Friday, August 6, 2010




CNA report: The Holy Father will be making a pastoral visit to Italy's largest island in October. Local bishops are looking forward to the occasion which they predict will give new life to evangelization in the area, focusing on the Sicily's holy past and not on its present difficulties.

Benedict XVI will follow up trips to Carpineto Romano, Italy and the United Kingdom in the coming months with a visit to Palermo, Sicily on Oct. 3. He accepted the invitation of the Sicilian bishops, led by Archbishop Paolo Romeo, extended by letter in May 2009.
A new archdiocesan website for the visit lists the major events on the schedule. The Pope will celebrate an outdoor Mass followed by the Angelus which will be attended by a special delegation of local families, near the city's Mediterranean waterfront.
Picking up again after lunch, he will meet with clergy, consecrated and seminarians in the Cathedral of Palermo followed by an encounter with youth in Politeama Square.
According to a press release, during the visit, the people of Sicily wish to "show the Successor of Peter not only the history but also the current common commitment of the 18 dioceses for building the Kingdom of God."
The two most anticipated events of Pope Benedict XVI's one-day stay on the island are the Eucharistic celebration with a large presence of families and the youth rally, notes the archdiocesean release.
The communique also explains that "the churches of Sicily are already deeply committed to reasserting the dignity and the unique and irreplaceable value of the family, founded on marriage and open to life." The faithful there "have close to their hearts the destiny of the young generations often left to their own devices and in need of a specific educative attention."
The bishops of Sicily, concludes the statement, are "conscious" that the visit and the Pope's teachings will help to give the Christian community "renewed missionary drive, pushing them towards the arduous task of evangelization and the transmission of the faith to the new generation in such a complex and difficult time..."
A separate statement from the Archdiocese of Palermo notes Archbishop Romeo's words at a press conference to announce the occasion in which he drove home the theme of the visit.
"We want to present to the Holy Father and to the whole world the true face of Sicily, which is not at all just about the garbage emergency, Mafia and social problems, but about a history that our saints have marked."

Asia News report: As the country’s economic crisis worsens, North Koreans turn to faith despite the regime’s vicious persecution. In reprisal, Kim Jong-il orders another crackdown.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – North Korea’s Stalinist regime has discovered some underground Christians in a house church in Pyongan Province. All 23 who met to celebrate a religious function were arrested. Three were tried and given the death penalty, which was swiftly executed, sources told AsiaNews. Confirmation about the incident also came from the North Korea Intellectual Solidarity, a group of North Korean exiles.
According to the sources, the arrests and executions were carried out in mid-May. “At that time, right after the disastrous currency reform, police discovered 23 Christians in Kuwal-dong, Pyungsung County, in Pyongan Province, who met at an underground church. After their arrest, they were interrogated at length. Eventually, the group’s “ringleaders” were sentenced to death and executed. The others were sent to Kwan-li-so (Penal labour colony) No 15 in Yodŏk.”
These North Koreans discovered underground Christianity when some of them travelled to mainland China for work.
“As the authorities fear the spread of religion, many area residents are rounded up and interrogated for days,” the sources said. However, “they cannot help it because the situation is so desperate that people are going back to religion. Such sentences are meant to scare people.”
North Korea denies freedom of religion absolutely. Officially, the country has three Christian places of worship (one Catholic and two Protestant churches) and four Buddhist temples, but only in the capital Pyongyang. No one has been able to confirm how many exist in the rest of the country. Accounts about their number by foreigners who have travelled around the country vary. The only cult allowed is that of ‘Eternal President’ Kim Il-sung and his son, the ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jong-il.
After the Korean War in 1953, the Stalinist regime ruthlessly proceeded to kill the country’s estimated 200,000 Catholics, and destroy their churches and abbeys.
Sources have told AsiaNews that in North Korea there are “no more than 200 Catholics left, all very old”.,-3-executed-19142.html

CANADA: 3RD ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL PRO-LIFE FILM FESTIVAL SUBMISSIONS REPORT - Organizers of the third annual REAL LIFE Film Festival du cinéma C'EST LA VIE (RLFF) have announced that the submission period for the 2011 Festival is now open.

