Wednesday, September 15, 2010







CLARE OF ASSISI: A DECISIVE IMPULSE TO CHURCH RENEWAL VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2010 (VIS REPORT) - Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis during this morning's general audience to St. Clare of Assisi (1193-1253), a contemporary of St. Francis and one of the most beloved saints of the Catholic Church. "Her witness", the Pope said, "shows us how much the Church is indebted to courageous women rich in faith who, like her, were capable of giving a decisive impulse to ecclesial renewal". Clare, the Holy Father explained, was born to a rich and noble family. While she was still very young, her relatives decided to arrange an important marriage for her, but at the age of eighteen the saint, in a bold gesture inspired by a profound desire to follow Christ, abandoned her family home in the company of a friend. She joined the Friars Minor at the church of Porziuncola and Francis himself welcomed her in a simple ceremony, cutting her hair and investing her with the penitential habit. From that moment Clare became a poor and humble bride of Christ, and dedicated herself entirely to Him. "Clare found in Francis of Assisi, especially at the beginning of her religious experience, not only a master whose teachings to follow but also a fraternal friend. The friendship between these two saints is a beautiful and important element, for when two pure souls enflamed with the same love for God meet, from their mutual friendship they draw a powerful stimulus to follow the path of perfection. Friendship is one of the most noble and exalted human sentiments, which divine Grace purifies and transfigures". The Flemish bishop and chronicler Jacques de Vitry, who visited Italy during that period, speaks of Clare and her followers in the early days of the Franciscan movement and notes her sensibility towards "a characteristic trait of Franciscan spirituality: ... radical poverty associated with complete trust in Divine Providence". For this reason the saint received "from Pope Gregory IX, or perhaps earlier, from Innocent III", the so-called "Privilegium Paupertatis" according to which Clare and her followers "could possess no material property. This", the Pope explained, "was a truly extraordinary exception to then current Canon Law, granted by the ecclesiastical authorities of the time in appreciation of the fruits of evangelical sanctity they saw in the lifestyle of Clare and her consoeurs. "This shows", he added, "how even during the Middle Ages women played an important not a secondary role. In this context it must be remembered that Clare was the first woman in Church history to produce a written Rule, approved by the Pope, so that the charism of Francis of Assisi could be conserved in all the many female communities which were coming into being at that time, and which sought to draw inspiration from the example of Francis and Clare. "In her convent of San Damiano, Clare heroically practised the virtues that should characterise all Christians: humility, a spirit of piety and penance, and charity". Her fame of sanctity and the prodigies that came about thanks to her intervention led Pope Alexander IV to canonise her in 1255, just two years after her death. Her followers, the Poor Clares, still "play a vital role in the Church with their prayer and their works", Pope Benedict concluded.AG/

APPEAL FOR PEACE IN INDIA, PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At the end of his general audience this morning, the Pope pronounced the following appeal: "With great concern I am following the events that have taken place recently in southern Asia, especially in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. I pray for the victims and ask that respect for religious freedom and the logic of reconciliation and peace may prevail over hatred and violence".AG/ VIS 20100915

HOLY SEE AND BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA RATIFY AN AGREEMENT VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2010 (VIS) - A communique made public yesterday afternoon announced that, on the morning of 14 September, a ceremony took place in the Vatican to exchange the instruments of ratification of an Agreement between the Holy See and Bosnia Herzegovina concerning religious assistance to Catholic faithful who are members of that country's armed forces. The Agreement itself was signed in Sarajevo on 8 April. The ceremony was attended by, among others, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, and Sven Alkalaj, foreign minister of Bosnia Herzegovina. The Agreement came into effect on the day the instruments of ratification were exchanged.OP/

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Kalemie-Kirungu, Democratic Republic of Congo, presented by Bishop Dominique Kimpinde, upon having reached the age limit. - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sao Luis do Maranhao, Brazil, presented by Bishop Geraldo Dantas de Andrade S.C.I., upon having reached the age limit. - Elevated Msgr. Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, to the dignity of bishop. - Elevated Msgr. Enrico dal Covolo S.D.B., rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, to the dignity of bishop.

Independent Catholic News report: On the day before Pope Benedict arrives for the start of his four-day visit to England and Scotland, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, has written an article praising the Holy Father for his courage.As the Protest the Pope campaign continue to attack the Catholic Church and the Government for inviting the Pope to make a State visit, Mr Blair, writes in the L'Osservatore Romano, that Catholics are looking forward to the visit. He said many Catholics admire the Holy Father because he shows for the same “intellectual courage” they saw in Cardinal Newman, who the Pope will beatify during his visit.Blair writes: “In England there have been very few saints in recent times, at least one recognised by the Church. That's why English Catholics are delighted by the beatification of John Henry Newman.“For this reason a Pope is coming to our country and what's more a Pope in total harmony with the thinking of Newman, with his spirit and ideas.”Speaking of the Faith Foundation, which Blair founded to promote interfaith relations, Blair said: “I think Newman would have been a strong ally in the promotion of dialogue between religions because of his theory of development. My Faith Foundation confirms people's faith and obtains respect for people of other faiths.”The Holy Father was first invited to the UK by Tony Blair in 2007. The invitation was made more than once. In March 2009 Gordon Brown's government sent an official invitation, which was formally accepted by the Vatican.
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CNA report - Father Maurice Henry Sands, pastor of St. Alfred parish in Taylor, Michigan, has been appointed as a consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Cultural Diversity.A member of the Ojibway, Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes, Fr. Sands is the first Native American to be appointed as a staff member of the Subcommittee on Native Americans, which was created in 2008. He has been involved with the subcommittee in different capacities since its beginning.Fr. Sands was raised on Walpole Island, an Indian reservation located between Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Raised in a “loving and faith-filled home,” he described to the Michigan Catholic journal how he worked in the corporate banking sector in Toronto, but sensed a greater calling at the age of 40. Nine years later, in 2005, he became the Archdiocese of Detroit's first Native American priest.From 2006 to 2009, he served on the board of the Tekawitha Conference, an organization representing 1.5 million Native American and Aboriginal Catholics in the U.S. and Canada. A gifted multilingual speaker, he has also been involved with Hispanic ministry in his archdiocese. Fr. Sands will remain based in Michigan during his consultancy to the secretariat.Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, chairman of the Subcommittee on Native Americans and a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe, remarked that "the Native American Catholic Community in the United States rejoices in the appointment of our brother.” The archbishop stated that “Father Sands is extraordinarily prepared for this service and will represent well the views and needs of the Native American people of the Church.”Native American Catholics occupy a profoundly significant, yet difficult position within the North American church. Although the Church's original ministry in the “new world” of North America was directed toward their ancestors, many efforts to spread the Catholic faith in the Americas were also intertwined with the activities of European explorers and colonists.Catholicism remains the religion of about 20 percent of Native Americans. Some of the pastoral challenges involved in ministry to their communities include persistent conditions of poverty, increased risks of alcoholism, geographical isolation, and the general difficulties involved in presenting what may still be perceived as a “European,” rather than universal and global, religion.Speaking to the Archdiocese of Detroit's Mosaic magazine in 2005 about his work with Hispanic communities, Fr. Sands said that an intercultural role came naturally to him. “As a Native American,” he remarked, “I have had the privilege and opportunity of being a bridge builder my entire life.”As a consultant to the USCCB's Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, Fr. Sands' new bridge-building work will involve reporting to the bishops on pastoral issues in his community, as well as developing electronic resources and workshops for ministry to Native Americans.
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Asianews report: About 300 agents take part in the assault, backed by cars and armoured vehicles. Tear gas, batons and stones wee used against the monks. The siege, which began on 7 September, lasted 24 hours. Ownership and new cells for monks are the core of the contentious issue.Hundreds of Egyptian security forces, backed by a large number of cars and armoured vehicles, attacked the monastery of St Macarius of Alexandria in Wadi Rayan, Fayoum Province, 150 kilometres south of Cairo. The action began at 8 pm on 7 September, but news about it only filtered recently. About 300 agents took part in the assault, using tear gas, batons and stones against monks, three of whom were seriously wounded.According to the AINA news agency, security forces prevented the delivery of limestone bricks for the construction of cells for the monks inside the ancient Monastery. They also tried to seize the bricks already delivered but the monks sat on them, refusing to move.The issue concerns the ownership of the area and its use, with monks and the government holding different positions.The authorities claim that Wadi Rayan is a conservation area that cannot be touched. The monks say they must build cells inside the monastery, which goes back long before it was ever designated as a conservation area.Security forced surrounded the Monastery until 12 AM the following day, but withdrew "after seeing the insistence of monks to assert their rights," said Fr Boulos el-Makkary, one of the 85 monks living in the monastery. "They left with the commander promising to be back soon."