Wednesday, October 3, 2012






Vatican City, 3 October 2012 (VIS) - The time dedicated to liturgical prayer in the life of Christians, especially during Mass, was the central theme of Benedict XVI's catechesis during his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square.
Prayer, the Pope explained, "is the living relationship of the children of God with their immeasurably good Father, with His Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit. Therefore the life of prayer consists in dwelling habitually in the presence of God and knowing Him. ... Such communion of life with the One Triune God is possible through Baptism, by which we are united to Christ, ... because only in Christ can we dialogue with God the Father as children".
For Christians prayer means "constantly gazing at Christ in ways that are ever new", said the Holy Father. "Yet we must not forget that we discover Christ and know Him as a living Person in the Church. She is 'His Body'. ... The unbreakable bond between Christ and the Church, through the unifying power of love, does not annul 'you' and 'me' but exalts them to their most intense unity. ... Praying means raising oneself to the heights of God, by means of a necessary and gradual transformation of our being".
By participating in the liturgy "we make the language of mother Church our own, we learn to speak in her and for her. Of course this comes about gradually, little by little. I must progressively immerse myself into the words of the Church with my prayers, life and suffering, with my joy and my thoughts. This is a journey which transforms us", the Pope said.
The question of "how to pray" is answered by following the Our Father, the prayer which Jesus taught us. "We see that its first two words are 'Father' and 'our', and the response then becomes clear: I learn to pray and I nourish my prayer by addressing myself to God as Father, and by praying with others, with the Church, accepting the gift of her words, which little by little become familiar and rich in meaning. The dialogue God establishes with each one of us in prayer, and we with Him, always includes a 'with'. We cannot pray to God individualistically. In liturgical prayer, especially the Eucharist, ... in all prayer, we speak not only as single individuals, but enter into that 'us' which is the prayerful Church".
The liturgy, then, "is not some form of 'self-expression' of a community. ... It means entering into that great living community in which God Himself nourishes us. The liturgy implies universality", and it "is important for all Christians to feel that they are truly part of this universal 'us', which is the foundation and refuge for the 'me', in the Body of Christ which is the Church".
To do this we must accept the logic of the incarnation of God, Who "came close to us, making Himself present in history and in human nature. ... This presence continues in the Church, His Body. The liturgy, then, is not the recollection of past events but the living presence of Christ's Paschal Mystery which transcends and unites time and space".
"It is not the individual priest or member of the faithful, or the group, which celebrates the liturgy. Rather, the liturgy is primarily the action of God through the Church with all her history, her rich tradition and her creativity. This universality and fundamental openness, which is specific to all the liturgy, is one of the reasons for which it cannot be invented or modified by a single community or by experts, but must remain faithful to the forms of the universal Church".
The Church becomes fully visible in the liturgy, the Holy Father concluded, "the act by which we believe that God enters our lives and we can encounter Him. The act in which ... He comes to us and we are illuminated by Him".
Opening of the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
in the last catechesis I began speaking about one of the privileged sources of Christian prayer: the sacred liturgy, which - as the Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms – is “participation in Christ’s own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1073). In the liturgy, all Christian prayer finds its source and goal."(n. 1073). Today I would like us to ask ourselves: in my life, do I reserve enough space for prayer and, above all, what place does liturgical prayer have in my relationship with God, especially the Mass, as participation in the common prayer of the Body of Christ which is the Church ?

In answering this question we must first remember that prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit (cf. ibid., 2565). Therefore, the life of prayer lies in habitually being in the presence of God and being conscious of it, in living our relationship with God just as we live the usual relationships of our lives, those with close family members, and with real friends; indeed our relationship with the Lord gives light to all of our other relationships. This communion of life with God, One and Triune, is possible because, through Baptism we have been inserted into Christ, we have begun to be one with Him (cf. Rom 6:5).

In fact, only in Christ we can talk to God the Father as children, otherwise it is not possible, but in communion with the Son, we too can say, as he said “Abba", because only in communion with Christ, can we know God as our true Father (cf. Mt 11:27). For this Christian prayer lies in constantly looking, in an ever new way, at Christ, talking with Him, being in silence with Him, listening to Him, acting and suffering with Him. The Christian rediscovers his true identity in Christ, "the firstborn of every creature », in whom all things were created (cf. Col 1:15 ff). By identifying with Him, being one with Him, I discover my personal identity, that of the true child who sees God as a Father full of love.

