Friday, September 14, 2012


Vatican Radio REPORT: Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Lebanon Friday afternoon, on the first day of his three-day Apostolic Visit to the nation. Below the full text of the Holy Father's Address at the welcome ceremony, Rafiq Hariri Airport, Beirut.
Friday 14 September 2012

Mr President,
Messrs President of the Parliament and of the Council of Ministers,
Your Beatitudes, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Civil and Religious Authorities, dear Friends,

It is my honour to accept your invitation, Mr President, and that of the Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon, to visit your country. This dual invitation demonstrates, were it necessary, the dual purpose of my visit to your country. It underlines the excellent relations which have always existed between Lebanon and the Holy See, and seeks to contribute to strengthening them. This visit is also in response to your own visits to Rome in November 2008, and more recently in February 2011, a visit which was followed nine months later by that of the Prime Minister.

It was during the second of our meetings that the magnificent statue of Saint Maron was blessed. His silent presence at the side of Saint Peter’s Basilica is a constant reminder of Lebanon in the very place where the Apostle Peter was laid to rest. It witnesses to a long spiritual heritage, confirming the Lebanese people’s veneration for the first of the Apostles and for his successors. It is in order to underline the great devotion to Simon Peter that the Maronite Patriarchs add Boutros to their first name. It is wonderful to see how, from that Petrine sanctuary, Saint Maron intercedes continually for your country and for the entire Middle East.
Let me thank you in advance, Mr President, for all that you have done to make my stay among you a success.

Another reason for my visit is the important ecclesial event of the signature and the consigning of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, Ecclesia in Medio Oriente. I thank all the Catholic Patriarchs who have come, and particularly the Patriarch Emeritus, the beloved Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, and his successor Patriarch Bechara Boutros Raï. I offer fraternal greetings to all the Bishops of Lebanon, as well as to those who have travelled to pray with me and to receive this document from the hands of the Pope himself. Through them, I send fatherly greetings to all the Christians of the Middle East. Addressed to everyone, the Exhortation is intended as a roadmap for the years to come. During these days I am also pleased to be able to meet many representatives from the Catholic communities of your country, so as to celebrate and pray together. Their presence, commitment and witness are a valued contribution and are highly appreciated in the daily life of all the inhabitants of your beloved country.

I wish also to greet very warmly the Orthodox Patriarchs and Bishops who have come to welcome me, as well as the representatives of the other religious communities in Lebanon. Dear friends, your presence shows the esteem and the cooperation which, in mutual respect, you wish to promote among everyone. I thank you for your efforts and I am certain that you will continue to seek out the paths of unity and concord. I cannot forget the sad and painful events which have affected your beautiful country along the years. The successful way the Lebanese all live together surely demonstrates to the whole Middle East and to the rest of the world that, within a nation, there can exist cooperation between the various churches, all members of the one Catholic Church in a fraternal spirit of communion with other Christians, and at the same time coexistence and respectful dialogue between Christians and their brethren of other religions. Like me, you know that this equilibrium, which is presented everywhere as an example, is extremely delicate. Sometimes it seems about to snap like a bow which is overstretched or submitted to pressures which are too often partisan, even selfish, contrary and extraneous to Lebanese harmony and gentleness. This is where real moderation and great wisdom are tested. And reason must overcome one-sided passion in order to promote the greater good of all. Did not the great King Solomon, who knew Hiram, King of Tyre, consider that wisdom was the supreme virtue? This is why he pleaded to God for it insistently, and God gave him a wise and intelligent heart (1 Kg 3:9-12).

I have also come to say how important the presence of God is in the life of everyone and how the manner of coexistence, this conviviality to which your country wishes to bear witness, will run deep only if it is founded upon a welcoming regard for the other and upon an attitude of benevolence, and if it is rooted in God who wishes all men to be brothers. The celebrated Lebanese equilibrium which wishes to continue to be a reality, will continue through the good will and commitment of all Lebanese. Only then will it serve as a model to the inhabitants of the whole region and of the entire world. This is not just a human task, but a gift of God which should be sought with insistence, preserved at all costs, and consolidated with determination.

The links between Lebanon and the Successor of Peter are ancient and deep. Mr President, dear friends, I have come to Lebanon as a pilgrim of peace, as a friend of God and as a friend of men. Christ says, Salàmi ō-tīkum, “My peace I give to you” (Jn 14:27). And looking beyond your country, I also come symbolically to all the countries of the Middle East as a pilgrim of peace, as a friend of God and as a friend of all the inhabitants of all the countries of the region, whatever their origins and beliefs. To them too Christ says: Salàmi ō-tīkum. Your joys and sorrows are constantly present in the Pope's prayers and I ask God to accompany you and to comfort you. Let me assure you that I pray especially for the many people who suffer in this region. The statue of Saint Maron reminds me of what you live and endure.

Mr President, I know that your country is preparing a fine welcome for me, a warm welcome, the welcome that is given to a beloved and respected brother. I know that your country wishes to be worthy of the Lebanese Ahlan wa Sahlan [welcome]. It is already so, and from now on it will be so even more. I am happy to be here with you. May God bless you all. (Lè yo barèk al-Rab jami’a kôm!) Thank you.



DONNA D'ERRICO, a former Baywatch actress and Playboy model has turned back to being a faithful Catholic. For many years she has practiced her faith and goes to Mass every Sunday and prays the rosary every night with her children. D'Errico has 2 children, a son of 19 years and a daughter of 11 years. Donna also wears the Brown Scapular and is enrolled. She recently made headlines when she traveled to Turkey to visit the site Noah's Ark.
Donna was born in Dothan, Alabama. Her father was an army Captain and of Italian descent. She was raised Catholic and attended a Catholic school run by nuns in Georgia. In an interview with Fox News she said,
"Listen, I’ve made mistakes and choices in my past that I wouldn’t make today. That’s a chapter in my life that I’ve closed the door on. It seems to me like another person. It’s not who I am today."
In an interview with Ignitum Today,, Donna explained that in order to be faithful today one should,
"Pray the Rosary every day. Attend Mass every Sunday. Go to Confession regularly. If you do these things, you will be able to withstand and get through anything. I know what it’s like to be led astray and fall into a life of sin. I know how easy that is. I’ve lived it. I also know what it’s like to come back."

She was formerly married to Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx.


Pakistan's daredevil pilgrims scale new heights
Catholic Church News Image of An adventurous expression of faith
Colorful scarves adorn the tops of the towers at the Marian shrine in Mariamabad
For more than six decades, the twin towers of the St. Mary and St. Joseph Church in Mariamabad have thrilled pilgrims, particularly those with a keen sense of adventure.
Outside the church compound, where thousands gather annually at the national Marian shrine for the country’s largest Catholic pilgrimage, young people scale the nine meter cement towers.
“These are the holy towers,” news anchors say each year as they film the young daredevils clinging tightly as their colorful dupattas (long scarves) flutter in the wind.
“It takes about 25 minutes to reach the top,” said 22-year-old Aslam, who had just descended with the help of a rope tied to a rung.
“I brought a dupatta from home to tie to the top. The clean fresh air, the mosaic of tents and the green pastures offer a unique experience,” he added.
Aslam and his group covered 130 kms on foot from Faisalabad to attend the event, called “Mother of the Faithful” and held from September 7-9. Catholic bishops conducted Masses for incoming pilgrims from all over the country.
The persistent rain this year did little to discourage the pilgrims, who packed the stalls set up outside the church and danced to the sounds of the ceremonial drummers.
Neither did the weather deter Aslam, who remained committed to making his first attempt to reach the top of one of the towers.
“I have been coming here for four years but only decided to climb this time. I could not stay at the top for long because it can only accommodate eight people at a time,” he said.
Sunny Boota traveled eight hours by bicycle to reach the church and also climbed one of the towers to attach a garland he brought with him from his home in Sargodha.
“Our prayers are answered here. That’s why we are not afraid of the heights,” he said.
Despite the devotion shown to the towers by pilgrims, the central committee of the Marian shrine discourages any holy affiliations or ceremonial significance to them.
“They were built as observatories. However youngsters, even including a few girls, follow this tradition for the thrill after seeing their friends do it,” said Father Akram Javed, rector of the shrine.
“We discourage anyone from climbing the towers, crawling [on elbows] to the grotto or wearing bizarre clothes. Security has been asked to stop such activities.”
Judging from this year’s crop of adventurist pilgrims, the tradition does not seem to be in any danger of dying out, if for no other reason than to pass the time before visiting the shrine.
As Fr. Javed adds: “Many opt for this to avoid standing in the long queues, sometimes for 15 hours, at the grotto.”
And so far, it’s all in good and safe fun.
“Nobody has fallen or been injured to date,” Fr Javed said


Authors of attack still unknown, some suggest the influence of Al Qaeda, others groups still loyal to Gaddafi. The arrested are questioned, but so far without result. In many Islamic countries demonstrations in front of the U.S. Embassy to criticize the blasphemous film. Today, Friday ', the day of prayer, a new wave of demonstrations expected. Yesterday in Egypt there were 224 injuries and 23 arrests. In Yemen four people were killed and 34 injured. In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia Youtube blocked. Muslim leaders condemn the film and the anti-US violence.

Benghazi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Libyan authorities have arrested several people suspected of having instigated and participated in the assault and burning of the U.S. consulate. The U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three members of his staff, as well as 10 Libyan guards were killed in the attack. Meanwhile, demonstrations against the blasphemous film about Muhammad have spread like wildfire across the Islamic world. Governments ask for the film to be blocked, but also condemn the violence against U.S. targets.

The Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shaqur says that investigations into the attack on the consulate are making progress. Those arrested have been interrogated. The most likely hypothesis is that the demonstration against the film was engineered specifically to prepare the attack. It is thought that the authors are well-armed militants, although no one has yet officially claimed responsibility for the terrorist act. Some experts believe it was terrorists linked to al Qaeda in Pakistan and North Africa. Others suggest the hand of those still loyal to Gaddafi.

In the U.S. embassies around the world have been put under tight security, after thousands of demonstrators managed to storm the walls and burn the American flag of the consulates in Egypt and Yemen.

In Sanaa (Yemen), in clashes with security forces, there were four dead and 34 injured.

In Egypt a crowd of thousands of people stationed along the road leading to the embassy for three days and yesterday clashed with the police. At least 224 people were injured in the clashes, some police cars were torched and 23 protesters were arrested.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has accused the Americans and Zionists of making "mad and hateful" the anti-Islam film and a group of students demonstrated outside the Swiss embassy, ​​which mediates U.S. interests in Iran.

In Iraq, thousands of supporters of Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr marched in Baghdad, Najaf and Kirkuk, threatening to endanger American interests in the country.

In Kuwait at least 200 people demonstrated outside the U.S. embassy carrying banners with messages like: "USA, stop the bull ..... Respect" (see photo).

In Nigeria, the police are on alert and strengthened security around foreign embassies. In Bangladesh, thousands of people wanted to get to the U.S. Embassy, ​​but were stopped by the army.

In Gaza, thousands of Palestinians marched demanding an apology from the U.S. for the offense to Muhammad.

In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, governments have asked Google to block the viewing of clips from the movie posted on Youtube.

In every Islamic country a new wave of demonstrations are expected for today, a day of prayer in the mosques.

Several governments, while condemning the provocation of the film, also condemned the Islamist violence. Saudi Arabia has condemned the production of the film by an American Jew as "irresponsible", but also deplored "the violent reactions in various countries against American interests."

The Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, currently in Brussels, denounced "assault or insult against our prophet," but also unreservedly condemned the violent attacks. The Muslim Brotherhood has launched a non-violent demonstration today in front of all the great mosques of Egypt, also inviting the Coptic Christians.

In Libya, demonstrations took place yesterday of people who condemned the violent attack on the U.S. consulate.



Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
14 Sep 2012

Dr Steven Lovell-Jones (right) Dean of Notre Dame's School of Arts and Sciences at the launch of Dr John Rees' important new works
The University of Notre Dame might be Australia's youngest university but it continues to punch well above its weight and for the sixth consecutive year has been given a five-star ranking by the prestigious Good Universities Guide - across all its campuses.
When it comes to Graduate Satisfaction and Teaching Quality, UNDA receives top marks. The university also received five stars for Generic Skills and Entry Flexibility in recognition of the strength of its admission process which accesses applicants on a personal as well as an academic level.
Each year the Good Universities Guide ranks Australia's universities and private colleges based on a survey of university graduates' assessments in categories ranging from the quality of teaching to the ability to find full time jobs after graduation.
For UNDA's Sydney campus, 2011 was a landmark year which saw the first 106 students from the university's School of Medicine at Darlinghurst awarded Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery. The year also saw an increase in the numbers of those graduating with degrees in nursing and education.
With the Guide ranking universities in a series of stars from one to five, UNDA at its three campuses in Sydney, Broome and Fremantle yet again was up there with Australia's older acclaimed institutes of learning such as Canberra's ANU and the University of Queensland.

Notre Dame's Graduating Class of 2011
"The consistency of the very significant results in this year's Guide, particularly in areas of Graduate Satisfaction and Teaching Quality is testament to the commitment of our outstanding staff and evidence we are successfully achieving our 'objects' which define our university," says Professor Celia Hammond, Vice Chancellor of UNDA.
The 'objects' outlined when UNDA was first established in WA in 1989 by an Act of Parliament, include the provision of a university education within the context of Catholic faith and values together with excellent standards of teaching, scholarship and research as well as excellence in training for the professions and the pastoral care of its students.
Together with its high standard of teaching and graduate satisfaction, UNDA remains a standout when it comes to its application process.
"We take a comprehensive approach that goes beyond the use of a single score and assesses each applicant on their potential for a chosen course," Professor Hammond explains. "This is undertaken by looking at their academic achievements to date as well as a personal statement supporting their reasons for wanting to study at Notre Dame. Additionally, prospective students are invited to attend an interview which is integral in assisting both the University and the student in determining suitability for study at Notre Dame."

Seren Dalkiran of Netherlands - first international student to receive Notre Dame University's scholarship for post graduate research
Describing pastoral care as the heart of UNDA's 'objects,' she says this care begins from the time of the first meeting with prospective students and continues through to graduation and beyond.
In addition to out-performing many of Australia's larger and well established universities, UNDA has also become a leader in the field of research.
Dr John Rees, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations is winning wide acclaim for two important works on the study of religion and world politics.
"These works by Dr Rees' offer insights essential to enabling dialogue about the relationship between religion and international policy, a relationship so often denied by purely secular modes of enquiry," Associate Professor Steven Lovell-Jones, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences said at the launch of Dr Rees' two books earlier this month.
One of books, entitled "Religion in International Politics and Development" illustrates the dynamics of religion and how in the modern era these must be considered to be of central and abiding importance in the study of world politics. Dr Rees' second and equally important work, "Religion and Foreign Affairs: Essential Readings" is a compilation of writings to provide an introduction to the field of world politics and religion which is already being included among contributions from seminal figures in the field including internationally-renowned scholars such as American academics, Scott Appleby and Daniel Philpott.

UND Vice Chancellor, Professor Celia Hammond
In addition to its increasing contribution to international research particularly in the field of ethics, religion and politics, UNDA also offers International Fee Remission Scholarships to international students. The first of these, Seren Dalkiran from the Netherlands is currently undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy at UNDA's Sydney campus. She is researching and assessing the social change processes within the emerging empowered and conscious proportion of youth leaders across the globe.
"Australia is a totally different culture from my own and as a young country, is open to innovation, critical and creative thinking," she says adding that not only is UNDA an exciting place to work and study but also offers easy access to the emerging dynamics of the Asia-Pacific region and her own field of study.
UNDA is currently accepting applications for enrolment in 2013 with HECS places still available.
The University's Sydney campus offers degrees and courses in , Business, Education (Teaching), Law, Medicine, Nursing and Philosophy & Theology.
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Agenzia Fides report - The reception house of the Salesians for young people in difficulty "Osanna Pia" in Sliema, has in recent months expanding its facilities, so as to accommodate the youngest and most importantly, to improve the path of accompanying beneficiaries to independent life. The Maltese government has ceded a small building to the religious, currently under renovation, which will be turned into 7 apartments. Once the work is completed, the structure will be used to accommodate children and young adults in need who cannot count on the support of their family, with a troubled past and subsequent behavior problems.
The new facility, which will be called "Casa Mamma Margherita", will serve to continue the educational process of young people with problems between 18 and 25 years of age. Even young adults will be welcomed, already considered too big to be accommodated at Osanna Pia, but because of their life stories need support and a secure base to take the final step towards an independent life. To be accepted they must have a job and know that the residence at the facility will be temporary, without believing that one can have a family and continue to live there. The Salesians of Sliema manage the work Osanna Pia, and have been taking care of the reception and accompaniment during the growth of young people for many years. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 14/09/2012)


The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Feast: September 14
Feast Day:
September 14

The feast of the Exaltation of the Craoss sprang into existence at Rome at the end of the seventh century. Allusion is made to it during the pontificate of Sergius I (687-701) but, as Dom Bäumer observes, the very terms of the text (Lib. Pontif., I, 374, 378) show that the feast already existed. It is, then, inexact, as has often been pointed out, to attribute the introduction of it to this pope. The Gallican churches, which, at the period here referred to, do not yet know of this feast of the 14th September, have another on the 3rd of May of the same signification. It seems to have been introduced there in the seventh century, for ancient Gallican documents, such as the Lectionary of Luxeuil, do not mention it; Gregory of Tours also seems to ignore it. According to Mgr. Duchesne, the date seems to have been borrowed from the legend of the Finding of the Holy Cross (Lib. Pontif., I, p. cviii). Later, when the Gallican and Roman Liturgies were combined, a distinct character was given to each feast, so as to avoid sacrificing either. The 3rd of May was called the feast of the Invention of the Cross, and it commemorated in a special manner Saint Helena's discovery of the sacred wood of the Cross; the 14th of September, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, commemorated above all the circumstances in which Heraclius recovered from the Persians the True Cross, which they had carried off. Nevertheless, it appears from the history of the two feasts, which we have just examined, that that of the 13th and 14th of September is the older, and that the commemoration of the Finding of the Cross was at first combined with it.