Thursday, January 5, 2012











VATICAN CITY, 5 JAN 2012 (VIS) - A communique was published today containing information about a "Note with pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith" which, by order of the Holy Father, has been prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in consultation with other dicasteries of the Holy See, and with the help of the Committee for the Preparation of the Year of Faith. The Note is dated 6 January, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, and will be made public on Saturday 7 January.

Today's communique explains that, with his Apostolic Letter "Porta fidei" of 11 October 2011, Benedict XVI declared a Year of Faith, due to begin on 11 October, fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, and to conclude on 24 November 2013, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Universal King. The introduction to the Note states that "the Year of Faith is intended to contribute to a renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus and to the rediscovery of faith, so that the members of the Church will be credible and joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Lord, capable of leading those many people who are seeking it to the door of faith".

The beginning of the Year of Faith coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, and the twentieth of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "two great events which have marked the life of the Church in our days", the communique says. "The Year of Faith will be a propitious occasion to make Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church more widely and deeply known".

The pastoral recommendations contained in the Note aim "to aid both the encounter with Christ through authentic witnesses to faith, and the ever-greater understanding of its contents". All members of the Church are invited to work to ensure that, during the Year of Faith, we may rediscover and "share that which is most dear to us: Christ Jesus, the Redeemer of mankind". The communique further explains that those pastoral recommendations do not intend to preclude "other initiatives which the Holy Spirit will inspire among Pastors and faithful in various parts of the world".

The Note divides its recommendations into four groups: (1) Universal Church, (2) episcopal conferences, (3) dioceses and (4) parishes, communities, associations and movements. Some of the specific suggestions it contains are outlined in the communique.

"Along with the solemn opening celebration for the Year of Faith and other events in which the Holy Father will participate (Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, WYD 2013), various ecumenical initiatives are being planned 'aimed at the restoration of unity among all Christians'. Moreover 'there will be a solemn ecumenical celebration in which all of the baptised will reaffirm their faith in Christ'.

"On the level of episcopal conferences, attention will be given to the quality of catechesis, and efforts will be made to examine 'local catechisms and various catechetical supplements in use in the particular Churches ... to ensure their complete conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church'. It is also hoped that use will be made of the language of the mass media and art, with 'television and radio transmissions, films and publications focusing on the faith, its principles and content, as well as on the ecclesial significance of Vatican Council II'.

"At the diocesan level, the Year of Faith is considered, among other things, as an occasion for 'renewed creative dialogue between faith and reason in the academic and artistic communities, through symposia, meetings and days of study, especially at Catholic universities', and as a favourable time for 'penitential celebrations ... in which all can ask for God's forgiveness, especially for sins against faith'.

"At the parish level the focus remains on the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, because 'in the Eucharist, mystery of faith and source of the new evangelisation, the faith of the Church is proclaimed, celebrated and strengthened'. It is on this foundation that other initiatives will come into being, develop and spread, particularly those undertaken by Institutes, new Communities and Ecclesial Movements.

"'A Secretariat to coordinate all of the different initiatives promoted by various dicasteries of the Holy See, or other events relevant to the Universal Church, will be established within the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation'. The Secretariat 'can also suggest appropriate initiatives' for the Year of Faith, and 'will open a dedicated website with the goal of making available useful information' on the subject".
CDF/ VIS 20120105 (770)


VATICAN CITY, 5 JAN 2012 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. tomorrow, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Benedict XVI will preside at Mass in the Vatican Basilica. During the ceremony he will confer episcopal ordination upon archbishops-elect Msgr. Charles John Brown, apostolic nuncio to Ireland, and Msgr. Marek Solczynski, apostolic nuncio to Georgia and Armenia. Following Mass the Pope will pray the Angelus from the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

On Sunday 8 January, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass in the Sistine Chapel and administer the Sacrament of Baptism to a number of children. At midday he will pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
OCL/ VIS 20120105 (130)


VATICAN CITY, 5 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, apostolic nuncio to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, as apostolic nuncio to Argentina.

- Appointed Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, as penitentiary major of the Apostolic Penitentiary. He succeeds Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli, whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.



Children make the sign of the cross at St. Anthony Indian School on the Zuni Pueblo Indian reservation in New Mexico in late October. (CNS/Bob Roller)
By Julie Asher
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Education is key to the Catholic Church's evangelization efforts among Native Americans and St. Anthony Indian Mission School in Zuni, N.M., is "a case in point," said Father Wayne Paysse.

Last October, the priest, who is executive director of the Washington-based Black and Indian Mission Office, visited the school in the Diocese of Gallup, N.M., which encompasses seven Indian tribes.

Principal Deborah Goering showed him around the elementary school. Accompanied by a reporter and photographer from Catholic News Service, Father Paysse stopped in every classroom, talking to the teachers, teachers' aides and students.

In a Christmas blog on his website,, he said the visit was like the "'magi experience' when I saw the smiling faces of the Zuni youth. They were like bright shining stars that gave a glow of joy, peace and a great sense of faith."

"The children and their teachers along with their principal shared a real treasure with me as I walked through the classrooms and school campus," he wrote.

"We feel that there is nothing greater than the positive impact on evangelization among our Catholic Indian mission schools than a good teacher," Father Paysse told CNS in an interview in his office in early December. "Education is most important, because education is like a ladder. It gives them an opportunity to climb out of the difficult environment they're in."

As head of the mission office, Father Paysse spends two to three weeks a month visiting black and Indian communities in dioceses across the country. In his position, he also is executive secretary of the U.S. bishops' annual Black and Indian Mission Collection, the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and the Catholic Negro-American Mission Board.

Through the collection, dioceses can apply for grants to help fund a program or buy educational materials for students at a school like St. Anthony in Zuni. The school, on the Zuni Pueblo Indian Reservation, is tuition-free and depends on its development office to raise money to cover salaries, operating expenses and facility upkeep.

"The children are very happy in our Catholic mission schools," Father Paysse said. "We have wonderful, very dedicated, not only religious women and men but laity who teach in our mission schools. It's really a ministry because believe me they're not there because of the money."

Goering in Zuni can attest to how dedicated teachers at her school are despite the low pay. The starting salary is $14,950; the highest salary is $26,000.

"Most of the teachers who come out here look at it as a mission, a way to give back. They see the bigger picture," she told CNS.

Goering feels the same about her job. Principal for three years, she arrived in New Mexico after many years as a principal in central New York. "This is where God wants me."

Giving Native Americans the best education they could receive was a priority for St. Katharine Drexel, who spent her life and wealth ministering to American Indians and African-Americans. She built mission schools and churches across the country, helped by members of the religious order she founded -- the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

At St. Bonaventure School in Thoreau, N.M., also in the Gallup Diocese, Sister Consolata Beecher is "carrying forward her dream."

Native Americans "cannot take their place in society, in levels of leadership" without education, "and the Catholic Church has to do it," she told CNS.

A Laguna Pueblo Indian, Sister Consolata has been a member of St. Katharine's order for 50 years.

"The leadership I'm talking about is in their own nuclear family, their community. ... Without education they're never going to be able to take a substantial role in the community," she added.

At St. Francis School in Gallup, principal Don Frank and development director Theresa Brophy want to build a support base among alumni and others who might consider making a small monthly donation to the school.

"The dignity of the individual is foremost" at St. Francis, Brophy noted. "Catholic education, it's a guiding force for you for the rest of your life."

The students, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, benefit from church teaching permeating every subject and teachers modeling Catholic values and the beatitudes, Frank said, "because the nature of our mission is evangelization."


RELEASE OF BL. GER. SITE: Blessed Gérard's Children's Home. In Mandeni, kwaZulu/Natal, South Africa.

It is a home for orphans and vulnerable children. YOU can help us

to help the poor & needy, sick, terminally ill & dying, sick, neglected, abused, malnourished, abandoned, homeless and orphaned children, underprivileged and people in emergencies.

PLEASE HELP us to help

  • by joining us
    • as an Active Member if you are able and prepared to help in our projects to serve the poor as a volunteer and agree with our principles. This will only make sense if you live in the Mandeni area! In this case, please call our office at 032 4562743.
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Christmas 2008


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
4 Jan 2012

SES hero Matt Stevens
Exactly one year, seven days after the entire population of the Queensland town of Theodore had to be evacuated to escape fast rising flood waters, the town is mourning the loss of one of its heroes: SES Volunteer Matt Stevens.
During last year's devastating floods, 28-year-old Matt was one of the volunteers who stayed behind to help evacuate the town as the Dawson River overflowed its banks. He was also one of the last of
to leave.
Now the town's 310 residents are preparing for the funeral of the 28-year-old who died in a freak accident on 30 December, the 12 month anniversary of the day the last 90 people were helicoptered out of the flooded town.
The tragedy occurred when Matt, who was a regular volunteer at the local fire brigade was bending to untie a tow rope from behind one of the fire trucks when it accidently reversed over him, killing him instantly.

Theodore SES volunteer Matthew Stevens (fourth from left),
who was killed after being run over by a fire truck,
with his brother Tim (second from left),
wife Jessica (third from left).
"It's a big tragedy, there's no other way to put it," says Fr Noel Milner, parish priest to Theodore and several other towns across central Queensland.
"His loss has hit the town hard and really set everyone back. Spirits are crushed and there is great sadness," says Father Milner.
Both Matt Stevens and his wife, Jessica who is also an SES volunteer were popular and well known throughout Theodore.
"They were always offering to help and during the floods the young fella helped people get to high ground or on to one of the choppers taking us out. Then when we were allowed back, and doing the clean up, he was always there to lend a hand," says Fr Milner.
The funeral for Matt Stevens will be held on Friday, 6 January at Theodore's Uniting Church.
No matter what denomination or faith, everyone from the town is expected to attend and just as Theodore banded together to help one another during last year's floods, they have again banded together to grieve for one of their own and to offer their support to Matt Stevens' young wife, Jessica, his parents, grandparents, brother and sister.

Theodore became an inland sea
when the Dawson River broke its banks
According to Fr Milner 2012 was expected to be a celebration, with the battle to clean up and rebuild after the flood now behind them. However the new year for those in Theodore began instead amid sadness and loss.
Over the past 12 months residents of the small Queensland town with their usual resilience, dry humour and rural stoicism have repaired and cleared away much of the damage caused by last year's flood.
The entire town was inundated and repairs, reconstruction and rebuilding were frequently necessary. This however turned out to be a slow process with urgently-needed trades people in short supply.
Fr Milner says this shortage was not only due to increased demand for tradespeople across Queensland in the wake of last year's widespread floods, but because many of the state's tradesmen have been lured away from towns and cities to take up high paying jobs in the mining industry.

"So for most of us here in Theodore, it's been a case of wait in line," Fr Milner says.

Repairs to flood damaged Sacred
Heart Church, Theodore
finally underway
But finally, after almost 12 months of waiting, repair work has begun on Theodore's flood-damaged 80-year-old Sacred Heart Catholic Church where Fr Milner is parish priest.
"They've put the scaffolding up and work has begun on the foundation stumps undermined in the floods and the sagging ceilings," he says and admits as a result of the floods, work on the church and other buildings around Theodore has been made possible.
"There is an old people's home in town that was in dire need of repair but after the floods thanks to insurance and donations to help Theodore recover, the old people's home has been brought up to date and is in far better shape than it was before," he says.
But the pleasure residents felt at Christmas at how their town had managed to pull through, has been dampened and their joy given way to sadness as they mourn Matt Stevens and prepare for his funeral.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: Fears of a civil war, fueled by past vengeance and the unequal distribution of resources and oil revenues. Since the American withdrawal, over 100 dead in several bombings.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - At least 24 people were killed in a series of blasts in two of the Iraqi capital's Shiite neighborhoods around 9 o'clock this morning (local time). The Interior Ministry said the attacks took place in the neighborhoods of Sadr City and Kadhimiya and resulted in 66 injuries. One of the bombs was planted on a motorcycle, three more were in the parked cars. Given the rush hour, they hit passers-by and a group of day laborers, waiting to be hired by someone.

The attacks are a clear sign of growing tension between Sunni and Shiite groups, after the departure of American troops at the end of December. In the last days of the month following the announcement of U.S. withdrawal, a series of bombings claimed more than 100 deaths.

The tension seems to amplify the divisions in the government, which have become almost insurmountable after Prime Minister al-Maliki, a Shiite, issued an arrest warrant for the vice-president, Tariq al-Hashemi, the Sunni, accused of financing terrorist groups. Al-Hashemi denies all the charges and took refuge in northern Iraq, in the Kurdish region. His party, al-Iraqiyya is boycotting the proceedings in parliament and accused al-Maliki of seeking to monopolize power.

Several analysts have expressed fears of a possible civil war in which ethic ties and past vendettas may out way religious issues (the Sunnis were the party of Saddam Hussein), as well as the unequal distribution of resources and revenues from the sale of oil.,-two-deadly-attacks-in-Shiite-districts-23620.html


Agenzia Fides REPORT - After 20 years of war, Somalia is currently experiencing a very serious famine and so far 55 children have died of cholera and severe malnutrition. In the southern region of Bay, about 250 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu, other 35 cases of cholera among children have been registered. At least 425 people suffering from various diseases have been admitted to local hospitals for medical treatment. More than 20 children have died of starvation and thousands more are on the verge of dying for the same cause. Somalia, records the highest infant mortality rate in the world, with at least one out of five children dies before reaching 5 years of age. According to the latest figures of the Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation of the United Nations, the mortality rate in 2010 was 180 deaths per 1000 live births. Most of southern Somalia suffers from famine and, according to the UN, 750 000 people could die. According to the organization less than a third of children under one has been vaccinated in the country, over 70% of the population has no access to drinking water, and only 3 out of 10 children are enrolled in primary school. Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, it is one of the countries where the largest number of refugees and displaced persons in the world come from. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 04/01/2012)


John 1: 43 - 51
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, "Follow me."
44 Now Philip was from Beth-sa'ida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip found Nathan'a-el, and said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
46 Nathan'a-el said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."
47 Jesus saw Nathan'a-el coming to him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"
48 Nathan'a-el said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."
49 Nathan'a-el answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
50 Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these."
51 And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."


St. John N. Neumann
Feast: January 5

Feast Day: January 5
28 March 1811 at Prachititz, Bohemia
Died: 5 January 1860
19 June 1977 by Pope Paul VI
Major Shrine: National Shrine of Saint John Neumann, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Neumann was born in Prachatice, Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic), then within the Austrian Empire. He attended school in Budweis before entering seminary there in 1831. Two years later he transferred to the University of Prague, where he studied theology. He was interested in astronomy and botany. He intended to be ordained, but his bishop, in 1835, decided there would be no more ordinations, as Bohemia had a high number of priests already.
Neumann, who spoke eight languages then wrote to other bishops in Europe, but they all replied that they also had too many priests already. He was inspired by the missionary writings of Bishop Frederic Baraga in America, and because he had learned English by working in a factory with English-speaking workers, Neumann wrote to bishops in America, requesting to be ordained in the United States. In 1836, he arrived in the United States with very little money, and was ordained to the priesthood there. He was assigned by the Bishop of New York to work with recent German immigrants in mission churches in the Niagara Falls area, where he visited the sick, taught catechism, and trained teachers to take over when he left. After four years of service there, he realized his own need for support and came to realize the importance of communal activity in his work. He thus applied to the Redemptorists. He was accepted, and entered the novitiate of the order in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In January, 1842, he took the vows to enter the order in Baltimore, Maryland, and became the first Redemptorist in the New World. After six years of difficult but fruitful work with the order, he was appointed the order's provincial superior in the United States. Neumann was naturalized as a citizen of the United States in Baltimore on February 10, 1848.
In March 1852, Neumann was consecrated in Baltimore, as Bishop of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the first to organize a Catholic diocesan school system and increased the number of Catholic schools in his diocese from one to two hundred. He also introduced the School Sisters of Notre Dame to the New World to assist in religious instruction and staffing the orphanage. In 1853, he established Saint Peter's Parish in Riverside, New Jersey.
Neumann was not a popular bishop and received criticism. He had to deal with the Know Nothings, a political group determined to deprive foreigners and Catholics of their civil rights; the group burnt down convents and schools. Discouraged, Neumann unsuccessfully wrote to Rome and asked for someone else to take his place.
Neumann wrote in many Catholic newspaper and magazine articles. He also published two catechisms and a Bible history in German. There were also many teaching orders brought in by him.
In 1860, Neumann died due to a stroke at the age of 48 while walking down a street in Philadelphia. After his death people began to talk of how great he had been.

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