Saturday, December 1, 2012


(Vatican RADIO IMAGE/REPORT) Apostolic Letter issued “Motu Proprio”

The Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia) and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia). These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable” (Deus Caritas Est, 25).

The service of charity is also a constitutive element of the Church’s mission and an indispensable expression of her very being (cf. ibid.); all the faithful have the right and duty to devote themselves personally to living the new commandment that Christ left us (cf. Jn 15:12), and to offering our contemporaries not only material assistance, but also refreshment and care for their souls (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 28). The Church is also called as a whole to the exercise of the diakonia of charity, whether in the small communities of particular Churches or on the level of the universal Church. This requires organization “if it is to be an ordered service to the community” (cf. ibid., 20), an organization which entails a variety of institutional expressions.

With regard to this diakonia of charity, in my Encyclical Deus Caritas Est I pointed out that “in conformity with the episcopal structure of the Church, the Bishops, as successors of the Apostles, are charged with primary responsibility for carrying out in the particular Churches” the service of charity (No. 32); at the same time, however, I noted that “the Code of Canon Law, in the canons on the ministry of the Bishop, does not expressly mention charity as a specific sector of episcopal activity” (ibid.). Although “the Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops explored more specifically the duty of charity as a responsibility incumbent upon the whole Church and upon each Bishop in his Diocese” (ibid.), there was still a need to fill the aforementioned lacuna and to give adequate expression in canonical legislation to both the essential nature of the service of charity in the Church and its constitutive relationship with the episcopal ministry, while outlining the legal aspects of this ecclesial service, especially when carried out in an organized way and with the explicit support of the Bishops.

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In view of this, with the present Motu Proprio I intend to provide an organic legislative framework for the better overall ordering of the various organized ecclesial forms of the service of charity, which are closely related to the diaconal nature of the Church and the episcopal ministry.

It is important, however, to keep in mind that “practical activity will always be insufficient, unless it visibly expresses a love for man, a love nourished by an encounter with Christ” (ibid., 34). In carrying out their charitable activity, therefore, the various Catholic organizations should not limit themselves merely to collecting and distributing funds, but should show special concern for individuals in need and exercise a valuable educational function within the Christian community, helping people to appreciate the importance of sharing, respect and love in the spirit of the Gospel of Christ. The Church’s charitable activity at all levels must avoid the risk of becoming just another form of organized social assistance (cf. ibid., 31).

The organized charitable initiatives promoted by the faithful in various places differ widely one from the other, and call for appropriate management. In a particular way, the work of Caritas has expanded at the parish, diocesan, national and international levels. Caritas is an institution promoted by the ecclesiastical Hierarchy which has rightly earned the esteem and trust of the faithful and of many other people around the world for its generous and consistent witness of faith and its concrete ability to respond to the needs of the poor. In addition to this broad initiative, officially supported by the Church’s authority, many other initiatives have arisen in different places from the free enterprise of the faithful, who themselves wish to help in various ways to offer a concrete witness of charity towards those in need. While differing in their origin and juridical status, both are expressions of sensitivity and a desire to respond to the same pressing need.

The Church as an institution is not extraneous to those organized initiatives which represent a free expression of the concern of the baptized for individuals and peoples in need. The Church’s Pastors should always welcome these initiatives as a sign of the sharing of all the faithful in the mission of the Church; they should respect the specific characteristics and administrative autonomy which these initiatives enjoy, in accordance with their nature, as a manifestation of the freedom of the baptized.

Alongside these, the Church’s authority has, on its own initiative, promoted specific agencies which provide institutionally for allocating donations made by the faithful, following suitable legal and administrative methods which allow for a more effective response to concrete needs.

