Monday, September 12, 2011



VATICAN CITY, 11 SEP 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father travelled from Castelgandolfo to the Italian city of Ancona where he presided at a concelebration of the Eucharist to mark the closure of the twenty-fifth Italian National Eucharistic Congress, which has focused on the theme "the Eucharist for daily life". The celebration was held in the city's shipyard. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

In his homily, the Holy Father referred to the Gospel narrative of the bread from heaven. The reaction of Jesus' disciples, many of whom abandoned Him at that time is, he said, similar to our own resistance before "the total gift Christ makes of Himself. Because welcoming this gift means losing ourselves, allowing ourselves to be absorbed and transformed to the point of living in Him".

Our difficulty lies in the fact that "we often confuse freedom with a lack of constraints, with the conviction that we can do everything alone, without God Who is seen as a restriction to our freedom, But this illusion soon turns to disappointment, creating disquiet and fear".

Some ideologies leave God to one side, or simply tolerate Him as a private choice which should not interfere with public life. They seek to organise society on the foundation of the economy and the force of power. However, said the Pope, "history has dramatically shown us" the failure of attempts to ensure material well being and peace while ignoring God and His revelation.

For this reason, "it is the primacy of God which we must, first and foremost, restore in our world and our lives, because it is this primacy which allows us to rediscover the truth of who we are; and it is in knowing and following the will of God that we discover our own good".

The Eucharist, a source for positive social development

The starting point for the restoration of the primacy of God must be the Eucharist, in which "God gives Himself to us, so as to open our lives to Him". Eucharistic communion "supports and transforms daily life". Moreover, the history of the Church is replete with saints "whose lives are an eloquent sign of how, from communion with the Lord, from the Eucharist, there arises a new and intense sense of responsibility at all levels of community life, a positive form of social development which focuses on human beings, especially the poor, the sick and the needy".

"Eucharistic spirituality is, then, the true antidote to the selfishness and egoism that often characterise daily life". Likewise, it is "the heart of an ecclesial community that knows how to overcome divisions and conflicts, and to make use of its various charisms and ministries, placing them all at the service of the unity of the Church".

Eucharistic spirituality is also the path by which to restore dignity to man and, therefore, "to the work he does, at the same time seeking to conciliate work with a time for rest and for the family, and to overcome the insecurity of precarious work and the problems of unemployment". Furthermore, it will help us to approach the various forms of human frailty, "aware that they do not cloud the value of the person but require our presence, our acceptance and our assistance".

"There is nothing that is truly human that cannot be fully experienced in the Eucharist", the Holy Father concluded. "May daily life, then, become a place for spiritual development, so as to experience the primacy of God in all circumstances".

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VATICAN CITY, 11 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Following this morning's Mass for the closure of the twenty-fifth Italian National Eucharistic Congress, the Holy Father prayed the Angelus in the shipyard of the city of Ancona. Before the Marian prayer the Pope reminded faithful present that "the Angelus invites us to imitate Mary Most Holy, to contemplate the well of love from which the Sacrament of the Eucharist comes". The Eucharistic mystery "makes the risen Christ present, our source of hope and comfort in daily life, especially in moments of difficulty".

On today's tenth anniversary of the attacks against the United States on 11 September 2001, the Pope entrusted the victims and their families to the Lord. And he added: "I invite the leaders of nations, and all men and women of good will, always to reject violence as a solution to problems, to resist the temptation to hate, and to work in society inspired by the principles of solidarity, justice and peace".

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VATICAN CITY, 11 SEP 2011 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. today in the cathedral of San Ciriaco, the Holy Father met with a group of priests and families from the archdiocese of Ancona, inviting them to reflect on the importance of leading the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Marriage back to their single source in the Eucharist. "Both those states of life", he said, "have their roots in the love of Christ, ... and they have a shared mission: bearing witness to His love and making it present in service to the community".

"Such an approach makes it possible, first and foremost, to overcome a blinkered view of the family as a mere recipient of pastoral care" when, in fact, "it is the primary place for human and Christian education and, therefore, the greatest ally of priestly ministry. ... In turn, the priest's closeness to the family helps him to a fuller awareness of the profound truth about himself and his own mission".