The RLFF, to be held in April 2011 in Sudbury, is a vibrant, bilingual Christian cinematographic experience. A multi-day event, the RLFF presents Christian and Family feature films, documentaries and shorts from Canada and around the world.
The theme for the 2011 RLFF is LIFE and HOPE.
“LIFE and HOPE speak universally to the human spirit," said Lina Madore, the Festival Director. "Hope lifts the heart to experience life in all its beauty and fullness in spite of struggles and suffering."
Madore explained that finding films suitable for the whole family can be quite a challenge.
"The RLFF has been able to achieve just that, as well as proving that moral content does not have to be sacrificed for cinematographic excellence. The RLFF never imagined that with two Festivals under its belt, it would have filled over 800 seats, reached local students at its annual free Youth Film Day, and showcased over 50 family and Christian films from around the globe including Canada, South Africa, the United States, and Czechoslovakia," Madore said.
The organizers are looking to showcase more Canadian filmmakers this year, as well as continue to present inspiring films, in both French and English, from around the world and which are not typically available through standard media outlets.
“We invite filmmakers of different backgrounds to submit films for official selection consideration," said Madore. "We are looking for films with impact that speak to the heart and which encourage people to live family life more fully. There is a need for more media that does just that.”
The film festival organizers are focusing this year's event on more than presenting a great variety of excellent films.
“This year, the Festival is also looking to expand its horizons beyond the Gala, film line-up, and onsite food services," said Madore. "We want to help youth and other artists achieve their dreams in filmmaking. For this reason, we plan to introduce a local competition component, and also hold workshops that will provide an opportunity for novice filmmakers to develop their talent and let their creative juices flow, right here at home."
The Film Submission Period ends October 1st, 2010, at 5:00 p.m.
For Entry Rules and Submission Guidelines, visit
To receive ongoing updates about the Festival, visit .
For more information, contact Sandra Djivre, Festival Coordinator, by email at  or by phone at 705.523.9997.


All Africa report: Efforts to positively rebrand Nigeria received a boost in Midland, Michigan, USA as Nigeria's Sir Dan Anaebo Okekenta, became the first African local delegate to be elected as a member of the Supreme Council, the World Governing body of the Knights of Saint John International, KSJI, a respected Order within the Catholic Church.

According to a press statement signed by Sir Remmy Martins Nwafor, Grand Secretary of the Abuja Grand Commandery, Okekenta was elected into the top position of the First Supreme Trustee of charity organisation - the only African ever so elected and the highest African in the KSJI hierarchy at the 51st Biennial Convention of the Catholic charity and religious organisation at The Valley Plaza Resort, Midland, Michigan USA late July.
Okekenta, a philanthropist, author, and Abuja-based estate developer, who is the charter Grand President of the Abuja Grand Commandery, and Second Vice President of the Nigerian arm of the KSJI, won that election and was promoted Major General in the religious/military Order. As the Nigerian national anthem played during his elevation. The Nigerian delegation was led by its President, Prof. C.O.E. Onwuliri, Vice Chancellor, Federal Univer-sity of Technology, Owerri.
The delegation included Rev. Fr, (Dr.) Ralph Madu, KSJI Nigeria's Spiritual Director and Director of Social Communications, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja,

Sir Chidi Arinze, Prof. Romanus Unegbu, Dr. Nwachukwu Jude and N. N. Nwanesi etc.
Other officers elected at the Convention includes Gen. Tim Hearst, Supreme President and Gen. Dale Gossaux, Vice president while Lt. Gen. Tom Zdanowicz was returned as Supreme Secretary. All the three are from USA, where KSJI has its world headquarters.
Okekenta, in his early 50s, is from Enugwu-Agidi town, Anambra state. More good news came Nigeria's way as Kaduna and Benin Archdioceses of the Catholic Church were granted the status of Grand Commanderies, making a total of nine Grand Commanderies in Nigeria, and giving Nigeria more voting rights in the world body. The next KKSJI convention comes up in two years.
Agenzia Fides REPORT– The children of the Holy Childhood Association in Germany can boast of an excellent result in their fundraising event: this year they raised the second highest sum in their history: 40.6 million euros. For 52 years now, in the days leading up to and shortly after Epiphany, the "Star Singers" (Sternsinger) of Holy Childhood Association of Germany have been present on the streets of Germany. The motto of this year's campaign was "Children Find New Paths." About half a million German girls and boys in all German dioceses went door to door wearing the clothes of the Magi, bringing the comet with them.

"It is amazing to see what children are capable of. The Star Singers – especially in this year's extremely cold winter - have shown how unity strengthens," said Monsignor Klaus Krämer, the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies for Germany, who this year is also head of the Holy Childhood Association. Msgr. Kramer also highlighted the generosity of donors, despite the economic crisis.

The 40.6 million euros raised by the German children will be used to support almost 2,400 projects for children in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Oceania, and Eastern Europe. In 2009, 2,383 projects were initiated in 110 different countries. Since its establishment in 1959, the collection taken up by the German "Star Singers" has become the largest initiative of solidarity throughout the world, which features children who work to help their peers in need. (MS) (Agenzia Fides 06/08/2010)
Cath News report: Former priest Charles Alfred Barnett will be jailed for at least four years after he pleaded guilty in a South Australian court to sexual abuse charges.

