Saturday, February 4, 2012





The Pope has accepted the resignation to the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Neiva (Colombia), presented by H.e. Mons. Ramón Darío Molina Jaramillo, O.F.M., according to can. 401 § 1 of the code of Canon law
Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop of Neiva (Colombia) on Froilán Tiberius Casas Ortiz, the clergy of the Archdiocese of Tunja (Colombia), Rector of the Archdiocesan Seminary. Froilán Tiberius Casas Ortiz
The Froilán Tiberius Casas Ortiz was born in Chiquinquirá, May 21, 1948. He studied in the priestly Seminary of the Archdiocese of Tunja. He obtained a Licentiate in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and at the University "Santo Tomás" in Bogotá, he obtained a Licentiate in philosophy and religious studies and specialization in university teaching.
Was ordained to the priesthood on December 9, 1972, for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tunja.
After ordination he worked the following pastoral appointments: Professor at the major Seminary of Tunja (1979-1999); Chaplain of the SENA- Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (1981-1995); Parish of Santa Bárbara in Tunja (1986-1996); Parish of San Laureano in Tunja (1997-2002); Chaplain of the Foyers de Charité in Bucaramanga (2003-2008); Trainer of the major Seminary of Tunja (2009-2010); Vicar for religious in the Archdiocese of Tunja (2010) and Rector of the major Seminary of Tunja (2011).



Mark 6: 30 - 34

30 The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.
31 And he said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
32 And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.
33 Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them.
34 As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.


Fr Peter Anthony Fulton PE died at the Austin Hospital this morning,
3 February 2012.

Fr Fulton served the Church for over 41 years. He was Assistant Priest in the Parishes of Healesville, Dandenong, South Caulfield, Doncaster and Blackburn. Fr Fulton served in the Melbourne Overseas Mission in New Guinea during which time he survived a plane crash which left him a paraplegic.
Later, he became a member of staff at Corpus Christi College, Clayton. He was appointed Parish Priest of Mount Eliza, where he remained until his resignation due to ill health. Fr Fulton was appointed Pastor Emeritus in 2010.

The Vicar General, Bishop Les Tomlinson, said, "Those who knew Peter have a lasting impression of his courage, perseverance and determination is coping with his disabilities and the consequential complications to his health over many years".

The tentative funeral arrangements are Pontifical Funeral Mass at St Thomas' Church, Greensborough North on Wednesday, 8th February, 2012 at 12 noon. Confirmation of these arrangements will be published in the newspapers' funeral notices.


JEDDAH, February, 03, 2012 (CISA) -Thirty five Ethiopian Christians are awaiting deportation from Saudi Arabia for “illicit mingling,” after police arrested them when they raided a private prayer gathering in Jeddah in mid-December, 2011, Human Rights Watch has said.
Of those arrested, 29 were women. They were subjected to arbitrary body searches in custody, three of the Ethiopians told Human Rights Watch.
The Ethiopians gathered to pray together on December 15, during the advent of Christmas, in the private home of one of the Ethiopians, when police burst in and arrested them, three jailed members of the group, two women and one man, told Human Rights Watch.
“While King Abdullah sets up an international interfaith dialogue center, his police are trampling on the rights of believers of others faiths,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch. “The Saudi government needs to change its own intolerant ways before it can promote religious dialogue abroad.”
In October, Saudi Arabia, together with Austria and Spain, founded the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, located in Vienna, and funded by Saudi Arabia.
The Ethiopians, speaking via telephone from prison, said that about 10 days after being arrested, some in the group were taken to court, where they were forced to affix their fingerprints to a document without being allowed to read it.
Officials told the group that they were being charged with “illicit mingling” of unmarried persons of the opposite sex. Some of the Ethiopians have been living in the kingdom for 16 years, while others are newer arrivals.
Some of the women and men did not have valid residency papers, but all faced deportation, including those with valid papers, the jailed Ethiopian man said.
“Saudi authorities have broken their promises to respect other faiths,” Wilcke said. “Men and women of other faiths have nowhere to worship in Saudi Arabia if even their private homes are no longer safe.”
The Arab Charter of Human Rights, to which Saudi Arabia is a state party, guarantees “the freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs or to perform religious observances, either alone or in community with others,” and prohibits “arbitrary arrest.”
Human Rights Watch has called on the Saudi authorities to release the 35 Ethiopian men and women immediately if there is no evidence to charge them with offenses that are recognizably criminal under international norms.


CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT: The Manna Centre, located underneath what will be the tallest building in Europe, was founded by an Irish-born missionary Sister
By Dr Peter Doherty on Thursday, 2 February 2012
A client visits the clothes store at the Manna Centre (Photo: Tricia de Courcy Ling)
The Manna Centre nestles in the shades of the Shard, which when completed will be the tallest building in Europe, and the modern Guy’s Hospital, in an obscure cul de sac, writes Dr Peter Doherty.
The centre is a remarkable refuge and support for those sleeping in doorways in this part of Southwark. It was founded by Nannette Ffrench, an Irish-born Sister, who had recently returned from working as a nursing Sister in Africa when she witnessed the tragic conditions of the homeless sleeping rough in this area. Her latter years in Africa were spent as a surgical theatre Sister in a hospital in what was then Rhodesia. The fighting had become extremely fierce and the hospital and its theatre were in the thick of it as it was the only source of help for both sides.
When peace came Nannette had reached retirement age and, in accordance with the conventions of her order, she was recalled to the mother house. She was enabled to renounce her religious vows and, in her own words, regarding her future “it was now up to God”.
She came to London and was fortunate to be offered temporary accommodation in an old school by the Archdiocese of Southwark. She slept on a floor on a mattress for the first six months until she was able to sort herself out in her new life. By now she had become painfully aware of the misery and utter hopelessness of this neglected section of our society littering the streets in a wealthy city. She approached the late Bishop George Henderson for the use of a property and, when he asked what she would do with it, replied by saying she did not exactly know at the moment but “would open the doors and see who God let in”.
That is exactly what happened. The archdiocese handed over the keys of an unused nursery school at 6 Melior Street which has now been developed as the current centre of operations. An old car number plate was found on which was printed “Manna Centre” and nailed to the wall claiming the building for the homeless. The title was adopted from the gift of bread from a local Italian baker in the early days: truly manna from heaven.
Initially, pots of tea and a wash-up was all that could be offered, until Nannette’s powers of persuasion provided greater facilities.
The Centre now serves breakfast and lunch to over 200 people seven days a week. It also offers shower and loo facilities for both men and women every day of the week. A clothing service provided by parishes in the archdiocese offers services twice weekly and is operated by volunteers.
An advice service, with specialised Eastern European advisers, in addition to general advisers, helps movements from homelessness and poverty to a more stable housing and independent living. Altogether 1,657 clients accessed services in the past year.
Of the 330 seeking help with accommodation and who had access to benefits in Britain 56 per cent were placed in accommodation.
Getting medical treatment without a fixed address is a major problem. Nurse practitioners hold surgeries twice a week and when necessary are able to refer clients for further medical help. In addition there is access to osteopaths, a chiropodist, an optician and a dentist.
All this would not have been possible without the financial support of supporters and sponsors. Running costs have increased to £32,000 a month and so more publicity is vitally needed to maintain and improve its facilities.
Crucially, without the financial support of the archdiocese providing the premises none of this would have been possible. The future is going to be difficult as it is for the whole country facing austerity measures. But the magnificent team, which has been in place for many years, is confident that there is always hope on the horizon. The area around Melior Street and Borough High Street may not be as available to visitors, or volunteers, as that of the Passage in Westminster, but they are always welcome.
Nannette is still extremely active and in recent years founded another charity African Mission which, as its name implies, is active on the African scene.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Mathias Hariyadi
After three years of decline, a sharp increase in requests for admission to the seminaries. The St. Peter Canisius in Mertoyudan, run by Jesuits, is celebrating the 100 year with a record number of students. Most come from the archdiocese of Semarang.Bishop of Purwokerto: "huge number".

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - With over 250 students and seminarians in the new year, the number of candidates to the priesthood in Central Java has experienced a sharp growth, after three years of slow decline. The Indonesian Church is celebrating this u-turn, as confirmed rectors of seminaries and diocesan bishops. Father Gandhi Hartono SJ, professor and dean of the Minor Seminary of St. Peter Canisius, Mertoyudan in Magelang regency, reports that the Jesuit school is ready to welcome over 150 candidates from hundreds of scattered parishes in the Archdiocese of Semarang, in Diocese of Purwokerto and other areas of the province of Central Java. The same enthusiasm is apparent from the comments of the rector of the seminary, Fr. Ignatius Sumaryo SJ, who confirms that the greatest number of future seminarians comes from Semarang.

In June 2012 the Minor Seminary of St. Peter Canisius celebrates 100 years of life. An important goal for the institution, property of the Archdiocese of Semarang, but run by Jesuit priests along with the "natives" of the area. Many of the priests now active in Indonesia - including bishops, cardinals or consecrated - were once students at this facility.

In the island of Java there are three minor seminaries: Wacana Bhakti in South Jakarta, owned by the local archdiocese, St. Vincent de Paul in Garum, in East Java, belonging to the Diocese of Surabaya and the Yogyakarta Berthinianum postulate, run by the Missionaries of the Sacred Family.

Father Gandhi Hartono SJ says that 85 young seminarians in their 9th year and another twenty in their 12th year will join the Mertoyudan seminary, who have only two years of studies to aspire to the priesthood, with a specific focus of the study of Latin, English and Scripture . He confirms that the desire for the priesthood "is growing" an increase "of 15-20% on an annual basis." "This year we have 256 students – he adds - compared to 'only' 225, 198 and 166 of previous years."

The Indonesian Catholic community is celebrating the growth of vocations, as confirmed by the Bishop of Purwokerto Mgr. Julianus Sunarka SJ who exclaims: "the number is huge." The prelate added that his diocese holds the record of 76 priests - diocesan and from various congregations - while the religious sisters count 210, and men 33, the faithful finally, one million,.,-Catholic-Church-celebrates-a-boom-in-vocations-23883.html


AGENZIA FIDES REPORT: Santo Domingo (Agenzia Fides) - The young Dominicans call the attention of the authorities and leaders on the need to promote the political, cultural, economic and social development of the nation. The occasion was given by the second National Youth Congress on the theme "For a new political culture", held on 30 and 31 January in the Dominican Republic, sponsored by the Red Nacional de Acción Juvenil, which brought together young Dominicans from across the country. In the final document, according to information from Adital, young people denounce "the silence, impunity and complicity" of the rulers and the judiciary authority with regards to corruption in the country, in public and private sectors. This situation affects the social and economic development of the population.
Similarly young people reject "opportunistic and utilitarian practices" as well as actions conducted without public participation. During the event the necessary respect for the rights of women was remembered, affirming the rejection of all forms of violence and oppression against them. Similarly police crimes, insecurity, environmental pollution and the plundering of public assets were condemned. The Ministry of Youth, on the occasion of National Youth Day, celebrated on Tuesday, January 31, awarded the National Prize for Youth XVI to 16 young people, particularly worthy of mention for their contribution in various fields, including culture of peace, environmental conservation, health care, human rights (childhood and youth), social welfare, cultural development, rural leadership, religious leadership, political leadership, social services to community service. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 02/02/2012)


St. Joseph of Leonessa
Feast: February 4

Feast Day: February 4
8 January 1556 at Leonissa, Umbria, Italy
Died: Saturday 4 February 1612 at Umbria, Italy
Canonized: 29 June 1746 by Pope Benedict XIV
In the world named Eufranio Desiderio, born in 1556 at Leonessa in Umbria; died 4 February, 1612. From his infancy he showed a remarkably religious bent of mind; he used to erect little altars and spend much time in prayer before them, and often he would gather his companions and induce them to pray with him. Whilst yet a boy he used to take the discipline on Fridays in company with the confraternity of St. Saviour. He was educated by his uncle, who had planned a suitable marriage for him, but in his sixteenth year he fell sick of a fever, and on his recovery, without consulting his relative, he joined the Capuchin reform of the Franciscan Order. He made his novitiate in the convent of the Carcerelle near Assisi. As a religious he was remarkable for his great abstinence. "Brother Ass", he would say to his body, "there is no need to feed thee as a noble horse would be fed: thou must be content to be a poor ass." In 1599, the year before his Jubilee year, he fasted the whole year by way of preparation for gaining the indulgence. In 1587 he was sent by the Superior General of his order to Constantinople to minister to the Christians held captive there. Arrived there he and his companions lodged in a derelict house of Benedictine monks. The poverty in which the friars lived attracted the attention of the Turks, who went in numbers to see the new missionaries. He was very solicitous in ministering to the captive Christians in the galleys. Every day he went into the city to preach, and he was at length thrown into prison and only released at the intervention of the Venetian agent. Urged on by zeal he at last sought to enter the palace to preach before the Sultan, but he was seized and condemned to death. For three days he hung on the gallows, held up by two hooks driven through his right hand and foot; then he was miraculously released by an angel. Returning to Italy, he took with him a Greek archbishop who had apostatized, and who was reconciled to the Church on their arrival in Rome. Joseph now took up the work of home missions in his native province, sometimes preaching six or seven times a day. In the Jubilee year of 1600 he preached the Lent at Orticoli, a town through which crowds of pilgrims passed on their way to Rome. Many of them being very poor, Joseph supplied them with food; he also washed their clothes and cut their hair. At Todi he cultivated with his own hands a garden, the produce of which was for the poor. His feast is kept on 4 February throughout the Franciscan Order. He was canonized by Benedict XIV.




VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2012 (VIS) - At 5.30 p.m. yesterday, Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Day of Consecrated Life, the Pope presided at second Vespers in the Vatican Basilica, in the presence of numerous members of institutes for consecrated life and societies of apostolic life. In the course of the ceremony, which began with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and concluded with the Eucharistic blessing, the Holy Father pronounced a homily.

Benedict XVI recalled the fact that the Feast of the Presentation commemorates the visit by Mary and Joseph to the Temple to present their firstborn to the Lord, in accordance with Mosaic law. There they met Simeon and the Prophet Anna who, the Pope explained, "recognised that Child as the Messiah announced by the prophets. In the meeting between the elderly Simeon and the young mother Mary, the Old and the New Testaments came together to give thanks for the gift of Light, which shines in the shadows and prevents the victory of darkness: Christ the Lord, a light to illuminate the Gentiles and a glory for His people Israel".

The Day of Consecrated Life coincides with the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple because that evangelical episode "is an important symbol of the gift of life made by people who, through the evangelical counsels, are called to demonstrate before the Church and the world the characteristic traits of Jesus: virgin, poor, obedient, consecrated in the Father. What we celebrate in today's feast, then, is the mystery of consecration: the consecration of Christ, the consecration of Mary, the consecration of all those who follow Jesus for love of God's Kingdom".

The Day of Consecrated Life was instituted by John Paul II in 1997 with a threefold purpose. Firstly, to thank God "for the gift of this way of living, which is part of the sanctity of the Church". Today the entire community invokes this gift with faith, and prays for all consecrated people. Moreover, the Day aims "to promote knowledge of and respect for consecrated life among the people of God", expressing appreciation for the witness of people who have chosen to follow Christ by practising the evangelical counsels. Thirdly, for consecrated people themselves the Day is "an important opportunity to renew the intentions and feelings which inspired their gift" of self to the Lord. "This is what we wish to do today, this is the task you are called to carry out every day of your lives", Benedict XVI told consecrated people.

The Year of Faith, due to begin in October, will be another favourable moment for interior renewal. During that time consecrated people "will be called to intensify their relationship with God. The evangelical counsels, accepted as an authentic rule for life, reinforce the faith, hope and charity which unite us to God", the Holy Father said. "Intense vicinity to the Lord - which must characterise your entire existence - will lead you to a renewed adherence to Him and have a positive influence on the particular form of your presence and apostolate among the People of God. This will make you - through the contribution of your charisms and remaining faithful to the Magisterium - witnesses of faith and grace; credible witnesses for the Church and the world today". Benedict XVI also made it clear that consecrated people should participate enthusiastically in new evangelisation.

In conclusion he quoted some words of Blessed John Paul II, calling on the Virgin Mary to intercede with the Lord, so that "all who have received the gift of following Him in consecrated life may be enabled to bear witness to that gift by their transfigured lives, as they joyfully make their way with all their brothers and sisters towards our heavenly homeland and the light which will never grow dim".
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VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2012 (VIS) - In preparation for the forthcoming consistory, the Holy Father has called the members of the College of Cardinals and the new cardinals-elect to participate in a day of reflection and prayer to be held on 17 February in the Vatican's New Synod Hall. The day will begin with Lauds at 10 a.m. and conclude with Vespers at 5 p.m., according to a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office.

The main theme of the meeting - "the announcement of the Gospel today, between 'missio ad gentes' and new evangelisation" - will be introduced by one of the cardinals-designate: Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York.

The day will also include a report on the forthcoming Year of Faith, to be delivered by Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.

Today's communique also announces that, due to ill health, cardinal-designate Fr. Karl Josef Becker S.J. will not be created a cardinal during the public ceremony of 18 February, but in private at another time.
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VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Eleven prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Allen Henry Vigneron of Detroit, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Francis R. Reiss, Donald F. Hanchon, Michael J. Byrnes and Jose Arturo Cepeda.

- Bishop Bernard Anthony Hebda of Gaylord.

- Bishop Walter Allison Hurley of Grand Rapids.

- Bishop Paul Joseph Bradley of Kalamazoo.

- Bishop Earl Alfred Boyea of Lansing.

- Bishop Alexander King Sample of Marquette.

- Bishop Joseph Robert Cistone of Saginaw.

- Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Leslie Tomlinson, auxiliary of Melbourne, Australia, as bishop of Sandhurst (area 45,195, population 383,000, Catholics 103, priests 39, religious 51), Australia.


The violence occurred last night in Suez. The police opened fire to disperse the crowd that had stormed the local police station. Thousands in Cairo descended into the streets to demand the resignation of the High Council of the Army

Cairo (AsiaNews) - The balance stands at two dead and 400 wounded after clashes between police and the protesters exploded yesterday in Suez, Cairo and in the main Egyptian cities, after the massacre at Port Said (Suez) where on February 1, 74 people were killed in a clash between supporters of two rival football teams, the local al-Masry and Cairo's al-Alhy. The most serious protests occurred last night in Suez, where a mob tried to storm a police station. To disperse the protesters, the officers opened fire, killing two people.

In the capital, thousands al-Alhy fans are protesting in Tahrir Square and since yesterday have blocked the entrance to the Ministry of the Interior and to the football stadium. Many of them participated in the Jasmine revolution. They are calling for the resignation of the High Council of the Military (SCAF), which is unable to ensure security in the country and according to some, has fomented clashes with the protesters. Some witnesses say that the officers allegedly allowed the fans of al-Masry, the team at Port Said, to rush against the supporters of the opposing team.

Meanwhile, parliament will discuss who was responsible for the massacre at Port Said. Salafists and members of the Muslim Brotherhood have accused the soccer fans of al-Alhy, considered by many to be close to the former Mubarak regime, of having caused the invasion onto the field. The democratic parties don't believe this version and are pointing the finger at the police and the army, which are unable to handle the chaos. Regardless, members of both parties are calling for the resignation of Minister of the Interior, Mohamed Ibrahim, and yesterday initiated a parliamentary inquiry to shed light on the tragedy.

To extinguish criticism, SCAF has ordered the resignation of the governor of Port Said city, the dismissal of the head of security and the expulsion of the leaders of the Egyptian football federation.,-two-dead-and-400-wounded-in-clashes-between-police-and-protesters-after-the-massacre-at-Port-Said-23872.html

EUROPE : ITALY : RIP ALFONSO NIETO FOUNDER OF ROME REPORTS REPORT He was a pioneer of communication, especially when it came to the Catholic Church. His last wish was to launch an international news agency. Alfonso Nieto, achieved that goal with ROME REPORTS. As one of its main founders, he was also the agency's first president.
Javier Martínez-Brocal
“Mr. Alfonso Nieto was a very cordial and loving person. He always opened our minds. When it came to our work, he said we shouldn't settle. He always said, the Church has the best message. As journalists, he told us, we had the responsibility of offering that message with quality, to the public.”

He passed away Thursday morning, at the age of 79, in Pamplona, a city where he spent a big part of his life. For 12 years he was rector of the University of Navarra in Spain. He also received honorary degrees from two universities. He even helped launch the Faculty of Communication at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.

In one of his last publications, he focused on theology and spirituality of the time. Interestingly, he wrote “The currency of eternal glory, is the time one dedicates to God. That's where the word 'happiness' finds its true meaning, without comparison.”

Alfonso Nieto
“An old proverb says, 'When you drink from the fountain, you should never forget its source! I thank heaven-which is the source: What I learned from St. Josemaría, led me to freely decide that I wanted to work in communication. That led me to work in the field, in the business sector, as a teacher and as a researcher.”


UCAN REPORT- Prelate says he's unsure why German chancellor wants to see him reporter, Guangzhou
February 3, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Merkel to visit Guangzhou bishop
Bishop Joseph Gan Junqiu of Guangzhou diocese
German chancellor Angela Merkel, who is on an official visit to China, traveled to Guangdong province today, where she will meet with Bishop Joseph Gan Junqiu of Guangzhou at the Sacred Heart Cathedral tomorrow.
“Government officials informed me about the visit on Wednesday afternoon and had come here to make security checks,” said the Vatican-approved bishop who has government recognition.
At a loss to why Merkel wants to meet him, Bishop Gan said the officials told him to “introduce the local diocese and try your best to answer whatever she asks.”
“As a Protestant and a state leader, Merkel showing her concern on the situation of Chinese Christians by visiting a Catholic leader is understandable,” according to Church in China observer Kwun Ping-hung.
“Foreign leaders will normally choose a typical region to visit in order to have an overall picture on contemporary China. In this case, Guangzhou, the provincial capital of Guangdong, is a gateway to China and a Catholic Church center in the southern region,” he said.
However, he doubts whether the chancellor will go into details such as talking about China-Vatican relations during her brief visit.
In diplomatic cables published by the Wikileaks website in September, Bishop Gan’s views on Vatican relations with mainland China and Taiwan were quoted from conversations he had with foreign diplomats in 2009.
Merkel arrived in Beijing yesterday on a three-day visit, during which she was to talk about the eurozone debt crisis and to lobby support for oil sanctions on Iran and UN action against Syria.
Her trip also marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Germany.
In past trips to China, Merkel has also met with other Church leaders, including Catholic Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai, who speaks German, during a visit in 2006.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
3 Feb 2012

More than 1600 evacuated from Moree
as the Mehi River rises
Newly-ordained Father John Macdonald had barely settled into his new position as Moree's assistant parish priest before he found himself in the midst of one of the town's worst floods in more than 35 years.
"It's like being in the centre of a vast inland sea," he told Catholic Communications this morning after more than 1600 residents of the town had been evacuated ahead of the expected flood peak at around 11.30 am today.
"St Francis Xavier's Church is not in any danger but the brand-new just-completed hall at St Philomena's Catholic School which was built as part of the Government's BER scheme is only inches away from inundation," he says as flood waters swept through the town.
Fr John described the mood of those remaining in Moree, which has been virtually cut in half by the flooded River Mehi, as buoyant. "But it is after the flood when the waters finally recede and we see the devastation left behind that I think the real impact will be felt. That's when I think many people will feel overwhelmed and experience depression," he says.

Fr John Macdonald
The Mehi River has reached levels not seen since 1976 with a further 11,000 people isolated by the floods across Wee Waa and the Richmond River region.
The nearby Gwydir River has also flooded and last night the Federal Government announced disaster funding for Moree, Greater Taree, Tenterfield, Narrabri and Gwydir.
During such times, as we saw in the wake of the Queensland floods last year, communities band together to help one another with the Church becoming a focal point giving many the hope they need and reassurance for the future.
But in Moree with half the town evacuated and the rest coping with the swollen river and widespread floods, there will be no services at St Francis Xavier's this Sunday.
Earlier today an RAAF Hercules aircraft dropped supplies including bedding to the town which is now completely cut off by road.

Moree transformed into an inland sea
For Fr John and Moree's longtime parish priest, Fr Paul McCabe their first concern is for residents of the town and helping them cope with this latest natural disaster. But Fr John admits there is also concern the vast inland sea now surrounding the town, may make it impossible for the two priests to drive to Armidale next week to attend the installation of the new Bishop of Armidale at the Cathedral of St Mary and St Joseph on Thursday 9 February.
Bishop-elect, Wagga Wagga priest, Fr Michael Kennedy will become the new Bishop of Armidale, replacing Bishop Luc Matthys who at 75, has reached retirement age.
"Whether we are able to attend depends very much on how quickly the waters recede and on how much damage has been done to roads as a result of the floods," he says.

Town of Moree cut in half by floodwaters
Four months ago, on 22 September 2011, Fr John was ordained a priest by Bishop Matthys in Armidale's famous Cathedral.
Dubbed "Mr Athletics" by students and staff at St Ignatius College, Riverview where he taught mathematics and religious studies. He was in charge of the school's Track and Field Athletics from 1993 until 2006. His coaching helped the school win six senior GPS Premierships and 11 Junior Premierships. It was during his time at Riverview, that Fr John discerned his true vocation and decided to answer God's call.
Studying for the priesthood at Rome's Pontifical College Beda (the English College), he was ordained to the Deaconate on his return to Australia in early in 2011 and ordained to the priesthood six months later.
Now assistant parish priest in Moree he is offering his support and pastoral care to those affected by the flood as the mud, slush and debris sweep through the town, inundating houses, cutting off power as well as shutting down shops, supermarkets and normal suppliers.

Road access cut off by floods
"This is the third flood Fr Paul McCabe has experienced in Moree and he says that at least this time everyone has had advance warning and time to prepare, stock up on food and water and sandbag their homes," he says.
Children in north western NSW follow the same school year as those in Queensland and the new term does not start until next Monday, 6 February. But Fr John says with the flooding in Moree it is unlikely schools will reopen for several weeks.
"Many are expected to be damaged by the floods and all will need clean ups first," he predicts.


Agenzia Fides report - In a statement of the Archbishop of Tlalnepantla, Monsignor Carlos Aguiar Retes, the identity of the priest murdered on January 28, 2012 is clarified and any act of violence is condemned. In fact, the newspapers and news agencies had published an incorrect name of the priest killed immediately after the criminal act. "With deep sadness the local Church of Tlalnepantla communicates the murder of its father Jenaro Aviña García, pastor of the Immaculate Conception, in Paseo de las Villas in the neighborhood of Villas de la Hacienda, in Atizapan de Zaragoza. Father Jenaro Aviña García, a member of the diocesan clergy of the Archdiocese of Tlalnepantla, was 63, was ordained a priest in 1976. He was specialized in the field of Sacred Scripture, currently he was Pastor of the parish of the Immaculate Conception", is what is said in the statement sent to Fides.
"The local Church of Tlalnepantla - continues the statement - absolutely condemns all acts of violence that occur, not only against the Catholics, but against all persons, regardless of race, language or religion. We call on the authorities to clarify as soon as possible this unfortunate event, which saddens the Catholic community and especially the Father Gennaro’s family " concluded the statement.
Pedro Gonzalez Mendoza, Director of Public Safety and Police Traffic in Atizapán reported that apparently the murder occurred at 6am on Saturday, January 28. "The priest had his pajamas and slippers, apparently he had heard a noise and opened the door of the rectory". The police are working to clarify all aspects of the case. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 03/02/2012)


Mark 6: 14 - 29
14 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, "John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him."
15 But others said, "It is Eli'jah." And others said, "It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old."
16 But when Herod heard of it he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."
17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero'di-as, his brother Philip's wife; because he had married her.
18 For John said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
19 And Hero'di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not,
20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly.
21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee.
22 For when Hero'di-as' daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it."
23 And he vowed to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom."
24 And she went out, and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the baptizer."
25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."
26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.
27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison,
28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.
29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.


St. Blaise
Feast: February 3

Feast Day: January 24
Patron of: Animals, builders, choking, veterinarians, throats, infants, stonecutters, carvers, wool workers
It is not known precisely when or where St. Blaise lived, but according to tradition he was a bishop of Sebaste, Armenia, in the early part of the fourth century, and suffered martyrdom under the Roman emperor Licinius, who had commanded the governor of the province, one Agricolaus, to prevent the spread of Christianity in his territory. After this edict had been promulgated, Blaise fled to the mountains and lived in a cave frequented by wild beasts. He used his skill to heal the animals that he found wounded or sick, and when the emperor's hunters, bent on collecting wild animals for the royal games, discovered him in this cave, they carried him off to Agricolaus as a special prize.

On the way, the story goes, they met a poor woman whose pig had been seized by a wolf. At the command of Blaise, the wolf restored the pig to its owner, alive and unhurt. During the course of this journey he also miraculously cured a child who was choking to death on a fishbone. For this reason St. Blaise is often invoked by persons suffering from throat trouble. When he had reached the capital and was in prison awaiting execution, the old woman whose pig he had saved came to see him, bringing two fine wax candles to dispel the gloom of his dark cell. When he was finally killed, he is supposed to have been tortured with an iron comb or rake, and afterwards beheaded. In the West there was no cult honoring St. Blaise prior to the eighth century.
One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, his emblems are an iron comb and a wax taper.

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