But do not forget: we discover Christ, we know him as a living Person, in the Church. It is "his Body." This embodiment can be understood from the biblical words on man and woman: the two shall become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24, Ephesians 5.30 ff. 1 Cor 6.16 s). The unbreakable bond between Christ and the Church, through the unifying power of love, does not negate the 'you' or ‘I', but raises them to their most profound unity. Finding one’s true identity in Christ means achieving communion with him, that does not cancel me out, but raises me to the highest dignity, that of a child of God in Christ, "the love-story between God and man consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God's will increasingly coincide "(Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, 17). To pray means to rising towards the heights of God through a necessary gradual transformation of our being.

Thus, participating in the liturgy, we make ours the language of the Mother Church, we learn to speak it and for it. Of course, as I have already said, this takes place in a gradual manner, little by little. I have to progressively immerge myself in the words of the Church, with my prayer, my life, my suffering, my joy, my thoughts. It is a journey that transforms us.

Thus I think that these reflections enable us to answer the question that we posed at the beginning: how do I learn to pray, how can I grow in my prayer? Looking at the model that Jesus taught us, the Pater Noster [Our Father], we see that the first word is "Father" and the second is "our." The answer, then, is clear: I learn to pray, I nourish my prayer, addressing God as Father and praying-with-others, praying with the Church, accepting the gift of his words, which gradually become familiar and rich in meaning. The dialogue that God establishes with each of us, and we with Him, in prayer always includes a "with", you can not pray to God in an individualistic manner. In liturgical prayer, especially the Eucharist, and - formats of the liturgy - in every prayer, we do not speak as single individuals, rather we enter into the "we" of the Church that prays. And we need to transform our "I" entering into this "we".

I would like to recall another important aspect. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read: " In the liturgy of the New Covenant every liturgical action, especially the celebration of the Eucharist and the sacraments, is an encounter between Christ and the Church" (n. 1097); so it is the "whole Christ" , throughout the Community, the Body of Christ united with its Head, that celebrates. Thus the liturgy is not a kind of "self-manifestation" of a community, but it is emerging from the simple "being-oneself", being closed in on ourselves, and accessing the great banquet, entering the great living community in which God nourishes us. The liturgy implies universality and our awareness of this universal character must always be renewed. The Christian liturgy is the worship of the universal temple which is the Risen Christ, whose arms are stretched out on the cross to draw us all into the embrace that is the eternal love of God. It is the cult of the open skies. It is never only the event of a single community, in a given time and space. It is important that every Christian feels and really is part of this universal "we", which provides the foundation and refuge to the "I" in the Body of Christ which is the Church.

In this we must be aware of and accept the logic of the Incarnation of God: He has drawn near, present, entering into history and human nature, becoming one of us. And this presence continues in the Church, his Body. The liturgy then is not the memory of past events, but it is the living presence of Christ's Paschal Mystery that transcends and unites all times and spaces. If the centrality of Christ does not emerge in the celebration, then it is not a Christian liturgy, totally dependent on the Lord and sustained by his creative presence. God acts through Christ and we can only act through him and in him. Every day the conviction must grow in us that the liturgy is not our, my, 'action', but the action of God in us and with us.
It is not the individual - priest or layman - or the group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God's action through the Church, which has its own history, its rich tradition and creativity. This universality and fundamental openness, which is characteristic of the entire liturgy is one of the reasons why it can not be created or amended by the individual community or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal Church.

The entire Church is always present, even in the liturgy of the smallest community. For this reason there are no "foreigners" in the liturgical community. The entire Church participates in every liturgical celebration, heaven and earth, God and man. The Christian liturgy, even if it is celebrated in a concrete place and space, and expresses the "yes" of a particular community, it is inherently Catholic, it comes from everything and leads to everything, in union with the Pope, the Bishops , with believers of all times and all places. The more a celebration is animated by this consciousness, the more fruitful the true sense of the liturgy is realized in it.

Dear friends, the Church is made visible in many ways: in its charitable work, in mission projects, in the personal apostolate that every Christian must realize in his or her own environment. But the place where it is fully experienced as a Church is in the liturgy: it is the act in which we believe that God enters into our reality and we can meet Him, we can touch Him. It is the act in which we come into contact with God, He comes to us, and we are enlightened by Him. So when in the reflections on the liturgy we concentrate all our attention on how to make it attractive, interesting and beautiful, we risk forgetting the essential: the liturgy is celebrated for God and not for ourselves, it is His work, He is the subject, and we must open ourselves to Him and be guided by Him and His Body which is the Church.

Let us ask the Lord to learn every day to live the sacred liturgy, especially the Eucharistic celebration, praying in the "we" of the Church, that directs its gaze not in on itself, but to God, and feeling part of the living Church of all places and of all time. Thank you.

