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Sunday, September 16, 2012

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : SATURDAY SEPT. 15, 2012


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VATICAN : POPE : SILENCE WEAPONS - CEASE ALL VIOLENCE - COVERAGE TRIP TO LEBANON
AFRICA : TUNISIA : 87 MIGRANTS LEFT STRANDED
AMERICA : DOMINICAN REPUBLIC : ARCHBISHOP DENOUNCES VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN 
EUROPE : IRELAND RIP FR. MICHAEL HEALY AGE 91
ASIA : PAKISTAN : 249 KILLED IN FACTORY FIRE
AUSTRALIA : RELIC OF ST. FRANCIS XAVIER IN SYDNEY
TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : OL OF SORROWS - SAT. SEPT 16, 2012
TODAY'S SAINT: SEPT. 15: OUR LADY OF SORROWS
 
 
VATICAN : POPE : SILENCE WEAPONS - CEASE ALL VIOLENCE - COVERAGE TRIP TO LEBANON
VIS REPORTS - CHRISTIANS OF THE MIDDLE EAST! HOW CAN WE FAIL TO PRAISE GOD FOR YOUR COURAGE AND FAITH?
Vatican City, 15 September 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Greek-Melkite Basilica of St. Paul in Harissa, Lebanon, Benedict XVI signed the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, "Ecclesia in Medio Oriente". The basilica forms part of a complex which includes a major seminary and a "house for writers" who study the sacred texts and translate documents of the Magisterium into Arabic. Since 1909 it has also been the headquarters of the Missionaries of St. Paul.
The Holy Father was received by His Beatitude Gregorios III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek-Melkites. Following the entrance chant in the Byzantine rite, the Pope paused to venerate the icons conserved inside the basilica. Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, then pronounced some words after which the ceremony continued with the initial chants in the Maronite rite.
Following the readings Benedict XVI delivered greetings to the patriarchs and a group of Oriental and Latin bishops, to Orthodox, Muslim and Druze delegations, as well as to representatives of the world of culture and civil society, and the Greek-Melkite community.
"The happy coexistence of Islam and Christianity, two religions that have helped to shape great cultures", he said, "is what makes for the originality of social, political and religious life in Lebanon. One can only rejoice in this circumstance, which must absolutely be encouraged. I entrust this wish to the religious leaders of your country".
"Providentially, this event takes place on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a celebration originating in the East in 335, following the dedication of the Basilica of the Resurrection built over Golgotha and our Lord’s tomb by the Emperor Constantine the Great, whom you venerate as saint. A month from now we will celebrate the seventeen-hundredth anniversary of the appearance to Constantine of the 'Chi-Rho', radiant in the symbolic night of his unbelief and accompanied by the words: 'In this sign you will conquer!'"
"There is an inseparable bond between the cross and the resurrection which Christians must never forget. Without this bond, to exalt the cross would mean to justify suffering and death, seeing them merely as our inevitable fate. For Christians, to exalt the cross means to be united to the totality of God’s unconditional love for mankind. It means making an act of faith! To exalt the cross, against the backdrop of the resurrection, means to desire to experience and to show the totality of this love. It means making an act of love! To exalt the cross means to be a committed herald of fraternal and ecclesial communion, the source of authentic Christian witness. It means making an act of hope!
"In examining the present situation of the Church in the Middle East, the Synod Fathers reflected on the joys and struggles, the fears and hopes of Christ’s disciples in these lands. In this way, the entire Church was able to hear the troubled cry and see the desperate faces of many men and women who experience grave human and material difficulties, who live amid powerful tensions in fear and uncertainty, who desire to follow Christ - the One Who gives meaning to their existence - yet often find themselves prevented from doing so".
"At the same time, the Church was able to admire all that is beautiful and noble in the Churches in these lands. How can we fail to thank God at every moment for all of you, dear Christians of the Middle East! How can we fail to praise Him for your courage and faith? How can we fail to thank Him for the flame of His infinite love which you continue to keep alive and burning in these places which were the first to welcome His incarnate Son? How can we fail to praise and thank Him for your efforts to build ecclesial and fraternal communion, and for the human solidarity which you constantly show to all God’s children?
"'Ecclesia in Medio Oriente' makes it possible to rethink the present in order to look to the future with the eyes of Christ. By its biblical and pastoral orientation, its invitation to deeper spiritual and ecclesiological reflection, its call for liturgical and catechetical renewal, and its summons to dialogue, the Exhortation points out a path for rediscovering what is essential: being a follower of Christ even in difficult and sometimes painful situations which may lead to the temptation to ignore or to forget the exaltation of the cross. It is here and now that we are called to celebrate the victory of love over hate, forgiveness over revenge, service over domination, humility over pride, and unity over division. In the light of today’s Feast, and in view of a fruitful application of the Exhortation, I urge all of you to fear not, to stand firm in truth and in purity of faith. This is the language of the cross, exalted and glorious ...capable of changing our sufferings into a declaration of love for God and mercy for our neighbour, ... of transforming those who suffer because of their faith and identity into vessels of clay ready to be filled to overflowing by divine gifts more precious than gold. This is more than simply picturesque language: it is a pressing appeal to act concretely in a way which configures us ever more fully to Christ, in a way which helps the different Churches to reflect the beauty of the first community of believers".
"'Ecclesia in Medio Oriente' provides some elements that are helpful for a personal and communal examination of conscience, and an objective evaluation of the commitment and desire for holiness of each one of Christ’s disciples. The Exhortation shows openness to authentic inter-religious dialogue based on faith in the one God, the Creator. It also seeks to contribute to an ecumenism full of human, spiritual and charitable fervour, in evangelical truth and love".
"The Exhortation as a whole is meant to help each of the Lord’s disciples to live fully and to pass on faithfully to others what he or she has become by Baptism: a child of light, sharing in God’s own light, a lamp newly lit amid the troubled darkness of this world, so that the light may shine in the darkness. The document seeks to help purify the faith from all that disfigures it, from everything that can obscure the splendour of Christ’s light. For communion is true fidelity to Christ, and Christian witness is the radiance of the paschal mystery which gives full meaning to the cross, exalted and glorious".
"'Fear not, little flock', and remember the promise made to Constantine: 'In this sign you will conquer!” Churches of the Middle East, fear not, for the Lord is truly with you, to the close of the age! Fear not, because the universal Church walks at your side and is humanly and spiritually close to you! It is with this hope and this word of encouragement to be active heralds of the faith by your communion and witness. ... God grant that all the peoples of the Middle East may live in peace, fraternity and religious freedom! May God bless all of you!"





