Thursday, January 24, 2013






(IMAGE SHARE GOOGLE) Vatican City, 23 January 2013 (VIS) - "I believe in one God", the first article of the profession of faith that accompanies our lives as believers, was the theme of Benedict XVI's catechesis during this morning's general audience. This sentence is "a fundamental affirmation, seemingly simple in essence, but which opens us to the infinite world of a relationship with the Lord and with His mystery. Believing in God means adherence, … acceptance, … and obedience … Faith is a personal act and a free response... Being able to say that you believe in God is thus both a gift and … a human responsibility in an experience of dialogue with God who, out of love 'speaks to men and women as friends'."
Where can we hear the voice of God who speaks to us? "Fundamentally," the Pope said, in "Sacred Scripture, … which speaks to us of faith … narrating a story in which God carries out His plan of redemption and draws near to humanity through … persons who believe in Him and who entrust themselves to Him." One of these persons is Abraham, "the first great role model in speaking about faith in God." Abraham, who was able to leave his homeland, trusting in God alone and His promise, is considered the "father of all believers". His was a leap in darkness, "but the darkness of the unknown is illuminated by the light of a promise. … In the divine plan he was destined to become 'father of a multitude of nations' and to enter a new land to live in."
"Faith," the pontiff continued, "leads Abraham along a paradoxical path. He will be blessed, but without the visible signs of blessing. He receives the promise of becoming a great nation, but has a life marked by the sterility of his wife, Sarah. He is led to a new land, but will have to live there as a foreigner." … Nevertheless, "Abraham is blessed because, with faith, he is able to discern the divine blessing, going beyond appearance, trusting in God's presence even when His paths seem mysterious."
That is why, "when we affirm that 'I believe in God', we are saying, as does Abraham, 'I trust in You. I entrust myself to You, Lord'. … Saying 'I believe in God' means basing my life on Him, letting His Word guide me every day in my concrete choices, without fear of losing something of myself. … Abraham, the believer, teaches us faith and, like a foreigner on earth, points out our true homeland. Faith makes us pilgrims on earth, situated in the world and in history, but on the path toward our heavenly homeland. Believing in God thus makes us heralds of values that often do not coincide with fashion or the opinion of the moment. … In many societies, God has become the 'great absentee' and many idols have taken His place, above all the desire for possessions and the autonomous 'I'. Also, the significant and positive progress in science and technology has given humanity the illusion of omnipotence and self-sufficiency and a growing selfishness has created many imbalances in personal relationships and in social behaviour."
"And yet," the Holy Father emphasized, "the thirst for God is not quenched and the Gospel message continues to resonate through the words and deeds of many men and women of faith. Abraham, the father of all believers, continues to be the father of the many children who are willing to walk in his footsteps and who make their way in obedience to the divine call, trusting in the Lord's benevolent presence and accepting His blessing in order to become a blessing for all. It is the blessed world of faith to which we are all called, to walk without fear following the Lord Jesus Christ."
"Affirming that 'I believe in God', then, compels us to leave, to continuously go out of ourselves just as Abraham did, in order to bring the certainty that comes to us from faith into our daily realities. It is the certainty of God's presence in history, even today; a presence that brings life and salvation."
Vatican City, 23 January 2013 (VIS) – Following the Wednesday catechesis of this morning's general audience, the Holy Father made an appeal for assistance to Indonesia, which has been struck by a wave of bad weather. "I am following with concern," he said, "the news arriving from Indonesia", where a flood has devastated the capital, Jakarta, "causing casualties, leaving thousands of people homeless, and creating massive damage. I want to express my nearness to the people affected by this natural disaster, assuring them of my prayers, and I ask for assistance so that no one may be left without the necessary help."
Vatican City, 23 January 2013 (VIS) – According to information made public by the Press Office of the Holy See today, on Monday, 21 January, at the headquarters of the Central American Integration System (SICA) in San Salvador, El Salvador, an agreement was signed between the Holy See and SICA that makes the Holy See an extra-regional observer of that organization. The signatories were, for the Holy See, Archbishop Luigi Pezzuto, apostolic nuncio to El Salvador and, for SICA, Juan Daniel Aleman, secretary general of SICA. Many ambassadors to the nations of the South American continent attended the ceremony.
Previously, the Ordinary Summit of heads of state and government of the countries of SICA, which took place in Managua, Nicaragua, this past December, had welcomed the Holy See's interest in participating in SICA as an extra-regional observer owing to the contribution that the Holy See and the Catholic Church offer to development in the social, cultural, and educational sectors as well as those of human rights and democratic security.
Vatican City, 23 January 2013 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received in audience six prelates from the Calabria region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Vittorio Luigi Mondello of Reggio Calabria-Bova,
- Archbishop Santo Marciano of Rossano-Cariati,
- Bishop Luigi Renzo of Mileto-Nicotera-Tropea,
- Bishop Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini, O.M., of Locri-Gerace,
- Bishop Nunzio Galantino of Cassano all’Jonio, and
- Bishop Francesco Milito of Oppido Mamertina-Palmi.
Vatican City, 23 January 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father appointed Archbishop Francesco Gioia, O.F.M. Cap., as president of the "Peregrinatio ad Petri Sedem" (Pilgrimage to the See of Peter) for the next three years. Archbishop Gioia, emeritus of Camerino-San Severino Marche, Italy, is also the pontifical delegate to the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy.




WASHINGTON—Over 10,000 pilgrims, many of them youth from schools around the nation, are expected to gather in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to pray for an end to abortion at the Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life, Thursday, January 24, at 6:30 p.m., the eve of the annual March for Life. The vigil coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision on January 22, 1973, which legalized abortion nationwide. Since the decision was handed down, an estimated 55 million abortions have been legally performed in the United States.
“Marking the anniversary of the Roe decision each year could be disheartening in light of the lives lost and the lives shattered by abortion,” said Susan Wills, assistant director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, “but this Mass and events this week are also a time to pray with faith and hope in God’s mercy.”

“The commitment and energy of hundreds of thousands of young people who are here to pray and to march on behalf of unborn children and grieving post-abortive mothers is proof that the pro-life movement is alive and growing and stronger than ever,” she added.  

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, will be the principal celebrant and homilist at the Vigil Mass, concelebrated by fellow cardinals and many of the nation's bishops and priests. Following the Opening Mass, the Vigil will continue in the Crypt Church of the Basilica with confessions, a National Rosary for Life, Night Prayer according to the Byzantine Rite, and holy hours led by seminarians from across the country from midnight until 6 a.m. 

That same evening, The Catholic University of America will host more than 1,200 pilgrims overnight. 
On Friday, January 25, the Basilica will host Morning Prayer at 6:30 a.m. in the Crypt Church and the Closing Mass at 7:30 a.m. in the Great Upper Church. Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of Dallas, will be the principal celebrant and homilist. 

The National Prayer Vigil for Life is co-sponsored by the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and The Catholic University of America.
Media are welcome to attend the Mass and speak with and interview pilgrims. 

Media should check in at the Basilica’s Great Upper Church Sacristy and present press credentials to Jacquelyn Hayes or a designated Basilica press representative to receive a press pass. Advance registration is preferred. Footage from the Mass may also be obtained by satellite feed courtesy of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). For coordinates, or to register, contact Jacquelyn Hayes, director of communications for the Basilica, at 202-281-0615 or




NAIROBI, January 22, 2013 (CISA) -The United Nations and the Sports Association in conjunction with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Google Kenya, have launched The Sports for Peaceful Elections Campaign. The campaign is aimed at rallying Kenyans to participate peacefully in the March 4 General Elections.
The Campaign dubbed “Shabikia Amani Na Kura yako” seeks to break the post election violence cycle as witnessed in 1992, 1997 and 2007/08, and complement existing peace campaigns.
The campaign seeks collaboration between various sporting disciplines including athletics, rugby, football, basketball, volleyball, cricket and swimming.
The campaign that will run for 8 weeks, aims to encourage healthy competition as demonstrated through sports and urge Kenyans to maintain peace before and after the General Elections. It will also involve the social media to shape perceptions and to encourage Kenyans to uphold mature democracy, respect for human rights and personal freedom.
The United Nations Peace and Development Advisor, James Odong said that it is engaging in sustained peace messages with structure in the grassroots.
“We have district peace committees in all the 47 counties and also want to involve the youth through sports and preach peace through civic education,’’ he said.
The Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) , Nasser Ega-Musa, said “The UN is keen to promote a personal pledge amongst Kenyans to uphold peace during the ongoing electoral process.”
He further urged Kenyans to embrace peace since Kenya has the potential to compete with leading countries.
“Let us not destroy the future of the young generation who have a long life ahead of them through violence,’’ he said.
Speaking at the launch, the chairman of Kenya Football Federation (KFF) Sam Nyamweya expressed the federation’s commitment in preaching peace through sports.
Nyamweya said the federation will organize tournaments to preach peace ahead of the elections.
Google Kenya is involved in the campaign to ensure that messages sent in the social media do not spread hate by monitoring communication online.
“We are going to use Harambee Stars players to give peace messages and ensure that in every match there will be peace slogans to preach peace,’’ said Google Kenya country Manager, Joseph Mucheru adding that “when there is violence people suffer including sports men and women, children and the elderly.”
In his closing remarks Ega-Musa said, “Let us do all we can to champion for peace.”


by Simone Cantarini 
Fleeing the war they have walked hundreds of kilometers and are now in danger of dying of hunger, thirst and burns. Many refugees pregnant women and young mothers. The story of Sister Alessandra Fumagalli, an Italian Comboni and director of Karak Hospital. 150 km from Amman, the clinic is the only one able to provide help to these people. Sister Alessandra: "We want the world to know of their existence which is likely to go unnoticed"

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Thousands of Syrian women and pregnant mothers with very young children are likely to die of hunger, thirst and burns in the desert in southern Jordan. Fleeing from Syria they have found no shelter in the regular camps set up in the north of the country. Together with their children, they walked across the desert". This is the dramatic story of Sister Alessandra Fumagalli, a Comboni religious and director of the Italian Hospital Karak (about 150 km from the capital) for months engaged in assisting these forgotten refugees. According to the religious there are more than 10 thousand refugees in the Syrian region of Karak and their only point of reference is the clinic run by the nuns.
"The area in which they are allocated - the religious sister tells AsiaNews - is too decentralized to access aid from international organizations and the Jordanian government, which cover only the northern part of the country.' The nearest equipped hospital is in Amman. To get even trivial medical care they would have to travel some 300 km in the desert. For this reason they have come to our center, but being a non-profit organization, we need continuous donations to meet this emergency". The nun adds: "we want the world to know of their existence which is likely to go unnoticed."
Many of the women who come to the hospital are pregnant and want to have a safe place to give birth to their children. However, because of the long journey from Syria, most of them have problems, even serious health concerns. "Some are forced to give birth in the desert - explains Sister Alessandra - and come to us to treat and rehabilitate these children, but sometimes it's too late and they die from dehydration, malnutrition and burns caused by the hot sun of the desert." To avoid these situations, the hospital staff has to intervene in a timely manner, sometimes on the spot. But their resources are insufficient.
Founded in 1939, the Italian Hospital of Karak is the only clinic facility in the region and has about 40 beds. It is supported by the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), the special Vatican agency for aid to Catholic churches and the people of the Middle East.
Six Comboni Sisters and 80 employees work in the hospital. 90% of them are Muslim. "The refugees are all Muslim - the religious says - the area of ​​Karak, is not Amman, but it is mostly inhabited by Bedouin tribes, it is inhospitable and for these people, even our employees are not used to helping those who suffer in a selfless manner. " In recent years the hospital has run several training courses for the staff, especially on ethical and assistance to patients. "Our nurses and doctors have learned that every life has value - she continues - for this reason, our clinic has become a point of reference for the local population. We welcome anyone who requests it, without any distinction. Here people feel accepted. "

In a year, about 300 thousand Syrians have crossed the border with Jordan. The country has responded by creating equipped camps, enough for less than half of the people. According to government figures, at least 2 thousand refugees have crossed the border in recent weeks.




Youth gather in 'One' voice

Thursday 24 January 2013

By Edwina Hall
YOUTH from across Melbourne gathered for the inaugural event 'One' last Friday night, enjoying a time of spirit-filled Christian worship and preaching. The title of the event 'One' represents the notion of one God, one spirit and one church.

Part of the organising team, Lily Rattray said that over 300 people gathered at Central Hall in Fitzroy to hear international guest speaker Mark Nimo, an evangelist from Ghana and a fusion of Melbourne’s hottest musical talent.  The event however is the brainchild of Lenyce Willason, one of the coordinators of the Catholic Charismatic renewal in Melbourne.

'She had heard Mark Nimo talk in Singapore at a youth event and was inspired to organise a similar event in Melbourne,' Lily said.
'Lenyce invited young people from different parishes and communities around Melbourne to help organise it. The night was an amazing display of unity and included a 12-piece band made up of members from St Augustine’s in the city, Disciples of Jesus Covenant Community in Burwood and emPower youth group at St Simons in Rowville.

Hospitality and welcome was taken care of by the Indonesian youth and the Flame youth group in Keilor. The MCs for the night were an MGL seminarian and a parishioner from St Benedicts in Burwood. Also helping out were Kerygma teams, Catholic Charismatic Renewal and lots of other young people from around Melbourne.
According to Lily, the purpose of this event was to evangelise young people. 'As committed young Catholics ourselves, we felt inspired to present our faith in a way that would inspire young people, to try and bridge the gap in culture young people often feel at church and to present the Gospel in a way that is relevant to their lives and really engaged them.

'To do that it’s really important to have good music, and to have other young people there and some really inspiring preaching from someone who has struggled with the same issues that they do. We wanted to present Jesus in a new way, in a language that they understand, in a way that is relevant–but it’s the same Jesus, it’s the same Spirit.
'Sometimes in church the message can be so gentle that people never really hear it, they never realise you need to make a personal decision about following Jesus. We wanted to make it real and raw. Jesus died for you so that you could have life in its fullness, so what’s your response? Christianity is a challenging message and a challenging way to live–you don’t need to hold back from that when you are preaching to young people, if there is anything they really want, it’s to be challenged!'

Lily said that young people from parishes across the state attended this event. 'One young woman saw it on Facebook and drove down from Myrtleford for the night. Another young woman I spoke to was visiting from Ireland and saw a flyer in the Cathedral and came over to see what was happening.
'The youngest participant was 7 weeks old and the oldest was a grandmother, most people were 15 to 35 years, with about equal men and women.'

Lily said that Mark Nimo’s preaching was inspiring, the music amazing and that it was great to meet so many new people. 'Mark has recently completed a masters in theology in Chicago, so had been living there for the past 8 years. He is married with three daughters and travels the world preaching as a Catholic lay-missionary.

'Mark’s main message was that God has given us gifts, and he wants us to use them in reaching out to the world. He encouraged us to give our whole lives to over to God, and to become holy so that God could use us in his work.
'He told us that when we live our lives only for ourselves, it leads to deep unhappiness. He said people are often scared of giving their lives to God because they think it won’t be fun anymore–but the opposite is true. When we give our lives to God, he does more with it than we could ever image, and we also find true joy.

'Mark told us his testimony as an example; he went from thinking about committing suicide, to being married with three beautiful children, travelling the world and studying for a masters in America.

A personal highlight for Lily was seeing so many young people really convicted by the preaching, and making a decision to commit their lives to Jesus.
To keep up to date with future events like this visit: email:

To read more of Mark Nimo’s testimony visit:

Photos courtesy Lily Rattray.


Mark 3:
 1 - 6

1Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
2And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him.
3And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here."
4And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent.
5And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
6The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Hero'di-ans against him, how to destroy him.



St. John the Almsgiver
Feast: January 23

Feast Day:January 23
Born:550 at Arnathus, Cyprus
Died:616 at Arnathus, Cyprus
Patron of:Knights Hospitaller
Patriarch of Alexandria (606-16), b. at Amathus in Cyprus about 550; d. there, 616. He was the son of one Epiphanius, governor of Cyprus, and was of noble descent; in early life he was married and had children, but they and his wife soon died, whereupon he entered the religious life.

On the death of the Patriarch Theodorus, the Alexandrians besought Emperor Phocas to appoint John his successor, which was accordingly done. In his youth John had had a vision of a beautiful maiden with a garland of olives on her head, who said that she was Compassion, the eldest daughter of the Great King. This had evidently made a deep impression on John's mind, and, now that he had the opportunity of exercising benevolence on a large scale, he soon became widely known all over the East for his munificent liberality towards the poor. One of the first steps he took was to make a list of several thousand needy persons, whom he took under his especial care. He always referred to the poor as his "lords and masters", because of their mighty influence at the Court of the Most High. He assisted people of every class who were in need. A shipwrecked merchant was thus helped three times, on the first two occasions apparently without doing him much good; the third time however, John fitted him out with a ship and a cargo of wheat, and by favourable winds he was taken as far as Britain, where, as there was a shortage of wheat, he obtained his own price. Another person, who was not really in need, applied for alms and was detected by the officers of the palace; but John merely said "Give unto him; he may be Our Lord in disguise." He visited the hospitals three times every week, and he freed a great many slaves. He was a reformer who attacked simony, and fought heresy by means of improvements in religious education. He also reorganized the system of weights and measures for the sake of the poor, and put a stop to corruption among the officials. He increased the number of churches in Alexandria from seven to seventy.

John is said to have devoted the entire revenues of his see to the alleviation of those in need. A rich man presented him with a magnificent bed covering; he accepted it for one night, but then sold it, and disposed of the money in alms. The rich man "bought in" the article, and again presented it to John, with the same result. This was repeated several times; but John drily remarked: "We will see who tires first." It was not John. Another instance of his piety was that he caused his own grave to be dug, but only partly so, and appointed a servant to come before him on all state occasions and say "My Lord, your tomb is unfinished; pray give orders for its completion, for you know not the hour when death may seize you." When the Persians sacked Jerusalem in 614, John sent large supplies of food, wine, and money to the fleeing Christians. But eventually the Persians occupied Alexandria, and John himself in his old age was forced to flee to his native country, where he died.

His body was brought to Constantinople, thence to Ofen by King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary; thence in 1530 to Toll near Presburg, and finally in 1632 to Presburg cathedral. He was the original patron saint of the Hospitallers, and was commemorated by the Greeks on 12 Nov. His life, written by Leontius of Neapolis, in Cyprus, was translated into Latin by Anastasius the Librarian in the ninth century and was referred to at the Seventh General Council.



St. Ildephonsus
Feast: January 23

Feast Day:January 23
607 at Toledo, Spain
Died:January 23, 667
Archbishop of Toledo; died 23 January, 667. He was born of a distinguished family and was a nephew of St. Eugenius, his predecessor in the See of Toledo. At an early age, despite the determined opposition of his father, he embraced the monastic life in the monastery of Agli, near Toledo. While he was still a simple monk, he founded and endowed a monastery of nuns in Deibiensi villula. We learn from his writings that he was ordained a deacon (about 630) by Helladius, who had been his abbot and was afterwards elected Archbishop of Toledo. Ildephonsus himself became Abbot of Agli, and in this capacity was one of the signatories, in 653 and 655, at the Eighth and Ninth Councils of Toledo. Called by King Reccesvinth, towards the end of 657, to fill the archiepiscopal throne, he governed the Church of Toledo for a little more than nine years and was buried in the Basilica of Saint Leocadia. To these scanty but authentic details of his life (they are attested by Ildephonsus himself, or by his immediate successor, Archbishop Julianus, in a short biographical notice which he added to the "De viris illustribus" of Ildephonsus) some doubtful or even legendary anecdotes were added later. At the end of the eighth century Cixila, Archbishop of Toledo, embellished the biography of his predecessor. He relates that Ildephonsus was the disciple of Isidore of Seville, and recalls in particular two marvellous stories, of which the second, a favourite theme of hagiographers, poets, and artists, has been for ages entwined with the memory of the saint. Ildephonsus, it is said, was one day praying before the relics of Saint Leocadia, when the martyr arose from her tomb and thanked the saint for the devotion he showed towards the Mother of God. It was related, further, that on another occasion the Blessed Virgin appeared to him in person and presented him with a priestly vestment, to reward him for his zeal in honouring her.

The literary work of Ildephonsus is better known than the details of his life, and merits for him a distinguished place in the roll of Spanish writers. His successor, Julianus of Toledo, in the notice already referred to, informs us that the saint himself divided his works into four parts. The first and principal division contained six treatises, of which two only have been preserved: "De virginitate perpetuâ sanctae Mariae adversus tres infideles" (these three unbelievers are Jovinianus, Helvidius, and "a Jew"), a bombastic work which displays however a spirit of ardent piety, and assures Ildephonsus a place of honour among the devoted servants of the Blessed Virgin; also a treatise in two books: (1) "Annotationes de cognitione baptismi", and (2) "Liber de itinere deserti, quo itur post baptismum". Recent researches have proved that the first book is only a new edition of a very important treatise compiled, at the latest, in the sixth century, Ildephonsus having contributed to it only a few additions (Helfferich, "Der westgothische Arianismus", 1860, 41-49). The second part of his works contained the saint's correspondence; of this portion, there are still preserved two letters of Quiricus, Bishop of Barcelona, with the replies of Ildephonsus. The third part comprised masses, hymns, and sermons; and the fourth, opuscula in prose and verse, especially epitaphs. The editions of the complete works of Ildephonsus contain a certain number of writings, several of which may be placed in either of the last two divisions; but some of them are of doubtful authenticity, while the remainder are certainly the work of another author. Moreover, Julianus states that Ildephonsus began a good number of other works, but his many cares would not permit of his finishing them. On the other hand, he makes no mention of a little work which is certainly authentic, the "De viris illustribus". It may be considered as a supplement to the "De viris illustribus" of Isidore of Seville, and is not so much a literary historical work as a writing intended to glorify the Church of Toledo and defend the rights of the metropolitan see.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

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