Friday, October 12, 2012




Below the full text of the Holy Father’s Homily:

Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear brothers and sisters!

Today, fifty years from the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, we begin with great joy the Year of Faith. I am delighted to greet all of you, particularly His Holiness Bartholomaois I, Patriarch of Constantinople, and His Grace Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. A special greeting goes to the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and to the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences. In order to evoke the Council, which some present had the grace to experience for themselves - and I greet them with particular affection - this celebration has been enriched by several special signs: the opening procession, intended to recall the memorable one of the Council Fathers when they entered this Basilica; the enthronement of a copy of the Book of the Gospels used at the Council; the consignment of the seven final Messages of the Council, and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I will do before the final blessing. These signs help us not only to remember, they also offer us the possibility of going beyond commemorating. They invite us to enter more deeply into the spiritual movement which characterized Vatican II, to make it ours and to develop it according to its true meaning. And its true meaning was and remains faith in Christ, the apostolic faith, animated by the inner desire to communicate Christ to individuals and all people, in the Church’s pilgrimage along the pathways of history.

The Year of Faith which we launch today is linked harmoniously with the Church’s whole path over the last fifty years: from the Council, through the Magisterium of the Servant of God Paul VI, who proclaimed a Year of Faith in 1967, up to the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, with which Blessed John Paul II re-proposed to all humanity Jesus Christ as the one Saviour, yesterday, today and forever. Between these two Popes, Paul VI and John Paul II, there was a deep and profound convergence, precisely upon Christ as the centre of the cosmos and of history, and upon the apostolic eagerness to announce him to the world. Jesus is the centre of the Christian faith. The Christian believes in God whose face was revealed by Jesus Christ. He is the fulfilment of the Scriptures and their definitive interpreter. Jesus Christ is not only the object of the faith but, as it says in the Letter to the Hebrews, he is “the pioneer and the perfecter of our faith” (12:2).

Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus Christ, consecrated by the Father in the Holy Spirit, is the true and perennial subject of evangelization. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor” (Lk 4:18). This mission of Christ, this movement of his continues in space and time, over centuries and continents. It is a movement which starts with the Father and, in the power of the Spirit, goes forth to bring the good news to the poor, in both a material and a spiritual sense. The Church is the first and necessary instrument of this work of Christ because it is united to him as a body to its head. “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Jn 20:21), says the Risen One to his disciples, and breathing upon them, adds, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (v.22). Through Christ, God is the principal subject of evangelization in the world; but Christ himself wished to pass on his own mission to the Church; he did so, and continues to do so, until the end of time pouring out his Spirit upon the disciples, the same Spirit who came upon him and remained in him during all his earthly life, giving him the strength “to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” and “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19).

The Second Vatican Council did not wish to deal with the theme of faith in one specific document. It was, however, animated by a desire, as it were, to immerse itself anew in the Christian mystery so as to re-propose it fruitfully to contemporary man. The Servant of God Paul VI, two years after the end of the Council session, expressed it in this way: “Even if the Council does not deal expressly with the faith, it talks about it on every page, it recognizes its vital and supernatural character, it assumes it to be whole and strong, and it builds upon its teachings. We need only recall some of the Council’s statements in order to realize the essential importance that the Council, consistent with the doctrinal tradition of the Church, attributes to the faith, the true faith, which has Christ for its source and the Church’s Magisterium for its channel” (General Audience, 8 March 1967). Thus said Paul VI.

We now turn to the one who convoked the Second Vatican Council and inaugurated it: Blessed John XXIII. In his opening speech, he presented the principal purpose of the Council in this way: “What above all concerns the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine be safeguarded and taught more effectively […] Therefore, the principal purpose of this Council is not the discussion of this or that doctrinal theme… a Council is not required for that… [but] this certain and immutable doctrine, which is to be faithfully respected, needs to be explored and presented in a way which responds to the needs of our time” (AAS 54 [1962], 790,791-792).

In the light of these words, we can understand what I myself felt at the time: during the Council there was an emotional tension as we faced the common task of making the truth and beauty of the faith shine out in our time, without sacrificing it to the demands of the present or leaving it tied to the past: the eternal presence of God resounds in the faith, transcending time, yet it can only be welcomed by us in our own unrepeatable today. Therefore I believe that the most important thing, especially on such a significant occasion as this, is to revive in the whole Church that positive tension, that yearning to announce Christ again to contemporary man. But, so that this interior thrust towards the new evangelization neither remain just an idea nor be lost in confusion, it needs to be built on a concrete and precise basis, and this basis is the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the place where it found expression. This is why I have often insisted on the need to return, as it were, to the “letter” of the Council – that is to its texts – also to draw from them its authentic spirit, and why I have repeated that the true legacy of Vatican II is to be found in them. Reference to the documents saves us from extremes of anachronistic nostalgia and running too far ahead, and allows what is new to be welcomed in a context of continuity. The Council did not formulate anything new in matters of faith, nor did it wish to replace what was ancient. Rather, it concerned itself with seeing that the same faith might continue to be lived in the present day, that it might remain a living faith in a world of change.

If we place ourselves in harmony with the authentic approach which Blessed John XXIII wished to give to Vatican II, we will be able to realize it during this Year of Faith, following the same path of the Church as she continuously endeavours to deepen the deposit of faith entrusted to her by Christ. The Council Fathers wished to present the faith in a meaningful way; and if they opened themselves trustingly to dialogue with the modern world it is because they were certain of their faith, of the solid rock on which they stood. In the years following, however, many embraced uncritically the dominant mentality, placing in doubt the very foundations of the deposit of faith, which they sadly no longer felt able to accept as truths.

If today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith and a new evangelization, it is not to honour an anniversary, but because there is more need of it, even more than there was fifty years ago! And the reply to be given to this need is the one desired by the Popes, by the Council Fathers and contained in its documents. Even the initiative to create a Pontifical Council for the promotion of the new evangelization, which I thank for its special effort for the Year of Faith, is to be understood in this context. Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual “desertification”. In the Council’s time it was already possible from a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us. This void has spread. But it is in starting from the experience of this desert, from this void, that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us, men and women. In the desert we rediscover the value of what is essential for living; thus in today’s world there are innumerable signs, often expressed implicitly or negatively, of the thirst for God, for the ultimate meaning of life. And in the desert people of faith are needed who, with their own lives, point out the way to the Promised Land and keep hope alive. Living faith opens the heart to the grace of God which frees us from pessimism. Today, more than ever, evangelizing means witnessing to the new life, transformed by God, and thus showing the path. The first reading spoke to us of the wisdom of the wayfarer (cf. Sir 34:9-13): the journey is a metaphor for life, and the wise wayfarer is one who has learned the art of living, and can share it with his brethren – as happens to pilgrims along the Way of Saint James or similar routes which, not by chance, have again become popular in recent years. How come so many people today feel the need to make these journeys? Is it not because they find there, or at least intuit, the meaning of our existence in the world? This, then, is how we can picture the Year of Faith: a pilgrimage in the deserts of today’s world, taking with us only what is necessary: neither staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money, nor two tunics – as the Lord said to those he was sending out on mission (cf. Lk 9:3), but the Gospel and the faith of the Church, of which the Council documents are a luminous expression, as is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published twenty years ago.

Venerable and dear Brothers, 11 October 1962 was the Feast of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. Let us entrust to her the Year of Faith, as I did last week when I went on pilgrimage to Loreto. May the Virgin Mary always shine out as a star along the way of the new evangelization. May she help us to put into practice the Apostle Paul’s exhortation, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom […] And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:16-17). Amen.



Official recognition of 68th miracle of Lourdes |  new miracle, Lourdes, unexplained cure, Sister Luigina Traverso, Mgr Alceste Catella, Bishop of Casale Monferrato, Salesian Sister 

A press statement from the Communication Service of the Sanctuary of Lourdes this afternoon, states: 'On the occasion of the opening of the Year of Faith, this 11th October 2012,  Our Lady of Lourdes'.

Lourdes torchlight procession
A new miracle has been officially recognised at Lourdes today. The unexplained cure of Italian nun, Sister Luigina Traverso, has been officialy declared a 'miracle' today by Mgr Alceste Catella, Bishop of Casale Monferrato in Italy, the diocese in which the Salesian Sister resides.
A press statement from the Communication Service of the Sanctuary of Lourdes this afternoon, states: 'On the occasion of the opening of the Year of Faith, this 11th October 2012, we have great joy in announcing the recognition of the 68th miracle attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes'.

The new bishop of the diocese of Tarbes and Lourdes, Mgr Nicolas Brouwet, together with Doctor Alessandro de Franciscis, President of the Office of Medical Observations of Lourdes will be holding a press conference tomorrow in Lourdes. We will be carrying further reports tomorrow.
For further information visit thte official Lourdes website here:


Today is the United Nations' first International Day of the Girl Child. In Pakistan, indignation continues over the attack against Malala Yousafzai. Army chief slams Taliban attackers as government puts reward on their capture. Muslim and Christian leaders call on Islamabad to cooperate with the United Nations on effectively enforcing human rights.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - The Pakistani government should engage seriously with international institutions to overcome obstacles in the way of improving human rights situation, this according to a conference sponsored by the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Church. In conjunction with the United Nations' International Day of the Girl Child today, the interfaith forum calls on Islamabad to protect the rights of minors and women against political and sexual violence. The appeal comes a few hours after a 14-year-old Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai, was attacked, an incident that has provoked anger and indignation across the country and around the world.

