Wednesday, February 3, 2010



(VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, the presentation took place of the 2010 Lenten Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The theme of this year's Message is: "The justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ". Participating in today's press conference were Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"; Hans-Gert Poettering, former president of the European Parliament and current president of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and Msgr. Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, under secretary of the pontifical council. Speaking English, Hans-Gert Poettering noted how "the Holy Father has indicated that a secularly radicalised form of the idea of distributive justice that is decoupled from faith in God becomes ideological. As a politician, I would like to add: We have experienced in collapsed socialism where this thinking can lead to". "Solidarity or charity implies the responsibility to defend and protect the universal dignity of any human being anywhere in the world under any circumstances", he said. "If we want to preserve freedom and if we want to increase justice, then we have to place the value of fraternity or solidarity at the centre of our political thinking". After then quoting Paul VI's remark that "development is the new name for peace", he expressed the view that "we have to go a step further and say 'solidarity is the new name for peace'. In formulating this we bring freedom and equality again into a proper balance with solidarity", he said. "The Holy Father has pointed us towards two essential conclusions of the Christian understanding of justice: To give up self-sufficiency and to accept our mission with humbleness. This is the compass for any policy that is committed to Christian responsibility - not only in Lent 2010 but far beyond in this twenty-first century with the huge tasks of shaping globalisation which lie ahead". "Not without cause does the cry for justice ring out all over the world", said Cardinal Cordes in his remarks. "The world of politics and the coexistence of peoples everywhere needs the various forces of social life to relate to one another. This is the field of justice", which "is downtrodden by violence, by oppression of freedom and lack of respect for human dignity, by bad legislation and the violation of rights, by exploitation and breadline wages". "There are, therefore, various social factors which have to be amended; and it must not be forgotten that in this struggle the Church also has her merits", said the cardinal. In this context he recalled how, "following Jesus' example, the first Christians sought to meet the needs of their fellow man", and "later in the Middle Ages ... with the 'Tregua Dei', the men of the Church defended the goods of the common people against the nobility and convened mass gatherings which - to the cry of 'pax, pax, pax' - promoted the enthusiastic desire for peaceful coexistence". "In the modern age too, when the European States made colonies of other countries and continents, non infrequently subjecting them to brutal exploitation, Christian missionaries and religious not only brought the inhabitants of those lands to the faith, but often taught them a way and a quality of life". "However, whoever dedicates deeper study to the Church's contribution in favour of peaceful understanding among human beings will soon discover that the problem of just coexistence cannot be resolved only though worldly interventions. ... Like the Pope, we too must go beyond the common conception of anthropology and achieve a complete vision of man: thus does the message of justice become clear in its entirety". "Evil comes from within, from the human heart, as the Lord says in the Gospel. William Shakespeare and Georges Bernanos revealed this in their works. ... And Stalin - in Ukraine - and Hitler - at Auschwitz - showed no scruples in giving free reign to their own malignity. ... The experience of evil teaches us that it would be ingenuous to entrust ourselves merely to human justice, which only intervenes on structures and behaviour from the outside. It is the heart of man that needs to be healed". The president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" went on to recall how "this Lenten Message, as it does every year, encourages the men and women of our time to do good. ... But the Pope's words are above all a challenge to our will, to entrust ourselves to God and believe in Him. ... Modern everyday life does not lead us to God. His absence is what distinguishes our daily experience. Once again we discover that the Gospel is not in harmony with bourgeois consensus and, for this reason, must be proclaimed ever and anew". "In the last part of his Message, the Pope identifies salvation in Christ as the foundation of human justice", the cardinal concluded. "Faced with the justice of the Cross man may rebel, because it highlights that he is not autonomous but needs Another in order fully to be himself. This, in the end, is what converting to Christ, believing in the Gospel, means".OP/LENTEN MESSAGE/POETTERING:CORDES VIS 100204 (870)

PAPAL MESSAGE FOR LENT 2010 VATICAN CITY, 4 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was the 2010 Lenten Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The text, dated 30 October 2009, has as its title a passage from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans: "The justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ". The full English-language translation of the document is given below: "Each year, on the occasion of Lent, the Church invites us to a sincere review of our life in light of the teachings of the Gospel. This year, I would like to offer you some reflections on the great theme of justice, beginning from the Pauline affirmation: 'The justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ'. "First of all, I want to consider the meaning of the term 'justice', which in common usage implies 'to render to every man his due', according to the famous expression of Ulpian, a Roman jurist of the third century. In reality, however, this classical definition does not specify what 'due' is to be rendered to each person. What man needs most cannot be guaranteed to him by law. In order to live life to the full, something more intimate is necessary that can be granted only as a gift: we could say that man lives by that love which only God can communicate since He created the human person in His image and likeness. Material goods are certainly useful and required - indeed Jesus Himself was concerned to heal the sick, feed the crowds that followed Him and surely condemns the indifference that even today forces hundreds of millions into death through lack of food, water and medicine - yet 'distributive' justice does not render to the human being the totality of his 'due'. Just as man needs bread, so does man have even more need of God. St. Augustine notes: if 'justice is that virtue which gives every one his due ... where, then, is the justice of man, when he deserts the true God?' "The Evangelist Mark reports the following words of Jesus, which are inserted within the debate at that time regarding what is pure and impure: 'There is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him. ... What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts'. Beyond the immediate question concerning food, we can detect in the reaction of the Pharisees a permanent temptation within man: to situate the origin of evil in an exterior cause. Many modern ideologies deep down have this presupposition: since injustice comes 'from outside', in order for justice to reign, it is sufficient to remove the exterior causes that prevent it being achieved. This way of thinking - Jesus warns - is ingenuous and short-sighted. Injustice, the fruit of evil, does not have exclusively external roots; its origin lies in the human heart, where the seeds are found of a mysterious co-operation with evil. With bitterness the Psalmist recognises this: 'Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me'. Indeed, man is weakened by an intense influence, which wounds his capacity to enter into communion with the other. By nature, he is open to sharing freely, but he finds in his being a strange force of gravity that makes him turn in and affirm himself above and against others: this is egoism, the result of original sin. Adam and Eve, seduced by Satan's lie, snatching the mysterious fruit against the divine command, replaced the logic of trusting in Love with that of suspicion and competition; the logic of receiving and trustfully expecting from the Other with anxiously seizing and doing on one's own, experiencing, as a consequence, a sense of disquiet and uncertainty. How can man free himself from this selfish influence and open himself to love? "At the heart of the wisdom of Israel, we find a profound link between faith in God who 'lifts the needy from the ash heap' and justice towards one's neighbour. The Hebrew word itself that indicates the virtue of justice, 'sedaqah', expresses this well. 'Sedaqah', in fact, signifies on the one hand full acceptance of the will of the God of Israel; on the other hand, equity in relation to one's neighbour, especially the poor, the stranger, the orphan and the widow. But the two meanings are linked because giving to the poor for the Israelite is none other than restoring what is owed to God, who had pity on the misery of His people. It was not by chance that the gift to Moses of the tablets of the Law on Mount Sinai took place after the crossing of the Red Sea. Listening to the Law presupposes faith in God who first 'heard the cry' of His people and 'came down to deliver them out of hand of the Egyptians'. God is attentive to the cry of the poor and in return asks to be listened to: He asks for justice towards the poor, the stranger, the slave. In order to enter into justice, it is thus necessary to leave that illusion of self-sufficiency, the profound state of closure, which is the very origin of injustice. In other words, what is needed is an even deeper 'exodus' than that accomplished by God with Moses, a liberation of the heart, which the Law on its own is powerless to realize. Does man have any hope of justice then? "The Christian Good News responds positively to man's thirst for justice, as St. Paul affirms in the Letter to the Romans: 'But now the justice of God has been manifested apart from law ... the justice of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by His blood, to be received by faith'. "What then is the justice of Christ? Above all, it is the justice that comes from grace, where it is not man who makes amends, heals himself and others. The fact that 'expiation' flows from the 'blood' of Christ signifies that it is not man's sacrifices that free him from the weight of his faults, but the loving act of God Who opens Himself in the extreme, even to the point of bearing in Himself the 'curse' due to man so as to give in return the 'blessing' due to God. But this raises an immediate objection: what kind of justice is this where the just man dies for the guilty and the guilty receives in return the blessing due to the just one? Would this not mean that each one receives the contrary of his 'due'? In reality, here we discover divine justice, which is so profoundly different from its human counterpart. God has paid for us the price of the exchange in His Son, a price that is truly exorbitant. Before the justice of the Cross, man may rebel for this reveals how man is not a self-sufficient being, but in need of Another in order to realize himself fully. Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one's own need - the need of others and God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship. "So we understand how faith is altogether different from a natural, good-feeling, obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from 'what is mine', to give me gratuitously 'what is His'. This happens especially in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Thanks to Christ's action, we may enter into the 'greatest' justice, which is that of love, the justice that recognises itself in every case more a debtor than a creditor, because it has received more than could ever have been expected. Strengthened by this very experience, the Christian is moved to contribute to creating just societies, where all receive what is necessary to live according to the dignity proper to the human person and where justice is enlivened by love. "Dear brothers and sisters, Lent culminates in the Paschal Triduum, in which this year, too, we shall celebrate divine justice - the fullness of charity, gift, salvation. May this penitential season be for every Christian a time of authentic conversion and intense knowledge of the mystery of Christ, who came to fulfil every justice. With these sentiments, I cordially impart to all of you my apostolic blessing".MESS/LENT 2010/... VIS 100204 (1480)

TELEGRAM FOR WINTER OLYMPICS IN CANADA VATICAN CITY, 4 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was a telegram sent by the Pope to Archbishop J. Michael Miller C.S.B. of Vancouver, Canada, for the twenty-first Winter Olympic Games and the tenth Paralympic Winter Games, due to be held in the archdiocese of Vancouver and the diocese of Kamloops from 12 to 28 February. In the English-language telegram the Pope expresses the hope that "sport may always be a valued building block of peace and friendship between peoples and nations". He also praises the "More than Gold" ecumenical initiative, which will provide spiritual and material assistance to participants and visitors.TGR/WINTER OLYMPICS/MILLER VIS 100204 (110)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 4 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Two prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, on their 'ad limina' visit: - Bishop Charles Phillip Richard Moth, military ordinary. - Fr. Michael Bernard McPartland, S.M.A., apostolic prefect of the Falkland Islands, and superior of the 'sui iuris' mission to Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cu­nha. - Three prelates from the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, on their 'ad limina' visit: - Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh. - Archbishop Mario Joseph Conti of Glasgow. - Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell.AL/.../... VIS 100204 (110)

CNA report:
Police removed a group of 15 Spanish Right to Life advocates gathered outside the Queen Sofia Museum in Madrid, the site where the European Human Rights Commission was conducting a meeting.
The pro-life protestors were carrying signs reading, “What about my rights?” alongside pictures of a baby at 13 weeks of gestation. Police forced them to leave the area outside the building where the meeting was taking place.
The president of the watchdog organization “,” Ignacio Arsuaga, said the police humiliated the group of peaceful protestors, “solely because they were showing the European ministers how (Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero) treats the right to life in Spain.”
President Zapatero has given support to laws permitting abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy.
Arsuaga also urged pro-lifers to participate in the March for Life that will take place March 7 in hundreds of cities across Spain.(source:
Edited from All
The threat by influential Christian leaders to mobilise a vote against Kenya's draft constitution if it does not explicitly prevent any expansion of abortion rights appears to have succeeded.
The draft assembled by a Committee of Experts for consideration by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) contained no specific reference to abortion, but the National Council of Churches (NCCK) and the Catholic Church were up in arms about a phrase stating that "everyone has a right to life" while failing to define where life begins and ends.

Kenyans look at foetuses dumped in an open sewer by suspected abortionists: The draft constitution now prohibits abortions unless advised by a doctor.
Canon Peter Karanja of the NCCK told IPS, "Life is sacrosanct. The definition of life must be stipulated in the supreme law of the land, the Constitution. Life must be defined as starting at conception and ending at natural death."
The parliamentary committee has completed deliberations on the draft, and decided to define life as beginning at conception.
Phrases guaranteeing everyone the right to health care (including reproductive health care) and stating that no one may be refused emergency medical treatment have been deleted; added is a phrase ruling out abortion "unless in the opinion of a registered medical practitioner the life of the mother is in danger".
On its part, the Church is happy with the prohibition of abortion and definition of life as beginning at conception, and has again warned it will reject anything less.
"We should not victimise the innocent unborn children, who do not have a say in this matter. Even in the case of rape and incest, the life in the womb of the woman is innocent," says Father Paulino Wondo of the Holy Trinity Catholic Mission in the Nairobi slum of Kariobangi.
Members of the Kenya Medical Association, FIDA, Kenya Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society, Family Health Options Kenya and the National Nurses Association of Kenya, have written a protest note to the PSC, the Committee of Experts and Parliament, calling for the controversial phrases to be reviewed.
Currently, abortion is permitted in Kenya only to save the life of the mother. In Kenya it is estimated that 300,000 spontaneous and induced abortions occur annually, about 29 abortions for every 100 live births," says Osur. It is estimated that 2,000 women die annually from unsafe abortions."
Nearly 21,000 women are admitted each year to Kenya's public hospitals for treatment of complications from incomplete abortions, either spontaneous or induced.
The study further shows that 800 unsafe abortions are performed every day and 2,600 women die from unsafe abortions in Kenya each year, representing 30 to 40 percent of Kenya's total maternal deaths, according to Kenya Obstetric and Gynaecological Society and Kenya Medical Association.
Nyunya says that 60 percent of the beds in the gynaecological ward at Kenyatta National Hospital, the largest referral hospital in East and Central Africa, are occupied by patients suffering from abortion complications.
He says a conservative estimate of the cost to the state for the management of these cases is approximately four million dollars a year.
(Edited from:


Asia News: At two o'clock this morning a group of vandals ransacked the church of St. Matthias Malavalli in the district of Mandya. Since the beginning of this is the sixth attack in the state of Karnataka. Attackers desecrated a crucifix, the statues destroyed and stole the hosts in the tabernacle. Once again it is feared the hand of Hindu extremists. The parish priest of the Church invites the faithful to forgive the vandals.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Attacks against Christians continue in the state of Karnataka. Last night at about two in the morning a group of unidentified people broke into the church of St. Matthias in Malavalli (Mandya district). According to local sources, the vandals desecrated a crucifix, destroyed the statues in the nave, broke windows and stole valuables. Not even the musical instruments were spared.
"The vandals entered in the middle of the night breaking in the door to the presbytery - said Fr M Anthappa parish priest of the church of S. Matthias - They ransacked the church, stealing the chalice and monstrance. "The vandals – he adds - also emptied the tabernacle stealing the pyx and consecrated hosts. And this is what has offended our religious sentiments most. Even the crown of the statue of St. Matthias was stolen”. Fr. Anthappa however has urged the faithful to forgive those who have carried out this act and says that he will pray to God for their salvation and conversion.
Since the beginning of the year this is the 6th attack on a house of worship in Karnataka. On January 25 two churches were attacked in the diocese of Karwar and Inkal. While the identity of the vandals is still not known, the main suspect in the attacks are extremists Hindus of the Sri Rama Sene, a far-right nationalist party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules the state government of Karnataka.
On 1 February the Board of Inquiry (Justice BK Somashekara Inquiry commission) to guide investigations of attacks against Christians presented a report which accused the district police and administration of covering for the perpetrators of the attacks. The document is in fact critical of the local government ruled by the Hindu nationalist BJP, the party already accused of massacres against Christians in the state of Orissa in 2008.
"These kinds of attacks are not just attacks on minorities – says Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of India - but affect the secular fabric of our society, human rights, the inalienable right to religious freedom, a right which is guaranteed by the Indian constitution”. According to Sajan George religious extremism has "shredded" the constitution, rendering Karnataka a state that protects criminals. "The Republic of India – he continues - risks self-destruction because of this bigotry in our society, which has taken office in Karnataka and does nothing but destroy the sacred values of democracy."


Cath News report:
Bishop Kevin Manning, who has looked after parishes from Parramatta to Penrith and beyond since 1997, retires next month at the age of 76. He is a bit sorry to be leaving, but looks on it as a new phase in his life.
"My contact with the people in the diocese has been important and I've tried to do everything to better their lives," Bishop Manning told the Blacktown Sun.
"To acquaint them with the revelations of the Scriptures and the teachings of Christ, which to me has always been the central thing."
He said his concerns also extended to people of other Christian denominations and people of other faiths.
"All people have a single origin; we are all children of God," Bishop Manning said.
Kevin Manning grew up in Coolah, the second-eldest of seven children. He left school at 14 and worked in a store, then the post office. He said his beliefs in social justice stemmed from his early work experiences and his family's teachings.
Bishop Manning said his own family was so poor they often had to catch rabbits to eat. "But my grandmother would say, the family next door hadn't eaten that day, so we have to share this with them,"he said.
He said he had always wanted to be a priest, even in his childhood. He studied at St Columba's Junior Seminary in Springwood and completed his studies in Rome. He said he had no ambition other than being a good priest, but he was appointed Bishop of Armidale in 1991 and then of Parramatta six years later.
Bishop Manning said it had been a privilege to serve the Parramatta Diocese, with its mix of cultures and one of the largest group of practising Catholics.
He will retire on march 4, then move to Glenbrook but intends to remain a fisher for Christ, relieving for priests around the diocese when needed. (SOURCE:


USCCB release: 2010 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering to Bring 400 Leaders to Washington to Focus on Common Good, Papal Encyclical
WASHINGTON—The 2010 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering will bring together over 400 Catholic leaders from across the country with the theme, “Charity in Truth: Seeking the Common Good,” echoing Pope Benedict XVI’s most recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. Sponsored by 19 national Catholic organizations including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the gathering will take place February 7-10 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill. The first day’s events will include a talk on spirituality and social action by Jesuit Father Allan Figueroa Deck, executive director of Cultural Diversity in the Church for the USCCB, and an opening Mass celebrated by Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. On February 8, John Carr, executive director of the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, will offer a reflection on the common work of Catholic social ministry, especially in light of Pope Benedict’s latest encyclical. The Domestic Issues Plenary speaker, Ray Boshara, vice-president and senior fellow at New America Foundation and consultant to the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, will speak on reducing poverty in America. The International Issues Plenary speaker will be Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, associate professor in the Department of Politics of The Catholic University of America and a consultant to the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace. She will address how the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI impact the international mission of the U.S. Church and both affirm and challenge U.S. foreign policy. On February 9, attendees will break into state delegations and visit their U.S. Representatives and Senators on Capitol Hill to discuss immigration reform, health care reform, job creation and policies that uphold the life and dignity of human life and pursue justice and peace worldwide. The gathering’s closing luncheon will feature David Brooks and Mark Shields of NewsHour on PBS offering commentary on how politics shape issues of human life and dignity and justice and peace. More information on the 2010 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering is available online at:


St. Joseph of Leonessa
Feast: February 4
Feast Day:
February 4
8 January 1556 at Leonissa, Umbria, Italy
Saturday 4 February 1612 at Umbria, Italy
29 June 1746 by Pope Benedict XIV

In the world named Eufranio Desiderio, born in 1556 at Leonessa in Umbria; died 4 February, 1612. From his infancy he showed a remarkably religious bent of mind; he used to erect little altars and spend much time in prayer before them, and often he would gather his companions and induce them to pray with him. Whilst yet a boy he used to take the discipline on Fridays in company with the confraternity of St. Saviour. He was educated by his uncle, who had planned a suitable marriage for him, but in his sixteenth year he fell sick of a fever, and on his recovery, without consulting his relative, he joined the Capuchin reform of the Franciscan Order. He made his novitiate in the convent of the Carcerelle near Assisi. As a religious he was remarkable for his great abstinence. "Brother Ass", he would say to his body, "there is no need to feed thee as a noble horse would be fed: thou must be content to be a poor ass." In 1599, the year before his Jubilee year, he fasted the whole year by way of preparation for gaining the indulgence. In 1587 he was sent by the Superior General of his order to Constantinople to minister to the Christians held captive there. Arrived there he and his companions lodged in a derelict house of Benedictine monks. The poverty in which the friars lived attracted the attention of the Turks, who went in numbers to see the new missionaries. He was very solicitous in ministering to the captive Christians in the galleys. Every day he went into the city to preach, and he was at length thrown into prison and only released at the intervention of the Venetian agent. Urged on by zeal he at last sought to enter the palace to preach before the Sultan, but he was seized and condemned to death. For three days he hung on the gallows, held up by two hooks driven through his right hand and foot; then he was miraculously released by an angel. Returning to Italy, he took with him a Greek archbishop who had apostatized, and who was reconciled to the Church on their arrival in Rome. Joseph now took up the work of home missions in his native province, sometimes preaching six or seven times a day. In the Jubilee year of 1600 he preached the Lent at Orticoli, a town through which crowds of pilgrims passed on their way to Rome. Many of them being very poor, Joseph supplied them with food; he also washed their clothes and cut their hair. At Todi he cultivated with his own hands a garden, the produce of which was for the poor. His feast is kept on 4 February throughout the Franciscan Order. He was canonized by Benedict XIV. (SOURCE:


Mark 6: 7 - 13
And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;
but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.
And he said to them, "Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.
And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them."
So they went out and preached that men should repent.
And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.


(VIS) - In St. Peter's Basilica at 5.30 p.m. yesterday Benedict XVI presided at the celebration of Vespers for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the Day of Consecrated Life. The Pope recalled how it was John Paul III who, in 1997, decided that this Day should coincide with the Feast of the Presentation. "In fact", he said, "the oblation of the Son of God - as symbolised by His presentation in the Temple - represents a model for all men and women who consecrate their lives to the Lord. "This Day", he added, "has a triple aim: firstly, to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of consecrated life; secondly, to promote awareness and respect for consecrated life among all the People of God; and finally, to invite those who have fully dedicated their own lives to the cause of the Gospel to celebrate the marvels the Lord has worked in them". The Holy Father then went on to comment on one of the readings from today's liturgy, a passage from the Letter to the Hebrews in which "Christ is presented as the Mediator: He is true God and true man, and therefore truly belongs to the divine and the human worlds", the Pope said. "It is, in fact, only on the basis of this faith, of this profession of faith in Jesus Christ the one and definitive Mediator, that consecrated life has meaning in the Church, a life consecrated to God through Christ. It has meaning only if He truly is the Mediator between God and us, otherwise it would merely be a form of sublimation or evasion". "Consecrated life", the Pope went on, "is a 'strong' expression of God's and man's reciprocal search for one another. ... Consecrated people, by the very fact of their existence, represent a kind of 'bridge' towards God for everyone they meet. ... This is by virtue of the mediation of Christ, Who was consecrated by the Father. He is the foundation, He Who shared our frailty that we might share in His divine nature". "Consecrated people experience the grace, mercy and forgiveness of God, not only for themselves but also for their brothers and sisters, being called to carry in their hearts and their prayers the anguish and desires of mankind, especially those who are far from God. Cloistered communities in particular, with their specific commitment to faithfulness in 'being with the Lord' and in 'standing under the cross', often play this intermediate role, united to Christ in the Passion, taking upon themselves the suffering and trials of others and joyfully offering everything for the salvation of the world". Consecrated life "is a testament to the superabundance of love which stimulates us to 'lose' our own life in response to the superabundance of the love of the Lord, Who first 'lost' His life for us. At this moment my thoughts go to consecrated people who feel the burden of a daily fatigue that offers scant human gratification, I think of elderly and sick religious, and those who face difficulties in their apostolate. None of them are useless, because the Lord associates them with the 'throne of grace'; rather, they are a precious gift for the Church, and for the world which thirsts for God and His Word". Benedict XVI concluded by expressing the hope that the current Year for Priests "may be a further opportunity for regular priests to intensify their journey to sanctification, and a stimulus for all consecrated people to accompany and support their ministry with fervent prayer".HML/CONSECRATED LIFE/... VIS 100203 (610)
ST. DOMINIC, A TRUE PREACHER OF THE GOSPEL VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2010 (VIS) - In today's general audience, held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Pope spoke about the life and work of St. Dominic de Guzman, founder of the Order of Preachers, or Dominican Order. St. Dominic was born in Caleruega, near the Spanish city of Burgos, in the year 1170. While still a student he "distinguished himself for his interest in the study of Sacred Scriptures and his love for the poor". Having been ordained a priest he was elected as canon of the cathedral of Osma, however "he did not consider this as a personal privilege, nor as the first step in a brilliant ecclesiastical career; rather, as a service to be rendered with dedication and humility. Do not career and power represent a temptation to which even those who have roles of leadership and government in the Church are not immune?" the Pope asked. He then explained how the bishop of Osma "soon noted Dominic's spiritual qualities and sought his collaboration. Together they travelled to northern Europe on diplomatic missions. ... On his journeys Dominic became aware of ... the existence of peoples still un-evangelised, ... and of the religious divides that weakened Christian life in the south of France, where the activity of certain heretical groups created disturbance and distanced people from the truth of the faith". Pope Honorius III asked Dominic "to dedicate himself to preaching to the Albigensians" and he "enthusiastically accepted this mission, which he undertook through the example of his own life of poverty and austerity, through preaching the Gospel and through public discussions". "Christ", the Pope went on, "is the most precious treasure that men and women of all times and places have the right to know and love! It is consoling to see how also in today's Church there are many people (pastors and lay faithful, members of ancient religious orders and of new ecclesial movements) who joyfully give their lives for the supreme ideal of announcing and bearing witness to the Gospel". As more and more companions joined him, Dominic established his first house in the French city of Toulouse, from which the Order of Preachers came into being. "He adopted the ancient Rule of St. Augustine, adapting it to the requirements of an itinerant apostolic life in which he and his confreres would move from one place to another preaching, but always returning to their convents, places of study, prayer and community life". St. Dominic, the Holy Father continued, "was keen that his followers should have a solid theological formation, and did not hesitate to send them to the universities of the time". There they dedicated themselves to the study of theology, "founded on Holy Scripture but respectful of the questions raised by reason". The Pope encouraged everyone, "pastors and lay people, to cultivate this 'cultural dimension' of the faith, that the beauty of Christian truth may be better understood and the faith truly nourished, strengthened and defended. In this Year for Priests, I invite seminarians and priests to respect the spiritual value of study. The quality of priestly ministry also depends on the generosity with which we apply ourselves to studying revealed truths". Dominic died in Bologna in 1221 and was canonised in 1234. "With his sanctity, he shows us two indispensable means for making apostolic activity more incisive", the Pope concluded; "firstly, Marian devotion", especially the praying of the Rosary "which his spiritual children had the great merit of popularising", and secondly, "the value of prayers of intercession for the success of apostolic work".AG/ST. DOMINIC/... VIS 100203 (610)

CISA report:
A three year campaign to reduce mother to child aids infection has been launched in Kenya.The campaign, dubbed Campaign to End Paediatric HIV/Aids, seeks to increase coverage rates in preventing HIV transmission from mothers to children and scale up treatment for those infected.Initially, the campaign will focus on six countries-Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and Nigeria.A paediatrician, Dr. Iren Inwani said during the launch that despite providing septrin treatment, about 40,000 children are infected by HIV annually and this is unacceptably high.The government is currently providing anti-retroviral treatment to about 30,000 children living with the disease.According to reports, 60,000 are in need of Anti Retroviral drugs.(SOURCE:


Report from Bishops Conference of England:
Bishop John Hine, Chair of the Bishops’ Committee for Marriage and Family Life, will launch a Catholic Marriage Preparation Survey during Marriage Week UK (February 8-14). All those involved in preparing couples for marriage are invited to take part in the survey, including priests, deacons, marriage preparation providers, and of course the couples themselves. The short surveys can be filled in online at and
Questions include:
Why did you take part in the marriage preparation course? Was it easy to find information in advance? How has the course affected your understanding of yourself, your partner and your relationship? How did you come to be involved in marriage preparation? Which topics do you cover in your course? What months are you generally busiest?
The survey aims to look at:
how many people are involved in marriage preparation, their background and experience, and what they offer to couples preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony
how many couples the Catholic community are preparing for this lifetime's commitment
how couples experience this ministry of the Catholic community
In a recent visit to the Pontifical Council for the Family, Bishop Hine received backing for the survey:
"The sacrament of matrimony is a blessing that lasts for a lifetime, not just the day of the ceremony. Preparation for such a great commitment, then, is an essential step in the journey towards marriage. I discussed the Committee’s plans to better understand how couples are currently prepared for marriage during my visit to the Pontifical Council for the Family last week. They welcomed the survey which will undoubtedly give us a much better indication of how we can further develop this vital family ministry in future."
Rt Rev John HineDiocesan Administrator, Archdiocese of SouthwarkChair, Bishops’ Conference Committee for Marriage and Family Life
"I’m delighted that the Committee have launched this enquiry into marriage preparation. The survey will yield a great deal of useful information that will help us better understand the ways in which this critical form of sacramental preparation is delivered. I’m especially keen to encourage participation from priests and from marriage preparation providers who are not affiliated to any national or diocesan programme."
Elizabeth DaviesMarriage and Family Life Project Officer
To mark Marriage Week UK, celebrations of marriage will take place in many dioceses across England and Wales:
A Mass in thanksgiving for the Sacrament of Marriage will be held in the Diocese of Shrewsbury on Saturday 13th February at 2pm in St Columba's Church, Chester, with Bishop Brian as Principal Celebrant. Contact Clara Donnelly, Marriage and Family Life CoordinatorTel: 0151 691 2811Email:
On Sunday, 14th February, Archbishop Vincent Nichols will be leading prayers in the Archdiocese of Liverpool at the annual celebration of marriage and family life at Liverpool Cathedral on Sunday at 3pm.Contact: Veronica Murphy, Coordinator for Faith FormationTel: 0151 522 1048Email:
Bishop Malcolm McMahon will be presiding at St. Barnabas Cathedral in the Diocese of Nottingham at 3pm.Contact: Rev. John Sherrington, Chair, Marriage and Family Life Commission, Tel 0115 9268288Email:
More information
Marriage Week UK celebrates the diversity and vibrancy of marriage as the basis for family life in the UK. It has been held since 1997 and spans the week including Valentine’s Day.
Marriage Week website.
Elizabeth DaviesMarriage and Family Life Project OfficerCBCEW39 Eccleston SquareLondon, SW1V 2BXt. 07817 479694e. (SOURCE:


CNA report:
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has announced its new seminary chapel at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Nebraska will be consecrated on March 3. Cardinal William Levada will attend the ceremony, which will be broadcast live on EWTN at 11 a.m. Eastern Time.
The ceremony is open to the public, but because of limited space rooms and television screens will be provided to those outside the chapel.
Bishop of Lincoln Fabian Bruskewitz will celebrate the Pontifical Consecration and Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) is dedicated to the celebration of the Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962. In a press release, the FSSP said it was “delighted” at Cardinal Levada’s presence, describing him as one of the highest ranking officials in the Catholic Church.
The FSSP said his attendance is connected with his position as President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclessia Dei, which is dedicated to facilitating the full incorporation of communities and individuals attached to the Extraordinary Form.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary is located in rural Denton, Nebraska and is the FSSP’s English-speaking seminary. The seminary itself has 100 seminary rooms and 13 priest suites. It began construction in the fall of 1998.
The chapel consecration will “crown the heart and jewel of the seminary,” the Fraternity explained.
The seminary chapel, designed by architect Thomas Gordon Smith, reflects a “contemporary rebirth” of classical Catholic architecture, the FSSP said in a press release. Behind its mahogany doors are an elevated main altar with a 31-foot marble canopy, called a “baldachino.” The chapel has seven side altars and liturgical choir stalls, which seat 92 seminarians and priests.
The chapel immerses the visitor in “beauty and grandeur,” the FSSP said.
The seminary website is at

Asia News report:
Organization for Human Rights condemns the continuing abuses of police and armed forces in the prisons of 11 districts of Terai (southern Nepal). Mainly affected the ethnic and religious minorities. Among the tortured children aged 9 years.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Summary executions and the use of torture in prisons in the region of the Terai (southern Nepal) a hotbed of ethnic conflict, are on the increase. The Human Rights organization Advocacy Forum (AF) in a 93-page report released yesterday documents the repeated violence - murders, rapes, kidnappings, torture – carried out between January and September 2009 by police and armed forces against ethnic minorities in the region.
The Af report entitled "Torture and extrajudicial executions amid widespread violence in the Tarai" refers to a total of 15 executions that remained unpunished. According to the organization, the Nepal Police (NP) is responsible for 13 killings, while two were committed by members of the Armed Police Force (AF). The dead belong mostly to political groups linked to the Madeshi community, the ethic minority in the region that is fighting for autonomy. Witnesses said the victims were arrested during clashes between police and Madeshi members and killed on the spot by the officials.
"Once again we see how the Nepalese government has failed to conduct credible investigations and prosecute those responsible for these crimes," said Mandira Sharma, director of AF. "Impunity – she adds - shows the lack of an adequate security system. All this only adds to the resentment of ethnic groups towards the central government in Kathmandu.
The document is also a survey based on interviews with 1473 inmates. This shows the prevalence of torture in prisons in 11 districts: Banke, Barda, Dhanusha, Jhapa, Kanchapur, Kapilvastu, Morang, Siraha, Sunsari, Rupandehi and Udayapur. In the prison in the district of Dhanusha more than 30% of respondents admitted to having been tortured. In particular, women complained of continuous sexual abuse by the guards. Torture also cover 52% of children, in some cases as young as 9 years old. Mainly the ethnic and religious minorities are subjected to torture. Prisoners belonging to the Terai ethnic groups or Muslims are the most affected, while Hindus are given a better treatment.
In July 2009 the Nepalese government launched a special security plan to limit police violence, particularly in the region of Terai. Nevertheless it has not yet been implemented and no measure has been taken against the policemen responsible for violence.
"Until the law is applied and there is more investigations of these facts - says Mandira Sharma - the police will continue to use electric shock treatment in prisons, to carryout extrajudicial executions and use violence against detainees, including children, without having to account anyone.


Cath News report: NSW resident Henry Carlon has been awarded the Vatican's Order of Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St Gregory the Great, a distinction that recognises service to the Church, unusual labours and support of the Holy See. Bishop Luc Matthys conferred the award following the celebration of the Eucharist in St Joseph's Church, Uralla, near Armidale, on January 30, the Australasian Religious Press Association said. The Order of St Gregory was established in 1831 by Pope Gregory XVI. Other famous recipients of the order have included Rupert Murdoch, and Bob Hope. It is understood that there are about 50 Papal knights throughout Australia. Henry Carlon has been a life-long member of St Joseph's Parish, Uralla. He and his wife Pamela have been married for 57 years. He has been an acolyte in the parish for 30 years. He serves at the altar at Mass on weekends and for many years he has taken communion to the elderly, and the sick. "Henry Carlon has led a remarkable life, a life that has been marked by a deep commitment to the Catholic Church and his Catholic faith. His contribution to the church on a parish and diocesan level has been outstanding. His contribution to Ecumenical affairs has been an example for good for people ofall Christian denominations," said the media release. Henry spent his working life in the development of fine Merino wool on his family sheep property, "Talisker" near Uralla. There are no privileges associated with the Order. However, recipients are allowed to ride on horseback through the Basilica, in Rome. No one has taken up the offer for many years. "Give me a Yamaha trail bike anytime," quipped Henry. (SOURCE:


St. Blaise
Feast: February 3
Feast Day:
January 24
Patron of:
Animals, builders, choking, veterinarians, throats, infants, stonecutters, carvers, wool workers

It is not known precisely when or where St. Blaise lived, but according to tradition he was a bishop of Sebaste, Armenia, in the early part of the fourth century, and suffered martyrdom under the Roman emperor Licinius, who had commanded the governor of the province, one Agricolaus, to prevent the spread of Christianity in his territory. After this edict had been promulgated, Blaise fled to the mountains and lived in a cave frequented by wild beasts. He used his skill to heal the animals that he found wounded or sick, and when the emperor's hunters, bent on collecting wild animals for the royal games, discovered him in this cave, they carried him off to Agricolaus as a special prize. On the way, the story goes, they met a poor woman whose pig had been seized by a wolf. At the command of Blaise, the wolf restored the pig to its owner, alive and unhurt. During the course of this journey he also miraculously cured a child who was choking to death on a fishbone. For this reason St. Blaise is often invoked by persons suffering from throat trouble. When he had reached the capital and was in prison awaiting execution, the old woman whose pig he had saved came to see him, bringing two fine wax candles to dispel the gloom of his dark cell. When he was finally killed, he is supposed to have been tortured with an iron comb or rake, and afterwards beheaded. In the West there was no cult honoring St. Blaise prior to the eighth century.
One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, his emblems are an iron comb and a wax taper.


Mark 6: 1 - 6
He went away from there and came to his own country; and his disciples followed him.
And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands!
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.
And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house."
And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them.
And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.




(VIS) - "The Church at the loving service of those who suffer" will be the theme of the celebrations organised to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers, and the eighteenth World Day of the Sick. The events will take place from 9 to 11 February. An international symposium, due to be held on 9 and 10 February in the Vatican's New Synod Hall, will examine two documents by John Paul II: the Apostolic Letter "Salvifici Doloris" on the Christian meaning of human suffering (11 February1984), and the Motu Proprio "Dolentium Hominum" with which that Pontiff established the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers (11 February 1985). According to a communique, the symposium will also study the question of suffering from the point of view of Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism, and consider how it is seen and experienced in African and Asian cultures. At 10.30 a.m. on 11 February, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Benedict XVI will preside at the celebration of the Eucharist in the Vatican Basilica. The programme of events for that day, prepared by the pontifical council, also includes the arrival of the reliquary of St. Bernadette Soubirous, prayer before the statue of the Virgin of Lourdes and a visit to the tomb of John Paul II. The events organised for that period also include a concert at the Rome's Santa Cecilia Academy, and an exhibition of paintings dedicated to John Paul II and to suffering..../ANNIVERSARY/HEALTHCARE WORKERS VIS 100202 (260)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 2 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France, as a member of the Congregation for the Clergy. - Appointed Archbishop Augustine Kasujja, apostolic nuncio to Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles, and apostolic delegate to Comoros with functions as apostolic delegate to Reunion, as apostolic nuncio to Nigeria. - Appointed Bishop Guillermo Orozco Montoya of San Jose del Guaviare, Colombia, as bishop of Girardota (area 2,445, population 212,000, Catholics 191,000, priests 57, permanent deacons 1, religious 75), Colombia. - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Mahajanga, Madagascar presented by Bishop Joseph Ignace Randrianasolo, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Roger Victor Rakotondrajao. - Appointed Fr. Justin Kientega of the clergy of Koudougou, Burkina Faso, diocesan bursar, as bishop of Ouahigouya (area 19,126, population 1,200,000, Catholics 100,000, priests 62, religious 112), Burkina Faso. The bishop-elect was born in Temnaore, Burkina Faso in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1987. - Appointed Bishop Carlos German Mesa Ruiz of Arauca, Colombia, as bishop of Socorro y San Gil (area 6,734, population 268,000, Catholics 258,233, priests 102, religious 147), Colombia. - Appointed Bishop Oscar Armando Campos Contreras, auxiliary of Antequera, Oaxaca,, as bishop of Tehuantepec (area 25,000, population 1,660,000, Catholics 1,340,000, priests 76, religious 125), Mexico.NA:NN:NER:RE/.../... VIS 100202 (240)


Cath News report: Geelong racing legend George Hanlon, who trained three Melbourne Cup winners, was farewelled at the Lumen Christi Catholic Church in Leopold yesterday.
Hanlon died at a Leopold nursing home last Thursday, aged 92.
Racing media personality Brian Meldrum said in a eulogy that the remarkable stories that abound about George Maxwell Hanlon were the stuff of legend.
"They paint a picture of a man who, perhaps more than any other in the modern era, best characterised horse racing in the truest sense," Meldrum said.
Meldrum referred to noted author Les Carlyon, who once wrote: "There might be a more engaging character than George Hanlon on the Australian turf; if so, most of us haven't met him."
Hanlon won Melbourne Cups with Piping Lane in 1972, Arwon in 1978 and Black Knight in 1984.
The member of racing's Hall of Fame moved to Leopold in 1985 and helped guide many of Geelong's racing identities in their early careers.
Among mourners were former high-ranking racing officials such as chief steward Pat Lalor, Racing Victoria racing manager Les Benton, trainers Tom Hughes senior, Rick Hore-Lacy, Alan Williams, many Geelong district trainers and trackwork riders, jockeys Darren Gauci, Craig Williams and Peter Hutchinson, former jockeys Gary Willetts and Gavin Eades and long-time friends, former international jockey Ron Hutchinson and Pat Payne, father of the famous Payne racing family.
Senior officials of Geelong Racing Club also attended the Requiem Mass, said by Leopold parish priest Father Des Panton.
During the homily, Fr Panton pretended to take a phone call from top trainer Colin Hayes in heaven where Hayes said he had been replaced by Hanlon as God's horse trainer. (SOURCE:


Cardinal Newman Society report:
Attending a Catholic college has minimal impact on a Catholic student’s practice and embrace of the Catholic faith, according to a new study released Sunday at a gathering of Catholic college presidents in Washington, D.C.The study was presented to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) by researchers at Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).“Catholics should be alarmed by the significant declines in Catholic practice and fidelity at many of America’s Catholic institutions,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Everyone expects a Catholic college to be markedly different from a secular one. Students should be inspired to embrace and deepen their Catholic faith, not negotiate around Catholic moral teaching.”The CARA study largely confirms a 2003 study released by The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), which found significant declines in students’ support for Catholic moral teaching on abortion, marriage and sexuality after four years at a Catholic college or university. The declines were generally greater at non-Catholic private and public institutions.According to the CARA report, 16 percent of students at Catholic colleges and universities become more pro-life and more convinced of traditional marriage, whereas 31 percent become more supportive of legal abortion and 39 percent embrace same-sex “marriage.” Only seven percent increase attendance at religious services, while 32 percent reduce attendance. Eight percent of Catholic students leave the Catholic faith while attending a Catholic institution.But CARA researchers went a step further, considering the potential impact of a variety of demographic factors on students’ support for Catholic teaching. They found that attendance at a Catholic college has no statistically significant effect on a variety of measures, including students’ support for abortion, the death penalty and same-sex marriage. Students report some improvement in attending religious services (not necessarily Catholic), reading about religion and spirituality (not necessarily Catholic) and deeming it “important to improve the human condition”—a concern that is presumably shared outside the Catholic faith.Commenting on the study to, ACCU president Richard Yanikoski argued that the loss of faith at Catholic colleges and elsewhere reflects societal trends. Despite CARA’s analysis showing that the choice of a Catholic college has little significant impact on a student’s faith practice and beliefs, Yanikoski pointed to the raw data indicating that “a typical Catholic undergraduate student attending a Catholic college or university emerges more spiritually intact than if she or he had attended a public or secular private institution, but not nearly as spiritually active as would have been the case a few decades ago.”“That’s hardly something to celebrate,” Reilly said. “If the ACCU thinks it a happy fact that Catholics lose their faith somewhat slower at Catholic colleges than elsewhere, then they fail to appreciate the concerns of faithful Catholic families.”In the CARA report (found at, authors Mark Gray and Melissa Cidade state their agreement with The Cardinal Newman Society’s assertion in its 2003 report: “Regardless of where students begin their college journey, Catholic colleges should be helping students move closer to Christ, and certainly doing a better job of moving students toward the Catholic faith than secular colleges do.”In October 2008, The Cardinal Newman Society published a comprehensive study of practices and beliefs of current and recent students at Catholic colleges and universities. The study, conducted by the reputable Washington, D.C., polling firm QEV Analytics, found that:
Nearly 1 in 5 respondents knew another student who had or paid for an abortion.
46% of current and recent students—and 50% of females—said they engaged in sex outside of marriage.
84% said they had friends who engaged in premarital sex.
60% agreed strongly or somewhat that abortion should be legal.
60% agreed strongly or somewhat that premarital sex is not a sin.
78% disagreed strongly or somewhat that using a condom to prevent pregnancy was a serious sin.
57% agreed strongly or somewhat that same-sex “marriage” should be legal.
57% said the experience of attending a Catholic college or university had no effect on their participation in Mass and the sacrament of reconciliation.
54% of respondents said that their experience of attending a Catholic college or university had no effect on their support for the teachings of the Catholic Church.
56% said their experience had no effect on their respect for the Pope and bishops.
Both the 2008 and the 2003 CNS reports can be found at


Asia News report:
Bicycle tour took participants to locations that are significant in the history of the diocese in order to promote priestly vocations among the young. For the diocese’s 12,000 Catholics, there are 31 diocesan priests, 18 religious and 1 deacon. Last year, 400 people were baptised.Chiayi (AsiaNews) – At least 120 priests and nuns, plus more than 200 lay people, joined Bishop Thomas Chung An-zu of Chiayi diocese, southwestern Taiwan, on a cycling tour to celebrate the Year for the Priests by visiting the “roots” of the Catholic faith in the diocese.
Bishop Chung told AsiaNews that it was the first time the diocese held such activity, whose aim was to evangelise among local residents and promote “much-needed” vocations. Jokingly, the former rector of Taiwan Catholic Regional Seminary said, “Certainly cycling helped our priests and nuns relax and stay in good health”.
Mgr Chung has been the bishop of Chiayi since 2004. His diocese comprises the city of Chiayi, Chiayi County, and Yunlin County. It has about 12,000 Catholics, 31 diocesan priests and 18 religious. Its only deacon will be ordained a priest in April. “The diocese needs many priests,” the bishop said.
The cycling tour took place on 30 January and lasted four hours, covering 15 kilometres. The group of cyclists stopped and prayed at Siluo Church, one of the oldest Christian buildings, then travelled to Shuiwei village in Lunbei, Bishop Chung’s birthplace. Shuiwei has been a Catholic village for more than 100 years. “My family and villagers were very happy to receive the group,” the bishop said.
The group paid tribute to Taiwan’s second priest Fr Li Tian-yi in his hometown. Through photos, they learnt about the “hardships and perseverance of the early days in Taiwan” as well as “ the history of Catholic evangelisation in the villages,” he said. “We hope more young people will discover and choose the religious life,” he added.
Liao Wen-tung, the bishop’s special assistant, told AsiaNews, that about 20 young people joined the group. Almost all the diocesan priests, a number of members from the Society of Divine Word (Verbites) as well as the Congregation of Priests of the Mission, the Sisters of Our Lady of China and Dominican nuns from Chiayi diocese took part in the tour. “It was a special event that laypeople organised for the priests and others to celebrate the Year of the Priests,” he said.
Protestant clergymen and community leaders from Yunlin County were also invited, as a gesture of friendship and exchange with communities outside the Catholic Church, Liao said.
Each bicycle carried a sign in the front saying: “Catholic Chiayi Diocese: Priests’ ‘Iron-horse Ride’, Vocations and Faith-seeking Trip”, drawing attention of passers-by. Several local media reported the unusual event.
Organised by the Chaiyi’s Council for the Apostolate of the Laity, the event also featured the gift of a clerical shirt to each priest to show laypeople’s gratitude and support, council chairwoman Lin Miao-e told AsiaNews.
Bishop Chung said the cycling tour spread the message throughout the diocese that vocations are needed, encouraging each Catholic family to evangelise and foster vocations.
In preparing the 150th anniversary celebration of the evangelisation in Taiwan (1859-2009), which ended last November, the bishop noted that the parishes and Church institutions in Chiayi diocese organised a total of 55 catechism classes for catechumens, and that some 400 people were baptised last year.
The Chiayi diocese was first set up as a prefecture in 1952 and became a diocese in 1962.
The Church is primarily involved in education, medical and social services in Chiayi and Yunlin counties.(SOURCE:,-priests-and-nuns-on-bicycle-tour-to-promote-faith-and-vocations-17523.html


CISA report: For years now, many Kenyans have had to travel abroad to seek treatment for eye problems, but a recent study has shown that the country has a leading centre for prevalent vision problems.The latest innovation for treatment of eye disorders is available locally and Kenyans do not need to go abroad for treatment anymore.Dr Mukesh Joshi, the Medical Director of Laser Eye Centre in Nairobi, has discovered new ways of eye treatment and Cross Linking is one of them.In Cross Linking, Dr Joshi explains, the middle part of the cornea which is known as the stroma is strengthened by putting Riboflavin eye drops followed by “exposure to ultra violet light in such a way that it does not damage the rest of the eye and is concentrated on the cornea.”In his presentation at the 5th International Congress of Corneal Cross linking in Germany last month, Dr Joshi said that about three hundred Kenyan eyes have so far undergone the procedure successfully.Dr Joshi has practiced as a Consultant ophthalmologist for nearly twenty five years in Kenya. He has been in charge of eye services of the largest province in Kenya (Rift Valley).He is also a pioneer in Keratoplasty, especially for Keratoconus patients. Dr Joshi and his team have carried out over 5000 Cataract operations at various eye camps with various Lions clubs in Kenya. Currently, he is an Honorary Project Ophthalmologist for the Kenya Rural Blindness Eradication Project, for the Rotary Club of Nairobi. Since 1985, his team has performed over 8000 free Cataract operations as a joint activity with Rotary Club Marburg – Schloss (Germany).He has also performed more than 500 free diabetic lasers and is currently performing regular corneal grafting operations. He intends to establish a Rotary Eye Bank in the near future. (SOURCE:


CNA report:
Last weekend Bishop Jesus Sanz Montes became the youngest archbishop in Spain after being installed as the new ordinary of the historic Archdiocese of Oviedo.
Previously, the new archbishop was head of the Diocese of Huesca-Jaca, located in northeast Spain.
During his installation ceremony, Archbishop Sanz Montes, 54, thanked the 39 prelates in attendance and expressed his commitment to defending life from conception to natural death.
In his homily at the Cathedral of Oviedo, Archbishop Sanz Montes said he was not seeking “praise nor applause” and that he was not afraid “of unpopularity.”
The archbishop has spoken out against the Spanish government's acceptance of abortion in recent years. In a pastoral letter last October, the then-Bishop of Huesca-Jaca criticized leaders for calling abortion a “right,” which, he explained, is “a venomous source of immorality and injustice that mars the entire law.”(SOURCE:


Presentation of Child Jesus in the Temple
Feast: February 2
Feast Day:
February 2

The law of God, given by Moses to the Jews, to insinuate both to us and to them, that by the sin of Adam man is conceived and born in sin, and obnoxious to his wrath, ordained that a woman, after childbirth, should continue for a certain time in a state which that law calls unclean; during which she was not to appear in public, nor presume to touch any thing consecrated to God. This term was of forty days upon the birth of a son, and the time was double for a daughter: on the expiration of which, the mother was to bring to the door of the tabernacle, or temple, a lamb of a year old. and a young pigeon or turtle-dove. The lamb was for a holocaust, or burnt-offering, in acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God, and in thanksgiving for her own happy delivery; the pigeon or turtle-dove was for a sin-offering. These being sacrificed to Almighty God by the priest, the woman was cleansed of the legal impurity, and reinstated in her former privileges. A young pigeon, or turtle-dove, by way of a sin-offering, was required of all, whether rich or poor: but whereas the charge of a lamb might be too burdensome on persons of narrow circumstances, in that case, nothing more was required, then two pigeons, or two turtle-doves, one for a burnt, the other for a sin-offering.
Our Saviour having been conceived by the Holy Ghost, and his blessed Mother remaining always a spotless virgin, it is most evident from the terms of the law, that she was, in reality, under no obligation to it, nor within the intent of it. She was, however, within the letter of the law, in the eye of the world, who were as yet strangers to her miraculous conception. And her humility making her perfectly resigned, and even desirous to conceal her privilege and dignity, she submitted with great punctuality and exactness to every humbling circumstance which the law required. Pride indeed proclaims its own advantages, and seeks honors not its due; but the humble find their delight in obscurity and abasement, they shun all distinction and esteem which they clearly see their own nothingness and baseness to be most unworthy of: they give all glory to God alone, to whom it is due. Devotion also and zeal to honor God by every observance prescribed by his law, prompted Mary to perform this act of religion, though evidently exempt from the precept. Being poor herself; she made the offering appointed for the poor: accordingly is this part of the law mentioned by St. Luke, as best agreeing with the meanness of her worldly condition. But her offering, however mean in itself, was made with a perfect heart, which is what God chiefly regards in all that is offered to him. The King of Glory would appear everywhere in the robes of poverty, to point out to us the advantages of a suffering and lowly state, and to repress our pride, by which, though really poor and mean in the eyes of God, we covet to appear rich, and, though sinners, would be deemed innocents and saints.
A second great mystery is honored this day, regarding more immediately the person of our Redeemer, viz. his presentation in the temple. Besides the law which obliged the mother to purify herself, there was another which ordered that the first-born son should be offered to God: and in these two laws were included several others, as, that the child, after its presentation, should be ransomed with a certain sum of money, and peculiar sacrifices offered on the occasion.
Mary complies exactly with all these ordinances. She obeys not only in the essential points of the law, as in presenting herself to be purified, and in her offering her first-born, but has strict regard to all the circumstances. She remains forty days at home, she denies herself all this time the liberty of. entering the temple, she partakes not of things sacred, though the living temple of the God of Israel; and on the day of her purification, she walks several miles to Jerusalem, with the world's Redeemer in her arms. She waits for the priest at the gate of the temple, makes her offerings of thanksgiving and expiation, presents her divine Son by the hands of the priest to his eternal Father, with the most profound humility, adoration, and thanksgiving. She then redeems him with five shekels, as the law appoints, and receives him back again as a depositum in her special care, till the Father shall again demand him for the full accomplishment of man's redemption. It is clear that Christ was not comprehended in the law; "The king's son, to whom the inheritance of the crown belongs, is exempt from servitude:- much more Christ, who was the Redeemer both of our souls and bodies, was not subject to any law by which he was to be himself redeemed," as St. Hilary observes. But he would set an example of humility, obedience, and devotion: and would renew, in a solemn and public manner, and in the temple, the oblation of himself to his Father for the accomplishment of his will, and the redemption of man, which he had made privately in the first moment of his Incarnation. With what sentiments did the divine Infant offer himself to his Father at the same time! the greatest homage of his honour and glory the Father could receive, and a sacrifice of satisfaction adequate to the injuries done to the Godhead by our sins, and sufficient to ransom our souls from everlasting death! With what cheerfulness and charity did he offer himself to all his torments! to be whipped, crowned with thorns, and ignominiously put to death for us!
Let every Christian learn hence to offer himself to God with this divine victim, through which he may be accepted by the Father; let him devote himself with all his senses and faculties to his service. If sloth, or any other vice, has made us neglectful of this essential duty, we must bewail past omissions, and make a solemn and serious consecration of ourselves this day to the divine majesty with the greater fervor, crying out with St. Austin, in compunction of heart: "Too late have I known thee, too late have I begun to love thee, O beauty more ancient than the world!" But our sacrifice, if we desire it may be accepted, must not be lame and imperfect. It would be an insult to offer to God, in union with his Christ, a divided heart, or a heart infected with wilful sin. It must therefore first be cleansed by tears of sincere compunction: its affections must be crucified to the world by perfect mortification. Our offering must be sincere and fervent, without reserve, allowing no quarter to any of our vicious passions and inclinations, and no division in any of our affections. It must also be universal; to suffer and to do all for the divine honor. If we give our hearts to Christ in this manner, we shall receive him with his graces and benedictions. He would be presented in the temple by the hands of his mother: let us accordingly make the offering of our souls through Mary and beg his graces through the same channel.
The ceremony of this day was closed by a third mystery, the. meeting in the temple of the holy persons, Simeon and Anne, with Jesus and his parents, from which this festival was anciently called by the Greeks Hypante, the meeting. Holy Simeon, on that occasion, received into his arms the object of all his desires and sighs, and praised God in raptures of devotion for being blessed with the happiness of beholding the so much longed-for Messias. He foretold to Mary her martyrdom of sorrow; and that Jesus brought redemption to those who would accept of it on the terms it was offered them; but a heavy judgment on all infidels who should obstinately reject it, and on Christians also whose lives were a contradiction to his holy maxims and example. Mary, hearing this terrible prediction, did not answer one word, felt no agitation of mind from the present, no dread for the future; but courageously and sweetly committed all to God's holy will. Anne also, the prophetess, who, in her widowhood, served God with great fervor, had the happiness to acknowledge and adore in this great mystery the world's Redeemer. Amidst the crowd of priests and people, the Saviour of the world is known only by Simeon and Anne. Even when he disputed with the doctors, and when he wrought the most stupendous miracles, the learned, the wise, and the princes did not know him. Yet here, while a weak, speechless child, carried in the arms of his poor mother, he is acknowledged and adored by Simeon and Anne. He could not hide himself from those who sought him with fervor, humility, and ardent love. Unless we seek him in these dispositions, he will not manifest himself, nor communicate his graces to us. Simeon, having beheld his Saviour in the flesh, desired no longer to see the light of this world, nor any creatures on earth If we truly love God, our distance from him must be a continual pain: and we must sigh after that desired moment which will free us from the danger of ever losing him by sin, and will put us in possession of Him who is the joy of the blessed, and the infinite treasure of heaven. Let us never cease to pray that he purify our hearts from all earthly dross, and draw them to himself: that he heal, satiate, and inflame our souls, as he only came upon earth to kindle in all hearts the fire of his love.(SOURCE:


Blessing of Candles & Procession /The Presentation of the Lord (Feast)

Luke 2: 22 - 40
And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
(as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord")
and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law,
he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word;
for mine eyes have seen thy salvation
which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against
(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phan'u-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity,
and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.
And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.



(VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square. The Holy Father mentioned the readings of today's liturgy, one of which was the so-called "hymn to charity" from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, which he described as "one of the most beautiful passages of the New Testament, and of the entire Bible". "Charity", the Pope explained, "is the 'greatest' gift, which gives value to all the others. ... In the end, when we find ourselves face to face with God, all other gifts will fail and all that will be left to last for eternity is love, because God is love and we will be like unto Him, in perfect communion with Him. "For now", he added, "as long as we are in this world, charity is the distinctive mark of Christians. It is the synthesis of all their lives, of what they believe and what they do". In this context he recalled his first Encyclical, dedicated to the subject of Christian love, "Deus Caritas est", which, he said, is made up of two parts "corresponding to the two aspects of charity: its significance and its practical implementation". The Holy Father went on: "Love is God's very essence, it is the meaning of creation and history, it is the light that gives goodness and beauty to the existence of each man and woman. At the same time love is, so to say, the 'style' of God and of believers, it is the behaviour of those who, responding to the love of God, order their lives as a gift of self to God and to neighbour". "If we think of the saints, we recognise the variety of their spiritual gifts and their human characters. But the life of each one of them is a hymn to charity, a living canticle to the love of God". Benedict XVI concluded by recalling how today marks the Feast of St. John Bosco, founder of the Salesian Family and patron saint of the young. And he called for the saint's intercession during this Year for Priests, that "the clergy may always be educators and fathers to the young; and that, experiencing this pastoral charity, many young people may accept the call to give their lives for Christ and the Gospel".ANG/CHARITY/... VIS 100201 (410)
ECONOMIC CRISIS CALLS FOR EVERYONE TO SHOW RESPONSIBILITY VATICAN CITY, 31 JAN 2010 (VIS) - Following today's Angelus prayer, the Holy Father made some remarks about the World Day of Leprosy, which falls on the last Sunday of January. In this context he mentioned St. Damian de Veuster, who "gave his life for our brothers and sisters who suffer leprosy", and entrusted to that saint's care the people who still suffer leprosy today and those who work to eradicate the disease. He went on: "Today also marks the second Day of Intercession for Peace in the Holy Land. In communion with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the Custodian of the Holy Land, I spiritually join the prayers of so many Christians all over the world, and give a heartfelt greeting to those who have come here for that occasion". Finally the Pope also referred to "the economic crisis which is causing the loss of many jobs, a situation which calls for a great sense of responsibility to be shown by everyone: managers, workers and politicians". In this context he specifically mentioned two Italian cases, that of the car factory of Termini Imerese in Sicily which employs 3000 workers and has announced its closure for 2012, and the aluminium factory of Portovesme in Sardinia where the workers, some of whom were present in St. Peter's Square, are being made redundant. "I echo the call made by the Italian Episcopal Conference, which has appealed for everything possible to be done to protect and increase employment, ensuring people have jobs that are dignified and adequate to maintain a family". After then greeting the faithful in various languages the Pope, assisted by two children from Catholic Action in the diocese of Rome, released two doves as a symbol of peace. The gesture marked the closure of the "Caravan for peace" initiative which Catholic Action has been celebrating during the course of the last month. One of the two doves flew back into the his study causing Pope Benedict to smile in amusement before he eventually managed to release it.ANG/LEPROSY PEACE EMPLOYMENT/... VIS 100201 (350)
POPE SPEAKS OF FORTHCOMING APOSTOLIC TRIP TO GREAT BRITAIN VATICAN CITY, 1 FEB 2010 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI received prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. The Pope noted how, "even amid the pressures of a secular age, there are many signs of living faith and devotion among the Catholics of England and Wales" in which context he mentioned "the enthusiasm generated by the visit of the relics of St. Therese, the interest aroused by the prospect of Cardinal Newman's beatification and the eagerness of young people to take part in pilgrimages and World Youth Days. "On the occasion of my forthcoming apostolic visit to Great Britain", he added, "I shall be able to witness that faith for myself and, as Successor of Peter, to strengthen and confirm it. During the months of preparation that lie ahead, be sure to encourage the Catholics of England and Wales in their devotion, and assure them that the Pope constantly remembers them in his prayers and holds them in his heart. "Your country", the Pope told the bishops, "is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet", he noted, "the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs". The Holy Father also urged the prelates "to ensure that the Church's moral teaching be always presented in its entirety and convincingly defended. Fidelity to the Gospel in no way restricts the freedom of others; on the contrary, it serves their freedom by offering them the truth". "If the full saving message of Christ is to be presented effectively and convincingly to the world, the Catholic community in your country needs to speak with a united voice". "It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church's Magisterium that sets us free", Benedict XVI explained. "Cardinal Newman realised this, and he left us an outstanding example of faithfulness to revealed truth by following that 'kindly light' wherever it led him, even at considerable personal cost. Great writers and communicators of his stature and integrity are needed in the Church today, and it is my hope that devotion to him will inspire many to follow in his footsteps. "In this 'Annus Sacerdotalis', I urge you to hold up to your priests his example of dedication to prayer, pastoral sensitivity towards the needs of his flock, and passion for preaching the Gospel. You yourselves should set a similar example. Be close to your priests, and rekindle their sense of the enormous privilege and joy of standing among the people of God as 'alter Christus'". And he went on: "Encourage the lay faithful to express their appreciation of the priests who serve them, and to recognise the difficulties they sometimes face on account of their declining numbers and increasing pressures. ... Help them to avoid any temptation to view the clergy as mere functionaries but rather to rejoice in the gift of priestly ministry, a gift that can never be taken for granted". The Pope concluded by referring to ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, calling for generosity "in implementing the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution 'Anglicanorum Coetibus', so as to assist those groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. I am convinced that, if given a warm and open-hearted welcome, such groups will be a blessing for the entire Church".AL/.../ENGLAND:WALES VIS 100201 (600)
BENEDICT XVI'S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR FEBRUARY VATICAN CITY, 1 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for February is: "That by means of sincere search for the truth scholars and intellectuals may arrive at an understanding of the one true God". His mission intention is: "That the Church, aware of her own missionary identity, may strive to follow Christ faithfully and to proclaim His Gospel to all peoples".BXVI-PRAYER INTENTIONS/FEBRUARY/... VIS 100201 (80)
AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 1 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Seven prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop John Hine, administrator of the archdiocese of Southwark, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Patrick K. Lynch SS.CC. and Paul Hendricks. - Bishop Michael Charles Evans of East Anglia. - Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton. - Bishop Malcolm Patrick McMahon of Nottingham. - Bishop Hlib Lonchyna M.S.U., apostolic administrator of the apostolic exarchate for Ukrainian faithful of Byzantine rite resident in Great Britain. On Saturday 31 January he received in separate audiences: - Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia. - Seven prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops David Christopher McGough and William Kenney C.P. - Bishop Kieran Thomas Conry of Arundel and Brighton. - Bishop Hugh Christopher Budd of Plymouth. - Bishop Roger Francis Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth. - Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood. - Archbishop Petar Rajic, apostolic nuncio to Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, and apostolic delegate to the Arabian Peninsula, accompanied by members of his family. - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, perfect of the Congregation for Bishops.AL:AP/.../... VIS 100201 (210)
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 30 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Erected the new diocese of Maliana (area 3,646, population 210,000, Catholics 206,597, priests 31, religious 108) East Timor, with territory taken from the diocese of Dili. He appointed Fr. Norberto Do Amaral, chancellor of the diocese of Dili, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Ainaro, East Timor in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1988. - Appointed Fr. Calogero Peri O.F.M. Cap., minister provincial of the Capuchin Friars in Palermo, Italy and vice principal of the "San Giovanni Battista" Pontifical Theological Faculty, as bishop of Caltagirone (area 1,551, population 153,038, Catholics 149,827, priests 91, permanent deacons 10, religious 143), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Mazara del Vallo, Italy in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1978.ECE:NER/.../DO AMARAL:PERI VIS 100201 (140)


Asia News report: As a priest he spent 21 years in prison. He was ordained underground bishop, acknowledged by the Holy See, and then recognized by the government. The faithful remember his great commitment to evangelization and formation of priests and nuns.
Zhaoxian (AsiaNews) – Bishop Raymond Wang Chonglin, bishop of Zhaoxian (Hebei), died on Monday of a cerebral haemorrhage at the age of 88. During Maoism in 1950s-70s, he spent 21 years in prison. His funeral will be held on 8 February, at 9.30 am in the Cathedral of Biancun. The administrator of the diocese, Fr Simon Gao Baojin, confirmed to AsiaNews that the burial will take place the same day, at 1pm local time.
Fr. Gao points out that Bishop Wang has always been dedicated to training priests, seminarians and nuns, receiving the gratitude of his faithful. "We were brought up by his testimony since we were little," he said. "With a total trust in God – he adds - Bishop Wang urged all the faithful in evangelization, living a very simple and sober life".
Born in May 1921, Bishop Wang expressed the desire to become a priest since he was 14 years old. He was ordained priest in 1950.
In 1957, in the Party campaign against the Church, Bishop Wang was arrested and sent to prison for 21 years. Released in '79, he returned to evangelizing Hebei.
In 83 he was ordained underground bishop, and recognized by the Holy See as bishop of Zhaoxian with the mandate to administer to the area of Weixian. In ‘85 he reopened the diocesan seminary that had been closed in the '50s, and in '88 he formed a convent for female vocations.
In 88 the government has named him as bishop of Xingtai, covering Church matters in Zhaoxian, Shunde and Weixian.
In 2006 he retired, leaving the pastoral care of the diocese to Bishop Jiang Mingyuan, a bishop unofficially ordained by him in August 2000. Although the government has hindered the succession, Bishop Jiang officially headed the diocese in 2006. Bishop Wang retired. But in 2007 Bishop Jiang fell ill and asked Bishop Wang to resume care of the diocese. Bishop Jiang died in July 2008.
The (underground) Diocese of Zhaoxian overlaps with those of Shijiazhuang and Xingtai (according to administrative subdivisions of the government). This could have brought tensions and difficulties with the authorities. Anthony Lam, a researcher at the Holy Spirit Study Centre in Hong Kong, who has met Bishop Wang a few times, said that the bishop "was very intelligent and capable of finding solutions to problems, without a direct confrontation with the government”. Lam also recalled the great efforts of Bishop Wang in the formation of priests and nuns. "He was very strong physically - he adds - and also very optimistic. He realised important pastoral and missionary work especially in the countryside. " (SOURCE:,-bishop-of-Zhaoxian-(Xingtai)-dies-17522.html
CISA report:
Religious leaders, elders, policy makers have been meeting to try and restore calm and peace in Jos in North Central Nigeria. The situation is improving, according to Archbishop of Jos Diocese Ignatius Ayau Kaigama.“We had several meetings that were very fruitful, with policy makers, religious and elders, [trying] to restore calm and peace in our community,” Archbishop Kaigama told Fides.In recent days, serious inter-communal clashes have killed 326 people, according to reports. The Archbishop of Jos also emphasized that "there has been a decrease in the number and intensity of alarming messages arriving on mobile phones, which had been reported earlier."I do not know if there is a strategy behind it all, to spread them. I remember the precedent of Kenya, in 2008, when the violence was also fuelled by the phone messages that instilled fear and hatred,” he said.The archbishop explained that some of these messages are sent by ordinary people whose homes have been attacked or have seen their neighbour’s houses being set on fire and they send messages alerting friends and relatives about what is happening.He said this occurs among both the Christian and Muslim communities and that they have greatly contributed to spreading fear and thus, “to fuelling hatred and violence." (SOURCE:
CNA report: Organizers for World Youth Day Madrid 2011 have recently called for proposals for the event's Youth Festival, an aspect of the international gathering intended to “manifest how faith becomes culture.”
The Youth Festival, held during each World Youth Day, is described by organizers as an “ensemble of artistic and cultural activities” including music and dance, theater, art exhibitions, design of urban spaces, displays of the Church's social work across the globe, biographies of saints and missionaries as well as cinema and audiovisual productions.
An online announcement detailed the criteria for proposals and stated that the submissions need “to be lively, contemporary and important expressions for today's young people,” inspired by the Christian virtues of faith, hope, charity, joy and fortitude. Also mentioned in the specifications was the requirement for proposals to “manifest a universal beauty, accessible to people of different cultures” and to also be “of great artistic quality.”
Though the festival is organized by international committee members, emphasis is placed on the local committee and the culture of the country hosting World Youth Day.
“The principle framework of the Youth Festival is the history and cultures of Spain,” said the online statement, which described Spain as “a country of apostolic tradition, where the faith has taken root and borne innumerable fruits of sanctity; from which innumerable missionaries have left to take the faith to the five continents... .”
Youth Festival organizers will select submissions based on relevance, artistic quality, universality and technical and financial feasibility. Those interested in submitting proposals are required to do so by April 1, 2010. More information can be found at

CNA report:
Constitutional, political and social analysts noted recently that the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, violated the constitution he himself signed into existence by celebrating a pre-Colombian “ancestral blessing” rite. Bolivia’s constitution states in article four that the State shall be secular and “independent of any religion.”
Carlos Cordero, an expert in languages, explained that if Bolivia defines itself as a secular country, “The correct thing would be for the President not to show support for any particular religion,” instead of wanting to “erase from Bolivian memory the symbols and important figures who were part of our history.”
Other experts interviewed by the media said the celebration of this “ancestral blessing” was motivated by the government’s desire to replace the religious ceremonies that were carried out by previous administrations.
Jorge Lazarte, also an expert in languages, explained that while the rite appears to violate the constitution, the constitution promulgated in February of 2009 contains actual contradictions. In one place it notes “the state shall have no official religion, and later in another series of articles it supports the revival of practices inspired by the indigenous worldview.”
Although government officials said the ceremony with Morales was an expression of the freedom of religion, other experts pointed out that it was in contradiction with the government’s policy, as the armed forces cannot hold Catholic ceremonies, but participate in ones such as that attended by Morales.(SOURCE:
Cath News report:
More than 500 people packed out Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church at Greystanes in Sydney's west for the funeral of Carole and Joe Sherry, who drowned in front of their children off South Ballina Beach in NSW last month.
The couple had been holidaying with their three children - Monique, 17, Elise, 14, and Nicholas, 9 - when they drowned on January 19, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Mrs Sherry, 44, died after swimming out to help her children who had become stuck in a rip. When she got into trouble, Mr Sherry, 42, swam out to save her.
The children emerged from the water to find both their parents missing.
At the funeral, Elise and Nicholas spoke lovingly of their parents, who they said were prepared to do anything for them.
The children told of their "immaculately" dressed mother, who was greatly respected as a teacher and who had inspired others into the profession.
The children also spoke of their father who had three main passions - his car, his garden and his family. (SOURCE:

St. Bridgid of Ireland
Feast: February 1
Feast Day:
February 1
451 or 452 at Faughart, County Louth, Ireland
1 February 525 at Kildare, Ireland
Patron of:
babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; cattle; chicken farmers; children whose parents are not married; dairymaids; dairy workers; fugitives; infants; Ireland; mariners; midwives; milk maids; newborn babies; nuns; poets; poultry farmers; poultry raisers; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travellers; watermen

Born in 451 or 452 of princely ancestors at Faughart, near Dundalk, County Louth; d. 1 February, 525, at Kildare. Refusing many good offers of marriage, she became a nun and received the veil from St. Macaille. With seven other virgins she settled for a time at the foot of Croghan Hill, but removed thence to Druin Criadh, in the plains of Magh Life, where under a large oak tree she erected her subsequently famous Convent of Cill-Dara, that is, "the church of the oak" (now Kildare), in the present county of that name. It is exceedingly difficult to reconcile the statements of St. Brigid's biographers, but the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Lives of the saint are at one in assigning her a slave mother in the court of her father Dubhthach, and Irish chieftain of Leinster. Probably the most ancient life of St. Brigid is that by St. Broccan Cloen, who is said to have died 17 September, 650. It is metrical, as may be seen from the following specimen:
Ni bu Sanct Brigid suanach Ni bu huarach im sheire Dé, Sech ni chiuir ni cossens Ind nóeb dibad bethath che. (Saint Brigid was not given to sleep, Nor was she intermittent about God's love; Not merely that she did not buy, she did not seek for The wealth of this world below, the holy one.)
Cogitosus, a monk of Kildare in the eighth century, expounded the metrical life of St. Brigid, and versified it in good Latin. This is what is known as the "Second Life", and is an excellent example of Irish scholarship in the mid-eighth century. Perhaps the most interesting feature of Cogitosus's work is the description of the Cathedral of Kildare in his day: "Solo spatioso et in altum minaci proceritate porruta ac decorata pictis tabulis, tria intrinsecus habens oratoria ampla, et divisa parietibus tabulatis". The rood-screen was formed of wooden boards, lavishly decorated, and with beautifully decorated curtains. Probably the famous Round Tower of Kildare dates from the sixth century. Although St. Brigid was "veiled" or received by St. Macaille, at Croghan, yet, it is tolerably certain that she was professed by St. Mel of Ardagh, who also conferred on her abbatial powers. From Ardagh St. Macaille and St. Brigid followed St. Mel into the country of Teffia in Meath, including portions of Westmeath and Longford. This occurred about the year 468. St. Brigid's small oratory at Cill- Dara became the centre of religion and learning, and developed into a cathedral city. She founded two monastic institutions, one for men, and the other for women, and appointed St. Conleth as spiritual pastor of them. It has been frequently stated that she gave canonical jurisdiction to St. Conleth, Bishop of Kildare, but, as Archbishop Healy points out, she simply "selected the person to whom the Church gave this jurisdiction", and her biographer tells us distinctly that she chose St. Conleth "to govern the church along with herself". Thus, for centuries, Kildare was ruled by a double line of abbot-bishops and of abbesses, the Abbess of Kildare being regarded as superioress general of the convents in Ireland.
Not alone was St. Bridget a patroness of students, but she also founded a school of art, including metal work and illumination, over which St. Conleth presided. From the Kildare scriptorium came the wondrous book of the Gospels, which elicited unbounded praise from Giraldus Cambrensis, but which has disappeared since the Reformation. According to this twelfth- century ecclesiastic, nothing that he had ever seen was at all comparable to the "Book of Kildare", every page of which was gorgeously illuminated, and he concludes a most laudatory notice by saying that the interlaced work and the harmony of the colours left the impression that "all this is the work of angelic, and not human skill". Small wonder that Gerald Barry assumed the book to have been written night after night as St. Bridget prayed, "an angel furnishing the designs, the scribe copying". Even allowing for the exaggerated stories told of St. Brigid by her numerous biographers, it is certain that she ranks as one of the most remarkable Irishwomen of the fifth century and as the Patroness of Ireland. She is lovingly called the "Queen of the South: the Mary of the Gael" by a writer in the "Leabhar Breac". St. Brigid died leaving a cathedral city and school that became famous all over Europe. In her honour St. Ultan wrote a hymn commencing:
Christus in nostra insula Que vocatur Hivernia Ostensus est hominibus Maximis mirabilibus Que perfecit per felicem Celestis vite virginem Precellentem pro merito Magno in numdi circulo. (In our island of Hibernia Christ was made known to man by the very great miracles which he performed through the happy virgin of celestial life, famous for her merits through the whole world.)
The sixth Life of the saint printed by Colgan is attributed to Coelan, an Irish monk of the eighth century, and it derives a peculiar importance from the fact that it is prefaced by a foreword from the pen of St. Donatus, also an Irish monk, who became Bishop of Fiesole in 824. St. Donatus refers to previous lives by St. Ultan and St. Aileran. When dying, St. Brigid was attended by St. Ninnidh, who was ever afterwards known as "Ninnidh of the Clean Hand" because he had his right hand encased with a metal covering to prevent its ever being defiled, after being he medium of administering the viaticum to Ireland's Patroness. She was interred at the right of the high altar of Kildare Cathedral, and a costly tomb was erected over her. In after years her shrine was an object of veneration for pilgrims, especially on her feast day, 1 February, as Cogitosus related. About the year 878, owing to the Scandinavian raids, the relics of St. Brigid were taken to Downpatrick, where they were interred in the tomb of St. Patrick and St. Columba. The relics of the three saints were discovered in 1185, and on 9 June of the following year were solemnly translated to a suitable resting place in Downpatrick Cathedral, in presence of Cardinal Vivian, fifteen bishops, and numerous abbots and ecclesiastics. Various Continental breviaries of the pre-Reformation period commemorate St. Brigid, and her name is included in a litany in the Stowe Missal. In Ireland today, after 1500 years, the memory of "the Mary of the Gael" is as dear as ever to the Irish heart, and, as is well known, Brigid preponderates as a female Christian name. Moreover, hundreds of place-names in her honour are to be found all over the country, e.g. Kilbride, Brideswell, Tubberbride, Templebride, etc. The hand of St. Brigid is preserved at Lumiar near Lisbon, Portugal, since 1587, and another relic is at St. Martin's Cologne.
Viewing the biography of St. Brigid from a critical standpoint we must allow a large margin for the vivid Celtic imagination and the glosses of medieval writers, but still the personality of the founder of Kildare stands out clearly, and we can with tolerable accuracy trace the leading events in her life, by a careful study of the old "Lives" as found in Colgan. It seems certain that Faughart, associated with memories of Queen Meave (Medhbh), was the scene of her birth; and Faughart Church was founded by St. Morienna in honour of St. Brigid. The old well of St. Brigid's adjoining the ruined church is of the most venerable antiquity, and still attracts pilgrims; in the immediate vicinity is the ancient mote of Faughart. As to St. Brigid's stay in Connacht, especially in the County Roscommon, there is ample evidence in the "Trias Thaumaturga", as also in the many churches founded by her in the Diocese of Elphim. Her friendship with St. Patrick is attested by the following paragraph from the "Book of Armagh", a precious manuscript of the eighth century, the authenticity of which is beyond question: "inter sanctum Patricium Brigitanque Hibernesium columpnas amicitia caritatis inerat tanta, ut unum cor consiliumque haberent unum. Christus per illum illamque virtutes multas peregit". (Between St. Patrick and St. Brigid, the columns of the Irish, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind. Through him and through her Christ performed many miracles.) At Armagh there was a "Templum Brigidis"; namely the little abbey church known as "Regles Brigid", which contained some relics of the saint, destroyed in 1179, by William Fitz Aldelm. It may be added that the original manuscript of Cogitosus's "Life of Brigid", or the "Second Life", dating from the closing years of the eighth century, is now in the Dominican friary at Eichstätt in Bavaria. (SOURCE:


Mark 5: 1 - 20
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Ger'asenes.
And when he had come out of the boat, there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
who lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him any more, even with a chain;
for he had often been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetters he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones.
And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him;
and crying out with a loud voice, he said, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me."
For he had said to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!"
And Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "My name is Legion; for we are many."
And he begged him eagerly not to send them out of the country.
Now a great herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside;
and they begged him, "Send us to the swine, let us enter them."
So he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea.
The herdsmen fled, and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened.
And they came to Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the man who had had the legion; and they were afraid.
And those who had seen it told what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine.
And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood.
And as he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.
But he refused, and said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you."
And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decap'olis how much Jesus had done for him; and all men marveled.