Tuesday, December 21, 2010




TODAY'S GOSPEL: DEC. 21: LUKE: 1: 39-45

VATICAN CITY, 21 DEC 2010 (VIS REPORTS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Pasig, Philippines, presented by Bishop Francisco C. San Diego, upon having reached the age limit.



VATICAN CITY, 21 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Cardinal Michele Giordano, archbishop of Naples, Italy, on 2 December at the age of 80.

- Bishop Michael Bunluen Mansap, emeritus of Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand, on 2 December at the age of 81.

- Bishop Bernard Patrick Devlin, emeritus of Gibraltar, on 15 December at the age of 89.

- Bishop Ambrosio Echebarria Arriota, emeritus of Barbastro-Monzon, Spain, on 6 December at the age of 88.

- Bishop Jose dos Santos Garcia S.M.P., emeritus of Pemba, Mozambique,, on 11 December at the age of 97.

- Bishop Raymond Philip Kalisz S.V.D., emeritus of Wewak, Papua New Guinea, on 12 December at the age of 83.

- Bishop Ferenc Keszthelyi O. Cist., emeritus of Vac, Hungary, on 6 December at the age of 82.

- Archbishop-bishop Julio Tavares Rebimbas, emeritus of Porto, Portugal, on 6 December at the age of 88.

- Bishop John Thomas Steinbock of Fresno, U.S.A., on 5 December at the age of 73.

- Bishop George Otto Wirz, former auxiliary of Madison, U.S.A., on 23 November at the age of 81.


INT. NAT. MUSEUM REPORT: In an evocative environment and in the heart of Bethlehem, at a walkable distance away from the Nativity Church lies the International Nativity Museum of Bethlehem. It is one of the richest and valuable collections of cribs in the Holy Land. The Museum has a collection of over 200 Nativity representationsof different styles and dimensions. It is located in the ground floor of the historical Salesian convent of Bethlehem. The variety of the cribs exposed, originating from all around the world, creates a rhapsody of customs, liturgy and rituality from all continents and ethnic groups.

nativity2.jpgThe exposition of the collection reflects the role of the religious and artistic history of Italy according to the tradition of making cribs in different parts of the world, beginning with the living crib of St. Francis in Greccio and from the first sculpted crib of Arnolfo di Cambio in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome. With the help of secular Sicilian and Neapolitan traditions, the fresh Ligurian representations and the contemporary Venetian sculptures, the atmosphere of the Museum is elevated to level of historical research criteria, miniature reproductions, scenographic reconstruction of the landscapes and spectacular original representations. Expressive representations of the event of Nativity are filtered through the soul of the contemporary artists and offered to the public in the form of sinuous bronze sculptures or eccentric ceramic creations.

No historical or geographical philology is violated in the representation of Nativity: the birth of Christ is realized at the present time and every time and in every place. That is why the content of the Museum is International, if not Universal. That is why the baby Jesus has almond eyes and Thailandese dresses, and close by he is kept warm by Lamas. The Afflatus of universal event is reflected also in the ecstatic pleasure of admiring the artistic taste of almost all the countries of the world at one and the same time: the wooden carved crib from Africanhas no end for its astonishment. The poetry of Andine and south American woods-cribs, the charm of theAsiatic pieces, the European scene, which space out from the rigorous traditional representation to the most original pieces.

The Museum is located along the “Star Street”, the same way traditionally covered by the three Wise Men in order to meet the baby Jesus in the Nativity Grotto. The way even today leads to the Manger Square, where is the Nativity Church.
The International Nativity Museum is ready to welcome Pilgrims every day according to a flexible timetable (morning, afternoon and evening). The visit of the Museum is guided by the collaborators or by the Salesians themselves in different languages.
Adjacent to the Nativity museum there is the Salesian Artistic Centre. There you can admire some youngsters of Bethlehem who are learning the traditional manufacturing of olive wood, mother of Pearl and Ceramics.


Full pay: 4 Euro - 20 NIS
Reduced: 3 Euro -15 NIS

+970 598911511

Convention with Tour Operators and agency are foreseen.

The Agencies and the groups are encouraged to contact the Director of the Museum to reserve a Tour or to stipulate a Convention:
Elisa Nucci - International Nativity Museum - Artistic Director
316, Star Street, Bethlehem
Office: +972 (2) 2760076
Palestinian Mobile: +970 597 392809
Israeli Mobile: + 972 548 197986


IND. CATH NEWS REPORT: The Most Revd Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster said tonight that Christian faith gives society the means to act together for the common good. Giving the Reflection during ‘A Christmas Celebration’, an annual programme of Christmas carols and music at Westminster Cathedral, he said the current crises facing society make it difficult to carry on with 'business as usual'. Religious truth has a resilience which can help sustain society and allows people to “act together, consistently, in community for the common good”.

Archbishop Nichols said the Christmas message is one that emphasises the need to give a priority to serve other, especially those who are vulnerable and dependent.

Later this week Archbishop Vincent Nichols will celebrate Midnight Mass at Westminster Cathedral.The Mass will start at 11pm on Friday 24 December 2010. During Midnight Mass, Archbishop Vincent Nichols will deliver his Christmas Homily. Anyone wanting to attend Midnight Mass will need to be seated by 10.30pm at the latest and the Cathedral doors will close at 11pm

The full text of Archbishop of Westminster’s Reflection at ‘A Christmas Celebration’ follows:

‘O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.’

These are the words of a special anthem for this evening in the Prayer of the Church. They add to the beauty of our evening celebration. But they also raise a question.

As we enjoy the splendour of this celebration, do we think of ourselves among those who sit ‘in darkness’? It doesn’t seem too appropriate, really!

Yet there is a sobering thought that will not leave us. It will return the minute we step outside this Cathedral: our society is experiencing some hard times. And during them some are being hurt, and some are angry, as we have already seen.

So as we absorb this Christmas message, as we proclaim that the ‘Rising Sun is the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice’, we must reflect on how we are responding. As a society we are, more often than not, capable of great generosity in the face of adversity. Every disaster illustrates this. Charity appeals are met with generosity. When hardship is before our eyes, a sense of solidarity will emerge. This is surely one of our sources of hope.

But it is difficult to sustain. In an emergency, we trust that life will quickly get back to normal so that we can each resume our customary patterns and get back to our own business. But what if this ‘emergency’ lasts? What if it becomes a lasting reality? Do we, then, simply turn back to our own and turn our backs on those in need? Or does the very nature of ‘our own business’ actually change?

In facing this challenge, the truth we proclaim this evening has something to say. Religious truth may not be particularly popular at the moment and easily mocked. Yet it has resilience. Our Christmas story is being told and retold at this time, in the half remembered words of the carols, in many homes as families set up a crib or display their Christmas cards. It is sung and celebrated in churches up and down the land. And it contains a message which is immediately relevant to the times we are facing.

The figures in the crib form a community. They come together in adversity and are there for each other. At their centre is the most vulnerable of their number: the child Jesus. Even the natural world, in the shape of ox and ass, seems to play its part.

At the heart of this story is a revelation of something crucially important about our nature. In contrast to a prevailing culture, here we learn that we are made for each other, that we belong together. In contrast to the view that puts the individual first, constantly emphasising the importance of individual needs and rights, and well practised in the culture of blame, this story tutors us in the priority we are to give to each other and to our common good. Here the call to community is the fundamental good, and not seen as a necessary constraint on individual freedom. Here fulfilment is found in the service of others, rather than in the pursuit of self-interest, especially the service of those who are vulnerable and dependent.

The true impact of this story and the truth it conveys are only fully grasped if its deeper religious truth is also remembered. Here, in the manger, is a child who is not just caught in poverty and so attracting our sympathy; here is a child who will not just grow into a preacher of extraordinary power and gain our admiration; here, rather, is a human being who is also and totally God. This truth, the truth of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, raises the lessons of the crib to a new and transforming height. The child, in his birth, and the man in his teaching, his death and his resurrection, is proclaiming the truth about us with all the authority that is of God. It is the ultimate authority, for God is the ultimate author of life.

Here we come to sources of strength and inspiration whatever we face. Here, in the presence of the Christ, we are not only taught about our solidarity with one another but we are also given the where-with-all, the grace, to sustain that solidarity even in the most taxing of times.

Faith has an important contribution to make. This Christian faith not only makes clear the challenge facing us – to act together, consistently, in community for the common good – but also gives us the means to sustain that effort through a power that is not our own. Rather that power, that grace of God, comes to us always as a gift of love that is for our good. We come to Christ to receive that love. We open our hearts that it may fill them. Then we know how we must act in our world today.

We wish each other a very happy and holy Christmas. I willingly do so this evening, to you all.

May God bless you this night and in this coming feast. Amen.


CBN REPORT: The developers of Kentucky's Creation Museum have another biblical entertainment venture in mind.

They plan to build a full-sized replica of Noah's Ark as a part of a $172 million theme park.

The museum opened three years ago south of Cincinnati, Ohio, and has already drawn more than one million visitors.

Museum officials believe the Noah's Ark Park could attract 1.6 million visitors a year. They are looking at a 800-acre site near Williamstown, Ky., just off Interstate 75.

They said the project also would include an ancient walled city, a petting zoo, live animal shows featuring giraffes and elephants and a replica of the biblical tower of Babel.

The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority has granted preliminary approval for state tax incentives for the project. An economic analysis must be done before being considered for final approval.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - “There are at least four villages in Western Equatoria where people live in real fear of new attacks by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA),” Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambo, southern Sudan, tells Fides. Several aid agencies have issued warnings in recent days about possible attacks by the Ugandan guerilla group which controls a vast area stretching from south Sudan to the south-eastern Central African Republic, passing through the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We fear attacks both during the Christmas period and in early January, when a referendum on the independence of southern Sudan is to be held,” said Bishop Kussala. “Right now the population is increasingly concerned about possible violence by the LRA. So-called “Arrow Boys” have been set up as self-defense militias, armed only, however, with bows and arrows.”

Bishop Julian Andavo Mbia of Isiro-Niangara, Equatoria province, in north-east DRC, tells Fides that in his region, “the alarm is issued in the face of possible attacks by the LRA as a form of prevention. At the moment we have no concrete evidence of actual attacks by the Ugandan guerrillas in our diocese.” At Christmas time in 2008, in a series of attacks in some villages in the province of Equatoria, LRA guerrillas killed about 900 people and abducted another 700.


Cath News report: Fire has destroyed six classrooms and caused part of the roof to collapse at an historic Catholic school in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, reports the Ninemsn website. Firefighters prevented the blaze from spreading to heritage-listed areas of St Columba's High School in Springwood, some of which are 101 years old. The school was originally built as a seminary in 1909.

The fire broke out early Tuesday and was extinguished by 9am (AEDT) and destroyed four English classrooms and two food technology classrooms, a statement on the school's website said.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined, with the NSW Fire Brigades saying it is still too dangerous for investigators to go into the building.

"The damage is in around six classrooms in the newer part of the site and the main damage seems to be in the roof," school principal Delma Horan told ABC Radio, but added that the school would open as normal in the new year.


St. Peter Canisius


Feast: December 21


Feast Day:December 21
Born:May 8, 1521, Nijmegen in the Duchy of Guelders, Netherlands
Died:December 21, 1597
Canonized:May 21, 1925, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Patron of:Catholic press, Germany

This doctor of the church is often called the second Apostle of Germany. Both Holland and Germany claim him as their son, for Nijmegen, where he was born, May 8th, 1521, though a Dutch town today, was at that time in the ecclesiastical province of Cologne and had the rights of a German city. His father, a Catholic and nine times burgomaster of Nijmegen, sent him at the age of fifteen to the University of Cologne, where he met the saintly young priest, Nicolaus van Esch. It was he who drew Canisius into the orbit of the loyal Catholic party in Cologne, which had been formed in opposition to the archbishop, Hermann von Wied, who had secretly gone over to the Lutherans. Canisius was chosen by the group to approach the emperor, and the deposition of the archbishop which followed averted a calamity from the Catholic Rhineland. Shortly afterwards Peter Canisius met Bd. Peter Faber, one of the first companions of St Ignatius, and made theunder his direction. During this retreat he found the answer to the question he had put to himself: how best could he serve God and assist the stricken Catholic church in Germany?

He was inspired to join the Society of Jesus, and, after his ordination in 1546, soon became known by his editions of works of St Cyril of Alexandria and of St Leo the Great. In 1547 he attended the council of Trent as procurator for the bishop of Augsburg, where he became still further imbued with the spirit of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. His obedience was tested when he was sent by St Ignatius to teach rhetoric in the comparative obscurity of the new Jesuit college at Messina, but this interlude in his public work for the church was but a brief one.

Recalled to Rome in 1549 to make his final profession, he was entrusted with what was to become his life's work: the mission to Germany. At the request of the duke of Bavaria, Canisius was chosen with two other Jesuits to profess theology in the University of Ingolstadt. Soon he was appointed rector of the University, and then, through the intervention of King Ferdinand of the Romans, he was sent to do the same kind of work in the University of Vienna. His success was such that the king tried to have him appointed to the archbishopric. Though he refused this dignity, he was compelled to administer the diocese for the space of a year.

It was at this period, 1555, that he issued his famous , one of his greatest services to the church. With its clear and popular exposition of Catholic doctrine it met the need of the day, and was to counter the devastating effect of Luther's . In its enlarged form it went into more than four hundred editions by the end of the seventeenth century and was translated into fifteen languages.

From Vienna Canisius passed on to Bohemia, where the condition of the church was desperate. In the face of determined opposition he established a college at Prague which was to develop into a university. Named Provincial of southern Germany in 1556, he established colleges for boys in six cities, and set himself to the task of providing Germany with a supply of well-trained priests. This he did by his work for the establishment of seminaries, and by sending regular reinforcements of young men to be trained in Rome.

On his many journeys in Germany St Peter Canisius never ceased from preaching the word of God. He often encountered apathy or hostility at first, but as his zeal and learning were so manifest great crowds soon thronged the churches to listen. For seven years he was official preacher in the cathedral of Augsburg, and is regarded m a special way as the apostle of that city. Whenever he came across a country church deprived of its pastor he would halt there to preach and to administer the sacraments. It seemed impossible to exhaust him: 'If you have too much to do, with God's help you will find time to do it all,' he said, when someone accused him of overworking himself.

Another form of his apostolate was letter writing, and the printed volumes of his correspondence cover more than eight thousand pages. Like St Bernard of Clairvaux he used this means of comforting, rebuking and counselling all ranks of society. As the needs of the church or the individual required, he wrote to pope and emperor, to bishops and princes, to ordinary priests and laymen. Where letters would not suffice he brought to bear his great powers of personal influence. Thus at the conference between Catholics and Protestants held at Worms in 1556, it was due to his influence that the Catholics were able to present a united front and resist Protestant invitations to compromise on points of principle. In Poland in 1558 he checked an incipient threat to the traditional faith of the country; and in the same year, he earned the thanks of Pope Pius IV for his diplomatic skill in healing a breach between the pope and the emperor. This gift of dealing with men led to his being entrusted in 1561 with the promulgation in Germany of the decrees of the council of Trent.

Shortly afterwards he was called on to answer the of Magdeburg. This work, 'the first and worst of all Protestant church histories', was a large-scale attack on the Catholic church, and its enormous distortions of history would have required more than one man to produce an adequate answer. Yet Peter Canisius showed the way by his two works,, and .

From 1580 until his death in 1597 he labored and suffered much in Switzerland. His last six years were spent in patient endurance and long hours of prayer in the college of Fribourg, now that broken health had made further active work impossible. Soon after his death, December 21st, 1597, his tomb began to be venerated, and numerous miracles were attributed to his intercession, He had the unique honor of being canonized and declared a doctor of the church on the same day, June 21st, 1925.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: DEC. 21: LUKE: 1: 39-45

Luke 1: 39 - 45
39In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,
40and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth.
41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
43And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

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