Saturday, October 29, 2011

VATICAN: POPE: BISHOPS OF ANGOLA AND SAO TOME VISIT



RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Pope Benedict XVI received the bishops of Angola and Sao Tomé on Saturday, who are here in Rome for their ad limina visits. In greeting the bishops, the Holy Father recalled his March, 2009 visit to Luanda, during which he said he was able to celebrate Jesus Christ in the midst of a people who never tire of seeking to love and serve with generosity and joy. Pope Benedict also used the occasion to explain that his recent decision to proclaim the Year of Faith from October 2012 to November 2013, was so that the whole Church might demonstrate to all a more beautiful and credible face, that the face of the Lord might show through the Church more clearly.

At the heart of the Holy Father’s remarks to the bishops, however, was a threefold warning and encouragement for the bishops: against the temptations of the spirit of the age and mores of society, and for the strength to be authentic witnesses to the Gospel, especially as regards the basic structure and life of the family – noting that the bishops have made marriage and family as the pastoral priorities of their current three-year cycle of pastoral initiatives. The Pope called on the bishops to help couples acquire the necessary human and spiritual maturity to take their mission as Christian spouses and parents responsibly, reminding them that their spousal love should be lived as it is: unique and indissoluble as the covenant between Christ and his Church. “This precious treasure,” said Pope Benedict, “is to be safeguarded at all costs.”

The second major area of concern for the Holy Father was the danger, especially among the recently baptised, of a heart still divided between Christianity and African traditional religions. Noting that many people do not hesitate to resort to practices incompatible with Christian faith and morals in order to deal with life’s trials, the Pope Benedict condemned as abominable the practice of witchcraft, which often leads to the marginalization and even murder of children and the elderly. “Mindful that human life is sacred in all its phases and situations,” he said, “continue, dear bishops, to raise your voice in favor of their victims.”

Finally, the Holy Father mentioned the tangible remnants of tribalism in the attitudes of ethnic communities that tend to be closed, and not to accept people from other parts of the nation. The Pope expressed his appreciation to those of the bishops who accepted a pastoral mission outside the confines of their language or regional group, and he thanked the priests and the people who welcomed and helped them. Then, offering affectionate greetings to all the members of their local Churches, and entrusting the whole Church in Angola and Sao Tomé to the protection of the Virgin Mary, Pope Benedict imparted his Apostolic Blessing.

AMERICA: USA: AVE MARIA UNIVERSITY: FEATURED UNIVERSITY

AVE MARIA UNIVERSITY REPORT: Ave Maria University is a vibrant university located in beautiful southwest Florida. It is an academic institution that pledges faithfulness to the teachings of the Church and is committed to offering one of the finest classical liberal arts curricula available, as well as opportunities for specialized study in all of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

Our History

Ave Maria University began as Thomas S. Monaghan’s dream to build an institution of Catholic higher education that would be faithful to the Magisterium and could produce the future faithful educators, leaders, and mentors that our challenged society needs. Through his initial financial donation of $250 million, in partnership with a generous donation of land from the Barron Collier Family in Southwest Florida, the dream began to take shape.

The United States leads the world in higher education, with more than 4,000 institutions of the most diverse kind—State, private, secular, and religious. The Catholic Church in America came late to the table in establishing colleges and universities, but by 1960 there were some 230 institutions, mainly founded by religious orders. Since then, the total number has hardly changed. The growth of older Catholic colleges and universities has often been accompanied by a degree of secularization. In a number of these institutions, the Catholic identity has become quite attenuated, with many (and in some cases most) of the faculty non-Catholic or hostile to the Church.

In the 40 plus years since the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic population has increased by some 50 percent. Much of that growth has occurred outside the traditional Catholic enclaves in the cities of the northeast and midwest, as Catholics followed the burgeoning economies of the southeast and the west. Yet the religious orders, many suffering a drastic fall-off in vocations, did not respond to these demographic changes with new institutions in areas of growing Catholic population. Indeed, the last Catholic institution inaugurated as a university was in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1963.

By the time Mr. Monaghan began his dream, it was evident that higher education needed a fresh, faithful voice. It can well be argued that, if for no other reason, a Catholic university is essential to the transmittal of the faith to successive generations. "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it." —Proverbs 22:5-7 The role Ave Maria University intends to fill is not merely catechesis (although that has been woefully deficient in other institutions), but rather the ongoing reflection of theologians and philosophers on the integration of the truths of the faith with the social, cultural, economic, and political developments in society. This is perhaps the single most vital task for Catholic academicians: to explicate the truths of the faith, and measure against them the evolving societal propositions or practices in politics, the arts, the economy, etc. Two hundred or more years ago, those practices included slavery, laissez faire capitalism, and child labor. Fifty or more years ago, they included Marxism, Nazism, and Freudianism. Today they include abortion, fetal research, cloning, same-sex "marriage," moral relativism, and world terrorism. It is the graduates of Ave Maria University who will become the Catholic intellectuals needed to bring the truths of the faith to bear on these issues.

CONTACT

Ave Maria University
5050 Ave Maria Blvd.
Ave Maria, FL 34142

http://www.avemaria.edu/
239-280-2500

SOURCE: http://www.avemaria.edu/AboutAveMaria.aspx

EUROPE: POLAND: MISSION ACTIVITY FUNDAMENTAL IN RELIGIOUS LIFE

Agenzia Fides report - On the Occasion of Missionary Week, the most popular Catholic weekly in Poland, "Niedziela", based in Czestochowa, has published on its website (www.niedziela.pl) the results of an online survey on the support of the Church's missionary activity. According to the results of the survey, 44.68% of the readers of "Niedziela" support the mission of the Church and the missionary activity through prayer and 42.55% of the readers with financial help. Only 1,7% support the missions because they are in contact with the missionaries. 1,27% pay a subscription to the magazine for missionaries. Finally, according to the results of the survey, 9.78% of the people interviewed support missions in other ways. "It is clear from the results of the poll that for the readers of the Catholic weekly, Church missions are one of the most important and fundamental things of religious life. The Church's missionary activity, from a certain point of view, is therefore part of the lives of the readers of Niedziela" commented to Fides don Mariusz Frukacz, a sociologist, editor of "Niedziela" and member of the Pontifical Missionary Union. (MF/SL) (Agenzia Fides 28/10/2011)

AFRICA: KENYA: BISHOP CALLS FOR AUTHENTIC MISSIONARIES

CISA REPORT: NAIROBI, October 28, 2011 (CISA) –Kenyan Catholic Bishop Anthony Mukobo, Chairman of Commission for Missions in the country has called on missioners to be authentic in order to make Christ their sole mission.

Speaking at the regional Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) meeting in Nairobi on October 26, Bishop Mukobo said that to be truly authentic, the missioners need to project the image of communion and share the faith-experience with fellow men.

He pointed out that missioners must be ready to promote the corporate responsibility of the People of God in all its various sections, laity, religious and clergy.

“There is today an undeniable thirst and hunger for prayer and contemplation. We see this around us, but especially among the laity, among the young,” said the bishop.

He noted that for a Christian community to truly and joyfully fulfil its mission, every Christian must be helped in his/her striving to appreciate his/her missionary commitment to put Christ effectively at the center of his/her life.

He called on the PMS delegates to practice on-going catechesis adding that it is urgent and compelling to spread the message of Jesus Christ to those who do not know him.

However, he said, “The more we preach Jesus in generic form without inviting people to have that personal encounter with Jesus, the more we will be “manufacturing” lukewarm Christians whose faith lacks a lot in depth. As Directors of Pontifical Missionary Societies, you have to make God known, loved and served.”

“We must effectively translate the primacy of evangelization into deeds, in a continent like Africa where eight hundred million men and women have not yet consciously come to know Christ and his Gospel in significant ways; and our word and witness, with the progressively better use of the mass media, must be placed generously at the service of this endeavour,” said the bishop.

While speaking about the role of PMS in Africa today, the bishop advised the directors to be engaged all the time, to promote solidarity with the other diocesan, national and continental PMS wherever they may be.

“Those in Africa, the Pontifical Missionary office at whatever level, for instance, should update those missionaries in diaspora the successes, gaps, challenges etc, as being experienced locally such that upon the return from missionary lands their brothers and sisters will have easy transition and insertion,” he said.

He reminded them that in the course of planting God’s message in people’s hearts today; they should not ignore cultural, religious, political, economic, educational, sanitary and environmental aspects of life.

Bishop Mukobo further said that Africa today needs real and genuine shepherds and pastors. “I think Africa Missions needs priests and religious who will relate with their Christians horizontally and not vertically. It would be a pity if this priest/brother/nun became part of the small cream of affluent elite in a sea of misery.”

You guys should maintain a high sense of missionary zeal and avoid becoming just a “maintenance man” in an “established Church.” He said.

http://www.cisanewsafrica.com/

ASIA: INDIA: 1ST INDIAN CHURCH DEDICATED TO JPII

ASIANEWS REPORT: The Archdiocese of Bangalore is the first in the country to have a church dedicated to Pope John Paul II. The statue, cast in Thailand, was unveiled in Delhi by the nuncio, Msgr. Salvatore Pennacchio, in the presence of all the bishops of Karnataka.

Bangalore (AsiaNews) - Oct. 25 the nuncio to India, Msgr. Salvatore Penncchio, unveiled a statue dedicated to John Paul II, in the church dedicated to Blessed in K Channasandra Horamavu, in the suburbs of Bangalore. The Archdiocese of Bangalore is the first all over the country to have a church dedicated to Blessed John Paul II, a missionary Pope, raised to the altars May 1, 2011. John Paul II visited India on two occasions. In 1986 and 1999, covering the country from north to south, and paying homage at Gandhi’s shrine.

The statue, in bronze, is 2.6 meters high and weighs 375 kg. It 'was cast in Bangkok. John Paul II is represented in cassock as Pope, and at his feet are two national symbols, the peacock and lotus flower. The ceremony was attended Msgr. Bernard Moras, archbishop of Bangalore, all 13 bishops from Karnataka, and bishops from the Diocese of Chikmagalur, Mysore, Belgaum, Bellary, Shimoga, Belthangady, Bhadravathi, Mangalore, Mandya, Puttur, Karwar and Gulbarga. The nuncio also said that his hope is that the process of canonization of Pope John Paul II will proceed expeditiously.

The nuncio, in his homily, recalled the figure of John Paul II: "The Pope was a missionary; he visited so many countries, and came twice to India. His words were: Be not afraid cast your nets into the deep for a batter catch. "Archbishop Pennacchio urged Indians not to be afraid to welcome Christ into their lives, and imitate him. Archbishop Moras was appointed bishop by John Paul II, first in Belgaum and then to Bangalore.

AUSTRALIA: NEW INITIATIVE AGAINST PORNOGRAPHY

CATH NEWS REPORT: A compelling and confronting new book, Big Porn Inc, was recently launched in both Melbourne and Perth. The publishers, editors, some of the Australian contributors and those endorsing the book spoke of the launch of this book as a “landmark publication”, writes Anna Krohn (pictured) on the Catholic Women's League website.

“Big Porn Inc: exposing the harms of the global pornography industry” (published by Spinifex) is a sharply up-to-the-nano-second analysis of and protest against the “colonization” of the world’s markets, cultures and interpersonal relationships by exponentially violent, dehumanized and dehumanizing pornography.

The book has been edited by the social commentator and writer, Melinda Tankard Reist (Collective Shout) and the Perth-based social justice academic, Dr Abigail Bray. The editors have gathered together into a persuasive and unified front, 40 diverse contributions which include commentary, research, strategy and moving first-hand narrative from those hurt by porn.

Big Porn Inc. includes papers from a world-wide and multi-cultural array of men and women, activists, sociologists, political scientists and psychologists who pursue the trail from brutality, trafficking, child abuse, female objectification, self-harm, and a tidal wave of misogyny back to electronically pervasive and industrialised porn.


Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University, added his strong commendation of the book. He said that much of the contemporary media, advertising industry and “huge industries who are considered respectable” are collaborators in the perpetration of the“dark desires” which are wrapped around the “look, the style and the attitudes” of porn. Pornography, he said “brings prostitution into every home.At the Melbourne launch, women’s researcher and Spinifex publisher Dr Renate Klein commented upon the parallel “pornification” of mainstream fashion, music and advertising cultures with the explicit degradation of women, children, teenagers, boys and animals in porn influenced behaviour.

http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=28780

TODAY'S SAINT: OCT. 29: ST. NARCISSUS

St. Narcissus

BISHOP
Feast: October 29
Information:
Feast Day:
October 29
Born:
99
Died:
215

St Narcissus was born towards the close of the first century, and was almost fourscore years old when he was placed at the head of the church of Jerusalem, being the thirtieth bishop of that see. Eusebius assures us that the Christians of Jerusalem preserved in his time the remembrance of several miracles which God had wrought by this holy bishop, one of which he relates as follows. One year, on Easter-eve, the deacons were unprovided with oil for the lamps in the church, necessary at the solemn divine office that day. Narcissus ordered those who had care of the lamps to bring him some water from the neighbouring wells. This being done, he pronounced a devout prayer over the water; then bade them pour it into the lamps, which they did, and it was immediately converted into oil, to the great surprise of the faithful. Some of this miraculous oil was kept there as a memorial at the time when Eusebius wrote his history. The veneration of all good men for this holy bishop could not shelter him from the malice of the wicked. Three incorrigible sinners, fearing his inflexible severity in the observance of ecclesiastical discipline, laid to his charge a detestable crime, which Eusebius does not specify. They confirmed their atrocious calumny by dreadful oaths and imprecations; one wishing he might perish by fire, another that he might be struck with a leprosy, and the third that he might lose his sight, if what they alleged was not the truth. Notwithstanding these protestations, their accusation did not find credit; and some time after the divine vengeance pursued the calumniators. The first was burnt in his house, with his whole family, by an accidental fire in the night; the second was struck with a universal leprosy; and the third, terrified by these examples, confessed the conspiracy and slander, and by the abundance of tears which he continually shed for his sins, lost his sight before his death.
Narcissus, notwithstanding the slander had made no impression on the people to his disadvantage, could not stand the shock of the bold calumny, or rather made it an excuse for leaving Jerusalem and spending some time in solitude, which had long been his wish. He spent several years undiscovered in his retreat, where he enjoyed all the happiness and advantage which a close conversation with God can bestow. That his church might not remain destitute of a pastor, the neighbouring bishops of the province after some time placed in it Pius, and after him Germanion, who dying in a short time was succeeded by Gordius. Whilst this last held the see, Narcissus appeared again, like one from the dead. The whole body of the faithful, transported at the recovery of their holy pastor, whose innocence had been most authentically vindicated, conjured him to reassume the administration of the diocese. He acquiesced; but afterwards, bending under the weight of extreme old age, made St. Alexander his coadjutor. St. Narcissus continued to serve his flock, and even other churches, by his assiduous prayers and his earnest exhortations to unity and concord, as St. Alexander testifies in his letter to the Arsinoites in Egypt, where he says that Narcissus was at that time, about one hundred and sixteen years old. The Roman Martyrology honours his memory on the 29th of October.
If we truly respect the church as the immaculate spouse of our Lord, we will incessantly pray for its exaltation and increase, and beseech the Almighty to give it pastors according to his own heart, like those who appeared in the infancy of Christianity. And, that no obstacle on our part may prevent the happy effects of their zeal, we should study to regulate our conduct by the holy maxims which they inculcate; we should regard them as the ministers of Christ; we should listen to them with docility and attention; we should make their faith the rule of ours, and shut our ears against the language of profane novelty. SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/N/stnarcissus.asp

TODAY'S GOSPEL: OCT. 29: LUKE 14: 1, 7 - 11

Luke 14: 1, 7 - 11
1One sabbath when he went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him.
7Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them,
8"When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him;
9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, `Give place to this man,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.
10But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, `Friend, go up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.
11For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

VATICAN: POPE: ASSISI RELIGIONS MAY BRING PEACE ON EARTH

ASSISI: MAY RELIGIONS BRING JUSTICE AND PEACE UPON THE EARTH

VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - Shortly before 4 p.m. yesterday, the Holy Father and the heads of delegation left the convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, and walked in procession across the square in front of the building. They then boarded minibuses which took them to Piazza San Francesco for the closing event of the Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world. (IMAGE RADIO VATICANA)

The ceremony began with some remarks from Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. He affirmed that the hope for peace had been revived by the Assisi meeting and exhorted everyone to be witnesses and messengers of peace. The other participants, speaking in turn, then solemnly renewed their own commitment to peace: His Holiness Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, was followed by representatives of the World Lutheran Council, Sikhism, the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Baptist World Alliance, Islam, the Syro-Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, Taoism, Buddhism, Shintoism, the International Jewish Committee on Inter-religious Consultations, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, and non-believers.

Benedict XVI then pronounced the words: "Violence never again! War never again! Terrorism never again! In the name of God, may every religion bring upon the earth Justice and Peace, Forgiveness and Life, Love".

Following a few moments of silence, a group of young people gave lighted lamps to the heads of delegation and to others present in the square; the flames of the lamps flickering in the wind were intended to represent peace, which has to be protected and conserved. Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, then invited participants to exchange a sign of peace in order to seal the commitment they had just pronounced.

Following the exchange of the sign of peace the Pope concluded by thanking the organisers of the Assisi meeting. He also made specific mention of "the many young people who have made the pilgrimage to Santa Maria degli Angeli on foot, proof of the fact that many members of the new generations are committed to overcoming violence and discord, and to promoting justice and peace".

"Today's event is an image of how the spiritual dimension is a key element in the building of peace. Through this unique pilgrimage we have been able to engage in fraternal dialogue, to deepen our friendship, and to come together in silence and prayer. After renewing our commitment to peace and exchanging with one another a sign of peace, we feel even more profoundly involved, together with all the men and women from the communities that we represent, in our common human journey. We are not being separated; we will continue to meet, we will continue to be united in this journey, in dialogue, in the daily building of peace and in our commitment to a better world, a world in which every man and woman, and every people, can live in accordance with their own legitimate aspirations. From my heart I thank all of you here present for having accepted my invitation to come to Assisi as pilgrims of truth and peace and I greet each one of you in St. Francis' own words: May the Lord grant you peace.

During the closing hymn the Pope and the delegations descended from the podium and entered the lower basilica of St. Francis where they remained in silence over the saint's tomb. The Pontiff then greeted the Franciscan community and, accompanied by the heads of delegation, travelled by minibus to the railway station of Assisi where he boarded a train for his return to the Vatican.

PV-ITALY/ VIS 20111028 (610)

THE ASSISI MEETING WAS A SIGN OF FRIENDSHIP AND FRATERNITY

VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received representatives of various religions, and of non-believers, who yesterday participated in the Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world, celebrated in the Italian town of Assisi under the theme: "Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace".

Addressing the group in English he thanked them for having taken part in yesterday's event. "In a certain sense", he said, "this gathering is representative of the billions of men and women throughout our world who are actively engaged in promoting justice and peace. It is also a sign of the friendship and fraternity which has flourished as the fruit of the efforts of so many pioneers in this kind of dialogue. May this friendship continue to grow among all the followers of the world's religions and with men and women of good will everywhere".

"Looking back, we can appreciate the foresight of the late Pope John Paul II in convening the first Assisi meeting. ... Meetings of this sort are necessarily exceptional and infrequent, yet they are a vivid expression of the fact that every day, throughout our world, people of different religious traditions live and work together in harmony. It is surely significant for the cause of peace that so many men and women, inspired by their deepest convictions, are committed to working for the good of the human family.

"In this way", Benedict XVI added, "I am sure that yesterday's meeting has given us a sense of how genuine is our desire to contribute to the good of all our fellow human beings and how much we have to share with one another.

"As we go our separate ways, let us draw strength from this experience and, wherever we may be, let us continue refreshed on the journey that leads to truth, the pilgrimage that leads to peace. I thank all of you from my heart".

AC/ VIS 20111028 (340)

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, 28 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, archbishop of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

AMERICA: USA: BISHOPS PREPARE FOR AD LIMINA VISIT TO VATICAN

CNS REPORT: By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- U.S. bishops are preparing to make their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican, an intense series of encounters that will bring many of them face-to-face with Pope Benedict XVI for the first time.

Beginning in early November and extending through much of next year, the visits will constitute the most comprehensive assessment of church life in the United States since the German pope was elected in 2005.


A statue of Jesus handing St. Peter keys rests in front of the main altar in St. Peter's Basilica on the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul June 29. As part of their "ad limina" visits to Rome, bishops are required to make a pilgrimage to the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul in their respective basilicas. (CNS/Paul Haring)

The visits also give Pope Benedict a platform for commentary, and Vatican sources say the leitmotif of papal talks to the bishops will be "new evangelization" in U.S. society.

The approximately 200 heads of U.S. dioceses, some accompanied by auxiliary bishops, will arrive in Rome in 15 regional groups, and each will bring a "Report on the State of the Diocese" that will serve as the basis for discussions. The schedules for the weeklong visits combine prayer and liturgy with more businesslike encounters at key Vatican offices.

The meetings with the pope have always been the highlight of the "ad limina" visits. Pope Benedict has lately adopted a modified format, meeting with 7-10 bishops at a time instead of individual encounters. U.S. bishops can expect small group discussions lasting about 45 minutes to an hour, featuring a relatively unstructured give-and-take with the pontiff.

The pope also addresses the larger regional groups of bishops, usually on a particular theme or aspect of the church's experience in the United States. He will not give a formal speech to each regional group, however. Instead, plans call for him to address only five of the groups -- part of a cutback in papal appointments that has been instituted gradually over the last few years.

Pope Benedict's talks will undoubtedly be combed for comments relevant to the 2012 election year campaign in the United States. Vatican insiders say the pope will avoid wading into partisan politics. Nevertheless, his talks are expected to touch on perennial hot-button issues like abortion and gay marriage -- not because they may be electoral topics, but because they are challenges to fundamental Catholic moral teaching.

Vatican sources said that under the general theme of new evangelization, which aims to strengthen the faith and "evangelize culture" in traditionally Christian countries, the pope is likely to focus on several key areas:

-- How culture and religion should intersect, especially in current situations found in secular society.

-- Education and the particular importance of Catholic schools.

-- Building good relationships between bishops and priests, which have suffered in the clerical sex abuse scandal.

-- Religious freedom as a challenge not only in countries where Christians are a minority, but in places where radical secularism is taking root.

The "ad limina" visits are often described as the Catholic version of branch managers reporting to the head office. Vatican officials say that's a misconception.

"If we only looked at the administrative aspect of these visits, we would not understand them. They are first of all moments of communion and collegiality, a faith experience," Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Congregation for Bishops, told Catholic News Service.

He said that when the groups of bishops pray and celebrate liturgies together, hold meetings with the Vatican and then engage in informal conversations among themselves, they are able to take a break from purely local affairs and look at things from a more universal perspective.

The visits are also a time when bishops and the Vatican can remove "prejudices" that may arise on issues that are treated in the media or public debate, but often without much direct communication between Rome and local church leaders, Cardinal Ouellet said.

"They clarify questions with us and we clarify questions with them. It is really very positive," the cardinal said.

The title of the visits comes from the Latin phrase "ad limina apostolorum" (to the thresholds of the apostles), a reference to the pilgrimage to the tombs of Sts. Peter and Paul that the bishops are required to make.

Several U.S. groups also plan to celebrate Masses at the altar of the tomb of Blessed John Paul II. Many of the bishops were, in fact, appointed by the late pope and feel a special connection to him.

Cardinal Ouellet's office coordinates preparation for the "ad limina" visits. Each bishop is asked to prepare in advance a report on virtually every aspect of diocesan life, including family life, education, clergy and religious, lay involvement, vocations, priestly formation, religious practices and demographics.

These reports are taken seriously at the Vatican, Cardinal Ouellet said. They are circulated to heads of Vatican agencies and to the pope ahead of time, so that meetings can be productive.

The U.S. bishops plan group meetings with officials of several Vatican agencies. They include the congregations in charge of doctrine, clergy, bishops, worship, education and religious orders, and pontifical councils that deal with ecumenism, the family and laity. The bishops are being encouraged to meet with the council for new evangelization, and some will hold talks with the council for health care.

These discussions involve shared concerns and interests, but some bishops also schedule private meetings with Vatican officials to deal with specific diocesan issues.

The group encounters are usually hosted by the prefects or presidents of Vatican congregations or councils. That isn't always possible, but Cardinal Ouellet said the top officials of Roman Curia departments "must have a very good reason not to meet the group." Meeting with the world's bishops is considered a priority task for curia agencies, he added.

AFRICA: SOUTH SUDAN: BISHOPS APPEALS FOR PEACE IN STATE

CISA REPORT:

TORIT, October 28, 2011 (CISA) -Bishop Johnson Akio of Catholic Diocese of Torit, South Sudan has appealed for a peaceful resolution to the Madi and Acholi conflict in Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State.

According to Fr Lounoi Santino Stephen, Communication Coordinator and Director of Radio Emmanuel, Bishop Akio urged the two communities to stop hostility and killing each other.

He announced that he is sending a team of clerics to meet the two communities in a bid to resolve the land ownership issue peacefully.

Bishop Akio urged the people to return to their homesteads and focus on peaceful co-existence as they have lived together for decades.

He reminded the people of the recent end of two decades civil war where many lives were lost, saying it is time to mourn loved ones who died in the liberation struggle than creating another conflict.

Bishop Akio cites harmonious relationship through inter-marriages and good neighbourhood in the past, as points for peaceful arbitration of differences between the two communities.

Fr Santino said in a statement sent to CISA that so far four people have been killed in the long time land disputes between the Ma’di and Acholi communities.

http://www.cisanewsafrica.com/?p=3185

ASIA: PAKISTAN: CHRISTIAN BROTHERS ABDUCTED BY LANDOWNERS

ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Faisal Khan
The Masih brothers worked on land owned by the Dogar family. The latter are Muslim and some of its members used to get drunk and beat the tenants. When Asif and Khadim decided to quit, they were abducted. Nothing has been known about their fate since September. The authorities have not investigated the matter because one of the Dogars is a policeman.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – Nothing is known of two Christian brothers from Faisalabad (Punjab) who were seized by the Muslim landowning family that employed them. The two disappeared on 14 September. Since then, “We have no idea where they are, whether they are dead or alive,” their mother told AsiaNews. A money dispute between the two Christian farm workers and their Muslim landlords is at the root of their abduction. Police have not yet opened a First Information Report because one of the landlords is a police officer.

Asif Masih, 23, known as Kali, and Khadim Masih, 35, come from a poor Christian family living in Chak 71, Jaranwala District, Faisalabad. They worked for 2,500 Pakistani rupees (US$ 29) a month for three Muslim landowners, policeman Javed Dogar and his brothers Sajjad Dogar and Rauf Dogar, who hail from Khurrianwala.

The mother of the two Christian brothers, Basheeran Bibi, said her sons had borrowed 20,000 rupees from the landowners, and were paying the loan back every month, out of their salary.

However, working for the Dogars was getting harder and harder. Although Muslims, they were often drunk and brutally beat the two Christians for no apparent reason.

When they found out, the parents of the Masih brothers suggested they pay off the debt and quit. This sparked an angry reaction from the Dogars who stormed the Masih home where they roughed up Niamat, the brothers’ father, who has a heart ailment. After that, they abducted the two brothers in September asking for a ransom of 70,000 rupees, plus the remainder of the debt.

The men’s mother tried to file a report with police, which refused because one of the suspects is a fellow police officer.

“Disputes between landowners and tenant farmers are commonplace in the area,” Fr Augustine, a priest in Faisalabad who provides financial and moral help to families, told AsiaNews. A serious and impartial inquiry should be conducted into the affair. “Farm workers are poor,” he explained. “They don’t have money to pay for legal action against landowners."