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Saturday, December 25, 2010

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: SAT. DEC. 25, 2010













AUSTRALIA: ARCHBISHOP EXPECTS CROWDS AT CHRISTMAS DUE TO MACKILLOP INFLUENCE

ASIA: CHINA: PRIEST APPOINTED TO TOP VATICAN POST

AFRICA: NIGERIA- CATHOLIC SCHOOL WINS AWARD

TODAY'S SAINT: DEC. 25: BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST




VATICAN: POPE MESSAGE FOR CHRISTMAS

RADIO VATICANA REPORT- Pope beams Christmas message of love across the world

Pope Benedict XVI has prayed for dialogue and reconciliation in the world; in the Holy Land, in Somalia, Ivory Coast and Sudan, in North and South Korea. He has prayed for an end to the suffering of the people of Haiti, and respect for human rights in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He also had a special thought for Iraqi Catholics that their ”suffering be eased” and that they may "not lose heart” and for the people of China "for restrictions on their freedom of religion and conscience”.

These are just some of Pope Benedict XVI’s wishes this Christmas, expressed in the Urbi et Orbi message, to the city of Rome and to the world. 50 thousand people crowded St Peter's Square, transforming it into a tapestry of brightly coloured umbrellas, under a steely grey sky. They sung Christmas carols and held aloft their flags, from Mexico and Poland, from Spain, Australia, the Philippines and the United States of America.

Then at noon, the red velvet drapes of St Peter’s central balcony parted and to tremendous applause, the pontifical gendarme band struck up the anthem of Vatican City State as Pope Benedict appeared. He began as is tradition: “The Word became flesh”. To this unfathomable mystery he said “there is only one answer: Love. Children seek it with their questions, so disarming and stimulating; young people seek it in their eagerness to discover the deepest meaning of their life; adults seek it in order to guide and sustain their commitments in the family and the workplace; the elderly seek it in order to grant completion to their earthly existence”.

Christmas, embodied in an infant child, continued the Pope, “is a source of hope for everyone whose dignity is offended and violated, since the one born in Bethlehem came to set every man and woman free from the source of all enslavement”.

Then he prayed “May the light of Christmas shine forth anew in the Land where Jesus was born, and inspire Israelis and Palestinians to strive for a just and peaceful coexistence. May the comforting message of the coming of Emmanuel ease the pain and bring consolation amid their trials to the beloved Christian communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East; may it bring them comfort and hope for the future and bring the leaders of nations to show them effective solidarity. May it also be so for those in Haiti who still suffer in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and the recent cholera epidemic…..May the birth of the Saviour open horizons of lasting peace and authentic progress for the peoples of Somalia, Darfur and Côte d’Ivoire;….may it advance reconciliation on the Korean peninsula”.

“May the birth of the Saviour strengthen the spirit of faith, patience and courage of the faithful of the Church in mainland China, that they may not lose heart through the limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and conscience but, persevering in fidelity to Christ and his Church, may keep alive the flame of hope. May the love of “God-with-us” grant perseverance to all those Christian communities enduring discrimination and persecution, and inspire political and religious leaders to be committed to full respect for the religious freedom of all”.

At the end of the message the Holy Father sent Christmas greetings across the world via television and radio, in over 60 languages, including Russian, Arabic, Hebrew, Armenian, Hindi, Tamil, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Irish and of course English: “May the birth of the Prince of Peace remind the world where its true happiness lies; and may your hearts be filled with hope and joy, for the Saviour has been born for us”.

The prayer for peace was at the heart of celebration’s Christmas Eve. During Midnight Mass, the Kalenda or Christmas proclamation was sung, and prayers were said for respect of human dignity from conception to natural death, and for political leaders so they may operate in favour of a peaceful coexistence between peoples; earlier in the afternoon, the Pope appeared at the window of his study to bless the Nativity Scene in St. Peter's Square and light the candle, "light of peace", placed on his windowsill, according to Polish tradition dear to John Paul II.

In a basilica packed to overflowing with more than ten thousand people gathered at the Christmas Mass, the Pope spoke of that night in Bethlehem, when " the infinite distance between God and man is overcome”. “Part of this night is simply joy at God’s closeness”, he said, “but this joy is also a prayer: Lord, make your promise come fully true”. “Break the rods of the oppressors. Burn the tramping boots. Let the time of the garments rolled in blood come to an end. Fulfil the prophecy that “of peace there will be no end”.

