Wednesday, January 11, 2012



VATICAN  CITY, 11 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Jesus' prayer during the Last Supper was the theme  of Benedict XVI's catechesis during his general audience, which was held this  morning in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of 4,000 faithful. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

   The Pope explained how the emotional backdrop to the Last Supper, in which  Jesus bade farewell to His friends, was the immanence of His approaching  death. Moreover, in the days in which He was preparing to leave His  disciples, the life of the Jewish people was marked by the approaching Passover,  the commemoration of the liberation of Israel from Egypt.

   "It was in this context that the Last Supper took place", the Holy  Father said, "but with an important novelty". Jesus "wanted  the Supper with His disciples to be something special, different from other  gatherings. It was His Supper, in which He gave something completely new:  Himself. Thus Jesus celebrated the Passover as an anticipation of His Cross  and Resurrection".

   The essence of the Last Supper lay in "the gestures of breaking and distributing  the bread, and sharing the cup of wine, with the words that accompanied them  and the context of prayer in which they took place. This was the institution  of the Eucharist: the great prayer of Jesus and the Church". The words  the Evangelists use to describe that moment "recall the Jewish  'berakha'; that is, the great prayer of thanksgiving and blessing which, in  the tradition of Israel, is used to inaugurate important ceremonies. ... That  prayer of praise and thanks rises up to God and returns as a blessing. ...  The words of the institution of the Eucharist were pronounced in this context  of prayer. The praise and thanksgiving of the 'berakha' became blessing and  transformed the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus".

   Jesus' gestures were the traditional gestures of hospitality which a host  would extend to his guests, but in the Last Supper they acquired a more  profound significance, Pope Benedict explained. Christ provided "a  visible sign of welcome to the table upon which God gives Himself. In the  bread and the wine, Jesus offered and communicated His own Self". Aware  of His approaching death, "He offered in advance the life that would  shortly be taken from Him, thus transforming His violent death into a free  act of the giving of Self, for others and to others. The violence He suffered  became an active, free and redemptive sacrifice".

   "In contemplating Jesus' words and gestures that night, we can clearly  see that it was in His intimate and constant relationship with the Father  that He accomplished the gesture of leaving to His followers, and to all of  us, the Sacrament of love", said the Pope. During the Last Supper Jesus  also prayed for His disciples, who likewise had to suffer harsh trials. With  that prayer "He supported them in their weakness, their difficulty in  understanding that the way of God had to pass through the Paschal mystery of  death and resurrection, which was anticipated in the offer of bread and wine.  The Eucharist is the food of pilgrims, a source of strength also for those  who are tired, weary and disoriented".

   Benedict XVI went on: "By participating in the Eucharist we have an  extraordinary experience of the prayer which Jesus made, and continues to  make for us all, that the evil we encounter in our lives may not triumph, and  that the transforming power of Christ's death and resurrection may act within  each of us. In the Eucharist the Church responds to Jesus' command to 'do  this in remembrance of me', she repeats the prayer of thanksgiving and  blessing and, therewith, the words of transubstantiation of the bread and  wine into the Body and Blood of the Lord. Our Eucharistic celebrations draw  us into that moment of prayer, uniting us ever and anew to the prayer of  Jesus".

   "Let us ask the Lord that, after due preparation also with the Sacrament  of Penance, our participation in the Eucharist, which is indispensable for  Christian life, may always remain the apex of all our prayers", the Pope  concluded. "Let us ask that, profoundly united in His offering to the  Father, we too can transform our crosses into a free and responsible  sacrifice of love, for God and for our fellows".

   At the end of his catechesis the Holy Father delivered greetings in a number  of languages to the pilgrims present in the Paul VI Hall, inviting them to  participate with "faith and devotion" in the Eucharist which, he  said, is indispensable for Christian life as well as being the school and  culmination of prayer. Addressing young people, the sick and newlyweds, he  pointed our that last Sunday's Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord is an  occasion to reflect upon our own Baptism. "Dear young people", the  Pope exclaimed, "live your membership of the Church, the family of  Christ, joyfully. Dear sick people, may the grace of Baptism ease your  sufferings and encourage you to offer them to Christ for the salvation of  humanity. And you, dear newlyweds, ... base your marriage on the faith which  you received as a gift on the day of your Baptism".
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VATICAN  CITY, 11 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Among those attending this morning's general  audience with the Holy Father were staff of the zoological park in Rome (the  "Bioparco"), which is currently celebrating its centenary. They  brought with them a rare live specimen of the Cuban crocodile, to represent  the 1,200 animals which live in the park and as a sign of the environmental  protection and education work the structure carries out.

   The Cuban crocodile, which is classified as an endangered species, has seen  its numbers fall by 80 per cent in recent years, and it currently survives  only in a small area of the island. The young specimen shown to the Pope is  being kept in the zoological park for a period of recovery. In March,  coinciding with Benedict XVI's apostolic trip to Cuba, it will be returned to  its country of origin. In a statement Paolo Giuntarelli, president of the  "Bioparco Foundation" said that, "the meeting with the Pope is  the most prestigious seal of approval for our first hundred years, and the  best possible beginning to a new century of history".
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VATICAN  CITY, 11 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Bishop  Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany.

   Yesterday afternoon he received in audience Cardinal Joachim Meisner,  archbishop of Cologne, Germany.
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VATICAN  CITY, 11 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Lorenzo  Baldisseri, apostolic nuncio to Brazil, as secretary of the Congregation for  Bishops.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Joseph Mahmoud
Bishop Sako and his aides are safe. The terrorists were from Baghdad. Two are killed and one arrested. Their target was a Turkmen member of parliament whose home is near the Archbishop’s Palace. Sunni-Shia tensions rise.

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – At 1.15 pm, two people opened fire against security guards standing in front of the walls that surround the Chaldean Archbishop’s Palace in Kirkuk. Terrorists fired from a white Kia car. The guards fired back immediately. Officers in a police car located about 100 metres from the building also intervened, firing at the terrorists. Two terrorists were killed and one was arrested. Five policemen were wounded.

No one inside the building was wounded. The bishop, who had just returned with a priest after visiting Holy Mary the Virgin Parish Church, was unharmed

No reason has been given for the attack, but police suggest that Jala Niftaji, a Turkmen member of the Iraqi parliament, might have been the target. Her home was attacked three days ago.

Preliminary reports suggest that the terrorists were not from Kirkuk. Identity papers found on the two who were killed indicate they lived in Baghdad.

“The killers could not be from here,” a source in Kirkuk told AsiaNews. “The Archbishop’s Palace is located on a central street, near the Governor’s house. It is well protected with soldiers and police. How could they think that they could carry out the attack? It is obvious they were not well prepared. Their ignorance is also evident from the fact that they fired at the Archbishop’s Palace even though they wanted to attack the home of the Turkmen leader.”

Ms Jala Niftaji is a member of the Iraqi Nationalist List party of Iyad Allawi. For weeks, the party has been at loggerheads with Prime Minister al Maliki and his predominantly Shia party.

Across the country, the situation is worrisome. A power vacuum has developed after al Maliki issued an arrest warrant for Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, for allegedly funding terrorist groups.

Al-Hashemi has rejected all the accusations, and fled to the north, to Iraqi Kurdistan. His party, the Iraqi National Movement (al-Iraqiya List) has been boycotting parliament, accusing al Maliki of trying to monopolise power.

Many analysts fear that the crisis could lead to civil war (see Youssouf al-Bakhtiar, “The conflict between Shiites and Sunnis for the sectarian division of Iraq,” in AsiaNews, 10 January 2012).’s-Palace-in-Kirkuk-23669.html



Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on the announcement that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, elevated His Grace, Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, to the College of Cardinals, an international group of principal advisors to the Pontiff:
“The appointment of Thomas Collins to the College of Cardinals is a great honour for His Grace as well as the Archdiocese of Toronto and all members of the Catholic Church across Canada – a testament to his hard work and faithful devotion to the Church and spiritual life.

“The College of Cardinals plays an important leadership role in the Catholic Church. With a long and distinguished career, Cardinal-designate Collins becomes the fourth Cardinal in the 110-year history of the Archdiocese of Toronto and the 16th Cardinal in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada.

“On behalf of our Government, I offer my congratulations to Cardinal-designate Collins as he begins this new phase of his ministry.”


