RADIO VATICANA REPORT/IMAGE: Catholics and Orthodox face exactly the same challenges in the cultural, social, economic, political and ecological spheres. Faced with the urgency of these tasks, we have the duty to show the world that we are people of a mature faith, people who – despite our tensions – are capable of working together in the common search for truth and unity.
That’s the message at the heart of a letter sent by Pope Benedict XVI to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew 1st of Constantinoplel to mark Wednesday’s feast of St Andrew, patron saint of the Orthodox world. The letter, written in French, was presented to the Patriarch in the Turkish capital by a delegation from the Pontifical council for Christian Unity, headed by Cardinal Kurt Koch.
After greeting all the Orthodox clergy and faithful, the Pope recalles his recent meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew in Assisi during the day of reflection for peace and justice in the world.
Noting that the Patriarch is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his ministry as spiritual leader of the Orthodox world, Pope Benedict stresses that the future of evangelisation depends on the united witness and the quality of love shown by the one Church which Christ himself willed for all his followers. He says it is a great source of comfort to see that the Patriarch also has at the heart of his ministry that same search for holiness and united witness which today’s secular societies so urgently need.
LECTURES ON THE POPE'S BOOK ABOUT JESUS OF NAZARETH
VIS REPORTS: VATICAN CITY, 29 NOV 2011 (VIS) - The Vatican Publishing House is organising a series of lectures to promote Benedict XVI's book: "Jesus of Nazareth. From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection". One of these took place yesterday in the Italian University of Messina where the main address was given by Bishop Enrico Dal Covolo S.D.B., rector of the Pontifical Lateran University.
Bishop Dal Covolo explained that, while the Pope's first book on Jesus of Nazareth covered His public life beginning with His Baptism in the Jordan, the second is dedicated to the last few days of His earthly existence, until the resurrection.
"This disproportion", said the Bishop, "helps us to understand immediately that the passion, death and resurrection are not simply the epilogue of Jesus' life. They are what gives meaning to all the rest. It is from the crucified and risen Christ that the entire narrative of His life is illuminated". Likewise "the accounts of His passion and death, though they come last in the Gospels, are the oldest and most detailed of the oral and written traditions".
The book starts from the premise that "if scholarly exegesis is not to exhaust itself in constantly new hypotheses, becoming theologically irrelevant, it must take a methodological step forward and see itself once again as a theological discipline, without abandoning its historical character".
"The road along which the Pope takes us", said Bishop Dal Covolo, "leads us to meditate upon the 'hour' of Jesus, His 'lifting up'; in other words, upon the inseparable moment of death-resurrection".
The book "is the work of a lifetime, in which both the method used and the contents ... draw nourishment from a deep-rooted and mature love for Christ. In the final analysis, the leitmotif of the work is intimate friendship with Jesus, a theme which the Pope himself personifies as both witness and theologian. Indeed, true knowledge of Jesus - for Pope Benedict just as for the Beloved Disciple - comes from resting on His heart".
VATICAN CITY, 29 NOV 2011 (VIS) - At 6.30 p.m. today in the offices of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, a conference will be held to present the English edition of Humanitas, a magazine of Christian anthropology and culture produced by the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.
Participating in this evening's event will be Guzman Carriquiry, secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America; Ignacio Sanchez, rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, and Jaime Antunez, editor in chief of Humanitas.
The magazine was founded in Santiago de Chile in 1995 and comprises a council of some of the most outstanding intellectual figures of the Catholic world. Since its inception, the magazine has described its mission as that of "being a vehicle for thought and study which seeks to reflect the concerns and teachings of pontifical Magisterium", as a premise for fruitful dialogue with modern society and culture.
The first English edition of the magazine has 252 pages and incorporates a large number of articles from the sixty-third Spanish edition (July-September 2011), which was dedicated to "Blessed John Paul II, gift of Divine Mercy" and focused entirely on the person and work of the late Pontiff. The English edition also includes essays written by Cardinals Angelo Scola, Angelo Amato S.D.B., Avery Robert Dulles S.J. (who died in 2008), Stanislaw Dziwisz and Mauro Piacenza, and by a number of academics including Livio Melina, Stanislav Grygiel, Pedro Morande and Carl Anderson.
The English edition of Humanitas will appear twice a year, both on paper and in a digital version which may be consulted at the website: www.humanitas.cl.
“We feel really blessed that she is coming,” conference organizer Pat Borba told CNA on Nov. 29. “That in itself is a miracle that we got her. We thought that since she’s cloistered that that would never happen.”.- The Central California Marian Eucharistic Conference this January will feature a rare speaker: Mother Dolores Hart, OSB, a former award-winning actress who performed in two Elvis Presley movies and still votes for the Academy Awards.
The conference, the 15th annual event of its kind, will take place at the Paso Robles Event Center at a Mid-State Fairgrounds auditorium in Paso Robles, Calif. from Jan. 14-15. Its theme is “Faith That Moves Mountains!”
Mother Dolores’ scheduled speeches are titled “How a Career in Hollywood Led Me to Faith” and “The Ear of the Heart: When the Master Speaks the Disciple will Listen.”
Before Mother Dolores became a nun, she acted for the stage and screen. She starred in the 1960 teen classic “Where the Boys Are” and played St. Clare in the 1961 film “Francis of Assisi.” She also played the lead role in the movie “The Inspector.”
She won a 1959 Theatre World Award and a Tony Award nomination for her role in the Broadway production of “The Pleasure of His Company.” She has remained a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is presently the only nun to vote for the Oscar awards.
Conference organizer Gertrude McMasters explained that it is “highly unusual” for the cloistered Benedictine nun to address a conference.
When Mother Dolores received the request, she thought it would not be possible for her to go. She asked her prioress anyway.
“Her superior just looked at her and said ‘Are you ready to go?’ She was really surprised too, that she was able to come,” Borba said. “That’s why we feel there’s really a reason that she’s going to be here.”
The conference focuses on the Eucharist, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Catholic teaching.
Other conference speakers include Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, who is known for his retreats, conferences and television appearances; Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, a school safety expert; Fr. Patrick Martin, a legally blind priest and author; California vocations director and youth minister Fr. Joshua West.
Irish vocalist David Parkes will emcee the event and offer a Saturday afternoon concert.
Bishop Richard J. Garcia of Monterey will celebrate Mass at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Borba said that the organizers considered ending the conference until they reflected on how much fruit it has borne.
“We’ve talked to many people who have come. We were approached by so many people on how it had affected their lives and changed their lives, that we decided that we really needed to continue. Even the youth approached us and said ‘please don’t stop it.’”
“We’ve gotten many wonderful letters on conversions and how people have come back to the sacraments through the speakers that we have. That’s why we have actually continued,” she explained.
Attendance has varied from 400 to 2,000 people, and usually averages from 600 to 800.
For more information on the 2012 conference, visit http://www.ccmec.org.
Sr Miriam DugganIND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: Sister Miriam Duggan, from Limerick, a Franciscan Missionary of the Sisters for Africa, was awarded for her dedication to people with AIDS/HIV and commitment in fighting the pandemic in Africa. She graduated in medicine at the University College in Cork, the missionary specialized in obstetrics and gynecology in Birmingham in 1969, and continued to work for 30 years in Uganda as chief medical officer of St Francis' Hospital, Nsambya, in Kampala.
In 1987 she launched the Youth Alive program of prevention with the aim of addressing the main causes of the spread of HIV and help young people to take responsible choices to avoid contracting AIDS. The number of infections in Uganda has decreased, thanks to this program, which was promoted in 21 other African countries.
The prevalence rate of AIDS in Uganda in 2002 saw a decline from 28.9% to 9.8%. In 2006 Sister Miriam was honored by Harvard University and Holy Cross College of the the United States, and in 2008 received a prize for her work by the President and Parliament of Uganda.
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
29 Nov 2011
Song writing speaks from the heart and for eight fledgling musicians from CatholicCare's Tree of Hope it has proved a life-affirming, empowering and deeply enriching experience.
Now after close collaboration with Sydney musician and CatholicCare social worker, Luke Edwards their songs have been put to music and captured on a CD entitled: "First Songs."
Produced at Luke's Art on Air studios, the CD will be one of the highlights at the Tree of Hope's World Aids Day Ceremony on Thursday, 1 December, when those living with HIV/AIDS and their family and friends will gather at the Actors' Centre in Devonshire Street, Surry Hills' at 2 pm to remember, reflect and give thanks.
Each of the eight songs on the CD is compelling and uplifting and range in subject matter from a moving tribute to a mother for her unconditional love and support, to a poetic evocation called "Memories."
While each song refers to determination, perseverance and the power of love, the eight songwriters do not dwell on the virus. Instead they use their song writing skills to speak about what matters to them and what they have learned on their life's journey.
The songs on this powerful CD explore the beauty of nature, speak about social justice, celebrate God's all-encompassing love or call on others to have faith in them, explaining this is what gives them strength and sets them free.
"When we started the song writing workshops for clients at the Tree of Hope, which provides pastoral care and support to those living with HIV/AIDS, their family and support person, I asked participants to choose subjects that they were passionate about. People or issues they really cared about," Luke Edwards explains. "These are people who have been through so much and their struggle, determination and wisdom were enriching and inspiring, and I wanted them to use this in their songs."
As a music facilitator and psychotherapist, Luke has long used music as a social worker with CatholicCare to empower people, bring out their creative side and help them emotionally express themselves in an open and meaningful way.
"Music is an emotional language with a direct connection to our subconscious. It is also transformative. If you are feeling sad or down and start to create music around those feelings, those negative emotions are almost immediately transformed into something positive and good."
Although Luke has used music as therapy to help many of those among CatholicCare's various agencies, this past year is the first time he has held song writing workshops for clients of the Tree of Hope.
For Luke working with those at the Tree of Hope, first as part of the six song writing workshops he gave, and then collaborating with the eight songwriters to produce the "First Songs" CD, is an experience he will never forget.
"It was a real privilege to connect with them, and get to know them," he says. "I saw their courage, their determination and learned their dreams, desires and talents. They were just lovely, lovely people who have been through so much. Through them I learned what it was like to be affected by HIV and how isolating the virus can be. But best of all for me was being given the opportunity to help unleash their creativity."
Instead of being defined by their illness, Luke wanted the men and women to be empowered, seeing themselves as artists, full of talent with something to say and finding through music a beautiful and poetic way of saying it.
However, although Luke hosted the workshops and encouraged the initially self-conscious shy participants to tap into their creative side and utilise the transformative power of music, he says without the perseverance, enthusiasm and vision of Margaret Pirotta, Coordinator of CatholicCare's Tree of Hope the project would never have got off the ground.
"It was Margaret's idea and she was the one who made it possible," he says explaining how the pair met at a meeting of CatholicCare's staff around this time last year. "That's when she approached me about how music might help the clients at the Tree of Hope."
Margaret then organised the six workshops as well asraising funds not only to cover the costs of the workshops but also the costs of producing the "First Songs" CD. Thanks to her efforts, the project became a reality after it received grants from HARP (HIV/AIDS and Related Programs Unit of South Eastern Sydney Local Health District as well as contributions from last year's World's Aids Day Dinner and from CatholicCare.
"The first two of our six workshops were spent brainstorming ideas," Luke says and was delighted when one participant, a man who has been living with HIV for 25 years revealed he used to write poetry but had stopped when he contracted the virus.
"But he said the workshops had retriggered his interest. Writing poetry again, he found spiritually uplifting and healing."
The third and fourth workshops Luke held for the Tree of Hope participants were spent polishing each song. The final two workshops then concentrated on musical concepts for each of the songs and putting them to music.
After almost a year's work, the Tree of Hope's eight songwriters finally heard a draft of the CD last month and were blown away.
But none of them have yet heard the final mix and will have to wait until Thursday, 1 December when 500 "First Songs" CDs will be handed out as part of the Tree of Hope's ceremony of remembrance and reflection.
"We would love to press more and put the CD on sale so many more people can hear and enjoy these moving and very powerful songs," Luke says.
Sales of the CD could provide funds and raise awareness about the Tree of Hope and the pastoral support and help it gives to those living with HIV/AIDS, their family and support person. But before a further 500 CDs can be pressed, a grant or donations are needed to cover initial costs. But Luke is hoping this will be possible and that for many years the song writing workshops will continue with more Tree of Hope CDs produced.
To donate to Tree of Hope contact CatholicCare at www.catholiccare.org.au
More than 30,000 Christians have taken part in a huge prayer meeting in Hubli, Karnataka despite efforts by pro-Hindu groups to disrupt the gathering.
Hindu extremists blocked roads, burned tires and pelted vehicles with stones on the first two days of the three-day event to discourage people from attending, but failed.
The November 25-27 Jesus Christ Festival of Blessings was held at the Chelli Railway Colony ground in Hubli in which Christians from various denominations in Hubli and Dharavad took part.
On November 26, a meeting was held between Hindu and Christian leaders led by Pralhad Joshi, a member of parliament and Jagadish Shettar, a member of the state assembly.
Christian leaders gave assurances they would neither “belittle the Hindu religion nor attempt conversions, while Hindu leaders agreed to end their protests,” said Pastor Cedrik Jacob.
“Their antics attracted more people to the prayer meeting,” said Pastor Jacob, who is executive secretary of the Christian Minority Association of Hubli- Dharavad, which organized the event.
“On the first day there were around 25,000 people, on the second nearly 30,000 and on the final day more than 30,000 people were here,” he added.
Anil Kumar, the son-in-law of the former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh Y.S. Rajshekar Reddy, was the main preacher at the gathering.
MISSIONARY AND MARTYR
Feast: November 29
|Mark 10: 17 - 21|
|17||And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"|
|18||And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.|
|19||You know the commandments: `Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'"|
|20||And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth."|
|21||And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."|