Thursday, November 18, 2010



PLENARY OF PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2010 (VIS REPORT) - Participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who have been meeting to examine the subject "Towards a new stage of ecumenical dialogue", were received this morning by the Holy Father. Benedict XVI began his address to them by recalling the fiftieth anniversary, which fell yesterday, of the foundation of this dicastery, created by Blessed John XXIII in 1960 on the eve of Vatican Council II. Originally called the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, it became a pontifical council in 1988 by wish of John Paul II. John XXIII's decision "represented a milestone on the ecumenical journey of the Catholic Church", said the Pope. "Over these fifty years more realistic knowledge and greater respect for other Churches and ecclesial communities have been acquired, overcoming the sediments of historical prejudice. Theological dialogue has increased, and so has the dialogue of charity. Various forms of collaboration have been developed, including - apart from those that aim to defend of life, protect creation and combat injustice - important and fruitful steps in the field of the ecumenical translations of Sacred Scripture". The Pope then turned his attention to the "Harvest Project", an initiative of the dicastery to draw up an initial assessment of results. It has, he said, "highlighted areas of convergence and those in which reflection must continue and intensify". In this context the Holy Father invited members of the pontifical council to continue "your task of promoting the correct reception of the results achieved so far, and publicising the current state of theological research on the journey towards unity. "Today", he added, "some people believe that this journey has lost its impetus, especially in the West. Thus do we see the urgent need to revive ecumenical interest and give a fresh incisiveness to dialogue", facing such challenges as "new anthropological and ethical understandings, the ecumenical education of new generations and the greater fragmentation of the ecumenical panorama". "The Catholic Church passionately continues her dialogue with the Orthodox Churches and the Ancient Eastern Churches, with which bonds of the 'closest intimacy' exist, seriously and rigorously seeking to develop our shared theological, liturgical and spiritual heritage, and to face the elements that still divide us. With the Orthodox we have reached a crucial point of confrontation and reflection: the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church. The ecclesiological question is also at the heart of dialogue with the Ancient Eastern Churches: despite many centuries of misunderstanding and remoteness we have joyfully noted that we have preserved a precious shared heritage". "Though faced with new problematic situations or difficult points of discussion, the goal of the ecumenical journey remains unchanged, as does the firm intention to continue. This is not however, a commitment that falls into what could be called political categories, in which negotiating ability or greater capacity to reach compromise come into play, and in which the participants hope that, as good mediators, after a certain period they will reach an agreement acceptable to everyone. "Ecumenical activity has a dual dynamic", the Pope explained. "On the one hand it means searching dedicatedly, passionately and tenaciously for all the unity in truth, devising models of unity, illuminating points of contention and obscurity in order to achieve unity. This must take place through the necessary theological dialogue, but above all in prayer and penance, in that ecumenical spirit which constitutes the pulsating heart of the entire journey. The unity of Christians is and remains prayer, it dwells in prayer. On the other hand there is another operational dynamic which arises from our firm awareness that we do not know the time that the unity of all Christ's disciples will be achieved, and we cannot know it because we do not 'make' unity, God 'makes' it; it comes from on high, ... it is a participation in divine unity. Yet this must not diminish our commitment; quite the contrary, it must make us ever more attentive to recognising the signs and times of the Lord, knowing how to recognise with gratitude what unites us and working to ensure it ... grows". "In the final analysis", the Holy Father concluded, "also on the ecumenical journey we must leave to God that which is exclusively His and seriously explore, with constancy and dedication, our own task, bearing in mind that that our commitment is characterised by the twofold concepts of acting and suffering, activity and patience, fatigue and joy".AC/ VIS 20101118 (760)
HEALTHCARE CANNOT DIVORCE ITSELF FROM MORAL RULES VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has written a Message to Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, and to participants in the council's twenty-fifth international conference which is currently being held on the theme: "Towards egalitarian and human healthcare in the light of 'Caritas in veritate'". In his Message the Pope highlights "the need to work with greater commitment at all levels in order for the right to healthcare to be effective, facilitating access to primary medical assistance. In our own time", he continues, "we are witnessing, on the one hand, a care for health which risks turning into pharmacological, medical and surgical consumerism, almost a cult of the body while, on the other hand, we see the difficulties millions of people face as they seek to obtain minimal subsistence and the medicines they need to cure themselves". After highlighting the importance of "establishing true distributive justice which guarantees everyone adequate care on the basis of objective needs", the Pope insists that "the world of healthcare cannot divorce itself from moral rules, which must govern it in order to ensure it does not become inhuman". "Justice is promoted when we welcome the life of others and take responsibility for them, answering their expectations because in them we see the face of the Son of God, Who became man for us. The divine image impressed in the features of our brothers and sisters is the basis of the exalted dignity of each individual and arouses in each of us the duty to respect, care and serve". The Holy Father writes that "healthcare justice must be one of the priorities on the agendas of governments and international institutions. Unfortunately, along with positive and encouraging results, opinions and schools of thought exist which harm this justice. I am thinking of questions such as those associated with so-called 'reproductive health', the use of artificial procreation techniques that involve the destruction of embryos, and legalised euthanasia. Love for justice, the defence of life from conception until natural end, must be supported and proclaimed, even if this means going against the tide. Fundamental ethical values are the shared heritage of universal morality and the basis for democratic coexistence", he says. "Only by looking at the world with the gaze of the Creator, which is a gaze of love, will humanity learn to live on earth in peace and justice, equitably sharing the planet and its resources for the good of each man and woman. For this reason", the Pope concludes, "I would advocate the adoption of a model of development based on the centrality of the human person, on the promotion and sharing of the common good, on responsibility, on a realisation of our need for a changed lifestyle, and on prudence, the virtue which tells us what needs to be done today in view of what might happen tomorrow".MESS/ VIS 20101118 (490)
FR. LOMBARDI REPLIES TO QUESTION ABOUT CHINESE ORDINATION VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the English-language text of a question put to Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. concerning an episcopal ordination in the People's Republic of China, and his reply. "Question: What is the position of the Holy See regarding the news according to which some bishops in mainland China are forced to participate in a bishop ordination in Chengde, Hebei? Is the candidate approved by the Pope? "Answer: The Holy See is disturbed by reports from mainland China alleging that a number of bishops in communion with the Pope are being forced by government officials to attend an illicit episcopal ordination in Chengde, northeastern Hebei, said to be scheduled around 20 November. "If these reports are true, then the Holy See would consider such actions as grave violations of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. "It would also consider such an ordination as illicit and damaging to the constructive relations that have been developing in recent times between the People's Republic of China and the Holy See. "Moreover, the Holy See confirms that Fr. Joseph Guo Jincai has not received the approval of the Holy Father to be ordained as a bishop of the Catholic Church. The Holy See, keen to develop positive relations with China, has contacted the Chinese authorities on this whole matter and has made its own position clear".OP/ VIS 20101118 (250)
AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - His Grace Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, England - His Eminence Metropolitan Ioannis (Zizioulas) of Pergamo. - Ten prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz of Brasilia, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Joao Evangelista Martins Terra S.J. - Bishop Paulo Roberto Beloto of Formosa. - Bishop Afonso Fioreze C.P. of Luziania. - Bishop Messias dos Reis Silveira of Uruacu. - Bishop Philip Dickmans of Miracema do Tocantins. - Bishop Romulado Matias Kujawski of Porto Nacional. - Bishop Giovane Pereira de Melo of Tocantinopolis. - Bishop Rodolfo Luis Weber, prelate of Cristalandia, accompanied by Bishop Heriberto Hermes O.S.B., prelate emeritus.AP:AL/ VIS 20101118 (130) OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 18 NOV 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.