Nevertheless, to the extent that such activities are promoted by the Hierarchy itself, or are explicitly supported by the authority of the Church’s Pastors, there is a need to ensure that they are managed in conformity with the demands of the Church’s teaching and the intentions of the faithful, and that they likewise respect the legitimate norms laid down by civil authorities. In view of these requirements, it became necessary to establish in the Church’s law certain essential norms inspired by the general criteria of canonical discipline, which would make explicit in this sector of activity the legal responsibilities assumed by the various subjects involved, specifying in particular the position of authority and coordination belonging to the diocesan Bishop. At the same time, the norms in question need to be broad enough to embrace the significant diversity of the institutions of Catholic inspiration which are engaged as such in this sector, whether those originating from the Hierarchy or those born of the direct initiative of the faithful, received and encouraged by the local Pastors. While it was necessary to lay down norms in this regard, there

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was also a need to consider the requirements of justice and the responsibility of Bishops before the faithful, with respect for the legitimate autonomy of each institution.

Dispositive Part

Consequently, upon the proposal of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and after consultation with the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, I establish and decree the following:

Art. 1.
§ 1. The faithful have the right to join in associations and to establish agencies to carry out specific charitable services, especially on behalf of the poor and suffering. To the extent that these are linked to the charitable service of the Church’s Pastors and/or intend to use for this purpose contributions made by the faithful, they must submit their own Statutes for the approval of the competent ecclesiastical authority and comply with the following norms.

§ 2. Similarly, it is also the right of the faithful to establish foundations to fund concrete charitable initiatives, in accordance with the norms of canons 1303 of the Code of Canon Law (CIC) and 1047 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO). If foundations of this type correspond to the characteristics set forth in § 1, they will also observe, congrua congruis referendo, the provisions of the present law.

§ 3. In addition to observing the canonical legislation, the collective charitable initiatives to which this Motu Proprio refers are required to follow Catholic principles in their activity and they may not accept commitments which could in any way affect the observance of those principles.

§ 4. Agencies and foundations for charitable purposes promoted by Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life are required to comply with these norms, and they must follow the prescriptions of canons 312 § 2 CIC and 575 § 2 CCEO.

Art. 2.
§ 1. The Statutes of each charitable agency referred to in the preceding article must also contain, in addition to its institutional offices and structures of governance in accordance with canon 95 § 1 CIC, the guiding principles and objectives of the initiative, the management of funds, the profile of its workers, as well as the reports and information which must be presented to the competent ecclesiastical authority.

§ 2. A charitable agency may use the name “Catholic” only with the written consent of the competent authority, as laid down by canon 300 CIC.

§ 3. Agencies promoted by the faithful for charitable purposes can have an Ecclesiastical Assistant appointed in accordance with the Statutes, according to the norm of canons 324 § 2 and 317 CIC.

§ 4. At the same time, the ecclesiastical authority must bear in mind its duty to regulate the exercise of the rights of the faithful in accordance with canons 223 § 2 CIC and 26 § 3 CCEO,

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and thus to avoid the proliferation of charitable initiatives to the detriment of their activity and effectiveness with regard to their stated goals.

Art. 3.
§ 1. With regard to the preceding articles, it is understood that the competent authority at the respective levels is that indicated by canons 312 CIC and 575 CCEO.

§ 2. For agencies not approved at the national level, even though they operate in different Dioceses, the competent authority is understood to be the diocesan Bishop of the place where the agency has its principal office. In any event, the agency has the duty to inform the Bishops of other Dioceses where it operates and to respect the guidelines for the activities of the various charitable agencies present in those Dioceses.

Art. 4.
§ 1. The diocesan Bishop (cf. canon 134 § 3 CIC and canon 987 CCEO) exercises his proper pastoral solicitude for the service of charity in the particular Church entrusted to him as its Pastor, guide and the one primarily responsible for that service.

§ 2. The diocesan Bishop encourages and supports the initiatives and works of service to neighbour in his particular Church, and encourages in the faithful the spirit of practical charity as an expression of the Christian life and sharing in the mission of the Church, as indicated in canons 215 and 222 CIC and 25 and 18 CCEO.

