CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: TUES. JAN. 18, 2011- HEADLINES-
BEGINNING OF WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
KING OF DENMARK, MARTYR
Feast: January 19