Friday, January 20, 2012



VATICAN CITY, 20 JAN 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall the Holy Father received seventy professors and students of the diocesan seminary of Rome, the "Almo Collegio Capranica". Tomorrow the 555 year-old college will be celebrating the feast of its patroness St Agnes, and it was on that third-century virgin and martyr that the Holy Father focused his remarks. (IMAGE SOURCE : RADIO VATICANA)

"For St. Agnes martyrdom meant agreeing to spend her young life, generously and freely, completely and without reserve, so that the Gospel could be announced as the truth and beauty which illuminates existence. ... In martyrdom Agnes also confirmed the other decisive element of her life: her virginity for Christ and the Church. Her path to the compete gift of self in martyrdom was, in fact, prepared by her informed, free and mature choice of virginity, testimony of her desire to belong entirely to Christ. ... While still young Agnes had learned that being a disciple of the Lord means loving Him, even at the cost of one's life".

"Formation for the priesthood likewise requires integrity, maturity, asceticism, constancy and heroic fidelity in all aspects. All this must be founded upon a solid spiritual life animated by an intense relationship with God, as individuals and in the community, with a particular care for liturgical celebrations and frequent recourse to the Sacraments. Priestly life requires an ever-increasing thirst for sanctity, a clear 'sensus Ecclesiae' and an openness to fraternity without exclusion or bias", said the Holy Father.

"Part of a priest's journey of sanctity is his decision to develop, with God's help, his own intellect, his own commitment: an authentic and solid personal culture which is the fruit of constant and impassioned study. Faith has an indispensable rational and intellectual element. ... Those who also achieve maturity in this global cultural formation will be more effective educators and animators of that worship 'in spirit and in truth' about which Jesus spoke to the woman of Samaria. Such worship ... must become ... a process whereby man himself, as a being gifted with reason, becomes worship and glorification of the living God".

"Always maintain a profound sense of the history and traditions of the Church", the Pope told his audience. "Here you have the opportunity to open yourselves to an international horizon. ... Learn to understand the situations of the various countries and Churches of the world. ... Ready yourselves to approach all the men and women you will meet, ensuring that no culture is a barrier to the Word of life, which you must announce even with your lives".

"The Church expects a lot from young priests in the work of evangelisation and new evangelisation. I encourage you in your daily efforts that, rooted in the beauty of authentic tradition and profoundly united to Christ, you may bring Him into your communities with truth and joy".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience more than 7,000 members of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. During the course of the ceremony, the Holy Father sent out seventeen new "ad gentes" missions of the Way: twelve to Europe, four to America and one to Africa. Each mission is made up of three or four large families, members of the Neo-Catechumenal Way who, accompanied by a priest, go to live in an area where Christian practise has lapsed or where the Gospel has never been announced.

Extracts from the Holy Father's address to the group are given below.

"Over these decades of life of the Way, your firm commitment has been to proclaim the Gospel of the risen Christ, ... often abandoning personal and material security. ... Bringing Christ to mankind and mankind to Christ is what animates all evangelising work. You achieve this on a path which helps those who have already been baptised to rediscover the beauty of the life of faith, the joy of being Christian. ... We know that this is not always easy. Sometimes you find yourselves in places in which a first announcement of the Gospel is needed: the 'missio ad gentes'. At other times you are present in areas which, though they have known Christ, have become indifferent to the faith, areas in which laicism has eclipsed the sense of God and obscured Christian values. May your commitment and witness be as a leaven which - patiently, respecting times and with 'sensus Ecclesia' - causes the dough to rise.

"The Church has recognised in the Way a special gift which the Holy Spirit has given to our times. The approval of the Statutes and of the 'Catechetical Directory' are a sign of this. I encourage you to make your original contribution to the cause of the Gospel. In your vital work, always seek profound communion with the Apostolic See and with the pastors of the particular Churches of which you are a part. For the world in which we live, the unity and harmony of the ecclesial body are an important testimony to Christ and His Gospel".

"You have just listened to the reading of a decree granting approval to the celebrations contained in the 'Catechetical Directory of the Neo-Catechumenal Way' which are not strictly liturgical but are part of the itinerary of growth in the faith. This is a further element showing you that the Church accompanies you attentively and with patient discernment, that she understands your richness but also looks to the communion and harmony of the entire 'Corpus Ecclesiae'. .... The risen Christ is actively present in the Church's liturgical activity, making the paschal Mystery real and effective for our salvation today. ... This work of the Lord Jesus, this entering into the paschal Mystery, which is the true content of the liturgy, is also the work of the Church which, being His body, is a single entity with Christ"

"This holds true particularly for the celebration of the Eucharist which, being the pinnacle of Christian life, is also the key to its rediscovery, which is also the aim of the neo-catechumenate. As your Statutes say: 'The Eucharist is essential to the neo-catechumenate which is a post-baptismal catechumenate, lived in small communities'.

"Precisely in order to foment a renewal of the richness of sacramental life among people who have distanced themselves from the Church, or who have not received adequate formation, the members of the Neo-Catechumenal Way can celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in small communities".

"Celebration in small communities, regulated by the books of the liturgy which must be accurately followed, and with the particular features approved in the Statutes of the Way, helps the followers of the Neo-Catechumenal Way to perceive the grace of being part of Christ's salvific mystery. ... At the same time the progressive maturity in faith of individuals and small communities must favour their insertion into the life of the ecclesial community as a whole, which has its ordinary form in the liturgical celebrations in parishes, in which and for which the neo-catechumenate is implemented.

"Yet even during the journey it is important not to separate oneself from the parish community, and particularly in the celebration of the Eucharist which is the true place of universal unity, where the Lord embraces us in our various states of spiritual maturity and unites us in the one bread that makes us one body".

In conclusion the Holy Father thanked the neo-catechumens for their expressions of affection and asked them to remember him in their prayers.
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VATICAN CITY, 20 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for the Laity today published a decree approving the celebrations contained in the Catechetical Directory of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. The decree is dated 8 January, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and bears the signatures of Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko and Bishop Josef Clemens, respectively president and secretary of the council.

The text published today reads: "By a decree of 11 May 2008 the Pontifical Council for the Laity gave definitive approval to the Statutes of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. Subsequently, following due consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by a decree of 26 December 2010, the council gave approval to the publication of the Catechetical Directory as a valid and binding instrument for the catechesis of the Neo-Catechumenal Way.

"Now, pursuant to articles 131 and 133 paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor Bonus' on the Roman Curia, the Pontifical Council for the Laity, having received the 'nulla osta' of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, grants approval to those celebrations contained in the Catechetical Directory of the Neo-Catechumenal Way which are not, by their nature, already regulated by the liturgical books of the Church".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
20 Jan 2012

Eileen O'Connor believed her
suffering was a gift from the Lord
Inspired by her faith, courage, commitment and love of God, men and women of all ages joined together last week on a pilgrimage to commemorate the life and legacy of Eileen O'Connor.
On 10 January, the 91st anniversary of the young woman's death, the group celebrated with their annual walk and Benediction at St Anne's Catholic Church, Bondi. The group which included Father Terence Mary Naughtin OFM, began the 10 kilometre coastal walk from Bondi to the convent of Our Lady's Nurses of the Poor at Coogee.
The tomb of Eileen O'Connor lies inside the convent's chapel, where each year on the anniversary of her death, the congregation she founded, remove the top of the vault to reveal her coffin. The rim of the vault is then surrounded by flowers and it has become a tradition for pilgrims who come to pray beside the tomb to commemorate the anniversary of her death by laying rosary beads on her coffin.
Last week as well as the group of pilgrims who walked from Bondi to pray at her tomb, others arrived from throughout Coogee and the surrounding area to pay their respects and honour the woman regarded as one of Australia's saints-in-waiting who is often known as "the saint by the seaside."
Born Eily Rosaline O'Connor, Eileen as she was known, was born on 19 February 1892 in Melbourne. The eldest of four to Irish parents, she was three years old when she fell from her pram and severely damaged her spine. Despite many operations, nothing could be done to alleviate the terrible pain, and later when X-rays could be taken, it was discovered her spine had been pushed out of alignment to an angle of 80 degrees.