Vatican City, 3 October 2012 (VIS) - Following his catechesis during his general audience this morning, the Pope mentioned his visit tomorrow to Loreto, Italy, "on the fiftieth anniversary of the famous pilgrimage made to that Marian shrine by Blessed Pope John XXIII, a week before the opening of Vatican Council II".
Benedict XVI asked everyone to join his prayers "entrusting to the Mother of God the main ecclesial events we are preparing to experience: the Year of Faith, and the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation. May the Blessed Virgin accompany the Church on her mission to announce the Gospel to the men and women of our time".
Vatican City, 3 October 2012 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for October is: "That the new evangelisation may progress in the oldest Christian countries".
His mission intention is: "That the celebration of World Mission Day may result in a renewed commitment to evangelisation".
Vatican City, 3 October 2012 (VIS) - A note released today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff provides details concerning the taking of possession of the following titles and diaconates:
- At 6 p.m. on Monday 8 October Cardinal Lucian Muresan, major archbishop of Fagaras and Alba Julia of the Romanians, Romania, will take possession of the title of Sant’Atanasio, Via del Babuino 149, Rome.
- At 4 p.m. on Sunday 14 October Cardinal George Alencherry, major archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India, will take possession of the title of San Bernardo alle Terme, Via Torino 94, Rome.
- At 6.30 p.m. on Saturday 20 October Cardinal Julien Ries, will take possession of the diaconate of Sant’Antonio di Padova a Circonvallazione Appia, Circonvallazione Appia 150, Rome.
Vatican City, 3 October 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera Lopez of Tuxtla-Gutierrez, Mexico, as archbishop of Monterrey (area 17,886, population 7,327,000, Catholics 5,862,000, priests 549, permanent deacons 42, religious 1,109), Mexico.
- Bishop Francisco Carlos Bach of Toledo, Brazil, as bishop of Sao Jose dos Pinhais (area 3,271, population 882,954, Catholics 688,704, priests 80, permanent deacons 62, religious 244), Brazil.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - From two border towns of Honduras, Aguas Calientes and El Corinto, where about 200 minors return every week, arrives the testimony of Sister Lydia Mara Silva de Souza, National Coordinator for the Pastoral Care of Human Mobility of Honduras. The religious notes that about 10 percent of immigrants that undertake the dangerous journey to the United States, are Honduran children. Of these, at least four out of ten are sent back home every day from Mexico.
In the note sent to Fides by the Catholic weekly to our Agency, Sister Lydia says that "in the case of immigrant children, they do not want to go back because the main reasons that lead a child to immigrate to the United States is for family reunification and the life of violence they suffer in the family, with physical, mental and emotional abuse, as well as sexual and labor exploitation."
The nun, who receives the support of several houses of immigrants and NGOs also reported that the Honduran consulates in Mexico and Guatemala do not offer any help in this terrible situation, while the number of children going out of the country increases, and unfortunately the parents’ silence does not help to define the actual number of children who are in Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 03/10/2012)



Catholic Bishops launch major statement on families

Go to 2012–2013 Social Justice Statement News Story
Photo: Jack Crombie
The Australian Catholic Bishops’ 2012–2013 Social Justice Statement urges all Australians to consider the pressures and challenges that families face today – especially those families who are most vulnerable or in crisis.
Read full story
Download Australian Catholic Bishops’ 2012-2013 Social Justice Statement Download Australian Catholic Bishops’ 2012-2013 Social Justice Statement
CathNews: Role of families essential, says bishops statement
Visit the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Social Justice Office
Celebrating the Journey 2012: Download Bishop Anthony’s Homily Celebrating the Journey 2012: Download Bishop Anthony’s Homily
(Listen to this Homily at Bishop Anthony’s iTunes Podcasts)
Bishop Anthony’s Catholic Outlook Letter: Gift of families in difficult times
Year of Grace: Grace and the Sacrament of Marriage
Families: beacons for a more compassionate and just society
“Thomas More, Truth and Marriage”: Bishop Anthony’s ACT address
Bishop Anthony’s Marriage Sunday 2012 Homily
Catholic Outlook’s Vocations Feature: Annelise & Jay – a Marian love story
CathNews: Australian parliament vote rejects same-sex marriage


Rome: conference studies Vatican II from the archives | An International Academic Conference: "Vatican Council II in the Light of the Archives of the Council Fathers, on the Fiftieth Anniversary of its Opening (1962-2012)" has begun today in Rome. The three-day event has been organised by the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences in collaboration with Vatican Council II' Centre for Research and Study of the Pontifical Lateran University, Fr Bernard Ardura O Praem,Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences,Professor Philippe Chenaux, director of the 'Vatican Council II' Centre, Pontifical Lateran University

Vatican II
An International Academic Conference: 'Vatican Council II in the Light of the Archives of the Council Fathers, on the Fiftieth Anniversary of its Opening (1962-2012)' has begun today in Rome. The three-day event has been organised by the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences in collaboration with the 'Vatican Council II' Centre for Research and Study of the Pontifical Lateran University.
At a press conference yesterday, Fr Bernard Ardura O Praem, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, explained how a global project has been organised to mark the anniversary of Vatican Council II, involving an examination of the personal archives of the Council Fathers, the aim being to produce original and academically valid research and to favour an increasingly deep understanding of an event "which has profoundly marked the life of the Church over the last half century".
"Following the path laid down by Blessed Pope John XXIII in his opening address to the Council, all available archive material must be submitted to careful historical scrutiny, in order to ensure that people do not, as the Pope himself said, 'act as if they had nothing to learn from history, which is a teacher of life'. The consultation and publication of diaries, memories and correspondence of important figures who participated in Vatican Council II has already contributed to the development of an hermeneutic of the Council; ... that 'hermeneutic of reform in continuity' identified by Benedict XVI as the way to ensure
authentic ecclesial interpretation.
"In this light", Fr Ardura added, "we have begun researching the private archives of the Council Fathers, in order to identify and catalogue the documents they produced: diaries, notes on the various meetings of commission, ... and all the documents that may help us to understand how the Council Fathers experienced the great event, how they viewed it and how they reacted to the various opinions expressed".
The current conference is to be the first of two events on Vatican Council II. It aims to "present the current state of research and to highlight, for example, the difficulties encountered in searching the archives". Of the Council Fathers, 2,090 were from Europe and the Americas, while 408 were from Asia, 351 from Africa and 74 from Oceania.
A large number of the latter came from mission lands and belonged to missionary institutions, for which reason much of their documentation is held in convents. Moreover the 'cult of the archive' which is habitual in Europe and America is not equally widespread in Asia and Africa, although the archives of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of
Peoples do, to some extent, make up for these shortcomings".

Fr Ardura explained that "the intention of the Pontifical Committee is to promote, in the light of the Holy Father's Magisterium and following a strict historical-critical methodology divorced from any ideology, a pondered and academically grounded historiographical re-reading of what was undeniably 'the great event' of Vatican Council II".

Speaking at the press conference yesterday, Professor Philippe Chenaux, director of the 'Vatican Council II' Centre for Research and Study of the Pontifical Lateran University explained that "the attempt to write a history of Vatican Council II involves not only research into the sources, ... but also interpretation, the so-called conciliar 'hermeneutic'. In other words, the historians who devised this project of the history of Vatican II have 'excogitated' the Council, whence have emerged two interpretative criteria which guided their work: the Council as 'event' and the Council as 'rupture'".
"The fundamental challenge for historians of the Council is, then, how to reconcile these two opposing readings of Vatican II and its decisions. This does not mean writing a 'counter history' of Vatican Council II. Rather, more modestly, it means resuming historical research on the basis of the widest possible documentation and with no
ideological bias. It means avoiding the manipulation of conciliar history for ends other than the history itself, in order to achieve a more balanced and shared understanding of the event and its decisions. 'Starting again from the archives', that is the challenge underlying the great research project of into the archives of the Council Fathers", he
The conference is beginning with a documentary prepared by the Vatican film library, and an opening address by two speakers. The first of these will be Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy, who will focus on the months between the announcement and the opening of the Council because, Fr Ardura said, "the preparatory period offers many keys to understanding the subsequent development of the Council".
The other opening speaker will be Professor Chenaux, who will discuss historiography with relation to Vatican Council II. In order to recall the ecumenical dimension, "strongly underlined" by Blessed John XXIII, one representative from the Patriarchate of Moscow and one from the Protestant churches will also attend the conference.
The results of the research of recent years, and of the conference, "will be a preliminary inventory of the Council Fathers' archives. This will be fed into an online database which may be consulted free of charge on the website of the Pontifical Council".
Source: VIS


RUIRU, October 2, 2012 (CISA) -A Catholic bishop has expressed his concern over a heavy alcohol drinking culture among the residents of Central Province.
The Rev David Kamau, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Nairobi, said as a result of the habit, most of the young in the region were not interested in marriage life.
“The habit is also causing a lot of problems in the family unit, resulting in divorces and single parenthood,” said Bishop Kamau.
Bishop Kamau made the remarks at Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Ruiru Town, on Sunday, October 1 where he confirmed over 300 faithful.
He urged the newly confirmed to ensure that their actions marched their faith.
“Do not be a Christian by name; be by action,” he said.
The Bishop urged the faithful to ensure that they defended their faith all the time.
“By this Confirmation sacrament, you must always stand strong in your faith and always be ready to defend it when challenged,” he advised.
The newly confirmed were drawn from the 19 sub-parishes of the Parish -Saint Francis of Assisi- one of the over 100 parishes of the Archdiocese of Nairobi.
In many parts of Central Province high cases of alcoholism have been reported of late. This has been occasioned by the proliferation of illicit brews whose consumption has led to several deaths.