"No vocation is a purely private matter (particularly the vocation to marriage) because it is open to the horizon of the entire Church. What is important, then, is to integrate and harmonise priestly ministry with the true Gospel of marriage and the family, in order to achieve effective fraternal communion. And the Eucharist remains the centre and source of this unity, which is what drives the Church's activities".

The Holy Father went on: "Dear priests, through the gift you received at Ordination you are called to serve as pastors of the ecclesial community, which is the family of families. ... Cultivate great familiarity with the Word of God. ... God is your home and your inheritance. It is to this that you must bear witness before families ... even at moments of difficulty. ... Be welcoming and merciful, also towards people who struggle to maintain the commitments of the marriage bond, and towards those who, alas, have failed to do so".

"Dear wedded couples", he went on, "your Marriage is rooted in the faith that 'God is love' and that following Christ means 'abiding in love'. ... Construct your families in unity, a gift that comes from on high and that nourishes your commitment to the Church and to the promotion of a just and fraternal world".

"May your daily activities have their origin and centre in Sacramental communion", the Pope told his audience. "Educating new generations in the faith also means that you must show coherence. ... Bear witness to them of the demanding beauty of Christian life. ... To those entrusted to your responsibility, be a sign of Jesus' goodness and tenderness. In Him it is evident that the God Who loves life is no stranger to human existence; rather, he is the friend Who never abandons us".

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VATICAN CITY, 11 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Following his meeting with priests and families in the cathedral of Ancona, Benedict XVI travelled by car to the city's Piazza del Plebiscito where he addressed a group of young engaged couples gathered there to greet him.

"In some ways ours is not an easy time, especially for you young people", the Pope told them. "The table is full of delicacies but, like the Gospel narrative of the wedding feast of Cana, the wine seems to have run out. In particular, the difficulty in finding stable work extends a veil of uncertainty over the future. This means that definitive decisions are delayed, and has a negative effect on the development of society which is unable to take full advantage of the energies, competence and creativity of your generation".

"The wine is also lacking at the feast for a culture which tends to ignore clear moral criteria. In their disorientation, people tend to move individually and autonomously, often only on the perimeter of reality. ... Thus, even fundamental decisions become uncertain and remain perennially revocable".

"Never lose hope", the Pope told the young people. "Keep your courage, even in moments of difficulty, remain firm in the faith. ... Nothing can separate us from the love of God. You may be certain that the Church ... does not cease to look to you with great trust. She knows that you thirst for values, for true values upon which it is worth building your home: the values of faith, of the individual, of the family, of human relations, of justice. Do not lose heart before the shortcomings that seem to rob the feast of life of its joy".

"You are experiencing a unique moment which opens you to the wonder of meeting another person, which helps you discover the beauty of existing as a precious part of another person's life. ... Follow this journey gradually, intensely and truthfully. ... Most of all, I would like to tell you to avoid falsely reassuring relationships of intimacy. Ensure, rather, that your relationship acts as a leaven for active and responsible presence in the community".

"All human love is a sign of the eternal Love which created us, the grace of which sanctifies the choice of a man and a woman to dedicate themselves to married life. Experience this time of engagement in trusting expectation of that gift, which must be accepted by following a path of understanding, respect and attention for one another which you must never lose. ... Prepare yourselves to make that 'eternal' choice which characterises love. Indissolubility, rather than being an imposition, is a gift we should want, seek and experience, over and above the changing conditions of human life. ... Ongoing faithfulness and love for one another will also make you capable of being open to life, of being parents. ... Fidelity, indissolubility and the transmission of life are the pillars for each family, an authentic common good and a precious heritage for the whole of society".

The Holy Father concluded by highlighting how "part of the experience of love is striving towards God. True love promises the infinite! Make this period of preparation for marriage an itinerary of faith: rediscover the centrality of Jesus Christ and of ... the Church in your life as a couple".

At the end of the meeting the Holy Father travelled to the port of Ancona where, at 6.45 p.m. he boarded a helicopter for his return flight to Castelgandolfo.

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VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a message to Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, marking the tenth anniversary of the attacks against the World Trade Centre in New York, and against Washington and Pennsylvania, which occurred on 11 September 2001 and killed thousands of people.

After commending the victims to divine mercy, Benedict XVI goes on to recall that the perpetrators were convinced they were acting in the name of God. "Once again", he writes, "it must be unequivocally stated that no circumstances can ever justify acts of terrorism. Every human life is precious in God's sight and no effort should be spared in the attempt to promote throughout the world a genuine respect for the inalienable rights and dignity of individuals and peoples everywhere".

The Holy Father has words of praise for the courage and generosity shown by the American people during the rescue operations and "for their resilience in moving forward with hope and confidence. It is my fervent prayer", he concludes, "that a firm commitment to justice and a global culture of solidarity will help rid the world of the grievances that so often give rise to acts of violence and will create the conditions for greater peace and prosperity, offering a brighter and more secure future".

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VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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VATICAN CITY, 12 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was a message sent by Benedict XVI to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany, for a congress on the theme: "Bound to live together. The dialogue of religions and cultures". The congress, sponsored by the archdiocese and the Sant'Egidio Community, is taking place in Munich from 11 to 13 September. For the last twenty-five years, since John Paul II's meeting with religious leaders in the Italian town of Assisi, the Sant'Egidio Community has annually organised an ecumenical meeting for peace.

In the German-language text, dated from Castelgandolfo on 1 September, the Pope highlights the theme of the meeting, but warns that living together can also become living against one another if we do not learn to become more open and accepting. "Everything depends", he writes, "on our readiness to understand living together as a commitment and a gift, on finding the path to true coexistence. This shared life once meant remaining within the confines of a particular region, but today it is inevitably experienced at a universal level; today it is all humankind that must live together. Meetings such as the one which took place in Assisi and the one being held today in Munich, are occasions in which religions can ask themselves how to become a force for coexistence".

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VATICAN CITY, 12 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Renzo Pegoraro, professor of bioethics at the Triveneto Theological Faculty and director of the Lanza Foundation in Padua, as chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

On Saturday 10 September he raised Fr. Barthelemy Adoukonou, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, to the dignity of bishop.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Mathias Hariyadi
Accidental death of a Muslim taxi driver in Ambon sparks violence. The Islamic community spread the rumour that he had been attacked by Christians. Police intervention restores calm, but some stray bullets killed two people. Houses and properties of religious minority burned.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The toll from violent clashes yesterday between Christians and Muslims in Ambon, capital of the Moluccas, in the eastern Indonesian archipelago is three dead and about 60 wounded. The violence was triggered after the accidental death of a taxi driver who crashed his motorcycle. However, during the funeral a rumour was spread that Darkin Saimen - who lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a house – was attacked by a group of Christians. Riot police were called in to quell the reaction of the Islamic community. The officers fired shots, some stray bullets hit Djefry Siahaan (teacher in Ambon) in the stomach and Cliford Belegur (school student) in his left side, causing death.

Gen. Anton Bahrul Alam, national police spokesman, said that the autopsy confirmed the death of taxi driver in the crash. "The doctors found no sign of violence," said the officer, who adds that in the subsequent clashes, there were injuries and damage to public buildings. Anton, also declined to specify the names of the two factions who fought each other, avoiding mention of the religious faith of each. "These groups are known for some time [for their mutual hostility] ... - said the spokesman - We will not mention their names, but we assure you that [since 9 last night, ed] the situation is now come back under control."

Local sources, on condition of anonymity, told AsiaNews that the Muslim mob set fire to several Christian houses, forcing the occupants to leave the buildings. Meanwhile in Jakarta top politicians have gathered in a meeting to find solutions to the crisis given the extreme delicacy of the situation, they refuse to talk about "confessional" violence, instead referring to clashes between people belonging to "factions". Djoko Suyanto, a senior official for Legal Affairs, confirms that politicians and security officials "will be holding a summit this evening" to restore harmony in the theater of violence.

In the past there have been harsh conflicts in the Moluccas of a confessional nature between Christians and Muslims that have caused deaths and injuries. The arrival in 1999 in the area of thousands of Muslim settlers, coming from other parts of Indonesia, triggered the conflict, which continued until 2002 and caused at least 9 thousand deaths in repeated incidents. The signing of a peace treaty between the two sides in February 2002 - the Malino Peace Treaty, signed in South Sulawesi - put an end to the conflict.


A Crucifix held up in a crowd

PRESS RELEASE BISHOPS OF ENGLAND AND WALES: The Visit of Pope Benedict XVI evoked for many people the spiritual reality of life and rekindled hope and faith: hope in the goodness that is within people and in our society, and faith in God. Even if it is not easily articulated, a spiritual yearning is to be found within most people. This yearning is found also among Catholics who have lost touch with their faith or whose faith was never deeply rooted in a personal relationship with Christ. Wishing to respond to this yearning but perhaps lacking in confidence in talking about their own spiritual life, many Catholics are asking how they can witness to their faith; what can they do to help introduce their faith in Christ to others in simple and straightforward ways?

The Bishops of England and Wales recognise that simple acts of witness, accompanied by sincere prayer, can be a powerful call to faith. Traditional Catholic devotions such as making the sign of the cross with care and reverence, praying the Angelus, saying a prayer before and after our meals, to name only a few, are straightforward actions which both dedicate certain moments in our daily lives to Almighty God and demonstrate our love and trust in His goodness and providence. If these devotions have been lost or even forgotten, particularly in our homes and schools, we have much to gain from learning and living them again.

The Bishops have looked again at the role of devotions and the practice of penance, both of which can help to weave the Catholic faith into the fabric of everyday life. Our regular worship at Holy Mass on Sunday, the day of the Lord’s resurrection, is the most powerful outward sign and witness of our faith in Jesus Christ to our family, friends and neighbours. Sunday must always remain at the heart of our lives as Catholics.

The Bishops also wish to remind us that every Friday is set aside as a special day of penitence, as it is the day of the suffering and death of the Lord. They believe it is important that all the faithful again be united in a common, identifiable act of Friday penance because they recognise that the virtue of penitence is best acquired as part of a common resolve and common witness.

The law of the Church requires Catholics on Fridays to abstain from meat, or some other form of food, or to observe some other form of penance laid down by the Bishops’ Conference. The Bishops have decided to re-establish the practice that this penance should be fulfilled simply by abstaining from meat and by uniting this to prayer. Those who cannot or choose not to eat meat as part of their normal diet should abstain from some other food of which they regularly partake.

This decision will come into effect from Friday 16 September 2011.


The article above with a useful Question and Answer section is available as a PDF:

Friday Penance (with Q&A)


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The department of Missions of the Episcopal Commission for prophetic Pastoral, the National Directorate of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) of Mexico and the diocese of San Juan de los Lagos, with the aim of promoting missionary awareness among the people of God and aware of the fruits brought by the previous fourteen meetings, especially in the missionary service of the universal Church, have promoted the XV Meeting of the Missionary Union of the Sick (MUS), which will be held from 15 to 18 September 2011 in the city of San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco, with the slogan: "Witnesses of the Word, Missionaries of the Gospel." As the statement says, a copy of which was sent to Fides by the PMS of Mexico, the objective of the meeting is "to train pastoral health workers to the missionary service through the encounter with the Word of God, in order to rediscover and give new dimension to missionary discipleship for the sick and to witness their faith". (CE) (Agenzia Fides 12/09/2011)


President Jakaya Kikwete and Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein view children's bodies.

ALLAFRICA.COM REPORT: The Zanzibar government has said it would conduct a thorough investigation to establish the cause of the ferry accident that killed at least 200 people.

The deaths occured after the ferry, which was travelling from Unguja to Pemba, capsized at around midnight on Friday at the Nungwi channel, about 20 kilometres from Zanzibar town.Zanzibar's First Vice President, Mr Seif Sharif Hamad, said yesterday that it was evident that the ferry, Spice Islander, involved in the accident was overloaded.

Mr Hamad, popularly referred to as Maalim Seif, said an estimation of the number of bodies retrieved from the water and survivors of the accident indicate that the ferry was carrying more than 610 people, far beyond its approved capacity.

"It is evident that the ferry's capacity allows for just over 600 people ... if you add the number of those who have been rescued and the bodies that have been retrieved, you get about 800 people ... in short, this ferry sank even before it left the Unguja port," he said.

He said though accidents were generally regarded as acts of God, in this case the government would work to establish the cause of the disaster.

Daily News

Spice Islander, the boat which capsized while heading for Pemba Island. It was reportedly overcrowded and there were not enough life jackets for all the passengers.

He said marine laws and regulations provided the number of passengers that vessels could carry and those supervising the sector were mandated to ensure that such a capacity was maintained.Maalim Seif also said that passengers had the responsibility of caring for their safety. "There is no need to board a vessel which is evidently full," he said.

Meanwhile, the National Security Council met in Zanzibar yesterday to discuss the ferry tragedy.The Council met under the chairmanship of President Jakaya Kikwete, who arrived in Zanzibar on Saturday evening, to join other leaders from the Isles in consoling the victims of the accident.

The council met as countries started to send reinforcements to assist in the rescue operations though hopes of finding survivors were beginning to dim. The rescue operations were halted on Saturday night as there were no facilities to enable the exercise to be carried out in darkness.

Meanwhile, burial of the dead at a common site at Kama grounds started yesterday. As of yesterday noon some 42 bodies, including 20 adults and 22 children, had already been buried.An official who was supervising the exercise said the bodies were being buried with the participation of relatives after their identification.

"So far we have not buried anyone who has not been identified... those who have been buried here have been given a farewell by their relatives. What we are doing is assisting the relatives with preparations for burial," he said.

Meanwhile, as rescue operations resumed yesterday morning, there were reports of some bodies being located several kilometres from the scene of the accident, some of them near the Tanga coastline. Apparently, the bodies were washed away overnight by sea waves.

South Africa President Jacob Zuma yesterday sent a team from the country's Armed Forces to assist in the rescue operations. The team was sent with equipment for the exercise. South Africa's chief of defence forces N Mbaya quoted President Zuma as directing the team to do everything in its power to assist in the operation.

Reports from Johannesburg said the team of army officers, with facilities, left yesterday for Zanzibar to join the rescue operations.

Though the exact number of people who boarded the ferry was yet to be established, reports indicate that there were between 1,000 and 1,500 passengers. There are about 590 people who have been rescued.Meanwhile, the Civic United Front (CUF) also sent its condolences to the Zanzibar government and the families that have been affected by the tragedy.

Until yesterday morning, more than 180 bodies had been retrieved from the capsized ferry but there were prospects that more casualties might have been trapped inside the vessel.

Speaking with journalists on Saturday at the regional headquarters in Tanga, Special Seats MP and the director of Information, Publicity and Human Rights, Ms Amina Mwidau, said the party had received the information with great shock.

She urged individuals and institutions to join hands with the government in the rescue mission, so as to save as many lives as possible. SOURCE:


ARCHDIOCESE OF CANBERRA/GOULBURN REPORT: Gungahlin’s Catholic secondary college will open in 2013 as planned, community members were told at last week’s public meeting.

While an environmental investigation into Throsby has delayed the building process, Year 7 students will be housed at Mother Teresa Primary School in Harrison at the start of the 2013 school year.

Mother Teresa principal Mr Michael Lowe said eight new classrooms would soon be built for his school, to cater for growing enrolments, and that Year 7 students would be able to utilise them until the secondary college was ready.

The Catholic Education Office assured parents that students would have access to all materials in all subjects while at Mother Teresa and that everyone would be relocated as soon as the Throsby campus classrooms were complete.

For more information, contact Mr Dominic Braybon at the Catholic Education Office, telephone 6234 5440 or email


St. AilbheFeastday: September 12

Bishop and preacher, one of the saints whose life has been woven into the myths and legends of Ireland. He was a known disciple of St. Patrick, and is called Albeus in some records. What is known about Ailbhe is that he was a missionary in Ireland, perhaps sponsored by King Aengus of Munster. He was also the first bishop of Emily in Munster, Ireland. Legends and traditions abound about his life. One claims that he was left in the woods as an infant and suckled by a wolf. This legend is prompted in part by Ailbhe's later life. An old she-wolf came to Ailbhe for protection from a hunting party, resting her head upon his breast. He is supposed to have been baptized by a priest in northern Ireland, possibly in a British settlement. The so called Acts of Ailbhe are filled with traditions that are not reliable. Ailbhe was noted for his charity and kindness, as well as his eloquent sermons. He is beloved in Ireland.



Luke 7: 1 - 10
1After he had ended all his sayings in the hearing of the people he entered Caper'na-um.
2Now a centurion had a slave who was dear to him, who was sick and at the point of death.
3When he heard of Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his slave.
4And when they came to Jesus, they besought him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy to have you do this for him,
5for he loves our nation, and he built us our synagogue."
6And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying to him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof;
7therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.
8For I am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, `Go,' and he goes; and to another, `Come,' and he comes; and to my slave, `Do this,' and he does it."
9When Jesus heard this he marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed him, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith."
10And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well.