Monday, January 31, 2011



VATICAN CITY, 29 JAN 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI received priests and seminarians of the Pontifical Ethiopian College in a meeting to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Justin de Jacobis (1800-1860), patron of that institution.

St. Justin "was a worthy son of St. Vincent de Paul who put the principle of 'being everything for everyone' into exemplary practice, especially in his service to the people of Abyssinia. At the age of thirty-eight he was sent by Cardinal Franzoni, then prefect of the Propaganda Fide, as a missionary to Ethiopia, ... where he founded a seminary called the "College of Mary Immaculate". (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

"He learned the local language, championed the centuries-old liturgical tradition of the rites of those communities, as well as working effectively towards ecumenism", said the Pope. "His particular passion for education, especially the formation of priests, means that he can justly be considered as the patron of your college. Indeed, this worthy institution still welcomes priests and candidates to the priesthood, supporting them in their theological, spiritual and pastoral preparations".

The Holy Father called on the priests, when returning to their communities of origin or assisting their compatriots abroad, "to arouse in everyone a love for God and the Church, following the example of St. Justin de Jacobis. He crowned his fruitful contribution to the religious and civil life of the Abyssinian peoples with the gift of his own life, silently restored to God after much suffering and persecution. He was beatified by Venerable Pius XII on 25 June 1939 and canonised by Servant of God Paul VI on 26 October 1975.

"The way of sanctity also lies open to you, dear priests and seminarians", Pope Benedict added. "Sanctity lies at the very heart of the ecclesial mystery; it is the vocation to which we are all called. Saints are not some exterior ornamentation of the Church; rather, they are like the flowers of a tree which testify to the endless vitality of the lymph flowing through it. It is good to see the Church like this, in ascension towards the fullness of the 'Vir perfectus'; in continual, demanding, progressive maturation; dynamically driven towards complete fulfilment in Christ".

Benedict XVI concluded by encouraging the members of the Pontifical Ethiopian College "to live this important period of your formation, in the shadow of the dome of St. Peter's, with joy and dedication. Walk resolutely along the path of sanctity. You are a sign of hope, especially for the Church in your countries of origin. I am certain that the experience of communion you have experienced here in Rome will also help you to make a precious contribution to growth and peaceful coexistence in your own beloved nations".

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VATICAN CITY, 29 JAN 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was a video message of the Holy Father to students, staff and alumni of the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, for the four-hundredth anniversary of its foundation.

Speaking English the Pope gratefully recalls "the many clergy, religious and laity who, at Santo Tomas, have handed down to generations of Filipinos the faith, knowledge and wisdom to be found in the religious and secular sciences".

"In particular", he adds, "I salute the memory of your founder, Bishop Miguel de Benavides, and the great commitment of the Dominicans who have guided the institution through the many challenges of the past four centuries. As you know, the University of Santo Tomas is the oldest institution of Catholic higher education in the Far East and it continues to play a very important role in the Church throughout the region.

"I am confident", the Holy Father concludes, "that, keeping in mind the faith and reason that are always part of a truly integrated approach to education, your university will continue to contribute to the intellectual, spiritual and cultural enrichment of the Philippines and beyond".

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VATICAN CITY, 29 JAN 2011 (VIS) - Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, has written a message for the fifty-eighth World Leprosy Day, which falls on 30 January. The message is entitled: "Uniting our efforts for a better expression of justice and love towards leprosy sufferers".

This World Day, Archbishop Zimowski writes, is an opportunity "to reiterate our gratitude for the commitment of millions of workers, professionals and volunteers from the fields of healthcare, society, politics and the media, who have helped and continue to help leprosy sufferers". In this context, he expresses particular thanks to the Raoul Follereau Association, which is soon to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary.

"The lethal impact of leprosy", he continues, "has been considerably reduced following the development of effective pharmacological treatments. Yet it continues to provoke suffering, disability and social exclusion, causing ignorance, inequality and discrimination to prosper which, in their turn, promote the spread of the disease. ... There is still a serious lack of structures, both for early diagnosis of the infection, and for the social and professional rehabilitation of people who have been cured but remain mutilated by Hansen's disease. We must promote a more widespread education of communities and peoples, so that they understand that those who have been cured no longer represent any threat of infection to others and must be helped to reinsert themselves into society".

Quoting from the Pope's Message for the twenty-fifth international conference of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, Archbishop Zimowski notes how, "also in the field of healthcare - which is an integral part of individual life and of the common good - it is important to establish true distributive justice which guarantees everyone adequate care on the basis of objective needs. Consequently, the world of healthcare cannot divorce itself from moral rules, which must govern it in order to ensure it does not become inhuman".

On the eve of World Leprosy Day, the president of the pontifical council also mentions the efforts made by people within the Church "who, in many cases, committed themselves even unto the sacrifice of their own lives for the victims of Hansen's disease", in which context he mentioned the Canadian Cardinal Paul-Emile Leger, the Belgian St. Damian de Veuster and the Polish Blessed Jan Beyzym.

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VATICAN CITY, 30 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square, including young people from Catholic Action in the diocese of Rome who traditionally dedicate the month of January to their "Caravan of Peace" initiative. After the Angelus, a boy and girl from Catholic Action joined the Holy Father at his window to release two white doves as a sign of peace.

