Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Vatican City, 15 February 2012 (VIS) - For the second consecutive week the Holy Father focused his catechesis during his general audience on Jesus' prayer before dying, basing his remarks on three phrases Christ pronounced from the cross, as narrated in the Gospel of St. Luke. The audience was held in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of some 6,000 pilgrims from all over the world. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
Jesus' first phrase: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing", was pronounced as soon as He had been crucified and while the soldiers were dividing His garments. "This first prayer to the Father", the Pope explained, "was a request to forgive His executioners". At the same time, however, "it is an interpretation of what is happening. The men who crucified Him 'do not know what they are doing'. In other words, Christ presents ignorance, 'not knowing', as a reason for requesting forgiveness of the Father, because that ignorance opens the way to conversion".
The second phrase: "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise", addressed to the "good thief" crucified at Christ's side, is "a word of hope", the Holy Father said. Jesus thereby reaffirmed "that God's goodness can touch us even in the final instant of existence, and that sincere prayer, even after a misspent life, encounters the open arms of the good Father Who awaits the return of His child".
"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit", the last words Christ pronounced, are "a prayer of 'entrustment', full of faith in God's love. Jesus' prayer before dying is as dramatic as its is for all men and women but, at the same time, it is pervaded by that profound calm which arises from faith in the Father and the desire to entrust oneself to Him completely".
"When life was about to leave Him, He sealed His final decision in a prayer. Jesus allowed Himself to be consigned 'into human hands', but it was into the hands of the Father that He placed His spirit. Thus, as John the Evangelist says, all things were accomplished, the supreme act of love was carried to the end".
"Jesus' words on the cross in the final instants of His earthly existence provide binding guidelines for our own prayer, but they also open the way to serene trust and firm hope. By asking the Father to forgive those who are crucifying Him, Jesus invites us to make the difficult gesture of praying for the people who do us wrong, ... that the light of God may illuminate their hearts. In other words, He invites us to adopt, in our prayer, the same attitude of mercy and love which God shows towards us", the Pope said.
"At the same time Jesus, at the extreme moment of death, entrusted Himself entirely into the hands of God the Father, communicating to us the certainty that, however difficult our trials ... or burdensome our suffering, we will never fall out of God’s hands, the hands which created us, and which support and accompany us on life’s journey".

Vatican City, 15 February 2012 (VIS) - "In today's social environment, families with many children are witnesses of faith, courage and optimism, because without children there is no future". The Pope addressed these words to representatives from the Italian National Association of Large Families who were attending his general audience this morning. "I hope", Benedict XVI went on, "that adequate social and legislative measures will continue to be promoted to support and protect larger families, who are a source of wealth and hope for the entire country".
Speaking to young people and the sick, Benedict XVI recalled the fact that yesterday marked the Feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, who spread the faith among Slavic peoples. "May their witness also help you to be apostles of the Gospel, the leaven for authentic renewal in personal, family and social life", he said.
The general audience concluded with the recitation of the Our Father and the apostolic blessing.

Vatican City, 15 February 2012 (VIS) - Given below is the text of an English-language joint communique of the Holy See and the government of the United Kingdom concerning an official ministerial visit marking the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the two States. The delegation, led by Baroness Sayeeda Hussain Warsi, met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and was received by Pope Benedict XVI.
The communique states that the "Holy See and Her Majesty’s Government agreed on the urgent need for action to strengthen the universal commitment to religious freedom as a fundamental human right, and to its practical application with a view to promoting respect for all religions in all countries. The Holy See and the British government look forward to working together to combat intolerance and discrimination based on religion, wherever it is manifest.
"The Holy See and Her Majesty’s Government reaffirmed the need to promote integral and sustainable global development, based on the centrality of the human person and grounded in the principle of the inherent human dignity and worth of each person. Much progress has been made over the last decade in improving health and well-being for many people. However, there are still significant gaps and challenges in the long and complex path towards ensuring integral human development for everybody. Too many people are still hungry, too many people do not have access to education and to decent work, too many women die in childbirth. In view of these challenges we recognise a shared obligation to achieve a fair international financial and trade framework. And we will strive for a better future for all humanity, taking into particular account care for the poorest people in the world.
"Looking ahead to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development at Rio de Janeiro in June this year and to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change implementation process, we share the conviction that in order to take forward a human-centred and sustainable global development, there is a need to continue to strengthen the integration of its interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars: the economic, the social and the environmental, as well as the connection between combating poverty and tackling climate change.
"The Holy See and Her Majesty’s Government share a commitment to work at the United Nations and other fora to strengthen the international focus on conflict prevention, disarmament, arms control and non proliferation, aimed at protecting human life and building a world more respectful of human dignity. As part of this effort, we look forward to positive outcomes in July to the final negotiations to agree upon a robust Arms Trade Treaty with a wide scope, and to the 2nd Review Conference of the UN Programme on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons.
"With regard to the changes which have occurred in North Africa and the Middle East, the Holy See and Her Majesty’s Government stressed the importance of undertaking real reforms in the political, economic and social realms, in order better to ensure the unity and development of each nation, in responding positively to the legitimate aspirations of many people for peace and stability. In this context, reference was made to the role which Christians can play and to the importance of inter-religious dialogue. The Holy See and Her Majesty’s Government expressed the hope for a resumption of negotiations in good faith between Israelis and Palestinians so as to bring about a lasting peace. They renewed their appeal for an immediate end to violence in Syria and stressed the need for co-operation to overcome the present crisis and work towards a harmonious and united coexistence.
"As the London Conference on Somalia approaches, the Holy See and the British Government encourage the international community to support a coherent strategy on Somalia in order to end the crisis there, placing as a priority the protection and welfare of the people of the Horn of Africa.
"Her Majesty’s Government welcomed His Holiness Pope Benedict’s support for the ongoing process of reconciliation in Northern Ireland, the establishment of stable, inclusive political institutions, and efforts to build a peaceful, stable and prosperous future for all parts of the community. Her Majesty’s Government and the Holy See agreed that the use of violence for political ends is deplorable, and must be set aside in favour of constructive dialogue for the well-being of the whole community.
"As the United Kingdom prepares to host the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, and to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, both sides look forward to a year characterised by the spirit of the Olympic Charter and the Olympic Truce: at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.
"There was in addition a good exchange of views on a wide range of social, economic, political and cultural issues, including on developing the UK’s collaboration with the Vatican Museums. Both sides recognised in particular the role of faith and education in the development of a culture of social responsibility and the underpinning of a healthy society. In this context, appreciation was expressed for the significant contribution which the Catholic Church, and Christians in general, have made and continue to make to the good of British society. The Holy See emphasised the need to ensure that institutions connected with the Catholic Church can act in accordance with their own principles and convictions and stressed the necessity of safeguarding the family based on marriage, religious freedom and freedom of conscience. Both sides look forward to further strengthening their relationship by working together through their respective networks and globalpartnerships, including the Commonwealth of Nations, to promote the common good".

Vatican City, 15 February 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Bishop Airton Jose dos Santos of Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil, as metropolitan archbishop of Campinas (area 2,133, population 1,789,000, Catholics 1,304,000, priests 175, permanent deacons 21, religious 484), Brazil.
- Bishop Jose Luiz Ferreira Salles C.Ss.R., auxiliary of Fortaleza, Brazil, as bishop of Pesqueira (area 10,065, population 441,000, Catholics 397,000, priests 40, permanent deacons 4, religious 43), Brazil.


A fashion designer is teaching young women how to dress with purity
By Estefania Aguirre on Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Designer gives tips on modestyHelena Machin, pictured with posters showing different female silhouettes
A fashion designer is teaching young women how to dress with purity after her brother’s death made her rethink her career, writes Estefania Aguirre.
Helena Machin, who works with high-profile clients for a famous milliners in London which cannot be named for privacy reasons, is offering style masterclasses for women, teaching them how to dress attractively and modestly.
“I want to invest some time and love into the next generation,” said the 30-year-old.
“I want to have them embrace their femininity by modest and attractive dress and in doing so fulfil their God-given potential. It’s a voluntary project so I am juggling it around other commitments but I will give as much time as I am able.”
Helena came up with the idea after her twin brother, James, passed away from a terminal illness three years ago.
She said: “He spent his life serving others, showing them the way to Christ through his heroic example, despite being unwell for a lot of the time. Through his good humour and good example he bought many people back to their faith.”
About the same time Helena discovered Opus Dei. Turning 30 this Christmas made her realise that whatever time she had left, she had to be doing something worthwhile. She questioned whether working in fashion was the right thing to be doing. But God soon taught her, through the example of St Josemaría Escrivá, to make holy her every day work, however trivial it might sometimes seem.
In a talk she gave recently to a group of young women she explained the different body shapes and gave tips on how to best dress according to that shape.
Helena is starting a series of projects, one of which includes an intensive short course she will be giving at Easter at the Baytree Centre in London for 14- to 18-year-olds. She will also be giving lectures in schools and in university chaplaincies.
Helena said: “One tip I would give to all young women out there would be: if you want to be treated like a lady, dress like a lady.”
For more information, please visit the website



ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE REPORT: Mass for the World Day of the Sick at Mercy Place

Archbishop Denis Hart was the principal celebrant at the 2012 Mass for the World Day of the Sick, at Mercy Place in Parkville on 10 February.
The World Day of the Sick is celebrated annually on 11 February, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Read the Pope's message for the annual World Day of the sick.

Photo supplied by Mercy Health.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Together with Pope Benedict, I am grateful for the leaders and carers of Mercy Health and to all of you at Mercy Place.
I wish to renew my spiritual nearness to all the sick, who are in places of care, who are looked after in their families, expressing to each one of them the affection of the Holy Church. In sickness we follow the example of Christ, who bent down before the material and spiritual sufferings of human beings in order to heal them.
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am deeply honoured to be with you as together we celebrate the 20th World Day of Prayer for the Sick, recalling the wonderful healing that comes from Lourdes and which is given us in the Sacraments of the Church.
The Gospels we read at Mass last Sunday and next Sunday show the power of Jesus healing the sick. Christ is the true doctor of humanity, whom the Heavenly Father sent into the world to heal us because we are marked in body and mind by sin and its consequences. The countless healings and signs which Our Lord used confirm the healing power of the Gospel. Jesus offers us life in abundance, eternal life full and happy. He is the hand of God stretched out to humanity to rescue us from illness and death so that we can stand on the firm rock of divine love. Pope Benedict urges us to make good use of the Sacraments of Healing, Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick "so as to encounter the love that forgives and transforms". (Benedict XVI, Message)
In our own time we have known the wonderful healings that the Lord has worked through the intercession of his Blessed Mother at Lourdes. This is why the 11th February has become the World Day of the Sick because she who is "health of the sick" prays incessantly for those who are sick, lonely, poor or marginalised, in hospital and requiring health care or assistance in the needs of older age.
The encounter of Jesus with the ten lepers, narrated by the Gospel of Saint Luke (cf. Lk 17:11-19), and in particular the words that the Lord addresses to one of them, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you" (v. 19), help us to become aware of the importance of faith for those who, burdened by suffering and by illness, draw near to the Lord. In their encounter with him they can truly experience that the one who believes is never alone! God, indeed, in His Son, does not abandon us to our anguish and suffering, but is near to us, helps us to bear them, and wishes to heal us in the depths of our hearts. (cf. Mk 2:1-12)
With the powerful intercession of Our Lady we can come to Jesus knowing that we will find wholeness, that through the assistance of medical care we will be brought to healing and comfort, but above all by knowing that Jesus is near and loving the prayers of his Blessed Mother we will come to see that if we are invited to share through suffering in the passion of the Lord then he will provide whatever is needful for a healing of spirit and comfort and strength.
As regards the 'Sacraments of Healing', Saint Augustine affirms: 'God heals all your infirmities. Do not be afraid, therefore, all your infirmities will be healed ... You must only allow Him to cure you and you must not reject His hands'. (Exposition on Psalm 102, 5; PL 36, 1319-1320)
Today, my dear friends, I offer this Mass for you and I thank you for your courageous witness in old age and suffering. May you always know that the Lord is near. May Our Lady continue to pray constantly for you as "health of the sick", that the Lord Jesus will give you strength, courage and grace, as I ask the Lord to bless and sustain you on your journey, offering this Mass for you, your needs, your intentions and for those who care for you so well. Our Lady, Health of the Sick, prayer for us.
+ Denis J. Hart,


Sister Amalia Pereda Ortiz de Zarate was a pioneer of rural healthcare
Lissy Maruthanakuzhy, Shillong
February 15, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Church mourns death of popular nun
Sister Amalia Pereda Ortiz de Zarate
Thousands of people are mourning the death of a Spanish nun, popularly known as the “Mother Teresa” of Meghalaya, who revolutionized healthcare in the rural northeastern state.
Sister Amalia Pereda Ortiz de Zarate “spent her entire life working for poor and illiterate villagers,” said Salesian Father Francis Cheeramban, who knew the nun for decades.
The Missionaries of Christ Jesus nun died at age 84 on Monday at Nirmali Convent in Shillong, the state capital of Meghalaya state.
She was buried in the nearby Laitumkhrah Catholic cemetery yesterday.
Fr John Madur, vicar-general of Shillong archdiocese, led 25 priests at the funeral Mass.
Sister Amalia was renowned for having set up Shillong’s Nazareth Hospital, Meghalaya’s top healthcare institution.
She worked there as the superintendent and a surgeon for more than 25 years, said Sister Remo, her confrere, who works in Tura diocese.
Sister Amalia joined the congregation in 1946 and went to India 15 years later after completing her religious and medicine studies in Spain.
The surgeon nun headed a medical camp for refugees from East Pakistan and later Bangladesh from 1965-1977.
Sister Remo said Sister Amalia also provided medical care for hundreds of villages in Meghalaya with her mobile dispensaries.
“She not only treated patients by providing free medicines, but also taught them about health and hygiene,” the young nun added.
She visited many villages where not many people could go,” Fr Hilarius Lamare, administrator of Jowa,i recalled. “She had the spirit of Jesus. She was a missionary at heart.”
The nun also taught seminarians how to serve people in northeastern India, he said.


Clashes in the village of Meet Bashar ended last night after the mediation of some Muslim Brotherhood leaders. For Fr Rafic Greiche, the victory by Islamist parties in the elections has increased anti-Christian attacks.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - A mob of nearly 2,000 radical Muslims, mainly Salafists, set fire to the Church of St Mary and St Abram in the village of Meet Bashar, in Zagazig, Sharqia province (50 kilometres north-east of Cairo). Since Sunday, the area has been the scene of clashes between Muslim extremists and Christians. Calm returned to the area after mediation by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, who convinced the Salafists to leave the village.

The violence was caused by the disappearance of Rania Khalil, a Christian teenager who went missing last Sunday. Her father is a convert to Islam. She was found today and is in police custody. She and her mother will be interrogated by police. Salafists believe she was abducted by Christians to prevent her conversion to Islam.

Since the victory of Islamist parties in Egypt's recent elections, anti-Coptic attacks have increased across the country. The latest occurred on 27 January in the village of Kobry-el-Sharbat (el-Ameriya), near Alexandria, said Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church.

On that occasion, Salafists tried to burn the homes of the village's 62 Coptic families, after some Muslims accused a Christian tailor, Mourad Samy Guirgis, of having "illicit" pictures of a Muslim woman on his mobile phone.

"Muslim radicals use conversions to Christianity from Islam as a pretext to attack and scare the Coptic community so that it will flee," Fr Greiche explained. "This is happening across Egypt."

"In Western media, the prevailing idea is that religious clashes between Christians and Muslims happen only in Upper Egypt and Cairo's slums, where people are ignorant. In fact, when it comes to conversion from one religion to another, there is no distinction between rich and poor, educated and uneducated, Upper or Lower Egypt."

In Muslim society, anyone who converts to Christianity becomes an outcast, Fr Greiche said. By contrast, those who speak out against forced conversions to Islam are not protected by the authorities and in most cases are forced to withdraw their accusations under pressures and threats.

Things are bound to get worse, the clergyman believes. "Salafists are Egypt's second largest party. After the election, they hold 20 per cent of the seats in parliament. In the next few months, they could use their political power against Christians.",000-Muslim-extremists-23985.html


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Archbishop of Miami, His Exc. Mgr. Thomas Wenski and five Bishops of Florida sent a letter to Governor Rick Scott, asking him to stop Robert Waterhouse’s execution and commute the death sentence with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. "This measure would manifest the belief in the unique dignity of each individual and the sanctity of human life. It would acknowledge God as Lord of life and be more consistent with the spirit of the Gospel," said the letter, which is dated February 13, 2012. Robert Waterhouse’s execution is set for today, February 15, at 23 GMT time, the prison in the State of Starke, north of the state of Florida, according to the order that Governor Scott signed last January.
The letter expresses the Bishops’ concern for the planned increase of the executions: from August 2011 one every three months. Therefore in the letter the Bishops ask the governor to refrain from signing new death sentences. "We ask to study what they do in other states where there are other options (but not the death of a prisoner) to reach the goal of protecting society and punishing the criminal," they suggested.
The defense filed an appeal last week against Waterhouse’s execution, but the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet ruled. Florida has executed 71 inmates since the death penalty was restored in the State, in 1976, and this is the third signed by Governor Scott since January 2011. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 15/2/2012)


Mark 8: 22 - 26
22 And they came to Beth-sa'ida. And some people brought to him a blind man, and begged him to touch him.
23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the village; and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands upon him, he asked him, "Do you see anything?"
24 And he looked up and said, "I see men; but they look like trees, walking."
25 Then again he laid his hands upon his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly.
26 And he sent him away to his home, saying, "Do not even enter the village."


St. Claude de la Colombiere
Feast: February 15

Feast Day: February 14
2 February 1641 at Saint-Symphorien d’Ozon, Rhône, France
Died: 15 February 1682 at Paray-le-Monial, Saône-et-Loire, France
31 May 1992 by Pope John Paul II in Rome
Major Shrine: Monastery of the Visitation nuns at Paray-le-Monial
Patron of: toy makers, turners
Claude de la Colombiere is best known for his association with St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and the devotion of the Sacred Heart, but his life has its own drama. He was sent to England after his spiritual direction of St. Margaret Mary was over and became embroiled in the Titus Oates "Popish Plot," was imprisoned, then banished from England. His story is part of the history of the seventeenth century.

He was born near Lyons in 1641 and entered the Society of Jesus at Avignon. After his novitiate, he taught grammar and the humanities. Even before his ordination to the priesthood, he gained a reputation as a preacher. After completing his studies in Paris, he became tutor to the sons of Colbert, the financial minister of Louis XIV, but was dismissed from his post and returned to Avignon.
In 1675, after his solemn profession as a Jesuit, he was appointed superior at Paray-le-Monial, in which the convent of St. Margaret Mary was located. Here he became her spiritual director, encouraged her in the spread of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, and was described by our Lord as His "faithful and perfect friend."
Because of his remarkable gifts and judgment, he was sent to England, to be court preacher to the duchess of York, wife of the future James II, and took up residence in London. His radiant personality and splendid gifts were noted by everyone. When the alleged "Popish Plot" to assassinate King Charles II shook the country, Blessed Claude was accused of complicity in the plot and imprisoned. Through the intervention of Louis XIV of France, he was released, then banished from the country. He spent his last years at Paray-le-Monial, his health broken.
He died on February 15, 1682, an apostle of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, and was beatified in 1929.
Thought for the Day: Blessed Claude was an amazingly gifted man, and he recognized that his gifts should be put at the service of others. He spent himself in the service of Christ and was chosen to direct someone with an important mission to the Church. Let us emulate Claude and place our gifts at the service of others.
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': . . . "Come, follow me! And I will make you fishermen for the souls of men!" At once they left their nets and went along with him.-Mark 1:17-18






Vatican City, 14 February 2012 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a note written by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Frederico Lombardi S.J. and released late yesterday afternoon by Vatican Radio, concerning the recent leaking of a series of Vatican documents.
"Nowadays we must all have strong nerves, because no one can be surprised at anything. The American administration was affected by Wikileaks, now the Vatican too has its disclosures, its leaked documents, which tend to create confusion and bewilderment, and to throw a bad light on the Vatican, the governance of the Church and, more broadly, on the Church herself.
"We must, then, remain calm and keep our nerve, make use of reason, something which not all media outlets tend to do. The documents in question are of different kinds and importance, drawn up at various times and for differing situations. One thing is the discussion of the improved economic management of an institution such as the Governorate, which has many different activities; another are notes on current juridical and legislative questions, about which it is quite normal that there should be contrasting opinions; quite another are delirious and incomprehensible reports about plots against the Pope's life. Yet, putting them all together helps to create confusion. Serious reporting should be capable of distinguishing the issues and understanding their differing importance. It is obvious that the economic activities of the Governorate have to be managed wisely and rigorously. It is clear that the IOR and financial activities must be correctlyintegrated into international anti-recycling norms. These are of course the Pope's instructions. At the same time, it is evident that the story about a plot against the Pope, as I said immediately at the time, is nonsense, madness, and does not deserve to be taken seriously.
"There is something very sad in the fact that documents are dishonestly passed from the inside to the outside in order to create confusion. Both sides bear responsibility: firstly the suppliers of documents of this kind, but also those who undertake to use them for purposes that certainly have nothing to do with pure love of truth. We must, therefore, stand firm, not allowing ourselves to be swallowed up by the vortex of confusion, which is what ill-intentioned people want, and remaining capable of using our reason.
"In a certain sense - according to an ancient expression of human and spiritual wisdom - the emergence of more powerful attacks is a sign that something important is at stake. The series of attacks against the Church on the issue of sexual abuse has been justly met with serious and profound commitment to far-sighted renewal; not a myopic response but purification and rehabilitation. We have now taken control of the situation and are developing a powerful strategy of healing, renewal and prevention, for the good of society as a whole. At the same time, there is a serious commitment to ensure authentic transparency in the working of Vatican institutions, also from an economic perspective. New norms have been issued and channels have been opened for international monitoring. And yet a lot of the recently leaked documents tend to discredit precisely those efforts. This, paradoxically, constitutes another reason to continue them with determination, not allowingourselves to be cowed. If many people insist on attacking us, the issue is obviously important. Whoever thinks he is discouraging the Pope and his collaborators in their commitment is mistaken.
"As for the issue of the supposed power struggles in view of the next conclave, I would invite everyone to note that all the Pontiffs elected during the last hundred years have been people of exalted and unquestioned spiritual merit. Cardinals have naturally sought, and still seek, to elect someone who deserves the respect of the people of God, someone who can serve humankind in our time with great moral and spiritual authority. Reading these events as an internal power struggle depends to a large extent on the moral coarseness of those who provoke them and those who see them as such, people often incapable of seeing anything else. Fortunately, those who believe in Jesus Christ know that - whatever may be written in today's newspapers - the true concerns of those with positions of responsibility in the Church are the serious problems facing the men and women of today and tomorrow. Not for nothing do we also believe in, and speak of, the assistance ofthe Holy Spirit".

Vatican City, 14 February 2012 (VIS) - A delegation of ministers from the United Kingdom is today beginning an official visit to the Vatican to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations with the Holy See. The delegation is led by Baroness Sayeeda Hussain Warsi representing the prime minister, and includes Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster. Their discussions with Holy See officials will focus on inter-religious dialogue, human rights, the environment, international development and climate change.
This afternoon Baroness Warsi will deliver an address on the place of religion in modern political discourse to staff and students of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, and to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. The delegation will be received in audience by the Holy Father tomorrow.

Vatican City, 14 February 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI is among those contributing to the restoration of the Basilica of St. Augustine in the Algerian town of Annaba, work on which began last year. The church stands on a hill overlooking the ruins of Hippo, the episcopal see of that Father of the Church, and was built early last century, half in the Arab-Moorish style and half in the Romanesque-Byzantine style as a symbol of the universal appeal of the author of the "Confessions".
Speaking on Vatican Radio, Bishop Paul Desfarges S.J. of Constantine-Hippo explained that the Holy Father is making a personal contribution to the restoration work, which is being financed by the authorities in Algeria and France, as well as by a number of institutions, religious orders and benefactors. "The Papal Foundation has contributed, but the Pope has also sent a personal donation", Bishop Desfarges said. "We all know his great respect for St. Augustine. ... The restoration of the basilica means the restoration of a symbol of coexistence and fraternity between the two shores of the Mediterranean, between Christians and Muslims, between the West and Islam, between people who seek the truth"
by Kalpit Parajuli
Valentine's Day becomes an opportunity to recall sentiment for loved ones and instill hope for the future. Manufacturers of gift cards stress the demand for gifts with phrases and slogans in praise of peace, dialogue and solidarity between people.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Frightened by the climate of political and economic instability in the country, on St. Valentine’s day the Nepalese prefer postcards and greeting cards inspired by the Pope's message for the 45th World Day of Peace to the usual hearts and teddy bears.

Amrit Tuladhar, a producer of giftware and director of online shopping site says that unlike in the past, this year people of all ages have visited the site, chosing cards with phrases about peace, dialogue and harmony as gifts to friends and acquaintances, many of whom live abroad. "Following the many requests - he says - about 50% of products manufactured by the company contain slogans inspired by the message of the Pope

Tuladhar believes the increase of migrant workers has increased the number of Internet users, by multiplying the sites, the types of online purchases, but also the emphasis on foreign countries. "For St. Valentine’s - he says - I had an average of 400 orders per day, mostly by and for people living abroad." He explains that in recent days several Nepalese employees in the Middle East have ordered postcards with slogans of peace and love for the Syrian people.

Ramesh Shrestha, employed by Christian bookstore Ekta Book House, says that for years the best selling book during Valentine's Day is the Bible. "In my shop - he says - customers often choose the Bible as sign of affection and love for their loved one." Josh B. Niraula, former director of Caritas Nepal, notes that "Valentine's Day is for Christians and non Christians a moment to remember with gratitude the people you love," he says. He adds that despite the sentimentality, the festival is an occasion to renew our faith in love.

In Nepal there are about 150 thousand Christians, with about 8 thousand Catholics. With the collapse of the Hindu monarchy in 2006 and the birth of a secular state, Christians have been granted greater freedom of worship. To promote tourism the government declared Christmas a national holiday, ensuring greater security around Christian religious buildings. This year, about 4 thousand people, of which at least half non-Christians, attended the midnight mass celebrated in the cathedral of Kathmandu.'s-Day-cards-inspired-by-Pope's-message-of-peace-23972.html


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
14 Feb 2012

Graeme Mundine - Indigenous people need
to see their own culture in the Mass
The Aboriginal Catholic Ministry (ACM) will offer a unique Lenten program in Sydney this year designed specifically for Sydney's Indigenous people.
With Christ's words to the disciples in Gethsemane: "Stay here, watch and Pray with me" as the principal theme, the weekly readings will be reflected upon from an Aboriginal perspective, and be presented by Graeme Mundine, ACM Executive Officer and one of the Australia's most widely known and respected elders.
A former Marist Priest, Graeme will begin the reflections and readings each Tuesday evening from 7 until 8.30 pm at 77 Buckland Street, Alexandria.
Beginning on Shrove Tuesday, 21 February, the eve of Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent, the weekly meetings are all part of the vibrant Catholic ministry giving pastoral care and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who live in the inner city. While the Church of Reconciliation at La Perouse has long been an important part of ACM and holds a Mass for Indigenous Catholics on the first Sunday of every month, from this weekend Masses will also be held at Erskineville's parish church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour on the third Sunday of each month.

Graeme Mundine says
important Aboriginal
voices are heard
"Indigenous and non Indigenous people are welcome at Mass whether at La Perouse and Erskineville," says Graeme Mundine.
The decision to offer Mass to Indigenous people at Erskineville as well as La Perouse was made after ACM conducted a series of forums late last year to find out what people wanted and what was needed.
"What came through loud and clear was a desire for us to hold more 'Aboriginal Masses,' particularly in the inner city," Graeme explains adding that the Erskineville Church which is part of St Mary's parish will also conduct baptisms and funerals for Sydney's Indigenous people and their relatives from other parts of NSW.
While Australia's Indigenous people share much in common with their fellow Catholics, they have their own distinctive, rich culture, ancestry and voice. For this reason their own Mass is important and has great meaning for them, Graeme explains.

Our Lady of Perpetual Succour,
Erskineville begins a monthly Mass
for Indigenous people
from this weekend
"We are culturally different from other Australians. We didn't come from a Northern Hemisphere or Asian culture but instead our culture evolved here among the eucalypts, red earth and deserts. Our flora and fauna are also different which was why paintings of Christ surrounded by Northern hemisphere creatures such as donkeys, sheep, cows and cockerels were so hard for our ancestors to understand. They had never seen a lamb or cockerel. But if the painting had depicted the Lord surrounded by native Australian creatures such as kangaroos or emus or bush turkeys, they would have understood."
In addition to the Lenten Readings and Reflections and a monthly "Aboriginal Mass" at Erskineville's Catholic Church, ACM offers support to Indigenous people not only across Sydney but across wider Australia. As part of this support and in helping to give a voice to the concerns of Indigenous people, ACM has delivered a submission to the Senate Community Affairs Committee calling for a halt to the Northern Territory Intervention and Government policies such as compulsory Income Management, and SEAM (the School Enrolment and Attendance scheme where parents' welfare payments are suspended or cut if their children do not attend school).
"The Catholic Church has been involved with advocacy relating to the NT Emergency Response (NTER) through its various agencies since it was introduced in 2007," Graeme says and along with other Aboriginal elders and many of Australia's Aboriginal Catholic Ministries, has urged the Government not to pass the bills currently before the Senate which would expand NTER and bring more misery to the Indigenous people. SOURCE


TENKODOGO, February 14, 2012 (CISA) -Rt Rev Prosper Kontiebo was on February 11 appointed the first bishop of the new diocese of Tenkodogo. Bishop-elect is the first Bishop of the Camillian Missionary, MI.
“On behalf of all the members of the Order, I express gratitude to the Holy Father for having elevated a religious Camillian to Bishop wrote the Superior General of the Order, Fr Renato Salvatore.
“All those who have had the joy of knowing him, are very proud and participate with joy, praising the Lord to continue to keep watch over the Vice province of Burkina Faso of which our brother was a guide. I think it is very significant that the announcement was made this day (February 11) so ‘Camillian’: World Day of the Sick and the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. “
According to Fides the Apostolic Nuncio in Burkina Faso and Niger, Archbishop Vito Rallo, in his message stressed the fact that “the Church-Family of God is Catholic and universal; therefore it knows no regional or provincial borders. We are all members of the same and only Church, and no Catholic is a foreigner in another Diocese. Imagine for a moment, if the first Missionaries and Bishops of Burkina Faso had never come from outside, in this case from France, there would be no Catholic Church now in Burkina Faso. Thus, at the recent Synod for Africa, the Synod Fathers asked that the faithful and priests welcome, in a spirit of faith, the Bishop that the Holy Father sends them as their Pastor of the Diocese”.
Founded in late 1500 by S Camillo de Lellis, Universal Patron of the sick, the health professionals and hospitals, the Order of the Ministers of the Sick has always been a point of reference for the needy and for those who suffer. Today, it is present in 35 Countries and, through the Camillian Task Force, in the areas most at risk, from Haiti to Pakistan, and during natural disasters, such as in the Horn of Africa.
The Camillians are preparing to celebrate the fourth Centenary of the death of St Camillus, with a series of initiatives planned as from next May.



My venerable brother bishops and priests and my dear brothers and sisters,
In the context of the reflection that is taking place during these days of the Symposium "
Towards Healing and Renewal", we remind ourselves that we are here this evening not only as believers, but also as penitents.
The tragedy of the sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by Christians, especially when done so by members of the clergy, is a source of great shame and enormous scandal. It is a sin against which Jesus himself lashed out: "It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble" (Lk. 17:2). Abuse is a crime, in fact, which causes an authentic experience of death for the innocent victims, whom God alone can truly raise to new life in the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, with profound conviction and awareness of what we do, we turn to and implore the Lord.
1 2
This gesture of purification involves the entire Church, and each one of us - Bishops, Religious Superiors, educators, all Christians - feels the pain of what has occurred. We ask that the Spirit of God, who heals and radically renews all things, come down upon us.
As members of the Church, we must have the courage to ask humbly for God’s pardon, as well as for the forgiveness of His "little ones" who have been wounded; we must remain close to them on their road of suffering, seeking in every possible way to heal and bind up their wounds following the example of the Good Samaritan. The first step on this road is to listen to them carefully and to believe their painful stories.
The road of renewal for the Church, who will continue to educate people and establish proper structures to help prevent similar crimes, must include the sentiment of "never again". As Blessed John Paul II said, "there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young" (
Address of Blessed Pope John Paul II to the Cardinals of the United States, April 23, 2002, n. 3). It is intolerable that the abuse of children would take place within the Church. Never again!
Sadly, we observe all too well that the sexual abuse of children is found throughout modern society. It is our profound hope that the Church’s commitment to address this great evil will foster renewal among other communities and agencies in society who have been affected by this tragedy.
In this new path, we Christians should be aware that only faith can guarantee an authentic work of renewal in the Church: faith understood as personal, as a true and life-giving relationship of love with Jesus Christ. Mindful of our own lack of living faith, we ask the Lord Jesus to restore us all and to lead us through the agony of the cross towards the joy of the resurrection.
Sometimes the violence was committed by deeply disturbed persons or by those who had themselves been abused. It was necessary to take action concerning them and to prevent them from continuing any form of ministry for which they were obviously not suitable. This was not always done properly and, once again, we apologize to the victims.
The Shepherds of the Church, having learned from this terrible and humiliating experience, have a grave duty to take responsibility in the discernment and acceptance of candidates who seek to serve within the Church, most especially those seeking ordained ministry.
Still shocked by these sad occurrences, we hope that this Vigil liturgy helps us to view the horrible sins that took place among the People of God in the light of salvation history, a story which we have retraced together here tonight. It is a story that speaks of our misery, of our repeated failures, but most of all of God’s infinite mercy, of which we are always in need.
And so we entrust ourselves entirely to the powerful intercession of the Son of God, who "emptied himself" (Phil. 2:7) in the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption, and who has taken upon himself every evil, even this evil, destroying its power so that it would not have the last word.
The Risen Christ, in fact, is the guarantee and the promise that life triumphs over death; He is capable of bringing salvation to each person.
As we continue with our prayer service, we pray, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, for a more profound appreciation of our respective vocations, so as to rediscover the roots of our faith in Jesus Christ and to drink deeply from the springs of living water
that he offers us through his Church (cf.
Pastoral Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland).
May the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who is always at work in the world, descend and help us through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, whose powerful intercession sustains and guides us to be obedient and receptive to divine love. Amen!
Marc Cardinal Ouellet


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "Europe needs our prayer, it needs our missionary spirit and our missionary work of evangelization. As Christians and disciples of Christ, we are called to bring the Gospel back to Europe and give a true testimony of our fidelity to Christian roots. Europe has become in our time a mission land": these are some thoughts taken from the Fr Mariusz Frukacz’s homily, editor of the Polish Catholic Weekly "Niedziela" and member of the Pontifical Missionary Union, during the Mass that was celebrated this morning for the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Patrons of Europe. The editors of the Weekly, which is based in Czestochowa, in fact, gathered in the chapel dedicated to Mary Mater Verbi, on the premises of the editorial office, where they prayed for the New Evangelization in Europe by entrusting it to the intercession of the Apostles of the Slavs. After Mass, the editors recited the Holy Rosary for Europe.
Constantine, better known under the monastic name of Cyril (Thessalonica 826-14 February 869), evangelized Pannonia and Moravia in the ninth century and invented the Glagolitic alphabet. he is revered as a saint by the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church together with his brother Methodius (Thessalonica 815 - Velehrad April 6 885) he also evangelized the Slavs. Proclaimed Patrons of Europe by the blessed Pope John Paul II in 1980. (MF/SL) (Agenzia Fides 14/2/2012)


St. Valentine
Feast: February 14

Feast Day: February 14
At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century and to have been buried on the Flaminian Way, but at different distances from the city. In William of Malmesbury's time what was known to the ancients as the Flaminian Gate of Rome and is now the Porta del Popolo, was called the Gate of St. Valentine. The name seems to have been taken from a small church dedicated to the saint which was in the immediate neighborhood. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known.



Sts. Cyril & Methodius
Feast: February 14

Feast Day: February 14
827 and 826, Thessaloniki, Byzantine Empire (present-day Greece)
Died: February 14, 869 and 6 April 885
Patron of: Bulgaria, Czech Republic (including Bohemia, and Moravia), Ecumenism, unity of the Eastern and Western Churches, Europe, Slovakia
These brothers, the Apostles of the Slavs, were born in Thessalonica, in 827 and 826 respectively. Though belonging to a senatorial family they renounced secular honours and became priests. They were living in a monastery on the Bosphorous, when the Khazars sent to Constantinople for a Christian teacher. Cyril was selected and was accompanied by his brother. They learned the Khazar language and converted many of the people. Soon after the Khazar mission there was a request from the Moravians for a preacher of the Gospel. German missionaries had already laboured among them, but without success. The Moravians wished a teacher who could instruct them and conduct Divine service in the Slavonic tongue. On account of their acquaintance with the language, Cyril and Methodius were chosen for their work. In preparation for it Cyril invented an alphabet and, with the help of Methodius, translated the Gospels and the necessary liturgical books into Slavonic. They went to Moravia in 863, and laboured for four and a half years. Despite their success, they were regarded by the Germans with distrust, first because they had come from Constantinople where schism was rife, and again because they held the Church services in the Slavonic language. On this account the brothers were summoned to Rome by Nicholas I, who died, however, before their arrival. His successor, Adrian II, received them kindly. Convinced of their orthodoxy, he commended their missionary activity, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, and ordained Cyril and Methodius bishops. Cyril, however, was not to return to Moravia. He died in Rome, 4 Feb., 869.
At the request of the Moravian princes, Rastislav and Svatopluk, and the Slav Prince Kocel of Pannonia, Adrian II formed an Archdiocese of Moravia and Pannonia, made it independent of the German Church, and appointed Methodius archbishop. In 870 King Louis and the German bishops summoned Methodius to a synod at Ratisbon. Here he was deposed and condemned to prison. After three years he was liberated at the command of Pope John VIII and reinstated as Archbishop of Moravia. He zealously endeavoured to spread the Faith among the Bohemians, and also among the Poles in Northern Moravia. Soon, however, he was summoned to Rome again in consequence of the allegations of the German priest Wiching, who impugned his orthodoxy, and objected to the use of Slavonic in the liturgy. But John VIII, after an inquiry, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, decreeing, however, that in the Mass the Gospel should be read first in Latin and then in Slavonic. Wiching, in the meantime, had been nominated one of the suffragan bishops of Methodius. He continued to oppose his metropolitan, going so far as to produce spurious papal letters. The pope, however, assured Methodius that they were false. Methodius went to Constantinople about this time, and with the assistance of several priests, he completed the translation of the Holy Scriptures, with the exception of the Books of Machabees. He translated also the "Nomocanon", i.e. the Greek ecclesiastico-civil law. The enemies of Methodius did not cease to antagonize him. His health was worn out from the long struggle, and he died 6 April, 885, recommending as his successor Gorazd, a Moravian Slav who had been his disciple.
Formerly the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius was celebrated in Bohemia and Moravia on 9 March; but Pius IX changed the date to 5 July. Leo XIII, by his Encyclical "Grande Munus" of 30 September, 1880, extended the feast to the universal Church.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)