Sunday, December 5, 2010









TODAY'S GOSPEL: DEC. 5: Matthew 3: 1- 12


Pope urges peace for Iraq, Egypt, release of Sinai hostages
“In this Advent season, in which we are called to nurture our awaiting the coming of the Lord and to welcome him among us, I invite you to pray for all situations of violence, intolerance, suffering in the world, that the coming of Jesus may bring consolation, reconciliation and peace. I think of the many difficult situations, such as the continuous attacks that occur in Iraq against Christians and Muslims, the clashes in Egypt where there were deaths and injuries, the victims of traffickers and criminals, such as the drama of the hostages, Eritreans and of other nationalities, in the Sinai desert. Respect for the rights of all is the prerequisite for peace. Our prayer to the Lord and our solidarity can bring hope to those who are suffering”.

These the words of Pope Benedict XVI during his Angelus reflection on this the second Sunday of Advent. Thousands of families had flocked to St Peter’s square, despite the rigid winter chill, to see the towering Christmas tree, still bare of decorations, which had been lifted into position earlier this week, beside the nativity scene. Small children crowded around the barriers that conceal the work in progress, hoping to catch a glimpse of this years re-creation of Bethlehem in the heart of the Vatican.

Speaking to them before the Marian prayer, Pope Benedict XVI pondered the meaning of Advent as a time of preparation for the coming of Our Savoir, inspired by the Gospel of the day. He said “it presents the figure of St. John the Baptist, who, according to a famous prophecy of Isaiah (cf. 40.3), withdrew into the wilderness of Judea and through his preaching, called the people to repent in order to be ready for the imminent coming of the Messiah. St. Gregory the Great says that the Baptist preaches the true faith and good works ... so that the penetrating power of grace, the light of truth shine, the pathways to God straightened and honest thoughts are born in souls after listening to the Word that leads to all good "(Hom. in Evangelia, XX, 3, CCL 141, 155). The precursor of Jesus, is located between the Old and New Covenant, he is like a star before the sunrise, Christ, the One, that is on whom - according to another prophecy of Isaiah - " The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord" (Isaiah 11:2)”.

He continued “In the time of Advent, we too are called to hear God's voice, echoing in the wilderness of the world through the Holy Scriptures, especially when they are preached with the power of the Holy Spirit. Faith, in fact, becomes stronger the more we allow ourselves be enlightened by the Word of God, from " For whatever was written previously - as the Apostle Paul reminds us - was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope"(Rom. 15:4). The model of listening is the Virgin Mary: " As we contemplate in the Mother of God a life totally shaped by the word, we realize that we too are called to enter into the mystery of faith, whereby Christ comes to dwell in our lives. Every Christian believer, Saint Ambrose reminds us, in some way interiorly conceives and gives birth to the word of God "(Apostolic Exhortation. Postsin. Verbum Domini, 28).

Pope Benedict went on to say that “"our salvation is based on a coming", as Romano Guardini wrote (La santa notte. Dall’Avvento all’Epifania, Brescia 1994, p. 13). "The Saviour came from the freedom of God ... So the choice of Faith consists in …welcoming He who comes ..." (p. 14). "The Redeemer, - adds the German-Italian theologian – comes to each man in his joys and anxieties, his certainties, in his doubts and temptations, in all that constitutes his nature and his life" (ibid., p . 15).

Finally he concluded “We ask the Virgin Mary in whose womb the Son of the Most High dwelt, and who we celebrate next Wednesday, December 8th, in the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, to support us on this spiritual path, to welcome in faith and love the coming of the Saviour “.


Peshawar Imam: "A reward to kill Asia Bibi"
by Jibran Khan
In his sermon, Maulana Yousuf Qureshi of the Mohabat Khan mosque, said that if the appeals court judge innocent Asia Bibi will be the mujahideen to kill her. The leader has also warned the government on any changes to the law on blasphemy.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - On the Friday prayer imam of the largest mosque in Peshawar offered a reward of 4,500 euro, for anyone who kills Asia Bibi. In his sermon, Maulana Yousuf Qureshi warned the government against any move to abolish or amend the blasphemy law. " We will strongly resist - said the religious leader - any attempt to repeal laws which provide protection to the sanctity of Holy Prophet Muhammad". "Whoever kills Asia Bibi – he continued - will be given a reward of 500 thousand rupees from the Mohabat Khan mosque". The imam said that if the appeals court judge Asia Bibi innocent, the mujahideen will kill her.