§ 3. It is the responsibility of the diocesan Bishop to ensure that in the activities and management of these agencies the norms of the Church’s universal and particular law are respected, as well as the intentions of the faithful who made donations or bequests for these specific purposes (cf. canons 1300 CIC and 1044 CCEO).

Art. 5. The diocesan Bishop is to ensure that the Church enjoys the right to carry out charitable activities, and he is to take care that the faithful and the institutions under his supervision comply with the legitimate civil legislation in this area.

Art. 6. It is the responsibility of the diocesan Bishop, as indicated by canons 394 § 1 CIC and 203 § 1 CCEO, to coordinate within his territory the different works of charitable service, both those promoted by the Hierarchy itself and those arising from initiatives of the faithful, without prejudice to their proper autonomy in accordance with their respective Statutes. In particular, he is to take care that their activities keep alive the spirit of the Gospel.

Art. 7.
§ 1. The agencies referred to in Article 1 § 1 are required to select their personnel from among persons who share, or at least respect, the Catholic identity of these works.

§ 2. To ensure an evangelical witness in the service of charity, the diocesan Bishop is to take care that those who work in the Church’s charitable apostolate, along with due professional

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competence, give an example of Christian life and witness to a formation of heart which testifies to a faith working through charity. To this end, he is also to provide for their theological and pastoral formation, through specific curricula agreed upon by the officers of various agencies and through suitable aids to the spiritual life.

Art. 8. Wherever necessary, due to the number and variety of initiatives, the diocesan Bishop is to establish in the Church entrusted to his care an Office to direct and coordinate the service of charity in his name.

Art. 9. § 1. The Bishop is to encourage in every parish of his territory the creation of a local Caritas service or a similar body, which will also promote in the whole community educational activities aimed at fostering a spirit of sharing and authentic charity. When appropriate, this service is to be established jointly by various parishes in the same territory.

§ 2. It is the responsibility of the Bishop and the respective parish priest to ensure that together with Caritas, other charitable initiatives can coexist and develop within the parish under the general coordination of the parish priest, taking into account, however, the prescriptions of Article 2 § 4 above.

§ 3. It is the duty of the diocesan Bishop and the respective parish priests to see that in this area the faithful are not led into error or misunderstanding; hence they are to prevent publicity being given through parish or diocesan structures to initiatives which, while presenting themselves as charitable, propose choices or methods at odds with the Church’s teaching.

Art. 10.
§ 1. It is the responsibility of the Bishop to supervise the ecclesiastical goods of the charitable agencies subject to his authority.

§ 2. It is the duty of the diocesan Bishop to ensure that the proceeds of collections made in accordance with canons 1265 and 1266 CIC and canons 1014 and 1015 CCEO are used for their stated purposes [cf. canons 1267 CIC, 1016 CCEO].

§ 3. In particular, the diocesan Bishop is to ensure that charitable agencies dependent upon him do not receive financial support from groups or institutions that pursue ends contrary to Church’s teaching. Similarly, lest scandal be given to the faithful, the diocesan Bishop is to ensure that these charitable agencies do not accept contributions for initiatives whose ends, or the means used to pursue them, are not in conformity with the Church’s teaching.

§ 4. In a particular way, the Bishop is to see that the management of initiatives dependent on him offers a testimony of Christian simplicity of life. To this end, he will ensure that salaries and operational expenses, while respecting the demands of justice and a necessary level of professionalism, are in due proportion to analogous expenses of his diocesan Curia.

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§ 5. To permit the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Article 3 § 1 to exercise its duty of supervision, the agencies mentioned in Article 1 § 1, are required to submit to the competent Ordinary an annual financial report in a way which he himself will indicate.

Art. 11. The diocesan Bishop is obliged, if necessary, to make known to the faithful the fact that the activity of a particular charitable agency is no longer being carried out in conformity with the Church’s teaching, and then to prohibit that agency from using the name “Catholic” and to take the necessary measures should personal responsibilities emerge.

