Tuesday, February 7, 2012


VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present the Holy Father's 2012 Lenten Message. Participating in the conference were Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"; Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso and Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, respectively secretary and under secretary of the same council. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
"We know that the Lenten Message contributes to maintaining the faithful's sense of concern for others, communion, compassion and fraternal sharing of the sufferings of those in need", said Cardinal Sarah. "However, over and above this important issue, there is another aspect of Christian life which this year's text highlights: fraternal correction".
"Charity teaches us that we are responsible not only for the material well being of others, but also for their moral and spiritual good. ... We cannot overlook the fact that a certain ideology which exalts the rights of the individual can have the consequence of creating isolation and solitude. ... When the call to communion is denied in the name of individualism it is our humanity that suffers, deceived by the impossible mirage of a happiness obtainable alone. Therefore we can help one another by discovering our reciprocal responsibility the one for the other".
"The Church's activity in the modern world must also be seen in the light of fraternal correction in truth and charity", the cardinal went on. "Sometimes it is thought that the Church's concerns, her tenacious resistance to certain fashionable ideas, are moved by thirst or nostalgia for power This is not the case. The Church is moved by a sincere concern for mankind and for the world. Her activities are not moved by a desire to condemn or recriminate, but by a justice and mercy which must also have the courage to call things by their name. Only in this way can we expose the roots of evil, which continue to intrigue the mind of modern man. This task of the Church is called prophetic mission".
In the Old Testament, Cardinal Sarah explained, "a prophet was a man called and sent by God to announce His will to the people. ... Clearly the call for greater social justice is part of mission of the Church", which "cannot remain silent in the face of the fact that too many people die because they lack basic necessities while others grow rich exploiting their fellows. Yet the prophetic dimension of our words and deeds cannot be limited to these external phenomena without going to the moral roots of these injustices. Corruption, accumulation of riches, violence, unduly living at the expense of the commonwealth without contributing are all tumours that consume a society from within. Nor can we remain silent ... about the fact that the roots of the current financial crisis lie in greed, unrestrained and unscrupulous thirst for money without considering those who have less and who must bear the consequences of the mistaken choices of others. Suchattachment to money is a sin, and the Church is prophetic in her condemnation of that sin, which harms both individuals and society".
"Yet the Holy Father ... identifies an even more profound dimension. The Church is a prophet in this world to denounce the absence of God. ... Our secularised society lives and organises itself without reference to God because it is affected by a poverty more tragic even than material want; a poverty represented by the rejection and complete exclusion of God from social and economic life, by the revolt against divine and natural laws. ... The primary responsibility of the Church is to remind each generation that this spiritual dimension is vital. The prophet of today must tell the world that God exists, that without this Father who stirs us to solidarity and sharing life dies and fraternity dissolves into empty utopia, that man has a supernatural vocation, that we have a conscience in which the voice of God speaks and to which we must one day respond".
"Today's message", the cardinal concluded, "aims to awaken people's consciences with respect to the rights and duties of our fellows, but also with respect to our duties towards the 'rights' of God. All this comes about in the context of Christian communion ruled by the principle of reciprocity and fraternal correction, with a view to the temporal good of mankind and his eschatological salvation".

VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2012 (VIS) - Made public today was the 2012 Lenten Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, the title of which is taken from the Letter to the Hebrews: "Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works". Extracts from the English-language version of the document are given below:
"The Lenten season offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: charity. This is a favourable time to renew our journey of faith, both as individuals and as a community, with the help of the word of God and the Sacraments".
"This year I would like to propose a few thoughts in the light of a brief biblical passage drawn from the Letter to the Hebrews: 'Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works'".
(1) Let us be concerned for each other: responsibility towards our brothers and sisters.
"This first aspect is an invitation to be 'concerned'. ... The verb which introduces our exhortation tells us to look at others, first of all at Jesus, to be concerned for one another, and not to remain isolated and indifferent to the fate of our brothers and sisters. All too often, however, our attitude is just the opposite: an indifference and disinterest born of selfishness and masked as a respect for 'privacy'. ... Even today God asks us to be 'guardians' of our brothers and sisters, to establish relationships based on mutual consideration and attentiveness to the well-being, the integral well-being of others. The great commandment of love for one another demands that we acknowledge our responsibility towards those who, like ourselves, are creatures and children of God. Being brothers and sisters in humanity and, in many cases, also in the faith, should help us to recognise in others a true alter ego, infinitely loved bythe Lord. If we cultivate this way of seeing others as our brothers and sisters, solidarity, justice, mercy and compassion will naturally well up in our hearts".
"Concern for others entails desiring what is good for them from every point of view: physical, moral and spiritual. Contemporary culture seems to have lost the sense of good and evil, yet there is a real need to reaffirm that good does exist and will prevail, because God is 'generous and acts generously'. The good is whatever gives, protects and promotes life, brotherhood and communion. Responsibility towards others thus means desiring and working for the good of others, in the hope that they too will become receptive to goodness and its demands. Concern for others means being aware of their needs. Sacred Scripture warns us of the danger that our hearts can become hardened by a sort of 'spiritual anaesthesia' which numbs us to the suffering of others. The Evangelist Luke relates two of Jesus' parables by way of example": the parable of the Good Samaritan and the parable of Dives and Lazarus. Both "show examples of theopposite of 'being concerned', of looking upon others with love and compassion. What hinders this humane and loving gaze towards our brothers and sisters? Often it is the possession of material riches and a sense of sufficiency, but it can also be the tendency to put our own interests and problems above all else. We should never be incapable of 'showing mercy' towards those who suffer. Our hearts should never be so wrapped up in our affairs and problems that they fail to hear the cry of the poor. ... Reaching out to others and opening our hearts to their needs can become an opportunity for salvation and blessedness.
"'Being concerned for each other' also entails being concerned for their spiritual well-being. Here I would like to mention an aspect of the Christian life, which I believe has been quite forgotten: fraternal correction in view of eternal salvation. Today, in general, we are very sensitive to the idea of charity and caring about the physical and material well-being of others, but almost completely silent about our spiritual responsibility towards our brothers and sisters. This was not the case in the early Church. ... Christ Himself commands us to admonish a brother who is committing a sin. ... The Church's tradition has included 'admonishing sinners' among the spiritual works of mercy. It is important to recover this dimension of Christian charity. We must not remain silent before evil. I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather thanwarning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness. Christian admonishment, for its part, is never motivated by a spirit of accusation or recrimination. It is always moved by love and mercy, and springs from genuine concern for the good of the other. ... In a world pervaded by individualism, it is essential to rediscover the importance of fraternal correction, so that together we may journey towards holiness. ... It is a great service, then, to help others and allow them to help us, so that we can be open to the whole truth about ourselves, improve our lives and walk more uprightly in the Lord's ways".

(2) Being concerned for each other: the gift of reciprocity.
"This 'custody' of others is in contrast to a mentality that, by reducing life exclusively to its earthly dimension, fails to see it in an eschatological perspective and accepts any moral choice in the name of personal freedom. A society like ours can become blind to physical sufferings and to the spiritual and moral demands of life. This must not be the case in the Christian community!"
"The Lord's disciples, united with Him through the Eucharist, live in a fellowship that binds them one to another as members of a single body. This means that the other is part of me, and that his or her life, his or her salvation, concern my own life and salvation. Here we touch upon a profound aspect of communion: our existence is related to that of others, for better or for worse. Both our sins and our acts of love have a social dimension. This reciprocity is seen in the Church, the mystical body of Christ: the community constantly does penance and asks for the forgiveness of the sins of its members, but also unfailingly rejoices in the examples of virtue and charity present in her midst. ... Christians can also express their membership in the one body which is the Church through concrete concern for the poorest of the poor. Concern for one another likewise means acknowledging the good that the Lord is doing in others".

(3) To stir a response in love and good works: walking together in holiness.
"These words of the Letter to the Hebrews urge us to reflect on the universal call to holiness. ... The time granted us in this life is precious for discerning and performing good works in the love of God. In this way the Church herself continuously grows towards the full maturity of Christ. Our exhortation to encourage one another to attain the fullness of love and good works is situated in this dynamic prospect of growth.
"Sadly, there is always the temptation to become lukewarm, to quench the Spirit, to refuse to invest the talents we have received, for our own good and for the good of others. All of us have received spiritual or material riches meant to be used for the fulfilment of God's plan, for the good of the Church and for our personal salvation. The spiritual masters remind us that in the life of faith those who do not advance inevitably regress".
"In a world which demands of Christians a renewed witness of love and fidelity to the Lord, may all of us feel the urgent need to anticipate one another in charity, service and good works. This appeal is particularly pressing in this holy season of preparation for Easter".

VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2012 (VIS) - An international symposium entitled "Towards Healing and Renewal" began yesterday evening in Rome's Gregorian University. The event, which will run until 9 February and brings together bishops and religious superiors from all over the world, aims to relaunch the Church's commitment to protecting minors and vulnerable people from child abuse. During the opening session a message was read out, sent in the Holy Father's name by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. to Fr. Francois-Xavier Dumortier S.J., rector of the Gregorian.
In his English-language message, Cardinal Bertone notes that, "as His Holiness has often observed, healing for victims must be of paramount concern in the Christian community, and it must go hand in hand with a profound renewal of the Church at every level. ... The Holy Father therefore supports and encourages every effort to respond with evangelical charity to the challenge of providing children and vulnerable adults with an ecclesial environment conducive to their human and spiritual growth. He urges the participants in the symposium to continue drawing on a wide range of expertise in order to promote throughout the Church a vigorous culture of effective safeguarding and victim support".
The Pope also prays to the Lord that the symposium may help the Church "to respond in a truly Christ-like manner to the tragedy of child abuse".


Agenzia Fides REPORT - Bishop Bernabe de Jesus Sagastume Lemus, O.F.M .Cap., Bishop of St. Rose of Lima, in Guatemala, celebrated Mass in the Church of the Holy Family in memory of the priest, Father David Donis, who was assassinated on 27 January. The celebration in memory of Fr. Donis began on Sunday morning, on February 5, at 10, in a symbolic way, a commitment was maintained that the priest had every Sunday with the faithful, including the marriage of a young couple belonging to his parish, in the village of El Guayabo. The Bishop also celebrated the baptisms according to agreements made by the priest murdered with their families.
"I am here with you because the pastor, Father David Donis, is not here anymore. He should be here to celebrate the Eucharist, but unfortunately he was killed. We are saddened for his violent death," said Mgr. Sagastume. The Bishop recalled some passages from the book of Job, where it says that "life is like breath to our eyes, we see it only go by", referring to the transience of life on earth. So he asked the faithful to be united in these violent times. "We are not asking you to pay those responsible with the same money, but we ask them stop killing people," said Bishop Sagastume, who praised the authorities for the arrest of the alleged murders and asked for investigations to be carried out well, because "the murder of a priest is a case of great impact". However, he also asked to investigate quickly on most violent acts that occur daily in Guatemala.
Father David Donis Barrera, 70, had been pastor for two years in the parish of the Sagrada Familia, in Santa Rosa. Guatemala is now one of the countries with the highest rates of violence in Latin America: there are an average of 16 murders a day in a population of just 14.3 million inhabitants. In 2011 about 6,000 people were killed, according to data from the local press. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 07/02/2012)


UCAN NEWS REPORT: Funeral for Father Lawrence Zhang Wenchang, 92, to be held next week reporter, Kunming
February 7, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of ‘Underground’ administrator dies
Father Lawrence Zhang Wenchang
Father Lawrence Zhang Wenchang, apostolic administrator of the three ecclesiastical territories in southwestern Yunnan province – Kunming, Dali and Zhaotong – has died aged 92.
He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in October and died in his home town in Shilin Yi autonomous county on Sunday.
The Sani-ethnic priest’s body will be on view for seven days so people can pay their last respects according to tribal custom of Sani, a subgroup of Yi-ethnic.
The “underground” administrator, who had no affiliation with the government-sanctioned “open” Church, had lived in Kunming city under police surveillance for years.
Kunming diocese has had no legitimate bishop for 60 years since French Archbishop Alexandre Derouineau was expelled in 1952. Fathers Kong Lingzhong and Joseph Ma Yinglin were ordained bishops of Kunming without a papal mandate in 1962 and 2006 respectively.
The news of his death has sparked heated words on the popular Chinese website Tianzhujiao Zaixian (Catholic Church online). Some netizens praised Fr Zhang’s fidelity to Rome.
“We don’t want anybody from the [open community’s] Catholic Patriotic Association offering condolences or having a hand in Fr Zhang’s funeral service. Kunming diocese needs a new bishop who is loyal to the pope. Ma Yinglin, please leave Yunnan,” another said.
Others said it was unfair to criticize the Patriotic Association, which paid the costs of Fr Zhang’s medication and hospitalization, while another poster said the costs were donated by Catholics from different places.
Born in 1920, he entered the diocesan minor seminary at the age of 12. He graduated from Kunming major seminary and received priestly ordination in 1946. After serving at the cathedral for a few years, he was forced to be a chicken and rabbit breeder in 1953 during a period of political turmoil.
He was arrested in 1958 and sent to prison for counter-revolutionary crimes. He received reform-through-labor in a farm from 1962-82, after which he began to visit Catholics and work part-time. In 1987 he returned to serving the Church after rehabilitation.
The Holy See appointed him to administer Kunming diocese, Dali diocese and Zhaotong apostolic prefecture in 2000.