“The monks believe that the government wants to prevent any construction on the premises to prevent any increase in the number of monks living there, even though cells for the monks are badly needed," Father Boulos added.At present, cells are shared by five to eight monks even though each should have his own.The Monastery of St Macarius, also known as the "Buried Monastery" since most of its cells are caves in the mountain, has been uninhabited for a long time because of the lack of electricity and water. However, in 1996 monks began living there permanently and obtained permission from the Minister of Environment.,-three-monks-badly-injured-19466.html
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Cath News report: The Jesus the Christ eConference which starts tomorrow has attracted more that 417 official participant websites, each streaming the conference for up to 200 people.Aywhere between 10-200 people will be following the conference on 331 websites across Australia, and 86 international locations representing 26 countries, said the organisers.Participants will be drawn from schools, parishes, hospitals, prisons, private groups, universities, religious orders and Church agencies.This is the fourth such conference to be hosted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and The Broken Bay Institute,Keynote presenter and renowned scholar Prof Gerald O'Collins sj (Jesuit theologian and author) will be joined by: Dr Rev Merrill Kitchen OA (Principal, Churches of Christ Theological College); Ms Philomena Billington (Director of Education Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst); and Dr Claire Renkin PhD (lecturer Art History and Spirituality Yarra Theological Union - Melbourne College of Divinity).Participants are being encouraged to view the live eConference in groups to allow for greater discussion. Support questions and background reading materials are available through the website, and all Sessions will be archived on the Site to allow for repeat visits and tailoring the experience to suit individuals' needs."We really encourage people to come together in groups because it is a faith sharing opportunity," said Conference organiser, Virginia Ryan. "The eConference environment truly brings the richness and traditions of our faith into the context of the modern world."
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Asia News report: Moved by the testimonies of persecuted Christians in Asia, the Korean Catholics reflect on their missionary role in Asia, particularly to North Korea. The proposal for a national meeting to promote solidarity among the lay movements and not to lose the fruits of the Congress.Seoul (AsiaNews) - A chance to know other Christian realities of Asia and understand the importance of solidarity and unity among the various lay movements in Korea. These are some fruits of the Congress of lay Catholics, that was attended by 400 lay delegates from all of the Catholic communities of Asia, from 31 August to 5 September. Two weeks on from its conclusion the laity of Korea tell AsiaNews about their impressions of the Congress and ask how they can implement it in their daily lives and spread the message of the event to all Catholics in Korea and Asia.Lucy Lee Yoon ja, director of Seoul archdiocese's Catholic newspaper, says: "I was very impressed by the various testimonies of believers from other countries, who because of their faith live in poverty and face discrimination and persecution in some cases. "Through this Congress – she continues – I found out, for the first time, that out of over 5 million inhabitants in Turkmenistan there are only 95 Catholics and two priests. This immediately made me remember the little flock of Christians in the early days of the Church in Korea, about 200 years ago, and all the difficulties that our ancestors had to suffer for their Christian faith including violent persecution. " "I was moved - she adds – by the plight of these, previously unknown, brothers and sisters." The woman adds that "today Koreans enjoy religious freedom thanks to the sacrifice of martyrs, but remain ignorant of the reality of other persecuted Christians in Asia." "For Korean faithful – she concludes- the Congress has allowed us to return to the pure and ardent heart of the early days of our Church and must be a beginning of an active communion with the Churches of other Asian countries who are in difficulty".Fabiano Hong Joon Choi President of the Catholic Lay Apostolate Council of Korea, states: "Personally, I was very touched by the persecution suffered by Christians in many Asian countries. We Catholics in South Korea enjoy freedom of worship, but many other brothers and sisters of Asia continue to suffer discrimination and violence. " "We must remember these Christians in our prayers – he continues - and look for concrete ways to express our solidarity." Fabiano Choi stresses that one of the persecuted churches is precisely that of North Korea. He believes the Catholics of the south have a responsibility to think of their starving brothers across the border, especially in recent months in which the dialogue between Pyongyang and Seoul are stalled due to political reasons."So far - he says - in the Korean Catholic Church, the movements have given their valuable contribution in various sectors of society, each according to its own spiritual charisma, but there was never a real solidarity between them". Citing the World Meeting of movements and ecclesial communities with Pope John Paul II in 1998, Fabiano Choi points out that even then the Holy Father highlighted the importance and usefulness of the collaboration between these communities. He suggests a national Congress of Korean Catholic laity next year to create a real partnership between the movements, especially in apostolate.Even Tomas Cho, Eun Sang, member of the research team for social apostolate of the Lay Council of Korea, feels the urgency of a post-Congress meeting to share the fruits with all lay Korean Catholics. "The ability to maintain what has emerged from the Congress – he says - depends on us, lay Koreans, our attitude. It takes time and research to make known and nurture the fruits and the sense of this Congress. "
