Tuesday, January 18, 2011








TODAY'S GOSPEL: JAN. 18: MARK 2: 23- 28


VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, traditionally celebrated every year from 18 to 25 January, begins today.

The theme chosen for 2011 is: "One in the apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer" (cf. Acts 2:42).

The materials for the week of prayer and for the rest of 2011 have been jointly prepared by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.

Each day of the Week will have a different theme:

18 January: The Church in Jerusalem.

19 January: Many Members in One Body.

20 January: Devotion to the Apostles' Teaching Unites Us.

21 January: Sharing, an Expression of Our Unity.

22 January: Breaking the Bread in Hope.

23 January: Empowered to Action in Prayer.

24 January: Living in Resurrection Faith.

25 January: Called for the Service of Reconciliation.

Although the traditional period for celebrating this week of prayer is the month of January, in the southern hemisphere this coincides with the holidays so Churches sometimes seek other periods such as, for example, around the time of Pentecost, which is also a symbolically significant date for the unity of the Church, and was suggested by the Faith and Order movement in 1926.

In the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls at 5.30 p.m. on Tuesday 25 January, Feast of the Conversion of the Apostle Paul, Benedict XVI will preside at the celebration of Vespers to mark the close of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

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VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At 11.30 a.m. on Monday 24 January Benedict XVI's Message for the forty-fifth World Day of Social Communications will be presented in the Holy See Press Office. The theme of the Message is "Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age".

The press conference will be presided by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, Msgr. Paul Tighe, Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti and Angelo Scelzo, respectively president, secretary, adjunct secretary and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.


CNA REPORT: After the Jan. 8 shooting that killed six people and injured thirteen, including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson presided at funerals for two victims – one a personal friend, the other a young girl who had recently made her first Communion.

On two consecutive days, Jan. 13 and 14, funeral Masses were held for 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green and Federal Judge John Roll.

Christina Taylor Green and Judge John Roll

The bishop reflected on a heartbreaking week in a Jan. 18 letter to the clergy, religious, and lay faithful of the Tucson diocese, recounting his experience of a period in which the nation grieved while grasping for answers. Although the shooting suspect, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, has a troubled history of disturbing behavior, his motive for the attack remain unknown.

The following week, Bishop Kicanas reflected, had seen the emergence of hope and solidarity among Tucson residents, many of whom felt shocked and deeply saddened by the violence.

“This past week, so tragic because of the violence that ended six previous lives, that wounded 13 persons, that left families deeply grieving and that shocked our community to its core, also was a week of blessings,” he wrote.

Bishop Kicanas said he was inspired and consoled “to see how our community has pulled together, and to experience the outpouring of love and concern for the victims of the shootings and their families.” Many residents who did not know either Judge Roll or Christina Taylor Green, nevertheless attended their funeral Masses.

A poignant scene met attendees of Christina Taylor Green's funeral at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish.
Among the thousand of people lined up for a half-mile in support of her family, were a number of “angels” outfitted with white cloth wings.

The bishop said they “symbolized for me the Angels of Heaven that certainly surrounded Christina Taylor, and brought her home on that dreadful Saturday morning.”

“Tears welled in my eyes when I stood with Roxanna and John, her parents, and Dallas, her brother, looking up at the 9/11 Relic Flag that came from New York to be displayed at the church.” The young girl's birth had coincided with the terrorist attacks, and her unmistakable smile was featured in a book called “Faces of Hope,” about children born that day.

Celebrating the Mass of the Resurrection, Bishop Kicanas reflected on the precocious young girl's innocence and enthusiasm. He told the congregation that her short life had not been destroyed, but found its fulfillment.

“Christina Taylor went to meet and greet Gabby, her congresswoman,” he said. "Instead she met God, her Father, and Jesus Christ, her friend."

At the same church, the next day, Bishop Kicanas spoke in memory of his friend Judge John Roll. The federal judge was known in his parish as a daily Mass attendee. He happened to be in the line of fire on Jan. 8 only because, after attending Mass that morning, he stopped by the Congresswoman Giffords' public appearance, held outside a local Safeway grocery store.

Within the federal government, Judge Roll was deeply respected as a man who “spent more than 40 years serving the cause of justice,” in Bishop Kicanas' description.

According to local reports, more than 2,000 people attended his funeral – including Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, who hope to name a federal courthouse after Judge Roll.

“In the funeral procession to Holy Hope Cemetery, I was brought to tears as I witnessed the respect for Judge Roll and the concern for his family,” Bishop Kicanas wrote.

“Police and firefighters stood at attention,” he noted, as he went on to recall the honor that even strangers spontaneously paid to the respected judge as his coffin passed. “At intersections where the police halted traffic to let the procession through, people got out of their cars to salute or simply stand at attention.”

