Wednesday, March 10, 2010



(VIS) - During today's general audience, celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope turned his attention to the written works and doctrine of St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio. St. Bonaventure "authentically and faithfully interpreted the figure of St. Francis of Assisi", said the Holy Father. He reacted against the "Spirituals" in the Franciscan Order who, drawing on the ideas of Joachim of Fiore, held that "with St. Francis the final phase of history had begun", and looked to the creation of a new Church of the Holy Spirit, "no longer tied to the structures of old". St. Bonaventure dealt with this question in his last work, "Hexaemeron", in which he explained that "God is one throughout history. ... History is one, even if it is a journey, a journey of progression. ... Jesus is the last word of God" and "there is no other Gospel, no other Church to be awaited. Thus the Order of St. Francis must also insert itself into this Church, into her faith and her hierarchical order. "This does not mean", Benedict XVI added, "that the Church is immobile, fixed in the past, that there is no room in her for novelty". With his famous expression "the works of Christ are not lacking but prospering", St. Bonaventure "explicitly formulated the idea of progress", certain "that the richness of the word of Christ is never ending and that it can also being new light to new generations. The uniqueness of Chris is also a guarantee of novelty and renewal in the future". The Holy Father noted how "today too opinions exist according to which the entire history of the Church in the second millennium is one of constant decline. Some people see this decline as having begun immediately after the New Testament". Yet, the Pope asked, "what would the Church be without the new spirituality of the Cistercians, the Franciscans and the Dominicans, the spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross? ... St. Bonaventure teaches us ... how to open ourselves to the new charisms given by Christ, in the Holy Spirit, to His Church". "Following Vatican Council II some people were convinced that all was new, that a new Church existed, that the pre-conciliar Church had come to an end and that there would be another, completely different Church, an anarchic utopia. Yet thanks to God the wise helmsmen of the ship of Christ, Paul VI and John Paul II, defended on the one hand the novelty of the Church and, at the same time, the uniqueness and continuity of the Church, which is always a Church of sinners, and always a place of grace". Going on then to comment of some of the saint's mystical and theological writings, "which were the core of his governance" of the Franciscan Order, the Pope identified the most important work as "Itinerarium mentis in Deum" (The Journey of the Mind to God). In that book St. Bonaventure explained that knowledge of God is a six-stage journey, culminating "in the full union with the Trinity through Jesus Christ, in imitation of St. Francis of Assisi". In St. Peter's Basilica, before today's general audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope met with a group of pilgrims from the Italian Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation, who were marking last October's beatification "of that outstanding Milanese priest". Referring to the "extraordinary activities" they undertake on behalf of "children in need, the disabled, the elderly, the terminally ill and in the vast field of assistance and healthcare", the Holy Father noted how "through your projects of solidarity you seek to continue the meritorious work begun by Blessed Carlo Gnocchi". "In this Year for Priests", the Pope concluded his remarks to the group, "the Church once again looks to him as a model to imitate. May his shining example support the efforts of those who dedicate themselves to serving the weakest, and arouse in priests the desire to rediscover and reinvigorate their awareness of the extraordinary gift of Grace that ordained ministry represents for the person who receives it, for the entire Church and for the world".AG/ST. BONAVENTURE/... VIS 100310 (710)

APPEALS FOR TURKEY AND NIGERIA VATICAN CITY, 10 MAR 2010 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, Benedict XVI expressed his "closeness to people affected by the recent earthquake in Turkey, and to their families. To each of them I give assurances of my prayers, as I ask the international community to contribute promptly and generously to aid efforts". He then went on to mention the violent events of recent days in Nigeria. "My deepest condolences also go to the victims of the terrible violence that has bloodied Nigeria, not even sparing defenceless children. Once again I say from the bottom of my heart that violence does not resolve conflicts, but only increases their tragic consequences. I appeal to those who hold positions of civil and religious responsibility in the country to strive for the security and peaceful coexistence of all the population. Finally, I express my closeness to Nigerian pastors and faithful and pray that, strong and firm in hope, they may be true witnesses of reconciliation".AG/APPEAL/TURKEY:NIGERIA VIS 100310 (170)

THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND HUMAN RIGHTS VATICAN CITY, 10 MAR 2010 (VIS) - On 3 March, Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in Geneva, addressed the thirteenth ordinary session of the UN Human Rights Council, which was meeting to discuss the world economic and financial crisis. Before beginning his talk, the archbishop expressed his delegation's "condolences and solidarity to the people of Chile for the victims of the recent earthquake". Speaking English, the nuncio then went on to reaffirm the Holy See's "conviction that the perspective of human rights provides a positive contribution for a solution to the current financial crisis". This situation "calls for new regulations and a sound global system of governance that ensures a sustainable and comprehensive path to development for all", he said. Among the negative consequences of the financial crisis, the archbishop mentioned "the scandal of hunger, growing worldwide inequality, millions of unemployed people and millions of others reduced to extreme poverty, ... lack of social protection for countless vulnerable persons". He also recalled words used by Benedict XVI in his Encyclical "Caritas in Veritate" to the effect that these imbalances "are produced when economic action, conceived merely as an engine for wealth creation, is detached from political action, conceived as a means for pursuing justice through redistribution". "In fact", Archbishop Tomasi went on, "the common goal is the protection and respect of human dignity that binds together the entire human family. ... In this context, the review of the Human Rights Council should aim also at making change on the ground a reality, and the concrete implementation of human rights its priority". "The social doctrine of the Church has always pursued such a goal with special care for the more vulnerable members of society. In fact, by giving priority to human beings and the created order that supports them on their earthly journey, we can modify the rules that govern the financial system to serve concrete change, to move away from old habits of greed that led to the present crisis, and to promote effective integral development and the implementation of human rights since 'the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is the human person in his or her integrity'".DELSS/HUMAN RIGHTS/TOMASI VIS 100310 (380)

Pope Benedict XVI in his message for the 44th day of "Social Communications" expressed the following:
Responding adequately to this challenge amid today’s cultural shifts, to which young people are especially sensitive, necessarily involves using new communications technologies. The world of digital communication, with its almost limitless expressive capacity, makes us appreciate all the more Saint Paul’s exclamation: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16) The increased availability of the new technologies demands greater responsibility on the part of those called to proclaim the Word, but it also requires them to become become more focused, efficient and compelling in their efforts. Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word.
Responding to this call is Catholic Distance University, USA. They were featured in this years "Newman Guide".

Here is a brief description of Catholic Distance University:
History: CDU was founded in 1983 as the first catechetical institute in the United States to award the Catechetical Diploma and teach the Catholic faith to adults using distance education. 2008 marked CDU’s 25th year as a Catholic institution of higher learning. Location: The school’s academic and administrative offices are located in Hamilton, Virginia, about 50 miles west of Washington, DC. CDU students are located in all 50 states and over 40 countries.
Mission: Our mission is to educate adults worldwide in the teachings of the Catholic Church through the techniques and technologies of modern distance education, providing both academic degrees and non-credit adult faith formation.University Motto: Joy From The Truth, gaudium de veritate
Chairman of the Board: The Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, DD
Contact Information: Our web site can be reached at . Contact us at, 1.888.254.4238 ext. 700 or you can write CDU at 120 East Colonial Highway, Hamilton, VA 20158.
Accreditation: CDU is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), an accrediting agency fully recognized and approved by the U.S. Department of Education, and is certified as a degree granting institution by the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV). The university's catechetical programs are approved by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy. The USCCB lists CDU as an approved Catholic college and university offering distance education. The university is a Title IV school recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Academic Programs:
Master of Arts in Theology (39 credits) with concentrations in Ecclesial Service, Sacred Scripture, Philosophy/Theology, and Catholic Culture
Bachelor of Arts in Theology completion program (36 credits earned at CDU combined with 90 general electives earned at any accredited college or university)
Catechetical Diploma (36 credits)
Graduate and undergraduate level courses for students not seeking to earn a degree
Continuing Education Programs:
Advanced Catechist Certification (11 continuing education courses)
Continuing education for professional development and adult faith enrichment
Online seminars
Parish Plans
Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for any of CDU’s programs.
Average class size: Classes average 10-20 students.
Tuition Rates:
MA programs $390/credit
BA program $239/credit
Undergraduate Catechetical Diploma $239/credit
Advanced Catechist Certification $143/course
Continuing education courses $143/course
Online seminars $143/course
For a complete schedule of tuition and fees
Financial Aid: CDU participates in the tuition assistance programs of all U.S. military services. Program students are eligible to participate in the Sallie Mae private loan programs. Three and four-month payment plans are also available for three-credit courses. To learn more about financial aid options available at CDU

TO DONATE TO CATHOLIC DIST. UNIVERSITY: . Contact us at, 1.888.254.4238 ext. 700 or you can write CDU at 120 East Colonial Highway, Hamilton, VA 20158.

CISA report:
The first ever general meeting bringing together Consolata lay missionaries, Lay missionary couples and the friends of Consolata is taking place at Bethany House in Sagana, in Central Kenya beginning Friday 5th to Sunday 7th.The groups are drawn from Uganda and Kenya so as to forge closer links to continue witnessing their Catholic faith while supporting the Consolata missionaries in their mission activities.According to Julius and Carolyne Masiga one of couples from Uganda who begun the couple movement, the lay movement and the friends of Consolata are playing an important role in revitalising the basis of all vocations, the family.The couples’ movement is specifically targeting to help young Catholic families to raise their families according to the example and teachings of Christ as inspired by the blessed Joseph Allamano.


Asia News report:
Ramkhamhaeng University awards an honorary degree in political science to Hai Khanchanta, who in 1977 launched a court case that lasted more than 30 years against arbitrary land seizure in Ba Na Tan. The ruling that vindicated her struggle came last year. Bangkok (AsiaNews) – “I am very glad that I finished my education with an honorary master degree. I was born into a poor family. The only degrees I have are those that life granted me. Throughout my life, I have believed in justice and have struggled to keep my land. Today, I can teach my grand-children the importance of an education, the only path towards a better life, and the way to help the nation,” said Hai Khanchanta, 81, who today was awarded an honorary degree in political science by Ramkhamhaeng University.
“Grandma Hai”, as she is affectionately known in Ubon Ratchathani province, fought for 30 years (and won) her case against the forced confiscation of land belonging to her community in Ba Na Tan, for the construction of a local dam. She received the reward for “her continuous efforts in seeking justice within the limits of the law.”
“Grandma Hai overcame difficulties and hardships to earn a living as well as fight for her community,” the dean of Ramkhamhaeng University, Kim Chaisansuk, said. “Today, she is active in the Eastern Anti-Poverty Assembly, whose members want justice from Bangkok.”
Development plans for the province could end up wiping out existing rice fields, which are the basis of the local economy, this in a region where residents have no other way to survive.
Police General and National Human Right Committee member Vanchai Srinualnad said, “Grandma Hai is a good example of patience and steadfastness. She is a symbol for those who live in poverty, and proof of how education is at the basis of the social progress that makes a country great.”
Grandma Hai began to fight for her rights in 1977. The sentence that ruled in her favour, forcing the government to compensate residents affected by the dam, was pronounced on 22 September 2009.“Grandma-Hai”-gets-university-degree-for-her-fight-on-behalf-of-the-poor-17848.html


CNA report:
Beginning Thursday a two-day international theological convention will take place at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. Focusing on the "Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of the Priest," the convention aims to shed light on priestly identity, the liturgy and celibacy.
According to a press release distributed for the occasion, 50 bishops and 500 priests are expected for the convention this week which takes place under the auspices of the Congregation for the Clergy. Addresses will be given between the two days of the meeting by some very well known leaders of the Church.
From March 11-12, seven cardinals and eight bishops and archbishops will give addresses. Talks to be delivered include: "The Priesthood and the Hermeneutic of Continuity" by Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna Carlo Caffarra, and "Priesthood and Liturgy: Education for the Celebration" by Cardinal Antonio CaƱizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Sessions will be presided over by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Cardinal William J. Levada and Cardinal Franc Rode.
A noon audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Apostolic Palace is planned for Friday.


Cath News report:
Sydney Archbishop Cardinal George Pell will launch a series of talks to youth next week at Cabramatta in Sydney's west, speaking on the topic "Without God we are nothing" at Sacred Heart Parish.
The series, titled "Voice of the Youth", will be held from March to October, featuring talks from the Australian bishops on various topics in the catechesis style of World Youth Day, the Catholic Weekly reports.
The series of talks, which begins on March 19, is aimed at youth aged 16-35 and will be delivered in coming months by Cardinal Pell, Bishop Terry Brady, Bishop Julian Porteous, Bishop Eugene Hurley and Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn.
"Voice of the Youth is a new series of talks that provides an opportunity for young people to get together to share their faith. Along with catechesis sessions from the bishops, there will be music, testimonies, prayers, WYD11 update information, food and entertainment," said Father Liem Duong, assistant priest at Sacred Heart Cabramatta.


Forty Martyrs of Sebaste
Feast: March 10
Feast Day:
March 10
320 AD, Sebaste

A party of soldiers who suffered a cruel death for their faith, near Sebaste, in Lesser Armenia, victims of the persecutions of Licinius, who, after the year 316, persecuted the Christians of the East. The earliest account of their martyrdom is given by St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea (370-379), in a homily delivered on the feast of the Forty Martyrs (Hom. xix in P.G., XXXI, 507 sqq.). The feast is consequently more ancient than the episcopate of Basil, whose eulogy on them was pronounced only fifty or sixty years after martyrdom, which is thus historic beyond a doubt. According to St. Basil, forty soldiers who had openly confessed themselves Christians were condemned by the prefect to be exposed naked upon a frozen pond near Sebaste on a bitterly cold night, that they might freeze to death. Among the confessors, one yielded and, leaving his companions, sought the warm baths near the lake which had been prepared for any who might prove inconstant. One of the guards set to keep watch over the martyrs beheld at this moment a supernatural brilliancy overshadowing them and at once proclaimed himself a Christian, threw off his garments, and placed himself beside the thirty-nine soldiers of Christ. Thus the number of forty remained complete. At daybreak, the stiffened bodies of the confessors, which still showed signs of life, were burned and the ashes cast into a river. The Christians, however, collected the precious remains, and the relics were distributed throughout many cities; in this way the veneration paid to the Forty Martyrs became widespread, and numerous churches were erected in their honour.
One of them was built at Caesarea, in Cappadocia, and it was in this church that St. Basil publicly delivered his homily. St. Gregory of Nyssa was a special client of these holy martyrs. Two discourses in praise of them, preached by him in the church dedicated to them, are still preserved (P. G., XLVI, 749 sqq., 773 sqq.) and upon the death of his parents, he laid them to rest beside the relics of the confessors. St. Ephraem, the Syrian, has also eulogized the forty Martyrs (Hymni in SS. 40 martyres). Sozomen, who was an eye-witness, has left us (Hist. Eccl., IX, 2) an interesting account of the finding of the relics in Constantinople through the instrumentality of the Empress Pulcheria. Special devotion to the forty martyrs of Sebaste was introduced at an early date into the West. St. Gaudentius, Bishop of Brescia in the beginning of the fifth century (d. about 410 or 427), received particles of the ashes of martyrs during a voyage in the East, and placed them with other relics in the altar of the basilica which he had erected, at the consecration of which he delivered a discourse, still extant (P. L., XX, 959 sqq.) Near the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua, in the Roman Forum, built in the fifth century, a chapel was found, built, like the church itself, on an ancient site, and consecrated to the Forty Martyrs. A picture, still preserved there, dating from the sixth or seventh century, depicts the scene of the martyrdom. The names of the confessors, as we find them also in later sources, were formerly inscribed on this fresco. Acts of these martyrs, written subsequently, in Greek, Syriac and Latin, are yet extant, also a "Testament" of the Forty Martyrs. Their feast is celebrated in the Greek, as well as in the Latin Church, on 9 March.

Matthew 5: 17 - 19
"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.
For 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.
Whoever 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.

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