Benedict XVI today appealed for solidarity for those in the Horn of Africa who are "suffering the dramatic consequences of famine, exacerbated by war and the lack of solid institutions”. Addressing three thousand people in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, he commented on the Gospel passage of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. "Jesus - he added in French – confronts us with our responsibility: to do everything in our power to bring assistance to those who suffer from hunger and thirst."
In the Gospel, the Pope said, "the incarnation of God and the work of redemption are intertwined. In fact, Jesus '' ‘disembarks’ from the boat to meet men (cf. Mt 14:14). St. Maximus the Confessor says that the Word of God ‘became flesh for our sake, derived from us and conformed to us in everything except sin, in order to expose us to his teaching with words and examples suitable for us' (Ambiguum 33: PG 91, 1285 C). Here the Lord gives us a good example of his compassion for people. Our many brothers and sisters in the Horn of Africa come to mind, who are suffering the dramatic consequences of famine, exacerbated by war and the lack of solid institutions. Christ is attentive to material needs, but wants to give more, because man is always 'hungry for something more, he needs something more ' (Jesus of Nazareth, Milan 2007, 311). In the bread of Christ, the love of God is present, in our encounter with Him, we nourish ourselves, so to speak, with the same living God himself, we truly eat the "bread from heaven"' (ibid.). "
"In the Eucharist - continued Benedict XVI - Jesus also makes us witnesses of God's compassion for every brother and sister. The Eucharistic mystery thus gives rise to the service of charity toward our neighbor (Post-synod Apostolic Exhortation. Sacramentum caritatis, 88). St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, who the Church remembers today also bore witness to this. Ignatius chose, in fact, to live "looking for God in all things, loving Him in all creatures" (cf. Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, III, 1, 26). We entrust our prayer to the Virgin Mary-concluded the Pope - in order to open our hearts to compassion for others and fraternal sharing."
ADDRESS: 200 CORPORATE POINTE #125, CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA
ALL AFRICA REPORT: Catholic Bishops have made a passionate food appeal on behalf of the hungry and the needy in the country.
The Bishops' appeal, on, July 29 at a press conference addressed by Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth, Chairman of the Bishops' Commission for justice and his Vice-Chairman Bishop Cornelius Korir, comes in the wake of the Government's public announcement that around four million people face starvation.In their statement, entitled: Together, let us secure our Nation, the Bishops said, "We appeal to you Kenyans and the international relief agencies, humanitarian agencies to join hands in solidarity to ensure that these Kenyans do not continue suffering from starvation and hunger through food donations and financial support."
Food donations can be channeled through our outstations, parishes, and diocesan offices. Financial contributions can be sent through the following:
KEC-Catholic Charity Emergency Fund, Kenya
Kenya Commercial Bank
A/C No. 016200646352
Sarit Centre Branch, Westlands
Donations can also be channeled through the Church M-pesa business line: 560702.
The Bishops also thanked the media fraternity, the Kenya Commercial Bank, Kenya Red Cross Society and Safaricom for their initiative to raise funds towards the current food crisis.
"We equally acknowledge the overwhelming response from Kenyans. This is a true spirit of solidarity," they added.
Bishop Korir said he was disturbed that in some parts of the country, farmers are harvesting food, cabbages going to waste, while people are starving and dying in other parts.
"The current debate in Parliament on food security and national intelligence budgetary allocation should not only be guided by the social structures, but also by the immediate need to protect and promote human dignity and life," the Bishops said.
"The Government should move in and sort out this abnormality," he advised.
Meanwhile Kenya's Red Cross organization has today July 29 confirmed that at least 19 people have died from starvation.
The revelation comes in the wake of a denial by Government spokesman, Dr Alfred Mutua that no Kenyan has died due to starvation. (IMAGES SOURCES: APRIESTLIFE.BLOGSPOT.COM/LEFTFOOTFORWARD.ORG)
Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – Iraq’s Christians are “sad and in shock” because attackers targeted a “sacred place” and “innocent people”, said Mgr Louis Sako. The archbishop of Kirkuk, a city in northern Iraq, spoke to AsiaNews about the latest outrage against the country’s Christian community two days into Ramadan. Since the start of the Muslim holy month, attacks have been on the rise. This morning, a car bomb exploded near the Holy Family Syro-Catholic Church at about 5:30 am (0230 GMT), wounding 15 people. Some 30 homes were also damaged. A second bomb was also found.
According to local sources, Mati Shaba, a Christian man, is among the wounded, and is in serious conditions. Fr Imad Yelda, one of the church’s clergymen, was slightly injured. A 20-day-old baby and residents from the predominantly Christian and Turkmen neighbourhood of Shaterlo in northern Kirkuk were also hurt.
Fr Imad Hanna, who was also injured in the attack, said, “It is the first time that this church is the object of a terrorist attack.” The blast damaged the doors and inside the building (pictured), as well as cars and other buildings around the area.
This morning, Mgr Louis Sako, the archbishop of Kirkuk, visited the wounded in hospital. Many of them have already been released and gone home.
Speaking to AsiaNews, the prelate said that “Christians are sad and in shock” because “a sacred place” and “innocent people” were targeted. “Many cars caught fire” and there was widespread damage in the area, he added.
According to the archbishop, the attack has caused a great deal of sorrow because it occurred “at a holy time of fasting and prayer, [a time] of conversion.”
“We are shocked,” he explained, “because Christians play no role in the political games” of the city, its centres of power and economic interests. “We are always for what is good, for dialogue, and we have good relations with everyone.”
With a population of 900,000, Kirkuk is at the centre of an ethnic-political struggle between Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds. The latter would like to see the city annexed to Kurdistan, whilst Arabs and Turkmen want it to remain linked to Iraq’s central government.
Local sources said that a second bomb was found in a car parked near a Presbyterian Evangelical church at al Mass, in central Kirkuk. The bomb was ready to explode but was defused.
Today’s bombs come a month after the opening of the first church built since the US invasion of 2003 (see Joseph Mahmoud, “New ‘Three Fountains Church’ near Kirkuk, a sign of hope,” in AsiaNews, 8 July 2011). (DS)
Image from intranet.ballaratsc.vic.edu.au
CATH NEWS REPORT: The Catholic community in Morwell, Victoria will soon have a parish priest for the first time in eight years after the resolution of a dispute surrounding the removal of the incumbent in 2003, reports the Latrobe Valley Express.
Fr Speekman was removed by then-Bishop Coffey after his relationship with two parish schools broke down, the newspaper said.
The dispute centred on the removal of parish priest Father John Speekman by now-retired Catholic Bishop of Sale John Coffey, which has now been resolved in favour of the bishop by the Vatican's highest judicial authority.
Current Bishop of Sale, Christopher Prowse described the process as a "long, drawn-out saga" which had been very hurtful for the people in the parish.
"It's been eight years. It's a long time to have a parish without a priest," Bishop Prowse said.
"People have been really wanting it to come back to its normal routines and get beyond this issue."
He said the position of parish priest would now be advertised around the diocese and applications would be taken for the role.
Despite the Vatican decision he described Fr Speekman as a fine priest who would have learnt "from all that has taken place". He commended Fr Speekman and Bishop Coffey "for their patience" on the matter.
Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula
Feast: August 2
A town and parish situated about three-quarters of a mile from Assisi. The town, numbering about 2000 inhabitants and officially known as Santa Maria degli Angeli, has grown up around the church (basilica) of Our Lady of the Angels and the adjoining Franciscan monastery. It was here that on 24 Feb., 1208, St. Francis of Assisi recognized his vocation; here was for the most part his permanent abode, after the Benedictines (of the Cluny Congregation from about 1200) had presented him (about 1211) with the little chapel Portiuncula, i.e. a little portion (of land); here also he died on Saturday, 3 October, 1226. According to a legend, the existence of which can be traced back with certainty only to 1645, the little chapel of Portiuncula was erected under Pope Liberius (352-66) by hermits from the Valley of Josaphat, who had brought thither relics from the grave of the Blessed Virgin. The same legend relates that the chapel passed into the possession of St. Benedict in 516. It was known as Our Lady of the Valley of Josaphat or of the Angels -- the latter title referring, according to some, to Our Lady's ascent into heaven accompanied by angels (Assumption B.M.V.); a better founded opinion attributes the name to the singing of angels which had been frequently heard there. However this may be, here or in this neighbourhood was the cradle of the Franciscan Order, and on his death-bed St. Francis recommended the chapel to the faithful protection and care of his brethren. Concerning the form and plan of the first monastery built near the chapel we have no information, nor is the exact form of the loggia or platforms built round the chapel itself, or of the choir for the brothers built behind it, known. Shortly after 1290, the chapel, which measured only about twenty-two feet by thirteen and a half, became entirely inadequate to accommodate the throngs of pilgrims. The altar piece, an Annunciation, was painted by the priest, Hilarius of Viterbo, in 1393. The monastery was at most the residence, only for a short time, of the ministers-general of the order after St. Francis. In 1415 it first became associated with the Regular Observance, in the care of which it remains to the present day. The buildings, which had been gradually added to, around the shrine were taken down by order of Pius V (1566-72), except the cell in which St. Francis had died, and were replaced by a large basilica in contemporary style. The new edifice was erected over the cell just mentioned and over the Portiuncula chapel, which is situated immediately under the cupola. The basilica, which has three naves and a circle of chapels extending along the entire length of the aisles, was completed (1569-78) according to the plans of Jacob Barozzi, named Vignola (1507-73), assisted by Alessi Galeazzo (1512-72). The Doric order was chosen. The basilica forms a Latin cross 416 feet long by 210 feet wide; above the middle of the transept rises the magnificent cupola, flanked by a single side-tower, the second never having been finished. In the night of 15 March, 1832, the arch of the three naves and of the choir fell in, in consequence of an earthquake, but the cupola escaped with a big crack. Gregory XVI had all restored (1836-40), and on 8 Sept., 1840, the basilica was reconsecrated by Cardinal Lambruschini. By Brief of 11 April, 1909, Pius X raised it to a "patriarchal basilica and papal chapel". The high altar was therefore immediately rebuilt at the expense of the Franciscan province of the Holy Cross (also known as the Saxon province), and a papal throne added. The new altar was solemnly consecrated by Cardinal De Lai on 7 Dec., 1910. Under the bay of the choir, resting against the columns of the cupola, is still preserved the cell in which St. Francis died, while, a little behind the sacristy, is the spot where the saint, during a temptation, is said to have rolled in a briar-bush, which was then changed into thornless roses. During this same night the saint received the Portiuncula Indulgence. The representation of the reception of this Indulgence on the façade of the Portiuncula chapel, the work of Fr. Overbeck (1829), enjoys great celebrity.
The Portiuncula Indulgence could at first be gained only in the Portiuncula chapel between the afternoon of 1 Aug. and sunset on 2 Aug. On 5 Aug., 1480 (or 1481), Sixtus IV extended it to all churches of the first and second orders of St. Francis for Franciscans; on 4 July, 1622, this privilege was further extended by Gregory XV to all the faithful, who, after confession and the reception of Holy Communion, visited such churches on the appointed day. On 12 Oct., 1622, Gregory granted the same privilege to all the churches of the Capuchins; Urban VIII granted it for all churches of the regular Third Order on 13 Jan., 1643, and Clement X for all churches of the Conventuals on 3 Oct., 1670. Later popes extended the privilege to all churches pertaining in any way to the Franciscan Order, even to churches in which the Third Order held its meetings (even parish churches, etc.), provided that there was no Franciscan church in the district, and that such a church was distant over an Italian mile (1000 paces, about 1640 yards). Some districts and countries have been granted special privileges. On 9 July, 1910, Pius X (only, however, for that year) granted the privilege that bishops could appoint any public churches whatsoever for the gaining of the Portiuncula Indulgence, whether on 2 Aug. or the Sunday following (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, II, 1910, 443 sq.; Acta Ord. Frat. Min., XXIX, 1910, 226). This privilege has been renewed for an indefinite time by a decree of the S. Cong. of Indul., 26 March, 1911 (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, III, 1911, 233-4). The Indulgence is toties-quoties, that is, it may be gained as often as one wishes (i.e. visits the church); it is also applicable to the souls in purgatory.
