Thursday, February 3, 2011











VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS reports) - Yesterday, Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Day of Consecrated Life, the Holy Father presided at second Vespers in the Vatican Basilica.

Image source: Radio Vaticana

"The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple", he said, "is an eloquent symbol of complete donation of life, for all those men and women who are called to reproduce, in the Church and the world, via the evangelical counsels, the characteristic features of Jesus: chastity, poverty and obedience. It is for this reason that today's feast was chosen by the Venerable John Paul II to celebrate the annual Day of Consecrated Life".

Benedict XVI then went on to propose three themes for reflection on this feast day: "Firstly", he said, the evangelical image of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple contains the fundamental symbol of light; the light which, irradiating from Christ, shone on Mary and Joseph, on Simeon and Anna and, through them, on everyone. The Church Fathers associated this shining light with the spiritual journey. Consecrated life is an expression of this journey, especially in ... love for divine beauty, reflection of the goodness of God".

"Secondly", he continued, "the evangelical image is an expression of prophecy, gift of the Holy Spirit. Simeon and Anna, contemplating the Baby Jesus, foresee His destiny of death and resurrection for the salvation of all mankind, and they announce this mystery as universal salvation. Consecrated life, with its dual aspect of contemplation and activity, is called to offer such prophetic witness. Consecrated men and women are in fact given the chance to express primacy of God and passion for the Gospel, practiced in life and announced to the poor and to the weakest of the earth".

Finally, the Presentation also "expresses the wisdom of Simeon and Anna, the wisdom of a life totally dedicated to seeking the face of God, His signs and His will; a life dedicated to listening to and announcing His Word".

The Pope then went on to encourage consecrated men and women "to listen assiduously to the Word, because all of life's wisdom arises from the Word of the Lord. ... The Holy Spirit, in Whom the Bible was written, is the same Spirit Who illumines the Word of God with new light for the founders and foundresses. Every charism and every rule springs from it and seeks to be an expression of it, thus opening up new pathways of Christian living marked by the radicalism of the Gospel.

"The situation in which we live today, especially in the more developed societies, is often marked by a radical plurality, by a progressive marginalisation of religion from the public sphere, by a relativism which extends to fundamental values", the Holy Father added. "This means that our Christian witness must always be luminous and coherent and our educational efforts attentive and generous". And he concluded by exhorting the religious: "With the wisdom of your lives and faith in the infinite possibilities of true education, guide the minds and hearts of the men and women of our time towards 'the good life in the Gospel'".

HML/ VIS 20110203 (530)


VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Alfons M. Kloss, the new ambassador of Austria to the Holy See.

Addressing the diplomat in German the Holy Father mentioned his 2007 apostolic trip to the Austrian shrine of Mariazell during which, he said, he had had the chance to experience the profound Catholic faith so deeply rooted in the Austrian people. He likewise observed that the Austria is a country with a long tradition of peaceful coexistence among different religions and cultures.

The Pope then went on to consider the relationship between State and religion, highlighting how the latter cannot be relegated only to the private sphere, and underlining the Catholic Church's role in education, and in assistance to the disadvantaged for whom she often acts as spokesperson.

Another of the themes addressed in the Pope's remarks was defence of the family, and the need for policies to support and protect it.

Finally, Benedict XVI referred to the building of the "common European home", underlining once again the role played by Christianity in the civilisation and culture of the continent.

CD/ VIS 20110203 (203)


VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received members of the Emmanuel Community, currently marking the twentieth anniversary of the death of their founder Pierre Goursat, the cause for whose beatification was opened last year.

In his address to the group the Holy Father recalled other anniversaries due to fall in coming months: forty years since the foundation of the Emmanuel Community itself, the thirtieth anniversary of the community's NGO FIDESCO, and twenty years since the recognition of its statutes by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

"The profound grace of your community arises from Eucharistic communion", he said. "This adoration leads to compassion for all human beings, and from this compassion comes the thirst to evangelise. In the spirit of your charism, I exhort you to develop your spiritual life, giving pride of place to the personal meeting with Christ, Emmanuel, God with us".

"An authentically Eucharistic life is a missionary life", the Pope explained. "In a world often disoriented and in search for new reasons to live, the light of Christ must be brought to everyone. Among the men and women of today, be ardent missionaries of the Gospel, upheld by a life radically founded on Christ".

"Today, the urgent need for this announcement is particularly felt in families, which are so often fragmented, in the young and in the intellectual world. Help to renew the apostolic dynamism of parishes from within, developing their spiritual and missionary impulses. I encourage you to be attentive to people who return to the Church and who have not had the benefit of a profound catechesis. Help them anchor their faith in an authentically theological, sacramental and ecclesial life".

The Holy Father then went on to invite the community "to live in a state of genuine communion among its members. ... The community life you wish to foster, while respecting the life of each individual, will be a living witness for society of that fraternal love which must animate all human relationships. Fraternal communion is already an announcement of the new life that Christ came to establish", he said.

"May this communion, which is not a form of closure, be effective also in local Churches. Each charism aims at the growth of the Body of Christ in its entirety and missionary action must, then, constantly adapt to the reality of the local Church, ever attentive to agreement and collaboration among pastors, under the authority of the bishop. Furthermore", the Pope concluded, "the mutual recognition of diversity of vocations in the Church, and their indispensable contribution to evangelisation, is an eloquent sign of the unity of Christ's disciples and of the credibility of their witness".

AC/ VIS 20110203 (460)


VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference took place to present Benedict XVI's Message for the nineteenth World Day of the Sick which will be held on 11 February, and a seminar on the theme "Catholic healthcare associations and the culture of life", due to be held on 5 February at Rome's St. Pius X Auditorium to mark the end of the twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care.

Participating in today's conference were Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, Bishop Jose Luis Redrado Marchite O.H. and Msgr. Jean-Marie Mpendawatu Mate Musivi, respectively president, secretary and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, and Rosa Merola, consultor of the pontifical council and psychologist at Rome's Rebibbia prison.

Archbishop Zimowski explained how Benedict XVI's Message - published on 18 December 2010 - encourages people to reflect "on the mystery of human suffering in the light of Christian faith. At the same time it promotes greater sensitivity, within Christian communities and civil society, towards our brothers and sisters who are experiencing situations of suffering and illness, that no-one may be abandoned or deprived of the treatment they need.

"From this perspective", he added, "the Pope immediately highlights three fundamental preconditions for achieving authentic healthcare renewal, beginning with the weakest sectors of the world population. ... The first of these concerns the centrality of human beings, who must be given care and attention, and even more so if they find themselves in conditions of want, suffering or marginalisation. ...In the second place, there is need for an authentic humanisation of the field of healthcare. ... The third point concerns the commitment of the particular Churches, and the Pope invites dioceses all over the world to strive to ensure that the care of sick and suffering people may be improved and made more effective".

The president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care also noted that in this year's Message "the Holy Father calls for serious reflection on certain fundamental themes, beginning with the 'mystery of suffering'. This is necessary, on the one hand, in order to recognise the source of our light and hope and to find the strength to live through a period of suffering and, on the other, to recognise the ... ways in which we are called to care for sick and/or afflicted people".

"The World Day of the Sick, and suffering in general, are nor limited to the elderly, Benedict XVI explains in his Message. Thus, he also calls on young people - the sick and the healthy - to build bridges of love and solidarity, and to do so on the foundation of the Eucharist", where Christ "gives Himself to us for Love, to make us participants in His life". At the same time the Pope invites us "to recognise and serve Christ in the face and condition of our poor, afflicted, weak brothers and sisters".

The Pope's Message, Archbishop Zimowski concluded his remarks, "ends with an appeal addressed to everyone, especially to those who, with various roles and responsibilities (including volunteers to whom a recently-inaugurated European Year has been dedicated), work in the field of healthcare and treatment for the sick and suffering".

OP/ VIS 20110203 (550)


VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

AP/ VIS 20110203 (30)


VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Maribor, Slovenia presented by Archbishop Franc Kramberger, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Marjan Turnsek.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: With her life threatened by Muslim fundamentalists, the PPP Member of the National Assembly accepts to toe the party line and accept the government’s view. Prime Minister Gilani confirms that changes will not be introduced. A student is arrested in Karachi for blasphemy after he is accused of insulting the name of Muhammad in an exam. Human Rights Watch calls the decision “truly appalling”.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Sherry Rehman, a member of the National Assembly for the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), has agreed to follow the party line and withdraw her bill to amend the controversial blasphemy law. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani made the announcement at a meeting with a group lawmakers in Islamabad. He said he had spoken to Rehman and that she had agreed to withdraw her proposed bill to amend the ‘black law’. In the meantime, a 17-year-old student was jailed on blasphemy charges after an invigilator reported on him for insulting the name of the Prophet Muhammad in an exam paper.

Ms Rehman, who has been threatened by Muslim fundamentalists for proposing changes to the controversial law, has decided to accept her party’s line after Prime Minister Gilani said the government had closed the door to any changes to the law.

Last year, she had proposed eliminating the death penalty from Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which covers blasphemy, enraging fundamentalists who then issued a fatwa against her.

Sherry Rehman had explained that changes were designed to “prevent abuses” in the application of the law. In a public statement, she had talked about “simple” changes to guarantee that people were “given a chance to prove their innocence” and to ensure that no one could “makes false charges in the name of the Holy Prophet”.

Meanwhile, the infamous ‘black law’ continues to be abused. Pakistani police arrested a 17-year-old student in Karachi last Friday. He is accused of blaspheming against Islam in a paper he wrote during a high school final exam. Muhammad Samiullah, who has been in jail since his arrest, was denounced by one of the invigilators in charge of supervising the exam.

Human rights groups and civil society associations responded immediately calling for the repeal of the blasphemy law. Human Rights Watch (HRW) appealed to the Pakistani government to let the boy go.

“Pakistan has set the standard for intolerance when it comes to misusing blasphemy laws, but sending a schoolboy to jail for something he scribbled on an exam paper is truly appalling," said Bede Sheppard, senior children's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Mgr Lawrence Saldhana, archbishop of Lahore and president of the Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, spoke out against the growing Islamisation of the country and the ever-tighter bond between state and religion. He said he was saddened by the attacks against the Pope and the burning of the pictures of Benedict XVI and Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti. Dissociating himself from any violent action, he extended his “solidarity and gratitude” to the Catholic minister, but did not mention the blasphemy law or any changes to it. (JK),-as-teacher-denounces-17-year-old-boy-20681.html


IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: Archbishop Bernard Longley spoke about his first Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes in 2010 and warmly thanked the doctors, who regularly go to Lourdes, during his first address to the Lourdes Medical Association, conference.

"The lives of people were changed last year through the impact of the Apostolic Visit of Pope Benedict and in particular by the Beatification of Blessed John Henry Newman at Cofton Park.

"I am very grateful to those of you who were involved in the Holy Father's visit, the Archbishop of Birmingham told more than 50 eminent Catholic doctors from throughout Great Britain who were attending the 37th weekend AGM and conference, held at the Ramada Hotel, Sutton Coldfield in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, on 29 January.

“In Lourdes we are conscious of those occasions when God’s power is at work in a particular and unusual way so as to bring about an otherwise inexplicable healing. The same stringent criteria that the Church requires in order to describe such a healing at Lourdes as miraculous, also come into play when it is claimed that a miraculous healing results from prayer to the saints," said Archbishop Longley.

"No doubt you regularly go to Lourdes because of your particular professional expertise and because your presence can give a particular peace of mind to the pilgrims you serve. You are able to help restore physical well-being and to alleviate pain for those who suffer. In both of these you reflect the ministry of Our Lord and the work of the Holy Spirit.

"May Our Lady’s prayers help you to see more clearly the words and deeds of Christ the healer in your own professional skills and to experience the effects of his power acting through your vocation.

Thank you for the unique witness to your faith that you are able to give, especially in Lourdes. Your time in Lourdes is a particularly precious gift to God. May it be rewarded in the blessings he gives to you through the prayers of our Lady of Lourdes," concluded Archbishop Bernard Longley.

During the weekend the doctors attended a clinical session as well as a formal dinner during which they exchanged information and ideas.

Among the speakers was Mr Jim McManus, a Director of Public Health for the City of Birmingham, and Fr Dan Fitzpatrick from Scotland. A former doctor, Fr Fitzpatrick travelled to Lourdes with the Diocese of Paisley before becoming a priest ten years ago.

The local hosts included Dr Patricia Crosby from Nuneaton, Medical Director of Birmingham Lourdes Pilgrimage and a founder member of the Association; and Canon Gerry Breen, Dean of the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham, Pilgrimage Director for the Birmingham Lourdes Pilgrimage, since 1997.

The Lourdes Medical Association was conceived by a group of 18 Catholic doctors over dinner in Lourdes while on diocesan pilgrimages in 1973. The first AGM of the new Association was held in 1974 at Penns Hall, Sutton Coldfield (now the Ramada Hotel).

Today this important national association has a membership of more than 130 and includes distinguished consultants and doctors from England, Wales and Scotland, who generously give of their time to accompany and care for the medical needs of pilgrims, especially the sick, to the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Each of the three countries represented has an elected representative on the International Medical Committee of Lourdes, which meets annually in France.

Archbishop Bernard Longley will celebrate Mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham, at 4.30pm this Saturday 12 February 2011. The occasion will be a joint celebration for the 19th World Day of the Sick and the Lourdes Hospitalite for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes (11 February).


Agenzia Fides REPORT - “The climate has changed following the clashes yesterday, 2 February, among demonstrators in Tahrir Square and the supporters of Mubarak,” Fides was told by Father Luciano Verdoscia, a Comboni missionary who has worked for years in Cairo. “In my opinion, the latter caused the clashes. Some say that they are the militias from the National Party, the party of the President. Others claim that they have paid people to attack the demonstrators. I have seen some shady types around,” said Fr Luciano. “They are spreading unconfirmed rumours about the presence of foreign provokers. There is a hardening by the regime against the foreign media. They issued a statement which urges foreigners not to leave the house, especially after midday.”
“Before the clashes, the climate was very different,” emphasises the missionary. “The previous violence occurred because of police intervention, which I can personally testify to, because it took place under our windows. We live in the centre of Cairo where it all began. Now, however, tempers are heating up. We need to see tomorrow what will happen after the prayer,” says Father Luciano, outlining a complex picture of the situation, because not everyone is in favour of the immediate resignation of the President. “There are many people who support Mubarak. In my opinion they may count for 40% of the population, particularly persons from the high and middle-upper classes. Remember that the division between rich and poor in Egypt is very deep and evident.”
“I hope that this will not have a bloody ending, because what has occurred in recent days has been an example of nobility, gentleness and courage on the part of this people” concludes the missionary.


CNS REPORT-- By Richard Szczepanowski -Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl marked the Feb. 1 publication of his new book, "The Mass: The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition," by hosting a book signing the same day at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

More than 100 people braved cold, wet winter weather and icy streets to have copies of their books signed by the cardinal, who co-wrote "The Mass" with Mike Aquilina.

"Thank you for being interested in the book, but more importantly, thank you for being interested in the subject of the book," Cardinal Wuerl said.

He arrived to a round of applause from the three dozen people who started waiting in line about a half hour before the book signing was scheduled to begin.

"The Mass: The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition," explains every facet of the liturgy. The authors say they wrote the book because while the Mass "is ever ancient and ever new, ... it's time for us to take a fresh look, from where we sit now -- and from where we stand and kneel."

Beth Garcia, a mother of three and a parishioner at Our Lady of Victory Church in Washington, said she wanted to have a copy of the book because "we're raising our kids in the faith, and it's great for my husband and me to have a book like this."

"You find that the church is like an onion -- there is always another layer to peel away and more to discover," Garcia said. "Having Cardinal Wuerl's leadership guiding us is a great asset, a great help, to us as we pass on the faith to our kids."

Robert Polkiewicz, a parishioner at St. Mary of the Mills Parish in the Washington suburb of Laurel, Md., also noted that he would share the book with his family.

"I'm on my faith journey, and I've been looking for a book like this for a long time," he told the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Washington Archdiocese. "From what I've read so far, this is stuff I wish I knew when I was a kid, and it's something I'm going to share with my wife and kids."

Polkiewicz said he purchased the book, because "I don't want to just attend Mass anymore, I want to participate in it."

Msgr. Walter Rossi, the shrine's rector, said he was not surprised that people were looking to the book to learn more about the Mass.

"It has been well known for many years that Cardinal Wuerl is the consummate teaching bishop. His Eminence helps us along the path to holiness by helping us learn our faith and deepen our faith," the rector said. "Since the Mass is our highest form and most perfect prayer as Catholics, his book on the Mass helps us better understand that prayer and enter even more deeply into the Mass when we come to church on Sundays."

Victor David, a 19-year-old freshman at The Catholic University of America, waited in line to have his book signed because "I just love the way Cardinal Wuerl writes."

"He is a very wise, to-the-point man," David said. "How he explains things make a lot of sense to me."

Many of the people who came to see Cardinal Wuerl bought multiple copies of the book. Among them was Mike Hayes, a parishioner at St. Hugh of Grenoble Parish in Greenbelt, Md. He said that he bought six copies to pass on to members of his family.

"It is good to be reminded just how important the Mass is. As he says in the book, 'This is who we are,'" Hayes said. "We don't want to be sedate or complacent in the pew. The Mass is something from Jesus until now that we've done every day. Through it, we're connected to the eternal."

- - -

Editor's Note: "The Mass: The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition," is available at the National Shrine book store, other local Catholic book sellers, and online. It was published by Doubleday and costs $21.99.


CATH NEWS REPORT: Brisbane's pro-life leaders are urging Catholics and others opposed to the decriminalisation of abortion in Queensland to participate in an upcoming 'Rally for Life', calling it a "matter of life and death for the unborn", reports The Catholic Leader.

Cherish Life Queensland (CLQ) state president Teresa Martin said she hoped people will be "shocked into action" by the savagery of Victoria's laws "which permit abortion up to the day of birth and force doctors and nurses to participate in such operations".

National Civic Council (NCC) state president Luke McCormack said a new website,, similar to one which successfully recruited more than 1000 volunteers to campaign against pro-abortion candidates in last year's Victorian election, will be launched at the rally.

Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane will be among speakers at the rally which kicks off at 1.15pm on Saturday, February 12 at Queen's Park in the Brisbane CBD.

"We know (Premier) Anna Bligh will come under increasing pressure to decriminalise abortion while she's still in power."Please come and show your support for (the unborn) and for women under pressure to have an abortion as well," Ms Martin said.

"A large turnout will send a message to Anna Bligh and the pro-abortion lobby in general that the decriminalisation of abortion is unacceptable."

"Statistics show that in 2006 there were 621,000 Catholics living in Brisbane archdiocese - and at least that many Christians across all the other denominations.

"If even a small percentage of this number was to attend the rally, it would send a clear message to the Government that such legislation is not a vote winner."


St. Blaise


Feast: February 3


Feast Day:January 24


Patron of:Animals, builders, choking, veterinarians, throats, infants, stonecutters, carvers, wool workers

It is not known precisely when or where St. Blaise lived, but according to tradition he was a bishop of Sebaste, Armenia, in the early part of the fourth century, and suffered martyrdom under the Roman emperor Licinius, who had commanded the governor of the province, one Agricolaus, to prevent the spread of Christianity in his territory. After this edict had been promulgated, Blaise fled to the mountains and lived in a cave frequented by wild beasts. He used his skill to heal the animals that he found wounded or sick, and when the emperor's hunters, bent on collecting wild animals for the royal games, discovered him in this cave, they carried him off to Agricolaus as a special prize.

On the way, the story goes, they met a poor woman whose pig had been seized by a wolf. At the command of Blaise, the wolf restored the pig to its owner, alive and unhurt. During the course of this journey he also miraculously cured a child who was choking to death on a fishbone. For this reason St. Blaise is often invoked by persons suffering from throat trouble. When he had reached the capital and was in prison awaiting execution, the old woman whose pig he had saved came to see him, bringing two fine wax candles to dispel the gloom of his dark cell. When he was finally killed, he is supposed to have been tortured with an iron comb or rake, and afterwards beheaded. In the West there was no cult honoring St. Blaise prior to the eighth century.

One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, his emblems are an iron comb and a wax taper.


Mark 6: 7 - 13
7And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
8He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;
9but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.
10And he said to them, "Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.
11And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them."
12So they went out and preached that men should repent.
13And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.

No comments: