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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : WED. SEPT. 26, 2012

VATICAN : POPE : SACRAMENTS WHICH SANCTIFY US NOVENA : FEAST OF THE ANGELS - ST. MICHAEL - GABRIEL - RAPHAEL - DAY 6
AFRICA : NIGERIA : BOMB ON CHURCH KILLS 5 PEOPLE
AMERICA : NICARAGUA : BISHOPS CONFERENCE LETTER - HOPE
EUROPE : GERMANY : BISHOPS ON CATHOLICS WHO DON'T PAY TAX
ASIA : SYRIA : DOUBLE BOMBINGS IN DAMASCUS MANY WOUNDED
TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : WED. SEPTEMBER 26, 2012
TODAY'S SAINT : NORTH AMERICAN MARTYRS - ST. BREBEUF AND COMPANIONS

TODAY'S SAINT: SEPT. 26: ST. COSMAS AND ST. DAMIAN

 VATICAN : POPE : SACRAMENTS WHICH SANCTIFY US
(RADIO VATICANA IMAGE) THE LITURGY, A SCHOOL OF PRAYER
Vatican City, 26 September 2012 (VIS) - The liturgy as a school of prayer, as a "special place in which God addresses each one of us ... and awaits our response", was the theme of Benedict XVI's catechesis during his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square.
The Pope explained how, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "we read that the word 'liturgy' originally meant a 'service in the name of/on behalf of the people'. If Christian theology took this word from the Greek, clearly it did so thinking of the new People of God, born of Christ Who opened His arms on the Cross to unite mankind in the one peace of God; 'service in the name of the people', a people which exists not of itself but which has come into being thanks to the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ".
"The Catechism also states that in Christian tradition, the word 'liturgy' means the participation of the People of God in the work of God". In this context Pope Benedict recalled how the document on the liturgy had been the first fruit of Vatican Council II. "By beginning with the issue of liturgy, light was very clearly thrown on the primacy of God, on His absolute precedence. ... Where the gaze on God is not decisive, everything becomes disoriented. The fundamental criterion for the liturgy is that it should be oriented towards God, in order to ensure we participate in His work.
"Yet, we might ask ourselves", the Holy Father added, "what is this work of God in which we are called to participate? ... And what makes the Mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ, Who brought salvation, real for me today? The answer is this: the action of Christ through the Church and the liturgy; in particular the Sacrament of the Eucharist which causes the sacrificial offer of the Son of God Who redeemed us to be present; the Sacrament of Penance in which we pass from the death induced by sin to new life; and the other Sacraments which sanctify us".
Quoting again from the Catechism of the Catholic Church the Pope affirmed that "a sacramental celebration is a meeting of God's children with their Father, in Christ and the Holy Spirit; this meeting takes the form of a dialogue, through actions and words'. Thus", he explained, "the first requirement for a good liturgical celebration is that it be prayer and dialogue with God, first listening then responding. ... Sacred liturgy offers us the words, it is up to us to enter into their meaning, absorb them, harmonise ourselves with them. ... One fundamental and primordial element of dialogue with God in the liturgy is concordance between what we say with our mouths and what we carry in our hearts", he said.
The Pope then referred to a particular moment in which the liturgy calls upon us and helps us to find such concordance: the celebrant's invitation before the Eucharistic prayer: "sursum corda", meaning "let us lift up our hearts"; lift them up, that is, "out of the mire of our concerns and desires, our worries and our distraction. Our hearts, the most intimate part of us, must open meekly to the Word of God and join the prayer of the Church, in order to be oriented towards God by the very words we hear and pronounce".
"We celebrate and experience the liturgy well", the Pope concluded, "only if we maintain an attitude of prayer, uniting ourselves to the mystery of Christ and to His dialogue of a Son with His Father. God Himself teaches us to pray. ... He has given us the right words with which to address Him, words we find in the Psalter, in the great prayers of sacred liturgy and in the Eucharistic celebration itself. Let us pray to the Lord that we may become increasingly aware of the fact that the liturgy is the action of God and of man; a prayer that arises from the Holy Spirit and from us; entirely addressed to the Father in union with the Son of God made man".
Following the catechesis the Holy Father addressed greetings to, among others, faithful from Latin America, including a group of Chilean parliamentarians whom he reminded of Catholic politicians' duty "generously to seek the common good of all citizens, in a manner coherent with the convictions held by the children of the Church".
THE RULE OF LAW REQUIRES A LEGAL SYSTEM BASED ON NATURAL LAW
Vatican City, 26 September 2012 (VIS) - In New York on 24 September, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, addressed the United Nations High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law at the National and International Levels.
Archbishop Mamberti spoke in his capacity as Holy See delegate to the sixty-seventh Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Brief extracts from his English-language remarks are given below.
"Faced as we are by challenges old and new, the calling of the High-Level Meeting on the Rule of Law is an important opportunity to reaffirm the will to find political solutions applicable at the global level with the aid of a juridical order solidly based upon the dignity and nature of humanity, in other words, upon the natural law.
"This is the best path to follow if we wish to realise the grand designs and purpose of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which remain relevant by means of various treaties on human rights, disarmament, and the codification of the great principles of international law and in the gathering and progress made in the norms of humanitarian law.
"It will be possible to advance if, as well as working through ever more specialised organs, including in economic and financial matters, the United Nations remains a central point of reference for the creation of a true family of nations, where the unilateral interest of the most powerful ones does not trump the needs of the weaker ones. Such will be possible if legislation at the international level is marked by respect for the dignity of the human person, beginning with the centrality of the right to life and to freedom of religion".
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 26 September 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Bishop Tome Ferreira da Silva, auxiliary of Sao Paulo, Brazil, as bishop of the diocese of Jose do Rio Preto (area 14,423, population 934,000, Catholics 701,000, priests 136, permanent deacons 17, religious 175), Brazil.
- Appointed Fr. Joao Francisco Salm of the clergy of the archdiocese of Florianopolis, Brazil, archdiocesan bursar, as bishop of Tubarao (area 4,531, population 363,000, Catholics 316,000, priests 52, permanent deacons 1, religious 102), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Sao Pedro de Alcantara, Brazil in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1979. Among other roles, he has worked as formator and later rector of the Seminary of Azambuja, and as a coordinator for pastoral care.

AFRICA : NIGERIA : BOMB ON CHURCH KILLS 5 PEOPLE

CISA NEWS REPORT:
CAN,-Catholic-Archbishop-Condemn-Attack
LAGOS, September 25, 2012 (CISA) -The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Metropolitan See, have joined other well meaning Nigerians to condemn the latest act of terrorism at the St. John’s Catholic Church in Bauchi State, which killed five persons and left several others injured, describing it as barbaric and unacceptable.
CAN, in a statement signed by the National Secretary, Rev Musa Asake said the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, received “with shock the bomb explosion at the St. John’s Catholic Cathedral in Bauchi which killed four people when an explosives-packed car reportedly rammed into the line of worshippers waiting to be screened before entering the church.
CAN noted that the re-launching of violence against Christians and their churches at a time when many Nigerians felt such insurgency had ebbed is instructive, noting “coming on the heels of last week’s attack in Bauchi where some gunmen killed nine Christians and injured five, CAN condemns these deadly attacks.
The statement added that while CAN believes that Christians and well-meaning Muslims should continue to work together for the attainment of peace in the land, it is convinced that Muslim leaders in the North can end this orgy of violence and blood-letting by fishing out elements in their midst whose intention is to give their religion a bad name.
The new Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Diocese, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, expressed shock at the renewed attack targeted at innocent worshippers who were at their respective worship centres to reverence their God.
“For some time now we have thought that things are getting to normalcy but it erupted again. It is very sad. It is completely unthinkable for people to go after somebody you have never seen or had any dealings with before. That brings us to the clamour for national dialogue to address the very fundamental issues of nationhood,” he stated.
After a wave of attacks in recent months that have hit the Christian churches in different parts of northern Nigeria, security around places of worship have been strengthened.
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS

EUROPE : GERMANY : BISHOPS ON CATHOLICS WHO DON'T PAY TAX

CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT:
By Jonathan Luxmoore CNS on Wednesday, 26 September 2012
Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg
Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg
The German bishops’ conference has defended a decree that said Catholics who stop paying a Church membership tax should not receive sacraments.
Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg, conference president, said: “There must be consequences for people who distance themselves from the Church by a public act.”
“Clearly, someone withdrawing from the Church can no longer take advantage of the system like someone who remains a member,” he said at a September 24 press conference as the bishops began a four-day meeting in Fulda. “We are grateful Rome has given completely clear approval to our stance.”
The archbishop said each departure was “painful for the Church”, adding that bishops feared many Catholics were unaware of the consequences and would be “open to other solutions”.
“The Catholic Church is committed to seeking out every lost person,” said Archbishop Zollitsch, whose remarks were reported by Germany’s Die Welt daily.
“At issue, however, is the credibility of the Church’s sacramental nature. One cannot be half a member or only partly a member. Either one belongs and commits, or one renounces this,” Archbishop Zollitsch said.
Catholics make up 30 per cent of Germany’s population of 82.3 million, about the same proportion as Protestants, with two per cent belonging to Orthodox denominations, according to government figures.
Interest in the Catholic Church revived after German-born Pope Benedict XVI’s April 2005 election, but Church baptisms and weddings continue to decline. Church statistics show that about 13 per cent of Catholics attend Mass weekly, compared with 22 per cent in 1989.
Germany’s Catholic priesthood and religious orders are also declining in number, according to a bishops’ statement in June, despite three visits by Pope Benedict since his election.
A total of 126,488 Catholics asked to stop paying the membership tax and be removed from registers in the 27 German dioceses during 2011, according to the bishops’ conference. In 2010, some 180,000 Catholics took the same step.
German newspapers said the Pope’s native Bavaria region had suffered the worst losses. The dioceses of Augsburg, Bamberg, Eichstatt, Passau and Wurzburg reported a 70 per cent increase in departures in 2010, the height of the clergy sexual abuse scandal.
Introduced in the 19th century, the membership tax earns the German church about $6 billion annually, making it one of the world’s wealthiest.
In its decree, the bishops’ conference said the tax was designed to compensate for state seizures of Church property. The decree said the right to a “civil law withdrawal” ensured “no one is led to Church membership against their will”.
“Conscious dissociation from the Church by public act is a grave offence against the Church community,” the decree said.
“Whoever declares their withdrawal for whatever reason before the responsible civil authority always violates their duty to preserve a link with the Church, as well as their duty to make a financial contribution so the Church can fulfil its tasks.”
The document added that departing Catholics could no longer receive the sacraments of penance, Holy Communion, Confirmation or anointing of the sick, other than when facing death, or exercise any Church function, including belonging to parish councils or acting as godparents.
Marriages would be granted only by a bishop’s consent and unrepentant Catholics would not be given Church funerals, the decree said.
A press release said the decree had been approved in August by the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops. It added that parish priests would be asked to write to departing Catholics, inviting them to meet and explain their decision and have the consequences explained.
The decree was criticised by Germany’s dissenting We are Church movement, which said a “pay and pray” policy sent “the totally wrong signal at the wrong time” when the German bishops were “laboriously trying to regain credibility” after a “decades-long cover-up of abuse scandals”.
“Instead of considering the reasons why large numbers are leaving the Church on the ground, this bishops’ decree sends a threatening message,” the statement said.
“This threatened exclusion from community life is a de facto excommunication. It contradicts the sacramental understanding of indelible Church membership through baptism.”
In an address to the bishops’ meeting, Archbishop Zollitsch said the Church needed “a long perspective, deep breath and patience” to cope with current challenges, as well as a capacity for dialogue with “social groups and circles alienated from the Church”.
SHARED FROM CATHOLIC HERALD

AMERICA : NICARAGUA : BISHOPS CONFERENCE LETTER - HOPE

Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Bishops of Nicaragua arrived yesterday, September 25, in Matagalpa (a city about 100 km north of Managua), which will host the meeting of the Episcopal Conference. In the note sent to Fides Agency by the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, we learn that at 5 pm yesterday, in the church of San José, the meeting began, followed by a Procession with the image of the Virgen de la Merced towards the Cathedral, which ended with a Mass.
Today, September 26, at the end of the morning, the Bishops will present during a press conference, the pastoral Letter to the people of Nicaragua. The conference, to be held in the Charterhouse of Matagalpa, will be broadcast live from Radio Católica de Nicaragua and the network of Catholic Radio in the country. His Exc. Mgr. Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano, Archbishop of Managua, anticipated to the press that "one of the key points is the next municipal elections, and we, as Bishops, with the experience and the contact with people, want to express in our message what we have heard from the people." Even His Exc. Mgr. Silvio José Baez, Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, said that in the message "we will call the people of Nicaragua to hope, it will be an invitation to all citizens not to be passive in the face of national reality, but to become active subjects in the improvement and transformation of the country. "
The electoral campaign in view of the municipal elections in Nicaragua began on September 20, and will have to end on October 31, to respect the four days of silence before the election, to be held on November 4. Those elected will serve for four years. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 26/09/2012)

ASIA : SYRIA : DOUBLE BOMBINGS IN DAMASCUS MANY WOUNDED

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
One bomb exploded at the army headquarters. The second targeted the area west of the city. At the UN General Assembly Qatar calls for military intervention in Arab countries for "humanitarian" reasons.


Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Two bombs exploded this morning in Damascus near the headquarters of the Syrian army in the center of Damascus, and in the district of Kafar Susse area west of the capital. The attack was the work of rebel forces. At present there are no reports of deaths or injuries. Witnesses claim that the second explosion triggered a reaction from soldiers who responded by firing heavy machine guns. Yesterday, in the south of the city another attack hit a school used by the army as barracks. In the explosion there left at least 24 wounded, almost all soldiers, but the numbers are uncertain. The building was used by the military for their night raids in areas under rebel control, located in the southern part of the city. A shopkeeper in the area said at least 10 ambulances arrived to the scene after the explosion. "Living in Damascus - adds the man - has become a nightmare."

Meanwhile, Qatar is pushing for an armed intervention against Bashar al-Assad to end the violence. Yesterday, addressing the UN General Assembly, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Emir of Qatar pointed out that the conflict has become a "calamity" that threatens world peace. According to the emir the countries in the region must take action to fulfill their humanitarian, political and military duties and stop the bloodshed. In his speech, however, UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called on the countries in the region to " solidly and concretely support " the work of Lakdhar Brahimi, the UN envoy in Syria and the Arab League, who is trying to reach an agreement between the two parties for a diplomatic end to the conflict.

Together with Saudi Arabia, Qatar is one of the key supporters of the Syrian opposition. Assad and his allies have repeatedly accused them of supplying heavy arms to the rebels and sending foreign militias close to al-Qaeda to the area.

SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : WED. SEPTEMBER 26, 2012

Luke 9: 1 - 6
1 And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases,
2 and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal.
3 And he said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.
4 And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart.
5 And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them."
6 And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

TODAY'S SAINT : NORTH AMERICAN MARTYRS - ST. BREBEUF AND COMPANIONS


JOURNEY OF A BISHOP REPORT: French Jesuits were among the first missionaries to go to Canada and North America after J. Cartier discovered Canada in 1534. Their mission region extended from Nova Scotia to Maryland.
John de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel, Isaac Jogues, Rene Goupil and John de Lalande (the first six Jesuits, the last two laymen) preached the gospel to the Iroquois and Huron Indians, and after being tortured, they were martyred.