Pilgrims of all ages joined coastal walk to commemorate
the work and life of Eileen O'Connor
The deformity should have prevented Eileen from walking, but with typical perseverance and courage, and despite intense and continuous pain, she managed to stand and at times even walk. But for the most part during her childhood, she was bedridden or needed help to move.
Although she was enrolled at Richmond parish school, her disability and the intense pain meant she was often too ill, and with few friends of her own age and little opportunity for the normal preoccupations of childhood, she turned to her family and her religion for comfort.
At age 10, she moved with her family to Sydney where he had been offered a job as a senior clerk. Surgical and medical treatment for Eileen continued. But these were a drain on family resources and when her father died suddenly in 1911, the family faced financial hardship. Coogee parish priest, Fr Edward McGrath found accommodation for the family and witnessed the courage of the then 19-year-old Eileen, who coped with pain so severe that at times she would collapse unconscious.

Fr Terence Mary McNaughtin and pilgrims on coastal walk
to honour Eileen O'Connor
Deeply religious, Eileen claimed to have received a visitation from the Holy Mother who encouraged her to accept her suffering for the good of others. She told only Fr McGrath of this vision and he in turn shared with her his ambition to establish a congregation of nurses to serve the poor. Eileen was filled with enthusiasm for the venture and moved into a rented house in Coogee in 1915 - which would become known as Our Lady's Home and serve as the convent for the new congregation.
Despite her disability, Eileen was a tireless worker and inspirational leader, and when the community of "Our Lady's Nurses of the Poor," elected her as the congregation's first superior there was little surprise. The work of the Brown Nurses as they became known consisted of visiting the poor who were sick in their own homes and nursing them and also caring for the frail and aged.
Eileen supervised the work and directed the spiritual development of the congregation. But when a group of Sacred Heart Missionaries alleged an improper relationship between Eileen and co-founder of the congregation, Fr McGrath found himself banned from officiating as a priest. He appealed to Rome. Eileen, so incensed at such outrageous claims, and with the assistance of a nurse travelled to the Vatican in 1911 in support of his cause. Granted an interview with Pope Benedict XV she influenced his decision to reinstate Fr McGrath.

Pilgrims leave rosarys on top of
Eileen O'Connors coffin
inside the opened vault
Returning to Australia, she continued to be an inspiring devoted leader of her congregation, but by now was almost entirely bedridden. Ill health continued to dog her and after years of suffering chronic tuberculosis of the spine, she died on 10 January 1921.
Just 29 years old she was buried at Randwick cemetery. Sixteen years later when her body was exhumed to be reinterred beneath the chapel at the convent Our Lady's Nurses of the Poor, it was found to be in a state of perfect preservation.
"I was talking with a friend and she mentioned Eileen O'Connor. I'd never heard of her. But I did some research and discovered she was an 'incorruptible' and then I started reading her meditations and discovered what a wonderful model of courage, selflessness and true faith she had been," says Ronan Reilly who has organised pilgrimage walks from Bondi to Eileen O'Connor's tomb for the past three years.
This year's pilgrim walk on the anniversary of her death concluded with high Mass celebrated by Fr Terence Mary McNaughtin inside the chapel of the convent of Our Lady's Nurses of the Poor.
Ronan is keen for others to know about Eileen O'Connor and hopes that one day, like St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, she will be recognised fully for her holiness and selfless devotion to God and become a candidate for sainthood.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Nina Achmatova
The famous blogger prefers to meet with the spokesperson for the Moscow Patriarchate and the deserts opposition talks with the new U.S. ambassador. The network attacks him: "clever". He responds: "I have never hidden my faith."

Moscow (AsiaNews) - From hero-figure to the opposition’s chief suspect. The spiralling popularity of the famous blogger Alexei Navalny, detained for 15 days in December for taking part in anti-government protests in Moscow, is beginning to crack. Activist and lawyer by profession, Navalny has become the object of harsh criticism from the Russian blogosphere, after last week he distanced himself from some of the initiatives of the protest movement, which in December took to the streets to beg for "fair elections" and a "Russia without Putin".

His absence at the meeting between the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, and the extra-parliamentary opposition surprised both public and media. Instead of following his 'colleagues protest' he met with the Moscow Patriarchate spokesman, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, and attended a dinner on the eve of Epiphany in his parish (which in Russia is celebrated on January 19 according to the Julian calendar). According to Chaplin, the two discussed "the latest events and how to facilitate dialogue between the authorities and society." On the Internet bloggers went on the rampage calling Navalny of "politician" and "sly". The support of the Orthodox Church was one of the pillars of the first president and then prime minister Vladimir Putin. Recently, the Patriarch has distanced himself from positions of power, for the first time by inviting those in power to enter into dialogue with society while expressing his displeasure with the protests.

Navalny has defined himself as a "typical post-Soviet believer." "I respect fasts and make the sign of the cross in the church, but do not often practice my faith," he said recently in an interview. "I do not think that my faith can be transformed into political capital - he added - it would be pretty ridiculous. I've never emphasized it, nor hidden it and that's it. "

Finally, his offer as a consultant to the team of defenders of one of the defendants in the Yukos trial, Pavel Ivlev has bee read as a publicity move. Ivlev is a former office of the oil company Khodorkovsky wizard and now a political refugee in the United States.,-anti-Putin-protest-leader-meets-with-the-Church-and-creates-discontent-23748.html


UCAN REPORT: Endorses early catechism at home and says families are their own domestic churches
Sumon Corraya, Dhaka
The archbishop of Dhaka said families must take a greater role in contributing to Church teaching during a seminar yesterday that unveiled the local Church’s pastoral plan for the year.
Holy Cross Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario told about 35 representatives from various dioceses that families needed to work harder to reshape the Church, and that work must begin in the home.
“Every family is a domestic Church because the children get their first catechism in the family. In this age of globalization every Catholic can’t get education at Church schools, or they study in schools where teachers on Christianity are not available.
“To counter the situation, families need to take up the duty to offer catechism to their children,” he said at the seminar, held at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh center in Dhaka.
The prelate also encouraged families to gather in groups of 10 or 12 to form small communities, headed by a spiritual chaplain, to transform themselves into a mature domestic Church.
“If the members of the domestic Church are mature and can dispense equal love, friendship and unity to each other, they can lead the family to happiness and peace, and they can become important characters in society.”
Sudhir Kumar Mitra, 71, a Catholic from southern Barisal district, who attended the seminar, said many at the conference endorsed the call.
“I think that if the family members lead a life of Christian values, the image of the whole Christian community will greatly improve.”


NAIROBI, January 17, 2012 (CISA) –South Sudanese Emeritus Bishop Paride Taban has said that hard work is the only way forward for the South Sudanese.
Bishop Taban told CISA in an interview on January 13 in Nairobi that the South Sudanese, “have been traumatized for so many years; it takes time for this pain to come out. Peace doesn’t mean you live in a place where there is no quarrel, no fight, no hard work and noise but to be in the middle of such place with calm hearts.”
The bishop further said that the independence of South Sudan is God’s gift to the people and that the South Sudanese “now have to contribute by working hard after many years of being spoon fed.”
Bishop Taban retired before the end of his tenure at the age of 68 when the final Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in January 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya, to put up the Kuron Peace Village in South Sudan.
Impressed by the peace village is Israel dubbed Neve Shalom (oasis of peace) where Jews and Palestinians of Israeli origin live together in peace, Bishop Taban spearheaded the formation of Kuron Peace Village in South Sudan.
The village, a model of peace, seeks to demonstrate that people of different ethnic groups can productively work together without animosity.
Bishop Taban believes peace among the different tribes will come through development in food production, formal education and peaceful co-existence.
According to him, “People have to be assisted to learn to be patient and to give time for the new nation to develop.”
While speaking about the church in North Sudan, Bishop Taban affirmed that she is there to stay. This was in response to speculations that the Church would be forced to move south after secession from the predominantly Muslim north.
“The Church belongs to God, not human beings. No human being can destroy it. It will face a lot of difficulties, it will face persecution but it will not be eradicated,” Bishop Taban told CISA.
The bishop noted that the presence of the Church in Khartoum is very important, as it has contributed a lot in terms of bringing development to the North.
He mentioned that the church has high credibility in the North adding that most of the children of the prominent people study in Catholic schools and their wives deliver in Catholic hospitals.


Agenzia Fides report - With the theme "education for justice, peace, social and political commitment", the Social Pastoral Commission of the Archdiocese of Concepcion together with the Catholic University of the Holy Concepcion, has just finished a course for young animators. During the three days (from January 16 to 19), the formation course considered Christian values as a central point, and did so by means of conferences and round tables, with the participation of professors, priests and young people involved to discuss the current political context. The initiative was taken in an effort to try to remedy the lack of leaders and young people trained to guide society.
In the note sent to Fides by the Archdiocese of Concepcion, Father Hernan Enriquez, coordinator of the course, says that "this is the year of the young", and must be prepared to fulfill the social mission in the national politics of the country. This initiative, still refers father Enriquez, was born thanks to several round tables that the Church of Concepcion organized for three years, with Bishop Ricardo Ezzati first, and then with Mgr.Fernando Chomali: "These workshops were aimed to be able to make the Church present in the political, social world of the workers".
Father Jose Cartes, Coordinator of the Social Pastoral Commission of the Archdiocese, received the thirty young participants of the course and stressed that young people are a constant concern of the Church. So this year in all the Churches of Chile, the Youth Mission will take place, so that young people not only strengthen their faith, but become true witnesses. "We believe that young people, with their joy, can promote a more just and fraternal society. They will be the salt and light in their parishes, their schools and their universities," said Father Cartes. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 20/01/2012)


Mark 3: 13 - 19
13 And he went up on the mountain, and called to him those whom he desired; and they came to him.
14 And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach
15 and have authority to cast out demons:
16 Simon whom he surnamed Peter;
17 James the son of Zeb'edee and John the brother of James, whom he surnamed Bo-aner'ges, that is, sons of thunder;
18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean,
19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.


St. Sebastian
Feast: January 20

Feast Day: January 20
Died: 288
Patron of: Soldiers, plagues, arrows, athletes
St Sebastian was born at Narbonne, in Gaul, but his parents were of Milan, in Italy, and he was brought up in that city. He was a fervent servant of Christ, and though his natural inclinations gave him an aversion to a military life, yet to be better able, without suspicion, to assist the confessors and martyrs in their sufferings, he went to Rome and entered the army under the emperor Carinus about the year 283. It happened that the martyrs, Marcus and Marcellianus, under sentence of death, appeared in danger of being shaken in their faith by the tears of their friends: Sebastian—seeing this, steps in and made them a long exhortation to constancy, which he delivered with the holy fire that strongly affected all his hearers. Zoe, the wife of Nicostratus, having for six years lost the use of speech by a palsy in her tongue, fell at his feet, and spoke distinctly; by the saint making the sign of the cross on her mouth. She, with her husband Nicostratus, who was master of the rolls, the parents of Marcus and Marcellianus, the jailer Claudius, and sixteen other prisoners, were converted; and Nicostratus, who had charge of the prisoners, took them to his own house, where Polycarp, a holy priest, instructed and baptized them. Chromatius, governor of Rome, being informed of this, and that Tranquillinus, the father of SS. Marcus and Marcellianus, had been cured of the gout by receiving baptism, desired to be instructed in the faith, being himself grievously afflicted with the same distemper. Accordingly, having sent for Sebastian, he was cured by him, and baptized with his son Tiburtius. He then enlarged the converted prisoners, made his slaves free, and resigned his prefectship.
Chromatius, with the emperor's consent, retired into the country in Campania, taking many new converts along with him. It was a contest of zeal, out of a mutual desire of martyrdom, between St. Sebastian and the priest Polycarp, which of them should accompany this troop, to complete their instruction, and which should remain in the city to encourage and assist the martyrs, which latter was the more dangerous province. St. Austin wished to see such contests of charity amongst the ministers of the church. Pope Caius, who was appealed to, judged it most proper that Sebastian should stay in Rome as a defender of the church. In the year 286, the persecution growing hot, the pope and others concealed themselves in the imperial palace, as a place of the greatest safety, in the apartments of one Castulus, a Christian officer of the court. St. Zoe was first apprehended, praying at St. Peter's tomb on the feast of the apostles. She was stifled with smoke, being hung by the heels over a fire. Tranquillinus, ashamed to be less courageous than a woman, went to pray at the tomb of St. Paul, and was seized by the populace and stoned to death. Nicostratus, Claudius, Castorius, and Victorinus were taken, and, after having been thrice tortured, were thrown into the sea. Tiburtius, betrayed by a false brother, was beheaded. Castulus, accused by the same wretch, was thrice put on the rack, and afterwards buried alive. Marcus and Marcellianus were nailed by the feet to a post, and having remained in that torment twenty-four hours, were shot to death by arrows.
St. Sebastian, having sent so many martyrs to heaven before him, was himself impeached before the Emperor Diocletian, who, having grievously reproached him with ingratitude, delivered him over to certain archers of Mauritania, to be shot to death. His body was covered with arrows, and he left for dead. Irene, the widow of St. Castulus, going to bury him, found him still alive, and took him to her lodgings, where, by care, he recovered of his wounds, but refused to flee, and even placed himself one day by a staircase where the emperor was to pass, whom he first accosted, reproaching him for his unjust cruelties against the Christians. This freedom of speech, and from a person, too, whom he supposed to have been dead, greatly astonished the emperor; but, recovering from his surprise, he gave orders for his being seized and beat to death with cudgels, and his body thrown into the common sewer. A pious lady, called Lucina, admonished by the martyr in a vision, got it privately removed, and buried it in the catacombs at the entrance of the cemetery of Calixtus. A church was afterwards built over his relics by Pope Damasus, which is one of the seven ancient stationary churches at Rome, but not one of the seven principal churches of that city, as some moderns mistake; it neither being one of the five patriarchal churches, nor one of the seventy-two old churches which give titles to cardinals. Vandelbert,
St. Ado, Eginard, Sigebert, and other contemporary authors relate that, in the reign of Louis Debonnair, Pope Eugenius II gave the body of St. Sebastian to Hilduin, Abbot of St. Denys, who brought it into France, and it was deposited at St. Medard's, at Soissons, on the 8th of December, in 826 With it is said to have been brought a considerable portion of the relics of St. Gregory the Great. The rich shrines of SS. Sebastian, Gregory, and Medard were plundered by the Calvinists in 1564, and the sacred bones thrown into a ditch, in which there was water. Upon the declaration of two eye-witnesses, they were afterwards found by the Catholics, and in 1578 enclosed in three new shrines, though the bones of the three saints could not be distinguished from each other. The head of this martyr, which was given to St. Willibrord by Pope Sergius, is kept at Esternach, in the duchy of Luxemburg. Portions of his relics are shown in the cathedral at St. Victor's; the Theatins and Minims at Paris; in four churches at Mantua; at Malacca, Seville, Toulouse; Munich in the ducal palace; Tournay in the cathedral; Antwerp in the Church of the Jesuits; and at Brussels in the chapel of the court, not at St. Gudule's, as some have mistaken. St. Sebastian has been always honoured by the church as one of her most illustrious martyrs. We read in Paul the deacon in what manner, in the year 680, Rome was freed from a raging pestilence by the patronage of this saint. Milan in 1575, Lisbon in 1599, and other places, have experienced in like calamities the effects of his intercession with God in their behalf.