“We have experienced a tragedy that could have torn our community apart,” he wrote, “but that instead has bound us together.” The bishop is scheduled to participate in a prayer service at the site of the shootings on Jan. 20.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – The situation in Tunisia remains tense and uncertain, especially in the capital city of Tunisi, after President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali left the country in the wake of a popular protest which broke out in mid-December for price increases. In the clashes in recent weeks about 100 people died. Meanwhile today, 17 January, when the new Government should be announced, there are still reported clashes between army troops and men from the Presidential Guard. “What is happening now, as far as we can understand, also because the protagonists of the crisis do not know how the events will evolve, is due to the ruling elites' attempt to save themselves, abandoning that part of the regime most in view and hated,” Fides was told by Alessandro Politi, a political analyst associated with Security World Advisory. “After the first protests, the idea quickly emerged within the Tunisian establishment, certainly not new, of disassociating the regime from the dictator and from his corrupt personal entourage,” explains Politi.
According to analysts, the evolution of the crisis is linked to the financial capabilities of the Tunisian State, that is if it can “permit the adoption of economic policies that alleviate the conditions of the population.” The crisis in fact began when a demonstrator set himself on fire in protest against the confiscation by police of his unlicensed fruits and vegetables for sale. “This person no longer had any hope,” says Politi. “Maghreb is full of young people who have no prospects for the future.”
The Tunisian events are having a great echo throughout the North African and Middle Eastern world. According to some commentators the example of the Tunisian revolt could create a “domino effect” that would provoke the downfall of other regimes in the region. “For more than 40 years the domino theory has not worked in a mechanical way,” emphasises Politi. “The domino works if there is a political will and also a political climate that together lead to a series of changes. In 1848, in Europe, there was a domino effect, but many conditions are needed to achieve it. From a historical point of view, we can briefly say that the domino effect, never occurs on its own.”
“In the Tunisian example, the downfall of Ben Ali certainly concerns all those regimes in the Middle East who thought of maintaining power with a mix of economics and an iron fist. The problem is that the economic promises of Ben Ali clashed with the economic and world financial crisis. And other Countries are not in better situations,” concludes Politi.


ASIA NEWS REPORT- The transfer should occur within seven days. The step has become necessary to protect the life of the 45-year-old Christian mother of five because of death threats from Muslim fundamentalists. A Pakistani priest hopes the transfer will be done secretly to ensure maximum security. AsiaNews’ campaign on Bibi’s behalf has reached 8,700 signatures.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, may be moved to Multan Prison, an all-women facility, due to security concerns. The Christian community expressed their concern to the authorities that the 45-year-old mother of five may not be safe in Sheikhupura Prison (Punjab) because of constant death threats from extremists around the country.

Asia’s husband Ashiq Masih also appealed to the authorities to improve her security, who explicitly said her life was in danger.

Similarly, Ministry of Interior asked the Punjab government to increase security for Asia Bibi in Sheikhupura Jail.

An official report released on 11 January by the provincial intelligence agency said, “The severity of threat to the life of Asia Bibi spiked after the assassination of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer”. The late governor had expressed his support for the Christian woman and had called for changes to the blasphemy law.

The report also noted that “the provincial government is yet to take effective security measures. [. . .] Just one lady warden has been assigned to her inside the jail and five police constables deputed to secure the jail’s perimeter, along with two motorcycle squads assigned to patrol the jail periphery.” What is more, the guards assigned to her “are not vigilant and most of the times [. . .] are absent”.

In fact, Sheikhpura Prison superintendent Khalid Sheikh is aware of the situation. “I have received directives from the Punjab Home Department to shift Asia from Sheikhupura district jail to an all-women jail in Multan, as her life is in danger in Sheikhpura jail,” he said.

Her transfer is expected to take place under heavy security within the next seven days.

If she is moved to the Multan All-Women’s Prison, the Christian woman will wait out for her appeal case in Lahore High Court. So far, she has spent much of her time talking to female prison guards, catching up with the news from a television and reading an Urdu Bible.

She is not a fluent reader, said Father Obed Robert, a local priest who regularly visits her and supports her family, but during her months of incarceration she had taken particular comfort from the words of John, Chapter 14, Verse 1, which says: "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me."

Fr Andrew Nisari, a senior spokesman for the Catholic archdiocese of Lahore, toldAsiaNews, “It is good that Asia is being shifted, but the transfer should be kept confidential as the extremists are vigilantly looking for an opportunity to kill Asia Bibi, she should be flown in a helicopter as the matter is extremely serious."

In the meantime, the AsiaNews campaign in favour of Asia Bibi’s release has reached 8,700 signatures. Anyone who wants to sign up can write


CATH NEWS REPORT- The Australian Catholic University, is continuing to lead the charge on aggressive growth, enrolling for a second successive year 30 per cent over its government allocation, reports The Australian.

"There was an assumption that growth would not begin until 2012, when the caps on enrolments come off," said ACU vice-chancellor Greg Craven. "I suspect the biggest growth will be before 2012, and afterwards there will be a slower pattern of filling up toward the Bradley targets."

In a reported foretaste of the kind of market forces set to hit the university sector next year - when government caps on places are removed - Victoria University has suffered a 25 per cent drop in first-round offers.

Last year, nearly half of all universities enrolled 10 per cent or more over their allocation, with the government funding places up to 10 per cent.

After increasing offers by 30 per cent last year, La Trobe has reduced offers by 2.3 per cent this year. However, most universities appear to be projecting flat enrolments.This year, the number pursuing growth appears to have slowed, but the University of the Sunshine Coast reports a 16 per cent growth projection, Deakin 14 per cent, with several others, including Newcastle and Wollongong, aiming for a 10 per cent over-enrolment.

NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia have now all made first-round offers. Demand is generally up, but only slightly. Queensland saw first preferences up by 1.4 per cent and NSW up by 2.8 per cent, while Victorian applications were down by 1.3 per cent.

Professor Craven said without doubt the level of competition was increasing with marketing campaigns more visible.

"My assumption is this year and next will be ferociously competitive. It will be interesting to see [how low] the cut-off scores go," Professor Craven said.


St. Canute IV


Feast: January 19


Feast Day:January 19

1043, Denmark

Died:July 10, 1086, Odense
Major Shrine:Saint Canute's Cathedral, Odense
Patron of:Denmark

Martyr and King of Denmark, date of birth uncertain; d. 10 July 1086, the third of the thirteen natural sons of Sweyn II surnamed Estridsen. Elected king on the death of his brother Harold about 1080, he waged war on his barbarous enemies and brought Courland and Livonia to the faith. Having married Eltha, daughter of Robert, Count of Flanders, he had a son Charles, surnamed the good. He was a strong ruler, as is proved by his stern dealing with the pirate Eigill of Bornholm. The happiness of his people and the interests of the Church were the objects he had most at heart. To the cathedral of Roskilde, still the royal burying-place, he gave his own diadem. His austerity was equalled by his assiduity in prayer. An expedition to England, in favour of the Saxons against William the Conqueror, planned by him in 1085, failed through the treachery of his brother Olaf. His people having revolted on account of the cruelties of certain tax-collectors, Canute retired to the island of Funen. There, in the church of St. Alban, after due preparation for death, the king, his brother Benedict, and seventeen others were surrounded and slain, 10 July, 1086. His feast is 19 January, translation, 10 July; his emblems, a lance or arrows, in memory of the manner of his death.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: JAN. 18: MARK 2: 23- 28

Mark 2: 23 - 28
23One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.24And the Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?"25And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him:26how he entered the house of God, when Abi'athar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?"27And he said to them, "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath;28so the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath."









TODAY'S GOSPEL: JAN. 17: MARK: 2: 18-22


VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received an ecumenical delegation from Finland for the occasion of the Feast of St. Henry, the country's patron saint.

"Every year", said the Pope, addressing the group in German, "this meeting bears witness to the friendship and co-operation that exist between Lutherans and Catholics and, in general, among all Christians in your country".

"Although the goal of the ecumenical movement - complete unity in the faith - has not yet been reached", dialogue has produced many points of agreement, Benedict XVI noted. Among these he highlighted the declaration "on the doctrine of justification in the life of the Church", and gave assurances that further study of this theme will contribute, among other things, "to a shared viewpoint on the nature of the episcopal office".

"At the same time", he went on, "we are all aware that the ecumenical journey has, in some ways, become more difficult and challenging. In this light, your annual pilgrimage to Rome for the Feast of St. Henry is an important event and a stimulus to our efforts. It helps us to look back with joy at the goals we have achieved and forward to the future with the desire for responsible compromise".

"In view of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity", the Pope concluded, "let us ask the Spirit of Truth to impel us to ever greater love and fraternity".



VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that:

- At 6.30 p.m. on Saturday 22 January Cardinal Paolo Romeo, archbishop of Palermo, Italy, will take possession of the title of St. Mary Hodegetria of the Sicilians, Via del Tritone 82, Rome.

- At 6 p.m. on Saturday 22 January Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, will take possession of the title of St. Mary "Regina Pacis" at Ostia Mare, Piazza Regina Pacis 13, Rome.

- At 11 a.m. on Sunday 23 January Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, will take possession of the diaconate of St. George in Velabro, Via del Velabro 19, Rome.

- At 11.30 a.m. on Sunday 23 January Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", will take possession of the diaconate of St. John Bosco in Via Tuscolana, Viale dei Salesiani 9, Rome.

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VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

- Cardinal Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente, archbishop emeritus of Valencia, Spain.

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

- Erected the new diocese of Bo (area 16,208, population 1.092.657, Catholics 50,000, priests 34, religious 49) Sierra Leone, by dividing the current archdiocese of Freetown and Bo, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Freetown. He appointed Fr. Charles Allieu Matthew Campbell of the clergy of the archdiocese of Freetown and Bo, spiritual director of St. Paul's Major Seminary in Freetown, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Njala, Sierra Leone in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1986.

