Sunday, July 29, 2012


Vatican Radio REPORT: Pope Benedict XVI appealed for peace in Syria and in Iraq on Sunday. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father said that he continues, “[T]o follow with concern the growing and tragic episodes of violence in Syria,” where as many as 20 thousand people have perished in more than a year of increasingly intense civil strife. Pope Benedict also decried the large number of refugees and internally displaced persons the conflict has caused to be driven from their homes. The Pope went on to ask that all those thus affected be ensured the necessary humanitarian assistance. After promising his continued prayer and spiritual closeness to all those suffering as a result of the conflict, Pope Benedict added an urgent call, “for an end to all violence and bloodshed,” and that, in the broader community of nations, “no effort be spared in the quest for peace, through dialogue and reconciliation, for the proper political settlement of the conflict.”

The Holy Father also had prayerful thoughts for Iraq, where a series of deadly attacks took place in across the country last week, including coordinated bombings and terror strikes that claimed the lives of more than 100 people and wounded more than 200 on a single day. The Holy Father prayed, “That this great country find once again the path toward stability, reconciliation and peace



BISHOPS CONFERENCE OF IRELAND RELEASE: The annual Reek Sunday pilgrimage will take place this weekend, 29 July, on Ireland’s holy mountain Croagh Patrick, near Westport, Co Mayo in the Archdiocese of Tuam. This pilgrimage has been carried out uninterrupted for over 1,500 years. Croagh Patrick has over 100,000 visitors annually with up to 20,000 people expected this weekend. See press release.
For over 1,500 years pilgrims have been climbing the mountain of Croagh Patrick, following in the footsteps of Ireland’s national saint. Up to 20,000 people are set to continue the tradition on Reek Sunday 2012. Pilgrims young and old travel from across the country to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors, stopping at various stations on the climb to pray before celebrating Mass on the summit, where St Patrick spent forty days and nights fasting in the year 441.
The pilgrimage will be led by Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, who this year will be joined by the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, His Excellency Most Rev Charles Brown.
Mass will be celebrated at the summit at 8.00am and every half-hour thereafter until the last Mass at 2.00 pm. The 10.00am Mass will be celebrated in Irish and Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass at 10.30am. Pilgrims may avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the summit from 7.30am to 2.30pm.
Garland Friday – Local Pilgrimage – Friday July 27. Father Tod Nolan will celebrate Mass on the summit at 10.00am. Mass will be celebrated at the base of the mountain in the Murrisk car park at 7.30pm.
Recent historical pilgrimages
In 2008, history was made with a television first when Mass was televised live from the summit and broadcast on RTÉ television and on the world-wide web (see RTÉ News report here). This special broadcast was produced by the late Fr Michael Melvin SVD of Kairos Communications.
For Reek Sunday 2006, Archbishop Neary and other pilgrims were accompanied by Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. As successor to St Patrick, Cardinal Brady was the first Archbishop of Armagh to climb the Holy Mountain since St Patrick.
In 2005, Archbishop Neary unveiled a plaque to mark the centenary of St Patrick’s Oratory on the summit.
Croagh Patrick, (c.2,510ft/765m) Ireland’s holy mountain, dominates the landscape of southwest Mayo both spiritually and physically. The Croagh Patrick pilgrimage is associated with St Patrick who, in 441, spent 40 days and nights fasting on the summit, following the example of Christ and Moses. The name ‘Reek Sunday’ comes from Patrick’s ability to Christianise many pagan customs including the festival of Lughnasa, which previously had heralded the start of the harvest festival honouring the ancient pagan god Lugh, whose name is encompassed in the Irish word for August: Lughnasa. This festival’s tradition became absorbed into the new Christian beliefs and locally become known as Domhnach na Cruaiche (Reek Sunday).
All those who intend to climb are asked to come prepared for the current weather conditions, to bring suitable warm/waterproof clothing, good footwear, a walking stick/staff and water, and to be mindful of the safety of themselves and other pilgrims.
Further information on Croagh Patrick, and a virtual tour of the mountain, can be viewed on the website of the Archdiocese of Tuam
The website of Westport parish also contains additional information about the Holy Mountain.


