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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: WED. OCT. 19, 2011










VATICAN : POPE : GOD REMAINS FAITHFUL - ETERNAL LOVE - OTHER NEWS

AMERICA : USA : NEW PAPAL NUNCIO CARLO VIGANO ARCHBISHOP

AUSTRALIA: WORLD MISSION DAY: OCT. 23 CELEBRATE INDIGENOUS

ASIA: HONG KONG: CARDINAL ZEN HUNGER STRIKE FOR FREEDOM IN EDUCATION

EUROPE: GREAT BRITAIN: LOSS OF BABY LEADS TO CATHOLIC CHURCH

AFRICA: ZAMBIA: HOME AND WORKPLACE ARE MISSION LANDS

TODAY'S SAINT: OCT. 19: ST. PAUL OF THE CROSS

TODAY'S GOSPEL: OCT. 19: LUKE 12: 39 - 48


VATICAN : POPE : GOD REMAINS FAITHFUL - ETERNAL LOVE - OTHER NEWS

VIS REPORTS: MAN FORGETS BUT GOD REMAINS FAITHFUL

VATICAN CITY, 19 OCT 2011 (VIS) - Some 20,000 pilgrims attended Benedict XVI's general audience, which was held this morning in St. Peter's Square. Continuing a series of catecheses dedicated to the Psalms, the Holy Father focused his attention on Psalm 136, "a great hymn of praise which celebrates the Lord in the many and repeated manifestations of His goodness down human history". (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

The Pope explained how, in Jewish tradition, this Psalm is sung at the end of the Passover supper, and therefore it was probably also pronounced by Jesus at the last Passover He celebrated with His disciples. The text enumerates God's many interventions in favour of His people "and each proclamation of a salvific action by the Lord is answered by an antiphon reiterating the main cause for praise: God's eternal love, a love which, according to the Hebrew term used, implies faithfulness, mercy, goodness, grace and tenderness".

God is first presented as "He Who 'does great wonders', first among them that of the creation: heaven, earth and stars. ... With the creation the Lord shows Himself in all His goodness and beauty. He commits Himself to life, revealing a desire for good whence all other salvific actions arise".

The Psalm goes on to consider God's manifestations in history, evoking the great moment when the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. The forty years of wandering in the desert were "a decisive period for Israel which, allowing itself to be guided by the Lord, learned to live on faith, obedient and docile to the laws of God. Those were difficult years, marked by the harshness of life in the desert, but also a happy time of confidence and filial trust in the Lord".

"The history of Israel has known exhilarating moments of joy, of fullness of life, of awareness of the presence of God and His salvation", said the Pope. "But it has also been marked by episodes of sin, painful periods of darkness and profound affliction. Many were the adversaries from whom the Lord liberated His people". The Psalm speaks of these events, in particular the Babylonian exile and the destruction of Jerusalem, "when it seemed that Israel had lost everything, even its own identity, even its trust in the Lord. However, God remembers, and frees. The salvation of Israel and of all mankind is bound to the Lord's faithfulness, to His memory. While man forgets easily, God remains faithful: His memory is a precious casket containing that 'love which endures forever' about which our Psalm speaks".

The Psalm concludes by reminding us that God feeds His creatures, "caring for life and giving bread. ... In the fullness of time the Son of God became man to give life, for the salvation of each one of us; and He continues to gives Himself as bread in the mystery of the Eucharist, so as to draw us into His covenant, which makes us children. So great is God's merciful goodness, the sublimity of His 'love which endures forever'". In conclusion the Pope read a quote from the First Letter of St. John, advising the faithful to bear it in mind in their prayers: "See what love the Father has given us, that that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are".

AG/ VIS 20111019 (560)

MIGRATIONS AND NEW EVANGELISATION

VATICAN CITY, 19 OCT 2011 (VIS) - "Migrations and New Evangelisation" is the theme chosen by Benedict XVI for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2012, which will be celebrated on 15 January 2012. Extracts from the English-language edition of the text are given below:

"Proclaiming Jesus Christ the one Saviour of the world 'constitutes the essential mission of the Church. It is a task and mission which the vast and profound changes of present-day society make all the more urgent'. Indeed, today we feel the urgent need to give a fresh impetus and new approaches to the work of evangelisation in a world in which the breaking down of frontiers and the new processes of globalisation are bringing people and peoples even closer. This is both because of the development of the means of social communication and because of the frequency and ease with which individuals and groups can move about today".

"'Migrations and New Evangelisation' is the theme I have chosen this year for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. It originates from the aforesaid situation. The present time, in fact, calls upon the Church to embark on a new evangelisation also in the vast and complex phenomenon of human mobility. This calls for an intensification of her missionary activity both in the regions where the Gospel is proclaimed for the first time and in countries with a Christian tradition".

"Internal or international migration, in fact, as an opening in search of better living conditions or to flee from the threat of persecution, war, violence, hunger or natural disasters, has led to an unprecedented mingling of persons and peoples, with new problems not only from the human standpoint but also from the ethical, religious and spiritual viewpoints. The current and obvious consequences of secularisation, the emergence of new sectarian movements, widespread insensitivity to the Christian faith and a marked tendency to fragmentation are obstacles to focusing on a unifying reference that would encourage the formation of 'one family of brothers and sisters in societies that are becoming ever more multiethnic and intercultural, where also people of various religions are urged to take part in dialogue, so that a serene and fruitful coexistence with respect for legitimate differences may be found'. ... Our time is marked by endeavours to efface God and the Church's teaching from the horizon of life, while doubt, scepticism and indifference are creeping in, seeking to eliminate all the social and symbolic visibility of the Christian faith.

"In this context migrants who have known and welcomed Christ are not infrequently constrained to consider Him no longer relevant to their lives, to lose the meaning of their faith, no longer to recognise themselves as members of the Church, and often lead a life no longer marked by Christ and His Gospel. Having grown up among peoples characterised by their Christian faith they often emigrate to countries in which Christians are a minority or where the ancient tradition of faith, no longer a personal conviction or a community religion, has been reduced to a cultural fact. Here the Church is faced with the challenge of helping migrants keep their faith firm even when they are deprived of the cultural support that existed in their country of origin, and of identifying new pastoral approaches, as well as methods and expressions, for an ever vital reception of the Word of God".

"Today's migration phenomenon is also a providential opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world. Men and women from various regions of the earth who have not yet encountered Jesus Christ or know Him only partially, ask to be received in countries with an ancient Christian tradition. It is necessary to find adequate ways for them to meet and to become acquainted with Jesus Christ and to experience the invaluable gift of salvation which, for everyone, is a source of 'life in abundance'".

"Pastoral workers - priests, religious and lay people - play a crucial role in the demanding itinerary of the new evangelisation in the context of migration. They work increasingly in a pluralist context: in communion with their ordinaries, drawing on the Church's Magisterium. I invite them to seek ways of fraternal sharing and respectful proclamation, overcoming opposition and nationalism. For their part, the Churches of origin, of transit and those that welcome the migration flows should find ways to increase their cooperation for the benefit both of those who depart and those who arrive, and, in any case, of those who, on their journey, stand in need of encountering the merciful face of Christ in the welcome given to the neighbour".

"Asylum seekers, who fled from persecution, violence and situations that put their life at risk, stand in need of our understanding and welcome, of respect for their human dignity and rights, as well as awareness of their duties. Their suffering pleads with individual States and the international community to adopt attitudes of reciprocal acceptance, overcoming fears and avoiding forms of discrimination, and to make provisions for concrete solidarity also through appropriate structures for hospitality and resettlement programmes. All this entails mutual help between the suffering regions and those which, already for years, have accepted a large number of fleeing people, as well as a greater sharing of responsibilities among States.

"The press and the other media have an important role in making known, correctly, objectively and honestly, the situation of those who have been forced to leave their homeland and their loved ones and want to start building a new life.

"Christian communities are to pay special attention to migrant workers and their families by accompanying them with prayer, solidarity and Christian charity, by enhancing what is reciprocally enriching, as well as by fostering new political, economic and social planning that promotes respect for the dignity of every human person, the safeguard of the family, access to dignified housing, to work and to welfare".

"Lastly, I would like to call to mind the situation of numerous international students who are facing problems of integration, bureaucratic difficulties, hardship in the search for housing and welcome structures. Christian communities are to be especially sensitive to the many young men and women who, precisely because of their youth, need reference points in addition to cultural growth, and have in their hearts a profound thirst for truth and the desire to encounter God. Universities of Christian inspiration are to be, in a special way, places of witness and of diffusion of the new evangelisation, seriously committed to contributing to social, cultural and human progress in the academic milieu. They are also to promote inter-cultural dialogue and enhance the contribution that international students can give".

MESS/ VIS20111019 (1120)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 19 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State, as apostolic nuncio to the United States of America.

- Appointed Msgr. David D. Kagan of the clergy of the diocese of Rockford, U.S.A., vicar general and moderator of the diocesan Curia, as bishop of Bismarck (area 88,720, population 270,000, Catholics 65,284, priests 98, permanent deacons 77, religious 147), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Spring Grove,U.S.A. in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1975. He has served as parish administrator and pastor in several parishes, and has worked as a teacher of religion, an official of the diocesan tribunal and editor of the diocesan newspaper. He succeeds Bishop Paul A. Zipfel, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

AMERICA : USA : NEW PAPAL NUNCIO CARLO VIGANO ARCHBISHOP

USCCB REPORT: WASHINGTON—Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, welcomed Archbishop Carlo Maria ViganĂ² as the new Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, October 19.

“On behalf of the bishops of the United States of America, I take the occasion of this correspondence to welcome you warmly to our nation as Apostolic Nuncio of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, and to offer you the prayerful support of your brother bishops as you begin your important mission,” Archbishop Dolan said.

Archbishop Dolan recalled Pope Benedict’s words in 2008, when he visited the White House during his Apostolic Journey to the United States.

“America’s Catholics have made, and continue to make, an excellent contribution to the life of their country,” the pope said. “As I begin my visit, I trust that my presence will be a source of renewal and hope for the Church in the United States, and strengthen the resolve of Catholics to contribute ever more responsibly to the life of this nation, of which they are proud to be citizens.”

Archbishop Dolan noted the significance of the nuncio for the church in the United States.

“You will serve as a continuing sign to us of that source of renewal and hope that Pope Benedict brought to our country,” he wrote. “Your almost four decades of service in the diplomatic corps of the Holy See in Iraq, Great Britain and the Secretariat of State give you a depth of understanding of the role of the Church in a pluralistic society.”

He noted other gifts Archbishop ViganĂ² brings to the new post.

“We also know from meetings with you in Rome that you have a special appreciation of the United States of America, which we hold dear.We will benefit from your training in both canon law and civil law.They will enable you to see the intricacies involved in representing the Holy Father in both the Church and diplomatic worlds, especially now as they are lived out in America’s democratic society.”

“The bishops of the United States recognize in your appointment yet another sign of the great solicitude with which our Holy Father holds our nation and the Catholic community in the United States of America,” Archbishop Dolan added.

He invited Archbishop ViganĂ² to the bishops’ fall plenary session in Baltimore.

“The meeting is a moment of prayer, business and fellowship and we look forward to welcoming you on this occasion,” he said.

The entire letter can be found at http://www.usccb.org/about/leadership/holy-see/welcome-nuncio.cfm ---

AUSTRALIA: WORLD MISSION DAY: OCT. 23 CELEBRATE INDIGENOUS

World Mission Day News Story
DIOCESE OF PARRAMATTA REPORT: In St Mary Pataxte Parish in Guatemala, people walk up to two hours from neighbouring villages to receive Communion.
DIOCESE OF PARRAMATTA REPORT:

As we celebrate World Mission Day on Sunday 23 October, we are encouraged to hear the voice of our Indigenous brothers and sisters in Guatemala and here in Australia, celebrating their Indigenous Catholic faith, their unique culture, language and spiritual traditions.

Throughout October, (World Mission Month 2011), Pope Benedict XVI has invited all Catholics around the world to go and proclaim the Gospel to all peoples – to stand in solidarity with them as part of the Universal Church.

“Hear My Voice” is Catholic Mission's theme for this year’s World Mission Month, where we hear the voices of the world’s indigenous peoples and celebrate their contribution that enriches our Universal Catholic Faith.

Catholic Mission has the responsibility of promoting a dignified and fruitful celebration of World Mission Day around the world.

“This World Mission Sunday is about unity,” Catholic Mission’s National Director Mr Martin Teulan said.

At Catholic Mission, we form Australians for mission and raise funds for mission, in Australia and around the world.

“The World Mission Day appeal helps sustain parishes and their priests, and supports thousands of catechists who share their faith and lead their local village communities.

“We ask you to give generously for the cause of bringing about God’s kingdom on Earth through the work of missionaries and local people working together in places where resources are few but great acts of faith and humanity happen every day.”

ST MARY PATAXTE GUATEMALA: A SHELTER FOR ALL

World Mission Day News Story
Father Guillermo De Paz Sagastume -growing the faith in Guatemala.
The parish of St Mary Pataxte in the Guatemalan village of Chapin Arriab began in September 2010.

“We think of ourselves like a green stick in the jungle,” Father Guillermo De Paz Sagastume said.

“If you push it into the ground the rain will make the stick take root. In time, it will grow into a great shady tree able to shelter everyone in all weathers.”

The parish is currently engaged in building the church, meeting rooms and the dormitory where catechists will stay.

The aim is that the parish will be a regional training centre, able to accommodate people in overnight training sessions.

The Church in Guatemala is a lay church. There are not enough priests for all the parishes so great importance is placed on Christian formation and training of catechists. This formation and catechumenal materials is financially supported by Catholic Mission. One training session will attract as many as 500 participants, many walking hours to reach the centre and needing meals and overnight accommodation.

WADEYE NT: STRONG IN CULTURE, IDENTITY AND FAITH

World Mission Day News Story
Teaching the Murrinh Patha language throughout a student’s school years is a strong indicator of future educational and career success, says Sr Tess Ward, pictures left, with one of the teachers, Francella Bunduk.
The largest remote Aboriginal community in Australia is Wadeye (formerly known as Port Keats), located in the Northern Territory.

There are about 3,000 people living in this remote Aboriginal community, all of whom are Catholic. The local parish priest, Father Leo Wearden MSC, is stationed in Wadeye and his living costs are funded by Catholic Mission. He attends to both the pastoral needs of the town, and the outlying bush communities.

Fr Wearden is often accompanied by Indigenous Catholic leaders Angela Ninnal and Carmelita Perdjert, who form part of the group of respected elders in their community. Using their own language and culture, they witness to their community how God loves them and wants them to live so that generations to come truly value themselves as Aboriginal Catholics, strong in culture and identity and strong in faith.

Both Angela and Carmelita are students at the Nungalinya Theological College in Darwin. The Anglican, Lutheran and Catholic Churches conjointly run the ecumenical theological college, supported in part by the Diocese of Darwin and Catholic Mission. Both Angela and Carmelita travel from Wadeye to Darwin – a 30-minute flight – for four weeks each year to gain their ‘Certificate III in Liturgy and Ministry’.

Nungalinya College caters to 280 Aboriginal students who come from all over the country, some from as far away as south-eastern Australia.

The name ‘Nungalinya’ comes from the name of a reef that lies off the Casuarina Beach in Darwin, where the college is located. The local people suggested the name for the college from the rock, as the rock is an important part of both the local dreaming and the Christian understanding of the Rock of Faith.

Be inspired on World Mission Day on Sunday 23 October to Hear My Voice and share your faith with the world. Please give generously: Freecall 1800 257 296 or visitwww.catholicmission.org.au

http://www.parra.catholic.org.au/news---events/latest-news/latest-news.aspx/world-mission-day--be-seen-and-heard.aspx

ASIA: HONG KONG: CARDINAL ZEN HUNGER STRIKE FOR FREEDOM IN EDUCATION

ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Paul Hong
The cardinal criticizes the decision of the Supreme Court in favour of government control (and China) which is likely to destroy the educational system of the territory, considered among the best. Card. Zen will take only water and communion every day. Revelations of donations received by him, attempt to cast suspicion on use. The long list of help he has provided: scholarships, donations to disaster hit dioceses , theological texts and translations of documents of the Church.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Card. Joseph Zen has begun a hunger strike this morning in support of Catholics’ right to freedom of education. The hunger strike which will last at least three days aims to "underline the unjust ruling of the Supreme Court against the diocese, which threatens to destroy Catholic education in the territory."

On 14 October, the Hong Kong Supreme Court rejected the diocesan appeal against the need for an organizing committee in school management to evaluate the school's educational project (see 10/14/2011 Appeals Court decides less freedom for Hong Kong schools). The committee would not only be formed by parents and students, but also by personalities from outside the school world – appointed by the government - who could divert the educational proposal of independent schools.

Card. Zen has always been opposed to this reform and others, which reflect Beijing's attempts to control the Hong Kong education system (see 26/09/2011Cardinal Zen: Beijing National Education a form of "brainwashing").

In challenging this "unfair" reform, the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong has decided to carry out a three day hunger strike in which he will not eat anything, but will take only water and communion.

"I want to highlight the Supreme Court’s wrong decision - he told AsiaNews – which is a great injustice to the Church and the territory of Hong Kong and which threatens to destroy the educational system of the area, considered one of the best in the region, of high quality and efficiency".

Card. Zen has been supported in his hunger strike by many personalities from the region.

Anglican and Methodist leaders have also criticized the Supreme Court decision and are also worried about government interference (and China) in the Christian educational proposal.

As he began his fast, some blogs have appeared on the Internet that show the amount of donations received by Card. Zen in recent years. The sum is about 3 million Hong Kong dollars a year (about 300 thousand euros). The donations were made by the tycoon Jimmy Lai, a convert to Catholicism and a supporter of democracy in Hong Kong and China.

Though the revelations did directly accuse anyone, they have attempted to raise the suspicion that Card. Zen pocketed all that money for himself or to support the democratic movement in the direction of anti-China.

In a press conference, the Cardinal revealed that he has used the money to support scholarships for Chinese Catholic students, help for official and underground bishops in China; he has supported dioceses affected by natural disasters (tsunamis, earthquakes, floods); translations into Chinese of documents and theological texts of the Church "If I used it for myslef - told AsiaNews kidding - I would buy a luxury car and a driver. Instead I have to use my old car and drive it myself".

(Photo: Rthk)

EUROPE: GREAT BRITAIN: LOSS OF BABY LEADS TO CATHOLIC CHURCH

CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT: Siri Abrahamson explains how she and her husband were drawn to the Catholic faith after their life changed forever on a winter’s day

By SIRI ABRAHAMSON on Thursday, 13 October 2011

The loss that led us to Mother Church

Siri Abrahamson and her daughter, Elsa, on the Regent’s Canal towpath near their local church, St John the Evangelist in Islington, north London (Photo: Justin Portess)

In the midst of a grey, damp winter, at the end of a healthy and normal pregnancy, our second child, a daughter, dies at birth. Despite 20 minutes of attempted resuscitation in the delivery room, she never draws breath outside my body. The neo-natal consultant has tears in his eyes when he comes up to the bedside where my husband and I are clutching each other’s hands in disbelief. “I am so sorry. We couldn’t save her.”

Our shock is complete. There was no indication this would happen. When we are asked if we would like our baby blessed, we say yes, in a haze. We are willing to grasp at any straws to try to numb this pain. The hospital’s Catholic priest turns up shortly thereafter. I can’t remember asking for a Catholic priest, but perhaps we had. Neither my husband nor I are Catholic, though my mother is.

The priest gets our names wrong, yet his prayer offers unexpected solace. He leaves us with a rosary. That night, and for many more nights to come, I sleep with it around my neck.

When it comes to arranging the funeral there are three available options – a Church of England service, a Catholic service or a non-religious ceremony. I ask my husband, an agnostic, if we can have a Catholic service and he says yes.

There are many formalities around the death of even a stillborn baby. One of the hardest things we have to do is visit our local register office to register Elspeth’s death. As we wait our turn, we are surrounded by parents with newborn babies, there to register the birth of their child. When we finally leave,
we go for a cold walk through a small park on the grounds of what used to be a cemetery. Nearby is a Catholic church and we go in and light a candle and say a prayer for Elspeth. I imagine that the flickering flame is our daughter communicating back to us. Soon this becomes a ritual. Whenever we go on one
of our ambling, aimless, grief-stricken walks, my husband and I always seem to end up passing a Catholic church. We go inside, light a candle and say a prayer. Sometimes we simply sit in silence and cry.
A month after Elspeth’s death the funeral takes place in a crematorium in north London.

It is another cold and grey winter’s day. In accordance with our wishes, only a handful of friends and family are attending the service, and the heartache of everyone present is palpable. My husband and I have dreaded the service, being so close to our baby’s cold body again, the finality of what we are about to experience. When Elspeth’s coffin turns up, in a hearse delayed by morning rush-hour traffic, it is so small. My husband is encouraged to carry it inside. Standing in the front row of the crematorium’s chapel with our older daughter, I watch him walk inside, his face and body contorted with sobs. We know few words of the prayers said by the priest, but the service is beautiful and more meaningful than we had dared hope. Just as we walk outside, the sun breaks through the clouds for the first time in weeks.

Grief comes in waves. Some days are easy and we feel grateful. Grateful to have each other, and grateful to have our lovely two-year-old daughter who is too young to understand what has happened yet who shows incredible tenderness and affection just when we need it the most. But often sorrow comes and knocks us over and drags us down into the darkest hole of despair. We have no answers. Partly because the investigation into Elspeth’s death drags on, partly because there is no way to make sense of the death of a child. We do not have the framework of religion to help us with our thoughts and feelings.

My husband was baptised in the Church of England but grew up an avowed agnostic. My mother is a Polish Catholic and my father a Swedish Protestant.

I was baptised Protestant but intermittently attended Catholic church and Sunday school growing up. When I was 15 years old, I decided I wanted to covert to Catholicism, but the weekly classes I was asked to attend in the presence of a priest and people three times my age dampened my enthusiasm. For the next 20 years I remained a Protestant who would, haphazardly, or in times of need, seek out Catholic churches to try to find peace in.

As a busy, young, professional couple with a multitude of social engagements, my boyfriend and I gave religion little consideration. When we decided to get married it was obvious that anything other than a civil ceremony would be hypocrisy. But when our first daughter, Elsa, was born my husband said he was happy for her to be baptised, if it was what I wanted. We vaguely talked about it but never got around to organising anything.

Then Elspeth died. In the aftermath it seemed like God was stretching out his hand to us – our baby’s blessing in hospital, the way we kept ending up praying in various Catholic churches around London, the peaceful funeral. It felt like the Catholic faith was choosing us, rather than the inverse. Or maybe we had always been on this path, in our own separate ways, without realising where we were heading. I brought up conversion first, but was not surprised when my husband admitted to feeling exactly the same way.
We had walked by our local Catholic church, St John the Evangelist in Islington, many times as it was on the way to our toddler’s nursery. Yet the first time we stepped inside was two weeks after Elspeth’s death. It was midweek and the church was empty. The vestibule, its boards crowded with printed and handwritten notices, testified to a bustling and vibrant community. The interior of the church was cool and calm and welcoming. We lit a candle, said a prayer for Elspeth and left.

One Sunday shortly after the funeral my husband suggested we go to Mass. Feeling like interlopers, we nervously made our way to our first joint Mass. I think we both had an irrational fear that someone would point a finger at us and say: “Hang on! Who are you? Are you even Catholics?” The reality was different. Though we had no idea what to say or when to say it, when to kneel and when to stand, we were drawn in and felt welcome from the first moment. In large part this was due to the warm and charismatic priest, Fr Howard James, whom we saw and heard for the first time that day. As we remained seated while almost everyone else went up to receive the Eucharist, we knew we would be back.

Throughout the summer, we continued attending Mass at our local church. Without fail, we lit a candle and said a prayer for Elspeth afterwards. As the grief over her death continued to ebb and flow we grew to depend on our weekly hour in church. It was a space in which we were reminded not to be scared of death, to forgive ourselves, to forgive others, to show love in all things. On the many occasions when bitterness threatened to seep into my soul, there was inevitably a prayer or a reading from the Bible that offered solace and helped steer me towards lighter thoughts.

Autumn came. I fell pregnant, and was in equal measure ecstatic at having a baby and terrified at the possibility of losing another child. Going to Sunday Mass had become a habit. My husband and I still wished we could partake fully and receive the Eucharist and so had signed up for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process through which adults are gradually introduced to the Catholic faith and way of life. Last year a record 891 adults took part in the RCIA in London alone. Our first Monday evening class had close to 20 participants, aged between 25 and 65, though the majority were, like my husband and I, in their 30s. There were three Catechists, lay people trained to instruct others in the ways of the faith, to guide and help us. As the weeks passed we grew into a tight-knit group, prone to laughter and to an openness that I had never encountered elsewhere.

As the months progressed, we took part in several ceremonies that make up what the Church calls the “Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion of Candidates”. This spring, my husband and I observed Lent for the first time ever. We read, prayed and, among other things, stopped watching television. The Lenten period, which coincided with me entering my third trimester of pregnancy, ended up being an incredibly peaceful yet intensely spiritual time. Without television to distract us in the evenings and with a focus on faith, we found ourselves having some of the best conversations of our marriage. When it was finally time to be received into the church during the Easter Vigil we were both as excited as we had been before our wedding, or the birth of our first child.

In the candle-lit church on Holy Saturday we stepped up to the altar in the company of 17 of our RCIA friends, plus our sponsors or godparents. As Fr Howard said the words and performed the rituals that meant that we were now Catholics most of us had tears rolling down our cheeks.

The Easter Vigil Mass went on until late. My husband and I walked home through the unusually balmy April night, feeling more at peace than we had for years, perhaps ever. Certainly since Elspeth’s death 15 months earlier.

A friend once asked whether we had had grief counselling. We have not, bar one session offered by our hospital. But the path that our life has taken since that grey January day 18 months ago has provided enormous comfort.

I wish more than anything that it hadn’t taken the death of my child to make me discover my faith. Nothing can give us back our daughter or erase the sorrow in our hearts. Being received into the Catholic Church is clearly not a cosmic consolation prize. But in the space of two amazing months I became a Catholic and gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy. Both felt like happy new beginnings.

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/features/2011/10/13/the-loss-that-led-us-to-mother-church/

AFRICA: ZAMBIA: HOME AND WORKPLACE ARE MISSION LANDS

Agenzia Fides REPORT - "As part of our baptism, we are called to the mission of proclaiming and living the Word of God", said Fr. Bernard Makadani Zulu, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Zambia, who granted the following interview to Fides on the occasion of World Mission Sunday, October 23.

What is the meaning of World Mission Day for the Church in Zambia?
Our Church is growing. The collection of World Mission Day offers our brothers and sisters of the mission diocese the basic support they need to become self-sufficient. We need to promote a sense of communion also among our poorest dioceses, so that the Church can continue to assist the Catholic community in difficult situations and those who have greater needs. So it is essential to work together, because together we are a family and we can support each other in the task of evangelization. We must continue to bring to the Catholic world that spirit of universality and service to the mission of the Church, without which there can be no genuine cooperation.
As Christians, we belong to the family of the Church, we belong to Christ. To live faithfully in God's love we must develop a clear idea of the family in which we want to live. This requires a personal response from each of us. As missionaries, we must dedicate ourselves to the call of Jesus not only with words but with deeds. There is no place on earth where the Church's missionary nature is not present, because each parish, home and workplace is a land of mission. As members of the universal Church, we should share our wealth with others. We need to support educational programs, catechesis, pastoral formation which enable our missionaries to proclaim the Word of God
World Mission Sunday is also a good opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women who dedicated their lives to spreading the Good News. We recall our foreign missionaries, especially those of our parish, our diocese and Country. Their courage is an example to us and their presence is a sign of hope.

Mission Day is above all an occasion to pray, what intentions do you propose?
We propose first of all to pray for our Pope, Benedict XVI and all Bishops, so that they may help us in carrying out with more depth the missionary commitment to spreading the Good News. Then we want to remember the missionaries who announce the Gospel around the world, so that we may be inspired by their example and live a life of joyful witness. We also pray for our young people so that the Gospel message of God's love drives them to live a life full of faith in words and deeds. We also remember all those who suffer because of their testimony of faith, and may the Holy Spirit sustain them in their trial. We pray for the elderly and retired missionaries, may the Lord be the strength in the fragility and joy of their old age. Finally, remember in prayer all those who have died, marked with the sign of faith, especially those who served the Church in missions. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 19/10/2011)

TODAY'S SAINT: OCT. 19: ST. PAUL OF THE CROSS


St. Paul of the Cross
FOUNDER OF THE PASSIONIST FATHERS
Feast: October 19
Information:
Feast Day:
October 19
Born:
January 3, 1694, Ovada, Piedmont, Duchy of Savoy (now modern-day Italy)
Died:
October 18, 1775, Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, Rome
Canonized:
29 June 1867, Rome by Pope Pius IX
Major Shrine:
Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, Rome

Paul Francis Daneii, born at Ovada, Genoa, Italy, 3 January, 1694; died in Rome, 18 October, 1775.
His parents, Luke Danei and Anna Maria Massari, were exemplary Catholics. From his earliest years the crucifix was his book, and the Crucified his model. Paul received his early education from a priest who kept a school for boys, in Cremolino, Lombardy. He made great progress in study and virtue; spent much time m prayer, heard daily Mass, frequently received the Sacraments, faithfully attended to his school duties, and gave his spare time to reading good books and visiting the churches, where he s p e n t much time before the Blessed Sacrament, to which he had an ardent devotion. At the age of fifteen he left school and re turned to his home at Castellazzo, and from this time his life was full of trials. In early manhood he renounced the offer of an honorable marriage; also a good inheritance left him by an uncle who was a priest. He kept for himself only the priest's Breviary.
Inflamed with a desire for God's glory he formed the idea of instituting a religious order in of the Passion. Vested in a black tunic by the Bishop of Alessandria, his director, bearing the emblem of our Lord's Passion, barefooted, and bareheaded, he retired to a narrow cell where he drew up the Rules of the new congregation according to the plan made known to him in a vision, which he relates in the introduction to the original copy of the Rules. For the account of his ordination to the priesthood, of the foundation of the Congregation of the Passion, and the approbation of the Rules, see PASSIONISTS. After the approbation of the Rules and the institute the first general chapter was held at the Retreat of the Presentation on Mount Argentaro on 10 April, 1747. At this chapter, St. Paul, against his wishes, was unanimously elected first superior general, which office he held until the day of his death. In all virtues and in the observance of regular discipline, he became a model to his companions. "Although continually occupied with the cares of governing his religious society, and of founding everywhere new houses for it, yet he never left off preaching the word of God, burning as he did with a wondrous desire for the salvation of souls" (Brief of Pius IX for St. Paul's Beatification, 1 Oct., 1852). Sacred missions were instituted and numerous conversions were made. He was untiring in his Apostolic labours and never, even to his last hour, remitted anything of his austere manner of life, finally succumbing to a severe illness, worn out as much by his austerities as by old age.
Among the distinguished associates of St. Paul in the formation and extension of the congregation were: John Baptist, his younger brother and constant companion from childhood, who shared all his labours and sufferings and equaled him in the practice of virtue; Father Mark Aurelius (Pastorelli), Father Thomas Struzzieri (subsequently Bishop of Amelia and afterwards of Todi), and Father Fulgentius of Jesus, all remarkable for learning, piety, and missionary zeal; Venerable Strambi, Bishop of Macerata and Tolentino, his biographer. Constant personal union with the Cross and Passion of our Lord was the prominent feature of St. Paul's sanctity. But devotion to the Passion did not stand alone, for he carried to a heroic degree all the other virtues of a Christian life. Numerous miracles, besides those special ones brought forward at his beatification and canonization, attested the favour he enjoyed with God. Miracles of grace abounded, as witnessed in the conversion of sinners seemingly hardened and hopeless. For fifty years he prayed for the conversion of England, and left the devotion as a legacy to his sons. The body of St. Paul lies in the Basilica of SS. John and Paul, Rome. He was beatified on 1 October, 1852, and canonized on 29 June, 1867. His feast occurs on 28 April. The fame of his sanctity, which had spread far and wide in Italy during his life, increased after his death and spread into all countries. Great devotion to him is practiced by the faithful wherever Passionists are established.

TODAY'S GOSPEL: OCT. 19: LUKE 12: 39 - 48

Luke 12: 39 - 48
39But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into.
40You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour."
41Peter said, "Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?"
42And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time?
43Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing.
44Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.
45But if that servant says to himself, `My master is delayed in coming,' and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk,
46the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful.
47And that servant who knew his master's will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating.
48But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.
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