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St. Catherine of GenoaMYSTIC, WIFE, AND HOSPITAL DIRECTORFeast: September 15Information:Feast Day:September 15Born:1447, Genoa, ItalyDied:15 September 1510, Genoa, ItalyCanonized:1737 by Pope Clement XIIBorn at Genoa in 1447, died at the same place 15 September, 1510. The life of St. Catherine of Genoa may be more properly described as a state than as a life in the ordinary sense. When about twenty-six years old she became the subject of one of the most extraordinary operations of God in the human soul of which we have record, the result being a marvellous inward condition that lasted till her death. In this state, she received wonderful revelations, of which she spoke at times to those around her, but which are mainly embodied in her two celebrated works: the "Dialogues of theSoul and Body", and the "Treatise on Purgatory". Her modern biographies, chiefly translations or adaptations of an old Italian one which is itself founded on "Memoirs" drawn up by the saint's own confessor and a friend, mingle what facts they give of her outward life with accounts of her supernatural state and "doctrine", regardless of sequence, and in an almost casual fashion that makes them entirely subservient to her psychological history. These facts are as follows:St. Catherine's parents were Jacopo Fieschi and Francesca di Negro, both of illustrious Italian birth. Two popes -- Innocent IV and Adrian V -- had been of the Fieschi family, and Jacopo himself became Viceroy of Naples. Catherine is described as an extraordinarily holy child, highly gifted in the way of prayer, and with a wonderful love of Christ's Passion and of penitential practices; but, also, as having been a most quiet, simple, and exceedingly obedient girl. When about thirteen, she wished to enter the convent, but the nuns to whom her confessor applied having refused her on account of her youth, she appears to have put the idea aside without any further attempt. At sixteen, she was married by her parents' wish to a young Genoese nobleman, Giuliano Adorno. The marriage turned out wretchedly; Giuliano proved faithless, violent-tempered, and a spendthrift. And made the life of his wife a misery. Details are scanty, but it seems at least clear that Catherine spent the first five years of her marriage in silent, melancholy submission to her husband; and that she then, for another five, turned a little to the world for consolation in her troubles. The distractions she took were most innocent; nevertheless, destined as she was for an extraordinary life, they had the effect in her case of producing lukewarmness, the end of which was such intense weariness and depression that she prayed earnestly for a return of her old fervour. Then, just ten years after her marriage, came the event of her life, in answer to her prayer. She went one day, full of melancholy, to a convent in Genoa where she had a sister, a nun. The latter advised her to go to confession to the nuns' confessor, and Catherine agreed. No sooner, however, had she knelt down in the confessional than a ray of Divine light pierced her soul, and in one moment manifested her own sinfulness and the Love of God with equal clearness. The revelation was so overwhelming that she lost consciousness and fell into a kind of ecstacy, for a space during which the confessor happened to be called away. When he returned, Catherine could only murmur that she would put off her confession, and go home quickly.From the moment of that sudden vision of herself and God, the saint's interior state seems never to have changed, save by varying in intensity and being accompanied by more or less severe penance, according to what she saw required of her by the Holy Spirit Who guided her incessantly. No one could describe it except herself; but she does so, minutely, in her writings, from which may here be made one short extract: -- "[The souls in Purgatory] see all things, not in themselves, nor by themselves, but as they are in God, on whom they are more intent than on their own sufferings. . . . For the least vision they have of God overbalances all woes and all joys that can be conceived. Yet their joy in God does by no means abate their pain. . . . This process of purification to which I see the souls in Purgatory subjected, I feel within myself." (Treatise on Purgatory, xvi, xvii.) For about twenty-five years, Catherine, though frequently making confessions, was unable to open her mind for direction to anyone; but towards the end of her life a Father Marabotti was appointed to be her spiritual guide. To him she explained her states, past and present, in full, and he compiled the "Memoirs" above referred to from his intimate personal knowledge of her. Of the saint's outward life, after this great change, her biographies practically tell us but two facts: that she at last converted her husband who died penitent in 1497; and that both before and after his death -- though more entirely after it -- she gave herself to the care of the sick in the greatHospital of Genoa, where she eventually became manager and treasurer. She died worn out with labours of body and soul, and consumed, even physically, by the fires of Divine love within her. She was beatified in 1675 by Clement X, but not canonized till 1737, by Clement XII. Meantime, her writings had been examined by the Holy Office and pronounced to contain doctrine that would be enough, in itself, to prove her sanctity.