2010

WORLD: JESUSCARITASEST.ORG CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS TO ALL

JESUSCARITASEST.ORG REPORT:
We at www.jesuscaritasest.org wish you and your families a blessed and peaceful Christmas. You, the readers of JCE news, will be remembered at the Sacrifice of the Mass and in the prayers offered in this Holy Season. Please keep us in your prayers. It is hoped that you and your families make a renewed effort to spread the peace of Christ throughout the world. Make this year a Holy one; remember to keep Holy the Sabbath by regular Mass attendance (daily if possible), increase your family prayer time (ex. daily rosary, adoration), and be charitable and forgiving to your neighbors. The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph should be our example. Charity begins at home. Keep your governmental leaders, church leaders and enemies in prayer. It is through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy that we participate in the sanctification of the world. This news service is provided to remind you of the spiritual and corporal needs of the Body of Christ. We must remember that our lives can end at any moment but the afterlife lasts forever. Therefore, we need to prepare for our permanent relationship with Jesus Christ, our true husband. God bless you always. Pax Christi+
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of good will!" (Luke 2: 14)


AMERICA: PERU: ARCHBISHOP FINDS TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS IN JESUS

CNA REPORT - Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren of Piura, Peru reminded the faithful that the true meaning of Christmas is found in Christ, not in presents.

The archbishop noted during Mass on Dec. 19 that gifts are merely an expression of the joy over the coming of the Savior. He encouraged Catholics to open their hearts and homes to “the Child to be born.”

“That is the true meaning of Christmas,” he said.

He also urged the faithful to follow “the example of Mary and Joseph, who were always attentive to the Lord’s will and ready to follow it. And what God wants of us is that we embrace the Baby Jesus, our Reconciler, and believe in Him.”

Archbishop Eguren recalled that Scripture refers to St. Joseph as “a just man because he always embraces the will of God, and adjusts his life to what God asks of him, not to what he wants.”

Likewise, St. Joseph lived the virtue of obedience, “and for this reason he will always be seen as caring for the Baby Jesus and as the chaste and faithful husband of Blessed Mother.”

“We all face many problems each day,” the archbishop continued. “But we must not let our daily problems overcome us during these days of celebration. May the joy of Christmas reign in our hearts, because we know well in whom we have put our trust: in Jesus,” he said.

“True happiness consists in doing God’s will. And in this time of Advent, God asks us that we believe in the one he sent, his Son Jesus,” he concluded.

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/archbishop-recalls-that-christmas-is-about-jesus-not-gifts/

EUROPE: GERMANY: GERMAN SISTER HELPS POOR IN PAKISTAN


Photo: DPA

'German Mother Theresa' saves lives in Pakistan

THELOCAL REPORT-

Every morning Ruth Pfau stands short and frail before a tall crucifix in Karachi's St Patrick's Cathedral. She bows her head, shuts her eyes, places her right hand on her heart and prays.

It is the beginning of another long day for the 81-year-old nun known locally as Pakistan's Mother Teresa, who has spent half a century caring for some of the country's poorest and most ostracised people.

Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, where Washington says Al-Qaeda is based. Its northwest mountains border Afghanistan and are subject to US drone strikes and Pakistani military operations.

Bombings have killed 4,000 people in three years, kidnappings are common, Islamist groups violently opposed to all but their extremist interpretation of Islam control significant territory.

Sister Pfau, who needs a stick to walk, admits some disquiet over security, but says nothing would stop her serving people in distress. "I find no difficulties even in the northwestern tribal areas, where most people know me because of my work and never create any hurdle when I go there to serve them," she said, adjusting her white scarf on her silver-hair.

It was after the horrors of World War II in her native Germany that she decided to dedicate her life to serving humanity, become a doctor and join the Daughters of the Heart of Mary order, founded during the French Revolution.

Not required to take the veil or live in seclusion, she ended up in Pakistan by chance. En route to work in India, visa complications forced her to break the journey in Karachi, where she visited a lepers' colony.

That was 1960 and the rest is history. The sub-human misery of what she saw persuaded her to stay in Pakistan to help the cause of leprosy. The living conditions were appalling. The gutters were overflowing and sewer rats feasted on limbs of patients unable to feel the rat bites.

"I felt saddened when I saw people living in caves, crawling like animals. They had compromised with their fate, but it was not their fate, they deserved a much better and happier life," she said.

