POPE ATTENDS AN EVENT ORGANISED BY BAYERISCHER RUNDFUNK
VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2011 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father attended a recital of the "Christmas Alpine Oratory" by the Bavarian composer Hans Berger. The performance was followed by a projection of the film: "From Heaven to Earth. Advent and Christmas in the Bavarian Alps" by Sigrid Esslinger. The film was produced by the German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, which also sponsored this evening's event.
At the close Benedict XVI spoke to thank the musicians, the director of the film and the representatives from Bayerischer Rundfunk for having brought "a taste of typically Bavarian customs and life into the Pope's home".
"In our land, Advent is called the 'time of silence'", the Holy Father remarked. "For the faith, the silence of the home becomes expectation of the Lord and joy at His presence. ... Today Advent is often precisely the opposite: a time of frenetic activity, of buying and selling, of preparations for Christmas, of large meals. ... Yet, as you have seen, the popular traditions of the faith have not disappeared; rather, they have been renewed, intensified, updated, creating islands for the soul, islands of silence, islands of faith, islands for the Lord in our time. I think this is very important. We must thank everyone ... who brings the truth of faith into our homes, in our time".
VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2011 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father addressed some remarks to faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer. He reminded them that the current liturgical time of Advent "highlights two figures who had a pre-eminent role in preparing the way for the historical coming of the Lord Jesus: the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist".
In today's Gospel reading "John is presented as an ascetic figure. ... On one occasion Jesus Himself contrasted John with those who 'are in royal palaces' and who wear 'soft robes'. The way of life of John the Baptist should call all Christians to a sober lifestyle, especially in the lead-up to Christmas when the Lord (as St. Paul would say), 'though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich'".
"John's mission", the Holy Father went on, "was an appeal to conversion, his Baptism 'was associated with an ardent call to a new way of thinking and acting, it was associated above all with announcing the judgement of God' and the imminent coming of the Messiah". John "called people to inner conversion on the basis of a recognition and confession of their sins. As we prepare for Christmas, it is important we look into ourselves and make a sincere assessment of our lives".
In his language greetings following the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI noted that this week marks the sixtieth anniversary of the International Organisation for Migration and of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as well as the fiftieth anniversary of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. "May the Lord protect people who, often under constraint, have to abandon their own country or who have no nationality of their own", the Pope said. "While encouraging solidarity towards them, I pray for all those who strive to protect and assist these our brothers and sisters in emergency situations, often exposing themselves to serious fatigue and danger".
VATICAN CITY, 5 DEC 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Archbishop Nicola Girasoli, apostolic nuncio to Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Dominica, Jamaica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname, Guyana, and apostolic delegate in the Antilles.
- Twelve prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop John Myers of Newark, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Edgar M. da Cunha S.D.V., Gaetano Aldo Donato and Manuel A. Cruz, and by former Auxiliary Bishops David Arias O.A.R. and Dominic Anthony Marconi.
- Bishop Paul Gregory Bootkoski of Metuchen.
- Bishop Arthur Joseph Serratelli of Paterson, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Frank Joseph Rodimer.
- David M. O'Connell C.M. of Trenton, accompanied by Bishop emeritus John Mortimer Smith.
- Bishop Donald Walter Trautman of Erie.
- Jasna Krivosic-Prpic, ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on her farewell visit.
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
The Catholic Church is to boycott all government functions over Christmas in protest over the arrest of a nun on child trafficking charges.
At a press conference in Colombo on December 3, Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said he will not participate in government-sponsored events this festive season.
He said the Church strongly condemns the arrest of Sister Mary Eliza, an Indian nun serving at Prem Nivasa orphanage in Moratuwa, near Colombo.
The orphanage also provides shelter for abandoned single pregnant women.
“Our reaction to this is to stay away from any state functions or state-organized event this Christmas, until this matter is sorted out,” the Cardinal said.
He said the arrest last week was carried out without any foundation of proof.
Police and National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) officials raided the orphanage last week following a tip-off that children were being sold there.
“The sisters serving in these homes are from different countries and do a magnificent service. The NCPA has acted purely on an anonymous telephone call,” the cardinal said, condemning the adverse publicity given by the media last week.
“The NCPA gave interviews to the media without investigating the anonymous call they received. What happened here is that the NCPA and police did not know the true facts about the orphanage, and gave the media incorrect information, which was used maliciously against the nuns.”
He said the nuns were providing tremendous support for very vulnerable people.
“When pregnant women go to this orphanage seeking shelter, these nuns do not ask their caste or creed. Some girls have been raped and are suicidal because someone has destroyed their life and dignity,” said Cardinal Ranjith, who is also president of the bishops’ conference.
Image from a media release
CATH NEWS REPORT: The St Nicholas Russian Catholic Community in Melbourne now has a "new and permanent home" in St Kilda East, according to a media release from the community.
The parish will celebrate the first Divine Liturgy at 10 am on Decembere 18, and sing the Office of Vespers for the Feast of St Nicholas at 5pm the same day, he added."The Holy See provided the money for the purchase of the old Congregationalist Church on the corner of Inkerman and Hotham Streets, St Kilda East, and the pledge of further finance to renovate and adapt the church to our Byzantine usage," writes Archpriest Fr Lawrence Cross.
"This is the day we have all been waiting for so expectantly and I trust that everyone in our community will make a special effort to be there.
Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile, on the borders of Sudan with South Sudan, home to ethnic groups that fought alongside southern Sudan during the civil war ended in 2005 with a peace agreement that paved the way for the independence of the south, sanctioned in July this year.
Previously, the Minister of Information of the Upper Nile had declared to the Catholic Bakhita Radio that the SAF military had attacked the village of Danda on the morning of December 1. The attackers were repelled by the south Sudanese military. The Minister pointed out that it was the first time the government of Khartoum led an attack with its military instead of using irregular allied militias. The Minister added that Sudan could try to annex some areas rich in oil, disputed by the two countries before their border is marked permanently.
The tension is heightened by the threat of Khartoum to prevent the export of oil in south Sudan through its ports (crude oil is in fact sent by pipeline to Port Sudan before being loaded onto tankers). The intervention of China (the main buyer of Sudan's oil) has so far prevented the application of this measure. (LM) (Agenzia Fides 05/12/2011)
Feast: December 5