Thursday, February 10, 2011










TODAY'S GOSPEL: FEB. 10: MARK 7: 24-30



VATICAN CITY, 10 FEB 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - "Proposing Vocations in the Local Church" is the theme of the Pope's Message for the forth-eighth World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which is to be celebrated on 15 May, fourth Sunday of Easter. Ample extracts of the English-language version of the document are given below:

"The work of carefully encouraging and supporting vocations finds a radiant source of inspiration in those places in the Gospel where Jesus calls His disciples to follow Him and trains them with love and care. ... Before calling them, Jesus spent the night alone in prayer, listening to the will of the Father. ... Vocations to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life are first and foremost the fruit of constant contact with the living God and insistent prayer lifted up to the 'Lord of the harvest', whether in parish communities, in Christian families or in groups specifically devoted to prayer for vocations. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

"At the beginning of His public life, the Lord called some fishermen on the shore of the Sea of Galilee: 'Follow me and I will make you fishers of men'. ... It is a challenging and uplifting invitation that Jesus addresses to those to Whom He says: 'Follow me!'. He invites them to become His friends, to listen attentively to His word and to live with Him. He teaches them complete commitment to God and to the extension of His kingdom in accordance with the law of the Gospel. ... He invites them to leave behind their own narrow agenda and their notions of self-fulfilment in order to immerse themselves in another will, the will of God, and to be guided by it. He gives them an experience of fraternity, one born of that total openness to God which becomes the hallmark of the community of Jesus".

"It is no less challenging to follow Christ today. It means learning to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, growing close to Him, listening to His word and encountering Him in the Sacraments; it means learning to conform our will to His. This requires a genuine school of formation for all those who would prepare themselves for the ministerial priesthood or the consecrated life under the guidance of the competent ecclesial authorities. The Lord does not fail to call people at every stage of life to share in His mission and to serve the Church in the ordained ministry and in the consecrated life".

"Particularly in these times, when the voice of the Lord seems to be drowned out by 'other voices' and His invitation to follow Him by the gift of one's own life may seem too difficult, every Christian community, every member of the Church, needs consciously to feel responsibility for promoting vocations. It is important to encourage and support those who show clear signs of a call to priestly life and religious consecration, and to enable them to feel the warmth of the whole community as they respond 'yes' to God and the Church. I encourage them, in the same words which I addressed to those who have already chosen to enter the seminary".

"It is essential that every local Church become more sensitive and attentive to the pastoral care of vocations, helping children and young people in particular at every level of family, parish and associations - as Jesus did with His disciples - to grow into a genuine and affectionate friendship with the Lord, cultivated through personal and liturgical prayer; to grow in familiarity with the sacred Scriptures and thus to listen attentively and fruitfully to the word of God; to understand that entering into God's will does not crush or destroy a person, but instead leads to the discovery of the deepest truth about ourselves; and finally to be generous and fraternal in relationships with others, since it is only in being open to the love of God that we discover true joy and the fulfilment of our aspirations".

"I address a particular word to you, my dear brother bishops. ... The Lord needs you to co-operate with Him in ensuring that His call reaches the hearts of those whom He has chosen. Choose carefully those who work in the diocesan vocations office. ... Your openness to the needs of dioceses experiencing a dearth of vocations will become a blessing from God for your communities and a sign to the faithful of a priestly service that generously considers the needs of the entire Church".

"I turn to those who can offer a specific contribution to the pastoral care of vocations: to priests, families, catechists and leaders of parish groups. I ask priests to testify to their communion with their bishop and their fellow priests, and thus to provide a rich soil for the seeds of a priestly vocation. May families be 'animated by the spirit of faith and love and by the sense of duty' which is capable of helping children to welcome generously the call to priesthood and to religious life. May catechists and leaders of Catholic groups and ecclesial movements, convinced of their educational mission, seek to 'guide the young people entrusted to them so that these will recognise and freely accept a divine vocation'.