Art. 12.
§ 1. The diocesan Bishop is to encourage the national and international activity of the charitable agencies under his care, especially cooperation with poorer ecclesiastical circumscriptions by analogy with the prescriptions of canons 1274 § 3 CIC and 1021 § 3 CCEO.

§ 2. Pastoral concern for charitable works, depending on circumstances of time and place, can be carried out jointly by various neighbouring Bishops with regard to a number of Churches, in accordance with the norm of law. When such joint activity is international in character, the competent Dicastery of the Holy See is to be consulted in advance. For charitable initiatives on the national level, it is fitting that the Bishop consult the respective office of the Bishops’ Conference.

Art. 13. The local ecclesiastical authority retains the full right to give permission for initiatives undertaken by Catholic agencies in areas of his jurisdiction, with due respect for canonical norms and the specific identity of the individual agencies. It is also the duty of the Bishop to ensure that the activities carried out in his Diocese are conducted in conformity with ecclesiastical discipline, either prohibiting them or adopting any measures needed in cases where that discipline is not respected.

Art. 14. Where appropriate, the Bishop is to promote charitable initiatives in cooperation with other Churches or Ecclesial Communities, respecting the proper identity of each.

Art. 15.
§ 1. The Pontifical Council Cor Unum has the task of promoting the application of this legislation and ensuring that it is applied at all levels, without prejudice to the competence of the Pontifical Council for the Laity with regard to associations of the faithful as provided for in Article 133 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, the competence of the Secretariat of State’s Section for Relations with States, and the general competences of other Dicasteries and Institutes of the Roman Curia. In particular, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum is to take care that the charitable service of Catholic institutions at the international level is always to be carried out in communion with the various local Churches.

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§ 2. The Pontifical Council Cor Unum is also competent for the canonical establishment of charitable agencies at the international level; it thus takes on the responsibilities of discipline and promotion entailed by law.

I order that everything I have laid down in this Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio be fully observed, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, even if worthy of particular mention, and I decree that it be promulgated by publication in the daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and enter into force on 10 December 2012.

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 11 November, in the year 2012, the eighth of my Pontificate.




USCCB REPORT: Daily suggestions for prayer, reflection and action during the Advent and Christmas seasons will be available online beginning the first Sunday of Advent, December 2. The content is presented in a clickable calendar format, with each click opening "doors" to a page of suggestions and links for that date.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) provides these online resources, which will be posted at and
New this year are audio retreats in English and Spanish for the four Sundays of Advent and the three Sundays of the Christmas season, which concludes on January 13, 2103, with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
The retreats, produced by Franciscan Media and made possible by funds from the Catholic Communication Campaign, feature music and a Scripture reflection from a different bishop each week. Bishops participating are Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of USCCB; Archbishop Roger L. Schwietz, OMI, of Anchorage, Alaska; Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City; Bishop Joseph P. McFadden of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, Washington (English and Spanish); Bishop Fernando Isern of Pueblo, Colorado; auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer of Cincinnati; auxiliary Bishop Bishop José Arturo Cepeda Escobedo of Detroit (English and Spanish); auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares of Phoenix; auxiliary Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama of Atlanta; auxiliary Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha of Newark; and auxiliary Bishop Josu Iriondo of New York. The retreats are hosted by Franciscan Media's Elia Castillo.
A Festival of Lesson and Carols, a service of Scripture and song that dates to the late 19th century, is also featured for online listening or download. The audio program features music performed by the choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
Other resources on the website include liturgical notes on Advent, a commentary on the proper prayers of the season from the Roman Missal, a list of recommended holiday-themed movies from USCCB, and prayers and blessings from the USCCB publication Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers.The page also features printable calendars in English and Spanish with a daily suggestion for a family activity during Advent and Christmas.Beginning the Church's liturgical year, Advent (from, "ad-venire" in Latin or "to come to") is the season encompassing the four Sundays (and weekdays) leading up to the celebration of Christmas.
The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas. The final days of Advent, from December 17 to December 24, focus particularly on our preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas).
Advent devotions including the Advent wreath, remind us of the meaning of the season. Our Advent calendar above can help you fully enter in to the season with daily activity and prayer suggestions to prepare you spiritually for the birth of Jesus Christ. More Advent resources are listed below.
Advent Resources