- Appointed Bishop Angelo Spinillo of Teggiano-Policastro, Italy, as bishop of Aversa (area 361, population 566,680, Catholics 549,070, priests 210, permanent deacons 24, religious 458), Italy. He succeeds Archbishop-Bishop Mario Milano, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Appointed Fr. Benjamin Phiri of the clergy of the diocese of Chipata, Zambia, currently rector of the national major theological seminary of St. Dominic in Lusaka, as auxiliary of Chipata (area 69,106, population 1,487,000, Catholics 379,834, priests 60, religious 175). The bishop-elect was born in Chongololo, Zambia in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1986.

- Appointed Werner Arber, professor emeritus of microbiology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, as president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

- Appointed Rev. Keith Newton as first ordinary of the new Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the territory of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. Rev. Newton was born in Liverpool, England in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1976 for the Anglican diocese of Chelmsford. In March 2002 he was ordained as suffragan bishop of Richborough.

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VATICAN CITY, 16 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees which "invites us to reflect on the experience of many men, women and families who leave their own country in search of better living conditions", Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope recalled how, although migration is "at times voluntary, at others it is, unfortunately, imposed by war or persecution and, as we know, it often comes about in dramatic circumstances. It was for this reason that, sixty years ago, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees was founded. On the Feast of the Holy Family, immediately after Christmas, we recalled how even Jesus' parents had to flee their land and take refuge in Egypt to save the life of their child. The Messiah, the Son of God, was also a refugee", he said.

The Holy Father noted how "the experience of migration has always existed within the Church. Sometimes, unfortunately, Christians feel obliged to take the anguished decision to leave their land, thus impoverishing the countries in which their ancestors lived. However, the voluntary movement of Christians for various reasons, from one city to another, from one country to another, from one continent to another, is an opportunity to increase the missionary dynamism of the Word of God, and to ensure that the witness of faith circulates more freely in the mystical Body of Christ, traversing peoples and cultures, and reaching new frontiers, new environments".

Benedict XVI then went on to refer to the theme of this year's World Day - "one human family" - which, he said, "indicates the aim, the goal of the great journey of humankind down the centuries: that of forming a single family. A family marked, of course, by the differences that enrich it, but without barriers and in which we recognise one another as brothers. ... For this reason it is vital that Christians, though scattered throughout the world and, consequently, possessing different cultures and traditions, should form a single entity, as the Lord wishes.

"This", he added, "is the aim of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which will take place from 18 to 25 January. This year it draws inspiration from a passage in the Acts of the Apostles: 'They devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers'. The Octave for Christian Unity is preceded, tomorrow, by the Day of Jewish-Christian Dialogue, a highly significant pairing which recalls the importance of the shared roots which unite Jews and Christians".

After praying the Angelus the Pope said: "On 1 May I will have the joy of proclaiming the Venerable Pope John Paul II, my predecessor, as a blessed. The date chosen is very significant because it will, in fact, be the second Sunday of Easter which he himself dedicated to Divine Mercy and on the eve of which his earthly life came to an end. Those who knew him, those who respected and loved him cannot but share in the Church's joy at this event".

Finally Benedict XVI gave assurances of his prayers for people in "Australia, Brazil, Philippines and Sri Lanka, who have all recently suffered from devastating floods. May the Lord welcome the souls of the deceased, give strength to the displaced and support the efforts of everyone striving to alleviate the suffering and difficulties".

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VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI received members of the Pontifical Polish Ecclesiastical Institute in a meeting marking its first centenary. The group was accompanied by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education,.

The Polish Institute was the result of an initiative by St. Joseph Sebastian Pelczar, then bishop of Przemysl, and its history began during the pontificate of St. Pius X. It was inaugurated on 13 November 1910 by Msgr. Sapieha, who later became cardinal archbishop of Krakow. Throughout its existence the institute has enjoyed the benevolence and support of various Pontiffs, including Servant of God Paul VI and the Venerable John Paul II.

"The celebration of the first centenary of this important institution", the Pope said, "invites us to a dutiful and respectful recollection of the people who founded it with faith, courage and vigour. At the same time, it is a call to show responsibility to continue its original aims, even today, adapting them as appropriate to new circumstances. Above all, it is necessary to remain committed to keeping the soul of the institute alive: its religious and ecclesial soul, which responds to the providential divine plan of offering Polish priests an appropriate atmosphere for study and fraternity during their period of formation in Rome".

The Holy Father then went on to encourage the students "to consider yourselves as 'living stones', an important part of a history which today requires a personal and incisive response from you, making your own generous contribution just as the unforgettable primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, did during the course of Vatican Council II. It was here in the Polish Institute that he was able to prepare the celebration of the Millennium of the Baptism of Poland with that historic message of reconciliation which Polish bishops addressed to the German prelates, and which contained the famous words: 'We forgive and we ask forgiveness'".

Pope Benedict went on: "The Church needs well-trained priests, rich in the wisdom acquired through friendship with the Lord Jesus, priests who constantly draw from the Eucharistic table and from the endless font of His Gospel. From these two irreplaceable sources, draw continual support and the inspiration necessary for your life and ministry, for a sincere love of Truth; a Truth into which today you are called to delve through study and academic research, and which tomorrow you will share with many.

"The search for Truth", he added, "for you priests who are enjoying this unique Roman experience, is stimulated and enriched by your proximity to the Apostolic See which has the task of offering specific and universal service to Catholic communion in truth and charity. Remaining close to Peter, in the heart of the Church, means gratefully recognising that we are part of a centuries-old and fruitful history of salvation which, by multiform grace, has touched you and in which you are called to play an active role so that, like a flourishing tree, it may always brings forth its precious fruit".

The Holy Father concluded his remarks: "May your love and devotion for the figure of Peter encourage you generously to serve the communion of the entire Catholic Church, and of your particular Churches, so that, like one great family, everyone may learn to recognise in Jesus, Way, Truth and Life, the face of the merciful Father, Who does not want any of His children to be lost".

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VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall the Pope received Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, initiators of the Neo-Catechumenal Way, and Fr. Mario Pezzi. They were accompanied by the itinerant teams responsible for the Way in more than 120 countries, and by a large group of priests, seminarians and families.

"For more than forty years the Neo-Catechumenal Way has been contributing to the revitalisation and consolidation of Christian initiation in dioceses and parishes, favouring a gradual but radical rediscovery of the riches of Baptism, helping people to savour divine life, the heavenly life which the Lord inaugurated with His incarnation, when He came among us and was born like one of us".

"Over the last few years the process of drawing up the Statues of the Neo-Catechumenal Way has reached a fruitful conclusion and, following an appropriate experimental period, they received definitive approval in June 2008. Another important step was made in recent days with the approval, by the competent dicasteries of the Holy See, of the 'Catechetical Directory of the Neo-Catechumenal Way'.

"With these seals of ecclesial approval", the Pope added, "the Lord today confirms this precious tool which is the Way and again entrusts it to you so that, in filial obedience to the Holy See and the pastors of the Church, you may contribute with renewed energy and ardour to the radical and joyful rediscovery of the gift of Baptism, and offer your own original contribution to the cause of new evangelisation. The Church has recognised in the Neo-Catechumenal Way a particular gift created by the Holy Spirit. As such it naturally tends to insert itself into the harmony of the ecclesial Body. In this light I exhort you always to seek profound communion with pastors, and with all members of the particular Churches, and of the very different ecclesial contexts in which you are called to work. Fraternal communion between the disciples of Jesus is, in fact, the first and greatest witness to the name of Jesus Christ".

The Pope expressed his joy at the fact that today he is sending more than 200 Neo-Catechumenal families out to various parts of the world. These families "have with great generosity made themselves available and are leaving on mission, thus joining their efforts to the nearly 600 already operating on the five continents. Dear families", he said, "may the faith you have received as a gift be as a light on the candlestick, capable of showing mankind the way to heaven. With the same sentiments I am sending out thirteen new 'missiones ad gentes'. They will be called to create a new ecclesial presence in highly secularised areas of various countries, or in places where Christ's message has not yet reached".

Turning then to address priests from various "Redemptoris Mater" diocesan seminaries in Europe, and the more than 2,000 seminarians present, the Holy Father told them "to remain enamoured of Christ and His Church, transmitting to the world the joy of having met the Lord and of being able to serve Him".

"In any suffering or emptiness you may experience", Benedict told the itinerant catechists, the Neo-Catechumenal communities of Rome and Lazio, and the "communitates in missionem", "feel yourselves united to the suffering of Christ on the cross, and to His desire to reach our many brothers and sisters still distant from faith and truth, to bring them back to the house of the Father".

The Holy Father concluded his remarks by inviting his audience to reflect on part three of his Apostolic Constitution "Verbum Domini" which concerns "the Church's mission to proclaim the Word of God to the world", and to "feel themselves as participants in the Lord Jesus' concern for salvation, in the mission He entrusts to the whole Church".

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VATICAN CITY, 17 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

"This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Irina Bokova, director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The director general subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

"The cordial discussions provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions on UNESCO's efforts in the field of education, sciences and culture, which are also of particular interest to the Holy See as it participates actively in the work of the organisation. On this topic, emphasis was given to the need to ensure integral human development, and to the importance of guaranteeing quality education for everyone.

"Attention also turned to certain aspects of protecting world cultural heritage, and of defending the environment, as well as to the importance of dialogue between cultures".


DR Congo: medical nun killed by rebels | Congolese nun, Sister Jeanne Yemgane,St Augustine congregation of Dungu, Missionary News Service, Bishop Richard Domba
IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: A Congolese nun, Sister Jeanne Yemgane, who was a doctor and former superior of the St Augustine congregation of Dungu was shot dead by rebels on Saturday, the Missionary News Service reports.

Bishop Richard Domba, Bishop of the north-eastern Dungu-Doruma said: "After finishing her mandate as superior, Sister Yemgane decided to remain on as a nurse. On Saturday she was travelling in a car with other people, including an eye doctor, when they were attacked by gunmen. She didn’t survive her injuries”.

