Tuesday, January 8, 2013



Vatican Radio REPORT- Pope Benedict XVIth on Monday received in audience the Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See.
Below, please find the complete text of Pope Benedict’s Address to the Ambassadors:

7 January 2013

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As at the beginning of each New Year, I am happy to receive you, the distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, and to offer you my greetings and personal good wishes, which I extend to all the beloved nations which you represent, together with the assurance of my constant thoughts and prayers. I am especially grateful to your Dean, Ambassador Alejandro Valladares Lanza, and to your Vice-Dean, Ambassador Jean-Claude Michel, for the kind words which they addressed to me in the name of all. In a special way I wish to greet those who take part in this meeting for the first time. Your presence is a significant and valued sign of the fruitful relations which the Catholic Church entertains with civil authorities the world over. It involves a dialogue which has at heart the integral spiritual and material good of each man and woman, and seeks to advance their transcendent dignity everywhere. As I stated in my Address on the occasion of the last Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals: “the Church, from its origins, is oriented kat’holon, it embraces the whole universe”, and with it each people, each culture and each tradition. This “orientation” does not represent an intrusion in the life of the different societies, but serves rather to illumine the right conscience of their citizens, encouraging them to work for the good of each person and for the progress of the human race. It is in this context, and with the aim of fostering fruitful cooperation between Church and State in the service of the common good, that in the past year bilateral Accords were signed between the Holy See and Burundi, and with Equatorial Guinea, and the Accord with Montenegro was ratified. In this same spirit, the Holy See takes part in the work of various International Organizations and Institutions. In this regard, I am pleased that this past December its request to become an Extra-regional Observer in the Central American Integration System was accepted, not least by reason of the contribution which the Catholic Church offers in several sectors of the societies of that region. The visits of the various Heads of State and of Government whom I received in the course of the past year, as well as the memorable Apostolic Journeys which I made to Mexico, Cuba and Lebanon, were privileged occasions for reaffirming the civil commitment of Christians in those countries, and for promoting the dignity of the human person and the foundations of peace.
Here I am also pleased to mention the valued work accomplished by the Papal Representatives in constant dialogue with your Governments. I would like in particular to recall the esteem enjoyed by Archbishop Ambrose Madtha, Apostolic Nuncio in Côte d’Ivoire, who died tragically a month ago in an automobile accident, together with the chauffeur who was accompanying him.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Gospel of Luke recounts that on Christmas night the shepherds heard choirs of angels who gave glory to God and invoked peace on mankind. The Evangelist thus emphasizes the close relationship between God and the ardent desire of the men and women of every age to know the truth, to practise justice and to live in peace (cf. Blessed John XXIII, Pacem in Terris: AAS 55 [1963], 257). These days, we are sometimes led to think that truth, justice and peace are utopian ideals, and mutually exclusive. To know the truth seems impossible, and efforts to affirm it appear often to lead to violence. On the other hand, according to a now widespread way of thinking, peacemaking consists solely in the pursuit of compromises capable of ensuring peaceful coexistence between different peoples or between citizens within a single nation. Yet from the Christian point of view, the glorification of God and human peace on earth are closely linked, with the result that peace is not simply the fruit of human effort, but a participation in the very love of God. It is precisely man’s forgetfulness of God, and his failure to give him glory, which gives rise to violence. Indeed, once we no longer make reference to an objective and transcendent truth, how is it possible to achieve an authentic dialogue? In this case, is it not inevitable that violence, open or veiled, becomes the ultimate rule in human relationships? Indeed, without openness to the transcendent, human beings easily become prey to relativism and find it difficult to act justly and to work for peace.
The consequences of forgetfulness of God cannot be separated from those resulting from ignorance of his true countenance, the root of a baneful religious fanaticism which, again in 2012, reaped victims in some countries represented here. As I have often observed, this is a falsification of religion itself, since religion aims instead at reconciling men and women with God, at illuminating and purifying consciences, and at making it clear that each human being is the image of the Creator.
Consequently, if the glorification of God and earthly peace are closely linked, it seems evident that peace is both God’s gift and a human task, one which demands our free and conscious response. For this reason, I wished my annual Message for the World Day of Peace to bear the title: Blessed are the Peacemakers. Civil and political authorities before all others have a grave responsibility to work for peace. They are the first called to resolve the numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family, beginning with that privileged region in God’s plan, the Middle East. I think first and foremost of Syria, torn apart by endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population. I renew my appeal for a ceasefire and the inauguration as quickly as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins. Your Excellencies, allow me to ask you to continue to make your Governments aware of this, so that essential aid will urgently be made available to face this grave humanitarian situation. I now turn with deep concern towards the Holy Land. Following Palestine’s recognition as a Non-Member Observer State of the United Nations, I again express the hope that, with the support of the international community, Israelis and Palestinians will commit themselves to peaceful coexistence within the framework of two sovereign states, where respect for justice and the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples will be preserved and guaranteed. Jerusalem, become what your name signifies! A city of peace and not of division; a prophecy of the Kingdom of God and not a byword for instability and opposition!
As I turn my thoughts towards the beloved Iraqi people, I express my hope that they will pursue the path of reconciliation in order to arrive at the stability for which they long.
In Lebanon, where last September I met the various groups which make up society, may the many religious traditions there be cultivated by all as a true treasure for the country and for the whole region, and may Christians offer an effective witness for the building of a future of peace, together with all men and women of good will!
In North Africa too, cooperation between all the members of society is of primary concern, and each must be guaranteed full citizenship, the liberty publicly to profess their religion and the ability to contribute to the common good. I assure all Egyptians of my closeness and my prayers at this time when new institutions are being set in place.
Turning to sub-Saharan Africa, I encourage the efforts being made to build peace, especially in those places where the wounds of war remain open and where their grave humanitarian consequences are being felt. I think particularly of the Horn of Africa, and the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where new of acts of violence have erupted, forcing many people to abandon their homes, families and surroundings. Nor can I fail to mention other threats looming on the horizon. Nigeria is regularly the scene of terrorist attacks which reap victims above all among the Christian faithful gathered in prayer, as if hatred intended to turn temples of prayer and peace into places of fear and division. I was deeply saddened to learn that, even in the days when we celebrated Christmas, some Christians were barbarously put to death. Mali is also torn by violence and marked by a profound institutional and social crisis, one which calls for the effective attention of the international community. In the Central African Republic, I hope that the talks announced as taking place shortly will restore stability and spare the people from reliving the throes of civil war.
The building of peace always comes about by the protection of human beings and their fundamental rights. This task, even if carried out in many ways and with varying degrees of intensity, challenges all countries and must constantly be inspired by the transcendent dignity of the human person and the principles inscribed in human nature. Foremost among these is respect for human life at every stage. In this regard, I was gratified that a resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in January of last year, called for the prohibition of euthanasia, understood as the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being. At the same time, I must note with dismay that, in various countries, even those of Christian tradition, efforts are being made to introduce or expand legislation which decriminalizes abortion. Direct abortion, that is to say willed as an end or as a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law. In affirming this, the Catholic Church is not lacking in understanding and mercy, also towards the mother involved. Rather, it is a question of being vigilant lest the law unjustly alter the balance between the right to life of the mother and that of the unborn child, a right belonging equally to both. In this area, the recent decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights regarding in vitro fertilization, which arbitrarily redefines the moment of conception and weakens the defence of unborn life, is also a source of concern.
Sadly, especially in the West, one frequently encounters ambiguities about the meaning of human rights and their corresponding duties. Rights are often confused with exaggerated manifestations of the autonomy of the individual, who becomes self-referential, no longer open to encounter with God and with others, and absorbed only in seeking to satisfy his or her own needs. To be authentic, the defence of rights must instead consider human beings integrally, in their personal and communitarian dimensions.
Pursuing our reflection, it is worth emphasizing that education is another privileged path to peacemaking. The current economic and financial crisis, among other things, has also made this clear. The crisis developed because profit was all too often made absolute, to the detriment of labour, and because of unrestrained ventures in the financial areas of the economy, rather than attending to the real economy. There is a need, then, to rediscover the meaning of work and proportionate profit. To that end, it would be well to teach people how to resist the temptations of particular and short-term interests, and to look instead to the common good. Furthermore, it is urgent to train leaders who will one day guide national and international public institutions (cf. Message for the 2013 World Day of Peace, 6). The European Union also requires farsighted representatives capable of making the difficult choices necessary to rectify its economy and to lay solid foundations for growth. Alone, certain countries may perhaps advance more quickly, but together, all will certainly go further! If the differential index between financial taxes represents a source of concern, the increasing differences between those few who grow ever richer and the many who grow hopelessly poorer, should be a cause for dismay. In a word, it is a question of refusing to be resigned to a “spread” in social well-being, while at the same time fighting one in the financial sector.
Investment in education in the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America means helping them to overcome poverty and disease, and to create legal systems which are equitable and respectful of human dignity. Certainly, if justice is to be achieved, good economic models, however necessary, are not sufficient. Justice is achieved only when people are just! Consequently, building peace means training individuals to fight corruption, criminal activity, the production and trade in narcotics, as well as abstaining from divisions and tensions which threaten to exhaust society, hindering development and peaceful coexistence.
Continuing our meeting today, I would like to add that peace in society is also put at risk by certain threats to religious liberty: it is a question sometimes of the marginalization of religion in social life; sometimes of intolerance or even of violence towards individuals, symbols of religious identity and religious institutions. It even happens that believers, and Christians in particular, are prevented from contributing to the common good by their educational and charitable institutions. In order effectively to safeguard the exercise of religious liberty it is essential to respect the right of conscientious objection. This “frontier” of liberty touches upon principles of great importance of an ethical and religious character, rooted in the very dignity of the human person. They are, as it were, the “bearing walls” of any society that wishes to be truly free and democratic. Thus, outlawing individual and institutional conscientious objection in the name of liberty and pluralism paradoxically opens by contrast the door to intolerance and forced uniformity.
Moreover, in an ever more open world, building peace through dialogue is no longer a choice but a necessity! From this perspective, the joint declaration between the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Poland and the Patriarch of Moscow, signed last August, is a strong signal given by believers for the improvement of relations between the Russian and Polish peoples. I would also like to mention the peace accord concluded recently in the Philippines and I would like to underline the role of dialogue between religions for a peaceful coexistence in the region of Mindanao.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the end of the Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris, whose fiftieth anniversary will be celebrated this year, my predecessor Blessed John XXIII remarked that peace remains “an empty word” if it is not nourished and completed by charity (AAS 55 [1963], 303). Indeed, it is at the heart of the diplomatic activity of the Holy See and, above all, of the concern of the Successor of Peter and of the whole Catholic Church. Charity cannot take the place of justice that has been denied; nor can justice, on the other hand, replace charity that has been refused. The Church daily practises charity in works of social assistance such as hospitals and clinics, her educational institutions such as orphanages, schools, colleges and universities, and through help given to peoples in distress, especially during and after conflicts. In the name of charity, the Church wishes also to be near all those who suffer due to natural disasters. I am thinking of the flood victims in Southeast Asia and of those of the hurricane which struck the East coast of the United States. I am also thinking of those who experienced the earthquake that devastated some regions of Northern Italy. As you know, I wanted to go there personally and see for myself the earnest desire to rebuild what had been destroyed. In this moment of its history, I hope that such a spirit of tenacity and shared commitment will move the entire beloved Italian nation.
To conclude our encounter, I would like to recall that, at the end of the Second Vatican Council – which started fifty years ago - the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI, sent out messages which remain relevant, including one addressed to world leaders. He encouraged them in this way: “Your task is to be in the world the promoters of order and peace among men. But never forget this: It is God […] who is the great artisan of order and peace on earth” (Message to Leaders, 8 December 1965, 3). Today, as I make those sentiments my own, I convey to you, the Ambassadors and other distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps, as well as to your families and colleagues, my very best wishes for the New Year. Thank you! 

Vatican City, 8 January 2013 (VIS) - "Go and do likewise" is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for his message on the 21st World Day of the Sick to be celebrated 11 February, the liturgical feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, which will take place this year at the Marian Shrine of Altotting, Germany. In the message the Pope writes that "this Day represents for the sick, for health care workers, for the faithful and for all people of goodwill 'a privileged time of prayer, of sharing, of offering one’s sufferings for the good of the Church, and a call for all to recognize in the features of their suffering brothers and sisters the Holy Face of Christ, who, by suffering, dying and rising has brought about the salvation of mankind'.”
"On this occasion," the pontiff continues, "I feel especially close to you, dear friends, who in health care centres or at home, are undergoing a time of trial due to illness and suffering. May all of you be sustained by the comforting words of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council: 'You are not alone, separated, abandoned or useless. You have been called by Christ and are his living and transparent image'.”
"So as to keep you company on the spiritual pilgrimage that leads us from Lourdes, a place which symbolizes hope and grace, to the Shrine of Altotting, I would like to propose for your reflection the exemplary figure of the Good Samaritan. The Gospel parable recounted by Saint Luke is part of a series of scenes and events taken from daily life by which Jesus helps us to understand the deep love of God for every human being, especially those afflicted by sickness or pain. With the concluding words of the parable of the Good Samaritan, “Go and do likewise”, the Lord also indicates the attitude that each of his disciples should have towards others, especially those in need. We need to draw from the infinite love of God, through an intense relationship with him in prayer, the strength to live day by day with concrete concern, like that of the Good Samaritan, for those suffering in body and spirit who ask for our help, whether or not we know them and however poor they may be".
"This is true, not only for pastoral or health care workers, but for everyone, even for the sick themselves, who can experience this condition from a perspective of faith: 'It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love', Benedict XVI counsels, citing his encyclical "Spe Salvi".
"Various Fathers of the Church saw Jesus himself in the Good Samaritan; and in the man who fell among thieves they saw Adam, our very humanity wounded and disoriented on account of its sins. Jesus is the Son of God, the one who makes present the Father’s love, a love which is faithful, eternal and without boundaries. But Jesus is also the one who sheds the garment of his divinity, who leaves his divine condition to assume the likeness of men, drawing near to human suffering, even to the point of descending into hell, as we recite in the Creed, in order to bring hope and light. He does not jealously guard his equality with God but, filled with compassion, he looks into the abyss of human suffering so as to pour out the oil of consolation and the wine of hope".
"The Year of Faith which we are celebrating is a fitting occasion for intensifying the service of charity in our ecclesial communities, so that each one of us can be a good Samaritan for others, for those close to us. Here I would like to recall the innumerable figures in the history of the Church who helped the sick to appreciate the human and spiritual value of their suffering, so that they might serve as an example and an encouragement. Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, 'an expert in the scientia amoris', was able to experience 'in deep union with the Passion of Jesus' the illness that brought her 'to death through great suffering'."
Also, "the Venerable Luigi Novarese, who still lives in the memory of many, throughout his ministry realized the special importance of praying for and with the sick and suffering, and he would often accompany them to Marian shrines, especially to the Grotto of Lourdes. Raoul Follereau, moved by love of neighbour, dedicated his life to caring for people afflicted by Hansen’s disease, even at the world’s farthest reaches, promoting, among other initiatives, World Leprosy Day. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta would always begin her day with an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist and then she would go out into the streets, rosary in hand, to find and serve the Lord in the sick, especially in those 'unwanted, unloved, uncared for'."
"Saint Anna Schaffer of Mindelstetten, too, was able to unite in an exemplary way her sufferings to those of Christ: 'her sick-bed became her cloister cell and her suffering a missionary service. Strengthened by daily communion, she became an untiring intercessor in prayer and a mirror of God’s love for the many who sought her counsel'. In the Gospel the Blessed Virgin Mary stands out as one who follows her suffering Son to the supreme sacrifice on Golgotha. She does not lose hope in God’s victory over evil, pain and death, and she knows how to accept in one embrace of faith and love, the Son of God who was born in the stable of Bethlehem and died on the Cross. Her steadfast trust in the power of God was illuminated by Christ’s resurrection, which offers hope to the suffering and renews the certainty of the Lord’s closeness and consolation".
The Pope offers "a word of warm gratitude and encouragement to Catholic health care institutions and to civil society, to Dioceses and Christian communities, to religious congregations engaged in the pastoral care of the sick, to health care workers’ associations and to volunteers. May all realize ever more fully that 'the Church today lives a fundamental aspect of her mission in lovingly and generously accepting every human being, especially those who are weak and sick'."
Benedict XVI then concludes, entrusting the 21st World Day of the Sick "to the intercession of Our Lady of Graces, venerated at Altotting, that she may always accompany those who suffer in their search for comfort and firm hope. May she assist all who are involved in the apostolate of mercy, so that they may become good Samaritans to their brothers and sisters afflicted by illness and suffering".
Vatican City, 8 January 2013 (VIS) - Bishop John Chen Shizhong of Yibin in the Sichuan province of mainland China died on 16 December 2012 at the age of 95. The prelate, ordained to the priesthood in 1947, had been jailed in the 1950's, during the Cultural Revolution, and condemned to forced labour. In 1985 he received episcopal ordination and in 1988 became rector of the regional seminary of Sichan, a position that he had to leave the following year because of his health. He then returned to the diocese of Yibin where he was bishop for over 20 years.
Remembering Bishop Chen Shizhong, his formation work with priests and religious is foremost. Thanks to him, during the 1980's and 1990's, vocations to the priesthood and religious life returned throughout the province. He ordained more than 30 priests, thus guaranteeing the Church's survival and development in a region marked by a severe Maoism and in which the harshness and the persecutions of the Cultural Revolution strongly characterized society and the life of the Church.
The prelate's funeral took place on 18 December in the cathedral of Yibin and was attended by many of the diocese's faithful, priests, and religious. The bishop's remains have been buried in the Catholic cemetery near the diocesan seminary.
Vatican City, 8 January 2013 (VIS) - Early this afternoon the Holy Father met with archbishops Fortunatus Nwachukwu, titular archbishop of Acquaviva and apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua and Nicolas Henry Marie Denis Thevenin, titular archbishop of Eclano and apostolic nuncio to Guatemala, along with members of their families.
Vatican City, 8 January 2013 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan as bishop of Camden (area 6,967, population 1,443,274, Catholics 511,822, priests 294, permanent deacons 150, religious 323), USA. Bishop Sullivan, previously titular of Enera and auxiliary of the Archdiocese of New York, was ordained to the priesthood in 1971. He served as pastor of several parishes in the Archdiocese of New York before receiving episcopal ordination in 2004. He has been the vicar general of the Archdiocese of New York since 2005 and, in the bishops' conference, serves as a member of the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People as well as the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Islanders. He succeeds Bishop Joseph A. Galante, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.




The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is marking Poverty Awareness Month with a new Spanish-language website, updated online statistics, blog posts on poverty and a calendar to educate Catholics about poverty through the month of January and beyond.
"We hope Poverty Awareness Month raises the consciousness of Catholics and other Americans about the debilitating poverty that smothers the spirit and weakens the soul of our neighbors everywhere," said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California, chairman of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the U.S. bishops' domestic anti-poverty program. "As we wrestle with the effects of the enduring economic crisis, let us work together so that this vital apostolate of justice and mercy will reduce poverty and restore human dignity in our society."
The Poverty USA website at has been updated to reflect latest census statistics. These include that 9.5 million U.S. families, or 11.8 percent of families, live in poverty, 25 percent of children under the age of 6 live in poverty and 20.4 million people live in deep poverty or living at less than half the poverty line. Also, 23 million people are unemployed or underemployed. A Spanish version of Poverty USA is also now available at . . .
The USCCB Blog ( will also feature posts for Poverty Awareness Month by guest bloggers including Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace; Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services (CRS); Carolyn Woo, president of CRS; and Thomas Meleady, former U.S. ambassador to Burundi, Uganda and the Vatican.
More information on recent efforts of CCHD to combat poverty in the United States is available online:


Father Ubaldo Santi Lucherini died on January 4, 2013 at the age of 92. He was one of the founders ofCaritas Chile and devoted much of his life to AIDS patients and the sick. He founded the delegation of the Order of the Mother of God in Chile.
The Bishop of Temuco, Chile, said Fr. Santi was "a great man, one of the great ones of our Church."
Fr. Ubaldo was born on May 19, 1921 in Braga, Italy and ordained in Rome in 1946. He then traveled to Chile where he founded the Order with other priests.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - A journalist of the community radio ''Bé-Oko'' in Bambari (in the center of the Central African Republic), Elisabeth Blanche Olofio, was killed by the rebels of the Seleka coalition during the occupation of the city. This is the complaint made by Fr. Jean Ignace Manéngou, a Catholic priest president of the Association of the Community Radios of Central Africa (ARC). 
According to testimonies collected by the association, the journalist was killed during the looting of the broadcasting station office by a group of rebels.
In a statement the ARC "points out that community radio stations are apolitical and are in no way related to any structure affected by political or economic power, and deplores the fury against these stations, given that journalists do not have anything to do with the ongoing conflict." "The role of the community radios is to provide the community information they need for its development," the statement concluded.
From the areas occupied by the rebels other testimonies of looting and violence against civilians are reported. 
In the meantime, delegations taking part in the peace negotiations which opens today, January 8 are arriving in Libreville (Gabon). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 08/01/2013)



Website is aimed at young people 'where they are' reporter, Karachi
Catholic Church News Image of
Father Saleh Diego (middle) launches the country’s first Sunday school website
Karachi archdiocese has unveiled an online Sunday school ministry targeting young people and internet and smartphone users.
The website was developed quickly to coincide with an annual meeting of Sunday school teachers in Karachi and held on Friday.
“The domain and hosting services were acquired just after Christmas. I developed the site in just two days,” said Ronald Joseph during a meeting of hundreds of teachers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where the ministry site was unveiled.
The site offers an overview of the Sunday school’s yearly activities and statements and photos of past events.
There are 716 registered and volunteer Sunday school teachers in Karachi serving more than 110,000 children.
“I am still awaiting study materials from the teachers. We plan to categorize the photos, add lessons and install more applications including Bible games,” said Joseph.
Father Saleh Diego, national director of the online ministry, hopes to add more recruits with the new initiative.
“Digital evangelism is the need of the times. We are trying to catch youth where they are – namely on smartphones and computers. Also it will help us overcome a shortage of teachers”, he said.
Father Qaiser Feroz, the only Pakistani priest with a graduate degree in social communications, said the Church has yet to explore the full potential of cyber evangelism but that the program was a step in the right direction.
“The trend of using the internet is increasing rapidly due to low-cost handsets that can connect online. Most of the Church-run websites are dead within months because they are never updated,” he said.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
8 Jan 2013
Sr Elizabeth Shanahan will celebrate her 102 birthday in May this year
A golden anniversary marks 50 years. A diamond anniversary is for 60 years and a platinum anniversary is for 70 years. But few have heard of an Oak anniversary. But that is exactly what Josephite Sister Elizabeth Shanahan rsj will be celebrating on Friday 11 January when looks back over the 80 years since she professed her vows and became a Sister of St Joseph.
Now in her 102nd year, Sr Elizabeth will celebrate this remarkable milestone at a High Tea on Friday at Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney where she will mark her Oak Jubilee as a Josephite.
Others to be honoured at the High Tea will be seven fellow Sisters of St Joseph. All in their 80s or 90s, the sisters will celebrate their Platinum Jubilee which commemorates 70 years since the profession of their vows.
Although Sr Elizabeth taught at primary schools throughout metropolitan and rural NSW, and still has past pupils who regularly visit her at the St Anne's Nursing Home at Hunter's Hill, where she now lives, many others could be forgiven for not recognising her name as the teacher who they adored and who played such a big part in their lives.
"When she took her vows in 1933 she was given the name Sr Valerian. And that is how she was known until shortly before her 100th birthday in 2011 when she decided to revert to the name she had grown up with, and became Sr Elizabeth," Sr Anne Harrison, Community Leader at St Anne's Nursing Home explains.
32 Sisters of Joseph celebrate their Golden Jubilee at Mary MacKillop Place
Describing Sr Elizabeth as "an amazing and beautiful woman," she says that although the 101-year-old no longer hears very well and is now wheelchair bound, her mind is as alert as ever, as is her curiosity, warmth and interest in others and the world around her.
On Friday, Sr Anne and fellow Josephite, Sr Judith Sippel who is a former pupil of Sr Elizabeth will accompany her to Mary MacKillop Place for the High Tea where she will be reunited with many old friends and sisters of the Congregation founded by Australia's first saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.
Born in Uralla in the Northern Tablelands of NSW on 29 May, 1911 just two years after the death of Mary MacKillop, Sr Elizabeth joined the Sisters of St Joseph in 2 February, 1930 when she entered the Josephite Convent at Glen Innes. She professed her vows three years later and then began teaching at NSW primary schools. For half a century she inspired her young charges at schools in Kiama, Hillston, Barringbar, Naremburn, Leichardt, Quirindi, Smithfield, Tenterfield, Annandale, Lithgow and many others.
In 1981 at age 70, she retired from teaching but remained active as a Sister of St Joseph which took her on postings to Tamworth, Quirindi and other towns of northern and central NSW.
Eighteen months ago on 29 May, 2011 she celebrated her 100th birthday.
"We had a big party and so many friends, former pupils and sisters as well as extended family wanted to take part that St Anne's Education Centre was about the only place we could find to fit everyone in," says Sr Anne.
For the Sisters of St Joseph, the first two weeks of January have been spent celebrating important milestones which began last Saturday, 5 January when 32 sisters from across Australia and from the Josephite communities of Ireland, New Zealand and Peru celebrated their Golden Jubilee, marking 50 years since they professed their vows.
Acclaimed educator Sr Judith Sippel RSJ was a former pupil of Sr Elizabeth Shanahan's
The days leading up to the Thanksgiving Mass at Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel last Saturday were a time for the sisters to remember, reflect, reconnect and celebrate.
Father Kevin Dance CP, whose Tasmania-based sister Jillian was one of the Golden Jubiliarians was principal celebrant at the Golden Jubilee Thanksgiving Mass, which was concelebrated by Bishop Terence Brady and Bishop David Cremin.
Family and friends as well as those who had been novitiates at the same time as those celebrating their jubilee, but who were no longer religious sisters and had joined the laity.
"For sisters, there is a particularly strong bond among those who did their initial formation together and whether they stayed or not, that unique bond remains," says Sr Annette Arnold rsj, adding it was significant and extremely moving that all those who were novitiates at Baulkham Hills more than half a century ago, returned with the Sisters last week to pray and reflect.
In addition to Friday's high tea and Oak and Platinum commemoration at Mary MacKillop Place,  on Saturday, 12 January 23 Sisters of St Joseph from almost every state will be in Sydney to mark their Diamond Jubilee.
"We have 30 sisters celebrating their Diamond Jubilee this year but only 23 will be here at Mary MacKillop Place with the others sadly not able to attend," Sr Annette says.




St. Apollinaris of Hierapolis
Feast: January 8

Feast Day:January 8
CLAUDIUS APOLLINARIS, Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, was one of the most illustrious prelates of the second age. Notwithstanding the great encomiums bestowed on him by Eusebius, St. Jerome, Theodoret, and ethers, but little is known of his actions; and. his writings,which then were held in great esteem, seem now to be all lost. He wrote many able treatises against the heretics, and pointed out, as St. Jerome testifies, from what philosophical sect each heresy derived its errors. Nothing rendered his name so illustrious, however, as his noble apology for the Christian religion which he addressed to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, about the year 175, soon after the miraculous victory that prince had obtained over the Quadi by the prayers of the Christians. St. Apollinaris reminded the emperor of the benefit he had received from God through the prayers of his Christian subjects, and implored protection for them against the persecution of the pagans. Marcus Aurelius published an edict in which he forbade any one, under pain of death, to accuse a Christian on account of his religion; by a strange inconsistency, he had not the courage to abolish the laws then in force against the Christians, and, as a consequence, many of them suffered martyrdom, though their accusers were also put to death. The date of St. Apollinaris' death is not known; the Roman Martyrology mentions him on the 8th of January.

(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)



Mark 6: 34 - 44

34As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.35And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, "This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late;36send them away, to go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat."37But he answered them, "You give them something to eat." And they said to him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?"38And he said to them, "How many loaves have you? Go and see." And when they had found out, they said, "Five, and two fish."39Then he commanded them all to sit down by companies upon the green grass.40So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.41And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all.42And they all ate and were satisfied.43And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.44And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

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