Sunday, January 23, 2011






RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Conversion to Christ is the way toward communion

“We know how many trials face our brothers and sisters of the Holy Land and the Middle East,” and we as Christians gather around them, and for all of us this becomes an additional factor of communion.” These were just some of Pope Benedict XVI’s words at the traditional Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square this Sunday, which falls in the midst of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The Pope recalled that the theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: One in the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer was chosen by the Churches and Ecclesial Communities of Jerusalem, which perform a valuable service, “strengthened by a witness that, in some cases, has come even unto the sacrifice of life.”

The Holy Father explained that only, “by remaining firmly united to Christ,” can the Church efficaciously conduct Her mission, “despite the limitations and failings of Her members, despite the divisions,” which are, he said, “an offense to Christ,” and it is only in Him, the only Head and the only Lord, that we may find ourselves again united, “by the inexhaustible strength of his grace.”

The serious commitment to conversion to Christ, said Pope Benedict, “is the way that leads the Church, in God’s own time, to full visible unity.”

After the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, Pope Benedict greeted pilgrims in many languages, including English, in which he spoke of the liturgical proclamation of the generous response of the first disciples to the call of Christ:

May each of us continually recognize the call of the Lord in our own lives and engage in the work of evangelization without fear or reluctance.

The Week of prayer for Christian Unity will conclude this Tuesday, January 25th, with the solemn singing of Vespers to mark the feast of the conversion of St. Paul.


USCCB REPORT: Bishop Curry Announces the 10 Year Review of the Application of Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the United States

WASHINGTON (January 20, 2011)—Bishops and Catholic university presidents across the United States will engage in conversations over the next year as a first step in the 10 year review of The Application of Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the United States. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Curry of Los Angeles, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), announced the review.

“This review will help us appreciate the positive developments and remaining challenges in the collaborative efforts of bishops and presidents to ensure the implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae in the United States,” said Bishop Curry.

Ex Corde Ecclesiae is the Vatican document promulgated in 1990 by Pope John Paul II, which outlines the relationship between the bishops and Catholic colleges and universities. The document called for “close personal and pastoral relationships…between university and Church authorities, characterized by mutual trust, close and consistent cooperation and continuing dialogue.” The U.S. bishops approved The Application of Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the United States which became effective May 3, 2001.

This review will consist of a conversation between a bishop and each university president within his diocese to discuss The Application of Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the United States. Following the local conversations, bishops will share their reflections with one another at USCCB regional meetings during the General Assembly in November 2011. The presentations will then be complied and presented to the president of the Conference.

“Dialogue between bishop and president provides an important means to foster a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Bishop Curry. “Collaboration is essential to the spirit of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, which is why a working group of bishops and university presidents created the review process together.”

“I was pleased and grateful that the bishops invited university presidents to help shape the instrument that will guide these conversations,” said Father Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul University and chair of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. “The Church and the larger society are served well when the leadership of both the Church and higher education institutions work closely together.”

The review process concentrates on Catholic identity, mission, ecclesial communion, service rendered by the university, and continued cooperation between the bishop and president.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – The National Council of the Pontifical Mission Society (PMS) of Zambia met on 19 and 20 January 2011 at the Charles Lwanga Retreat Centre in Lusaka. “It was a very important meeting, because it allowed the Coordinators from the PMS to understand the diverse issues among the dioceses in our Country, to share the missionary experiences and to organise projects for missionary promotion and cooperation,” Father Bernard Makadani Zulu, National Director of the Zambian PMS told Fides. “It was an opportunity to share our various experiences and to improve our communication with others. Apart from profitable discussion, the Council decided on solid advances to promote the ends of the Pontifical Missionary Societies.” The attendees studied the PMS Statute and Manual, PMS and Holy See Documents, and the “Cooperatio missionalis” instruction to understand and appreciate the pastoral care significance of the PMS.
“This study has given birth to a communal reflection to improve the activity of promotion. Proposing initiatives, prescribing general guidelines and coordinating promotional activities. It helped us to find a strategy for the missionary campaign and the promotional and fundraising programs,” said Fr Makadani.
The diocesan Directors of the PMS emphasised the absolute necessity that every diocese actively participate in the World Day for Missions. “Even the poorest dioceses in the Country should take part in the celebrations of the World Day for Missions to contribute to the good of missions outside our borders,” states the National Council of the PMS in Zambia. “It is our wish that this national meeting becomes an opportunity to renew our vision of the missionary Church, to push us to act at a personal, diocesan, national and international level to find new motivation and courage to proclaim the Gospel,” concluded Fr Makadani.



An ordinariate for Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church is set to be established in Australia by Pentecost this year, and will include Japan, reports The Record.

The Traditional Anglican Communion, a group of disaffected Anglicans who have been seeking full communion with Rome for years, will host a festival in Perth on February 26 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Como for the Anglican Ordinariate for Australia.Some 28 Anglican priests in Australia have so far expressed their firm intention to take up Pope Benedict's offer of the ordinariate that gives Anglicans a way to celebrate their heritage of worship and life as communities within the full communion of the Catholic Church.

TAC Bishop Harry Entwistle - one of four TAC Bishops in Australia and the Torres Strait Islands who will be ordained as Catholic priests, likely just before the Ordinariate is officially established, told theRecord the festival is a public statement that "this is no longer just a theory, it's really happening".

"It's an opportunity to gather those who are more than just casually interested," he said of the festival, which is for Catholics and Anglicans who, like the TAC, have been disillusioned with the Anglican Church's liberalisation with female clergy, among other things.

Japan's Anglican Catholics constitute a small group led by a retired Anglican Bishop. Bishop Entwistle said the Japanese are happy to adopt a Western Ordinariate like Australia as they are among a persecuted minority.


UCAN REPORT: Prominent religious leaders representing the World Council of Churches (WCC), the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and the Catholic Church, are scheduled to meet in Thailand to finalize the last stage of one of its collaborative project.

A source from the secretariat of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand told that since 1977 there have been varied forms of cooperation between the Catholic Church’s Vatican-based Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and WCC-Geneva through its Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation (IRDC) Program.

The collaborative project, to be discussed at the meeting among 50 Religious leaders scheduled for Jan. 25-28 at the Anoma Hotel in Bangkok, concerns the views and experiences relating to Christian missionary activity and respect for followers of other religions. The Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is expected to attend the opening ceremony on Jan. 25.

The project called Christian Witness in a Multi-religious World: Recommendations for a Code of Conduct was conducted in three phases, the source said.

The first phase was an interreligious consultation on Conversion: Assessing the Realityheld in 2006 at Lariano, Italy, where 27 persons from across the world, belonging to Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Yourba religion participated.

The second phase was an intra-Church consultation on Towards an Ethical Approach to Conversion: Christian Witness in a Multi-religious World organized in 2007 at Toulouse in France in which 39 persons from different denominations of the Church participated.

Then for the final third phase, it involved four joint meetings in the last two years in Geneva and Rome between the committees of PCID and WCC offices to prepare the draft of the project’s document.

Therefore in the meeting next week, the group of religious leaders will finalize the document and get endorsements by the respective Churches involved in the project, the source pointed out.

The official worldwide release is likely to take place at the world meeting in March 2011. The source said the big meeting will touch on the issue of Gospel preaching in the global context under multi-religious societies.

As there are different denominations in Christianity, it is important to address the Church’s evangelization work in harmony, the source said.

According to the source, the Religious leaders had earlier expressed the hope that the (Bangkok) meeting will make an important contribution to the promotion of mutual respect and understanding among members of different religions so that they may live and work together peacefully for the common good.


CNS REPORT -- Poland's Catholics have reacted with joy to the announcement that Pope John Paul II will be beatified May 1, and many have made plans to travel to Rome.

Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza daily newspaper reported Jan. 16 that all available rooms at Polish hostels in Rome were already booked for the beatification, which up to a million Poles plan to attend, according to a Jan. 15 survey by the Homo Homini opinion research agency.

The vice president of the Polish bishops' conference, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki of Poznan, predicted the Rome ceremony, which will coincide with May 1 and May 3 public holidays in Poland, would attract even more Poles than the pope's April 2005 funeral.

Speaking outside his residence in Krakow Jan. 14 after the announcement of the beatification, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, the late pope's former secretary, said: "John Paul II was loved in Poland, in Polish culture and in Krakow, and he always fulfilled his role as a Pole within the culture which shaped him.

"Let's thank him today for leading us to a sovereign Poland and freedom, thanks to which we can stand here with no one disturbing us. Let's also write a great common volume with this great Pole by learning his heritage and living with his great spirit," he said.

News of the beatification was met with applause at Poland's Jasna Gora national sanctuary and at the Catholic University of Lublin, both closely associated with the late pope. Students coordinated prayer vigils in several Polish cities.

In Wadowice, a Mass of thanksgiving was held in the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, opposite the house where the pope was born May 18, 1920, and plans announced for a "Chapel of the Blessed John Paul II."

Former Polish President Lech Walesa said the Solidarity movement that helped bring down communist rule would not have existed without the pope, adding that he hoped "our great friend" would "help us resolve our problems in Poland, Europe and the world with his gaze from above."

The late pope holds honorary citizenship of dozens of Polish towns and has given his name to hundreds of streets, squares, schools and hospitals around the country.

Around a hundred Polish statues of the pontiff have been unveiled annually since his death, according to local media, while dozens of Catholic parishes have been designated for rededication as "Blessed John Paul II."


St. John the Almsgiver


Feast: January 23


Feast Day:January 23
Born:550 at Arnathus, Cyprus
Died:616 at Arnathus, Cyprus
Patron of:Knights Hospitaller

Patriarch of Alexandria (606-16), b. at Amathus in Cyprus about 550; d. there, 616. He was the son of one Epiphanius, governor of Cyprus, and was of noble descent; in early life he was married and had children, but they and his wife soon died, whereupon he entered the religious life.

On the death of the Patriarch Theodorus, the Alexandrians besought Emperor Phocas to appoint John his successor, which was accordingly done. In his youth John had had a vision of a beautiful maiden with a garland of olives on her head, who said that she was Compassion, the eldest daughter of the Great King. This had evidently made a deep impression on John's mind, and, now that he had the opportunity of exercising benevolence on a large scale, he soon became widely known all over the East for his munificent liberality towards the poor. One of the first steps he took was to make a list of several thousand needy persons, whom he took under his especial care. He always referred to the poor as his "lords and masters", because of their mighty influence at the Court of the Most High. He assisted people of every class who were in need. A shipwrecked merchant was thus helped three times, on the first two occasions apparently without doing him much good; the third time however, John fitted him out with a ship and a cargo of wheat, and by favourable winds he was taken as far as Britain, where, as there was a shortage of wheat, he obtained his own price. Another person, who was not really in need, applied for alms and was detected by the officers of the palace; but John merely said "Give unto him; he may be Our Lord in disguise." He visited the hospitals three times every week, and he freed a great many slaves. He was a reformer who attacked simony, and fought heresy by means of improvements in religious education. He also reorganized the system of weights and measures for the sake of the poor, and put a stop to corruption among the officials. He increased the number of churches in Alexandria from seven to seventy.

John is said to have devoted the entire revenues of his see to the alleviation of those in need. A rich man presented him with a magnificent bed covering; he accepted it for one night, but then sold it, and disposed of the money in alms. The rich man "bought in" the article, and again presented it to John, with the same result. This was repeated several times; but John drily remarked: "We will see who tires first." It was not John. Another instance of his piety was that he caused his own grave to be dug, but only partly so, and appointed a servant to come before him on all state occasions and say "My Lord, your tomb is unfinished; pray give orders for its completion, for you know not the hour when death may seize you." When the Persians sacked Jerusalem in 614, John sent large supplies of food, wine, and money to the fleeing Christians. But eventually the Persians occupied Alexandria, and John himself in his old age was forced to flee to his native country, where he died.

His body was brought to Constantinople, thence to Ofen by King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary; thence in 1530 to Toll near Presburg, and finally in 1632 to Presburg cathedral. He was the original patron saint of the Hospitallers, and was commemorated by the Greeks on 12 Nov. His life, written by Leontius of Neapolis, in Cyprus, was translated into Latin by Anastasius the Librarian in the ninth century and was referred to at the Seventh General Council.



St. Ildephonsus


Feast: January 23


Feast Day:January 23

607 at Toledo, Spain

Died:January 23, 667

Archbishop of Toledo; died 23 January, 667. He was born of a distinguished family and was a nephew of St. Eugenius, his predecessor in the See of Toledo. At an early age, despite the determined opposition of his father, he embraced the monastic life in the monastery of Agli, near Toledo. While he was still a simple monk, he founded and endowed a monastery of nuns in Deibiensi villula. We learn from his writings that he was ordained a deacon (about 630) by Helladius, who had been his abbot and was afterwards elected Archbishop of Toledo. Ildephonsus himself became Abbot of Agli, and in this capacity was one of the signatories, in 653 and 655, at the Eighth and Ninth Councils of Toledo. Called by King Reccesvinth, towards the end of 657, to fill the archiepiscopal throne, he governed the Church of Toledo for a little more than nine years and was buried in the Basilica of Saint Leocadia. To these scanty but authentic details of his life (they are attested by Ildephonsus himself, or by his immediate successor, Archbishop Julianus, in a short biographical notice which he added to the "De viris illustribus" of Ildephonsus) some doubtful or even legendary anecdotes were added later. At the end of the eighth century Cixila, Archbishop of Toledo, embellished the biography of his predecessor. He relates that Ildephonsus was the disciple of Isidore of Seville, and recalls in particular two marvellous stories, of which the second, a favourite theme of hagiographers, poets, and artists, has been for ages entwined with the memory of the saint. Ildephonsus, it is said, was one day praying before the relics of Saint Leocadia, when the martyr arose from her tomb and thanked the saint for the devotion he showed towards the Mother of God. It was related, further, that on another occasion the Blessed Virgin appeared to him in person and presented him with a priestly vestment, to reward him for his zeal in honouring her.

The literary work of Ildephonsus is better known than the details of his life, and merits for him a distinguished place in the roll of Spanish writers. His successor, Julianus of Toledo, in the notice already referred to, informs us that the saint himself divided his works into four parts. The first and principal division contained six treatises, of which two only have been preserved: "De virginitate perpetuâ sanctae Mariae adversus tres infideles" (these three unbelievers are Jovinianus, Helvidius, and "a Jew"), a bombastic work which displays however a spirit of ardent piety, and assures Ildephonsus a place of honour among the devoted servants of the Blessed Virgin; also a treatise in two books: (1) "Annotationes de cognitione baptismi", and (2) "Liber de itinere deserti, quo itur post baptismum". Recent researches have proved that the first book is only a new edition of a very important treatise compiled, at the latest, in the sixth century, Ildephonsus having contributed to it only a few additions (Helfferich, "Der westgothische Arianismus", 1860, 41-49). The second part of his works contained the saint's correspondence; of this portion, there are still preserved two letters of Quiricus, Bishop of Barcelona, with the replies of Ildephonsus. The third part comprised masses, hymns, and sermons; and the fourth, opuscula in prose and verse, especially epitaphs. The editions of the complete works of Ildephonsus contain a certain number of writings, several of which may be placed in either of the last two divisions; but some of them are of doubtful authenticity, while the remainder are certainly the work of another author. Moreover, Julianus states that Ildephonsus began a good number of other works, but his many cares would not permit of his finishing them. On the other hand, he makes no mention of a little work which is certainly authentic, the "De viris illustribus". It may be considered as a supplement to the "De viris illustribus" of Isidore of Seville, and is not so much a literary historical work as a writing intended to glorify the Church of Toledo and defend the rights of the metropolitan see.



Reading 1

Is 8:23-9:3-1

First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali;
but in the end he has glorified the seaward road,
the land west of the Jordan,
the District of the Gentiles.

Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.

Responsorial Psalm

R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you agree in what you say,
and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.
For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters,
by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you.
I mean that each of you is saying,
“I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,”
or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”
Is Christ divided?
Was Paul crucified for you?
Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.


Mt 4:12-17

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

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