Wednesday, September 21, 2011









TODAY'S GOSPEL: SEPT. 20: Matthew 9: 9-13

Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday arrives in Germany for his third visit to his homeland since becoming Pope. This week’s apostolic journey will be his first State Visit to the country, and will take him to the capital, Berlin.

“It makes me proud to be a host for Pope Benedict XVI,” said Archbishop Rainer-Maria Woelki of Berlin. “In the last weeks, I jumped on the bandwagon of preparations, and experienced so much cheerful anticipation in the communities and facilities, even by those who are really busy with them.”

Unlike his previous visits to Germany, which were to predominantly Catholic areas of the country, this trip takes him to the heartland of Protestant Germany. In the capital itself, even professed Christians are a minority. Archbishop Woelki noted protests have even been planned at the Pope’s arrival.

“I once again invite everyone to listen first to what the Pope has to say, and then to pass judgement,” the Archbishop said. “When Benedict XVI lands in Berlin on September 22, he will be welcomed as the Vatican’s head of state, as well as the highest priest of the Catholic Church. But he also visits Berlin as a great European, and universal intellectual and example of belief. I am convinced that it is worth it to listen to what he has to say, even as a critical mind, even when not everyone agrees with everything.”



VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI imposed the pallium on Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy. The pallium is an embroidered woollen band worn by metropolitan archbishops as a symbol of their authority and their communion with Rome. The ecclesiastical province of which Cardinal Scola is metropolitan archbishop includes the ten dioceses in the Italian region of Lombardy:Milan,Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Crema, Cremona, Lodi, Mantua, Pavia and Vigevano.

.../ VIS 20110921 (90)

(image source: Radio vaticana)


VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese ofIndianapolis, U.S.A., presented by Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein O.S.B., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Appointed Bishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner O.F.M., prelate of Sao Felix, Brazil and secretary general of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, as auxiliary of Brasilia (area 5,814, population 2,196,000, Catholics 1,507,000, priests 294, permanent deacons 70, religious 652), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born inForquilhinha, Brazil in 1950. He made his religious profession in the order of Friars Minor in 1976 and was ordained a priest in 1978. Following studies in BrazilandRome he worked as a vice pastor and pastor, then as formator, master of novices and professor of philosophy. He was ordained a bishop in 2005.

- Appointed Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi of Alessandria, Italy, as president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. He succeeds Cardinal Velasio De Paolis C.S., whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda of the clergy of the diocese of Astorga,Spain, administrator general of the bishopric of Astorga, secretary of the diocesan council for economic affairs and pastor of thirteen parishes, as secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

- Appointed Marco Buonocore, head archivist of the Vatican Apostolic Library, as president of the Pontifical Roman Academy of Archaeology.


Dolores Hope, born May 27, 1909, has died at the age of 102. She died in her home in Toluca Lake, California of natural causes on Sept. 19, 2011. She was a singer and wife to the Comedian Bob Hope.
She was born Dolores DeFina in Manhattan to Italian and Irish parents. Her father was a bartender and her mother a saleslady. She took the professional name of Dolores Reade in the 1930s. She married Bob Hope on Feb. 19, 1934. They adopted 4 children: Eleanora, Linda, Kelly and Antholny.
She performed with her husband oversees for the military.
She was a devout Roman Catholic. She had a chapel in her home.
Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles commented on her death saying:
Bob and Dolores Hope in 1997: the laughter in the family home contributed to her parents’ long lives, said Linda Hopes

“Both the entertainment world and the Church have lost a woman of profound faith, gifted musical talent, and dedication to the betterment of peoples world-wide. The death of Dolores Hope leaves a huge void in Southern California,”.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: An attempt by the Russian Orthodox Church to stop a demolition order issued because of a “lack of permits” proves fruitless. Across town, Moscow authorities are preparing to unveil a bronze statue of the Blessed of Kolkata next Saturday.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – As the city of Moscow prepares to unveil a bronze statue of Mother Teresa next Saturday, the city government tore down a hospice run by the Missionaries of Charity (the religious order founded by the Blessed of Kolkata) for “lack of permits”. All attempts by the Russian Orthodox Church to find a compromise, including an intervention by Patriarch Kirill, to stop the demolition on 16 September came to naught. The statue of Mother Teresa, who was beatified by John Paul II in 2003, will stand next to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Located in the eastern part of the Russian capital, the two-building hospice drew the attention of Moscow municipal authorities three years ago when they tried to get a court order to force the Missionaries to tear down one of the two buildings, and remove the last storey in the other.

For the sisters, “the destruction of a place built with donations from around the world is a sign of blindness to human pain and a show of contempt for those who help the poor.” For their part, Moscow municipal authorities chose instead to make no comment.

The Moscow hospice was founded in 1990 and is run by missionaries from around the world. It helps abandoned children, terminally ill patients, the homeless and the disabled. It also helps recovering alcoholics.


UCAN REPORT: First time heads of all major religions have made joint trip to communist state
September 21, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Religious leaders visit North Korea
Representatives of seven religions of the Korean Conference on Religion and Peace

Leaders of South Korea’s seven major religions left for Pyongyang today in a bid to help improve North-South ties.

It marks the time all seven presidents of the Korean Conference on Religion and Peace (KCRP) have visited North Korea at the same time.

The seven leaders are due to visit Pyongyang and Mount Baekdusan, the highest mountain on the Korean peninsula, during their trip which ends on September 24.

“Our visit will play an important role in improving relations between the two Koreas,” said Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju, representative president of the KCRP, before leaving the country.

The South Korean government is looking for an opportunity to reestablish inter-Korean exchanges following a ban imposed in response to two deadly attacks by North Korea last year.

“We hope the South Korean government will continue to support our efforts,” the archbishop added.

In a statement, the religious leaders said: “We will deliver religious people’s wishes for peace to North Korea and contribute to the opening of a channel for reconciliation and cooperation between the two sides.”

After arriving in Pyongyang later today, the delegation was to attend a reception dinner.

Tomorrow they are due to visit Changchung Catholic Church and the Protestant Pongsu Church, and will later meet members of the North Korean Council of Religionists including Samuel Jang Jae-on, its chairperson.

On Friday, they will pray for peace on Mount Baekdusan before returning to Seoul on September 24.



The Homilies of Bishop Anthony Fisher
Homily - Annual SRE Mass, Blacktown, Friday 9 September 2011

Annual CCD Mass 2011
Photography: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu

Homily of Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, Annual SRE Mass, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, St Patrick’s Church, Blacktown, Friday 9 September 2011

Does being a Christian make any difference to the way we live? After all, don’t many non-Christians, even non-believers, live just as good lives as many Christians? If something is good, it is surely good for every human being, not just Christians or anyone particular group.

Yet when St Paul talks today of his experience of conversion (1 Tim 1:1-2,12-14), it is clear that for him it meant the complete upside-downing, inside-outing of his worldview and values. “I used to be a blasphemer and a persecutor of Christians,” he says, “but the grace of Our Lord filled me with faith and love”; having been shown mercy I now preach and teach that mercy myself. For St Paul, one of the first Christian catechists, the Damascus experience was so radical he would spend the rest of his years talking about leaving behind the old man and putting on the new; being liberated from oldway of life and embracing the new one; being grafted onto Christ, imitating Christ, living through Christ and with Christ and in Christ; being, if needs be, a fool for Christ by this world’s standards. For Paul this meant confronting law-abiding Jews and philosophically-minded pagans, as well as young Christians with the radically good and radically new Good News.

Yet if we Christians do have something different to offer, we need not deny the wisdom in other religious traditions or in the natural morality of human beings, some of which we can draw upon ourselves and much of which is the common ground upon which we live and work with people of all sorts. Once the foundation of Christian faith was laid, St Paul himself did not hesitate to build up human norms and virtues in his new Christians. Though he thought Jesus’ Way was something very new, he readily assimilated whatever was true from the heritage of the peoples he taught.

Of course, in some ways his task was easier than ours. At least the surrounding cultures were essentially religious ones. Everyone believed in God, perhaps too many gods, in the afterlife, in the requirement to pray and live a good life. In our contemporary culture, on the other hand, God is marginalized and much of what is offered instead for our valuing is unhelpful, even harmful. The messages coming from our industries, polities, academies and media can be corrupt; the reigning ideologies of consumerism, individualism and relativism wrong-headed; the practices of the age hard-hearted or soft-headed, such as credit beyond our means, consumption beyond our credit, sex and drugs as recreations, inappropriate incarceration of some troublemakers and detention of some strangers. And so Christians today are increasingly counter-cultural, contra mundum, as this world goes.

Yet we are never really against the culture or against the world, because we adore the Maker of our world and Lord of our history, and we appreciate all He has given us, including our natural environment and human achievements, the great philosophies and institutions, technologies and traditions, the family and workplace and community. If Christians greet the world with a critical mind and the eyes of faith, it is so they can live well in the world, not escape from it, and purify that world and bring it to God.

True Christian morality, we know, has a profound and persuasive echo in heart of every person, believer and non-believer alike, because it marvellously fulfils our heart’s desires while infinitely surpassing them. Even in the midst of difficulties and uncertainties, every person sincerely open to the truth can, by the light of reason and the hidden action of grace, come to recognize what is right. And so however much some people differ from us and sometimes persecute us, Christians in the end have no enemies, except Sin and Death. Other people, however misguided, are still the image of God for us, still intended by God to be our neighbours, friends, brothers and sisters, fellow saints. There are, dare I say, only two religions – Catholics and still-to-be-Catholics – and the still-to-be’s are like catechumens with their foot already in the door, already joined to us, as long as they are seeking the truth with a sincere heart and living as good a life as their lights reveal to them.

So why bother with evangelisation and catechesis and SRE and the rest? Aren’t all beliefs equally worthy and all morals equally sincere? If those without Catholic faith can be saved, isn’t ignorance bliss? Shouldn’t we just leave them to their own devices, to follow their own lights and find a path for themselves?

To which Paul might answer this morning: how could you know the grace and peace and mercy of God the Father, how could you experience the faith and hope and love of Christ Jesus His Son, and not want to share them with others? Can ignorance of God and His ways, of His plan for humanity and His providential care, of His Incarnate Son and His redeeming friendship, of His Holy Spirit and His spiritual gifts, of His Holy Church and her Word and Sacraments: can ignorance of such things be bliss? Surely such ignorance is a deprivation, a terrible loss? And so, says Paul this morning, God chooses people, sometimes the most unexpected people, and calls them into His service, and gives them the faith and hope and love they need to pass on the Faith.

At World Youth Day in Madrid, which I was privileged to attend with nearly 300 young people from the Parramatta diocese, the Pope confronted thepost-modern question: Do we really need foundations for our lives? He observed that “There are many who... believe they need no roots or foundations other than themselves. They take it upon themselves to decide what is true or not, what is good and evil, what is just and unjust; who should live and who can be sacrificed in the interests of other preferences; leaving each step to chance, with no clear path, letting themselves be led by the whim of each moment.”

Christians, the Holy Father argued, have an alternative approach to life. We know “that we have been created free, in the image of God, precisely so that we might be in the forefront of the search for truth and goodness, responsible for our actions; not mere blind executives, but creative co-workers in the task of cultivating and beautifying the work of creation.”

“God is looking for a responsible interlocutor, someone who can dialogue with Him and love Him,” the Pope continued. “Through Christ we can truly succeed and, established in Him, we give wings to our freedom. Is this not the great reason for our joy? Isn’t this the firm ground upon which to build the civilization of love and life, capable of humanizing all of us?”

This is the task of the CCD and its SRE teachers: bringing responsible interlocutors to God, young people with big questions, searching minds and open hearts, laying foundations for their lives and giving wings to their freedom, so they might build with Christ a civilization of life and love for Western Sydney. What an exciting project is yours! Thanks be to God for your contribution to that adventure.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Bishops of Burundi expressed "dismay and sorrow" for the victims of the attack in a bar in Gatumba, in the municipality of Mutimbuzi in the province of Bujumbura, carried out by unknown assailants on the night of Sept. 18, which caused numerous deaths. In a statement of which a copy was sent to Fides, the Episcopal Conference of Burundi "begs" also "the State authorities to avoid assimilating opponents to enemies, and not to fall into the logic of violence that would put the Country in a violent spiral ". The Bishops also address an appeal to "all citizens to preserve unity, so that these moments of trial do not become an occasion of hatred that threatens to plunge Burundi in a spiral of revenge".
In a statement from the Independent National Commission of Human Rights (INCHR), whose president is brother Emmanuel Ntakarutimana, a Dominican religious, the dynamics of the attack are reconstructed: the assailants attacked the bar "Chez les amis" around 7.45pm, local time on September 18. The group killed " several people with weapons, bullets and grenades, some of which were saved because they had the readiness to hide in the toilet". According to information gathered by INCHR, on 19 September, 22 people died on the spot, including a child, and other 15 died in the four hospitals where the injured were hospitalized. "This attack - continues the document sent to Fides - comes in the wake of several cases of shootings in some parts of the Country where the bodies were discovered and, in most cases, no investigation shed light on the circumstances in which the victims were killed, and did not help identify the perpetrators in order to bring them before justice".
"The fresh outbreak of violence is part of the resurgence of armed groups that commit serious crimes such as those of Gatumba", warns the INCHR, which also emphasizes that "the results of the elections in May 2010 led to a troubled socio-political climate".
To overcome this situation, the INCHR asks the government to protect the population and to ensure the perpetrators of these crimes to justice; the political forces to promote a culture of peace and democracy and to ensure that their youth movements do not become prey to those who do not respect the dignity of the person; for media and civil society to inform the public with ethical practice, to intensify educational efforts for peace and respect for human rights, and finally to the international community to continue to support Burundi in its efforts for peace and economic development. (L.M.)


St. Matthew
Feast: September 21
Feast Day:
September 21
January 24, near Hierapolis or Ethiopia
Patron of:
accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, customs officers, financial officers, guards, money managers, security forces, security guards, stock brokers, tax collectors

Apostle and evangelist. The name Matthew is derived from the Hebrew Mattija, being shortened to Mattai in post-Biblical Hebrew. In Greek it is sometimes spelled Maththaios, B D, and sometimes Matthaios, CEKL, but grammarians do not agree as to which of the two spellings is the original. Matthew is spoken of five times in the New Testament; first in Matt., ix, 9, when called by Jesus to follow Him, and then four times in the list of the Apostles, where he is mentioned in the seventh (Luke, vi, 15, and Mark, iii, 18), and again in the eighth place (Matt., x, 3, and Acts, i, 13). The man designated in Matt., ix, 9, as "sitting in the custom house", and "named Matthew" is the same as Levi, recorded in Mark, ii, 14, and Luke, v, 27, as "sitting at the receipt of custom". The account in the three Synoptics is identical, the vocation of Matthew-Levi being alluded to in the same terms. Hence Levi was the original name of the man who was subsequently called Matthew; the Maththaios legomenos of Matt., ix, 9, would indicate this. The fact of one man having two names is of frequent occurrence among the Jews. It is true that the same person usually bears a Hebrew name such as "Shaoul" and a Greek name, Paulos. However, we have also examples of individuals with two Hebrew names as, for instance, Joseph-Caiaphas, Simon-Cephas, etc. It is probable that Mattija, "gift of Iaveh", was the name conferred upon the tax-gatherer by Jesus Christ when He called him to the Apostolate, and by it he was thenceforth known among his Christian brethren, Levi being his original name. Matthew, the son of Alpheus (Mark, ii, 14) was a Galilean, although Eusebius informs us that he was a Syrian. As tax-gatherer at Capharnaum, he collected custom duties for Herod Antipas, and, although a Jew, was despised by the Pharisees, who hated all publicans. When summoned by Jesus, Matthew arose and followed Him and tendered Him a feast in his house, where tax-gatherers and sinners sat at table with Christ and His disciples. This drew forth a protest from the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked in these consoling words: "I came not to call the just, but sinners". No further allusion is made to Matthew in the Gospels, except in the list of the Apostles. As a disciple and an Apostle he thenceforth followed Christ, accompanying Him up to the time of His Passion and, in Galilee, was one of the witnesses of His Resurrection. He was also amongst the Apostles who were present at the Ascension, and afterwards withdrew to an upper chamber, in Jerusalem, praying in union with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with his brethren (Acts, i, 10 and 14).
Of Matthew's subsequent career we have only inaccurate or legendary data. St. Irenæus tells us that Matthew preached the Gospel among the Hebrews, St. Clement of Alexandria claiming that he did this for fifteen years, and Eusebius maintains that, before going into other countries, he gave them his Gospel in the mother tongue. Ancient writers are not as one as to the countries evangelized by Matthew, but almost all mention Ethiopia to the south of the Caspian Sea (not Ethiopia in Africa), and some Persia and the kingdom of the Parthians, Macedonia, and Syria. According to Heracleon, who is quoted by Clement of Alexandria, Matthew did not die a martyr, but this opinion conflicts with all other ancient testimony. Let us add, however, that the account of his martyrdom in the apocryphal Greek writings entitled "Martyrium S. Matthæi in Ponto" and published by Bonnet, "Acta apostolorum apocrypha" (Leipzig, 1898), is absolutely devoid of historic value. Lipsius holds that this "Martyrium S. Matthæi", which contains traces of Gnosticism, must have been published in the third century. There is a disagreement as to the place of St. Matthew's martyrdom and the kind of torture inflicted on him, therefore it is not known whether he was burned, stoned, or beheaded. The Roman Martyrology simply says: "S. Matthæi, qui in Æthiopia prædicans martyrium passus est". Various writings that are now considered apocryphal, have been attributed to St. Matthew. In the "Evangelia apocrypha" (Leipzig, 1876), Tischendorf reproduced a Latin document entitled: "De Ortu beatæ Mariæ et infantia Salvatoris", supposedly written in Hebrew by St. Matthew the Evangelist, and translated into Latin by Jerome, the priest. It is an abridged adaptation of the "Protoevangelium" of St. James, which was a Greek apocryphal of the second century. This pseudo-Matthew dates from the middle or the end of the sixth century. The Latin Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthew on 21 September, and the Greek Church on 16 November. St. Matthew is represented under the symbol of a winged man, carrying in his hand a lance as a characteristic emblem.

TODAY'S GOSPEL: SEPT. 20: Matthew 9: 9-13

Matthew 9: 9 - 13
9As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.10And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.11And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"12But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.13Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

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