Monday, January 30, 2012


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.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


Sunday, January 29, 2012


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Early Sunday morning, Rome was woken to the sound of song as thousands of young boys and girls from the Catholic Action group wound their Caravan of Peace through the city’s streets on route to St. Peter’s Square. In two thousand cities across the world other young people, like them, were also marking the International Day of intercession for peace in the Holy Land.
“We want to bring the joy of our faith onto the streets”, Noemi, a young girl told Pope Benedict, joining him at the window of his study for the annual release of two white doves following the midday Angelus prayer. In prepared remarks, she spoke of Catholic Action’s commitment to reflect, even in silence, on the value of peace, recalling those children who are born into difficult situations and of how their group is sponsoring a detention centre, as an alternative to prison, for underage girls in Bolivia.

"We ask you to pray with us for our parents, teachers and priests so that we may be formed to be witnesses and peacemakers”, she concluded. Then two young people, together with Pope Benedict, released the two doves, a gesture the Holy Father described as a " sign of peace for the city of Rome and the whole world" and on seeing that the doves at first seemed to want to go back inside, he jokingly added: "They want to stay in the Pope’s house."

The International Day of intercession for peace in the Holy Land was born from the desire of some Catholic youth associations, in communion with the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Holy Land and involves churches of the 5 continents. Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa is the Custodian of the Holy Land. He says “the first that we as Christians could and should do is refer all of our aims for peace to God. Peace means relations, good relations among us and our relations should start first and foremost from our relations with God”. “The youth have the responsibility to build a mentality and culture of peace in the next generation. This is a very important moment”.

Earlier in his reflections before the Angelus Pope Benedict spoke of the Sunday Gospel where we hear how the unclean spirit recognizes Jesus as the “Holy One of God”. He said: “For man, authority often means possession, power, control, success. For God, however, authority means service, humility, love”.

Pope Benedict also marked World Leprosy Day encouraging “all those affected by this disease, as well as their caregivers who, in many ways, are committed to eradicating poverty and marginalization, the real causes of the persistence of the infection”.

And finally he recalled that on Thursday, February 2, we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, the World Day for Consecrated Life. To mark the occasion, Pope Benedict will preside at Vespers in St. Peter’s Basilica at 17.30, together with members of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Pope: True authority is humble service in loveRADIO VATICANA REPORT:
In his Angelus reflections this week Pope Benedict XVI spoke of Sunday’s Gospel where we hear how the unclean spirit recognizes Jesus as the “Holy One of God”. He also marked World Leprosy Day, joined his prayers to the International Day of intercession for peace in the Holy Land and together with the young people of Catholic Action Italy, released two white doves as a sign of peace above the city of Rome.
Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s Sunday Angelus reflections:
Dear brothers and sisters!

This Sunday's Gospel (Mk 1.21 to 28) presents us with Jesus, on the Sabbath day, as he preached at the synagogue at Capernaum, the small town where Peter and his brother Andrew lived on the lake of Galilee. In his teaching, which arouses the wonder of the people, following the liberation of "a man with an unclean spirit" (v. 23), who recognizes in Jesus as the "saint of God," that is, the Messiah. In a short time, his fame spread throughout the region, which he travels announcing the Kingdom of God and healing the sick of all kinds: word and deed. St. John Chrysostom observes how the Lord "alternates the speech for the benefit of those who listen, moving on from wonders to words and again passing from the teaching of his doctrine to miracles" (Hom. on Matthew 25, 1: PG 57, 328).

The word that Jesus speaks to men immediately opens access to the will of the Father and the truth about themselves. It was not so, however, for the scribes, who struggled to interpret the Holy Scriptures with countless reflections. Furthermore, to the efficacy of the word, Jesus united the signs of deliverance from evil. St. Athanasius observes that "commanding and driving out demons is not human but divine work ', in fact, the Lord "distanced men from all diseases and infirmities. Who, seeing his power ... still doubted that he was the Son, the Wisdom and Power of God? " (Oratio de Incarnatione Verbi 18:19: PG 25, 128 BC.129 B). Divine authority is not a force of nature. It is the power of the love of God who created the Universe and, in becoming incarnate in His only begotten Son, in coming down to our humanity, heals the world corrupted by sin. Romano Guardini writes: "The whole life of Jesus is a translation of power in humility ... Here is the sovereignty that lowers itself to the form of a servant" (Power, Brescia 1999, 141,142).

For man, authority often means possession, power, control success. For God, however, authority means service, humility, love; it means entering into the logic of Jesus who stoops to wash the disciples' feet (cf. Jn 13.5), who seeks the true good of man, who heals wounds, who is capable of a love so great as to give up his life, because he is Love. In one of her Letters, Saint Catherine of Siena writes: "We must see and know, in truth, with the light of faith, that God is the supreme and eternal Love, and desires nothing else but our good "(Ep. 13 in: The Letters, vol. 3, Bologna 1999, 206).

Dear friends, on Thursday, February 2, we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, the World Day for Consecrated Life. With confidence we invoke Mary Most Holy that she may guide our hearts to always draw from divine mercy, which frees and heals our humanity, filling it with every grace and benevolence, through the power of love.
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this Angelus prayer. In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear how the unclean spirit recognizes Jesus as the “Holy One of God”. Let us pray that, despite the distractions of life and the apparent progress of evil, we may continue to put our faith in the Lord Jesus who is “the way, the truth and the life”. I wish all of you a good Sunday. May God bless you!

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today, in Vienna, the beatification takes place of Hildegard Burjan, a lay woman and mother, who lived in the nineteenth and twentieth century and is founder of the Society of the Sisters of Caritas Socialis. We praise the Lord for this beautiful testimony of the Gospel!

This Sunday marks the World Day of Leprosy. In greeting the Italian Association of Friends of Raoul Follereau, I would like to extend my encouragement to all those affected by this disease, as well as their caregivers who, in many ways, are committed to eradicating poverty and marginalization, the real causes of the persistence of the infection.

I remember also the International Day of intercession for peace in the Holy Land. In profound communion with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Custos of the Holy Land, we invoke the gift of peace for this land blessed by God

I greet with affection the Italian-speaking pilgrims, especially the faithful who came from Taranto, Bari and Civitavecchia, and the numerous children of Catholic Action of Rome, accompanied by the Cardinal Vicar Agostino Vallini, with their teachers and family. Dear children, this year you gave birth to the "Caravan of Peace". Thank you and I encourage you to take everywhere the peace of Jesus.

And now we release the doves, which the young people have brought as a sign of peace for the city of Rome and the whole world.

A blessed Sunday to all!


