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Friday, November 8, 2013

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : FRI. NOV. 8, 2013 - SHARE

POPE FRANCIS "...BRING BREAD HOME THROUGH OUR OWN HONEST WORK!"

WORLD YOUTH DAY OFFICIAL THEMES ANNOUNCED BY POPE

VATICAN SURVEY ON MARRIAGE AND FAMILY - RELEASED

RIP UNDERGROUND BISHOP PETER GUANDONG IN CHINA

SUPER-TYPHOON HITS PHILIPPINES - MILLIONS IN DANGER

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. NOV. 8, 2013

TODAY'S SAINT: NOV. 8: FOUR CROWNED MARTYRS

POPE FRANCIS embraced a severely deformed man in St. Peter's Square on November 6, 2013. This image has gone viral over the Internet over the past few days. The disease is called neurofibromatosis and is not contagious but genetic. This causes neuronal tumors all over the body causing pain and learning disabilities. Pope Francis gave this man special time and kissed him and gave him a blessing.


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POPE FRANCIS "...BRING BREAD HOME THROUGH OUR OWN HONEST WORK!"



(Vatican Radio) Parents who feed their children on “unclean bread”, earned through bribes and corruption, are starving their children of dignity, because dishonest work robs us of our dignity. These were the words of Pope Francis during his homily at Mass on Friday morning in the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta.

Pope Francis focused his homily on the parable of the dishonest steward, in order to talk about the dangers “of worldliness, of mundane affairs”. Jesus “prayed to the Father that his disciples might not fall into the trap of worldliness”, which is “the enemy”.

“When we think of our enemies, we really think of the devil first, because it’s the devil that harms us. The devil enjoys the atmosphere, the lifestyle of worldliness. And this steward is an example of worldliness. Some of you might say: “But this man only did what everyone does!”. But no, not everyone! Some company administrators, some public administrators, some government administrators… perhaps there are not even very many. But it’s that attitude of the shortcut, of the most comfortable way to earn a living.”

In the parable, the master praises the dishonest steward for his cunning. “This is praise for bribes! And the habit of bribes is a mundane and extremely sinful habit. It’s a habit that does not come from God: God has commanded us to bring bread home through our own honest work! And this man, this steward, he brought bread home, but how? He fed his children unclean bread! And his children – perhaps educated in expensive colleges, perhaps raised in learned environments – were fed dirt by their father, because their father, by bringing home unclean bread, had lost his dignity! And this is a grave sin. Because we might start with a small bribe, but it’s like a drug!”

So, Pope Francis affirmed, we become dependent on the habit of bribes. But if there is a “mundane cunning”, the Pope continued, there is also a “Christian cunning, of doing things not in the spirit of worldliness”, but of honesty. That’s what Jesus says when he asks us to be cunning as serpents and simple as doves: being able to combine the two “is grace from the Holy Spirit”, a gift which we must ask for.

Pope Francis concluded with a prayer. “Perhaps it will be good for us all today to pray for the many children and young people who are fed unclean bread by their parents: they are hungry too, they are starved of dignity! Let us pray that the Lord may change the hearts of these people who are faithful to the goddess of bribes. Let them realise that dignity comes from dignified work, from honest work, from daily work, and not from these shortcuts. And let us conclude by thinking about that other man in the Gospel who had a lot of granaries, a lot of silos, so full that he didn’t know what to do with them, and the Lord said to him: “You must die tonight”. These poor people who have lost their dignity in the habit of bribes take with them not the money they have earned, but only their lack of dignity! Let us pray for them!”

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA


WORLD YOUTH DAY OFFICIAL THEMES ANNOUNCED BY POPE

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has decided on the themes for the next three World Youth Days. These mark a three-year itinerary of spiritual preparation that will culminate with the international WYD with the Successor of Peter scheduled for Krakow in Poland in July 2016.

29th World Youth Day, 2014
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3).