Thailand: models visit Camillian children's home | Nina Evans, Amy Willerton, Miss London 2012,  Fay Bacon,  UK Model Folios, Camillian Home for Children Living with Disabilities, Bangkok, Lat Krabang

Fay said: “We were all apprehensive about what to expect and what we would see but we were so excited to meet the children and see our donations in action.

l-r: Fay Bacon, Kratai, Nina Evans & Amy Willerton
Leading British models Nina Evans, Amy Willerton, (Miss London 2012), and Fay Bacon, pageant organiser and director of UK Model Folios, visited the Camillian Home for Children Living with Disabilities in Bangkok last month to meet some of the children that they help to support. The centre on Lat Krabang looks after 20 children on site and provides a day-care centre for another 70 youngsters.
Fay said: “We were all apprehensive about what to expect and what we would see but we were so excited to meet the children and see our donations in action.
“Entering the Camillian Home, we couldn’t have been more surprised – the tranquil and ultra-clean surroundings immediately put us at ease. It was clear that these children were being given the best of care."
"One of the most wonderful things about the Camillian Home was the love. From the volunteers and the orphans, to the day-care children and the staff – the whole place is full of positivity and warmth."
"The three of us left the home feeling bittersweet – feeling the desperate urge to do more and sad to say goodbye to the most beautiful children.”
Sadly one of the children they met on their visit, Kratai (pictured), has now died, following complications with his heart and liver. Abandoned by his family, Kratai had Aids which had advanced too far for treatment, but, in Camillian Home, he found a place where he was loved and looked after.
For more information on the Camillian Homes see:



USCCB REPORT: Beverly A. Carroll received the 2012 "Servant of Christ Award- Lifetime Achievement Honors" from the National Black Catholic Congress XI, July 21, in Indianapolis. The Lifetime Achievement in Outstanding Leadership and Service to the Catholic Church in the African American Community Award was established and first given in July, 2012 to honor an individual who has made significant contributions to the freedom and growth of African Americans as full participants in the Church and society.
Since 2009, Carroll has been an Assistant Director in the Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church at the United States Conference on Catholic Bishops (USCCB), where she advises the U.S. Bishops on evangelization in African American communities. She was the founding director of the USCCB Secretariat for African American Catholics from 1988 to 2008.
"Beverly is an example of the 'good and faithful servant.' She is a respected leader in the community and has provided invaluable advice to the Bishops Conference on matters concerning the evangelization of African American Catholics," said Mar Muñoz-Visoso, executive director of USCCB's Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church."We are proud to know her and work with her every day, and grateful that her talents and love for the Church are being recognized."
Internationally, Carroll had led several U.S. delegations to South Africa, Peru, and Brazil. Prior to joining the USCCB, Carroll spent 20 years in the Archdiocese of Baltimore's Office of Urban Affairs, an inner city program which served over 64 parishes and schools, and provided staff assistance to the Lawrence Cardinal Shehan Scholarship Fund.
In 1988 she received the prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King Award for Civil Rights from the Archdiocese of Baltimore; and in 2008, the Excellence in Leadership Award from the National Association of Black Catholic Administrators.
She received an honorary doctorate of human letters from Siena College in 1999.
The National Black Catholic Congress is comprised of member organizations that represent African American Catholics, working in collaboration with National Catholic organizations.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
25 Jul 2012

Sr Myree Harris rsj a tireless advocate
of the poor, mentally ill and homeless
For almost 20 years, Sister Myree Harris rsj has been fighting for reforms to standards and monitoring of boarding houses or Licensed Residential Centres (LRC) as they are officially known, in a bid to the protect the poor, vulnerable and mentally ill.
Back in 1993, Sr Myree co-founded CASA (the Coalition for Appropriate Supported Accommodation) to lobby the government for stronger regulations of the privately-run for-profit hostels and boarding houses that looked after the state's low income mentally ill and disabled.
Catholic Social Services, Mary MacKillop Outreach, Exodus Foundation, Council for Intellectual Disability, Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW, Mission Australia, Salvation Army, People with Disability Australia and the Mental Health Coordinating Council were among the many organisations who signed on and worked with Sr Myree for tighter controls and regulations of LRCs.
But despite their best efforts, it took the deaths of six mentally ill residents at a Marrickville house of horrors in 2009 and 2010 and the resultant scandal to galvanise the state's politicians into action.

State Coroner, Mary Jarram at the Inquest into the deaths of Shaneen Batts, Ilona Takacs, Dorothy Hudson, Ian Birks, Donald MacKellar and Mohammed Ramzan held in May this year, found there was no question that the six who died had been "uncared for, poorly treated medically and neglected."

Marrickville Boarding House was damp,
Dickensian, squalid and unkempt
In a scathing assessment of the boarding house which she described as a "Dickensian picture of neglect" she called for an urgent overhaul of the industry and the lax regulations governing LRCs.
Almost immediately, the NSW Government released a draft Exposure Bill to tighten regulations, create proper standards for LRCs and ensure those who live in these hostels or boarding houses are guaranteed oversight and proper protection.
Submissions on the Bill will close on 10 August with both sides of the House expected to give bipartisan support to the legislation which is expected to come into force from 1 January next year.
"The Exposure Bill is the government's first real move in the right direction," says Sr Myree who while grateful the NSW Government is at last taking action, is saddened that it took the "unnecessary and tragic" deaths of six people to highlight what was going on and reveal the neglect and squalid conditions under which many of society's most vulnerable people have been forced to live.
"Residents in these places have no one to speak for them, no advocates and no friends or family they can contact. They are completely alone and until the bill goes through and they are given occupancy rights they are at the mercy of the owners. The owner often holds their bank book, Medicare card and pension card and they are too terrified to speak up if things are bad in case they are thrown out," Sr Myree says. "They literally have nowhere to go and nowhere to turn."

Six deaths occurred at this Sydney boarding
house in 2009 and 2010
Licensed Residential Centres or LRCs as they are known were established in the late 1970s and 1980s in response to the government's decision to deinstitutionalise mental hospitals with the belief that the mentally disabled would respond better and be happier if cared for while living in the community.
But what began as an admirable initiative, foundered from a lack of funding and as the years progressed, funding for community mental health teams who were supposed to monitor residents also suffered cutbacks.
As the years have gone by, many of those deinstitutionalised are now elderly and in need of extra care. But countless attempts by CASA over the past two decades for an overhaul of the system and better protection for society's most vulnerable were met with apathy and disinterest.
"The scandal at Marrickville exposed the inertia of the government at all levels and over many years and a general unwillingness to take action," Sr Myree says.

Under current laws the poor
and mentally disabled are
at the mercy of landlords
Currently any boarding house or hostel that cares for two or more mentally or disabled residents must be licensed. But the Exposure Bill will go much further and for the first time residents will have access to the Consumer Trade and Tenancy Tribunal as well as written receipts for rental and proper written notice on how and why their occupancy is being terminated.
"Once the Bill becomes law, residents will no longer be thrown out on the streets at a moment's notice," says Sr Myree who speaks of the ill, desperate people she finds standing stunned and uncomprehending amongst their meagre belongings after being tossed out of a boarding house.
She also recalls the scandal prior to the Sydney Olympics in 2000 when hundreds of those living in LRCs were tossed out to make way for tourists arriving in the city for the big event.
The Bill will also ensure that LRCs are clean, secure and safe for those living there and that proper trained staff are in charge so that the tragedy that occurred at Marrickville will not be repeated.
"The death of the one of the residents at Marrickville was a result of choking on his food," Sr Myree says. "But when he began choking instead of taking action or calling paramedics, staff rang the boarding house owner to ask what to do."
Another death at Marrickville was caused by poisoning by an overdose of an anti-psychotic drug administered by the boarding house cook.
"These deaths should fill us all with shame," she says.


CISA REPORT: KIGALI, July 20, 2012 (CISA) -ARTICLE 19 organization has said that it is deeply concerned with the continued harassment and unlawful detention of Rwandese journalist, Idriss Gasana Byiringiro, by the government security forces and calls on the police to immediately and unconditionally release him after holding him incommunicado for two days.
“The persistent harassment of Gasana since 15 June and his illegal detention including denying him access to his family and lawyer is an infringement of his fundamental human rights and a drawback on the promised media reforms in Rwanda. It is not only unacceptable but illegal to hold a person for over two days without seeking courts permission even when investigations are underway.” said Henry Maina ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa Director.
Gasana who works for the Rwandan weekly, The Chronicles, was arrested on July 17 and detained at Kicukiro police post in Kigali City following a request from the Criminal Investigation Division to help them with their investigations. Since his arrest he has been denied access to his family, lawyer or his colleagues.
The arrest follows four weeks of alleged intimidation, harassment and illegal interrogation of the journalist by individuals who claimed to work for the intelligence services. According to Dr Christopher Kayumba, the Managing Consultant with The Chronicles the process began on 15 June when four individuals who claimed to work for the security services forced him into a Land Cruiser vehicle at around 3pm, confiscated all his belongings, including a mobile telephone and laptop, and drove him to Nyamata where he was allegedly interrogated and then released.
Following the incident, The Chronicles management wrote a complaint letter to the relevant authorities informing them of the incident. After lodging the complaint on June 19, Gasana received intimidating SMS messages and an unsigned letter containing threats. The letter and the SMS were also forwarded to security officials investigating the matter.
ARTICLE 19 has called upon the Rwanda government to unconditionally release Gasana and stop harassing and intimidating the journalist. It also asks the police to quickly investigate and prosecute those sending threatening SMS messages and unsigned letters to the journalist.


2 Kings 4: 42 - 44
42 A man came from Ba'al-shal'ishah, bringing the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley, and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Eli'sha said, "Give to the men, that they may eat."
43 But his servant said, "How am I to set this before a hundred men?" So he repeated, "Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the LORD, `They shall eat and have some left.'"
44 So he set it before them. And they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the LORD.
Psalms 145: 10 - 11, 15 - 18
10 All thy works shall give thanks to thee, O LORD, and all thy saints shall bless thee!
11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and tell of thy power,
15 The eyes of all look to thee, and thou givest them their food in due season.
16 Thou openest thy hand, thou satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
17 The LORD is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.
18 The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.
Ephesians 4: 1 - 6
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
2 with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love,
3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call,
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.
John 6: 1 - 15
1 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiber'i-as.
2 And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased.
3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples.
4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.
5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, "How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?"
6 This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
7 Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little."
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him,
9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?"
10 Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.
12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost."
13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten.
14 When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!"
15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself


St. Martha
Feast: July 29

Feast Day: July 29
Palaestina (modern-day Israel)
Died: 80, Tarascon, Gaul (modern-day France) or Cyprus
Patron of: butlers; cooks; dietitians; domestic servants; homemakers; hotel-keepers; housemaids; housewives; innkeepers; laundry workers; maids; manservants; servants; servers; single laywomen; travellers
Mentioned only in Luke, x, 38-42; and John, xi; xii, sqq. The Aramaic form occurs in a Nabatfan inscription found at Puteoli, and now in the Naples Museum; it is dated A.D. 5 (Corpus Inscr. Semit., 158); also in a Palmyrene inscription, where the Greek translation has the form Marthein, A.D. 179.
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are represented by St. John as living at Bethania, but St. Luke would seem to imply that they were, at least at one time, living in Galilee; he does not mention the name of the town, but it may have been Magdala, and we should thus, supposing Mary of Bethania and Mary Magdalene to be the same person, understand the appellative "Magdalene". The words of St. John (xi, 1) seem to imply a change of residence for the family. It is possible, too, that St. Luke has displaced the incident referred to in c. x. The likeness between the pictures of Martha presented by Luke and John is very remarkable. The familiar intercourse between the Saviour of the world and the humble family which St. Luke depicts is dwelt on by St. John when he tells us that "Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus" (xi, 5). Again the picture of Martha's anxiety (John, xi, 20-21, 39) accords with the picture of her who was "busy about much serving" (Luke, x, 40); so also in John, xii, 2: "They made him a supper there: and Martha served." But St. John has given us a glimpse of the other and deeper side of her character when he depicts her growing faith in Christ's Divinity (xi, 20-27), a faith which was the occasion of the words: "I am the resurrection and the life." The Evangelist has beautifully indicated the change that came over Martha after that interview: "When she had said these things, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: The Master is
come, and calleth for thee."
Difficulties have been raised about the last supper at Bethania. St. John seems to put it six days before the Pasch, and, so some conclude, in the house of Martha; while the Synoptic account puts it two days before the Pasch, and in the house of Simon the Leper. We need not try to avoid this difficulty by asserting that there were two suppers; for St. John does not say that the supper took place six days before, but only that Christ arrived in Bethania six days before the Pasch; nor does he say that it was in the house of Martha. We are surely justified in arguing that, since St. Matthew and St. Mark place the scene in the house of Simon, St. John must be understood to say the same; it remains to be
proved that Martha could not "serve" in Simon's house.


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