According to local sources Qureshi does not have many followers, but his threats increase the climate of tension in the country and are likely to influence government decisions. Already in 2006, Qureshi promised rewards amounting to over 1 million for anyone who succeeded in killing the Danish cartoonists, guilty of having drawn the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Bishop Rufin Anthony of Islamabad, tells AsiaNews: "I'm not surprised by the threats of the imam of the Mohabat Khan mosque. The hard-line Taliban of these religious thread have turned our country into a breeding for terrorists". "Only a leader who has been brainwashed – he continued - can be argued as Islamic laws that have no basis in the Koran. These statements serve only to create a bad name for Pakistan and Islam and make the lives of Pakistanis even more miserable. " The prelate stresses that the country must get rid of these laws and needs an educational program sponsored by the State and the United Nations against these ideologies. "Asia Bibi - Bishop Rufin adds. is innocent and has been accused and sentenced to death for blasphemy over a trivial dispute with her neighbors. "

Sources of Justice and Peace Commission told AsiaNews: "Given that the blasphemy law, in its current form has no basis in Islam, it could be repealed in one day. This provision was not created by the masses and was not even requested by the people. "


Here is a statement by Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC) on Pope Benedict XVI remarks on condoms.


We have witnessed recent reports on comments attributed to The Holy Father, that have been carried in the international and local media, that have misrepresented the remarks of Pope Benedict XVI on the issue of sexual morality and the struggle against the HIV and AIDS infection.

First we would like to clear the air and to clarify to all the people, and to the Catholics, regarding the position of the Church with regard to the use of condoms for the peace of mind and proper guidance.

1. We reiterate and reaffirm that the position of the Catholic Church as regards the use of condoms, both as a means of contraception and as a means of addressing the grave issue of HIV/AIDS infection has not changed and remains as always unacceptable.

2. The media reports have unfairly quoted the Pope out of context and banalized the deeply sensitive medical, moral and pastoral issues of HIV/AIDS and accompaniment of those infected or affected, reducing the discussion on the demands of sexual morality to a mere comment on condoms.

3. The book is question "Light of the World: the Pope, the Church and the Signs of Times. A conversion of Pope Benedict XVI with Peter Seewald" was the result of an interview. It was not written by the Pope even though it expresses his ideas, concerns and sufferings over these years, his pastoral projects and his hopes for the future.

4. To reduce "the entire interview to one phrase removed from its context and from the entirety of Pope Benedict XVI though would be an offence to the Pope's intelligence and a gratuitous manipulation of his words."

5. The pope was not speaking g specifically on the morality of condom use, but more generally "about the great questions facing modern theology, the various political events that have always marked relations between States and finally, the themes that often occupy a large part of public debate."

6. It is important to explain that the morality of human actions always depends on the intentions of the person. It is the way we use things that make the action evil or good. The use of condoms is unacceptable because it is often an external manifestation of the wrong intention of the action, and a distorted view of sexuality.

7. The church and indeed the Holy Father reaffirms that "naturally the Church does not consider condoms as the "authentic and moral solution" to the problem of AIDS." Rather a true change of heart or conversion that will give the sexuality its human and even supernatural value. We need to appreciate better the gift of sexuality, that humanizes us and when well appreciated remains open to God's plan.

8. The situation referred to by the media, which quotes an interview made to the Pope by a German journalist, involves the Pope's judgment on the subjective moral journeying of subjects who are already involved in gravely immoral acts in themselves, specifically in acts of homosexuality and male prostitution, thankfully totally alien to our Kenyan society. HE is not speaking on the morality of the use of condoms, but on something that may be true about the psychological state of those who use them. If such individuals are using condoms to avoid harming another, they may eventually realize that sexual acts between members of the same sex are inherently harmful since they are not in accord with human nature. This in no way condones the use of condoms in itself.

9. The Holy Father brings out an important point, that even those who find themselves deeply entrenched in immoral life, can gradually journey towards a conversion, and acceptance of God's laws. This journey may have steps which may in themselves not yet include a total submission to God's law, but rather a step closer to accepting it. However, those acts still remain sinful.

10. The church is always going to be focused on moving people away from immoral acts towards love of Jesus, virtue, and holiness. We can say that the Holy Father clearly did not want to make a point about condoms, but wants to talk about growth in moral sense, which should be a growth towards Jesus. This also applies to those still living in seriously immoral lifestyles, we should strive more and more to focus on the morality of the human actions, and judge rather the action of the human person and not the object used for an immoral action.

11. The church urges those involved in prostitution and other gravely immoral acts or lifestyle to conversion n. While understanding the many unfortunate reasons that often lead to this lifestyle, it does not condone it, and regards it as morally wrong.

12. The church is gravely concerned about the life, the health and the general welfare of those who find themselves in this difficult and painful situation of HIV/AIDS infection. In fact the amount of efforts and resource mobilization by the Catholic Church, both in partnerships with others and on her own, will always be aimed at a search for human and liberating solutions to the pandemic.

13. The problem is really more than just the condom debate. Rather a deeper interior healing, that gives people hope and helps them to rediscover the simplicity and radicalism of the Gospel and Christianity in accompanying to give and reaffirm hope to those infected and to those affected.

The church reaffirms her commitment to continue to urge all people to struggle to live good moral lives, which always means great sacrifices, for the "kingdom of God." The church reaffirms her solidarity with all those suffering from HIV/AIDS. There exists many ways to face up to this situation. Above all the church trusts in the power of Grace and the strength God gives, to positively face the challenges this new situation presents, and with Hope, journey together with all God's family towards our heavenly homeland.



His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi, Apostolic Administrator of Ngong and Chairman of Kenya Episcopal Conference.

1. Rt. Rev. Philip Sulumeti - Vice ChairmanKakamega

2. Most Rev. Zacchaeus Okoth Kisumu

3. Most Rev. Boniface Lele Mombasa

4. Most Rev. Peter Kairo Nyeri

5. Rt. Rev. Paul Darmanin Garissa

6. Rt. Rev. Cornelius K. Arap Korir Eldoret

7. Rt. Rev. Joseph Mairura Okemwa Kisii

8. Rt. Rev. Philip Anyolo Homa Bay

9. Rt. Rev. Alfred Rotich Military Ordinariate

10. Rt. Rev. Maurice Crowley Kitale

11. Rt. Rev. Norman King'oo Wambua Bungoma

12. Rt. Rev. Peter Kihara, IMC Marsabit

13. Rt. Rev. David Kamau Ng'ang'a- Aux. Bishop Nairobi

14. Rt. Rev. Anthony Ireri Mukobo, IMC Isiolo Vicariate

15. Rt. Rev. Patrick Harrington Lodwar

16. Rt. Rev. Virgilio Pante Maralal

17. Rt. Rev. Salesius Mugambi Meru

18. Rt. Rev. Luigi Paiaro Nyahururu

19. Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Okombo Kericho

20. Rt. Rev. Martin Kivuva Musonde Machakos

Apostolic Administrator Malindi

21. Rt. Rev. Anthony Muheria Kitui

22. Rt. Rev. James Maria Wainaina Muranga

23. Rt. Rev. Paul Kariuki Njiru Embu

24. Rt. Rev. Maurice Muhatia Makumba Nakuru

25. Rt. Rev. Dominic Kimengich - Aux Bishop Lodwar


Living faith brings peace in the midst of tragedy and struggle

Missing his older daughter who had gone home to the Lord, his younger girl who was in the care of family, and his wife who was struggling to regain her mental, emotional and physical health, Steven Key found himself in a position that may surprise many-a place of remarkable peace and growth in his Christian faith, and a re-commitment to give his all as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Steven Key: 'God truly knows how to make things work out. Why do we even question it or worry? All we need to do is bring it to him and trust.'

Steven Key: 'God truly knows how to make things work out. Why do we even question it or worry? All we need to do is bring it to him and trust.'

GRAND RAPIDS, MI--Steven Key suffered a tragedy that would bring most men to their knees. Fortunately, he knew that was exactly where he needed to go.

An assistant basketball coach at Houston Baptist University, Key had everything a man could want: a loving wife, two beautiful children, and a job coaching the sport he loves at the Division I college level. Yet this life that most men would envy took a traumatic turn on May 15, 2010.