International Parish Twinning

ARCHDIOCESE OF WASHINGTON RELEASE: International parish twinning provides an opportunity for a parish to develop a relationship with a “sister parish” in a foreign country. The relationship is two-way as both parishes grow through the sharing of experiences and faith. The relationship is two-way as both parishes grow through the sharing of experiences and faith. Our archdiocesan experience reflects what the U.S. bishops wrote about twinning: “These bridges of faith offer as much to U.S. parishes as to their partners. We are evangelized and changed as we help other communities of faith” (USCCB, Called to Global Solidarity: International Challenges for U.S. Parishes, 1997).
About 30 parishes (21%) in the archdiocese are now engaged in international twinning involving parishes, schools, health clinics, and water and sanitation projects. Some of the twinning involves relatively frequent visits to the twinned parish or project (one or more visits per year), while in other cases the contact is less frequent. Parishes decide what they can do depending on their own circumstances.
See the list of parishes in the archdiocese with an international twin.
For more information about parish twinning, please contact Anthony Bosnick, archdiocesan Director of Charity and Justice, at (301) 853-5340.
Twinning Opportunities in Haiti
Several archdiocesan parishes have long-standing twinning relationships with parishes in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, with an average annual household income of about $350 US. Haiti is overwhelmingly Catholic (80%), and the Catholic Church in Haiti is a powerful influence. Many Haitians have come to the Washington area to live and form a vibrant community here. These various factors have made Haiti a natural international twinning opportunity for archdiocesan parishes.
In 2006, in order to further support twinning in Haiti, the archdiocese began a twinning relationship with the Diocese of Jérémie. Seven archdiocesan parishes now twin with parishes in that diocese, while another eleven twin in other areas of Haiti. We continue to encourage twinning with the Diocese of Jérémie and elsewhere in Haiti, as well as with other areas outside the U.S. that parishes have chosen based on their own connections and desires.
The archdiocesan Haiti Twinning Committee meets monthly to support parishes with twins in Haiti. They can help you with information and support as you consider establishing a twinning relationship with Haiti. Please contact either of the co-chairs of the Haiti Twinning Commmittee—Pat Labuda or Cynthia Bowie.
Twinning Opportunities Elsewhere
A number of archdiocesan parishes are involved in twinning relationships in Latin American and Africa, such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Ghana and Togo. These often stem from relationships that a pastor or parishioners has with people or communities in these places. If such relationships already exist, they can be the basis for the establishment of a twinning relationship. Keep in mind that these twinning relationships should be embraced by the parish and not be the special project of only one or several people. For a twinning relationship to be enduring and most effective, it needs to go beyond just a few people in the parish.
Opportunities in Russia
A new twinning opportunity has recently opened up in Russia with the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow. There is a great need there, and we especially want to encourage parishes to consider twinning there to help the Latin Church rebuild its parishes and diocesan facilities after decades of suppression under communism. Only 1 percent of Russia’s 150 million inhabitants are Roman Catholics, so there is great need for help from outside the country to help rebuild the Church there.
The Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow serves Catholics in the 1,015, 451 square miles spanning the region between the Polish border and the Ural Mountains, Ukraine and the Arctic Circle. Their seminary is reopened and has been educating priests since 1994. Local Catholics are not yet able to support their own priests and parishes.
Parishes can help in a number of ways, such as support for a priest or helping to rebuild facilities. For example, $5,000 will help support one priest for a year and $10,000 will support a parish for a year. Funds are also needed to help rebuild the seminary that was closed during the time of Soviet suppression.
For further information, contact the Archdiocese of the Mother of God directly, or Anthony Bosnick.

Getting Started and Some Guidelines
Parish twinning is a wonderful way for a parish to respond to Christ's call to be at service to the least of these in our midst. Guidelines to help you get started with an international twinning relationship in your parish follow. A number of dioceses in the U.S. follow these guidelines.
  1. Form a parish Twinning Committee.
    This committee will nourish, foster and oversee the twinning relationship. The committee is in charge of raising awareness and funds in the parish, planning and leading mission trips, and exercising financial oversight of all the funds donated. The parish twining relationship should not be the personal project of one or two parishioners.
  2. Listen to the people and support a project.
    Projects which parishes in the archdiocese are currently engaged in include sponsoring feeding programs, building high schools, sponsoring children for school, supporting clinics, running medical missions, building churches, etc. For the sake of financial transparency and accountability, parishes should not simply give a check to the twinned parish, trusting that it will be put to good use. Rather, parishes should engage in an ongoing dialogue with the priest, pastoral counsel, leaders in the community and parishioners at their sister parish about their needs and the projects that they would prioritize. The people in countries like Haiti know far better their needs than we do. Listening must come first.
  3. Establish Bishop-to-Bishop accountability.
    The Department for Charity and Justice is coordinating international twinning arrangements. Please notify the department about any twinning relationship you wish to begin. The department will inform Cardinal Wuerl about the arrangement so that he can consider the proposal and notify the bishop in the diocese where the twin project is located about the arrangement. That bishop has the prerogative to accept, change or reject the proposal depending on his assessment of the local situation. If this is the case, the local parish will be notified and can make changes if needed. This process has been requested by the local bishops to help them keep tack of the activities in their dioceses.
  4. Request a budget.
    Once a project has been decided upon, ask for a budget and then for regular financial reports from the local pastor, until the completion of the project.
  5. Ask for receipts for all purchases over $100.
    The Archdiocese of Washington seeks financial accountability at home and in its work abroad. International twinning experience here and in other dioceses has shown the importance of financial accountability. It is for this reason that we ask parishes to be open with their twin about their need for accountability and assure that their donations are being used for the intended purposes.

    Parishes twinned in the Diocese of Jérémie will be asked in the future to submit a short, annual financial report to the Archdiocese of Washington summarizing how much money they have given and for what purposes. These parish reports will be compiled into a report which will be submitted each year to the Bishop of Jérémie.
Please contact the archdiocesan Department for Charity and Justice with any questions or concerns you have about international parish twinning. Contact Anthony Bosnick, or call 301-853-5340.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
27 Jan 2012

Sr Maria Casey at the Canonisation of
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop in Rome
Josephite Sister Maria Casey, the Archdiocese of Sydney's Vicar for the Religious and former Postulator for the Cause of Mary MacKillop was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her efforts in making the case for canonisation to the Vatican. But Sr Maria insists the award is not about her but instead honours and recognises Australia's first saint.
"When I first heard that I was to be given the award, I was extremely surprised and also a bit ambivalent for this is not the kind of thing I look for. But then I decided the award was being given in recognition of Mary MacKillop and the high esteem and love in which she is held, not only by the Church but by Australia at large," Sr Maria says.
Fr Paul Gardiner, SJ also received an OAM yesterday for his work during his more than two decades as Postulator for the Cause before handing over the reins to Sr Maria. But like Sr Maria he does not regard the honour as a tribute to his own efforts at making the case for sanctification of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.
"I'm just a moment in the cause of Mary. People had worked at it for a long time and when I came into the picture a great deal of work had been done by other people," he says.
Now 88 years old, Fr Gardiner hopes his and Sr Maria's OAM awards will remind Australians of the importance and holy character of Australia's first saint, and firmly believes the awards were given based on the legacy of St Mary of the Cross Mackillop's holy character rather than on the work in establishing the case for canonisation to the Holy See.
Fr Gardiner, who lives in retirement in the picturesque town of Penola, SA, site of the first school founded by Mary MacKillop and Fr Julian Tenison Woods, was appointed the Vatican Postulator for the Cause in 1984. The next two and a half decades were spent in meticulous research in Rome as well as Australia. In 2001, he was joined by Sr Maria who was appointed Vice Postulator.
Author of "Mary MacKillop: An Extraordinary Australian", Fr Gardiner was responsible for documenting the first miracle attributed to her intercession which was approved by the Vatican in 1993, paving the way for her beatification and eventual canonisation.

Fr Paul Gardiner
After Fr Gardiner's retirement in 2008, Sr Maria took over the role of Postulator, researching collecting testaments to Mary MacKillop's holiness and closeness to God as well as documenting the second miracle and presenting evidence for divine endorsement to the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
Both Fr Gardiner and Sr Maria participated in the historic canonisation of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop in Rome on 17 October 2010. The following year, the pair were together again, choosing to spend 8 August, the Feast Day of Australia's first saint, in prayer in Penola.
Sr Maria has no plans for any special celebrations to her OAM award. Her thoughts today were instead with Josephite Sister Elizabeth Murphy, former congregational leader, who will celebrate her Diamond Jubiliee marking 70 years of professed on Sunday, 29 January.
Sr Maria is flying to Perth tomorrow to be take part in Sr Elizabeth's Jubilee several hundred other Josephite sisters. Former pupils of Sr Elizabeth and their families will also participate.
Now almost 90, the celebrations will take the form of an afternoon tea and prayers and will give many Josephites a chance for reunions with other sisters from all corners of Australia.

Sr Maria Casey
"I am very much looking forward to the Jubilee and seeing Sr Elizabeth and many other friends at the celebration," says Sr Maria.
The following is a list, courtesy of Ramon A. Williams, of other leading NSW Catholics who were honoured in yesterday's Australia Day awards.
Member of the Order of Australia (AM):
The Hon Jennifer Margaret Boland, Kirribilli, for service to the judiciary through the Family Court of Australia, to legal education, and to the community, particularly through social welfare organisations; Director, CatholicCare Foundation (formerly Centacare), since 1999 and Board member of Monte Sant' Angelo Mercy College from 1995-2002
Richard Haddock, Bronte for service to business through executive roles with financial institutions, to the law, and to the community, particularly as an adviser to the social welfare organisations of the Catholic Church in Australia; Chairman Sisters of Charity Foundation; Chairman of CatholicCare; Chairman, the Curran Foundation; Chairman of Catholic Superannuation and Retirement Fund; Member Finance Committee and Investment Committee, Archdiocese of Sydney and Hon Treasurer, Caritas Australia.
George SMITH, Warriewood, for service to the sport of Rugby Union football as a player at the national and international level, and to the community; Ambassador, St. Vincent de Paul Youth Reach Program; fundraiser for Tongan victims of the 2009 Tsunami; supporter, George Gregan Foundation and coordinator, 'Money Can't Buy' experience to raise money for the Queensland Flood Relief.
Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Susan Carr, Narara, for services to youth through Girl Guides Australia, teacher, Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School, The Entrance.
James DOYLE, Russell Vale for service to the community through the Sisters of Charity Outreach Foundation; Business Manager, Remote and Rural Group, Sisters of Charity Outreach Foundation; Treasurer, Sisters of Charity Outreach Foundation, 1989-2002.
Sr Maria Casey knees before the Holy Father
at the Canonisation Mass in Rome
Lady (Joan) Hardy, Potts Point, for service to the community through support for a range of charitable organisations; member of the Advisory Board, Mackillop Foundation.
John Kean, Northbridge for service to the community through education, medical research, trade and charitable organisations; Council Chairman, Loreto College, Normanhurst; member of the Foundation Board, St Ignatius' College, Riverview; supporter of the Sisters of Charity.
Sister Mary Leahy, rsj Bellevue Hill, for service to pastoral care as the Chaplain of the Stella Maris Apostleship of the Sea since 1993 and Sister of St Joseph offering pastoral care to the Merchant Navy Association and the Merchant Navy Sub-Branch, Returned and Services League of Australia.
Madeleine Le Surf for service to the community of Manly; foundation Member, Parish Caring Service, Manly Freshwater (Catholic) Parish, Special Minister of Communion; co-founder of the Manly Soup Kitchen formerly known as the Manly Winter Food Service.
Dr Kerry Moroney, Narrabri for service to rural medicine, and the community of Narrabri; general practitioner and Visiting Medical Officer, Narrabri District Hospital and active member of Narrabri's St Francis Xavier's Catholic Church.
Mary Mackillop Vatican banner
Dr John Roarty, Point Piper for service to medicine, particularly through contributions to St Vincent's Clinic, Co-Founder and Chair of the Implementation Group formed to create St Vincent's Clinic, St Vincent's Hospital; Executive Director and Board Member, Honorary Visiting Officer, St Vincent's Hospital, 1955-1992 and President of President, St Vincent's Clinic Foundation, 1998-2003.
Barbara Ryan, St Leonards, for service to the community through the St Vincent de Paul Society; former President, St Vincent de Paul Society New South Wales; former member of National Council and Trustees Council; member of Aged Care Board; President, Matthew Talbot Homeless Services from 2006-2008 and Matthew Talbot Hostel volunteer over several decades.
Dr Margaret Stuart, Lane Cove for service to medical research as a biotechnologist; founding member of the Endocrine Laboratory, Biochemistry Department, St Vincent's Hospital.
Associate Professor Peter Thursby, North Rocks, for service to medicine in the field of vascular surgery, and serrvice to the Concord Repatriation General Hospital; Chairman, Medical Appointments Committee; Member, St Joseph's Campus Regional Advisory Board.
Dr John Tierney, East Maitland, for service to the Parliament of Australia, to education, and to the community; Patron, St Phillip's Christian College.
Julia Young, Harwood Island, for service to the community of the North Coast as a supporter of mental health service delivery, Eucharistic Minister, St Mary's Parish Maclean; Liturgy Leader; Member, St Mary's Bereavement Team.


Sister makes solemn profession at Cecilia’s Abbey in Ryde, on the Isle of Wight
By Staff Reporter on Thursday, 26 January 2012
Sister Elizabeth Burgess, centre, is pictured after her solemn profession at St Cecilia’s Abbey in Ryde, Isle of Wight
The solemn profession of Sister Elizabeth Burgess at St Cecilia’s Abbey, in Ryde on the Isle of Wight on January 6, the feast of the Epiphany, was a celebration of joy, thanksgiving and song.
Sister Elizabeth joined the Benedictine community at Ryde six years ago when she was 19. Bishop Crispian of Portsmouth, who has not been well, delegated his role to Fr Abbot Cuthbert Brogan of Farnborough, who was accompanied by the two young juniors from his community.
Sister Elizabeth belonged to the Oratory parish in Oxford and five Oratorians were present, including the Provost Fr Daniel Seward who preached the homily.
Canon Thomas Farrell of Coventry, Fr Finbar Kealy, prior administrator of Quarr, Fr Nicholas Spencer, also of Quarr, and Fr John Redver-Harris of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham were also present in the sanctuary.
After the Creed Sister Elizabeth came forward with a lighted candle singing in Latin “Now with all my heart I follow you… I seek your face.” After pronouncing her vows she sang the traditional threefold Suscipe with arms held up in prayer and signing the chart of her vows on the altar, she received the monastic cowl and then prostrated for the Litany of Saints and the Prayer of Consecration. She then received the black veil, gold ring and book of the Divine Office.
Sister Elizabeth’s mother died when she was a novice and so her profession ring is her mother’s wedding ring. Sister Elizabeth then placed her two joined hands between those of Mother Abbess, to signify her obedience, after which she received the kiss of peace from each member of her community.


UCAN REPORT: Businessman builds homes for poor families to break down religious barriers
Francis Rodrigues, Mangalore
January 27, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Catholic creates multi-faith community
A scene in the ‘Sauharda Village’
A Catholic businessman marked India’s Republic Day yesterday by establishing a small community in a Karnataka state village for poor people from different religions.
“Poverty has no caste or creed barriers. Similarly, values of caring and sharing have no religious borders,” said Eric Correa, founder of Sauharda Nagara (village of harmony), a hamlet comprising 34 homes, in Muragoli, near Mangalore.
Correa yesterday handed over house keys to 11 Hindu, 11 Catholic, nine Muslim and three Protestant families during a special ceremony.
He said the families were chosen through a lucky draw involving nearly 650 applicants.
Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza of Mangalore, who blessed the houses, hailed Correa’s gesture as a “model message” to those trying to divide people along religious lines.
The prelate said peace and harmony used to prevail in Karnataka until about 10 years ago. “But in recent years the state has become a land of mutual hatred and attacks.”
Karnataka, in the south of the country, has seen several attacks on Christians by right-wing Hindu groups during the past few years.
Correa said he decided to establish the community after becoming frustrated with the tension existing among people on account of religion.
“If poor families could come together they would be better disposed to share and care for each other,” he explained.
Correa, who runs an electrical generator business, has spent 30 million rupees on the project.
He said he plans to build 64 houses in another village soon.
He said he had experienced “an internal call of conscience” to help the homeless.
Rohidas Kulal, a Hindu beneficiary, expressed happiness that he can now live under his own roof. He said he had been living in a rented room with his wife and two children.
Ashiq Mohammad, a Muslim resident, said religious divisions have made people forget how to relate to other others.
He said the hamlet will help its residents live in harmony.
“When one is sick or meets with an accident no one will look at their religion,” he added.


RUMBEK January 27, 2012 (CISA) -The Superior of the Sudan delegation of the Eastern Africa Province of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr Ferrington Rayen, has said that the presence of the relic of St Don Bosco in South Sudan means that Don Bosco is part of the new beginning of the new nation, South Sudan.
Fr Rayen said this on Wednesday January 25 during the Eucharistic celebration with the relic of St Don Bosco in Tonj Mission of the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek.
He described the presence of the relic of St Don Bosco as a pilgrimage of faith and a very historic event.
Fr Rayen encouraged South Sudanese to build their country in Christ and with Christ, explaining that St Don Bosco was in South Sudan to give hope to the people journeying towards a great future.
Fr. Rayen recalled the three values St Don Bosco embraced in his ministry among the youth, that is, work, bread, and heaven, challenging the youth to shun idleness and laziness and to work hard for their livelihood.
He described Don Bosco as an attractive saint leading people to Christ and called on the faithful to have Christ and the mother Mary at the centre of all plans towards nation building.
Meanwhile, the Parish Priest of Tonj Mission, Fr James Pulickal, prayed that the visit of St Don Bosco will bring blessings upon the leaders, the youth and all families in South Sudan.
The Diocesan Administrator of Rumbek, Fr. Fernando Colombo, expressed his solidarity with the religious and faithful of Tonj Mission, praying that the visit of St Don Bosco bring to South Sudan and to Rumbek Diocese renewal in faith, hope and good deeds especially among the youth.


Deuteronomy 18: 15 - 20
15 "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren -- him you shall heed --
16 just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, `Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, or see this great fire any more, lest I die.'
17 And the LORD said to me, `They have rightly said all that they have spoken.
18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
19 And whoever will not give heed to my words which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.
20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.'
Psalms 95: 1 - 2, 6 - 9
1 O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
6 O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would hearken to his voice!
8 Harden not your hearts, as at Mer'ibah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
1 Corinthians 7: 32 - 35
32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord;
33 but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife,
34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband.
35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
Mark 1: 21 - 28
21 And they went into Caper'na-um; and immediately on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit;
24 and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God."
25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!"
26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him."
28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.


St. Gildas the Wise
Feast: January 29

Feast Day:January 24
516, traditionally Strathclyde in modern Scotland
Died:570, Street, Somerset or Rhuys
Major Shrine:Glastonbury Abbey, now destroyed, or Rhuys Church, extant.
Patron of:Welsh historians; bell founders
He was son to a British lord, who to procure him a virtuous education, placed him in his infancy in the monastery of St. Iltutus in Glamorganshire. The surname of Badonicus was given him, because, as we learn from his writings, he was born in the year in which the Britons under Aurelius Ambrosius, or, according to others, under king Arthur, gained the famous victory over the Saxons at Mount Badon, now Bannesdown, near Bath, in Somersetshire. This Bede places in the forty-fourth year after the first coming of the Saxons into Britain, which was in 451. Our saint, therefore, seems to have been born in 494; he was consequently younger than St. Paul, St. Samson, and his other illustrious school-fellows in Wales: but by his prudence and seriousness in his youth he seemed to have attained to the maturity of judgment and gravity of an advanced age. The author of the life of St. Paul of Leon, calls him the brightest genius of the school of St. Iltut. His application to sacred studies was uninterrupted, and if he arrived not at greater perfection in polite literature, this was owing to the want of masters of that branch in the confusion of those times. As to improve himself in the knowledge of God and himself was the end of all his studies, and all his reading was reduced to the study of the science of the saints, the greater progress he made in learning, the more perfect he became in all virtues. Studies which are to many a source of dissipation, made him more and more recollected, because in all books he found and relished only God, whom alone he sought. Hence sprang that love for holy solitude, which, to his death, was the constant ruling inclination of his heart. Some time after his monastic profession, with the consent, and perhaps by the order of his abbot, St. Iltut, he passed over into Ireland, there to receive the lessons of the admirable masters of a religious life, who had been instructed in the most sublime maxims of an interior life, and formed to the practice of perfect virtue, by the great St. Patrick. The author of his Acts compares this excursion, which he made in the spring of his life, to that of the bees in the season of flowers, to gather the juices which they convert into honey. In like manner St. Gildas learned, from the instructions and examples of the most eminent servants of God, to copy in his own life whatever seemed most perfect. So severe were his continual fasts, that the motto of St. John Baptist might in some degree be applied to him, that he scarce seemed to eat or drink at all. A rough hair-cloth, concealed under a coarse cloak, was his garment, and the bare floor his bed, with a stone for his bolster.

By the constant mortification of his natural appetites, and crucifixion of his flesh, his life was a prolongation of his martyrdom, or a perpetual sacrifice which he made of himself to God in union with that which he daily offered to him on his altars. If it be true that he preached in Ireland in the reign of king Ammeric, he must have made a visit to that island from Armorica, that prince only beginning to reign in 560: this cannot be ascribed to St. Gildas the Albanian, who died before that time. It was about the year 527, in the thirty-fourth of his age, that St. Gildas sailed to Armorica, or Brittany, in France: for he wrote his invective ten years after his arrival there, and in the forty-fourth year of his age, as is gathered from his life and writings. Here he chose for the place of his retirement the little isle of Houac, or Houat, between the coast of Rhuis and the island of Bellisle, four leagues from the latter. Houat exceeds not a league in length; the isle of Hoedre is still smaller, not far distant: both are so barren as to yield nothing but a small quantity of corn. Such a solitude, which appeared hideous to others, offered the greatest charms to the saint, who desired to fly, as much as this mortal state would permit, whatever could interrupt his commerce with God. Here he often wanted the common necessaries and conveniences of life; but the greater the privation of earthly comforts was in which he lived, the more abundant were those of the Holy Ghost which he enjoyed, in proportion as the purity of his affections and his love of heavenly things were more perfect. The saint promised himself that he should live here always unknown to men: but it was in vain for him to endeavor to hide the light of divine grace under a bushel, which shone forth to the world, notwithstanding all the precautions which his humility took to conceal it. Certain fishermen who discovered him were harmed with his heavenly deportment and conversation, and made known on the continent the treasure they had found. The inhabitants flocked from the coast to hear the lessons of divine wisdom which the holy anchoret gave with a heavenly unction which penetrated their hearts. To satisfy their importunities, St. Gildas at length consented to live among them on the continent, and built a monastery at Rhuis, in a peninsula of that name, which Guerech, the first lord of the Britons about Vannes, is said to have bestowed upon him. This monastery was soon filled with excellent disciples and holy monks. St. Gildas settled them in good order; then, sighing after closer solitude, he withdrew, and passing beyond the gulf of Vannes, and the promontory of Quiberon, chose for his habitation a grot in a rock, upon the bank of the river Blavet, where he found a cavern formed by nature extended from the east to the west, which on that account he converted into a chapel. However, he often visited this abbey of Rhuis, and by his counsels directed many in the paths of true virtue. Among these was St. Trifina, daughter of Guerech, first British count of Vannes. She was married to count Conomor, lieutenant of king Childebert, a brutish and impious man, who afterwards murdered her, and the young son which he had by her, who at his baptism received the name of Gildas, and was godson to our saint: but he is usually known by the surname of Treuchmour, or Tremeur, in Latin 'Trichmorus. SS. Trifina and Treuchmeur are invoked in the English Litany of the seventh century, in Mabillon. The great collegiate church of Carhaix bears the name of St. Treuchmour: the church of Quim per keeps his feast on the 8th of November, on which day he is commemorated in several churches in Brittany, and at St. Magloire's at Paris. A church situated between Corlai and the abbey of Coetmaloon in Brittany, is dedicated to God under the invocation of St. Trifina.
St. Gildas wrote eight canons of discipline, and a severe invective against the crimes of the Britons, called De Excidio Britanniae, that he might confound those whom he was not able to convert, and whom God in punishment delivered first to the plunders of the Picts and Scots, and afterwards to the perfidious Saxons, the fiercest of all nations. He reproaches their kings, Constantine, (king of the Danmonians, in Devonshire and Cornwall,) Vortipor, (of the Dimetians, in South Wales,) Conon, Cuneglas, and Maglocune, princes in other parts of Britain, with horrible crimes: but Constantine was soon after sincerely converted, as Gale informs us from an ancient Welsh chronicle. According to John Fordun he resigned his crown, became a monk, preached the faith to the Scots and Picts, and died a martyr in Kintyre: but the apostle of the Scots seems to have been a little more ancient than the former. Our saint also wrote an invective against the British clergy, whom he accuses of sloth of seldom sacrificing at the altar &c. In his retirement he ceased not with tears to recommend to God his own cause, or that of his honor and glory, and the souls of blind sinners, and died in his beloved solitude in the island of Horac, (in Latin Horata,) according to Usher, in 570, but according to Ralph of Disse, in 581.[6] St. Gildas is patron of the city of Vannes. The abbey which bears his name in the peninsula of Rhuis, between three and four leagues from Vannes, is of the reformed congregation of St. Maur since the year 1649. The relics of St. Gildas were carried thence for fear of the Normans into Berry, about the year 919, and an abbey was erected there on the banks of the river Indre, which was secularized and united to the collegiate church of Chateauroux in 1623. St. Gildas is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on the 29th of January. A second commemoration of him is made in some places on the 11th of May, on account of the translation of his relics. His life, compiled from the ancient archives of Rhuis by a monk of that house, in the eleventh century, is the best account we have of him, though the author confounds him sometimes with St. Gildas the Albanian. It is published in the library of Fleury, in Bollandus, p. 954, and most correctly in Mabillon, Act. SS. Ord. Saint Bened. t. 1, p. 138. See also Dom Lobineau, Vies des Saints de Bretagne, (for. an. 1725,) p. 72, and Hist. de la Bretagne, (2 vol. fol. an. 1707) and the most accurate Dom Morice, Memoires sur l'Histoire de Bretagne, 3 vol. fol. in 1745, and Hist. de la Bretagne, 2 vol. fol. an. 1750.


Saturday, January 28, 2012


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Bishops from the United States are continuing their ad limina pilgrimages to Rome to pray at the tombs of the Apostles, and to meet with the Holy Father and officials from the Curia. Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans is one of the prelates visiting the Eternal City this week.

In an interview with Chris Altieri, Archbishop Aymond talked about some of the issues facing the Church in America.

He spoke about the recent decision by the President Barack Obama’s decision to demanding that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans. “This is extremely disappointing – that the government has taken this stance. It’s unprecedented, as we know… We must express our disappointment, we must express our confusion, because, I think, we thought the United States was a land of liberty and justice and freedom, and that seems not to be the case.”

Archbishop Aymond also spoke about the upcoming Year of Faith and the New Evangelisation: “I’m very much looking forward… to the Synod on Evangelisation. We know that there are people who are un-churched, and there are people who are nominally catholic, people who are catholic by title. This is an opportunity for us to become more missionary, to become more outreaching, because as we know, what we are really about in evangelisation is to help people come to a personal, intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus and then that leads to a greater commitment to the Church and to religion.”

The Archdiocese of New Orleans, he said, has a special focus during the Year of Faith. “We have declared it a Year of Faith, with a specific emphasis on coming to a better understanding of and appreciation of the Eucharist.” Their approach was inspired by “the gift of the new Roman Missal.”


ASIA NEWS REPORT: Card. Turkson, Justice and Peace, and the Custodian of the Holy Land for the fourth edition of the Day. Prayers and Eucharistic adoration, Mass at Calvary in Jerusalem. Angelus with the Pope.

Rome (AsiaNews) - At least 2500 cities around the world will participate tomorrow in the IV International Day of Prayer for Peace in the Holy Land, an initiative launched by youth groups and Eucharistic adoration groups, involving over time the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Custody of the Holy Land.

The Day is promoted by various realities of young people: the National Association Papaboys (; the Apostolate "Youth For Life" (; the chapels of perpetual adoration throughout Italy and around the world; Eucharistic Gathering groups (, the Association for the promotion of extraordinary prayer for all the churches for reconciliation, unity and peace, beginning with Jerusalem.

Many of their representatives will be present tomorrow at the Angelus with the Pope in St Peter's Square. Others will commemorate the theme of the day during mass and take part in Eucharistic adoration.

Cardinal. Peter Turkson, President of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace, has sent a message to mark the event to the young people who will pray for Christian unity and peace in the Holy Land. In it he stresses that "young people are and can be a resource for peace .... The period of your youth is the season of life where you look with enthusiasm to the great values that today, unfortunately, seem to be very weak: truth, freedom, justice, love, brotherhood ... I thank you for showing the world the active, beautiful and young face of the Church of Christ. "

Marking the Day, tomorrow morning beginning at 6am in Jerusalem, Mass will be celebrated at the altar of Calvary, in the basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.

Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, sent a greeting to the young people: "... I welcome the fourth International Day of Prayer for peace in the Holy Land. An event that enriches this month of shared reflection on the Gift we have just received, and invites us to overcome every division, to give thanks to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (the theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ). "


Cardinal-designate Dolan at last November's U.S. bishops' meeting. (CNS/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

CNS REPORT: By Beth Griffin
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Natural law is a concept of objective truth, not religious preference, and reliance on natural law and human rights will move the culture and its laws in the direction of authentic respect for human life, Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan of New York said in an address Jan. 24.

Cardinal-designate Dolan, speaking on "Law & the Gospel of Life," gave the inaugural talk in a lecture series sponsored by the Institute on Religion, Law and Lawyers' Work at Jesuit-run Fordham University School of Law.

"Our society has caricatured natural law as some medieval tool the church is using to justify its own unique and antiquated system of teaching. Of course, the opposite is true," he said. "Natural law theory is not uniquely Catholic, it's human.

"Some of the greatest exponents of the natural law, like Aristotle and Cicero, never heard of the Catholic Church. These things we teach are not true because they happen to be taught by the church. We teach them because they happen to be true. Their truth antedates the church."

According to Cardinal-designate Dolan, the most effective way to engage in conversations about human life with people who disagree with the Church's position is to "untether" discussions of natural law "from what might be thought of as unique Catholic confessionalism" and reference the writings of non-Catholic authors. "It's not a Catholic thing. It's a natural thing. It's a human thing."

Cardinal-designate Dolan said Blessed John Paul II's encyclical "Evangelium Vitae," described the culture of death as one that denies the basic solidarity inherent in the human person, is obsessed with efficiency and convenience, and wages a war of the powerful against the weak.

"Can sustained human rights, girded by law, survive in such a culture?" Cardinal-designate Dolan asked. "The pragmatic, utilitarian world view depends upon sand to construct a system of laws protecting human rights, particularly that of life itself, since everything is constantly being re-negotiated, based on drifting dunes of utility, convenience, privacy, and self-interest."

Cardinal-designate Dolan said, "It is a bedrock feature of modern political and legal theory that only neutral, utilitarian principles can provide a basis for public policy discussions and law, and that appeals to transcendent values, such as religion, cannot legitimately be presented."

"The Gospel of life proposes an alternative vision of law and culture, one that provides an antidote to the pragmatic nihilism that produces a culture of death. It seeks to recapture the essential relationship between the civil law and the moral law, and to foster a culture in which all human life is valued and authentic human development is possible."

Cardinal-designate Dolan said, "The Gospel of life calls us specifically to offer a clear, faith-based view of humanity as a basis for human law. As Christians, we propose that truth can only be known and freedom truly exercised by recognizing that they are a gift from God."

He said an important proposition of the Gospel of life is "that the dignity of the human person and respect for inviolable human rights are not just based on divine revelation, but on 'an objective moral law which, as the 'natural law' written in the human heart, is the obligatory point of reference for civil law itself.'"

Cardinal-designate Dolan said, "A reliance on the natural law, and human rights, will enable us to move the culture, and thus our laws, in the direction of authentic respect for human life. It will be a gradual, incremental process ... and require compromise and acceptance of intermediary steps."

He described pragmatism, utilitarianism and consumerism as a trinity of related culprits that chisel away at the culture of life and "seem to be ascendant in culture and normative in making laws."

Cardinal-designate Dolan said, "A baby is useless and impractical from a raw, pragmatic, utilitarian or consumerist view" and is seen by some in the culture of death "as a commodity, an accessory. We have babies, if at all, to satisfy our desires, not to sacrifice for theirs; to fulfill our needs, not to invite us to spend the rest of our lives fulfilling their needs; to reward us, not because we want to give to them."

"To this culture of death, the church boldly and joyfully promotes the culture of life," he said.

Cardinal-designate Dolan said people can promote the culture of life by living, speaking and teaching the truth in love. "Usually, we will attract more people by the compelling nature of our love and, in the end, that will be what most hypnotizes and magnetizes people."

In a response to Cardinal-designate Dolan's address, Jacqueline Nolan-Haley, a Fordham law professor, said the Gospel of life "is pulling us to bring greater morality and justice to civil law."

Monica McDaniel, a 2009 Fordham Law graduate and associate at the White & Case firm, said the culture of death has infiltrated private practice and law schools, both secular and Catholic. "Law schools, many nonprofit human rights organizations and the pro bono departments of many law firms are generally confused about human rights because they lack the sound ethical philosophy of the natural law."

She said "pro-abortion" initiatives dominate the pro bono departments of virtually all major law firms because pro-life lawyers are silent. She encouraged fellow young lawyers to spread the Gospel of life one-on-one, challenge people who make dubious claims and oppose unethical practices.


Many concerns weigh on the minds of two Sisters from a tiny, endangered religious order in Iraq currently studying at Brisbane's Australian Catholic University (ACU), reports the Catholic Leader.
For Daughters of Jesus' Sacred Heart Sisters Samar Mikha and Azhar Koka, these concerns include the health and education of Catholics in their war-torn country, particularly those of the Chaldean community.
The Sisters are also planning to share knowledge gained from their ACU studies in English and educational administration when they return to Kurdistan, in Iraq's north, in mid-2013.
There, in conjunction with the Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, they intend to help set up a Catholic university.
Their study opportunity followed a visit to Iraq in 2009 by Brisbane priest Fr Gerry Hefferan, who was seeking ways to support the rapidly dwindling Catholic community there.
However, when Sr Koka recently spoke with The Catholic Leader, her primary concern was to spread the message that her order was celebrating the jubilee of the centenary of its foundation.
"Our order celebrates the jubilee as a moment of meditation and prayer for the path of God's salvation for blessing our land and people," she said.
"The establishment of our order reaches back to 1908 in a village called Araden, in the north of Iraq, where four girls gathered around Fr Ablahad Rayes helping him in serving the sick, teaching mothers in raising children and organising family matters as well as the catechism.
"The spirit of the young nunnery was characterised from the beginning with a biblical simplicity and meekness. "They were following Christ's saying: 'Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart' (Matthew 11:29) and taking this as a slogan for their lives.
"Fr Rayes founded the convent, taking the name of the Nunnery of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on August 15, 1911, hoping to spread the worship of the Sacred Heart to be known and loved everywhere."


CISA REPORT: KINSHASA, January 27, 2012 (CISA) –Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is alarmed by the situation of HIV/AIDS patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the lack of priority given by the Congolese authorities and the withdrawal of donors, all occurring as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary on 28 January.
The conditions surrounding access to care for people living with HIV/AIDS in DRC are horrific. At the Centre Hospitalier de Kabinda (CHK) in Kinshasa, MSF has observed an excessively high number of patients arriving with serious complications resulting from lack of treatment. Their advanced illness creates unacceptable suffering.
“I have worked with HIV-positive patients in many countries in central and southern Africa, but what I’m seeing in DRC has not existed elsewhere for years,” says Anja De Weggheleire, MSF’s medical coordinator in DRC. “The situation here reminds me of the time before any antiretroviral (ARV) treatment was available. Our doctors face serious complications every day that could be prevented if patients received early ARV treatment.”
The number of HIV-positive people in DRC is currently estimated at more than one million, 350,000 of whom could benefit from ARV treatment. However, only 44,000 are receiving treatment at this time. This represents a 15 percent ARV coverage rate, one of the lowest in the world (of all African countries, only Somalia and Sudan have similar rates).
DRC is also one of the two lowest-ranked countries in western and central Africa in terms of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). Only one percent of pregnant women estimated to be HIV-positive have access to PMTCT treatment. Without treatment, approximately one-third of the babies who are exposed to the virus will be born with HIV.
Despite these disastrous indicators, donors have not given DRC the priority it deserves. What is worse, some donors – such as the Global Fund – are withdrawing or sharply reducing their funding. While the Global Fund is the leading supplier of ARV drugs in the DRC, the countries that finance the Fund have not kept their promises. As a result, the Global Fund is having to lower its sights.
This pull-back by donors is directly threatening the lives of thousands of people in DRC.
“It is crucial that Congolese authorities meet their commitment to provide free prevention services and free treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. It is also critical that donors immediately mobilise the necessary resources to ensure that patients waiting for ARV treatment are not condemned to die,” said De Weggheleire


Europe: landmark resolution rejects euthanasia | Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, PACE,European Centre for Law and Justice,ECLJ, euthanasia
IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has adopted a Resolution outlawing euthanasia. The Resolution states the principle that: “Euthanasia, in the sense of the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit, must always be prohibited.”

The resolution, on 25 January, marks the first time in decades, that euthanasia has been so clearly rejected by a European political institution. It is likely to have a direct impact on an upcoming judgement of the European Court in a case concerning the ban of assisted suicide in Germany.

The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) has welcomed the resolution. Dr Grégor Puppinck, Director of the ECLJ said: “this Resolution is a clear indication that the growing majority of Europeans is opposed to euthanasia. The many abuses occurring in the countries allowing euthanasia are alarming and constitute violations of true human rights. It is convincing that euthanasia must always be prohibited. The small number of European States allowing euthanasia shall review their legislation according to the principles set forth by the PACE.”

Even if this resolution is not legally binding on Member states, it has a real influence on the legislative process and on the judicial process, especially on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.

On the legislative process, the Assembly “recommends that the Committee of Ministers [the 47 national ambassadors in Strasbourg] bring the Resolution to the attention of member states, with a request for implementation.”

On the judicial process, this Resolution will have an impact on the European Court of Human Rights, in particular on its future decision in the case Koch v Germany. In this case, the Court is mainly called to decide whether or not the ban of “assisted suicide” in Germany respects the Convention. In this case, the applicant, Mr Ulrich Koch, complains for the refusal by the German administration to give to his late wife authorization to obtain a lethal substance in order to commit suicide. The Resolution of PACE shall have an important impact on this case.

Just a year ago, on 20 January 2011, the European Court delivered another judgment (Haas versus Switzerland) on assisted suicide. Although admitting a sort of right to self-suicide, the Court denied the existence of a right to assisted suicide stemming from the European Convention and guaranteed by the State; but still, the Court did not ruled –as the PACE does now- that assisted suicide or euthanasia is a violation per se of the right to life guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights.

Mr Luca Volonte', chairman of EPP Group in PACE, said: “last year we obtained a great victory reaffirming the right of medical practitioners to conscientious objection; today we have also fought a good battle and we have won, thank God, against a real ideological tyranny of culture of death (...); now euthanasia is completely banned from PACE”.

Source: ECLJ


Mark 4: 35 - 41
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side."
36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.
37 And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.
38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care if we perish?"
39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?"
41 And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?"


St. Thomas Aquinas
Feast: January 28

Feast Day:January 28
1225, Roccasecca, in Lazio, Italy
Died:7 March 1274, Fossanuova Abbey, Italy
Canonized:July 18, 1323, Avignon, France
Major Shrine:Church of the Jacobins, Toulouse, France
Patron of:Catholic universities, colleges, and schools
The great outlines and all the important events of his life are known, but biographers differ as to some details and dates. Death prevented Henry Denifle from executing his project of writing a critical life of the saint. Denifle's friend and pupil, Dominic Prummer, O.P., professor of theology in the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, has taken up the work and is publishing the "Fontes Vitae S. Thomae Aquinatis, notis historicis et criticis illustrati"; and the first fascicle (Toulouse, 1911) has appeared, giving the life of St. Thomas by Peter Calo (1300) now published for the first time. From Tolomeo of Lucca . . . we learn that at the time of the saint's death there was a doubt about his exact age (Prummer, op. cit., 45). The end of 1225 is usually assigned as the time of his birth. Father Prummer, on the authority of Calo, thinks 1227 is the more probable date (op. cit., 28). All agree that he died in 1274.
Landulph, his father, was Count of Aquino, Theodora, his mother, Countess of Teano. His family was related to the Emperors Henry VI and Frederick II, and to the Kings of Aragon, Castile, and France. Calo relates that a holy hermit foretold his career, saying to Theodora before his birth: "He will enter the Order of Friars Preachers, and so great will be his learning and sanctity that in his day no one will be found to equal him" (Prummer, op. cit., 18). At the age of five, according to the custom of the times, he was sent to receive his first training from the Benedictine monks of Monte Cassino. Diligent in study, he was thus early noted as being meditative and devoted to prayer, and his preceptor was surprised at hearing the child ask frequently: "What is God?" About the year 1236 he was sent to the University of Naples. Calo says that the change was made at the instance of the Abbot of Monte Cassino, who wrote to Thomas's father that a boy of such talents should not be left in obscurity (Prummer, op. cit., 20). At Naples his preceptors were Pietro Martini and Petrus Hibernus. The chronicler says that he soon surpassed Martini a grammar, and he was then given over to Peter of Ireland, who trained him in logic and the natural sciences. The customs of the times divided the liberal arts into two courses: the Trivium, embracing grammar, logic, and rhetoric; the Quadrivium, comprising music, mathematics, geometry, and astronomy . . . . Thomas could repeat the lessons with more depth and lucidity than his masters displayed. The youth's heart had remained pure amidst the corruption with which he was surrounded, and he resolved to embrace the religious life.
Some time between 1240 and August, 1243, he received the habit of the Order of St. Dominic, being attracted and directed by John of St. Julian, a noted preacher of the convent of Naples. The city wondered that such a noble young man should don the garb of poor friar. His mother, with mingled feelings of joy and sorrow, hastened to Naples to see her son. The Dominicans, fearing she would take him away, sent him to Rome, his ultimate destination being Paris or Cologne. At the instance of Theodora, Thomas's brothers, who were soldiers under the Emperor Frederick, captured the novice near the town of Aquapendente and confined him in the fortress of San Giovanni at Rocca Secca. Here he was detained nearly two years, his parents, brothers, and Sisters endeavouring by various means to destroy his vocation. The brothers even laid snares for his virtue, but the pure-minded novice drove the temptress from his room with a brand which he snatched from the fire. Towards the end of his life, St. Thomas confided to his faithful friend and companion, Reginald of Piperno, the secret of a remarkable favour received at this time. When the temptress had been driven from his chamber, he knelt and most earnestly implored God to grant him integrity of mind and body. He fell into a gentle sleep, and, as he slept, two angels appeared to assure him that his prayer had been heard. They then girded him about with a white girdle, saying: "We gird thee with the girdle of perpetual virginity." And from that day forward he never experienced the slightest motions of concupiscence.
The time spent in captivity was not lost. His mother relented somewhat, after the first burst of anger and grief; the Dominicans were allowed to provide him with new habits, and through the kind offices of his sister he procured some books—the Holy Scriptures, Aristotle's Metaphysics, and the "Sentences" of Peter Lombard. After eighteen months or two years spent in prison, either because his mother saw that the hermit's prophecy would eventually be fulfilled or because his brothers feared the threats of Innocent IV and Frederick II, he was set at liberty, being lowered in a basket into the arms of the Dominicans, who were delighted to find that during his captivity "he had made as much progress as if he had been in a <studium generale>" (Calo, op. cit., 24). Thomas immediately pronounced his vows, and his superiors sent him to Rome. Innocent IV examined closely into his motives in joining the Friars Preachers, dismissed him with a blessing, and forbade any further interference with his vocation. John the Teutonic, fourth master general of the order, took the young student to Paris and, according to the majority of the saint's biographers, to Cologne, where he arrived in 1244 or 1245, and was placed under Albertus Magnus, the most renowned professor of the order (on chronology of this period see Prummer, op. cit., p.25). In the schools Thomas's humility and taciturnity were misinterpreted as signs of dullness, but when Albert had heard his brilliant defence of a difficult thesis, he exclaimed: "We call this young man a dumb ox, hut his bellowing in doctrine will one day resound throughout the world."
In 1245 Albert was sent to Paris, and Thomas accompanied him as a student. In 1248 both returned to Cologne. Albert had been appointed regent of the new <studium generale>, erected that year by the general chapter of the order, and Thomas was to teach under him as Bachelor. (On the system of graduation in the thirteenth century see PREACHERS, ORDER OF—II, A, 1, d). During his stay in Cologne, probably in 1250, he was raised to the priesthood by Conrad of Hochstaden, archbishop of that city. Throughout his busy life, he frequently preached the Word of God, in Germany, France, and Italy. His sermons were forceful, redolent of piety, full of solid instruction, abounding in apt citations from the Scriptures . In the year 1251 or 1252 the master general of the order, by the advice of Albertus Magnus and Hugo a S. Charo (Hugh of St. Cher), sent Thomas to fill the office of Bachelor (sub-regent) in the Dominican < studium> at Paris. This appointment may be regarded as the beginning of his public career, for his teaching soon attracted the attention both of the professors and of the students. His duties consisted principally in explaining the "Sentences" of Peter Lombard, and his commentmies on that text-book of theology furnished the materials and, in great part, the plan for his chief work, the "Summa theologica".
In due time he was ordered to prepare himself to obtain the degree of Doctor in Theology from the University of Paris, but the conferring of the degree was postponed, owing to a dispute between the university and the friars. The conflict, originally a dispute between the university and the civic authorities, arose from the slaying of one of the students and the wounding of three others by the city guard. The university, jealous of its autonomy, demanded satisfaction, which was refused. The doctors closed their schools, solemnly swore that they would not reopen them until their demands were granted, and decreed that in future no one should be admitted to the degree of Doctor unless he would take an oath to follow the same line of conduct under similar circumstances. The Dominicans and Franciscans, who had continued to teach in their schools, refused to take the prescribed oath, and from this there arose a bitter conflict which was at its height when St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure were ready to be presented for their degrees. William of St. Amour extended the dispute beyond the original question, violently attacked the Friars, of whom he was evidently jealous, and denied their right to occupy chairs in the university. Against his book, "De periculis novissimorum temporum" (The Perils of the Last Times), St. Thomas wrote a treatise "Contra impugnantes religionem", an apology for the religious orders (Touron, op. cit., II, cc. vii sqq.). The book of William of St. Amour was condemned by Alexander IV at Anagni, 5 October, 1256, and the pope gave orders that the mendicant friars should be admitted to the doctorate.
About this time St. Thomas also combated a dangerous book, "The Eternal Gospel" (Touron, op. cit., II, cxii). The university authorities did not obey immediately; the influence of St. Louis IX and eleven papal Briefs were required before peace was firmly established, and St. Thomas was admitted to the degree of Doctor in Theology. The date of his promotion, as given by many biographers, was 23 October, 1257. His theme was "The Majesty of Christ". His text, "Thou waterest the hills from thy upper rooms: the earth shall be filled with the fruit of thy works" (Ps. ciii, 13), said to have been suggested by a heavenly visitor, seems to have been prophetic of his career. A tradition says that St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas received the doctorate on the same day, and that there was a contest of humility between the two friends as to which should be promoted first. From this time St. Thomas's life may be summed up in a few words: praying, preaching, teaching, writing, journeying. Men were more anxious to hear him than they had been to bear Albert, whom St. Thomas surpassed in accuracy, lucidity, brevity, and power of exposition, if not in universality of knowledge. Paris claimed him as her own; the popes wished to have him near them; the <studia> of the order were eager to enjoy the benefit of his teaching; hence we find him successively at Anagni, Rome, Bologna, Orvieto, Viterbo, Perugia, in Paris again, and finally in Naples, always teaching and writing, living on earth with one passion, an ardent zeal for the explanation and defence of Christian truth. So devoted was he to his sacred task that with tears he begged to be excused from accepting the Archbishopric of Naples, to which he was appointed by Clement IV in 1265. Had this appointment been accepted, most probably the "Summa theologica" would not have been written.
Yielding to the requests of his brethren, he on several occasions took part in the deliberations of the general chapters of the order. One of these chapters was held in London in 1263. In another held at Valenciennes (1259) he collaborated with Albertus Magnus and Peter of Tarentasia (afterwards Pope Innocent V) in formulating a system of studies which is substantially preserved to this day in the <studia generalia> of the Dominican Order (cf. Douais, op. cit.). It is not surprising to read in the biographies of St. Thomas that he was frequently abstracted and in ecstasy. Towards the end of his life the ecstasies became more frequent. On one occasion, at Naples in 1273, after he had completed his treatise on the Eucharist, three of the brethren saw him lifted in ecstasy, and they heard a voice proceeding from the crucifix on the altar, saying "Thou hast written well of me, Thomas; what reward wilt thou have?". Thomas replied, "None other than Thyself, Lord" (Prummer, op. cit., p. 38). Similar declarations are said to have been made at Orvieto and at Paris. On 6 December, 1273, he laid aside his pen and would write no more. That day he experienced an unusually long ecstasy during Mass; what was revealed to him we can only surmise from his reply to Father Reginald, who urged him to continue his writings: "I can do no more. Such secrets have been revealed to me that all I have written now appears to be of little value" (<modica>, Prummer, op. cit., p. 43).
The "Summa theologica" had been completed only as far as the ninetieth question of the third part (De partibus poenitentiae). Thomas began his immediate preparation for death. Gregory X, having convoked a general council, to open at Lyons on 1 May, 1274, invited St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure to take part in the deliberations, commanding the former to bring to the council his treatise "Contra errores Graecorum" (Against the Errors of the Greeks). He tried to obey, setting out on foot in January, 1274, but strength failed him; he fell to the ground near Terracina, whence he was conducted to the Castle of Maienza the home of his niece the Countess Francesca Ceccano. The Cistercian monks of Fossa Nuova pressed him to accept their hospitality, and he was conveyed to their monastery, on entering which he whispered to his companion: "This is my rest for ever and ever: here will I dwell, for I have chosen it" (Ps. cxxxi, 14). When Father Reginald urged him to remain at the castle, the saint replied: "If the Lord wishes to take me away, it is better that I be found in a religious house than in the dwelling of a lay person." The Cistercians were so kind and attentive that Thomas's humility was alarmed. "Whence comes this honour", he exclaimed, "that servants of God should carry wood for my fire!" At the urgent request of the monks he dictated a brief commentary on the Canticle of Canticles.
The end was near; extreme unction was administered. When the Sacred Viaticum was brought into the room he pronounced the following act of faith: "If in this world there be any knowledge of this sacrament stronger than that of faith, I wish now to use it in affirming that I firmly believe and know as certain that Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, is in this Sacrament." Then he added: "I receive Thee, the price of my redemption, for Whose love I have watched, studied, and laboured. Thee have I preached; Thee have I taught. Never have I said anything against Thee: if anything was not well said, that is to be attributed to my ignorance. Neither do I wish to be obstinate in my opinions, but if I have written anything erroneous concerning this sacrament or other matters, I submit all to the judgment and correction of the Holy Roman Church, in whose obedience I now pass from this life" (Prummer, op. cit., p. 45). He died on 7 March, 1274. Numerous miracles attested his sanctity, and he was canonized by John XXII, 18 July, 1323. The monks of Fossa Nuova were anxious to keep his sacred remains, but by order of Urban V the body was given to his Dominican brethren, and was solemnly translated to the Dominican church at Toulouse, 28 January, 1369. A magnificent shrine erected in 1628 was destroyed during the French Revolution, and the body was removed to the Church of St. Sernin, where it now reposes in a sarcophagus of gold and silver, which was solemnly blessed by Cardinal Desprez on 24 July, 1878. The chief bone of his left arm is preserved in the cathedral of Naples. The right arm, bestowed on the University of Paris, and originally kept in the St. Thomas's Chapel of the Dominican church, is now preserved in the Dominican Church of S. Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome, whither it was transferred during the French Revolution.

A description of the saint as he appeared in life is given by Calo (Prummer, op. cit., p. 401), who says that his features corresponded with the greatness of his soul. He was of lofty stature and of heavy build, but straight and well proportioned. His complexion was "like the colour of new wheat": his head was large and well shaped, and he was slightly bald. All portraits represent him as noble, meditative, gentle yet strong. St. Pius V proclaimed St. Thomas a Doctor of the Universal Church in the year 1567. In the Encyclical "Aeterni Patris", of 4 August, 1879, on the restoration of Christian philosophy, Leo XIII declared him "the prince and master of all Scholastic doctors". The same illustrious pontiff, by a Brief dated 4 August, 1880, designated him patron of all Catholic universities, academies, colleges, and schools throughout the world.