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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: WED. DEC. 8, 2010














CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: WED. DEC. 8, 2010: HEADLINES-

VATICAN: POPE MESSAGE FOR FEAST OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

ASIA: INDIA: HINDU EXTREMISTS ATTACK CHRISTIANS

EUROPE: ENGLAND: PRIESTS RELEASE CHRISTMAS ALBUM

AMERICA: USA: RELIGIOUS LEADERS COMMIT TO PROTECT MARRIAGE

AUSTRALIA: MACKILLOP WEBSITE RECORDS 190, 000 VISITS

AFRICA: IVORY COAST: HOUSES BEING BURNT

TODAY'S SAINT: DEC. 8: IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

TODAY'S GOSPEL: DEC. 8: LUKE 1: 26-38



VATICAN: POPE MESSAGE FOR FEAST OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Pope Benedict XVI says Immaculate Conception a source of comfort
Pope Benedict XVI marked the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary by reciting the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square. The Holy Father said the mystery of the dogma proclaimed by Pius IX in 1854, is "a source of inner light, of hope and comfort" . In the midst of life's trials and contradictions, which man experiences within himself and around him, Mary, Mother of Christ, tells us that grace is greater than sin, that God's mercy is more powerful than evil, and knows how to turn it into good.

At the root of all evil, the Pope said, is disobedience to God's will on the part of human freedom, which has succumbed to the temptation of the devil. And now the evil has its root in the human heart, a heart sick and wounded, unable to heal itself. He said God has prepared a new and everlasting covenant, sealed by the blood of his Son who, to offer himself in atonement, was “born of a woman.” This woman, the Virgin Mary, benefited in advance from the redeeming death of her Son for she was preserved from the contagion of guilt since conception.

The Pope said Mary helps us above all to have faith in God, to believe in his word, always to reject evil and choose good.

SOURCE RADIO VATICANA

ASIA: INDIA: HINDU EXTREMISTS ATTACK CHRISTIANS

ASIA NEWS REPORT: Hindu extremists threaten and attack Christians, even within the churches. Then they have them arrested by the police with false accusations of proselytism. Sajan George: we need the intervention of the authorities, the anti-conversion laws-are been considered in Karnataka to attack Christians.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - More attacks against Christians in Karnataka. On December 5 groups of Hindu extremists have made four different attacks against Protestant Christians.

The first took place against the Gipsy Prayer Hall in Bangalore in the Kenger Upanagara slum. Here, the extremists attacked a church while during Sunday service, terrorizing and threatening about 50 participants. The district of Shimoga was the scene of two other incidents. The Hindu extremists beat up and dragged four Christians out of their churches, and then had them arrested by police on false charges of proselytism.

The fourth incident targeted the Christians of the Pentecostal Church of Jyothinagar (Bangalore). A group of 40 extremists surrounded the building during services, throwing stones and shouting anti-Christian slogans.

Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, said: "The four attacks on the same day in Karnataka is reflective of the insecurity of the vulnerable minority Christian community and more importantly this is an indication of the climate of fear ,f persecution and harassment and terror in which Christians must practice their faith in this Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-governed state". “TheBajrang Dal activists continue to attack, beat and threaten the Christians. This is a real challenge to our secular democracy. The situation could become worse if the authorities do not intervene. "

"The allegations of proselytizing of the Sangh Parivar [Hindu extremists] against Christians are baseless and false". "The law of Karnataka on freedom of religion aims to avoid forced conversions, but it is often manipulated and used to criminalize conversions in general and is used by Hindu extremists with the complicity of local police to attack Christians."

"The sad thing - says Sajan - is that such laws were passed not only in PBJ led states, but also in states led by the Congress Party [PC]. For example, the Himachal Anti-Conversion Law was approved during the government of Pc. "


EUROPE: ENGLAND: PRIESTS RELEASE CHRISTMAS ALBUM

IND. CATH NEWS REPORT-
The Priests Christmas album released today | The Priests, Fr Eugene O'Hagan,  Fr Martin O'Hagan, Fr David Delargy,Noël,  Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy, Pogues, Shane MacGowan

The Priests l-r: Fr Martin, Fr Eugene and Fr David

Singing legends, The Priests, Fr Eugene O'Hagan, Fr Martin O'Hagan and Fr David Delargy paid a flying visit to London recently to talk about their long-awaited new album ‘Noël’ which is being released today. The CD features one track: Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy with Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan.

Speaking about the collaboration, Fr Martin said: “ we are absolutely delighted to be asked to sing with Shane. Although from different stables as it were, the result is a wonderful marriage of two different styles coming together. Shane brought a wonderful sense of enthusiasm. He sings from the heart and that comes across really well. “And the sentiment in the song of course, is beautiful.”

Fr Eugene O'Hagan and his brother Fr Martin are originally from the village of Claudy, County Londonderry, while Fr David Delargy is from Ballymena, County Antrim. They have singing together since they boarded as students at St MacNissi's College, in County Antrim.

They all have happy memories of Christmas, although Fr David’s earliest one is a little fraught. “When I was about two, ” he said, “ we were decorating the tree. It looked so beautiful with lights and baubles. I put one of the wee glass baubles in my mouth and crunched. My mother saw the blood in my mouth and I was rushed to hospital.”

He said: “At Christmas we used to leave mince pies and a glass of the hard stuff for Santa Claus. We’d get up 6 in the morning and find stocking at the end of the beds. which kept us quiet for an hour. Then we’d come down & find presents under tree.

Brothers Fr Martin and Fr Eugene grew up in the countryside in Claudy. ‘There was no central heating,” Fr Martin said. “We had open fires, there was a tree glistening on the landing. It smelt beautiful. I remember tiptoeing downstairs and finding a Rocket Man. Later making a snowman in the garden – fantastic. ”

“Our parent used to give Christmas Box to the bread man, the postman, the bin man - a little treat for all the tradesmen that called on the house.”

“When we were older we became altar boys. There was always a great sense of preparation throughout Advent.”

Although they are now international singing stars, the three priests always put their parishes first. “They have to be our priority – that’s our vocation and calling” said Fr David. And Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for them.

Fr Martin is Parish Priest of the Parish of Newtownards and Comber with two churches and more than 2,000 parishioners. The parish has several choirs, a special children’s liturgy and group learning Makaton sign language. “There’s great sense of excitement” Fr Martin said. The parish is also preparing for the 100th anniversary of St Finians Primary School. The event will be marked with a concert and a tree planting ceremony in the school copse and garden.

Fr David is Parish Priest of the Parish of Hannahstown in West Belfast with two churches and more than 3,500 parishioners. “It’s a very active and strong community, and we are make great preparations now for Christmas” he said. Fr Eugene runs a smaller parish that covers the largest area in the diocese as well as having an administrative post. “There is a great community spirit. My congregation all sing together. There is a great sense of anticipation.”

AMERICA: USA: RELIGIOUS LEADERS COMMIT TO PROTECT MARRIAGE

USCCB REPORT: Religious Leaders Voice Shared Commitment to Protect Marriage

WASHINGTON (December 6, 2010) — Leaders of some of the largest religious communities in the United States have come together to express their commitment toward the protection of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In an open letter released today, entitled “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment,” leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Orthodox, Pentecostal and Sikh communities in the United States affirmed the importance of preserving marriage’s unique meaning.

“The broad consensus reflected in this letter—across great religious divides—is clear: The law of marriage is not about imposing the religion of anyone, but about protecting the common good of everyone,” said Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, newly elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and one of the letter’s signers. “People of any faith or no faith at all can recognize that when the law defines marriage as between one man and one woman, it legally binds a mother and a father to each other and their children, reinforcing the foundational cell of human society.”

The release of this letter comes the same morning that oral arguments on the Proposition 8 case are set to begin. In August, Judge Vaughn Walker had ruled California’s Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, based in part on the claim that defining marriage as between a man and a woman lacked any rational basis at all, and instead reflected nothing but religion-based hostility to homosexual persons. This ruling has been appealed and its hearing is scheduled for today, December 6.

“Today is the moment to stand for marriage and its unchangeable meaning. We hope this letter will encourage just that,” Archbishop Dolan said. “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared

Commitment” is being circulated nationwide. Downloadable PDF versions of the letter can be found atwww.usccb.org/defenseofmarriage/shared-commitment. A backgrounder on the statement can be found at http://www.usccb.org/comm/backgrounders/shared-commitment.shtml

Full text of the letter and signers follows:

The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment

Dear Friends,

Marriage is the permanent and faithful union of one man and one woman. As such, marriage is the natural basis of the family. Marriage is an institution fundamental to the well-being of all of society, not just religious communities.

As religious leaders across different faith communities, we join together and affirm our shared commitment to promote and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We honor the unique love between husbands and wives; the indispensible place of fathers and mothers; and the corresponding rights and dignity of all children.

Marriage thus defined is a great good in itself, and it also serves the good of others and society in innumerable ways. The preservation of the unique meaning of marriage is not a special or limited interest but serves the good of all. Therefore, we invite and encourage all people, both within and beyond our faith communities, to stand with us in promoting and protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Sincerely yours,

Leith Anderson
President
National Association of Evangelicals

Dr. Thomas E. Armiger
Dr. Jo Anne Lyon
Dr. Jerry G. Pence
The Board of General Superintendents
The Wesleyan Church

Dr. Gary M. Benedict
President
The Christian and Missionary Alliance

Glenn C. Burris Jr.
President
The Foursquare Church

Bishop H. David Burton
Presiding Bishop
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Dr. Ronald W. Carpenter, Sr.
Presiding Bishop
International Pentecostal Holiness Church Ministries

Nathan Diament
Director, Institute for Public Affairs
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

Most Rev. Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The Most Rev. Robert Duncan
Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America
Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh

Rev. Jim Eschenbrenner
Executive Pastor
Christian Union

Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Gammon
Conference Minister
Conservative Congregational Conference

Rev. Matthew C. Harrison
President
The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

John Hopler
Director
Great Commission Churches

Dr. Clyde M. Hughes
Bishop
International Pentecostal Church of Christ

Ken Hunn
Executive Director
The Brethren Church

Bishop Harry Jackson
Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church
Bishop, Fellowship of International Churches

The Most Blessed Jonah
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
Orthodox Church in America

Dr. Richard Land
President
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Rev. Frederick J. Moury Jr.
National Conference Chair
Evangelical Congregational Church

Dr. James Murray
Interim Executive Director
General Association of General Baptists

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
President
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Manmohan Singh
Secretary General
World Sikh Council – America Region

The Rev. Paull E. Spring
Bishop
North American Lutheran Church

Dr. Joseph Tkach
President
Grace Communion International

Rev. Phil Whipple
Bishop
Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA

Dr. George O. Wood
General Superintendent
Assemblies of God

http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-228.shtml

AUSTRALIA: MACKILLOP WEBSITE RECORDS 190, 000 VISITS


Screenshot of the Mary MacKillop website

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CATH NEWS REPORT: The Mary MacKillop website, set up by the Sisters of St Joseph in preparation for her canonisation, has recorded some 190,000 visitors and received prayer requests from 80,000 people in just six months, the website's manager said in a recent presentation.

These figures exclude the canonisation month of October, when the site had six times the monthly average of visitors.

Sr Annette Arnold rsj, who oversees the web presence, said the enormous popularity of the website is evidence that the church has to go out to meet people where they are at – and for most people these days, the internet is that meeting place.

In a presentation delivered at the 25th anniversary of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane recently, Sr Annette said statistics show that people are also spending a long time on the Mary MacKillop site when they visit, with the website registering millions of "hits".

SOURCE http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=24447

"I don't think in our day anyone in leadership in the church should look surprised or disinterested or their eyes glaze over, when you tell them of the hundreds of thousands of people coming to visit Mary's website or that two of the new saints. ie Mary MacKillop and Andre Bessette are following each other in cyber space on Twitter," Sr Annette said.

"While it may be foreign to some and they do not like to use the internet, remember Mary's words: there where you are will find your God. Cyberspace IS where people are today and not just young people.

"For better or worse, like it or not, this is where people are, where they are spending a huge amount of time. Are we there sharing and offering the essence and best of the Jesus story? What do we need to do to be there?"