The martyrdoms took place between 1642 and 1649: Goupil in 1642, Jogues and Lalande on October 18 and 19, 1646 in the area of what is now Auriesville, New York; Daniel on July 4, 1648, Brebeuf and Lalemant in March 1649, Garnier and Chabanel in December 1649--all of these five in Huronia, near present-day Midland, Ontario. Ten years after the martyrdom of St. Isaac Jogues, Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the same village in which he died. These martyrs are co-patrons of Canada.
The missionaries arrived in Canada less than a century after its discovery by Cartier in 1534, in the hope of converting the Indians and setting up "New France." Their opponents were often the English and Dutch colonists. When Isaac Jogues returned to Paris after his first capture and torture, he said to his superior: "Yes, Father, I want whatever our Lord wants, even if it costs a thousand lives." He had written in his mission report: "These tortures are very great, but God is still greater, and immense."



Isaac Jogues' declaration on leaving France to return to the mission in Canada is heroic:

"My heart tells me that if I have the blessing of being used for this mission, I shall go and I shall not return; but I would be glad if our Lord should fulfil the sacrifice where he began it, and that the small amount of blood I shed in that land should turn out to be an advance payment for that which I would give from all the veins of my body and heart."

In the Office of Readings we have an excerpt from the mission journal of St. John de Brébeuf, who had been a student of the great Jesuit spiritual writer, Louis Lallemant. He wrote:
For two days now I have experienced a great desire to be a martyr and to endure all the torments the martyrs suffered.... I vow to you, Jesus my Savior, that as far as I have the strength I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if some day you in your infinite mercy should offer it to me, your most unworthy servant.... On receiving the blow of death, I shall accept it from your hands with the fullest delight and joy of spirit.... My God, it grieves me greatly that you are not known, that in this savage wilderness all have not been converted to you, that sin has not been driven from it.

[Excerpted and adapted from Enzo Lodi, Saints of the Roman Calendar


In 1999, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter on the Canadian Martyrs to mark the 350th anniversary of the final deaths of these heroic priests in 1649. It may be accessed at: http://www.cccb.ca/site/Files/martyrse.pdf.
SHARED FROM JOURNEY OF A BISHOP

TODAY'S SAINT: SEPT. 26: ST. COSMAS AND ST. DAMIAN



Sts. Cosmas and Damian
MARTYRS
Feast: September 26
Information:
Feast Day:
September 26
Born:
3rd century AD, Arabia
Died:
287 AD, Aegea, Roman province of Syria
Major Shrine:
Convent of the Poor Clares in Madrid, Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Bitonto, Bari, Italy
Patron of:
surgeons, physicians, dentists, protectors of children, barbers, pharmacists, veterinarians, orphanages, day-care centers, confectioners, children in house, against hernia, against the plague.

Early Christian physicians and martyrs whose feast is celebrated on 27 September. They were twins, born in Arabia, and practised the art of healing in the seaport Ægea, now Ayash (Ajass), on the Gulf of Iskanderun in Cilicia, Asia Minor, and attained a great reputation. They accepted no pay for their services and were, therefore, called anargyroi, "the silverless". In this way they brought many to the Catholic Faith. When the Diocletian persecution began, the Prefect Lysias had Cosmas and Damian arrested, and ordered them to recant. They remained constant under torture, in a miraculous manner suffered no injury from water, fire, air, nor on the cross, and were finally beheaded with the sword. Their three brothers, Anthimus, Leontius, and Euprepius died as martyrs with them. The execution took place 27 September, probably in the year 287. At a later date a number of fables grew up about them, connected in part with their relics. The remains of the martyrs were buried in the city of Cyrus in Syria; the Emperor Justinian I (527-565) sumptuously restored the city in their honour. Having been cured of a dangerous illness by the intercession of Cosmas and Damian, Justinian, in gratitude for their aid, rebuilt and adorned their church at Constantinople, and it became a celebrated place of pilgrimage. At Rome Pope Felix IV (526-530) erected a church in their honour, the mosaics of which are still among the most valuable art remains of the city. The Greek Church celebrates the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian on 1 July, 17 October, and 1 November, and venerates three pairs of saints of the same name and profession. Cosmas and Damian are regarded as the patrons of physicians and surgeons and are sometimes represented with medical emblems. They are invoked in the Canon of the Mass and in the Litany of the Saints.


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