Wednesday, November 16, 2011








VATICAN CITY, 15 NOV 2011 (VIS) - A press conference was held yesterday in the Holy See Press Office to present the visit of Benedict XVI to Benin, which is due to begin on Friday 18 November and to come to an end on Sunday 20 November, Solemnity of Christ the King. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. outlined the most important reasons for the Pope's return to Africa following his 2009 trip to Angola and Cameroon, first among them the signing of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. The signing ceremony is due to take place in the presence of thirty-five presidents of national episcopal conferences, and the seven heads of the continent's regional conferences.

Secondly Benin, a small African county of scarcely nine million inhabitants, has always been a place of great spiritual importance for the Church. It was, in fact, from Benin that, 150 years ago, the great work of evangelisation spread into neighbouring countries, from Togo to Ghana and Niger. Thus, Fr. Lombardi explained, the Pope's visit has raised great expectations. "It will certainly arouse an atmosphere of hope for the African Church, and be an encouragement to the continent of Africa as a whole. Naturally, it will emphasise existing problems, but from a positive perspective, underlining commitment to reconciliation, justice and peace, and the announcement of the Gospel as part of man's integral development. In other words, the trip seeks to be extremely constructive".

Another key moment will be the Pope's visit to the tomb of the Beninese Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, who died in 2008 but is still much loved by his people, Fr. Lombardi explained. This affection is shared by the Holy Father because Cardinal Gantin "was very close to the Pope for various reasons, having been prefect of the Congregation for Bishops at the time that Benedict XVI was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and having been his immediate predecessor as dean of the College of Cardinals. In Benin he is considered as a national hero, a person who enjoys truly immense public affection. For this reason, the Pope's visit to his tomb will be one of the most significant episodes of the trip".

In closing the director of the Holy See Press Office turned his attention to the artistic and cultural event scheduled to take place in Cotonou on the evening of Friday 18 November. It will bring together three major African singers - Papa Wemba, Bonga and Fifito - in a concert which will have the themes of peace, justice and reconciliation.

PV-BENIN/ VIS 20111115 (450)


VATICAN CITY, 15 NOV 2011 (VIS) - For the occasion of Benedict XVI's apostolic trip to Benin to sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, due to take place from 18 to 20 November, statistics have been published concerning the Catholic Church in that country. The information, updated to 31 December 2010, comes from the Central Statistical Office of the Church.

Benin, the capital of which is Porto Novo, has a surface area of 112,622 square kilometres and a population of 8,779,000 of whom 2,984,000 (34 per cent) are Catholic. There are 10 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 338 parishes and 801 parish centres. Currently there are 11 bishops, 811 priests, 1,386 religious, 30 lay members of secular institutes and 11,251 catechists. Minor seminarians number 308 and major seminarians 497.

A total of 57,771 students attend 234 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other institutions belonging to the Church or run by priests or religious in Benin include 12 hospitals, 64 clinics, 3 leper colonies, 7 homes for the elderly or disabled, 41 orphanages and nurseries, 3 family counselling centres and other pro-life centres, and 3 institutions of other kinds.

OP/ VIS 20111115 (210)


VATICAN CITY, 15 NOV 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Feldkirch,Austria, presented by Bishop Elmar Fischer, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Archbishop Adriano Bernardini, apostolic nuncio to Argentina, as apostolic nuncio to Italyand to the Republic of San Marino.


MUSICA SACRA RELEASE: Presenting the 2012 Winter Chant Intensive at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, Texas. January 4-6, 2012. Sponsored by CMAA Houston.

The Winter Chant Intensive is intended for beginning and continuing students and all who love and appreciate the central role that chant plays as the prayerful song of the Roman Rite – not only at cathedrals and Basilicas but also in every parish. The conference will both train and inspire toward the goal of continuing the renaissance of sacred music in our time, both in the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Mass.

The Chant Intensive lives up to its name: though no previous experience with chant is required, beginners and intermediate chanters should be prepared for full immersion from the get go. You will learn or review how to read and fully navigate all aspects of traditional Gregorian notation (square notes). The course will also address correct Latin pronunciation, the sound and mystery of the eight Church modes; Psalm tones and their application; questions concerning the rhythm of plainsong, and more.

The course will be offered in two sections, chant for men, taught by Jeffrey Ostrowski, and chant for women, with instructor Arlene Oost-Zinner. Classes will begin at 1:00pm on Wednesday, January 4, and conclude with a 4:00pm chanted Mass in the Ordinary Form on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, January 6th.

Jeffrey Mark Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), where he also did graduate work in Musicology. A pianist and composer, Mr. Ostrowski was elected President of Corpus Christi Watershed in February of 2011. His scholarship has focused on the historical performance of plainsong and polyphony of the High Renaissance, resulting in several early music CDs and an internationally broadcast television documentary.

Arlene Oost-Zinner is conductor of the chant schola at St. Michaels Catholic Church in Auburn, Alabama, composer of the popular English Responsorial Psalms, and director of programs for the Church Music Association of America. She has taught chant at all levels for the CMAA’s Sacred Music Colloquium and at workshops around the country, and has trained under several chant masters in a variety of traditions of thought and practice. She is also an accomplished pianist and translator, and has written for the Catholic Answer, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Inside Catholic, among other places.

Tuition is $170 for all sessions and materials, including a copy of the Parish Book of Chant, compiled and edited by Richard Rice, as well as coffee breaks and lunch on Thursday and Friday. You will receive all course materials upon arrival. Class will be held in the seminary’s Bishop Nold Education Center. Mass on Friday will be in the chapel.

Accommodation suggestions

Moderately priced:

Holiday Inn Express
7625 Katy Freeway
Houston, TX 77024
(713) 688-2800
Closest to the Seminary; not much traffic

1625 West Loop South
Houston, TX 77027
(713) 355-3440
A little more traffic to contend with, but near the Galleria

Premium accommodations:

The Houstonian
111 North Post Oak Lane
Houston, TX 77024
(713) 680-2626
Very luxurious

The Omni
4 Riverway
Houston, TX 77056
(713) 871-8181

Registration deadline is Friday, December 16, 2011. Your registration will be considered complete after following the two-step process: 1) registration (Separate registration for each person, please. See form, below. Done when you click on “send email”) and 2) payment:

Pay by mail: Please submit online registration, indicating in the notes section that you will be paying by mail. Make checks for $170 payable to “CMAA Winter Chant Intensive 2012: Houston” and mail to: CMAA Houston c/o St. Theresa Church, 705 St. Theresa Blvd., Sugar Land, TX 77478.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Nirmala Carvalho
Thousands of followers of different religions attended the Satsang Convention, at Matri Dham Ashram, from 11 to 13 November. The rally is now in its 15th edition. Many testimonies of physical and spiritual healing.

Varanasi (AsiaNews) - A large charismatic interfaith convention was held in Varanasi on November 11. It was attended by Hindu sages, a Maulavi (Muslim cleric), and a woman teacher of Jainism. The gathering was intended to deepen the commitment of all towards inter-religious harmony and peace between the faiths. Thousands of the faithful of Christ also gathered at the famous Matri Dham Ashram, in the capital of the Hindu religion from the 11th to November 13th: There have been days full of spirituality, healing, peace and joy. And more, for at this 15th edition of the Satsang Convention many participants gave evidence of physical and mental healing.

The Bishop of Varanasi, Raphy Manjaly, opened the meeting with Father Anil Dev, spiritual leader of the ashram, and Father John Dekka, his assistant together with Mr. Rajan of Jabalpur, and Fr. Devdas Ims of the Mariadham Prayer Centre, Ranchi, as the main preachers. The talks were intended to deepen faith understanding, challenge lifestyles in need of change, because given over to consumerism, to putting God in first place, to repentance and family life. From eight to twelve thousand people attended the convention. More than 400 Catholics came from Bengal in the north, Chattisgarh, Orissa, from Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, from Delhi, from Haryana and many parts of Uttar Pradesh. The vast majority were Hindus of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The second day of the convention there was an interfaith prayer meeting. It had as its theme "Satyam Jayate" (Truth alone wins). The representatives of various faiths have spoken of the need to eradicate falsehoods, greed, selfishness and corruption from the nation. In one voice they stated that in addition to legislation, what is important to root out corruption to change an attitude of selfishness and greed, and build sensitivity towards the needs of others. Father Anil Dev led the different leaders of different faiths to pray like St. Francis of Assisi: "Lord, make me an instrument of peace."

Some of the participants spoke of changes in their life of prayer thanks to the Convention. Urmila Devi from Gillett Bazaar, Varanasi told how her faith, found again, in Jesus Christ has changed her attitude toward her enemies. After marriage, her daughter was abused by her in-laws because of the dowry. After much abuse the poor girl was found dead. Her in-laws were jailed. When they appeared in court, Urmila testified that it was suicide, and they were released. Her actions went against the usual social practice, and this because Jesus led her to abandon all desire for revenge, and to forgive as He forgave his enemies from the cross. Father Subhash, Superior General of the Indian Missionary Society formally closed the convention with the blessing, and passing from hand to hand the 'akhand jyoti (a lamp that burns for several days).


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
11 Nov 2011

Bishop Max Davis

At 11 o'clock today many Sydneysiders fell silent for one minute as did the guns on the Western Front fall silent in 1918 after more than four years of continuous and horrific warfare.

The silence was to mark the 93rd Anniversary of the Armistice, known today on 11 November as Remembrance Day.

There were Remembrance Day Services around the country including Martin Place in Sydney where hundreds gathered to remember those who died in battle and, hopefully, for the other victims of war and conflict - the families and friends of those who gave their lives.

And are still giving their lives. Something of which everyone has been aware these past couple of weeks following the recent deaths of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

So 11 o'clock today took on a special significance for many, especially the family and friends of Captain Bryce Duffy gathered for this Queensland soldier's funeral. Captain Duffy was one of three killed by a rogue Afghan soldier.

The funeral today of Captain Bryce Duffy

Today was also the Feast Day of St Martin de Tours, Patron Saint of Soldiers, and the synergy was not forgotten by some. One being the Catholic Military Ordinariate, Bishop Max Davis AM DD, also known as the Bishop of the Australian Catholic Defence Diocese.

"In the universal Church St Martin de Tours is the patron saint of soldiers and it seemed to me today this was a very appropriate synergy to think about Catholics," Bishop Davis said.

"Here was a man who experienced the military lifestyle. Clearly at present we are influenced to varying degrees by recent events of our armed forces serving in Afghanistan. And we are aware of our responsibility in the Church to pray for those who have died in the service of their country.

"We are particularly aware this day of one soldier whose funeral has been held in Queensland.

"Our men and women however have always gone off to service, to combat what is basically 'sticking up for the good'.

"My prayer from which I think we can all draw comfort, is that when the souls of those who have died in battle, when they are facing Our Lord, they know they have given all for the right purpose; for goodness," Bishop Davis said.

St Martin de Tours gave warmth to a beggar

Although there many words today about 11 November 1918, there were also calls to remember more recent conflicts. More recent loss of life, more heartache.

Monsignor Greg Flynn, principal chaplain, Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Waterloo, celebrated a Remembrance Day Mass at this, lone of the oldest churches in Sydney.

Apart from the regular parishioners, there were also relatives in the military or those who lost someone in World War 11, Korea or Vietnam or who have families or friends based overseas.

"I believe Remembrance Day should not only commemorate those in the military who gave their lives but also the wives and sweethearts who died of broken hearts following the loss of their loved ones - those who died during one of the many wars where Australians have fought over the past 150 years," he said.

Martin de Tours converted to Christianity when just ten and five years later was forced to become a Roman soldier and served in Gaul, the land he was predestined to evangelise.

There is a famous story during his days as a soldier when he came upon a poor man, almost naked and trembling with the cold of winter. Martin remember the words from the Gospel : "I was naked and you clothed Me."

With his sword Martin divided his and gave one part to the beggar.

Charity, purity and bravery distinguished the life of this soldier.

He was discharged from the army at 20 and later founded the first monastery in Gaul.

He was eventually made Bishop of Tours and became known as a miracle worker. He was also one of the first venerated saints who was not a martyr.


Christmas resources to support non-churchgoing Catholics | Come Home for Christmas

Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for people who were born Catholic but have drifted away from church attendance. They might go to a Christmas Mass, but feel a bit lost and out of place. Parishioners so involved in the celebrations might not offer the welcome they should.

Come Home for Christmas is a new initiative from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales which includes resources for parishes and visitors. Posters and invitation cards to appeal to different audiences can be downloaded from:

There is also a website for those wanting to explore reconnecting with parish

The promotion of the resources follows the launch of a national tour in York on Saturday 12 November called ‘Crossing the Threshold’ which was held at English Martyrs Church and brought around 140 people together for prayer, fellowship and discussion. The day also included a main talk and practically focused workshops.

Bishop Terence Drainey (Middlesbrough Diocese) attended the day and said: “The ’Crossing the Threshold’ Regional Evangelisation Day was exciting. It was good to see so many there, far more than were expected. It was also good to see people from different parts of our region.”

“At the end of every Mass we are told to go and announce the Gospel of the Lord. All of us who have been baptised and confirmed have been given a share in the mission of spreading the Word and building up the Body of the Church. In essence the content of the resource day showed us that the mission is on our doorsteps and we can bring the Gospel into our lives and the lives of those we meet through simple gestures.”

“One of the most important ways is by inviting people to come and see, to come and meet the Lord and also by accompanying them in friendship.”

“It was good to be in York and to be sent out to continue the great work of sharing the Good News with those who are open to and seeking their way to the Lord.”

Bishop John Rawsthorne (Hallam) also attended the day and presided at the Mass. In his homily he said: “It is important that we strive to do our best to respond to the call to reach out to non churchgoers mindful that they and all our efforts are in God’s hands. It is His work and our task is to prayerfully listen to his prompting and direction.”

Sheilagh Preston, a parishioner from Mother of God, Sheffield (Hallam Diocese), attended the day representing the National Board of Catholic Women. She said: “It was an exceptional day for all. I went away elated. I felt we were on the move in responding practically to the needs of those we love and are concerned about. Listening to peoples stories was emphasised repeatedly on the day and I think this is essential.”

Four more tour days are being offered in 2012 covering: 4th February (2012) in Birmingham, 3 March in Crawley, 28 April in Westminster and 23 June in Cardiff.

For more information and bookings please contact Home Mission Desk, 020 7 901 4818, email Also 0770 939 1998.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The re-elected President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has appointed a religious Catholic, Sister Mary Laurene Browne, OSF, at the head of a commission of inquiry into the violence on November 7, on the eve of the second round of presidential elections. The clashes between police and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) supporters, the party of the other candidate on the ballot, Winston Tubman, had caused a few deaths and several injuries. Following the clashes Tubman had retired from competition, calling on voters to boycott the elections, saying they were marred by fraud.
Sirleaf (who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a few days before the first round of the presidential election) was re-elected with 90.7% of the votes in the second round, for which only 38.6% of voters voted, according to the final figures published by the electoral commission.
"Sister Browne has a deep knowledge of the country’s history, because she lived through the various stages of the civil war from within", says Fr. Mauro Armanino, of the Society of African Missions (SMA) to Fides, who lived in Liberia for several years. "She is a person who also has an important intellectual role, being Headmistress of the Catholic Stella Maris Polytechnic, and is part of the Board of the University of Monrovia. She was also very close to His Exc. Mgr. Michael Francis. "Sister Browne loves her Country deeply and sincerely. I do not remember the exact year, maybe in 2004, Sister Browne had given a speech on the anniversary of national independence", said Fr Mauro.
"The appointment is also an important recognition of the role that the Catholic Church has had and has in the Liberian transition. However, in my opinion-continues the missionary-this recognition has had a price to pay, namely, that at a prophetic level nothing has been said and that the poverty of the most deprived has not diminished". Since both Sirleaf and Tubman have supported some of those who were responsible for the civil war, I repeat that this election leaves Liberia more divided than before", said Father Mauro. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 16/11/2011)


St. Albert the Great
Feast: November 15
Feast Day:
November 15
1206, Lauingen, Bavaria
November 15, 1280, Cologne, Holy Roman Empire
1931 by Pius XI
Major Shrine:
St. Andreas in Cologne
Patron of:
medical technicians; natural sciences; philosophers; scientists; students

He was known as the "teacher of everything there is to know," was a scientist long before the age of science, was considered a wizard and magician in his own lifetime, and became the teacher and mentor of that other remarkable mind of his time, St. Thomas Aquinas.
St. Albert the Great was born in Lauingen on the Danube, near Ulm, Germany; his father was a military lord in the army of Emperor Frederick II. As a young man Albert studied at the University of Padua and there fell under the spell of Blessed Jordan of Saxony, the Dominican who made the rounds of the universities of Europe drawing the best young men of the universities into the Dominicans.
After several teaching assignments in his order, he came in 1241 to the University of Paris, where he lectured in theology. While teaching in Paris, he was assigned by his order in 1248 to set up a house of studies for the order in Cologne. In Paris, he had gathered around him a small band of budding theologians, the chief of whom was Thomas Aquinas, who accompanied him to Cologne and became his greatest pupil.
In 1260, he was appointed bishop of Regensberg; when he resigned after three years, he was called to be an adviser to the pope and was sent on several diplomatic missions. In his latter years, he resided in Cologne, took part in the Council of Lyons in 1274, and in his old age traveled to Paris to defend the teaching of his student Thomas Aquinas.
It was in Cologne that his reputation as a scientist grew. He carried on experiments in chemistry and physics in his makeshift laboratory and built up a collection of plants, insects, and chemical compounds that gave substance to his reputation. When Cologne decided to build a new cathedral, he was consulted about the design. He was friend and adviser to popes, bishops, kings, and statesmen and made his own unique contribution to the learning of his age.
He died a very old man in Cologne on November 15,1280, and is buried in St. Andrea's Church in that city. He was canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1931 by Pope Pius XI. His writings are remarkable for their exact scientific knowledge, and for that reason he has been made the patron saint of scientists.
Thought for the Day: St. Albert the Great was convinced that all creation spoke of God and that the tiniest piece of scientific knowledge told us something about Him. Besides the Bible, God has given us the book of creation revealing something of His wisdom and power. In creation, Albert saw the hand of God.
From "The Catholic One Year Bible": Since we have a kingdom nothing can destroy, let us please God by serving him with thankful hearts, and with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.—Hebrews 12:28-29


Luke 19: 1 - 10
1He entered Jericho and was passing through.
2And there was a man named Zacchae'us; he was a chief tax collector, and rich.
3And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature.
4So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way.
5And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchae'us, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today."
6So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully.
7And when they saw it they all murmured, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner."
8And Zacchae'us stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold."
9And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.
10For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost."

No comments: