Wednesday, September 1, 2010










VATICAN CITY, 1 SEP 2010 (VIS report) - The Holy Father held his general audience this morning in the square in front of the Apostolic Place of Castelgandolfo, where he is spending the summer. His catechesis was dedicated to St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), a great seer known as the "Teutonic prophetess".
Before focusing on the saint the Pope turned his attention John Paul II's 1988 Apostolic Letter "Mulieris dignitatem", which examined "the precious role women have played and continue to play in the life of the Church". The Church, that text states, "gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine 'genius' which have appeared in the course of history".
"During the centuries we customarily call the Middle Ages", said Benedict XVI, "certain female figures also stood out for the sanctity of their lives and the richness of their teachings". One of these was Hildegard of Bingen, born to a noble family who chose to dedicate her to the service of God.

Having received an appropriate human and Christian formation at the hands of her teacher Jutta of Spanheim, Hildegard entered the Benedictine convent of St. Disibod where she received the veil from Bishop Otto of Bamberg. In 1136 she was elected as mother superior, a role she carried out using "her gifts as a cultured and spiritually elevated woman, capable of dealing with the organisational aspects of life in the cloister", said the Pope.

Soon afterwards, due to the large number of vocations, Hildegard founded another community, located in Bingen and dedicated to St. Rupert, where she spent the rest of her life. "The manner in which she exercised the ministry of authority remains exemplary for all religious communities", noted the Holy Father. "She aroused saintly emulation in the practice of good works".

While still superior of the convent of St. Disibod the saint began to dictate her mystical visions to her spiritual advisor, the monk Volmar, and to her own secretary, Richardis of Strade. "As is always the case in the lives of true mystics, Hildegard wished to place herself under the authority of the wise, in order to discern the origin of her visions, which she was afraid could be the fruit of illusions and not from God".

To this end she spoke with St. Bernard of Clairvaux who calmed her fears and encouraged her. In 1147, moreover, she received the crucial approbation of Pope Eugene III who, in the Synod of Trier, read out one of the texts dictated by Hildegard which had been presented to him by Archbishop Henry of Mainz.

"The Pope authorised the mystic to write her visions and to speak in public. From that moment Hildegard's spiritual prestige grew to the point that her contemporaries gave her the title of the 'Teutonic prophetess'", said Benedict XVI.

"The sign of an authentic experience of the Holy Spirit, the source of all charisms", the Pope concluded, "is that the individual possessing supernatural gifts never boasts of them, never shows them off and, above all, demonstrates complete obedience to ecclesiastical authority. All gifts distributed by the Holy Spirit are, in fact, intended for the edification of the Church and it is the Church, through her pastors, who recognises their authenticity".


VATICAN CITY, 1 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Among his remarks to pilgrim groups at the end of this morning's general audience in Castelgandolfo, the Pope addressed a special greeting to participants in the Third Latin American Youth Conference, which is soon to be held in the city of Los Teques, Venezuela, on the theme "Let us walk with Jesus to give Life to our peoples".

Benedict XVI invited young people to fix their "gaze on Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. With His Grace", he said, "you will find the strength which encourages us to commit ourselves to causes that dignify mankind and make peoples great.

"Dear young people, may these days of coexistence, prayer and study serve to bring you to a personal encounter with the Lord, and to listen to His Word. You will not be disappointed, because He has designs of love and salvation for everyone. The Pope is with you and reiterates his trust, at the same time asking God to help you so that - being authentic disciples of Jesus Christ - you may live the values of the Gospel, transmit them courageously to those around you and draw inspiration from them to build a more just and reconciled world. It is worthwhile committing to this beautiful mission".

The Holy Father concluded by calling on the Virgin Mary to accompany the young people on their journey and "to remind them always that there is no greater happiness that being a friend of Christ".


VATICAN CITY, 1 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Pope for the opening of the Congress of Asian Catholic Laity, which is being held in Seoul, Korea, from 31 August to 5 September on the theme "Proclaiming Jesus Christ in Asia Today".

