Monday, November 8, 2010



CHARITY IS THE HALLMARK OF CHRISTIAN LIFE VATICAN CITY, 7 NOV 2010 (VIS REPORT) - This afternoon the Pope visited the "Obra Benefico-Social Nen Deu", a charitable institution in Barcelona founded in 1892 by Blessed Carmen of the Child Jesus Gonzalez Ramos, foundress of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts. The institution originally provided assistance to the children of poor families, most of them afflicted with Downs syndrome, but given the gradual reduction in such cases it now houses some 250 patients ranging in age from three to twenty-one and suffering from autism, severe epilepsy or personality disorders. They are cared for by the nuns with the support of a team of eighty professionals and volunteers. On his arrival the Holy Father was received by Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona. Having then addressed greetings in Catalan to the mother superior of the community, the patrons of the Obra, the patients and their families, Benedict XVI began his remarks: "I would also like to express my appreciation to the authorities, and I invite them to increase their efforts to provide adequate social services and assistance to the most needy. I also thank those who, with their generous support, build up and sustain private welfare institutions, such as this special education school of Nen Deu. At a time when many households are faced with serious economic difficulties, the followers of Christ must multiply concrete gestures of effective and constant solidarity, showing in this way that charity is the hallmark of our Christian life. "The dedication of the basilica of the Sagrada Familia", he added, "has highlighted that churches are the sign of the true sanctuary of God among men. Here, I would like to emphasise how, through the efforts of this and similar church institutions ... it is clear that, for the Christian, every man and woman is a true sanctuary of God, and should be treated with the highest respect and affection, above all when they are in need. In this way, the Church desires to put into practice the words of the Lord in the Gospel, 'I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me'". The Holy Father continued: "In recent decades, remarkable advances in medicine have greatly contributed to the care of those in greatest need, advances which have been accompanied by a growing conviction of the importance of dedicated and humane treatment for the positive outcome of the healing process. Therefore, it is indispensable that new technological developments in the field of medicine never be to the detriment of respect for human life and dignity, so that those who suffer physical illnesses or handicaps can always receive that love and attention required to make them feel valued as persons in their concrete needs". "Dear children and young people, giving thanks to God for your lives, so precious in His eyes, I assure you that you have a special place in the Pope's heart. ... I always remember in my prayers those who are dedicated to helping the suffering, and those who work tirelessly so that the handicapped can take their rightful place in society and not be marginalised because of their limitations. In this respect, I wish to recognise, in a special way, the faithful witness of priests and those who visit the sick at home, in hospitals or in other specialised institutions. They incarnate that important ministry of consolation in the face of human frailty, which the Church seeks to carry out in imitation of the Good Samaritan". Following his address the Pope received a number of gifts prepared for him by the children and young people of Nen Deu, and blessed the cornerstone of the institution's new residence, which will bear his name. He then travelled by car to the airport where, at 6.30 p.m., he held a private meeting with Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, prime minister of Spain".PV-SPAIN/ VIS 20101108 (660)

MAY FAITH BECOME A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION AND SOLIDARITY VATICAN CITY, 7 NOV 2010 (VIS) - The departure ceremony at the end of the Holy Father's apostolic trip to Spain took place at Barcelona international airport at 7 p.m. today, in the presence of the Spanish monarchs. Following some brief words from King Juan Carlos, the Pope arose to pronounce his address. Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation for the presence of the King and Queen, and extended his thanks to the authorities, the archbishops of Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona, the Spanish episcopate, and everyone whose efforts had helped "to bring this journey to a happy conclusion". "At Compostela", he said, "I joined the many people from Spain, Europe and elsewhere who come to the tomb of the Apostle to fortify their faith and to receive forgiveness and peace. As Peter's Successor I also came to strengthen my brothers and sisters in the faith that at the very dawn of Christianity came to these lands and took such deep root that it has constantly shaped the spirit, customs, art and character of its peoples. The preservation of this rich spiritual patrimony demonstrates the love of your country for its history and culture, yet it is also a privileged way of transmitting to younger generations those fundamental values so necessary for building up a common future of harmony and solidarity. "The paths that cross Europe on the way to Santiago differed greatly, each marked by its own language and its particular characteristics, but the faith was the same", the Pope added. "May this faith find new vigour on this continent and become a source of inspiration. May it give rise to an attitude of solidarity towards all, especially towards those communities and nations in greater need". Speaking then in Catalan he recalled how he had consecrated the basilica of the Sagrada Familia and visited "an important charitable institution of the Church. They stand in today's Barcelona as two symbols of the fruitfulness of that faith which has marked this people deeply and which, through charity and the mystery of God's beauty, contributes to the creation of a society more worthy of man. Truly, beauty, holiness and the love of God enable people to live with hope in this world", he said. "I return to Rome after visiting only two places in this beautiful country. Nevertheless, in my thoughts and prayers, I have wished to embrace all Spaniards without exception and all those born elsewhere but now living here. I hold all of you in my heart and I pray for you, especially for those who suffer. I place you under the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, so greatly venerated and invoked in Galicia, Catalonia and throughout Spain. I ask her to obtain for you from Almighty God abundant heavenly gifts, that you may live as one family, guided by the light of faith. I bless you in the name of the Lord. With His help, we will meet again next year in Madrid, to celebrate World Youth Day. Adios!" The Pope then boarded his aircraft for the return flight to Rome, where he arrived at 9 p.m. From Ciampino airport he then travelled by car to the Vatican, thus concluding the nineteenth apostolic trip of his pontificate.PV-SPAIN/ VIS 20101108 (550)

RELIGION AND SOCIETY: CHRISTIAN AND MUSLIM PERSPECTIVES VATICAN CITY, 8 NOV 2010 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Centre for Inter-religious Dialogue of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation of Tehran, Iran, have organised their seventh meeting, due to be held in Tehran from 9 to 11 November. According to a communique released today, the meeting will examine the question of "Religion and Society: Christian and Muslim Perspectives" and will be divided into three sub themes. The event will be attended by eight members of the pontifical council including Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president, Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary, and Msgr. Khaled Akasheh, bureau chief for Islam. The local Church will be represented by Archbishop Ramzi Garmou of Tehran of the Chaldeans and by Fr. Francesco Pirisi S.D.B., vicar general of the archdiocese of Ispahan of the Latins. Following the inaugural session the meeting will continue behind closed doors, although a lecture due to be held at a university in Tehran will present the theme of the meeting, from the Christian perspective, to a public of professors and students. The meeting will be followed by a visit to Qom, a holy city for Shia Muslims and an important centre for religious teaching and research.
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AsiaNews REPORT –Two faithful shot dead in Baghdad. Muslim Imams in Kirkuk condemn the violence against the Church and ask "Iraq's mosaic" be preserved. Agreement on a new government after eight months of political deadlock. Yesterday, the first Mass in the Syro-Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation after 31 October massacre.Another attack against Christians in Iraq, a week after the massacre in the Syrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad. Two worshipers were killed yesterday, November 7: Louay Daniel Yacoub, 49, was in front of his apartment when strangers shot him dead. Another Christian was killed the same day, but his identity is not yet known. The shootings were referred by local AsiaNews sources, anonymous for security reasons.The Muslim community has expressed its solidarity and closeness to Christians under attack in Iraq. On 5 November, during Friday prayers, all the mosques in Kirkuk condemned the "barbaric attack" against the church in the capital. The mayor and the sheikh of the Arab, Kurds and Turkmen tribes, have expressed condolences and solidarity with the Chaldean archbishop of the city. The next day, the Sunni and Shiite imams of the northern Iraqi city also strongly condemned, alongside Archbishop Louis Sako, the carnage that killed over 50 people in Baghdad on Oct. 31. The Muslim religious leaders have been clamouring for the preservation of "the Iraqi mosaic" of ethnic groups and religions.The same imam called for Muslims to protect Christians, who are a model of loyalty, "and launched an appeal for all the Iraqis do not succumb to fear and do not leave their country.The violence in Iraq has accelerated the formation of a new Iraqi government, stalled eight months after the elections. According to government spokesman Ali al Dabbagh, an agreement for an executive of national unity is pending. It seems the Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been reconfirmed, after gaining the support of the Sunni-Shiite secular Iraqiya Party led by rival former prime minister Iyad Allawi, and winner at the polls in March. The latter will "lead Parliament", as Speaker, while Jalal Talabani, of the Kurdish Alliance, will remain head of state. The U.S. has not yet confirmed the news, but is urging the Iraqi authorities to form a "inclusive" government.Christians in Baghdad yesterday held the first mass in the Syro-Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation after the massacre of 31 October. The interior was without any pews, down the length of the aisle hundreds of candles were laid on the ground, forming a large cross in the middle of which were placed the names of 46 victims of the massacre of the faithful on Sunday. ''Today we pray for those who have attacked, who attacked our church and killed our priests fathers Wassim and Thaher,'' said Father Mukhlas Habash in his homily, citing the names of two priests of 32 and 27 years of age killed seven days ago. Their smiling faces are displayed in posters on the blackened and bullet riddled walls of the cathedral.
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TELEGRAPH REPORT: A Polish priest is on the verge of realising his dream of putting up what he says will be the world's largest statue of Jesus Christ in a small town in western Poland.The giant Jesus at 167ft - a couple of yards higher than the iconic Christ the Redeemer monument in Rio de Janeiro at 125ft - took two days to build as windy weather conditions prevented it being completed in one day.Workers stand next to the head of a giant statue as they work out they need a bigger crane and left, a stander by taking a picture on his mobileThe torso of Jesus Christ remained topless over night as heavy winds prevented cranes from lifting the torso, arms and head onto the lower half of the robed white figure.The project cost almost £900,000 with money donated from across the spectrum to fund the big idea. From business people to poor people wanting to make a contribution to the church, work on the statue finally began in 2008.But other town residents are thrilled by the new business they hope it will bring once believers in this deeply Roman Catholic country add it to their pilgrimage routes.A 68-year-old retired biology teacher, Krystyna Skurzynska, who belongs to the priest's parish, said: 'My friends in Warsaw are making fun of this, but we are happy about it.'They also hope that many Germans - who tend to be much more secular than Poles - will visit simply out of curiosity since the border with Germany is only 45 miles away.
Dream come true: Priest Zlywester Zawadzki came up with his idea several years ago, though he imagined something much smaller in scale at first. With time, ambition grew for the man known around the town as 'the builder priest'Krystyna said she hopes it will stimulate the economy and return some old glory to Swiebodzin, a town of 22,000 that was, as she put it, 'a major town in the 13th century.'The mayor, Dariusz Bekisz, also is a fan.'The biggest statue of Jesus Christ in the world will be in Swiebodzin,' he said. 'People will come and leave some of their money behind.'He has little time for those mocking the project as excessively grandiose: 'When castles and the pyramids were built, there were always people who were laughing. But look at how many millions of people go to see such places and spend their money there now', he said.The priest, Zawadzki, came up with his idea several years ago, though he imagined something much smaller in scale at first. With time, ambition grew for the man known around the town as 'the builder priest' thanks to churches and other projects he has carried out.The figure complete with a golden crown faces a shopping center and supermarket just across the street, and beyond that, the town.Just a few feet apart: Jesus in Poland is 43ft taller than Jesus in Rio De Janeiro, BrazilReports say that along the way, a bishop tried to halt the project and officials threatened to withdraw permission for it because of its enormous size. The elderly Zawadzki then had a heart attack.He recovered and plans got back on track but in recent weeks there was a new setback: cranes were unable to mount the torso and head because of their massive weight.So they sent for a larger, more powerful crane, and had hoped to get the job done Friday. But powerful winds blew from the direction of Berlin, and it was too risky to attempt.Construction workers finally finished the almighty task on Saturday afternoon.EDITED FROM:
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ALL AFRICA REPORT: CATHOLICS in the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kampala are observing a year of special Rosary prayers for peace. Mathias Mazinga attended the inauguration ceremonyThe Catholic Archbishop of Kampala, the Most Rev. Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, on Sunday (October 31) inaugurated a year-long Rosary prayer crusade at Rubaga Cathedral.Christians in the 54-ecclesiastical parish-archdiocese will be reciting the Rosary before mass and during the daily morning and evening prayers, till October 2011.As a symbolic gesture of the crusade's inauguration, Lwanga lit candles and gave them to his parish priests. The prelate also handed over a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Christians of Muduuma Catholic Parish. From Muduuma, the statue will rotate among all the other parishes.Lwanga said the intention of the rosary prayer crusade is to pray for lasting peace, which the country so badly needs before, during and after the general elections in 2011.During the crusade, Christians will pray for reconciliation and unity, good governance and quality leadership, peaceful, friendly and tolerant co-existence, a peaceful election exercise, security of persons and their goods, the family and domestic violence, abortion, child labour, human sacrifice and defilement, the land issue, corruption, justice and reconciliation.Citing incidents in world history where the Rosary worked miracles, Lwanga asked his flock to have absolute confidence in the power of the Rosary-prayer, which he said was a way of protection, conversion and love.
ROSARY MIRACLESThe battle of Lepanto: The battle of Lepanto took place on October 7, 1571 when a fleet of the 'Holy League', a coalition of Spain, the Republic of Venice, the Papacy, the Republic of Genoa (and some other Christian allied forces) defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire.The five-hour battle was fought at the northern edge of Patras, off western Greece, where the Ottoman forces sailing westwards from the naval station in Lepanto met the Holy League forces, which had come from Messina.This victory was the result of the Rosary prayer crusade ordered by Pope Pius V. The miraculous victory gave the Holy League temporary control over the Mediterranean, protected Rome from invasion and prevented the Ottomans from advancing further into Europe.The Battle of Vienna, 1683: The Battle of Vienna took place on September 11-12, 1683. Vienna had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire army of approximately 200,000 men for two months. The battle took place near the Kahlenberg Mountain in Vienna, Austria. After months of valiant resistance by a small garrison, the city was relieved by an army under King John Sobieski of Poland. The Rosary, to which the king was dedicated, was again instrumental in a military victory.Pope Innocent XI consecrated September 12 of that year to the holy name of Mary. The Ottoman forces were hurled back yet again at Peterwardein in Hungary by Prince Eugene during the Feast of Our Lady of the Snows, on August 5, 1716. As a result of this victory, Pope Clement XI extended the Feast of the Rosary to the Universal Church.Cardinal Nsubuga's Letter to Mary: Disturbed by the political anarchy, loss of life, war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Ugandan guerilla war of the 1980s, Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga travelled to Lourdes (a place in France, where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to various individuals at different times) and wrote a letter to the Blessed Virgin Mary, requesting for her intercession to restore peace in the country. On his return, he declared a Rosary prayer campaign in his archdiocese.As his Rosary prayer campaign progressed, he declared to the Christians that peace was at hand; Mary had given him a vision of a peaceful Uganda. Only a year later, the war ended and Uganda enjoyed relative peace.These and many other examples of Rosary victories prove beyond doubt that the Rosary prayer is so powerful and can work miracles
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Agenzia Fides REPORT –“Rehabilitation of an ethics of politics,” called for by the Bishops' Commission for Pastoral Social; preparing for 100th Plenary Meeting of Bishops' ConferenceThe Bishop of San Isidro and President of the Bishops' Commission for Pastoral/Social Ministry, Bishop Jorge Casaretto, has recalled that "the new leadership should not limit itself to emergency management, or to populism or demagogies, but must focus on carrying out concrete works for the common good. The bishop has called for the "rehabilitation of an ethics of politics," and stated that "in an existential and pragmatic time, characterized by strong personalities, we need to return to principles" because "the principles are valid if they solve people's problems." After stating that "a good leader is a man of dialogue, but dialogue that seeks consensus," the bishop added that “his testimony gives meaning to his principles, as a good leader makes people happy."Bishop Casaretto spoke at the seminar organized by the Pastoral/Social Commission, which took place Saturday, November 6, and brought together political leaders from the region of Buenos Aires. Among the participants were also the Bishop of Merlo-Moreno and President of Caritas Argentina, Bishop Fernando Bargalló, and the Bishop of San Justo, Bishop Baldomero Martini.The Bishops of Argentina are, starting today November 8, through Saturday, November 13, their 100th Plenary Meeting of the Bishops' Conference, which will be chaired by the Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. The sessions will begin with a "pastoral exchange" on the situation of the country and at 7:30 pm with the opening Mass. The central theme of the Assembly will be "The Mission and Priestly Life," proposed by the Bishops' Commission for Ministries.
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Cath News report: Only two Sisters of St Joseph are under age 40, sparking concern over the future of its works and prompting the sisters to use the internet to attract more women to the congregation, reports The Mosman Daily.They have also developed ways of having people who want to help without becoming sisters do some of their work.The congregation's youngest sister is 26, and they also have a sister who is in her early 30s, according to Sister Anne Derwin.She said it was hard to predict whether the canonisation of Saint Mary MacKillop would lead to an increase in young women wanting to become sisters.In the future, she sees the congregation as being "run by a small group of women"."It would be lovely to have lots of young women becoming sisters. But it's not something you just rush into. It's like marriage. You have to give it time to be sure it is what you are meant to do."But I would recommend it. I'd say it's a very fulfilling way to live." She said people who did not want to become a sister could take private vows of chastity, poverty and obedience while living independently of the congregation.This "vowed affiliation" group is open to both men and women.
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Four Crowned MartyrsFeast: November 8Information:Feast Day:November 8The old guidebooks to the tombs of the Roman martyrs make mention, in connection with the catacomb of Sts. Peter and Marcellinus on the Via Labicana, of the Four Crowned Martyrs (Quatuor Coronati), at whose grave the pilgrims were wont to worship (De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, I, 178-79). One of these itineraries, the "Epitome libri de locis sanctorum martyrum", adds the names of the four martyrs (in reality five): "IV Coronati, id est Claudius, Nicostratus, Simpronianus, Castorius, Simplicitus". These are the names of five martyrs, sculptors in the quarries of Pannonia (now a part of Austria-Hungary, south-west of the Danube), who gave up their lives for their Faith in the reign of Diocletian. The Acts of these martyrs, written by a revenue officer named Porphyrius probably in the fourth century, relates of the five sculptors that, although they raised no objections to executing such profane images as Victoria, Cupid, and the Chariot of the Sun, they refused to make a statue of Æsculapius for a heathen temple. For this they were condemned to death as Christians. They were put into leaden caskets and drowned in the River Save. This happened towards the end of 305. The foregoing account of the martyrdom of the five sculptors of Pannonia is substantially authentic; but later on a legend sprang up at Rome concerning the Quatuor Coronati, according to which four Christian soldiers (cornicularii) suffered martyrdom at Rome during the reign of Diocletian, two years after the death of the five sculptors. Their offence consisted in refusing to offer sacrifice to the image of Æsculapius. The bodies of the martyrs were interred at St. Sebastian and Pope Melchiades at the third milestone on the Via Labicana, in a sandpit where rested the remains of others who had perished for the Faith. Since the names of the four martyred soldiers could not be authentically established, Pope Melchiades commanded that, the date of their death (8 November) being the same as that of the Pannonian sculptors, their anniversary should be celebrated on that day, under the names of Sts. Claudius, Nicostratus, Symphorianus, Castor, and Simplicius. This report has no historic foundation. It is merely a tentative explanation of the name Quatuor Coronati, a name given to a group of really authenticated martyrs who were buried and venerated in the catatomb of Sts. Peter and Marcellinus, the real origin of which, however, is not known. They were classed with the five martyrs of Pannonia in a purely external relationship. Numerous manuscripts on the legend as well as the Roman Martyrology give the names of the Four Crowned Martyrs, supposed to have been revealed at a later date, as Secundus, Severianus, Carpoforus, and Victorius. But these four martyrs were not buried in Rome, but in the catacomb of Albano; their feast was celebrated on 7 August, under which date it is cited in the Roman Calender of Feasts of 354. These martyrs of Albano have no connection with the Roman martyrs described above. Of the four Crowned Martyrs we know only that they suffered death for the Faith and the place where they were buried. They evidently were held in great veneration at Rome, since in the fourth and fifth century a basilica was erected and dedicated in the Caelian Hill, probably in the neighbourhood of spot where tradition located their execution. This became one of the titular churches of Rome, was restored several times and still stands. It is first mentioned among the signatures of a Roman council in 595. Pope Leo IV ordered the relics removed, about 850, from the Via Labicana to the church dedicated to their memory, together with the relics of the five Pannonian martyrs, which had been brought to Rome at some period now unknown. Both group of maryrs are commemorated on 8 November.
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Luke 17: 1 - 61And he said to his disciples, "Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!2It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.3Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him;4and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, `I repent,' you must forgive him."5The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"6And the Lord said, "If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, `Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.
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