Monday, August 16, 2010
CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: TUES. AUG. 16, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE: MASS ON SOLEMNITY OF BLESSED VIRGIN-
ASIA: SRI LANKA: OVER 450, 000 VISIT SHRINE ON ASSUMPTION FEAST-
AUSTRALIA: MACKILLOP INTERCESSION FOR PRIESTS' CANCER RECOVERY-
AFRICA: KENYA: MURDER OF HEROIC MISSIONARY FR. JOHN KAISER-
AMERICA: USA: UNIVERSITY STUDY- FAMILIES PRAY TOGETHER STAY TOGETHER-
EUROPE: WORLD YOUTH DAY ORGANIZERS LAUNCH 18 FACEBOOK SITES-
VATICAN: POPE: MASS ON SOLEMNITY OF BLESSED VIRGIN
CNA REPORT- The destination of Mary assumed is a reality founded on the love of God, taught the Pope on Sunday. The Christian promise of heaven, he said, brings great joy and encourages believers to work for the construction of a "world of God."
Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in the intimate atmosphere of the pontifical parish of St. Thomas of Villanova for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the town of Castel Gandolfo. During the celebration, attended by parishioners and a select few military, civil and religious leaders, the Holy Father spoke of the destination of Mary as she left earth.
He explained that in the Assumption, "we believe that Mary, as Christ her Son, defeated death and triumphs already in the celestial glory in the totality of her being, 'in body and soul'."
Expanding on the idea of the "celestial glory" to which Mary arrived, Pope Benedict noted that people today are conscious that by "'heaven' we are not referring to just any place in the universe, to a star or something similiar" but "to something much bigger and more difficult to define with our limited human concepts.
"With this term 'heaven'," he said, "we wish to assert that God, the God made close to us, does not abandon us even after death, but has a place for us and gives us eternity…”
He explained that in order to understand this we can look to our own lives and the way loved ones live on in our hearts after they die but only as a "shadow" because also this memory is destined to expire with the death of those who conserve it.
"God, on the other hand," he taught, "does not ever pass and we all exist in accordance with His love. We exist because he loves us, because he has thought of us and he called us to life. We exist in the thoughts and in the love of God. We exist in all of our reality, not only in our 'shadow'."
The serenity, hope and peace of man is founded on God's thought and love, Benedict XVI explained, "he does not survive just in a 'shadow' of ourselves, but in Him, in His creative love, we are protected and introduced with all our life, with our being in eternity."
"It is His love that defeats death and gives us eternity, and it is this love that we call 'heaven' ..."
This is a truth, concluded the Pope, "that should always fill us with profound joy:" the Christian promise of eternal life in heaven. This gives Christians "a strong hope in a bright future and opens the way towards the realization of this future," he added.
"We are called, as Christians, to edify this new world," he said, "to work so that it might become one day the 'world of God,' a world that surpasses all that we ourselves can build. In Mary assumed in heaven, fully participating in the resurrection of the Son, we contemplate the realization of the human creature according to the 'world of God.'
"We pray that the Lord makes us understand how much our life is precious to His eyes; (that He) reinforces our faith in eternal life; that he makes us men of hope, who work to build a world open to God, men full of joy, who know how to see the beauty of the future world among the worries of daily life and live, believe and hope in this certainty."
ASIA: SRI LANKA: OVER 450, 000 VISIT SHRINE ON ASSUMPTION FEAST
Colombo (AsiaNews) – More than 450,000 pilgrims yesterday celebrated the Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary, Mother of God, at the Marian shrine of Madhu, in what is the second celebration since the civil war ended in the defeat of Tamil Tigers in May 2009. In previous years, the war did not spare the shrine and its surrounding area, making celebrations difficult.
Most Catholics gathered at the site for vespers on Saturday, a day before. Mgr Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, also led a solemn procession, together with Mgr Thomas Savundaranavagam, bishop of Jaffna, Mgr Rayappu Joseph, bishop of Mannar, Mgr Winston Fernando, bishop of Badulla and Mgr Norbert Andradi, bishop of Anuradhapura.
A solemn Mass at 6.30 am began the next day, Sunday 15 August, celebrated by Mgr Ranjith and other bishops and priests, in Sinhala, Tamil and Latin.
This year, the festivity also brought to a close the Church’s National Family Week that the National Laity Commission had launched on 6 August in the diocese of Mannar. ‘The Family is the teacher of Christian values’ was the event’s main theme.
Mgr Winston Fernando, who heads the Laity Commission, led daily meetings with families, youth and children, together with diocesan coordinators for family apostolate.
“We want to pass on good principles to each family,” Fr Julian Patrick Perera, director of the National Family Apostolate, told AsiaNews.
“By participating in these daily meetings,” held in both Sinhala and Tamil, “the faithful can be helped to renew their family life,” he added. “Those who participated in our meetings, whether Catholic or not, were able to learn about how to lead an exemplary life.”
In his homily at the Madhu shrine, Mgr Ranjith reminded those present that “in the north there are families who lost sisters and brothers; families that lost fathers and mothers; families who lost husbands and wives. Some of them are huddled under makeshift shelters made from thin metal sheets. These suffering people belong to the same family loved by God.”
The family is the source of love, he explained. And love, which comes from God, is passed on from parents to children and between spouses.
“Many married couples do not want children; others are postponing them,” he said. However, he reminded his audience that “for Christians, the family is a small church”.
MACKILLOP INTERCESSION FOR PRIESTS' RECOVERY FROM CANCER
Cath News report: An Illawara priest credits his recovery from cancer to the intercession of Mary MacKillop, although the Vatican did not pick his case as an official miracle for her sainthood.
"I went into the surgery and had two ribs removed ... When I came out the surgeon said, 'I don't know what's happened but it's just amazing, it's not malignant'." The report said that before the surgical biopsy, Fr Catterall was visited by a fellow priest who loaned him a piece of wood from Mary MacKillop's original casket.
"People say to me, 'Do you think it was a miracle to Mary MacKillop?' and I say that for me it was my own little miracle," he said.
"While it's not the one that in the end the Vatican actually approved, for me it has always had that real connection."
Fr Catterall was just 27 when he was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a radical mastectomy, followed by eight months of chemotherapy and radiation. In 2005, it seemed that the cancer had returned and may have moved into his bones.
KENYA: MURDER OF HEROIC MISSIONARY FR. JOHN KAISER
All Africa report: If he had been alive today, Fr John Anthony Kaiser would probably be one of the happiest men in Kenya.
It was this towering, aggressive and compassionate American missionary who brought world attention to the problem of ethnically instigated mass displacements in the Rift Valley. His determined campaign to highlight what he saw as the government's role in uprooting members of specific ethnic groups, mainly Kikuyus and Kisiis from their homes to serve political ends, thrust the quiet American into the headlines.
His crusade finally cost him his life. Ten years after he died of gunshot wounds on August 24, 2000, a new constitution will be promulgated three days after the anniversary of his death. The constitution is designed to help tackle the land problem in the country and make a recurrence of politically instigated violence less likely.
That was the life mission of Fr Kaiser. The circumstances of his death remain shrouded in mystery. He had left a career in the US military to throw himself into decades of mission work in Kenya. He arrived in Kenya in 1964 after a two-month sea voyage, excited by the prospect of helping to build the young nation.
His first assignment was in Kisii. According to a profile published by the American newspaper, Riverfront Times, Fr Kaiser quickly became well known by the locals for his passion in missionary work. Father Kaiser built a congregation from nothing, said one of his colleagues and former classmates Father Bill Vos. His passion and energy was apparent.
"Once a group of men was trying to raise a huge log for the centre post of a church," his niece, Mary Mahoney Weaver, recalls, "John was determined to get the thing done. But it got late and everyone went home. When they came back the next morning, the post was up. He never said how he did it. They considered him superhuman." Kaiser had many happy moments hunting with the locals and sharing in their daily rituals.
He had no intention of meddling in politics. In his book titled If I Die, he says that he first encountered the grave injustices perpetrated against the poor villagers whose livelihood depended on small-scale farming when he was based in Kisii.
In October 1986, the priest was travelling from his base to Nairobi. At the intersection to Kipkelion on the Kericho-Nakuru road, he saw men, women and children camped by the roadside. This would leave an indelible mark in his life.
"I saw dozens of trucks and hundreds of people by the roadside with all their worldly possessions - chickens and goats, bed-spreads, pots and pans closely tethered and piled up beside them," he says in his book which was published shortly after his death.
It was 10 p.m. Families with their young children were huddled in small groups on a chilly evening while the heavens threatened to open up. They had been driven out of their land by government forces. "Little did I know that this would mark the beginning of a long struggle against the perpetrators of such acts of injustice," he says in the 120-page book.
Fr Kaiser became a vocal critic of the waves of evictions which were clearly government-backed. He came into national limelight in the early 1990s when he vigorously resisted the eviction of the internally displaced people who had camped at Maela in Narok, following their eviction from Enoosupukia.
At the time, the Kikuyu and Kisii were seen as not supportive of the Moi government. The evictions were viewed as punishment for their failure to back the ruling party.
Fr Kaiser worked hard to ensure that the government resettled the displaced on the land that they had previously been evicted from in the Rift Valley so that they could continue with their livs. When this did not work, he sought other forums to express the grievances of the displaced families. He wrote letters, some which put him on a collision course with the government. He was banned from entering Maela camp by the authorities.
According to Fr Kaiser's estimates, there were about 80,000 people who had been forced to Maela camp by the ethnic violence. "The problem of the displaced people in Kenya is enormous and is a major factor in the slowing down of the economy," he wrote. According to him, the number of people displaced by ethnic violence in the region between 1986-1995 was about one million. Fr Kaiser's activities attracted the attention of the international media.
The displacements in Rift Valley became a source of embarrassment to the Moi government, which was already under pressure to open up political space to keep Western aid flowing. With pressure mounting, the government was compelled to establish a commission of inquiry into ethnic killings - the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Land Clashes, chaired by retired judge Akilano Akiwumi.
For Fr Kaiser, an opportunity to name and shame the big people in government who he believed had a hand in the killings and displacements had presented itself. In February 1999, he testified before the commission and submitted what was then seen as incriminating evidence against government bigwigs.
This was to be the final nail in his coffin. Several months later, his work permit expired and the government attempted to deport him declaring that he was a prohibited immigrant. However, the intervention of the Catholic Church and the US embassy in Nairobi saved him the agony of being ejected out of the country. Threats on his life increased after he gave his testimony.
And, the Latin saying Res Clamat Domino (a thing having been stolen cries out until it is returned to its rightful owner) was his personal motivation. "When I think of the fertile highlands of the Trans Mara and the many other areas of high rainfall on the Maasai reserve, I hear these lands crying to God for the return of their rightful owners," said Fr Kaiser. This was seen by those in government as incitement and explains why the 64-year-old was subjected to State harassment.
Fr Kaiser knew the dangers of speaking out in a country where the iron fist of the Moi regime had left church leadership, the press and even the civil society cowed.
After he had delivered his evidence before the Akiwumi commission, Sister Nuala Brangan prevailed upon him not to go back to Lolgorien, his base. He maintained that he would overcome the threats on his life.
"Don't worry, I am a good shot ... I'll shoot a few bullets in the air, and they'll go running," he is quoted as saying. Fr Kaiser was licensed to carry a shotgun which he always did. "Since I have been threatened before, I want all to know that if I disappear from the scene, because the bush is vast and the hyenas are many, that I am not planning any accident, nor, God forbid, any self-destruction," he said in one of the many letters he wrote to people close to him after he received a chain of threats.
Fr Kaiser knew that many people had been killed in circumstances which were passed off as an accident. On August 24, Fr Kaiser joined this list of martyrs. He was found in a ditch by the roadside on the Naivasha-Nakuru highway, with his shotgun by his side.
The police immediately said he had been shot, a version which the government later changed to claim that it was suicide. That verdict was later overturned by an official inquest. But his killers remain at large although the endorsement of a new constitution might at last give the departed priest cause for relief from beyond the grave.
AMERICA: USA: UNIVERSITY STUDY- FAMILIES PRAY TOGETHER STAY TOGETHER
CBN REPORT.The family that prays together really is more likely to stay together.
"The closer you get to the home, the more powerful the beneficial effects," W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociology professor and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, said in a press release. "It makes sense that those who think about, talk about and practice their beliefs in the home, those who bring home their reflections on their marriage, derive stronger effects from those beliefs, especially compared to those who simply attend church weekly."
The ability of forgiving each other was also found to lead to higher levels of quality in a relationship.
"I think forgiveness is probably a pretty key dimension to the link between shared religious practice - prayer in particular - and success in the relationship," Wilcox added. "In past studies, forgiveness has been found to be a key influence on the success of relationships, home life and even workplace happiness."
The study also found that African American couples are more likely to have a strong spiritual unity.
"Without prayer, black couples would be doing significantly worse than white couples. This study shows that religion narrows the racial divide in relationship quality in America," Wilcox said. "The vitality of African Americans' religious lives gives them an advantage over other Americans when it comes to relationships. This advantage puts them on par with other couples."
WORLD YOUTH DAY ORGANIZERS LAUNCH 18 FACEBOOK SITES
World Youth Day official site report: Japanese, Vietnamese, Maltese and Croatian were the last WYD' s sites opened on Facebook, bringing the total to 18 different languages
Facebook, one of the most visited meeting places online, brings together many people that share their hobbies, their interests, or that want to maintain their friendship relationships.
Madrid's World Youth Day (WYD) has been sharing information over a year on these currently essential social networks. The Spanish page was the first of the current 18 pages, in which people can consult on Facebook about WYD. After this profile page followed English, French, Chinese, and other major languages of the world.
The success of these websites success encourages other youth to propose their own languages (spoken by smaller communities) as an additional means in which WYD's news can be spread.
Cristina del Campo, WYD's Community Manager, has coordinated the pages of Madrid's WYD in every language on the social networks. She explained that the aim of WYD "is to bring together all the youth of the world, not only the ones who speak and understand the languages most spoken." In order to expand to the minority languages, "We have also engaged the fans of WYD in its preparation and organization, we have made them collaborators through the administration of these pages."
The newly incorporated languages of WYD's websites are hardly spoken outside their countries - Vietnam, Malta, Japan, and Croatia. These four languages are the newest of WYD's Facebook sites, thanks to the determination and the excitement of the youth, who sees the importance of having information about this international meeting in their own language. Cristina stated that "we are breaking down language barriers with these youth in their own language."
Tran The Vinh, one of the administrators for the Vietnamese Facebook page, was the one who suggested to the organization making a page in her language. "I believe that it is important to have information about WYD in Vietnamese because by doing so you overcome the obstacle of speaking in a language other than your own." Vietnam is one the largest Catholic communities in Asia. This 23-year-old student of Architecture dedicates between three and five hours daily to the administration of WYD's profile. In coordination with the other Vietnamese administrators of the site, she answers the questions of the fans, translates the information coming from Spain and promotes WYD between other users.
From Croatia, Viktorija, student of Pedagogy at the University of Zagreb is on her way to her third WYD since having participated in the events in Cologne and Sydney. "WYD in Madrid is special for me, because it will be the first time I will be participating as a volunteer," declared Viktoija proudly. Viktorija promotes, together with three other administrators, the Croatian page, and presents to her compatriots WYD's website in Croatian. Viktorija stresses that "this page is a meeting place in which Croatian youth can resolve the doubts that they may have or reunite and exchange their experiences."
Ai Hongo is "young at heart," like she says. At 44 years old, she breaks the mold of the typical administrators of the Facebook pages, young and students. Combining the attention of her house and her family with the administration of the page in Japanese, she was the one who realized the necessity of having a page in her own language after finding that WYD had no website available in Japanese. Ai believes that, as well as the Facebook page in Japanese, "videos are the best manner to promote WYD, because they show in the best possible way what a day in WYD is like."
From the tiny island of Malta, Mariam de Giorgio has been taking advantage of the summer to make some money for her trip to Madrid next year, as well as administering the Facebook page of WYD in Maltese. She affirmed enthusiastically that "I have the feeling that this is going to be one of the most unforgettable WYDs ever." Not only because of the event, if not because I will have the opportunity to meet in person with various friends that I have made through the social networks."
With Vinh, Viktorija, Ai, and Mariam, we can learn how to say "xin chao," bok svima," "konnici wa," and "insellimlek", that is nothing more than "hello" in Vietnamese, Croatian, Japanese, and Maltese.
St. Stephen of Hungary
FIRST KING AND PATRON SAINT OF HUNGARY
Information: Feast Day: August 16
Born: 975, Hungary
Died: August 15, 1038, Esztergom or Székesfehérvár, Kingdom of Hungary
Canonized: August 20, 1083, Esztergom, Hungary by Pope Gregory VII
Major Shrine: Saint Stephen's Basilica in Budapest, Hungary
Patron of: Hungary
First King of Hungary, b. at Gran, 975; d. 15 August, 1038.
He was a son of the Hungarian chief Géza and was baptized, together with his father, by Archbishop St. Adalbert of Prague in 985, on which occasion he changed his heathen name Vaik (Vojk) into Stephen. In 995 he married Gisela, a sister of Duke Henry of Bavaria, the future Emperor St. Henry II, and in 997 succeeded to the throne of Hungary. In order to make Hungary a Christian nation and to establish himself more firmly as ruler, he sent Abbot Astricus to Rome to petition Pope Sylvester II for the royal dignity and the power to establish episcopal sees. The pope acceded to his wishes and, in addition, presented him with a royal crown with which he was crowned at Gran on 17 August, 1001 (see HUNGARY.--History). He founded a monastery in Jerusalem and hospices for pilgrims at Rome, Ravenna, and Constantinople. He was a personal friend of St. Bruno of Querfurt and corresponded with Abbot St. Odilo of Cluny.
The last years of his life were embittered by sickness and family troubles. When on 2 September, 1031, his only son, St. Emeric, lost his life on a bear hunt, his cherished hope of transferring the reins of government into the hands of a pious Christian prince were shattered. During his lifetime a quarrel arose among his various nephews concerning the right of succession, and some of them even took part in a conspiracy against his life. He was buried beside his son at Stuhlweissenburg, and both were canonized together in 1083. His feast is on 2 September, but in Hungary his chief festival is observed on 20 August, the day on which his relics were transferred to Buda. His incorrupt right hand is treasured as the most sacred relic in Hungary.
Matthew 19: 16 - 22
16 And behold, one came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?"
17 And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments."
18 He said to him, "Which?" And Jesus said, "You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,
19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
20 The young man said to him, "All these I have observed; what do I still lack?"
21 Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.