Today is the first International Day of the Girl Child. Proclaimed by the United Nations, the topic this year is child brides, a problem that bedevils many nations, including Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Early marriage prevents girls from study, denying them the fundamental right to grow and develop fully as a person. Gender discrimination, poverty and religious and social factors are among the problem's many causes.

Organised by Muslim and Christian activists under the auspices of the NCJP, the conference in Lahore focused on human rights, and their violation, especially in relation to women and girls.

The promoters of the initiative want the Pakistani government to cooperate earnestly with international organisations and use every opportunity to "overcome obstacles" that prevent "improving the human rights situation". Until now, Pakistan has not been serious or reliable in the matter; it has failed to protect the weak members of society, like children, women and workers as well as ethnic and religious minorities.

In order to improve the situation and reach the desired goals, conference participants urged the government to meet four broad recommendations, namely implement ratified international treaties and adapt domestic laws to universal human rights; take serious measures rather than make baseless claims of progress; set up independent bodies to monitor human rights at both the national and local levels; and work more closely with the international community and institutions, facilitating the work and entry of United Nations officials.

Meanwhile, popular indignation continues as a result of the Taliban attack against Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old girl education activist, who was shot and wounded. After a tricky operation, she is now out of danger.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said that the government would protect girls' right to an education.

In a rare statement to the press, Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani said Yousafzai was "an icon of courage and hope" and the attack showed "how little regard they [the Taliban] have for human life and how low they can fall in their cruel ambition to impose their twisted ideology".

Pakistani officials have offered a 10 million rupee ($105,000) reward for information leading to the arrest of her attackers.

However, Malala Yousafzai's is but one of many cases in which the rights of women and girls have been trampled on, especially if they belong to religious minorities.

One case is that of Rimsha Masih, a 14-year-old Christian girl suffering from mental illness, who is currently on trial for blasphemy based on false charges by a Muslim leader in Islamabad.

Another involves Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, sentenced to death on the basis of the 'black law.' Held in a maximum security prison for the past two years despite appeals by the pope and the international community, she is still at risk of extrajudicial murder. Nevertheless, she continues on, comforted in her faith and hopeful that she will see her loved ones one day.



Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
12 Oct 2012

Craig who was formerly homeless meets NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner at the opeing of the Tierney House
Bishop Terry Brady, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Sydney blessed St Vincent's Hospital's new health centre for Sydney's homeless at a special ceremony this week.
Known as Tierney House, the innovative care centre is a 12 bed unit and has been established in a terrace house in Darlinghurst's St Vincent Hospital campus. It will provide comprehensive health care to the city's homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless, many of whom suffer from recurring health issues.
Tierney House will also be able to offer short short-term accommodation to the homeless men and women of Sydney's inner city which has the highest concentration of homeless people in Australia. Those residing in Terney House will also be able to access homeless health care offered by the hospital as well as St Vincent's mental health and drug and alcohol services and other general clinical specialties that may be needed.
Prior to discharge from Tierney House, the social needs and access to resources that will help them into housing and support services of those staying in the unit will also be addressed.

NSW Minister for Health at the opening of St Vincent's Hospital's innovative care facility for Sydney's homeless
This important facility was officially opened by Jillian Skinner, the NSW Minister for Health on Tuesday this week, and is a joint partnership between St Vincent's Hospital and NSW Health. To establish the facility NSW Health contributed $100,000 and starting this year will contribute $600,000 annually towards Tierney House and the health services it provides to the homeless.
"It is no coincidence Tierney House was envisaged for St Vincent's Hospital campus," Ms Skinner told those who attended the opening. "For 150 years the Sisters of Charity have been pioneering models of care to provide outreach to the poor and marginalised."
The Hospital's outreach program has provided care for the homeless men and women in the inner city but Tierney House will allow homeless people to receive proper treatment and care and by staying in the new facility's unit, focus on what they need to do to get well and to come in off the streets.
"When it comes to solutions, we need to do more than give the homeless a bed and a meal for the night," the NSW Minister for Mental Health, Kevin Humphries says. "We need to help give them a pathway out of homelessness."
He welcomed the establishment of an innovative care facility to address the needs of Sydney's homeless and predicted it would lead to a more sustainable long term approach to improving their health and reducing the need for frequent emergency health care in the hospital's ER.
"This new facility will help people at a particularly vulnerable time in their lives to recover and is a great asset for the community at large," he said.

Bishop Terry Brady blessed the new health care facility for Sydney's homeless this week
Less than one month ago, the Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell blessed St Vincent's Hospital's multi-million dollar Kinghorn Cancer Centre which offers an holistic approach to those with cancer. The Centre breaks new ground by having medical research teams sharing the same facility and working alongside oncologists and clinical medical staff to create the best treatments possible for each individual cancer patient.
Tierney House will also employ an holistic approach to the care of the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless by combining health care with support to enable those being treated to find an avenue out of homelessness and back into society.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Spanish organization Mensajeros de la paz, a project to build two new shelters was presented, one for children with severe disabilities and abandoned by their families and the other for the elderly, in the village of Metepec, in the north of the Mexican capital. The project was requested by the tireless work of a religious woman who in recent years has been devoted to "collecting young children from the garbage," abandoned minors on the streets or children left in landfills because disabled. According to reports from the president and founder of the NGO, Father Angel Garcia, in a letter sent to Fides Agency, Sister Ines collects the children that no one wants. She has so far welcomed 200, of whom about 70 are named after her. Despite the good will, the religious has no adequate means to fully take care of the children, some of whom have grown up and are in need of special medical care because they come from totally unhealthy environments. Hence the idea of giving children a decent home was born and the State of Mexico ceded a plot of 4 hectares where two new shelters will be built. The project also includes a chapel and a commercial area, with a cinema, halls for parties, a football pitch and business premises that the association will rent, or sell, on condition that the purchasing companies cede part of their profits for the maintenace of the shelters. (AP)


BUKOBA, October 9, 2012 (CISA) -Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has commended the Bukoba Catholic diocese for its immense contribution in improving peoples’ lives in various sectors including health and education.
Mr Pinda hailed the church during the official reburial of the late Laurian Cardinal Rugambwa and consecration of the Bukoba Cathedral.
He also paid tribute to the late Cardinal Rugambwa, describing him as a true son of Africa and a patriot who offered his whole life to serve all Tanzanians.
He noted that the government appreciated the big contribution made by the late Cardinal Rugambwa through construction of Rubya and Mugana hospitals, which were designated district hospitals for Muleba and Misenyi respectively.
He also said the late Cardinal Rugambwa made efforts to provide girls with quality education by constructing Rugambwa Girls’ Secondary School.
Meanwhile, the Bukoba branch of the St Augustine University has been re-named Cardinal Rugambwa University College, in honour of the late cardinal. This was announced by Bukoba Catholic bishop Nestorius Timanywa during the same occasion.
Laurian Cardinal Rugambwa, who in 1960 became the first African Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church, died on December 8, 1997 in Dar es Salaam at the age of 85. His elevation to the College of Cardinals was a sign of the church’s recognition of its debt to its non-European clergy, and of the growing importance of Catholic congregation in parts of the world that had once been the domain of European missionaries.
Cardinal Rugambwa was an early and active participant in the Second Vatican Council. He also stressed the importance of involving the lay community in the work of the church. “In the missions, where separation is a fact of everyday life, we have to be ready to cooperate with non-Catholics in all possible ways. The church is not a museum nor an archive, but a teacher of life,” he stressed.
Born on July 12, 1912 of an aristocratic family in Bukongo village-Kamachumu, in Muleba district, Laurean Rugambwa was baptized by missionaries when he was eight years old with the rest of his family.
After attending a seminary in Uganda, he was ordained a priest on December 12, 1943. After working as a missionary in western Africa for several years, he went to Rome in 1948 for higher studies at the Urbaniana University where he graduated with a doctorate in Canon law.
He was appointed a bishop in 1951, and upon returning to Tanganyika in 1952 he became the country’s first indigenous bishop, serving the diocese of Rutabo. He was elevated Cardinal by Pope John XX111 on March 28, 1960, becoming the first African cardinal. He was appointed Archbishop of Dar es Salaam on December 19, 1968, relinquishing those duties in 1992 when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 80.


Luke 11: 5 - 13
5 And he said to them, "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him';
7 and he will answer from within, `Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything'?
8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs.
9 And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
10 For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;
12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"


St. Tarachus

Feast: October 11
Feast Day:
October 11

IN the year 304, Tarachus, Probus, and Andronicus, differing in age and nationality, but united in the bonds of faith, being denounced as Christians to Numerian, Governor of Cilicia, were arrested at Pompeiopolis, and conducted to Tharsis. They underwent a first examination in that town, after which their limbs were torn with iron hooks, and they were taken back to prison covered with wounds. Being afterwards led to Mopsuestia, they were submitted to a second examination, ending in a manner equally cruel as the first. They underwent a third examination at Anazarbis, followed by greater torments still. The governor, unable to shake their constancy, had them kept imprisoned that he might torture them further at the approaching games. They were borne to the amphitheatre, but the most ferocious animals, on being let loose on them, came crouching to their feet and licked their wounds. The judge, reproaching the jailers with connivance, ordered the martyrs to be despatched by the gladiators.
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

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