SUMMARY OF THE POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION "ECCLESIA IN MEDIO ORIENTE"
Vatican City, 15 September 2012 (VIS) - Given below is a brief summary of the main points contained in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Medio Oriente".
The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortion "Ecclesia in Medio Oriente" is the document elaborated by Benedict XVI based on the forty-four final propositions of the special Synod for the Middle East, which was held in Vatican City from 10 to 26 October 2010 on the theme: "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and witness. 'The company of those who believed were of one heart and soul'". The text is subdivided into three parts, plus an introduction and a conclusion.
INTRODUCTION
The Exhortation invites the Catholic Church in the Middle East to revive communion within the Church, looking to the "native faithful" who belong to the Eastern Catholic Churches "sui iuris", and opening up to dialogue with Jews and Muslims. This is a communion, a unity to be reached within the context of geographical, religious, cultural and socio-political diversity in the Middle East. Benedict XVI renews his call to conserve and promote the rites of the Eastern Churches, heritage of all Christ's Church.
PART ONE
The Context: Firstly, the Pope exhorts us not to forget the Christians who live in the Middle East and who bring a "noble and authentic" contribution to the construction of the Body of Christ. Then, in describing the situation of the region and the peoples who live there, Benedict XVI dramatically emphasises the deaths, the victims of "human blindness", fear and humiliation. Without entering into detail, the Exhortation briefly recalls that the position of the Holy See on the various conflicts in the region and on the status of Jerusalem and the Holy Places is well known. Finally, a call is made for conversion to peace - understood not only as the simple absence of conflict, but rather as interior peace and linked to justice - overriding all distinctions of race, sex and class, and to practice forgiveness in the realms of both private and community life.
The Christian and ecumenical life: This chapter is a call in favour of ecumenical unity which "does not mean uniformity of tradition and celebrations". In a difficult, unstable political context inclined towards violence such as the Middle East, in fact, the Church has developed in a truly multi-form fashion, encompassing Churches of ancient tradition and more recent ecclesiastical communities. It is a form of mosaic which requires significant effort in the reinforcement of Christian witness. In line with Vatican Council II the Pope encourages spiritual ecumenism, and a communion understood not as confusion, but rather as recognition and respect for others. At the same time, the Exhortation reasserts the importance of the work of theology and the various ecumenical commissions and ecclesial communities, in order that - in line with the doctrine of the Church - they speak with one voice on the most important moral questions (family, sexuality,bioethics, freedom, justice and peace). Diaconal ecumenism is also important, in both charitable and educational fields. Several concrete proposals for an ecumenical pastoral outreach are then listed: among these, the application of conciliary openness towards a certain "communicatio in sacris" (i.e., the possibility for Christians to access the Sacraments in a Church other than their own) for the Sacraments of Penance, the Eucharist and the Anointing of the Sick. The Pope states his certainty of the possibility of reaching agreement on a common translation of the Lord's Prayer in the local languages of the region.
Inter-religious dialogue: Recalling the historical and spiritual links that Christians have with Jews and Muslims, the Exhortation reaffirms that inter-religious dialogue is not dictated by pragmatic considerations of a political or social order, but is based primarily upon the theological foundations of faith: Jews, Christians and Muslims believe in a single God and for this reason it is hoped that they may recognise in "the other believer" a brother to love and respect, avoiding the exploitation of religion for conflicts which are "unjustifiable for authentic believers". With particular regard to Christian-Jewish dialogue, the Pope recalls the common spiritual heritage, based on the Bible, which leads back to the "Jewish roots of Christianity"; at the same time he invites Christians to be aware of the mystery of the Incarnation of God and to condemn the unjustifiable persecutions of the past.
With regard to Muslims, Benedict XVI uses the word "esteem", "in fidelity to the teachings of Vatican Council II"; however, is is regrettable that doctrinal differences have been used as a pretext by both Christians and Muslims to justify, in the name of religion, acts of intolerance, discrimination, marginalisation and persecution. The Exhortation then shows how the presence of Christians in the Middle East is neither new, nor casual, but historical. An integral part of the region, they have given rise to "a particular form of symbiosis" with the surrounding culture, specific to the Middle East, and they have the right and the duty to participate fully in civil life, and should not be considered as second class citizens. The Pope affirms that religious liberty - the pinnacle of all freedoms, sacred and inalienable - includes the freedom to choose the religion one considers true and to publicly manifest one's belief and itssymbols, without putting one's own life or personal freedom in danger. Force and constriction are not admissible in religious matters. The Pope calls for the step to be taken from tolerance to religious freedom, which does not imply an open door to syncretism, but rather "a reconsideration of the relationship between man, religion and God".
Two new realities: The Exhortation considers at length the matter of secularisation, including its extreme forms, and the violent fundamentalism that claims to have a religious origin. A healthy secularity means distinction and collaboration between politics and religion, characterised by mutual respect. It requires the political sphere to operate without manipulating religion, and guarantees that religion may live without the encumbrance of political interests. Religious fundamentalism - which grows in a climate of socio-political uncertainty - seeks to take power for political ends, at times using violence, over the individual conscience and over religion. For this reason, the Pope issues a heartfelt appeal to all the religious leaders of the Middle East to endeavour, by their example and their teaching, to do everything possible to uproot this threat which indiscriminately and fatally affects believers of all religions.
Migrants: The Pope faces a crucial question, the exodus - indeed, a haemorrhage - of Christians who find themselves in a delicate position, at times without hope, and are subject to the negative consequences of conflicts, often feeling humiliated, despite having participated throughout the centuries in the construction of their respective countries. A Middle East without, or with few Christians, would no longer be the Middle East. The Pope therefore asks political and religious leaders to avoid policies and strategies tending towards a monochromatic Middle East which does not reflect its human and historical reality. Benedict XVI also invites the pastors of the Eastern Catholic Churches to help their priests and their faithful in exodus to remain in contact with their families and their Churches, and encourages the Pastors of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions who welcome the Eastern Catholics to allow them the possibility of worshipping according to their owntraditions. This chapter also considers the question of immigrant workers - often Catholics of Latin rite - from Africa, the Far East and the Indian sub-continent, who too often experience situations of discrimination and injustice.
PART TWO
Patriarchs: Leaders of the "sui iuris" Churches, in perfect union with the Bishop of Rome, render tangible the universality and unity of the Church and, as a sign of communion, are able to reinforce this union and solidarity within the framework of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the Middle East and the patriarchal Synods, always favouring consultation and collegial action on questions fundamental to the Church.
Bishops: A visible sign of the unity in diversity of the Church understood as a Body, of whom Christ is the head, the bishops are the first to be sent forth into all nations to make disciples. They must proclaim God's Word with courage and firmly defend the integrity and unity of the faith, in those difficult situations which are unfortunately common in the Middle East. The bishops are also required to ensure a wise, honest and transparent management of the temporal goods of the Church and to this end, the Pope recalls that the Synod Fathers have requested serious revision of finances and assets, to avoid confusion between personal property and that of the Church. The bishops, furthermore, must be vigilant in ensuring that priests receive appropriate remuneration, in order that they do not become distracted by material matters. The alienation of the goods of the Church must adhere strictly to canonical norms and the current papal legislation. Finally, thePope exhorts bishops to ensure the pastoral care of all Christian faithful, regardless of their nationality or ecclesial provenance.
Priests and seminarians: The Exhortation underlines that priests must educate the People of God in the construction of a civilisation of evangelical love and unity, and this requires an in-depth transmission of the Word of God, and of the tradition and the Doctrine of the Church, along with intellectual and spiritual renewal of the priests themselves. To this end, celibacy is important - a priceless gift of God to the Church - as is the ministry of married priests, an ancient component of the Eastern tradition. As servants of the communion, priests and seminarians must offer courageous and unambiguous testimony, must conduct themselves irreproachably, and must be open to the cultural diversity of their Churches (learning, for instance, their languages and cultures), along with ecclesial diversity and ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.
The consecrated life: Monasticism in its various forms was born in the Middle East and gave rise to several "sui iuris" Churches. Men and women religious must collaborate with the bishop in pastoral and missionary activities. They are invited to meditate upon at length and observe the evangelical counsels (chastity, poverty and obedience), as there cannot be spiritual regeneration - of the faithful, the community and the Church as a whole - without a clear and unequivocal return to the search for God.
The laity: Members of the Body of Christ through Baptism, and thus fully associated with the mission of the universal Church, to lay people the Pope entrusts the task of promoting - in temporal matters, their proper domain - the sound administration of public goods, religious freedom and respect for the dignity of each person. They are invited to be bold in the cause of Christ. In order that their witness be fruitful, however, lay people must overcome the divisions and all subjective interpretations of Christian life.
Family: A divine institution founded on the indissoluble Sacrament of Marriage between a man and a woman, today the family is exposed to many dangers. The Christian family must be supported in the problems and difficulties it faces, and must look to its own deepest identity, in order to become first and foremost a domestic Church which educates in prayer and in faith, a seedbed of vocations, the natural school of virtue and ethical values, and the primary cell of society. The Exhortation gives considerable consideration to the question of women in the Middle East and to the need for equality with men, in the face of the discriminations they suffer which gravely offend not only women themselves, but also and above all, God. The Pope emphasises that women must play a greater role in public and ecclesial life. With regard to judicial disputes in matrimonial matters, the voice of the woman must be heard with equal respect to that of the man, without injustice. Tothis end, the Pope encourages a sound and just application of the law, in order that the judicial differences regarding matrimonial matters do not lead to apostasy. Finally, the Christians of the Middle East must be able to apply their own law, both in marriage and elsewhere, without restrictions.
Young people and children: The Pope exhorts them not to be afraid or ashamed of being Christians, to respect other believers, Jews and Muslims, and to always cultivate, through prayer, a true friendship with Jesus, loving Christ and the Church. In this way, they may discern wisely the values of modern life that may be useful to their fulfilment, without allowing themselves to be seduced by materialism or certain social networks, the indiscriminate use of which may distort the true nature of human relations. With regard to children, in particular, the Exhortation calls upon parents, teachers, guides and public institutions to recognise the rights of minors from the moment of their conception.
PART THREE
The Word of God, soul and source of communion and witness: After expressing recognition of the exegetical schools (of Alexandria, Antioch, etc.) which have contributed to the dogmatic formulation of Christian mystery in the fourth and fifth centuries, the Exhortation recommends a genuine biblical apostolate, to help dissipate prejudice or mistaken ideas which may be the cause of needless and humiliating controversies. This leads to the suggestion of proclaiming a Year of the Bible, in accordance with the pastoral conditions of each country in the region, and to follow it, if appropriate, with an annual Bible Week. The Christian presence in the biblical countries of the Middle East - which is far more than a question of sociological belonging or simple economic and cultural success - by rediscovering its original inspiration and in following Christ's disciples, will take on new vitality.
Liturgy and sacramental life: For the faithful in the Middle East, the liturgy is an essential element of spiritual unity and communion. The renewal of celebrations and liturgical texts, where necessary, must be based on the Word of God and undertaken in collaboration with the Churches who share the same traditions. The importance of Baptism is a key issue, which enables those who receive this sacrament to live in communion and to develop true solidarity with other members of humankind, without discrimination on the grounds of race or religion. From this point of view, the Pope hopes for an ecumenical agreement between the Catholic Church and the Churches with whom it is in theological dialogue on the mutual recognition of Baptism, in order to restore full communion in apostolic faith. The Exhortation also expresses hope for more frequent practice of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, and exhorts pastors and the faithful to promote initiatives forpeace, even amid persecution.
Prayer and pilgrimages: The Middle East is a privileged land of pilgrimage for many Christians who come to consolidate their faith and to seek a profoundly spiritual experience. The Pope asks that the faithful have free access, without restriction, to holy places. It is also essential that contemporary biblical pilgrimage returns to its original motivations of penitence and the search for God.
Evangelisation and charity; the Church's mission: The Exhortation underlines that the transmission of faith is an essential mission of the Church. The Pope therefore encourages the new evangelisation which, in a contemporary context, marked by change, makes the faithful aware of the testimony of their lives: this reinforces their word when they speak of God courageously and openly, to announce the Good News of salvation. In particular, in the Middle East, deepening of the theological and pastoral meaning of evangelisation should look to both the ecumenical and inter-religious dimensions. With regard to ecclesial movements and communities, the Pope encourages them to act in union with the bishop of the place and according to his pastoral directives, with due regard for the local history, liturgy, spirituality and culture, without confusion and proselytism. The Catholic Churches of the Middle East are therefore invited to renew their missionary spirit, achallenge more urgent than ever in a multicultural and pluri-religious context. A strong stimulus for this may be given by the Year of Faith. With regard to charity, the Exhortation recalls that the Church must follow the example of Christ Who drew close to those most in need: orphans, the poor, the disabled, the sick, etc. Finally, the Pope praises and and encourages all those who carry out impressive work in the educational centres, schools, higher institutes and Catholic universities of the Middle East. These tools for cultural formation, that should be supported by political authorities, demonstrate that it is possible to live in a spirit of respect and collaboration in the Middle East, through education in tolerance.
Catechesis and Christian formation: The papal document encourages the reading and teaching of the catechism of the Catholic Church and a solid initiation in the social doctrine of the Church. At the same time, the Pope invites the Synods and other episcopal organisms to enable the faithful to have access to the spiritual wealth of the Fathers of the Church, and to focus on patristic teaching, as a complement to scriptural formation.
CONCLUSION
Benedict XVI solemnly asks, in the name of God, that political and religious authorities not only alleviate the suffering of all those who live in the Middle East, but also eliminate the causes of this suffering, and do all in their power to enable peace to prevail. At the same time, the Catholic faithful are exhorted to consolidate and live together in communion, giving life to pastoral dynamism. "A lukewarm spirit is displeasing to God", and therefore the Christians of the Middle East, Catholics and others, are encouraged bear witness to Christ, courageously and as one - a difficult witness, but exhilarating.





NEW FRATERNITY BASED ON A SHARED SENSE OF THE GREATNESS OF EACH PERSON
Vatican City, 15 September 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI began the second day of his apostolic trip to Lebanon by paying a courtesy visit to Michel Sleiman, president of the Lebanese Republic, at the presidential palace in Baabda. There he also met with Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, and Naguib Miqati, prime minister of Lebanon, before going on to encounter the heads of the Sunni, Shia, Druze and Alawite religious communities.
Accompanied by the President, the Holy Father then planted a cedar of Lebanon in the palace gardens. Having completed this symbolic act, he moved on to the palace's 25 May Hall where he pronounced an address before the authorities, the diplomatic corps, religious leaders and representative from the world of culture. Extensive excerpts from the Holy Father's words are given below.
"I have asked God to bless you, to bless Lebanon and all who dwell in these lands which saw the birth of great religions and noble cultures. Why did God choose these lands? Why is their life so turbulent? God chose these lands, I think, to be an example, to bear witness before the world that every man and woman has the possibility of concretely realising his or her longing for peace and reconciliation!".
"The energy needed to build and consolidate peace also demands that we constantly return to the wellsprings of our humanity. Our human dignity is inseparable from the sacredness of life as the gift of the Creator. ... To build peace, we need to look to the family, supporting it and facilitating its task, and in this way promoting an overall culture of life. The effectiveness of our commitment to peace depends on our understanding of human life. If we want peace, let us defend life! This approach leads us to reject not only war and terrorism, but every assault on innocent human life, on men and women as creatures willed by God. Wherever the truth of human nature is ignored or denied, it becomes impossible to respect that grammar which is the natural law inscribed in the human heart. ... We must combine our efforts, then, to develop a sound vision of man, respectful of the unity and integrity of the human person. Without this, it is impossible to build truepeace.
"While more evident in countries which are experiencing armed conflict, there are assaults on the integrity and the lives of individuals taking place in other countries too. Unemployment, poverty, corruption, a variety of addictions, exploitation, different forms of trafficking, and terrorism not only cause unacceptable suffering to their victims but also a great impoverishment of human potential. We run the risk of being enslaved by an economic and financial mindset which would subordinate “being” to “having”! The destruction of a single human life is a loss for humanity as a whole. ... By questioning, directly or indirectly, or even before the law, the inalienable value of each person and the natural foundation of the family, some ideologies undermine the foundations of society. ... Only effective solidarity can act as an antidote, solidarity that rejects whatever obstructs respect for each human being, solidarity that supportspolicies and initiatives aimed at bringing peoples together in an honest and just manner. ... A better quality of life and integral development are only possible when wealth and competences are shared in a spirit of respect for the identity of each individual. ... Nowadays, our cultural, social and religious differences should lead us to a new kind of fraternity wherein what rightly unites us is a shared sense of the greatness of each person and the gift which others are to themselves, to those around them and to all humanity. This is the path to peace! ... This is the approach which ought to guide political and economic decisions at every level and on a global scale!
"In order to make possible a future of peace for coming generations, our first task is to educate for peace in order to build a culture of peace. Education, whether it takes place in the family or at school, must be primarily an education in those spiritual values which give the wisdom and traditions of each culture their ultimate meaning and power. ... The goal of education is to guide and support the development of the freedom to make right decisions, which may run counter to widespread opinions, the fashions of the moment, or forms of political and religious ideology. This is the price of building a culture of peace! Evidently, verbal and physical violence must be rejected, for these are always an assault on human dignity, both of the perpetrator and the victim. Emphasising peacemaking and its positive effect for the common good also creates interest in peace. ... Thoughts of peace, words of peace and acts of peace create an atmosphere of respect,honesty and cordiality, where faults and offences can be truthfully acknowledged as a means of advancing together on the path of reconciliation. May political and religious leaders reflect on this!
"We need to be very conscious that evil is not some nameless, impersonal and deterministic force at work in the world. Evil, the devil, works in and through human freedom. ... It seeks an ally in man. Evil needs man in order to act. Having broken the first commandment, love of God, it then goes on to distort the second, love of neighbour. Love of neighbour disappears, yielding to falsehood, envy, hatred and death. But it is possible for us not to be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with good. ... A profound transformation of mind and heart is needed to recover a degree of clarity of vision and impartiality, and the profound meaning of the concepts of justice and the common good. A new and freer way of looking at these realities will enable us to evaluate and challenge those human systems which lead to impasses, and to move forward with due care not to repeat past mistakes with their devastating consequences. The conversion demanded of us can also beexhilarating, ... (but) it is quite demanding: it involves rejecting revenge, acknowledging one’s faults, accepting apologies without demanding them, and, not least, forgiveness. Only forgiveness, given and received, can lay lasting foundations for reconciliation and universal peace.
"Only in this way can there be growth in understanding and harmony between cultures and religions, and in genuine mutual esteem and respect for the rights of all. In Lebanon, Christianity and Islam have lived side by side for centuries. It is not uncommon to see the two religions within the same family. If this is possible within the same family, why should it not be possible at the level of the whole of society? The particular character of the Middle East consists in the centuries-old mix of diverse elements. Admittedly, they have fought one another, sadly that is also true. A pluralistic society can only exist on the basis of mutual respect, the desire to know the other, and continuous dialogue. Such dialogue is only possible when the parties are conscious of the existence of values which are common to all great cultures because they are rooted in the nature of the human person. ... These values are inseparable from the rights of each and every humanbeing. By upholding their existence, the different religions make a decisive contribution. It cannot be forgotten that religious freedom is the basic right on which many other rights depend. The freedom to profess and practise one’s religion without danger to life and liberty must be possible to everyone. The loss or attenuation of this freedom deprives the person of his or her sacred right to a spiritually integrated life. ... Religious freedom has a social and political dimension which is indispensable for peace! It promotes a harmonious life for individuals and communities by a shared commitment to noble causes and by the pursuit of truth, which does not impose itself by violence but rather “by the force of its own truth”: the Truth which is in God. ... Authentic faith does not lead to death. The peacemaker is humble and just. Thus believers today have an essential role, that of bearing witness to the peace which comes from God and is a gift bestowed on a ll ofus in our personal, family, social, political and economic life. The failure of upright men and women to act must not permit evil to triumph. It is worse still to do nothing.
"These few reflections on peace, society, the dignity of the person, the values of family life, dialogue and solidarity, must not remain a simple statement of ideals. They can and must be lived out. We are in Lebanon, and it is here that they must be lived out. Lebanon is called, now more than ever, to be an example. And so I invite you, politicians, diplomats, religious leaders, men and women of the world of culture, to testify with courage, in season and out of season, wherever you find yourselves, that God wants peace, that God entrusts peace to us".
Following the meeting at the presidential palace, the Pope travelled to the headquarters of the Catholic Patriarchate of Cilicia of the Armenians where he was welcomed by the Patriarch, His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni. There Benedict XVI blessed a statue of the monk Hagop who compiled the first book to be printed in Armenian, the "Book of Friday" published in Venice in 1512. Pope Benedict then had lunch in the community's refectory with patriarchs and bishops of Lebanon.