Before the Marian prayer the Pope commented on this Sunday's reading from the Gospel, in which St. Matthew recounts Jesus' first pubic address to the multitudes on the hills around Lake Galilee, known as the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes, in which He describes as blessed the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the merciful, the pure in heart and the persecuted.

"The Beatitudes", said the Pope, are a new programme for life, to free ourselves from the false values of the world and open ourselves to true goodness, now and in the future. When, in fact, God consoles, when He satisfies hunger for justice or dries the tears of the afflicted, this means that, apart from rewarding each person in material terms, He opens the Kingdom of Heaven. The Beatitudes are the transposition of the cross and the resurrection into the lives of the disciples. They reflect the life of the Son of God Who allowed himself to be persecuted and despised, even unto being sentenced to death, so that mankind might receive salvation".

"For this reason the Church does not fear poverty, humiliation or persecution in a society often attracted by material wellbeing and worldly power", the Holy Father said.

After praying the Angelus he recalled how this Sunday also marks World Leprosy Day, which was instituted in the 1950s by Raoul Follereau and is recognised by the United Nations. "Leprosy, though in regression, unfortunately still affects many people who live in conditions of dire poverty. To all leprosy sufferers, I give assurances of my prayers, which I extend to the people who assist them and to those who, in various ways, are committed to eradicating Hansen's disease".

He then addressed some remarks to the people of various Far Eastern States, who are currently celebrating the new lunar year. "To all those great peoples, my heartfelt best wishes for serenity and prosperity", he said.

Finally the Pope noted that today also marks the International Day of Intercession for Peace in the Holy Land. "I join the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Custos of the Holy Land", he said, "in inviting everyone to pray to the Lord that hearts and minds may converge on authentic projects of peace".

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VATICAN CITY, 31 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

- Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, prelate of the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei.

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VATICAN CITY, 31 JAN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Mauro Maria Morfino S.D.B., professor of Holy Scripture at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Sardinia, as bishop of Alghero-Bosa (area 2,012, population 106,300, Catholics 105,650, priests 87, permanent deacons 7, religious 176), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Arborea, Italy in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1986.

On Saturday 29 January it was made public that he appointed

- Fr. Eusebio Hernandez Sola O.A.R., bureau chief at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as bishop of Tarazona (area 4,514, population 91,414, Catholics 74,201, priests 94, religious 115), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Carcar, Spain in 1944 and ordained a priest in 1968.

- As members of the Council of Cardinals and Bishops of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State: Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary; Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli, penitentiary major of the Apostolic Penitentiary, and Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

- As members of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples: Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family; Archbishop Cyril Vasil S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Bishop Antoine Audo S.J. of Aleppo of the Chaldeans, Syria; Bishop John Charles Wester of Salt Lake City, U.S.A.; Bishop Luigi Negri of San Marino-Montefeltro, Italy, and Bishop Guerino Di Tora, auxiliary of Rome.

- As consultors of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples: Msgr. Jacques Harel, national consultant for the Apostolate of the Sea in Mauritius; Fr. Maurizio Pettena C.S., director of the office for migrants of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference; Paolo Morozzo Della Rocca, professor of the faculty of jurisprudence at the University of Urbino, Italy; Christopher Hein, director of the Italian Council for Refugees, and Laura Zanfrini, professor of the faculty of sociology at the Sacred Heart Catholic University in Milan, Italy.

- Msgr. Robert Golebiowski, notary of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, as substitute defender of the bond at the same tribunal.


Digital Rosary | Onorio Frati, electronic rosary, digital rosary

Italian inventor, Onorio Frati, has devised an 'electronic rosary' which allows a person to listen to the rosary being recited without using traditional beads. The small egg-shaped gadget is small enough to fit in your pocket.

While more tech-savvy Catholics might opt for the ipod application, Frati's model might appeal to people that don't want to fiddle with a touch screen.

Sold in over 400 locations in Italy, the device can also be bought online, customized and available in English or Italian.

Just in time for Pope John Paul II beatification ceremony in May, this limited edition model even has the late pontiff's voice.

To see the Rome Reports film go to:

Source: Famvin/Rome Reports



The Sunday Telegraph image of the artist Paul Newton and his painting


A newly-completed, larger than life-size portrait of Mary MacKillop is destined for pride of place in Domus Australia in Rome, which is to be opened later this year, reports the Sunday Telegraph.

It posed a few problems for the artist in his home-based studio at Dural in Sydney: "My ceilings aren't exactly low but I couldn't really stand the painting up high enough when I wanted to stand and work on it".The painting by Sydney artist Paul Newton was commissioned by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, and stands at well over two metres.

"So I had to do a lot of the work on my knees while it was laying on a concrete floor," Mr Newton said.


CNA REPORT: What would bring teenagers to church other than Sunday Mass?

For many, it's the parish youth group, where young people learn about their faith, do service work, participate in discussions and build relationships with one another.

The groups are an important way to reach young people and keep them connected with their parishes at a time when they might become busy with school-related activities and drop away, said Rita Ramos, youth ministry coordinator for the archdiocese.

