Sunday, September 9, 2012





Vatican Radio REPORT Pope Benedict on Saturday received participants who have been attending the XXIII International Mariological Congress here in Rome. For the last number of days they have been exploring the theme " Mariology since the Second Vatican Council: Reception, Assessment and Prospects”.

Giving a warm welcome to the participants gathered at the Papal Summer residence at Castelgandolfo, Pope Benedict reminded them, that Blessed John XXIII proclaimed that the Second Vatican Council would open on Oct. 11, the same day as when, in 431, the Council of Ephesus proclaimed Mary as the Mother of God.

The Pope also drew the attention of those present to the fact that on October 11
th this year, what he called an “extraordinary event” will occur, that being the opening of the Year of Faith and he went on to describe Mary herself as an exemplary example of Faith.

September 8th marks the feast of the Birth of Mary, a date which the Holy Father said has been presented as a precious item in the extraordinary mosaic that is the divine plan of salvation of mankind.

Looking back to his own participation as a young theologian at the Second Vatican Council, Pope Benedict said he “was able to see the various ways of dealing with issues about the shape and role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in salvation history.”

The Holy Father said the Council offered a chance to enrich the Constitution of the Church with a specific chapter on the Mother of God in which the figure of Mary appears “in all her beauty and uniqueness tightly inserted in the fundamental mysteries of the Christian faith.”

The Pope underlined that the Mother of God must continue to be studied as a way of deepening ones faith.

We must look on Mary, said Pope Benedict as a beacon of light and as a model of Christian maturity from whom we can draw an enthusiasm and joy to live with ever greater commitment and consistency our vocation as children of God, and brothers and sisters in Christ.”



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His_Beatitude_Sviatoslav_ShewchukFor the first time ever, the annual meeting of the Ukrainian Catholic Synod of Bishops will take place in Canada. It will meet in Portage la Prairie, which is in the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg, from 9 to 16 September 2012. The Ukrainian Catholic Bishops of Canada invited the Synod to hold its annual meeting in Canada to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Ukrainian Catholic Bishop in Canada, Blessed Bishop Nykyta Budka. Around 35 to 40 Ukrainian Catholic Bishops will participate, including His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kiev-Halych (Ukraine) who is the primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. During his visit to Canada, Archbishop Shevchuk will be received by the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) which he will address. He is also making pastoral visits in each of the five Ukrainian Catholic Eparchies across Canada.
Link for the Ukrainian Catholic Synod of Bishops


Judges have dropped the charges against Youcef Nadarkhani in prison since 2009. He was, however, convicted of "evangelizing Muslims." Based on the three-year sentence, he already served the time and should now be released. Satisfaction among the members of the Church of Iran.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An Iranian court has ordered the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani in prison since October 2009 and sentenced to death for apostasy with the sentence suspended but not canceled in July of last year (see AsiaNews 21/07 / 2011 Tehran suspended, not canceled, the death sentence for conversion of a shepherd). This is a turning point in the course of a story that had long made may fear for the fate of the 35 year-old Christian. On the eve of the hearing today, in fact, many hypothesized a new trial and fresh charges against the man, based on "perfectly fabricated" crime to prolong his sentence, according to the complaint of many activists. In an interview with BosNewsLife the church to which the pastor belonged, instead confirmed the "positive" change in the course of events.

The pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was acquitted of "apostasy," but found guilty of "evangelizing Muslims." He was sentenced for this to three years in prison, but has already served this, given that he has been in prison since October 2009. For this reason he will be released, sources of the Church of Iran added. The positive outcome is "an answer to our prayers," said Firouz Khandjani, another member of the Protestant movement, adding that Youcef could leave his cell "by the late afternoon."

