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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: WED. SEPT. 29, 2010


CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: WED. SEPT. 29, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE TALKS OF LITURGY/THEME FOR COMMUNICATIONS DAY -
AMERICA: MEXICO: ARCHBISHOP ENCOURAGES FAITHFUL DURING FLOODS -
AFRICA: NIGERIA: 15 CHILDREN KIDNAPPED FROM SCHOOL -
EUROPE: SPAIN: BISHOPS LAUNCH OFFICIAL SIT FOR PAPAL VISIT IN NOVEMBER -
ASIA: AFGHANISTAN: BRITISH AID WORKER ABDUCTED -
AUSTRALIA: ATHEIST CLAIMS MIRACLE FROM MACKILLOP -
TODAY'S SAINT: SEPT. 29: ST. MICHAEL-
TODAY'S GOSPEL: WED. SEPT. 29, 2010 -



VATICAN: POPE TALKS OF LITURGY/THEME FOR COMMUNICATIONS DAY
MATILDA OF HACKEBORN: LITURGY AND SPIRITUALITY VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2010 (VIS REPORT) - St. Matilda of Hackeborn (1241/1242 - 1298), one of the outstanding figures of the German convent of Helfta, was the subject of the Holy Father's catechesis during his general audience, which took place this morning in St. Peter's Square. Matilda was daughter of the barons of Hackeborn. At an early age she entered the convent of Helfta where her sister, St. Gertrude, was abbess for forty years. Gertrude gave "a particular imprint to the spirituality of the convent, causing it to flourish as a centre of mysticism and culture, a place of scientific and theological education". The nuns of Helfta enjoyed "a high level of intellectual learning which enabled them to cultivate a spirituality founded on Sacred Scripture, the liturgy and patristic tradition, and on the Rule and spirituality of the Cistercians". The main source for Matilda's life is a book written by her sister and entitled "The Book of Special Grace", in which she is described as possessing exalted natural and spiritual qualities such as "science, intelligence, knowledge of human literature, and a voice of great beauty". While still very young Matilda became the head of the convent school of Helfta, and later director of the choir and mistress of novices. She also possessed "the divine gift of mystic contemplation" and was "a teacher of faithful doctrine and great humility, a counsellor, a consoler and a guide in discernment". For this reason "many people, within the convent but also from elsewhere, ... testified that this holy virgin had freed them from their sufferings and that they had never known such consolation as they had with her", said Benedict XVI. "During her long life in the convent, Matilda was afflicted by continuous and intense suffering, to which she added her own great penance for the conversion of sinners. In this way she shared in the Lord's passion until the end of her life. "Prayer and contemplation", the Pope added. "were the vital 'humus' of her life. It was there that her revelations, her teachings, her service to others, and her journey in faith and love had their roots and their context. ... Of the liturgical prayers, Matilda gave particular emphasis to the canonical hours, and to the celebration of Mass especially Holy Communion. ... Her visions, her teachings, and the events of her life are described with expressions evocative of liturgical and biblical language. Thus do we come to appreciate her profound knowledge of Sacred Scripture, which was her daily bread". This saint, "allowing herself to be guided by Sacred Scripture and nourished by the Eucharistic bread, followed a path of intimate union with the Lord, always maintaining complete fidelity to the Christ. For us too, this is a powerful call to intensify our friendship with the Lord, especially through daily prayer and attentive, faithful and active participation in Mass. The liturgy is a great school of spirituality", the Pope concluded.AG/ VIS 20100929 (500)




PRAYERS FOR NIGERIA AND HAITI, BEGINNING OF MARIAN MONTH VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Pope mentioned "the grave humanitarian crisis which has recently struck northern Nigeria, where some two million people have been forced to flee their homes because of severe flooding. To all those affected I express my spiritual closeness and I assure them of my prayers", he said. He then addressed some remarks to a group of pilgrims from Haiti assuring them of his continuing "prayers to God to bring Haitians relief in their misery". Noting then that Friday marks the beginning of the Marian month of October, he encouraged the faithful "to learn from the Virgin of Nazareth always to be ready to fulfil the will of God".AG/ VIS 20100929 (140)



THEME FOR WORLD DAY OF SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS VATICAN CITY, 29 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was the theme chosen by the Pope for the forty-fifth World Day of Social Communications: "Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age". His Message for the Day will be published on 24 January 2011, feast of St. Francis of Sales, patron of journalists. An English-language note released by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications explains that the theme is "to be understood as focusing on the human person who is at the heart of all communicative processes. Even in an age that is largely dominated, and at times conditioned, by new technologies, the value of personal witness remains essential. "To approach the truth and to take on the task of sharing it", the note adds, "requires the 'guarantee' of an authenticity of life from those who work in the media, and especially from Catholic journalists; an authenticity of life that is no less required in a digital age. "Technology, on its own, cannot establish or enhance a communicator's credibility, nor can it serve as a source of the values which guide communication. The truth must remain the firm and unchanging point of reference of new media and the digital world, opening up new horizons of information and knowledge. Ideally, it is the pursuit of truth which constitutes the fundamental objective of all those who work in the media".
Posted by JesusCaritasEst at 6:29 PM 0 comments




AMERICA: MEXICO: ARCHBISHOP ENCOURAGES FAITHFUL DURING FLOODS
CNA report - Amidst the widespread damage caused by flooding in southern Mexico, Archbishop Jose Luis Chavez Botello of Antequera-Oaxaca called on those affected to remain hopeful and urged all of Mexico to express solidarity with them.The archbishop stressed the importance of not giving in to despair, uncertainty and powerlessness, and emphasized that those in need should not be taken advantage of by others. “Rather, let us open our hearts to the solidarity that the greatness of the human heart always manifests in these situations,” he added.Archbishop Chavez Botello noted that while the immediate emergency needs can be met by the families, there are some needs that only the government can provide. The prelate noted that it is the government’s “grave duty to carry out their tasks and not improvise or leave communities and families to bear the entire weight of the consequences of natural disasters on their shoulders.”He stressed that officials need to develop better contingency plans in order to minimize the loss of human life, the spread of disease and property damage that results from such disasters.The Church “has been and always will be willing to provide support in keeping with subsidiarity and her mission in these emergencies,” the archbishop said. He called on priests and the faithful to express their concrete solidarity with those affected by floods and mudslides. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/archbishop-urges-mexicans-to-remain-hopeful-amidst-floods/
Posted by JesusCaritasEst at 6:12 PM 0 comments




