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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Catholic News World : Saturday February 7, 2015 - Share!

2015


Latest News from #Vatican Information Service and #PopeFrancis

06-02-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 027 

Summary
- To Italian prefects: fidelity to the law and scrupulous respect for the rights of the person
- Francis at the concluding session of Scholas Occurrentes: the young are the future
- Consistory on 14 February and courtesy visits to the new cardinals
- Showers and barber under Bernini's Colonnade for “homeless pilgrims”
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
To Italian prefects: fidelity to the law and scrupulous respect for the rights of the person
Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Clementine Hall the Pope received in audience the prefects (governmental representatives) of various Italian cities. In his address, he remarked that their work “implies tenacious dedication to duty and an exhaustive knowledge of relevant issues, along with the flexibility necessary to face the innumerable practical cases that emerge, each one with its own peculiarities”.
Pope Francis recalled that in recent years, during which migration has had a particular impact, partly as a result of “an increase throughout the world of violent conflicts with their tragic consequences for the people and the economies of many countries”, there has been a need for particular delicacy and competence in relation to immigration. The prefects are faced with “the need to identify in the everyday management of situations, frequently in emergencies, the correct application of norms in order to guarantee, along with fidelity to the dictates of the law and current legislation, scrupulous respect for the fundamental rights of every human being”.
“In this area, as in many others, fruitful collaboration between the Prefectures, dioceses and parishes is of great help; collaboration which, with respect for distinct competences, deserves confirmation, recognition and further development. The Church, as a divine and human entity, works in society in the service of people based on the teaching of Christ and, wishing to carry out her educational and charitable mission in sincere collaboration with the institutions of the State for the development of humanity and the good of the country, is pleased to find in the Prefectures one of the fields in which this synergy for the good of all citizens is made particularly tangible”.
The Holy Father went on to note that obedience to the law and the criteria of humanity at its foundations, alongside loyalty to institutions, constitute the indispensable framework within which the prefects carry out their work, and are attitudes favourable to the assumption of responsibility. “The crisis of authority experienced by our society in various fields, both public and private and with wide-ranging consequences, especially for the education of the younger generations, numbers among its causes the lack of these fundamental dispositions towards obedience, listening and patience. Furthermore, the exercise of authority always has as its aim the attainment of the common good, finding its most intimate reason for existence and the very possibility of its effectiveness in placing itself in the service of those over whom authority is held”.
He concluded, “You are therefore called to exercise your professionalism and your humanity, your knowledge and your prudence, without discouragement or pessimism, knowing however that you will not be faced with abstract questions but rather the real face of men and women with their problems and their hopes, that in these years of uncertainty and economic difficulty have become even more pressing”.
Francis at the concluding session of Scholas Occurrentes: the young are the future
Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon Pope Francis participated in the closing ceremony of the Fourth World Congress organised by Scholas Occurrentes, held in the Vatican from 2 to 5 February on the theme “Responsibility of all in education for a culture of encounter”. The international network of schools, “Scholas Occurrentes – schools for encounter” was established with a small number of children in Buenos Aires at the behest of the then-Archbishop Bergoglio and currently involves four hundred state and religious schools in five continents, linked through sports, art and technology. During the ceremony, Pope Francis held a video-conference with seven disabled children from different parts of the world, who whom he said, “Each one of us has a treasure inside. If we keep it locked up, it stays locked up inside; if we share it with others, the treasure multiplies with the treasure that comes from others”. The Pope also remarked that, thanks to them, we understand that “life is a beautiful treasure, but it makes sense only if it is given”.
He went on to speak of a “broken educational pact”. “Society, the family, and various institutions delegate education to teachers who, generally underpaid, bear the burden of this responsibility and are berated if the outcome is not successful; however, no-one looks to the various institutions that have broken the educational pact, who have delegated it to the professionalism of teachers”. He paid homage to those teachers “who have found themselves with this hot potato in their hands and have made efforts to keep going”.
Francis explained that the aim of Scholas Occurrentes is to reintegrate the efforts of all in education, and to harmoniously rebuild the educational pact, “as only in this way, if all those of us who are responsible for the education of our young act in together, can we change education”. He also emphasised the importance of “harmonising the language of the head with that of the heart and of the hands, so that a person, a boy or a girl, thinks about what he feels and does, feels what he thinks and does, and does what he feels and thinks”.
He highlighted every person and every people's search for “the beauty we create with our art, our music, our painting, our sculpture, our literature. Educate in beauty, because harmony means beauty, and we cannot achieve harmony in our educational system without having this perception of beauty”. He concluded by thanking Scholas Occurrentes for its achievements and, while he acknowledged that many problems remained to be solved, he encouraged the organisation to continue its work. “Joint work and monitoring are necessary, so that this spark may become a flame, and may help to rebuild and harmonise the educational pact. Those who benefit from this are the young, and the young are the future”.
Consistory on 14 February and courtesy visits to the new cardinals
Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – On Saturday 14 February in St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father will preside at an Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new cardinals and the canonisation of Blessed Jeanne-Emilie De Villeneuve, foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Castres, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified (nee Maryam Baouardy) professed nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites and Blesseed Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas (nee Maryam Sultanah), co-foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Jerusalem of the Latins.
On the same day, in the afternoon, the courtesy visits to the new cardinals will take place in the locations indicated below:
Paul VI Hall
Atrium: Cardinals Manuel Jose Macario do Nascimento Clemente; Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, C.M; John Atcherley Dew; Edoardo Menichelli; Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon and Alberto Suarez Inda;
Hall: Cardinals Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B. ;Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij; Francesco Montenegro; Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, S.D.B; Ricardo Blazquez Perez; Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, O.A.R; Arlindo Gomes Furtad and Soane Patita Paini Mafi;
Apostolic Palace
Sala Regia: Cardinals Dominique Mamberti and Luigi De Magistris;
Sala Ducal: Cardinals Karl-Joseph Rauber, Luis Hector Villalba and Julio Duarte Langa.
On Sunday 15 February, Pope Francis concelebrates Holy Mass with all the cardinals in St. Peter's Basilica at 10 a.m.
Showers and barber under Bernini's Colonnade for “homeless pilgrims”
Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – In recent days work has been concluded for the installation of new showers below Bernini’s Colonnade, thus completing an extensive project to provide this service for the poor of the city of Rome through the participating parishes, especially those where there already exist canteens for the poor or where there is a greater concentration of homeless people.
The project was planned, guided and implemented by the technicians and employees of the Governorate of Vatican City State: three showers and a small “barbershop” have been incorporated in the complete renovation of a section of the bathrooms present under the right wing of the Colonnade.
This has been achieved with great sobriety and dignity, but also using modern techniques: every washbasin is equipped with hot water, a soap dispenser and a hot air jet for drying hands, all photocell-activated; instead of tiles, a special resin has been used to coat the walls, which is easy to wash and ensures optimum hygiene.
The showers will be available for use every day, except on Wednesday during the general audience and during celebrations in St. Peter’s Square and in the Basilica. On Monday, Thursday and Saturday the service and management of the showers is ensured by volunteers from UNITALSI – Rome Section. The barber will be available on Monday from 9 am to 3 pm. The service is provided by various voluntary barbers and final year students from a hairdressing school in Rome.
Our homeless pilgrims who wish to use the shower will receive a complete change of underwear and a kit including a towel, soap, toothpaste, a razor, shaving cream and deodorant, in accordance with their specific needs. The majority of the material will be offered free of charge by several companies and private individuals who, having heard of this project, have offered to share their own resources with the needy. The remainder of the material will be purchased as necessary by the Almoner of His Holiness using proceeds from the distribution of parchments for Papal Blessings.
On certain days of the week the poor will be received by volunteers, starting with the Sisters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Albertine Sisters who assist the Swiss Guard, the Vincentian Sisters and many other kind-hearted volunteers in Rome who have offered their time and collaboration.
The Centro Televisivo Vaticano and the Photographic Service of L’Osservatore Romano will produce video footage and photographs of the new services and will make them available, from their offices, upon request.
The Almoner wishes to offer heartfelt thanks to all the Parishes that have participated in this project and, in particular, all those who have contributed to producing the showers below the Colonnade and who will endeavour in various ways to their use to assist the poor.
Audiences
Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy;
- His Beatitude Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites;
- Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru;
- Bishop Heinz Wilhelm Steckling of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- appointed Fr. Jozef Roszynski, S.V.D., as bishop of Wewak (area 36,917, population 367,000, Catholics 224,000, priests 39, religious 90), Papua New Guinea. The bishop-elect was born in Nidzica, Poland in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1989. He studied at the Divine Word University, Papua New Guinea and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest in parishes in Warabung, Wirui and Wewak; member of the provincial council of the Verbites in Papua New Guinea; superior of the the Verbites in the district of Wewak; member of commissions created by the apostolic administrator for the management of finances and for the pastoral care of the vacant diocese in Wewak. He is currently a missionary in the same diocese.
- Fr. Denis Chidi Isizoh as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Onitsha (area 2,968, population 2,642,000, Catholics 1,761,000, priests 336, religious 730), Nigeria. The bishop-elect was born in Ogbunike, Japan in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1985. He studied Holy Scriptures at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, and studied for a doctorate in biblical theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served as a formator at the “All Hallows” minor seminary of Onitsha and chaplain of various institutes and schools. He is currently secretary and assistant to Cardinal Francis Arinze and official at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Supreme Court of Canada strikes down existing protections against assisted Suicide



February 6, 2015 (Ottawa) — Today the Supreme Court of Canada has struck down Canada’s existing laws against assisted suicide which protected all Canadians including the elderly, the vulnerable and the disabled.
The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada has researched the effects of legalization in four jurisdictions that have legalized euthanasia/assisted suicide. These are Belgium (2002), the Netherlands (2002), Oregon (1997) and Washington State (2009).
Some of our findings include:

Belgium: A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that 32 percent of euthanasia deaths in Belgium happened without the express request of the patient. These patients were predominantly 80 years or older who were mostly in a coma or had dementia. Between 2002 and 2009, only 5 percent of euthanasia requests were denied.

Oregon: Since 2005, the number of deaths by assisted suicide has doubled. Prescriptions to kill patients grew by 76 percent, whereas the population grew by only seven percent.

Washington: Between 2009 and 2012, the number of deaths by assisted suicide grew by 130 percent while Washington’s population grew only 18 percent. Their law, which states that to qualify a person must be 18, competent and have a diagnosed incurable and irreversible disease with six months to live, has been deemed too restrictive. The push is on to make assisted suicide available to those who judge their suffering unbearable but are not terminally ill, as well as those who are not competent but have previously asked for assisted suicide in an advanced directive.

The Netherlands: The number of deaths by euthanasia doubled between 2008 and 2013. Under the Groningen Protocol, the right to assisted suicide has expanded to include babies. This protocol regulates the process of killing infants with life threatening illness and/or the prospect of great suffering.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada sees no evidence to believe “suicide creep” won’t also happen in Canada.
Furthermore, this decision will harm families, as we have noted in the past. What has been promoted as an individual right will have profound family and community effects.
Suffering can be alleviated through excellent palliative care, an area where Canadians are leaders in the field. Most Canadians currently do not have access to palliative care.

For further reading and for sources for the above data points, please check No second chancesWhat can the Dutch experience with euthanasia teach Canadaand The illusion of limiting legalized euthanasia.
IMFC Release

#PopeFrancis on Role of Women "...so that we can see many women involved in pastoral responsibilities"


Pope Francis meets with participants of the Pontifical Council for Culture plenary meeting on women - OSS_ROM
07/02/2015 12:

(Vatican Radio) The challenge to find new ways for women to be “full participants in the various areas of social and ecclesial life…can no longer be postponed,” said Pope Francis.
Speaking on Saturday with members of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pope said a “more widespread and incisive female presence” in the Church “is desirable, so that we can see many women involved in pastoral responsibilities, in the accompaniment of persons, families and groups, as well as in theological reflection.”Council members were in Rome, from February 4 to 7, for their plenary assembly. The focus of this year’s plenary was “Women’s Cultures: Equality and Difference.”
The Pope said he is “convinced of the urgency of offering spaces to women in the life of the Church…, taking into account the specific and changing cultural and social sensitivities.”
The Pope noted, however, that  the “irreplaceable role of women in the family” cannot be forgotten. While the “effective presence of women” in the public sphere, in decision-making and in the world of work must be encouraged and promoted, so must their “presence and preferential attention for the family” be upheld.
Women must not be left alone to carry the burden of deciding between the family and an effective presence in public life, he said.
“Rather,” he continued, “all institutions, including the ecclesial community, are called to ensure freedom of choice for women, so that they have the possibility to take on social and ecclesial responsibilities in a way that is in harmony with family life.”
Referring to the perception and treatment of a woman’s body in culture and society, the Pope said  while it recalls the beauty and harmony that God granted the female body, it also recalls “the painful wounds” inflicted on women, “sometimes with brutal violence.”
In a reference to human trafficking and domestic violence, the Pope said, “the female body is unfortunately, not infrequently, attacked and disfigured, even by those who should be guardians and companions in life.”
“The many forms of slavery, of commodification, of mutilation of women's bodies, oblige us therefore to work to defeat this form of degradation, which reduces (a woman’s body) to a mere object to sell on various markets,” he emphasized.
The Pope said he also wished to draw attention to “the painful situation of so many poor women, forced to live in dangerous and exploitative conditions,” who are “relegated to the margins of society and made victims of a culture of waste.”
Below is the Vatican Radio translation of the main body of the Pope’s message:
...The topic that you chose is very close to my heart and already, on different occasions, I have been able to touch upon it and invite to further develop it. It consists of studying new criteria and ways, so that women feel not as guests, but as full participants in the various areas of social and ecclesial life. This is a challenge that can no longer be postponed. I say to the leaders of the Christian communities here, representing the universal Church, but also to laywomen and laymen, engaged in different ways in culture, education, economics, politics, the world of work, families, religious institutions. ...
The first theme is: Between equality and difference: seeking a balance. This aspect should not be approached ideologically, because the "lens" of ideology impedes one from seeing reality well. The equality and difference of women—like men—are perceived better from the perspective of “with”, of relationship, than “against”.  For some time, we have left behind us, at least in Western societies, the model of the social subordination of women to men, a secular model which, however, has never been spent of all its negative effects.
We have also overcome a second model, that of mere equality, applied mechanically, and of absolute equality. A new paradigm was configured, that of reciprocity and in equivalence and in difference. The man-woman relationship, therefore, should recognize that both are necessary in that they possess, yes, an identical nature, but with their own modality. One is necessary to the other, and vice versa, so as to truly fulfill the fullness of the person.
The second theme: "Generativity" as symbolic code. This turns an intense look to all mothers, and widens the horizon to the transmission and to the protection of life, not limited to the biological sphere, which we could synthesize with four verbs: desire, give birth to, take care of and let go.
In this context, I have in mind and I encourage the contribution of many women who work in the family, in the field of faith education, in pastoral activity, in education, but also in social, cultural and economic structures. You, women, know how to show the tender face of God, his mercy, which translates in the availability to give time more than to occupy spaces, to welcome rather than to exclude. In this sense, I like to describe the feminine dimension of the Church as a welcoming womb that regenerates life.
The third theme: The female body, between culture and biology, recalls for us the beauty and harmony of the body that God has given to women, but also the painful wounds inflicted, sometimes with brutal violence, to them as women. Symbol of life, the female body is, unfortunately, not infrequently, attacked and disfigured, even by those who should be guardians and companions in life.
The many forms of slavery, of commodification, of mutilation of women's bodies, oblige us therefore to work to defeat this form of degradation, which reduces (a woman’s body) to a mere object to sell on various markets. I wish to draw attention, in this context, on the painful situation of so many poor women, forced to live in dangerous and exploitative conditions, relegated to the margins of society and made victims of a culture of waste.
The fourth theme: Women and religion: fleeing or seeking participation in the life of the Church? Here, believers are challenged in a special way. I am convinced of the urgency of offering spaces to women in the life of the Church and to welcome them, taking into account the specific and changing cultural and social sensitivities. Therefore, a more widespread and incisive female presence in the Community is desirable, so that we can see many women involved in pastoral responsibilities, in the accompaniment of persons, families and groups, as well as in theological reflection.
We cannot forget the irreplaceable role of women in the family. The qualities of gentleness, of particular sensitivity and tenderness, which is abundant in the female soul, represent not only a genuine force for the life of families, for the irradiation of a climate of peace and harmony, but also a reality without which the human vocation would be unfeasible.
It is, furthermore, to encourage and to promote the effective presence of women in many areas of the public sphere, in the world of work and in places where the most important decisions are taken, and at the same time to uphold their presence and preferential attention, altogether special, in and for the family. We must not leave women alone to carry this burden and to make decisions. Rather, all institutions, including the ecclesial community, are called to ensure freedom of choice for women, so that they have the possibility to take on social and ecclesial responsibilities in a way that is in harmony with family life. Shared from Radio Vaticana

Today's Mass Readings : Saturday February 7, 2015

Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 328


Reading 1HEB 13:15-17, 20-21

Brothers and sisters:
Through Jesus, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise,
that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have;
God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.

Obey your leaders and defer to them,
for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account,
that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow,
for that would be of no advantage to you.

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead
the great shepherd of the sheep
by the Blood of the eternal covenant,
furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will.
May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Responsorial PsalmPS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

AlleluiaJN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 6:30-34

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.

#PopeFrancis warns Bishops of #Africa "May the Virgin Mary protect you and intercede.."


Pope Francis meets with representatives of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM). - OSS_ROM
07/02/2015 13:


(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis warned African bishops against new and unscrupulous forms of “colonization” such as the pursuit of success, riches, and power at all costs; but also fundamentalism and the distorted use of religion, and new ideologies that destroy the identity of persons and families. He was speaking to representatives of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).=Pope Francis told them it is the young people who are the future of Africa, and they need the witness of their pastors.  He said the most effective way to overcome the temptation to give in to harmful lifestyles is by investing in education.
“Education will also help to overcome a widespread mentality of injustice and violence, as well as ethnic divisions,” Pope Francis said.  “The greatest need is for a model of education which teaches the young to think critically and encourages growth in moral values.”
Pope Francis also warned against a breakdown of the family in Africa, and said the Church is called to evaluate and encourage every initiative to strengthen the family, “which is the real source of all forms of fraternity and the foundation and primary way of peace.”
The Holy Father also praised the work of missionaries and church personnel in helping the elderly and suffering on the continent, giving special mention to those who have given aid in the recent Ebola crisis in west Africa.
Pope Francis praised SECAM for attempting to provide “a common response to the new challenges facing the continent”, allowing the Church to “speak with one voice and to witness to her vocation as a sign and instrument of salvation, peace, dialogue and reconciliation.” 
He said to fulfil this mission, it is important that SECAM remain faithful to its identity as “a vibrant experience of communion and of service to the poorest of the poor.”
The full text of Pope Francis’ speech is below the video report


 Dear Brother Bishops,
                I am pleased to meet with you, the representatives of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, and to encourage your work.  SECAM was conceived and developed to be at the service of the local churches in Africa.  It seeks to provide a common response to the new challenges facing the continent, allowing the Church to speak with one voice and to witness to her vocation as a sign and instrument of salvation, peace, dialogue and reconciliation.  To fulfil this mission, it is important that SECAM remain faithful to its identity as a vibrant experience of communion and of service to the poorest of the poor.
                To this end, pastors must remain free from worldly and political concerns, that they continually strengthen the bonds of fraternal communion with the Successor of Peter (through cooperation with the Apostolic Nunciatures), and through easy and direct communication with other Church bodies.  At the same time, it is necessary to maintain the simple ecclesial experiences available to all, as well as streamlined pastoral structures.  Experience teaches that large bureaucratic structures approach problems in the abstract and risk distancing the Church from people. For this, it is important to be concrete: The concrete can touch reality.
                Above all, it is the youth who need your witness: Young people look to us. In Africa, the future is in the hands of the young, who need to be protected from new and unscrupulous forms of “colonization” such as the pursuit of success, riches, and power at all costs; but also fundamentalism and the distorted use of religion, and new ideologies that destroy the identity of persons and families. The most effective way to overcome the temptation to give in to harmful lifestyles is by investing in education.  Education will also help to overcome a widespread mentality of injustice and violence, as well as ethnic divisions.  The greatest need is for a model of education which teaches the young to think critically and encourages growth in moral values (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 64).  An important component in this educational process is the pastoral care of students: in Catholic or public schools there is a need to unite academic studies with the explicit proclamation of the Gospel (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 132-134).
                There are various reasons why we are seeing, also in Africa, a trend towards the breakdown of the family.  In response, the Church is called to evaluate and encourage every initiative to strengthen the family, which is the real source of all forms of fraternity and the foundation and primary way of peace (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Message for the XXVII World Day of Peace, 1 January 1994).  More recently, many priests, men and women religious as well as members of the lay faithful have admirably taken responsibility for the care of families, with a special concern for the elderly, the sick and the handicapped.  Even in the most distant and remote regions, your local Churches have proclaimed the Gospel of Life and, following the example of the Good Samaritan, have come to the help of those most in need.  A magnificent witness to charity has been given in response to the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus, which has struck many communities, parishes and hospitals.  Many African missionaries have generously given their lives by remaining close to those suffering from this disease.  This path must be followed with renewed apostolic zeal!  As followers of Christ, we cannot fail to be concerned for the welfare of the weakest; we must also draw the attention of society and the civil authorities to their plight. 
                Dear brothers, I express my appreciation for the invaluable contribution made by so many priests, men and women religious and lay faithful to the proclamation of the Gospel and the social advancement of your people.  SECAM is also a means of promoting respect for the law, so as to ensure that the ills of corruption and fatalism may be healed, and to encourage the efforts of Christians in society as a whole, always in view of the common good.  The great work of evangelization consists in striving to make the Gospel permeate every aspect of our lives so that we, in turn, can bring it to others.  For this reason, it must always be borne in mind that evangelization implies conversion, that is, interior renewal.  The process of purification, which is inherent in evangelization, means accepting the call of Christ to “repent and believe the Good News” (cf. Mk 1:15).  As a result of this conversion to salvation, not only individuals but the entire ecclesial community is transformed, and becomes an ever greater and more vital expression of faith and charity.
                May the light and the strength of the Holy Spirit sustain your pastoral efforts.  May the Virgin Mary protect you and intercede for you and for the entire continent of Africa.  To each of you, I give my Apostolic Blessing.  Please pray for me.

Saint February 7 : St. Colette of Corbie : Foundress of Colettine Poor Clares



Information:
Feast Day:February 7 or March 6
Born:
13 January 1381, at Corbie in Picardy, France
Died:6 March 1447, Ghent
Canonized:24 May 1807
FOUNDRESS OF THE COLETTINE POOR CLARES

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


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/C/stcoletteofcorbie.asp#ixzz1lkBI6YNp

Breaking News Iraq Terrorists blow Up Immaculate Virgin Church - One of the Oldest Christian Churches

As Jihadists destroy Mosul's Church of the Immaculate Virgin, Chaldeans get ready for unity synod in Baghdad
by Joseph Mahmoud
Attacked back in June, the historic building is now a mound of rubbles. In the capital, the Chaldean Church welcomes two new bishops, but the focus will be on its upcoming Synod and the issue of a rebellious US diocese. In Zakho, a thousand faithful attended the ordination of 5 deacons and 12 sub-deacons. For Mgr Rabban, it was a day of celebration for the community.


Baghdad (AsiaNews) - Islamic State militants blew up the Church of the Immaculate Virgin, one of the largest and oldest Chaldean churches in the old section of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, and now a jihadist stronghold.
Security sources from the Nineveh police district report that the destruction took place last Monday, but given the difficulty in communication with the jihadist-held city, the information leaked out only today.
Using a great quantity of explosives, caliphate militants blew up the historic building, one of the largest and oldest places of worships belonging to the Chaldean community in Iraq.
Local witnesses report that the terrorists "finished wiring the church with explosives this morning and detonated it, leaving widespread destruction in the church and neighbouring buildings."
Jihadists had already targeted the church Last June when they tore down and decapitate the statue of Our Lady that stood on the clock tower.
The Church of the Immaculate Virgin stood on the foundation of what was the most ancient Christian church in Mosul - which had already been destroyed in past centuries.
Since Iraq's invasion, it had withstood attacks by Islamic militants, including a car bomb on 17 January 2008 that injured two people. Not far from the church is the old Chaldean Bishop's Residence, which was itself attacked in 2004.
Meanwhile today in Baghdad, the leaders of the Chaldean Church celebrated the ordination of two new bishops - Mgr Emanuel Hana Shaleta, from the Chaldean Diocese of Saint Addai and Mgr Basel Yaldo, the new patriarchal vicar.
Church Fathers are also getting ready for their Extraordinary Synod, scheduled for tomorrow, an important step in a period of major difficulties for the historic Church of the East.
In addition to the tragic fate of hundreds of thousands of faithful who, in recent months, were forced to flee Mosul and villages in the Nineveh plain to escape the Islamic State group, the Church is also facing some rebellious priests, monks and a bishop.
Since 2013, Patriarch Raphael I Louis Sako and Bishop Sarhad Jammo of the Diocese of St. Peter the Apostle (San Diego, California) have been at loggerheads over several priests and monks who fled Iraq without permission of their bishops or superiors.
On several occasions, the patriarch called on the monks and priests to come back to Iraq, reminding the bishop of his duty of obedience, so far without results. On 17 February, the Vatican is expected to rule on the dispute, which does not seem easy to settle.
For his part, Mar Sako has announced that if his instructions continue to be disregarded, he would resign from the office of patriarch, because it would just be "an honorific title to which I am not attached."
Although the risk of a small schism within the Chaldean Church remains a real possibility, the Iraqi Church continues to show signs of vitality and hope.
This was best illustrated by the ordination of five deacons, 12 sub-deacons and various readers, of both sexes, some young, on 30 January in the Diocese of Zakho, in Iraqi Kurdistan. The local bishop, Mgr Rabban al Qas, led the solemn ceremony (pictured).

"The church was crowded, with a thousand faithful," the prelate told AsiaNews, "103 people involved in all" in the ordination ceremony. For the local community, "it was a day of celebration" an opportunity "to get together" and "bear witness to a strong living faith."
Shared from AsiaNewsIT

Breaking Death Toll in Ukraine reaches 5,300 in conflict with Russia - Please PRAY

In the past 3 weeks 200 people have been killed by Russia-sponsored rebel attacks in Ukraine. According, to reports there were attacks on marketplaces, hospitals, and kindergartens.  Many Ukrainians are fleeing to refugee camps away from military conflicts. UN blames, Russia-backed rebels for killing civilians. The Russian government propaganda has provoked an anti-West sentiment. US administration is considering providing defensive weapons to Kyiv. President Petro Poroshenko said his government badly needs aid to help prevent the rebel attacks in the crisis that has left 5,300 people dead. According to reports Russia was supplying the separatists "in a very significant way."
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