Barnett pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault and two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse. The offences dated from about 1977 to 1994, with most occurring at Crystal Brook, north of Adelaide, while Barnett was posted within the diocese of Port Pirie, said an AAP report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
The report also quotes current Bishop of Port Pirie, Greg O'Kelly, expressing his profound sorrow and regret to all Barnett's victims.
"It saddens me greatly that someone in whom young people had put their trust could act this way and cause so much suffering and anguish," he said in a statement.
"Complaints against Barnett were conveyed through the church to police in 1996 and today's sentencing is genuinely welcomed as an important step in a long healing process, which will continue through our ongoing support for victims."
His victims were four boys aged between 13 and 15. Sentencing Judge Paul Rice said they had told the court of the devastating impact of Barnett's offending.
Judge Rice said one considered Barnett to be evil and "life and soul destroying".
Barnett left the church in 1995 and went to live in Indonesia, where he worked as a teacher and also set up a garment factory. He was arrested by Indonesian authorities in early 2008 and, after spending a year in custody, was returned to Australia in February last year.
He reduced Barnett's sentence by a year, to reflect the time he had spent in custody in Indonesia, imposing a jail term of six years and six months, with a non-parole period of four years, backdated to February last year.
The Transfiguration of the Lord

Information:Feast Day: August 6
The Transfiguration of Christ is the culminating point of His public life, as His Baptism is its starting point, and His Ascension its end. Moreover, this glorious event has been related in detail by St. Matthew (xvii, 1-6), St. Mark (ix, 1-8), and St. Luke (ix, 28-36), while St. Peter (II Pet., i, 16-18) and St. John (i, 14), two of the privileged witnesses, make allusion to it.
About a week after His sojourn in Caesarea Philippi, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them to a high mountain apart, where He was transfigured before their ravished eyes. St. Matthew and St. Mark express this phenomenon by the word metemorphothe, which the Vulgate renders transfiguratus est. The Synoptics explain the true meaning of the word by adding "his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow," according to the Vulgate, or "as light," according to the Greek text.  This dazzling brightness which emanated from His whole Body was produced by an interior shining of His Divinity. False Judaism had rejected the Messias, and now true Judaism, represented by Moses and Elias, the Law and the Prophets, recognized and adored Him, while for the second time God the Father proclaimed Him His only-begotten and well-loved Son. By this glorious manifestation the Divine Master, who had just foretold His Passion to the Apostles (Matt., xvi, 21), and who spoke with Moses and Elias of the trials which awaited Him at Jerusalem, strengthened the faith of his three friends and prepared them for the terrible struggle
of which they were to be witnesses in Gethsemani, by giving them a foretaste of the glory and heavenly delights to which we attain by suffering.
Already in Apostolic times the mount of the Transfiguration had become the "holy mount" (II Pet., i, 18). It seems to have been known by the faithful of the country, and tradition identified it with Mount Thabor. Origen said (A.D. 231-54) "Thabor is the mountain of Galilee on which Christ was transfigured" (Comm. in Ps. lxxxviii, 13). In the next century St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catech., II, 16) and St. Jerome (Ep. xlvi, ad Marcel.; EP. viii, ad Paulin.; Ep. cviii, ad Eust.) likewise declare it categorically. Later St. Proculus, Patriarch of Constantinople (d. 447; Orat. viii, in Transfig.), Agathangelus (Hist. of Armenia, II, xvii), and Arnobius the Younger (d. 460; Comm. in Ps. lxxxviii, 13) say the same thing. The testimonies increase from century to century without a single dissentient note, and in 553 the Fifth Council of Constantinople erected a see at Mount Thabor (Notitif Antioch. . . . patriarch.).
Some modern writers claim that the Transfiguration could not have taken place on Mount Thabor, which, according to Josephus, was then surmounted by a city. This is incorrect; the Jewish historian speaks neither of a city nor a village; he simply fortified, as he repeats three times, "the mount called Itabyrion" ("Bell. Jud.", II, xx, 6; IV, i, 8; Vita , 37). The town of Atabyrion of Polybius, the Thabor or Celeseth Thabor, the "flank of Thabor" of the Bible, is situated at the foot of Mount Thabor. In any case the presence of houses on a wooded height would not have made it impossible to find a place apart.
It is again objected that Our Lord was transfigured on Mount Hermon, since He was at that time in its vicinity. But the Synoptics are all explicit concerning the lapse of time, six days, or about eight days including those of departure and arrival, between the discourse in Caesarea and the Transfiguration, which would infer a somewhat lengthy journey. Moreover the summits of Hermon are covered with snow as late as June, and even the lesser peaks of 4000 or 5000 feet are likewise snow-covered in February and March, the period of the Transfiguration. Finally, the ancients judged of the height of mountains by their appearance, and Thabor especially was considered a "high mountain", if not by David and Jeremias, at least by Origen and St. Jerome and the pilgrims who made the ascent.
Luke 9: 28 - 36

28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.

29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white.

30 And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Eli'jah,

31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem.

32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.

33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah" -- not knowing what he said.

34 As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.

35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"

36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.