One hotel and a military officers' club destroyed. Dozens dead or wounded. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees expects the number of Syrian refugees to exceed 700,000 by the end of the year. Jordan is the country bearing the greatest load. The problems of winter. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 31,000 have died in the civil war.

Aleppo (AsiaNews/Agencies)- At least two car bombs exploded this morning in downtown Aleppo, Syria's second-largest city, killing dozens of people and leaving many injured. The explosions took place at Saadallah al-Jabiri square, near a club for military officers and a hotel. State television spoke of "three terrorist explosions" and showed scenes of utter destruction, with the facade of the hotel in ruins and people bleeding.

Aleppo is Syria's commercial capital, with a population of 1.7 million. Since July it has been one of the main hotspots of the conflict between the Syrian army and rebels.

Observers, heads of humanitarian groups and the U.N. Secretary-General himself note that as the intensity of the violence grows in the country, it is becoming increasingly clear that in the war there are neither winners nor losers. The conflict, which has become a civil war, started out as an appendix to the Arab Spring, with requests for greater justice and democracy. But to the internal tensions have been added the regional interests of Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia - who support the rebels - and Iran, Russia and China, who support Bashar Al-Assad's government.

Yesterday, the UNHCR (the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees) in Geneva, issued the figures of Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries: from mid-June until today they have tripled, going from about 100,000 to 300,000, distributed over four countries: Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. By the end of the year the UNHCR fears that the refugees will number at least 710,000 and will have to face the bitter cold of the winter months.

The U.N. agency's estimates state that in Turkey the refugees will pass from the current 93,500 to 280,000; in Iraq from 33,700 to 60,000; in Lebanon from 80,800 to 120,000; in Jordan from 103,000 to 250,000.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - based abroad in Britain, but with local informants - has announced that so far at least 31,000 people have died in the conflict, of whom 22,000 are civilians, including more than 2,000 children.



Luke 9: 57 - 62
57 As they were going along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
58 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head."
59 To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
60 But he said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
61 Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home."
62 Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."


St. Gerard of Brogne
Feast: October 1
Feast Day:
October 1
895 at Staves, Namur, Belgium
3 October 959 at Brogne, Belgium
Major Shrine:
Saint-Gérard, Namur
Patron of:
Saint-Gérard, Namur

Born at Staves in the county of Namur, towards the end of the ninth century; died at Brogne or St-Gérard, 3 Oct. 959. The son of Stance, of the family of dukes of Lower Austrasia, and of Plectrude, sister of Stephen, Bishop of Liège, the young Gérard, like most omen of his rank, followed at first the career of arms. His piety, however, was admirable amid the distractions of camp. He transformed into a large church a modest chapel situated on the estate of Brogne which belonged to his family. About 917, the Count of Namur charged him with a mission to Robert, younger brother of Eudes, King of France. He permitted his followers to reside at Paris, but himself went to live at the Abbey of St-Denis, where he was so struck by the deifying lives of the monks that, at the conclusion of his embassy, with the consent of the Count of Namur and Bishop Stephen, his maternal uncle, he returned to St-Denis, took the religious habit, and after eleven years was ordained priest. He then requested to be allowed to return to Brogne, where he replaced the lax clerics with monks animated by a true religious spirit. Thereupon he himself retired to a cell near the monastery for more austere mortification. From this retreat he was summoned by the Archbishop of Cambrai who confided to him the direction of the community of St-Ghislain in Hainault. Here also he established monks instead of the canons, whose conduct had ceased to be exemplary, and he enforced the strictest monastic discipline. Gradually he became superior of eighteen other abbeys situated in the region between the Meuse, the Somme, and the sea, and through his efforts the Order of St. Benedict was soon completely restored throughout this region. Weighed down by age and infirmities, he placed vicars or abbots in his stead, in the various abbeys with which he was charged, and retired to that of Brogne. He still had courage to take a journey to Rome in order to obtain a Bull confirming the privileges of that abbey. On his return he paid a final visit to all the communities which he had reorganized, and then awaited death at Brogne. His body is still preserved at Brogne, now commonly calledSt-Gérard.