HUMAN HISTORY IS A HISTORY OF SALVATION
VATICAN CITY, 12 OCT 2011 (VIS) - During his general audience this morning the Holy Father dedicated his catechesis to Psalm 126 which, he said, "celebrates the great things which the Lord has done for His people, and which He continues to do for all believers". (IMAGE SOURCE RADIO VATICANA)
The Psalm "speaks of 'restored fortunes'", the Pope explained, "in other words, fortunes restored to their original state". This was the experience of the People of Israel when they returned to their homeland after the Babylonian exile, which had been such a devastating experience not only in political and social terms but also from a religious and spiritual point of view.
"Divine intervention often takes unexpected forms which go beyond what man might expect. ... God works marvels in the history of mankind. ... He reveals Himself as the powerful and merciful Lord, the refuge of the oppressed Who does not ignore the cry of the poor. ... Thus, with the liberation of the People of Israel, everyone recognises the great and wondrous things God has done for His People and celebrates the Lord as Saviour".
However, the Holy Father went on, "the Psalm goes beyond the purely historical and opens to a broader, theological dimension". It uses images which "allude to the mysterious truth of redemption, in which the gift we have received and the gift we await, life and death, intertwine".
The watercourses of the Neg'eb symbolise divine intervention which, like water, "is capable of transforming the desert into a vast expanse of green grass and flowers", the Pope explained. Later the Psalm also uses the image of peasants cultivating their fields "to speak of salvation. The reference here is to the annual cycle of agriculture: the difficult and arduous time of sowing then the overriding joy of the harvest. ... The seed sprouts and grows".
"This is the hidden mystery of life, these are the 'great and wondrous things of salvation which the Lord achieves in the history of mankind, but the secret of which is unknown to man. Divine intervention, when fully expressed, has an overpowering dimension, like the watercourses of the Neg'eb and the grain in the fields. This latter image also evokes the disproportion typical of the things of God: disproportion between the fatigue of sowing and the immense joy of the harvest".
"The Psalmist refers to all these things to speak of salvation. ... The deportation toBabylon, like other situations of suffering and crisis, ... with its doubts and the apparent distance from God is, in reality, ... like a seedbed. In the mystery of Christ and in the light of the New Testament, the message becomes even clearer and more explicit: the believer who passes through the darkness is like the seed of grain that falls to earth and dies, but brings forth much fruit".
"This Psalm teaches us that ... we must remain hopeful and firm in our faith in God. Our history, though often marked by suffering, uncertainty and moments of crisis, is a history of salvation and 'restoration of fortunes'. In Jesus our exile ends: ... in the mystery of His cross, in death transformed into life, like the seed which splits in the earth and becomes an ear of wheat".
VATICAN CITY, 12 OCT 2011 (VIS) - "I am profoundly saddened by the episodes of violence that took place in Cairo last Sunday", said the Pope today following his customary language greetings at the end of his Wednesday general audience.
"I share the suffering of the families of the victims and of all the Egyptian people, lacerated by attempts to undermine peaceful coexistence among their communities, a coexistence which it is vital to safeguard, especially in this moment of transition", the Holy Father went on. "I exhort the faithful to pray that that society might enjoy true peace, based on justice and respect for the freedom and dignity of all citizens.
"I support the efforts made by the civil and religious authorities in Egypt to foster a society in which everyone's human rights are respected, in particular those of minorities, for the benefit of national unity".
During his greetings to pilgrim groups participating in the audience, the Holy Father also recalled the fact that the month of October is dedicated to the Rosary, inviting the faithful "to discover the beauty of this simple but effective prayer".
VATICAN CITY, 12 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Alexandria-Cornwall, Canada, as metropolitan archbishop of Gatineau (area 6,445, population 313,243, Catholics 250,594, priests 71, permanent deacons 1, religious 209), Canada. He succeeds Archbishop Roger Ebacher, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Bishop Jose de la Trinidad Valera Angulo of La Guaira, Venezuela, as bishop of Guanare (area 7,600, population 436,000, Catholics 384,000, priests 26, religious 46), Venezuela. He succeedsBishop Jose Sorero Valero Ruz, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same bishop the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Bishop Carlos Jose Tissera of San Francisco, Argentina, as bishop of Quilmes (area 503, population 1,198,000, Catholics 1,028,000, priests 100, permanent deacons 84, religious 275),Argentina. He succeeds Bishop Luis Teodorico Stockler, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Fr. Gabriel Zurbriggen, pastor of the cathedral of Rafaela, Argentina, as coadjutor of the territorial prelature of Dean Funes (area 28,700, population 61,995, Catholics 55,930, priests 16, permanent deacons 1, religious 17),Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Curupaity, Argentina in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1990. He studied at the Gregorian University in Rome before returning toArgentina where he worked as parochial vicar then pastor in various parishes. He teaches theology at the seminaries in Parana and Cordoba and is member of a number of diocesan councils.
Kurnool diocese in Andhra Pradesh is celebrating a Bible Festival to inculcate a habit among the Christians to own and read the Holy Book.
“The inspiration for the festival came from the 2009 Mumbai Indian Mission Congress. People are hungry for the Word of God and the festival is aimed at helping them find the real presence of God in the Bible,” said Bishop Anthony Poola of Kurnool.
The festival continues until January 2012.
“We want every Catholic to possess a Bible. A Bible [usually] costs 120 rupees (US$2.60) but we have subsidized the price and are selling it for half the rate,” said Father Bhaskar Mendem, parish priest of Kurnool cathedral.
The diocesan pastoral commission has trained “animators” in every parish to conduct Bible programs. They celebrate mini-Bible festivals and programs in villages.
Bishop Poola has issued circulars allotting dates for “chain adoration, including Bible prayers” in all the institutions and parishes for the success of the festival.
He distributed cards with Bible prayers and songs to be used in adoration.
The effect of the festival was summed by M. Balaiah, a villager, who said “Through these celebrations we have come to know the power of the Bible.”
The Finance minister quits calling on the military to own up to its responsibilities. State TV is accused of inciting anti-Christian attack by broadcasting false news. Eyewitnesses say they saw the bodies of people crushed by army armoured vehicles in Sunday’s clashes. Intellectuals and religious leaders express concern over the atmosphere of repression that threatens the country’s future.
Cairo (AsiaNews) – Streets in Cairo and other Egyptian cities saw many Christian women wearing black in a sign of mourning and protest against Sunday’s brutal killing of 25 Coptic demonstrators during clashes with the security forces. In recent days, many have criticised the ruling Supreme Military Council for its inability to govern and its role in instigating communal violence between Christians and Muslims. Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi quit over the matter, saying the government has failed to guarantee security in the country and that it should own up to its mistakes and apologise to the people.
After nine months of transitional government and a few weeks before parliamentary elections, many Egyptians wonder about the direction the country is taking, whether the Supreme Council is encouraging fundamentalist groups and whether investigations into the various incidents are actually conducted correctly. Every Egyptian senses that the country is going back. After the recent violence in Tahrir Square, people are losing hope in the future.
Before last Sunday’s tragic events, a great woman journalist, Farida al Shubashy, wrote in an article that the Nazi spirit is alive now in Egypt. Like Hitler, who wanted to exterminate the Jews, fundamentalists and Salafists now want to exterminate the Copts. Yesterday, the great writer Alaa al Asswany, well known for his famous book "Yacoubain Building", penned an editorial in which he denounced the Wind of Fascism that is sweeping across Egypt.
An example of this atmosphere of repression is the constant broadcasting of false and misleading news on official media. During the demonstration by Copts in front of the Maspero television building, the Channel 1 state TV said that Christians had killed three soldiers and urged Egyptians to take to the streets to save the military from attacks. First, TV officials denied any responsibility in what followed, then said that one soldier had died, blaming a stressed out journalist for the error. However, since they refused to name the soldier, no one believes that there were casualties.
This has had terrible results. An unveiled Muslim woman was chased and savagely beaten by a group of people because they thought she was Christian. Dozens of cars parked in front of Cairo’s Coptic Hospital that had crosses and other Christian symbols inside were torched.
But the disinformation does not end there. Claims that security forces were stoned, provoking the military into overreacting, also proved false. Eyewitnesses said in fact that gangs of thugs threw bricks and stones in order to sow confusion in the crowd of demonstrators.
Copts had organised the peaceful rally to demand the resignation of the governor of Aswan after a church had been torched in a village under his jurisdiction. A number of Muslims had joined the protest and remained until the army moved in with armoured vehicles. In the ensuing melee, several protesters were run over. Eyewitnesses recounted that some bodies were so badly crushed that they were unrecognizable.
In one case, a priest left the square holding a bag containing the crushed head of a young man called Peter, asking people how he could deliver it to the family. A forensic expert at the state morgue said that he never saw so many bodies in such a bad state, worse than those of the victims of the Luxor massacre in the late 1990s.
In order to shed light on the events and promote a transparent investigation, Grand Imam Ahmed al Tayeb, sheikh of Al Azhar, the highest authority of Sunni Islam, organised a meeting with Christian bishops, high Muslim clerics, legal experts, and human rights activists.
Now everybody wants to know who gave the order to fire. They want to know why nothing was done when fundamentalists stopped trains for ten days in Upper Egypt, paralysing this vital transportation route. Why was there such a violent reaction to a peaceful demonstration? Why was no one arrested for burning the Saint-George Church in the village of Marinab, near Edfu, in Aswan governorate.
Many in the media and the legal profession want the resignation of Aswan’s governor, a former army general, because of his failure to solve the situation and because he openly lied about the incident when he said that a hall and not a church was involved and had accused Copts of cheating on their application for a permit to fix the building and that young Muslims simply wanted to re-establish the status quo ante.
In fact, the Saint George Church has been in existence in the village for the past 80 years, and was in need of repair. All the permits authorising the work had been properly approved by the appropriate governatorate authority.
Now moderate Muslims are afraid and shocked by events involving the military and Islamic extremists. An important Muslim attorney called on "the great and true Church of Egypt" to publish a stronger communiqué than the one released yesterday, which was read by Amba Yoannes, Auxiliary Bishop to Pope Shenuda.
On Monday, a large number of Muslims joined Christian mourners in Cairo’s cathedral for the solemn funeral of Sunday’s victims. However, the show of unity was marred by Muslim fundamentalists. Mina, a Christian woman who died during the clashes, said she wanted her funeral procession to start in Tahrir Square. This proved impossible because the funeral cortege was attacked by fundamentalists, forcing people to change route.
This has further shocked Egyptians who despite their differences traditionally show respect for the dead.
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
7 Oct 2011
Friendship is a priceless gift and for those living with mental illness, a friend can make all the difference. But most men and women battling mental illness lead isolated lives, disconnected from vital social contact and interaction with mainstream life and their communities.
But the St Vincent de Paul Society is helping to change this through Compeer, a unique program that was first developed in the US, which matches volunteer "friends" with individuals living with long term mental illness.
In the past decade and a half, Vinnies program has fostered 558 such friendships across NSW. With October designated Mental Health Month, the call has now gone out for more volunteers to help the increasing numbers of men and women who live with mental illness.
One in two Australians will experience some form of mental illness during their life time and the gift of friendship for those with long term conditions can literally change lives.
Volunteers with the Compeer program are carefully matched so those they befriend are similar in age, gender, locality but in many cases, also share some of the same interests. As a result in the 15 years the program has been in operation across Sydney and NSW, genuine friendships have formed with remarkable results, triggering positive changes not only those struggling with mental ill health, but for the volunteer "friends" as well.
"I get every bit as much out of the friendship as Jim does," insists Compeer volunteer, Brian Rathborne of North Sydney, who has changed his friend's name to protect his privacy. "I very much enjoy our time together. We get on very well. He is fun to be with. We have some very unusual conversations at times and he has opened up a totally different life and world to me."
Introduced via Vinnies' Compeer program, Brian and Jim have been firm friends since 1996 and both eagerly look forward to the hours they spend together each fortnight when they might take go for a trip to Bronte or Balmoral beach, visit an art gallery, do some sightseeing, take in a movie or simply grab a coffee or milkshake and have a good long talk as they walk through Sydney's streets.
"When I first met Jim he was 47 and until that time he'd never been inside an art gallery or done any of those things most of us take for granted," Brian says, admitting he is amazed and delighted at how Jim's social skills have improved as a result, along with his confidence and self esteem.
According to Brian, Jim suffers from a group of complex mental illness problems, with schizophrenia the simplest way to describe his condition. "His mental health problems started during his school years," Brian explains. "He left school at 16 and worked for a short period at different jobs, but by 17 he was in the world of the mentally ill and spent the bulk of his life in institutions. He's had a rough trot, but when I met him he was no longer in an institution or a group home. Instead thanks to the really good support he receives from the local community's mental health people, he was living by himself in a unit."
Jim still lives independently, but although he is able to do simple shopping for himself, before he met Brian, the people he counted as friends all suffered from some form of mental illness or were health workers involved in his care.
"He keeps telling me I'm his only normal friend and he's very proud of this," Brian says with a smile.
While Brian is now 74 and retired, volunteers with Compeer are of all different ages and from all walks of life.
Twenty-two-year-old Lesa Chung is a relative newcomer to the program and volunteered just over two years ago after reading about Compeer in a Sydney newspaper.
"No one in my family has had a mental illness but a lot of my friends at high school suffered from depression and I wanted to see what I could do to help," she says.
Contacting Vinnies in Castle Hill, near where she lives, she underwent two full Saturdays of intensive training. "We were taught about mental illnesses, symptoms and shown different scenarios I might encounter as a volunteer. We were also trained in practical skills and setting up personal boundaries, and were taught our role was as friends, not as healthcare workers and not to take trying to fix or treat their illnesses on board."
As with Brian and Jim, care was taken to match Lesa with someone of a similar age, gender and location.
"I'll call her Robyn, to protect her privacy, and we have been friends for two years," Lesa says. "Robyn lives at home with her family and has schizophrenia as well as an anxiety disorder. She's a bit older than me but not by much and we spend a few hours each fortnight together. We laugh and talk and talk about recipes and cooking, go for walks, window shop and basically do the sort of things friends do together."
Although Robyn has a very supportive family and two older siblings, Lesa is her first friend outside the family's social circle. Being able to interact with someone outside this circle from her own peer group, and have ordinary every day fun, has given Robyn a huge boost in confidence and the way she looks at life.
"I have learned a lot too, and because of Robyn and my time with her, I have learned to be more considerate of other people and the importance of being humble. We all have a tendency to be a bit selfish and do what we like and say whatever we want, but with a Compeer friendship you learn to be more sensitive to feelings and body language and to be more generous in spirit," she says.
With Robyn, Lesa also shares her love of music. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Music, thanks to Robyn and her association with Compeer, Lesa has now applied to study for a Masters degree in Music Therapy.
"Being a volunteer with Compeer has changed my life too," Lesa says, and like Brian, urges others to consider joining the program and offering the hand of friendship.
"Just being a friend can make a huge difference to someone who is living with mental illness and is isolated and cut off from society," she says.
As part of Mental Health Month, Vinnies Compeer Program is holding volunteer information sessions on Monday, 17 October at 11.30 am and again on Wednesday, 19 October at 6.30 pm. Both sessions will be held at St Vincent de Paul Society, Charles O'Neill House, 2c West St, Lewisham.
Pauline Marie Jaricot was born on July 22, 1799 and came from a well-to-do family from Lyon. She spent a wealthy and worldly childhood and adolescence. When she had just turned seventeen, after a serious illness and death of her mother, shaken by the preaching of her pastor, she began a life of intense prayer. At 19 she gathers the girls working in factories and established a Union of Prayer among pious servant girls, the members of which were known as the ‘Reparatrices’. Following her brother, who then became a priest, and was a member of the Association of the young and adults of the Society for Foreign Missions in Paris, whose members committed themselves to praying and collecting offerings to help the missions in the Far East, even Pauline and the Reparatrices dedicated themselves to the missionary cause. Groups of 10 persons were formed and each group had the task of acting as a promoter by finding ten other associates willing to pray and contribute "a penny" every week for the missions. The project extends itself rapidly: On October 20, 1820 there are already more than 500 members who are part of what will be called the Association for the Propagation of the Faith, whose official foundation takes place on May 3, 1822. In the years following the Society expands in France, in Europe and the world, maintaining a close relation with the Congregation of Propaganda Fide. In 1826 Pauline Jaricot promotes the Living Rosary: a group of fifteen associates each of whom had to recite daily only one determined decade for the conversion of sinners and to mediatate on the mystery chosen. This initiative soon spread throughout the world. The last ten years of her life are marked by hardship and adversity of all kinds. She died on January 9, 1862. On May 3, 1922 Pope Pius XI declares the Society for the Propagation of the Faith "Pontifical". Pope John XXIII recognizes the heroic virtues of Pauline Jaricot on February 25, 1963. For more information about Memorial Day: firstname.lastname@example.org. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 12/10/2011)
Feast: October 12
634 in Northumbria, England
709 at Oundle, Northhamptonshire, England
Bishop of York, son of a Northumbrian thegn, born in 634; died at Oundle in Northamptonshire, 709. He was unhappy at home, through the unkindness of a stepmother, and in his fourteenth year he was sent away to the Court of King Oswy, King of Northumbria. Here he attracted the attention of Queen Eanfleda and by her, at his own request, he was sent to the Monastery of Lindisfarne. After three years spent here he was sent for, again through the kindness of the queen, to Rome, in the company of St. Benedict Biscop. At Rome he was the pupil of Boniface, the pope's archdeacon. On his way home he stayed for three years at Lyons, where he received the tonsure from Annemundas, the bishop of that place. Annemundas wanted him to remain at Lyons altogether, and marry his niece and become his heir, but Wilfrid was determined that he would be a priest. Soon after persecution arose at Lyons, and Annemundas perished in it. The same fate nearly came to Wilfrid, but when it was shown that he was a Saxon he was allowed to depart, and came back to England. In England he received the newly founded monastery at Ripon as the gift of Alchfrid, Oswy's son and heir, and here he established the full Benedictine Rule. The Columbite monks, who had been settled previously at Ripon, withdrew to the North. It was not until he had been for five years Abbot of Ripon, that Wilfrid became a priest. His main work at Ripon was the introduction of Roman rules and the putting forward of a Roman practice with regard to the point at issue between the Holy See and the Scottish monks in Northumbria; to settle these questions the synod of Whitby was held in 664. Chiefly owing to Wilfrid's advocacy of the claims of the Holy See the votes of the majority were given to that side, and Colman and his monks, bitterly disappointed, withdrew from Northumbria. Wilfrid, in consequence of the favours he had then obtained, was elected bishop in Colman's place, and, refusing to receive consecration from the northern bishops, whom he regarded as schismatics, went over to France to be consecrated at Compiègne.
He delayed some time in France, whether by his own fault or not is not quite clear, and on his return in 666 was driven from his course by a storm and shipwrecked on the coast of Sussex, where the heathen inhabitants repelled him and almost killed him. He succeeded in landing, however, in Kent not far from Sandwich. Thence he made his way to Northumbria, only to find that, owing to his long absence, his see had been filled up, and that a St. Chad was bishop in his place. He retired to his old monastery at Ripon, and from thence went southwards and worked in Mercia, especially at Lichfield, and also in Kent.
In 669 Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury visited Northumbria, where he found Chad working as bishop. He pointed out to him the defects of his position and, at his instigation, St. Chad withdrew and Wilfrid once more became Bishop of York. During his tenure of the see, he acted with great vigour and energy, completing the work of enforcing the Roman obedience against the Scottish monks. He founded a great many monasteries of the Benedictine Order, especially at Henlam and at Ripon, and completely rebuilt the minster at York. In all that he did he acted with great magnificence, although his own life was always simple and restrained.
So long as Oswy lived all went well, but with Ecgfrid, Oswy's son and successor, Wilfrid was very unpopular, because of his action in connection with Ecgfrid's bride Etheldrida, who by Wilfrid's advice would not live with her husband but retired into a monastery. It was just at this juncture that Theodore, possibly exceeding his powers as Archbishop of Canterbury, proceeded to subdivide the great diocese over which Wilfrid ruled, and to make suffragan bishops of Lindisfarne, Hexham, and Witherne. Wilfrid, whether or not he approved of the principle of subdivision, refused to allow Theodore's right to make it, and appealed to the central authority at Rome, whither he at once went. Theodore replied by consecrating three bishops in Wilfrid's own church at York and dividing his whole bishopric between them.
An attempt was made by his enemies to prevent Wilfrid from reaching Rome, but by a singular coincidence Winfrid, Bishop of Lichfield, happened to be going to Rome at the same time, and the singularity of the name led to his being stopped while Wilfrid got through safely. At Rome a council was called by Pope Agatho to decide the case, and Wilfrid appeared before it in person, while Theodore was represented. The case was decided in Wilfrid's favour, and the intruding bishops were removed. Wilfrid was to return to York, and since subdivision of his diocese was needed, he was to appoint others as his coadjutors. He came back to Northumbria with this decision, but the king, though not disputing theright of Rome to settle the question, said that Wilfrid had brought the decision and put him in prison at Bambrough. After a time this imprisonment was converted to exile, and he was driven from the kingdom of Northumbria. He went south to Sussex where the heathen inhabitants had so inhospitably received him fifteen years before, and preached as a missionary at Selsey.
In 686 a reconciliation took place between Theodore and Wilfrid, who had then been working in Sussex for five years. Through Theodore's good offices Wilfrid was received back in Northumbria, where Aldfrid was now king. He became Bishop of Hexham at once, and before long, when York again fell vacant, he took possession there once more. For some years all went well, but at the end of that time great difficulties arose with the king because Wilfrid utterly refused to recognize what had been done by Theodore but annulled by Rome in the matter of the subdivision of his diocese, and he once more left York and appealed to Rome. He reached Rome for the third and last time in 704.
The proceedings at Rome were very lengthy, but after some months Wilfrid was again victorious. Archbishop Brihtwald was to hold a synod and see justice done. Wilfrid started again for England but on his way was taken ill at Meaux and nearly died. He recovered, however, and came back to England, where he was reconciled to Brihtwald. A synod was held, and it was decided to give back to Wilfrid, Hexham and Ripon, but not York, a settlement which, though unsatisfactory, he decided to accept, as the principle of Roman authority had been vindicated.
Beyond all others of his time, St. Wilfrid stands out as the great defender of the rights of the Holy See. For that principle he fought all through his life, first against Colman and the Scottish monks from Iona, and then against Theodore and his successor in the See of Canterbury; and much of his life was spent in exile for this reason. But to him above all others is due the establishment of the authority of the Roman See in England, and for that reason he will always have a very high place among English saints.
Eddius, the biographer of St. Wilfrid, was brought by that saint from Canterbury when he returned to York in 669. His special work was to be in connection with the music of the church of York, and he was to teach the Roman method of chant. He was an inmate of the monastery of Ripon in 709, when St. Wilfrid spent his last days there, and he undertook the work of writing the life of the saint at the request of Acca, St. Wilfrid's successor in the See of Hexham. The best edition of the work is in Raines, "Historians of the Church of York" (Rolls Series).
42"But woe to you Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.43Woe to you Pharisees! for you love the best seat in the synagogues and salutations in the market places.44Woe to you! for you are like graves which are not seen, and men walk over them without knowing it."45One of the lawyers answered him, "Teacher, in saying this you reproach us also."46And he said, "Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.