Thursday, January 6, 2011




RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass of the Epiphany

To the blare of trumpets, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI processed to the High Altar of St. Peter’s Basilica on Thursday morning, where he celebrated the Mass of the Epiphany, assisted by two Cardinal Deacons, His Eminence Gianfranco Ravasi, who is President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and His Eminence Walter Brandmuller, President emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.

The readings were from the Book of the Prophet, Isaiah, in which the Holy City of Jerusalem is exhorted to rise up in splendour and receive homage from all the kings and princes of the world; then the 71st Psalm which sings with joyful and certain expectation of the day in which all the Nations of the Earth shall adore the One, True God. A passage from the Epistle of Paul to Ephesians was read, which proclaims the universal salvific mission of Christ and the creation of the Gentiles as co-heirs in His kingdom, full members of His body; the Deacon chanted the Gospel, taken from St. Mark, which tells the story of the Magi who were the first Gentiles to worship God in the flesh.

In his homily, Pope Benedict said that the story of the wise men who followed the star reveals that the universe is not the result of chance, as some would have us believe.

“Contemplating it,” he said, “we are invited to read something profound: the wisdom of the Creator, the inexhaustible creativity of God, his infinite love for us.”

The Pope exhorted the faithful not to let our minds be limited by theories that, even if they are true so far as they go, and not in competition with the faith, can nevertheless bring us only so far.

“In the beauty of the world, in its mystery, its greatness and rationality,” said Pope benedict, “we cannot fail to read the eternal rationality; we can not help but be guided by it to the one God, Creator of heaven and earth.”

The great king, Herod, saw not with the eyes of reason, but with those of worldly power, who was disposed to do anything at all in order to assure his grip on it.

“Herod,” said the Holy Father, “is a character whom we do not like, whom we instinctively judge in a negative way for its brutality. But we should ask ourselves: maybe there is something of Herod in us? Perhaps we, too, on occasion, see God as a kind of rival? Perhaps we too are blind to his signs, deaf to his words, because we think they put limits on our lives and do not allow us to dispose of our existence howsoever we will?

“Dear brothers and sisters,” he continued, “when we see God in this way we end up feeling dissatisfied and unhappy, because do not we let ourselves be guided by Him who is the foundation of all things. We must remove from our minds and our hearts the idea of rivalry, the idea that giving space to God means imposing a limit for ourselves; we must open ourselves to the certainty that God is omnipotent love who takes nothing away - no threat, indeed, He is the only one capable of offering us the opportunity to live fully, to experience real joy.

After Mass, the Holy Father prayed the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square, during which the Holy Father had greetings for the faithful in many languages, including English:

I greet all the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer. On this, the Solemnity of the Epiphany, the Church rejoices in the revelation of Jesus Christ as the light of all peoples. May the light of Christ’s glory fill you and your families with joy, strengthen Christians everywhere in their witness to the Gospel, and lead all mankind to the fullness of truth and life which God alone can give. Upon all of you, and in a special way upon the children present, I invoke the Lord’s abundant blessings!

Also at the Angelus, Pope Benedict offered special greetings to all the faithful of the Eastern Churches, which celebrate Christmas tomorrow, praying that the Goodness of God, manifest in Christ Jesus – the Word Incarnate – might strengthen all in faith, hope and love, and give comfort to those communities, which are at present facing trials.

The Holy Father as well recalled the work of the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood, which celebrates the World Day for Missionary Childhood each year on the Epiphany.

Noting that through parishes and schools throughout the world, there is a spiritual network of children and young people ready and willing to help their brothers and sisters in difficulty, the Holy Father said the children’s prayer and dedication is a real contribution to the mission of the Church.


NEWS.COM.AU REPORT: THREATS of terror attacks on at least four Australian churches prompted police to protect thousands of Coptic Christians during their Christmas Eve services.

Police yesterday surrounded the Coptic Orthodox churches in Sydney after a bomb blast killed 21 people during a New Year's Eve Coptic church service in Alexandria, Egypt.

Coptic Churches around the world are also on high alert as their Christmas Eve services are scheduled for tomorrow.

On Thursday night in Sydney, bomb searches and police helicopters were part of the security measures that soured Christmas Eve celebrations.

Some church officials are worried that an attack may eventuate when least expected on any on of their churches, monasteries or schools in Australia.

A police detail searched St Antonious and St Paul parish in Guildford, in Sydney's west, yesterday afternoon prior to its 7pm Christmas Eve services, a church official told AAP.

During the service, teams of officers surrounded the area while helicopters with spotlights searched the local suburb.Up to 700 parishioners were estimated to be in attendance.

"There were threats to our church - three or four churches in the (Sydney) Coptic church," said the man who asked not to be identified.

He said NSW Police contacted the church this week to say the Guildford site and three others in Sydney had been the target of a terrorist threat.

Archangel and St Bishoy at Mt Druitt, in Sydney's west, St Demiana and St Athanasius at Punchbowl, in Sydney's southwest and St Mary and St Merkorious, at Rhodes, were understood to be on the threat list.

A woman witnessed a police operation in her neighbourhood at Arncliffe, where St Mark Coptic Church is located in Sydney's south.

"The police helicopter is sweeping the suburb with this massive spotlight," the woman told AAP.

All of the churches cancelled their traditional dinners that would normally happen after Christmas Eve services.

The spokesman said yesterday's threat, which resulted in no reported incidents, could have been a diversion.

"They want you to focus on the area that they're not going to be touching," he said.

"And even though the threat was for Christmas Eve, they might do it on a normal Sunday. That's how they work."

Police issued a statement to AAP following yesterday's operations.

"The NSW Police Force is closely monitoring international developments in the wake of the attack on the Coptic community in Egypt," the statement read.

"Police have met with local Coptic leaders and are currently working with them to allay any fears within that community."

Peter Mikhail attended the Guildford service and said the threats soured the service and have put fear into the congregation.

"It was not a nice way to be celebrating Christmas here in a country where you're supposed to be safe," Mr Mikhail told AAP.

He said the traditionally long mass but had to be cut short at police request and people were dispersed immediately.

"We went to church today feeling quite apprehensive thinking 'oh my God' what if something does take place," Mr Mikhail said.

"I'm worried about my wife, I'm worried about my kids."

Read more:


CNA REPORT: The president of the Spanish soccer association, Angel Maria Villar, and the coach of Spain’s national team, Vicente del Bosque, dedicated the country's World Cup trophy to St. James the Apostle on Dec. 27.

The Spanish soccer team won the World Cup in South Africa in July 2010.

Villa spoke at the Cathedral of St. James in Santiago de Compostela and referred to the Spanish soccer team's devotion to the apostle. He recalled that during his last visit to the cathedral in April 2010 he prayed for the success of the team at the World Cup.

“We asked a lot from you, but we trusted that you would hear our prayers. And you did. We are here today with the World Cup in our hands to dedicate it to you, St. James, because you helped us to become world champions,” Villa said.

“We have come here as victors of the World Cup, traveling down different roads from the ones you crossed on your way to Galicia ... Our paths have been different and we have traveled them in faraway lands, 12 hours and thousands of miles away by plane, in South Africa, a land our soccer team barely knew, and yet a land in which our soccer team experienced its greatest glory,” Villa said.

He noted that the 2010 victory was an achievement the country had only dreamed of since 1934. “We had won many other tournaments – almost all of them. We had triumphed in the greatest of soccer matches but not in the World Cup,” he added.

“We put everything we had into it, every human and technological resource at our disposal, as well as an unbeatable group of players, a truly golden generation. We tied up every lose end, and we prayed to you for victory. It was very difficult. We faced great rivals. But we had faith in you, St. James, and in the quality of our players and their coaches.”

On July 11, he continued, “all of our dreams came true. Millions of fans came to watch inspired by a fantastic group of players. We made our way through the World Cup, in suffering and in joy, but always with faith and hope and convinced that in the end, the victory could be ours. And it was.”

For this reason, the players have returned with the trophy they won “through great effort and brilliance,” he continued. “We won it by following the paths you showed us 2,000 years ago. These paths are none other than those of humility, kindness, generosity, solidarity, patience, temperance, faith and hope in what we are doing. Thus we traveled to South Africa and thus we return home to you, in Santiago de Compostela,” Villa concluded.


UCAN REPORT- Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun is inviting Catholics in Hong Kong to a seven-hour prayer gathering to repent and do penance for recent Church “failures” in mainland China.

Prayer gathering to repent for China Church thumbnail
Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun
The retired Hong Kong bishop told that the illicit bishop’s ordination in Chengde and the Eighth National Congress of Catholic Representatives were “tragedies” for the Church.

Those participants who acted against communion with the Pope did so because they have forgotten the nature of the Church and did not respect Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to Chinese Catholics, he said.

“These tragedies were beyond our control. Though we knew things would happen, we did not expect total calamity,” he said.

Hoping the Hong Kong faithful can repent and do penance for what happened, he explained that “we are in the same mystery of Christ. Our brothers fell because we did not pray hard enough and give sufficient support to them. So we should share the failure.”

The gathering to be held on Jan. 14 at the Mary Help of Christians Church will feature adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, reflections, prayers and a Mass.

The organizing committee suggests participants bring water and bread for a penance supper.

Through prayers and penance, Cardinal Zen hopes God will help Chinese Catholics follow their conscience and to share the difficulties and pain of the Church in China.


CBN REPORT; Ohio may have stumbled across the next new voice of America -- a homeless man's golden voice discovered while living on the streets.

Ted Williams became an overnight sensation after a video of him talking like a broadcaster was posted on YouTube.

A Columbus Dispatch reporter discovered Williams as he stood on the side of the road using his incredible voice to collect money on the street.

Watch the video here.

The video reached more than 4 million views in 24 hours. Now, media outlets across the country are fighting to hire Williams.

Williams said he's been in radio before but fell on hard times after years of alcohol and drug abuse.

He told the CBS "Early Show" that he believes God spared his voice in order to give him a second chance at life.

Williams has been offered a full-time job and a mortgage on a home by Quicken Loans Arena and the Cleveland Cavaliers.



ALL AFRICA REPORT: The Catholic Diocese of Banjul, The Gambia will be hosting the Administration Council of the Pope John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel, observers from the Italian and German Catholic Bishops' Conferences, and the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" in Rome, Italy, from 7 to 14 February, 2011, a press release signed by Bishop Robert P. Ellison of Banjul reveals.

Below is the full text of the release:

Up to the end of February 2009, over 100 projects have been approved by the JPII Foundation in The Gambia. During the past twenty-five years, the total amount The Gambia has benefited from the Foundation amounts to one million Euros, equivalent to D32, 000, 000.00 (thirty two million dalasis). A local planning committee has already been designated to start work on the preparations for this important conference. The conference is ours to host and we hope to accomplish this challenge in a way that will do justice to the reputation of The Gambia as a place of welcome, hospitality and competence.The Pope John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel is an organisation of the Catholic Church that was created on February 22, 1984 by the late Pope John Paul II to provide support for the Sahelians affected by drought conditions regardless of race and religion, on the basis of projects submitted according to specific criteria and selected by the Foundation's Projects Committee.

Yours sincerely,Bishop Robert PEllison CSSp Bishop of Banjul


Epiphany of the Lord

Feast: January 6


Feast Day:January 6

EPIPHANY, which in the original Greek signifies appearance or manifestation, as St. Austin observes, is a festival principally solemnised in honour of the discovery Jesus Christ made of himself to the Magi, or wise men; who, soon after his birth, by a particular inspiration of Almighty God, came to adore him and bring him presents. Two other manifestations of our Lord are jointly commemorated on this day in the office of the church: that at his baptism, when the Holy Ghost descended on him in the visible form of a dove, and a voice from heaven was heard at the same time: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The third manifestation was that of his divine power at the performance of his first miracle, the changing of water into wine, at the marriage at Cana, "by which he manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him." Upon so many accounts ought this festival to challenge a more than ordinary regard and veneration; but from none more than us Gentiles, who, in the persons of the wise men, our first-fruits and forerunners, were on this day called to the faith and worship of the true God.

The call of the Gentiles had been foretold for many ages before in the clearest terms. David and Isaias abound with predictions of this import; the like is found in the other prophets; but their completion was a mercy reserved for the times of the Messiah. It was to him, who was also the consubstantial Son of God, that the eternal Father had made the promise of all "nations for his inheritance"; who being born the spiritual king of the whole world, for the salvation of "all men," would therefore manifest his coming both to those that "were near, and those that were afar off," that is, both to Jew and Gentile. Upon his birth, angels were dispatched ambassadors to the Jews, in the persons of the poor shepherds, and a star was the divine messenger on this important errand to the Gentiles of the East; conformably to Balaam's prophecy, who foretold the coming of the Messias by that sign.

The summons of the Gentiles to Bethlehem to pay homage to the world's Redeemer was obeyed by several whom the Scripture mentions under the name and title of , or wise men; but is silent as to their number. The general opinion, supported by the authority of St. Leo, Caesarius, Bede, and others, declares for three. However, the number was small, comparatively to those many others that saw that star, no less than the wise men, but paid no regard to this voice of heaven: admiring, no doubt, its uncommon brightness, but culpably ignorant of the divine call it, or hardening their hearts against its salutary impressions, overcome by their passions, and the dictates of self-love. In like manner do Christians, from the same cause, turn a deaf ear to the voice of the divine grace in their souls, and harden their hearts against it in such numbers, that, notwithstanding their call, their graces, and the mysteries wrought in their favour, it is to be feared that even among many "are called, but few are chosen." It was the case with the Jews, "with the most of whom," St. Paul says, "God was not well pleased."

The wise men being come, by the guidance of the star, into Jerusalem, or near it, it there disappears: whereupon they reasonably suppose they are come to their journey's end, and upon the point of being blessed with the sight of the new-born king: that, on their entering the royal city, they shall in every street and corner hear the acclamations of a happy people, and learn with ease the way to the royal palace, made famous to all posterity by the birth of their king and Saviour. But to their great surprise there appears not the least sign of any such solemnity. The court and city go quietly on in seeking their pleasure and profit! and in this unexpected juncture what shall these weary travellers do? Were they governed by human prudence, this disappointment is enough to make them abandon their design, and retreat as privately as they can to screen their reputation, and avoid the raillery of the populace, as well as to prevent the resentment of the most zealous of tyrants, already infamous for blood. But true virtue makes trials the matter and occasion of its most glorious triumphs. Seeming to be forsaken by God, on their being deprived of extraordinary, they have recourse to the ordinary means of information. Steady in the resolution of following the divine call, and fearless of danger, they inquire in the city with equal confidence and humility, and pursue their inquiry in the very court of Herod himself: "Where is he that is born king of the Jews? " And does not their conduct teach us, under all difficulties of the spiritual kind, to have recourse to those God has appointed to be our spiritual guides, for their advice and direction? To "obey and be subject to them," that so God may lead us to himself, as he guided the wise men to Bethlehem by the directions of the priests of the Jewish church.

The whole nation of the Jews, on account of Jacob's and Danial's prophecies, were then in the highest expectation of the Messiah's appearance among them; the place of whose birth having been also foretold, the wise men, by the interposition of Herod's authority, quickly learned, from the unanimous voice of the Sanhedrim, or great council of the Jews, that Bethlehem was the place which was to be honoured with his birth, as having been pointed out by the prophet Micheas several ages before. How sweet and adorable is the conduct of divine providence! He teaches saints his will by the mouths of impious ministers, and furnishes Gentiles with the means of admonishing and confounding the blindness of the Jews. But graces are lost on carnal and hardened souls. Herod had then reigned upwards of thirty years; a monster of cruelty, ambition, craft, and dissimulation; old age and sickness had at that time exasperated his jealous mind in an unusual manner. He dreaded nothing so much as the appearance of the Messiah, whom the generality then expected under the notion of a temporal prince, and whom he could consider in no other light than that of a rival and pretender to his crown; so no wonder that he was startled at the news of his birth. All Jerusalem, likewise, instead of rejoicing at such happy tidings, were alarmed and disturbed together with him. We abhor their baseness; but do not we, at a distance from courts, betray several symptoms of the baneful influence of human respects running counter to our duty? Likewise in Herod we see how extravagantly blind and foolish ambition is. The divine infant came not to deprive Herod of his earthly kingdom, but to offer him one that is eternal; and to teach him a holy contempt of all worldly pomp and grandeur. Again, how senseless and extravagant a folly was it to form designs against those of God himself! who confounds the wisdom of the world, baffles the vain projects of men, and laughs their policy to scorn. Are there no Herods nowadays? Persons who are enemies to the spiritual kingdom of Christ in their hearts ?

The tyrant, to ward off the blow he seemed threatened with, has recourse to his usual arts of craft and dissimulation. He pretends a no less ardent desire of paying homage to the new-born king, and covers his impious design of taking away his life under the specious pretext of going himself in person to adore him. Wherefore, after particular examination about the time when the wise men first saw this star, and a strict charge to come back and inform him where the child was to be found, he dismissed them to the place determined by the chief priests and scribes. Herod was then near his death; but as a man lives, such does he usually die. The near prospect of eternity seldom operates in so salutary a manner on habitual sinners as to produce in them a true and sincere change of heart.

The wise men readily complied with the voice of the Sanhedrim, notwithstanding the little encouragement these Jewish leaders afford them from their own example to persist in their search; for not one single priest or scribe is disposed to bear them company in seeking after, and paying due homage to, their own king. The truths and maxims of religion depend not on the morals of those that preach them; they spring from a higher source—the wisdom and veracity of God himself. When, therefore, a message comes undoubtedly from God, the misdemeanours of him that immediately conveys it to us can be no just plea or excuse for our failing to comply with it. As, on the other side, an exact and ready compliance will then be a better proof of our faith and confidence in God, and so much the more recommend us to his special conduct and protection, as it did the wise men. For no sooner had they left Jerusalem, but, to encourage their faith and zeal, and to direct their travels, God was pleased to show them the star again, which they had seen in the East, and which continued to go before them till it conducted them to the very place where they were to see and adore their God and Saviour. Here its ceasing to advance, and probably sinking lower in the air, tells them in its mute language: "Here shall you find the new-born king." The holy men, with an unshaken and steady faith, and in transports of spiritual joy, entered the poor cottage, rendered more glorious by this birth than the most sumptuous stately palace in the universe, and finding the child with his mother, they prostrate themselves, they adore him, they pour forth their souls in his presence in the deepest sentiments of praise, thanksgiving, and a total sacrifice of themselves. So far from being shocked at the poverty of the place, and at his unkingly appearance, their faith rises and gathers strength on the sight of obstacles which, humanly speaking, should extinguish it. It captivates their understanding; it penetrates these curtains of poverty, infancy, weakness, and abjection; it casts them on their faces, as unworthy to look up to this star, this God of Jacob; they confess him under this disguise to be the only and eternal God: they own the excess of his goodness in becoming man, and the excess of human misery which requires for its relief so great a humiliation of the Lord of glory. St. Leo thus extols their faith and devotion: "When a star had conducted them to adore Jesus they did not find him commanding devils, or raising the dead, or restoring sight to the blind, or speech to the dumb, or employed in any divine actions; but a silent babe, under the care of a solicitous mother, giving no sign of power, but exhibiting a miracle of humility."

The Magi, pursuant to the custom of the eastern nations, where the persons of great princes are not to be approached without presents, present to Jesus, as a token of homage, the richest produce their countries afforded, gold, frankincense, and myrrh— gold, as an acknowledgment of his regal power; incense, as a confession of his Godhead; and myrrh, as a testimony that he was become man for the redemption of the world.

The holy kings being about to return home, God, who saw the hypocrisy and malicious designs of Herod, by a particular intimation diverted them from their purpose of carrying back word to Jerusalem where the child was to be found. So, to complete their fidelity and grace, they returned not to Herod's court; but, leaving their hearts with their infant Saviour, took another road back into their own country. In like manner, if we would persevere in the possession of the graces bestowed on us, we must resolve from this day to hold no correspondence with a sinful world, the irreconcilable enemy to Jesus Christ; but to take a way that lies a distance from it, I mean that which is marked out to us by the saving maxims of the gospel. And pursuing this with an unshaken confidence in his grace and merits, we shall safely arrive at our heavenly country.

It has never been questioned but that the holy Magi spent the rest of their lives in the fervent service of God. The ancient author of the imperfect comment on St. Matthew, among the works of St. Chrysostom, says they were afterwards baptized in Persia by St. Thomas the apostle, and became themselves preachers of the gospel. Their bodies were said to have been translated to Constantinople under the first Christian emperors. From thence they were conveyed to Milan, where the place in which they were deposited is still shown in the Dominicans' church of that city. The emperor Frederick Barbarossa having taken Milan, caused them to be translated to Cologne in Germany, in the twelfth century.




Saint André Bessette, CSC (French: Frère André; August 9, 1845 – January 6, 1937), born Alfred Bessette and since his canonisation sometimes known asSaint André of Montreal,[1] was a Holy Cross Brother and a significant figure of theRoman Catholic Church amongFrench-Canadians, credited with thousands of reported miraculoushealings.[2] He was declared venerable in 1978 and was beatified in 1982.[3] Pope Benedict XVI approved sainthood for Blessed André on February 19, 2010, with the formal canonization taking place on October 17, 2010.[3] [4]


Alfred Bessette was born in Mont-Saint-Grégoire, Quebec[5] (then Canada East), a small town situated 40 kilometers south-east of Montreal. He was so frail when he was born that the curé baptized him on an emergency basis and then conditionally the following day.[5][6] He was from a working class family; his father, Isaac Bessette, was a carpenter and lumberman and his mother, Clothilde Foisy Bessette, saw to the education of her ten children (two others died in infancy). In 1849, with employment scarce and his family living in poverty, Alfred's father decided to move to Farnham (in Quebec) where he hoped to earn a living as a lumberman. Tragically, he lost his life in an accident, crushed by a falling tree, when Alfred was only nine years old. His mother found herself widowed at the age of forty with ten children in her care. She died of tuberculosis within three years, and Alfred found himself orphaned at the age of twelve.[6] Later Brother André would say, "I rarely prayed for my mother, but I often prayed to her." He was sent to live with his mother's sister, Rosalie Nadeau, and her husband Timothée, who attempted to establish Alfred in various trades, but the boy's fragile health (which would afflict him throughout his life) made sustained manual labor difficult. Since he obviously did not have a trade, Alfred began a thirteen-year odyssey wandering from job to job with few belongings and little education. He was barely able to write his name or to read his prayer book.At various times he worked as a tinsmith, blacksmith, baker, shoemaker and wagon driver.

From his earliest days, Alfred exhibited an unusually intense spirituality.He would often spend his scant free time praying before a crucifix or evangelizing his friends, and his many self-imposed penances drew the admiring rebuke of his gentle aunt, who was concerned that the boy was endangering his already poor health.

When he was 20 years old, Alfred joined many Canadians who were emigrating to the United States to work in a textile mill of New England, then operating at full output to supply the needs of the Union army in the American Civil War. Though his health was not robust, he worked doggedly. "Despite my limitations," he said, "There was no one who worked harder than me."hen the Canadian federation was formed in 1867, he returned to his native country.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: JAN. 6: LUKE 4: 14: 22

Luke 4: 14 - 22
14And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country.15And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.16And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read;17and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written,18"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,19to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."20And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.21And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."22And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, "Is not this Joseph's son?"

No comments: