Saturday, October 30, 2010



As many as 100 thousand young people gathered in St. Peter’s Square Saturday for a morning of prayer and fellowship that culminated in an encounter with Pope Benedict XVI, who answered questions from a few of their representatives. The gathering was organized by the Catholic Action youth wing, and brought together children and teenagers from every part of Italy, who began to descend upon the square well before dawn, many of them carrying signs and banners on which were written variations on the theme of the encounter: “Growing up together!”After an enthusiastic morning of song and cheer in the Square beneath his window in the Apostolic Palace, the Pope came to greet his young guests and the adults who had accompanied them, and to answer questions from three of their number: a boy, a girl and one of their grown-up leaders, a teacher, Milena Marrocco from the diocese of Gaeta, who asked the Holy Father what it means to be an educator.The Holy Father answered that true educators are not those who lord it over their charges, but those who recognize that they are, in Jesus’ name, servants of their joy, whose task it is to lead the little ones in their care to Christ.The boy, Francesco Poddo of the diocese of Nuoro, asked the Holy Father what it means to grow up, and how to grow as a follower of Jesus. He also asked, “Who can help?” in the great task of coming into adulthood – to which the Holy Father responded that growing up means growing in real friendship with Jesus, through prayer and constant participation in the sacraments. “You also want to say, loud and clear, to everyone you meet, how beautiful it is to have a friend in Jesus – and how beautiful it is to be together in friendship with him, helped by your parents, your priests and your pastoral leaders!”The girl, Anna Bulgarelli of the diocese of Carpi, spoke of the heartache and suffering that often accompany adolescents in their relationships, and asked the Holy Father to help her and her companions better to understand what it means to love well and truly:The Pope responded saying that pop culture often conveys a distorted picture of love that is really selfishness and closure. “It gives you the thrill of a moment,” said Pope Benedict, “but it doesn’t make you happy – it doesn’t make you great.”“Rather,” continued Pope Benedict, “it costs something to live love truly. It requires sacrifice. But I am sure you are not afraid of the hard work that authentic, committed love requires.”
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SMH.COM.AU REPORT: SWIEBODZIN, Poland: At 36 metres tall, it will tower imperiously over this town in western Poland. But the giant statue of Jesus under construction has divided Polish Catholics and led to charges of megalomania against the Catholic Church.The structure is being built on a 16-metre-high hill in Swiebodzin. Locals claim it will be taller - just - than the 80-year-old Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, now the world's tallest statue of Jesus.The main body of the Polish Jesus is 33 metres high - a metre for each year he lived - and is topped with a three-metre metal crown of thorns.The project has split Polish society: some are expressing pride, others derision, while many practising Catholics are calling for it to be abandoned. The chief building inspector has received threats, including a brick through his car window.Supporters of the project, which is being led by local priest Sylwester Zawadzki, hope the statue will attract pilgrims from across the country, turning the economically downtrodden town into a ''second Czestochowa'', a reference to Poland's most popular pilgrimage site, home of the Black Madonna shrine.The 400-tonne statue has been five years in the making. Originally, Father Zawadzki wanted a ''small garden sculpture'', but over time his ambitions have grown.The latest worries are about safety after a crane collapsed when builders tried to position the head, crushing a builder's foot. Sceptics said it was a sign of God's disapproval. When the priest suffered a heart attack, the same claim was made.Building experts have voiced concerns the foundations are not deep enough. ''We'll give it 20 years, maximum, then it'll fall apart,'' one building expert told Polish media.
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Asia News report: To Serve and not to be served" the motto of the cardinal, who concentrated his efforts in the religious education of children and missionary formation of young seminarians. He also founded the National Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka in Tewatta.Tewatta (AsiaNews) - Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith has officially opened the cause for the beatification and canonization of Cardinal Thomas Coorey, during a Eucharistic celebration hosted yesterday in the National Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka in Tewatta (Archdiocese of Colombo).Cardinal-designate Ranjith celebrated the function with the Papal Nuncio Joseph Spiteri, Archbishops Emeritus Nicholas Marcus and Oswald Gomis, Fr. Clement Waidayasekara and Fr. Nicholas Senanayake. Nearly 200 nuns and priests of the archdiocese attended the mass. All the relatives of Mgr. Cooray were present, along with large crowds of faithful - some two thousand people - from the Archdiocese of Colombo. Mass was celebrated in three languages: Sinhala, Tamil and English. During the homily Archbishop Owald Gomis, who worked closely with Cardinal Cooray in the past, said that "today is a day to be written in gold in the history of Sri Lanka." He recalled the simple and exceptional holiness, the deep faith and courage of Card. Cooray.Card. Coorey, who was born in 1901 in Periyamulla (Negombo), was ordained priest in Rome in 1929 in the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. In 1947 he was appointed archbishop of the Archdiocese of Colombo. "To serve, not to be served" was his motto: In 1950 he founded the minor seminary, focusing his commitment on the missionary formation of young seminarians. In addition, under his leadership the Church in Sri Lanka found ways and means to bring religious education to schools.In 1940, the beginning of World War II, Archbishop Jean Marie Masson made a vow to build a shrine in Tewatta in honor of Our Lady, if the country was spared the ravages of war. Card. Coorey kept this vow and began to build the National Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka.At the end of his homily, Mgr. Gomis said: "Today we gathered to thank the Lord for the life and commitment committed of Cardinal Thomas Cooray. And we pray God to bestow the necessary blessings for his beatification and canonization”.Thomas Cooray was appointed cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1965. President of the Bishops Conference in Sri Lanka for 30 years, he retired from office in 1976. The Cardinal passed away in 1988, and his remains are buried in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, in the basilica built by him. Card. Cooray’s is the first Sinhalese for whom a cause for beatification and canonization has been opened.
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CNA REPORT - Oscar-nominated film director Roland Joffe describes himself as a “wobbly agnostic.” “There’s easy atheism, there’s easy agnosticism, and there’s easy faith,” he explained during a Sept. 9 phone interview with The Southern Cross. “Because I have a curious mind, I’ve never been able to take … a totally easy path.”Still, Joffe admits that he finds “immense beauty” and “immense truths” in religion. He also sees no conflict between his agnosticism and his latest film project, “There Be Dragons.”The film is based on the life of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, a Spanish priest who founded the lay Catholic movement known as Opus Dei. The film will be released in theaters in Spring 2011.“Just because I’m agnostic, I would be a fool if I dismissed somebody because he was a saint,” Joffe said. He added that he actually finds himself steered in the opposite direction, convinced that “things of great interest to every human being” are bound to be discovered in the life of “a hero of the Church.”Written and directed by Joffe, “There Be Dragons” is not the first time the British filmmaker has explored religious territory. His 1986 directorial effort, “The Mission,” starred Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons as Jesuits in 18th-century Latin America.Nine years after its release, “The Mission” was included in a Vatican-compiled list of 45 “great films.” The film also won the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival and earned Joffe his second Academy Award nomination for best director. He had previously been nominated two years earlier for 1984’s “The Killing Fields.”Joffe’s latest film, “There Be Dragons,” is set during the Spanish Civil War of the mid- to late 1930s, a period the director describes as “the seminal moment in Josemaria’s life.” Joffe said the film expresses the Spanish saint’s deeply held belief that God can be found in everyday life – even during a civil war – and that everyone can be a saint.“There Be Dragons” is not intended to be the cinematic equivalent of a “poster” or “user’s manual” for Opus Dei, Joffe said. But viewers also should not expect a retread of the lurid conspiracy theories propagated by “The Da Vinci Code” and its film adaptation.“I think Dan Brown (the author of “The Da Vinci Code”) misused Opus Dei … in a rather unpardonable way,” Joffe said. “I hope, in some ways, this movie will set the balance straight, but that’s not the objective of the movie. I just think it’s maybe a byproduct.”While “There Be Dragons” would seem to have built-in appeal for Catholic viewers, Joffe believes that it will speak to a much larger audience, including those who do not believe in God or subscribe to any particular faith. He revealed that an atheist character, who figures prominently in the film, is shown to experience “a profoundly religious moment.”“I think there’s going to be much to find, because there’s all of life expressed in this movie,” Joffe said. “I think Catholics and other religious people, and agnostics and atheists alike will find the human experience there, very clearly and rather beautifully expressed by the actors.”
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Cath News report: A survey has found that half of the respondents want the government to fund the provision of aged care, while only a small number thinks profit-driven aged care services should provide care for the elderly.Most respondents preferred Church or not-for-profit aged care, according to a study that was part of the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes, reports The Catholic Weekly.The study, based on interviews with 1400 people, found only 16 per cent of people think families and relatives are best suited to deliver care to the elderly. The government should provide for it, 53 percent said.Catholic Health Australia (CHA) chief executive officer Martin Laverty said the report's findings that families prefer Church and charitable aged care services come as no surprise."It's well known that many Church and charitable aged care providers deliver top quality care, in a manner that best meets the needs of older Australians," he said."Catholic aged care services who focus on pastoral and spiritual care provide support to older Australians that commercial operations cannot."Yet he warned there are alarming consequences arising from the study's finding that few people believe families and relatives are best suited to caring for the aged."Only five per cent of older Australians live in a residential aged care home," Mr Laverty said. Similar numbers live in retirement homes. The remaining older population, or 90 percent, have no need to enter formal aged care. They live in their own homes, or live with their families."In order to remain living in their own homes, older Australians very often need support of family members or relatives. Family or friend support is key to independent living. But if only 16 percent think this support is the role of family, we face a growing community challenge."
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Agenzia Fides report - Catholic radio managers from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have decried increasing government harassment and interference despite constitutional guarantees on their freedom.This is what emerged from the conclusion of the workshop on the role of the Catholic radio station in building peace in eastern Africa, held in Arusha, Tanzania. The event was organized by the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa with the support of the US Catholic foundation, Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities (see Fides 20/10/2010). “We endeavour to train our journalists on new technologies, peace journalism, and to improve professionalism in our radio stations,” they resolved in a communiqué at the end of the workshop.They highlighted the lack of professionalism and poor remuneration of journalists in many media houses, which has sometimes fuelled conflict and made some of them easy prey to manipulation by political forces.“We appeal to both our church and civil societies to support and inspire the spirit of dialogue, unity and love among our people and help safeguard the right of the public to free speech and expression which includes the freedom of the media,” the journalists said.At the end of the workshop, they also resolved to hold more workshops and meetings to build solidarity and networking among Catholic Radio stations within the member countries and in the region.
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CONFESSOR AND LAY BROTHERFeast: October 30Information:Feast Day:October 30Born:July 25, 1532, SegoviaDied:October 31, 1617Canonized:6 September, 1887Major Shrine:MajorcaBorn at Segovia in Spain, 25 July, 1532; died at Majorca, 31 October, 1617. On account of the similarity of names he is often confounded with Father Rodriguez the author of "Christian Perfection", who though eminent in his holiness was never canonized. The Saint was a Jesuit lay-brother who entered the Society at the age of forty. He was the son of a wool merchant who had been reduced to poverty when Alfonso was still young. At the age of twenty-six he married Mary Francisco Suárez, a woman of his own station, and at thirty-one found himself a widower with one surviving child, the other two having died previously. From thattime he began a life of prayer and mortification, although separated from the world around him. On the death of his third child his thoughts turned to a life in some religious order. Previous associations had brought him into contact with the first Jesuits who had come to Spain, Bl. Peter Faber among others, but it was apparently impossible to carry out his purpose of entering the Society, as he was without education, having only had an incomplete year at a new college begun at Alcalá by Francis Villanueva. At the age of thirty-nine he attempted to make up this deficiency by following the course at the College of Barcelona, but without success. His austerities had also undermined his health. After considerable delay he was finally admitted into the Society of Jesus as a lay-brother, 31 January, 1571. Distinct novitiates had not as yet been established in Spain, and Alfonso began his term of probation at Valencia or Gandia -- this point is a subject of dispute -- and after six months was sent to the recently-founded college at Majorca, where he remained in the humble position of porter for forty-six years, exercising a marvelous influence on the sanctification not only of the members of the household, but upon a great number of people who came to theporter's lodge for advice and direction. Among the distinguished Jesuits who came under his influence was St. Peter Clavier, who lived with him for some time at Majorca, and who followed his advice in asking for the missions of South America. The bodily mortifications which he imposed on himself were extreme, the scruples and mental agitation to which he was subject were of frequent occurrence, his obedience absolute, and his absorption in spiritual things even when engaged on most distracting employments, continual. It has often been said that he was the author of the well known "Little Office of the Immaculate Conception", and the claim is made by Alegambe, Southwell, and even by the Fathers de Backer in their Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus. Apart from the fact that the brother did not have the requisite education for such a task, Father Costurer says positively that the office he used was taken from an old copy printed out of Spain, and Father Colin asserts that it existed before the Saint's time. It may be admitted, however, that through him it was popularized. He left a considerable number of manuscripts after him, some of which have been published as "Obras Espirituales del B. Alonso Rodriguez" (Barcelona, 1885, 3 vols., octavo, complete edition, 8 vols. in quarto). They have no pretense to style; they are sometimes only reminiscences of domestic exhortations; the texts are often repeated; the illustrations are from every-daylife; the treatment of one virtue occasionally trenches on another; but they are remarkable for the correctness and soundness of their doctrine and the profound spiritual knowledge which they reveal. They were not written with a view to publication, but put down by the Saint himself, or dictated to others, in obedience to a positive command of his superiors. He was declared Venerable in 1626. In 1633 he was chosen by the Council General of Majorca as one of the special patrons of the city and island. In 1760 Clement XIII decreed that "the virtues of the Venerable Alonso were proved to be of a heroic degree"; but the expulsion of the Society from Spain in 1773, and its suppression, delayed his beatification until 1825. His canonization took place 6 September, 1887. His remains are enshrined at Majorca.
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TODAY'S GOSPEL: OCT. 30: Luke 14: 1, 7 - 11
Luke 14: 1, 7 - 111One sabbath when he went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him.7Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them,8"When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him;9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, `Give place to this man,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.10But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, `Friend, go up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.11For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
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