VIS REPORTS: POPE TO ITALIAN CARITAS: BE A SIGN OF CHRIST'S CHARITY
VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received participants in a meeting organised by Italian Caritas to celebrate its fortieth anniversary. In his address, the Pope recalled how Caritas "has an important role to play in educating communities, families and civil society, where the Church is called to shed her light. This involves taking responsibility for educating people to the good life of the Gospel, and that life is good only if it includes the witness of charity". (IMAGE SOURCE: CISA)
"Never abandon this educational role, even when the journey becomes difficult and your efforts seem to bear no fruit. Undertake your duties while remaining faithful to the Church and respecting the identity of your institutions, using the instruments that history has given you and those which 'the inventiveness of charity' - as Blessed John Paul II said - will suggest to you in the future".
"A work of charity speaks of God, it announces a hope and induces us to ask questions". Such works "are born of the faith. They are works of the Church, expressions of her concern for those who suffer most. They are educational acts because they help the poor to grow in dignity, Christian communities to follow Christ and civil society to shoulder its obligations. Let us recall the teaching of Vatican Council II: 'demands of justice [must] be satisfied lest the giving of what is due in justice be represented as the offering of a charitable gift'. The Church's humble and concrete service does not seek to substitute, even less to assuage, collective and civil conscience, but accompanies them with a spirit of sincere collaboration, and with due concern for autonomy and subsidiarity".
"Charity requires an open mind", the Holy Father went on. "Responding to need means not only giving bread to the hungry, but also asking ourselves about the reasons for their hunger, using the gaze of Jesus Who could see the profound truth of the people around Him. In this perspective, our modern times are calling you to ask yourselves about the way you work for charity. Our thoughts cannot but go to the vast world of migration. Natural calamities and wars often create emergencies. The global economic crisis is a another sign of the times which calls for the courage of fraternity. The gap between the north and south of the world, and the wounded human dignity of so many people, call for a charity able to expand in concentric circles from the small economic systems to the great. Increasing poverty, the weakening of families, and the uncertainty faced by the young all point to the risk of diminishing hope.
"Humankind needs not only benefactors", the Pope added, "but also humble practical people who, like Jesus, stand alongside their brothers and sisters and share their fatigue. In a word, humanity is looking for signs of hope. The source of our hope is in the Lord. This is why we need Caritas, not to delegate it with the responsibility for charitable service, but for it to be a sign of Christ's charity, a sign that brings hope".
VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2011 (VIS) - "Gaudi and the 'Sagrada Familia' of Barcelona. Art. Science and Spirituality" is the title of an exhibition to be inaugurated this afternoon in the Charlemagne Wing of Bernini's colonnade around St. Peter's Square. The exhibition will remain open until 15 January 2012.
The exhibition was presented this morning in the Holy See Press Office by Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona, Spain; Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Joan Rigol of the "Fundacio Junta Constructora de la Sagrada Familia"; Fr. Antoni Matabosch, honorary president of the "Fundacio Joan Maragall"; Daniel Giralt-Miracle, curator of the exhibition, and Cecilia Pereira, representative of the Spanish Cultural Action Agency (AC/E)
"The consecration of the basilica of the 'Sagrada Familia' on 7 November 2010 was a historic moment for the city of Barcelona", said Cardinal Martinez Sistach. "That year we completed the interior of this beautiful and unique church, the building of which began in 1882 and, in 1883, was put into the hands of the young and innovative architect Antoni Gaudi. ... The aim of this exhibition, then, is to express our recognition to the Holy Father, to the Pontifical Council of Culture and to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation for the interest and sensitivity they have shown for the basilica of the 'Sagrada Familia' and for Antoni Gaudi, the 'architect of God'".
"The exhibition we are presenting ... is another of the contributions of Christian faith which the Church has made over the centuries to the world of culture, art and beauty. It highlights the beauty, majesty and symbolism of this magnificent church standing at the centre of the great metropolis of Barcelona. As Benedict XVI said when he visited the city, this basilica is a visible sign of the invisible God, so necessary in our Western European societies with their prevailing secular culture and religious indifference. ... Gaudi was a Christian in word and in action, ... and building the 'Sagrada Familia' helped him in his own personal conversion. We must see him not just as an architectural genius but above all as an exemplary Christian. Let us all pray to the Lord that a miracle may come about through Gaudi's intercession, that he may be declared a blessed".
Daniel Giralt-Miracle, explained that the exhibition is divided into three sections: art science and spirituality. The first of these "immerses visitors in the aesthetics of Gaudi, surrounding them with his colours, forms spaces and the various artistic techniques he used in his works". The second section outlines the technical aspects of the building of the 'Sagrada Familia', while the third covers "the direct allusions to the Christian religion which Gaudi included in his church", with a series of drawings for the facade of the building and designs for the stained glass windows.
For his part Joan Rigol explained how "Gaudi's architecture developed in the very specific context of the Catalan cultural renaissance between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. ... The aspiration of Gaudi's generation was to give backbone to a people through the personalising values of culture. ... The Church has always made an essential contribution to the formation of culture and art as an expression of the spiritual values of a community of people, also in Catalonia".
Finally Fr. Antoni Matabosch noted that "today the proposal made by Cardinal Ravasi to the 'Fundacio Joan Maragall' becomes a reality: ... that of organising an event in Rome to express the cultural dimension of the Church in Catalonia". He also explained that the exhibition will be accompanied by a number of institutional and academic gatherings, including a debate on the theme "Architecture: Symbolism and Sacredness. A Century after Gaudi", to take place at the MAXXI in Rome on 12 December, and a concert by the "Escolania de Monserrat" at the Basilica of St. Mary Major on 13 January 2012.
VATICAN CITY, 24 NOV 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience fourteen prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Bishop Howard James Hubbard of Albany.
- Bishop Edward Urban Kmiec of Buffalo, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz.
- Bishop Terry R. LaValley of Ogdensburg.
- Bishop Matthew Harvey Clark of Rochester.
- Bishop Robert Joseph Cunningham of Syracuse.
- Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Frank Joseph Caggiano and Octavio Cisneros, and by Auxiliary Bishops emeritus Guy Sansaricq and Joseph Michael Sullivan.
- Bishop William Francis Murphy of Rockville Centre, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops John Charles Dunne and Paul Henry Walsh.
CATH NEWS REPORT: A priest known for his unusual method for charitable giving has died in Los Angeles. Father Maurice Chase, also known as Father Dollar Bill, passed away Sunday evening at home.
Chase visited LA's Skid Row every Sunday to hand out single dollar bills to needy people, and, on holidays, upped the denomination to 20 or even 100 dollar bills depending on what people needed. He'd been giving away cash for more than 30 years, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Although he preached in the city every Sunday, he "was a fixture on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles on holidays such as Easter and Thanksgiving. The homeless and poor would line up for blocks..."
He told the Los Angeles Daily News that he could see the effects of the economic downturn: "We see more couples, more families," Chase said. "The recession has had an impact. We have to deal with it. The church said we must have a preferential option for the poor."NPR's Jacob Soboroff asked Chase about the wisdom of just giving money to people, since it could be used to buy food or drugs. Chase didn't care. He said what mattered was letting people know they weren't invisible and that they were loved by God. He wasn't afraid of potential trouble. Still, an L.A. police officer quietly stood nearby in case of problems.
Father Chase was a former assistant to the president of Loyola Marymount University. The Times says he helped fund his charity with donations from Bob Newhart, Delores Hope and other celebrities.
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
23 Nov 2011
The new translation of the Roman Missal has officially been in use across the Sydney Archdiocese since 1 November, and so far the reaction from parishes and parishioners appears positive.
"It is early days so there hasn't been a whole lot of feedback yet. But what we have suggests that people find it helpful to have the words of the new Missal in front of them on cards during Mass. They also responded well particularly if their priest had explained the reasons behind the changes before the new translation was introduced," says Fr Don Richardson, Director of the Archdiocese of Sydney's Liturgical Commission.
Although as with any change, there are occasional stumbles over a few phrases, Fr Richardson is confident that as parishioners as well as clergy become more and more familiar with the new texts, this will disappear.
"It will take a little while for people to learn the new words and unlearn the old ones," he says.
To help both priests and their parishes with the new Missal, the Liturgical Commission has created some excellent catechetical resources on the change. Included among these is an Australian produced interactive DVD-Rom about the new text. Called "Become One Body One Spirit in Christ" the DVD-Rom was simultaneously released in the US, South Africa, the UK and Ireland as well as across Australia and has proved to be an invaluable support and resource.
In addition, the Archdiocese of Sydney's Mustard Seed Bookshop is also well-stocked with additional resources including the hugely popular, The Australian Children's New Mass Book.
"This beautifully illustrated Mass book for children featuring the new translation of the Missal has been one of our constant five best sellers for the year," says Jesse Mansour, Manager of the Mustard Seed Book at Lidcombe.
