Tuesday, January 18, 2011








TODAY'S GOSPEL: JAN. 18: MARK 2: 23- 28


VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, traditionally celebrated every year from 18 to 25 January, begins today.

The theme chosen for 2011 is: "One in the apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer" (cf. Acts 2:42).

The materials for the week of prayer and for the rest of 2011 have been jointly prepared by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.

Each day of the Week will have a different theme:

18 January: The Church in Jerusalem.

19 January: Many Members in One Body.

20 January: Devotion to the Apostles' Teaching Unites Us.

21 January: Sharing, an Expression of Our Unity.

22 January: Breaking the Bread in Hope.

23 January: Empowered to Action in Prayer.

24 January: Living in Resurrection Faith.

25 January: Called for the Service of Reconciliation.

Although the traditional period for celebrating this week of prayer is the month of January, in the southern hemisphere this coincides with the holidays so Churches sometimes seek other periods such as, for example, around the time of Pentecost, which is also a symbolically significant date for the unity of the Church, and was suggested by the Faith and Order movement in 1926.

In the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls at 5.30 p.m. on Tuesday 25 January, Feast of the Conversion of the Apostle Paul, Benedict XVI will preside at the celebration of Vespers to mark the close of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

.../ VIS 20110118 (270)


VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At 11.30 a.m. on Monday 24 January Benedict XVI's Message for the forty-fifth World Day of Social Communications will be presented in the Holy See Press Office. The theme of the Message is "Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age".

The press conference will be presided by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, Msgr. Paul Tighe, Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti and Angelo Scelzo, respectively president, secretary, adjunct secretary and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.


CNA REPORT: After the Jan. 8 shooting that killed six people and injured thirteen, including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson presided at funerals for two victims – one a personal friend, the other a young girl who had recently made her first Communion.

On two consecutive days, Jan. 13 and 14, funeral Masses were held for 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green and Federal Judge John Roll.

Christina Taylor Green and Judge John Roll

The bishop reflected on a heartbreaking week in a Jan. 18 letter to the clergy, religious, and lay faithful of the Tucson diocese, recounting his experience of a period in which the nation grieved while grasping for answers. Although the shooting suspect, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, has a troubled history of disturbing behavior, his motive for the attack remain unknown.

The following week, Bishop Kicanas reflected, had seen the emergence of hope and solidarity among Tucson residents, many of whom felt shocked and deeply saddened by the violence.

“This past week, so tragic because of the violence that ended six previous lives, that wounded 13 persons, that left families deeply grieving and that shocked our community to its core, also was a week of blessings,” he wrote.

Bishop Kicanas said he was inspired and consoled “to see how our community has pulled together, and to experience the outpouring of love and concern for the victims of the shootings and their families.” Many residents who did not know either Judge Roll or Christina Taylor Green, nevertheless attended their funeral Masses.

A poignant scene met attendees of Christina Taylor Green's funeral at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish.
Among the thousand of people lined up for a half-mile in support of her family, were a number of “angels” outfitted with white cloth wings.

The bishop said they “symbolized for me the Angels of Heaven that certainly surrounded Christina Taylor, and brought her home on that dreadful Saturday morning.”

“Tears welled in my eyes when I stood with Roxanna and John, her parents, and Dallas, her brother, looking up at the 9/11 Relic Flag that came from New York to be displayed at the church.” The young girl's birth had coincided with the terrorist attacks, and her unmistakable smile was featured in a book called “Faces of Hope,” about children born that day.

Celebrating the Mass of the Resurrection, Bishop Kicanas reflected on the precocious young girl's innocence and enthusiasm. He told the congregation that her short life had not been destroyed, but found its fulfillment.

“Christina Taylor went to meet and greet Gabby, her congresswoman,” he said. "Instead she met God, her Father, and Jesus Christ, her friend."

At the same church, the next day, Bishop Kicanas spoke in memory of his friend Judge John Roll. The federal judge was known in his parish as a daily Mass attendee. He happened to be in the line of fire on Jan. 8 only because, after attending Mass that morning, he stopped by the Congresswoman Giffords' public appearance, held outside a local Safeway grocery store.

Within the federal government, Judge Roll was deeply respected as a man who “spent more than 40 years serving the cause of justice,” in Bishop Kicanas' description.

According to local reports, more than 2,000 people attended his funeral – including Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, who hope to name a federal courthouse after Judge Roll.

“In the funeral procession to Holy Hope Cemetery, I was brought to tears as I witnessed the respect for Judge Roll and the concern for his family,” Bishop Kicanas wrote.

“Police and firefighters stood at attention,” he noted, as he went on to recall the honor that even strangers spontaneously paid to the respected judge as his coffin passed. “At intersections where the police halted traffic to let the procession through, people got out of their cars to salute or simply stand at attention.”

“We have experienced a tragedy that could have torn our community apart,” he wrote, “but that instead has bound us together.” The bishop is scheduled to participate in a prayer service at the site of the shootings on Jan. 20.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – The situation in Tunisia remains tense and uncertain, especially in the capital city of Tunisi, after President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali left the country in the wake of a popular protest which broke out in mid-December for price increases. In the clashes in recent weeks about 100 people died. Meanwhile today, 17 January, when the new Government should be announced, there are still reported clashes between army troops and men from the Presidential Guard. “What is happening now, as far as we can understand, also because the protagonists of the crisis do not know how the events will evolve, is due to the ruling elites' attempt to save themselves, abandoning that part of the regime most in view and hated,” Fides was told by Alessandro Politi, a political analyst associated with Security World Advisory. “After the first protests, the idea quickly emerged within the Tunisian establishment, certainly not new, of disassociating the regime from the dictator and from his corrupt personal entourage,” explains Politi.
According to analysts, the evolution of the crisis is linked to the financial capabilities of the Tunisian State, that is if it can “permit the adoption of economic policies that alleviate the conditions of the population.” The crisis in fact began when a demonstrator set himself on fire in protest against the confiscation by police of his unlicensed fruits and vegetables for sale. “This person no longer had any hope,” says Politi. “Maghreb is full of young people who have no prospects for the future.”
The Tunisian events are having a great echo throughout the North African and Middle Eastern world. According to some commentators the example of the Tunisian revolt could create a “domino effect” that would provoke the downfall of other regimes in the region. “For more than 40 years the domino theory has not worked in a mechanical way,” emphasises Politi. “The domino works if there is a political will and also a political climate that together lead to a series of changes. In 1848, in Europe, there was a domino effect, but many conditions are needed to achieve it. From a historical point of view, we can briefly say that the domino effect, never occurs on its own.”
“In the Tunisian example, the downfall of Ben Ali certainly concerns all those regimes in the Middle East who thought of maintaining power with a mix of economics and an iron fist. The problem is that the economic promises of Ben Ali clashed with the economic and world financial crisis. And other Countries are not in better situations,” concludes Politi.


ASIA NEWS REPORT- The transfer should occur within seven days. The step has become necessary to protect the life of the 45-year-old Christian mother of five because of death threats from Muslim fundamentalists. A Pakistani priest hopes the transfer will be done secretly to ensure maximum security. AsiaNews’ campaign on Bibi’s behalf has reached 8,700 signatures.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, may be moved to Multan Prison, an all-women facility, due to security concerns. The Christian community expressed their concern to the authorities that the 45-year-old mother of five may not be safe in Sheikhupura Prison (Punjab) because of constant death threats from extremists around the country.

Asia’s husband Ashiq Masih also appealed to the authorities to improve her security, who explicitly said her life was in danger.

Similarly, Ministry of Interior asked the Punjab government to increase security for Asia Bibi in Sheikhupura Jail.

An official report released on 11 January by the provincial intelligence agency said, “The severity of threat to the life of Asia Bibi spiked after the assassination of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer”. The late governor had expressed his support for the Christian woman and had called for changes to the blasphemy law.

The report also noted that “the provincial government is yet to take effective security measures. [. . .] Just one lady warden has been assigned to her inside the jail and five police constables deputed to secure the jail’s perimeter, along with two motorcycle squads assigned to patrol the jail periphery.” What is more, the guards assigned to her “are not vigilant and most of the times [. . .] are absent”.

In fact, Sheikhpura Prison superintendent Khalid Sheikh is aware of the situation. “I have received directives from the Punjab Home Department to shift Asia from Sheikhupura district jail to an all-women jail in Multan, as her life is in danger in Sheikhpura jail,” he said.

Her transfer is expected to take place under heavy security within the next seven days.

If she is moved to the Multan All-Women’s Prison, the Christian woman will wait out for her appeal case in Lahore High Court. So far, she has spent much of her time talking to female prison guards, catching up with the news from a television and reading an Urdu Bible.

She is not a fluent reader, said Father Obed Robert, a local priest who regularly visits her and supports her family, but during her months of incarceration she had taken particular comfort from the words of John, Chapter 14, Verse 1, which says: "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me."

Fr Andrew Nisari, a senior spokesman for the Catholic archdiocese of Lahore, toldAsiaNews, “It is good that Asia is being shifted, but the transfer should be kept confidential as the extremists are vigilantly looking for an opportunity to kill Asia Bibi, she should be flown in a helicopter as the matter is extremely serious."

In the meantime, the AsiaNews campaign in favour of Asia Bibi’s release has reached 8,700 signatures. Anyone who wants to sign up can write


CATH NEWS REPORT- The Australian Catholic University, is continuing to lead the charge on aggressive growth, enrolling for a second successive year 30 per cent over its government allocation, reports The Australian.

"There was an assumption that growth would not begin until 2012, when the caps on enrolments come off," said ACU vice-chancellor Greg Craven. "I suspect the biggest growth will be before 2012, and afterwards there will be a slower pattern of filling up toward the Bradley targets."

In a reported foretaste of the kind of market forces set to hit the university sector next year - when government caps on places are removed - Victoria University has suffered a 25 per cent drop in first-round offers.

Last year, nearly half of all universities enrolled 10 per cent or more over their allocation, with the government funding places up to 10 per cent.

After increasing offers by 30 per cent last year, La Trobe has reduced offers by 2.3 per cent this year. However, most universities appear to be projecting flat enrolments.This year, the number pursuing growth appears to have slowed, but the University of the Sunshine Coast reports a 16 per cent growth projection, Deakin 14 per cent, with several others, including Newcastle and Wollongong, aiming for a 10 per cent over-enrolment.

NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia have now all made first-round offers. Demand is generally up, but only slightly. Queensland saw first preferences up by 1.4 per cent and NSW up by 2.8 per cent, while Victorian applications were down by 1.3 per cent.

Professor Craven said without doubt the level of competition was increasing with marketing campaigns more visible.

"My assumption is this year and next will be ferociously competitive. It will be interesting to see [how low] the cut-off scores go," Professor Craven said.


St. Canute IV


Feast: January 19


Feast Day:January 19

1043, Denmark

Died:July 10, 1086, Odense
Major Shrine:Saint Canute's Cathedral, Odense
Patron of:Denmark

Martyr and King of Denmark, date of birth uncertain; d. 10 July 1086, the third of the thirteen natural sons of Sweyn II surnamed Estridsen. Elected king on the death of his brother Harold about 1080, he waged war on his barbarous enemies and brought Courland and Livonia to the faith. Having married Eltha, daughter of Robert, Count of Flanders, he had a son Charles, surnamed the good. He was a strong ruler, as is proved by his stern dealing with the pirate Eigill of Bornholm. The happiness of his people and the interests of the Church were the objects he had most at heart. To the cathedral of Roskilde, still the royal burying-place, he gave his own diadem. His austerity was equalled by his assiduity in prayer. An expedition to England, in favour of the Saxons against William the Conqueror, planned by him in 1085, failed through the treachery of his brother Olaf. His people having revolted on account of the cruelties of certain tax-collectors, Canute retired to the island of Funen. There, in the church of St. Alban, after due preparation for death, the king, his brother Benedict, and seventeen others were surrounded and slain, 10 July, 1086. His feast is 19 January, translation, 10 July; his emblems, a lance or arrows, in memory of the manner of his death.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: JAN. 18: MARK 2: 23- 28

Mark 2: 23 - 28
23One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.24And the Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?"25And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him:26how he entered the house of God, when Abi'athar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?"27And he said to them, "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath;28so the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath."

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