Saturday, January 29, 2011










TODAY'S GOSPEL: JAN. 29: MARK 4: 26- 34



RADIO VATICANA: Pope beams in to Asia's oldest Catholic university

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the 400th birthday of Asia’a oldest Catholic University Friday with a special video message for its past and present students. The University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, has also been recognized by the Vatican as a pontifical university.
The Holy Father’s message was played during a mass that marked the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, held at the University’s Grandstand and Open Ground, where two other popes had celebrated masses.
Below we publish the full text and audio of the papal message:

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Dear Friends,
I am pleased to send my warm greetings to the students, staff and alumni of the PontificaI University of Santo Tomas as you celebrate the four-hundredth anniversary of its foundation. This is a signifìcant event in the lire of the Church and, although I cannot be with you physicalIy, I am happy to speak to you personalIy in this way, to unite myself to you spiritualIy, and to offer alI of you my affectionate congratulations on this happy occasion.
It is with thanksgiving that I recall the many clergy, religious and laity who, at Santo Tomas, have handed down to generations of Filipinos the faith, knowledge and wisdom to be found in the religious and secular sciences. In particular, I salute the memory of your founder, Bishop Miguel de Benavides, and the great commitment of the Dominicans who have guided the institution through the many challenges of the past four centuries. As you know, the University of Santo Tomas is the oldest institution of Catholic higher education in the Far East and it continues to play a very important role in the Church throughout the region.
I am confident that, keeping in mind the faith and reason that are always part of a truly integrated approach to education, your University wilI continue to contribute to the intellectual, spiritual and cultural enrichment of the Philippines and beyond. I also pray that you will always seek a knowledge of matters human and divine in the light of that ultimate clarity found in the person of Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 8: 12).
Invoking the wise intercession of your heavenly patron, Saint Thomas Aquinas, I wilIingly impart to you my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace and peace.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: Thousands of demonstrators occupy the streets of major cities. The government has announced its resignation, but people want the "fall of the regime”. Mobile phone lines partly restored, internet still down. Obama calls for non-violent response of the Egyptian government, China censors the word "Egypt" on the web.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies)-Thousands of protesters continue to occupy the streets of major cities in Egypt, calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.The toll from the protests - that erupted yesterday after Friday prayers - has reached 50 dead, a thousand injured, hundreds of arrests. Overnight people have defied the curfew imposed by the authorities, while the Head of State announced a change of government, but excluded his resignation. Meanwhile, China has censored the word "Egypt" from websites and the governments of Japan and the Philippines have invited nationals not to travel in the country.

Yesterday evening Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak spoke to the nation in an attempt to avert the worst social and political crisis since coming to power 30 years ago. He announced the resignation of the government and the birth of a new formation, accepting the "legitimate" demands of the demonstrators, but at the same time accusing them of "fostering" violence to "destabilize" the country. In the morning, the government announced its resignation.

Police are guarding the corridors of power and TV headquarters, but seem unwilling to attack the demonstrators. Al Jazeera sources in Suez report that the military wants to avoid an open confrontation with protesters. A military official confirmed that troops "will not shoot a single bullet against Egyptians."

The protests erupted yesterday after the Friday prayers with thousands of people flooding the main streets of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez. The protesters defied the curfew, with demonstrations continuing even during the night. This morning in the capital, several groups of people gathered in Tahrir Square, chanting songs and slogans, including "[Mubarak] Go away! Go away. "

The toll from the violence has risen to 50 dead and a thousand injured. In Alexandria 23 people died, 15 are confirmed dead in Suez and another 15 in Cairo. Popular discontent shows no sign of diminishing despite the news of the resignation of the government, the goal of the social unrest - which unites Christians and Muslims - is "the fall of the regime, not the change of the executive."

Yesterday the police detained Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the UN's nuclear body and Egyptian opposition leader for a few hours. He was arrested after prayers at a mosque in the Giza area, then was released so as to join the protesters who marched through the streets of the capital.

Meanwhile, local sources confirm that phone lines are operational - at least in part – after thecrackdown imposed yesterday by authorities involving the web, cell phones and text messages. In contrast, internet is still down throughout the country today.

The United States and world governments are closely following the riots that have erupted in north Africa and the Middle East, stemming from the ouster two weeks ago of Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after a popular revolt. Discontent is also evident in Jordan, where King Abdullah II has announced reforms, and in Yemen. The U.S. president Barack Obama has called on Egypt’s Mubarak to meet the demands of democracy and economic freedoms demanded by the population.Obama also added that a violent response will not help resolve the situation and alleviate the suffering of the people.Previously, the White House spokesman Robert Gibbs asserted that the U.S. would have "revised" its aid program in the coming days.

The governments of Japan and the Philippines have invited their fellow citizens not to travel to Egypt. To those who are already in the country, are being advised not to leave their homes and embark on the first available flight. Finally, the Chinese government has censored the word "Egypt" on the web, with a terse statement that appears on the search engine: "According to the laws in force the results of your search can not be communicated". The censorship also involves the major social networks. Instead the mainstream media - news agency and television - have reported on the riots and protests against President Mubarak.


CBN REPORT: Nine senators from Hawaii are not backing down when it comes to prayer.

Last week, the Hawaii Senate voted to end its official invocations before Senate sessions after complaints from the American Civil Liberties Union that the invocations often referred to Jesus Christ.

The ACLU says that reference is at odds with the separation of church and state, prompting Senate leaders to avoid any appearance of breaking the law.

On Wednesday, the nine senators held an informal prayer meeting in the Senate chamber before the day's session, asking God to bless and guide them as they sought to serve the people they represent.

"It's nice to start off the day with a prayer because we need all the help we can get," said Sen. Mike Gabbard, D-Kalaeloa-Makakilo.

Senate President Shan Tsutsui said while he didn't participate in the impromptu prayer, he appreciated their decision to pray together informally.

"It's a matter of free speech," said Tsutsui, D-Wailuku-Kahului. "We do encourage members, at their own will and desire, to go ahead and engage in prayer."

They insist their faith has a place in their work.


Cath. Herald report: Priests give first blessings

Fr Broadhurst, Fr Newton and Fr Burnham give their first blessings as priests at Westminster Cathedral

Priests await their blessing from Fr Keith Newton (Photo: Mazur)

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster ordained three former Anglican bishops as priests during an emotional and deeply prayerful Mass in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday January 15, writes Peter Jennings.

After the Mass, Fr John Broadhurst, Fr Keith Newton, the first Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and Fr Andrew Burnham gave their first blessings as priests to the priests of Westminster who were gathered. Archbishop Nichols himself humbly knelt down and bowed his head as Fr Broadhurst blessed him.

Pope Benedict XVI has placed the new Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman. He nominated Fr Keith Newton as the first ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – “To promote respect for life at levels throughout the Country: both in family policies, which should be based on the values of unborn life and responsible parenting; and in the daily pattern of social life, with an attention to the real tranquillity and security of citizens, their rights and their ideas. This is the correct path for the country,” said Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Archbishop of Manila, speaking on the need for Christian witness in the political and social life of the Philippines to Fides.
The light for the common good of the nation – the Cardinal notes during his interview with Fides - must be “the absolute respect for life” that the Church has always proclaimed with conviction as a value to promote. In this regard, the measure announced by the Government of Benigno Aquino on family policy, respectful of the Catholic “Natural Family Programme”, generated satisfaction in the Catholic community. The new text will replace the previous Reproductive Health Bill: for the Church this is a step forward, because it “responds to the spirit and desires of the Filipino people.” The Government has recognized that population growth is not the primary factor in poverty and has endorsed the need for education policies for youth on affectivity.
On the other hand, notes the Cardinal, the violent occurrences that continue to affect society, such as killing, wounding or kidnapping of journalists, trade unionists and human rights activists (see Fides 20/01/2011 and 25/01/2011), is an alarm bell. “Again in this area, respect for human life means to guarantee all the freedoms and rights which every citizen is entitled to.” To promote and ensure “a culture of life” means, then, for the Christian community “to affirm the value of unborn life but also walk alongside those who defend human rights.”
The Archbishop of Manila highlighted another two challenges facing the Philippines: governance and poverty. “Governance must be in the name of morality, transparency and solidarity with the past. We need to thoroughly oppose the cancer of corruption. If the political elites tolerate or boost corruption, then the population also considers the practice justified. The new Aquino government should be given time to address these challenges, but the objectives must be clear.”
On poverty: “the State must ask what are the just remedies and put them into practice. As Christians, we must use the Word of God to help the poor, to pay particular attention to the marginalized and dispossessed. The point of reference for us is the Holy Father Benedict XVI's Encyclical, “Caritas in veritate”.


CATH NEWS REPORT- Parents at a Catholic primary school in Thornbury, Victoria, plan to boycott a new $105 annual building levy introduced by the local parish priest to help fund a major government development project at the school, reports the Northcote Leader.

The $2 million Federal Government Building the Education Revolution project comprises a library, technology centre and learning areas.The parents of students at St Mary's Primary School in Thornbury, said they do not want to pay until the priest, Father Gerald Medici, justified the need for the levy and guaranteed satisfactory resolution of the past year's issues.

"St Mary's has already received $2 million in (federal) funds and Father Medici applied for a $400,000 grant to fix up the school grounds," said one parent, Con Sarazen.

"Why should parents have to pay an extra levy? We are asking other parents not to pay it out of protest."

In a statement sent via the Catholic Education Office, Father Medici said the building levy would help service a loan to refurbish the school buildings and it was no higher than similar levies at other Catholic schools in the area.

Fr Medici said the levy was "totally separate" from the federal project and that an existing community development levy of $50 had been discontinued.

In a separate clash, teachers have raised concerns with the Victorian Independent Education Union about health and safety issues arising from building works.

Union spokesman David Brear said concerns included builders' ladders left erected in school toilets, contractors failing to sign in, teachers forced to vacate classrooms at short notice, cuts in programs and lack of consultation.'


St. Gildas the Wise


Feast: January 29


Feast Day:January 24

516, traditionally Strathclyde in modern Scotland

Died:570, Street, Somerset or Rhuys
Major Shrine:Glastonbury Abbey, now destroyed, or Rhuys Church, extant.
Patron of:Welsh historians; bell founders

He was son to a British lord, who to procure him a virtuous education, placed him in his infancy in the monastery of St. Iltutus in Glamorganshire. The surname of Badonicus was given him, because, as we learn from his writings, he was born in the year in which the Britons under Aurelius Ambrosius, or, according to others, under king Arthur, gained the famous victory over the Saxons at Mount Badon, now Bannesdown, near Bath, in Somersetshire. This Bede places in the forty-fourth year after the first coming of the Saxons into Britain, which was in 451. Our saint, therefore, seems to have been born in 494; he was consequently younger than St. Paul, St. Samson, and his other illustrious school-fellows in Wales: but by his prudence and seriousness in his youth he seemed to have attained to the maturity of judgment and gravity of an advanced age. The author of the life of St. Paul of Leon, calls him the brightest genius of the school of St. Iltut. His application to sacred studies was uninterrupted, and if he arrived not at greater perfection in polite literature, this was owing to the want of masters of that branch in the confusion of those times. As to improve himself in the knowledge of God and himself was the end of all his studies, and all his reading was reduced to the study of the science of the saints, the greater progress he made in learning, the more perfect he became in all virtues. Studies which are to many a source of dissipation, made him more and more recollected, because in all books he found and relished only God, whom alone he sought. Hence sprang that love for holy solitude, which, to his death, was the constant ruling inclination of his heart. Some time after his monastic profession, with the consent, and perhaps by the order of his abbot, St. Iltut, he passed over into Ireland, there to receive the lessons of the admirable masters of a religious life, who had been instructed in the most sublime maxims of an interior life, and formed to the practice of perfect virtue, by the great St. Patrick. The author of his Acts compares this excursion, which he made in the spring of his life, to that of the bees in the season of flowers, to gather the juices which they convert into honey. In like manner St. Gildas learned, from the instructions and examples of the most eminent servants of God, to copy in his own life whatever seemed most perfect. So severe were his continual fasts, that the motto of St. John Baptist might in some degree be applied to him, that he scarce seemed to eat or drink at all. A rough hair-cloth, concealed under a coarse cloak, was his garment, and the bare floor his bed, with a stone for his bolster.

By the constant mortification of his natural appetites, and crucifixion of his flesh, his life was a prolongation of his martyrdom, or a perpetual sacrifice which he made of himself to God in union with that which he daily offered to him on his altars. If it be true that he preached in Ireland in the reign of king Ammeric, he must have made a visit to that island from Armorica, that prince only beginning to reign in 560: this cannot be ascribed to St. Gildas the Albanian, who died before that time. It was about the year 527, in the thirty-fourth of his age, that St. Gildas sailed to Armorica, or Brittany, in France: for he wrote his invective ten years after his arrival there, and in the forty-fourth year of his age, as is gathered from his life and writings. Here he chose for the place of his retirement the little isle of Houac, or Houat, between the coast of Rhuis and the island of Bellisle, four leagues from the latter. Houat exceeds not a league in length; the isle of Hoedre is still smaller, not far distant: both are so barren as to yield nothing but a small quantity of corn. Such a solitude, which appeared hideous to others, offered the greatest charms to the saint, who desired to fly, as much as this mortal state would permit, whatever could interrupt his commerce with God. Here he often wanted the common necessaries and conveniences of life; but the greater the privation of earthly comforts was in which he lived, the more abundant were those of the Holy Ghost which he enjoyed, in proportion as the purity of his affections and his love of heavenly things were more perfect. The saint promised himself that he should live here always unknown to men: but it was in vain for him to endeavor to hide the light of divine grace under a bushel, which shone forth to the world, notwithstanding all the precautions which his humility took to conceal it. Certain fishermen who discovered him were harmed with his heavenly deportment and conversation, and made known on the continent the treasure they had found. The inhabitants flocked from the coast to hear the lessons of divine wisdom which the holy anchoret gave with a heavenly unction which penetrated their hearts. To satisfy their importunities, St. Gildas at length consented to live among them on the continent, and built a monastery at Rhuis, in a peninsula of that name, which Guerech, the first lord of the Britons about Vannes, is said to have bestowed upon him. This monastery was soon filled with excellent disciples and holy monks. St. Gildas settled them in good order; then, sighing after closer solitude, he withdrew, and passing beyond the gulf of Vannes, and the promontory of Quiberon, chose for his habitation a grot in a rock, upon the bank of the river Blavet, where he found a cavern formed by nature extended from the east to the west, which on that account he converted into a chapel. However, he often visited this abbey of Rhuis, and by his counsels directed many in the paths of true virtue. Among these was St. Trifina, daughter of Guerech, first British count of Vannes. She was married to count Conomor, lieutenant of king Childebert, a brutish and impious man, who afterwards murdered her, and the young son which he had by her, who at his baptism received the name of Gildas, and was godson to our saint: but he is usually known by the surname of Treuchmour, or Tremeur, in Latin 'Trichmorus. SS. Trifina and Treuchmeur are invoked in the English Litany of the seventh century, in Mabillon. The great collegiate church of Carhaix bears the name of St. Treuchmour: the church of Quim per keeps his feast on the 8th of November, on which day he is commemorated in several churches in Brittany, and at St. Magloire's at Paris. A church situated between Corlai and the abbey of Coetmaloon in Brittany, is dedicated to God under the invocation of St. Trifina.

St. Gildas wrote eight canons of discipline, and a severe invective against the crimes of the Britons, called De Excidio Britanniae, that he might confound those whom he was not able to convert, and whom God in punishment delivered first to the plunders of the Picts and Scots, and afterwards to the perfidious Saxons, the fiercest of all nations. He reproaches their kings, Constantine, (king of the Danmonians, in Devonshire and Cornwall,) Vortipor, (of the Dimetians, in South Wales,) Conon, Cuneglas, and Maglocune, princes in other parts of Britain, with horrible crimes: but Constantine was soon after sincerely converted, as Gale informs us from an ancient Welsh chronicle. According to John Fordun he resigned his crown, became a monk, preached the faith to the Scots and Picts, and died a martyr in Kintyre: but the apostle of the Scots seems to have been a little more ancient than the former. Our saint also wrote an invective against the British clergy, whom he accuses of sloth of seldom sacrificing at the altar &c. In his retirement he ceased not with tears to recommend to God his own cause, or that of his honor and glory, and the souls of blind sinners, and died in his beloved solitude in the island of Horac, (in Latin Horata,) according to Usher, in 570, but according to Ralph of Disse, in 581.[6] St. Gildas is patron of the city of Vannes. The abbey which bears his name in the peninsula of Rhuis, between three and four leagues from Vannes, is of the reformed congregation of St. Maur since the year 1649. The relics of St. Gildas were carried thence for fear of the Normans into Berry, about the year 919, and an abbey was erected there on the banks of the river Indre, which was secularized and united to the collegiate church of Chateauroux in 1623. St. Gildas is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on the 29th of January. A second commemoration of him is made in some places on the 11th of May, on account of the translation of his relics. His life, compiled from the ancient archives of Rhuis by a monk of that house, in the eleventh century, is the best account we have of him, though the author confounds him sometimes with St. Gildas the Albanian. It is published in the library of Fleury, in Bollandus, p. 954, and most correctly in Mabillon, Act. SS. Ord. Saint Bened. t. 1, p. 138. See also Dom Lobineau, Vies des Saints de Bretagne, (for. an. 1725,) p. 72, and Hist. de la Bretagne, (2 vol. fol. an. 1707) and the most accurate Dom Morice, Memoires sur l'Histoire de Bretagne, 3 vol. fol. in 1745, and Hist. de la Bretagne, 2 vol. fol. an. 1750.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: JAN. 29: MARK 4: 26- 34

Mark 4: 26 - 34
26And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground,27and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how.28The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.29But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."30And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?31It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth;32yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."33With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;34he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.

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