Although open to junior high and high school students, a majority of youth group participants seem to be from public schools rather than Catholic schools, local youth ministers said.

One reason could be that Catholic school students have faith formation throughout the day at school and they don't look for more at their parishes, said Nicole Cook, youth minister at St. Columbkille Parish in Papillion, Neb.

Cook could be right, said Allison Rickers, a senior at Mercy High School in Omaha who is involved in the youth group at Sacred Heart Parish in Omaha. In addition, Rickers said, students in public schools might have limited opportunities to express their religious beliefs.

Catholic schools offer Mass and teachers pray with students and address issues from a Catholic perspective.

Public school officials, on the other hand, cannot lead students in prayer or other religious activities.

"By attending youth group, they are getting some faith in their lives," she said of students from public schools. "Catholic school students talk about their faith on a daily basis in classes that are required so they may think they get enough faith talk during the day. Personally, I love having the extra faith talk with my youth group friends because it's way different than my peers at Mercy High School."

Whatever school they come from, the teens need to be met where they are in their faith, and youth ministers need to connect them to Jesus Christ so they can make better decisions, said Marty Kalkowski, youth minister at Omaha's Sacred Heart. There does not appear to be any conflict between Catholic and public school students in the groups, but they do learn from each other about differences in school cultures and different ways to live their faith, he said.

Virgil Tworek-Hofstetter, youth minister at St. Isidore Parish in Columbus since 1997, said he appreciates the way many Catholic school students are taught theology in school, because they can bring that background to the group when issues are discussed.

"For that reason I really value the Catholic school-educated kids in the group," he said. "They're systematically taught theology, but that doesn't make them better people necessarily or better Catholics or even better in the faith."

Building relationships

Kalkowski said Sacred Heart's youth group is built around weekly gatherings that include pizza, prayer, discussion and reflection on topics such as forgiveness, relationships and popularity. Sometimes a speaker addresses the 10 teenagers in the group, and on holy days the teens attend Mass together. Once a month, the group does service work at the parish's Heart Ministry Center.

"It's a chance to do a regular service activity and to reflect on larger questions of life and talk about real things," Kalkowski said.

At St. Columbkille, Cook meets weekly with 20 to 35 teens, and encourages them to build relationships with each other and other parishioners.

"It allows kids to know what's going on in the parish and what things they could get involved in now or later down the road," she said. "It also educates them in the faith and provides a safe space where teens can feel OK to be excited about their faith."

Youth group activities vary from week to week at St. Columbkille but revolve around three activities: the Dead Theologian Society, which teaches teens about the lives of the saints, small group faith sharing based on grade level, and general catechesis on topics sometimes involving parish experts.

"Kids need to know how and why the Catholic Church is different from other religions and why their faith is important," Cook said. "They need to take pride in their faith and in their religion."

Nourishing faith life

Tworek-Hofstetter said his goal is to nourish the teens' "faith life and community life so that when they go into the week, they have the spiritual stamina to keep them connected with the church and keep them connected with Catholic practices."

Each week, teens at St. Isidore meet for praise and worship music, an ice breaker activity and some sort of Scripture study. Occasionally a speaker will come, students will participate in the sacrament of reconciliation or they'll visit a nursing home. Twice a year, members travel to Omaha for service work. They also participate in summer mission trips through Youth Work and Young Neighbors in Action.

"We've had a number of individuals, who having had that experience, have rethought about what they're going to do in life ... not necessarily following directly in youth ministry, although some have," Tworek-Hofstetter said. "I feel that there are a lot of things that are gained from those immersion experiences."

Rickers said her favorite part of youth group at Sacred Heart Parish is reading a Scripture passage and coming up with discussion questions that relate to the Scripture and to today's society.

"We have about five questions that relate to our theme or Bible passage that we all get to answer. That's my favorite part because then we usually get different answers and it's truly neat to be in a group discussion with people around my age," she said. "We don't fight about it. We're all very respectful of what we each have to say."

Rickers credits her involvement in youth group with helping her grow in the faith.

"I've been open to great discussions from my peers there and in those discussions I've learned a lot," she said.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: Mubarak promises reforms, but protesters demand he leave. A "respectable" withdrawal suggested by new Vice-President and Defence Minister. Obama calls for an "orderly transition", Israel says it "is in the interest of the West and the Middle East" to maintain stability in Egypt.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Police returned to the streets in Egypt today for the first time since Friday, while a general strike was called. On the seventh day of protests, the goal is to force President Hosni Mubarak to leave. From his part the Rais, in a statement read on television, announced today that he has charged the new Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq to promote democracy through dialogue with the opposition. However the opposition, including the Muslim Brotherhood, has delegated Mohamed ElBaradei the task of negotiating for a "transitional government". The former head of the UN nuclear energy agency, seems to have succeeded in unifying protesters. "No turning back," he said yesterday to the crowd. "A new era has begun for Egypt – he added.

An "orderly transition to a government that meets the expectations of the Egyptians" was also called for by U.S. President Barack Obama, who spoke with some foreign leaders over the phone on the subject. At the same Obama and some European leaders addressed the Israeli government. As reported today in Haaretz,Tel Aviv says it is "best interests of the West" and "throughout the Middle East to maintain the stability of the regime in Egypt." "It is therefore necessary to curb public criticism against President Mubarak."

If Israel’s concern is not only shared by the West- the king of Jordan and Libyan President phoned Mubarak - the fate of the Egyptian president seems quite obscure. According to the Sunday Times, the Egyptian opposition is negotiating for a transition, not with the president, but with the army which, according to protesters, "must choose" between Egypt and the Rais. The same source claims that the vice president, General Omar Suleiman, former intelligence chief and defense minister, Mohammed Tantawi, asked Mubarak to resign, presenting him with a "respectable" solution.


UCAN REPORT: Catholics throughout Laos have welcomed their new priest, ordained for a northern long-time vicariate that has not had a priestly ordination in 30 years.

Father Pierre Buntha Silaphet was ordained a priest for Luang Prabang apostolic vicariate on Jan. 29 by Bishop Louis Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun of Pakse at a service attended by some 1,000 people of Catholic and other denominations.

Church sources say Luang Prabang vicariate has not had a priestly ordination for more than 30 years.

Father Buntha, 34, is from Sayaboury village, northern Laos. The ethnic Khomu priest is the youngest of a family with seven siblings. His parents are farmers.

After finishing his philosophical and theological studies at St. John Vianney Major Semianary in Thakhek, he also studied English for one year in the Philippines.

Catholics in Laos welcome new priest thumbnail
Father Pierre Buntha Silaphet (second left) during his ordination Mass
Father Buntha’s ordination, originally scheduled for Dec. 12 at Sayaboury parish church, was postponed by local army officials for security reasons. The church is in front of an army camp.

A priest who asked not to be named told that 20 Sayaboury villagers were prevented from traveling to Farther Buncha’s ordination by village guards on Jan. 28.

However, villagers from other villages throughout the country offered Father Buncha rice, cattle, cooking items, blankets and pillows.

There are about 43,000 Catholics in Laos, out of a total population of about 6 million, most of whom are Buddhists, according to a Church source in Laos. Less than15 priests and 100 nuns serve Catholics in the four Church jurisdictions — Luang Prabang, Pakse, Savannakhet and Vientiane apostolic vicariates.


St. John Bosco


Feast: January 31


Feast Day:January 31

August 16, 1815, Castelnuovo, Piedmont, Italy

Died:January 31, 1888, Turin, Italy
Canonized:April 1, 1934, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Major Shrine:The Tomb of St John Bosco - Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians, Turin, Italy
Patron of:Christian apprentices, editors, publishers, schoolchildren, young people

"In his life the supernatural became the natural and the extraordinary the ordinary." So spoke Pope Pius XI of the beloved Don Bosco, renowned for his educational pioneering and his affectionate care for the fatherless. Born Giovanni Melchior Bosco in 1815, the future saint was the youngest son of a peasant farmer in the hamlet of Becchi, in the Piedmont district of north Italy. He lost his father at the age of two and was brought up by a devoted and industrious mother, Margaret Bosco, who had a hard struggle maintaining the home and the three children, all of them boys. A dream that little Giovanni had at the age of nine revealed to him his vocation. He seemed to be surrounded by a mob of fighting and swearing children whom he tried in vain to pacify, at first by arguments and then by hitting them. Suddenly there appeared a mysterious woman who said: "Softly, softly . . . if you wish to win them! Take your shepherd's staff and lead them to pasture." Even as she spoke, the children were transformed first into wild beasts and then into gentle lambs. From that time on, the boy thought, it was his clear duty to lead and help other boys.

He began with those of his own village, teaching them the Catechism and bringing them to church. As an inducement, he would amuse them first with acrobatic and conjuring tricks, at which he became very clever. One Sunday morning when an itinerant juggler and gymnast was holding the children spellbound by his performance, young John challenged him to a competition and beat him at his own tricks. Then he marched off to church, followed by his admiring audience. It was more or less by chance that this talented boy learned to read. He was staying with an aunt who was servant to the priest, and when the priest was told of John's ambition, he taught him gladly. But John didn't want to stop with reading and writing; he wished to study for the priesthood. Many difficulties had to be overcome before he could even begin his preliminary studies. When, at sixteen, he entered the seminary at Chieri, he was so poor that money for his maintenance and his clothes had to be supplied by charity. The village mayor contributed a hat, one friendly person gave him a cloak, and another a pair of shoes. People were eager to help a boy who was himself so eager and ambitious. After his ordination as deacon, he attended the theological school at nearby Turin, finding time to continue his volunteer work with homeless or neglected boys. Having won the approbation of his superiors for what he was doing, he began to gather around him regularly on Sunday afternoons a band of these waifs and young apprentices.

After taking Holy Orders, his first appointment was assistant chaplain of a home for girls, founded by the Marchesa Barolo, a wealthy and philanthropic woman. This post left Don Bosco free on Sundays to devote himself to his group of boys. He set up for them a sort of combined Sunday School and recreation center on grounds belonging to the Marchesa, which he called "the festive Oratory." But the Marchesa quickly withdrew her permission, because the boys were, naturally, noisy and unruly, and sometimes even made so bold as to pick the flowers in the garden. For more than a year the group was regarded as a nuisance and sent from pillar to post. No property owner was able to put up with them for long. When at last Don Bosco was able to hire an old shed as a meeting place, and the future seemed promising, the Marchesa delivered herself of an ultimatum. He must choose between giving up the boys—who now numbered several hundred—or resigning his post at the girl's orphanage. Don Bosco promptly resigned, to devote himself wholly to the boys.

In the midst of these anxieties, he was prostrated by a severe attack of pneumonia that came near ending his life. As soon as he had recovered, he went to live in some poor rooms adjoining a new Oratory, or gathering place, with his mother as housekeeper. For ten years this good woman served as his adjutant and loyal helper, extending her motherly care over all the waifs and strays her son brought to her. Don Bosco now applied himself to consolidating his work and planning for the years to come. A night school which had been opened the previous year took shape, and as the Oratory was soon overcrowded, he opened two more youth centers in other parts of Turin. About the same time he began housing a few destitute boys. His next step was to build for his flock a small church which he placed under the patronage of his favorite saint, Francis de Sales. With that completed, he started to build a home for his steadily growing family. No one knew just how he managed to raise the money for these various projects, but his natural persuasiveness had much to do with it.

Those enrolled as boarders in the school were of two sorts: young apprentices and craftsmen, and other youths of more than average intelligence in whom Don Bosco discerned future helpers, with, possibly, vocations to the priesthood. At first they attended classes outside, but, as more teachers were enlisted, academic and technical courses were given at the house. By 1856 a hundred and fifty boys were in residence; there were four workshops, including a printing shop, and four Latin classes, with ten young priests as instructors; all this in addition to the oratories with their five hundred children. He cultivated in all of them a taste for music, and he was a believer in the therapeutic value of play. Don Bosco's understanding of young people, their needs, and their dreams, gave him great influence. He could manage them without punishment. "I do not remember to have used formal punishment," he wrote, "and with God's grace I have always obtained-and from apparently hopeless children-not alone what duty exacted but what my wish simply expressed." With an approach that seems quite modern, he planned programs that combined play, song, study, prayer, and manual work. He knew that straight academic learning was not enough. "Knowledge gives more power in the exercise of good or evil," he said, "but alone it is an indifferent weapon, lacking guidance."

Don Bosco's outgoing personality made him popular as a preacher, and there were many demands on his time to speak to various congregations. As a third form of activity, in the few hours that remained to him, he wrote useful and popular books for boys. In that day there was almost no attractive reading matter written especially for young people, and Don Bosco set himself to fill this need. He wrote stories based on history, and sometimes popular treatises on the faith. Often he toiled far into the night, until, in later life, his failing eyesight compelled him to give up writing.

A plan for some sort of religious order, to carry on the work when he had passed away, had long been in Don Bosco's mind, and at last he felt he had the strong nucleus of helpers that was required. "On the night of January 26, 1854, we were assembled in Don Bosco's room," writes one of the men present. "Besides Don Bosco, there were Cagliero, Rocchetti, Artiglia, and Rua. It was suggested that with God's help we should enter upon a period of practical works of charity to help our neighbors. At the close of the period, we might bind ourselves by a promise which could subsequently be transformed into a vow. From that evening, the name of Salesian was given to all who embarked on that form of apostolate." The name of course honored the great bishop of Geneva, St. Francis de Sales. It was not a propitious time for launching a new order, for in all its history Piedmont had never been so anti-clerical. The Jesuits and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart had been expelled, many convents suppressed, and laws were being passed curtailing the rights of religious orders. The statesman Urbano Rattazzi, one of those most responsible for the anti-clerical legislation, was deeply interested in popular education. As a resident of Turin, Rattazzi was familiar with Father John's activities, and, on meeting him by chance one day, urged him to found a society to further his valuable work, promising the support of the government.

The project grew, and in 1858 John went to Rome, taking with him the rules of the institution. From Pope Pius IX he received preliminary approbation. Sixteen years later he obtained full sanction, together with permission to present candidates for Holy Orders. The new society grew rapidly. Within five years there were thirty-nine Salesians; at the time of the founder's death there were eight hundred, and by 1929 the number had increased to about eight thousand. One of Father John's dreams was realized when he sent his first missionaries to the bleak and faraway land of Patagonia; other areas of South America were soon the scene of missionary endeavor. He lived to see twenty-six houses started in the New World and thirty-eight in the Old.

His next great work was the foundation in 1862 of an order of women to do for poor girls what the Salesians were doing for boys. The original group consisted of twenty-seven young women to whom he gave the name of Daughters of St. Mary Auxiliatrix, the Helper. The organization now numbers many thousands, with elementary schools in Italy, Brazil, and Argentina. To supplement the work of these two congregations, Father John organized his outside lay helpers into a new kind of Third Order, which he called Salesian Cooperators. They were men and women of all classes who pledged themselves to assist in practical ways the educational labors of the Salesians.

Any account of the life of this saint would be incomplete without some mention of his achievements as a builder of churches. His first little church of St. Francis de Sales soon proved inadequate, and he undertook the construction of a much larger building. This he finished in 1868, dedicating it to St. Mary the Helper. Later he found means to put up another spacious and much-needed church in a poor quarter of Turin, and this he placed under the patronage of St. John the Evangelist. But the immense effort of money-raising had left Don Bosco weary and depleted. He was not allowed time to recover his strength before another task was put before him. During the last years of Pope Pius IX, a project had been formed of building at Rome a church in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Pius himself had donated money to buy the site. His successor, Leo XIII, was eager for the work to be carried forward, but there was difficulty in raising funds. It was suggested to the Pope that this was something that Don Bosco did better than anyone else, and when he was asked to undertake it, he accepted the challenge.

After obtaining a considerable sum in Italy, Don Bosco went to France, where devotion to the cult of the Sacred Heart was particularly intense at this time. He was successful in his appeals, money came flowing in, and the early completion of the church was assured. As the day appointed for its consecration drew near, he was sometimes heard to murmur that if there were any delay, he would not live to witness it. Two years before the doctors had said that this generous-hearted man had worn himself out and that complete retirement offered the only chance of prolonging his life. Don Bosco had the joy of living a few months beyond the consecration of the church, which took place on May 14, 1887. He said one Mass before the new high altar.

Later in the year it became plain that his days were numbered; he gradually weakened, and on the morning of January 31, 1888, he died in his home city of Turin. Forty thousand persons came to the church to do honor to Don Bosco, and the entire city turned out as his remains were borne to their resting place. His memory was cherished and his work carried on by his followers. Not many years had elapsed before a movement was begun for his beatification. He was declared Venerable by Pope Pius X in 1907, beatified by Pius XI in 1929, and canonized by him in 1934. Don Bosco exemplified a new trend in the treatment of children, anticipating in some respects the practices of modern psychologists. Intuitively he knew that the loving care and attention of a wise, interested adult was essential to the healthy growth of every child, and he gave his very best to those children who had the least.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: JAN. 31: MARK 5: 1- 20

Mark 5: 1 - 20
1They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Ger'asenes.2And when he had come out of the boat, there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,3who lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him any more, even with a chain;4for he had often been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetters he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him.5Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones.6And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him;7and crying out with a loud voice, he said, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me."8For he had said to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!"9And Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "My name is Legion; for we are many."10And he begged him eagerly not to send them out of the country.11Now a great herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside;12and they begged him, "Send us to the swine, let us enter them."13So he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea.14The herdsmen fled, and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened.15And they came to Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the man who had had the legion; and they were afraid.16And those who had seen it told what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine.17And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood.18And as he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.19But he refused, and said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you."20And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decap'olis how much Jesus had done for him; and all men marveled.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: A prayer for the Holy Land, solidarity with Leprosy sufferers

Pope Benedict XVI joined the International Day of Intercession for Peace in the Middle East Sunday, with a prayer to God to converge hearts and minds for concrete solutions for peace in the Holy Land.

Following the midday Marian prayer he was joined at the window of his private study high above St Peter’s Square by a young boy and girl from Rome’s Azione Cattolica movement. There in an what has become an annual tradition, marking the end of the youth groups’ “Caravan of Peace”, the Pope released two white doves above the crowds.

He also marked the World Day for Leprosy Sufferers, promoted in the 1950s by Raoul Follereau and officially recognized by the United Nations. Leprosy, he said “although declining, still unfortunately affects many people who live in conditions of severe poverty. I assure all those who suffer of my special prayer, which I also extend to those who assist them and, in many ways, are committed to defeating Hansen's disease".

And looking ahead to this week’s celebration of the Lunar New Year, Pope Benedict sent a special greeting of “serenity and prosperity” to the people of the Far East.

Earlier, during his reflections on the Sunday Gospel, which this week proposes the Sermon on the Mount, the Holy Father spoke of the Beatitudes as a program of life, that seeks to liberate mankind from the false values of this world.

He said “"the Church does not fear poverty, contempt, persecution in a society often attracted to material wealth and worldly power," because "as St. Paul writes, God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something "(1 Cor 1:27-28)”.

The Beatitudes concluded Pope Benedict “are the transposition of the cross and resurrection in the existence of the disciples. They reflect the life of the Son of God who allows himself to be persecuted, despised to the point of death for the salvation of mankind”


Edmonton Catholic Schools to phase out gambling as source of funding

By Ramon Gonzalez
Catholic News Service

EDMONTON, Alberta (CNS) -- Edmonton Catholic Schools' trustees have voted to abolish gambling activities as a source of school funding.

But board chair Debbie Engel says casino revenues will still be used in Catholic schools while the board looks for alternative and sustainable options for the district, which serves the city of Edmonton with publicly funded Catholic education.

Trustees adopted the position that "no school or school community in Alberta should have to raise money through gambling activities in order to meet children's educational needs."

The board has been dealing with the issue since the fall when the Archdiocese of Edmonton implemented new policy guidelines that forbid Catholic groups to raise money through "harmful gambling activities."

The archdiocesan chancellor, Father Gregory Bittman, said the archdiocese recognizes that the school district needs time "to make fundamental changes. However, we believe that fundraising without casinos is an attainable goal."

Catholic schools in the city earn about $6 million through casino fundraising every 18 months. All but one of the 87 schools take part in the practice. They use the money to pay for school field trips, hot lunch programs, equipment and other extras.

Engel said the issue is one of social justice and educational equality. While larger schools in more affluent areas can afford to pay for extras, smaller schools cannot.

"I'm thinking there are some schools who literally wouldn't survive without casino funds," Engel said Jan. 24. "You take a school that has a population of 150 kids and you take away $80,000 every 18 months.

"They are getting the same $80,000 as a school with 800 kids. And so it's just not equitable to our board's way of thinking."

The board plans to look at a number of options, including lobbying the Alberta government for changes in how revenue is distributed, so parents do not have to work at casinos.

"We would like to lobby the provincial government to find out exactly how much money is coming into public education from casinos and allocate it evenly on a need basis throughout the province for adequate, sustainable funding for education," Engel said.

"We are not asking the government to come up with more money. We are asking the government to take the money and put it into general revenues and distribute it on an equitable basis so schools can have adequate, predictable funding," she added.

Until that happens, schools will likely continue to rely on casino revenues.

"Make no bones about it. We are not going to cut people off of casinos when we know they are relying on it," Engel said. "We are going to work on a solution before anything like that is entertained."

Engel said both Archbishop Richard Smith and the board are reluctant to set timelines for the transition "until we know where we are going with this."

Trustees plan to meet with community members and parent council members Feb. 24 to discuss "how can we as a community support the (archdiocesan gambling) policy and continue to fund our schools properly."

The board has already started a Catholic foundation that will be responsible for fundraising but Engel said she has little faith it will be as effective as gambling in raising funds.

"Do we see the foundation as the answer to replace $6 million every 18 months right now? No. And neither does the person in charge," Engel said.

"Will it eventually? That doesn't take away the problem that this is not social justice," she said. "Even if the foundation makes the money, it's still unjust the way the casino dollars are used."



A new programme has been launched to support the Catholic Community to contribute to the legacy of the Pope’s Visit to the UK.

Called ‘Some Definite Purpose’ the programme reflects the content of Pope Benedict XVI’s speeches, homilies and addresses during his September 2010 visit to the UK. A number of events and projects have been timetabled for 2011 and beyond, with the legacy of the Holy Father’s visit categorised under six headings: ‘To know our purpose’, ‘To grow in conīŦdence’, ‘To witness to our faith’, ‘To serve others’, ‘To seek and engage in dialogue’ and ‘To point to the transcendent’.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: ‘The visit of the Holy Father was a grace-filled occasion and a source of great joy for many. He presented us with a clear task for the months and years ahead. It is hoped that the new initiative, “Some Definite Purpose” will support every member of the Catholic Community, and those who are not Catholic, to make a positive and faith-filled contribution to life in the UK. A key focus is serving those who are most in need where we live and work.’

The calendar for 2011 is:

Papal Visit Legacy: 2011 Timetable (pdf)

Bishop Kieran Conry, Chair of the Department of Evangelisation and Catechesis, Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said: ‘This initiative will support the mission of the Church in England and Wales. It has a specific parish focus and materials will be easy to download and use. It’s so important that we all consider ways of continuing the journey of “heart speaks unto heart”, of witnessing to the joy of our faith in everyday life. I invite and encourage everyone to get involved and give generously of their time and talents.’


This is an eight-page pdf download.

Papal Visit Legacy: Parish Resources (pdf)

Papal Visit DVD

Celebrating Pope Benedict XVI’s historic first State Visit to the UK, the DVD tells the story of the four extraordinary days in September offering not just event highlights, but the Holy Father’s profound words and the true significance of all the components of the Visit. News release on DVD launch.

Lent Resource for Parishes

The Agency for Evangelisation in Westminster Diocese is offering a booklet called Faithful Pilgrim, which encourages parishioners to come together, six months on, to explore the various themes and speeches from the Papal Visit. For more information please contact: The deadline for parish orders is 11 February.


Home Mission


Home Mission Desk


ALL AFRICA REPORT: PRESIDENT of the Senate, Senator David Mark yesterday said Nigeria would consider the request of Pope Benedict XVI to deploy an ambassador to the Vatican City, Rome.

This he said, would facilitate and improve the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the Vatican.

At the moment, Nigeria's Ambassador to Spain oversees the affairs of the mission in the Vatican.

The President of the Senate was speaking when he played host to the Apostolic Nuntio to Nigeria, Most Reverend Augustine Kasujja, in Abuja.

Senator Mark told his guest that Nigeria is a secular state where freedom of worship is upheld.

He said: "We practice freedom of worship in Nigeria. There is no extremism. We inter marry across religious lines and we live in harmony between and among religious groups. That is why Nigeria is a unique country in Africa".

He said Nigeria will continue to play a leading role in Africa, pointing out that Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan as Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is leading the efforts towards finding solution to the political impasse in Cote d' voire.

The Pope Ambassador had requested Nigeria to consider sending an envoy to the Vatican saying "Nigeria is too big not to have an Ambassador in the Vatican".Earlier, the Apostolic Nuntio, requested Nigeria to take a decisive step to find solution to the rising violence in Jos, Plateau State, saying that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI is worried about the development and wants the crisis put to an end.

Rev. Kasujja counseled that Nigeria conducts its affairs in a manner that would engender peace, progress and unity among the people.

He expressed optimism that Nigeria has the abundant human and economic potentials to lead Africa out of the economic doldrums.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – After having published the 2011 Pastoral Letter dedicated to the Year for the Laity, entitled “Walking together to man, living for the Lord” (see Fides 10/1/2011), the Regional Episcopal Conference of Taiwan has also released the official Prayer for the Year for the Laity. According to the accompanying directions, “the prayer is to be recited after Communion or before the Blessing”. The entire text is available on the website of the Regional Episcopal Conference of Taiwan, to also be printed and distributed.
In fact, the Taiwanese community is also intensely participating in the Year for the Laity, so nominated by the diocese of Hong Kong. In the prayer, thanks is given to the Father having created us and called us to be his children through the sacraments. Then the involvement of the lay faithful is remembered in the threefold mission of Christ the Priest, and their commitment to enlarge the Kingdom of God and work in the vineyard of the Lord. It then invokes an abundance of divine grace to strengthen the courage of the laity to witness to the Gospel. Finally, it recalls that “the cornerstone of charity” is what unites us. We pray for those who do not yet think that they can believe, striving towards the one Truth, in the common journey towards Heaven.


CATH NEWS REPORT: Data to be released today by the Productivity Commission suggests that public funding for each student at private schools has declined over recent years, once state government funding is taken into account, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.At the same time, public funding per student at government schools has risen over the same period, the data suggests.

The figures challenge popular perceptions and are likely to be seized upon by Catholic and independent schools as they argue their case to the federal government's review of school funding, being chaired by the businessman David Gonski.

The commission calculated that federal, state and territory government recurrent expenditure per student in government schools was $13,544 in 2008-09. This represented an average annual increase in real terms of 1.2 per cent since 2004-05.

The commission said total government expenditure per student in non-government schools was $6850 in 2008-09. This represented an average annual decrease in real terms of 1.6 per cent since 2004-05.

But Trevor Cobbold, a former Productivity Commission economist and the head of the public education advocacy group Save Our Schools, questioned the commission's figures.

''Items unrelated to the classroom largely account for the increase in government school expenditure in comparison to expenditure on private schools,'' he said. ''The user cost of capital and depreciation for government schools increased by 34 per cent between 2004-05 and 2008-09. These items are excluded from government expenditure on private schools. Without these items, government school expenditure may well have declined.''


St. Hyacintha of Mariscotti


Feast: January 30


Feast Day:January 30

1585, Vignanello, Italy

Died:30 January 1640, Viterbo
Canonized:1807 by Pope Pius VII

A religious of the Third Order of St. Francis and foundress of the Sacconi; born 1585 of a noble family at Vignanello, near Viterbo in Italy; died 30 January, 1640, at Viterbo; feast, 30 January; in Rome, 6 February (Diarium Romanum). Her parents were Marc' Antonio Mariscotti (Marius Scotus) and Ottavia Orsini. At Baptism she received the name Clarice and in early youth was remarkable for piety, but, as she grew older, she became frivolous, and showed a worldly disposition, which not even the almost miraculous saving of her life at the age of seventeen could change; neither was her frivolity checked by her education at the Convent of St. Bernardine at Viterbo, where an older sister had taken the veil. At the age of twenty she set her heart upon marriage with the Marquess Cassizucchi, but was passed by in favour of a younger sister. She was sadly disappointed, became morose, and at last joined the community at St. Bernardine, receiving the name Hyacintha. But, as she told her father, she did this only to hide her chagrin and not to give up the luxuries of the world; and she asked him to furnish her apartments with every comfort. She kept her own kitchen, wore a habit of the finest material, received and paid visits at pleasure.

For ten years she continued this kind of life, so contrary to the spirit of her vows and such a source of scandal to the community. By the special protection of God, she retained a lively faith, was regular in her devotions, remained pure, always showed a great respect for the mysteries of religion, and had a tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin. At length she was touched by God's grace, and the earnest exhortations of her confessor at the time of serious illness made her see the folly of the past and brought about a complete change in her life. She made a public confession of her faults in the refectory, discarded her costly garments, wore an old habit, went barefoot, frequently fasted on bread and water, chastised her body by vigils and severe scourging, and practised mortifications to such an extent that the decree of canonization considers the preservation of her life a continued miracle. She increased her devotion to the Mother of God, to the Holy Infant Jesus, to the Blessed Eucharist, and to the sufferings of Christ. She worked numerous miracles, had the gifts of prophecy and of discerning the secret thoughts of others. She was also favoured by heavenly ecstacies and raptures. During an epidemic that raged in Viterbo she showed heroic charity in nursing the sick. She established two confraternities, whose members were called Oblates of Mary or Sacconi. One of these, similar to our Society of St. Vincent de Paul, gathered alms for the convalescent, for the poor who were ashamed to beg, and for the care of prisoners; the other procured homes for the aged. Though now leading a life so pure and holy, Hyacintha always conceived the greatest contempt for herself. At her death great sorrow was felt at Viterbo and crowds flocked to her funeral. She was beatified by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726, and canonized 14 May, 1807, by Pius VII.