THE ESSENTIAL MESSAGE OF RELIGION IS AGAINST VIOLENCE
Vatican City, 15 September 2012 (VIS) - As is traditional during the course of his apostolic trips, Benedict XVI granted a brief interview to the journalists accompanying him on his flight to Lebanon, in which he turned his attention to various issues associated with the situation in the Middle East.
Question: "Your Holiness, many terrible anniversaries are occurring at this time, for example that of the 11 September attacks, and the massacre at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps. On the borders of Lebanon a civil war is being fought, amid much bloodshed, and in other countries too we see an ever-present risk of violence. Holy Father, ... have you been tempted to cancel your trip for security reasons, or has anyone suggested that you should cancel it?"
Holy Father: "Dear friends, ... I can tell you that no one advised me to cancel this journey, and for my part I never considered doing so, because I know that as the situation becomes more complex, it is all the more necessary to offer this sign of fraternal encouragement and solidarity. That is the aim of my visit: to issue an invitation to dialogue, to peace and against violence, to go forward together to find solutions to the problems".
Q: "Many Catholics are expressing concern about increasing forms of fundamentalism in various parts of the world and about attacks that claim large numbers of Christians as victims. In this difficult and often violent context, how can the Church respond to the imperative of dialogue with Islam, on which you have often insisted?"
Holy Father: "Fundamentalism is always a falsification of religion. It goes against the essence of religion, which seeks to reconcile and to create God’s peace throughout the world. ... The essential message of religion must be against violence - which is a falsification of that message, like fundamentalism - and it must educate, illuminate and purify consciences so as to make them capable of dialogue, reconciliation and peace".
Q: "In the context of the surging clamour for democracy that has begun to spread in many countries of the Middle East through the so-called 'Arab Spring', and in view of the social conditions in most of these countries, where Christians are a minority, is there not a risk of an inevitable tension between the dominant majority and the survival of Christianity?"
Holy Father: "I would say that in itself, the Arab spring is a positive thing: it is a desire for greater democracy, greater freedom, greater cooperation and a revived Arab identity. This cry for freedom, which comes from a young generation with more cultural and professional formation, who seek greater participation in political and social life, is a mark of progress, a truly positive development that has been hailed by Christians too. Of course, bearing in mind the history of revolutions, we know that this important and positive cry for freedom is always in danger of overlooking one aspect - one fundamental dimension of freedom - namely tolerance of the other, the fact that human freedom is always a shared freedom, which can only grow through sharing, solidarity and living side by side according to certain rules. ... We must do all we can to ensure that the concept of freedom, the desire for freedom, goes in the right direction and does not overlooktolerance, the overall social fabric, and reconciliation, which are essential elements of freedom. Hence the renewed Arab identity seems to me to imply also a renewal of the centuries-old, millennia-old, coexistence of Christians and Arabs, who side by side, in mutual tolerance of majority and minority, built these lands and cannot do other than live side by side. I therefore think it important to recognise the positive elements in these movements and to do all we can to ensure that freedom is correctly conceived and corresponds to growth in dialogue rather than domination of one group over others".
Q: "In Syria today, as in Iraq a while ago, many Christians have felt obliged, reluctantly, to leave their homeland. What does the Catholic Church intend to do or say in order to help in this situation and to stem the flow of Christians from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries?"
Holy Father: "First of all I must say that it is not only Christians who are leaving, but also Muslims. Naturally, there is a great danger of Christians leaving these lands and their presence there being lost, and we must do all we can to help them to stay. The essential way to help would be to put an end to the war and violence which is causing this exodus. Therefore the first priority is to do all we can to halt the violence and to open up a real possibility of staying together for the future. What can we do against war? Of course we can always spread the message of peace, we can make it clear that violence never solves problems and we can build up the forces of peace. ... Christian gestures may also be of help: days of prayer for the Middle East, for Christians and Muslims, to demonstrate the possibilities for dialogue and for solutions. I also believe that there must be an end to the importation of arms: without which, war could not continue. Insteadof importing weapons, which is a grave sin, we should import ideas of peace and creativity, we should find ways of accepting each person in his otherness, we should therefore make visible before the world the respect that religions have for one another, respect for man as God’s creation and love of neighbour as fundamental to all religions. In this way, using all possible means, including material assistance, we must help to bring an end to war and violence so that all can help rebuild the country".
Q: "Besides prayer and sentiments of solidarity, do you see concrete steps that the Churches and the Catholics of the West, especially in Europe and America, can take in order to support their brethren in the Middle East?"
Holy Father: "I would say that we need to influence public opinion and politicians to make a real commitment, using all their resources, all their opportunities, with real creativity, in favour of peace and against violence. No one should hope to gain from violence, all must contribute positively. ... Moreover, our charitable organisations should offer material help and do everything they can. We have organisations like the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, specifically for the Holy Land, but other similar organisations could also provide material, political and human assistance in these lands. I would like to say once again that visible signs of solidarity, days of public prayer, and other such gestures can catch the attention of public opinion and produce concrete results".





OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 15 September 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Gniezno, Poland, presented by Bishop Bogdan Wojtus, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed as members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., regent emeritus of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

AFRICA : TUNISIA : 87 MIGRANTS LEFT STRANDED

CISA NEWS REPORT:
International-Organisation-for-Migration
ZARZIS, September 14, 2012 (CISA) -A group of 87 irregular migrants left stranded on Sunday September 9 on the Tunisian coast near Zarzis by a people smuggler have asked International Organization for Migration (IOM) for air tickets to go back to their home countries.
The group, which includes women and children, are mostly Nigerian. Other countries of origin include the Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Egypt, Morocco and Bangladesh.
The migrants are now staying in a Red Crescent shelter in the Tunisian capital Tunis, pending the issuance of travel documents by their embassies and their voluntary return home.
Most of the migrants told IOM that they had lived in Libya for some time before paying the smuggler – reportedly a Tunisian – to take them to Italy
Another 34 Eritreans and 16 Malians from the same boat, which was carrying 154 people and sailed from the Libyan capital Tripoli, have asked for asylum in Tunisia.
The remaining 17 migrants from the boat, who have not yet decided whether they want to apply for asylum or sign up with IOM for assisted voluntary return to their home countries, remain at the National Guard centre in Benguarden, where they were taken following their arrest on Sunday night.
IOM is working with the Tunisian authorities, the Tunisian Red Crescent and UNHCR to find better accommodation for them pending a decision on their future. It is also providing food, water, medical care, hygiene items and counselling.
IOM’s assisted voluntary return programme in Tunisia is supported by governments and other donors seeking to mitigate the impact of the 2011 Libyan crisis on migrants and their families.
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS

AMERICA : DOMINICAN REPUBLIC : ARCHBISHOP DENOUNCES VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Agenzia Fides REPORT - Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, Archbishop of Santo Domingo, publicly denounced the high number of cases of violence against women, and also warned that "this is a symptom that something is very wrong in Dominican society".
"Men lose control and act in a perverse way against their partner. Enough! This must be stopped," the Cardinal told journalists during the presentation of the project "Alas y Gaviotas", which aims to prevent domestic violence and help women victims of abuse.
"No one is master of the lives of others, and men cannot kill women as if nothing has happened ... and who does it, must pay before justice," said the Cardinal during the presentation of the event, which was also attended by the first Lady in the nation, Candida Motilla Medina.
In a note sent to Fides Agency, Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez expressed his willingness to support the initiative, which aims to accommodate couples who live in situations of violence and to accompany them in a personal and couple therapy. The program also includes an awareness campaign in schools. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 15/09/2012)

EUROPE : IRELAND RIP FR. MICHAEL HEALY AGE 91

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT:
Fr Michael Healy RIP | Columban Father Michael Healy

Father Michael Healy
Columban Father Michael Healy died on 10 September in Ireland at the age of 91 years. Overseas, he worked in China and Burma, but he also spent many years on mission awareness/appeals work in Britain.
Michael Healy was born in Cork in 1921 and was ordained a Columban priest in December 1943 at the age of 22 years. He worked in parishes in the Welsh Diocese of Menevia until being appointed to China in 1946, where he served in the Archdiocese of Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. After six years, he was expelled from China, which was now under a Communist government. One of his alleged crimes was the introduction of the ‘secret counter-revolutionary Legion of Mary’ in his parish.
Six months later he was appointed to Burma but, while waiting for a visa, he spent from 1954 to 1958 on promotion work in England. When he finally arrived in Burma, he served for eight years among the Kachin and later the Shan peoples in the far north-east of the country, practically on the border with China. On 31 December 1966 he was expelled from Burma.
There followed 34 years of travelling around England, Scotland and Wales on mission promotion work. Michael finally retired to Ireland in December 2001.
Wherever he was assigned, Michael was an indefatigable worker. Driven by zeal for the Kingdom, he was a deeply prayerful, gentle, cheerful, strong man. In every appointment, his ready smile and his capacity to relate to the local people made him many friends. He had a fund of stories, many of which appeared in his memoir ‘Other Times’, published in 2010.
His return visits to China in 1990 and to Burma in 1998, brought him great consolation.
The following are extracts from the homily of Cyril Lovett ssc, delivered at the funeral Mass at St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, County Meath:
"With the death of Michael Healy, that small group of ‘Old China Hands’ is further reduced. They were an extraordinary group, the last of them practically the same age as the Society of St Columban. They worked in a China that had hardly begun to be developed. Communication within China was extremely difficult; communication with home countries depended on the rare letters that brought news that was months out of date. In the main, they lived widely separated from each other and travel to visit a neighbouring Columban often took days. Those who kept sane and happy were men of prayer, men of rich internal resources, men who were passionate about being called by the Lord to spread his Kingdom.
But, even among this elite ‘band of brothers’ Michael was unique. A big man, a man of great physical strength, we remember him as a happy man of unfailing courtesy, kindness and cheerfulness. Like Columban, our patron, Michael was twice expelled, from China in 1952, and from Burma in 1966. Unlike Columban, he had the great grace of revisiting both countries: he visited China 38 years later in 1990, and Burma 34 years later in 1998.
Michael had a phenomenal memory and this served him well as one of the great Columban story-tellers. He enjoyed telling stories and would give a delighted chuckle as, in his mind’s eye, he skipped forward to the funny bits. We, the listeners could only guess the cause of his mirth as we waited for the story to continue. Listening to Michael tell a story was like being carried along on a great river of narrative. The challenge for Michael was to resist leading us up each tributary stream to fill in the subplots of the story! All of us have a fund of stories from our time in mission, many of them stories of fellow-Columbans. Michael had those also, but he had infinitely more stories about the persons with whom he had formed relationships in China, Burma, England, Scotland and Wales. He had a gift for friendship. Forty, fifty, sixty years later he remembered the precise names of his friends from earlier days.
Two passages that he relates in his book ‘Other Days’ illustrate how his gift for friendship was reciprocated in the most difficult of circumstances. In 1952, when he was being expelled from the town of Nanzun in China, most of the population were forced to gather at the pier waiting for the river steamer that would take him away. In the vast throng, Michael noticed a group of Christians standing together. He looked up to Heaven with a reassuring smile, then bravely raised his hand and blessed them. The Christians with even greater bravery publicly made the sign of the cross. Then, as the steamer arrived, Michael’s lay helper, named James, managed to get through the armed escort, approached with a smile and publicly shook his hand. Michael wrote, ‘To thousands watching it spoke volumes. In effect it said ‘I was the closest to the priest. This is what I think of these accusations.’ And I thought of Kipling’s words ‘999 will flinch from the pain and the shame and the laughter, but the thousandth man will stand your friend to the gallows and even after’.
The second passage comes from his departure in 1966 from Pangpau up near the Chinese border in Burma. ‘Next morning,’ he writes, ‘men young and old, mothers carrying babes and children escorted me out of the village and over the hills in the lovely Kachin custom of accompanying one departing. It was like the exodus. The French have a saying ‘Each time we say goodbye we die a little’. I certainly died a bit on that December day. Pangpau had not been an easy assignment. Leaving it should have been easy. It wasn’t. I was leaving a people I had come to know and love. I admired their simplicity, courage and loyalty. Only when I had pleaded for a third time that they should return to their villages did they ask for a final blessing before departing. I thought how Columban must have felt when he was expelled for the second time.
Michael had a sweet tenor voice. His memory held the words of thousands of songs and he loved to compose parodies to well-known melodies. When leaving Burma he composed the following, particularly remembering Columbans who died in Burma:
I return to our Burma mission, to the jungle where orchids grow,
and the tribes people tell stories of the Columbans of long ago.
In the great plain they lie asleeping where the Irrawaddy gently flows
and the tall trees above them keeping silent watch as they sleep below.
Some returned from our Burma mission to their loved one who held them dear
but some fell in their hour of glory and were left to their resting here.
March no more, you nine Columbans. There is peace where there once was war.
Sleep in peace, my dear companions. Sleep in peace now the battle’s o’er.”
And we say to Michael: ‘Sleep in peace, our dear companion. Sleep in peace now the battle’s o’er.’”
Fr Michael wrote a book about his experiences in China. See: http://columban.com/fw/fe_other_days.html
SHARED FROM IND.CATH.NEWS

