TODAY'S SAINT: OCT. 28: ST. JUDE APOSTLE
ASSISI: MAY RELIGIONS BRING JUSTICE AND PEACE UPON THE EARTH
VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - Shortly before 4 p.m. yesterday, the Holy Father and the heads of delegation left the convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, and walked in procession across the square in front of the building. They then boarded minibuses which took them to Piazza San Francesco for the closing event of the Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world. (IMAGE RADIO VATICANA)
The ceremony began with some remarks from Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. He affirmed that the hope for peace had been revived by the Assisimeeting and exhorted everyone to be witnesses and messengers of peace. The other participants, speaking in turn, then solemnly renewed their own commitment to peace: His Holiness Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, was followed by representatives of the World Lutheran Council, Sikhism, the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Baptist World Alliance, Islam, the Syro-Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, Taoism, Buddhism, Shintoism, the International Jewish Committee on Inter-religious Consultations, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, and non-believers.
Benedict XVI then pronounced the words: "Violence never again! War never again! Terrorism never again! In the name of God, may every religion bring upon the earth Justice and Peace, Forgiveness and Life, Love".
Following a few moments of silence, a group of young people gave lighted lamps to the heads of delegation and to others present in the square; the flames of the lamps flickering in the wind were intended to represent peace, which has to be protected and conserved. Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, then invited participants to exchange a sign of peace in order to seal the commitment they had just pronounced.
Following the exchange of the sign of peace the Pope concluded by thanking the organisers of the Assisimeeting. He also made specific mention of "the many young people who have made the pilgrimage toSanta Maria degli Angeli on foot, proof of the fact that many members of the new generations are committed to overcoming violence and discord, and to promoting justice and peace".
"Today's event is an image of how the spiritual dimension is a key element in the building of peace. Through this unique pilgrimage we have been able to engage in fraternal dialogue, to deepen our friendship, and to come together in silence and prayer. After renewing our commitment to peace and exchanging with one another a sign of peace, we feel even more profoundly involved, together with all the men and women from the communities that we represent, in our common human journey. We are not being separated; we will continue to meet, we will continue to be united in this journey, in dialogue, in the daily building of peace and in our commitment to a better world, a world in which every man and woman, and every people, can live in accordance with their own legitimate aspirations. From my heart I thank all of you here present for having accepted my invitation to come to Assisi as pilgrims of truth and peace and I greet each one of you in St. Francis' own words: May the Lord grant you peace.
During the closing hymn the Pope and the delegations descended from the podium and entered the lower basilica of St. Francis where they remained in silence over the saint's tomb. The Pontiff then greeted the Franciscan community and, accompanied by the heads of delegation, travelled by minibus to the railway station of Assisi where he boarded a train for his return to the Vatican.
VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received representatives of various religions, and of non-believers, who yesterday participated in the Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world, celebrated in the Italian town of Assisi under the theme: "Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace".
Addressing the group in English he thanked them for having taken part in yesterday's event. "In a certain sense", he said, "this gathering is representative of the billions of men and women throughout our world who are actively engaged in promoting justice and peace. It is also a sign of the friendship and fraternity which has flourished as the fruit of the efforts of so many pioneers in this kind of dialogue. May this friendship continue to grow among all the followers of the world's religions and with men and women of good will everywhere".
"Looking back, we can appreciate the foresight of the late Pope John Paul II in convening the first Assisimeeting. ... Meetings of this sort are necessarily exceptional and infrequent, yet they are a vivid expression of the fact that every day, throughout our world, people of different religious traditions live and work together in harmony. It is surely significant for the cause of peace that so many men and women, inspired by their deepest convictions, are committed to working for the good of the human family.
"In this way", Benedict XVI added, "I am sure that yesterday's meeting has given us a sense of how genuine is our desire to contribute to the good of all our fellow human beings and how much we have to share with one another.
"As we go our separate ways, let us draw strength from this experience and, wherever we may be, let us continue refreshed on the journey that leads to truth, the pilgrimage that leads to peace. I thank all of you from my heart".
VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, archbishop of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- U.S. bishops are preparing to make their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican, an intense series of encounters that will bring many of them face-to-face with Pope Benedict XVI for the first time.
Beginning in early November and extending through much of next year, the visits will constitute the most comprehensive assessment of church life in the United States since the German pope was elected in 2005.
A statue of Jesus handing St. Peter keys rests in front of the main altar in St. Peter's Basilica on the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul June 29. As part of their "ad limina" visits to Rome, bishops are required to make a pilgrimage to the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul in their respective basilicas. (CNS/Paul Haring)
The approximately 200 heads of U.S. dioceses, some accompanied by auxiliary bishops, will arrive in Rome in 15 regional groups, and each will bring a "Report on the State of the Diocese" that will serve as the basis for discussions. The schedules for the weeklong visits combine prayer and liturgy with more businesslike encounters at key Vatican offices.
The meetings with the pope have always been the highlight of the "ad limina" visits. Pope Benedict has lately adopted a modified format, meeting with 7-10 bishops at a time instead of individual encounters. U.S. bishops can expect small group discussions lasting about 45 minutes to an hour, featuring a relatively unstructured give-and-take with the pontiff.
The pope also addresses the larger regional groups of bishops, usually on a particular theme or aspect of the church's experience in the United States. He will not give a formal speech to each regional group, however. Instead, plans call for him to address only five of the groups -- part of a cutback in papal appointments that has been instituted gradually over the last few years.
Pope Benedict's talks will undoubtedly be combed for comments relevant to the 2012 election year campaign in the United States. Vatican insiders say the pope will avoid wading into partisan politics. Nevertheless, his talks are expected to touch on perennial hot-button issues like abortion and gay marriage -- not because they may be electoral topics, but because they are challenges to fundamental Catholic moral teaching.
Vatican sources said that under the general theme of new evangelization, which aims to strengthen the faith and "evangelize culture" in traditionally Christian countries, the pope is likely to focus on several key areas:
-- How culture and religion should intersect, especially in current situations found in secular society.
-- Education and the particular importance of Catholic schools.
-- Building good relationships between bishops and priests, which have suffered in the clerical sex abuse scandal.
-- Religious freedom as a challenge not only in countries where Christians are a minority, but in places where radical secularism is taking root.
The "ad limina" visits are often described as the Catholic version of branch managers reporting to the head office. Vatican officials say that's a misconception.
"If we only looked at the administrative aspect of these visits, we would not understand them. They are first of all moments of communion and collegiality, a faith experience," Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Congregation for Bishops, told Catholic News Service.
He said that when the groups of bishops pray and celebrate liturgies together, hold meetings with the Vatican and then engage in informal conversations among themselves, they are able to take a break from purely local affairs and look at things from a more universal perspective.
The visits are also a time when bishops and the Vatican can remove "prejudices" that may arise on issues that are treated in the media or public debate, but often without much direct communication between Rome and local church leaders, Cardinal Ouellet said.
"They clarify questions with us and we clarify questions with them. It is really very positive," the cardinal said.
The title of the visits comes from the Latin phrase "ad limina apostolorum" (to the thresholds of the apostles), a reference to the pilgrimage to the tombs of Sts. Peter and Paul that the bishops are required to make.
Several U.S. groups also plan to celebrate Masses at the altar of the tomb of Blessed John Paul II. Many of the bishops were, in fact, appointed by the late pope and feel a special connection to him.
Cardinal Ouellet's office coordinates preparation for the "ad limina" visits. Each bishop is asked to prepare in advance a report on virtually every aspect of diocesan life, including family life, education, clergy and religious, lay involvement, vocations, priestly formation, religious practices and demographics.
These reports are taken seriously at the Vatican, Cardinal Ouellet said. They are circulated to heads of Vatican agencies and to the pope ahead of time, so that meetings can be productive.
The U.S. bishops plan group meetings with officials of several Vatican agencies. They include the congregations in charge of doctrine, clergy, bishops, worship, education and religious orders, and pontifical councils that deal with ecumenism, the family and laity. The bishops are being encouraged to meet with the council for new evangelization, and some will hold talks with the council for health care.
These discussions involve shared concerns and interests, but some bishops also schedule private meetings with Vatican officials to deal with specific diocesan issues.
The group encounters are usually hosted by the prefects or presidents of Vatican congregations or councils. That isn't always possible, but Cardinal Ouellet said the top officials of Roman Curia departments "must have a very good reason not to meet the group." Meeting with the world's bishops is considered a priority task for curia agencies, he added.
The Masih brothers worked on land owned by the Dogar family. The latter are Muslim and some of its members used to get drunk and beat the tenants. When Asif and Khadim decided to quit, they were abducted. Nothing has been known about their fate since September. The authorities have not investigated the matter because one of the Dogars is a policeman.
Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Nothing is known of two Christian brothers from Faisalabad (Punjab) who were seized by the Muslim landowning family that employed them. The two disappeared on 14 September. Since then, “We have no idea where they are, whether they are dead or alive,” their mother toldAsiaNews. A money dispute between the two Christian farm workers and their Muslim landlords is at the root of their abduction. Police have not yet opened a First Information Report because one of the landlords is a police officer.
Asif Masih, 23, known as Kali, and Khadim Masih, 35, come from a poor Christian family living in Chak 71, Jaranwala District, Faisalabad. They worked for 2,500 Pakistani rupees (US$ 29) a month for three Muslim landowners, policeman Javed Dogar and his brothers Sajjad Dogar and Rauf Dogar, who hail from Khurrianwala.
The mother of the two Christian brothers, Basheeran Bibi, said her sons had borrowed 20,000 rupees from the landowners, and were paying the loan back every month, out of their salary.
However, working for the Dogars was getting harder and harder. Although Muslims, they were often drunk and brutally beat the two Christians for no apparent reason.
When they found out, the parents of the Masih brothers suggested they pay off the debt and quit. This sparked an angry reaction from the Dogars who stormed the Masih home where they roughed up Niamat, the brothers’ father, who has a heart ailment. After that, they abducted the two brothers in September asking for a ransom of 70,000 rupees, plus the remainder of the debt.
The men’s mother tried to file a report with police, which refused because one of the suspects is a fellow police officer.
“Disputes between landowners and tenant farmers are commonplace in the area,” Fr Augustine, a priest in Faisalabad who provides financial and moral help to families, told AsiaNews. A serious and impartial inquiry should be conducted into the affair. “Farm workers are poor,” he explained. “They don’t have money to pay for legal action against landowners."
By Fiona Basile
One hundred and forty men from across Australia gathered at the Collaroy Centre in Northern Sydney for the 6th National ‘Young Men of God’ conference.
The weekend was held between 14-16 October with men from all walks of life attending, and of all ages – the youngest being 16-years. Seventeen men from the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne attended.
The theme of the conference was ‘Don’t be afraid to be a witness to Christ’, with the men enjoying daily praise and worship, Mass, adoration, prayer ministry and a series of talks and workshops.
Some of the guest speakers included Fr Chris Ryan MGL, Sam Clear, who walked around the world for 18 months for Christian Unity, authors and international speakers from Choicez Media Jonathon and Karen Doyle, Shayne Bennett, founder of NET Ministries and leader of Emmanuel community in Brisbane and Fr Ken Barker MGL, who founded the movement in 2000. There was also plenty of time for sports and social activities down by the nearby beach.
YMG is a movement of 16-35 year-old Catholic men committed to being transformed by God’s Word and empowered by the Spirit to courageously stand up and be men of example and influence within their family, workplace, community, country and the world.
Father Ken has a strong conviction that God has a plan for young men to rise up in the Church today with a deep faith, purity of heart and strength of character and to become leaders for the future.
Melbourne-based member Luke O’Connor said, “The Young Men of God movement is about a brotherhood of men walking together in faith”.
“Our mission is to re-ignite men throughout our country, to help them reach their God-given potential, to be heralds of the truth for future generations and to empower others to realise their immense value and purpose as children of God.”
“YMG is a valuable resource for empowering men to be leaders in their respective parishes and communities and in the world. We achieve this through conferences, weekends away, regular small groups and fellowship.
“One of the major things for YMG is that we are for all men from all walks of life no matter where they are on their faith journey. We have guys who are in RCIA through to consecrated and Priests, married and lay single men."
Ben O'Heir from Canberra is married with two children and one on the way. He said: “We need good men to stand up and be counted and we need to support our men for the future of the country.
“When you look back on your life at 70, what legacy are you going to leave? Young Men Of God is a resource for the Catholic Church.”
James McAlpin, from Melbourne, first heard about the conference through a close friend of his who had participated in the ‘Sisterhood’ national conference also held at the Collaroy Centre.
“When I think about the weekend and past experiences in my life, this has to be up there with the best of them,” he said. “I have been involved in many football trips and weekends away, but none of these weekends compare to the richness and constant ‘golden’ offerings that have been provided here.”
“Speaking to all the lads, who have their own unique stories to tell, was a highlight, as were the talks, the games and even the food. The many hours I spent with the Lord in quiet prayer and adoration was also a highlight.”
YMG is currently based in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. In Melbourne, YMG runs a fortnightly ‘Connect night’ for men. For more information, seewww.ymgmovement.org
Photos by James McAlpin
Photos above: Participants at the 6th National 'Young Men of God' Conference; Fr Chris Ryan MGL; Fr Dave Callaghan MGL leads mass outdoors; Participants at the outdoor mass; David Mazzarelli (Adelaide), Adam Crouch (Melbourne), Tim Davis (Melbourne), Joe Hicks (Adelaide) and Anthony Callisto (Adelaide). http://www.cam.org.au/news/young-men-of-god-gather-for-national-conference.html
COMECE REPORT: AUTUMN PLENARY ASSEMBLY 2011
The COMECE Autumn Plenary Assembly will be held from Wednesday 26 to Friday 28 October 2011 in Brussels. 23 COMECE Member Bishops will be present. The main topic of the Plenary will be « The Financial Crisis and the future of European Integration »
The Bishops will analyse the economical and political reasons for the debt crisis in Europe and the instruments that have been set up to tackle the crisis. They will also reflect on “confidence” as a key factor to solve the crisis in a political, economical and social context.
Speakers on the Main topic :
- Mr Peter Wagner, Head of Unit, Task Force for Greece, European Commission.
Prof. Dr. Lans Bovenberg,
Tilburg University (The Netherlands)
Speech of Dr.Emmanuel van der Mensbrugghe,
Director of the IMF Offices in Europe, International Monetary Fund
"There is a simple message, which is that the global economy needs more cooperation today than ever before. Europe was an early leader in economic cooperation and coordination. It needs to assume that role once again. Putting in place a comprehensive approach to Europe’s problems is now a matter of urgency not just for the crisis countries, but for all the countries in the euro zone. It is a defining moment, and the time to act is now."
M. Jean-Pierre Jouyet, President of the French Financial Markets Authority
"Pour restaurer la confiance il faut remettre l’Eglise au centre du village, c'est-à-dire l’homme au centre de l’économie, et les marchés à son service. Ce n’est pas utopique, Des réformes sont possibles. Il faut bien en poser les objectifs. Il faut adopter des politiques vigoureuses en matière de régulation et à nous pencher sans tabou sur la meilleure manière de renforcer la gouvernance de l’Union européenne et de la zone Euro."
COMECE Plenary assemblies are closed to the public.
There will be no Press Conference.
A final press release will be issued as usual on Friday at noon.
For interview requests an any further information, please contact Johanna Touzel, spokesperson and COMECE Press Officer
Tel +32 (0)2 235 05 15
TODAY'S SAINT: OCT. 28: ST. JUDE APOSTLE
Feast: October 28
Saint Peter's, Rome, Rheims, Toulouse, France
lost causes, desperate situations, hospitals
The apostle St. Jude is distinguished from the Iscariot by the surname of Thaddaus, which signifies in Syriac praising or confession (being of the same import with the Hebrew word Judas), also by that of Lebbaeus, which is given him in the Greek text of St. Matthew. St. Jude was brother to St. James the Less, as he styles himself in his epistle; likewise of St. Simeon of Jerusalem, and of one Joses, who are styled the brethren of our Lord, and were sons of Cleophas and Mary, sister to the Blessed Virgin.
This apostle's kindred and relation to our Saviour exalted him not so much in his Master's eyes as his contempt of the world the ardour of his holy zeal and love, and his sufferings for his sake. It is not known when and by what means he became a disciple of Christ, nothing having been said of him in the gospels before we find him enumerated in the catalogue of the apostles. After the last supper, when Christ promised to manifest himself to every one who should love him, St. Jude asked him why he did not manifest himself to the world? By which question he seems to have expressed his expectation of a secular kingdom of the Messias. Christ by his answer satisfied him that the world is unqualified for divine manifestations, being a stranger and an enemy to what must fit souls for a fellowship with heaven; but that he would honour those who truly love him with his familiar converse, and would admit them to intimate communications of grace and favour.
After our Lord's ascension and the descent of the Holy Ghost, St. Jude set out, with the other great conquerors of the world and hell, to pull down the prince of darkness from his usurped throne; which this little troop undertook to effect armed only with the word of God and his Spirit. Nicephorus, Isidore, and the Martyrologies tell us that St. Jude preached up and down Judea, Samaria, Idumaa, and Syria; especially in Mesopotamia. St. Paulinus says that St. Jude planted the faith in Libya. This apostle returned from his missions to Jerusalem in the year 62, after the martyrdom of his brother, St. James, and assisted at the election of St. Simeon, who was likewise his brother. He wrote a catholic or general epistle to all the churches of the East, particularly addressing himself to the Jewish converts, amongst whom he had principally laboured. St. Peter had written to the same two epistles before this, and in the second had chiefly in view to caution the faithful against the errors of the Simonians, Nicholaits, and Gnostics. The havoc which these heresies continued to make among souls stirred up the zeal of St. Jude, who sometimes copied certain expressions of St. Peter, and seems to refer to the epistles of SS. Peter and Paul as if the authors were then no more. The heretics he describes by many strong epithets and similes, and calls them wandering meteors which seem to blaze for a while but set in eternal darkness. The source of their fall he points out by saying they are murmurers, and walk after their own lusts. The apostle puts us in mind to have always before our eyes the great obligation we lie under of incessantly building up our spiritual edifice of charity, by praying in the Holy Ghost, growing in the love of God, and imploring his mercy through Christ. From Mesopotamia St. Jude travelled into Persia. Fortunatus and the western Martyrologists tell us that the apostle St. Jude suffered martyrdom in Persia; the Menology of the Emperor Basil and some other Greeks say at Arat or Ararat, in Armenia, which at that time was subject to the Parthian empire, and consequently esteemed part of Persia. Many Greeks say he was shot to death with arrows: some add whilst he was tied on across. The Armenians at this day venerate him and St. Bartholomew for the first planters of the faith among them.