Sunday, October 2, 2011


God's concern for every human being, shown especially by the protection of guardian angels, was one of the focal points of Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks to the faithful gathered for the Sunday Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope also discussed this Sunday's Gospel, noting that the reading from the 21st chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, “closes with a particularly severe warning from Jesus, addressed to the chief priests and elders of the people: Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit. (Matt. 21.43).”

“These words,” said Pope Benedict, “make us think of the great responsibility of those who in every age, are called to work in the vineyard of the Lord, especially in a role of authority.” He said these words urgently call the pastors of the Church to renew their full fidelity to Christ, who, recalled Pope Benedict, is the stone which the builders rejected (cf. Mt 21:42), because they considered Christ an enemy of the law and a danger to public order. “Rejected and crucified,” said Pope Benedict, “Christ rose again, becoming the ‘cornerstone’ on which the foundation of all human existence and the whole world may rest with absolute certainty.”

“Firmly anchored in faith in the cornerstone who is Christ, abiding in Him like the branch that can not bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine. Only in Him, through Him and with Him is the Church, the people of the New Covenant, built.”

After the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, Pope Benedict looked forward to the Sunday afternoon beatification in the north-western Italian city of Ivrea, of Sr. Antonia Maria Verna, foundress in 1838 of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception of Ivrea – a congregation that now has a worldwide mission of providing education, children’s catechesis and health care to the home-bound.

The Holy Father also had greetings for pilgrims in many languages, including English, during which he prayed especially that God give stout hearts to those who face persecution as they preach the Gospel:

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Angelus. In particular, I extend cordial greetings to the participants in the Second International Congress on Divine Mercy in Krakow, and to the students from Iona College, Australia. The Gospel of today’s liturgy spurs us to pray for all who work in the Lord’s vineyard, especially where they face violence and threats because of their faith. May God grant them, and all of us, strength in our service to him and to one another. God bless all of you!



On Sunday, 2 October, the Catholic Church in Ireland celebrates Day for Life. In the video, Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala, talks about Day for Life and the theme chosen for 2011:A call to solidarity and hope in difficult times.

Click here to read the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter for Day for Life in English, Irish and Polish.

In his 1995 Encyclical Letter, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), the late Pope John Paul II proposed that “a day for life be celebrated each year in every country”. The primary purpose of this day should be “to foster in individual consciences, in families, in the Church, and in civil society, a recognition of the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition” (EV #85). The Bishops of Ireland responded to this invitation by announcing an annual celebration of the Day for Life. Since 2001, the bishops have published a Pastoral Letter every October celebrating a different theme for each Day for Life.

The theme for Day for Life 2011 is A call to solidarity and hope in difficult times. Day for Life this year reflects on what it means to lead a full and happy life.

Day for Life this year reflects on what it means to lead a full and happy life. It takes as its starting point the words of Pope Benedict during his recent visit to England when he said: “Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple – true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts.”

Day for Life 2011 is a call for us to work for a society in which all are valued as created, loved by God, redeemed by Christ; not for their fame, or power, or what they own but for their intrinsic worth. It is a call to rediscover the truth that our deepest joy and happiness comes from the knowledge that we are all loved by God from the very beginning, and that by trusting in God’s love, through our setbacks and difficulties. ‘our own joy will be complete’ (John 15:11).

As a society we have a strong tradition of good neighbourliness and of showing mutual help. Day for Life is an opportunity to ask ourselves if there is anything more we can do to be of help to our neighbours, to improve the quality of life of others and of society as a whole, especially in these financially challenging times.

Further videos:

A Reflection for Day for Life 2011

Bishop John Fleming reads the official Day for Life prayer


Fr. Matthew Muñoz

- John Wayne, for many, was a Hollywood legend who symbolized true masculinity and American values. To Fr. Matthew Muñoz, though, he was simply “granddaddy.”

“When we were little we’d go to his house and we’d simply hang out with granddaddy and we’d play and we’d have fun: a very different image from what most people have of him,” Fr. Muñoz told CNA on a recent visit to Rome.

Fr. Muñoz was 14 years old when his grandfather died of cancer in 1979. In his lifetime, “The Duke” won three Oscars, the Congressional Gold Medal and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Of all those achievements, though, Fr. Muñoz is most proud of just one – his grandfather’s conversion to the Catholic faith.

“My grandmother, Josephine Wayne Saenz, had a wonderful influence on his life and introduced him to the Catholic world,” said 46-year-old Fr. Muñoz, a priest of the Diocese of Orange in California.

“He was constantly at Church events and fundraisers that she was always dragging him to and I think that, after a while, he kind of got a sense that the common secular vision of what Catholics are and what his own experience actually was, were becoming two greatly different things.”

Fr. Muñoz’s grandparents married in 1933 and had four children, the youngest of whom – Melinda – is his mother. The couple civilly divorced in 1945 although, as a Catholic, Josephine did not re-marry until after John Wayne’s death. She also never stopped praying for her husband’s conversion – a prayer which was answered in 1978.

“He was a great friend of the Archbishop of Panama, Archbishop Tomas Clavel, and he kept encouraging him and finally my granddaddy said, 'Okay, I’m ready.'”

As a result of a change in Panamanian leadership, Archbishop Clavel was exiled from his native land in 1968. Three years later, Cardinal Timothy Manning, then the Archbishop of Los Angeles, invited Archbishop Clavel to Orange County, where he served as pastoral leader to half of Orange County's 600,000 Latinos.

By the time of Wayne's request, however, Archbishop Clavel was too ill to make the journey to the film star's residence.

“So Archbishop Clavel called Archbishop McGrath,” Fr. Muñoz said, explaining that Archbishop McGrath was the successor to Archbishop Clavel in the Archdiocese of Panama.

“My mom and my uncle were there when he came. So there’s no question about whether or not he was baptized. He wanted to become baptized and become Catholic,” Fr. Muñoz said. “It was wonderful to see him come to the faith and to leave that witness for our whole family.”

Fr. Muñoz also said that his grandfather’s expressed a degree of regret about not becoming a Catholic earlier in life, explaining “that was one of the sentiment he expressed before he passed on,” blaming “a busy life.”

Prior to his conversion to Catholicism, though, John Wayne’s life was far from irreligious.

“From an early age he had a good sense of what was right and what is wrong. He was raised with a lot of Christian principles and kind of a 'Bible faith' that, I think, had a strong impact upon him,” said Fr. Muñoz recalling that his grandfather often wrote handwritten notes to the Almighty.

“He wrote beautiful love letters to God, and they were prayers. And they were very childlike and they were very simple but also very profound at the same time,” he said.

“And sometimes that simplicity was looked at as naivety but I think there was a profound wisdom in his simplicity.”

Fr. Muñoz summed up the hierarchy of his grandfather’s values as “God coming first, then family, then country.” It’s a triumvirate he sees repeatedly reflected in his grandfather’s films. He believes those values are much needed in Hollywood today and, if “the Duke” were still here he’d be leading the charge.

“My grandfather was a fighter. I think there would be a lot of things he’d be disappointed and saddened over. But I don’t think he would lose hope. I think he would look at the current time as a moment of faith. People are in crisis and they’re looking for something more meaningful, more real,” Fr. Muñoz said.

“So I think he would look at the situation and say – don’t get discouraged! I think he would say get involved. Don’t go hiding in a shell and getting on the defensive from Hollywood. Get involved and be an agent for the good. I think he would do that. That’s what he did in his time.”


CISA REPORT -Tanzanian authorities recently launched a five-year National Program for Prevention and Response to Violence against Children.

The program aims at eliminate all forms of violence against children, including sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

According to reports, out of 3,739 females and males between 13 and 24 years, in several families across the country, acts of violence are mainly caused by the parents, guardians, relatives and teachers.

Sexual violence against children is rampant, 3 out of 10 girls are raped at least once before the age of 18, while among the males of the same age group the victims are 13.4 percent.

The Program consists of a multi-sectoral plan to improve efforts to break the silence around violence against children, and to take additional future steps in the health, education, HIV/AIDS, judiciary and police fields.

The police have already established positions reserved for children in all the stations in the country.


UCAN REPORT: Groundbreaking ceremony for new drug facility near national Marian Shrine reporter, Hue
September 30, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Benedictines to open rehab center
Benedictine Father Francis Xavier Tran Van An (left) and a building contractor at the construction site

Benedictine Father Francis Xavier Tran Van An yesterday presided over a groundbreaking ceremony for a new drug rehabilitation center near the national Marian Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang in Quang Tri province.

About 100 people attended the event for the center, which the Benedictines hope will help local drug abusers kick their habits and return to normal lives.

“The center aims to provide free rehabilitation, spiritual healing, health care and vocational skills for a rising number of drug addicts in the area,” said Fr An, 40, who heads the project.

Fr An, who has provided rehabilitation services at his monastery for years, said many parents have sought assistance from the Benedictines after their children have failed to overcome their addictions in state-run facilities, for which they must pay as much as 3 million dong (US$300) per month.

A former drug addict himself prior to becoming a Benedictine, Fr An said the order since 2008 has been providing rehabilitation services, accommodation and vocational training to about 8 drug addicts each year. He added that about 25 people have given up drug use through the program and now have employment, while five have joined the Catholic Church.

Fr An said the new center will accommodate 80 to 100 patients and will include a chapel, library, living rooms, bedrooms, a playground and gardens, all situated on a 3,000-square-meter plot of land.

He estimated the cost of the center to be about 4 billion dong but that benefactors have so far only donated one billion dong.


DIOCESE OF CANBERRA REPORT: Schools in the Archdiocese have maximised use of the Federal Government’s Building the Education Revolution funding, students at Sacred Heart Primary School, Pearce, were told. The school this week was the latest to hold a blessing and opening ceremony for its new facilities.

Head of religious education and curriculum services in the Catholic Education Office Mrs Mary Dorrian said the funding had been "an amazing gift to our schools". She said the new buildings reflected what education in the 21st century was like.

Bishop Pat Power blessed a new multi-purpose hall and relocated and refurbished library, costing nearly $3 million. Member for Canberra Ms Gai Brodtmann officially opened the facilities.


The Feast of the Guardian Angels
Feast: October 2
Feast Day:
October 2

Not only do believers have faith on their side, but they have "witnesses" of God's Word. Holy Scripture contains numerous examples that witness to the existence of angels and their manifestations in relation to the fulfillment of particular missions.
The well-known example of Mary's Annunciation involved an angel sent by God to announce that the moment had arrived for the fulfillment of the coming of God's Son: He would be conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of Mary as man.
Angels were also the witnesses and heralds of Jesus' Resurrection.
Sacred Scripture and angels
With Sacred Scripture as its foundation, the Church affirms the existence of angels and puts into light their mission in relation to collective salvation in history as well as individual salvation.
In a Catechesis during the early years of his Pontificate, keeping in mind what is held by tradition, John Paul II affirmed that "the angels, as pure spirits, not only participate in the holiness of God himself, in the manner proper to them, but in the key moments they surround Christ and accompany him in the fulfillment of his salvific mission in regard to mankind" (General Audience, 30 July 1986; L'Osservatore Romano English Edition, 4 August, p. 1).
Holiness, therefore, as the fruit of grace and love, is shared by the angels. It is not shared by all, however, for in the beginning there was a rebellion, and those unfaithful to God and his project of salvation were excluded.
Without manipulating Scripture, we can say that participation in God's holiness can be understood in relation to the redemptive holiness which springs forth from Christ, by means of and in sight of which the angels were created. Such participation was held in a specific way by the angels.
Guardian angels
In the Catechesis mentioned above, John Paul also affirms that "in the key moments [the angels] surround Christ and accompany him in the fulfilment of his salvific mission in regard to mankind". This is a logical consequence of the aforementioned text.
Angels, created by God according to the importance and necessity of each situation, therefore "accompany" and "surround" the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. In this way the mission is complete, embracing the whole Christ, Head and Body.
This dynamic refers not only to the Ecclesial Community as such, but also individual Church members. But as part of the historical and ecclesiological profile it must also be mentioned that angels journey together with the Church in her mission of salvation and at the same time travel side-by-side with her members; all human beings have their own guardian angel to guard, protect and enlighten them.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church proclaims that "from infancy to death human life is surrounded by their [angels'] watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God" (CCC, n. 336).
Such protection will benefit those who respond to the Holy Spirit's direction and for those who willingly collaborate. In her liturgy, the Church prays to the angels for herself and others, calling upon their protection and intercession: it is sufficient to follow the liturgy of the Mass to be convinced.
The same Church makes the special prayer to the guardian angel available to the faithful and to all who wish to recite it. As a result, praying it at least twice a day, morning and evening, should not be "an option".


Isaiah 5: 1 - 7
1Let me sing for my beloved a love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.
2He digged it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
3And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard.
4What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
5And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
6I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
7For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry!
Psalms 80: 9, 12 - 16, 19 - 20
9Thou didst clear the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.
12Why then hast thou broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.
14Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine,
15the stock which thy right hand planted.
16They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance!
19Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! let thy face shine, that we may be saved!
Philippians 4: 6 - 9
6Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.7And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.
Matthew 21: 33 - 43
33"Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country.34When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit;35and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another.36Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them.37Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.'38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.'39And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him.40When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?"41They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons."42Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it."