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
30 Nov 2012

Carrying baskets of rose petals these small "Christmas angels" wait for the blessing of the Nativity to begin
Drivers as well as pedestrians on College Street did a double-take on Wednesday this week when a truck pulled up at the lights. A large cow and a donkey could be seen on the tray of the truck, but what was even more surprising was the angel complete with wings riding in the passenger seat.
The life-like resin figures of Sydney's beloved outdoor Nativity were being moved from Cathedral House where they are stored along St Mary's Road to College Street and into Cathedral Square.
"People stopped at the College Street lights couldn't believe their eyes and instantly pulled out their smart phones and started taking photographs," says Dieter Koch, Property Officer for St Mary's Cathedral and the man who oversees installation of the Nativity each year.
Installation of the Nativity takes at least 10 days but with Sydney's unsettled weather and thunderstorms, Dieter always allows two weeks.

The outdoor Nativity in Cathedral Square will be blessed on Sunday
"Last year it was a race against time after we lost more than two and a half days due to weather. But this year we were lucky with only a few storms and they didn't last long," he says.
The installation of the outdoor Nativity was completed Friday morning in plenty of time for the blessing and special ceremony which traditionally takes place on the first Sunday of Advent.
This year Advent begins on Sunday, 2 December and the blessing will take place in Cathedral Square after the 10.30 am Solemn Choral Mass. As the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell is currently overseas, Father Danai Penollar will be celebrate the Mass after which he will bless the Nativity.
In past years on the first Sunday in Advent, once the Mass is over, St Mary's Cathedral Choir leads the congregation through the main doors of the Cathedral and down the steps into the forecourt where the blessing of the outdoor Nativity takes place.

Children dressed as angels at the blessing of the outdoor Nativity last year
"But for the first time this year the procession from the Cathedral will be led by children dressed as angels with the choir next and then the rest of the congregation," says Fr Danai.
While youngsters dressed as angels have been part of the blessing of the Nativity for the past three years, this year they will attend the Solemn Choral Mass and when this ends, will gather at the altar and lead Fr Danai, St Mary's Cathedral Choir and the rest of the congregation through the main doors of St Mary's and down the steps and across the forecourt to the Nativity.
Aged between 5 and 11 years of age, the youngsters will gather handfuls of rose petals which they will sprinkle in front of Fr Danai during the blessing of the Nativity.
"Children really bring the Nativity alive and I thought having them present at the Mass beforehand and leading the Choir and congregation out of the Cathedral was a lovely way of involving them further, " says Helen Hofman, House and Events Manager for St Mary's Cathedral House.

At night thanks to state of the art lighting the Outdoor Nativity is equally spectacular
Coming up with white gowns and angel wings for the young participants was one thing. But with schools about to break up for summer, finding a group of 10 children was a bit more difficult. Which was when, Mariola Herbert, receptionist at St Mary's Cathedral stepped in.
In her free time, Mariola and fellow musician Gabriel Santaso hold guitar classes for youngsters at their home parish of St Gertrude in Smithfield. An active member of the Smithfield parish and St Benedict's Church, Smithfield Mariola called on her young students and asked them if they would like to be the angels.
"We are making sure they look like angels - now we just have to hope they behave like angels," she says.
At 12.30, following the blessing of the outdoor Nativity in Cathedral Square, Fr Danai will open the children's A Christmas Story Art Exhibition in The Crypt where 93 artworks chosen from almost 100 entries from children in Year 5 and Year 6 at Catholic schools and Religious Education Classes across Sydney and the Dioceses of Broken Bay and Wollongong will be remain on display for the next five weeks.

The blessing over Sydney's Christmas angels take a rest
The day will then be given over to the Cathedral youth group with Embrace's annual fiesta in the Square including food stalls, barbecues, face painting and plenty of family-focussed activities.


Glasgow: Cardinal Pell, George Weigel to speak at Year of Faith conference | Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Professor George Weigel, Archbishop Antonio Mennini,‘Year of Faith’. The ‘St Andrew’s Conference’, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia,
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Professor George Weigel, American biographer of the late Pope John Paul II and the papal Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Archbishop Antonio Mennini are due to speak at an international Conference in Glasgow tomorrow, 1 December 2012 to mark the Church’s ‘Year of Faith’. The ‘St Andrew’s Conference’ which will be attended by over 300 delegates will provide a platform for guest speakers from around the world to address Pope Benedict XVI’s call for a new evangelisation.
The Conference will be hosted by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and will be attended by Cardinal Keith O’Brien, it will be held in Glasgow’s City Chambers, where Depute Lord Provost Gerald Leonard will welcome the delegates.
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland said: "I am delighted that two of the most influential voices in the Catholic world will be coming to Scotland to offer their insights on the challenges we face and the solutions we might adopt in re-invigorating the Church and bringing the values of the Gospel to bear on our society.”
Archbishop Tartaglia added; “Cardinal Pell has been a hugely influential figure in Australian society and a powerful voice in the English-speaking Catholic world for more than a decade, while George Weigel, the biographer of John Paul II has been a highly persuasive and influential commentator on Church and society in the United States and mainland Europe. The fact that both men were so willing to come to Scotland is for me a sign of hope, a sign that the Catholic Church in Scotland is open for business, confident and prepared for a new effort to re-evangelise our society and culture."
According to the Scottish Catholic Media Office press release, speaking on the topic “From Vatican II to the New Evangelisation”, Cardinal Pell will say: “During the 2000 year history of the Catholic Church we find a number of dramatically successful examples of reform and renewal”
Cardinal Pell will say; “we should seek to build upon our natural common ground with our brothers in faith in areas such as the defence of marriage and the family. The Jewish and Muslim communities are also deeply concerned by the rise of aggressive secularism; in particular, its attempts to redefine marriage and impose a new orthodoxy on the culture, the aim of which is to silence traditional believers and force them to depart from the Public Square.”
Adding; “We need secular allies also, especially civil and political leaders. Even in these troubled times, there remains an enduring respect and admiration for the Church because of its commitment to serving the poor and its contribution to education, health care and human dignity. This compassion is the practical and public expression of a Catholicism that is free to practise, to grow, to teach and to evangelise.”

Cardinal Pell will also point out, that; “the Catholic Church provides a quarter of the world’s healthcare, is the largest non-government provider of education in the world, and, through its Caritas network, distributes over US$2.6 billion annually in aid to the poor. As other Christian Churches and Communities sadly are struggling to hold on to a coherent apostolic tradition, the depth and fidelity of Catholicism to the roots of Christianity has become heightened. The beauty and richness of its witness to the person of Jesus Christ in all aspects of human life and society is a compelling answer to the void of secularism.”
Professor George Weigel will propose that we are living at the end of Counter-Reformation Catholicism and the beginning of Evangelical Catholicism. Arguing that; “In the post-World War II period, Catholics experienced a relatively comfortable fit between the culture of the Church and the ambient public culture throughout the regions in which Christianity had been long established”
Since then, the culture of the West has become aggressively secular which often manifests itself through “a deep hostility to Gospel truth (especially moral truth) and a determination to drive Christians who affirm those truths out of the public square and into a privatized existence on the margins of society”.
Professor Weigel will suggest, “the Church faces a challenge that is somewhat similar, at least structurally, to the challenge it faced in communist lands during the Cold War years. That challenge cannot be met by timid or lukewarm Catholicism. It can only be met by a robustly evangelical Catholicism that proposes the Gospel in a compelling and courageous way, and that insists that public authorities allow the Church the free space in which to be itself, make its proposal, and offer the service of charity to others.”
Source: SCMO


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "The bombings are carried out on daily basis and what saddens me most is that even the universal Church seems to have forgotten us, the people of the Nuba Mountains. At least remember us in the prayers of the faithful during Sunday Masses!" This is the cry of pain entrusted to Fides Agency by His Exc. Mgr. Macram Max Gassis, Bishop of El Obeid, in whose territory falls the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, State of Sudan where for a long time a war has been going on between the government in Khartoum and the SPLA-North (Sudan People's Liberation Army-North).
"The first victims of this war are civilians, especially women, children and the elderly," said the Bishop. "Just the other day the church of Heban was bombed, which thankfully has reported limited damage. In the month of November, which has not finished yet, the aviation of Khartoum launched 330 bombs, which caused 36 deaths, mostly women and children, and 22 injuries. Only in this month 30 homes were destroyed and 92 crops."
"No humanitarian organization is present in the Nuba Mountains " complains Mgr. Gassis. "The Church is the only presence of hope for these people, with our sisters and four doctors and surgeons (2 Americans, a German and an English). The only medical facility in the area is the hospital which I founded, that of 80 patients for whom it was built is now home to over 500. We cannot build a new lane because we had to repatriate Kenyan workers and we do not have cement."
"My priests walk the paths that lead from the Nuba Mountains to our structure that we created in South Sudan in Yida in Unity State, to take supplies and medicines. The journey takes 8 hours to go and 8 to return, under the threat of Sudanese bombers. Only thanks to the courage of an Australian Sister of Mercy, of Italian origin, who has returned specifically, the formation and primary schools are still open.
Mgr. Gassis has just returned from a tour around the world to plead the cause of the people of the Nuba Mountains. "I was in Ireland, where I met the President and his predecessor, in London (where I was heard by the House of Commons and Lords, by the Episcopal Conference and was interviewed by the BBC), and then I went to Brussels, Paris , Berlin, Washington, New York, Oslo, Luxembourg and finally to Geneva, where I was heard by the Commission for Human Rights.
"To all I asked for the international community to impose on the regime in Khartoum to stop the bombing on civilians, and to allow food and medicine to be brought to the exhausted people," concluded Mgr. Gassis. (L.M.)


by Benigna Menezes*
Mons. Govindu Joji of Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) thus welcomed the faithful of Christurajapuram parish. On the occasion of the feast of Christ the King, the bishop celebrated the confirmation of 20 youths and gave first communion to 30 children.

Vijayawada (AsiaNews) - Read the Gospel, enhance family prayer and do charity within the community. These are the counsels that Msgr. Govindu Joji, Bishop of Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), gave to the faithful of Christurajapuram parish, on the feast of Christ the King. For the occasion, during the liturgy, the prelate confirmed 20 youths and gave first communion to 30 children.

In his homily, Mons. Joji addressed the parents, explaining that in the Year of Faith "children need to see their parents pray, and pray the rosary together every day." In addition to the Mass, the community also celebrated the anniversary with various types of choral songs, including ancient hymns and bhajans (songs typical of the Indian tradition, similar to mantras, ed.) The day culminated with a procession through the main streets around the parish.

The church of Christurajapuram is one of the oldest in Vijayawada, and was founded in 1955 by the parish of St. Peter. In the city, Christians account for more than 10% of the population (about 1 million people). The diocese has more than 145 religious congregations, with more than 1,000 consecrated men and women.

*Missionary of the Immaculate Conception, a women's congregation linked to the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME).


Luke 21:
34 - 36

34 "But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare;
35 for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth.
36 But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man."