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Friday, December 14, 2012

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VATICAN : POPE - MESSAGE FOR WORLD DAY OF PEACE AND OTHER NEWS

CATHOLIC MOVIES - WATCH ST. JOHN BOSCO- PART 19

ASIA : PHILIPPINES - CATHOLICS AGAINST RH LAW

(Vatican Radio IMAGE SHARE) PRESENTATION OF THE POPE'S MESSAGE FOR WORLD DAY OF PEACE
Vatican City, 14 December 2012 (VIS) - A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office to present Benedict XVI's Message for the 46th World Day of Peace, which will take place on 1 January with the theme "Blessed are the peacemakers". Participating in today's conference were Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson and Bishop Mario Toso S.D.B., respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
The cardinal referred first to the "concrete" nature of the document. "The title, drawn from the Gospel, would induce us to think of the Message as having a rather spiritual or, so to speak, theoretical nature", he said. "However, the Pope's message is very closely linked to reality. It states a fact - the existence, in the midst of conflicts, tension and violence, of numerous peacemakers; in the explanation of the Gospel beatitude it explains that this is a promise that is guaranteed, in that it is made by God and does not refer merely to the future but already finds fulfilment in this life. It clearly indicates the duties of peacemakers: they must promote life in its fullest expression, in its entirety and therefore in all the dimensions of the human person, and draws attention to urgent problems issues such as the correct vision of marriage, the right to conscientious objection, religious freedom, the issues of work and unemployment, the food crisis, the financial crisis, and the role of the family in education.
He then went on to emphasise the "positivity" of the Message which, "aside from opening the way to hope, reflects love for life and life in its completeness. Alongside the theme of the defence of life, the Pope highlights matters connected to justice, necessary for a worthwhile life, lived fully, or rather in which all people have the opportunity to develop their own potential".
A further characteristic of the text is its "educational and pedagogical perspective. ...This is an aspect which is always close to the heart of the Church, one of whose tasks is to 'form consciences'", the cardinal emphasised. "In this regard, the Pontiff calls for responsibility on the part of the various educational institutions who must form capable leaders and propose new economic and financial models. This is necessary to overcome the particularly grave situation the globalised world is currently facing, a phase of profound spiritual and moral crisis in which there are still bloody conflicts and numerous threats to peace".
Bishop Mario Toso observed that Benedict XVI's message is "an invitation to become peacemakers 'at three hundred and sixty degrees', in our entirety, protecting and implementing all the rights and duties of the individual and of communities".
He continued, "Typical of the Pontiff's view is the part of the Message in which he urges us not to erode social rights, foremost among which he includes the right to work, which is a fundamental rather than marginal right. This is in spite of the context of economic recession, provoked in part by the financial crisis which began in 2007, and ideologies of radical liberalism and technocracy according to which development can be achieved without social and democratic progress. Without the defence and promotion of social rights - as recognised by liberals, communists, socialists and Catholics during the last century - civil and political rights cannot be adequately attained, and democracy itself - substantial, social and participatory - would be undermined.
"In summary, the Message promotes the growth of a human family that is not divided into groups and peoples in favour of life, and those who work for peace without equal passion for the defence of human life from conception to natural end. Peace is a common goal to be pursued as a community, to the full benefit of every human being and population", concluded the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS
Vatican City, 14 December 2012 (VIS) - "Blessed are the Peacemakers" is the title chosen by the Holy Father for his Message for the 46th World Day of Peace, celebrated every year on 1 January. Given below is the full text of the Message:
"1. Each new year brings the expectation of a better world. In light of this, I ask God, the Father of humanity, to grant us concord and peace, so that the aspirations of all for a happy and prosperous life may be achieved.
"Fifty years after the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, which helped to strengthen the Church’s mission in the world, it is heartening to realise that Christians, as the People of God in fellowship with Him and sojourning among mankind, are committed within history to sharing humanity’s joys and hopes, grief and anguish, as they proclaim the salvation of Christ and promote peace for all.
"In effect, our times, marked by globalisation with its positive and negative aspects, as well as the continuation of violent conflicts and threats of war, demand a new, shared commitment in pursuit of the common good and the development of all men, and of the whole man.
"It is alarming to see hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism. In addition to the varied forms of terrorism and international crime, peace is also endangered by those forms of fundamentalism and fanaticism which distort the true nature of religion, which is called to foster fellowship and reconciliation among people.
"All the same, the many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind’s innate vocation to peace. In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life. In other words, the desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is part of God’s plan for mankind. Man is made for the peace which is God’s gift.
"All of this led me to draw inspiration for this Message from the words of Jesus Christ: 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God'.
Gospel beatitude
"2. The beatitudes which Jesus proclaimed are promises. In the biblical tradition, the beatitude is a literary genre which always involves some good news, a 'gospel', which culminates in a promise. Therefore, the beatitudes are not only moral exhortations whose observance foresees in due time – ordinarily in the next life – a reward or a situation of future happiness. Rather, the blessedness of which the beatitudes speak consists in the fulfilment of a promise made to all those who allow themselves to be guided by the requirements of truth, justice and love. In the eyes of the world, those who trust in God and His promises often appear na├»ve or far from reality. Yet Jesus tells them that not only in the next life, but already in this life, they will discover that they are children of God, and that God has always been, and ever will be, completely on their side. They will understand that they are not alone, because He is on the side of those committed to truth, justice and love. Jesus, the revelation of the Father’s love, does not hesitate to offer Himself in self-sacrifice. Once we accept Jesus Christ, God and man, we have the joyful experience of an immense gift: the sharing of God’s own life, the life of grace, the pledge of a fully blessed existence. Jesus Christ, in particular, grants us true peace, which is born of the trusting encounter of man with God.
"Jesus’ beatitude tells us that peace is both a messianic gift and the fruit of human effort. In effect, peace presupposes a humanism open to transcendence. It is the fruit of the reciprocal gift, of a mutual enrichment, thanks to the gift which has its source in God and enables us to live with others and for others. The ethics of peace is an ethics of fellowship and sharing. It is indispensable, then, that the various cultures in our day overcome forms of anthropology and ethics based on technical and practical suppositions which are merely subjectivistic and pragmatic, in virtue of which relationships of coexistence are inspired by criteria of power or profit, means become ends and vice versa, and culture and education are centred on instruments, technique and efficiency alone. The precondition for peace is the dismantling of the dictatorship of relativism and of the supposition of a completely autonomous morality which precludes acknowledgement of the ineluctable natural moral law inscribed by God upon the conscience of every man and woman. Peace is the building up of coexistence in rational and moral terms, based on a foundation whose measure is not created by man, but rather by God. As Psalm 29 puts it: 'May the Lord give strength to His people; may the Lord bless His people with peace'.
Peace: God’s gift and the fruit of human effort
"3. Peace concerns the human person as a whole, and it involves complete commitment. It is peace with God through a life lived according to His will. It is interior peace with oneself, and exterior peace with our neighbours and all creation. Above all, as Blessed John XXIII wrote in his Encyclical Pacem in Terris, whose fiftieth anniversary will fall in a few months, it entails the building up of a coexistence based on truth, freedom, love and justice. The denial of what makes up the true nature of human beings in its essential dimensions, its intrinsic capacity to know the true and the good and, ultimately, to know God Himself, jeopardises peacemaking. Without the truth about man inscribed by the Creator in the human heart, freedom and love become debased, and justice loses the ground of its exercise.
"To become authentic peacemakers, it is fundamental to keep in mind our transcendent dimension and to enter into constant dialogue with God, the Father of mercy, whereby we implore the redemption achieved for us by His only-begotten Son. In this way mankind can overcome that progressive dimming and rejection of peace which is sin in all its forms: selfishness and violence, greed and the will to power and dominion, intolerance, hatred and unjust structures.
"The attainment of peace depends above all on recognizing that we are, in God, one human family. This family is structured, as the Encyclical Pacem in Terris taught, by interpersonal relations and institutions supported and animated by a communitarian 'we', which entails an internal and external moral order in which, in accordance with truth and justice, reciprocal rights and mutual duties are sincerely recognized. Peace is an order enlivened and integrated by love, in such a way that we feel the needs of others as our own, share our goods with others and work throughout the world for greater communion in spiritual values. It is an order achieved in freedom, that is, in a way consistent with the dignity of persons who, by their very nature as rational beings, take responsibility for their own actions.
"Peace is not a dream or something utopian; it is possible. Our gaze needs to go deeper, beneath superficial appearances and phenomena, to discern a positive reality which exists in human hearts, since every man and woman has been created in the image of God and is called to grow and contribute to the building of a new world. God Himself, through the incarnation of His Son and His work of redemption, has entered into history and has brought about a new creation and a new covenant between God and man, thus enabling us to have a 'new heart' and a 'new spirit'.
"For this very reason the Church is convinced of the urgency of a new proclamation of Jesus Christ, the first and fundamental factor of the integral development of peoples and also of peace. Jesus is indeed our peace, our justice and our reconciliation. The peacemaker, according to Jesus’ beatitude, is the one who seeks the good of the other, the fullness of good in body and soul, today and tomorrow.
"From this teaching one can infer that each person and every community, whether religious, civil, educational or cultural, is called to work for peace. Peace is principally the attainment of the common good in society at its different levels, primary and intermediary, national, international and global. Precisely for this reason it can be said that the paths which lead to the attainment of the common good are also the paths that must be followed in the pursuit of peace.
Peacemakers are those who love, defend and promote life in its fullness
"4. The path to the attainment of the common good and to peace is above all that of respect for human life in all its many aspects, beginning with its conception, through its development and up to its natural end. True peacemakers, then, are those who love, defend and promote human life in all its dimensions, personal, communitarian and transcendent. Life in its fullness is the height of peace. Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life.
"Those who insufficiently value human life and, in consequence, support among other things the liberalization of abortion, perhaps do not realize that in this way they are proposing the pursuit of a false peace. The flight from responsibility, which degrades human persons, and even more so the killing of a defenceless and innocent being, will never be able to produce happiness or peace. Indeed how could one claim to bring about peace, the integral development of peoples or even the protection of the environment without defending the life of those who are weakest, beginning with the unborn. Every offence against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development, peace and the environment. Neither is it just to introduce surreptitiously into legislation false rights or freedoms which, on the basis of a reductive and relativistic view of human beings and the clever use of ambiguous expressions aimed at promoting a supposed right to abortion and euthanasia, pose a threat to the fundamental right to life.
"There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.
"These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation. Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.
"Consequently, another important way of helping to build peace is for legal systems and the administration of justice to recognize the right to invoke the principle of conscientious objection in the face of laws or government measures that offend against human dignity, such as abortion and euthanasia.
"One of the fundamental human rights, also with reference to international peace, is the right of individuals and communities to religious freedom. At this stage in history, it is becoming increasingly important to promote this right not only from the negative point of view, as freedom from – for example, obligations or limitations involving the freedom to choose one’s religion – but also from the positive point of view, in its various expressions, as freedom for – for example, bearing witness to one’s religion, making its teachings known, engaging in activities in the educational, benevolent and charitable fields which permit the practice of religious precepts, and existing and acting as social bodies structured in accordance with the proper doctrinal principles and institutional ends of each. Sadly, even in countries of long-standing Christian tradition, instances of religious intolerance are becoming more numerous, especially in relation to Christianity and those who simply wear identifying signs of their religion.
"Peacemakers must also bear in mind that, in growing sectors of public opinion, the ideologies of radical liberalism and technocracy are spreading the conviction that economic growth should be pursued even to the detriment of the state’s social responsibilities and civil society’s networks of solidarity, together with social rights and duties. It should be remembered that these rights and duties are fundamental for the full realisation of other rights and duties, starting with those which are civil and political.
"One of the social rights and duties most under threat today is the right to work. The reason for this is that labour and the rightful recognition of workers’ juridical status are increasingly undervalued, since economic development is thought to depend principally on completely free markets. Labour is thus regarded as a variable dependent on economic and financial mechanisms. In this regard, I would reaffirm that human dignity and economic, social and political factors, demand that we continue 'to prioritise the goal of access to steady employment for everyone'. If this ambitious goal is to be realised, one prior condition is a fresh outlook on work, based on ethical principles and spiritual values that reinforce the notion of work as a fundamental good for the individual, for the family and for society. Corresponding to this good are a duty and a right that demand courageous new policies of universal employment.
Building the good of peace through a new model of development and economics
"5. In many quarters it is now recognized that a new model of development is needed, as well as a new approach to the economy. Both integral, sustainable development in solidarity and the common good require a correct scale of goods and values which can be structured with God as the ultimate point of reference. It is not enough to have many different means and choices at one’s disposal, however good these may be. Both the wide variety of goods fostering development and the presence of a wide range of choices must be employed against the horizon of a good life, an upright conduct that acknowledges the primacy of the spiritual and the call to work for the common good. Otherwise they lose their real value, and end up becoming new idols.