In recent days, the network of activists Farsi Christian Network had spoken of the possibility of new charges against the man, including "banditry and extortion" that would have replaced the previous count of indictment for "apostasy." Following strong protests from the international community for the condemnation, the Iranian authorities - explained the Christian activists - want to influence the case by "mounting arbitrary charges" and thus "increasing concern" about his fate.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, 35, (he was born in 1977), a member of the Church of Iran was arrested Oct. 13, 2009 in the city of Rasht as he tried to legally register his church. It is believed that his arrest was caused by his position, critical of the Islamic religious monopoly on the education of children in Iran. He was initially accused of protests, but later the charges were changed into that of apostasy and the evangelization of Muslims.

Iranian civil law does not provide the crime of apostasy, even if authorities have discussed passing such a law for some time. In the case of Pastor Nadarkhani, which has been described as "distorted" and "extrajudicial", it seems that there was political pressure on judges, who were divided on the sentence. The court apparently used art. 167 of the Iranian Constitution, which states that if the judges do not find the basis for a decision in civil law then they should "cite Islamic reliable sources or a valid fatwa to arrive at a judgment and issue a verdict."



Agenzia Fidesr REPORT - There are 25 candidates in the 10 September Somali presidential elections approved by the Electoral Parliamentary Commission. Today, September 7, candidates will present their program to the Somali Parliament. Among them is also the son of former dictator Siad Barre. The President of Somalia will be voted by Parliament which took office in recent weeks (see Fides 09/21/2012). The procedure provides that if no candidate reaches two thirds of the vote, a second vote is held among the four candidates who have obtained the highest number of votes. If in this second ballot no candidate is able to obtain two-thirds of the vote, there will be a final ballot between the two candidates who obtained the highest number of votes.
The election of the Head of State is part of the transition process promoted by the UN to give Somalia credible state institutions after 20 years of absence of a central State. The stabilization process is still far from complete, however, particularly at a military level. In fact air, naval and land bombing continue on Kismayo, the last stronghold of the Shabaab by the Kenyan forces (which have intervened in Somalia for months) in preparation for the offensive to capture the city by Somali forces and those of AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia). The Shabaab, however, show that they are still able to carry out attacks in other parts of Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu, where on 6 September a bomb hit an armored vehicle of AMISOM. (L.M.)


Matthew 1: 18 - 23
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit;
19 and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
20 But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit;
21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us).


The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Feast: September 8
Information: Feast Day: September 8
The present Feast forms a link between the New and the Old Testament. It shows that Truth succeeds symbols and figures and that the New Covenant replaces the Old. Hence, all creation sings with joy, exults, and participates in the joy of this day.... This is, in fact, the day on which the Creator of the world constructed His temple; today is the day on which by a stupendous project a creature becomes the preferred dwelling of the Creator" (Saint Andrew of Crete).
"Let us celebrate with joy the birth of the Virgin Mary, of whom was born the Sun of Justice.... Her birth constitutes the hope and the light of salvation for the whole world.... Her image is light for the whole Christian people" (From the Liturgy).
As these texts so clearly indicate, an atmosphere of joy and light pervades the Birth of the Virgin Mary.
1. Historical Details about the Feast
The origin of this Feast is sought in Palestine. It goes back to the consecration of a church in Jerusalem, which tradition identifies as that of the present basilica of St. Ann.
At Rome the Feast began to be kept toward the end of the 7th century, brought there by Eastern monks. Gradually and in varied ways it spread to the other parts of the West in the centuries that followed. From the 13th century on, the celebration assumed notable importance, becoming a Solemnity with a major Octave and preceded by a Vigil calling for a fast. The Octave was reduced to a simple one during the reform of St. Pius X and was abolished altogether under the reform of Pius XII in 1955. The present Calendar characterizes the Birth of Mary as a "Feast," placing it on the same plane as the Visitation.
For some centuries now, the Birth has been assigned to September 8 both in the East and in the West, but in ancient times it was celebrated on different dates from place to place. However, when the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (which has a later origin than that of the Birth) was extended to the whole Church, the Birth little by little became assigned everywhere to September 8: nine months after the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
2. At the Heart of Salvation
As we know, the Gospels have not transmitted to us anything about the birth of the Virgin Mary. Their attention is completely centered on the mystery of Christ and His salvific mission.
The birth of Mary is recounted by the Protevangelium of James (5:2), an apocryphal writing from the end of the 2nd century. Subsequent tradition is based on this account.
The description - although in the manner of an apocryphal document - obviously presents an important historical event: the birth of the Mother of the Lord.
But the problem that concerns us here is the significance of this event. In the case of all the Saints, the Church commemorates their birthday on the day of their return to the Lord. However, in the cases of St. John the Baptizer and the Blessed Virgin, it also celebrates the day of their earthly birth. This is a singular fact already emphasized in ancient times, for example, by Paschasius Radbertus (d. about 859).
The reason for this fact is not found primarily in the greatness or the privileges of the persons involved but in the singular mission that was theirs in the History of Salvation. In this light, the birth of the Blessed Virgin is considered to be - like that of John the Baptizer - in direct relationship with the coming of the Savior of the world. Thus, the birth and existence of Marysimilar to and even more than those of the Baptizer - take on a significance that transcends her own person. It is explained solely in the context of the History of Salvation, connected with the People of God of the Old Covenant and the New. Mary's birth lies at the confluence of the two Testaments - bringing to an end the stage of expectation and the promises and inaugurating the new times of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ.
Mary, the Daughter of Zion and ideal personification of Israel, is the last and most worthy representative of the People of the Old Covenant but at the same time she is "the hope and the dawn of the whole world." With her, the elevated Daughter of Zion, after a long expectation of the promises, the times are fulfilled and a new economy is established (LG 55).
The birth of Mary is ordained in particular toward her mission as Mother of the Savior. Her existence is indissolubly connected with that of Christ: it partakes of a unique plan of predestination and grace. God's mysterious plan regarding the incarnation of the Word embraces also the Virgin who is His Mother. In this way, the Birth of Mary is inserted at the very heart of the History of Salvation.
3. Christological Orientations
The Biblical readings of the Feast have a clear Christological- salvific orientation that forms the backdrop for contemplating the figure of Mary.
Micah 5:1-4a. The Prophet announces the coming of the Lord of Israel who will come forth from Bethlehem of Judah. The Mother of the Messiah, presented as one about to give birth, will give life to the prince and pastor of the house of David who will bring justice and peace. She will work with the Messiah to bring forth a new people.
Romans 8.28-30. This passage does not speak directly about Mary but about the believer justified by the grace of Christ and gifted with the indwelling of the Spirit. He or she has been chosen and called from all eternity to share Christ's life and glory. This is true in a privileged manner for Mary, Spouse and Temple of the Holy Spirit, Mother of God's Son, and intimately united with Him in a Divine plan of predestination and grace. Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23. The meaning of this seemingly and genealogy is theologically profound: to place Jesus, the MessiahLord, within the dynastic tree of His people. He is a descendant, and in fact "the descendant," of Abraham (cf. Gal 3:16) and the Patriarchs in accord with the promises, and He is the semi-heir of the Prophets. The ring that united Christ with His people is Mary, Daughter of Zion and Mother of the Lord.
The virginity stressed by the Gospel text is the sign of the Divine origin of the Son and of the absolute newness that now breaks forth in the history of human beings.
The Christological-salvific purpose and tone dominate not only the Bible readings but also the Eucharistic Celebration and the Liturgy of the Hours.
It has been observed that, although the texts of this Feast's celebration are less rich than those of other Marian feasts, they do have one outstanding characteristic: "The number of themes is rather restricted, [but] there are extremely numerous invitations to joy" (J. Pascher).
Indeed, joy pervades the whole of this Feast's liturgy. If many "will rejoice" at the birth of the precursor (cf. Lk 1:14), a much greater joy is stirred up by the birth of the Mother of the Savior. Hence, this is a Feast that serves as a prelude to the "joy to all people" brought about by the Birth of the Son of God at Christmas and expressed by the singing of hymns and carols.
Added to this theme of joy on this Marian Feast is that of light because with Mary's birth the darkness is dispersed and there rises in the world the dawn that announces the Sun of Justice, Christ the Lord.


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