Also in heavy demand is an issue of Inform, the bi-monthly publication from the Archdiocese's Catholic Adult Education Office (CAEC) in which Fr Don Richardson explains the new Missal translation. Entitled "The New Mass Translation: Same Mass, Deeper Meaning" it is available for just 50 cents online or in person through CAEC or the Mustard Seed Bookshop. Fr Richardson uses accessible language and a chart that follows the original Latin to the first English translation of the Missal used from 1974 through to today's new translation.
In style, the new translation is reverential and traditional, restoring emphasis on the transcendent and the sacred, and replacing words such as "happy" with "blessed," and phrases such as "this is" with "behold".
Pre-orders are also pouring in for the official Sunday Missal and also for the Daily Missal.
"The new editions are being printed of the new translation by St Paul's Publications with the Sunday Missal available from March next year and the daily Missal in stock at our store and online from June 2012," he says.
The first translation of the Roman Missal from the original Latin into the vernacular was approved by Pope Paul VI in 1969 after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council. Quickly translated into English under a committee representing the Bishops of the English-speaking world, while prayers of the Missal appeared in contemporary English, it was also understood that this initial translation would need substantial revision and fine-tuning over the next few decades.
But it wasn't until the third Latin edition of the Missal was published by the Vatican in 2002 as the official standard for the liturgy, that a new English translation of the Missal was sought. To this end, in April that year, Blessed Pope John Paul II had established the Vox Clara (clear voice) Committee of English-speaking bishops and chaired by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, to "assist and advise the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in fulfilling its responsibilities with regard to the English translations of liturgical texts."
Blessed Pope John II wanted the Missal translation to more accurately reflect the power and tradition of the original Latin and wanted a more exact translation rather than the somewhat "rushed" translation of 1969.
For the next decade, under the guidance of Cardinal Pell, the Vox Clara Committee met twice yearly and commissioned new translations from Latin and theological scholars following the Vatican's guidelines that emphasised the translation should be integral to the original Roman Missal and exact. The final translation then had to be approved by the Vatican.
In February this year, details on the study text of the new Missal translation were released by the Vatican. This was accompanied by a presentation to Pope Benedict XVI of the new English translation of the Roman Missal by the Vox Clara Committee.
The new translation which will be used by the world's 100 million English speaking Catholics, with US Catholics and several other nations adopting the Missal in their churches from 27 November, the first Sunday of Advent features a return to the more classical style of liturgical language.
The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell says this gives a "different cadence" to the translation of the Roman Missal that two generations of Australian Catholics grew up with and which many in the Vatican and on Vox Clara believed was "a bit dumbed down."
"The previous translators seemed a bit embarrassed to refer to angels, sacrifice and perpetual virginity and they went softly on sin and redemption," he says.
The new translation returns to the original with an emphasis on Christ's sacrifice and underlines the dependence of individuals on God, and in many instances changing the more general "for all" to the specific "you." For example the consecration in the Mass now specifies that "Christ shed His blood for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins" rather than the previous "for all."
His Eminence says the change reflected the official Latin version of the Roman Missal and that although Christ died for everybody, this served to remind worshippers of the need for personal repentance.
For resources and information about the new Missal log on to http://www.liturgy.sydneycatholic.org/
For more resources, copies of Inform with Fr Don Richardson's clear explanation of the new translation of the Roman Missal as well as for the in demand beautifully-illustrated The Australian New Mass Book for Children, log on to www.mustardseed.org.au
Akram Masih, married and father of four children, was killed last night by an armed commando close to Muslim landowners. For years the man was the target of threats, for his strenuous battle to defend the rights of minorities. Local Priest: Muslims landowners "steal" Christian property with the support of authorities.
Islamabad (AsiaNews) - A group of men linked to the land mafia, led by Nadeem Ashraf, has murdered Akram Masih, a Pakistani activist, a married father of four children, in Khurda Renala, Okara district in Punjab province. According to preliminary reports the crime took place around 10.30 last night. Local church sources report that the man was a devout Catholic, committed to social problems, who fought with dedication and passion for the rights of religious minorities in the area. Among the many battles waged, Akram Masih had recently launched a campaign against the rich landowners who arbitrarily confiscate the land of Christian peasants.
Last year alone he, together with some members of the Catholic Church had "saved" two Christian schools on the verge of being seized by landlords with the backing of local authorities. From that moment Masih continued to receive constant death threats culminating in yesterday evening’s assasination. Fr. John Joseph, a priest at Renala Khurda, confirms that "for months" Muslim landowners have been trying to steal land from Christians, with the support of the authorities. " Akram Masih added that the priest "has always courageously opposed this" and never allowed them to "carry out their evil plans." The area included in the Okara district is famous for its fertile soils, where potatoes, tomatoes and rice are grown. Three weeks ago Masih bought a small plot of land, , which the local mafia has been trying to expropriate. Personal threats again ensued and a complaint to the police proved useless, as the officers did not even launch an investigation.
Speaking to AsiaNews Fr Shahbaz Aziz, from Okara district, said last night "around 10.30 several gunshots were heard " and "at 11 Akram Masih was found dead " near the place where he lived with his family. The priest adds that "Nadeem Ashraf is the strong man of the area" and "head of the local land mafia " with his brothers he "has repeatedly threatened Masih" leading to the death of the Christian activist. Fr. Aziza states that "the body shows signs of torture," but the police - even if forced to open a file – have shown no special interest or effort in finding the killers.
In 2003, Fr. George Abraham was killed in similar circumstances in the area. He was also an activist for minority rights and a staunch defender of their property, under threat of confiscation by the rich landowners Muslims. "Christians in the region - said Father Shahbaz Aziz - are humiliated, and cases of persecution are common. How many lives will still be broken, before the Punjab government intervenes? ". And how much blood, he asks, "will still have to be spilled?".
His body will be brought to St George's Cathedral, Southwark, Lambeth Road, SE1 7HY on Sunday, 4 December 2011 at 5.45pm with Mass at 6pm, and his funeral will take place at the Cathedral on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 at 12noon.
Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus John Jukes of Southwark will be particularly remembered as someone who sought to bring the insights of Catholic social teaching to business and industry. He was also a devoted pastor, moving to Scotland after his retirement to become a parish priest once again.
The eldest of three children, he was born in Eltham, south-east London, on 7 August, 1923, and was educated at St Joseph's Academy, Blackheath. His father worked for a paint company owned by his family. His mother was a convert from the Church of England.
In 1940 he joined the civil service, during which time he was a representative to the Inland Revenue Staff Federation National Conference. He left the civil service, intending to study agriculture at university.
But while working as a student on Romney Marsh for a year, he decided to become a Franciscan. It was the preaching and hospitality of the friars he met in Rye, East Sussex, that seems to have inspired him.
He entered the Order of Friars Minor Conventual in 1946. After completing postulancy and novitiate in Liverpool, he was sent to Rome. He studied philosophy at the Gregorian University and obtained his licentiate in theology at the Pontifical Faculty of St Bonaventure.
Following ordination in 1952, at St Anthony of Padua, Mossley Hill, Liverpool, he was appointed rector of St Bonaventure's seminary and novitiate in Beaumaris, Anglesey.
In 1959 he was made parish priest of St Clare's, Manchester, and the following year became secretary and vice-provincial of the province. He was sent to London in 1964 to take charge of St Patrick's, Waterloo.
He moved to Canterbury in 1969, initially staying with the ordinands at St Augustine's Anglican College. He was one of the founders of the Franciscan International Study Centre, which opened in the city in 1973, and was appointed its vice-principal. He also taught Canon Law, using his parish experiences to bring life to what can be a dry subject, and fundamental theology.
Along with other Franciscans, university staff and local Catholics he was involved in a forum for Catholic thought. He also helped lead parish missions in Kent. He once quipped that the first task was to convert the parish priest.
An important part of these missions involved visiting Catholics at home. When Bishop John knocked on the door of one house, the woman immediately led him down to the cellar - she thought he was calling to read the electricity meter.
In the 1970s, at St John's Seminary, Wonersh, he ran courses for priests and laity in evidence taking at matrimonial tribunals. To speed up matrimonial cases, he went to Rome to negotiate the setting up of an appeal court for the province.
In 1973 he was made vicar episcopal for religious in Southwark diocese. Six years later he was elected minister provincial of the English province of the Friars Minor.
But within months Pope John Paul II appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark and Titular Bishop of Strathearn. He was ordained in St George's Cathedral, Southwark by Archbishop Michael Bowen on 30 January 1980, and given pastoral responsibility for Kent.
His specific responsibilities included chairing the Kent Southwark Diocese Schools Commission and co-ordinating the work of the vicars for religious. He was also appointed episcopal chairman of the Southwark Metropolitan Appeals Tribunal.
He served for 20 years as chairman of the bishops' committee for the world of work. He was passionate in his belief that Catholic social teaching had a valuable contribution to make to the understanding of work in society. This was the idea behind the booklet A Spirituality of Work, which the committee published in 2001 and he wrote the foreword to.
He was one of the main organisers of a conference, held in Liverpool in 1991, to mark the centenary of Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII's encyclical on the Industrial Revolution and the dignity of work.
Each year at the TUC Congress, Bishop John celebrated Mass for delegates. In his sermon at St Mary Magdalene's Priory, Brighton, in 1999 he urged Catholics to put gospel values into practice by becoming active members of trade unions. And he urged the TUC to promote ethical values to counter some of the negative effects of globalisation.
Such efforts, he said, will result in setting up barriers to the many ills which are already to be seen as flowing from globalisation; unfair competition; loss of job security; degradation of human individuals or groups forced to work in inhuman conditions.
At a TUC rally in Hyde Park, he once shared a platform with National Union of Mineworkers' president Arthur Scargill. He also attended the clergy section of the Amicus annual conference. At a local level, he represented Southwark diocese on the South London Industrial Mission.
He represented the Bishops' Conference on the Council on Christian Approaches to Defence and Disarmament and was also a member of the joint bio-ethics committee which served the Bishops' Conferences of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
From 1993 to 1999 he served as the chairman of governors of St Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, and he later received an honorary doctorate from the University of Surrey.
When his mother became ill, she went to live with him at his house - The Hermitage, in West Malling, Kent. The house was piled high with books. Bishop John wore his trademark woolly hat both indoors and outdoors. Although a follower of St Francis, he had little time for the rabbits that invaded his garden.
When Bishop John retired in 1998, he had no intention of returning to parish life. He wrote in Briefing, "My original idea on retirement was to settle into a nice little house in the country. From there I planned a peaceful life with time for prayer, ready to help out with Sunday Mass if anyone was stuck."
However, in 2002, when Bishop Mario Conti of Aberdeen asked him to become parish priest of Huntley, Banff and Portsoy, he accepted. He took on responsibility for around 300 Catholics, scattered across 200 square miles, who had been without a resident priest for six years.
That same year, fellow bishops and over 70 priests joined him at Aylesford Priory in Kent to celebrate his golden jubilee of the priesthood. Three years later, to celebrate his 25 years as a bishop, he went to Rome, with Bishop Howard Tripp, with who had been ordained Bishop. They were present at Pope John Paul II's last audience.
Bishop John was one of the contributors to the 1993 book 'God and the Market Place: Essays on the Morality of Wealth Creation'. He also wrote a number of articles for the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
Long distance walking and mountain climbing were two of his passions. He was particularly fond of Skye, where he would camp out in the church's sacristy and cook lobster.
In 2005 he made the headlines in Scotland when he ordained to the diaconate a former priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church, who went on to become the country's first married Catholic priest.
In recent years, as his physical health declined, he retired again, this time from parish ministry; although he kept very much up-to-date with the life of Catholic Church in Great Britain, particularly continuing to have a keen interest in the Church's role in promoting social justice. In August 2010 he wrote an article looking back gratefully on 87 years of celibacy, which was published online by a national newspaper.
He died on the morning OF 21 November 2011, aged 88 years, in the 65th year of religious life, the 59th year of his priesthood, having been a Bishop for 31 years.
May he rest in peace.
"It seems to me that the events which took place in recent days have increased the protesters and their supporters political awareness, concerning the risks the democratic process faces. Other articles have appeared with regards to a secret alliance between the military and Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi " says Fr. Luciano. "That is because, according to some interpretations, the military prefer that there is an Islamic government rather than a secular government, to secure a political role in the future. By the way - continues Fr. Luciano - the representative of the Muslim Brotherhood has been moved away by the youth of Tahrir Square because there do not want are politicians who exploit their protest simply to carry out a campaign. "
"On the other hand - adds the missionary - one must consider that Egypt is not a country composed only of students and intellectuals, but also and above all of people who live in rural areas and in neighborhoods that have the worry of having a gas cylinder and to earn enough to eat every day, and whose identity is religious. People who listen to the imam of the small countryside mosque. That said, if the youth of the protest, the intellectuals and the mass media began to denounce some power tactics, like the one mentioned before, surely there will be a positive feedback on the process of democratization of the Country", said Father Luciano. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 24/11/2011)