ALL AFRICA REPORT: By Anorld Swai, 7 February 2012
Hai — A huge snake emerged at the high table in a church during special fund-raising service in Hai District on Sunday, leading to commotion and stampede as hundreds of worshippers scrambled for their way out.
The incident occurred at Sanya-Juu Parish of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) in Kilingi Ward, where the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Mr Aggrey Mwanri, was the chief guest.
The "uninvited guest" emerged in the church as Bishop Martin Shao of ELCT Northern Diocese was delivering a sermon shortly before the laying of the foundation stone of one of the buildings at the parish.
The Deputy Minister, who is also Hai legislator, was accompanied by his wife and both were seated at the high table where the serpent appeared, making worshippers to take to their heels.
Several people sustained minor bruises while struggling to get out of the church.
A few worshippers who managed to gather courage threw chairs, stones and other items at the snake. It, however, disappeared into the nearby bush.
Mr Mwanri said he was surprised that the snake which it is believed entered from the back row, where the church door is located, managed its way unnoticed up to his table and started spitting venom.
The deputy minister was representing the Monduli Member of Parliament and former Prime Minister, Mr Edward Lowassa, who was to be the chief guest at the ceremony.
Mr Lowassa had asked to be excused as he was attending other official matters.


Green Christians urged to LOAF during Lent | Christian Ecology Link, CEL, LOAF IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: Throughout Lent, Christian Ecology Link (CEL) is asking supporters to think and act on food sourcing in their local church communities and further afield. They have launched a leaflet on the 'LOAF programme principles' in time for Shrove Tuesday on 21 February. The key LOAF principles are that food should where possible be: L- Locally produced; O- Organically grown; A- Animal friendly; and F- Fairly traded

CEL's Secretary, Barbara Echlin said: "Start the LOAF ball rolling in your own church by serving pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and make them with local free range eggs, organic milk and Fair Trade sugar."

Guidance for LOAF campaigners includes the suggestion to send the campaign letter to local church leaders and regional church administrators; and asking cathedrals, conference centres, educational venues and large churches with a refectory or cafe to take part.

CEL's Information and Analysis Officer, Jo Abbess said: "Good food is holy food - and good food comes from well-treated plants, animals and workers."

CEL is asking supporters to send a letter to their church leaders asking that their community LOAF during Lent, and then carry on LOAFing throughout the following year. A sample letter can be downloaded here:

Green Christians are being encouraged to order free copies of the new LOAF leaflet to distribute during Fair Trade Fortnight, which runs from 27 February to 11 March 2012, by sending an e-mail to : The leaflet can also be downloaded from

Green Christians are being asked to submit LOAF-themed recipes which will be uploaded to the new website:

Source: CEL


Good Shepherd welcomes new Province Leader

Tuesday 7 February 2012
By Rosie Hoban
Good-Shepherd-ProvincialSr Anne Manning took over as leader of the Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand Province on Saturday 4 February, following the inauguration Mass at the Good Shepherd Chapel in Abbotsford.
View gallery
Read Sr Anne's inaugural talk
Anne (pictured right) is known widely within Good Shepherd as the person who began The Trading Circle, Fair Trade Company, in the 1990s. Today, Good Shepherd has Trading Circle stores in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, selling products made by women in developing countries.
But Anne’s Good Shepherd life spans several decades and countries. She entered the Good Shepherds in Johannesburg in December 1963, and came to Australia from South Africa in February 1980.
Good-Shepherd-ProvincialIn South Africa she worked in residential care facilities for girls in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Hartbeespoort. She also helped establish a community development program in a slum area outside of Johannesburg, aimed at getting children off the streets and into some sort of schooling.
The “school” quickly grew from 14 children in the garage of the priest’s house, to 500 children inside a small community centre which the City Council had built and which had been a white elephant until Good Shepherd took it over.
Anne, who delivered the Homily at Saturday’s inauguration Mass, referred to her adventure last year of walking the Camino, an 800km pilgrimage trail in Spain. She said the Camino walk helped her “let go” of many of life’s unimportant trappings.
Good-Shepherd-Provincial“I also came to understand that the one absolute essential is love. This is found in the readings of today’s Eucharist – love. Of course we need food, clothing, shelter to survive – but a life, even with an abundance of these things, without love is a very poor thing.
St Paul tells us that without love we are nothing and what we do is worth nothing. Jesus says simply: ‘What I command you is to love one another’,” Anne said.
Good-Shepherd-Provincial“So this is our challenge – in the midst of all else that we are engaged in, to adhere firmly to this one big essential. St Mary Euphrasia, the Good Shepherd foundress, with all that she had accomplished, felt moved to say: ‘I have not done great things. I have only loved, but I have loved with all my heart’. If at the end we can echo those words for ourselves, then, whatever be our achievements or even our failures, we will have fulfilled to the best of our ability, our Good Shepherd mission.”
Anne’s six-year term will provide many challenges and possibilities as Good Shepherd Sisters and mission partners work together through their agencies and communities in New Zealand, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland, to continue the work which first began in Australia 149 years ago.
To read Anne’s homily in full click here.
Photos by Casamento Photography


Mark 7: 1 - 13
1 Now when the Pharisees gathered together to him, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem,
2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed.
3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders;
4 and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.)
5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?"
6 And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, `This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'
8 You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men."
9 And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!
10 For Moses said, `Honor your father and your mother'; and, `He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die';
11 but you say, `If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban' (that is, given to God) --
12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,
13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do."


St. Colette of Corbie
Feast: February 7

Feast Day: February 7 or March 6
13 January 1381, at Corbie in Picardy, France
Died: 6 March 1447, Ghent
Canonized: 24 May 1807
Founder of Colettine Poor Clares (Clarisses), born 13 January 1381, at Corbie in Picardy, France; died at Ghent, 6 March, 1447. Her father, Robert Boellet, was the carpenter of the famous Benedictine Abbey of Corbie; her mother's name was Marguerite Moyon. Colette joined successively the Bequines, the Benedictines, and the Urbanist Poor Clares. Later she lived for a while as a recluse. Having resolved to reform the Poor Clares, she turned to the antipope, Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna), then recognized by France as the rightful pope. Benedict allowed her to enter to the order of Poor Clares and empowered her by several Bulls, dated 1406, 1407, 1408, and 1412 to found new convents and complete the reform of the order. With the approval of the Countess of Geneva and the Franciscan Henri de la Beaume, her confessor and spiritual guide, Colette began her work at Beaume, in the Diocese of Geneva. She remained there but a short time and soon opened at Besancon her first convent in an almost abandoned house of Urbanist Poor Clares. Thence her reform spread to Auxonne (1410), to Poligny, to Ghent (1412), to Heidelberg (1444), to Amiens, etc. To the seventeen convents founded during her lifetime must be added another begun by her at Pont-a-Mousson in Lorraine. She also inaugurated a reform among the Franciscan friars (the Coletani), not to be confounded with the Observants. These Coletani remained obedient to the authority of the provincial of the Franciscan convents, and never attained much importance even in France. In 1448 they had only thirteen convents, and together with other small branches of the Franciscan Order were suppressed in 1417 by Leo X. In addition to the strict rules of the Poor Clares, the Colettines follow their special constitutions sanctioned in 1434 by the General of the Franciscans, William of Casale, approved in 1448 by Nicholas V, in 1458 by Pius II, and in 1482 by Sixtus IV.

St. Colette was beatified 23 January, 1740, and canonized 24 May, 1807. She was not only a woman of sincere piety, but also intelligent and energetic, and exercised a remarkable moral power over all her associates. She was very austere and mortified in her life, for which God rewarded her by supernatural favours and the gift of miracles. For the convents reformed by her she prescribed extreme poverty, to go barefooted, and the observance of perpetual fast and abstinence. The Colettine Sisters are found today, outside of France, in Belgium, Germany, Spain, England, and the United States

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