ASIA : PAKISTAN : 249 KILLED IN FACTORY FIRE

UCAN REPORT:
Lack of safety measures contributed to high death toll
by : Sunny Gill
Catholic Church News Image of Garment factory blaze kills at least 249
A grieving family holds up a photograph of a loved one who died in the fire
Grieving families began burying their loved ones today after at least 249 people were killed in what officials described as one of the country’s worst ever fires yesterday at a garment factory in Karachi.
The blaze erupted shortly after another fire at a shoe factory in Lahore killed 25 people. Investigators believe both fires were caused by faulty generators.
Hundreds of workers were trapped in the Ali Enterprises factory in the port city’s Baldia district. The building had no fire exits and metal grilles across the windows barred the escape of many of the victims, rescue officials said.
Those that managed to escape were forced to jump from the upper floors. At least 65 workers were injured jumping from the four story building.
One of the survivors, who only gave the name Saleem, broke his leg and received minor burns.
“All of a sudden, the entire floor was filled with smoke and flames. The intense heat made everybody desperate. I managed to break a steel grille away from a window and jumped outside,” he said.
A case has already been lodged against the factory owners after allegations of unsafe working conditions emerged.
Rescuers said there was little they could do to save those trapped in the building and were forced to watch helplessly as the blaze raged and the death toll grew.
“We have limited resources. A shortage of water posed the biggest challenge and we had to refill trucks at hydrants that were miles away,” said Karachi fire chief, Ehtesham Salim.
He said the factory was full of combustible material fueling the fire which raged for around 15 hours. Many of the victims died of smoke inhalation and their bodies were later consumed by the blaze, Salim added.
Meanwhile, the grief of relatives is already turning into anger, aimed not just at the factory’s owners but also at the authorities who they claim allowed the factory to operate despite safety concerns.
Noman Peter, who works for the Catholic Bishop’s National Commission for Justice and Peace, lost his brother-in law and another relation in the fire.
“Corruption has engulfed the whole system. All government departments share equal responsibility,” he said.SHARED FROM UCAN NEWS

AUSTRALIA : RELIC OF ST. FRANCIS XAVIER IN SYDNEY

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
14 Sep 2012


St Francis Xavier - a great missionary
The Holy relic of St Francis Xavier will arrive in Sydney on Sunday morning for its national pilgrimage around Australia visiting parishes, schools and groups along its journey.
Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese, Bishop Peter Comensoli will bring the relic, the right forearm, to Sydney from Il Gesu Church in Rome, where it is housed under the protection of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) of which St Francis was a co-founder.
Thousands of people are expected at the various pilgrimage stops along the way to pray before the relic, recall the devout life of St Francis and ask for his intercession and deepen their faith.
This is the arm which blessed and baptised thousands upon thousands of people and has resulted in many people saying St Francis Xavier was the greatest Christian missionary since St Paul. It is very rare for it to leave the Gesu.
Following the early Sunday morning arrival, a special Mass of reception will be held at St Mary's parish church in Miller Street, North Sydney at 10.30am with His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, Bishop Peter Comensoli and Fr Steve Curtin SJ, the Provincial of the Society of Jesus.
The relic will be displayed and all are welcome to attend.
This national pilgrimage is a key event of the Year of Grace throughout Australia with St Francis having a direct link to this country.
When Australia was still considered mission territory, St Francis was one of our missionary patrons, along with St Therese of Lisieux.
"St Francis has always held a special place in the life of Catholics in Australia. Three cathedrals and many churches and schools are named after him. He continues to inspire us as a tremendous example of a missionary and evangeliser, and he intercedes for our nation even today," Bishop Peter Comensoli said before leaving Rome.

The Holy Relic - the right forearm of St Francis Xavier
In a short 46 years of life, St Francis Xavier had a huge impact on the world. Born in Navarre in Spain in 1506, he pursued an academic career. It was at this time he met a man called Inigo who became St Ignatius Loyola. With some other friends they formed the Society of Jesus - the Jesuit order.
But Xavier was not originally open to this influence; in fact, Ignatius would speak of him as the toughest dough he ever had to knead. Slowly, though, he allowed Ignatius to open his heart more deeply to Christ and to recognise that his ambitions, enormous as they were, were tiny compared to the greatest possible ambition: to offer his life completely to the call of Christ the King.
In 1540, Ignatius sent Francis Xavier, at that time his secretary in Rome, telling him to go and set the world on fire. With his usual generosity and availability, Xavier went on a day's notice. He was never to see his dear friend Ignatius again.
Xavier became a full-time missionary. After his initial labours in Goa, east India, and Sri Lanka, he went to parts of modern-day Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and Japan. He preached, visited prisons, cared for the sick and dying, instructed people in the faith, and prepared catechists. He faced the great dangers of sea travel - storms and pirates - as well as the hostility of some of the local peoples.
St Francis Xavier baptised tens of thousands into the faith, some people suggest up to 300,000. Many Christian communities in these places owe their origins to Xavier's tireless labours over a brief 10-year period. But while he saw his own work as offering basic catechesis, baptising and then moving on, he also saw the need for people to be formed in their faith, and arranged for other Jesuits to follow him and for local catechists. A constant refrain in his letters home was for preachers to be sent - priests who were gifted in proclaiming the Word, so that the seed of faith sown at baptism could be nurtured and grow.
The more he worked in eastern Asia, and especially Japan, the more Xavier realised that the cultures he encountered were profoundly influenced by the culture of China. How could Christianity be a true religion, people asked, if the Chinese knew nothing of it? For this reason, seeking always the greater good, Xavier turned his eyes to China, going to great lengths to find a way there. He got as far as Shangchuan Island. While waiting for a ship to take him the final 14 km to the mainland, he took sick, and after two weeks wracked with fever, he died there on 3 December, 1552.

St Francis Xavier has a great connection to Catholic Australians
Xavier was buried on Shangchuan Island after his death, but his body was moved to Malacca two months later, at which time it was found to be incorrupt. From the start, miracles were associated with this relic. From the moment of its arrival in Malacca, the plague which had been raging there abruptly ceased, blind people were given their sight and sick people were healed. After nine months, it was moved to Goa, the scene of Xavier's original and highly successful missionary work. It remains there to this day, in the Basilica of Bom Jesus. Every ten years Xavier's body is exposed for veneration, and in 2005, over 2 million people came to honour him.
In 1614, the Superior General of the Jesuits arranged for the right forearm to be detached so that this significant relic could be an object of devotion at the main Jesuit church in Rome, the Gesú. This relic has only been allowed to be removed from the Gesú on a small number of occasions, and so we are very blessed to have this opportunity in Australia for our Year of Grace.
Venerating relics provides a tangible link with the deceased and points beyond the materialism of everyday life to the sacred and the spiritual, to life beyond death.
Our focus is not meant to be on the relic as an isolated object in itself, as though it were a magical talisman. Rather, it is a physical closeness to the person whose relic it is, connecting us with them so that we can more readily seek their intercession, know their companionship with us, and be inspired to follow their example. In honoring the relic, we honor the person; and in honoring the person, most importantly we honor Christ.

The Holy Relic in Il Gesu in Rome
The pilgrimage is being made possible through the generous support of some key people and organisations.
Invocare Pty Ltd and WN Bull are meeting the challenging transport and logistical challenges in the safeguarding and transportation of the hand-made reliquary in which the relic will travel. There are also certain guidelines that must be carefully followed.
The Catholic Cemeteries Board is also assisting in this area along with Catholic Mission.
A priest of the Society of Jesus will also travel with the relic during the pilgrimage.
The pilgrimage will conclude in Sydney on the Feast Day of St Francis Xavier, 3 December, with a Mass in St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney.
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : OL OF SORROWS - SAT. SEPT 16, 2012

John 19: 25 - 27
25 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag'dalene.
26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"
27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.




TODAY'S SAINT: SEPT. 15: OUR LADY OF SORROWS


Our Lady of Sorrows
Feast: September 15
Information:
Feast Day:
September 15

There are two such days:
* Friday before Palm Sunday, major double;* third Sunday in September double of the second class.
The object of these feasts are the spiritual martyrdom of the Mother of God and her compassion with the sufferings of her Divine Son.
(1) The seven founders of the Servite Order, in 1239, five years after they established themselves on Monte Senario, took up the sorrows of Mary, standing under the Cross, as the principal devotion of their order. The corresponding feast, however, did not originate with them; its celebration was enacted by a provincial synod of Cologne (1413) to expiate the crimes of the iconoclast Hussites; it was to be kept on the Friday after the third Sunday after Easter under the title: "Commemoratio angustix et doloris B. Marix V.". Its object was exclusively the sorrow of Mary during the Crucifixion and Death of Christ. Before the sixteenth century this feast was limited to the dioceses of North Germany, Scandinavia, and Scotland. Being termed "Compassio" or "Transfixio", "Commendatio, Lamentatio B.M.V.", it was kept at a great variety of dates, mostly during Eastertide or shortly after Pentacost, or on some fixed day of a month (18 July, Merseburg; 19 July, Halberstadt, Lxbeck, Meissen; 20 July, Naumberg; cf. Grotefend, "Zeitrechnung", II, 2, 166). Dreves and Blume (Analecta hymnica) have published a large number of rhythmical offices, sequences and hymns for the feast of the Compassion, which show that from the end of the fifteenth century in several dioceses the scope of this feast was widened to commemorate either five dolours, from the imprisonment to the burial of Christ, or seven dolours, extending over the entire life of Mary (cf. XXIV, 122-53; VIII, 51 sq.; X, 79 sq., etc.). Towards the end of the end of the sixteenth century the feast spread over part of the south of Europe; in 1506 it was granted to the nuns of the Annunciation under the title "Spasmi B.M.V.", Monday after Passion Sunday; in 1600 to the Servite nuns of Valencia, "B.M.V. sub pede Crucis", Friday before Palm Sunday. After 1600 it became popular in France and was termed "Dominx N. de Pietate", Friday before Palm Sunday. To this latter date the feast was assigned for the whole German Empire (1674). By a Decree of 22 April 1727, Benedict XIII extended it to the entire Latin Church, under the title "Septem dolorum B.M.V.", although the Office and Mass retain the original character of the feast, the Compassion of Mary at the foot of the Cross. At both Mass and Office the "Stabat Mater" of Giacopone da Todi (1306) is sung.
(2) The second feast was granted to the Servites, 9 June and 15 September, 1668, double with an octave for the third Sunday in September. Its object of the seven dolours of Mary (according to the responsories of Matins: the sorrow
* at the prophecy of Simeon;* at the flight into Egypt;* having lost the Holy Child at Jerusalem;* meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary;* standing at the foot of the Cross;* Jesus being taken from the Cross;* at the burial of Christ.
This feast was extended to Spain (1735); to Tuscany (double of the second class with an octave, 1807). After his return from his exile in France Pius VII extended the feast to the Latin Church (18 September, 1814), major double); it was raised to the rank of a double of the second class, 13 May, 1908. The Servites celebrate it as a double of the first class with an octave and a vigil. Also in the Passionate Order, at Florence and Granada (N.S. de las Angustias), its rank is double of the first class with an octave. The hymns which are now used in the Office of this feast were probably composed by the Servite Callisto Palumbella (eighteenth century). On the devotion, cf. Kellner, "Heortology", p. 271. The old title of the "Compassio" is preserved by the Diocese of Hildesheim in a simple feast, Saturday after the octave of Corpus Christi. A feast, "B.M.V. de pietate", with a beautiful medieval office, is kept in honour of the sorrowful mother at Goa in India and Braga in Portugal, on the third Sunday of October; in the ecclesiastical province of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, last Sunday of May, etc. (cf. the corresponding calendars). A special form of devotion is practised in Spanish-speaking countries under the term of "N.S. de la Soledad", to commemorate the solitude of Mary on Holy Saturday. Its origin goes back to Queen Juana, lamenting the early death of her husband Philip I, King of Spain (1506).
To the oriental churches these feasts are unknown; the Catholic Ruthenians keep a feast of the sorrowful Mother on Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi.



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