In the English-language Message, addressed to Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Holy Father mentions his "wish to single out with gratitude the outstanding work of the many catechists who bring the riches of the Catholic faith to young and old alike". In this context he highlights the contribution of apostolic and charismatic movements which "bring new life and vigour to the formation of the laity, particularly families and young people".

"I pray", the Holy Father writes, "that the present congress will highlight the indispensable role of the lay faithful in the Church's mission and develop specific programmes and initiatives to assist them in their task of proclaiming Jesus Christ in Asia today".

"Those who have found in Jesus the truth, joy and beauty which give meaning and direction to their lives will naturally desire to bring this grace to others. Undaunted by the presence of difficulties, or the enormity of the task at hand, they will trust in the mysterious presence of the Holy Spirit Who is always at work in the hearts of individuals, in their traditions and cultures, mysteriously opening doors to Christ as 'the way, and the truth and the life', and the fulfilment of every human aspiration".


VATICAN CITY, 1 SEP 2010 (VIS REPORT) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for September is: "That in less developed parts of the world the proclamation of the Word of God may renew people's hearts, encouraging them to work actively toward authentic social progress".

His mission intention is: "That by opening our hearts to love we may put an end to the numerous wars and conflicts which continue to bloody our world".


Catholic Online report: This new book on the Light of Christ will be something everyone reading this article will want to read
When Fr. Federico Lombardi announced at noon on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 that Pope Benedict XVI had spent an entire week at Castel Gandolfo having conversations with Peter Seewald which would form the framework for a new book - observers of this Pope were not surprised. This new book, the Light of Christ will be something everyone reading this article will want to read. It will reveal the very human side of this gifted man and communicate the profound insights he has to offer.
Catholic Online REPORT - When he first assumed the Chair of Peter, some mistook Pope Benedict XVI's diminutive stature and milder manner of communication as a signal that he was somewhat less inclined to the spontaneous than his predecessor. After all, the world had not seen the kind of comfort in communication which the late Servant of God John Paul II displayed in centuries. So, it was assumed, his shoes would be somewhat hard to fill and we should not expect another communicator Pope.

This became the often repeated "conventional wisdom". However, what quickly emerged was something quite different than that "conventional wisdom". Pope Benedict XVI would continue the pattern of communicating comfortably with the faithful. Only, his manner and demeanor were very different from his predecessor. He just had different shoes ...and he fills them quite well. Observers of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger knew of his extraordinary gift of teaching, amply demonstrated in his career as a theologian and a professor. They also knew of his manner. He offers reflective, gently expressed and insightful comments in response to questions. He has done this for years; and often, in small groups. The format of question and answer as a means of communication has been part of his priestly ministry for a very long time.

He continued the practice since he assumed the Chair of Peter and has demonstrated his comfort with the medium. For example, we only have to call back to mind some of his back and forth dialogue with priests and even with children while he was on vacation. These dialogues reveal a kind man who is not only deeply evangelical, in the sense of wanting to bring people into an encounter with the Lord Jesus, but comfortable in his own skin and unafraid of spontaneity.

So when Fr Federico Lombardi announced at noon on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 that Pope Benedict XVI had spent an entire week at Castel Gandolfo having conversations with Peter Seewald which would form the framework for a new book - observers of this Pope were not surprised. After all, he has done this very thing in the past.

In 1996 then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was the Head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. He gave a series of interviews to Peter Seewald. They became the best selling "Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium". Those answers to the German Journalist on a wide range of subjects are still being reviewed by those following this Papacy. In 2002, he did it once again - with the same journalist. It produced a sequel entitled "God and the World: Faith and Life in Our Time".

The reports on the announcement swept the global media on Tuesday. It all began with the fullest report in Germany's Daily Mail. That report confirmed that this newest series of interviews will become a new book which is tentatively entitled "The Light of the World". Once again, the Pope has chosen Peter Seewald. There are several reasons. First, he is loyal to his friends, as well as his students.