30th World Youth Day, 2015  
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Mt 5:8)

31st World Youth Day, 2016 (Krakow)
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Mt 5:7)

The three themes are taken from the Gospel Beatitudes. In Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis asked the young people “with all my heart” to read the Beatitudes again and to make them the action plan for their lives: “Look, read the Beatitudes: that will do you good!” (cf. Meeting with the youth from Argentina gathered in the Cathedral of São Sebastião, 25 July 2013).
SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

VATICAN SURVEY ON MARRIAGE AND FAMILY - RELEASED

RADIO VATICANA REPORT: November 05, 2013 – On Tuesday, a press conference was held at the Vatican, on the preparation for the synod's 2014 meeting, where the PREPARATORY DOCUMENT for the III Extraordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops was released. The synod, which will be held Oct. 5-19, 2014, will be dedicated to “the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.” The press conference was held by Archbishop Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Péter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, general relator of the synod; and Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, special secretary of the synod.

It must be noted that the Holy See’s spokesman has already clarified that Pope Francis has not presented a questionnaire to Catholics worldwide to consult on homosexual unions and divorced persons, as some news outlets have reported. This assertion, made by Italian daily il Fatto Quotidiano among others, is “not true” and in fact, the basis is only the aforementioned document sent to bishops' conferences throughout the world by the secretary general of the synod of bishops, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, in preparation for the synod of bishops,” Fr. Federico Lombardi had told Catholic News Agency (CNA) Nov. 2.

He added that the synod, will be dedicated to “the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.” and will focus on pastoral responses to the problems of divorce and gay marriage, as well as other challenges to the health of families. But on Nov. 1, the National Catholic Reporter characterized the document sent to bishops' conferences as “a Vatican survey asking (Catholics') opinions on church teachings.” The same day, il Fatto Quotidiano, a leftist and populist publication based in Rome, wrote that “the decision of Francis to listen, on such delicate themes, to the voice of the faithful, is absolutely unprecedented.” In fact, the process of requesting input from around the world for a synod of bishops is well precedented; the previous Synod on the New Evangelization, held in 2012, also asked bishops’ conferences to encourage discussion of topics related to evangelization and summarize their findings.

Moreover, in his Oct. 18 letter asking that dioceses share the Preparatory Document for the 2014 synod “as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes,” Archbishop Baldisseri also noted that “since the time available is short, I would appreciate if you would follow the most brief and practical institutional process.” Fr. Lombardi responded, stressing that the questions “are not regarding the doctrinal position of the Church,” explaining that the document has solely an advisory character, forming part of the habitual “praxis” of the synod of bishops. The questions were given to the bishops of all the world's dioceses on how to address pastoral questions and how to give assistance to persons in irregular family situations, among other things.

Full Text of the Preparatory Document: 

S Y N O D O F B I S H O P S
III E X T R A O R D I N A R Y G E N E R A L A S S E M B L Y
PASTORAL CHALLENGES TO THE FAMILY
IN THE CONTEXT OF EVANGELIZATION
Preparatory Document
Vatican City
2013