AFRICA: NIGERIA: 15 CHILDREN KIDNAPPED FROM SCHOOL
Agenzia Fides REPORT– "It is an unprecedented event. We are facing a terrible situation," Fides has been told by Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, where 15 children were abducted while they were on a school bus.The seizure took place yesterday morning, September 28, when a group of armed men stopped a school bus carrying children on their way to the Abayi International School, in the State of Abia, one of the states of the Niger Delta region, site of concentrated oil reserves in Nigeria. According to a government spokesman, the bandits have demanded a ransom of about 100,000 Euros to free the children."In that area, everyone is a victim of these bandits," said Archbishop Onaiyekan to Fides. "Even the Church has suffered abductions of her members. For six days, we have had heard no news of the accountant of Catholic University. However, there is no specific intention to attack the Church, as the bandits kidnap anyone, even local tribal leaders.""It is the government's responsibility to stop the kidnappers," says the Archbishop of Abuja. "The area where this act took place is relatively limited, so I do not think it would be impossible to hunt them down. "We are celebrating 50 years of national independence. I think we should take this opportunity to reflect on how Nigeria has been administered all these years," concludes Archbishop Onaiyekan. http://www.fides.org/aree/news/newsdet.php?idnews=27499&lan=eng
Posted by JesusCaritasEst at 6:11 PM 0 comments





EUROPE: SPAIN: BISHOPS LAUNCH OFFICIAL SIT FOR PAPAL VISIT IN NOVEMBER
CNA report - The Bishops’ Conference of Spain has launched an official website for the Holy Father’s November visit to the country. The website, available in four languages, will provide complete complete coverage of the Pope’s activities in Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona.The website http://www.visitadelpapa2010.org/ is available in Spanish, Italian, English and French and features the official schedule of events, biographical information on Benedict XVI and statistics on the Church in Spain.The website will stream the Pope’s visit live and includes links to additional information about the sites the Holy Father will be visiting. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/bishops-of-spain-launch-official-website-for-upcoming-papal-visit/
Posted by JesusCaritasEst at 1:14 PM 0 comments





ASIA: AFGHANISTAN: BRITISH AID WORKER ABDUCTED
Asia News report: The woman disappeared along with three Afghan colleagues in the Kunar mountain region. NATO Special Forces are sweeping the area with the assistance of local tribal leaders. Many are hoping for a quick outcome but fear prisoners might be taken to Pakistan. A possible prisoner swap for a Muslim terrorist might be in cards.Kabul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A Christian female British aid worker was abducted in northeastern Afghanistan along with three Afghan co-workers, this according to the British Foreign Office. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the kidnappers want to swap the abducted air worker for a terrorist.“We are working closely with all the relevant local authorities,” a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said, without going into details.The woman, 36, from Scotland, has worked in Afghanistan for several years, and was employed by Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI). She and her three Afghan colleagues were taken prisoners as they travelled in two vehicles in northeastern Kunar province.Sources told AsiaNews that the four were taken into nearby mountains. Afghan forces with the assistance of tribal leaders and NATO troops are sweeping the area searching for them.British sources said that police engaged the kidnappers in a brief gunfight, but the latter were able to slip away. The region is mountainous and covered in thick forests hampering the rescue efforts.“Locals are working hard to secure the prisoners’ release,” a source said. “They are trying to get people with influence to do something.”No one has yet claimed responsibility for the abduction but officials in Kunar suspect a local commander known as Maulavi Abdul Basir is behind it.DAI spokesperson Steven O'Connor dismissed suggestions the missing four got lost. “The woman who appears to have been kidnapped is one of our veterans. She is a complete professional and has many years of experience.”Police remains optimistic about getting the hostages released or freed within 24 hours. Major Maqsoud Padshah, police chief in the district where the abduction took place, said NATO moved in right away, “worried that if they waited to send in a delegation of tribal elders to talk, then maybe they would take her to Pakistan.” Instead, “they have sent Special Forces here and an operation has begun.”Kunar’s border with Pakistan's tribal areas is virtually un-policed and is criss-crossed by trails and supply routes used by numerous insurgent factions and smugglers. Other areas in Pakistan are deemed rebel strongholds, and are hard to get at.An Afghan press agency with close ties to the Taliban said Taliban are demanding in exchange Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist with alleged links to al-Qaeda. Last week, she was sentenced in New York to 86 years for the attempted murder of US soldiers and US agents who had been interrogating her in Afghanistan.Siddiqui's imprisonment caused fury in Pakistan, with people protesting on the streets and burning effigies of US President Barack Obama.The British embassy in Kabul has refused to discuss the press agency report.DAI’s O'Connor said, "At the moment, we cannot entirely rule out the claims of the Afghan Press agency”. He added however to wait the outcome of the operation by NATO Special Forces.The kidnapping comes as the parents of British doctor Karen Woo, who was murdered in Afghanistan last month, spoke for the first time about their loss.Lynn and Tehaun Woo said their daughter, who had been working with an international charity, knew the risks being in Afghanistan, but was compelled to help people.
http://www.asianews.it/news-en/British-aid-worker-abducted-two-days-ago-19590.html
Posted by JesusCaritasEst at 1:13 PM 0 comments




AUSTRALIA: ATHEIST CLAIMS MIRACLE FROM MACKILLOP
Cath News report; An avowed Penola atheist says his survival from a heart attack Mary MacKillop's constitutes "third miracle".Penola post office owner Jon Banks said he was happy to take any miracle he could get when he suffered a heart attack. Jon's wife, Bev, has no doubts about the reason for his survival, reports the Adelaide Advertiser."Considering we live in Penola, it's got to have something to do with Mary MacKillop. We're going to sit him out the front of the post office," she said.Mr Banks chips in: "It's her third miracle!" But he also adds the real credit goes to the medical staff who saved his life: "I'm an atheist from hell ... when you've died and someone brings you back you're very appreciative."Mr Banks, 54, a former truck driver, was sorting mail early last Friday when he felt chest pain."I thought, that's not good, I hope it doesn't get too bad or I can't carry all the gear in," Mr Banks said."I started perspiring a bit, next minute ... the sweat was running out of me and I knew something was definitely wrong."His wife Bev rushed him 50km to Mt Gambier Hospital where he collapsed. Staff shocked Mr Banks up to 11 times trying to get his heart into a rhythm before a visiting cardiologist gave him drugs to treat a blood clot near his heart."The head honcho in emergency said don't worry about buying a Lotto ticket because you've just won Lotto, you've had your win."
http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=23477com/article.aspx?aeid=23477
Posted by JesusCaritasEst at 1:09 PM 0 comments








TODAY'S SAINT: SEPT. 29: ST. MICHAEL
St. Michael, St. Gabriel, & St. RaphaelARCHANGELSFeast: September 29Information:Feast Day:September 29The Sacred Scriptures have revealed the proper names of only three Angels, all of whom belong to the Choir of the Archangels. The names are well known to all, namely: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael. Ancient apocryphal literature of the Old Testament contains several other names of Archangels in addition to the three just mentioned. Like the sources themselves, these other names are spurious. Names like Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jeremiel are not found in the canonical books of Sacred Scripture, but in the apocryphal book of Enoch, fourth book of Esdras, and in rabbinical literature. The Church does not permit proper names of Angels that are not found in the canonical books of the Bible. All such names that were taken from apocryphal writings were rejected under Pope Zachary, in 745. There must have been danger of serious abuses in this regard during that century, because a similar step was taken in a synod held at Aix-la-Chapelle in 789.