"In order to emerge from the present financial and economic crisis – which has engendered ever greater inequalities – we need people, groups and institutions which will promote life by fostering human creativity, in order to draw from the crisis itself an opportunity for discernment and for a new economic model. The predominant model of recent decades called for seeking maximum profit and consumption, on the basis of an individualistic and selfish mindset, aimed at considering individuals solely in terms of their ability to meet the demands of competitiveness. Yet, from another standpoint, true and lasting success is attained through the gift of ourselves, our intellectual abilities and our entrepreneurial skills, since a 'liveable' or truly human economic development requires the principle of gratuitousness as an expression of fraternity and the logic of gift. Concretely, in economic activity, peacemakers are those who establish bonds of fairness and reciprocity with their colleagues, workers, clients and consumers. They engage in economic activity for the sake of the common good and they experience this commitment as something transcending their self-interest, for the benefit of present and future generations. Thus they work not only for themselves, but also to ensure for others a future and a dignified employment.
"In the economic sector, states in particular need to articulate policies of industrial and agricultural development concerned with social progress and the growth everywhere of constitutional and democratic states. The creation of ethical structures for currency, financial and commercial markets is also fundamental and indispensable; these must be stabilised and better coordinated and controlled so as not to prove harmful to the very poor. With greater resolve than has hitherto been the case, the concern of peacemakers must also focus upon the food crisis, which is graver than the financial crisis. The issue of food security is once more central to the international political agenda, as a result of inter- related crises, including sudden shifts in the price of basic foodstuffs, irresponsible behaviour by some economic actors and insufficient control on the part of governments and the international community. To face this crisis, peacemakers are called to work together in a spirit of solidarity, from the local to the international level, with the aim of enabling farmers, especially in small rural holdings, to carry out their activity in a dignified and sustainable way from the social, environmental and economic points of view.
Education for a culture of peace: the role of the family and institutions
"6. I wish to reaffirm forcefully that the various peacemakers are called to cultivate a passion for the common good of the family and for social justice, and a commitment to effective social education.
"No one should ignore or underestimate the decisive role of the family, which is the basic cell of society from the demographic, ethical, pedagogical, economic and political standpoints. The family has a natural vocation to promote life: it accompanies individuals as they mature and it encourages mutual growth and enrichment through caring and sharing. The Christian family in particular serves as a seedbed for personal maturation according to the standards of divine love. The family is one of the indispensable social subjects for the achievement of a culture of peace. The rights of parents and their primary role in the education of their children in the area of morality and religion must be safeguarded. It is in the family that peacemakers, tomorrow’s promoters of a culture of life and love, are born and nurtured.
"Religious communities are involved in a special way in this immense task of education for peace. The Church believes that she shares in this great responsibility as part of the new evangelisation, which is centred on conversion to the truth and love of Christ and, consequently, the spiritual and moral rebirth of individuals and societies. Encountering Jesus Christ shapes peacemakers, committing them to fellowship and to overcoming injustice.
"Cultural institutions, schools and universities have a special mission of peace. They are called to make a notable contribution not only to the formation of new generations of leaders, but also to the renewal of public institutions, both national and international. They can also contribute to a scientific reflection which will ground economic and financial activities on a solid anthropological and ethical basis. Today’s world, especially the world of politics, needs to be sustained by fresh thinking and a new cultural synthesis so as to overcome purely technical approaches and to harmonise the various political currents with a view to the common good. The latter, seen as an ensemble of positive interpersonal and institutional relationships at the service of the integral growth of individuals and groups, is at the basis of all true education for peace.
A pedagogy for peacemakers
"7. In the end, we see clearly the need to propose and promote a pedagogy of peace. This calls for a rich interior life, clear and valid moral points of reference, and appropriate attitudes and lifestyles. Acts of peacemaking converge for the achievement of the common good; they create interest in peace and cultivate peace. Thoughts, words and gestures of peace create a mentality and a culture of peace, and a respectful, honest and cordial atmosphere. There is a need, then, to teach people to love one another, to cultivate peace and to live with good will rather than mere tolerance. A fundamental encouragement to this is 'to say no to revenge, to recognize injustices, to accept apologies without looking for them, and finally, to forgive', in such a way that mistakes and offences can be acknowledged in truth, so as to move forward together towards reconciliation. This requires the growth of a pedagogy of pardon. Evil is in fact overcome by good, and justice is to be sought in imitating God the Father Who loves all His children. This is a slow process, for it presupposes a spiritual evolution, an education in lofty values, a new vision of human history. There is a need to renounce that false peace promised by the idols of this world along with the dangers which accompany it, that false peace which dulls consciences, which leads to self-absorption, to a withered existence lived in indifference. The pedagogy of peace, on the other hand, implies activity, compassion, solidarity, courage and perseverance.
"Jesus embodied all these attitudes in His own life, even to the complete gift of Himself, even to 'losing His life'. He promises His disciples that sooner or later they will make the extraordinary discovery to which I originally alluded, namely that God is in the world, the God of Jesus, fully on the side of man. Here I would recall the prayer asking God to make us instruments of His peace, to be able to bring His love wherever there is hatred, His mercy wherever there is hurt, and true faith wherever there is doubt. For our part, let us join Blessed John XXIII in asking God to enlighten all leaders so that, besides caring for the proper material welfare of their peoples, they may secure for them the precious gift of peace, break down the walls which divide them, strengthen the bonds of mutual love, grow in understanding, and pardon those who have done them wrong; in this way, by His power and inspiration all the peoples of the earth will experience fraternity, and the peace for which they long will ever flourish and reign among them.
"With this prayer I express my hope that all will be true peacemakers, so that the city of man may grow in fraternal harmony, prosperity and peace."
CHRISTMAS TREE: A SIGN AND REMINDER OF DIVINE LIGHT
Vatican City, 14 December 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received in audience a delegation from the Italian region of Molise, which this year has donated the fir tree raised next to the Nativity scene in St. Peter's Square. The lighting ceremony will take place later on today.
The Pope thanked the delegation for the silver fir - which was accompanied by eight other smaller trees destined for the Apostolic Palace and various other locations around the Vatican - and greeted them following a brief address.
"God became man and came among us to dispel the shadows of sin, bringing His divine light to humanity. This highest of lights, symbolised and recalled by the Christmas tree, has not only shown no sign of dimming through the passing of the centuries and the millennia, but rather continues to shine upon us and to illuminate every person who comes into the world, especially in moments of uncertainty and difficulty. Jesus Himself declared, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life'. ... And, the attempts made through the ages to extinguish the light of God, to replace it with the glare of illusion and deceit, have heralded episodes of tragic violence against mankind. This is because the attempt to cancel the name of God from the pages of history results in distortion, in which even the most beautiful and noble words lose their true meaning".
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 14 December 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

CATHOLIC MOVIES - WATCH ST. JOHN BOSCO- PART 19


IN HONOR OF THE YEAR OF FAITH - JCE NEWS WILL BE SHOWING SOME OF THE TOP CATHOLIC MOVIES OF ALL TIME. TUNE IN FOR THE NEXT PART OF ST. JOHN BOSCO- TOMORROW

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AMERICA : SHOOTING IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN CONNECTICUT - 26 KILLED - 20 CHILDREN

26 people were killed on Friday, December 14, 2012 in the morning at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. 20 children were among the dead in the Sandy Hook school. The gunman, Adam Lanza, was 20 years old and opened fire, killing himself afterwards. He killed his mother at her home, and then principal and her students. The children killed were between the ages of 5 to 10 years. Newtown, is a small town with a population of 27,000. Please pray for the victims and their families. May the rest in peace. (Image share GOOGLE)


AFRICA : EGYPT : CHRISTIANS URGED TO VOTE IN REFERENDUM

ASIA NEWS REPORT
Orthodox Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II last night confirmed his support. Christians will be free to vote for or against the proposed constitution in accordance with their conscience. Catholic Church spokesman believes 'No' side will grow against the Islamist constitution, and that this cannot be ignored.


Cairo (AsiaNews) - Egypt's Churches have called on their members to take part in tomorrow's referendum. "Every citizen has the freedom to vote," Orthodox Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II said last night at the end of a meeting with representatives of all Christian denominations (Orthodox Copts, Catholics, Protestants and Anglicans).
"The Churches have not said how people should vote. Everyone is free to vote in favour or against the new constitution," Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church and organiser of the meeting, told AsiaNews.
Christians, who are about 10 per cent of the population, will probably follow the lead of liberal parties, which told voters not to boycott the referendum but instead vote no to the Islamist-drafted instead. This way, Egyptians can show they trust the democratic system whilst trying to defeat the Islamist majority through the ballot box.
"Our hope is that this constitution will not be approved," the priest said. "The climate is very different from the previous vote on the constitution right after Mubarak's fall. This time, the 'No' side will be stronger and cannot be ignored."
In November, Church representatives pulled out of the constituent assembly in protest against articles that denied both Christians and muslims basic rights and freedoms, by subordinating legal interpretation on the Qur'an, thus Islamising Egyptian society.
Many religious and non-religious leaders accuse President Mohamed Morsi and Islamist groups of sowing division within the country by using Islam to stay in power.
Meanwhile, thousands of people gathered again in Tahrir Square to protest peacefully against a referendum held in an atmosphere of tensions and chaos without the consent of much of the people.
For their part, Islamist groups organised pro-constitution rallies at the mosques of Al-Rahman Al-Rahim, Al-Rashdan and al-Rabaa Adaweya after Friday prayers.
Today, Islamist leaders released threatening statements against attempts to interfere with the referendum, claiming that a 'Yes' vote is the only way out of the chaos. (S.C.)

SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT 

AUSTRALIA : END OF THE SISTERS ROAD SHOW


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
14 Dec 2012

Wise and warm Sr Julianne brought the story of Mary MacKillop to thousands of children across Australia
After two years on the road across Australia, the Sesame Street-style Mary MacKillop puppet and her puppet companion, Bobs the dog, can finally take a rest. The distinctive vibrant-painted Sister's Travelling Roadshow van is also in storage and South Australian Josephite, Sister Julianne Murphy is back home at last and able to sleep in her own bed once more.
After months of sleeping in a different bed each night or bunking down in the back of the van, Sr Julianne says she still can't believe she has spent the past four nights sleeping in the same bed.
"And even better my own bed," she says laughing.
But she also insists the experience of helming the two year Travelling Roadshow and visiting virtually every corner of Australia, speaking to schools, parishes and communities has been a life changing experience she will treasure forever.
"I have been very privileged to have been able to see so much of Australia. It has been a remarkable journey and what struck me wherever I went, no matter how remote the community I visited, was the awareness and enormous interest in Mary MacKillop, with everyone keen to get on board and keep her spirit alive," she says.
In her two year epic journey accompanied by the two puppets and various Josephite sisters who shared different legs of her travels, Sr Julianne drove an incredible 70,254 kilometres visiting every major Australian city as well as hundreds of towns large and small, and as many rural and remote communities as possible.
With her enthusiasm, warmth, sense of fun and her popular puppets, Sr Julianne delighted young and old with her presentations about the founder of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, her work and her legacy.

The Governor General with Sr Julianne Murphy, the Josephite puppet schoolchildren love and the Travelling Sisters Roadshow van
Over the two year period Sr Julianne gave presentations on Australia's first saint and the ongoing work of the Mary MacKillop Foundation to more than 58,600 children as well as thousands of adults who listened spell-bound to the story of the Melbourne-born religious who was the first to provide free education to Australia's poor, vulnerable and marginalised.
They also heard how the legacy of this remarkable woman continues today not only through the work of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the community she founded, but through the Mary MacKillop Foundation which provides annual grants of up to $10,000 to individuals and communities across the country to support small life-changing projects designed to help rebuild and change lives.

Established in the 1980s by the Sisters of St Joseph, the Foundation is committed to continuing the work of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop and her mantra to "never see a need without doing something about it."
The idea for the roadshow came as a direct response by the Foundation to help children and communities deal with the devastating natural disasters that swept across Australia from late December 2010 through to February and March 2011.
By the time Sr Julianne first took the wheel of the roadshow van and embarked from Mary MacKillop Place North Sydney on the first leg of her two year travels, Australians were struggling to cope in the aftermath of the worst floods in more than a century that had taken lives and swept away entire communities in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. In February another disaster followed with the arrival of Cyclone Yasi which roared through Northern Queensland, cutting a swathe of destruction as it decimated homes and livelihoods. Simultaneously on the other side of the country, Western Australia was battling catastrophic bushfires that turned the outskirts of Perth into blackened smoking ruins.

Wherever they went the puppets were a big hit
"Even children who lived well away from any of the areas affected by these disasters were upset and stressed after seeing images of these events as they unfolded on television," Sr Julianne explains.
With more than 20 years experience as a teacher as well as a principal at schools in South Australia, she devised ways to help children cope. With the younger ones, she used puppets of Mary MacKillop and her dog Bobs to encourage the youngsters to confide their fears and find hope.
"Children open up when they talk to puppets in a way they may not when talking directly to an adult of family friend," Sr Julianne explains and laughs as she recalls how often the Mary MacKillop puppet was hugged and kissed and the needle and thread repair jobs she would have to undertake at night. She also laughs about Bobs the dog who looks like a collie pup rather than Mary MacKillop's beloved terrier.
"We couldn't find a terrier puppet so we grabbed this one as the next best thing," she explains.
Another part of her presentation at both primary and secondary schools was to place pairs of shoes on the floor and encourage students to step into them and to imagine what it is like to "walk in somebody else's shoes."
This part of the presentation helped build empathy and understanding of others, not only those involved in natural disasters but for those who came here as asylum seekers and remained held in detention, or those children struggling with poverty in families that had little or nothing.

The Travelling Sisters Roadshow epic journey has now ended
During the first months of the roadshow the initial aim to help children cope with the aftermath of the floods, cyclone and bushfires was expanded and broadened.
"Travelling in the roadshow van from school to school and community to community was also a wonderful way to meet a wide variety of people and also gave me an opportunity to see many of the projects supported by the Mary MacKillop Foundation in action," Sr Julianne says.
The journey also helped her pinpoint where the additional 10 grants given by the Foundation in the wake of the natural disasters might go and the projects that would help communities help themselves, rebuilding lives, and getting them back on their feet.
Originally Mary MacKillop's Roadshow was expected to run for just one year but the response from schools, towns, parishes and communities was so great and invitations to visit their school or town so overwhelming, it was decided for Sr Julianne and her roadshow to continue her travels in 2012 as well.
For Sr Julianne this year's journey included visits to many state primary and secondary schools who had specifically asked the roadshow to visit.
"Although they were not religious schools, the students knew the story of Mary MacKillop and were eager to know more. They had no religious teaching at these schools but I discovered Mary MacKillop is now part of the history syllabus at public schools across the country."

The two puppets are now in storage along with the Roadshow van
But now the journey is over. Next year there will be a different initiative from the Foundation to support and help those with grants for projects as well as the financing ongoing tertiary scholarships which have so far enabled 50 Indigenous students to graduate from some of Australia's top universities.
For Sr Julianne though her travels are about to continue and after spending time over Christmas with family and friends she is heading for the Kimberley in WA and the remote community of Warmun where she will take over as teacher and educator at the school there.
"It will be great to be part of the community and not just passing through a community as I've done over the past two years," she says admitting she is very excited and very much looking forward to her appointment and her new life in Warmun.

SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

ASIA : PHILIPPINES - CATHOLICS AGAINST RH LAW

UCAN NEWS REPORT

Lay groups campaign against Congressmen who passed the law
ucanews.com reporter, Manila

Disgruntled Catholic lay groups yesterday launched a movement that will campaign in elections against politicians supporting the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill.
"There will be a Catholic vote in 2013. We will deliver it through our membership and from among our fellow parishioners," said Dr Ricardo Boncan, a group spokesman.
Anna Cosio, another movement spokesperson, said the group will conduct voter education programs and spell out criteria for electing national and local officials, such as having "high Christian moral standards, sound judgment, integrity, honor, dignity and independence."
Organizers said the new movement, Catholic Vote Philippines, was prompted by the government’s "apparent resolve to pass ‘anti-family’ laws in Congress, the most prominent of which is the RH bill."
The House of Representatives yesterday ignored Church protests and passed the bill that will allow artificial contraception as a family planning method if it becomes law.
The country’s upper house, the Senate, is due to vote on the bill next week.
The movement, initiated by the Couples for Christ, the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Women’s League, said it would fight against all proposed laws dealing with population control, divorce and same sex marriage.
Mid-term polls to elect local leaders and members of Congress are scheduled to take place in May next year.
Related reports
Reproductive health bill passes despite protests 
Bishops' last-ditch appeal against RH bill

SHARED FROM UCAN NEWS 

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. DEC. 14, 2012


Matthew 11: 16 - 19

16"But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates,17`We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.'18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, `He has a demon';19the Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, `Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds."


TODAY'S SAINT: DEC. 14: ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS


St. John of the Cross
DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, FOUNDER, GREAT MYSTICAL THEOLOGIAN
Feast: December 14