By Madeleine Teahan on Wednesday, 11 January 2012
The Bishop of Lancaster has launched a Lenten initiative to encourage Catholics to return to Confession.
Bishop Michael Campbell has written to all Catholic schools and parishes to announce the introduction of a co-ordinated weekly Confession on the same day, at the same hour in every church across the diocese.
From February 29 until the Wednesday of Holy Week, every Catholic church in the Diocese of Lancaster will be open from 7pm until 8pm in order for the faithful to go to Confession.
Bishop Campbell said: “During the Lenten season we will invite those who seek to strengthen their relationship with the Lord to join us in this celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Our priests are here to welcome you home, to pray with you, to be of service in the name of Jesus Christ, who offers all of us forgiveness for our sins and the gift of His mercy and love.
“Confession gives us the chance to start over, to hit the ‘reset’ button of our lives. It shows how forgiving and compassionate our God is and it helps us to grow in concern and love for others. Come to Confession this Lent and receive God’s mercy, for peace of mind and to deepen your friendship with Jesus, to receive spiritual healing and to increase your sense of joy and to experience Christ’s saving grace.”
Responding to the concern that many people feel too unworthy to return to Confession, the Bishop of Lancaster said: “God’s love for you is greater than all the sins you’ve committed or could ever commit. Now is the time to come and have God take away the burdens of guilt that can often weigh us down. If you’ve been waiting for a sign to return to the Church or to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, this is your chance to re-establish and strengthen a relationship with God that will last forever”.
A statement from the diocese explains that the “Light is On” programme is a preliminary to the forthcoming Year of Faith, announced by Pope Benedict XVI, which begins in October.


Article and Picture by B Spinks

ARCHDIOCESE OF PERTH RELEASE: Children’s welfare, family interests and the rampant drug culture in Perth will be a few of the topics discussed by Perth Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey in a new video series in an attempt to speak to the broader public.
The weekly video series “A Word for Today’s World with Archbishop Barry Hickey” will appear online by 22 January via The Faith Centre website.
The Faith Centre for Evangelisation and Catholic Culture, the newest centre in the Perth Archdiocese, will produce the video clips and host these on their website
Transcripts will also be available once the clip is broadcast online.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - According to FSNAU (Food Security Analysis Unit, an organization sponsored by the European Commission and by USAID), four million people are in conditions of food insecurity in Somalia, of these, three million people are in the south of the Country. About 250,000 people are in hunger looming. It is estimated that over two thirds of the 250,000 Somalis live in urban areas while the rest are located in rural areas. This is what the sixth Situational Report of Caritas Somalia reports, sent to Fides.
The document recalls that the famine in Somalia has two main causes: the scarcity of rainfall in the previous two seasons (October-December 2010 and April-June 2011) and the lack of a prompt humanitarian response in the south in September-October 2011. This last factor comes from the combination of an inadequate response on behalf of the international community and by the severely limited access to humanitarian assistance in the area because of the policy of the Shabaab.
Southern Somalia is now the scene of fighting between Shabaab and troops of Kenya, officially intervened to put an end to the raids of bandits in the Somali territory. On 28 November, the Shabaab expelled 16 aid agencies and some offices were ransacked. Because of this policy, between 400,000 and 600,000 people in the area will no longer be assisted by humanitarian organizations.
After the drought, heavy rains and floods which hit parts of Somalia. The most affected areas are located in the basin of the river Juba, in southern Somalia (Gedo and Lower Juba). The rains have caused severe floods that have invaded agricultural land causing loss of crops.
The situation in Somalia remains extremely difficult. For 2012, Caritas intends to focus its activities, among others, in the following areas: treatment and prevention of diseases such as cholera; sending food or money to buy food in local markets; drinking water supply and sanitation services, medical and psychological support especially for women and children victims of sexual violence. Among the partners of Caritas Somalia, there are: Caritas Germany and Diakonia Germany, Caritas Switzerland/ Luxembourg; Trocaire and CRS. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 11/01/2012)


Mark 1: 29 - 39
29 And immediately he left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
30 Now Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her.
31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.
32 That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons.
33 And the whole city was gathered together about the door.
34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
35 And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.
36 And Simon and those who were with him pursued him,
37 and they found him and said to him, "Every one is searching for you."
38 And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out."
39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.


St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch
Feast: January 11

Feast Day:January 11
423 at Garissus, Cappadocia (modern Turkey)
Died:529 at Cathismus
St Theodosius was born at Mogariassus, called in latter ages Marissa, in Cappadocia, in 423. He imbibed the first tincture of virtue from the fervent example and pious instructions of his virtuous parents. He was ordained reader, but some time after being moved by Abraham's example to quit his country and friends, he resolved to put this motion in execution. He accordingly set out for Jerusalem, but went purposely out of his road to visit the famous St. Simeon Stylites on his pillar, who foretold him several circumstances of his life, and gave him proper instructions for his behaviour in each. Having satisfied his devotion in visiting the holy places in Jerusalem, he began to consider in what manner he should dedicate himself to God in a religious state. The dangers of living without a guide made him prefer a monastery to a hermitage; and he therefore put himself under the directions of a holy man named Longinus, to whom his virtue soon endeared him in a very particular manner. A pious lady having built a church under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin, on the high road to Bethlehem, Longinus could not well refuse her request that his pupil should undertake the charge of it; but Theodosius, who loved only to obey, could not be induced by any entreaties to consent to this proposal: absolute commands were necessary to force him to a compliance. Nor did he govern long; for dreading the poison of vanity from the esteem of men, he retired into a cave at the top of a neighbouring desert mountain, and employed his time in fasting, watching, prayers, and tears, which almost continually flowed from his eyes. His food was coarse pulse and wild herbs: for thirty years he never tasted so much as a morsel of bread. Many desired to serve God under his direction: he at first determined only to admit six or seven, but was soon obliged to receive a greater number, and at length came to a resolution, which charity extorted from him, never to reject any that presented themselves with dispositions that seemed sincere. The first lesson which he taught his monks was that the continual remembrance of death is the foundation of religious perfection; to imprint this more deeply in their minds, he caused a great grave or pit to be dug, which might serve for the common burial-place of the whole community, that by the presence of this memorial of death, and by continually meditating on that object, they might more perfectly learn to die daily. The burial-place being made, the abbot one day, when he had led his monks to it, said, The grave is made, who will first perform the dedication?" Basil, a priest, who was one of the number, falling on his knees, said to St. Theodosius, "I am the person, be pleased to give me your blessing." The abbot ordered the prayers of the church for the dead to be offered up for him, and on the fortieth day Basil wonderfully departed to our Lord in peace without any apparent sickness. When the holy company of disciples were twelve in number it happened that at the great feast at Easter they had nothing to eat; they had not even bread for the sacrifice: some murmured; the saint bid them trust in God and he would provide; which was soon remarkably verified by the arrival of certain mules loaded with provisions. The lustre of the sanctity and miracles of St. Theodosius drawing great numbers to him who desired to serve God under his direction, his cave was too little for their reception, therefore, having consulted heaven by prayer, he, by its particular direction, built a spacious monastery at a place called Cathismus, not far from Bethlehem, at a small distance from his cave, and it was soon filled with holy monks. To this monastery were annexed three infirmaries: one for the sick, the gift of a pious lady in that neighbourhood; the two others St. Theodosius built himself, one for the aged and feeble, the other for such as had been punished with the loss of their senses, or by falling under the power of the devil, for rashly engaging in a religious state through pride, and without a due dependence on the grace of God to carry them through it. All succours, spiritual and temporal, were afforded in these infirmaries, with admirable order, care, and affection. He erected also several buildings for the reception of strangers, in which he exercised an unbounded hospitality, entertaining all that came, for whose use there were one day above a hundred tables served with provisions: these, when insufficient for the number of guests, were more than once miraculously multiplied by his prayers. The monastery itself was like a city of saints in the midst of a desert, and in it reigned regularity, silence, charity, and peace. There were four churches belonging to it, one for each of the three several nations of which his community was chiefly composed, each speaking a different language; the fourth was for the use of such as were in a state of penance, which those that recovered from their lunatic or possessed condition before-mentioned, were put into, and detained till they had expiated their fault. The nations into which his community was divided were the Greeks, which was by far the most numerous, and consisted of all those that came from any provinces of the empire; the Armenians, with whom were joined the Arabians and Persians; and, thirdly, the Bessi, who comprehended all the northern nations below Thrace, or all who used the Runic or Sclavonian tongue. Each nation sung the first part of the mass to the end of the gospel in their own church, but after the gospel all met in the church of the Greeks, where they celebrated the essential part of the sacrifice in Greek, and communicated all together.
The monks passed a considerable part of the day and night at their devotions in the church, and at the times not set apart for public prayer and necessary rest every one was obliged to apply himself to some trade or manual labour, not incompatible with recollection that the house might be supplied with conveniences. Sallust, Bishop of Jerusalem, appointed St. Sabas superior general of the hermits and our saint of the Cenobites, or religious men living in community throughout all Palestine, whence he was styled the Cenobiarch. These two great servants of God lived in strict friendship, and had frequent spiritual conferences together; they were also united in their zeal and sufferings for the church.
The Emperor Anastasius patronised the Eutychian heresy, and used all possible means to engage our saint in his party. In 513 he deposed Elias, Patriarch of Jerusalem, as he had banished Flavian II, Patriarch of Antioch, and intruded Severus, an impious heretic, into that see, commending the Syrians to obey and hold communion with him. SS. Theodosius and Sabas maintained boldly the right of Elias, and of John his successor; whereupon the imperial officers thought it most advisable to connive at their proceedings, considering the great authority they had acquired by their sanctity. Soon after, the emperor sent Theodosius a considerable sum of money, for charitable uses in appearance, but in reality to engage him in his interest. The saint accepted of it, and distributed it all among the poor. Anastasius, now persuading himself that he was as good as gained over to his cause, sent him a heretical profession of faith, in which the divine and human natures in Christ were confounded into one, and desired him to sign it. The saint wrote him an answer full of apostolic spirit; in which, besides solidly confuting the Eutychian error, he added that he was ready to lay down his life for the faith of the church. The emperor admired his courage and the strength of his reasoning, and, returning him a respectful answer, highly commended his generous zeal, made some apology for his own inconsiderateness, and protested that he only desired the peace of the church. But it was not long ere he relapsed into his former impiety, and renewed his bloody edicts against the orthodox, dispatching troops everywhere to have them put in execution. On the first intelligence of this, Theodosius went over all the deserts and country of Palestine, exhorting every one to be firm in the faith of the four general councils. At Jerusalem, having assembled the people together, he from the pulpit cried out with a loud voice: "If any one receives not the four general councils as the four gospels, let him be anathema." So bold an action in a man of his years inspired with courage those whom the edicts had terrified. His discourses had a wonderful effect on the people, and God gave a sanction to his zeal by miracles: one of these was, that on his going out of the church at Jerusalem, a woman was healed of a cancer on the spot by only touching his garments. The emperor sent an order for his banishment, which was executed; but, dying soon after, Theodosius was recalled by his catholic successor, Justin, who, from a common soldier, had gradually ascended the imperial throne.
Our saint survived his return eleven years, never admitting the least relaxation in his former austerities. Such was his humility that, seeing two monks at variance with each other, he threw himself at their feet, and would not rise till they were perfectly reconciled; and once having excommunicated one of his subjects for a crime, who contumaciously pretended to excommunicate him in his turn, the saint behaved as if he had been really excommunicated, to gain the sinner's soul by this unprecedented example of submission, which had the desired effect. During the last year of his life he was afflicted with a painful distemper, in which he gave proof of a heroic patience, and an entire submission to the will of God. Perceiving the hour of his dissolution at hand, he gave his last exhortations to his disciples, and foretold many things, which accordingly came to pass after his death; this happened in the one hundred and fifth year of his age, and of our Lord 529. Peter, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the whole country, assisted with the deepest sentiments of respect at the solemnity of his interment, which was honoured by miracles. He was buried in his first cell called the Cave of the Magi, because the wise men who came to adore Christ soon after his birth were said to have lodged in it. A certain count being on his march against the Persians, begged the hair shirt which the saint used to wear next his skin, and believed that he owed the victory which he obtained over them to the saint's protection through the pledge of that relic. Both the Romans and Greek calendars mention his festival on the 11th of January.
It is the opinion of St. Gregory the Great that the world is to some persons so full of ambushes and snares, or dangerous occasions of sin, that they cannot be saved but by choosing a safe retreat. Yet there are some who find the greatest dangers in solitude itself; so that it is necessary for every one to sound his own heart, take a survey of his own forces and abilities, and consult God, that he may best be able to learn the designs of his providence with regard to his soul; in doing which, a great purity of intention is the first requisite. Ease and enjoyment must not be the end of Christian retirement, but penance, labour, and assiduous contemplation; without great fervour and constancy in which, close solitude is the road to perdition. If greater safety, or an unfitness for a public station, or a life of much business (in which several are only public nuisances), may be just motives to some for embracing a life of retirement, the means of more easily attaining to perfect virtue may be such to many. Nor do true contemplatives bury their talents, or cease either to be members of the republic of mankind, or to throw in their mite towards its welfare.
From the prayers and thanksgivings which they daily offer to God for the peace of the world, the preservation of the church, the conversion of sinners, and the salvation of all men, doubtless more valuable benefits often accrue to mankind than from the alms of the rich or the labours of the learned. Nor is it to be imagined how far and how powerfully their spirit, and the example of their innocence and perfect virtue, often spread their influence; and how serviceable persons who lead a holy and sequestered life may be to the good of the world; nor how great glory redounds to God by the perfect purity of heart and charity to which many souls are thus raised.

(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)





VATICAN  CITY, 10 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the  Supreme Pontiff has introduced certain modifications to the ordinary public  consistories for the creation of new cardinals. The rites followed until now  have been revised and simplified, with the Holy Father's approval. The  modifications chiefly involve the unification of the three phases: the  imposition of the biretta, the consignment of the ring and the assignation of  the title or diaconate. The collect and the concluding prayer have been  modified, and the proclamation of the Word of God made shorter.
   On 6 January Benedict XVI announced his intention to create twenty-two new  members of the College of Cardinals, on 18 February, in what will be the  fourth consistory of his pontificate.

   In its announcement the Office of Liturgical Celebrations explains that the  liturgical reform which began with Vatican Council II also covered the rites  for imposing the biretta and assigning a title to new cardinals during  consistories, and that the modified form of the celebration was first used by  Paul VI in April 1969. In preparing those new rites the main criterion  adopted was that of giving a liturgical setting to a process which, of  itself, is not part of the liturgy. The creation of new cardinals had to be  inserted into a context of prayer, while at the same time avoiding anything  that could give rise to the idea of a "cardinalatial Sacrament".  Historically speaking, in fact, consistories have never been considered as a  liturgical rite but as a meeting of the Pope with cardinals as part of the  governance of the Church.

   Bearing in mind these historical aspects, and in continuity with the current  form and main elements of consistories, the existing practice has been  reviewed and simplified. In the first place, the collect and concluding  prayer of the 1969 rite have been recouped, because they are particularly  rich and derive from the great Roman tradition of prayer. The two prayers, in  fact, speak explicitly of the powers the Lord gave to the Church, in  particular that of Peter. The Pope also prays directly for himself, that he  may carry out his duties well.

   The proclamation of the Word of God will also take a shorter form, as used in  the 1969 rite, with a single Gospel reading (Mk 10, 32-45) which is the same  in the two rites. Finally, the consignment of the cardinalatial ring will be  integrated into a single rite. Prior to the 1969 reform, the red hat was  imposed during the public consistory, which was followed by a secret  consistory in which the ring was consigned and the title or diaconate  assigned. Nowadays the distinction between public and secret consistory is no  longer observed and it was deemed more coherent to bring the three phases of  the creation of new cardinals together into a single rite. What remains  unchanged is the following day's concelebration of Mass by the Pope and the  new cardinals, which begins with an expression of homage and gratitude  addressed to the Pope by the first of the new cardinals in the name of all  the others.
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VATICAN  CITY, 10 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The latest edition of the magazine "Migranti  Press" contains an article by Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president  of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant  Peoples, for the forthcoming World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The Day is  to be celebrated on Sunday 15 January under the theme: "Migrations and  New Evangelisation".

   Archbishop Veglio highlights the fact that the phenomenon of migration, which  involves many different individuals and peoples with their various social,  cultural and religious characteristics, is "a process which opens unique  opportunities for evangelisation. It offers Christian communities the chance  to bear witness to Jesus Christ, especially through respectful dialogue and  the concrete witness of solidarity. Migrants can also reawaken drowsy Christian  consciences, calling people to a more coherent Christian life".

   For this reason the Holy Father's Message for the World Day of Migrants and  Refugees "invites us to ensure that migrants are given adequate pastoral  care. Thus they may remain firm in their faith, coherent in their Christian  life and powerful witnesses of the Gospel, in order to become authentic  announcers of the evangelical 'kerygma'".

   Referring to the Pope's Message, Archbishop Veglio notes that "the mass  media, because of the immediate impact they have on public opinion, must  seriously undertake to supply correct and ample information, avoiding  demagogic terminology which is offensive to the image of forced migrants. The  contribution of the media is necessary in order to make society aware of new  situations, and of the real violations of refugees' rights".


ASIA NEWS REPORT: The celebration is held despite fear of attacks. The procession ends after winding its way through the capital’s streets. “Popular devotion was stronger than fear of terrorist threats,” Manila archbishop says.

Manila (AsiaNews) – About 8.5 million Filipino Catholics took part in the ‘Black Nazarene’ procession that ended in Manila’s Quiapo church. Celebrations took place despite government warnings of possible terrorist attacks. Every year, millions of people flock to Manila from all over the country to follow the statue as it is carried for 22 hours through the old streets of the capital. This year, the Archdiocese of Manila sent copies of the Nazarene to the dioceses of Cagayan de Oro, Illigan City and Cotabato (Mindanao) to allow flood victims to organise their own procession.

“This year, popular devotion was stronger because of terrorist threats,” Mgr Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, told AsiaNews. “The organising committee was aware of the danger and in the past few weeks we thought about cancelling the procession. However, many faithful responded to the government’s appeal stressing that fear of possible incidents was nothing compared to Christ’s suffering on the cross. I am convinced that even without our approval, people would have organised the procession anyway.”

Filipinos participate in the celebrations for the Black Nazarene to be closer to Jesus, the prelate explained. “All social classes take part in the procession,” he said, “especially the sick who risk their life in the great mass of people trying to touch the statue in order to obtain a favour. Each year, many people are affected by this show and some convert, especially among the humblest.”

The statue of the Black Nazarene arrived in the Philippines on 31 May 1606 when the first Augustinian missionaries set foot in Manila. Carved in Mexico, it represents the Saviour kneeling under the weight of the cross.

It is believed to be miraculous because it survived the fire that burnt the ship that brought the missionaries to the Philippines.

Over the centuries, the statue survived fires that hit the Quiapo church in 1791 and 1929. It also came through the big earthquakes of 1645 and 1863 as well as World War 2 bombing in 1945. (S.C.)


Young Catholic Volunteers conference | Young Volunteers Conference,FLAME Congress,

Volunteers in Flame rehearsal
More than 100 young people working in Youth Ministry Teams from Catholic Retreat Centres and on Outreach Projects in England and Wales gathered on New Year's Day with their Directors and other staff for the annual three day Volunteers Conference in Derbyshire.

The theme of 'Finish the Race', based on St Paul's Second Letter to Timothy, connected with the forthcoming FLAME Congress, which takes place at Wembley Arena on 24 March. During the Conference the young volunteers who will also be attending FLAME took the opportunity to familiarise themselves with a specially commissioned Congress Hymn also based on 2 Timothy. They rehearsed other material that will be used at this inspiring event exploring how faith and sport are related, notably through the Olympic values of Respect, Friendship and Excellence.

The Volunteers Conference was facilitated by Mr David Wells. David is Director of Formation for the RC Diocese of Plymouth where he is responsible for adult education and training. On leaving school, before going to university, David spent a year as a volunteer in a Residential Youth Retreat Centre and over the course of the Conference shared stories of that time and of his teaching career. He helped the volunteers to identify the key issues that Timothy faced in his ministry as a young bishop and how they relate to young peer ministers today, encouraging them to aspire to a greater sense of their own vocation and, like Paul, urging them to keep the faith and finish the race.

The young Youth Ministers, who work with thousands of young people every year, through the celebration of the Eucharist and a variety of Workshops, Prayers, Liturgies and a Ceilidh, were given a fresh energy to their faith just like the young Timothy.

The witness of these young volunteers and the FLAME Congress are sure to present to other young people a vivid and vibrant picture of the national Church.
Source: Youth Ministries


IBADAN, January 6, 2012 (CISA) –Nigerian catholic bishops from Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province have strongly opposed the Nigerian federal government’s move on fuel subsidy.
The bishops said, “It is immoral to impose removal of petroleum subsidy on economically weakened Nigerians while political office holders continue to live in embarrassing opulence.”
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, Ibadan Province comprising of Ibadan, Ondo, Oyo, Ilorin, Ekiti, and Osogbo dioceses also said, “The powers of state should never have been used to impose removal of petroleum subsidy without putting in place concrete definable measures to cushion the emasculating effects of such an action on the most vulnerable segments of the Nigerian population.”
According to their press statement sent to CISA the bishops stated, “Before removing the subsidy, the Federal Government alluded to huge irregularities and corruption associated with the provision of petroleum products in Nigeria. It took no action to prosecute anyone as a consequence of its discovery.”
They said that the government took no action to prosecute anyone because of its discovery and took no action to protect or support the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians.
The bishops were concerned that the harsh consequences of the eventual removal of subsidy, has been instantaneous adding that many Nigerians who went to their hometowns and villages to celebrate Christmas and the New Year could not even afford the cost of returning to their places of work.
The clergy advised that the first duty of government is to guarantee the security of life and property of Nigerians adding, “To remove subsidy as a way of forestalling fraud is to punish the already vulnerable and victimized Nigerian consumer.”
They expressed disappointment at the unpopular decision and deplored the fact that economic considerations were prioritized over moral implications and immediate public interests in the timing of the subsidy removal.