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Our Lady of SorrowsFeast: September 15Information:Feast Day:September 15There are two such days:* Friday before Palm Sunday, major double;* third Sunday in September double of the second class.The object of these feasts are the spiritual martyrdom of the Mother of God and her compassion with the sufferings of her Divine Son.(1) The seven founders of the Servite Order, in 1239, five years after they established themselves on Monte Senario, took up the sorrows of Mary, standing under the Cross, as the principal devotion of their order. The corresponding feast, however, did not originate with them; its celebration was enacted by a provincial synod of Cologne (1413) to expiate the crimes of the iconoclast Hussites; it was to be kept on the Friday after the third Sunday after Easter under the title: "Commemoratio angustix et doloris B. Marix V.". Its object was exclusively the sorrow of Mary during the Crucifixion and Death of Christ. Before the sixteenth century this feast was limited to the dioceses of North Germany, Scandinavia, and Scotland. Being termed "Compassio" or "Transfixio", "Commendatio, Lamentatio B.M.V.", it was kept at a great variety of dates, mostly during Eastertide or shortly after Pentacost, or on some fixed day of a month (18 July, Merseburg; 19 July, Halberstadt, Lxbeck, Meissen; 20 July, Naumberg; cf. Grotefend, "Zeitrechnung", II, 2, 166). Dreves and Blume (Analecta hymnica) have published a large number of rhythmical offices, sequences and hymns for the feast of the Compassion, which show that from the end of the fifteenth century in several dioceses the scope of this feast was widened to commemorate either five dolours, from the imprisonment to the burial of Christ, or seven dolours, extending over the entire life of Mary (cf. XXIV, 122-53; VIII, 51 sq.; X, 79 sq., etc.). Towards the end of the end of the sixteenth century the feast spread over part of the south of Europe; in 1506 it was granted to the nuns of the Annunciation under the title "Spasmi B.M.V.", Monday after Passion Sunday; in 1600 to the Servite nuns of Valencia, "B.M.V. sub pede Crucis", Friday before Palm Sunday. After 1600 it became popular in France and was termed "Dominx N. de Pietate", Friday before Palm Sunday. To this latter date the feast was assigned for the whole German Empire (1674). By a Decree of 22 April 1727, Benedict XIII extended it to the entire Latin Church, under the title "Septem dolorum B.M.V.", although the Office and Mass retain the original character of the feast, the Compassion of Mary at the foot of the Cross. At both Mass and Office the "Stabat Mater" of Giacopone da Todi (1306) is sung.(2) The second feast was granted to the Servites, 9 June and 15 September, 1668, double with an octave for the third Sunday in September. Its object of the seven dolours of Mary (according to the responsories of Matins: the sorrow* at the prophecy of Simeon;* at the flight into Egypt;* having lost the Holy Child at Jerusalem;* meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary;* standing at the foot of the Cross;* Jesus being taken from the Cross;* at the burial of Christ.This feast was extended to Spain (1735); to Tuscany (double of the second class with an octave, 1807). After his return from his exile in France Pius VII extended the feast to the Latin Church (18 September, 1814), major double); it was raised to the rank of a double of the second class, 13 May, 1908. The Servites celebrate it as a double of the first class with an octave and a vigil. Also in the Passionate Order, at Florence and Granada (N.S. de las Angustias), its rank is double of the first class with an octave. The hymns which are now used in the Office of this feast were probably composed by the Servite Callisto Palumbella (eighteenth century). On the devotion, cf. Kellner, "Heortology", p. 271. The old title of the "Compassio" is preserved by the Diocese of Hildesheim in a simple feast, Saturday after the octave of Corpus Christi. A feast, "B.M.V. de pietate", with a beautiful medieval office, is kept in honour of the sorrowful mother at Goa in India and Braga in Portugal, on the third Sunday of October; in the ecclesiastical province of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, last Sunday of May, etc. (cf. the corresponding calendars). A special form of devotion is practised in Spanish-speaking countries under the term of "N.S. de la Soledad", to commemorate the solitude of Mary on Holy Saturday. Its origin goes back to Queen Juana, lamenting the early death of her husband Philip I, King of Spain (1506).To the oriental churches these feasts are unknown; the Catholic Ruthenians keep a feast of the sorrowful Mother on Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi.
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John 19: 25 - 2725So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag'dalene.26When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"27Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
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