In his remarks, Pope Benedict drew attention to the activities of the Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary and the US-based Serra Club, one of the largest organizations in the world devoted to promoting vocations to the priesthood.
The Holy Father underlined three main points: the desire to collaborate with Jesus in spreading the kingdom of God; the fact the priestly vocation comes from grace and not merit; and the attitude of service. He said the call to priestly ministry is an “encounter with Jesus and being fascinated by him, overcome by his words, his gestures, his own person.”
He added the clergy “must never forget …the Lord's call to ministry is not the result of special merit, but is a gift to be accepted…according to his will, even if it does not correspond to our desires for self-realization.”
“The Pope spoke as a father and with a very friendly tone to all the seminarians and priests who were gathered in St. Peter’s Basilica,” said Father Robert Gahl, Associate Professor of Ethics at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. “He challenged them to grow in their personal with Jesus, and he challenged not to seek human ambition or human success, but rather to seek the Cross of Jesus Christ.”
Father Gahl said Pope Benedict XVI has also given the students an example of this in his own life.
“To everyone its evident that Cardinal Ratzinger did not desire to be elected Pope, it was the last thing he wanted, and yet he accepted it as the will of God. He really laid down his life for the Church.”
Some young people destroyed a statue of Christ, religious objects and ruined a Bible. One of the vandals even dressed up in the religious vestments. For Mgr. Mukkuzhy the incident has "hurt the sensibilities of the faithful." Christian activist points finger at the state government, which covers up extremist violence.
Delhi (AsiaNews) - For the bishop of Belthangady, Msgr. Lawrence Mukkuzhy, it was a "vile" gesture that has "hurt the feelings" of all the faithful. The Christian activist Sajan K George points his finger at the government, which since the violence in Mangalore in 2008 has done nothing to stop fundamentalist. Leaders of the Christian community unanimously condemn the latest attack against a place of worship in India, where Hindu extremists are targeting buildings and symbols belonging to religious minorities with increasing frequency.
The latest case occurred at 8:30 pm on November 3 last in Kankanady, a resort town near Mangalore, a port city of Karnataka state in south-west of India. Three young men arrived at the Syro-Malabar Church of Saint Alphonsa, causing damage to property and desecrating sacred vestments. In particular, the 24 year old Shibu Maniraj entered the place of Catholic worship and destroyed a statue of Jesus Christ, preserved in the sacristy, desecrated a Bible was, ruined a stole and finally took off his own clothes and put on the sacred vestments, which he was still wearing when he left the church.
The Christian community condemns the latest episode of violence and desecration of a sacred place, in addition to recent cases of attacks on schools of St. Teresa and the Padua chapel. Msgr. Lawrence Mukkuzhy (pictured), bishop of Belthangady in Southern Kannada (Karnataka), points out that in 23 years of history, the St. Alphonsus had never been victim of damage or vandalism. The attack on November 3 "is a cowardly act" and "events of this type should not happen in any place of worship." The bishop thanked the police for their cooperation, but adds that, the reasons for the attack that "hurt the sensibilities of the faithful are not yet clear".
The words of the bishop are echoed by Sajan K George, activist and president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), who speaks of the "38th anti-Christian attack in Karnataka ", where the BJP government - movement linked to the Hindu wing extremist - does not guarantee safety for religious minorities. He denounces the "complicity of the authorities" and the ease with which extremists flee from the shackles of law. And the sense of impunity, says Sajan K George, is confirmed by the derisory penalties imposed on perpetrators of violence against churches in Mangalore in 2008: all this has ensured a sense of impunity, which "allows fundamentalists to perpetuate their reign of terror and sectarian violence. "
To carry out an analysis of the national situation, the Bishops want to be well informed about the existing problems at a social level and also deepen the economic and political aspects, for this reason, according to information gathered by Fides, they have asked the opinion of some specialists, who are well integrated into the national reality. After listening to the experts, the Bishops will discuss the situation in the country, informed the Bishop of Caacupé, His Exc. Mgr. Claudio Gimenez, Vice President of the Episcopal Conference.
The Bishop himself has expressed his concern for the management of President Fernando Lugo, recognizing the inefficiency of the State. "We are always concerned about the situation in the country - said the Bishop -. We deal with many people of all kinds in our dioceses, and this is reflected in social life and the life of the Church because the Church is immersed in society, so she just cannot avoid being involved in everything that happens".
The Church of Paraguay awaits the appointment of several Bishops by the Holy Father and the creation of new ecclesiastical districts. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 04/11/2011)
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese, REPORT
1 Nov 2011
Children are emerging as the new face of homelessness in Australia. Even more troubling is the fact that of the 84,000 Australian children who tried to get help from a homeless service last year more than half were turned away.
"There is little consistency in the services and support provided to children who become homeless when their families do," says Professor Morag McArthur, Director of the Institute for Child Protection Studies (ICPS) at the Australian Catholic University (ACU).
She goes on to say that whatever help these children end up with is purely by chance.
In a just-released wide-ranging report entitled "Seen and Heard: Putting Children on the Homelessness Agenda," it was found that of the children who accompanied their parent or guardian to one of Australia's homelessness services last year, almost 72% were under the age of 10.
Professor McArthur, who has been involved in producing this latest study on homelessness and children, points out that it is two years since the release of The Road Home, the Federal Government's White Paper on ways to tackle homelessness. But since then, she says, little action has been taken, and the Government has still not set clear national targets.
She also criticises not only the lack of any real increase in resources by the Government to address homelessness in Australia, but the fact there is still no consistent national framework.
"The impact on homelessness in children is especially disturbing. It has a profoundly negative impact on their health and wellbeing, their engagement with school, their capacity to learn and their connection to friends, family and the community," she says.
The "Seen and Heard: Putting Children on the Homeless Agenda" study is an initiative of ICPS in conjunction with the Australian Centre for Child Protection, Hanover Welfare Services, Mission Australia and the Social Policy Research Centre.
In its conclusions, the study recommends the Government implement a program of prevention including early intervention and better support for homeless children.
The study also calls for an increase in the supply of affordable housing and would like to see dedicated children's workers at all specialist homeless services. In addition the study reccomends prioritised housing support for families, particularly those with young children and a national framework to guarantee consistency and quality of care for homeless children.
Specific national targets for reducing the number of homeless children across Australia must also be set.
"Homelessness has a flow on effect in children's lives and it is essential they get a strong and targeted response from the system," Professor McArthur says. "State and federal governments have done some great work around homelessness, but too often the focus has been on single people, not on families with children."
Feast: November 5
St Bertille was born of one of the most illustrious families in the territory of Soissons, in the reign of Dagobert I, and by her piety acquired the true nobility of the children of God. From her infancy she preferred the love of God to that of creatures, shunned as much as possible the company and amusements of the world, and employed her time in serious duties and chiefly in holy prayer. As she grew up, by relishing daily more and more the sweetness of conversing with God, she learned perfectly to despise the world and earnestly desired to renounce it. Not daring to discover this inclination to her parents, she first opened herself to St. Ouen, by whom she was encouraged in her resolution. Self-love early disguises itself in every shape, and the devil often transforms himself into an angel of light. Not to be deceived through precipitation and rashness in so important a choice as that of a state of life, impartial advice, prayer, careful self-examination and mature deliberation are necessary. These means having been employed, the saint's parents were made acquainted with her desire, which God inclined them not to oppose. They conducted her to Jouarre, great monastery in Brie, four leagues from Meaux, founded not long before, about the year 630, by Ado, the elder brother of St. Ouen, who took the monastic habit there with many other young noblemen and established a nunnery in the neighbourhood, which became the principal house. St. Thelchildes, a virgin of noble descent, who seems to have been educated or first professed in the monastery of Faremoutier, was the first abbess of Jouarre, and governed that house till about the year 660. By her and her religious community St. Bertille was received with great joy and trained up in the strictest practice of monastic perfection. Our saint, looking upon this solitude as a secure harbour, never ceased to return thanks to God for his infinite mercy in having drawn her out of the tempestuous ocean of the world: but was persuaded she could never deserve to become the spouse of Jesus Christ unless she endeavoured to follow him in the path of humiliation and self-denial. By her perfect submission to all her sisters she seemed everyone's servant, and in her whole conduct was a model of humility, obedience, regularity, and devotion. Though she was yet young, her prudence and virtue appeared consummate, and the care of entertaining strangers, of the sick, and of the children that were educated in the monastery was successfully committed to her. In all these employments she had acquitted herself with great charity and edification when she was chosen prioress to assist the abbess in her administration. In this office her tender devotion, her habitual sense of the divine presence, and her other virtues shone forth with new lustre, and had a wonderful influence in the direction of the whole community.
When St. Bathildes, wife of Clovis II, munificently refounded the abbey of Chelles, which St. Clotildis had instituted near the Marne, four leagues from Paris, she desired St. Thelchildes to furnish this new community with a small colony of the most experienced and virtuous nuns of Jouarre, who might direct the novices in the rule of monastic perfection. Bertille was sent at the head of this holy company, and was appointed the first abbess of Chelles, in 646, or thereabouts. The reputation of the sanctity and prudence of our saint, and the excellent discipline which she established in this house, drew several foreign princesses thither. Among others Bede mentions Hereswith, Queen of the East-Angles. She was daughter of Hereic, brother or brother-in-law to St. Edwin, King of Northumberland, and married the religious King Annas, with whose consent she renounced the world and, passing into France, in 646, became a nun at Chelles. Queen Bathildes, after the death of her husband in 655, was left regent of the kingdom during the minority of her son Clotaire III, but as soon as he was of age to govern, in 665, she retired hither, took the religious habit from the hands of St. Bertille, obeyed her as if she had been the last sister in the house, and passed to the glory of the angels in 680. In this numerous family of holy queens, princesses, and virgins, no contests arose but those of humility and charity. The holy abbess, who saw two great queens every day at her feet, seemed the most humble and the most fervent among her sisters, and showed by her conduct that no one commands well or with safety who has not first learned, and is not always reader, to obey well.
St. Bertille governed this great monastery for the space of forty-six years with equal vigour and discretion. In her old age, far from abating her fervour, she strove daily to redouble it both in her penances and in her devotions. In these holy dispositions of fervour the saint closed her penitential life in 692.
37All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out.38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me;39and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day.40For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."