Key was driving to New Orleans to watch his brother become an ordained minister. In the back seat were his beloved "three redheads": his wife Sherry, eight-year old daughter Emma, and two-year old daughter Keily. Driving in intermittent rain just outside of Baton Rouge, Key's vehicle suddenly hydroplaned onto the other side of the highway, where it was struck by an 18-wheeler. The accident took Emma's life, and left Sherry with severe brain trauma, a broken right pelvis and a broken left humerus.

In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Key's idyllic life took a surreal turn: he buried his older daughter, sent his younger girl home to Texas in the care relatives, and stayed by Sherry's side at a Baton Rouge hospital-and later a Houston rehabilitation center-as she began an uphill battle to recover from the wounds of the crash.

Months of intense physical and cognitive therapy ensued. But there was one wound Sherry was not yet ready to know she had even suffered. It would be two months before Steven would be able to break the news that they had lost Emma. Sherry's brain injuries had severely affected her cognition and memory, and she was in no position to either mentally or emotionally process the news of their daughter's death.

Of course Sherry asked about the girls, and at times sensed that something was wrong. "It was the hardest thing each day having to get around the question," Key told Fox Sports. "We were afraid if we told her one day, she wouldn't be able to remember the next day."

Missing his older daughter who had gone home to the Lord, his younger girl who was in the care of family, and his wife who was struggling to regain her mental, emotional and physical health, Steven Key found himself in a position that may surprise many-a place of remarkable peace and growth in his Christian faith, and a re-commitment to give his all as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

"I have never felt closer to my Lord than in the past three weeks," Key wrote in a blog on June 3. "It's something I can't even begin to comprehend and won't try. I just know that He is at work and I see it. And I won't stand in his way, no matter what the path."

Devoted to the Christian faith given to him and nurtured by his parents, Key had the gift to not only recognize the blessings in the midst of this crisis, but to thrive instead of merely survive. He shared with Catholic Online the blog he has kept since the accident, to not only keep family and friends aware of the progress of Sherry's recovery, but to assure them of the steady guidance God has provided.

Another entry in his June 3rd post reads: "I pray that none of you ever has to go through anything remotely close to this. But I wouldn't change God's plan.. The Lord continues to provide, and continues to bless me each day with new challenges and new chances to be strong for HIM, not just my wife, my family and myself."

Reading Key's blog reveals more of the faith that guides him and gives him courage in each step of his life.

Writing on July 7, three days before he would tell Sherry the news of Emma's death, Key wrote: "I have faith that the Lord has been preparing Sherry's heart and mind for this news. I have faith that the Lord has been preparing my heart and my mind to be able to share it with her. I have faith that the Lord has been preparing my family and loved ones to be able to love, care and minister to us in the coming days. I have faith."

On July 11, the day after giving Sherry the tragic news, Key wrote: "Just as I thought many weeks ago, yesterday was the worst and best day of my life. It was the worst day because I had to break the heart of the person I love the most. It was the best day, because immediately following that, God began the process of healing our family."

His entry for July 16, the day Sherry came home, reads in part: "I sure do love my Savior. He has chosen to continue watching over my family every step of this journey. He has blessed us beyond belief. He has brought us through the valley, and He has made us whole again.. God truly knows how to make things work out. Why do we even question it or worry? All we need to do is bring it to him and trust.. I sure am happy. Thanks God."

The family's total abandonment to the love, mercy and providence of God is evident in this brief excerpt from Key's July 24 entry: "[Sherry] knows and understands that God has a plan, and while she doesn't understand it at all, she knows it is better than ours."

On August 29, the day after a memorial service for Emma, Key expressed the peace he feels in the midst of everything: "I still miss [Emma]-dearly. But I can honestly say: 'It is well, with my soul.'"

Seven months later, the family has recovered some sense of "normalcy." Sherry has made a remarkable recovery-physically, emotionally and spiritually-and has returned to her job as a technology director at Continental Airlines two days a week. She hopes to transition into full-time hours next year. Steven is back to work, as the Houston Baptist Huskies have begun their season. Yet the start of the basketball season has confronted Key with a difficult reality.

"I've been so consumed with making sure everything's taken care of that I don't think I ever had a chance to grieve," he told Fox Sports. "I was driving home [from practice] and realized the season is starting." He broke down and cried for 15 minutes.

The Huskies are wearing a patch with the letter "E" on their uniforms in Emma's memory. While that is a touching gesture, there is no greater tribute to Emma than the rock-solid earthly father she was blessed with, who continues to call on our Heavenly Father for healing and wholeness for his family.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The abuse of women has been going on for centuries and it is often the case that a woman is killed before the problem is taken seriously. In this regard, the United Nations Fund for the Development of Women (UNIFEM), recently launched an initiative to improve the safety and welfare of women in five major cities: New Delhi (India), Cairo (Egypt), Quito (Ecuador), Kigali (Rwanda), and Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea). “Safe Cities” is the name of the initiative which developed from pilot programs already initiated in several Latin American cities, from Bogota in Colombia to Rosario in Argentina and Santiago in Chile. It has come to fruition after the proposals by civil society organizations for a global campaign on security in cities.
The populations of the five cities chosen have increased exponentially over the last fifty years. Cairo and New Delhi, for example, rose by 2.4 and 1.4 million respectively, to 17 and 19 million inhabitants. This unprecedented growth has led to an intense proliferation of urban slums, making the project a necessity. The project collaborates with municipalities and local authorities to address the most serious cases of rape and sexual abuse, but also those considered common and even less important. Inspired by the success of the program in Argentina, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Brazil, Chile and Colombia, UNIFEM and UN Habitat are working closely with local governments and municipalities to change the urban landscape and make it more secure for women and girls, starting with putting the most basic measures in place such as improving street lighting, securing bus stops, and controlling crowded areas.


CATH NEWS REPORT: Brisbane Catholic Education has defended the recent hiring of a former principal which has angered parents of abuse victims from his former school, the ABC reports.

The principal did report the abuse complaints to his superiors - although not to the police, said BCE.

"What he's been employed to do on a casual basis in a school in Ipswich has been simply to work as a relief teacher or supply teacher when another teacher has been sick," said Brisbane Catholic Education spokesman John Phelan.

"It's an entirely different situation from the role he held in Toowoomba."

The former principal, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was in charge of a primary school at Toowoomba in southern Queensland when allegations of sexual assault surfaced about teacher Gerard Byrne.

Byrne is now serving ten years in jail for abusing 13 girls at the school.

Announcing an out-of-court settlement with five families whose children were abused, Toowoomba Bishop William Morris again again offered his apologies to the victims.

Five families have agreed to the compensation after mediation talks were held with former High Court judge Ian Callinan QC this week.

"I am committed to ensuring that our apology is supported by action," said Bishop Morris in a media statement. "The Diocese sought to make the compensation process as uncomplicated as possible for the victims' families. I sincerely thank the victims' families for the courageous and heartfelt manner in which they participated in the mediation process."

"I am pleased that for these five victims and their families an expeditious settlement was able to achieved, as it is another step on their long journey of healing," Bishop Morris said.

The statement said compensation amounts are confidential and that further cases will be dealt with in the new year.


St. Sabbas


Feast: December 5


Feast Day:December 5
Born:439 at Motalala, Cappadocia

Hermit, born at Mutalaska near Caesarea in Cappadocia, 439; died in his laura 5 December, 532. He entered a Basilian monastery aat the age of eight, came to Jerusalem in 456, lived five years in a cavern as a disciple of St. Euthymius, and, after spending some time in various monasteries, founded (483) the Laura Mar Sabe (restored in 1840) in the gorges of the Cedron, southeast of Jerusalem. Because some of his monks opposed his rule and demanded a priest as their abbot, Patriarch Salustius of Jerusalem ordained him in 491 and appointed archimandrite of all the monasteries in Palestine in 494. The opposition continued and he withdrew to the new laura which he had built near Thekoa. A strenuous opponent of the Monophysites and the Origenists he tried to influence the emperors against them by calling personally on Emperor Anastasius at Constantinople in 511 and on Justinian in 531. His authorship of "Typicon S. Sabæ" (Venice, 1545), a regulation for Divine worship throughout the year as well as his authorship of a monastic rule bearing the same title (Kurtz in "Byzant, Zeitschrift", III, Leipzig, 1894, 167-70), is doubtful. After him was named the Basilica of St. Sabas with its former monastery on the Aventine at Rome. His feast is on 5 December.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: DEC. 5: Matthew 3: 1- 12

Matthew 3: 1 - 12
1In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
2"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
3For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."
4Now John wore a garment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
5Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan,
6and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sad'ducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8Bear fruit that befits repentance,
9and do not presume to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
10Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11"I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
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