Saturday, December 17, 2011


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: The New Evangelization was the focus of Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks to the bishops of New Zealand and the Pacific today, as he received them at the end of their ad limina visits. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

Below is the full text of the Holy Father's remarks, followed by our audio report.

Dear Brother Bishops and Priests,
I am pleased to offer you a warm fraternal welcome on the occasion of your visit ad Limina Apostolorum. This gathering is a tangible sign of our communion in faith and charity in the one Church of Christ. I wish to thank Archbishop Dew and Bishop Mafi for the kind words offered on your behalf. My cordial greetings go to the priests, the men and women religious, and those entrusted to your pastoral care. Please assure them of my prayers for their growth in holiness and of my affection for them in the Lord.
With gratitude to Almighty God, I note from your reports the many blessings which the Lord has bestowed upon your Jurisdictions. I am also aware of the challenges to the Christian life which are common to all of you, in spite of the many social, economic and cultural contexts in which you work. You have mentioned in particular the challenge set before you by the secularism characteristic of your societies, a reality that has a significant impact on the understanding and practice of the Catholic faith. This is seen specifically in a weakened appreciation for the sacred nature of Christian marriage and the stability of the family. In such a context, the struggle to lead a life worthy of the our baptismal calling (cf. Eph. 4:1) and to abstain from the earthly passions which wage war against ours souls (cf. 1 Pet 2:11) becomes ever more challenging. Yet we know that, ultimately, Christian faith provides a surer basis for life than the secular vision; for “it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of humanity truly becomes clear” (Gaudium et Spes, 22).

Thus, the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization was recently established. Since the Christian faith is founded on the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, the new evangelization is not an abstract concept but a renewal of authentic Christian living based on the teachings of the Church. You, as Bishops and Pastors, are called to be protagonists in formulating this response according to local needs and circumstances in your various countries and among your peoples. By strengthening the visible bonds of ecclesial communion, build among yourselves an ever stronger sense of faith and charity, so that those whom you serve, in their turn, may imitate your charity and be ambassadors of Christ both in the Church and in the civil arena.

As you face this historic challenge, you must do so under the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit, who also calls forth, consecrates and sends priests as “co-workers of the Order of Bishops, with whom they are joined in the priestly office and with whom they are called to the service of the people of God” (Rite of Ordination of Priests). Dear Brother Bishops, I encourage you to have a special care for your priests. As you know, one of your first pastoral duties is to your priests and to their sanctification, especially those who are experiencing difficulties and those who have little contact with their brother priests. Be a father who guides them on the path to holiness, so that their lives may also attract others to follow Christ. We know that good, wise and holy priests are the best promoters of vocations to the priesthood. With the confidence that comes from faith, we can say that the Lord is still calling men to the priesthood, and you are aware that encouraging them to consider dedicating their lives fully to Christ is among your top priorities. In our day young people need more assistance with spiritual discernment so that they may know the Lord’s will. In a world affected by a “profound crisis of faith” (Porta Fidei, 2), ensure too that your seminarians receive a well-rounded formation that will prepare them to serve the Lord and love his flock according to the heart of the Good Shepherd.

In this context, I wish to acknowledge the significant contribution to the spread of the Gospel made by the men and women religious present throughout your region, including those active in pastoral, catechetical, and educational fields. Together with those living a contemplative life, may they remain faithful to the charisms of their founders, which are always united with the life and discipline of the entire Church, and may their witness to God continue to be a beacon that points towards a life of faith, love and right living.

Likewise, the lay faithful’s role in the well-being of the Church is essential since the Lord does not expect pastors “to undertake by themselves the entire saving mission of the Church” (Lumen Gentium, 30). I understand from your reports that your task of spreading the Gospel often depends on the assistance of lay missionaries and catechists. Continue to ensure that a sound and ongoing formation be afforded them, especially within the context of their associations. In so doing, you will equip them for every good work in the building up of the body of Christ (cf. 2 Tim 3:17; Eph 4:12). Their zeal for the faith under your continued leadership and support will surely bear much fruit in the vineyard of the Lord.

My dear Brother Bishops and Priests, as I have had this opportunity to discuss with you the New Evangelization, I do so mindful of the recently proclaimed Year of Faith, which “is intended to give a fresh impetus to the mission of the whole Church to lead human beings out of the wilderness in which they find themselves” (Homily, 16 October 2011). May this privileged time serve as an inspiration as you join the entire Church in the ongoing efforts of the New Evangelization, for although you are spread among many islands and we are separated by great distances, together we profess “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all” (Eph 4:5-6). May you continue to be united among yourselves and with the Successor of Peter. Commending you to the intercession of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, and assuring you of my affection and prayers for you and for those entrusted to your pastoral care, I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing



Wyoming Catholic College


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Shafique Khokhar
A report published by the Human Rights NGO Khwendo Kor documents cases of abuse, including honour killings, rapes, mutilations and acid attacks. Government inertia gives extremists control of Fata. Vicar of Faisalabad: punish practices against women. Muslim Activist: united against violence.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - "Five Muslim extremists raided the house and cut off my cousins breast because she was breastfeeding her child. A member of the gang then ordered the women to eat the remains. " This horror told by Kiran Bibi is just one of many "tales of ordinary madness" that come from the tribal areas of Pakistan, that are Taliban-controlled with the tacit consent of Islamabad. The 22 year old Cheryl Shaz – both names are fictitious, ed – from the Jalozai refugee camp adds: "A security guard forced me to have sex with him, in exchange for cooking oil and a handful of beans." The incidents described are just two of many stories published in the report "Impact of the crisis on women and girls in FATA", the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, published by the organization Human Rights Khwendo Kor - the home of sisters , in Pashto - with the support of women's groups of the United Nations. The document contains the stories of everyday violence, long unchecked, in north-western Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan.

The area is controlled by the Taliban, to which the central government in Islamabad has granted broad powers - including the introduction of Islamic law, Sharia - in order to reach a truce with the Islamists. Since the end of the war between the army and militia, women are the most affected by extreme violence, in particular, the two groups most at risk are widows and young girls. Forced sexual relations in exchange for food, water, basic necessities, women prefer not to use the showers and facilities, the lack of privacy, an increase in honor killings against women first raped and then excluded because considered a " disgrace "the family which then kills them. Added to this is a progressive decline (from 39 to 19%) of the influence "female participation" in Pakistani society, the inability to gain their inheritance rights in shariah courts, claims of land ownership that go unheard, unheeded .

A dramatic situation that provokes the angry reaction of Christian and Muslim activists and intellectuals, who are appealing to the government and the international community to intervene to protect the rights of women, stemming the progressive "Islamization" in Pakistan. The editor and journalist Farrukh Shahzad speaks to AsiaNews of a "painful reality" and "deteriorating conditions", despite the efforts made by organizations and nongovernmental organizations. He turns to politicians and statesmen, so that "they understand the seriousness of the matter", even the media, he adds, "are limited in their access to the populations of FATA because of the militia fighters." He is echoed by Amina Zaman, Muslim activist for human rights, that the situation does not just regard FATA, but a large part of Pakistan and invites civil society "to speak out against this terrible violence against women."

The vicar general of the diocese of Faisalabad links this violence to the government bill, in the approval process, which aims to "punish practices against women." "It's an attempt at resistance – says Fr. Khalid Rasheed Asi - to make it clear that the government will not accept laws favorable to women in the FATA. " Shazia George, women's rights activist, rattles off all the "serious abuses" that underlie women in Pakistan: genital mutilation, acid attacks, rape and murder, she adds, in the vast majority of crimes go unpunished . The Christian activist hopes that those responsible for "inciting hatred of gender" are arrested and punished. We need, she concludes, models of "resistance to injustice," equal access to legal protection and respect of women's rights.,-the-first-victims-of-Taliban-violence-in-Pakistan's-tribal-areas-23467.html


ARCHDIOCESE OF CANBERRA AND GOULBURN REPORT: The Archdiocese has welcomed its newest deacon after Joshy Kurien was ordained by Archbishop Mark Coleridge last week.
Deacon Kurien is from Kerala in south-west India and arrived in Canberra last year to prepare for ordination to the diaconate.
Raised in a family with “strong Catholic faith”, Deacon Kurien said his parents were always supportive of his aspirations and the move overseas.
“They understand this is a genuine call, so they are happy for me,” he said.
After arriving in Canberra, Deacon Kurien visited some of the parishes within the Archdiocese to “get a sense of what it is all about.”
“I went to parishes in Canberra, Batemans Bay and Moruya, and that gave me a good taste of this Archdiocese, so it was a good start,” he said.
“It helped me realise I am at home here.”
From 15 December he will serve as a deacon in South Tuggeranong parish.


“I see my appointment as recognition from the bishops of the work that women are doing in this part of the world,” Sister Hermenegild Makoro said in a December 12 telephone interview, noting that “in parishes women are talking the lead.”
According to CNS the job “will be challenging, especially for me as a woman after the position has been held by men for so many years,” said Sister Hermenegild, who has served a term as provincial superior of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood.
During the height of apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s, the late Holy Family Sister Brigid Flanagan was associate secretary-general of the Southern African conference and frequently stood in for Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa while he was imprisoned for anti-apartheid activities.
“The face of the conference has changed since those days,” Sister Hermenegild said, noting that “about 15 new bishops have been appointed in the past two decades.”
For the past six years, Sister Hermenegild has been associate secretary-general secretary of the Pretoria-based bishops’ conference. She will replace Father Vincent Brennan, a member of the Society of African Missions, who will retire in March.
“Because I’ve worked for the bishops’ conference for a long time, I understand the way they operate,” she said, noting that the region’s bishops “have open and vibrant discussions and I feel I will be able to challenge them if the need arises.”
Sister Hermenegild, 60, was born in the village of Koeqana in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. She made her first profession in 1976.
In meetings of IMBISA, which represents the bishops’ conferences of Angola, Sao Tome and Principe, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Africa, “I will be the only women among all the men,” she said.
“But I don’t feel like an outsider. There is mutual respect, and we all have the same interests at heart, the interests of the people of God,” Sister Hermenegild said.
“My appointment “might make them think” about appointing women to leadership positions in their country’s episcopal conferences,” she said.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "The rise of racism, discrimination and xenophobia in Europe which is going through severe economic crisis of values, motivated by ideologies without humanism and without God, by political and economical policies, the media and 'public opinion stigmatized towards foreigners, endangering the lives of all citizens, especially migrants, as for example the recent incident in Italy" is what is denounced by the Scalabrini International Migration Network, which represents Organizations and Missions of the Congregation of the Scalabrini Missionaries for migrants, present in 33 countries.
In a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, which was drawn up on the occasione of the XI International Migrants Day, sponsored by the United Nations to be held on December 18, stresses that the Scalabrini Missionaries have increased their commitment to "the accompanying integration through intercultural religious communities, research and publications of study centers; the use of the media for a positive view of migrants; the presence at the border, in cities and sea ports; houses for migrants, displaced person and refugees; legal and social counseling centers; the animation of the pastoral care of migration of the Church".
They launch an appeal to the missionary Congregations and lay Catholic organizations which are "called to continue their cooperation and their commitment to international, regional and national Forums, so that Gospel values, the person’s dignity, transcendence, solidarity and fraternity is effective yeast for the unity of the human family".
Welcoming the 60 years of IOM (International Organization for Migration) " at the service of a well managed, regulated, legal, effective and secure international migration," even the Holy See became a member, the Scalabrinians reaffirm their commitment "to continue together with the migrants and their associations, social organizations and academic world, the media and Government bodies at national and international level, through specific missionary presence - missions, centers and organizations - to spread a culture of 'hospitality, solidarity, the meeting of cultures, dialogue between religions, the transcendence of life and peace". (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 17/12/2011)


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 Dec 17, 2011
Matthew 1: 1 - 17

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,
4 and Ram the father of Ammin'adab, and Ammin'adab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 and Salmon the father of Bo'az by Rahab, and Bo'az the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uri'ah,
7 and Solomon the father of Rehobo'am, and Rehobo'am the father of Abi'jah, and Abi'jah the father of Asa,
8 and Asa the father of Jehosh'aphat, and Jehosh'aphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzzi'ah,
9 and Uzzi'ah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezeki'ah,
10 and Hezeki'ah the father of Manas'seh, and Manas'seh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josi'ah,
11 and Josi'ah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoni'ah was the father of She-al'ti-el, and She-al'ti-el the father of Zerub'babel,
13 and Zerub'babel the father of Abi'ud, and Abi'ud the father of Eli'akim, and Eli'akim the father of Azor,
14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eli'ud,
15 and Eli'ud the father of Elea'zar, and Elea'zar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.


St. John of Matha
Feast: December 17

Feast Day: December 17
Born: June 23, 1160, Faucon in Provence
Died: December 17, 1213, Rome
The life of St. John of Matha was one long course of self-sacrifice for the glory of God and the good of his neighbor. As a child, his chief delight was serving the poor; and he often told them he had come into the world for no other end but to wash their feet. He studied at Paris with such distinction that his professors advised him to become a priest, in order that his talents might render greater service to others; and, for this end, John gladly sacrificed his high rank and other worldly advantages. At his first Mass an angel appeared, clad in white, with a red and blue cross on his breast, and his hands reposing on the heads of a Christian and a Moorish captive. To ascertain what this signified, John repaired to St. Felix of Valois, a holy hermit living near Meaux, under whose direction he led a life of extreme penance. The angel again appeared, and they then set out for Rome, to learn the will of God from the lips of the Sovereign Pontiff, who told them to devote themselves to the redemption of captives. For this purpose they founded the Order of the Holy Trinity. The religious fasted every day, and gathering alms throughout Europe took them to Barbary, to redeem the Christian slaves. They devoted themselves also to the sick and prisoners in all countries. The charity of St. John in devoting his life to the redemption of captives was visibly blessed by God. On his second return from Tunis he brought back one hundred and twenty liberated slaves. But the Moors attacked him at sea, over- i powered his vessel, and doomed it to destruction, with all on board, by taking away the rudder and sails, and leaving it to the mercy of the winds. St. John tied his cloak to the mast, and prayed, saying, "Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered. O Lord, Thou wilt save the humble, and wilt bring down the eyes of the proud." Suddenly the wind filled the small sail, and, without guidance, carried the ship safely in a few days to Ostia, the port of Rome, three hundred leagues from Tunis. Worn out by his heroic labors, John died in 1213, at the age of fifty-three.