Wednesday, February 20, 2013





Vatican City, 17 February 2013 (VIS) – At 6:00pm today, the first day of Lent, the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia, which the Holy Father participates in, began in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace. The Lenten exercises will conclude on Saturday morning, 23 February. This year the meditations are led by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
During the retreat all papal audiences are suspended, including the weekly general audience of Wednesday, 20 February.
Vatican City, 17 February 2013 (VIS) – More than one hundred and fifty thousand people attended Benedict XVI's second-to-last Angelus in St. Peter's Square today. The Pope, who appeared at the window of his study at noon, focuses his Sunday meditation on Lent, "a time of conversion and penitence in preparation for Easter."
"The Church, who is mother and teacher," he said, "calls on all of her members to renew their spirit, to reorient themselves toward God, renouncing pride and selfishness in order to live in love. In this Year of Faith, Lent is a favourable time to rediscover faith in God as the fundamental criterion of our lives and the life of the Church. This always implies a struggle, spiritual combat, because the spirit of evil, naturally, opposes our sanctification and tries to turn us from God's path. … Jesus, after having received 'investiture' as the Messiah?'anointed' by the Spirit?at his Baptism in the Jordan, was led by the same Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. On beginning his public ministry, Jesus had to unmask and reject the false images of the Messiah proposed to him by the tempter. But these temptations are also the false images of humanity that have always harassed our consciences, disguising themselves as convenient and effective, even good proposals."
"The core of these temptations," Benedict XVI explained, "always consists in instumentalizing God for our own interests, giving more importance to success or material goods. The tempter is sly: he doesn't push us directly toward evil, but toward a false good, making us believe that power and that which satisfies our basic needs are the true realities. In this way, God becomes secondary; He is reduced to a means, becomes unreal, no longer counts, disappears. In the final analysis, faith is what is at stake in temptation because God is at stake. In the decisive moments of our lives, but on closer inspection in every moment, we are faced with a choice: do we want to follow the 'I' or God? Do we want to seek out selfish interests or the true Good, that which is truly good?"
"As the Church Fathers teach us, temptation forms part of Jesus' 'descent' into our human condition, into the abyss of sin and its consequences. It is a descent that Jesus follows to its very end, even to death on the cross and the hell of extreme distance from God. … As St. Augustine teaches, Jesus has taken temptation from us in order to give us victory over it. Therefore we too have no fear of facing the battle against the spirit of evil. What is important is that we face it with him, with Christ the Victor," the pontiff concluded.
After the Marian prayer the Pope thanked everyone for their prayers and affection, which he has felt in these days. "I ask," he said, "that you continue to pray for me and for the next Pope, as well as for the spiritual exercises that I will begin with the members of the Roman Curia this afternoon." He also greeted the "beloved city of Rome", seeing that among those filling St. Peter's Square there was a delegation from the municipality headed by the mayor.
Vatican City, 16 February 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon at 6:00pm, the Pope received Senator Mario Monti, Prime Minister of the Italian Republic, in a private farewell audience that, according to a communique published today, was both particularly cordial and intense.
Prime Minister Monti expressed once again the gratitude and affection of the Italian people for the Holy Father's high-minded religious and moral teaching, for his attention to social problems, and for sharing the hopes of Italy and Europe.
Vatican City, 16 February 2013 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received in audience Mr. Otto Fernando Perez Molina, president of the Republic of Guatemala. President Perez Molina then met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State of His Holiness, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
The cordial relations between the Holy See and Guatemala were evident during the talks, as well as the appreciation for the Church's unique contribution in that country's development, especially in the areas of education, the promotion of human and spiritual values, and social and charitable activity. The latter has been particularly evident during, among other situations, the recent earthquake that affected the Guatemalan people.
Later in the conversations, the need to continue working together in solving social problems of poverty, drug trafficking, organized crime, and emigration was agreed upon and, in conclusion, talk also turned to the importance of the defence of human life from the moment of conception.
Vatican City, 16 February 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father renewed, for a five-year period, the Commission of Cardinals for oversight of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR).
The new oversight commission is composed of: Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State (president of the commission); Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India; and Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), who takes the place of Cardinal Attilio Nicora, president of the Financial Information Authority (AIF).
Vatican City, 16 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Mr. Otto Perez Molina, president of the Republic of Guatemala, with his wife and entourage,
- thirteen prelates from the Lombardy region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, with auxiliaries:
Bishop Erminio De Scalzi, titular of Arbanum,
Bishop Luigi Stucchi, titular of Horrea,
Bishop Mario Enrico Delpini, titular of Stephaniacum, as well as:
Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop emeritus of Milan and apostolic administrator of Vigevano, and
Bishop Giovanni Giudici of Pavia,
Bishop Dante Lafranconi of Cremona,
Bishop Luciano Monari of Brescia,
Bishop Giuseppe Merisi of Lodi,
Bishop Diego Coletti of Como,
Bishop Francesco Beschi of Bergamo,
Bishop Oscar Cantoni of Crema,
Bishop Roberto Busti of Mantova, and
- Senator Mario Monti, prime minister of the Republic of Italy.
Vatican City, 16 February 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father appointed:
Fr. Wieslaw Krotki, O.M.I., as bishop of Churchill-Baie d'Hudson (area 2,300,000, population 32,090, Catholics 8,570, priests 10, religious 2), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Istebna, now in the Silesia Province of southern Poland in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1990. Immediately after ordination for the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Obra, Poland, he was sent to the missions in the Great North of Canada where he has served in several roles for the order and to various missions. From 1999 to 2005 he was superior of the Oblate Delegation of Hudson Bay and, since 2001, has been a missionary to the Inuit community of Igloolik. He succeeds Bishop Reynald Rouleau, O.M.I., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
Fr. Titus Joseph Mdoe as auxiliary bishop of Dar-es-Salaam (area 40,000, population 5,329,000, Catholics 1,618,000, priests 262, religious 712), Tanzania. The bishop-elect was born in Lushoto, Tanga, Tanzania in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He has served in several pastoral and administrative roles for the Diocese of Tanga, Tanzania, and from 2010 has been the deputy principal for Administration and Finance at Stella Maris Mtwara University College constituency of St. Augustine University in the Diocese of Mtwara, Tanzania. The Holy Father has assigned him the Titular See of Bahanna.
Archbishop Aldo Cavalli as apostolic nuncio to Malta. Archbishop Cavalli, titular of Vibo Valentia, was previously apostolic nuncio to Colombia.


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12 Feb 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Wednesday, February 13, marks the beginning of Lent with the annual celebration of Ash Wednesday. If we are able to come to Mass on that day our foreheads will be marked with ashes as a sign of repentance, and the priest or minister who administers the ashes will either remind us that “we are dust, and to dust we will return” or call us to “repent, and believe in the Gospel”.
In his Lenten message for 2013 Pope Benedict reflects on this theme of believing and reminds us of the close relationship between faith (believing) and charity. This is an important part of our lives as Catholics and I would like to invite all of us to reflect on this relationship between faith and love as we begin our Lenten journey, travelling the road of obedience and suffering with Jesus as he takes his final journey to Jerusalem, to Calvary and to the new life of Easter.
When I was a little boy it was the common practice that we give up lollies and chocolates during Lent as a way of “doing penance” and preparing ourselves for the great feast of Easter. As I grew older I came to realize, as we all must, that Lent is about more than simply “giving up things”. It is about prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It is, in other words, about our relationship with God, with ourselves and with others.
In prayer we are invited, especially in this Year of Grace, to gaze more closely on the face of Christ, so that we might come to know him more fully, and in knowing him come to love him more deeply, and in loving him serve him more faithfully as his disciples.
In fasting, whether that be from food and drink, from laziness and self-indulgence, from self-centredness or from anything else that holds us back from God, we are seeking to re-orient our lives so that we re-establish the right priorities. In fasting, in fact, we are seeking to respond to the reminder the Lord gives us that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21). Lent is a time for asking what it is we really treasure and seeking the Lord’s help to see and judge things as he does.
Lastly, in almsgiving, we are trying to open ourselves to the power of God’s Holy Spirit who will always inspire and empower us to live lives of active care and concern for others. In reaching out to others in need we learn what it means to have generous hearts and to have in us “the same mind that was in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5) who “did not come to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45).
For a Christian, almsgiving (charity) will always be intimately linked with believing (faith). In his Lenten Message for 2013 Pope Benedict explains that faith is a question of a “personal adherence – which involves all our faculties – to the revelation of God’s gratuitous and ‘passionate’ love for us, fully revealed in Jesus Christ”. Faith is born of an encounter with God and it is this encounter, if we allow God’s Spirit to nourish it and deepen it within us, which leads us to commit ourselves in trust to God who has revealed himself to us in Christ and who continues to encounter us in the life and teachings of his Church. But the Pope goes on to explain that a genuine encounter with God in Christ “awakens (our) love and opens (our) spirits to others. As a result, love of neighbour will no longer be for (us) a commandment imposed, so to speak, from without, but a consequence deriving from (our) faith, a faith which becomes active through love. Christians are people who have been conquered by Christ’s love and accordingly, under the influence of that love ….. they are profoundly open to loving their neighbour in concrete ways.”
As we travel the road to Jerusalem with Jesus this Lent I invite all of us to reflect on, and if necessary be challenged by, the words we find in the First Letter of St John:
Anyone who says “I love God” and hates his brother or sister is a liar, since a person who does not love the brother or sister he can see cannot love God, whom he has never seen. So this is the commandment that God has given us, that anyone who loves God must also love his brother or sister (1 John 4: 20-21).
Through our contemplation of the face of the suffering Christ this Lent, and through our works of penance and almsgiving, may we all discover where our true treasure lies and recognize the same Christ in the faces of our needy brothers and sisters.
Most Rev Timothy Costelloe
Archbishop of Perth



Tanzania: another Catholic priest killed |  Fr Evarist Mushi,Bishop Augustine Shao, Catholic Bishop of Zanzibar,

Fr Evarist Mushi

A Catholic priest was murdered in Zanzibar yesterday. Fr Evarist Mushi, 55, was shot in his car at close range at 7am shortly before he was due to celebrate Mass at Zanzibar's Catholic Cathedral.
"We have no idea why Fr Evarist was killed, we are waiting to hear the results of the police enquiry", Bishop Augustine Shao, Catholic Bishop of Zanzibar, told Fides.
"Fr Evarist was killed at 7am yesterday morning. He had just arrived at Zanzibar’s Catholic Cathedral, St Joseph’s, to celebrate Sunday Mass. Before he could even alight from the car two men on a motorbike approached him and the one seated at the back opened fire shooting three times. " said Bishop Shao.
The Bishop said he suspects that the priest’s murder may be connected with other local events. He said: "Recently explicit assassination threats against bishops and priests were seen in local newspapers. At Christmas, another local priest, Fr Ambrose Mkenda was seriously injured in an ambush. Fr Ambrose is still recovering from his wounds in hospital. Last year, 2012, three Catholic churches and several churches of other Christian denominations in Zanzibar, were set on fire. We have no ides of the size of the group targeting the island’s Christians, but it would appear to be large" the Bishop
Local police say they have arrested three persons suspected of involvement in the killing.
Source: Fides


y Nirmala Carvalho
India's Health Ministry and Medical Council reveal the nation-wide problem. "Choosing the sex [of newborns] is an expression of the lack of respect for women, and one of the causes of rising crimes against them," a member of the Pontifical Academy of Life says.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - India's central government has identified about a hundred doctors who will be sanctioned for carrying out selective abortions and female foeticides in the country.
The Health Ministry sent the Medical Council of India a list of doctors who violated the 1994 Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, which bans prenatal sex determination tests and imposes sentences of six months to five years on violators, plus the suspension or cancellation of their medical license.
This is a positive step, Dr Pascoal Carvalho told AsiaNews, because "using strong deterrence measures can help prevent similar forms of discrimination and punish the guilty."
According to the Children in India 2012: A Statistical Appraisal, a study released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, at least three million girls were missing in 2011 as a result of selective abortions and female foeticide.
"This loss will have serious moral, social and economic consequences," said Dr Carvalho, who is a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. "Choosing the sex [of newborns] is an expression of the lack of respect for women, and one of the causes of rising crimes against them."
Sadly, "in India, boys are preferred to girls for cultural reasons and this is connected to economic factors," he explained.
Traditionally, girls are educated and raised to become wives, but they can get married only if they bring a dowry (money, jewels and various material goods). Even when they get married, women have to give birth to a boy to earn respect.
In addition, in some regions of India, the practice of sati still occurs, whereby widows are expected to throw themselves on their husbands' funeral pyre. Hindu tradition requires women to show devotion to their dead husbands through voluntary self-immolation, a practice that allows families to rid themselves of women who have become an economic burden.
A widespread 'culture of death' underlies "selective abortions and female foeticides," Dr Carvalho noted. "The Catholic Church instead promotes a culture of life through its educational and health ministries. This way, it protects the life and dignity of girls as well as defends, values and encourage young women and opposes all forms of discrimination and violation of their rights."
What is more and contrary to widespread belief, selective abortion and female foeticide are also commonplace among middle and upper class Indians. "A study titled Skewed Sex Rations in India: Physician, Heal Thyself found that there are more boys than girls in the families of medical doctors," Dr Carvalho noted.



Matthew 25: 31 - 46

31"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,33and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.34Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'37Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?38And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?39And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'40And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'41Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'44Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?'45Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.'46And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."



St. Simon of Jerusalem
Feast: February 18

Feast Day:February 18
Died:106 or 107 AD, Jerusalem
ST. SIMEON was the son of Cleophas, otherwise called Alpheus, brother to St. Joseph, and of Mary, sister to the Blessed Virgin. He was therefore nephew both to St. Joseph and to the Blessed Virgin, and cousin to Our Saviour. We cannot doubt but that he was ail early follower of Christ, and that he received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, with the Blessed Virgin and the apostles. When the Jews massacred St. James the Lesser,his brother Simeon reproached them for their atrocious cruelty. St. James, Bishop of Jerusalem, being put to death in the year 62, twenty-nine years after Our Saviour's Resurrection, the apostles and disciples met at Jerusalem to appoint him a successor. They unanimously chose St. Simeon, who had probably before assisted his brother in the government of that Church.
In the year 66, in which Sts. Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom at Rome, the civil war began in Judea, by the seditions of the Jews against the Romans. The Christians in Jerusalem were warned by God of the impending destruction of that city. They therefore departed out of it the same year,—before Vespasian, Nero's general, and afterwards emperor, entered Judea,—and retired beyond Jordan to a small city called Pella, having St. Simeon at their head. After the taking and burning of Jerusalem they returned thither again, and settled themselves amidst its ruins, till Adrian afterwards entirely razed it. The Church here flourished, and multitudes of Jews were converted by the great number of prodigies and miracles wrought in it.
Vespasian and Domitian had commanded all to be put to death who were of the race of David. St. Simeon had escaped their searches; but, Trajan having given the same order, certain heretics and Jews accused the Saint, as being both of the race of David and a Christian, to Atticus, the Roman governor in Palestine. The holy bishop was condemned to be crucified. After having undergone the usual tortures during several days, which, though one hundred and twenty years old, he suffered with so much patience that he drew on him a universal admiration, and that of Atticus in particular, he died in 107. He must have governed the Church of Jerusalem about forty-three years.
(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)

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