While the declarations of the popes have rendered the Portiuncula Indulgence certain and indisputable from the juridico-canonistic standpoint, its historical authenticity (sc. origin from St. Francis) is still a subject of dispute. The controversy arises from the fact that none of the old legends of St. Francis mentions the Indulgence, and no contemporary document or mention of it has down to us. The oldest document dealing with the Indulgence is a notary's deed of 31 October, 1277, in which Blessed Benedict of Arezzo, whom St. Francis himself received into the order, testifies that he had been informed by Brother Masseo, a companion of St. Francis, of the granting of the Indulgence by Honorius III at Perugia. Then follow other testimonies, for example, those of Jacob Cappoli concerning Brother Leo, of Fr. Oddo of Aquasparta, Peter Zalfani, Peter John Olivi (d. 1298, who wrote a scholastic tract in defence of this indulgence about 1279), Blessed John of Laverna (Fermo; d. 1322), Ubertinus of Casale (d. after 1335), Blessed Francis of Fabriano (d. 1322), whose testimony goes back to the year 1268, etc. In addition to these rather curt and concise testimonies there are others which relate all details in connection with the granting of the Indulgence, and were reproduced in numberless books: e.g. the testimony of Michael Bernardi, the letters of Bishop Theobald of Assisi (1296-1329) and of his successor Conrad Andreae (1329-37). All the testimonies were collected by Fr. Francesco Bartholi della Rossa in a special work, "Tractatus de Indulgentia S. Mariae de Portiuncula" (ed. Sabatier, Paris, 1900). In his edition of this work, Sabatier defends the Indulgence, although in his world-famous "Vie de S. François" (Paris, 1894), he had denied its historicity (412 sqq.); he explains the silence of St. Francis and his companions and biographers as due to reasons of discretion etc. Others seek to accord more weight to the later testimonies by accentuating their connection with the first generation of the order; others again find allusions to the Indulgence in the old legends of St. Francis. On the other hand, the opponents regard the gap between 1216 and 1277 as unbridgable, and hold that the grounds brought forward by the defenders to explain this silence had vanished long before the latter date. No new documents have been found recently in favour of the authenticity of the Indulgence.
[Note: The norms and grants of indulgences were completely reformed by Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council in his Apostolic Constitution "Indulgentiarum Doctrina" (1967), and the Portiuncula Indulgence was again confirmed at that time. According to the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, the Catholic faithful may gain a plenary indulgence on 2 August (the Portiuncula) or on such other day as designated by the local ordinary for the advantage of the faithful, under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Holy Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff), by devoutly visiting the parish church, and there reciting at least the Lord's Prayer and the Creed. The Indulgence applies to the cathedral church of the diocese, and to the co-cathedral church (if there is one), even if they are not parochial, and also to quasi-parochial churches. To gain this, as any plenary indulgence, the faithful must be free from any attachment to sin, even venial sin. Where this entire detachment is wanting, the indulgence is partial.]
St. Eusebius Vercelli
MARTYR AND BISHOP
Feast: August 2
Bishop of Vercelli, b. in Sardinia c. 283; d. at Vercelli, Piedmont, 1 August, 371. He was made lector in Rome, where he lived some time, probably as a member or head of a religious community (Spreitzenhofer, Die Entwickelung des alten Mönchtums in Italien, Vienna, 1894, 14 sq.), Later he came to Vercelle, the present Vercelli, and in 340 was unanimously elected bishop of that city by the clergy and the people. He received episcopal consecration at the hands of Pope Julius I on 15 December, of the same year. According to the testimony of St. Ambrose (Ep. lxiii, Ad Vercellenses) he was the first bishop of the West who united monastic with clerical life. He led with the clergy of his city a common life modelled upon that of the Eastern cenobites (St. Ambrose, Ep. lxxxi and Serm. lxxxix). For this reason the Canons Regular of St. Augustine honour him along with St. Augustine as their founder (Proprium Canon. Reg., 16 December).