"Dear brothers and sisters, your commitment to the promotion and care of vocations becomes most significant and pastorally effective when carried out in the unity of the Church and in the service of communion".

"The ability to foster vocations is a hallmark of the vitality of a local Church. With trust and perseverance let us invoke the aid of the Virgin Mary, that by the example of her own acceptance of God's saving plan and her powerful intercession, every community will be more and more open to saying 'yes' to the Lord Who is constantly calling new labourers to His harvest".

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VATICAN CITY, 10 FEB 2011 (VIS) - At 11 a.m. on Thursday 17 February in the Holy See Press Office, a conference will be held to present an assessment of the Pauline Year (which took place from 28 June 2008 to 29 June 2009). The occasion will also be used to present the book "L'Anno Paolino" by Graziano Motta.

The conference will be presented by Cardinal Francesco Monterisi and Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, respectively archpriest and archpriest emeritus of the papal basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls; Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, and Gianfranco Morelli, vice director and editor-in-chief for Rome of the Italian newspaper "Avvenire".

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VATICAN CITY, 10 FEB 2011 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a note released by the Holy See Press Office this morning, concerning today's appointment of the new nuncio to Slovenia, who also exercises the function of apostolic delegate to Kosovo:

"It should be pointed out", the note reads, "that the appointment of an apostolic delegate falls within the organisational functions of the structure of the Catholic Church and hence has a purely intra-ecclesial character, being completely distinct from considerations regarding juridical and territorial situations or any other question inherent to the diplomatic activity of the Holy See. The mission of an apostolic delegate is not of a diplomatic nature but responds to the requirement to meet in an adequate way the pastoral needs of the Catholic faithful".

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VATICAN CITY, 10 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:

- Archbishop Jose S. Palma of Cebu, apostolic administrator of Palo.

- Bishop Emmanuel S. Trance of Catarman.

- Bishop Jose Corazon T. Tala-oc of Romblon.

- Fr. Ulysses A. Dalida, diocesan administrator of Kalibo.

- Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio S.J., archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina and president of the Argentine Episcopal Conference, accompanied by Archbishop Luis Hector Villalba of Tucuman and Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, vice presidents, and by Bishop Enrique Eguia Segui, auxiliary of Buenos Aires, secretary general.

- Cardinal John Patrick Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

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VATICAN CITY, 10 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the office of major archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine, presented by Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, in accordance with canon 126 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Canons of the Eastern Churches. The administrator of the major archiepiscopal Church will be Archbishop Igor Vozniak C.SS.R. of Lviv of the Ukrainians, whose duty it will be to call a synod of bishops of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church to elect the new major archbishop.

- Appointed Archbishop Juliusz Janusz, apostolic nuncio to Hungary, as apostolic nuncio to Slovenia, with the role of apostolic delegate to Kosovo.

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ASIA NEWS REPORT: Muhammad Zeeshan blew himself up as soldiers took part in morning exercises. The boy was a student at a local madrassa, a Qur‘anic school. Such facilities are increasingly becoming centres of fundamentalist propaganda. Islamabad bishop urges Pakistani Christians to close ranks with the soldiers who are fighting extremists.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – The 14-year-old schoolboy who blew himself up at a Pakistani army (Punjab Regiment) training camp this morning, killing 30 troops and wounding 40 others, attended a madrassa, a Qur‘anic school. Although not all the details are yet available, it appears that Muhammad Zeeshan, wearing an Aziz Bhatti school uniform, entered the camp perimeter before setting off the explosion that killed soldiers during their morning exercises.

The suicide attack involving a schoolboy, which was claimed by an extremist group, shows how deep the culture of violence is embedded in Pakistan’s Qur‘anic schools, which have become virtual recruiting centres for aspiring suicide bombers.

The Punjab Regiment Centre is located in Mardan, some 40 kilometres from Peshawar. The attack underscored the army’s powerless against fundamentalism, despite its many operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in tribal areas on the border of Afghanistan.

Rescuers moved the wounded to the nearby Combined Military Hospital, whilst investigators went right to work to find out how the boy was able to get inside the camp, bypassing security measures.

Today’s incident is the bloodiest against a military target since the 2006 incident, in the same training grounds, that killed 35 soldiers. Terrorist group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to a preliminary police investigation, Muhammad Zeeshan, 14-year-old boy from Mardan, attended a local madrassa. Such schools have become recruiting grounds for would-be suicide bombers and propaganda centres for extremists and the Taliban.

Research last year by an international organisation revealed that Pakistani madrassas promote violence and intolerance. Boys are taught jihad, the holy war, as well as hatred for non-Muslims.

Qur‘anic schools are virtual brainwashing centres in which ideologues, in the name of Islam, pursue hidden political goals. To reach their goals, they do not hesitate from indoctrinating young students to accept martyrdom in the name of religion. The Taliban for example recruit boys and train them in specialised centres, turning them into human bombs.

Security sources add that families are paid huge amounts of money for their sons’ sacrifice.

Other studies indicate that young Pakistani support fundamentalism, and they oppose the country’s ‘westernisation’. For them, the West is the enemy to fight.

Fundamentalist organisations like the TTP nurture this hatred and seek aspiring suicide attackers to use against sensitive targets.

Various organisations in Pakistan are promoting harmony and tolerance as part of youth education. However, as much as they try to keep young people away from fanaticism, they face an uphill battle.

Today’s attack comes at a crucial time in the country’s history, faced with a political, economic and social crisis. Yesterday, Prime Minister Gilani dissolved his 50 plus-member cabinet to replace it with a smaller and less expensive group of ministers.

The prime minister and top government officials have condemned the attack, but politicians’ warnings appear to fall on deaf ears.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Mgr Rufin Anthony, bishop of Islamabad, said, “Pakistan itself has become the target of terrorism, and is paying a heavy price for it.”

The country, he noted has lost “innocent women and children,” victims of “cowardly acts” designed to “spread terror”. For this reason, “Pakistani Christians should close ranks with the armed forces” in their fight against terrorism.

For the prelate, the “absence of an education plan” is a major problem because it leads young people to take the path of evil.,-30-dead-and-40-wounded-20744.html


CBN REPORT: A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit trying to block a prayer luncheon scheduled for Thursday at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The case was brought by academy professor David Mullin and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. However, U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello ruled the plaintiffs did not prove they had legal standing to bring the suit.

Arguello said the academy announced to the faculty, cadets, and staff that the event was only voluntary and no one was to be punished for not attending.

Mullin argued that the prayer luncheon violates separation of church and state because it appears to be sponsored by the academy.

Chaplain Dwayne Peoples has made it clear the prayer luncheon is sponsored by the chapel -- not the academy as a whole.

"I want the credit," he joked. "We put it together," not the academy administration.



Screenshot of The Age report


Two people and a dog walked away with only minor injuries after their light plane crashed into a suburban Sydney street, tearing down power lines and narrowly missing homes and St Gertrude's Catholic Primary School, Smithfield in Sydney's west, said an AAP report in The Age.

It hit the ground alongside Brenan Park, narrowly missing homes and eventually coming to a rest on its roof about 350 metres from the school.A 27-year-old man was flying the single-engined Piper Archer II plane with a 27-year-old female passenger and a black poodle cross-breed called Saff on board when it crashed in Brenan Street, in Smithfield, about 12.30pm Wednesday.

The man and woman were taken to nearby Liverpool Hospital with minor injuries.

Ambulance spokesman Craig Pusser praised the pilot's efforts to bring the aircraft down without hitting any buildings.

"Yeah absolutely, the pilot of the plane can certainly be praised for his efforts and the fact that no one else was injured is a miracle," he told the ABC.

The aircraft, which suffered extensive damage, had taken off from Ballina, on NSW's north coast, and was due to land at Bankstown Airport, in Sydney's south-west, police say.

The cause of the crash is not known, with the Air Transport Safety Bureau to hold an investigation.

The crash brought down power lines, cutting power to about 7000 homes and businesses.


CATH. BISHOPS OF ENG. REPORT: Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, George Stack, has given an address at The Church of England General Synod on Wednesday 9 February 2011. Bishop Stack spoke about the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) report, ‘Mary, Grace and Hope in Jesus Christ’ saying that “questions raised by a study of the report are equally legitimate for Catholics as they are for Anglicans.”

The full text of his address is below:

“Many of you will remember the extraordinary scenes in Rome at the funeral of Pope John Paul II in April 2005. Among his many strong, identifiable, rock like characteristics was his devotion to Mary, Theotokos, Mother of God, God Bearer. He caused consternation when he became Pope and broke the rules of heraldry by insisting on having the letter “M” on his Papal coat of arms instead of an heraldic device. He regularly referred to his Episcopal motto as a sign of his devotion to Mary “Totus Tuus” — Totally Yours.

Perhaps surprisingly, it was this Pope who was noted for his devotion to Mary who wrote in his document on Church Unity “Ut Unum Sint” in 1995: …. “the Virgin Mary, as Mother of God and Icon of the Church …. is one of the areas in need of fuller study before a true consensus of faith can be achieved”.

Was this not one purpose of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission’s work which began in 1970? Its latest phase concluded in 2005 with the Seattle Agreement “Mary Grace and Hope in Christ”. The subject of Mary had been addressed once before, in the ARCIC statement on Authority in the Church in 1981. The fact that Mary found a place in the theological and historical minefields of the document on Authority, and not just in devotional literature, is an indication of her important role in understanding how the salvation achieved by Jesus Christ is communicated to each individual believer and also to the community of the Church as a whole. This was the deliberate intention of the Second Vatican Council when it placed its reflections on the role of Mary in the unfolding plan of salvation in the document on The Church “Lumen Gentium”. It is in that context that I would like to reflect with you on the Seattle Agreement document “Mary, Grace and Hope in Christ” published jointly by the Anglican Communion and the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity in Rome.

The authors give the purpose and status of this document quite clearly in their introduction: “The authorities have allowed this statement to be published so that it may be widely discussed. It is not an authoritative declaration by the Roman Catholic Church, or by the Anglican Communion, who will study and evaluate the document in due course”.

“Study and evaluate the document in due course”: is this very far removed from those words of Pope John Paul I quoted earlier: “The study of Mary is one of the areas in need of fuller study before a true consensus of faith can be achieved”? The Seattle statement itself seeks to do this when it says “In framing this statement, we have drawn on the scriptures and common tradition which predates the Reformation and Counter Reformation …. At the same time, we have had to face squarely dogmatic definitions which are integral to the faith of Roman Catholics but largely foreign to the faith of Anglicans”.

The sentence which brought joy to my heart said “We have sought to embrace one another’s way of doing theology” because it invites each of our communities to move away from static historical positions. Using the tools of biblical language, theological methods and even devotional life to seek to understand how the living faith of the Church is moulded by our understanding of the place of Mary in the Mystery of Faith, the saving action of Jesus her Son.

That is why, as a Catholic bishop, I welcome the properly “critical” nature of the series of essays by the Faith and Order Group of the Church of England. The neuralgic points of the Catholic doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary are examined in those essays through the eyes of scripture, the Fathers of the Church, the place of Tradition and now the authority of the Magisterium is exercised by the Pope and Bishops. I realise that these are all loaded words. John Paul’s “fuller study before a true consensus of faith is found” needs to engage critically with the evangelical conviction that the sinlessness of Mary somehow removes her from the need of the whole human race for salvation, makes her somehow “less” of a human being is focused on the text from Romans 3:23 (all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God). Realised eschatology is the creative tool which explores this seeming conflict when applied to the two Marian doctrines. The status of Tradition in interpreting the scriptures, and whether it diminishes or distorts the primacy of the Word of God is a legitimate evangelical concern. Contrast the conviction of John Henry Newman that “it is not the assertion of an individual Father of the Church that carries weight, but their common testimony by which they witness to an apostolic tradition” with the weight placed in some essays that individual Fathers had dissenting views on the sinlessness, virginity and obedience of Mary. The doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary may sometimes seem to distort or misunderstand the role of Jesus as the unique mediator between God and the human race. An example of such a distortion would be the development of a theology which places her as an intercessor by the side of her Son.

And the degree to which these dogmas and their teaching on virginity, sinlessness and obedience in the life of Mary have affected an understanding and role of women in the life of the church mentioned in the Faith and Order Group Response need to be explored in the historical context in which the dogmas were proclaimed. A changing understanding of sin and the need for redemption when these truths were under attack from an atheistic and reductionist politique was certainly an influence on Pius IX in his proclamation of the Immaculate Conception. The doctrine of the Assumption in 1950 might be viewed in the context of a totalitarian crushing of the dignity of the human person by Fascist and Communist regimes.

These questions raised by a study of Mary Grace and Hope in Christ are equally legitimate for Catholics as they are for Anglicans in an exploration and explanation of the two doctrines on Our Lady and the light they shine on her life and the whole drama of salvation as lived out in and through the Church. Today’s debate is even more significant in the light of last week’s announcement that the third phase of the ARCIC dialogue will begin in May on the subject of “The Church as Communion – Local and Universal”.


To listen to the address, please visit the Church of England website:


Agenzia Fides REPORT – Five of the 23 districts of Manica province, in central Mozambique, have been seriously hit by heavy rains. Latest information gathered by Fides says that about 80 houses have been destroyed, while half the city's streets have been damaged or are impassable due to flooding. Most of the houses destroyed were built in damp or green areas, most vulnerable during the wet season. In recent months, water levels have been higher than usual in all Southern Africa, from Angola to Madagascar, causing millions of dollars worth of damages and many deaths. At least nine are dead this year from natural disasters such as the floods and lightning.
The rainy season in Mozambique begins in October and finishes in March. In 2000, massive rains in the central areas caused 700 deaths and vast destruction to farming lands, giving rise to serious food shortages. This year the initial costs, say the Government, include about 1.3 million people affected by the floods. The water has also flooded a cemetery in Mudzingaze, a poor quarter on the outskirts of Chimoio, raising fears of eventual health issues for the Country. The people, in fact, are taking water as usual from traditional wells which may be contaminated. In Chimoio and surrounds there are at least 11 traditional burial places, some in areas subject to flooding.


St. Scholastica


Feast: February 10


Feast Day:February 10

480, Nursia, Italy

Patron of:convulsive children; nuns; invoked against storms and rain

This saint was sister to the great St. Benedict. She consecrated herself to God from her earliest youth, as St. Gregory testifies. Where her first monastery was situated is not mentioned; but after her brother removed to Mount Cassino she chose her retreat at Plombariola, in that neighbourhood, where she founded and governed a nunnery about five miles distant to the south from St. Benedict's monastery. St. Bertharius, who was Abbot of Cassino three hundred years after, says that she instructed in virtue several of her own sex. And whereas St. Gregory informs us that St. Benedict governed nuns as well as monks, his sister must have been their abbess under his rule and direction. She visited her holy brother once a year, and as she was not allowed to enter his monastery, he went out with some of his monks to meet her at a house at some small distance. They spent these visits in the praises of God, and in conferring together on spiritual matters. St. Gregory relates a remarkable circumstance of the I last of these visits. Scholastica having passed the day as usual in singing psalms and pious discourse, they sat down in the evening to take their refection. After it was over, Scholastica, perhaps foreknowing it would be their last interview in this world, or at least desirous of some further spiritual improvement, was very urgent with her brother to delay his return till the next day, that they might entertain themselves till morning upon the happiness of the other life. St. Benedict, unwilling to transgress his rule, told her he could not pass a night out of his monastery, so desired her not to insist upon such a breach of monastic discipline. Scholastica finding him resolved on going home, laying her hands joined upon the table, and her head upon them, with many tears, begged of Almighty God to interpose in her behalf. Her prayer was scarce ended when there happened such a storm of rain, thunder, and lightning, that neither St. Benedict nor any of his companions could set a foot out of doors. He complained to his sister, saying, "God forgive you, sister; what have you done?" She answered, "I asked you a favour, and you refused it me; I asked it of Almighty God, and he has granted it me." St. Benedict was therefore obliged to comply with her request, and they spent the night in conferences on pious subjects, chiefly on the felicity of the blessed, to which both most ardently aspired, and which she was shortly to enjoy. The next morning they parted, and three days after St. Scholastica died in her solitude. St. Benedict was then alone in contemplation on Mount Cassino, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he saw the soul of his sister ascending thither in the shape of a dove. Filled with joy at her happy passage, he gave thanks for it to God, and declared her death to his brethren, some of whom he sent to bring her corpse to his monastery, where he caused it to be laid in the tomb which he had prepared for himself. She must have died about the year 543. Her relics are said to have been translated into France, together with those of St. Bennet, in the seventh century, according to the relation given by the monk Adrevald.1 They are said to have been deposited at Mans, and kept in the collegiate church of St. Peter in that city, in a rich silver shrine. In 1562 this shrine was preserved from being plundered by the Huguenots as is related by Chatelain. Her principal festival at Mans is kept a holyday on the 11th of July, the day of the translation of her relics. She was honored in some places with an office of three lessons, in the time of St. Louis, as appears from a calendar of Longchamp written in his reign.

Louis of Granada, treating on the perfection of the love of God, mentions the miraculous storm obtained by St. Scholastica to show with what excess of goodness God is always ready to hear the petitions and desires of his servants. This pious soul must have received strong pledges and most sensible tokens of his love, seeing she depended on receiving so readily what she asked of him. No child could address himself with so great confidence to his most tender parent. The love which God bears us, and his readiness to succour and comfort us, if we humbly confess and lay before him our wants, infinitely surpasses all that can be found in creatures. Nor can we be surprised that he so easily heard the prayer of this holy virgin, since at the command of Joshua he stopped the heavens, God obeying the voice of man! He hears the most secret desires of those that fear and love him, and does their will: if he sometimes seems deaf to their cries, it is to grant their main desire by doing what is most expedient for them, as St. Austin frequently observes. The short prayer by which St. Scholastica gained this remarkable victory over her brother, who was one of the greatest saints on earth, was doubtless no more than a single act of her pure desires, which she continually turned toward, and fixed on her beloved. It was enough for her to cast her eyes interiorly upon him with whom she was closely and inseparably united in mind and affections, to move him so suddenly to change the course of the elements in order to satisfy her pious desire. By placing herself, as a docile scholar, continually at the feet of the Divine Majesty, who filled all the powers of her soul with the sweetness of his heavenly communications, she learned that sublime science of perfection in which she became a mistress to so many other chaste souls by this divine exercise. Her life in her retirement, to that happy moment which closed her mortal pilgrimage, was a continued uniform contemplation, by which all her powers were united to and transformed into God. SOURCE

TODAY'S GOSPEL: FEB. 10: MARK 7: 24-30

Mark 7: 24 - 30
24And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house, and would not have any one know it; yet he could not be hid.25But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet.26Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoeni'cian by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.27And he said to her, "Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."28But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."29And he said to her, "For this saying you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter."30And she went home, and found the child lying in bed, and the demon gone.

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