Thursday, January 20, 2011













VATICAN CITY, 20 JAN 2011 (VIS REPORT) - Made public today was a Letter, written in Latin and dated 28 December 2010, in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the fourth centenary of the foundation of the "Santo Tomas" Pontifical University in Manila, Philippines, due to take place on 28 January 2011.

Also made public were the names of the members of the mission that will accompany Cardinal Grocholewski on his mission. They are Fr. Isidro C. Abano O.P., executive director of the committee for the fourth centenary of the "Santo Tomas" University, and Fr. Lorenz Moises J. Festin, dean of studies at the philosophy department of the "San Carlos" Seminary in Manila.

BXVI-LETTER/ VIS 20110120 (140)


VATICAN CITY, 20 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

- Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

- Cardinal Velasio De Paolis C.S., president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

- Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, apostolic nuncio to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

AMERICA: NATIONAL MARCH FOR LIFE ACTIVITIES AND LOCATIONS REPORT - In order to help pro-life pilgrims plan their trip for the upcoming national March for Life in Washington D.C., has compiled a list of events in and around D.C. Please check back frequently as this list will be updated as more details become available. If you know of an event that is not included on this list, contact us here.

For Listings of local pro-life marches, as well as bus trips going to the national March for Life from your area, please see:

Saturday, January 22

Mass for Life - Georgetown University
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

March for Life Convention
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Washington D.C.
LSN’s Matthew Anderson and Caitlin Bowers will rotate their presence at the LSN booth in the displays area. Stop by to say hello!

Sunday, January 23:

Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life
8:00 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Georgetown University, Washington D.C.
See full schedule.

March for Life Convention
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Washington D.C

Students for Life of America National Conference
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
North Bethesda Marriott
5701 Marinelli Road
Bethesda, Maryland 20852

March for Life White House Mini-Rally
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Lafayette Park, Washington D.C.

Opening mass for National Prayer Vigil for Life
6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.
All night prayer vigil to follow. See schedule for details.

Monday, January 24

Giant 2010 Youth Rally and Mass for Life
7:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Verizon Wireless Center - Washington, D.C.

Closing mass for National Prayer Vigil for Life
7:30 a.m.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington D.C.

Lutherans for Life Worship Service

Immanuel Lutheran Church
1801 Russell Rd.
Alexandria, VA 22301

March for Life Convention
8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Washington D.C.
Rally for Life
12:00 p.m.
National Mall and 7th Street
Washington D.C.

March for Life
1:00 p.m.
Washington D.C. National Mall
See details and route map.

National Pro-life Youth Rally
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Silent No More Awareness Campaign - testimonies
4:00 p.m.
Steps of the Supreme Court, Washington D.C.
Immediately following the March women from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign will be giving testimonies of their experiences with abortion.

March for Life Rose Dinner
6:00 p.m.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to Deliver Keynote Address
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Washington D.C.

If you know of an event that is not included on this list, contact us here.


CNA REPORT - Brother Jean Pierre Schumacher is one of two monks who escaped death in the massacre of Thibirine, Algeria in 1996. Since then, he has not ceased praying for the conversion of the Muslim extremists who killed seven members of his community.

The Trappist monk granted an interview to the Spanish weekly Alfa y Omega following the debut of the film “Of Gods and Men,” runner-up at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. The film recounts the last three years of the French Trappist monks at Thibirine, who were kidnapped and beheaded by members of the Armed Islamic Group

Brother Schumacher, who today lives at a Trappist monastery in Morocco, escaped death because the kidnappers did not see him.

The monk was the monastery's porter at the main entrance when nearly 20 armed men broke into the building. The men entered through a different door, grabbed the security guard and forced him to guide them to the brothers’ cells.”

The monks of Thibirine were “a contemplative community,” Brother Schumacher recalled. “We did not have social lives. We worked in the fields and the garden.”

He also noted that they got along well with their Muslim neighbors. “We lived on the mountain and our relations with them were positive and very fraternal. We were like a family. The monastery was cloistered, but there was a janitor entertained the guests. We attended religious services and funerals, whatever the people wanted. We had very good relations with them,” he added.

“We had a small gardening association together with four parents who worked with us. Each one had a small plot and sold their crops. At the end of the year, we shared the sales. It was a beautiful way of living together as a family. We didn’t talk about religion much, but we had good relations, and it was a way for us to communicate with their families,” Brother Schumacher said.

Although he doubts his Muslim neighbors were fundamentalists, Brother Schumacher said the community was vulnerable because they were surrounded by Muslims on the mountain.

When the situation became dangerous because of the advance of extremist groups, the monks decided not to leave the monastery because their vocation was “to be with them and share their lives.”

The Trappist monk emphasized that Algeria had strong “relations between Christians and Muslims.” He noted that in the world today, if there is conflict in between cultures and religions, “it is because we don't know each other well enough. When we mutually know each other, we are like brothers,” he said.

Brother Schumacher said he prays that the world may “progress towards universal brotherhood, that despite the differences between religions, nationalities and cultures, we may learn to know each other and mutually help each other.”

“We must forgive. God calls us to love each other,” he continued, noting that the community’s prior, Father Christian, forgave his assassins.

“Do I want to be a martyr? Not at all. We are here to live with the people, not to be killed,” he added.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: Capital punishment was abolished in 2006. For the secretary of the Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, other means are available to prevent crimes and uphold the law, which is often broken because of the country’s high level of corruption and impunity.

Manila (AsiaNews/ Agencies) – Filipino Catholics oppose the reintroduction of the death penalty as proposed by some senators. It is inhuman and will disproportionately affect the weakest, making the country’s justice system even more dysfunctional.

Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the Commission on Prison Pastoral Care of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, urged the authorities to find a long-term solution to the problem rather going for a quick fix. “It’s about time that they look at the problem of enforcing the law instead of looking at the death penalty,” he said.

In one of the most corrupt countries in the world, capital punishment would increase the risks of judicial error. Instead, the law should be first enforced, then arrest should be certain, and finally you prosecute. “As long as these are not strengthened, we will always have people being able to run away with the crime that they have committed,” Diamante said.

Abolished after the fall of the late dictator Marcos in 1987, the death penalty was reintroduced and abolished several times since then.

The latest time came in 2006 when then President Gloria Arroyo had the law abolished just before her trip to the Vatican to meet Pope Benedict XVI.

However, a recent crime wave with its lot of murders and abductions has pushed some politicians and civil society leaders to demand its reintroduction, at least for the worst crimes.

Not everyone is convinced of the effectiveness of the death penalty. In fact, current President BeniƱo Aquino is among its opponents.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – About 60 delegates from the Episcopal Conference of Europe, representing Bishops, national directors for university pastoral ministry, university chaplains and ecclesial associations and movements operating in the university world, will participate in the Congress to be held in Munich (Germany) from 27 to 30 January 2011, on the theme: “Formation, education and Gospel” - Prospects for university pastoral care in Europe. At the meeting promoted by the Council for the Episcopal Conference of Europe (CCEE), the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Society for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People will also attend. The goal of the meeting is primarily and above all to gather and evaluate the experience of the past and reflect upon the options and the priorities for future collaboration on university pastoral ministry in Europe, also considering the many changes wrought by the Bologna process - a reform that sanctioned the harmonization of higher education systems in Europe and has many consequences for the Church's work in European universities. Subsequently, the attendees will try to see which are the privileged areas where the lived faith and theological reflection are able to enter into a lively dialogue with scientific thinking.


CATH NEWS REPORT- Archbishop of Brisbane John Bathersby has expressed his sympathy and support for the Queensland flood victims and their loved ones, stressing that the Church is "determined to do everything we can to assist", reports the Catholic Leader.

"The outpouring of love in aid of their recovery is an example of God's Holy Spirit living in their hearts in these moments of darkness. It is a reminder of the goodness and generosity that God plants in all of us."Our prayers are with all those who have been affected by this flood through the loss of their homes, properties and possessions," he wrote in a message in the newspaper.

"I have asked the main agencies of the archdiocese (including education, welfare and parish services) to plan the Church's central response to the recovery in South East Queensland, as similar planning occurs in other dioceses throughout Queensland.

"In all of these efforts we also seek the intercession of St Mary MacKillop."

The Brisbane St Stephen's Cathedral precinct suffered minimal damage, said a separate report in theLeader, and the archdiocese was seeking to do what it can for parishioners, staff and the wider community.

Among plans that will form the Church's response include to identify accommodation available within the archdiocese to house people in need; assist parishes to rebuild in the most affected areas; provide resource kits on government grants available to individuals; establish a flood counselling phone line with the assistance of Centacare's counsellors and finally to establish a Catholic Emergency Relief Fund to provide more targeted financial assistance to those in greatest need.

Similar planning is occurring in other Dioceses throughout Queensland, with all ensuring that they are doing everything they can to assist victims.

With the scope for unskilled volunteering now reduced people are also encouraged to continue assisting by donating to either the St Vincent de Paul Society's national appeal or the Archdiocesan Catholic Emergency Relief Fund at

For enquiries for contributions to these funds please phone (07) 3336 9230.



St. Sebastian


Feast: January 20


Feast Day:January 20
Patron of:Soldiers, plagues, arrows, athletes

St Sebastian was born at Narbonne, in Gaul, but his parents were of Milan, in Italy, and he was brought up in that city. He was a fervent servant of Christ, and though his natural inclinations gave him an aversion to a military life, yet to be better able, without suspicion, to assist the confessors and martyrs in their sufferings, he went to Rome and entered the army under the emperor Carinus about the year 283. It happened that the martyrs, Marcus and Marcellianus, under sentence of death, appeared in danger of being shaken in their faith by the tears of their friends: Sebastian—seeing this, steps in and made them a long exhortation to constancy, which he delivered with the holy fire that strongly affected all his hearers. Zoe, the wife of Nicostratus, having for six years lost the use of speech by a palsy in her tongue, fell at his feet, and spoke distinctly; by the saint making the sign of the cross on her mouth. She, with her husband Nicostratus, who was master of the rolls, the parents of Marcus and Marcellianus, the jailer Claudius, and sixteen other prisoners, were converted; and Nicostratus, who had charge of the prisoners, took them to his own house, where Polycarp, a holy priest, instructed and baptized them. Chromatius, governor of Rome, being informed of this, and that Tranquillinus, the father of SS. Marcus and Marcellianus, had been cured of the gout by receiving baptism, desired to be instructed in the faith, being himself grievously afflicted with the same distemper. Accordingly, having sent for Sebastian, he was cured by him, and baptized with his son Tiburtius. He then enlarged the converted prisoners, made his slaves free, and resigned his prefectship.

Chromatius, with the emperor's consent, retired into the country in Campania, taking many new converts along with him. It was a contest of zeal, out of a mutual desire of martyrdom, between St. Sebastian and the priest Polycarp, which of them should accompany this troop, to complete their instruction, and which should remain in the city to encourage and assist the martyrs, which latter was the more dangerous province. St. Austin wished to see such contests of charity amongst the ministers of the church. Pope Caius, who was appealed to, judged it most proper that Sebastian should stay in Rome as a defender of the church. In the year 286, the persecution growing hot, the pope and others concealed themselves in the imperial palace, as a place of the greatest safety, in the apartments of one Castulus, a Christian officer of the court. St. Zoe was first apprehended, praying at St. Peter's tomb on the feast of the apostles. She was stifled with smoke, being hung by the heels over a fire. Tranquillinus, ashamed to be less courageous than a woman, went to pray at the tomb of St. Paul, and was seized by the populace and stoned to death. Nicostratus, Claudius, Castorius, and Victorinus were taken, and, after having been thrice tortured, were thrown into the sea. Tiburtius, betrayed by a false brother, was beheaded. Castulus, accused by the same wretch, was thrice put on the rack, and afterwards buried alive. Marcus and Marcellianus were nailed by the feet to a post, and having remained in that torment twenty-four hours, were shot to death by arrows.

St. Sebastian, having sent so many martyrs to heaven before him, was himself impeached before the Emperor Diocletian, who, having grievously reproached him with ingratitude, delivered him over to certain archers of Mauritania, to be shot to death. His body was covered with arrows, and he left for dead. Irene, the widow of St. Castulus, going to bury him, found him still alive, and took him to her lodgings, where, by care, he recovered of his wounds, but refused to flee, and even placed himself one day by a staircase where the emperor was to pass, whom he first accosted, reproaching him for his unjust cruelties against the Christians. This freedom of speech, and from a person, too, whom he supposed to have been dead, greatly astonished the emperor; but, recovering from his surprise, he gave orders for his being seized and beat to death with cudgels, and his body thrown into the common sewer. A pious lady, called Lucina, admonished by the martyr in a vision, got it privately removed, and buried it in the catacombs at the entrance of the cemetery of Calixtus. A church was afterwards built over his relics by Pope Damasus, which is one of the seven ancient stationary churches at Rome, but not one of the seven principal churches of that city, as some moderns mistake; it neither being one of the five patriarchal churches, nor one of the seventy-two old churches which give titles to cardinals. Vandelbert,

St. Ado, Eginard, Sigebert, and other contemporary authors relate that, in the reign of Louis Debonnair, Pope Eugenius II gave the body of St. Sebastian to Hilduin, Abbot of St. Denys, who brought it into France, and it was deposited at St. Medard's, at Soissons, on the 8th of December, in 826 With it is said to have been brought a considerable portion of the relics of St. Gregory the Great. The rich shrines of SS. Sebastian, Gregory, and Medard were plundered by the Calvinists in 1564, and the sacred bones thrown into a ditch, in which there was water. Upon the declaration of two eye-witnesses, they were afterwards found by the Catholics, and in 1578 enclosed in three new shrines, though the bones of the three saints could not be distinguished from each other. The head of this martyr, which was given to St. Willibrord by Pope Sergius, is kept at Esternach, in the duchy of Luxemburg. Portions of his relics are shown in the cathedral at St. Victor's; the Theatins and Minims at Paris; in four churches at Mantua; at Malacca, Seville, Toulouse; Munich in the ducal palace; Tournay in the cathedral; Antwerp in the Church of the Jesuits; and at Brussels in the chapel of the court, not at St. Gudule's, as some have mistaken. St. Sebastian has been always honoured by the church as one of her most illustrious martyrs. We read in Paul the deacon in what manner, in the year 680, Rome was freed from a raging pestilence by the patronage of this saint. Milan in 1575, Lisbon in 1599, and other places, have experienced in like calamities the effects of his intercession with God in their behalf.



St. Fabian


Feast: January 20


Feast Day:January 20
Died:January 20, 250 Rome, Italy

He succeeded St. Anterus in the pontificate in the year 236. Eusebius relates that in an assembly of the people and clergy, held for the election of a pastor in his room, a dove, unexpectedly appearing, settled, to the great surprise of all present, on the head of St. Fabian, and that this miraculous sign united the votes of the clergy and people in promoting him, though not thought of before, as being a layman and a stranger. He governed the church sixteen years, sent St. Dionysius and other preachers into Gaul, and condemned Privatus, a broacher of a new heresy in Africa, as appears from St. Cyprian. St. Fabian died a glorious martyr in the persecution of Decius, in 250, as St. Cyprian and St. Jerome witness. The former, writing to his successor, St. Cornelius, calls him an incomparable man, and says that the glory of his death had answered the purity and holiness of his life.

The saints made God, and the accomplishment of his holy will, the great object of all their petitions in their prayers, and their only aim in all their actions. "God," says St. Austin,[3] "in his promises to hear our prayers, is desirous to bestow himself upon us; if you find any thing better than him, ask it, but if you ask any thing beneath him, you put an affront upon him, and hurt yourself by preferring to him a creature which he framed: pray in the spirit and sentiment of love, in which the royal prophet said to him, 'Thou, O Lord, art my portion.'[4] Let others choose to themselves portions among creatures; for my part, Thou are my portion, Thee alone I have chosen for my whole inheritance."


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