Sr Annette said the model of St Mary MacKillop, who even now is meeting people where they are, in their particular need, created a wonderful challenge for the church into the future

AFRICA: IVORY COAST: HOUSES BEING BURNT

AGENZIA FIDES REPORT - DEADLOCK BUT DIPLOMACY IS WORKING AWAY. EYE-WITNESSES IN ABIDJAN AND KORHOGO SPEAK TO FIDES “THE LIVES OF ORDINARY PEOPLE CONTINUE WHILE THE POLITICIANS TALK” A SOURCE FROM THE CHURCH IN ABIDJAN TELLS FIDES, THE ECONOMIC CAPITAL OF CÔTE D'IVOIRE, DIVIDED BETWEEN TWO LEADERS, ALASSANE OUATTARA AND LAURENT GBAGBO. “MOVEMENT IN THE STREETS IS QUITE REGULAR AND PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO GO ABOUT THEIR EVERYDAY LIVES. BUT THE TENSION IS OBVIOUS. THE CURFEW IS STILL IN FORCE FROM 10 PM TO 5 AM. APART FROM SOME CONFLICT, HOWEVER, THE VIOLENCE SEEMS TO BE UNDER CONTROL AT LEAST IN ABIDJAN.”

A missionary source from Korhogo in the north of the Country, tells Fides that the situation is calm. In recent days, however, there have been incidents of houses being burnt”. The north of Côte d'Ivoire has been controlled by New Forces rebels since September 2002, considered close to Alassane Ouattara. “In Korhogo, the population voted overwhelmingly for Ouattara, with very high percentages (90-92% of the vote). So here it is unlikely that there are clashes between supporters of Gbagbo and those of Ouattara,” says the Fides source. “The area is also manned by the New Forces, because the regular army (which seems to have remained loyal to Gbagbo, ed.) made only a brief appearance for the elections and then withdrew.”

Côte d'Ivoire therefore seems to moving towards a rift with two Presidents and two Prime Ministers who are preside over two different executives. In addition, the territorial division, which dates back to 2002 (with the north and west controlled by the New Forces), has never been fully reconciled. “The checkpoints between areas in the hands of the New Forces and those controlled by the central Government have never been completely removed, as required by the peace agreements signed in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) in 2007. Recently there have been others instituted by the former rebels,” says our source from Korhogo.

Meanwhile, diplomacy is working to try to find a solution to the serious political and institutional crisis. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), convened today, 7 December, in Abuja (Nigeria) for a special Summit on Côte d'Ivoire, while mediation continues by the African Union envoy, former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

http://www.fides.org/aree/news/newsdet.php?idnews=27966&lan=eng

TODAY'S SAINT: DEC. 8: IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

The Immaculate Conception

Feast: December 8



Information:

Feast Day:December 8

So great are the advantages we reap from the incarnation of the Son of God that to contemplate it, and to thank and praise him for the same, ought to be the primary object of all our devotions and the employment of our whole lives. In the feast of the Conception of the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God we celebrate the joyful dawning of that bright day of mercy, the first appearance which that most glorious of all pure creatures made in the world, with those first seeds of grace which produced the most admirable fruit in her soul. Her conception was itself a glorious mystery, a great grace, and the first effect of her predestination. Her Divine Son, the eternal God, in the first moment of her being, considered the sublime dignity to which he had decreed to raise her, and remembered that august, dear, sacred, and venerable name of his mother, which she was one day to bear; and he beheld her with a complacency, and distinguished her in a manner, suitable to so near a relation she was to bear. He called her not his servant in whom he gloried, as he did Israel, but his mother, whom for the sake of his own glory he decreed exceedingly to exalt in grace and glory. From that instant the eternal Word of God, which was to take flesh of her, looked upon it as particularly incumbent on him, in the view of his future incarnation, to sanctify this virgin, to enrich her with his choicest gifts, and to heap upon her the most singular favours with a profusion worthy his omnipotence. From that very moment he prepared her to be his most holy tabernacle. When Almighty God commanded a temple to be built to his honour in Jerusalem, what preparations did he not ordain! What purity did he not require in the things that belonged to that work, even in the persons and materials that were employed in it! David, though a great saint, was excepted against by God, because he had been stained with blood spilt in just wars. Again, what purifications, consecrations, rites, and ceremonies did he not order to sanctify all the parts of the building! This for a material temple, in which the ark was to be placed, and men were to offer their homages and sacrifices to his adorable Majesty. What, then, did he not do for Mary in spiritually decking her, whose chaste womb was to be his living tabernacle, from whose pure flesh he was to derive his own most holy body, and of whom he would himself be born!

source http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/I/immaculateconception.asp

TODAY'S GOSPEL: DEC. 8: LUKE 1: 26-38

Luke 1: 26 - 38
26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.28And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.30And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,33and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."34And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"35And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.36And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.37For with God nothing will be impossible."38And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

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