Information:
Feast Day:December 14
Born:
24 June 1542, Fontiveros, Spain
Died:December 14, 1591, Ubeda, Andalusia, Spain
Canonized:27 December 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII
Major Shrine:Tomb of Saint John of the Cross, Segovia, Spain
Patron of:contemplative life; contemplatives; mystical theology; mystics; Spanish poets
St John, by his family name called Yepes, was youngest child of Gonzales of Yepes, and born at Fontibere near Avila, in Old Castile, in 1542. With his mother's milk he sucked in the most tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and was preserved from many dangers by the visible protection of her intercession The death of his father left his mother destitute of all succours with three little children, with whom she settled at Medina. John learned the first elements of letters at a college. The administrator of the hospital, delighted with his extraordinary piety, employed him in serving the sick; an office which was very agreeable to the devotion of the youth, who acquitted himself with the feeling of charity much above his years, especially when he exhorted the sick to acts of virtue. He practiced, at the same time, excessive austerities, and continued his studies in the college of the Jesuits. At twenty-one years of age, to satisfy his devotion to the mother of God, he took the religious habit among the Carmelite friars at Medina in 1563. Never did any novice give greater proofs of obedience, humility, fervour, and love of the cross. His zeal, far from abating after his novitiate, was continually upon the increase. When he arrived at Salamanca, in order to commence his higher studies, the austerities which he practiced were excessive. He chose for his cell a little dark hole at the bottom of the dormitory. A hollow board, something like a grave, was his bed. He platted himself so rough a hair shirt that, at the least motion, it pricked his body to blood. His fasts and other mortifications were incredible. By these means he studied to die to the world and to himself; but by assiduous prayer and contemplation, in silence and retirement, he gave wings to his soul. It was his desire to be a lay-brother, but this was refused him. He had distinguished himself in his course of theological studies, when in 1567, being twenty-five years old, be was promoted to the priesthood. He prepared himself to offer his first sacrifice by humiliations, fasts, penitential tears, fervent prayers, and long meditations on the sufferings of our Divine Redeemer; deeply imprinting his precious wounds in his heart and sacrificing himself, his will, and all his actions with his Saviour, in raptures of love and devotion. The graces which he received from the holy mysteries, inflamed him with a desire of greater retirement; for which purpose he deliberated with himself to enter the Order of the Carthusians.
St. Teresa was then busy in establishing her reformation of the Carmelites, and coming to Medina del Campo heard speak of the extraordinary virtue of brother John. Whereupon she desired to see him, admired his spirit, and told him that God had called him to sanctify himself in the Order of our Lady of Mount Carmel: that she had received authority from the general to found two reformed houses of men, and that he himself should be the first instrument of so great a work. Soon after, she founded her first monastery of men in a poor house in the village of Durvelle. John, who had acquiesced in her proposal, entered this new Bethlehem, in a perfect spirit of sacrifice, and about two months after was Joined by some others, who all renewed their profession on Advent Sunday, 1568 This was the beginning of the Barefooted Carmelite Friars, whose institute was approved by Pope Pius V, and in 1580 confirmed by Gregory XIII. So great were the austerities of these primitive Carmelites, that St. Teresa saw it necessary to prescribe them a mitigation. The odour of their sanctity in their poor obscure house spread all over Spain; and St. Teresa soon after established a second convent at Pastrane, and in 1568 a third at Manreza, whither she translated that from Durvelle, and in 1577 a fourth at Alcala. The example and the exhortations of St. John inspired the religious with a perfect spirit of solitude, humility, and mortification. His wonderful love of the cross appeared in all his actions, and it was by meditating continually on the sufferings of Christ that it increased daily in his soul; for love made him desire to resemble his crucified Redeemer in all manner of humiliations and sufferings.
St. John, after tasting the first sweets of holy contemplation, found himself deprived of all sensible devotion. This spiritual dryness was followed by interior trouble of mind, scruples, and a disrelish of spiritual exercises, which yet he was careful never to forsake. The devils, at the same time, assaulted him with violent temptations, and men persecuted him by calumnies. But the most terrible of all these pains was that of scrupulosity and interior desolation, in which he seemed to see hell open ready to swallow him up. He describes admirably what a soul feels in this trial in his book called "The Obscure Night." This state of interior desolation contemplative souls, in some degree or other, first pass through before their hearts are prepared to receive the communication of God's special graces. By it our saint obtained a perfect poverty and nakedness of spirit, freed from all the refined passions of self-love, and an excellent conformity to the holy will of God, which can only be built on the destruction of self-will, a heroic patience, and a courageous perseverance. After some time, certain rays of light, comfort, and divine sweetness scattered these mists and translated the soul of the servant of God into a paradise of interior delights and heavenly sweetness. This was again succeeded by another more grievous trial of spiritual darkness which spread itself over his soul, accompanied with interior pains and temptations, in which God seemed to have forsaken him, and to have become deaf to his sighs and tears. So violent was his sorrow in this state of privation, that it seemed he must have died of grief if God had not supported him by his grace. In the calm which followed this terrible tempest he was wonderfully repaid in divine comforts. Surrounded with a new light, he saw clearly the incomparable advantages of suffering especially by the severest interior trials. He never received any extraordinary favour which was not preceded by some great tribulation; which is an ordinary conduct of the sweet providence of God in regard to his servants for their great spiritual advantage. God, in the sensible visits of his grace, draws a soul by his charms to run in the sweet paths of his love; but her virtue is chiefly perfected by tribulations. Trials were, by grace, the chief instruments of the admirable perfection to which our saint arrived. St. Teresa made use of him to impart the spirit of her reform to the religious in all the houses which she established. The convent in which she had made her first profession, at Avila, had always opposed her reformation. Yet the Bishop of Avila thought it necessary that she should be made prioress there, to retrench at least the frequent visits of seculars. She sent for St. John and appointed him the spiritual director of this house in 1576. He soon engaged them to shut up their parlours, and to cut off the scandalous abuses which were inconsistent with a religious life of retirement and penance. Many seculars likewise put themselves under his direction, and he preached the word of God with wonderful unction and fruit. But God would be glorified by his sufferings, and to make them the more sensible to him, permitted his own brethren to be the instruments thereof, as Christ himself was betrayed by a disciple. The old Carmelite friars looked on this reformation, though undertaken with the licence and approbation of the general, given to St. Teresa, as a rebellion against their Order; and, in their chapter at Placentia, condemned St. John as a fugitive and an apostate. This resolution being taken, they sent soldiers and sergeants, who broke open his door and tumultuously carried him to the prison of his convent; and, knowing the veneration which the people at Avila had for his person, removed him from thence to Toledo, where he was locked up in a dark noisome cell, into which no light had admittance but through a little hole three fingers broad. Scarce any other nourishment was allowed him during the nine months which he remained there but bread, a little fish, called sardines, and water. He was released after nine months by the credit of St. Teresa, and by the protection of the mother of God. In this destitute condition he had been favoured with many heavenly comforts, which made him afterwards say, "Be not surprised if I show so great a love for sufferings; God gave me a high idea of their merit and value when I was in the prison of Toledo."
He had no sooner recovered his liberty than he was made superior of the little convent of Calvary, situate in a desert, and in 1579 founded that of Baeza. In 1581 he was chosen prior of Granada; in 1585 vicar-provincial of Andalusia; and, in 1588, first definitor of the Order. He founded at the same time the convent of Segovia. In all his employments, the austerities which he practiced seemed to exceed bounds; and he only slept two or three hours in a night, employing the rest in prayer, in presence of the blessed sacrament. He showed always the most sincere and profound humility, and even love of abjection, an inimitable fervour and zeal for all the exercises of religion, and an insatiable desire of suffering. Hearing Christ once say to him, "John, what recompense cost thou ask of thy labours?" He answered, "Lord, I ask no other recompense than to suffer and be condemned for thy love." At the very name of the cross he fell into an ecstasy, in the presence of mother Anne of Jesus. Three things he frequently asked of God: 1st, That he might not pass one day of his life without suffering something; 2ndly, That he might not die superior; 3rdly, That he might end his life in humiliation, disgrace, and contempt. The passion of our Redeemer was the usual subject of his meditations, and he exceedingly recommends the same to others in his writings. He was frequently so absorbed in God that he was obliged often to offer violence to himself to treat of temporal affairs, and sometimes, when called out from prayer, was incapable of doing it. Coming to himself from sudden raptures, he would cry out with words, as it were of fire, "Let us take wing and fly on high. What do we do here, dear brethren? Let us go to eternal life." This love appeared in a certain brightness which darted from his countenance on many occasions, especially when he came from the altar or from prayer. A person of distinction was one day so moved with the sight of it, perceiving the heavenly light of his face to dazzle his eyes and pierce his heart with divine love, that on the spot he took a resolution to renounce the world and embraced the Order of St. Dominic. A lady coming to confession to him was so struck with a heavenly light which shone from his countenance and penetrated her soul, that she immediately laid aside her jewels and gaudy attire, and consecrated herself to God in strict retirement, to the astonishment of the whole city of Segovia. His love of his neighbour was no less wonderful, especially towards the poor, the sick, and sinners; his continual tenderness and affection for his enemies, and the benefactions and kindness with which he always studied to return good for evil, were most admirable. For fear of contracting any attachments to earthly things, he was a rigorous observer and lover of poverty. All the furniture of his little cell or chamber consisted in a paper image and a cross made of rushes, and he would have the meanest beads and breviary, and wear the most threadbare habit he could get. A profound sentiment of religion made him bear an extreme respect to whatever belonged, even remotely, to churches, or to the service of God. The same motive of the honour of God sanctified all his actions. He employed many hours every day and night in prayer, and often before the blessed sacrament, with extraordinary fervour. True devotion he described to be humble, not loving to be lofty; silent, not active; without attachment to anything; without singularity or presumption; full of distrust in itself; following with ardour simple and common rules. In 1591 the chapter of his Order met at Madrid, in which St. John opposed too severe measures used in the punishment of disobedience against Father Gratian, who had been a great assistant to St. Teresa; and likewise strenuously spoke against a motion supported by some of the chiefs, for casting off the direction of the Teresain nuns. This gave offence to some whom envy and jealousy had indisposed against him, and by their means the servant of God was thrust out of all employments in his Order. It was with joy that he saw himself in disgrace and at liberty, and retired into the little solitary convent of Pegnuela, in the mountains of Sierra Morena.
God was pleased to finish his martyrdom by a second grievous persecution from his own brethren before his death. His banishment to Pegnuela he thought his happiness, and always excused and commended father commissary and the other authors of his disgrace, and hindered all others from writing to the vicar-general of the injustices done him. There were in the Order two fathers of great authority, who declared themselves his implacable enemies, harbouring malice and envy in their breasts, which they cloaked under the sanctified name of holy zeal. In the saint's disgrace, one of them, called F. Diego Evangelista, ran over the whole province to beg and trump up accusations against the servant of God, and boasted that he had sufficient proofs to have him expelled the Order. The saint said nothing all this while, only that he was ready to receive with joy any punishment. Everybody at that time forsook him; all were afraid of seeming to have any commerce with him, and burnt the letters which they had received from him, lest they might be involved in his disgrace. St. John had no other comfort or refuge but prayer, in which the abundant consolations of the Holy Ghost rendered his sufferings sweet to him. This storm ceased when the informations of Diego were laid before the superiors; for had they been all true, they amounted to nothing which deserved any chastisement. The sweetness of the divine love and peace which overflowed the soul of the servant of God all this time, filled him with interior joy, which increased in proportion as he was more abandoned by creatures. "The soul of one who serves God," says the saint, "always swims in joy, always keeps holiday, is always in her palace of jubilation, ever singing with fresh ardour and fresh pleasure, a new song of joy and love."
St. John, living in the practice of extreme austerities, and in continual contemplation, fell sick, and when he could no longer conceal his distemper, the provincial ordered him to leave Pegnuela, that place being destitute of all relief, and gave him the choice either to go to Baeza or to Ubeda. The first was a very convenient convent and had for prior an intimate friend of the saint. The other was poor, and F. Francis Chrysostom was prior there, the other person whom he had formerly corrected, and who was no less his enemy than F. Diego. The love of suffering made St. John prefer this house of Ubeda. The fatigue of his journey had caused his leg to swell exceedingly, and it burst in many places from the heel quite to the knee, besides five ulcers or wounds under his foot. He suffered excessive pains from the violence of the inflammation, and from the frequent incisions and operations of the surgeons, from the top to the bottom of his leg. His fever all this time allowed him no rest. These racking pains he suffered three whole months with admirable patience, in continual peace tranquillity, and joy, never making the least complaint, but often embracing the crucifix and pressing it close upon his breast when the pain was very sharp. The unworthy prior treated him with the utmost inhumanity, forbade anyone to be admitted to see him, changed the infirmarian because he served him with tenderness, locked him up in a little cell, made him continual harsh reproaches, and would not allow anything but the hardest bread and food, refusing him even what seculars sent in for him; all which the saint suffered with joy in his countenance. God himself was pleased to complete his sacrifice, and abandoned him for some time to a great spiritual dryness, and a state of interior desolation. But his love and patience were the more heroic. The provincial happening to come to Ubeda a few days before his death was grieved to see this barbarous usage, opened the door of his cell, and said that such an example of invincible patience and virtue ought to be public, not only to his religious brethren, but to the whole world. The prior of Ubeda opened his eyes, begged the saint's pardon, received his instructions for the government of his community, and afterwards accused and condemned himself with many tears. As for the saint himself, we cannot give a better description of the situation of his holy soul in his last moments than in his own words, where he speaks of the death of a saint," Perfect love of God makes death welcome, and most sweet to a soul. They who love thus, die with burning ardours and impetuous flights through the vehemence of their desires of mounting up to their beloved. The rivers of love in the heart, now swell almost beyond all bounds, being just going to enter the ocean of love. She seems already to behold that glory, and all things in her seem already turned into love, seeing there remains no other separation than a thin web, the prison of the body being almost broken." This seems the exact portraiture of the soul of our saint upon the point of leaving this world. Two hours before he died he repeated aloud the psalm with his brethren; then he desired one to read to him part of the book of Canticles, appearing himself in transports of joy. He at length cried out, "Glory be to God "; pressed the crucifix on his breast, and after some time said, "Lord, into thy hands I commend my soul"; with which words he calmly breathed forth his soul on the 14th of December, in 1591, being forty-nine years old, of which he had spent twenty-eight in a religious state. Almighty God exalted him after his death by several miracles; amongst which the cure of a nun of the Annunciation, at Neuf-Chateau, in Lorrain, struck with a palsy, in 1705, effected on the ninth day of a Novena of devotion to this saint, was juridically proved in the court of the Bishop of Toul. St. John was canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726, and his office in the Roman Breviary was appointed on this 24th of November. His body remains at Segovia. A history of his revelations and many miracles, with an exact account of his writings, and mystical theology may be read in his life by F. Dositheus of Alexis.

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