Witnesses appear to attribute the attack to Ugandan rebels of the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), active for three years in the north-east of DR-Congo.

“Once again innocent people, even religious, have been targeted by gunmen. Despite the presence of the National armed forces (FARDC), the United Nations peacekeeping mission and Ugandan army, the security problem remains serious”, said Bishop Richard.

Source: MISNA


ASIA NEWS REPORT: Victims are now in a safe place because of the danger of more violence. A mob of angry Muslims beat and humiliated the two women, who are mother and daughter. The incident was triggered by a domestic dispute between them and the Muslim wife of their son and brother. A Pakistani priest says that unless there is separation between state and religion, Pakistan will slide into civil war.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Two Christian women, mother and daughter, who recently suffered violence and humiliation, are now in a safe place. An angry mob turned against them in Lahore, beating them, after they were accused of blasphemy. The incident began with a dispute between the two and a Muslim woman, who is married to their son and brother, over the religious education of the mixed couple’s daughter. Mgr Rufin Anthony reacted to the fact, slamming Pakistani society’s increasing intolerance, a sociological problem it must deal with the utmost urgency.

Speaking from their hideout, John Chand, son and brother of the victims, toldAsiaNews that the two women “are afraid of being attacked by extremists” and are hiding to avoid being killed.

The mob beat Saira Chand and her mother so badly that both lost consciousness. At some point during the attack, some of the abusers put necklaces made of old shoes around their necks, smeared their faces and put them on the back of donkeys to parade around their east Lahore neighbourhood. After regaining consciousness, the two women vehemently rejected the accusations of blasphemy, touching their feet repeatedly, to demand pity from their tormentors.

A local Muslim leader, Mian Muhammad Sameer, said he did everything to get the two women to “confess” their crime of blasphemy.

A member of Sameer, the same organisation to which Malik Mumtaz Qadri, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer’s murderer, belonged, he said he was proud of his wife, who “beat Saira more than anyone else.”

“Her hand is so swollen she hasn’t been able to cook since the day of the incident. I’ve been getting my meals from a restaurant,” he added.

According to John Chand, the violence was sparked by a dispute between his wife Amina Zaheer, who is Muslim, and his sister Saira, who is Christian, which got worse after the mixed couple had a baby girl.

Matters were already difficult from even before. Amina’s father Zaheer Malik had already objected to her marriage unless John converted to Islam. However, the two got married in court and each kept their religion.

The issue became more complicated when their daughter was born. John wanted to name her Sonia and raise her in the Christian faith. His wife and father-in-law wanted her to grow up a Muslim.

The blasphemy charge was levelled when Saira and Amina had a row that involved Saira’s mother.

When Amina left her mother-in-law’s home, she began accusing the two Christian women of insulting the Prophet Muhammad, and this sparked action by local Muslim extremists.

Eventually, the two women escaped to safe place thanks to the help of Zameer Khan, an NGO worker, who saved their life.

For him, the issue had nothing to do with blasphemy but was just a dispute between two women. Senior Superintendent of Police Zulfiqar Hameed agrees. According to the police officer, it is “a domestic issue” in which Saira was unfairly accused.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Mgr Rufin Anthony, bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, said, “Our society is becoming more and more violent, intolerant and wild.”

The problem is not religious or ethnic but “sociological”, one “that needs to be addressed quickly”.

“Events have come to this stage in the country’s history where religion is being abused to settle personal scores,” said Fr Xavier Joseph.

“State and religion must be separate,” he added; otherwise, “there will be a civil war and that will be the end of the Pakistan as we know it”.,-publicly-humiliated-in-Lahore-based-on-false-blasphemy-accusations-20525.html


CBN REPORT: The sound of praise and worship can be heard behind the gates of the Dr. Layne Murray unit at the Gatesville Maximum Security prison.

For the women behind bars at the prison, worshipping God is a whole new way of life. Most of those serving time here have never known real love; only a life of drugs, violence, and sexual abuse.

Twenty-seven-year-old LaQuita Davis was sent to prison when she was only 15 years old. She was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder.

"It's bad yeah, we're in prison, but you know that it's going to be okay because God has you," she told CBN News.

From Criminal to Faithful

Volunteer missionaries who run the "Faith Dorm" at the prison have seen the program change even the most hardened criminals into God-fearing, faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

Cindy Mendoza is serving a life sentence for the murder of her fiance's father.

"I took a man's life," she explained. "I was drunk and I was high and we had an argument that turned into a fight and I killed him. Yes, I'm very remorseful for what I did and what's happened, but I can't bring him back."

"But I didn't want his death to go in vain, and I wanted to do any and everything I could to be a different person," she continued.

Inmate Margaret Espree said the difference between being in the "Faith Dorm" and secular units at the prison is like night and day. Espree was sentenced to eight years for aggravated assault. She is also serving 20 years for a previous murder charge.

"When I was in the other dorms, it was kind of hard," she recalled. "We had so much negativity there."

Mendoza agreed.

"Coming in here is like that cherry on that icing on that Sundae 'cause you're learning and you're growing," she said.

Faithful Partnering

Faith Dorm is the partnership between prison officials, the government, and ministry volunteers. The dorm's director, Linda Strom, has ministered to thousands of female inmates during the past 34 years.

"About three-and-a-half years ago, I got a call from a friend that's a good warden and a chaplain," she said, explaining how the "Faith Based" Dorm got its start. "And they said that they wanted to start a faith-based dorm and would I be interested in directing it."

Strom said she jumped at the chance to help women change their lives through a course of spiritual and life lessons.

"We take 18 months and we cover curriculum that tells them how to walk out their faith, how to go deeper with Jesus," she said.

A Saving Grace

Participation in the Faith Dorm is not mandatory. Inmates who participate want to change their lives from the inside out. It was a change Espree longed for all her life.

"God has brought me from being bitter, beaten, ugly, aggravated, assaults, murders," she said.

Davis said being in the Faith Dorm has helped her to overcome the rage that once controlled her life.

"I've been kicked off of every unit," she explained. "It got to the point where this was my very last unit, my very last chance. I didn't have anywhere else to go."

Fifty-six women live in the Faith Dorm. They share everything from bathrooms to bibles. They love each other like sisters.

Pam Purillo was serving time on death row for murder. She entered a plea bargain in order to get a life sentence - two days away from being executed by the state of Texas. She never dreamed she would walk off of death row. Today she lives in the Faith Dorm.

Karla Faye Tucker's Dream

What's happening at the faith-based dorm at the Murray unit of the Gatesville prison is actually a dream come true for one former death row inmate.

That inmate was Karla Faye Tucker, who had a dream and a vision to see other women fall in love with Jesus Christ and become disciples and follow His word.

Tucker was convicted of murdering two people in 1984. She was housed in a unit not far from the Layne Murray Unit at Gatesville. Her 1998 execution and widely publicized conversion to Christianity drew international attention.

She was the first woman to be executed in Texas since the Civil War. Her story was featured several times on The 700 Club.

Strom was Tucker's spiritual advisor and mentor.

"When Karla was waiting for her execution, she wrote a program and the program was geared to teaching women in white how to go deep with God, relationships, all that kind of thing," Strom explained.

Purillo was Tucker's best friend and prayer partner on death row.

"Karla had a dream that we would have areas of the prison that was dedicated just to the girls that were trying to live a Christ centered life," Purillo said.

"No way would I have ever dreamed I would come to Layne Murray and live in the faith-based dorm when the dream started with Karla," she explained.

'Re-Entering' Prison Missionaries

Assistant Warden Judy Scott praised the dorm for the good work she has witnessed.

"It's a very positive on them, as well as their family," she told CBN News. "I also see it during visitation that they're trying to bond better with their family members and be better people."

After 18 months, the women in the faith-based dorm graduate. They then re-enter the general prison population as missionaries to other female inmates at the prison.

"I plan to go out and minister the word of God, tell my testimony to those that are lost out there," Espree said.

The women in the Faith Dorm say being there has made them free. The program is so successful that other prisons in Texas are also using the program.

There are 22 faith dorms in the Texas prison system, and a growing number of them are springing up across the country.

Pulled Out of the Pit

Meanwhile, some question the motivation of the inmates in the program. Skeptics say it only offers "jailhouse religion."

Because the program has only operated for the past three years at the Gatesville prison, there is no clear evidence yet that it reduces the chances an offender will return to prison.

But the women in the program say living in the dorm has saved their lives in more ways than one.

"Call it whatever you want, but it's Jesus and it's Jesus or nothing and he saved me," Mendoza said. "He saved me, and it's like that Psalm 40 says when he pulls you out of that pit."


CATH NEWS REPORT: In a reunion to mark 50 years with the order, 37 Sisters of St Joseph wore corsages of frangipani and yellow roses in honour of the crown of frangipani they wore on the day of profession, said a report in the Catholic Weekly.

"The frangipani has been significant in terms of our early form­ation. We've all grown so much, and the sharing with each other has been beautiful.""I was thinking this morning how different we all look now, compared with 50 years ago when we walked into the chapel with our white veils and our frangipani wreaths," said Sr Marie White, referring to the reunion held on January 6.

Sr Mary Markham, who was considered old when she entered the Sisters of St Joseph at 25, turned 78 just two days after the golden jubilee. "They used to call me 'Ma Markham'!"

Sr Maria Casey, postulator for the cause of the canonisation of St Mary MacKillop, was among those celebrating the milestone.

"The brown habit that the Sis­ters wore is no longer part of our image, but the strong message of St Mary MacKillop, to never see a need without doing something about it, is as strong as it always was."


Agenzia Fides REPORT - “Human mobility and evangelization: challenge of a new millennium” was the theme addressed yesterday by the President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, Archbishop Antonio Maria Vegliò, in his intervention at the XI Meeting for the Formation of Socio-Pastoral Care Workers, held in Fatima (Portugal) from 14 to 16 January.
“Europe is a continent in which nations, peoples and diverse cultures coexist,” the Archbishop said. No European Country, however, may consider itself today free from the problems of the macro-phenomenon of contemporary migration”. Among the “signs of bewilderment and confusion, even under the pressure of the phenomenon of migration” that occurs today, Archbishop Vegliò pointed to “the excessive search for the autonomy of man against God,” who has been placed “next to the world, but without interfering with human activities”, ethical changes, and the severe economic crisis.
Archbishop Vegliò then denounced that “in the context of migratory movements, adequate attention is not given to the defence of the dignity of the human person. Instead, precisely in this area, in many parts of Europe, despicable attacks against migrants have occurred in recent years, people who have often been victims of intolerance, discrimination and xenophobia, with isolated episodes of racism.”
Looking at the face of the Europe of today, the Archbishop explained that it is characterised by multi-ethnicity and multi-culturalism, “which carry with them different forms of religious affiliation.” Those who arrive today in European Union countries are mostly Christians, and among them, many are Orthodox. Those belonging to Judaism are about three million. The European Buddhist Union estimates that it currently has from one to three million members in Europe. Muslims are about 32 million. “Dialogue is not easy,” said Archbishop Vegliò. “The meeting of diversity is not new in our time, but the fact is that today the new phenomenon involves the entire planet. Historians have noted that the day in which a civilization is open to other cultures, itself benefits from it in terms of growth and strengthening. On the contrary, weakness and decline begin precisely when it does not accept dialogue, discussion and mutual exchange, in the dynamism of mutual giving and receiving.”
Indicating the challenge for evangelisation, Archbishop Vegliò confirmed that “pastoral care for human mobility, past the emergency humanitarian relief, which is always involved in migratory movements and responding to the urgency of charity, is now before the challenge of proclaiming anew the Good News to migrants. The effort of pastoral care workers in this field, tends to find and use everything that is beautiful, true and good that exists in different cultures.” Therefore cooperation is fundamental between the Churches of origin and destination of migratory flows, as “it is very important that the Churches of departure for migrants follow their missionary vocation not to neglect those who leave their home community to go elsewhere.” To be part of some missionary action also, defending the rights of migrant workers if they are injured, stressed Archbishop Vegliò, emphasising that “denunciation is an important tool for the proclamation of the Gospel.”
In conclusion, the Archbishop stated: “migrants expect orientation from the Church and a response to the great questions about Christian faith, human comfort and support capable of restoring hope and meaning to their lives. The missionary journey which we intend to undertake in this third millennium should be based on evangelization and the testimony of charity. Do not forget that Christian charity has a great evangelizing force in the measure in which it leaves the sign of God's love among men.”


St. Volusian


Feast: January 18


Feast Day:January 18

Volusian was bishop of Tours, in France, the see made famous by St. Martin two centuries earlier. He lived at a time before clerical celibacy had been enforced in the West and was married to a woman famous for her violent temper, which was a great trial to the bishop. He also lived in a time when the barbarian invasions had begun and the fear of the Goths was everywhere.
In writing to a friend of his, a certain Bishop Ruricius, of nearby Limoges, St. Volusian expressed his fear of the Goths who were beginning to terrorize his diocese. Ruricius humorously replied that someone who lived with terror inside his house, meaning his wife, should have no fear of terrors from the outside.

Volusian was of senatorial rank, very wealthy, a relative of the bishop who preceded him, St. Perpetuus, and he lived in the days when Clovis was king of the Franks, the avowed enemy of the Goths.

As the Goths began to overrun Volusian's diocese, they suspected him of sympathies with Clovis and of wanting to subject them to the Franks, so Volusian was driven from his see and sent into exile.

He held the office of bishop in a very difficult time, when the whole of Western Europe was in turmoil, in the wake of the barbarian invasions from the East. Cities were sacked, government disrupted, and bishops were the only agents of stability as civil government collapsed. Gregory of Tours, who succeeded Volusian as bishop of Tours a century later, describes the turmoil of the times, and it is from his writings that we get our knowledge of Volusian.

We have no further information about Volusian's wife or his family, and we are not sure whether he died in southern France or in Spain. It is simply known that he was driven from his see, went into exile, and died after ruling as bishop for seven years.

Thought for the Day: Most of us live in very stable times, and it is difficult to imagine what it would be like if our country were invaded and national and state government ceased to exist. Our dependence on Divine Providence would be more obvious then, and our faith would have to give us strength in very different ways. The saints kept faith in the most difficult of times and leaned on God in every crisis.

From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': "A tree is identified by its fruit. A tree from a select variety produces good fruit; poor varieties, don't.... A good man's speech reveals the rich treasures within him. An evil-hearted man is filled with venom, and his speech reveals it."—Matthew 12:33, 35


TODAY'S GOSPEL: JAN. 17: MARK: 2: 18-22

Mark 2: 18 - 22
18Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"
19And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
20The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.
21No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; if he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made.
22And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins."