Thursday, January 10, 2013



Dear Brothers and Sisters,
in this Christmas season we focus once again on the great mystery of God who came down from Heaven to take on our flesh. In Jesus, God became incarnate, He became man like us, and in doing so opened the door to heaven to us, to full communion with Him.

In these days, the word "incarnation" of God rang out several times in our churches, to express the reality we celebrate at Christmas: The Son of God became man, as we say in the Creed. What does this word, central to the Christian faith, mean? It is derived from the Latin "incarnatio." St. Ignatius of Antioch, and especially Saint Irenaeus have used this term reflecting on the Prologue of the Gospel of St. John, in particular on the expression "The Word became flesh" (Jn 1:14). Here the word "flesh", according to Hebrew tradition, refers to the person as a whole, under the aspect of his transience and temporality, his poverty and contingency. This is to say that the salvation wrought by God made flesh in Jesus of Nazareth touches man in his concrete reality and in every situation. God took on the human condition to heal it of all that separates us from Him, so that we can call Him, in his only begotten Son, by the name of "Abba, Father" and truly be his children. St. Irenaeus says, "This is why the Word became man, and the Son of God, Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God "(Adversus haereses, 3,19,1: PG 7.939; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 460). 

"The Word became flesh" is one of those truths we have become so used to that the greatness of the vent it expresses hardly affects us any more. And indeed, in this Christmas season, in which the expression returns often in the liturgy, at times we are more concerned with outward appearances, the "colours" of the festivity, than what is at the heart of the great novelty that Christians celebrate, something absolutely unthinkable, that only God could operate and we can only enter with faith. The Logoswhich is with God, the Logos who is God (cf. Jn 1:1), through which they were created all things were created (cf. 1.3), which accompanied mankind with his light throughout history (cf. 1 0.4 to 5, 1.9), became flesh and made his dwelling place among us, became one of us (cf. 1:14). The Second Vatican Council says: "The Son of God ... worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin"(Gaudium et Spes, 22). It is important therefore, that we recover our wonder before this mystery, allow ourselves to be enveloped by the magnitude of this event: God walked our streets as man, he entered into the time of man, to communicate His life to us (cf. 1 Jn 1:1 - 4). And He did this not with the splendour of a sovereign, who subjugates the world with his power, but with the humility of a child.

A second element should also be underlined. At Christmas we usually exchange gifts with the people closest to us. Sometimes it may be an act done out of convention, but it generally expresses affection; it is a sign of love and esteem. In the prayer over the gifts at Christmas Mass we prayed: "Accept, O Lord, our offering in this night of light, and for this mysterious exchange of gifts transform us in Christ, your Son, who raised man next to you in glory". The idea of giving is at the heart of the liturgy and brings to our consciousness the original gift of Christmas: on that Holy night God, becoming flesh, wanted to become a gift for men, He gave a little of himself to us, took on our humanity to gift us His divinity. This is the great gift. Even in our giving is not important whether a gift is expensive or not; those who cannot afford to give a little of themselves, always give too little, indeed, sometimes they try to replace the heart and the meaning of giving with money or material things. The mystery of the Incarnation shows us that God did not do this: He did not give something; He gave himself in His only-begotten Son. Here we find the model for our giving, so that our relationships, especially the most important ones, are driven by generosity and love.

I would like to offer a third reflection: the fact of the Incarnation, of God becoming a man like us, shows us the unprecedented realism of Divine love. The action of God, in fact, is not limited to words, indeed we might say that he is not content to speak, but is immersed in our history and takes on fatigue and weight of human life. The Son of God became truly man, born of the Virgin Mary, in a specific time and place in Bethlehem during the reign of Augustus, under Governor Quirinius (Lk 2:1-2), he grew up in a family, had friends, he formed a group of disciples, he instructed the apostles to continue his mission, he completed the course of his earthly life on the Cross. This mode of action of God is a powerful stimulus to question the realism of our faith, which should not be limited to the sphere of feelings and emotions, but must enter into concrete existence, that is to touch our lives every day and direct them in a practical way. God did not stop at words, but He showed us how to live, sharing our own experience, except sin. The Catechism of St. Pius X, which some of us have studied as children, with its simplicity, to the question: "What should we do to live according to God?", gives this answer: "To live according to God we must believe the truth revealed by Him and keep His commandments with the help of His grace, which is obtained through the sacraments and prayer. " Faith has a fundamental aspect which affects not only the mind and the heart, but all of our lives.

A final element I propose for your consideration. St. John states that the Word, the Logos was with God from the beginning, and that all things were made through the Word, and nothing that exists was made without Him (cf. Jn 1:1-3). The Evangelist clearly alludes to the story of creation that is in the early chapters of Genesis, and read them in the light of Christ. This is a fundamental criterion in Christian reading of the Bible: the Old and New Testaments should always be read together and by beginning with the New the deepest sense also of the Old is disclosed. That same Word that has always existed with God, which is God Himself and by which and in view of which all things were created (cf. Col 1:16-17), became man: the eternal and infinite God immersed himself in human finitude, His creature, to bring man and the whole of creation to Him The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: " The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendour of which surpasses that of the first creation "(n. 349). The Fathers of the Church have likened Jesus to Adam, to the point of calling him the "second Adam" or the definitive Adam, the perfect image of God. With his incarnation the Son of God is a new creation, which gives the complete answer to the question "Who is man?". Only in Jesus is God's plan on the human being fully revealed: He is the definitive man according to God. The Second Vatican Council strongly reiterates: "In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear... Christ, the final Adam, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear. "(Gaudium et Spes, 22; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 359). In this child, the Son of God contemplated at Christmas, we can recognize the true face of the human being, and only by opening action of his grace and trying every day to follow Him, do we realize God's plan for us.

Dear friends, in this period we meditate on the great and wonderful richness of the mystery of the Incarnation, to allow the Lord to enlighten us and transform us more and more to the image of his Son made man for us.

* * * * * I greet all the English-speaking visitors present, including the pilgrimage groups from Nigeria, Taiwan and Brazil. My cordial greeting goes to the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians from the United States. I also thank the choirs, including those from Saint Joseph University and from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, for their praise of God in song. Upon all of you I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace! 




Agenzia Fides REPORT- "Even the Catholic Church participates in a concrete way to the initiatives regarding the research of peace and tranquility in the capital," said the Archbishop of Mexico, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, inaugurating in the atrium of the Basilica of Guadalupe the stand for the disarmament ("despistolización") of the Government of the Federal District (GDF), which will remain open until January 18. The initiative to exchange firearms with tablets, containers with foodstuff or cash, began on Tuesday, January 8, in the presence of Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, head of the GDF, Miguel Angel Mancera, and other public officials.
In addition to participating in this program of disarmament, Cardinal Rivera Carrera said that the Archdiocese of Mexico operates in several key social programs for the population of the capital. "The Church is no stranger to moments of violence in which we live," said the Cardinal, for this reason the Church adheres to these programs promoted by the GDF, and reiterated collaboration with local authorities "not only in the Shrine of Guadalupe, but throughout the Archdiocese."
In his speech, the head of GDF stressed the importance of this campaign for the capital, with the peaceful delivery of weapons that many people have in their homes, and in the atrium of the Shrine of Guadalupe. "I must stress the symbolic importance of this place where we are today, and the commitment of the representatives of the Church," said Miguel Angel Mancera. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 10/01/2013)


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
9 Jan 2013

Eileen O-Connor, founder5 of the Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor
Today marks the 92nd anniversary of the death of Eileen O'Connor, considered by many to be Sydney's very own saint-in-waiting.
Affectionately known as 'Little Mother' by her community, Eileen embodied a distinctive spirituality marked by a devotion to Our Lady and a willingness to bear a lifetime of pain and suffering.
She has also been described as determined and feisty who inspired a congregation of nuns despite her at times less than favourable dealings with the Catholic hierarchy.
Each year on 10 January, hundreds of devotees gather at Our Lady's Home in Coogee to say the rosary, seek Eileen O'Connor's intercession and pray for her beatification.
The anniversary of her death also marks the official start of centenary celebrations for the religious order she co-founded, Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor.
Charged to assist 'the poor and the poor only', the order has performed a unique ministry of healthcare, advocacy and friendship to the poor and disadvantaged in Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle and Wollongong.
What is all the more remarkable is that Eileen was severely handicapped by a fall that broke her spine when aged three.
Despite numerous operations, she remained crippled and frequently confined to bed throughout her short life, never growing more than 115 centimetres and her condition complicated by tuberculosis.
Missionary of the Sacred Heart priest, Reverend Father Edward McGrath, met Eileen in the course of his duties with the parish of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Randwick.
Both shared a deep devotion to Our Lady and the desire to establish a ministry of compassionate service to the sick poor in their own homes in her honour.
At the time, there was no Government assistance of any kind, meaning that illness was an added burden for the poor.
The plight of the sick poor was especially close to Eileen, whose family had been plunged into precarious financial circumstances following the death of her father in 1911.
With financial assistance from several benefactors, including Father Edward Gell and his sister, Frances, the society began its ministry from Our Lady's Home in Coogee on 15 April 1913.
Over the following years, a number of young women arrived at Coogee to undertake their mission amongst Sydney's poor.

Eileen O'Connor was crippled nearly her entire life
They quickly became affectionately known as the 'Brown Nurses' because of their distinctive brown cloaks and bonnets.
Despite her growing disabilities and constant pain, Eileen continued to guide the work of the fledging society from her bedroom at Our Lady's Home.
She died on 10 January 1921, aged 28 years, entrusting the future of the organisation to her companion, Theresa (Cissie) McLaughlin.
Every morning for almost 16 years, the community at Our Lady's Home walked to nearby Randwick cemetery to recite the rosary at her graveside.
In 1936, the community gained permission to reinter Eileen's casket in her former  bedroom, which had been converted into a Chapel.
Mr W. J. Dixon of Darlinghurst Funeral Directors later made this statement about the events of that day:
"After the exhumation at the cemetery, the unopened casket was taken to our Funeral Chapel at 347 Anzac Parade, Kingsford, where a large number of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor awaited us.
The Nurses asked me to open the sealed lead casket and remove the inner pine lid.
This was done, and I was startled to see Eileen O'Connor lying there as though asleep in her simple blue gown, her hair lying naturally down each side of her face, and her hands joined on her breast.
The skin appeared slightly dark and the eyes seemed a little sunken, but, not having the good fortune to know her in life, I could not know if this was natural.
Our Lady's Nurses then gathered around the open casket and appeared not in the least surprised at seeing the 'Little Mother' as they last saw her 16 years earlier.
The Nurses rested rosary beads on the Little Mother's hands for a few seconds."
His Eminence Cardinal Norman Gilroy, a long-time supporter of the society approved a prayer for Eileen O'Connor's beatification in 1962:
O God, Who raised up Your servant Eileen to enrich Your Church with a New Congregation devoted to the spiritual and corporal assistance of the sick and dying poor, grant that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she may be honoured with the privilege of Beatification by Our Holy Mother the Church. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
In 1974, congregation leader Sister May McGahey wrote to His Eminence Cardinal James Freeman asking for approval to instigate proceedings for beatification.

Some of the first nmuns from the order who dedicated themselves to attending the poor and sick.
His Eminence Cardinal Edward Clancy gave permission for the preliminaries to proceed to a diocesan process in 1990.
The Society of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor was recognised as a religious order In 1953.
At one stage, its community boasted almost 40 religious sisters and novices, all trained or training as registered nurses with ministries established throughout Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle and Wollongong.
Today, the mission of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor remains as important as ever.
Visitors to Our Lady's Home, Coogee, are also welcome to inspect the order's museum.
It contains two rooms containing artefacts, furniture and memorabilia belonging to Eileen O'Connor and Father McGrath.
Among these treasures are Eileen's writing desk, her wheelchair, photographs from the early days and Father McGrath's military chaplain's kit and medals.
Her bed and statue of Our Lady was transferred to the veranda, where they remain lovingly preserved as they were in her lifetime.
Other special places in the history of the order include the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Randwick, where the community attended daily mass for many years, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Waterloo, where the O'Connor family were parishioners for many years.
A stained glass window depicting Eileen O'Connor was blessed by His Eminence Cardinal George Pell at a commemorative liturgy held to mark the church's sesquicentenary in August 2009.
Another place of interest is Randwick Cemetery, where Father McGrath and deceased members of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor are buried.
A Mass celebrating the Centenary of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor, will be held at St Mary's Cathedral on Saturday, 13 April, 2013. A number of functions are planned later in the year.
Further information:
Sister Margaret Mary Birgan
Congregational Leader
Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor
35 Dudley Street  COOGEE  NSW  2034
02 9665 6331


The bomb went off in front of a supermarket near the local university. The medical student, who was in his last year of study, was killed instantly. Dozens of other people were hurt in the blast, which caused widespread material damage. The violence, sources tell AsiaNews, is the result of a power struggle between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish groups to divide the country into enclaves.

Mosul (AsiaNews) - More Christian blood was shed today in Mosul, northern Iraq. A Christian university student was in fact killed by a car bomb, a day after the body of a 54-year-old Christian teacher, Shdha Elias, was found, her throat cut.
These deaths, involving members of the Christian minority, are an illustration of the rising tensions in the city and across the country as Sunnis, Shias, Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen vye for power and control.
Against a backdrop of a Kurdish president, Jalal Talabani, still in poor health after suffering a stroke last month, and persistent political uncertainty, tensions are fast rising. The inability of the central government in Baghdad to cope with terrorist attacks is not helping either.
In Mosul, the car bomb exploded this morning in front of a supermarket in al Alamia, near the city's university, local sources told AsiaNews.
The dead man was Ayyoub Fauzi Auyyoub Al Sheikh, a Christian medical student on his last year of study. Eyewitnesses said he died instantly, and that dozens of people were wounded from the blast, which caused major material damages.
For the past two weeks, the atmosphere in the city has been getting worse, the more so since the local administration and the central government in Baghdad have been involved in a tug-of-war.
The city's governor, Athil Al Nujjaifi, is a member of an Islamist party close to the Muslim Brotherhood. He is also the brother of Ussama Al Nujjaifi, speaker of the National Assembly.
"Sunnis control the cities of Anbar, Diala, Salah addin', Tikrit, Mosul and Kirkuk with Kurdish support," Iraq experts explained. Their alliance is in opposition to Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, who is a Shia. Their aim is "to divide the country into enclaves."
Minorities are the biggest losers from all this, including Christians who have no power base or group that can defend their interests.
Since the US invasion of 2003, which led to the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's Christian community lost more than half of its members.
In the case of the Christian teacher, whose body was found yesterday, other anonymous sources said that she "lived alone" and was "an easy target for criminals." For them, she "was probably killed during a robbery." Yesterday, after her body was recovered and prepared, she was buried right away.
In the past, Mosul saw other major Christian figures murdered, including abductedBishop Faraj Rahho, and Fr Ragheed Ganni. (DS)


Final statement from Bishops of the Holy Land Co-ordination 2013 | Bishops of the Holy Land Co-ordination,Archbishop Richard Smith,Archbishop Joan-Enric Vives, Bishop Gerald Kicanas,Bishop Stephan Ackermann,Bishop Michel Dubost,Bishop William Kenney,Bishop Peter Bürcher, Bishop Declan Lang

Jerusalem - Dormition Abbey
Since the Bishops of the Holy Land Co-ordination gathered in January 2012, the people in this region have lived through dark and dramatic events: conflict in Gaza and southern Israel; civil war in Syria, which has resulted in huge numbers of refugees pouring into other countries and putting an enormous strain on their resources; and increasing polarisation within Israel and Palestine. These developments have caused profound anxiety for all in this region, for the Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, Muslims, and particularly for the dwindling Christian population.
This year we met Christian communities in Gaza, Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Madaba and Zarqa. In the Cremisan Valley we heard about legal struggles to protect local people’s lands and religious institutions from the encroachment of the Security Barrier (“the wall”). We promise to continue urging our respective governments to act to prevent this injustice. We heard moving testimony from religious women involved in the care of migrant workers, trafficked persons and prisoners.
Our faith was enriched by the strength and fortitude of the people we met: those with whom we shared in a vibrant celebration of Mass in Zarqa in Jordan; those who care for the vulnerable, like the refugees from Syria and Iraq fleeing terror and violence; those struggling in the face of oppression and insecurity across the countries that make up the Holy Land. We are inspired to promote a just peace and call upon Christian communities in our home countries and people of goodwill everywhere to support the work undertaken in this region to build a better future. Good examples are two agencies we visited: Catholic Relief Services in Gaza and the Caritas refugee programme in Jordan.
We are also called to recognise and tell others how faith in God brings light into the lives of people in the Holy Land. One of the ways in which this happens is the Church’s commitment to education, a tangible investment in the future. Nowhere is this more evident than in the University of Bethlehem, where we were struck by the stories from students, and the American University of Madaba in Jordan. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI called upon staff and students in the region to be builders of a just and peaceful society composed of peoples of various religious and ethnic backgrounds. 
With the local Bishops, we encourage practical support for the vulnerable, the formation of young people and every effort for the promotion of peace. We encourage Christians to come on pilgrimage to the Holy Land where they will experience the same warm hospitality we received. We shall work hard to persuade our respective governments to recognise the root causes of suffering in this land and to step up their efforts for a just peace. We echo the call Pope Benedict made recently in his speech to the Holy See’s diplomatic corps: “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 co-existence 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, not one of division”.
In the words of one of the Psalms, which we prayed together each day: “for the peace of Jerusalem pray” (Psalm 122, v.6).
Signatories to the final communiqué:
Archbishop Richard Smith – Edmonton, Canada
Archbishop Joan-Enric Vives – Urgell and Andorra, Spain
Bishop Gerald Kicanas – Tucson, USA
Bishop Stephan Ackermann – Trier, Germany
Bishop Michel Dubost – Evry, France
Bishop William Kenney – ComECE Representative
Bishop Peter Bürcher – Reykjavik, Nordic Bishops’ Conference
Bishop Declan Lang – Clifton, England and Wales.



LUSAKA, January 08, 2013 (CISA) -Lundazi Catholic Parish Priest Father Viateur Banyangandora, who was deported to Rwanda, returned to Zambia on January 07 after staying in his native country for four months.
In August last year, Fr Banyangandora was sent back to his country for abrogating immigration laws.
Chipata Catholic Diocese Bishop George Lungu who welcomed Fr Banyangandora at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka confirmed his arrival in an interview.
“Let me confirm that my son in the name of Fr Banyangandora is with me right now and I will not give him a platform to speak until at an appropriate time, “he said.
According to the Times of Zambia, the 40-year-old priest was allowed back in Zambia after an appeal through the Catholic Church to the Government.
Fr Banyangandora joined the Association of Zambian Diocesan Catholic Clergy (ADZACC) as a Catholic seminarian refugee.
He studied at Mpima Major Seminary in Kabwe before proceeding to St Mary’s Major Seminary in Lusaka. He was ordained Catholic Priest in Chipata Diocese in 2004.
Meanwhile, church members in Lundazi District have expressed happiness with the return of Fr Banyangandora in the country.
Lundazi St Pauls Parish treasurer Janet Phiri said the return of the priest was a relief to the Christians.
“The joy that has filled the Christians at Lundazi Parish has wiped away their tears,” she said.
The faithful were grateful to the Government and the diocese for allowing the clergyman back in to Zambia.


St. Adrian of Canterbury
Feast: January 9

Feast Day: January 9
635 in North Africa
Died: 9 January 710
Divine Providence conducted this holy man to Britain, in order to make him an instructor of innumerable saints. Adrian was an African by birth, and was abbot of Nerida. not far from Naples, when pope Vitalian, upon the death of St. Deusdedit the archbishop of Canterbury, judged him, for his skill in sacred learning, and experience in the paths of true interior virtue, to be of all others the most proper person to be the doctor of a nation, zealous in the pursuit of virtue, but as yet ignorant in the sciences, and in the canons of the church. The humble servant of God found means to decline that dignity, by recommending St. Theodorus as most capable, but refused not to share in the laborious part of the ministry. The pope therefore enjoined him to be the companion, assistant, and adviser of the apostolic archbishop, which charge Adrian willingly took upon himself. In traveling through France with St. Theodorus, he was stopped by Ebroin, the jealous mayor of the palace, who feared lest the emperor of the East had given these two persons, who were his born subjects, some commission in favor of his pretensions to the western kingdoms. Adrian stayed a long time in France, at Meaux, and in other places, before he was allowed to pursue his journey. St. Theodorus established him abbot of the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul, afterward called St. Austin, near Canterbury, where he taught the learned languages and the sciences, and principally the precepts and maxims of our divine religion. He had illustrated this island by his heavenly doctrine, and the bright example of his virtues, for the space of thirty-nine years, when he departed to our Lord on the 9th of January, in he year 710. His tomb was famed for miracles, as we are assured by Joscelin the Monk, quoted by William of Malmesbury and Capgrave, and his name is inserted in the English calendars.


Mark 6: 45 - 52

45Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Beth-sa'ida, while he dismissed the crowd.46And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.47And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.48And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them,49but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out;50for they all saw him, and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear."51And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded,52for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

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