Sunday, February 6, 2011









You are called to cast the net of the Gospel in the rough seas of this time to obtain the adhesion of men to Christ, to get them out, so to speak, from the saline waters of death and darkness, where the light does not penetrate ". image source Radio Vaticana

These were some of the words of Pope Benedict XVI, which he spoke to the 5 men, whom he ordained to the episcopacy in St Peter's Basilica this Saturday. The Pope urged the bishops to liberate men and women of our day "from the impoverished condition that is life without truth," persevering "in the teaching of the Apostles and in fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers." Enriched by the inheritance left by the Christ to the Twelve, a secure base on which to build the house of our Faith."


Islamic radicals attack Christians in Ethiopia and force them to convert
In the city of Besheno in the south of the country, the authorities prevent the construction of a place of prayer and a cemetery. Three evangelical leaders forced to leave the area. Another is in hospital after being attacked.

Addis Ababa (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Islamic fundamentalists of a city in southern Ethiopia, Muslim majority Besheno, are conducting a series of attacks against Christians in the area to force them to convert or to leave. Besheno is a city where the last census (2007) 93.84% of the population is Muslim, and Christians are 5.82% of the population.

Three leaders of the Christian community were forced to leave the city, and two Christians were forced to convert to Islam. All are part of a small group of evangelical Christians - about thirty - who live in Besheno.

In recent days, signs were posted on the doors of some Christians threatening them with death if they do not convert to Islam or leave the city. An evangelical preacher, Kassa Awan, is still hospitalized in serious condition after being attacked November 29, 2010 by a group of Muslims.

A few days later more than one hundred Muslims surrounded the car of some Christian leaders who were on their way to a peace meeting with Muslim leaders, both Christians Tesema Hirego and Niggusie Denano, were injured. On January 2, another Christian, Temesgen Peteros, was attacked with a knife after he testified in court on the attacks suffered by his fellow believers.

The Islamic authorities who govern the city refuse to protect the Christians, and in particular refuse to build a prayer centre and a cemetery. "We ask that our right to freedom of religion be respected. We can not live in our city because of this inhumane behaviour, "said one of the leaders forced to leave the city.


CNA REPORT: Developers of a new “confession helper” iPhone application say they found inspiration in Pope Benedict XVI’s call for more youth involvement in social communication.

“Confession: A Roman Catholic App” is the first iPhone, iPad and iPod touch application from the South Bend, Indiana-based publisher Little iApps, LLC.

Patrick Leinen, developer and co-founder of Little iApps, spoke about the program in a Feb. 3 interview with CNA.

He said the app is uniquely designed for cradle Catholics who go to Confession and attend church. It gives a “step-by-step” guide to Confession and a “personalized examination of conscience” based on the user’s age, vocation and sex.

“A priest won't have the same examination as a teen girl or a married man. You will get something unique to you,” he explained.

Users who have not been to Confession in some time have reported that using the app takes away the “intimidation factor” of going to confess their sins.

Leinen added that he and his fellow developers wanted to respond to Pope Benedict’s 2010 World Communications Address, which encouraged using new media to serve God’s Word.

After debating what this meant, the developers decided to make applications that are “in communion with the Church” and “in support of our lifestyle” as Catholics.

Two priests collaborated in the app’s development: Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, the executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices, and Fr. Dan Scheidt, pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mishawaka, Indiana.

The developers asked their local bishop for two forms of church approval known as an imprimatur and a nihil obstat. This unique process involved submitting all variations of the app’s text in written form to Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

“All the possible options were sent in,” Leinen explained. “We wanted to make sure that we were really in line with the Church in what we were doing.”

The developers plan to update the program for the Droid phone operating system. They are considering what Catholic applications to do next.

“We really appreciate the response that we've gotten from everyone in the community, lay and religious. We're continuing to look forward to creating these apps, as needed, and we appreciate any suggestions anyone has.”

The app is available through the iTunes store at a price of $1.99.


IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: Archbishop Vincent Nichols gave an address at the Caritas Social Action Network conference entitled “A Common Endeavour” held in Liverpool on 1 February 2011.

He reflected on the recent Papal Visit to England and the Pope's words of encouragment to the Bishops at Oscott College. Archbishop Nichols also announced the start of a 'major' Catholic Bishop's Conference initiative, and made a call to action in a time civil society is in economic distress referring to what the Church has to offer. He said: 'The social teaching of the Church, with its wisdom and insight into the nature of humanity and what integral human development actually requires, has a great deal to offer, a route map towards a life of wholeness and integrity for each of us and for all in our society.'

The full text of the address is below.

'The visit of our Holy Father Pope Benedict in September touched the whole country with extraordinary grace and joy. I doubt if there is a single one of you in this hall who does not have striking memories of how much it meant to you personally.

The Holy Father’s Visit can act as a spur for us to serve Christ better. Grace must bear fruit in our lives, in our prayers and in what we do as Catholics living in Britain.

At the Bishops’ Conference meeting in November 2010 we reflected deeply on the wonderful graces which the visit of the Holy Father brought to our Church and our country. And we set out to find ways in which we, as a Catholic community, could respond to the challenge posed by the Holy Father and by the times in which we live.

Today’s event marks the launch of a major project for the Catholic community in England and Wales. I am very grateful for your participation.

In his address to the Bishops at Oscott College, Pope Benedict XVI emphasised the need for Christians 'to take a lead in calling for solidarity with those in need. The prophetic voice of Christians has an important role in highlighting the needs of the poor and disadvantaged, who can so easily be overlooked in the allocation of limited resources.'

At the end of our meeting last November we made a statement which I would like to quote from today as it sets out the basis and reason for our gathering here today. We said this:

“The present economic situation creates immense challenges for everyone in our society. We are very conscious of the hardship and stress faced by many individuals and families at the present time. We appreciate that extremely difficult decisions are being taken by central and local government, but we urge those responsible not to lose sight of the moral imperative of caring for those most in need, while acting fairly and impartially.

“Catholic social teaching reminds us that the key to social development lies in placing the good of the human person centre-stage. In that perspective marriage, family life, and the dignity of work are vitally important. The future of society crucially depends on the nature and quality of family life. A society where human dignity will flourish is one where the dignity of work is recognised and valued. We urge government - both central and local - to keep these priorities at the heart of their decision taking.

“Besides the severe economic issues facing us, there are also serious social ills. Many yearn for a richer community life, a society characterised by stronger social bonds and a greater acceptance of our mutual responsibilities. Reaching for this is both urgent and necessary. But it demands a conversion of mind and heart which cannot be achieved by government or policy initiative alone. If it is to succeed, this project must be taken beyond party politics to become a common endeavour owned by society as a whole.

“Creating a new culture of social responsibility demands that we all learn from the lessons of recent decades and put a genuine commitment to the good of others ahead of self-interest. It means that the Church must avoid becoming inward-looking or distanced from broader social needs. In his recent visit, the Holy Father consistently emphasised the mission of the Church to proclaim afresh the life-giving message of the Gospel. The Church does not exist for her own sake, but for the healing and flourishing of humanity. In coming months we will be seeking to strengthen our work in partnership with other Christians, other religions and with central and local government to help promote a more compassionate, fair and just society.

“In particular we will be engaging in a programme to enable the Catholic community to contribute as fully as possible to the new culture of social responsibility called for by Pope Benedict XVI and by the Prime Minister in his farewell speech at the end of the Papal Visit.”

That was the Bishops’ statement of intent. Today’s conference is the first major step in this programme. Its purpose is to listen and discern together - to identify and explore emerging needs and the challenges and opportunities for the social engagement of the Church in the coming years. If we are to have a real impact, of course we need a full understanding of the issues posed by today’s economic and social environment. But most crucially we also need a realistic assessment of our own capabilities, of the things that prevent us doing more, and indeed of our own potential to contribute more clearly to the good of our society.

You do not have to look far to see the difficulties and troubles in our society – and this city of Liverpool has probably known as much as any. We are all acutely conscious of the great hardships which are now being faced by very many families. Many of us know this at first hand. There are immediate and pressing needs. But this project we are embarking on together is not about a short term response to particularly difficult economic circumstances. It is about the long term and how we conduct ourselves to bear lasting fruit. So today is about our teaching and our action.

Our teaching.

In the coming months there are great opportunities to engage in the public debate about the future of civil society. In the social doctrine of the Church, particularly as expressed in Caritas in Veritate, we have a source of practical guidance and profound wisdom relevant to all who desire to recover a stronger sense of a more humane civil society. There are many people in our society of explicit faith or not who recognise that we need to escape from the dominant culture of consumerist materialism which has so come to pervade our society. The social teaching of the Church, with its wisdom and insight into the nature of humanity and what integral human development actually requires, has a great deal to offer, a route map towards a life of wholeness and integrity for each of us and for all in our society.

Our action.

Our Church, as you know, is present throughout the country, and Catholic social action takes place quietly and on a much greater scale than many realise. The present juncture offers a particular opportunity to re-imagine and re-invigorate the work we do. We have at the heart of our theology a word which beautifully describes this practical expression of Christian love - Caritas. My hope and prayer for the work we are doing together today and in the coming months is that this idea of Caritas will become more visibly the shared inspiration for Catholic social action in England and Wales. For it is a common endeavour at the service of those in need, and always to the glory of the One in whose name we are called to that service.'

Source: Archbishops House


Agenzia Fides REPORT – “God is Love” is the theme of the winter holidays youth camp, organised bu the Youth Prayer Group for the Renewal of Spirit in Taiwan, to be held from 10 to 13 February at the Nazareth Spirituality Centre. According to information sent to Fides, the four day spiritual event will be led by missionary priest, Father Anthony K Polyak M.M., Father John Wu Po Jen S.J., Father Bernard De Terves MEP and by Father Joseph Hung, spiritual director of the movement. According to the organiser, all the youth – aged between 18 and 40 years, and the catechists and young faithful are invited to share the Eucharist, the witness of faith, the effusion of the Holy Spirit and prayer for healing the heart. The camp also provides the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, the Sacrament of Penitence, the reading of Sacred Scripture, the Rosary and individual spiritual direction.


CATH NEWS REPORT:t Local councillors, the chamber of commerce and a vocal arts community have voiced widespread opposition to the Church's plan to buy the old King's School site in Sydney's western suburb of Parramatta, said a report in the Parramatta Advertiser.

''The old King's School site is an icon in Parramatta, a treasure that has to be preserved,'' Mr Oldfield told the meeting. ''The site should always be accessible to the public and should stand as a reminder of growth, opportunity and vision for not only Parramatta but for NSW.''Chamber of Commerce president Trevor Oldfield told a Save the Old Kings Site meetingorganised by the arts community last week, that the notion of the site ''in the hands of a private organisation is absurd".

Both the arts community and Parramatta Council share a vision for the site to be an arts precinct, with galleries, artists' and performing arts studios, community arts organisations, indigenous cultural centre, retail art space and cafes.

At the the meeting members of the arts community argued that creating a public space for artists was as therapeutic as any formalised counselling service.

''The arts contributes to the wellbeing of the community,'' one of the group's leaders, musician Peter Fenton, said at the meeting.

The report said that the Lord Mayor John Chedid's positive view of church ownership of the site would not have widespread support on council.


St. Agatha


Feast: February 5


Feast Day:February 5

Catania or Palermo

Died:251, Catania
Patron of:bellfounders; breast cancer; bakers; against fire; earthquakes; eruptions of Mount Etna; fire; jewelers; martyrs; natural disasters; nurses; rape victims; single laywomen; sterility; torture victims; volcanic eruptions; wetnurses

We have her panegyrics, by St. Aldhelm, in the seventh, and St. Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople, in the ninth centuries; also a hymn in her honour among the poems of Pope Damasus, and another by St. Isidore of Seville, in Bollandus, p. 596. The Greeks have interpolated her acts; but those in Latin are very ancient. They are abridged by Tillemont, t. 3, p. 409. See also Rocci Pyrrho, in Sicilia Sacra, on Palermo, Catana, and Malta.

The cities of Palermo and Catana, in Sicily, dispute the honour of her birth; but they do much better who, by copying her virtues, and claiming her patronage, strive to become her fellow-citizens in heaven. It is agreed that she received the crown of martyrdom at Catana, in the persecution of Decius, in the third consulship of that prince, in the year of our Lord 251. She was of a rich and illustrious family, and having been consecrated to God from her tender years, triumphed over many assaults upon her chastity. Quintianus, a man of consular dignity, bent on gratifying both his lust and avarice, imagined he should easily compass his wicked designs on Agatha's person and estate by means of the emperor's edict against the Christians. He therefore caused her to be apprehended and brought before him at Catana. Seeing herself in the hands of the persecutors, she made this prayer: "Jesus Christ, Lord of all things, you see my heart, you know my desire-possess alone all that I am. I am your sheep, make me worthy to overcome the devil." She wept, and prayed for courage and strength all the way she went. On her appearance, Quintianus gave orders for her being put into the hands of Aphrodisia, a most wicked woman, who, with six daughters, all prostitutes, kept a common stew. The saint suffered in this infamous place assaults and stratagems against her virtue infinitely more terrible to her than any tortures or death itself. But placing her confidence in God, she never ceased with sighs and most earnest tears to implore his protection, and by it was an overmatch for all their hellish attempts the whole month she was there. Quintianus, being informed of her constancy after thirty days, ordered her to be brought before him. The virgin, in her first interrogatory, told him that to be a servant of Jesus Christ was the most illustrious nobility and true liberty. The judge, offended at her resolute answers, commanded her to be buffeted and led to prison. She entered it with great joy, recommending her future conflict to God. The next day she was arraigned a second time at the tribunal, and answered with equal constancy that Jesus Christ was her life and her salvation. Quintianus then ordered her to be stretched on the rack, which torment was usually accompanied with stripes, the tearing of the sides with iron hooks, and burning them with torches or matches. The governor, enraged to see her suffer all this with cheerfulness, commanded her breast to be tortured, and afterwards to be cut off. At which she made him this reproach: "Cruel tyrant, do you not blush to torture this part of my body, you that sucked the breasts of a woman yourself? "He remanded her to prison, with a severe order that neither salves nor food should be allowed her. But God would be himself her physician, and the apostle St. Peter in a vision comforted her, healed all her wounds,. and filled her dungeon with a heavenly light. Quintianus, four days after, not the least moved at the miraculous cure of her wounds, caused her to be rolled naked over live coals mixed with broken potsherds. Being carried back to prison, she made this prayer: "Lord, my Creator, you have ever protected me from the cradle; you have taken me from the love of the world, and given me patience to suffer: receive now my soul." After which words she sweetly gave up the ghost. Her name is inserted in the canon of the mass in the calendar of Carthage, as ancient as the year 530, and in all martyrologies of the Latins and Greeks. Pope Symmachus built a church in Rome on the Aurelian Way under her name, about the year 500, which is fallen to decay. St. Gregory the Great enriched a church which he purged from the Arian impiety with her relics, which it still possesses. This church had been rebuilt in her honour by Ricimer, general of the Western Empire, in 460. Gregory II built another famous church at Rome, under her invocation, in 726, which Clement VIII gave to the congregation of the Christian doctrine. St. Gregory the Great ordered some of her relics to be placed in the church of the monastery of St. Stephen, in the Isle of Capreae, now Capri. The chief part, which remained at Catana, was carried to Constantinople by the Greek general, who drove the Saracens out of Sicily about the year 1040; these were brought back to Catana in 1127, a relation of which translation, written by Mauritius, who was then bishop, is recorded by Rocci Pyrrho and Bollandus. The same authors relate in what manner the torrent of burning sulphur and stones which issue from mount Aetna, in great eruptions, was several times averted from the walls of Catana by the veil of St. Agatha, (taken out of her tomb,) which was carried in procession. Also that through her inter. cession, Malta (where she is honored as patroness of the island) was pre served from the Turks who invaded it in 1551. Small portions of relics cf. St. Agatha are said to be distributed in many places.

The perfect purity of intention by which St. Agatha was entirely dead to the world and herself, and sought only to please God, is the circumstance which sanctified her sufferings, and rendered her sacrifice complete. The least cross which we bear, the least action which we perform in this disposition, will be a great holocaust, and a most acceptable offering. We have frequently something to offer—sometimes an aching pain in the body, at other times some trouble of mind, often some disappointment, some humbling rebuke, or reproach, or the like. If we only bear these trials with patience when others are witnesses, or if we often speak of them, or are fretful under them, or if we bear patiently public affronts or great trials, yet sink under those which are trifling, and are sensible to small or secret injuries, it is evident that we have not attained to true purity of intention in our patience; that we are not dead to ourselves. We profess ourselves ready to die for Christ, yet cannot bear the least cross or humiliation. How agreeable to our divine spouse is the sacrifice of a soul which suffers in silence, desiring to have no other witness of her patience than God alone, who sends her trials; which shuns superiority and honours, but takes all care possible that no one knows the humility or modesty of such a refusal; which suffers humiliations and seeks no comfort or reward but from God. This simplicity and purity of heart; this love of being hid in God, through Jesus Christ, is the perfection of all our sacrifices, and the complete victory over self-love, which it attacks and forces out of its strongest entrenchments: this says to Christ, with St. Agatha, "Possess alone all that I am."A



Mark 6: 30 - 34
30The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.
31And he said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
32And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.
33Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them.
34As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

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