THE ARCHANGEL MICHAELMichael from the Hebrew , meaning: ? His name is a battle cry; both shield and weapon in the struggle, and an eternal trophy of victory. The popularity of this name in the Old Testament appears from the fact that no less than ten persons bearing the name of Michael are mentioned in the sacred books, like: "Sthur the son of Michael." A similar name is found also in the Accadian language with a meaning identical to that of Michael; the Accadian equivalent is As the proper name of one of the great Archangels, the word Michael appears for the first time in the book of the prophet Daniel, where he is called: "Michael, one of the chief princes," and again: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people."The name "Archangel" is given only to Saint Michael, even though sacred tradition and the liturgy of the Church attribute the same title to Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael: "When Michael, the archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command thee." In spite of such an explicit testimony of the Scripture, a few writers have maintained that Saint Michael, because of his exalted position among the Angels, must belong to a much higher order, perhaps to that of the Seraphim, rather than to the order of Archangels. We do not believe that this opinion can be defended. The exalted position occupied by Saint Michael can be explained by the fact that, even though he belongs to a relatively low order by nature, his outstanding zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of his fellow Angels, at the time of Satan's rebellion, merited him such glory and power as to equal and even to excel through grace such celestial spirits that belong to a much higher Choir by nature. If we remember, ie Angels lived through a period of probation during which they could merit each according to his works. The great variety of merit explains, in addition to other natural elements, the great difference in their glory and in their power.Father Joseph Husslein points out that the Church calls Saint Michael "Prince of the heavenly hosts"-, adding further: "The fact that the three Angels I have just mentioned are spoken of as Archangels need not imply more than that they were entrusted with extraordinary missions. Michael is the only one to whom the Scriptures apply this title, but there is good reason for the opinion that he may be the very highest of all the angels." Saint Michael is indeed a prince of the heavenly hosts, but this is sufficiently explained by the power granted him by God and not necessarily by superiority of nature. We believe that a power of that sort would not be conferred upon Seraphim and Cherubim who are the living throne of God, but rather upon those who belong to the order of ministering spirits, namely Principalities, Archangels, and Angels, who "are sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation."According to Gustav F. Oehler, "this name: Michael-Who is as God?-of the prince of the Angels does not imply merely a humble acknowledgment on the part of the Angel, but it is rather an actual assertion concerning the Angel himself. The name thus expresses the irresistibility of him to whom God gives the power to execute His behests."Saint Michael has always been the warrior Angel, fighting first Satan and his demons from the beginning, then, in the course of time, all the enemies of God's own People. He is "the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people." As of old, so today, Saint Michael is the great defender of the Church of Christ on earth.The now famous problem, "The Angel of the Lord," , that has engaged the attention of Scripture scholars for decades, may perhaps be solved by admitting that this mysterious Angel of the Lord (who in various books of the Old Testament is represented as acting in ie name of God Himself, and is often received and honored as God would), is none other than the Archangel Saint Michael, God's own legate to His people. The words of the prophet Daniel seem to insinuate this: "None is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince." "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people." A legate can speak and act in the name and by the authority of the supreme ruler who sent him and whom he represents. This seems to have been Saint Michael's position with the children of Israel; he was both the heavenly Prince representing the King of Heaven and the heavenly protector of God's own people against both human and diabolical enemies.Saint Michael who had defended and protected God's children in the spirit world, was to extend the same protection to the human children of God here on earth. Surrounded and threatened as they were by hostile pagan nations, over which Satan had established his tyrannical rule, Saint Michael could not remain indifferent to this new form of seduction and rebellion introduced by his archenemy among the children of men. As long as Satan persists in his attacks, the heavenly champion, the Prince of the heavenly hosts will continue to shatter his plans with the war cry of old: "Who is as God?" In the Old Testament, therefore, Saint Michael is the Angel par excellence, the Angel of the Lord, the national Guardian Angel of the Israelites.At times, especially in the book of Exodus, this "Angel of the Lord" is called simply, the Lord; as for example in this passage, "And the Lord went before them to show the way by day in a pillar of a cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire, that he might be the guide of their journey at both times." He who is called "the Lord" in this passage, is mentioned again in the same capacity as the "Angel of God" in the following passage: "And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, leaving the forepart, stood behind, between the Egyptian camp and the camp of Israel, and it was a dark cloud, and enlightening the night." This very clever military maneuver dearly shows the strategy of the Prince of heavenly hosts.As the national Guardian Angel of the Israelites, and God's special legate to His people, Saint Michael is introduced with words which reveal the great divine love and solicitude of the Lord, together with man's duties towards Guardian Angels in general: "Behold I will send my Angel who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him, and hear his voice, and do not think him one to be contemned, for he will not forgive when thou hast sinned, and my name is in him. But if thou wilt hear his voice, and do all that I speak, I will be an enemy to thy enemies, and will afflict them that afflict thee."The other opinion which holds that the expression the "Angel of the Lord" is not really an Angel, or Saint Michael, but the Word of God (the Logos) God Himself, is now regarded as a mere conjecture and a rather obsolete opinion.Several apparitions of the Archangel Michael have been reported during the Christian centuries. One of the most outstanding of all such apparitions is the one which is commemorated in the universal Church on May 8. The Archangel Saint Michael appeared on Mount Gargano in Apulia, South Italy, in the days of Pope Gelasius (492- 496). A shrine was erected in the cave of the apparition and it became the goal of devout pilgrimages in subsequent centuries. Another feast in honor of Saint Michael the Archangel, on September 29, formerly known as , is the anniversary of the Dedication of the former basilica of Saint Michael and all the Angels on the Salarian Way in Rome. An apparition, similar to that of Mount Gargano, was honored in the great shrine called , near Constantinople, according to the historian Sozomenus, who wrote about the middle of the fifth century, a century of great devotion to the Holy Angels in general and to Saint Michael in particular.In the liturgy of the Mass Saint Michael is regarded as the Angel who leads the souls of the faithful departed to heaven: "Deliver them from the lion's mouth, that hell engulf them not, that they fall not into darkness; but let Michael, the holy standard-bearer, bring them into the holy light."Saint Michael is invoked in a particular manner in the prayers recited at the foot of the altar after Mass: "Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, etc." This particular prayer is a condensed form of the general exorcism against Satan and all the evil spirits, published by Pope Leo XIII.As long as God's children are exposed to the attacks of Satan in this world, Saint Michael's battle cry: "Who is like God?" will continue to scare and shatter all the forces of evil, and his powerful intervention in the struggle in behalf of the children of God will never cease.





THE ARCHANGEL GABRIELThe name Gabriel seems to be composed of the Hebrew words, : man, and <'el>: God. It means, therefore, , or, Practically all the missions and manifestations of this Archangel are closely connected with the coming of the Messias. The most accurate prophecy regarding the time of the coming of Christ was made by Saint Gabriel through the prophet Daniel.Immediately before the coming of Christ we meet the Archangel Gabriel in the temple of Jerusalem, announcing to Zachary the birth of a son, John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ: "I am Gabriel, who stand before God, and am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings."The greatest and by far the most joyful message ever committed to an Angel from the beginning of time, was the one brought by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, announcing to her the Incarnation of the Word of God and the birth of Christ, the Savior of mankind. The simplicity and heavenly grandeur of this message, as related to us by her who was the only witness to Gabriel's good tidings, should be read in full in order to understand the sublime and delicate mission of Gabriel in the work of human redemption.It is the first time that a prince of the court of heaven greets an earthly child of God, a young woman, with a deference and respect a prince would show to his Queen. That Angel's flight to the earth marked the dawn of a new day, the beginning of a new covenant, the fulfillment of God's promises to His people: The Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man, whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary."Heavenly wisdom, tact, adroitness are evident in Gabriel's conversation with the Virgin Mary: "The Angel being come in said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." Gabriel must overcome Mary's reaction of surprise at both his appearance and especially at his "manner of salutation." He has to prepare and dispose her pure virginal mind to the idea of maternity, and obtain her consent to become the mother of the Son of God. Gabriel nobly fulfills this task: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God." He calls her by her own name in order to inspire confidence and to show affection and solicitude in her perturbation. The great message is presented to her as a decree of the Most High God, a thing ordained in the eternal decree of the Incarnation, predicted centuries before by the prophets, and announced now to her as an event of imminent occurrence depending on her consent: "Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end." From these words of the Angel, it became very evident to Mary that her son was to be the promised Messias, the Son of David. But she did not know how to reconcile her vow of virginity with the promised motherhood, hence her question: "How shall this be done, because I know not man." Gabriel's reply shows that God wanted to respect Mary's vow of virginity and thus make her a mother without a human father, in a unique and miraculous way: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee."As a last word of encouragement and, at the same time, a most gratifying information, the Archangel reveals to Mary that her elderly and barren cousin Elizabeth is now an expectant mother in her sixth month of pregnancy. This final argument was offered in order "to prove that nothing can be impossible with God."Mary, unshaken in her profound humility, replied: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word." This reply was Mary's consent, a consent awaited by heaven and earth. The Archangel Gabriel departed from Mary to bring to all the Angels the glorious tidings of the Incarnation of the Word.It seems very probable that Gabriel, the Archangel of the Annunciation, was given special charge of the Holy Family of Nazareth. He was probably the Angel who brought "good tidings of great joy" to the shepherds "keeping night watches over their flock," the night that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. We notice, on this occasion, the same procedure of first assuaging fear and surprise, as had been the case at Mary's Annunciation by Gabriel: "Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.... This day is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David." Who else could be the messenger of such good tidings, but he who had promised them through the prophet Daniel, and announced them to Mary, Gabriel the Archangel?Having delivered the joyful message, the Archangel is joined suddenly by a vast multitude of the heavenly hosts, singing for the first time in this valley of tears the canticle of the celestial Sion. It was fitting that the Archangel of Redemption should intone the canticle of human redemption: "Suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will."Gabriel's duties towards the Messias did not come to an end with his birth. Gabriel was probably the Angel who "appeared in sleep to Joseph," first in Bethlehem when he warned him saying: "Arise, and take the child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be there until I shall tell you. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him." After the death of Herod the Angel appeared to Joseph again in Egypt to tell him to bring the child and his mother back into the land of Israel.Gabriel who is "the strength of God" must have been the Angel mentioned by Saint Luke, in his narrative of Christ's agony in the garden: "And there appeared to him an Angel from heaven, strengthening him." It was fitting that the Angel who had witnessed the Savior's agony, and who had announced His coming to both the Old and New Testament, should also be the first to announce to the world the Savior's Resurrection, His triumph over sin and death on Easter morning: "An Angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow."It is very probable that the Archangel Gabriel is meant when Saint Paul speaks of the second coming of Christ at the end of the world, when Saint Michael's struggle with Satan shall be over, and when all the physical and spiritual remedies of Saint Raphael are needed no more. It would seem that of the threeArchangels known to us, Saint Gabriel is the one who with a mighty voice will call the dead to life and to judgment: "The Lord himself shall come down from heaven with commandment, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead who are in Christ shall rise first." The voice of the Archangel and the trumpet of God seem to be the same thing, having the purpose to convey the divine command to the dead to rise again by the power of the Almighty God. The resurrection of "the dead who are in Christ" is the harvest, the gathering of the fruits of Redemption. Gabriel, who helped along during the long day of man's life on earth, in preparing man for the work of Redemption by the Messias, would seem to be the first among the Angels who are sent out to gather the elect from the four corners of the earth.THE







ARCHANGEL RAPHAELRaphael, from the Hebrew : to heal, and <'el:> God, means "God heals," or the "Divine healer."The history of Tobias, father and son, contains the grandest angelophany of the whole Bible, and it all revolves around the manifestation of the Archangel Raphael under the assumed name and form of a beautiful young man named Azarias. At the very end of his long mission the Archangel revealed his own identity and his real name, together with the actual purpose of his mission: "And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son's wife from the devil. For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord." In this angelophany, Saint Raphael reveals himself as a divine healer not only of physical infirmities, the blindness of old Tobias, but also of spiritual afflictions and diabolical vexations, as in the case of Sara, young Tobias' wife. Had not the Archangel resorted to an assumed human form and personality, it might not have been possible for him to consort in such a familiar way with men, for several consecutive weeks, because of the instinctive fear that man experiences in the presence of celestial beings. Had either father or son, or both, known the real identity of the stranger, from the beginning, the Angelic mission could not have been accomplished in the charming human way in which it was actually carried out. However, the assumed form, and especially the assumed name and paternity-"Azarias the son of the great Ananias"-has been regarded by some as a sort of deception and a lie. However, the perfect sanctity of the Angels is opposed to even the appearance of sin and deception, even to what we call a white lie. In order to carry out his mission, it was necessary for the Angel to assume a form perceptible to man, a human form and a human name. In this case he assumed the appearance of an Israelite, a young relative of Tobias himself. By divine command the Archangel was to act as proxy for that young Israelite, Azarias, whose name he took; hence there was no lie on his part when he gave the name of the person he was representing in his human form. His true identity was revealed at the close of his mission, and whatever misconception had been created in the minds of the various persons he had met, was completely removed, and these were then grateful to the Archangel not only for his many benefits but also for his consideration in dealing with them like a human being. Besides, the Archangel was not hiding a human name and personality and giving another instead; in taking the place of Azarias he could in all truth call himself Azarias.The story of the Archangel Raphael and the two Tobias' is too beautiful and too instructive for us to dismiss it with a simple reference: it reveals how Angels act when in human form; their Angelic nature, their power, wisdom, holiness are made manifest in the various incidents of this charming narrative. The Archangel is God's legate, he carries out God's plan acting as an instrument of Divine Providence, and Divine Goodness.The old, charitable, and pious man Tobias is blind and feels that his days are numbered. He gives his young son Tobias some godly admonitions and tells him of some money he had lent to Gabelus of the city of Rages in Media, many years back, for which he had a regular note with Gabelus' signature. He wants his son to go and collect that money, but he first wants him to find a man to accompany him on the long journey: "Go now and seek thee out some faithful man, to go with thee for his hire, that thou may receive it, while I yet live."While this was going on in Tobias' home, Heaven was listening in and preparing the companion, the "faithful man" young Tobias was looking for. The Lord gave the Archangel Raphael the command to appear as a young man named Azarias, to accompany young Tobias to the land of the Medes, and to bring peace and happiness to two God-fearing but very unhappy families. As the young man stepped out of his house in search of a companion, one morning, the Archangel Raphael was there as if waiting for him, in the disguise of "a beautiful young man." "And not knowing that he was an Angel of God, he saluted him, and said: From whence art thou, good young man? But he answered: Of the children of Israel." In a very short time the Archangel informed young Tobias that he knew the road to Gabelus, and knew Gabelus himself, having spent some time there; he knew all that country very well. Tobias could hardly believe in such a happy coincidence. Immediately he took his new friend and companion and returned to his blind father. The Angel who well knew the purpose of his mission, implicitly announced it in his words of greeting directed to the blind old man, when he said: "Joy be to thee always!"Not knowing who was he who wished him joy, old Tobias replied: "What manner of joy shall be to me, who sit in darkness, and see not the light of heaven." Here the Archangel Raphael became more explicit, making both a promise and a prophecy: "Be of good courage, thy are from God [God heals, was Raphael's own name] is at hand." He could not say more without engendering suspicion and betraying his own identity. Old Tobias regarded those kind words as an expression of good will and paid no particular attention to them; he had heard such expressions so often in the past. His interest is now in the voyage of his son, and he wants to know in whose hands he is committing the life of his only child and part of his own fortune. Upon hearing that the young guide is no less than Azarias, the son of the great Ananias, he remarks: "Thou art of a great family." Old Tobias, like his kinsman Gabelus, later on in this story, expresses his belief in the protection and guidance of guardian Angels. Not knowing that an Archangel is actually accompanying his son, he says: "May you have a good journey, and God be with you on your way, and his Angel accompany you." Had this circumstance been known to him, both he and his wife would have been spared all the worry and the sleepless nights during the long absence of their son. One thought, however, sustained the mind of old Tobias during his waiting: "Our son is safe: that man with whom we sent him is very trustworthy."How carefree, and how joyful must have been that journey for young Tobias. To travel in the happy company of an Angel! He knew the road so well. He was never in doubt about anybody or anything they met on the road; always cheerful, never tired or sleepy; so sweet and kind in his conversation, yet always full of respect and attention. He was deeply spiritual and profoundly devout in his prayers, pure in all his words and actions. How true and inspired were the words of old Tobias when, comforting his weeping wife, he said to her: "I believe that the good Angel of God doth accompany him, and doth order all things well that are about him, so that he shall return to us with joy."The sacred text remarks that when young Tobias started on his journey with his Angel companion, his pet dog followed him all the way to the East. Tobias was one of the thousands of Israelites living in the Babylonian captivity. Some of them had settled down in neighboring provinces, such as Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Media. It was exactly in this last province of Media that Tobias' kinsman Raguel lived with his family. This was not really the goal of his trip to the East, but it was here that God and His Angel wanted him to go; whereas his father had sent him to collect his money from Gabelus in the city of Rages in the mountains of Ecbatana, in Media. The Angel by diverting his trip accomplished more fully his mission, bringing unexpected joy and happiness to three families.Having left his home town, the great city of Ninive, that morning, Tobias and his guide reached the river Tigris just before dark. They decided to spend that night by the bank of the Tigris. Here the Archangel Raphael began to reveal medical knowledge and experience. At the same time he provided food for that evening and for the rest of the journey. Weary of walking all day, young Tobias went to wash his feet in the cool water of the river before retiring. Here the sight of a monstrous fish that seemed to be coming up to devour him, frightened him exceedingly and made him cry for help: "Sir, he cometh upon me !" The Angelic guide, without coming to his rescue, instructed him on what to do, both giving him directions and inspiring him with confidence. At the end of the first day young Tobias had not yet acquired familiarity with his guide, so he calls him, Sir. Later he will call him brother. When the monstrous fish had been successfully drawn out of the river, it was cut open, roasted, and salted. "Take out the entrails of this fish," ordered the Angel, "and lay up his heart, and his gall, and his liver for thee, for these are necessary for useful medicines." These, no doubt, may have seemed strange medicines to young Tobias and he wanted to know when and how to use them. Here he begins to show more confidence and affection for the heavenly guide: "I beseech thee, brother Azarias, tell me what remedies are these things good for, which thou hast bid me keep of the fish." The Angel explains the medical virtue of those parts of the fish. More practical details are imparted as the proper time for their use approaches. The liver of the fish was needed as a material ingredient for an exorcism in order to free Tobias' future wife Sara from the evil influence of the devil; the gall was to be used for the cure of the blindness of old Tobias.The Archangel Raphael had been sent by God to cure and comfort two afflicted souls, old Tobias and Raguel's young daughter Sara, the widow of seven husbands, all of whom had died on the first night following their wedding to her.As night was falling, at the end of another day of their long journey, young Tobias turning to his guide asked him the customary question: "Where wilt thou that we lodge ?" Here begins the first part of Raphael's mission. He must induce young Tobias to marry Sara, Raguel's daughter, and at the same time deliver her from all diabolical influence and vexation. This was a very delicate matter, for sinister rumors about this young dame, as being the cause of death to seven husbands, had reached Ninive and young Tobias himself knew all about her and was deathly afraid of associating with her. At the question of where to lodge for the night, Raphael had proposed to put up at Raguel's and for Tobias to propose to Sara, his own cousin. "I hear," answered Tobias, "that she hath been given to seven husbands, and they all died; moreover I have heard, that a devil killed them." Imagine this young man, now, going to ask for the hand of such a dame! The Archangel Raphael obtained just that, and what is more, their marriage was a very happy one, blessed with good health and long life, so that they both saw their children's children to the fifth generation. The instructions on marital union given by the Archangel Raphael to young Tobias on this occasion remain an ideal of moral perfection for married couples for all time. Prayer, continence, and pure intention dispose the soul for God's blessings and thwart all influence of the evil spirit. Young Tobias listened intently to his heavenly guide and later carried out his instructions most faithfully, first repeating them to his bride: "We are the children of the saints, and we must not be joined together like heathens that know not God."Amid the charming and intimate family reunion in Raguel's home, described in chapter seven of the book of Tobias, an unseen struggle goes on in the spirit world. Young Azarias (the Archangel Raphael) absents himself for a very short while from the gathering of the family and friends in order to attend to a very important business of his own. During those few minutes, Raphael, in the name and with the power of God, "took the devil, and bound him in the desert of upper Egypt." This devil Asmodeus, who had caused so much sorrow to Sara and her family, was Satan himself. With the exile of the spirit of evil, joy, peace and all blessings came to Raguel's home. Having attended to his business, young Azarias returned and took his place at the wedding feast, while actually contemplating the face of the Father Who is in heaven. The following morning, leaving Tobias there with his happy bride, he continues on the journey, accompanied by four servants and two camels. He finally found Gabelus and collected the money for old Tobias and, on his return, he took Gabelus to the wedding feast of his kinsman young Tobias.The last part of the mission entrusted to Raphael the Archangel was now to follow. Having brought joy and happiness to Sara and all her family, it was time to bring a similar and even greater joy to old Tobias and his wife. The slow pace of the caravan that accompanied the bride to Ninive did not suit the Archangel who well knew the pain and the worries of Tobias' old parents: "Brother Tobias," said the Archangel, thou knowest how thou didst leave thy father. If it please thee, let us go before, and let the family follow softly after us, together with thy wife and with the beasts." Tobias agreed and taking with himself the gall of the fish, he and the Angel began to advance with much greater speed, the dog following them. It was time now to give the final instruction as to the use of the gall: "As soon as thou shalt come into the house, forthwith adore the Lord thy God, and giving thanks to Him, go to thy father and kiss him, and immediately anoint his eyes with this gall of the fish.... Thy father shall see the light of heaven, and shall rejoice in the sight of thee."In the meantime Tobias' old mother was waiting for her son, sitting daily on top of a hill, scanning the horizon for a sign of her son and his guide. Finally one day Tobias' pet dog, running ahead brought the joyful news to the afflicted parents by his fawning and wagging his tail. All these human and earthly elements blend beautifully with the heavenly in this charming story of Angels and men.Everything happened as promised by the Angel. Old Tobias regained his sight. At this point the heart of young Tobias was filled with gratitude, love, and admiration for his wonderful guide; so many and so great were the benefits received through him. Having witnessed the miraculous cure of his father he could find no words to express his feelings: "We are filled with all good things through him," he kept telling his father. Old Tobias understood that it was God Who was actually working all these marvels through young Azarias, and thus, full of reverence, he calls the young guide a holy man: "What can we give to this holy man, that is come with thee?"The Lord never permits man to remain in error because of the disguise assumed by His ministering spirits in any of their apparitions. Sooner or later the truth about them will be made manifest. For several weeks in succession, the Archangel Raphael had been acting under assumed human form and human name. Now that his mission has been happily completed, he begins to prepare his two friends, father and son, for a great surprise, the revelation of his real self. At the moment that they both humbly approach him offering one half of everything that had been brought home as payment for his service, young "Azarias" answers with a wonderful explanation of why God has so blessed them. He recalls to the mind of old Tobias all the good he did in his days, his charity, his mercy, his patience, his alms, and his tearful prayers. Thus he begins to reveal himself gradually in order not to frighten them with a sudden disclosure. The enumeration of all the good deeds and of secrets of conscience known only to God are the first step in this revelation; the second is the statement: "Now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son's wife from the devil." The third and final step was liable to trouble and frighten them, hence he begins with comforting and reassuring words: "Peace be to you; fear not." As he said this, both father and son fell upon the ground on their faces, for suddenly the human form of Azarias was transfigured into that of an Archangel of light and beauty, and the final revelation came: "I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord . . . when I was with you I was there by the will of God: bless ye him, and sing praises to him." This is the only reward that he will accept, but none of the material things, money and cattle and clothes offered him generously by his good friends. Yet, these could still entertain some doubts, because they had seen him eat and drink like any other human being, and Angels do not eat and drink as men do. To this secret doubt he answers with saying: "I seemed indeed to eat and to drink with you, but I use an invisible meat and drink, which cannot be seen by men." Now that his work has been done, and that they know that God has sent His Angel to fill them with blessings, it is time for him to return to Heaven: "It is time therefore that I return to him that sent me; but bless ye God, and publish all his wonderful works." Here the Archangel returned to his invisible form, and from the company of men returned to that of the Angels.Raphael, the Divine healer, seems to have been at work at Jerusalem, in the days of Christ our Lord, in the pool called Bethsaida by the Sheepgate. In the five porticoes surrounding that pool there was a multitude of sick people, waiting for the action of the Angel upon the water of the pool, an action which cured immediately any person who first descended into the pool: "An Angel of the Lord used to come down at certain times into the pool and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pool after the motion of the water, was cured of whatever infirmity he had."The health-giving ministry of Saint Raphael may still be seen in the miraculous cures that have taken place up to our own times in many of the sacred Shrines throughout the Christian world.
SOURCE http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/A/archangels.asp
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TODAY'S GOSPEL: WED. SEPT. 29, 2010
John 1: 47 - 5147Jesus saw Nathan'a-el coming to him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"48Nathan'a-el said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."49Nathan'a-el answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"50Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these."51And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."
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CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: TUES. SEPT. 28, 2010





CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: TUES. SEPT. 28, 2010: HEADLINES-


VATICAN: MEETING TO PROMOTE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA

ABIDJAN MEETING TO PROMOTE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA VATICAN CITY, 28 SEP 2010 (VIS REPORT) - A preparatory meeting for a forum on "Cultures, identities of peoples and development in Africa and the Black Diaspora" began yesterday in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The initiative is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Congregation for the Evangelisation of peoples, while the forum itself is due to be held in Abidjan in March 2011. Among those participating in the preparatory meeting, which ends on 1 October, are Fr. Barthelemy Adoukonou, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. Also taking part will be Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr, president of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (CERAO) and vice president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), and other bishops and theologians, as well as diplomatic representatives from Ivory Coast and Benin. "This year Africa is celebrating fifty years of independence of many countries from colonial rule", reads an English-language communique released by the Pontifical Council for Culture. "How far has this culturally rich and diverse continent, made up of different colours and hues, profited from independence? What mark has development made on people's lives and how has globalisation impacted the cultures of the continent?" "The Pontifical Council for Culture in collaboration with the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples aims to create a forum with representation from different ecclesiastical, international and non-governmental organisations in order to find ways and strategies through which development can be promoted while focusing on the human person made in the likeness and image of God". The forum is also intended "to become a permanent place of reflection, for concrete proposals for a cultural and educational engagement which will promote a body concerned with development in Africa".
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AMERICA: USA: PRO-LIFE COMMITEE STATEMENT
USCCB REPORT: Pro-Life Committee Chairman Issues Statement for Respect Life MonthCardinal DiNardo calls for awareness, prayer, healing and action in defense of lifeWorldwide ‘Vigil for All Nascent Human Life’ set for November 27WASHINGTON (September 28, 2010)—In a statement to mark Respect Life Month, October 2010, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston addressed direct threats to human life and called Catholics to “constantly witness to the inestimable worth and dignity of each human life through a loving concern for the good of others.” He also encouraged participation in the worldwide “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life” called for by Pope Benedict XVI at the start of Advent.Cardinal DiNardo chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo noted populations particularly at risk: millions of unborn children in the womb, embryonic human beings destroyed “in the name of science,” and seriously ill patients “under threat from a renewed campaign for legalizing physician-assisted suicide.”“The loss of even one child, and the pain experienced by the child’s mother and father in the aftermath of abortion, should impel us to redouble our efforts to end legal abortion,” Cardinal DiNardo said. He stressed the need “to ensure that every pregnant woman has whatever help she needs to turn away from this heartbreaking choice.” He highlighted Project Rachel, the Church’s healing ministry to women and men hurting after abortion, and called the ministry “a reflection of God’s love and mercy and His constant offer of forgiveness and healing.”Cardinal DiNardo also noted the “urgent task” of “ensuring that health care reform … is not misused to promote abortion or to trample on the rights of conscience.”“If we allow the dignity of every human life to guide the decisions we make as voters and public policy advocates, we can surely succeed in creating a more just and humane society,” Cardinal DiNardo said.Cardinal DiNardo cited Pope Benedict’s “unprecedented request” for Catholics throughout the world to observe a “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life” on Saturday, November 27. “I heartily encourage all Catholics, whether at home or traveling over the Thanksgiving holidays, to take part in this special prayer, whose purpose according to the Holy See,” he said, “is to ‘thank the Lord for his total self-giving to the world and for his Incarnation which gave every human life its real worth and dignity,’ and to ‘invoke the Lord’s protection over every human being called into existence’.”Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program stresses the value and dignity of human life. It is observed in the 195 Catholic dioceses in the United States. This year's theme is “The Measure of Love is to Love Without Measure.” The full statement follows and may be found online at www.usccb.org/prolife/programs/rlp/10dinardo-stmt.pdf.


STATEMENT FOR RESPECT LIFE MONTHCardinal Daniel N. DiNardo Chairman, Committee on Pro-Life ActivitiesUnited States Conference of Catholic BishopsSeptember 27, 2010During the Respect Life Month of October, Catholics across the United States will gather in prayer and thanksgiving, at charitable and educational events, and in public witness to the unique and priceless value of every human life, guided by the theme for this year’s Respect Life Program: “The Measure of Love is to Love Without Measure.” With each passing year, the need for personal and public witness grounded in God’s boundless love for each and every human being grows more urgent.With over one million innocent children dying from abortion each year, the plague of abortion remains embedded in our culture. It is encouraging to see the continuing decline nationwide in the number and rate of abortions—due in large part to fewer teens becoming sexually active, and to growing recognition of the humanity of the unborn child. Yet the loss of even one child, and the pain experienced by the child’s mother and father in the aftermath of abortion, should impel us to redouble our efforts to end legal abortion, and to ensure that every pregnant woman has whatever help she needs to turn away from this heartbreaking choice.For those the pro-life community could not reach and assist before they underwent an abortion, the Catholic Church throughout the United States offers compassionate, confidential counseling through its Project Rachel ministry. In contacting Project Rachel, no one need fear that they will encounter anything less than a reflection of God’s love and mercy and His constant offer of forgiveness and healing.In many areas of public policy, the rift continues to widen between the moral principles expressed by a majority of Americans and the actions of government. For example, Americans oppose public funding of abortion by wide margins, with 67% opposing federal funding of abortion in health care in one recent poll. In early 2009, Catholics and others sent over 33 million postcards, and countless e-mails and letters to Members of Congress, urging them to “retain laws against federal funding and promotion of abortion.”Yet in March of this year, Congress passed a health care reform law that allows for federal funding of abortion in some programs and could pressure millions of Americans to help subsidize other people’s abortions through their health care premiums. Ensuring that health care reform will meet the urgent needs for which it has been proposed, and is not misused to promote abortion or to trample on rights of conscience, will be an urgent task in the coming year.Defenseless human life is also placed at risk today in the name of science, when researchers seek to destroy human life at its embryonic stage for stem cell research—and demand the use of all Americans’ tax dollars to support this agenda. In a recent poll commissioned by the Catholic bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, 57 percent of respondents favored funding only stem cell research avenues that do not harm the donor, using stem cells from cord blood, placentas, and other “adult” tissues; only 21 percent favor funding all stem cell research, including research that requires killing embryonic human beings. Yet the current Administration issued guidelines last year to fund human embryonic stem cell research, and some in Congress are preparing legislation to ensure continued funding despite a federal court’s finding that these guidelines may violate the law.At the other end of life, seriously ill patients are again under threat from a renewed campaign for legalizing physician-assisted suicide. Instead of addressing these patients’ real problems by providing love, support and relief of suffering, this agenda urges us to eliminate the patient as though he or she is the problem. Marching under the false banner of “compassion” and “choice,” it raises the fearsome prospect of a future in which the only “choice” cheerfully granted to our most vulnerable patients is a lethal overdose of drugs.Becoming a voice for the child in the womb, and for the embryonic human being at risk of becoming a mere object of research, and for the neglected sick and elderly is one of many ways we can teach our fellow citizens that “The Measure of Love is to Love Without Measure.” While critics want to portray the Church’s witness as a narrow and negative ideology, it is just the opposite: A positive vision of the dignity of each and every human being without exception, each loved equally by God and so equally deserving of our love and our nation’s respect.Because we are created in the image of God, who is Love, our identity and vocation is to love sacrificially for the sake of others. Pope Benedict XVI has called this “the key to [our] entire existence.” In a homily during his recent visit to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict reminded us that “our hearts can easily be hardened by selfishness, envy and pride,” and that “pure and generous love is the fruit of a daily decision.” Every day, he reminded us, “we have to choose to love.” In our homes, schools, workplaces, and in public, if we constantly witness to the inestimable worth and dignity of each human life through a loving concern for the good of others, if we allow the dignity of every human life to guide the decisions we make as voters and public policy advocates, we can surely succeed in creating a more just and humane society.Our efforts, of course, must always be undergirded with prayer—the silent space for personal daily prayer that allows us to hear God’s voice deep in our hearts, and communal prayer that asks God to transform our culture into one that welcomes every human person.Recently Pope Benedict made an unprecedented request for such prayer, by asking that Catholic bishops throughout the world, and all parishes and religious communities, observe a “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life” on the evening of Saturday, November 27, 2010. The U.S. bishops’ offices for pro-life activities and for divine worship will be working together to provide worship aids to assist pastors in planning these vigil services.Speaking for the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, I heartily encourage all Catholics, whether at home or traveling over the Thanksgiving holidays, to take part in this special prayer, whose purpose according to the Holy See is to “thank the Lord for his total self-giving to the world and for his Incarnation which gave every human life its real worth and dignity,” and to “invoke the Lord’s protection over every human being called into existence.”May God bless all who work tirelessly to build a culture of respect for every human life, from conception to natural death. http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-169.shtml
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EUROPE: GERMANY: OBERAMMAGAU PLAY BRINGS MANY VISITORS
Independent Cath. News report: The small Bavarian village of Oberammergau has once again been packed with visitors all summer, coming to see the famous Passion Play, which concludes this week. Performed every ten years since the seventeenth century, the play still includes much of the original script and music, but this year includes much that is new. Peter Scally SJ attended a performance and spoke afterwards to Otto Huber, the play’s Director of Drama.Read and listen to the interview on Thinking Faith, at: http://www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/20100928_1.htm
http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=16810
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AFRICA: BURUNDI: DOZENS OF CADAVERS DISCOVERED
Agenzia Fides REPORT– "It is a worrying situation that threatens to bring us back to the dark years of civil war," Fides was told by a source from the Church in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. For security reasons, the source wished to remain anonymous. A series of murders in some parts of the country is causing dismay among the population. In recent weeks, mutilated bodies of dozens of people were found along the Rusizi River, in the western part of the country. The area was the stronghold of the National Liberation Forces (FNL), the last guerrilla group to sign a peace agreement with the State in 2005."The government says that these violent acts are perpetrated by bandits, because the murders are accompanied by theft of livestock and destruction of crops, but the population knows from such actions that it must be a group of rebels," says our source.Between May and July, local presidential and legislative elections were held in Burundi. The elections were marked by attacks and the boycott of a dozen opposition parties, who accused the party of President Pierre Nkurunziza of fraudulent elections on May 24. Nkurunziza was elected head of state in the elections of June 28."I fear that the exclusion of various parties from the normal electoral competition has led the most radical opposition groups to resort to violence. After the elections, the bishops had declared that, as far as they could tell, through the Church's election observers, the elections had been regular, but urged the majority to seek dialogue with the opposition which had boycotted the vote," recalls our source.Agathon Rwasa, former head of the FNL, has appealed to the UN Secretary General to intervene to prevent Burundi from sinking back into civil war.Meanwhile, in the east a series of fires are threatening the ecosystem. In Cankuzo and in the Ruvuvu Park, the fire has destroyed entire hills. The fires are caused by severe drought but also by the negligence of man. "They are farmers who, in search of new pastures, burn the forest to make the grass grow back more quickly," says the source of Fides. Farmers have resorted to doing so, in part due to the fact that the army has closed some traditional areas of pasture, for use in military exercises for troops to be sent on peacekeeping missions abroad.http://www.fides.org/aree/news/newsdet.php?idnews=27503&lan=eng
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ASIA: CHINA: PRAYER RALLY FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
UCAN report:A Hong Kong Church commission says it will hold a rally to pray for religious freedom in mainland China even though its request to use a public playground has been turned down.The Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) had applied to the Leisure and Cultural Service Department (LCSD) to use the Lockhart Road Playground as the starting point for its outdoor Way of the Cross, said JPC project officer Or Yan-yan.The event, to be held on Oct. 16, a public holiday, is to pray for religious freedom in China and the release of detained clergy there.The JPC received confirmation from the LCSD on Sept. 21 that the playground would be available and the officer even reminded them to buy insurance for the activity.However, on Sept. 27, the LCSD said the request was rejected as the activity was “politically sensitive,” said Or.After a local newspaper queried LCSD about the matter, Or said she received another call from the department saying that groups intending to use the playground for recreation are given priority.“We strongly protest such an act of self-censorship,” Or said. The JPC has written to the LCSD for a formal explanation but has received no reply so far, she added.Or said the commission will stick to its plan for the rally as the police have approved the rally route and will cordon off several streets.The Way of the Cross will start at the playground and seven of its stations will be at public places such as the High Court, the Court of Final Appeal and government headquarters.Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, retired bishop of Hong Kong, is scheduled to speak at a prayer meeting after the Way of the Cross ends at a Catholic school.The government department’s rejection of the commission’s request is apparently not an isolated case, said Or.In June, another government department confiscated two statues dedicated to victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Incident, which were erected outside a shopping mall.
http://www.ucanews.com/2010/09/29/church-group-defies-govt-objection-to-rally-site/
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AUSTRALIA: GILLARD AND ABBOTT SEND DELEGATIONS TO VATICAN FOR CANONISATION
Cath News report: The Federal Government and Opposition have agreed on sending a delegation to Rome for Mary MacKillop's canonisation - led by former PM Kevin Rudd, and including a Labor senator, and a Coalition MP and senator.The Australian calls it "another miracle in the name of Mary MacKillop" that both leaders have set aside differences on the matter of overseas travel.The report said that Prime Minister Julia Gillard's office said there "were no plans" for her to go to Rome on October 17, which is the day before parliament resumes.A spokeswoman for Mr Abbott said the Liberal leader - who told his partyroom yesterday he intended to be in parliament for all votes - was not going to Rome but the delegation would have a Coalition representative.
http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=23451
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TODAY'S SAINT: SEPT. 28: ST. WENCESLAUS, D. 935
St. WenceslausDUKE, MARTYR, AND PATRON OF BOHEMIAFeast: September 28Information:Feast Day:September 28Born:903, Prague, BohemiaDied:September 28, 935, StarĂ¡ Boleslav, BohemiaMajor Shrine:St Vitus Cathedral, PraguePatron of:Bohemia, Czech Republic, PragueDuke, martyr, and patron of Bohemia, born probably 903; died at Alt-Bunzlau, 28 September, 935.His parents were Duke Wratislaw, a Christian, and Dragomir, a heathen. He received a good Christian education from his grandmother (St. Ludmilla) and at Budweis. After the death of Wratislaw, Dragomir, acting as regent, opposed Christianity, and Wenceslaus, being urged by the people, took the reins of government. He placed his duchy under the protection of Germany, introduced German priests, and favoured the Latin rite instead of the old Slavic, which had gone into disuse in many places for want of priests. Wenceslaus had taken the vow of virginity and was known for his virtues. The Emperor Otto I conferred on him the regal dignity and title. For religious and national motives, and at the instigation of Dragomir, Wenceslaus was murdered by his brother Boleslaw. The body, hacked to pieces, was buried at the place of murder, but three years later Boleslaw, having repented of his deed, ordered its translation to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague. The gathering of his relics is noted in the calendars on 27 June, their translation on 4 March; his feast is celebrated on 28 September.
SOURCE http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/W/stwenceslaus.asp
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TODAY'S GOSPEL: TUES. SEPT. 28, 2010
Luke 9: 51 - 5651When the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.52And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him;53but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.54And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?"55But he turned and rebuked them.56And they went on to another village
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