Monday, February 14, 2011












VATICAN CITY, 12 FEB 2011 (VIS REPORT) - At midday today the Holy Father received priests and seminarians of the Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo, which is currently celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. The group was accompanied Msgr. Massimo Camisaca, founder and president of the fraternity, and by Fr. Julian Carron, president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation. IMAGE RADIO VATICANA

"This moment brings to mind my long friendship with Msgr. Luigi Giussani", said the Pope, "and stands as testimony to the fecundity of his charism. On this occasion I would like to respond to two questions which our meeting today raises in my mind: What is the place of the ordained priesthood in the life of the Church? What is the place of fraternal life in the experience of priests?

"The Christian priesthood is not an end unto itself. It was established by Jesus for the birth and life of the Church. ... The glory and joy of the priesthood is to serve Christ and His mystical Body. ... The presence of priestly vocations is a sure sign of the authenticity and vitality of a Christian community. God calls at all times, also to the priesthood. There is no true and fruitful growth in the Church without an authentic priestly presence to support and nourish it".

In this context the Pope expressed his gratitude "to everyone who dedicates their energy to the formation of priests and to the reform of priestly life. Like the rest of the Church, in fact, the priesthood also needs continual renewal, rediscovering the most essential traits of its being in the life of Jesus". Such renewal requires "profound education in meditation and prayer", as well as "a study of theology which enables Christian truths to be discovered in a way that associates them to the life of the individual and the community".

Going on then to refer to the importance of the shared life, the Holy Father explained that it is not simply "a strategy to respond to the lack of priests. Nor is it, per se, merely a stay against man's solitude and weakness. All this can also exist, of course, but only if the fraternal life is understood and experienced as a journey in which to immerse oneself in the reality of communion. ... No priest administers things which belong to him; rather, with his brethren he participates in a sacramental gift which comes directly from Jesus".

"Living with other people means accepting the need for one's own continual conversion. Above all it means discovering the beauty of such a journey, the joy of humility, of penance, but also of conversation, of mutual forgiveness, of reciprocal support".

Benedict XVI concluded by highlighting the importance "of abiding with Jesus in order to be able to abide with other people. This is the heart of the mission. In the company of Christ and of his brothers each priest can find the energy necessary to take care of mankind, to shoulder the spiritual and material needs he encounters, to teach - with ever-new words dictated by love - the eternal truths of the faith for which our contemporaries also thirst".

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VATICAN CITY, 12 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted:

- The resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Monrovia, Liberia, presented by Archbishop Michael Kpakala Francis, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Lewis Zeigler.

- The resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Poitiers, France, presented by Archbishop Albert Rouet, upon having reached the age limit.

On Friday 11 February it was made public that he:

- Appointed Bishop John Barwa S.V.D. of Rourkela, India, as archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar (area 32,440, population 12,047,000, Catholics 63,700, priests 120, religious 300), India. The archbishop-elect was born in Gaibira, India in 1955, he was ordained a priest in 1985 and consecrated a bishop in 2006. He succeeds Archbishop Raphael Cheenath S.V.D., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Elevated the apostolic prefecture of Likoula (area 66,044, population 167,000, Catholics 45,000, priests 8, religious 29), Republic of Congo, to the rank of diocese with the same territorial configuration as before, giving it the name of Impfondo. He appointed Fr. Jean Gardin C.S.Sp., apostolic perfect of Likoula, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Saint-Pois, France in 1941 and ordained a priest in 1969.

- Appointed Fr. Victor Abagna Mossa, pastoral care worker among Congolese residents in the diocese of Namur, Belgium, as bishop of Owando (area 113,250, population 570,000, Catholics 397,064, priests 62, permanent deacons 1, religious 56), Republic of Congo. The bishop-elect was born in Makoua, Republic of Congo in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1974.

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VATICAN CITY, 13 FEB 2011 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Commenting on today's Gospel reading (the continuation of the "Sermon on the Mount"), the Pope noted how, "following the 'Beatitudes', which are His programme for life, Jesus proclaims the new Law, His 'Torah' as our Jewish brothers call it. Indeed, the Messiah, at His coming, was also to bring the definitive revelation of the Law, and this is precisely what Jesus says: 'Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil'. Then, turning to His disciples, He adds: 'Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven'. But", the Pope asked, "in what does this 'fullness' of Christ's Law, this 'higher' justice He requires, consist?

"Jesus explains it by a series of antitheses between the ancient commandments and His way of re-presenting them", Pope Benedict added. "He begins each phase with: 'You have heard that it was said ...', then affirms: 'But I say to you'. ... This way of speaking made a great impression on the people ... because that 'I say to you' meant that He was claiming the authority of God, source of Law, for Himself. The novelty of Jesus consists, essentially, in the fact that He 'fills' the commandments with the love of God, with the power of the Holy Spirit Who dwells in Him. And we, through faith in Christ, can open ourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit, which makes us capable of experiencing divine love.

"Thus each precept becomes true as a requirement of love, and they all come together in one single commandment: love God with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself. 'Love is the fulfilling of the law', St. Paul writes".

"Faced with this requirement", the Holy Father went on, "the pitiful case of the four Roma children, who died last week on the outskirts of this city when their shack burned down, forces us to face the question whether a more united and fraternal society, more coherent in charity, in other words, more Christian, would not have been able to avoid this tragic event. And this also holds true for many other painful episodes, more or less well-known, which happen every day in our cities and countries".

"Perhaps it is no mere chance that Jesus' first great discourse is called the 'Sermon on the Mount'", the Holy Father concluded. "Moses climbed Mount Sinai to receive the Laws of God and bring them to the Chosen People. Jesus is God's own Son Who came down from heaven in order to bring us to heaven, to bring us to the heights of God, along the way of love. Indeed, He Himself is this way and all we have to do is to follow Him so as to put God's will into practice and enter His Kingdom of eternal life".

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VATICAN CITY, 14 FEB 2011 (VIS) - In the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace at midday on Monday 21 February, the Holy Father will preside at an ordinary public consistory for the canonisation of the following blesseds:

- Guido Maria Conforti, Italian archbishop-bishop and founder of the Pious Society of St. Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions (1865-1931).

- Luigi Guanella, Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Servants of Charity and of the Institute of the Daughters of Our Lady of Providence (1842-1915).

- Bonifacia Rodriguez Castro, Spanish foundress of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters, Servants of St. Joseph (1837-1905).

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VATICAN CITY, 14 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Four prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop John F. Du of Dumaguete.

- Bishop Precioso D. Cantillas S.D.B. of Maasin.

- Bishop Leonardo Y. Medroso of Tagbilaran.

- Bishop Angel N. Lagdameo of Jaro.

- Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, Spain.

On Saturday 12 February, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

- Cardinal Ricardo J. Vidal, archbishop emeritus of Cebu, Philippines, accompanied by former Auxiliary Bishop Antonio R. Ranola, on their "ad limina" visit.

- Archbishop Antonio Mennini, apostolic nuncio to Great Britain.


CNA REPORT: A Mass commemorating “Terri’s Day,” the sixth anniversary of Terri Schiavo’s death, will take place on March 31 at the chapel of Ave Maria University in Florida.

Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, will be the main celebrant for the Mass. His organization and the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, formerly known as the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, established the commemorative day in 2007. The event’s full name is the International Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Terri Schindler Schiavo, and All of Our Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters.

The day is intended to foster education, prayer and activism concerning discrimination against the cognitively disabled. It also encourages advocacy for those in situations similar to Terri Schiavo, a severely disabled woman who died after a court order allowed her husband to have her nutrition and hydration removed.

“We must continue to raise the awareness of the potential threat of hospital 'ethics committees' across the country that are seeking to remove basic care, food and water even from those who are not terminally ill,” commented Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother.

Schindler said that in all but 10 states, doctors and hospitals have been empowered to disregard advance directives even in cases when they call for treatment with food and water.

“With the growing concern of health care rationing and the government wanting to get involved in our health care decisions, this issue will get much worse,” he predicted.

Terri’s Network has supported more than 1,000 families in its efforts to help protect the rights of people with cognitive disabilities.

More information about the event and about the defense of the medically vulnerable is available at the organization’s website,


ASIA NEWS REPORT: In Manila, more than 5 thousand people of all faiths manifest their will to live. Criticism of President Aquino accused of maintaining an ambiguous position, despite a steady dialogue with the Church and pro-life associations.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than 5 thousand Catholics, Protestant and Muslim Filipinos demonstrated yesterday in Pasay City (Manila) against the law on reproductive health and to show their support for life.The event was well attended by Catholic priests and religious leaders, including many politicians involved in the ongoing debate in parliament for the approval of the law.

"We are with you for life," said Fatima Aliah Dimaporo, a Muslim and head of the district of Lanao del Norte (Mindanao). Speaking to the crowd, the woman denounced the promotion of contraceptives andfamily planning in all schools and hospitals in the country. Dimaporo stressed that the law is a risk to the health of women and does not solve the problem of poverty. According to Eric Manalang event organizer and president of Pro-Life Philippines, said the presence of Muslims and Protestants shows that "the appeal against the draft law on reproductive health is not supported only by Catholics but by all those who are against abortion and family planning”. The activist denounces the ambiguous position of President Aquino, who after talks with the bishops had declared his intention to cancel the current bill, and then backed down.

Meanwhile today, the feast of St. Valentine, the supporters of the law have been distributing free condoms and contraceptives in the slums of Manila. The act takes place every year and aims to rally support in districts where the number of illegal abortions is highest.

The debate on Reproductive Health has been ongoing for four years. The law rejects abortion clinics, but promotes a family planning program, urging couples to have no more than two children, penalizes the conscientious objection of doctors and health professionals, and promotes voluntary sterilization.The Catholic Church and associations argue instead in favour of the Natural Family Programme(NFP), which aims to spread a culture of responsibility and love based on Christian values among the population.


IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: London is to host the lighting of the Torch of St Benedict in March 2011 with ceremonies due to take place at Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.

The Torch of St Benedict, a symbol of peace, hope and unity, is the main feature of an annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of St Benedict in Monte Cassino led by the Abbot and monks of Monte Cassino.

This will be the first time the Torch has visited a city in the UK. The Torch was first lit by Pope Paul VI in 1964 and since 1980 it has visited many cities including, in 2010, Köln and in previous years including Bruxelles, Jerusalem and Madrid. The message of peace, hope and fraternity symbolized by the Torch of Saint Benedict has also travelled to New York to strengthen the Benedictine message of peace following the 9/11 attacks on the "Twin Towers".


The Benedictine Torch will be lit on Wednesday 2 March 2011 at Westminster Abbey. On Thursday 3 March 2011 the Torch will be transferred to Westminster Cathedral where a Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Vincent Nichols in the presence of Abbot of Monte Cassino, Pietro Vittorelli and the Archbishop of Spoleto - Norcia, Renato Boccardo.

The torch will then be part of a journey of pilgrimage to Saint Benedict's tomb at the Abbey of Monte Cassino, Italy, where it is due to arrive on the day before his feast day, Sunday 20 March 2011. En route, the Benedictine Torch will be received and blessed by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI in Rome.

Westminster Abbey

At Westminster Abbey, at noon on 2 March 2011, leading political and religious institutions will be represented at an ecumenical celebration during which the rite of the lighting of the Benedictine torch will take place in the presence of the Rt Rev Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster Abbey and Pietro Vittorelli, the Abbot of Monte Cassino.

Amongst those present will be the Vice President of European Commission, Antonio Tajani, the Ambassador of Italy in London, Alain Giorgio Maria Economides, the President of Region Lazio, Renata Polverini with the President of Regional Council Mario Abruzzese and the President of Province of Frosinone Antonello Iannarilli.

Westminster Cathedral

At Westminster Cathedral at 10:30 am on 3 March 2011, Mass will be celebrated by the Archbishop of Westminster, The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols. Present will be all the Abbots of Benedictine monasteries in the UK and a delegation of monks from the Abbey of Monte Cassino.

Archbishop Nichols will extend a special welcome to Italian migrants and also to the Polish community in recognition of the many Polish soldiers who fell in battle liberating the Abbey of Monte Cassino from Nazi occupiers in 1944.

Pietro Vittorelli, the Abbot of Monte Cassino, said: "The Benedictine Torch, which opens the celebrations for the Patron Saint of Europe,
is a reminder of our common European and Christian background."London to host Torch of St Benedict  | Torch of St Benedict

"Over the centuries, Christian culture has shaped European history, and has been its light during its darkest periods. Today, the European Union represents a common political, social and cultural reality which is held together and strengthened by its own different national identities. The celebration of Saint Benedict will help us to remember the Christian origins of Europe and to better understand how this background has in the past and continues today to form Europe's culture and society."

Source: Archbishops House


Agenzia Fides REPORT - “Together we will build another Congo with new people”. This is the banner for the manifesto promoted by 11 Congolese organizations to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the March for Hope held on 16 February, 1992. That day, 19 years ago, the Catholic and Protestant Churches in Kinshasa had organized a peaceful demonstration to call for the reopening of the National Sovereign Conference (CNS), the discussion forum that was to pave the way for democracy in the Country (then Zaire, the current Democratic Republic of Congo). The march was violently repressed by the troops of the dictator, Mobutu (see Fides 17/2/2010).
“19 years later, we want not only to remember our martyrs for democracy” - reads a statement by the Catholic agency DIA in Kinshasa - “but primarily to continue the fight for which they gave their lives by engaging in an electoral process that is truly free, transparent and democratic. In this year's general elections, we must choose new people to build a new Congo.”
The anniversary of the March for Hope will be commemorated on 15 February with a conference on martyrdom run by Fr Richard Mugaruka in the parish of “Notre Dame d'Afrique” in Lemba and with a Mass celebrated on 16 February in the parish of St Alphonse de Matete.



Screenshot from the Australian Human Rights Commission web page


Indigenous attendance rates at public high schools across the country are falling, except in Western Australia, where they were stable - but indigenous attendance at Catholic schools bucked the trend, improving in most states, The Australian reports.

Figures released in the Productivity Commission's annual Report on Government Services show attendance rates for Year 10 students at public schools fell between 2007 and 2009 in every state and territory except WA.

At Catholic schools, attendance was highest across the nation, with participation increasing in most states. Attendance in Victoria increased from 82 to 88 per cent, in South Australia from 85 to 90 per cent, and in Tasmania from 89 to 93 per cent.

The largest declines were in South Australia and the ACT, which recorded drops of 6 per cent over the three-year period, and in Tasmania, which fell 5 per cent.

WA recorded the lowest participation rates in the nation -- 64 per cent -- followed by the NT on 67 per cent and South Australia on 69 per cent.

Independent school figures are down in South Australia, where indigenous attendance rates dropped from 87 per cent in 2007 to 78 per cent in 2009, from 99 to 93 per cent in Tasmania, and a staggering 93 to 71 per cent in the ACT. Attendance rose from 67 per cent to 87 per cent in 2008 in Victoria, before dropping to 80 per cent. It also rose from 72 to 79 per cent in WA and 72 to 81 per cent in Queensland.

Julia Gillard last week prioritised halving the gap in Year 12 attendance in her Closing the Gap speech.

The Prime Minister called on parents and carers to send their children to school, and said the government had built new classrooms and science centres in 29 remote communities.

School Education Minister Peter Garrett yesterday repeated Ms Gillard's Closing the Gap goals, but said while there were positive signs across the education sector, "additional emphasis on attendance is needed in state systems".


St. Valentine


Feast: February 14


Feast Day:February 14

At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century and to have been buried on the Flaminian Way, but at different distances from the city. In William of Malmesbury's time what was known to the ancients as the Flaminian Gate of Rome and is now the Porta del Popolo, was called the Gate of St. Valentine. The name seems to have been taken from a small church dedicated to the saint which was in the immediate neighborhood. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known.



Sts. Cyril & Methodius


Feast: February 14


Feast Day:February 14

827 and 826, Thessaloniki, Byzantine Empire (present-day Greece)

Died:February 14, 869 and 6 April 885
Patron of:Bulgaria, Czech Republic (including Bohemia, and Moravia), Ecumenism, unity of the Eastern and Western Churches, Europe, Slovakia

These brothers, the Apostles of the Slavs, were born in Thessalonica, in 827 and 826 respectively. Though belonging to a senatorial family they renounced secular honours and became priests. They were living in a monastery on the Bosphorous, when the Khazars sent to Constantinople for a Christian teacher. Cyril was selected and was accompanied by his brother. They learned the Khazar language and converted many of the people. Soon after the Khazar mission there was a request from the Moravians for a preacher of the Gospel. German missionaries had already laboured among them, but without success. The Moravians wished a teacher who could instruct them and conduct Divine service in the Slavonic tongue. On account of their acquaintance with the language, Cyril and Methodius were chosen for their work. In preparation for it Cyril invented an alphabet and, with the help of Methodius, translated the Gospels and the necessary liturgical books into Slavonic. They went to Moravia in 863, and laboured for four and a half years. Despite their success, they were regarded by the Germans with distrust, first because they had come from Constantinople where schism was rife, and again because they held the Church services in the Slavonic language. On this account the brothers were summoned to Rome by Nicholas I, who died, however, before their arrival. His successor, Adrian II, received them kindly. Convinced of their orthodoxy, he commended their missionary activity, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, and ordained Cyril and Methodius bishops. Cyril, however, was not to return to Moravia. He died in Rome, 4 Feb., 869.

At the request of the Moravian princes, Rastislav and Svatopluk, and the Slav Prince Kocel of Pannonia, Adrian II formed an Archdiocese of Moravia and Pannonia, made it independent of the German Church, and appointed Methodius archbishop. In 870 King Louis and the German bishops summoned Methodius to a synod at Ratisbon. Here he was deposed and condemned to prison. After three years he was liberated at the command of Pope John VIII and reinstated as Archbishop of Moravia. He zealously endeavoured to spread the Faith among the Bohemians, and also among the Poles in Northern Moravia. Soon, however, he was summoned to Rome again in consequence of the allegations of the German priest Wiching, who impugned his orthodoxy, and objected to the use of Slavonic in the liturgy. But John VIII, after an inquiry, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, decreeing, however, that in the Mass the Gospel should be read first in Latin and then in Slavonic. Wiching, in the meantime, had been nominated one of the suffragan bishops of Methodius. He continued to oppose his metropolitan, going so far as to produce spurious papal letters. The pope, however, assured Methodius that they were false. Methodius went to Constantinople about this time, and with the assistance of several priests, he completed the translation of the Holy Scriptures, with the exception of the Books of Machabees. He translated also the "Nomocanon", i.e. the Greek ecclesiastico-civil law. The enemies of Methodius did not cease to antagonize him. His health was worn out from the long struggle, and he died 6 April, 885, recommending as his successor Gorazd, a Moravian Slav who had been his disciple.

Formerly the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius was celebrated in Bohemia and Moravia on 9 March; but Pius IX changed the date to 5 July. Leo XIII, by his Encyclical "Grande Munus" of 30 September, 1880, extended the feast to the universal Church.


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