I. Synod: Family and Evangelization
The mission of preaching the Gospel to all creation, entrusted directly by the Lord to his disciples, has continued in the Church throughout history. The social and spiritual crisis, so evident in today’s world, is becoming a pastoral challenge in the Church’s evangelizing mission concerning the family, the vital building-block of society and the ecclesial community. Never before has proclaiming the Gospel on the Family in this context been more urgent and necessary. The importance of the subject is reflected in the fact that the Holy Father has decided to call for a Synod of Bishops, which is to have a two-staged itinerary: firstly, an Extraordinary General Assembly in 2014, intended to define the “status quaestionis” and to collect the bishops’ experiences and proposals in proclaiming and living the Gospel of the Family in a credible manner; and secondly, an Ordinary General Assembly in 2015 to seek working guidelines in the pastoral care of the person and the family.
Concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago have arisen today as a result of different situations, from the widespread practice of cohabitation, which does not lead to marriage, and sometimes even excludes the idea of it, to same-sex unions between persons, who are, not infrequently, permitted to adopt children. The many new situations requiring the Church’s attention and pastoral care include: mixed or inter-religious marriages; the single-parent family; polygamy; marriages with the consequent problem of a dowry, sometimes understood as the purchase price of the woman; the caste system; a culture of non-commitment and a presumption that the marriage bond can be temporary; forms of feminism hostile to the Church; migration and the reformulation of the very concept of the family; relativist pluralism in the conception of marriage; the influence of the media on popular culture in its understanding of marriage and family life; underlying trends of thought in legislative proposals which devalue the idea of permanence and faithfulness in the marriage covenant; an increase in the practice of surrogate motherhood (wombs for hire); and new interpretations of what is considered a human right. Within the Church, faith in the sacramentality of marriage and the healing power of the Sacrament of Penance show signs of weakness or total abandonment.
Consequently, we can well understand the urgency with which the worldwide episcopate is called upon to gather cum et sub Petro to address these challenges. For example, by simply calling to mind the fact that, as a result of the current situation, many children and young people will never see their parents receive the sacraments, then we understand just how urgent are the challenges to evangelization arising from the current situation, which can be seen in almost every part of the “global village”. Corresponding in a particular manner to this reality today is the wide acceptance of the teaching on divine mercy and concern towards people who suffer on the periphery of societies, globally and in existential situations. Consequently, vast expectations exist concerning the decisions which are to be made pastorally regarding the family. A reflection on these issues by the Synod of Bishops, in addition to it being much needed and urgent, is a dutiful expression of charity towards those entrusted to the Bishops’ care and the entire human family.

II. The Church and the Gospel on the Family
The good news of divine love is to be proclaimed to all those personally living this basic human experience of couples and of a communion open to the gift of children, which is the family community. The teachings of the faith on marriage is to be presented in an articulate and efficacious manner, so that it might reach hearts and transform them in accordance with God’s will, made manifest in Jesus Christ.
The citation of biblical sources on marriage and family in this document are essential references only. The same is true for documentation from the Magisterium which is limited to that of a universal character, including some texts from the Pontifical Council for the Family. It will be left to the bishop-participants at the synod to cite documents from their own episcopal assemblies.
In every age, and in the many different cultures, the teaching of the Pastors has been clear nor has there been lacking the concrete testimony of believers — men and women — in very diverse circumstances who have lived the Gospel of the family as an inestimable gift for their life and their children. The commitment for the next Extraordinary Synod is inspired and sustained by the desire to communicate this message with greater incisiveness, in the hope that “the treasure of revelation, entrusted to the Church, more and more fill the hearts of each person” (DV, 26).

The Plan of God, Creator and Redeemer
The beauty of the biblical message on the family has its roots in the creation of man and woman, both made in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:24-31; 2:4-25). Bound together by an indissoluble sacramental bond, those who are married experience the beauty of love, fatherhood, motherhood, and the supreme dignity of participating in this way in the creative work of God.
In the gift of the fruit of their union, they assume the responsibility of raising and educating other persons for the future of humankind. Through procreation, man and woman fulfill in faith the vocation of being God’s collaborators in the protection of creation and the growth of the human family.
Blessed Pope John Paul II commented on this aspect in Familiaris consortio: “God created man in his own image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26, 27): calling him to existence through love, he called him at the same time for love. God is love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8) and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image and continually keeping it in being, God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion (Gaudium et spes, 12). Love is therefore the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being”(FC, 11).
The plan of God the creator, which was disrupted by original sin (cf. Gen 3:1-24), has revealed itself throughout history in the events of the chosen people up to the fullness of time, when, with the incarnation of the Son of God, not only was the divine will for salvation confirmed, but also the redemption offering the grace to follow this same will.
The Son of God, the Word made flesh (cf. Jn 1:14) in the womb of the Virgin Mother, lived and grew up in the family of Nazareth and participated at the wedding at Cana, where he added importance to the festivities with the first of his “signs” (cf. Jn 2:1-11). In joy, he welcomed his reception in the families of his disciples (cf. Mk 1:29-31; 2:13-17) and consoled the bereaved family of his friends in Bethany (cf. Lk 10:38- 42; Jn 11:1-44 ).
Jesus Christ restored the beauty of matrimony, proposing once again the one plan of God which was abandoned because of the hardness of the human heart, even within the tradition of the people of Israel (cf. Mt 5:31-32; 19:3-12; Mk 10:1-12; Lk 16:18). Returning to the beginning, Jesus taught the unity and faithfulness of the husband and wife, refuting the practice of repudiation and adultery.
Precisely through the extraordinary beauty of human love — already celebrated in a heightened manner inspired by the Song of Songs, and the bond of marriage called for and defended by the prophets like Hosea (cf. Hosea 1:2, 3.3) and Malachi (cf. Mal 2:13-16) — , Jesus affirmed the original dignity of the married love of man and woman.

The Church's Teaching on the Family
Even in the early Christian community the family appeared as the “domestic church” (cf. CCC, 1655): In the so-called “family canons” of the Apostolic letters of the New Testament, the great family of the ancient world is identified as the place of a profound solidarity between husbands and wives, between parents and children, and between the wealthy and the poor (cf. Eph 5:21-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1; 1 Tim 2:8-15; Titus 2:1-10; 1 Pt 2:13-3:7; cf. also the Letter to Philemon). In particular, the Letter to the Ephesians recognized the nuptial love between man and woman as “the great mystery”, making present in the world the love of Christ and the Church (cf. Eph 5:31-32 ).
Over the centuries, especially in modern times to the present, the Church has not failed to continually teach and develop her doctrine on the family and marriage which founded her. One of its highest expressions has been proposed by the Second Vatican Council in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, which, in treating certain pressing problems, dedicated an entire chapter to the promotion of the dignity of marriage and the family, as seen in the description of their value for the constitution of society: “the family, in which the various generations come together and help one another grow wiser and harmonize personal rights with the other requirements of social life, is the very foundation of society” (GS, 52). Particularly striking is its appeal for a Christ-centered spirituality in the spouses’ life of faith: "Let the spouses themselves, made to the image of the living God and enjoying the authentic dignity of persons, be joined to one another in equal affection, harmony of mind and the work of mutual sanctification. Thus, following Christ who is the principle of life, by the sacrifices and joys of their vocation and through their faithful love, married people can become witnesses of the mystery of love which the Lord revealed to the world by his dying and his rising up to life again”(GS, 52 ).
After the Second Vatican Council, the successors of St. Peter enriched this teaching on marriage and the family, especially Pope Paul VI with the Enyclical Humanae vitae, which offers specific principles and guidelines. Subsequently, in his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, Pope John Paul II insisted on proposing the divine plan in the basic truths of married love and the family: “The only ‘place’ in which this self-giving in its whole truth is made possible is marriage, the covenant of conjugal love freely and consciously chosen, whereby man and woman accept the intimate community of life and love willed by God himself(cf. Gaudium et spes, 48) which only in this light manifests its true meaning. The institution of marriage is not an undue interference by society or authority, nor the extrinsic imposition of a form. Rather it is an interior requirement of the covenant of conjugal love which is publicly affirmed as unique and exclusive, in order to live in complete fidelity to the plan of God, the Creator. A person's freedom, far from being restricted by this fidelity, is secured against every form of subjectivism or relativism and is made a sharer in creative Wisdom” (FC, 11).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church gathers together the fundamental aspects of this teaching: “The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament [cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Gaudium et spes, 48; Code of Canon Law, 1055, 1]”(CCC 1660).
The doctrine presented in the Catechism touches on both theological principles and moral behaviours, developed under two separate headings: The Sacrament of Matrimony (nos. 1601-1658) and The Sixth Commandment (nos. 2331-2391). An attentive reading of these sections of the Catechism provides an updated understanding of the doctrine of faith, which supports the Church’s work in the face of modern-day challenges. The Church’s pastoral ministry finds inspiration in the truth of marriage viewed as part of the plan of God, who created man and woman and, in the fullness of time, revealed in Jesus the completeness of spousal love elevated to the level of sacrament. Christian marriage founded on consensus is also endowed with its own effects such as the goods and duties of the spouses. At the same time, marriage is not immune from the effects of sin (cf. Gen 3:1-24), which can cause deep wounds and even abuses to the dignity of the sacrament.
The recent encyclical of Pope Francis, Lumen fidei, speaks of the family in the context of a reflection on how faith reveals “just how firm the bonds between people can be when God is present in their midst” (LF, 50). “The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan. Grounded in this love, a man and a woman can promise each other mutual love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many features of faith. Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love” (LF, 52). “Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God’s faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness” ( LF, 53).

III. Questions
The following series of questions allows the particular Churches to participate actively in the preparation of the Extraordinary Synod, whose purpose is to proclaim the Gospel in the context of the pastoral challenges facing the family today.
1. The Diffusion of the Teachings on the Family in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s Magisterium
a) Describe how the Catholic Church’s teachings on the value of the family contained in the Bible, Gaudium et spes, Familiaris consortio and other documents of the post-conciliar Magisterium is understood by people today? What formation is given to our people on the Church’s teaching on family life?
b) In those cases where the Church's teaching is known, is it accepted fully or are there difficulties in putting it into practice? If so, what are they?
c) How widespread is the Church's teaching in pastoral programmes at the national, diocesan and parish levels? What catechesis is done on the family?
d ) To what extent — and what aspects in particular — is this teaching actually known, accepted, rejected and/or criticized in areas outside the Church? What are the cultural factors which hinder the full reception of the Church’s teaching on the family?

2. Marriage according to the Natural Law
a) What place does the idea of the natural law have in the cultural areas of society: in institutions, education, academic circles and among the people at large? What anthropological ideas underlie the discussion on the natural basis of the family?
b) Is the idea of the natural law in the union between a man and a woman commonly accepted as such by the baptized in general?
c) How is the theory and practice of natural law in the union between man and woman challenged in light of the formation of a family? How is it proposed and developed in civil and Church institutions?
d) In cases where non-practicing Catholics or declared non-believers request the celebration of marriage, describe how this pastoral challenge is dealt with?

3. The Pastoral Care of the Family in Evangelization
a) What experiences have emerged in recent decades regarding marriage preparation? What efforts are there to stimulate the task of evangelization of the couple and of the family? How can an awareness of the family as the "domestic Church" be promoted?
b) How successful have you been in proposing a manner of praying within the family which can withstand life’s complexities and today’s culture?
c) In the current generational crisis, how have Christian families been able to fulfill their vocation of transmitting the faith?
d) In what way have the local Churches and movements on family spirituality been able to create ways of acting which are exemplary?
e) What specific contribution can couples and families make to spreading a credible and holistic idea of the couple and the Christian family today?
f) What pastoral care has the Church provided in supporting couples in formation and couples in crisis situations?

4. Pastoral Care in Certain Difficult Marital Situations
a) Is cohabitation ad experimentum a pastoral reality in your particular Church? Can you approximate a percentage?
b) Do unions which are not recognized either religiously or civilly exist? Are reliable statistics available?
c) Are separated couples and those divorced and remarried a pastoral reality in your particular Church? Can you approximate a percentage? How do you deal with this situation in appropriate pastoral programmes?
d) In all the above cases, how do the baptized live in this irregular situation? Are aware of it? Are they simply indifferent? Do they feel marginalized or suffer from the impossibility of receiving the sacraments?
e) What questions do divorced and remarried people pose to the Church concerning the Sacraments of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation? Among those persons who find themselves in these situations, how many ask for these sacraments?
f ) Could a simplification of canonical practice in recognizing a declaration of nullity of the marriage bond provide a positive contribution to solving the problems of the persons involved? If yes, what form would it take?
g) Does a ministry exist to attend to these cases? Describe this pastoral ministry? Do such programmes exist on the national and diocesan levels? How is God’s mercy proclaimed to separated couples and those divorced and remarried and how does the Church put into practice her support for them in their journey of faith?

5. On Unions of Persons of the Same Sex
a) Is there a law in your country recognizing civil unions for people of the same-sex and equating it in some way to marriage?
b) What is the attitude of the local and particular Churches towards both the State as the promoter of civil unions between persons of the same sex and the people involved in this type of union?
c) What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live in these types of union?
d) In the case of unions of persons of the same sex who have adopted children, what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the faith?

6. The Education of Children in Irregular Marriages
a) What is the estimated proportion of children and adolescents in these cases, as regards children who are born and raised in regularly constituted families?
b) How do parents in these situations approach the Church? What do they ask? Do they request the sacraments only or do they also want catechesis and the general teaching of religion?
c) How do the particular Churches attempt to meet the needs of the parents of these children to provide them with a Christian education?
d) What is the sacramental practice in these cases: preparation, administration of the sacrament and the accompaniment?
7. The Openness of the Married Couple to Life
a) What knowledge do Christians have today of the teachings of Humanae vitae on responsible parenthood? Are they aware of how morally to evaluate the different methods of family planning? Could any insights be suggested in this regard pastorally?
b) Is this moral teaching accepted? What aspects pose the most difficulties in a large majority of couple’s accepting this teaching?
c) What natural methods are promoted by the particular Churches to help spouses put into practice the teachings of Humanae vitae?
d) What is your experience on this subject in the practice of the Sacrament of Penance and participation at the Eucharist?
e) What differences are seen in this regard between the Church’s teaching and civic education?
f) How can a more open attitude towards having children be fostered? How can an increase in births be promoted?

8. The Relationship Between the Family and the Person
a) Jesus Christ reveals the mystery and vocation of the human person. How can the family be a privileged place for this to happen?
b) What critical situations in the family today can obstruct a person’s encounter with Christ?
c) To what extent do the many crisis of faith which people can experience affect family life?

9. Other Challenges and Proposals
What other challenges or proposals related to the topics in the above questions do you consider urgent and useful to treat?
SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA


RIP UNDERGROUND BISHOP PETER GUANDONG IN CHINA

UCAN REPORT: Peter Liu Guandong lived last 16 years of his life in hiding
<p><span lang="EN-US">Bishop Peter Liu Guandong of Yixian in 2006</span></p>
Bishop Peter Liu Guandong of Yixian in 2006
  • ucanews.com reporter, Yixian
  • China
  • Retired Bishop Peter Liu Guandong of Yixian, former acting president of the “underground” Church community’s bishops’ conference, died on October 28 at the age of 94.
The Vatican-approved bishop, who escaped house arrest and lived in hiding for the last 16 years of his life, was buried in secret the following day by priests and laypeople, according to Church sources in Yixian, Hebei province.
An underground priest, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told ucanews.com that Bishop Liu was “a key figure” in the establishment of the bishops’ conference in 1989, which “contributed to the continual existence in China of a Church that is loyal to the Holy See.”
Born in 1919, Bishop Liu entered the seminary in 1935 and was ordained a priest in 1945.
In 1955, he was arrested and imprisoned for two years for opposing the independent Church movement.
In 1958, he was arrested again and received a life sentence for opposing the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, a government-sanctioned body that promotes an independent Church. When he was eventually released in 1981, he began to evangelize across China.
Liu was consecrated coadjutor bishop of Yixian in 1982 and became the ordinary four years later.
After suffering a stroke in 1994, he resigned from all his posts, but was placed under house arrest in Weigezhuang, his hometown.
In 1997, when he was unable to take care of himself, several priests managed to sneak him past his guards and rescue him from house arrest. He spent his remaining years in hiding, the sources said.
His successor Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang was detained by the authorities in 2001. He has not been seen since.
SHARED FROM UCAN NEWS

SUPER-TYPHOON HITS PHILIPPINES - MILLIONS IN DANGER

ASIA NEWS REPORT: Three victims so far, but the toll is expected to rise. Before touching ground Yolanda, this is how it has been renamed in the country, registered wind gusts up to 380 km / h. Satellite images show it to be the "most powerful ever". Flood risks due to heavy rains that have fallen in matter of a few hours.


Manila ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - The super-typhoon Haiyan has reached the heart of the Philippines, with winds exceeding 235 km / h and gusts that have peaked to nearly 300 km / h , causing three victims so far, but the number is expected to increase in the next few hours . According to meteorologists , if the first images sent to the satellites are confirmed, it could be " the most powerful of all time " to have touched the mainland. Millions of people affected by the passage of the typhoon, dubbed Yolanda in the country, have sought refuge in shelters or safer places scattered in 30 provinces in a state of maximum alert . The area is still struggling to recover from the serious devastation caused by the 7.3 magnitude earthquake in October last with hundreds killed and wounded , as well as thousands of displaced people .

Authorities warn that more than 12 million people are at risk, along a front of more than 600 km in the central eastern coast of the Philippines. Yolanda is the 25th typhoon to strike the country in 2013 and , according to experts , could be even more devastating than Botha , which hit the south of the country in 2012 , causing at least a thousand deaths and over a billion dollars in damages .

The government in Manila - the capital should be spared from the typhoon - has set itself the goal of "zero casualties" ; thousands of people have been evacuated from the coast,  all seas vessels have been recalled to port, maritime transport suspended and schools and offices closed . However, at present it is difficult to understand if the goal of the executive led by President Benigno Aquino will be successfully reached, or just contain the number of deaths .

Telephone connections are disrupted in many areas and it is not possible to ascertain what the real conditions of the areas where Yolanda has already passed are.  They typhoon has touched down five times since ( in very early morning today ) it reached the Philippines . So far, no information has been collected and impromptu messages sent online by members of civil protection or rescue teams confirm the "devastating" proportions of Haiyan .

Experts from the U.S. typhoon alert Centers have reported that, according to their calculations, before reaching the mainland the typhoon registered wind gusts which reached to 379 km per hour. From the island of Leyte and Samar waves of up to 5 meters were visible. In the 600 km diameter formed by Yolanda between 10 and 20 millimeters of rain have fallen per hour , increasing the danger of flooding and landslides.

In August, two people died and thousands were left homeless in the north of the Philippines in the passage of the typhoon Utor , which hit the north of the country .Church and Catholic organizations immediately set to work to bring relief to the people , in a nation hit by at least 20 typhoons each year ( Utor was the 13th ) . Moreover typhoons , tropical storms , hurricanes are very frequent during the summer season in many parts of east and south- east Asia, where the warm, moist air, combined with the low pressure creates the ideal conditions for the formation of these atmospheric phenomena. In 2001 , the passage of Typhoon Washi in the Philippines caused 1,200 deaths and 300,000 displaced , and destroyed over 10,000 homes.


TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. NOV. 8, 2013

Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 489

Reading 1                ROM 15:14-21

I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters,
that you yourselves are full of goodness,
filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.
But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you,
because of the grace given me by God
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles
in performing the priestly service of the Gospel of God,
so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable,
sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God.
For I will not dare to speak of anything
except what Christ has accomplished through me
to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed,
by the power of signs and wonders,
by the power of the Spirit of God,
so that from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum
I have finished preaching the Gospel of Christ.
Thus I aspire to proclaim the Gospel
not where Christ has already been named,
so that I do not build on another’s foundation,
but as it is written:

Those who have never been told of him shall see,
and those who have never heard of him shall understand.

Responsorial Psalm                         PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. (see 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

Gospel                            LK 16:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.”

TODAY'S SAINT: NOV. 8: FOUR CROWNED MARTYRS

Four Crowned Martyrs
Feast: November 8
Information:
Feast Day:
November 8

The old guidebooks to the tombs of the Roman martyrs make mention, in connection with the catacomb of Sts. Peter and Marcellinus on the Via Labicana, of the Four Crowned Martyrs (Quatuor Coronati), at whose grave the pilgrims were wont to worship (De Rossi, Roma sotterranea, I, 178-79). One of these itineraries, the "Epitome libri de locis sanctorum martyrum", adds the names of the four martyrs (in reality five): "IV Coronati, id est Claudius, Nicostratus, Simpronianus, Castorius, Simplicitus". These are the names of five martyrs, sculptors in the quarries of Pannonia (now a part of Austria-Hungary, south-west of the Danube), who gave up their lives for their Faith in the reign of Diocletian. The Acts of these martyrs, written by a revenue officer named Porphyrius probably in the fourth century, relates of the five sculptors that, although they raised no objections to executing such profane images as Victoria, Cupid, and the Chariot of the Sun, they refused to make a statue of Æsculapius for a heathen temple. For this they were condemned to death as Christians. They were put into leaden caskets and drowned in the River Save. This happened towards the end of 305. The foregoing account of the martyrdom of the five sculptors of Pannonia is substantially authentic; but later on a legend sprang up at Rome concerning the Quatuor Coronati, according to which four Christian soldiers (cornicularii) suffered martyrdom at Rome during the reign of Diocletian, two years after the death of the five sculptors. Their offence consisted in refusing to offer sacrifice to the image of Æsculapius. The bodies of the martyrs were interred at St. Sebastian and Pope Melchiades at the third milestone on the Via Labicana, in a sandpit where rested the remains of others who had perished for the Faith. Since the names of the four martyred soldiers could not be authentically established, Pope Melchiades commanded that, the date of their death (8 November) being the same as that of the Pannonian sculptors, their anniversary should be celebrated on that day, under the names of Sts. Claudius, Nicostratus, Symphorianus, Castor, and Simplicius. This report has no historic foundation. It is merely a tentative explanation of the name Quatuor Coronati, a name given to a group of really authenticated martyrs who were buried and venerated in the catatomb of Sts. Peter and Marcellinus, the real origin of which, however, is not known. They were classed with the five martyrs of Pannonia in a purely external relationship. Numerous manuscripts on the legend as well as the Roman Martyrology give the names of the Four Crowned Martyrs, supposed to have been revealed at a later date, as Secundus, Severianus, Carpoforus, and Victorius. But these four martyrs were not buried in Rome, but in the catacomb of Albano; their feast was celebrated on 7 August, under which date it is cited in the Roman Calender of Feasts of 354. These martyrs of Albano have no connection with the Roman martyrs described above. Of the four Crowned Martyrs we know only that they suffered death for the Faith and the place where they were buried. They evidently were held in great veneration at Rome, since in the fourth and fifth century a basilica was erected and dedicated in the Caelian Hill, probably in the neighbourhood of spot where tradition located their execution. This became one of the titular churches of Rome, was restored several times and still stands. It is first mentioned among the signatures of a Roman council in 595. Pope Leo IV ordered the relics removed, about 850, from the Via Labicana to the church dedicated to their memory, together with the relics of the five Pannonian martyrs, which had been brought to Rome at some period now unknown. Both group of maryrs are commemorated on 8 November.

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