Saturday, December 11, 2010




TODAY'S GOSPEL: DEC. 11: Matthew 17: 9- 13


(VIS report) On Friday, during a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pope authorised the congregation to promulgate the following decrees:
- Blessed Guido Maria Conforti, Italian archbishop-bishop and founder of the Pious Society of St. Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions (1865-1931).
- Servant of God Francesco Paleari, Italian priest of the "Cottolengo" Institute (1863-1939).
- Servant of God Anna Maria Janer Anglarill, Spanish foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Holy Family of Urgell (1800-1885).
- Servant of God Marie Clare of the Child Jesus (nee Libania do Carmo Galvao Meixa de Moura Telles e Albuquerque), Portuguese foundress of the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (1843-1899).
- Servant of God Dulce (nee Maria Rita Lopes Pontes), Brazilian religious of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God (1914-1992).
- Servant of God Alois Andritzki, German diocesan priest who died in the concentration camp of Dachau (1914-1943).
- Servants of God Jose Nadal y Guiu (1911-1936) and Jose Jordan y Blecua (1906-1936), Spanish diocesan priests, killed in hatred of the faith during religious persecution in Spain.
- Servants of God Antonio (ne Miguel Faundez Lopez), Spanish professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor (1907-1936) and Bonaventura (ne Baltasar Mariano Munoz Martinez) Spanish cleric of the Order of Friars Minor (1912-1936), as well as Pedro Sanchez Barba (1895-1936) and Fulgencio Martinez Garcia (1911-1936), Spanish priests and pastors of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi, killed in hatred of the faith during religious persecution in Spain.
- Servant of God Antonio Palladino, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (1881-1926).
- Servant of God Bechara (ne Selim Abou-Mourad), Lebanese religious of the Basilian Salvatorian Order of the Melkites (1853-1930).
- Servant of God Maria Elisa Andreoli, Italian foundress of the Congregation of Reparatrix Sisters Servants of Mary (1861-1935).
- Servant of God Maria Pilar of the Sacred Heart (nee Maria Pilar Solsona Lamban), Spanish religious of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary, Religious of Pious Schools (1881-1966).


ASIA NEWS REPORT; The newly appointed cardinal, says the head of state, is an "honor for the whole nation." Peace and harmony between religions, the most important efforts made by the Archbishop of Colombo in the service of the country. Cardinal confirms the work of Catholics for the unity of Sri Lanka and the fight against terrorism.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - "Praise" for the services performed in defense of the "dignity" of the country in a time when Sri Lanka was fighting the war against one of the most vicious terrorist groups in the world, "the rebel Tamil Tigers in the north (LTTE). These the words of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, celebrating the appointment of Cardinal Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo. The newly appointed cardinal has underlined: "The Catholic community is close to President Rajapaksa's efforts to eliminate the distrust between groups," to "unite all Sri Lanka eliminating terrorism."

President Rajapaksa was speaking during an official event, held last December 6 at the Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo.The ceremony was organized to celebrate Cardinal Ranjith, after the consistory of November 20 when he received the cardinal's hat from Pope Benedict XVI. The event was attended by Mgr. Joseph Speteri, Apostolic Nuncio in Sri Lanka, bishops, priests, nuns, along with the Sinhalese premier, DM Jayaratne, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Chamali Rajapaksa Speaker of the House, as well as the opposition leader Ranil Wicremasinghe and the chief justiceAsoka De Silva. The appointment of Cardinal Ranjith, says the president is an "honor for the entire population", the cardinal has always "thought of the homeland", even during periods spent abroad. "His Eminence has extended his assistance - said Rajapaksa - to the less fortunate without expecting anything in return." He worked hard to build harmony between different religions in the country. Finally, the President wanted to send a message to the whole Catholic community, calling it a "brotherhood of peace" in the country and asked it to "provide the utmost care to protect and promote the newly won peace ".

Cardinal Ranjith said that the best way to resolve problems is through "dialogue and cooperation." "The Catholic community - the cardinal stated - is close to President Rajapaksa's efforts to eliminate the distrust between groups, and unite all Sri Lanka eliminating terrorism." The Archbishop of Colombo added that the most effective way to defeat the cells of the LTTE rebels abroad is "to create a civil administration in the north," confirming that "Catholics are committed to bringing prosperity to the motherland." He then warned "misled" priests who, working from abroad, promote "divisions" in the country, the cardinal expressed "regret" over this question and reciprocated "appreciation" for Rajapaksa’s efforts for peace in Sri Lanka.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith celebrated the first public Mass of Thanksgiving last December 4 in the cathedral of Saint Lucia in Colombo. The function, the first in his native land after the delivery of the cardinal's hat, was attended by more than 2 thousand people, including the papal nuncio, bishops, priests, nuns and lay people, including relatives of the archbishop. During the homily, the cardinal explained the appointment as an "opportunity" to better serve the universal Church and his homeland.


USCCB REPORT: ini-Documentary on Homelessness by Hawaiian Seventh Graders Wins 2010 CCHD Multi-Media Art Contest

WASHINGTON (December 10, 2010)—A mini-documentary on homelessness by the seventh grade religious education class at St. John Vianney Catholic School in Kailua, Hawaii, won the grand prize of the 2010 Multi-Media Youth Arts Contest sponsored by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the anti-poverty program of the U.S. bishops. The prize is being given today at the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry in New Orleans. Around 2,500 youth ministers will be attending the conference.

The submission, entitled “Family of Promise,” was produced by religious education students who researched the growing number of homeless people in Hawaii and the U.S. and then conducted interviews, wrote a script, shot and edited the video. The mini-documentary also profiles the Family Promise program in Hawaii, in which families volunteer to host homeless families a week at a time as they work to address the factors that have contributed to their homelessness. The video can be found online at:

“This video reflects the reality that homelessness really can happen to anyone,” said Ralph McCloud, director of CCHD for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). “The students involved initially thought homeless people were alcoholics and drug addicts but, after interacting with homeless families, found compassion and understanding. They learned about the causes of homelessness and how people can combat these causes. This greatly reflects the mission of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.”

The seventh grade students who produced the video were Maeve Gareghty, Christina Hill, Mia Hussey Kozlowski, Bailey Kahawai-Welch, Mark Kelley, Noah Kiakona, Shea Martinez, Jordan Johnson and Kolby Kahahawai.

Second place prizes in grades 10-12 and 7-9, respectively, go to Nina Fredericks, 12th grade, Father Ryan High School, Nashville, Tennessee, and Anthony J. Rojas and Maria P. Rojas, eighth grade, St. Andrew Catholic School, Orlando, Florida. Third place prizes go to Nicholas Guelda, 12th grade, St. Xavier High School, Louisville, Kentucky, and Gwyneth Sise, seventh grade, St. Mary’s Institute, Amsterdam, New York. Honorable mention goes to Paige Lysaght, 12th grade, Notre Dame Academy, Toledo, Ohio.

CCHD developed the Multi-Media Youth Arts Contest in 2001 to help schools and parishes engage youth in learning about low-income people in the U.S. who are addressing the root causes of poverty. It is open to students in grades 7-12 in Catholic parishes and schools. This year, students were asked to work from the theme, “Empowering Communities, Uprooting Poverty,” through visual arts, audio-visual means or literature. Original works were submitted to diocesan-level competitions. Local winners were forwarded to Washington for final judging.

CCHD is the domestic anti-poverty and social justice program of the Catholic bishops in the United States. With the support of Catholic parishioners, it has provided grants to more than 4,000 community and economic development projects over the past 40 years. The annual CCHD collection is taken up in most Catholic parishes in the United States on the weekend before Thanksgiving.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – On Sunday, 12 December, in various cities (Rome, Florence, Milan and Palermo), “Angels for a Day” returns, the volunteering initiative carried out on behalf of needy children on the outskirts of the Italian cities, guests in host and various group homes or living in situations of neglect, violence, poverty and degradation. The “angels” are young high school and university volunteers who, divided into groups, take responsibility for some children, accompanying and assisting them throughout the day according to the program provided by the organization: games, movies, group activities, performances and surprises. Many of these children do not limit themselves to being simply “angels for a day”, but continue for longer periods. Thanks to this day, the “angels” in fact become an important reference point for the child. These friendships motivate the most sensitive and willing volunteers to engage in ongoing weekly activities held at various group homes. “Angels for a Day” is a volunteer project now running for ten years in nine Italian cities: Rome, Milan, Florence, Modena, Brescia, Caserta, Naples, Palermo and Catania.


ALL AFRICA REPORT: Pope Benedict XVI will make a three-day visit to the West African nation of Benin in November next year.

A statement released following a joint press conference in Benin on Friday November 26 said the pope has accepted an invitation to visit the country extended to him by President Boni Yayi and the Catholic Bishops of the country.

The statement also said the November 18 to 20 trips will mainly be a pastoral visit to mark the 150th anniversary of the first evangelization in the former French colony and to present to the bishops of the continent the Apostolic Exhortation of the Second African Synod.

The post-synodal document will develop the theme of the Synod and will be a pastoral guideline for the Church in Africa in the coming years.

The statement further notes that, the visit to Benin will also give the pope an opportunity to recall late Cardinal Bernadin Gantin, with whom he shared many years of service in the Vatican.

Cardinal Gantin, a native of Benin passed away in 2008. He headed several Vatican offices from 1977 to 2002 when he retired as the Dean of the College of Cardinals.

Pope Benedict as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger succeeded him as dean.

Radio Vatican, while reporting on the issue said the visit to Benin will be the pope's second visit to Africa as pope. He visited Cameroon and Angola in March last year.



CATH NEWS REPORT: The Lights of Christmas, a dazzling light show featuring traditional Christmas imagery and colours, were switched on at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral last night, the Archdiocese announced in a statement.

The display includes a constellation of sparkling stars, lights candles, Christmas wreath as well as a traditional and inspirational montage of bush blossoms, gum leaves and Sydney summer skies.

Visitors to the Lights of Christmas will also be treated to a free choral performance by a range of top Sydney choirs including the Australian Girls Choir, Sydney Philharmonic Choir and the Sydney Street Choir.

Presented by the NSW Government, the Lights of Christmas will also highlight the Hyde Park Barracks. It will run for a fortnight, and then in the week before Christmas, from the Wednesday to Christmas Eve.

"The moving imagery and colourful kaleidoscopes will create a memorable light performance inspired by nature, celebrating Peace, Joy and Goodwill in our beautiful city, " said executive producer Anthony Bastic.


St. Damasus I


Feast: December 11


Feast Day:December 11
Born:304 in Rome, Italy
Died:11 December, 384 in Rome, Italy
Major Shrine:archeologists

Born about 304; died 11 December, 384. His father, Antonius, was probably a Spaniards; the name of his mother, Laurentia, was not known until quite recently. Damasus seems to have been born at Rome; it is certain that he grew up there in the service of the church of the martyr St. Laurence. He was elected pope in October, 366, by a large majority, but a number of over-zealous adherents of the deceased Liberius rejected him, chose the deacon Ursinus (or Ursicinus), had the latter irregularly consecrated, and resorted to much violence and bloodshed in order to seat him in the Chair of Peter. Many details of this scandalous conflict are related in the highly prejudiced "Libellus Precum" (P.L., XIII, 83-107), a petition to the civil authority on the part of Faustinus and Marcellinus, two anti-Damasan presbyters (cf. also Ammianus Marcellinus, Rer. Gest., XXVII, c. iii). Valentinian recognized Damasus and banished (367) Ursinus to Cologne, whence he was later allowed to return to Milan, but was forbidden to come to Rome or its vicinity. The party of the antipope (later at Milan an adherent of the Arians and to the end a contentious pretender) did not cease to persecute Damasus. An accusation of adultery was laid against him (378) in the imperial court, but he was exonerated by Emperor Gratian himself (Mansi, Coll. Conc., III, 628) and soon after by a Roman synod of forty-four bishops (Liber Pontificalis, ed. Duchesne, s.v.; Mansi, op. cit., III, 419) which also excommunicated his accusers.

Damasus defended with vigour the Catholic Faith in a time of dire and varied perils. In two Roman synods (368 and 369) he condemned Apollinarianism and Macedonianism; he also sent his legates to the Council of Constantinople (381), convoked against the aforesaid heresies. In the Roman synod of 369 (or 370) Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan, was excommunicated; he held the see, however, until his death, in 374, made way for St. Ambrose. The heretic Priscillian, condemned by the Council of Saragossa (380) appealed to Damasus, but in vain. It was Damasus who induced Saint Jerome to undertake his famous revision of the earlier Latin versions of the Bible. St. Jerome was also his confidential secretary for some time (Ep. cxxiii, n. 10). An important canon of the New Testament was proclaimed by him in the Roman synod of 374. The Eastern Church, in the person of St. Basil of Cæsarea, besought earnestly the aid and encouragement of Damasus against triumphant Arianism; the pope, however, cherished some degree of suspicion against the great Cappadocian Doctor. In the matter of the Meletian Schism at Antioch, Damasus, with Athanasius and Peter of Alexandria, sympathized with the party of Paulinus as more sincerely representative of Nicene orthodoxy; on the death of Meletius he sought to secure the succession for Paulinus and to exclude Flavian (Socrates, Church History V.15). He sustained the appeal of the Christian senators to Emperor Gratian for the removal of the altar of Victory from the Senate House (Ambrose, Ep. xvii, n. 10), and lived to welcome the famous edict of Theodosius I, "De fide Catholica" (27 Feb., 380), which proclaimed as the religion of the Roman State that doctrine which St. Peter had preached to the Romans and of which Damasus was supreme head (Cod. Theod., XVI, 1, 2).

When, in 379, Illyricum was detached from the Western Empire, Damasus hastened to safeguard the authority of the Roman Church by the appointment of a vicar Apostolic in the person of Ascholius, Bishop of Thessalonica; this was the origin of the important papal vicariate long attached to that see. The primacy of the Apostolic See, variously favoured in the time of Damasus by imperial acts and edicts, was strenuously maintained by this pope; among his notable utterances on this subject is the assertion (Mansi, Coll. Conc., VIII, 158) that the ecclesiastical supremacy of the Roman Church was based, not on the decrees of councils, but on the very words of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18). The increased prestige of the early papal decretals, habitually attributed to the reign of Siricius (384-99), not improbably belongs to the reign of Damasus ("Canones Romanorum ad Gallos"; Babut, "La plus ancienne décrétale", Paris, 1904). This development of the papal office, especially in the West, brought with it a great increase of external grandeur. This secular splendour, however, affected disadvantageously many members of the Roman clergy, whose worldly aims and life, bitterly reproved by St. Jerome, provoked (29 July, 370) and edict of Emperor Valentinian addressed to the pope, forbidding ecclesiastics and monks (later also bishops and nuns) to pursue widows and orphans in the hope of obtaining from them gifts and legacies. The pope caused the law to be observed strictly.

Damasus restored his own church (now San Lorenzo in Damaso) and provided for the proper housing of the archives of the Roman Church. He built in the basilica of St. Sebastian on the Appian Way the (yet visible) marble monument known as the "Platonia" (Platona, marble pavement) in honour of the temporary transfer to that place (258) of the bodies of Sts. Peter and Paul, and decorated it with an important historical inscription (see Northcote and Brownlow, Roma Sotterranea). He also built on the Via Ardeatina, between the cemeteries of Callistus and Domitilla, a basilicula, or small church, the ruins of which were discovered in 1902 and 1903, and in which, according to the "Liber Pontificalis", the pope was buried with his mother and sister. On this occasion the discoverer, Monsignor Wilpert, found also the epitaph of the pope's mother, from which it was learned not only that her name was Laurentia, but also that she had lived the sixty years of her widowhood in the special service of God, and died in her eighty-ninth year, having seen the fourth generation of her descendants. Damasus built at the Vatican a baptistery in honour of St. Peter and set up therein one of his artistic inscriptions (Carmen xxxvi), still preserved in the Vatican crypts. This subterranean region he drained in order that the bodies buried there (juxta sepulcrum beati Petri) might not be affected by stagnant or overflowing water. His extraordinary devotion to the Roman martyrs is now well known, owing particularly to the labours of Giovanni Battista De Rossi. For a good account of his architectural restoration of the catacombs and the unique artistic characters (Damasan Letters) in which his friend Furius Dionysius Filocalus executed the epitaphs composed by Damasus, see Northcote and Brownlow, "Roma Sotterranea" (2nd ed., London, 1878-79). The dogmatic content of the Damasan epitaphs (tituli) is important (Northcote, Epitaphs of the Catacombs, London, 1878). He composed also a number of brief epigrammata on various martyrs and saints and some hymns, or Carmina, likewise brief. St. Jerome says (Ep. xxii, 22) that Damasus wrote on virginity, both in prose and in verse, but no such work has been preserved. For the few letters of Damasus (some of them spurious) that have survived, see P.L., XIII, 347-76, and Jaffé, "Reg. Rom. Pontif." (Leipzig, 1885), nn. 232-254.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: DEC. 11: Matthew 17: 9- 13

Matthew 17: 9, 10 - 13
9And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead."
10And the disciples asked him, "Then why do the scribes say that first Eli'jah must come?"
11He replied, "Eli'jah does come, and he is to restore all things;
12but I tell you that Eli'jah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of man will suffer at their hands."
13Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.