Wednesday, January 18, 2012



VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins today, was the theme of Benedict XVI's general audience celebrated this morning in the Paul VI Hall. The Holy Father explained how this initiative has been held annually for more than a century and brings together Christians from Churches and ecclesial communities, who "invoke that extraordinary gift for which the Lord Jesus prayed during the Last Supper: ... 'That they may all be one'". (IMAGE SOURCE : RADIO VATICANA)

The Week of Prayer - established in 1908 by Paul Wattson, founder of an Anglican religious community who later entered the Catholic Church - "is one of the most effective annual expressions ... of the impetus which Vatican Council II gave to the search for full union among all Christ's disciples", said the Pope. "This spiritual event, which unites Christians from all traditions, increases our awareness of the fact that the unity we strive for cannot result merely from our own efforts; rather, it is a gift we receive and must constantly invoke from on high".

The texts for this year's Week of Prayer have been prepared by a group of representatives from the Catholic Church, and from the Polish Ecumenical Council which proposed the theme of "We will all be changed by the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ". The history of Poland - marked by defeats and victories, by the struggle to end oppression and achieve freedom - led the ecumenical group to reflect more deeply upon what it means to "win" and to "lose".

In this context the Pope pointed out that, "in contrast to 'victory' understood in triumphal terms, Christ shows us a very different way. His victory does not involve power and might. ... Christ speaks of victory through love, mutual assistance and boosting the self-esteem of those who are 'last', forgotten, excluded. For all Christians, the best expression of such humble service is Jesus Christ Himself, His total gift of self, the victory of His love over death. ... We can share in this 'victory' only if we allow ourselves to be transformed by God".

Likewise, "the unity for which we pray requires inner conversion, both shared and individual. But this must not be limited to cordiality and cooperation; we must reinforce our faith in God; ... we must enter into the new life in Christ, Who is our true and definitive victory; we must open to one another, accepting all the elements of unity which God has conserved for us; ... we must feel the pressing need to bear witness, before the men and women of our time, to the living God Who made Himself known in Christ".

Ecumenism, as defined by Vatican Council II and Blessed John Paul II, is "the responsibility of the entire Church and of all the baptised, who must augment the partial communion that already exists among Christians until achieving full communion in truth and charity. Praying for unity ... must then be an integral part of the prayer life of all Christians, in all times and places, especially when people from different traditions come together to work for victory in Christ over sin, evil, injustice and the violation of human dignity".

Benedict XVI also pointed out that "lack of unity among Christians hinders the effective announcement of the Gospel and endangers our credibility", but noted that, "as far as the fundamental truths of the faith are concerned, there is far more that unites us than divides us. ... This is a great challenge for the new evangelisation, which will be more fruitful if all Christians together announce the truth of the Gospel and Jesus Christ, and give a joint response to the spiritual thirst of our times".

In conclusion, the Pope exhorted the faithful to unite more intensely in prayer during the course of the coming Week, "to increase shared witness, solidarity and collaboration among Christians, in expectation of that glorious day when together we will all be able to celebrate the Sacraments and profess the faith transmitted by the Apostles".

At the end of his audience, the Holy Father greeted a group of Italian lawyers, encouraging them to practise their profession "in faithfulness to the truth, which is a fundamental premise of justice".
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VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Guwahati, India, presented by Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil S.D.B., upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop John Moolachira.


By Simon Caldwell on Tuesday, 17 January 2012
Pray for the Beatification of our Servant of God
CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT: Mother Riccarda Beauchamp Hambrough was a member of the Bridgettines, nicknamed 'the hot cross bun nuns'
The Vatican has taken up the canonisation Cause of a British nun who helped to hide scores of Jews from the Nazis during the Second World War.
A file on Mother Riccarda Beauchamp Hambrough has been sent to the Vatican to be studied by historians and theologians.
Her Cause for sainthood was opened in July 2010 by the Diocese of Rome along with that of Sister Katherine Flanagan, marking the first phase of the investigations.
In a significant development, the Causes of both women, who have the status of Servants of God, have together been sent to the Holy See’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, marking a quick and early step forward in the long road to becoming saints.
If it is concluded that the pair lived lives of “heroic virtue”, the Pope will declare the London-born nuns to be “Venerable” and the search will begin for two miracles to first declare them Blessed and then as saints.
Both nuns belonged to a revived order of Bridgettine Sisters nicknamed “the hot cross bun nuns” because of the distinctive crosses covering the tops of their wimples.
Mother Riccarda helped to save the lives of about 60 Jews by hiding them from the Nazis in her Rome convent, the Casa di Santa Brigida.
She born in 1887 and was baptised in St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Brighton, at the age of four years after her parents converted to the Catholic faith.
Fr Ray Blake, the parish priest of St Mary’s, has welcomed the progress of her Cause. “I think it is fantastic,” he said.
“We are celebrating our 150th anniversary of the opening of the church this year and we can add that to our celebrations.”
He added: “Here in Brighton we are following her cause with great enthusiasm and see her very much as our local saint.
“When I tell people at Mass that her Cause is going forward I’m sure that they will be overjoyed.”
While Mother Riccarda spent most of her life in Rome, eventually becoming the head of the order, Sister Katherine was at the forefront of efforts to open Bridgettine convents around the world some 400 years after the Reformation nearly wiped out the order.
Judith Whitehead, a niece of Sister Katherine, said she was astonished that the first phase had concluded so quickly.
“I am surprised that it has moved to the next stage in my lifetime,” said Mrs Whitehead, 73, of Shaftesbury, Dorset, who had given evidence to the initial Rome inquiry.
“I thought that the progression of looking into her life would take about 10 years,” she said.
“It is amazing to have someone in your family who was so revered by everybody … the Bridgettines obviously think that she is going to become a saint.”
Fr Simon Henry, the parish priest of St Gregory’s Church, Earlsfield, south London, where Sister Katherine was baptised, said: “To have a possible saint from the parish is wonderful.”
Born Florence Catherine in Clerkenwell in 1892, Sister Katherine trained as a dressmaker before she left the family home for Rome at 19 years with the aim of becoming a nun.
She went on to become the first prioress of new convents in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire; Lugano, Switzerland; and Vadstena, Sweden – where she died in 1941.
A year after Sister Katherine joined, the future Mother Riccarda – born Madaleina Catherine – also journeyed to Rome.
Because of her ability and intelligence she soon became deputy of the Order, called the Most Holy Saviour of St Bridget, and remained at the mother house in the Italian capital.
When the Nazis took control in Rome in 1943, and began to round up the Jews of Rome for deportation to Auschwitz, Mother Riccarda risked her own life by smuggling fugitives into her convent.
Some Jews who gave evidence to the initial inquiry spoke of Mother Riccarda’s kindness, saying they nicknamed her “Mama”.
She died in Rome in 1966 at the age of 79 years.


Cisa News
CISA REPORT: SOKOTO, January 17, 2012 (CISA) –The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassah Kukah has called on Nigerian religious leaders to unite amidst the crises facing the country by offering leadership that promotes common good rather than focusing on the insignificant division issues.
The bishop in his statement titled: Be still and know that I am God (Ps 46:10) sent to CISA said, “We live in a state of ineffective law enforcement and tragic social conditions.”
“Corruption has destroyed the fabric of our society. Its corrosive effect can be seen in the ruination of our lives and the decay in our society. The inability of the state to punish criminals has created the illusion that there is a conflict between Christians and Muslims,” said the bishop.
Bishop Kukah said, “In fact, it would seem that many elements today are going to great extremes to pitch Christians against Muslims, and vice versa, so that our attention is taken away from the true source of our woes: corruption.”
He called on all Nigerians to stand together to ensure that their resources are well utilized for the common good adding, “despite the hardships we must endure as a result of the strike, the fuel subsidy debate must be seen as the real dividend of democracy.”
Bishop Kukah strongly condemned the tendency by some religious leaders to play politics with the issues of “collective survival.”
“Rather than rallying our people, some of our religious leaders have resorted to divisive utterances, wild allegations and insinuations against fellow adherents of other religions,” said the bishop.
Bishop Kukah said that the country is not faced with a crisis or conflict between Christians and Muslims. He called for restraint on the part of the religious leaders.
He appealed for prayers, solidarity of people of all faith during the hard times and said a more united and peaceful Nigeria is possible.
The cleric also urged the government to strive to earn the trust of the people in order to build a better stronger nation.


ARCHDIOCESE OF CANBERRA RELEASE: Archdiocesan priest Fr Ron Flack, who was a heart transplant recipient about 20 years ago, has died in Clare Holland House, Canberra.
Fr Flack, who was 74, died just six months short of his golden jubilee as a priest.
Between 1968 and 1975, Fr Flack was secretary to Archbishop Thomas Cahill. He also served in Young, Waramanga, the Cathedral, Curtin, Bungendore and Braidwood parishes.
The funeral Mass for Fr Flack, with Bishop Pat Power presiding, will be celebrated at 10.30am on Wednesday in St Christopher’s Cathedral. A Vigil Mass with North Woden parish priest Fr Tony Frey presiding will be celebrated at 7.30pm on Tuesday in St John Vianney’s Church, Waramanga.
Fr Flack, who struggled with ill health for a number of years, is survived by his older sister Mary; siblings Joan, Colin, Bernie and Paul predeceased him. Mary is the mother of Fr Frey. He is also survived by his former housekeeper and best friend Frances Smyth.


UCAN REPORT: Order says it is looking to expand its activities in the country reporter, Dhaka
Catholic Church News Image of Jesuits to open college in Dhaka
St. Xavier’s College
Jesuits are planning to open a new college in Dhaka in a bid to expand their services in the country, the BBC’s Bengali service reported yesterday.
Jesuit Father Felix Raj, principal of St Xavier’s College in Kolkata, said they would like to extend more than 150 years of experience in higher education to Bangladeshi students, the report said.
The report added that the authorities are looking at either establishing a branch or a new college in Dhaka.
“I will meet the Bangladeshi prime minister next month to inform her of our willingness to start a St Xavier’s in Dhaka. If she agrees and promises to help us with necessary infrastructure, we will open a college there,” said Fr Raj.
He said if they can open a St Xavier’s college in Dhaka they have plans for curriculum, faculty and teacher exchanges between the Kolkata and Dhaka branches.
“The Jesuits’ Kolkata province is seeking to expand the services of our order in Bangladesh. We’ve already opened a training center and it will be really great to open a higher education center there,” Fr Raj continued.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - With the presence of hundreds of faithful, the feast of the National Shrine Ñandejára guasu or Sweet Name of Jesus was celebrated. His Exc. Mgr. Claudio Gimenez, Bishop of the Diocese of Caacupé, presided at the Eucharist attended by various authorities and politicians in the area and by the central government, including the Vice-president of the Republic, Federico Franco.
In his homily Mgr. Claudio Gimenez talked about the confusing situation of the country: "This year of preparation for elections (general elections will be held on April 21, 2013, ed) begins with great confusion, because not even the politicians themselves know what they want. So it is better to pray for our country, so that things will improve". The Bishop said that there are several cities in the area which, with work and sacrifice of their people, are putting all the effort they can, and mentioned in particular the communities of Juan de Mena (Department of Cordillera) and Cleto Romero (Department of Caaguazú), who are still waiting for paved roads in order to join each other.
The note seny to Fides says that Mgr.Gimenez also reported the common theme chosen by the Episcopal Conference of Paraguay (CEP) for all the religious holidays of the year: "Permanent Mission in Paraguay: Evangelizing the family". In this regard, he stressed that all issues on which the Church is reflecting from the novena to Our Lady of Caacupé, are very important, "because they help to strengthen this important institution called family". "To speak and defend the family as an institution is needed more than ever, especially since the institution was accused and attacked, even in its foundations and bases", said the Bishop. The Conclusions of the 192th Assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Paraguay (November 2011) have placed great emphasis on the defense of the family and the Church's position against abortion and same-sex unions (see Fides 10/11/2011). (CE) (Agenzia Fides 18/01/2012)


St. Volusian
Feast: January 18

Feast Day: January 18
Died 496
Volusian was bishop of Tours, in France, the see made famous by St. Martin two centuries earlier. He lived at a time before clerical celibacy had been enforced in the West and was married to a woman famous for her violent temper, which was a great trial to the bishop. He also lived in a time when the barbarian invasions had begun and the fear of the Goths was everywhere.
In writing to a friend of his, a certain Bishop Ruricius, of nearby Limoges, St. Volusian expressed his fear of the Goths who were beginning to terrorize his diocese. Ruricius humorously replied that someone who lived with terror inside his house, meaning his wife, should have no fear of terrors from the outside.
Volusian was of senatorial rank, very wealthy, a relative of the bishop who preceded him, St. Perpetuus, and he lived in the days when Clovis was king of the Franks, the avowed enemy of the Goths.
As the Goths began to overrun Volusian's diocese, they suspected him of sympathies with Clovis and of wanting to subject them to the Franks, so Volusian was driven from his see and sent into exile.
He held the office of bishop in a very difficult time, when the whole of Western Europe was in turmoil, in the wake of the barbarian invasions from the East. Cities were sacked, government disrupted, and bishops were the only agents of stability as civil government collapsed. Gregory of Tours, who succeeded Volusian as bishop of Tours a century later, describes the turmoil of the times, and it is from his writings that we get our knowledge of Volusian.
We have no further information about Volusian's wife or his family, and we are not sure whether he died in southern France or in Spain. It is simply known that he was driven from his see, went into exile, and died after ruling as bishop for seven years.
Thought for the Day: Most of us live in very stable times, and it is difficult to imagine what it would be like if our country were invaded and national and state government ceased to exist. Our dependence on Divine Providence would be more obvious then, and our faith would have to give us strength in very different ways. The saints kept faith in the most difficult of times and leaned on God in every crisis.
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': "A tree is identified by its fruit. A tree from a select variety produces good fruit; poor varieties, don't.... A good man's speech reveals the rich treasures within him. An evil-hearted man is filled with venom, and his speech reveals it."—Matthew 12:33, 35



Mark 3: 1 - 6
1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
2 And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him.
3 And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here."
4 And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent.
5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
6 The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Hero'di-ans against him, how to destroy him.

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