In 364 Pope Liberius sent Eusebius and Bishop Lucifer to Cagliari to the Emperor Constantius, who was then at Arles in Gaul, for the purpose of inducing the emperor to convoke a council which should put an end to the dissentions between the Arians and the orthodox. The synod was held in Milan in 355. At first Eusebius refused to attend it because he foresaw that the Arian bishops, who were supported by the emperor, would not accept the decrees of the Nicene council and would insist upon the condemnation of St. Athanasius. Being pressed by the emperor and the bishops to appear at the synod, he came to Milan, but was not admitted to the synod until the document condemning St. Athanasius had been drawn up and was awaiting the signature of the bishops. Eusebius vehemently protested against the unjust condemnation of St. Athanasius and, despite the threats of the emperor, refused to attach his signature to the document. As a result he was sent into exile, first to Scythopolis in Syria, where the Arian bishop Patrophilus, whom Eusebius calls his jailer, (Baronius, Annal., ad ann. 356, n. 97), treated him very cruelly; then to Cappodocia, and lastly to Thebaid. On the accession of the Emperor Julian, the exiled bishops were allowed to return to their sees, in 362. Eusebius, however, and his brother-exile Lucifer did not at once return to Italy. Acting either by force of their former legatine faculties or, as is more probable, having received new legatine faculties from Pope Liberius, they remained in the Orient for some time, helping to restore peace in the Church. Eusebius went to Alexandria to consult with St. Athanasius about convoking the synod which in 362 was held there under their joint presidency. Besides declaring the Divinity of the Holy Ghost and the orthodox doctrine concerning the Incarnation, the synod agreed to deal mildly with the repentant apostate bishops, but to impose severe penalties upon the leaders of several of Arianizing factions. At its close Eusebius went to Antioch to reconcile the Eustathians and the Meletians. The Eustathians were adherents of the bishop St. Eustatius, who was deposed and exiled by the Arians in 331. Since Meletius' election in 361 was brought about chiefly by the Arians, the Eustathians would not recognize him, although he solemnly proclamed his orthodox faith from the ambo after his episcopal consecration. The Alexandrian synod had desired that Eusebius should reconcile the Eustathians with Bishop Meletius, by purging his election of whatever might have been irregular in it, but Eusebius, upon arriving at Antioch found that his brother-legate Lucifer had consecrated Paulinus, the leader of the Eustathians, as Bishop of Antioch, and thus unwittingly had frustrated the pacific design. Unable to reconcile the factions at Antioch, he visited other Churches of the Orient in the interest of the orthodox faith, and finally passed through Illyricum into Italy. Having arrived at Vercelli in 363, he assisted the zealous St. Hilary of Poitiers in the suppression of Arianism in the Western Church, and was one of the chief opponents of the Arian Bishop Auxientius of Milan. The church honours him as a martyr and celebrates his feast as a semi-double on 16 December. In the "Journal of Theological Studies" (1900), I, 302-99, E.A. Burn attributes to Eusebius the "Quicumque".
Three short letters of Eusebius are printed in Migne, P.L., XII, 947-54 and X, 713-14. St. Jerome (De vir. ill., c. lvi, and Ep. li, n. 2) ascribes to him a Latin translation of a commentary on the Psalms, written originally in Greek by Eusebius of Cæsarea; but this work has been lost. There is preserved in the cathedral at Vercelli the "Codex Vercellensis", the earliest manuscript of the old Latin Gospels (codex a), which is generally believed to have been written by Eusebius. It was published by Irico (Milan 1748) and Bianchini (Rome, 1749), and is reprinted in Migne, P.L. XII, 9-948; a new edition was brought out by Belsheim (Christiania, 1894). Krüger (Lucifer, Bischof von Calaris", Leipzig, 1886, 118-30) ascribes to Eusebius a baptismal oration by Caspari (Quellen sur Gesch, Des Taufsymbols, Christiania, 1869, II, 132-40). The confession of faith "Des. Trinitate confessio", P.L., XII, 959-968, sometimes ascribed to Eusebius is spurious.