Sunday, November 7, 2010




INTERVIEW WITH THE HOLY FATHER ON FLIGHT BOUND FOR SPAIN VATICAN CITY, 6 NOV 2010 (VIS REPORT) - IMAGE RADIO VATICANA-This morning during his flight to the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela the Holy Father responded to a number of questions prepared by the journalists accompanying him on the papal plane. The questions were put to the Pope by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. The first question concerned a congress on shrines held recently in Santiago de Compostela. "You have said you are living your own pontificate 'as a pilgrim' and your coat-of-arms contains the scallop shell. Please can you tell us something of your views on pilgrimage, also in your personal life and spirituality, and on the feelings with which you are going to Santiago as a pilgrim". "I could say that the fact of being 'on the road' is already part of my own biography", said the Pope in his reply. "But that perhaps is an exterior aspect. Nonetheless it has made me think of the instability of this life, of the fact of being on a journey. Of course, against the idea of the pilgrimage it could be said that God is everywhere, that there is no need to go anywhere else. But it is also true that faith, by its very essence, is a pilgrim. ... Sometimes it is necessary to escape from daily routine, from the world of practicality and utility, to undertake a journey towards transcendence, transcending self, transcending daily life and so discovering a new freedom, a time for interior thought and for identifying oneself, for seeing others, seeing God. This is what pilgrimage has always meant. ... It is clear that the routes of Santiago are an element in the formation of the spiritual unity of the European continent. By making pilgrimages here, people have discovered themselves, they have discovered a shared European identity; and this movement is re-emerging today, this need for spiritual and physical movement, finding one another and thus discovering silence, freedom, renewal, God". The second question was: "What significance can consecrating a church such as the Sagrada Familia have at the beginning of the twenty-first century? Is there some aspect of Gaudi's vision that has struck you in particular?" "The truth is", said the Holy Father, "that this church is also an appropriate sign for our own times. In Gaudi's vision there are above all three elements that call my attention. The first is the blending of continuity and novelty, tradition and creativity. Gaudi had the courage to make himself part of the great tradition of the cathedrals. Using a completely new approach, he dared in his own time to make the cathedral a place for the solemn meeting between God and man. And this courage to remain within tradition, but with a creativity that renews tradition and shows the unity and progress of history, is a beautiful thing. Secondly, Gaudi chose the tripartite structure of the book of nature, the book of Scripture and the book of liturgy. This is of great importance. Scripture is made present in the liturgy, it becomes real today, it is no longer a Scripture of two thousand years ago but is celebrated, made real. In the celebration of Scripture creation speaks and finds its true response because, as St. Paul tells us, creation suffers and ... awaits the children of God; i.e., those who see it in the light of God. This fusion between meaning and creation, between Scripture and adoration, is a very important message for today. Finally, the third point is that this church was born of a typically nineteenth-century form of devotion: St. Joseph, the Holy Family of Nazareth, the mystery of Nazareth. But this devotion of the past could be said to have a great deal of importance today because the problem of the family, the renewal of the family as society's fundamental cell, is the great theme showing us the way to build society and to create a unity of faith and life, of religion and society. The main theme here is that of the family, for God Himself became a child in a family and He calls us to build and live in families". "Gaudi and the Sagrada Familia are a very effective expression of the relationship between faith and art", said the third questioner. "How can faith today regain its place in the world of art and culture? I this an important theme for your pontificate?" "It is indeed", said the Pope. "You know that I have given a lot of emphasis to the relationship between faith and reason; that faith, Christian faith, has its identity only in openness to reason, and that reason becomes authentic if it transcends itself towards faith. But the relationship between faith and art is equally important, because truth, which is the aim and goal of reason, finds expression and authenticity in beauty, where it reveals itself as truth. ... The relationship between truth and beauty is unbreakable, and this is why we need beauty. From earliest times the Church, even in the great modesty and poverty of the age of persecutions, used art and painting, expressions of God's salvation in the images of the world, singing, and later building. All this is and remains a constituent part of the Church. For this reason the Church has been mother to the arts for many centuries. The great treasures of Western art - music, architecture, painting - were born from the faith of the Church. Today there is some dissent, but this harms both art and faith. An art which loses its transcendent roots no longer tends towards God, it is a truncated art without a living root. A faith which only has the art of the past, is no longer faith in the present, and today it must again express itself as everlasting truth. And so the dialogue and meeting between art and faith is inscribed in the profound essence of the faith. We must do all we can so that today too faith is expressed in authentic art, as in the case of Gaudi, with continuity and novelty, so that art does not lose contact with faith". The next question concerned the recent creation of a council for new evangelisation. "Many people have asked whether Spain, with the growth of secularisation and the fall in religious practice, is one of the countries you considered as the target of the new dicastery, even the principal target". Benedict XVI replied: "In creating this new dicastery, my thoughts went per se to the whole world, because new schools of thought and difficulties in reflecting on the concepts of Scripture and theology are universal. Yet there is of course a centre, and that centre is the Western world with its secularism and the continuity of its faith, which must seek to renew itself in order to remain as faith today and to respond to the challenge of secularism. All the great countries of the West have their own experience of this problem. ... Spain has always been, on the one hand, a country of origin of the faith: we recall how the rebirth of Catholicism in the modern age came about above all thanks to Spain. St. Ignatius of Loyola, St, Teresa and St. John of the Cross were figures who truly renewed Catholicism and moulded its modern face. Yet it is equally true that Spain also saw the birth of laicism, of anticlericalism, a strong and aggressive secularism such as that of the 1930s. And this dispute, this clash between faith and modernity, both very lively, is coming about again in Spain today. Thus, the future of the faith and of the meeting (meeting not clash) between faith and secularism has its focal point in Spanish culture. In this sense I thought of all the great countries of the West but especially also of Spain". The final question was: "With your trip next year for World Youth Day, you will have made three visits to Spain, more than to any other country. Why this privilege? Is it a sign of love or of particular concern?" "Naturally it is a sign of love", the Holy Father explained. "It could be said that it is by chance that I will have made three trips to Spain. The first was for the great international gathering of families in Valencia. How could the Pope remain absent if the families of the world come together? Next year is World Youth Day, the meeting of young people from all over the world in Madrid. The Pope cannot be absent from such an occasion. Finally, we have the Compostela Holy Year and the consecration ... of the church of the Holy Family in Barcelona. How could the Pope not come? Of themselves, then, these occasions are challenges, almost a compulsion to attend. But precisely the fact that in Spain there are so many occasions shows how it truly is a country full of dynamism, full of the strength of faith. And the faith responds to challenges which are also present in Spain. Therefore, chance has brought me here, but this chance reveals a profound reality, the strength of the faith and the strength of the challenge to the faith".PV-SPAIN/ VIS 20101107 (1550)

EUROPE MUST OPEN TO TRANSCENDENCE VATICAN CITY, 6 NOV 2010 (VIS) - At 4.30 p.m. today Benedict XVI celebrated Mass for the Holy Year of Santiago de Compostela in the city's Plaza de Obradoiro, so called because it once housed the workshops of the stonemasons who worked on the cathedral. The square was able to accommodate some 8,000 people while the rest followed the Eucharistic celebration on giant screens set up in the surrounding area. Among those attending the ceremony were the Prince and Princess of Asturias. Before delivering his homily, the Holy Father pronounced some words in Galician: "I give thanks to God for the gift of being here in this splendid square filled with artistic, cultural and spiritual significance. During this Holy Year, I come among you as a pilgrim among pilgrims, in the company of all those who come here thirsting for faith in the Risen Christ, a faith proclaimed and transmitted with fidelity by the Apostles, among whom was James the Great, who has been venerated at Compostela from time immemorial". The Pope then began his homily by quoting a phrase from today's first reading: "'The Apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord with great power'. Indeed", he said, "at the beginning of all that Christianity has been and still is, we are confronted not with a human deed or project, but with God, Who declares Jesus to be just and holy in the face of the sentence of a human tribunal that condemned Him as a blasphemer and a subversive; God Who rescued Jesus from death; God Who will do justice to all who have been unjustly treated in history. ... Brothers and sisters, today we are called to follow the example of the Apostles, coming to know the Lord better day by day and bearing clear and valiant witness to His Gospel. We have no greater treasure to offer to our contemporaries". "Beside these words of the Apostle of the Gentiles stand those of the Gospel", the Holy Father continued. "They invite us to draw life from the humility of Christ Who, following in every way the will of His Father, came to serve. ... It is a service that is not measured by worldly standards of what is immediate, material or apparent, but one that makes present the love of God to all, in every way, and bears witness to Him even in the simplest of actions. "Proposing this new way of dealing with one another within the community, based on the logic of love and service, Jesus also addresses 'the rulers of the nations' since, where self-giving to others is lacking, there arise forms of arrogance and exploitation that leave no room for an authentic integral human promotion. I would like this message to reach all young people: this core content of the Gospel shows you in particular the path by which, in renouncing a selfish and short-sighted way of thinking so common today, and taking on instead Jesus' own way of thinking, you may attain fulfilment and become a seed of hope. "The celebration of this Holy Year of Compostela also brings this to mind", the Pope added. "This is what, in the secret of their heart, ... so many pilgrims experience as they walk the way to Santiago de Compostela to embrace the Apostle. The fatigue of the journey, the variety of landscapes, their encounter with peoples of other nationalities - all of this opens their heart to what is the deepest and most common bond that unites us as human beings: we are in quest, we need truth and beauty, we need an experience of grace, charity, peace, forgiveness and redemption. And in the depth of each of us there resounds the presence of God and the working of the Holy Spirit". "From this place, as a messenger of the Gospel sealed by the blood of Peter and James, I raise my eyes to the Europe that came in pilgrimage to Compostela. What are its great needs, fears and hopes? What is the specific and fundamental contribution of the Church to that Europe which for half a century has been moving towards new forms and projects? Her contribution is centred on a simple and decisive reality: God exists and He has given us life". "Tragically, above all in nineteenth century Europe, the conviction grew that God is somehow man's antagonist and an enemy of his freedom", the Holy Father explained. "As a result, there was an attempt to obscure the true biblical faith in the God Who sent into the world His Son Jesus Christ, so that no-one should perish but that all might have eternal life. "The author of the Book of Wisdom, faced with a paganism in which God envied or despised humans, puts it clearly: how could God have created all things if He did not love them, He Who in His infinite fullness, has need of nothing? Why would he have revealed Himself to human beings if He did not wish to take care of them? God is the origin of our being and the foundation and apex of our freedom, not its opponent. ... How can it be that there is public silence with regard to the first and essential reality of human life? How can what is most decisive in life be confined to the purely private sphere or banished to the shadows? We cannot live in darkness, without seeing the light of the sun. How is it then that God, Who is the light of every mind, the power of every will and the magnet of every heart, be denied the right to propose the light that dissipates all darkness? "This is why we need to hear God once again under the skies of Europe; may this holy word not be spoken in vain, and may it not be put at the service of purposes other than its own. It needs to be spoken in a holy way. ... Europe must open itself to God, must come to meet him without fear, and work with his grace for that human dignity which was discerned by her best traditions: not only the biblical, at the basis of this order, but also the classical, the medieval and the modern, the matrix from which the great philosophical, literary, cultural and social masterpieces of Europe were born. "This God and this man were concretely and historically manifested in Christ. It is this Christ Whom we can find all along the way to Compostela for, at every juncture, there is a cross which welcomes and points the way. The cross, which is the supreme sign of love brought to its extreme and hence both gift and pardon, must be our guiding star in the night of time. ... So do not fail to learn the lessons of that Christ Whom we encounter at the crossroads of our journey and our whole life, in Whom God comes forth to meet us as our friend, father and guide. Blessed Cross, shine always upon the lands of Europe!" The Pope went on: "Allow me here to point out the glory of man, and to indicate the threats to his dignity resulting from the privation of his essential values and richness, and the marginalisation and death visited upon the weakest and the poorest. One cannot worship God without taking care of His sons and daughters; and man cannot be served without asking who his Father is and answering the question about Him. The Europe of science and technology, the Europe of civilisation and culture, must be at the same time a Europe open to transcendence and fraternity with other continents, and open to the living and true God, starting with the living and true man. This is what the Church wishes to contribute to Europe: to be watchful for God and for man, based on the understanding of both which is offered to us in Jesus Christ". At the end of his homily the Pope again pronounced some words in Galician saying "may St. James, the companion of the Lord, obtain abundant blessings for Galicia and the other peoples of Spain, elsewhere in Europe and overseas, wherever the Apostle is a sign of Christian identity and a promoter of the proclamation of Christ". Following Mass the Pope greeted Mariano Rajoy, president of the People's Party and leader of the opposition, who was accompanied by his wife, then travelled back to the airport of Santiago de Compostela where his plane departed for Barcelona at 7.15 p.m.PV-SPAIN/ VIS 20101107 (1430)

THE POPE CONSECRATES THE CHURCH OF THE SAGRADA FAMILIA VATICAN CITY, 7 NOV 2010 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today the Pope travelled by popemobile from the archbishopric of Barcelona to the church of the Sagrada Familia, masterpiece of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. Work on the building, which began in the year 1882, continues today thanks to donations from all over the world and is scheduled to come to an end in 2026. The final project is due to comprehend eighteen spires, twelve dedicated to the Apostles, four to the Evangelists, one to Jesus - at 170 metres the highest of all - and one to the Virgin Mary. Before Mass, the Holy Father travelled around the outside of the church where thousands of people were gathered to greet him. Benedict XVI entered the building by a secondary entrance where he was welcomed by the president of the Sagrada Familia foundation and by Jordi Bonet, head of the building project. He then went on to meet with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain in the Museum Hall of the Sagrada Familia. After his meeting with the monarchs, the Pope went to the sacristy to prepare for the celebration of Mass during which he consecrated the church and the altar of the Sagrada Familia. Beginning his homily the Pope spoke in Catalan, greeting the King and Queen, and Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona, and the other cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and lay people present. Going on then to highlight how this day "marks an important step in a long history of hope, work and generosity that has gone on for more than a century", the Holy Father made special mention of the people whose efforts made it possible to build the church, especially "the man who was the soul and the artisan of this project, Antoni Gaudi, a creative architect and a practising Christian who kept the torch of his faith alight to the end of his life, a life lived in dignity and absolute austerity. This event is also in a certain sense the high point of the history of this land of Catalonia which, especially since the end of the nineteenth century, has given an abundance of saints and founders, martyrs and Christian poets. It is a history of holiness, artistic and poetic creation, born of the faith, which we gather and present to God today as an offering in this Eucharist". Benedict XVI expressed his joy at the fact that "this shrine, since its beginnings, has had a special relationship with St. Joseph. I have been moved above all by Gaudi's confidence when, in the face of many difficulties, filled with trust in divine Providence, he would exclaim, 'St. Joseph will finish this church'. So it is significant that it is also being dedicated by a Pope whose baptismal name is Joseph". This work of art "stands as a visible sign of the invisible God, to whose glory these spires rise like arrows pointing towards absolute light and to the One Who is Light, Height and Beauty itself. In this place, Gaudi desired to unify that inspiration which came to him from the three books which nourished him as a man, as a believer and as an architect: the book of nature, the book of Sacred Scripture and the book of the liturgy. In this way he brought together the reality of the world and the history of salvation, as recounted in the Bible and made present in the liturgy. He made stones, trees and human life part of the church so that all creation might come together in praise of God, but at the same time he brought the sacred images outside so as to place before people the mystery of God revealed in the birth, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "In this way, he brilliantly helped to build our human consciousness, anchored in the world yet open to God, enlightened and sanctified by Christ. In this he accomplished one of the most important tasks of our times: overcoming the division between human consciousness and Christian consciousness, between living in this temporal world and being open to eternal life, between the beauty of things and God as beauty. Antoni Gaudi did this not with words but with stones, lines, planes, and points. Indeed, beauty is one of mankind's greatest needs; it is the root from which the branches of our peace and the fruits of our hope come forth. Beauty also reveals God because, like Him, a work of beauty is pure gratuity; it calls us to freedom and draws us away from selfishness". "The Church of herself is nothing; she is called to be the sign and instrument of Christ, in pure docility to His authority and in total service to His mandate. The one Christ is the foundation of the one Church. He is the rock on which our faith is built. Building on this faith, let us strive together to show the world the face of God Who is love and the only one who can respond to our yearning for fulfilment. This is the great task before us: to show everyone that God is a God of peace not of violence, of freedom not of coercion, of harmony not of discord. "In this sense", the Pope added, "I consider that the dedication of this church of the Sagrada Familia is an event of great importance, at a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him. In this masterpiece, Gaudi shows us that God is the true measure of man; that the secret of authentic originality consists, as he himself said, in returning to one's origin which is God. Gaudi, by opening his spirit to God, was capable of creating in this city a space of beauty, faith and hope which leads man to an encounter with Him Who is truth and beauty itself. The architect expressed his sentiments in the following words: 'A church [is] the only thing worthy of representing the soul of a people, for religion is the most elevated reality in man'". The Holy Father recalled then how "this church began as an initiative of the Association of the Friends of St. Joseph, who wanted to dedicate it to the Holy Family of Nazareth. The home formed by Jesus, Mary and Joseph has always been regarded as a school of love, prayer and work. The promoters of this church wanted to set before the world love, work and service lived in the presence of God, as the Holy Family lived them. Life has changed greatly and with it enormous progress has been made in the technical, social and cultural spheres. We cannot simply remain content with these advances. Alongside them, there also need to be moral advances, such as in care, protection and assistance to families, inasmuch as the generous and indissoluble love of a man and a woman is the effective context and foundation of human life in its gestation, birth, growth and natural end. "Only where love and faithfulness are present can true freedom be born and endure. For this reason the Church advocates adequate economic and social means so that women may find in the home and at work their full development, that men and women who contract marriage and form a family receive decisive support from the state, that life of children may be defended as sacred and inviolable from the moment of their conception, that the reality of birth be given due respect and receive juridical, social and legislative support. For this reason the Church resists every form of denial of human life and gives its support to everything that would promote the natural order in the sphere of the institution of the family", said the Pope. Benedict XVI asked God "that in the land of Catalonia new witnesses of holiness may rise up and flourish, and present to the world the great service that the Church can and must offer to humanity: to be an icon of divine beauty, a burning flame of charity, a path so that the world may believe in the One Whom God has sent". "I implore the Lord of our lives that, from this altar, which will now be anointed with holy oil and upon which the sacrifice of the love of Christ will be consumed, there may be a flood of grace and charity upon the city of Barcelona and its people, and upon the whole world. May these fruitful waters fill with faith and apostolic vitality this archdiocesan Church, its pastors and its faithful". The Pope concluded his homily in Catalan, saying "I wish to commend to the loving protection of the Mother of God, Mary Most Holy, April Rose, Mother of Mercy, all who enter here and all who in word or deed, in silence and prayer, have made this possible this marvel of architecture. May Our Lady present to her divine Son the joys and tribulations of all who come in the future to this sacred place so that here, as the Church prays when dedicating religious buildings, the poor may find mercy, the oppressed true freedom and all men may take on the dignity of the children of God. Amen". At the end of Mass Cardinal Sistach read out the decree by which the Pope declares the church of the Sagrada Familia to be a minor basilica. Following the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father left the building by the Portico of the Nativity and appeared on the terrace overlooking the square and adjoining street where thousands of faithful had followed the Mass on giant screens. Before praying the Angelus , the Pope recalled how in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre yesterday the beatification had taken place of Servant of God Maria Barbara of the Blessed Trinity, foundress of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. "May the deep faith and fervent charity with which she followed Christ", he said, "awaken in many the desire to devote their lives completely to the greater glory of God and the generous service of their brothers and sisters, especially the poorest and the most needy". Referring then to the architect Antoni Gaudi, the Holy Father highlighted how, "through his work, he sought to bring the Gospel to everyone. For this reason, he conceived of the three porticos of the exterior of the church as a catechesis on the life of Jesus Christ, as a great Rosary, which is the prayer of ordinary people, a prayer in which are contemplated the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of our Lord. In collaboration with the parish priest Gil Pares, he also designed and financed from his own savings the creation of a school for the children of the workers and of the poorest families of the neighbourhood, which was at that time a outlying suburb of Barcelona. He brought concrete reality to the conviction, saying: 'The poor must always find a welcome in the Church, which is an expression of Christian charity'". The Pope then travelled to the archbishopric of Barcelona, where he had lunch.
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UCAN REPORT: A Catholic-inspired project in northern China has helped thousands of poor people to have their cataracts removed.In September 2008, Jinde Charities, a Church-run NGO based in Hebei province, launched a project in cooperation with the Hebei Disabled Persons’ Federation and several hospitals to offer free eye surgery to 3,000 poor people.The Hong Kong-based St. Paul’s Charity Foundation, formed by the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres, donated an initial 110,000 yuan (US$16,500) for the project.This was followed by another 50,000 yuan (US$8,000) to mark the golden jubilee of the SPC nuns’ arrival in Taiwan.Representatives of the foundation traveled to Hebei recently to inspect the project.Sister Marie Jacqueline Ho, the provincial superior of the St. Paul de Chartres sisters, and her collaborators visited eye patients at Xinji Fuming Eye Hospital on Oct. 29.Fan Lanrong, who cares for two sons with physical and mental disabilities as well as her 99 year old mother-in-law, had the gauze removed from her eyes during the visit of the delegation.The 75-year-old widow was overjoyed with the results.“Thank you, thanks to all those who have helped me,” she told the visitors repeatedly.Another delegation member, Sister Winnie Marie Yau lauded the skill and effort of Catholic doctor Luo Yanli, who is responsible for the implementation of the project.“Many people in the remote area are too poor to afford cataract surgery but we would like to help them to recover their eyesight,” Sister Yau told Luo, who is director of the Fuming Group of Hospitals, told that it is the eye hospital’s second year of cooperation with Jinde Charities.Last year, the hospital offered free surgery to about 1,000 people in Hengshui, one of the poorest cities in Hebei.Previously Doctor Luo, whose father and sister are also oculists, had offered free eye surgery to poor patients from a village clinic that they opened with 400 yuan.Lacking resources, they were unable to publicize it or expand its services, she recalled.As a Catholic, however, Luo felt she was not doing enough “to the least of my brothers.”Today, the clinic has grown into a group of hospitals while the Luo family continues its charitable work.As of October 2010, Jinde has received nearly 3 million yuan in donations for the eye project, benefiting 3,000 patients.
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CNN REPORT -- Years after his death, baseball legend Honus Wagner hit a home run for a group of nuns, who will use proceeds from the sale of his extremely rare baseball card to do charitable work.Texas-based Heritage Auctions conducted the internet auction, which concluded Thursday night with a winning bid from Doug Walton, whose family owns seven stores in the Southeast specializing in sports cards and collectibles."I have been in the market for this card for a long time," Walton told CNN. "It is the Mona Lisa of baseball cards."Walton paid $262,900, Heritage said, with $220,000 of that going to the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The card's price beat initial estimates by $162,900.Both the card and the account of how it came to be sold make for compelling stories.Like other stars of the early 20th century, Wagner, a Hall of Famer with the Pittsburgh Pirates, appeared on tobacco company cards.The T206 cards were made between 1909 and 1911. Wagner's likeness was removed, either because he opposed being associated by young fans with tobacco or because he wasn't being paid enough by the company, said Chris Ivy, director of sports sales for Heritage Auctions.Only 50 to 60 T206 Wagner cards are believed to exist.One in near-mint condition sold for $2.8 million in 2007.The Catholic order, which has a facility in Baltimore, Maryland, obtained the card when the brother of one its nuns died earlier this year, leaving several baseball cards to the congregation. Neither of the siblings has been identified.Never mind that the card's sides had been trimmed to fit in a scrapbook, that it was laminated and lost some paper on the back, leaving it in poor condition. It's an authentic T206 Honus Wagner card."The fact that this was in her brother's collection since the 1930s and no one knew it" makes its history special, Ivy told CNN.The Catholic missionary and teaching order said Wagner's name "is blessed to us now.""We're very grateful to have the extra funds to help the School Sisters of Notre Dame where we minister in more than 30 countries," said Sister Virginia Muller, treasurer of the order's Atlantic-Midwest area, in a statement.Walton, managing partner of Walton Sports Cards and Collectibles, said he's tried three previous times to buy a Wagner card, but was outbid. He plans to have the card make the rounds of the company's stores in Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina.He concedes he paid about $60,000 more than the card is worth, but "the back story made me spend the extra money on it."About 75 percent of his pursuit of the T206 card was emotion, he said. "I'm a very stubborn person."
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CATH NEWS REPORT: Victorian independent school enrolments have risen by more than 6 percent and Catholic student numbers by almost 4 percent in the past three years, Victorian Education Department figures reveal, according to an investigation by the Herald Sun.But government school numbers are flatlining, with only an extra 2057 students - a 0.38 percent increase - since 2007. This is despite annual population growth for Victoria of about 2 percent in recent years.Independent Schools Victoria chief executive Michelle Green said yesterday: "More and more parents are choosing to make a personal financial investment in an independent school because it meets the family's social, cultural or religious values and provides the schooling that best suits their children."But Parents Victoria, which represents state school families, said some people misjudged government schools based solely on their external appearance.Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals president Brian Burgess said: "We have a good story to tell in terms of things like retention rates and success at uni but we have not been very good at doing it," he said.
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International Newman SymposiumRenowned Newman scholars to gather in Rome this autumn22-23 November 2010An International Symposium on Newman will take place at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome this November. ‘The Primacy of God in the Life and Writings of Blessed John Henry Newman’ Symposium will explore four key areas of Newman’s life and spirituality – his search for God and the challenges faced by those seeking God in a secular culture; his spirituality and a call to mission.Senior members of the Catholic hierarchy will introduce and chair the four sessions; Archbishop Angelo Amato, S.D.B, Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints; Cardinal Zenon Grocholewksi, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples and Archbishop Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.Speakers includeIan KerUniversity of OxfordMichael Paul Gallagher, S.IPontifical Gregorian University, RomeTerrence MerriganCatholic University of LeuvenKeith BeaumontAssociation Française des Amis de John Henry NewmanBernadette Waterman WardUniversity of Dallas, TexasGeoffrey RowellBishop of Gibraltar in Europe (Church of England)Roderick StrangePontifical Beda College, Rome.Topics includeNewman’s Witness to Holiness Roderick Strange, Pontifical Beda College, RomeNewman and Providence Kathleen Dietz, F.S.O., Gannon University, Erie, PASelf-assurance in the Faith: The Question of God in a Secular Culture Wilhelm Tolksdorf, Intern. Deutsche John Henry Newman GesellschaftNewman and ReligionTerrence Merrigan, Catholic University of LeuvenPrayer: a ‘duty’ with a view to acquiring a ‘privilege’ Keith Beaumont, Association Française des Amis de John Henry NewmanCallista, Rome and England: The Hunger for God in the Empire Bernadette Waterman Ward, University of Dallas, TexasThe symposium is being organised by the International Centre of Newman Friends and is sponsored by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.Full programmeFor further information:International Centre of Newman FriendsVia Aurelia 257, 00165 Romecentro.newman@tiscali.it Università GregorianaFacoltà di TeologiaPiazza della Pilotta 4, 00187 Romateologia@unigre.it Newman Mass in Birmingham
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Agenzia Fides REPORT -Bishops say after 2009 elections, “hopes are slowly fading away”, democracy at risk“When we emerged from the 2009 elections, our hopes were high for peace, stability and development for all. Somewhat more than a year later our hopes are slowly fading away,” says a message from the Malawian Bishops' Conference, a copy of which was sent to Fides. The document was read on Sunday, October 31 in all the churches in the country. The 8-page declaration was published in three languages: English, chichewa, and chitumbuka. The bishops, while recognizing the progress made in the country in the past year (especially in terms of food self-sufficiency and some infrastrucures), express their concern for the political situation that could present a risk to democracy. In particular, the message highlights the divisions that exist within the government's party and the lack of a wide debate on several reforms being discussed in Parliament. The bishops also express their concern for the situation of the media and freedom of the press: “Informed decisions are made by an informed public. The public media, paid with taxpayers money, have to ensure that the general public remains informed. However, we note with dismay the continuous unbalanced reporting and news coverage. The public media are used to castigate faith-based and non-governmental organizations that offer alternative contributions to various policies. Besides that the private media have been threatened with closure if they are perceived to be ‘unpatriotic’.”The distribution of food in the most disadvantaged areas, the redistribution of lands, and the fight against corruption are at risk, according to the bishops, for becoming instruments of political struggle.In light of the allegations in the message and the start of the election campaign for local elections in April 2011, the bishops call on the people of this country to take up their responsibilities in the hope of ushering in “a new era that is characterized by honest and respectful dialogue and an ardent common search for solutions towards the integral development of Malawi.”
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St. WillibrordCONFESSOR, FIRST BISHOP OF UTRECHTFeast: November 7Information:Feast Day:November 7Born:658, NorthumbriaDied:November 7, 739Major Shrine:EchternachPatron of:convulsions; epilepsy; epileptics; Luxembourg; NetherlandsSt Willibrord was born in the kingdom of Northumberland towards the year 658, and placed by his virtuous parents, before he was seven years old, in the monastery of Ripon, which was at that time governed by St. Wilfrid, its founder. Wilgris, our saint's father, retired also into a monastery, afterwards became a hermit, and in his old age founded and governed a small monastery between the ocean and the Humber. He is honoured among the saints in the monastery of Epternac and in the English calendars. Alcuin has left us an account of his life. Willibrord, by carrying the yoke of our Lord with fervour from his infancy, found it always easy and sweet, and the better to preserve the first fruits which he had gathered, made his monastic profession when he was very young. He had made great progress in virtue and sacred learning when, out of a desire for further improvement, in the twentieth year of his age he went over into Ireland, with the consent of his abbot and brethren, where he joined St. Egbert or Ecgbright, and the blessed Wigbert, who were gone thither before upon the same errand. In their company our saint spent twelve years in the study of the sacred sciences and in the most fervent exercise of all virtues. Though his constitution was weak, in fervour and exactness he outdid the most advanced: he was humble, modest, and of an easy obliging temper; and his whole conduct was regular and uniform. St. Egbert had long entertained an ardent desire of going to preach the gospel to the inhabitants of those unhappy countries in which barbarism and idolatry still reigned without control, and he had chiefly Friesland or Lower Germany in his eye. But he was diverted from that apostolical design by persons of piety and authority, who engaged him to employ his zealous labours in the islands between Ireland and Scotland, in all which he settled the true manner of celebrating Easter, especially at Hij, where he died a little before Bede wrote his history. St. Egbert is honoured in the English Calendar on the 24th of April. Bede gives a most edifying account of his austere penance, devotion, zeal, and charity. His companion, the holy priest Wigbert, went in the meantime to Friesland; but after staying there two years came back without having met with any prospect of success. This disappointment did not discourage Egbert and other zealous promoters of this mission, but excited them the more earnestly to solicit the divine mercy with prayers and tears in favour of so many souls who were perishing eternally. Willibrord, who was then about thirty-one years of age and had been ordained priest a year before, expressed a great desire to be allowed by his superiors to undertake this laborious and dangerous charge. St. Egbert, by the known zeal and great talents of our saint and by his cheerfulness, doubted not but God had reserved to him the conversion of that nation, and encouraged him in this zealous design. St. Willibrord was joined by St. Swidbert and ten other English monks in this mission.The authors of Batavia Sacra doubt not but our twelve missionaries landed at Catwic upon the sea, which was at the mouth of the Rhine before it was blocked up with sands, and thither the English were accustomed to export corn, even from the north, coasting part of their island. The British tower, as it was called, was built by the Romans at Catwic to defend this harbour. Pepin of Herstal, or the Big, who was at that time Duke of the French, received courteously St. Willibrord and his companions. But Willibrord set out for Rome and cast himself at the feet of Pope Sergius, begging his apostolic blessing and authority to preach the gospel to idolatrous nations. The pope, charmed with his zeal and sanctity, granted him the most ample licences for that purpose, and gave him a great quantity of relics for the consecration of churches. With this treasure the saint returned with all possible expedition to his province, considering the pressing necessities and dangers of so many souls which called for his compassion and relief. St. Swidbert was taken from him and ordained Bishop of the Borroctuarians, who seem to have inhabited the territory of Berg and the neighbouring country towards Cologne.St. Willibrord, with his ten other companions, under the protection of Pepin, preached the gospel with wonderful success in that part of Friesland that had been conquered by the French; so that after six years Pepin, by the advice of his bishops, sent the saint to Rome with strong letters of recommendation that he might be ordained bishop. His humility made him endeavour that some other should be pitched upon for that dignity, but he was not heard. Pope Sergius, who still sat in St. Peter's chair, received him with great marks of honour, changed his name into that of Clement, with great solemnity ordained him Archbishop of the Frisons in St. Peter's church and gave him the pallium, with authority to fix his see in what part of the country he should think most convenient. The holy man stayed only fourteen days in Rome, being impatient to return to his flock, and regretting an hour's absence from them more than was necessary to procure them greater advantages. He came back to Utrecht the same year, 696, and chose that city for his residence, Pepin having bestowed on him the royal castle of Viltaburg which, as Bede assures us, was at Utrecht. St. Willibrord built at Utrecht the Church of our Saviour, in which he fixed his metropolitical see, says St. Boniface, and that of St. Martin, though this latter he only restored, for it had been a church, but destroyed by the pagans. The archbishop's indefatigable application to the conversion of souls seemed to prove that, with the new obligation he had received at his consecration of labouring to enlarge the kingdom of his Divine Master, he had acquired fresh strength and a considerable augmentation of his zeal. In the second year after his episcopal consecration, assisted by the liberality of Pepin and the abbess Irmina, who is said to have been daughter of Dagobert II, he founded, in 698, the abbey of Epternac in the diocese of Triers, and now in the duchy of Luxemburg, which he governed to his death. Alcuin relates that the nunnery of Horrea, of which Irmina was abbess, had been delivered from a pestilence by water blessed by St. Willibrord, and by his saying mass in the church. Pepin of Herstal before his death put away his concubine Alpais, by whom he had Charles Martel, and was reconciled to his wife Plectrudis, and in his last will, which is signed by Plectrudis, he recommended to St. Willibrord his nephews (without any mention of his natural son Charles), and bestowed on our saint the village of Swestram, now Susteren, in the duchy of Juliers, near the Meuse, with which the holy man endowed a nunnery which he built there.Pepin of Herstal died in December 714. A little before his death, Charles Martel's son, Pepin the Short, afterwards King of France, was born, and baptized by St. Willibrord, who on that occasion is related by Alcuin to have prophesied that the child would surpass in glory all his ancestors. Charles Martel in a short time became mayor of the palace, and approved himself equally the first general and statesman of his age. In 723 he settled upon the monastery which St. Willibrord had erected at Utrecht to serve his cathedral all the royal revenues belonging to his castle there. Of this monastery St. Gregory was afterwards abbot; in succeeding times it was secularized. Several other donations of estates made by Charles Martel to several churches founded by our saint may be seen in Miraeus and others. By a charter that prince conferred on him the royalties of the city of Utrecht with its dependencies and appurtenances. By such establishments our saint sought to perpetuate the work of God. Not content to have planted the faith in the country which the French had conquered, he extended his labours into West-Friesland, which obeyed Radbod, Prince or King of the Frisons, who continued an obstinate idolater; yet hindered not the saint's preaching to his subjects, and himself sometimes listened to him. The new apostle penetrated also into Denmark; but Ongend (perhaps Biorn), who then reigned there, a monster of cruelty rather than a man, was hardened in his malice, and his example had a great influence over his subjects. The man of God, however, for the first fruits of this country, purchased thirty young Danish boys, whom he instructed, baptized, and brought back with him. In his return he was driven by stress of weather upon the famous pagan island called Fositeland, now Amelandt, on the coast of Friesland, six leagues from Leuwarden, to the north, a place then esteemed by the Danes and Frisons as most sacred in honour of the idol Fosite. It was looked upon as an unpardonable sacrilege for anyone to kill any living creature in that island, to eat of anything that grew in it, or to draw water out of a spring there without observing the strictest silence. St. Willibrord, to undeceive the inhabitants, killed some of the beasts for his companions to eat, and baptized three persons in the fountain, pronouncing the words aloud. The idolaters expected to see them run mad or drop down dead; and seeing no such judgment befall them, could not determine whether this was to be attributed to the patience of their god or to his want of power. They informed Radbod who, transported with rage, ordered lots to be cast three times a day for three days together, and the fate of the delinquents to be determined by them. God so directed it that the lot never fell upon Willibrord; but one of his company was sacrificed to the superstition of the people, and died a martyr for Jesus Christ.The saint, upon leaving Amelandt, directed his course to Warckeren, one of the chief islands belonging to Zealand. His charity and patience made considerable conquests to the Christian religion there, and he established several churches. After the death of Radbod, which happened in 719, Willibrord was at full liberty to preach in every part of the country. He was joined in his apostolical labours, in 720, by St. Boniface, who spent three years in Friesland, then went into Germany. Bede says, when he wrote his history in 731: "Willibrord, surnamed Clement, is still living, venerable for his old age, having been bishop thirty-six years, and sighing after the rewards of the heavenly life, after many conflicts in the heavenly warfare." "He was," says Alcuin, "of a becoming stature, venerable in his aspect, comely in his person, graceful, and always cheerful in his speech and countenance, wise in his counsel, unwearied in preaching and all apostolic functions, amidst which he was careful to nourish the interior life of his soul by assiduous prayer, singing of psalms, watching, and fasting." Alcuin, who wrote about fifty years after his death, assures us that this apostle was endowed with the gift of miracles, and relates that whilst he preached in the isle of Warckeren, where the towns of Flessingue and Middleburg are since built, going from village to village, he found in one of them a famous idol to which the people were offering their vows and sacrifices, and, full of holy zeal, threw it down and broke it in pieces. In the meantime an idolater, who was the priest and guardian of the idol, gave him a blow on the head with his backsword, with which, nevertheless, the saint was not hurt; and he would not suffer the assassin to be touched or prosecuted. But the unhappy man was soon after possessed with a devil and lost his senses. By the tears, prayers, and zealous labours of this apostle and his colleagues, the faith was planted in most parts of Holland, Zealand, and all the remaining part of the Netherlands, whither St. Amand and St. Lebwin had never penetrated; and the Frisons, till then a rough and most barbarous people, were civilized, and became eminent for virtue and the culture of arts and sciences. St. Wulfran, Archbishop of Sens, and others, excited by the success of our saint's missions, were ambitious to share in so great a work under his direction. St. Willibrord was exceeding cautious in admitting persons to holy orders, fearing lest one unworthy or slothful minister should defeat by scandal all the good which the divine mercy had begun for the salvation of many souls. It is also mentioned of him that he was very strict and diligent in examining and preparing thoroughly those whom he admitted to baptism, dreading the condemnation which those incur who, by sloth or facility, open a door to the profanation of our most tremendous mysteries. The schools which St. Willibrord left at Utrecht were very famous. Being at length quite broken with old age, he resigned the administration of his diocese to a coadjutor whom he ordained bishop, and in retirement prepared himself for eternity. He died, according to Pagi, in 739; according to Mabillon, in 740 or 741, and according to Mr. Smith, in 745; some adhering to Alcuin, others to Bede, &c. St. Boniface says that St. Willibrord spent fifty years in preaching the gospel, which Mr. Smith dates from his episcopal consecration, Mabillon from his coming into Friesland, but others think these fifty years mean only thereabouts. Alcuin and Rabanus Maurus place his death on the 6th of November; but the Chronicle of Epternac, Usuard, Ado, and the Roman and Benedictin Martyrologies commemorate him on the 7th. He was buried, as he had desired, at his monastery of Epternac, and his relics are there enshrined at this day. The portative altar which he made use of for the celebration of the divine mysteries, in travelling through Friesland, Zealand, and Holland, is kept in the Benedictin abbey of our Lady ad Martyres, at Triers.SOURCE
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2 Maccabees 7: 1 - 2, 9 - 141It happened also that seven brothers and their mother were arrested and were being compelled by the king, under torture with whips and cords, to partake of unlawful swine's flesh.2One of them, acting as their spokesman, said, "What do you intend to ask and learn from us? For we are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our fathers."9And when he was at his last breath, he said, "You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws."10After him, the third was the victim of their sport. When it was demanded, he quickly put out his tongue and courageously stretched forth his hands,11and said nobly, "I got these from Heaven, and because of his laws I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again."12As a result the king himself and those with him were astonished at the young man's spirit, for he regarded his sufferings as nothing.13When he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way.14And when he was near death, he said, "One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!"

Psalms 17: 1, 5 - 6, 8, 151Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!5My steps have held fast to thy paths, my feet have not slipped.6I call upon thee, for thou wilt answer me, O God; incline thy ear to me, hear my words.8Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of thy wings,15As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with beholding thy form

2 Thessalonian 2: 16 - 1716Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,17comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.2 Thessalonian 3: 1 - 51Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph, as it did among you,2and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men; for not all have faith.3But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from evil.4And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things which we command.5May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

Luke 20: 27 - 3827There came to him some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection,28and they asked him a question, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother.29Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children;30and the second31and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died.32Afterward the woman also died.33In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife."34And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage;35but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,36for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.37But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.38Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him."
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