For example, he still meets with those who studied under him for their Doctorates when he was Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, a theology Professor. They are affectionately referred to as the "Ratzinger Study Circle." They gathered at Castel Gandolfo just this past week. They have met continuously since the late 1970's and include many lights in the Church whose lives and apostolates have been deeply enhanced by their relationship with this gifted man.

Not only is Peter Seewald a highly respected European journalist, but he admittedly owes much to the priestly ministry of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger - now Pope Benedict XVI. He openly acknowledges that he was an atheist until his encounters with the Pope. Those encounters led to his conversion to the Catholic faith.

This desire for all men and women to encounter Jesus Christ is the very core of Pope Benedict XV's mission and reveals his heart. In his encyclical letter on the Love of God he writes "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction."

This new book on the Light of Christ will be something everyone reading this article will want to read. Like his other interviews it will reveal the very human side of this gifted man and, due to the format, it will communicate the profound insights he has to offer on the One whose Vicar he truly is, Jesus Christ. they will be communicated in a popular, conversational and accessible manner. The Vatican Press Office indicated the book will be released by the end of the year.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – Fr. Luigi Colombo, an Italian missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), greatly loved by the faithful of Hong Kong, has returned to the Father's house on August 22 at the age of 94, having spent 40 dedicated to the mission of Hong Kong. According to the biography published by the Kong Ko Bao (the Chinese version of the diocesan bulletin), Father Colombo was born in Italy in November 1915. He entered the seminary at a young age and was ordained priest in June 1940 in the Cathedral of Milan. After helping the Italian pastoral ministry in various parishes, he went to study English in England. In 1950, he went to serve in the United States of America and in 1960 he was appointed spiritual director of the PIME Seminary in the USA. He arrived in Hong Kong in September 1961. After studying the local language, he was appointed vicar of the Parish of St. Peter. Transferred to the Cathedral in March 1964, in February 1965 he began overseeing the diocesan administration. That same year, he also assumed the post of pastor at the Parish of St. Teresa. He was later transferred to the Parish of St. Joseph in July 1977 and worked there until his retirement in 1999. After 40 years of missionary work abroad, he spent his last years at the PIME Residence in Italy. However, he never forgot his Hong Kong, the mission where he had dedicated 40 years of his life and love.


CNA REPORT- A priest in the Archdiocese of Denver is launching an effort to increase prayers for vocations during the city's upcoming marathon next month, telling CNA that there is a “great need” for vocations and that many young men and women in society “are not responding to the call.”

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon, which will be held on Oct. 17, draws thousands of participants to Colorado's capital city each year, many of whom run to raise funds for specific causes. Rather than asking for financial pledges, however, Fr. Jim Crisman – director of vocations for the Denver archdiocese – is having runners ask for prayer pledges in the time leading up to the race.
Athletes who have signed up for the Run4Vocations initiative will run in the marathon as part of a relay team. They are asking the faithful to pledge prayers for an increase in vocations to Holy Orders and Consecrated Life within the archdiocese.
“There is a great need in the Archdiocese of Denver for more priests,” Fr. Crisman told CNA in an e-mail on Tuesday. “Additionally there is a great need for more men and women in Consecrated vocations.”

“Today we are witnessing a generous response by many of our young men and women to the Lord’s call to a supernatural vocation,” he wrote. “Even so, there are more who are being called and not responding to the call.”

When asked how many new students have entered the burgeoning Denver seminary, Fr. Crisman said that the “final count for the year is not yet in, but we have about 75 men in formation for the Archdiocese of Denver this year.”
“Archbishop Chaput ordained 5 men last spring and we accepted a dozen new men this fall,” he added. “Things are going well but the need keeps growing.”
Fr. Crisman said that individuals wishing to participate in the event can visit the website  .
“When they click on the 'RUN' tab at the top of the page, and choose the 'PRAYER PLEDGES' button they will be taken to a page where they can register their prayer pledges and join us in asking the Lord for an increase in vocations to Holy Orders and Consecrated Life,” he explained.
In addition, the priest noted, “the page also shows some of the runners involved and gives a short bio on each.” Fr. Crisman remarked to CNA, “we would love to have supporters at the event both cheering and praying. If anyone would like to join the growing list of runners we would welcome that as well.”
When asked what served as his inspiration for starting the Run4Vocations effort, Fr. Crisman explained that the Archdiocese of Washington has a similar program.
“A college friend of mine has run in a marathon there for years raising money for their vocations office,” he said. “Seeing the opportunity to get people more involved in supporting vocations and raising prayer support for our vocation candidates made me begin this program here in Denver.”


Agenzia Fides REPORT – The Archdiocese of Madrid currently has 1,261 missionaries working in 91 countries on five continents. They belong to 158 congregations and religious institutions. Others are members of the diocesan clergy of the Archdiocese of Madrid. According to figures made public recently by the Diocesan Missions Council, there are 646 missionary sisters that belong to 99 congregations. There are 13 cloistered sisters from 5 congregations, 311 religious (priests and brothers) from 40 congregations, 95 members of the diocesan clergy, and 196 religious clergy (from 14 congregations). Regarding geographical distribution, the largest number of missionaries from Madrid (887) carries out its work in the Americas, where they are present in 23 countries (first in Peru, with 119 missionaries, followed by Venezuela, the United States, Chile, and Colombia). In second place is Africa, where 211 missionaries are working in 33 countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo (31), Angola (24), Equatorial Guinea (23), and Mozambique (18). In Europe, there are 58 missionaries from Madrid distributed in 18 countries: France (9), Portugal (8), Kazakhstan, Austria, and Italy (5). In Asia, there are 93 missionaries working in 15 countries: Japan (23), Philippines (18), and India (17). Finally, in Oceania there are 12 missionaries from the Archdiocese of Madrid: 10 in Australia and 2 in Guam (Micronesia).


Agenzia Fides REPORT - Bishops: No to the law on the media, as it “violates the spirit of openness and accountability” of government officials
The Bishops of South Africa have “serious concerns about the wisdom and the constitutionality of the Protection of Information Bill currently before Parliament, as well as about the need for the establishment of a Media Appeals Tribunal,” says a statement sent to Agenzia Fides from the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC), signed by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, OFM, Archbishop of Durban and SACBC spokesman. Just a few days ago, Cardinal Napier expressed his own opposition to the law (see 25/8/2010).
“The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) shares the views of numerous civil society groups and reputable constitutional experts, that the Bill threatens some of our most fundamental rights: a) The right to receive and impart information; b) The right to a free press and
media; c) The right of access to information held by the state, and d) The right to administrative justice,” the statement reads. “Furthermore, we believe that the Bill violates the spirit of openness and accountability that is so necessary to underpin the Constitution’s provisions on good governance, essential for a healthy democracy.”
The South African Bishops list what they see as the dangers entailed in reforming the law on mass media. First of all, they mention the concern “that virtually any information is liable to be classified as secret by officials who are themselves not accountable to the public”; secondly, “that the definition of national interest and national security are so broad that they could be used to keep secret matters that ought by right to be accessible to the public”; and lastly, “that there is practically no right of appeal, as any appeal would be processed by the very people who made the original ruling.”
The Bishops continue: “We certainly do not want government to take us back to the oppressive practices of yesteryear, against which our common struggle was launched.”
“We accept that some degree of restriction of information is both legitimate and necessary. However we have grave misgivings about the way it will be done, particularly since it risks fostering or even entrenching a culture of non-accountability and non-transparency among state officials at all levels.”
“We, therefore, strongly urge government to withdraw the Bill for complete redrafting to ensure that the openness and transparency required by the Constitution and demanded by a clear majority of informed civil society organization and legal experts are adequately built in,” the SACBC says at the end of the statement.


Cath News report: NSW Premier Kristina Keneally has dismissed allegations she is pushing the same-sex adoption bill to win over the Greens in time for next year's state election.
NSW upper house Liberal MP David Clarke told a Council of Churches meeting yesterday that Labor would need Green preferences when voters head to the polls in March next year, according to an AAP report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

This had made children the "pawns in a bigger power game", he said, adding that a committee set up to investigate same-sex adoption in 2009 was evenly split on the issue.
"Has Kristina Keneally done a deal with the Greens?" he said. "The Green party has a great deal to do with driving this agenda."
A spokesman for Ms Keneally, who has given her in-principle support for the bill, told AAP yetserday that such claims were "ridiculous".
"Kristina will be speaking on the bill, and talking about her decision to support it in the context of her Christian faith," he said.
"Specifically (she) will outline why, as a Christian, she can support this bill in good conscience."
Greens MP John Kaye also dismissed the allegations as "fantasies", and that allegations of a Greens-Labor deal "are nonsense".
The bill is to be debated in the lower house on Thursday.


St. Giles

Feast: September 1

Information: Feast Day: September 1
Born: Athens, Greece
Died: France
Major Shrine: St. Giles' Cathedral (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Patron of: beggars; blacksmiths; breast cancer; breast feeding; cancer patients; disabled people; epilepsy; fear of night; forests; hermits; horses; lepers; mental illness; noctiphobics; outcasts; poor peoples; rams; spur makers; sterility;

An Abbot, said to have been born of illustrious Athenian parentage about the middle of the seventh century. Early in life he devoted himself exclusively to spiritual things, but, finding his noble birth and high repute for sanctity in his native land an obstacle to his perfection, he passed over to Gaul, where he established himself first in a wilderness near the mouth of the Rhone and later by the River Gard. But here again the fame of his sanctity drew multitudes to him, so he withdrew to a dense forest near Nîmes, where in the greatest solitude he spent many years, his sole companion being a hind. This last retreat was finally discovered by the king's hunters, who had pursued the hind to its place of refuge. The king [who according to the legend was Wamba (or Flavius?), King of the Visigoths, but who must have been a Frank, since the Franks had expelled the Visigoths from the neighbourhood of Nîmes almost a century and a half earlier] conceived a high esteem for solitary, and would have heaped every honour upon him; but the humility of the saint was proof against all temptations. He consented, however, to receive thenceforth some disciples, and built a monastery in his valley, which he placed under the rule of St. Benedict. Here he died in the early part of the eighth century, with the highest repute for sanctity and miracles.

His cult spread rapidly far and wide throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, as is witnessed by the numberless churches and monasteries dedicated to him in France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, and the British Isles; by the numerous manuscripts in prose and verse commemorating his virtues and miracles; and especially by the vast concourse of pilgrims who from all Europe flocked to his shrine. In 1562 the relics of the saint were secretly transferred to Toulouse to save them from the hideous excesses of the Huguenots who were then ravaging France, and the pilgrimage in consequence declined. With the restoration of a great part of the relics to the church of St. Giles in 1862, and the discovery of his former tomb there in 1865, the pilgrimages have recommenced. Besides the city of St-Gilles, which sprang up around the abbey, nineteen other cities bear his name, St-Gilles, Toulouse, and a multitude of French cities, Antwerp, Bridges, and Tournai in Belgium, Cologne and Bamberg, in Germany, Prague and Gran in Austria-Hungary, Rome and Bologna in Italy, possess celebrated relics of St. Giles. In medieval art he is a frequent subject, being always depicted with his symbol, the hind. His feast is kept on 1 September. On this day there are also commemorated another St. Giles, an Italian hermit of the tenth century (Acta SS., XLI, 305), and a Blessed Giles, d. about 1203, a Cistercian abbot of Castaneda in the Diocese of Astorga, Spain (op. cit. XLI, 308).
TODAY'S GOSPEL: WED. SEPT. 1: Luke 4: 38 - 44

Luke 4: 38 - 44
38 And he arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they besought him for her.
39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her; and immediately she rose and served them.
40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them.
41 And demons also came out of many, crying, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
42 And when it was day he departed and went into a lonely place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them;
43 but he said to them, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose."
44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.