EUROPE: BELARUS BANS 2 CATHOLIC PRIESTS-
ASIA: INDONESIA: MUCH PROGRESS SINCE TSUNAMI-
AUSTRALIA: FR. PETTENA NEW DIRECTOR OF CATH. MIGRANT & REFUGEE OFFICE-
During his Angelus in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, Pope Benedict recalled how the feast of the Baptism of the Lord closes the liturgical season of Christmas. He said Christ became man so that we can become children of God, God is born for us to be reborn. He added that which comes from Baptism is a model for society, that of brotherhood. This brotherhood is not established through an ideology, but from the awareness of being children of one Father. After the Marian prayer, the Pope drew attention to the plight of migrants as well as the persecution of Christians, saying people have to get to the heart of the problem. He said we must go back to the meaning of the person. An immigrant is a human being different in origin culture traditions but a person with rights and responsibilities particularly in the workplace where the temptation for exploitation is easy but also on the scope of concrete conditions of life. Violence should never be the way to resolve difficulties for anyone; the problem is primarily human and asks people to look at the face of the other and discover that he has a soul a history and a life and that God loves him as he loves me. He wanted to make similar considerations with regard to man and his religious diversity. The recent violence against Christians in some countries has aroused the indignation of many not least because its been reported on the most sacred days of the Christian tradition. Both political and religious institutions must not shirk their responsibilities their can be no violence in the name of God nor can we think of honoring him be offending the dignity and the freedom of others.
On the Sunday when the Church commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Holy Mass in the Sistine Chapel and administered baptism to fourteen children. To their parents and godparents, The Holy Father renewed their commitment to being the first witnesses of faith for the children and reiterated their role as educators. The Pope said with Baptism these children begin the joyful and inspirational life of disciples, which the liturgy presents an experience of light, symbolized by the candles lighted from the Easter candle. The children who are baptized will walk for life aided by the words and example of their parents and Godparents.
All Africa.com report:
Mbwega, 98, died yesterday morning at Nsambya Hospital where he was admitted for two weeks with multiple complaints.
Mbwega's condition worsened after he celebrated mass on Christmas day at Kiwamirembe in Lweza on Entebbe Road.
Mbwega was born on November 11, 1912, in Maggyo, Buvuma Island, to Matthew Nandibijjo Lulume and Alistera Mbakolere.
He was ordained a priest in 1939 and served in the eastern region from 1940 to 1948.
Mbwega, who is said to have been the longest serving priest in Uganda, spent 25 years at Namugongo Martyr's parish and is remembered for the construction of the artificial lake where the Martyrs' Day is annually celebrated.
He also spearheaded the setting up of several Catholic schools.
Mbwega marked 70 years in priesthood on December 6 last year.
Msgr. Wynand Katende, the spokesperson of Kampala Archdiocese, described Mbwega as "a man of God who has mentored many people including me." He added that at 10:00am on Sunday, there will be a requiem mass at Nsambya Parish Church.
He said Mbwega would be buried on Monday at Kiwamirembe, starting with a mass at noon.(source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201001080217.html
The government of Belarus has refused to grant permission for two Catholic priests—both pastors in the country—to engage in religious activities. Father Jan Bonkowski, a Capuchin, and Father Edward Smaga, a Jesuit, were ordered to stop all religious activity at the end of 2009. Both priests are Polish natives, but had been serving parishes in Belarus—in the case of Father Bonkowski, for 20 years. The government did not explain the refusal to authorize the two priests to continue their religious work.
The Forum 18 news service estimates that more than two-thirds of the 33 foreign citizens barred from conducting religious work in Belarus have been Catholic. Priests and nuns engaged in tackling social issues, such as alcoholism, in a very public manner appear to be particular targets. (SOURCE:
As CAFOD, the English partner of the worldwide agency Caritas, begins to wind down its disaster relief operation
Children on Simeulue Island, Aceh, celebrate their new Cordaid-built school after the tsunami. (Cordaid is a CAFOD sister agency)
in Aceh, its program support officer, Heidi Thorsen, has been reflecting on the problems that remain, the progress made and even the opportunities the tsunami opened up for local people.
In a blog on the CAFOD website, Thorsen writes that many people now have a better life than before. "If you walk down a street in Banda Aceh today you will find it hard to believe it was in ruins only five years ago.
"Houses, schools, businesses and shopping centers are open and thriving... There are only two visible signs of the disaster: a memorial museum being built and a large ship stranded several kilometers from the sea, carried there by the massive waves."
She praised the efforts of CAFOD's local partner, Solidaritas Kelompok Sipil, which carried out a rebuilding program using local materials and run entirely by Acehnese people. These efforts produced homes quicker and cheaper than other reconstruction programs.
Another project run by the Yayasan Pengembangan Kawasan (Regional Development Foundation), gave small loans to tsunami survivors so that they could set up their own businesses ranging from dressmaking to producing chilli sauce.
Devastation in Aceh following the tsunami
CAFOD has even been helping the people of Aceh to tackle legal problems the tsunami caused. "A lot of people lost their documents proving which land they owned," Thorsen writes. "Some land was lost to the sea completely.
"We have been working with our partner, the Legal Aid Foundation. Staff explained which laws applied, helped them put together the paperwork and represented them in court."
Now CAFOD's work in the province is almost done. "The Acehnese people have been an inspiration," Thorsen writes. "Their determination, drive, hope and hard work has fueled our efforts in helping them. I think it proves that anything is possible if you work together." (source:
"I am grateful to the bishops of Australia for their trust. In particular, I express my thanks to Archbishop Wilson and especially Bishop Joe Grech and the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life for their support," Father Pettena said in a statement.
"A thought goes out to my predecessor, Monsignor Murphy, and I am grateful that I was able to work with him."
"The ACMRO represents the commitment of the Catholic Church in Australia to offer an ecclesial response to the reality of migration, which regards some 214 million people and more than 30 million refugees, worldwide.
"The impact on the Church in Australia is significant. The Catholic Church in Australia has topped five million people, because of the great impact of migrants. Australia itself and the Catholic Church are becoming more and more diverse."
Italian-born Father Pettena comes well qualified for the position, with studies in theology in Toronto, Canada and at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, and a particular academic history in refugee movements worldwide. He speaks various languages and has worked extensively with migrants and refugees in a number of different countries. (SOURCE: http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=18641
St. William of Bourges
Feast: January 10
12th century in Nevers, France
10 January 1209 at Bourges, France
17 May 1217 by Pope Honorius III
Ciscertian bishop, also called William of Dongeon. He was born at Nevers, France, and studied under his uncle, Peter, the archdeacon of Soissons, before receiving ordination and appointment as a cannon of Soissons. He helpd the same post in Paris adn then entered the monastery of Grandmont, transferring to the Cistercian community at Pontigny. In succeeding years, he was abbot of Fontaine-Jean, in Sens; abbot of Chalis, near Senlis; and bishop of Bourges, receiving consecration in 1200. The last office he was compelled to take at the behest of Pope Innocent III (r. 1198-1216). As bishop, he distinguished himself by his austerities, concern for the poor, the defense of the rights of the Church against the French crown, and his success in converting many members of the Albigensian heresy. He was canonized by Pope Honorius III (r. 1216-1227). (SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/W/stwilliamofbourges.asp
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.
"I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.
Psalms 29: 1 - 4, 3, 9 - 10
Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; worship the LORD in holy array.
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, upon many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful, the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
The voice of the LORD makes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forests bare; and in his temple all cry, "Glory!"
The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king for ever.
Acts 10: 34 - 38
And Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality,
but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all),
the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
Mark 1: 7 - 11
And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove;
and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."