Thursday, March 7, 2013






Vatican City, 6 March 2013 (VIS) - “At the fourth General Congregation, which began this morning at 9:00am with the prayer of the Liturgy of Hours, 153 cardinals were present. This number includes four additional cardinals who arrived and were sworn in today, three Cardinal electors: Cardinal Antonios Naguib, patriarch emeritus of Alexandria, Egypt; Cardinal Karl Lehmann, bishop of Mainz, Germany; Cardinal John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong, China; as well as Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, archbishop emeritus of Munich, Germany who is not an elector,” said Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office during his daily news conference with journalists.
To date, there are 113 Cardinal electors present. Tomorrow the two remaining Cardinal electors are expected—Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, archbishop of Warsaw, Poland, will arrive this afternoon and Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, archbishop of Thanh-Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam tomorrow morning.
“In the fraternal spirit that characterizes the Congregations,” Fr. Lombardi reported, “Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano wished a happy birthday to Cardinal Walter Kasper (who turned 80 yesterday), Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio (who turns 75 today), and Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval, C.SS.R., (who turns 77 tomorrow). Cardinal Kasper continues to be a Cardinal elector—he will be the oldest to cast his vote in this Conclave—because the Apostolic Constitution regulating the procedure for electing the pontiff establishes the age limit for cardinals entering the Conclave to be determined from the beginning of the period of the Sede Vacante.
This morning 18 cardinals addressed the gathering. Without going into details, the director of the Holy See Press office gave a general overview of their nature. “The major theme,” Fr. Lombardi said, “was the Church in the world, the New Evangelization. Other topics included the Holy See, its Dicasteries and relations with bishops. A third theme was a profile of expectations for the next pope in view of the good government of the Church.”
“There have been 51 speeches since the beginning of the Congregations,” he added. Given the large number of cardinals wishing to address the gathering, a five minute time limit was established but is not strictly enforced. It was decided that tomorrow they will meet in a morning as well as an afternoon session.
Regarding the cancelling of the press conferences that some of the American cardinals were giving in these days, Fr. Lombardi observed that “the Congregations are not a synod or a congress in which we try to report the most information possible, but a path toward arriving at the decision of electing the Roman Pontiff. In this sense, the tradition of this path is one of reservation in order to safeguard the freedom of reflection on the part of each of the members of the College of Cardinals who has to make such an important decision. It does not surprise me, therefore, that along this path there were, at the beginning, moments of openness and communication and that afterwards, in harmony with the rest of the College, it has been established whether and how to communicate.”
Also brought up in the press conference was the date of the opening of the Conclave. “The College has a great spirit of preparation that is serious, profound, and unhurried,” Fr. Lombardi clarified. “Perhaps that is why it still did not seem opportune to take a vote on the date of the Conclave, which a large part of the College could sense as something forced in the dynamic of reflection. It also needs to be kept in mind that some cardinals are still arriving and it would be a sign of respect for them to wait until the College is complete.”
In conclusion, the director of the Holy See Press Office confirmed that “the Fisherman's Ring has been scratched over,” that is, rendered unusable.
Vatican City, 6 March 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon in St. Peter's Basilica, on the occasion of the General Congregations proceeding the Conclave, the College of Cardinals will pray for the Church.
The celebration, which will be held at 5:00pm at the Altar of the Cathedra, will begin with the recitation of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary in Italian and Latin. Following the Rosary will be the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and a brief time for Adoration. Then simple recitation of Vespers (the Church's evening prayer) will be presided over by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica. The rite will conclude with Eucharistic Benediction offered by Cardinal Comastri.
The prayer booklet for the celebration can be found online at the website of the Office for Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff:
The regularly scheduled mass at the Altar of the Cathedra will be moved to another altar in St. Peter's Basilica.


A Conclave for all: Letter from Archbishop Nichols  | Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Conclave

Archbishop Vincent Nichols
 The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster has written a letter to all parishes and schools in the Diocese about the forthcoming conclave. It reads:
My brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ
Shortly the Cardinals of the Catholic Church will assemble in the Conclave to choose the next Bishop of Rome, who will replace Benedict XVI as Pope and Successor of St Peter.
Much is made of who will and who won't be present in that Conclave. Some voices are raised to complain that 'Britain does not have a voice.'
But if we understand correctly the nature of the Church and of the Conclave then we know that is not the true or full story.
The full story, or account, of the Church is that it is, most profoundly, a spiritual reality. It is not simply an institution or an organisation for religious or humanitarian purposes. It is more than a human community. Its true life and identity is Christ, the sole redeemer and only one who has broken the barrier of death. In the Church we are bound together in Christ. I do more than 'belong to the Church.' The Church is a living reality that enters my soul. It is in the deepest part of my being.
This is why whenever failures and wounds are inflicted on the Church or laid bare, the pain and distress we feel is so intense and deeply personal. In the Church we are immersed together in a reality that not only gives us a new identity, beyond every other, but that also fashions us for eternity.
Prayer is one of the deepest expressions of this reality. Prayer confirms in us our unity in Christ. Prayer strengthens us together in the face of every difficulty and deepens in us together the strength of every joy. Prayer is the heartbeat of the Church, which I feel and to which I contribute. Prayer fashions us together in our common enterprise of being the Body of Christ today.
This reality is expressed in the forthcoming Conclave. This reality is the deeper truth of the Conclave. Through prayer it is truly a Conclave for all. No-one is excluded. Everyone can contribute.
The moment the key turns to begin the Conclave, then we take up a very special time of prayer. Whether the Conclave lasts for two days or two weeks, we sustain that prayer. We pray for each and every Cardinal in his decision taking. They are striving to be, first of all, instruments of God, in some ways like pens in the hand of the Lord. We pray for them that they will respond freely and sensitively to the hand that moves them, the mind that directs them. Christ is that hand whose will is one with that of his heavenly Father.
During the Conclave we pray as the Church and for the Church, knowing that this prayer unites us in a common action, a common endeavour: that the new Pope, elected by the Cardinals, is the one chosen by the will of God.
This prayer is our part, our participation, in the Conclave, our contribution to its decision. This is our way of seeking what is best for the Church at this crucial moment in our history.
Do not neglect this task that is given to each one of us. Please make the time of the Conclave a time of very special prayer, in our homes, our schools, our parishes and in the silence of our hearts.
Yours devotedly

Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster




ABUJA, March 6, 2013 (CISA) -Bishops in Nigeria have called for the defence of human dignity in Nigeria.
“The defence of human dignity is an obligation of faith and every action committed against it is an act against God,” said the Bishops of Nigeria in a statement issued at the end of their Plenary Assembly under the theme ‘Faith and Dignity of the Human Being’.
The Bishops also denounced violence committed against innocent people by Boko Haram and other armed groups: “We denounce the fact that Nigeria is a place where people arbitrarily kill in the name of religion, a land where freedom of religion is limited only to certain people.”
The statement signed by Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos, and by Most Rev Alfred Martins, Archbishop of Lagos, the President and Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, stated that the offenses against human dignity are: murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, suicide, mutilation, physical and mental torture, undue psychological pressures, subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, trafficking and selling of women and children, and degrading work conditions.
These crimes, say the Bishops, “poison civilization and debase its authors more than their victims.”
According to Fides the Bishops say that Nigeria is facing serious threats to human dignity including poor governance, insecurity, corruption, moral collapse, violations of citizens’ rights on the basis of ethnic affiliation, religious belief, gender, and geographical origin.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
5 Mar 2013
St Brendan's Primary students excitedly prepare for Catholic Schools Week
From Sunday, 10 March more than 68,000 students from Sydney's 149 Catholic primary and systemic secondary schools will showcase their talents, academic achievements and sporting ability as part of Catholic Schools Week.
Now in its eighth year, Catholic Schools Week is held across NSW and the ACT and is a chance for parents and local communities to see Catholic education in action and to help celebrate 180 years of continuous Catholic education in Australia.
"The theme this year is 'Every Child Counts' and I cannot think of a better statement that reflects what our schools are all about," says Dr Dan White, Director of Schools for the Archdiocese in Sydney.
At the helm of the Sydney Catholic Education Office (CEO), Dr White has responsibility for schools across the city. He is also in charge of more than 6000 staff and with his team at CEO, liases with around 100,000 parents to ensure that each young girl or boy is monitored, mentored and receives the very best in terms of an academic as well as a faith-based education.
Youngsters Prepare for Catholic Schools Week
"As a parent who has had six children, there was nothing more important to myself or my wife than knowing that when they headed off to school each day, they were going to a safe place where they would be well looked after, be taught by great teachers and feel valued for who they were," he says.
Dr White is determined that every child who attends a Catholic school in Sydney is able to reach their full potential.
"Our schools create many opportunities for students to grow and thrive in what is an increasingly complex world," he says. "Our fantastic teachers and support staff place the learning and well being of every student at the centre of everything they do."
Students at Catholic schools, which are responsible for educating one in five Australian children, also receive overwhelming support from parent communities, Dr White says and believes all these factors are what make a Catholic education so special.
Choir at Our lady of the Roseary, Fairfield showcased their talents
By any measure Catholic schools are very successful. Dr White cites the 2012 NAPLAN (National Australian Program of Literacy and Numeracy) test results as an example. "For the fifth successive year, students at our schools performed above the state and national average," he says.
The HSC achievements by students at Sydney's systemic Catholic schools are equally impressive. In last year's HSC, Catholic students scored well above the state average in  72% of the courses undertaken.
"But good schools are about much more than just strong test results. Good schools build young people into strong confident learners who want to make a difference and who believe great things are possible for them. The Gospel  values of love, faith and compassion sit at the heart of what Catholic schools are all about and it is these values that call to us to reach out to all sections of society, especially to the disadvantaged and the marginalised," he says and adds that "Sydney Catholic Schools respond to this call every day."
Dr Dan White with Sam, a young student from St Brendan's Kindergarden
Although schools and their students will strut their stuff this week, showcasing their talents as film makers, musicians or in some cases, turning the tables and becoming teacher to a classroom full of parents, Dr White warns that despite the strong achievements realised by Catholic educators, this is a critical time for education in Australia.
"Late last year the NSW Government made drastic cuts to the education budget that will hit our schools hard in the years ahead," he warns.
Catholic education along with private, independent and public schools are now awaiting details based on the Gonski Review of the Federal Government's new funding model.  Worryingly, this may also trigger cuts in funds forcing schools and particularly Catholic schools to do even more with far less.
"Every child is entitled to the best education our country can provide, regardless of what school he or she attends, or where that school is," Dr White says. "My strong hope is that our schools, like all other schools across Australia, are provided with sufficient funding that will allow them to deliver the high quality education our kids deserve."
For parents with children at Catholic schools or thinking about enrolling their child in a Catholic school, Catholic Schools Week which runs from 10-16 March is a chance for the public to see Catholic education in action.
To find out more go to


Agenzia Fides REPORT - Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, Archbishop of Caracas, will celebrate a "Mass" in honor of the late President of Venezuela Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias in Rome, where he is to attend the conclave that will elect a new pope.
In a statement sent to Fides, "Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, Archbishop of Caracas, will celebrate a Mass for the funeral in Rome, in a place and date to be announced, and calls on all Venezuelans who want to participate in a religious ceremony to pray for President Chavez," who died yesterday, March 5 at the military hospital in Caracas.
The Archbishop expressed his "condolences" to the family of the late President, and urged the authorities "to apply the mechanisms provided for by the Constitution" and all sectors of society to promote "calm and harmony of the people." "In particular, it is necessary to exclude all forms of violence," he added.
In another note sent to Fides on the situation in Caracas, it states that the Cardinal’s request, unfortunately, has not yet been heard by the "Chavistas": in fact, around the military hospital some journalists of a multimedia Colombian group were attacked, beaten and threatened between screams and shots. (CE) 


Saint Joseph's Cathedral hosted the ceremony of enthronement of His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphael I. The latter thanked his predecessor and renewed the offer to work with Muslims. Prime Minister al-Maliki stressed the importance of Iraq's Christian community, urging them "not to emigrate".

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - "Do not be afraid" to face and surmount "a difficult period" because suffering, tribulations and the blood shed by martyrs can "incorporate us into the mystery of Christ" and "help us recognise the presence of God among us," said Mar Louis Raphael I Sako during the Mass that enthroned him today in Baghdad's St Joseph Cathedral. The event marks the start of the new patriarchate of the Iraqi Chaldean Church.
High-ranking Christian and Muslim religious leaders as well as political and civic leaders, not to mention thousands of the faithful, took part in the ceremony. In addition to the patriarchs of the Eastern Churches and the Apostolic Nuncio to Jordan and Iraq, Mgr Giorgio Lingua, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and National Assembly Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi were also present.
The prime minister noted again that Christians are an important part of the country. He urged them "not to emigrate", saying that "we are sad to see them leave because of threats from depraved people."
Mar Louis Raphael I Sako was appointed patriarch of the Chaldean Church of Iraq on 31 January in replacement of Card Emmanuel Delly III who resigned because of age. This followed a mini-conclave held in Rome 28 January that brought together 15 Chaldean bishops, seven from Iraq, two from Iran, two from the United States, and one from Lebanon, Syria, Australia and Canada.
Born on 4 July 1948 in Zahko, northern Iraq, Mar Louis Raphael I Sako was ordained priest on 1 June 1974. He held the post of archbishop of Kirkuk for many years.
On several occasions, he bemoaned the exodus of Christians from the country, calling for steps to guarantee them a peaceful future. For his work, he received theDefensor Fidei Award in 2008 and the Pax Christi International Award in 2010.
In his maiden speech, Patriarch Sako looked back on his beginnings, talking about his years in Kirkuk, 'the city of the eternal fire', and his return to Baghdad, 'the city of peace'.
In thanking his predecessor Patriarch Delly, "who served the Chaldean Church in difficult times and chose to remain in Iraq," he spoke about the "last few years full of dangers, and the fear of death that still lives in our people."
"Enough blood and destruction," His Beatitude said. "True greatness is achieved not by domination but by service and sacrifice to consolidate what is good, righteous and honest."
Difficulties, violence and persecution should not push a community to leave. Yet, half have done so since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. For this reason, during the homily the patriarch warned the faithful "not be afraid" as Jesus said "before and after his resurrection".
"Suffering, tribulations and the blood shed by martyrs can incorporate us into the mystery of Christ" and "help us recognise the presence of God among us," he added. For this, we need "authenticity connected to renewal" that will touch "our liturgy and teaching methods" in accordance with "the spirit of the Second Vatican Council and the apostolic exhortation 'Ecclesia in Medio Oriente'. This way, the faithful will be able to understand, share and be closer to Christ and the Church."
Speaking about the exodus of Christians from Iraq and relations with the Muslim majority, His Beatitude spoke about the problems associated with "security and freedom". In spite of the situation, "I do not encourage anyone to leave the country." On the contrary, people "should stay and continue on their path because it is a duty towards one's faith and homeland."
Thus, it is necessary "to work with everyone in the Chaldean Church," especially "with my fellow bishops, priests, men and women religious, believers, men and women, for the good of the Church and the people."
 "With our Muslim brothers that God loves as he loves us, we shall stress what brings us closer whilst respecting what makes us different," said the Chaldean patriarch.
Although "It is God's will that we be different, we must work on finding grounds on which we can meet and share because, as Benedict XVI said in his first meeting with the new patriarch, the Iraqi Church must continue to be a bridge between Christians and Muslims. (DS)



Matthew 5:
 17 - 19

17"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.
18For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
19Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


St. Colette of Corbie
Feast: February 7

Feast Day:February 7 or March 6
13 January 1381, at Corbie in Picardy, France
Died:6 March 1447, Ghent
Canonized:24 May 1807
Founder of Colettine Poor Clares (Clarisses), born 13 January 1381, at Corbie in Picardy, France; died at Ghent, 6 March, 1447. Her father, Robert Boellet, was the carpenter of the famous Benedictine Abbey of Corbie; her mother's name was Marguerite Moyon. Colette joined successively the Bequines, the Benedictines, and the Urbanist Poor Clares. Later she lived for a while as a recluse. Having resolved to reform the Poor Clares, she turned to the antipope, Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna), then recognized by France as the rightful pope. Benedict allowed her to enter to the order of Poor Clares and empowered her by several Bulls, dated 1406, 1407, 1408, and 1412 to found new convents and complete the reform of the order. With the approval of the Countess of Geneva and the Franciscan Henri de la Beaume, her confessor and spiritual guide, Colette began her work at Beaume, in the Diocese of Geneva. She remained there but a short time and soon opened at Besancon her first convent in an almost abandoned house of Urbanist Poor Clares. Thence her reform spread to Auxonne (1410), to Poligny, to Ghent (1412), to Heidelberg (1444), to Amiens, etc. To the seventeen convents founded during her lifetime must be added another begun by her at Pont-a-Mousson in Lorraine. She also inaugurated a reform among the Franciscan friars (the Coletani), not to be confounded with the Observants. These Coletani remained obedient to the authority of the provincial of the Franciscan convents, and never attained much importance even in France. In 1448 they had only thirteen convents, and together with other small branches of the Franciscan Order were suppressed in 1417 by Leo X. In addition to the strict rules of the Poor Clares, the Colettines follow their special constitutions sanctioned in 1434 by the General of the Franciscans, William of Casale, approved in 1448 by Nicholas V, in 1458 by Pius II, and in 1482 by Sixtus IV.

St. Colette was beatified 23 January, 1740, and canonized 24 May, 1807. She was not only a woman of sincere piety, but also intelligent and energetic, and exercised a remarkable moral power over all her associates. She was very austere and mortified in her life, for which God rewarded her by supernatural favours and the gift of miracles. For the convents reformed by her she prescribed extreme poverty, to go barefooted, and the observance of perpetual fast and abstinence. The Colettine Sisters are found today, outside of France, in Belgium, Germany, Spain, England, and the United States.

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