Sunday, January 15, 2012


RADIOVATICANA REPORT: During today’s Angelus address, the Holy Father reflected on the readings for the second Sunday in Ordinary Time, focussing on the theme of vocation. He spoke about the call of the Prophet Samuel in the first reading, and the call of the first disciples of Jesus in the Gospel.

“Both of these stories,” he said, “emphasize the role of the person who plays the role of the mediator, helping those who are called to recognise the voice of God, and to follow it.”

With that thought in mind, he emphasized the “the critical role of a spiritual guide in the journey of faith and, in particular, in responding to a religious vocation in the service of God and his people.” The Pope recalled that a vocation often comes from the witness and suggestion of a spiritual “older brother” who is often a priest… without forgetting the fundamental role of parents, whose joyful and authentic faith, and whose conjugal love, show their children that building one’s life on the love of God is both beautiful, and possible.”

And he prayed that all educators, but especially priests and parents, should have a deep understanding of the importance of their spiritual role in helping young people not only to grow and thrive, but to respond to the call of God.

After the Angelus, Pope Benedict noted that today is the World Day of Migrants and refugees. He recalled the millions of refugees, men, women and children, the young and the old, who are searching for a place where they can live in peace. And he reminded the faithful that the theme of the Day – “Migration and the New Evangelisation” – means that migrants are not only the recipients of the New Evangelisation, but are also witnesses of the Gospel in the contemporary world. The Holy Father then greeted the representatives of the migrant community in Rome, who were present in St. Peter’s Square.

Finally, the Pope looked ahead to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins this Wednesday, January 18th, and continues through to the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on January 25th. He called on all the faithful to join together to pray to God for the gift of full unity amongst all the disciples of Christ.

As he concluded his Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims from around the world, included English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, and offered them his blessing.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Shafique Khokhar
The Faisalabad diocese organised a meeting that brought together priests, Muslim leaders and scholars. Mgr Coutts calls for the separation of state and religion and opposition to barriers that divide. Vicar general laments the fact that the constitution does not promote the principles inspired by Ali Jinnah. Education can be used in the fight against hatred and intolerance, activists say.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Christians and Muslims must develop closer ties and promote a culture centred on dialogue, tolerance, peace and harmony, this according to the participants at a meeting held on Tuesday in the conference hall of Faisalabad cathedral. Priests, Muslim religious leaders, scholars, educators, writers and representatives of civil society groups took part in the event. Inspired by the message of Pope Benedict XVI‘s for World Peace Day, the meeting was organised under the aegis of Diocesan Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue in order to boost interfaith harmony and relations between the two communities.

In his address, Mgr Joseph Coutts, bishop of Faisalabad, mentioned Ali Jinnah, founder of modern Pakistan, and the principle of separation between state and religion. “The religion or caste or creed of citizens has nothing to do with the business of the State,” the prelate said. “So there should not be any discrimination and distinction between citizens in Pakistan”. Instead, we ought to celebrate mutual understanding, respect and tolerance, more specifically the value of diversity, “in order to break social boundaries and overcome differences”.

The Vicar General of the Diocese of Faisalabad, Fr Khalid Rasheed Asi, criticised Pakistan’s current constitution because it gives “maximum benefits to the elite class instead of marginalised groups”, thus contradicting the principles promoted by Ali Jinnah, father of the nation.

Fr Aftab James Paul, director of the Diocesan Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue, agrees. In his view, “a space for interaction between young people and religious leaders” must be created. As Pope Benedict XVI said, “peace and harmony” are the two main goals to pursue in the year that just began.

Activists and civil society leaders also took part in the meeting. AWARD president Christina Peter stressed the role of religious leaders “in bringing Christians and Muslims closer together. Equally, “the participation of women” must be promoted as an element of union and peaceful exchange.

SHADOW director Anjum James Paul focused on the need to bridge the gap between the two communities. This requires major changes to the educational and school systems, which at present instil “hatred and intolerance”.

Lastly, Najeeb Ali Shah mentioned two major figures who were killed because of their work for peace and interfaith dialogue, namely Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, both killed by Islamic fundamentalists.

“For them,” he added, “we must promote a culture of dialogue and tolerance rather than violence and hatred.”,-Christians-and-Muslims-engage-in-dialogue-for-peace-23695.html


MEDJUGORJE.WS REPORT: Fr. Francis Farry (41) from Donegal (Ireland) was ordained a priest on July 1st, 2007. Medjugorje is a part of his spiritual and emotional formation. This is his testimony:
I came to Medjugorje for the first time in 1995. I was 29 of age and very lost. At that stage, I was a taxi driver, and I was financially well of. I had my own house in Dublin, but I was very lost. I was seeking something, but I couldn’t find it. There was no meaning.
My faith before I came here was very shallow. My parents were Catholics, they went to church on Sunday, but they were Catholics only by name, as many people today in Ireland. My father was in the police all his life; I have a brother in the police, and I also wanted to be a policeman, but I did four years truck driving. I enjoyed driving, and when I was 22, I began to work for myself, driving a taxi in Dublin. I worked 5 nights a week and I made good money for such a young person. But material things did not bring happiness. I drove people to drink… and at the end of the day, I went to drink. I had a big problem, but a part of that, I was seeking happiness. I saw that what the world had to offer was very shallow. I felt emptiness in myself, and I began to drink very heavily. Within my family, we all were drinking, in Ireland it is often a family problem. And when there is a problem within the family, peace is gone… my relationship with my family was very much broken.
I would work four or five nights a week, and the rest of the week I would be drinking. I thought I could control my drinking. It became a big problem and it was getting worse and worse. Every week-end, after two or three days of serious drinking, I would say: never again, but… I could not control it. I did not know where to turn.
One night in 1993 - I was 27 years of age - I was very angry and very drunk. I was driving my car and I had a very serious car accident. When they ask me how I became a priest, I answer: I met the Lord in the accident. That was the turning point. At the time I had this accident, I was seeking God very much. I was angry with myself, I was angry with life, with the family situation as well. No peace. My life was so empty. I was making so many mistakes… When I had that accident, I was asking in the depth of my heart: if there is a God, I would find him. In that accident, the car was totally written of, from front to back, I hit a tree with high speed. I ended up in the hospital for five weeks. I broke my hip very badly, I had an injury on the sciatic nerve, and I had an injury on my right foot. After a few weeks in the hospital, they said that the sciatic nerve was not healing because of the damage. After the hospital, I was going on crutches for another six months. That gave me time to slow down, to think, to realise that I had to get some control over my action and my life. It was a miracle as such that I got alive out of that car. It was a very, very bad accident…
About a year later, I got back to work. My leg was still very bad. My brother came to me one day and said, that there was a healing priest in Dublin, and as the doctor said that they could not heal the sciatic nerve, I should go to him. His name was Aidan Carroll, he comes with groups to Medjugorje. I went to his Mass, he happened to speak during the Mass about Medjugorje. I did not know anything about Medjugorje. He happened to say that if anyone wished to go to Medjugorje, he had tickets at a reduced price. Marian Pilgrimages had seats available. I went after Mass to him to the sacristy, and I said I would be free to go.
I came to Medjugorje in 1995 for the first time. I knew nothing about Medjugorje then, and I found out that I did not know much about my faith, or God, or Our Lady either until I came here. I had a very, very enjoyable week, I found a great joy and a great peace that I had been seeking for a long time and I could not find anywhere. I was seeking in wrong places. I was empty, and I did not know how to fill this huge emptiness. That week was a huge turning point in my life. I came to realise that, as the messages say, God exists. I felt after leaving here that Our Lady was a real mother, and that had a huge impact on me: the reality that my Mother cares so much for me. My family was broken at that stage. I needed the sense of coming home with Our Lady. I felt a strong bond to Our Lady, because my own mother was diagnosed as an alcoholic as well… thanks to Medjugorje, the relation with my own mother has been healed as well.
I went back home and I started going to daily Mass, trying to say the Rosary… I still struggled with the alcohol. I thought I could control it again, but I couldn’t. I thought I could drink socially, but I couldn’t. The last of my drunk was in 1996, on Christmas Eve, after working a couple of hours in my taxi. I drunk all that night. That day, I called to somebody’s house very drunk and very hurt within. I told this person that, if she would forgive me something I did, I would never drink again. She said that it was all right…
I thought that I would have no social life without drinking, but I realised that I was happier. My peace was growing, I could trust myself and I felt a sense of serenity.
Medjugorje helped me a lot on that road to sobriety because I was going to Mass every day, and I asked the Lord for the grace to stay sober one day at a time, from one Eucharist to the next. That is what I did, and Our Lady helped me through the Rosary. In Medjugorje, we were told that, when we go home, we should get involved in a prayer group. In Dublin, I looked around for a suitable group, Marial, Eucharistic and charismatic. I started going every Monday; they were very good and very helpful. I found friendship and support. It was providential.
In June 1997, that prayer group went for an annual retreat. We were about 15. About five other people joined the retreat. At a prayer meeting, there was a healing service, Mass and Blessed Sacrament exposed. Anyone who wished to come forward for a prayer for healing could come forward. I was in the back, and then I stood up, went forward and knelt in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I prayed in my own heart for healing, and the group prayed with me. At that stage, I was hoping for inner healing, emotional healing of my brokenness, rather then physical healing of the injury on my leg. That was the prayer of my heart. I heard somebody saying behind me: “Lift up your tired hands and straighten your trembling knees. Keep walking on the straight path, so that your lame foot may not be disabled but instead healed.” I think this was coming straight from the Lord, from the Blessed Sacrament. It spoke straight to my heart. I did not know this lady. She told me later that this was from the Bible, Hebrews 12,12. She did not know me. She did not know about my car accident and about my injury.
The following evening, I went home to my father with this good news. I was chatting to him in the kitchen for many hours. I shared my experience of the day before, I was very excited. He opened up the Bible, but his translation was different. Only the Good News Bible had the words “lame foot”. I was amazed that God was so caring. He knows me so intimately, and He knew which Bible translation to take! There is no coincidence with God. He was promising me a physical healing! I was not even asking for this! My accident was in June 1993. My conversation with my father was in June 1997. My father looked up in his diary: the accident happened precisely four years ago, at ten passed one in the morning to the very second! I had almost forgotten about my car crash when I was asking myself if God exists… He answered that prayer exactly four years later, to the second! God was saying that this was not a coincidence. He was confirming the healing, he knew every second of my life.
In Medjugorje, I came to the awareness that God exists. In Medjugorje, I found a home. After Medjugorje, my faith was becoming stronger and stronger. Daily Mass became the centre of my life.
The call to priesthood came in 1998. I was on retreat in England. I was afraid of this call, but I felt it in my heart. I knew that I had to respond to this. I knew that God was with me. Here I am now, as a priest. Holy Mass that I have celebrated in St. James in Medjugorje was one of my first Masses. Here in Medjugorje I heard my first confession and gave my first absolution. I knew that I am not worthy to hear anybody’s confessions, so I went for confession to Fr. Svetozar before I heard my first confession…
I have total trust in the message of Medjugorje. I have been here 20 times, most of the time on my own. I have learned obedience to the Catholic Church in Medjugorje. Medjugorje is a part of my spiritual and emotional formation, one of the best parts of my formation.
I am happy to be a priest.


Each year, St. Dominic’s and St. Catherine’s in Melton invite community radio to broadcast Christmas Mass live. This year, Melton community radio 979fm broadcast Mass came from the new school hall at St. Catherine of Sienna Primary School in West Melton.

By Bill Lucas

St. Dominic’s Parish, Melton.

The true spirit of Christmas may be getting lost in this modern world of commerce and self-indulgence but at St Dominic's Parish in Melton it couldn't be clearer.


The need to be politically correct in multicultural Australia means that the link between the holiday season and all its festivities and the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus is becoming more tenuous each year.

Even decorations in the streets of our cities and towns are becoming as far removed as possible from any display of religion so as to leave us wondering why we are in fact taking time off from work, spending thousands of dollars on gifts and eating until we can’t stomach any more.

As a recent visitor to China I can see the parallel between Christmas and the various festivals which come and go there with their colourful but quite meaningless decorations that go up for a short time but soon disappear as the city gets back to making ends meet.

Probably we should ponder why retailers have come to rely on Christmas spending for their very existence; no Christmas spend up, no more business. Christmas seems to have become just another festival for the shops to change decor, disguise the real prices of goods and go after the last dollar of hard working families.

Thank heavens for the Church. At least here we can forget about whom we have left off our gift list, when we are going to put the turkey in the oven and how we are going to handle the huchristmas-eve-2011ge crowd for lunch.The birth of Jesus and what it means for the world is front and centre here and we can relax and enjoy each other’s company and wish each other a very merry Christmas and know what we are saying and why we are saying it.

However, there are still many people in our community who cannot join everyone else in celebrating Christ’s birth. Think of the infirmed, the elderly, the truly lonely and those newly arrived in our country. It is with these people in mind that each year St. Dominic’s and St. Catherine’s in Melton invite community radio to broadcast Christmas Mass live.

Radio can reach people otherwise cut off from community life and allow them to join in from wherever they happen to be. Some can’t leave their beds, others must work and still others feel unable to venture out for a variety of reasons.

Melton community radio 979fm sets up microphones in various parts of the Church to allow listeners to hear all the beautiful singing and all the liturgy as clearly as possible in their own homes. This year, Mass came from the new school hall at St. Catherine of Sienna Primary School in West Melton. Over 1000 people attended and this was only one of six Masses to be held in Melton this year.

Next year we look forward to having Mass in our new Church, which will start to rise there from February 2012. Christmas Mass was beamed all over Melbourne, so that nochristmas-evet only the Melton community but people from everywhere could participate in the ceremonies.

Because 979fm streams live to the internet, St. Dominic’s and St. Catherine’s Christmas Mass reached listeners in every country. Each year Fr Michael receives emails and messages from around the world congratulating St Dominic’s and St Catherine’s for the broadcast.

Hopefully, 979fm will be able to continue its relationship with the parish and bring Christmas Mass from Melton to the world for many years to come. The use of radio and other modern technologies is certainly the way of the future for the Church.

Whether people are able to get to a church or not, or indeed whether or not a church exists in various places, the true message of Christmas will be able to be heard and experienced by everyone as the church embraces all the new technologies. Who knows, perhaps Jesus can hitch a ride on santa’s sleigh and be brought to every household in the future.


CISA REPORT: NAIROBI, January 13, 2012 (CISA) –Kenyan Catholic Archbishop Peter Kairo, Chair of the Kenya Episcopal Conference Commission for Ecumenism has urged Kenyans to make a personal commitment to the cause of Christian unity.
In his 2012 message, for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, addressed to the clergy, religious and the laity, the Kenyan bishop called for all Christians to thank the Lord for all His gifts that have enabled them enter into different ecumenical initiatives in the past years.
The International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is marked annually from January 18 to 25. This year’s theme is: We will all be changed by the Victory of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf.1 Corinthians 15:51-58).
Kairo who is also the archbishop of Nyeri Archdiocese said, “The Lord is inviting us individually, as families, as Small Christian Communities (SCC) and as different Christian Churches to enter into a special relationship with Him to be transformed and enjoy the fruits of genuine unity that we all yearn for. This theme is to guide all ecumenical initiatives throughout the year.”
This year’s special prayers have been included in the daily liturgy of the weeklong event. Priests, sisters and parish pastoral councils are expected to guide all ecumenical initiatives.
The English and Kiswahili prayer materials are prepared by an ecumenical group of Christian churches from Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Old Catholic and Protestants churches active in Poland.
The group has dedicated the material to the memory of Monsignor Eleuterio Francesco Fortino, Under Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Fortino was also a long serving member of the International Committee for the preparation of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The 97th Assembly of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, CEV (see Fides 10/01/2012) has just ended with the publication of a Message to the people of God, entitled "2012: Year of national reconciliation" , of which a copy was sent to Fides. Presented to the press by His Exc. Mgr. Diego Rafael Padrón Sanchez, Archbishop of Cumaná, and the new President of CEV, the document sets out the concerns in 5 points and the commitment of the Church in Venezuela for 2012: reconciliation concerning everyone, human rights, violence and insecurity, the situation in prisons, active participation in the upcoming elections.
"The most urgent needs and expectations of the country, such as security, employment, housing, health care, education, services and food resources, will need to rely on a rule of law, effective and reliable for the life of society ": this is how the invitation to reconciliation on behalf of the Bishops begins. The text continues: "The desire and need for reconciliation involves the restoration of national coexistence based on mutual respect and on the appreciation and the effective recognition of the political and ideological, cultural and religious pluralism, and tolerance toward others".
The Bishops' message continues: "In support of reconciliation and peace, a key element is respect, protection and promotion of human rights ... To solve the problem of insecurity, one needs to go to the causes of evil, eradicate poverty, not with gifts, but with jobs and quality education".
Another national problem is prisons: "Respect for human rights contrasts with the terrible situation of the Venezuelan prisons. It is necessary to deepen the process of humanization of prisons ... We consider a necessary contribution, for humanitarian and justice reasons, to grant pardons for political prisoners", write the Bishops.
At the end of the document the most important political event in 2012 is recalled: "At the October elections, the Venezuelans should not come as enemies in war. The electoral event in October should be taken in this perspective, human and Christian, of national reconciliation. Therefore, we stress our request to engage in a conscious, free and responsible manner, in law and constitutional duty to vote".
The Bishops’ message ends with the invitation of the Catholic community "to join in prayer and all initiatives to promote national reconciliation, and to all the activities this year". (CE) (Agenzia Fides 13/01/2012)


1 Samuel 3: 3 - 10, 19
3 the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down within the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
4 Then the LORD called, "Samuel! Samuel!" and he said, "Here I am!"
5 and ran to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call; lie down again." So he went and lay down.
6 And the LORD called again, "Samuel!" And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call, my son; lie down again."
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy.
9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, `Speak, LORD, for thy servant hears.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the LORD came and stood forth, calling as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for thy servant hears."
19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.
Psalms 40: 2, 4, 7 - 10
2 He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods!
7 Then I said, "Lo, I come; in the roll of the book it is written of me;
8 I delight to do thy will, O my God; thy law is within my heart."
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; lo, I have not restrained my lips, as thou knowest, O LORD.
10 I have not hid thy saving help within my heart, I have spoken of thy faithfulness and thy salvation; I have not concealed thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness from the great congregation.
1 Corinthians 6: 13 - 15, 17 - 20
13 "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food" -- and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!
17 But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
18 Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body.
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own;
20 you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
John 1: 35 - 42
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples;
36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"
37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
38 Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"
39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
41 He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ).
42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).


St. Ita
Feast: January 15

Feast Day: January 15
475, County of Waterford, Ireland
Died: 15 January 570
Patron of: Diocese of Limerick, Ireland
St. Ita was born of Christian parents towards the end of the fifth century. She belonged to the noble tribe of the Decii in County Waterford. All her early biographers favor the pleasant metaphor describing her as the 'Brigid of Munster'. Actually the differences were more striking than the resemblances between those two foremost women saints of the Celtic church (see St. Brigid). Brigid's effective life as a nun was spent in continual movement. When she had made a success of one convent settlement, she moved off to found another. Organization was her bent. Ita did just the opposite. Instead of entering one of Brigid's convents, she founded another in a district where there was none, at Killeedy, County Limerick. There she remained all her life, courting retirement. Again, there is an emphasis on austerity in Ita's life not found in Brigid's. Ita's mortifications were on a par with those of the greatest contemporary missionaries.

A strongly individualistic character is glimpsed in the legends of Ita. When she decided to settle in Killeedy, a chieftain offered her a large grant of land to support the convent. But Ita would accept only four acres, which she cultivated intensively. The convent became known as a training school for little boys, many of whom later became famous churchmen. One of these was St. Brendan, whom Ita accepted in fosterage when he was a year old and kept until he was six. The great Navigator revisited her between his voyages and always deferred to her counsel. He once asked her what were the three clings which God most detested, and she replied: 'A scowling face, obstinacy in wrong-doing, and too great a confidence in the power of money'. St. Mochoemoc, whom because of his beauty she called 'Pulcherius', was another great personage of the Celtic church she fostered in infancy.
Ita died on January 15th, which is now kept as her feast, about the year 570. There is a strong local cult of her in Munster, particularly in Waterford and Limerick, and her name is a popular one for Irish girls. In the middle of the nineteenth century a new move was made in Ireland for the development of her cult, when Bishop Butler of Limerick obtained from Pope Pius IX a special office and mass for her feast


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