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Illicitly ordained, he was granted communion with the Holy See in 2008 with orders to obey Mgr. Jia Zhiguo. Who,, once again, is under detention and probably will not officiate at the funeral.Shijiazhuang (AsiaNews) - The funeral of Mgr. Paul Taoran Jiang, retired bishop of Shijiazhuang, will be held tomorrow in a local church, but it is unlikely that will be officiated by Mgr. Jia Zhiguo, bishop of Zhending and ordinary of the same diocese, but of its underground community.Bishop Jiang, ordained without papal mandate in 1989 but in communion with the Holy See since 2008, died in hospital from illness last November 15 at the age of 84. The deceased led the official church of the diocese for 20 years.A priest from Zhengding told AsiaNews that bishop Jia prayed for his brother in the episcopate immediately after receiving news of the death, and sent his priests to Shijiazhuang to express their condolences.Bishop Jia also celebrated a requiem mass on the same evening and asked the Zhengding faithful to pray for the deceased. He stresses that the bishop had talks with the government, expressing his desire to attend Mgr. Jiang’s funeral of since they never succeeded in meeting in life.But this hope seems impossible, given that since last November 8 Mgr. Jia is subject to 24 hour detention and has in fact lost all freedom.However, adds the priest of the diocese, Mgr. Jia is optimistic about the development of the diocese. According to the priest, the bishop said: "The Pope's letter to China is the direction of the diocese, which promotes dialogue and communion. These results are achieved with mutual respect and constructive dialogue in the hope of achieving unity and communion in a gradual manner. "Mgr. Jiang’s funeral was attended by bishops Liu Jing and Fang Jiangping, both of Tangshan, and a large number of priests from the province of Hebei. A source in the area of Shijiazhuang, told AsiaNews that Mgr. Jia and some unofficial priests of Zhengding, who have registered with the government, have received a request to attend the funeral. However, no one knows how many may attend.Mid September last, Mgr. Jia sent some priests and lay people to deliever his best wishes to Mgr. Jiang for the autumn holidays, hoping to strengthen reconciliation between the official and underground Church communities of the same diocese.Bishop Jiang was ordained priest in 1953, the year after he was sent first to Beijing and then to Yixian (Hebei Province), where he stayed from 1954 to 1959. From 1958 to 1967 he worked first in a hospital and later was sent to a farm for "re-education through labour”. Between 1978 and 1981 he returned to work at the hospital.In 1982 he started the ministry in Shijiazhuang, was ordained bishop of the diocese in 1989. In 2008 he was legitimized without jurisdiction, and ordered to obey the ordinary bishop - Bishop. Jia - who had been released in July after a long detention.According to an article of Faith Press, Mgr. Jiang ordained a large number of priests, gave new impetus to diocesan religious congregations and succeeded in obtaining the restitution of a lot of church property. He also founded the Anna Association for the lay faithful of the diocese.,-Mgr.-Jiang-Taoran.-Problems-for-Mgr.-Jia-Zhiguo-20034.html
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Ind. Cath. News report:
Politicians, musicians, composers and artists were among the mourners who attended a Requiem Mass and memorial service for Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Górecki, yesterday at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Katowice, Poland. Górecki, who was one of Poland's most well-known contemporary composers, died on 12 November, aged 76. He is probably best known in the west for his 'Sorrowful Songs' symphony for soprano solo and orchestra, written in the 1970s, which became a best-selling recording in 1992. The 52-minute composition contains three movements, each with a poignant lyric sung in Polish. The text of the second movement is a prayer Helena Wanda Blzusiakowna wrote on the wall of Cell 3 of the Gestapo headquarters in Zakopane in 1944, when she was 18: “No, Mother, do not weep/ Most chaste Queen of Heaven support me always./ Hail Mary, full of grace.”In 1979 he wrote Beatus Vir, a large-scale psalm setting for chorus and orchestra, which was performed in Krakow in honour of Pope John Paul II's historic visit to Poland that year.One of his best known works is Totus Tuus (Totally Yours), an a cappella piece first performed at the Mass in Victory Square, Warsaw, celebrated by John Paul II on his third pilgrimage to Poland in 1987.As the 80s progressed, Gorecki's music was given a wider audience in the West, leading to a publishing contract with Boosey & Hawkes in 1988, and the composition of three important string quartets: Already it is Dusk (1988), Quasi una fantasia (1991) and ... Songs are Sung (1995). The Kronos Quartet from San Francisco gave the premiere recitals of all three.Notable works by Gorecki in the ensuing years include a piece for flute and orchestra, Concerto-Cantata (1992), Kleines Requiem fur eine Polka (1993), a piece for chorus, percussion and keyboards Salve, Sidus Polonorum (1997-2000) and Lobgesang (2000). Gorecki's music has been widely performed and used by choreographers to create ballets.His Symphony No 4 was due to be premièred in London this year, by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, but the event was cancelled due to the composer's ill health.In a tribute, the director of the Katowice Music Academy, Eugeniusz Knapik, said: "Górecki's work is like a huge boulder that lies in our path and forces us to make a spiritual and emotional effort".Adrian Thomas, Professor of Music at Cardiff University, said "The strength and startling originality of Górecki's character shone through his music.. Yet he was an intensely private man, sometimes impossible, with a strong belief in family, a great sense of humour, a physical courage in the face of unrelenting illness, and a capacity for firm friendship".Górecki was awarded the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest honour, just a month before his death.His is survived by his wife Jadwiga, a pianist, his daughter, Anna Górecka-Stanczyk, a pianist, and his son, Mikolaj who is also a composer.
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Cath News report: Former Melbourne Archdiocesan vocations director Fr Anthony Denton has been named inaugural Rector of Domus Australia, charged with the mission of turning Australian tourists in Rome into pilgrims, reports The Record.Fr Denton will begin his post when renovations that started in September 2009 on the facility are due to finish before June next year.Speaking with The Record in Rome during the week of Mary MacKillop's canonisation, Sydney's Cardinal George Pell, the driving force behind the project, said a central aim of Domus is to enrich Australians' faith by connecting the heart of the Church with their Church back home – links that "have traditionally been very strong"."I hope it will be an information centre and an Australian cultural centre, and encourage people to move from tourists to pilgrims; to understand the faith that's inspired the story of Catholic Rome; to understand the links that exist between Rome, the home of the Popes, and the very distant Church of Australia," he said.Fr Denton, 38, who is undergoing additional studies in Rome, said the very fact that he has been appointed as a Rector who celebrates Mass at the chapel and oversees the centre underlines the fact that "it's not a normal hotel, it's a religious centre"."It will be a challenging job but it's very exciting for Rome; there's great interest in Rome about it, plus it puts us on the map in a way that we've never been before."Domus Australia (Australia House), located at Via Cernaia, about 10 minutes' walk from Rome's Central train station and within walking distance of the Vatican, will provide pilgrims with up to date information on papal events and general information about the Church as well as including tours of catacombs from the early Christian Church, the Coliseum and other Christian attractions.
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USCCB REPORT: Bishop Morin Reports to Bishops on Review and Renewal of Catholic Campaign for Human DevelopmentWASHINGTON (November 18, 2010) — Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Mississippi, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the anti-poverty program of the U.S. bishops, reported on the recent steps by his committee and a workgroup of bishops to review and renew the policies and practices of the program. He made this report November 15 at the annual Fall General Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Baltimore. Joining him for the presentation of the report were Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh, Bishop Terry Steib of Memphis, Tennessee, and Bishop Frank Kane, auxiliary of Chicago. Full report follows:The Review and Renewal of CCHDA year ago I came to this podium to pledge a serious review of our Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Today I come to thank those who led the effort to fulfill that pledge, to thank our Administrative Committee for their action in September to “accept and affirm” the Review and Renewal of CCHD as the basis for moving forward, and to thank you my brother bishops, for your sharing your concerns and input and recommendations throughout this process and in our regional meetings this morning that continue to shape this task.This Review and Renewal of CCHD does three fundamental things:it reaffirms CCHD’s Catholic foundations and priority for the poor;it responds to concerns about some CCHD funding practices; andit makes “ten commitments” to strengthen CCHD as a faithful and effective expression of Catholic social and moral teaching and the Gospel.Our work is not done. We will be responding to the suggestions voiced earlier today in our Regional Meetings and in the discussions to come. The concerns expressed this morning reflect the specific new directions of the give priority to the participation of Catholic parishes and parishioners, pastors, religious and diocesan leaders and Catholic institutions in CCHD’s workto better ensure that CCHD funds will not be used to support any activity which conflicts with fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching, particularly human life and dignity, marriage and family, and a priority for the “least of these”to help CCHD become more focused and strategic by advancing the priorities of the Bishops’ Conference, especially as they impact poor communities.provide more effective ways to involve bishops earlier in the process and to share the good news of what CCHD does in our communities to lift people out of poverty and to overcome injustice.These are your concerns and our agenda for the future.The work is already underway, your CCHD Subcommittee approved on Saturday:A more specific Grant Agreement that clearly defines CCHD’s Gospel Mission and Catholic principles, outlining what CCHD can fund and what it cannotA new CCHD Application Form which emphasizes CCHD’s Catholic identity and encourages and rewards Catholic participation in CCHD’s work.In addition, Father Dan Mindling, OFM Cap., the academic dean and professor of moral theology at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, has accepted our request to serve as a theological advisor to CCHD.The Report provides a detailed plan of action, making clear that this review is neither repackaging “business as usual” nor abandoning CCHD’s unique mission to the poor. We:Have heard and are addressing the concerns that have been raised;Are strengthening CCHD policies, practices and tools; andAre building on Catholic principles to ensure that CCHD is an ever more faithful, effective work of the church, carrying out its mission in full conformity with Catholic teaching.In closing,I wish to thank the Bishop Members of the CCHD Workgroup who so ably carried out this review, Bishop David Zubik, Bishop Frank Kane and Bishop Terry Steib, and the consultants and staff who assisted them.I also wish to thank members of the Bishops’ CCHD Subcommittee, and Bishop William Murphy and the Domestic Committee for their guidance.We are also grateful to the Administrative Committee for its timely and positive action that allowed us to move forward to assure our pastors and people that they can continue to support the unique work of CCHD with confidence and generosity.Most of all, I wish to thank you, my brother bishops, for your patience and persistence, your strength and steadfast support, of this much-needed application of Catholic social teaching and the Gospel at work in our local communities.At this time of growing poverty, we need a renewed, strengthened, faithful CCHD more than ever. In the midst of economic crisis, this Review and Renewal commits us once again not only to CCHD, but also to Jesus’ mission, and ours, “to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives, new sight to the blind and to set the downtrodden free.” (Luke 4:18) source
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Agenzia Fides REPORT – Military coup members surround barracks"We saw a number of truckloads of armed soldiers head toward the base where the coup leaders are holed up," Fides was told by an editor of Radio Don Bosco, whose head office is located 150 meters from the barracks on the outskirts of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, where a group of officers who attempted a coup against the Transition Authority have taken refuge. "They are probably soldiers that remained loyal to the regime who are now surrounding the barracks. There are supposedly negotiations underway to find a peaceful solution to the crisis." "Yesterday, September 17, around 1 pm local time, a group of officers from the RFI barracks, which are adjacent to another military installation, a naval base, launched a proclamation to the nation, claiming to overthrow the Transition Government and assume full powers," says the source of Fides." Among the rebelling officers, there are those who support the former President Marc Ravalomanana and others who have accepted the Transition President Andry Rajoelina, who assumed power in March 2009. Among the latter is General Noël Rakotonandrasana, former Minister of the Armed Forces, who played an important role in Rajoelina's rise to power. It is unclear whether or not the military rebels, who supposedly number around twenty, are in contact with the "mouvances" of the three former heads of state, Ravalomanana, Albert Zafy, and Didier Ratsiraka, who oppose Rajoelina, but the source of Fides said that "last week, Ravalomanana and Zafy appealed to the armed forces to assume their responsibility in resolving the country's political crisis." "Yesterday, around 5 pm, about 2,000 young people, mostly supporters of Ravalomanana, had blocked roads near the barracks of the rebels, but at 6:30 pm, a mixed force of army, security guards, and police intervened, dispersing the demonstrators with tear gas. Apart from this, the situation is calm," the source told Fides. Yesterday, the country voted in the constitutional referendum which was held by Rajoelina but boycotted by the movements of the three former presidents. "The voter turnout was 40-50% and according to initial predictions the new Constitution will likely be approved with 70-80% of the votes cast. However, the final results will only be known within a couple weeks, as they have to send in data from the remote areas of the island," the source said. "The vote was held amidst calm, although there were some organizational problems. For example, several voters were not registered on the electoral roll. For this reason, the voting was extended until 6 pm (the polls were supposed to close at 4 pm) and the voters not included on the lists were allowed to vote, after presenting a document of identification. This decision was strongly criticized by the opposition," concludes our source.
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St. Rose Philippine DuchesneFOUNDER AND AMERICAN MISSIONARYFeast: November 18Information:Feast Day:November 18Born:29 August 1769 at Grenoble, FranceDied:18 November 1852 at Saint Charles, Missouri, USACanonized:July 3, 1988 by Pope John Paul IIRose Philippine Duchesne came to the wilds of North America when anything west of Pittsburgh was considered uncharted wilderness. She came up the Mississippi to Missouri and established a school at St. Charles as early as 1818, while St. Elizabeth Seton was doing her work in the eastern United States. She is the foundress of the American branch of the Society of the Sacred Heart.She was born in Grenoble, France, in 1769, her father a successful businessman. She was educated by the Visitation nuns and, although her father opposed her decision, she entered the Visitation Order in 1788, in the middle of the French Revolution. She was not able to make her profession because of the disruption of the Revolution and had to return home when the Visitation sisters were expelled from their convents.During the Revolution, she cared for the sick and poor, helped fugitive priests, visited prisons, and taught children. After the Revolution, she tried to reorganize the Visitation community but was unsuccessful, so she offered the empty convent to St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, and entered the Sacred Heart Order herself. When the bishop of New Orleans, William Du Bourg, requested nuns for his huge Louisiana diocese, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne came to the United States, arriving in New Orleans in 1818.She and her four nuns were sent to St. Charles, Missouri, where she immediately opened a school; then at Florissant, she built a convent, an orphanage, a parish school, a school for Indians, a boarding academy, and a novitiate for her order. In 1827, she was in St. Louis where she founded an orphanage, a convent, and a parish school. Her energy and ideas were prodigious. When she was seventy-two years old, she founded a mission school for Indian girls in Kansas and spent much of her time there nursing the sick.Her last years were spent at St. Charles, a model and inspiration to those around her, facing all the hardships of pioneer work. She died on November 18, 1852, at the age of eighty-three and was canonized in 1988. She was truly the "missionary of the American frontier," one that her beloved Potawatomi Indians called , "Woman-who-prays-always."
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Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter & PaulFeast: November 18Information:Feast Day:November 18The Vatican Church, dedicated in honour of St. Peter, is the second patriarchal church at Rome, and in it reposes one half of the precious remains of the bodies of SS. Peter and Paul. The tombs of the great conquerors and lords of the world have been long since destroyed and forgotten; but those of the martyrs are glorious by the veneration which the faithful pay to their memory.The body of St. Peter is said to have been buried immediately after his martyrdom, upon this spot, on the Vatican hill, which was then without the walls and near the suburb inhabited by the Jews. The remains of this apostle were removed hence into the cemetery of Calixtus, but brought back to the Vatican. Those of St. Paul were deposited on the Ostian Way, where his church now stands. The tombs of the two princes of the apostles, from the beginning, were visited by Christians with extraordinary devotion above those of other martyrs. Caius, the learned and eloquent priest of Rome, in 210, in his dialogue with Proclus the Montanist, speaks thus of them: "I can show you the trophies of the apostles. For, whether you go to the Vatican hill, or to the Ostian road, you will meet with the monuments of them who by their preaching and miracles founded this church."The Christians, even in the times of persecution, adorned the tombs of the martyrs and the oratories which they erected over them, where they frequently prayed. Constantine the Great, after founding the Lateran Church, built seven other churches at Rome and many more in other parts of Italy. The first of these were the churches of St. Peter on the Vatican hill (where a temple of Apollo and another of Idaea, mother of the gods, before stood) in honour of the place where the prince of the apostles had suffered martyrdom and was buried and that of St. Paul, at his tomb on the Ostian road. The yearly revenues which Constantine granted to all these churches, amounted to seventeen thousand seven hundred and seventy golden pence, which is above thirteen thousand pounds sterling, counting the prices, gold for gold; but, as the value of gold and silver was then much higher than at present, the sum in our money at this day would be much greater. These churches were built by Constantine in so stately and magnificent a manner as to vie with the finest structures in the empire, as appears from the description which Eusebius gives us of the Church of Tyre; for we find that the rest were erected upon the same model, which was consequently of great antiquity. St. Peter's Church on the Vatican, being fallen to decay, it was begun to be rebuilt under Julius II in 1506, and was dedicated by Urban VIII in 1626, on this day; the same on which the dedication of the old church was celebrated The precious remains of many popes, martyrs, and other saints, are deposited partly under the altars of this vast and beautiful church, and partly in a spacious subterraneous church under the other. But the richest treasure of this venerable place consists in the relics of SS. Peter and Paul, which lie in a sumptuous vault beyond the middle of the church, towards the upper end, under a magnificent altar at which only the pope says mass, unless he commissions another to officiate there. This sacred vault is called The confession of St. Peter, or The threshold of the Apostles (SOURCE:
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TODAY'S GOSPEL: NOV. 18: Matthew 14: 22 - 33
Matthew 14: 22 - 3322Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,24but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them.25And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.27But immediately he spoke to them, saying, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear."28And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water."29He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus;30but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me."31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?"32And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
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