Sister Pfau's makeshift clinic soon became a two-storey hospital, then the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre with branches across Pakistan. She trained doctors and treated thousands of victims. Her dedication inspired an otherwise hesitant government to establish in 1968 a national programme to bring leprosy under control.

Half a century ago, there were leper colonies across the country but now the programme puts the incidence of the disease at 0.27 people out of 10,000, meeting benchmarks from the World Health Organisation.

At times of natural disaster Sister Pfau was there: Drought in Baluchistan in the southwest in 2000, the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir and this year's floods, the country's worst natural disaster that affected 21 million people.

In Sindh, where more than a million people were affected by the floods, she targets areas mainly populated by Hindus, one of Pakistan's clutch of religious minorities largely neglected by the government and Islamic charities.

She is a frequent visitor to flood-affected areas, largely bone-crunching drives from Karachi, which seem to tire her team more than her. "She still has amazing stamina. She is an amazing person," said Venu Gopal, coordinator of Sister Pfau's charity.

Born in Leipzig, she was just 17 years old when she headed for the border to cross from East into West Germany, braving Soviet soldiers who were ordered to shoot on sight.

She walked two days and nights before she was spotted by a Russian and a German soldier. "The German soldier told the Russian he would deposit me at the detention camp and walked with me a few paces ahead. Then, pointing in one direction, he whispered: 'There lies the West'."

Now, in places like the remote village of Begna in flood-hit Sindh's Thatta district, people look upon the elderly German nun as a mother. "We've lost everything, but Amma (mother) is helping us and we hope to be on our feet soon," said snake-charmer Sanwal Jogi.

"Thanks to her, I managed to replant some oilseeds and mustard, nobody else apart from her and her team comes down here," said farmer Kaser Hero.

She has provided them with shelter, helped them rebuild their houses, gives them seeds and money to help them cultivate the land again.

"It is not just leprosy. We're doing our share in healing partial blindness and tuberculosis and helping people stricken by disasters. Dr. Pfau commands respect in the West and gets funds for all this," Gopal said.

"One should not compare one great legend with another, but we rightly call her Mother Teresa as she is serving people with the same empathy, dedication and love as Mother Teresa did in India," said Sindh health minister Saghir Ahmed.
http://www.thelocal.de/national/20101225-32029.html

AUSTRALIA: ARCHBISHOP EXPECTS CROWDS AT CHRISTMAS DUE TO MACKILLOP INFLUENCE

CATH NEWS REPORT- Archbishop Philip Wilson says the canonisation of Mary MacKillop is expected to inspire large crowds for Christmas mass this year, according to Ninemsn."Mary's love for God and her capacity to never see a need without doing something about it is a wonderful inspiration for us as we reflect at Christmas time on how we can live our lives better," he said in a release.

"It's also a time to pray for and support those people less fortunate than us, particularly those suffering from violence and persecution as well as those fleeing their countries at great risk to them and their families."

Writing in the Advertiser, Archbishop Wilson said God came as a helpless little child in Bethlehem, rather than in a demonstration of power and authority becaue he wants us to love him, not to be overpowered by him.

"So in the midst of this world where there is so much to frighten us and so much to worry about, Christmas reassures us that Jesus is present and that his love for us is sufficient to give us the strength to be agents of love as we live in the world.

"This Christmas is also a time for us to pray that Christians everywhere around the world can celebrate in peace, especially the Christians in Iraq who have suffered horrendously through the attack on the Syriac Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad and subsequent bombings.

"The feast of Christmas is an opportunity to not only wish people well but to do everything we can to support one another in peace, especially the members of our community who are hurting or who are marginalised," he adds, expressing condolence to the families of those who recently perished in the sea off Christmas Island.

"I urge you to keep in mind this Christmas that the way we treat asylum seekers, both as a society and as individuals, strikes at the essence of our humanity," Archbishop Wilson wrote.

http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=24659

ASIA: CHINA: PRIEST APPOINTED TO TOP VATICAN POST

UCAN REPORT-

Pope appoints Chinese to senior Vatican role thumbnail
Father Savio Hon Tai-fai
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a Chinese priest as secretary of the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples, the Vatican department responsible for missionary work which has jurisdiction over the Church in China.

Salesian Father Savio Hon Tai-fai, 60, tolducanews.com he received notification today, just a few hours before the Holy See Press Office made the official announcement. He said his “first thing to do now is to pray for God’s grace to become a suitable tool.”

The Hong Kong-born priest believed his appointment showed “the pope’s fervent love for China.” The pope also elevates him to archbishop of the titular diocese of Sila.

Father Hon has known the theologian-pope for many years, since the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was president of the International Theological Commission. The pope often showed his concern for the China Church when they met, he said.

Father Hon anticipates that in his new role the Roman Curia may consult him on China Church affairs, thanks to his years of experiences as visiting professor to various seminaries in China.

Anthony Lam Sui-ki, senior researcher at the Hong Kong diocese’s Holy Spirit Study Centre, believes Father Hon is a very suitable candidate due to his solid theological foundations.

“As the second man of the congregation, his knowledge would help him handle a lot issues related to evangelization of faith,” Lam told ucanews.com.

Father Hon has also demonstrated good interpersonal skills in his previous positions as provincial superior and being member of pontifical commissions, he added.

Many mainland Chinese Catholics receive the news with great joy and feel it is a glory for the Chinese.

Profile of Father Hon:

- Born in Hong Kong in 1950

- Belongs to the Salesian Province of China (China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan). He made his first religious profession in 1969, the final profession in 1975 and was ordained a priest in 1982

- Obtained a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome

- Held various positions in the Society of Don Bosco, including head of the China Province, provincial delegate in General Chapters and moderator of the 2002 General Chapter

- Works as professor of Holy Spirit Seminary College of Hong Kong diocese

- Works as a visiting professor at mainland Chinese seminaries

- Published a number of books on theology and was responsible for the Chinese translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

- Became a member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology in 1999 and the International Theological Commission since 2004

AFRICA: NIGERIA- CATHOLIC SCHOOL WINS AWARD

ALL AFRICA REPORT-

Lumen Christi International High School, Edo state has won the West African Examinations Council's, WAEC, Gold cup for 2009. The Council adjudged the Catholic owned College the overall best in the 2009 West African Senior Certificate Examination, WASSCE.

The school has joined the league of two other well known secondary schools, which had won the trophy in the past. Queen College, Yaba, Lagos won the trophy six times while another Catholic Secondary school, the Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja, won it between 2002 and 2005.

However, Lumen Christi which was funded 22 years ago has in the past won several laurels both in Edo State and the country as well. In 1997, it won the WAEC School Certificate Exams trophy as the best school in Esanland. The Uromi Youth Movement of Nigeria sponsored the award.

Also in 2007, the school clinched the first position in the NNPC Science competition in the South South geo-political zone and 5th at the national level. It will be recalled that he WAEC Gold cup is an endowment sponsored by Dr A. Oyediran in memoy of his father, Augustus Bamidele Oyediran. It was inaugurated in 1985

http://allafrica.com/stories/201012240170.html

TODAY'S SAINT: DEC. 25: BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST

Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Feast: December 25



Information:

Feast Day:December 25

THE world had subsisted about four thousand years when Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, having taken human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and being made man, was born of her, for the redemption of mankind, at Bethlehem of Judea. Joseph and Mary had come up to Bethlehem to be enrolled, and, unable to find shelter elsewhere, they took refuge in a stable, and in this lowly place Jesus Christ was born. The Blessed Virgin wrapped the divine Infant in swaddling-clothes, and laid Him in the manger. While the sensual and the proud were asleep, an angel appeared to some poor shepherds. They were seized with great fear, but the heavenly messenger said to them: "Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of exceeding great joy, that shall be to all the people. For this day is born to you a Saviour, Who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign to you: you shall find the Child wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger." After the departure of the angel the wondering shepherds said to one another: "Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see the word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shown to us." They immediately hastened thither, and found Mary and Joseph, and the Infant lying in the manger. Bowing down they adored Him, and then returned to their flocks, glorifying and praising God.

SOURCEhttp://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/birthofourlordjesuschrist.asp

TODAY'S MASS READINGS: CHRISTMAS DAY

Isaiah 9: 1 - 6
1But there will be no gloom for her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zeb'ulun and the land of Naph'tali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.3Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased its joy; they rejoice before thee as with joy at the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.4For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as on the day of Mid'ian.5For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Psalms 96: 1 - 3, 11 - 13
1O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!
2Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
3Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
11Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy
13before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.
Titus 2: 11 - 14
11For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men,
12training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world,
13awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
Luke 2: 1 - 14
1In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.
2This was the first enrollment, when Quirin'i-us was governor of Syria.
3And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.
4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
5to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
6And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered.
7And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.
10And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people;
11for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"
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