scripture,'' he says. ''There are things which cannot be altered. Ego has to be left at the door.''

By contrast, works like the one which won the Blake ''are my own personal poetry, the images are not liturgical''.

(  report) Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 26, 1910. The Bojaxhiu family was of Albanian descent. When she turned 18 she entered the Sisters of Loreto of Ireland. She took the name Teresa after St. Therese of Lisieux. She taught in a missionary school in India until 1948. While traveling through India she felt God calling her to serve the poorest of the poor. She received permission to leave her order and began to help the poor with volunteers.
In 1950, she was given permission from the Vatican to start the order "The Missionaries of Charity".
In 1979, she received the Nobel peace prize for her tireless work for the poor.
Her order rapidly spread around the world to care for the poor, sick and marginalized in over 120 countries. She spoke of this ministry in her own words, "I once picked up a woman from a garbage dump and she was burning with fever; she was in her last days and her only lament was: ‘My son did this to me.’ I begged her: You must forgive your son. In a moment of madness, when he was not himself, he did a thing he regrets. Be a mother to him, forgive him. It took me a long time to make her say: ‘I forgive my son.’ Just before she died in my arms, she was able to say that with a real forgiveness. She was not concerned that she was dying. The breaking of the heart was that her son did not want her. This is something you and I can understand."

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Mother died in 1997 when her order had 610 institutions in 123 countries world wide. Mother Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003. Her 100th birthday was celebrated around the world by many with special tributes. India has created a stamp with her image.


St. Bertin


Feast: September 5

Information: Feast Day: September 5

Born: 615, Constance

Died: 709

Abbot of St. Omer, b. near Constance about 615; d. about 709. At an early age he entered the monastery of Luxeuil in France where, under the austere Rule of St. Columban, he prepared himself for his future missionary career. About the year 638 he set out, in company with two confrères, Mummolin and Ebertram, for the extreme northern part of France in order to assist his friend and kinsman, Bishop St. Omer, in the evangelization of the Morini. This country, now in the Department Pas-de-Calais, was then one vast marsh, studded here and there with hillocks and overgrown with seaweed and bulrushes. On one of these hillocks,Bertin and his companions built a small house whence they went out daily to preach the word of God among the natives, most of whom were still heathens. Gradually some converted heathens joined the little band of missionaries and a larger monastery had to be built. A tract of land called Sithiu had been donated to Omer by a converted nobleman named Adrowald. Omer now turned this whole tract over to the missionaries, who selected a suitable place on it for their new monastery. But the community grew so rapidly that in a short time this monastery also became too small and another was built where the city of St. Omer now stands. Shortly after Bertin's death it received the name of St. Bertin. Mummolin, perhaps because he was the oldest of the missionaries, was abbot of the two monasteries until he succeeded the deceased St. Eligius as Bishop of Noyon, about the year 659. Bertin then became abbot. The fame of Bertin's learning and sanctity was so great that in a short time more than 150 monks lived under his rule, among them St. Winnoc and his three companions who had come from Brittany to join Bertin's community and assist in the conversion of the heathen. When nearly the whole neighbourhood was Christianized, and the marshy land transformed into a fertile plain, Bertin, knowing that his death was not far off, appointed Rigobert, a pious monk, as his successor, while he himself spent the remainder of his life preparing for a happy death. Bertin began to be venerated as a saint soon after his death. His feast is celebrated on 5 September. In medieval times the Abbey of St. Bertin was famous as a centre of sanctity and learning. The "Annales Bertiniani" (830-882; Mon. Germ. Hist.: Script., I, 419-515) are important for the contemporary history of the West Frankish Kingdom. The abbey church, now in ruins, was one of the finest fourteenth-century Gothic edifices. In later times its library, archives, and art-treasures were renowned both in and out of France. The monks were expelled in 1791 and in 1799 the abbey and its church were sold at auction. The valuable charters of the abbey are published in Guérard, "Cartulaire de l'abbaye de St. Bertin" (Paris, 1841; appendix by Morand, ibid., 1861). The list of abbots is given in "Gallia Christiana nova", III, 485 sqq. See Laplane, "Abbés de St. Bertin" (St. Omer, 1854-55).


Wisdom 9: 13 - 18
13 For what man can learn the counsel of God? Or who can discern what the Lord wills?
14 For the reasoning of mortals is worthless, and our designs are likely to fail,
15 for a perishable body weighs down the soul, and this earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind.
16 We can hardly guess at what is on earth, and what is at hand we find with labor; but who has traced out what is in the heavens?
17 Who has learned thy counsel, unless thou hast given wisdom and sent thy holy Spirit from on high?
18 And thus the paths of those on earth were set right, and men were taught what pleases thee, and were saved by wisdom."

Psalms 90: 3 - 6, 12 - 13, 14 - 17
3 Thou turnest man back to the dust, and sayest, "Turn back, O children of men!"
4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
5 Thou dost sweep men away; they are like a dream, like grass which is renewed in the morning:
6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.
12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
13 Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on thy servants!
14 Satisfy us in the morning with thy steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad as many days as thou hast afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil.
16 Let thy work be manifest to thy servants, and thy glorious power to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish thou the work of our hands upon us, yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

Philemon 1: 9 - 10, 12 - 17
9 yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you -- I, Paul, an ambassador and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus --
10 I appeal to you for my child, Ones'imus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment.
12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart.
13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel;
14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will.
15 Perhaps this is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back for ever,
16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me.

Luke 14: 25 - 33
25 Now great multitudes accompanied him; and he turned and said to them,
26 "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
30 saying, `This man began to build, and was not able to finish.'
31 Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace.
33 So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
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