Agenzia Fides RELEASE - The murder of an indigenous child of Maranhão, burnt by wood smugglers (madeireiros) in October 2011, has recently provoked the indignation of many Brazilians manifested in social networks. Although in delay, the reaction does not affect an isolated or uncommon case, because every year children and young indigenous are killed across the country.
The killers are not always perpetrated by non-Indians in search of land and wood. Communities where many who have alcohol and drug problems, unfortunately, are often the scene of tragic events, like the murder of an indigenous 9-month-girl, murdered with a machete in November last year. The incident occurred after an argument between the girl's father and other drunken indigenous of the tribe, situated in Minas Gerais.
According to the note sent to Fides by CIMI (Indigenous Missionary Council), the number of indigenous children murdered in 2011 has not yet been defined. However in 2010 CIMI’s report reported that four children were killed, including an 8 year old girl, raped, beaten and killed in the village of Tey Cue, in Mato Grosso do Sul. According to the surveys, one of the girl’s aunt "sold" the girl in exchange for drugs.
In 2009, CIMI reported 11 homicides of minors, including a 9-year-old boy of the Guarani Kaiowa group, raped and killed by a teenager from the same village. In 2008, a girl of the Guajajara was killed with firearms in Maranhao, while watching television at home. In addition to episodes of violence, dozens of indigenous children die each year from poor sanitation, malnutrition and lack of medical care. In January last year, eight children died in the ethnic Xavante in just 15 days, following an attack of pneumonia. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 11/01/2012)



THE National Catholic Education Commission commented today on reports in the Australian Newspaper and on the ABC regarding government funding for Catholic schools, suggesting that there has been a misrepresentation in the media of how much funding schools receive per student.Catholic-education-commission

Mrs Therese Temby, Chair of the National Catholic Education Commission, said that the reporting is quite misleading as it suggests that Catholic schools receive a higher level of funding than Government schools.

“Recent press comments (The Australian, the ABC website) have misreported government funding for non-government schools, yet the National Report on Schooling in Australia 2009, to which the reports refer actually says : The total [government] funding per student over the past four years…shows government school per student recurrent funding increasing…at a greater rate than that for the non-government school sector (section 8.2 on Government Funding).

The reports in The Australian and on the ABC appear to be based on the journalists’ own analysis of the 2009 National Report data on government funding for schools based on a report by lobbyist Mr Trevor Cobbold”, said Mrs. Temby.

“Mr Cobbold’s brief statement (10 January 2012) admits that he has “converted” and “adjusted” the official data”, she said.

“Using his own adjusted figures, Mr Cobbold claims that Catholic schools are either ‘at least as well resourced’ or ‘significantly better resourced’ than government schools. But there is only one set of consistent, comparable school financial data on which all school authorities, all sectors, all State Education Ministers agree,” said Mrs Temby.

“The financial data on the Australian Government’s MySchool website shows Catholic schools have 10 per cent less net recurrent income per student than do government schools,” she said.

Mrs Temby went on to say that the way in which schools utilise funds is far more important than how much schools receive.

“The crucial issue is how schools spend their funds – how Catholic schools provide ‘value for money’,” said Mrs Temby.

Speaking on the ABC’s PM Program last night, Dr Gary Marks (from the Australian Council for Educational Research) said: “There is an argument that if you compare Catholic schools and government schools, Catholic schools – kids at Catholic schools do better."


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. William of Bourges
Feast: January 10

Feast Day:January 10
12th century in Nevers, France
Died:10 January 1209 at Bourges, France
Canonized:17 May 1217 by Pope Honorius III
Ciscertian bishop, also called William of Dongeon. He was born at Nevers, France, and studied under his uncle, Peter, the archdeacon of Soissons, before receiving ordination and appointment as a cannon of Soissons. He helpd the same post in Paris adn then entered the monastery of Grandmont, transferring to the Cistercian community at Pontigny. In succeeding years, he was abbot of Fontaine-Jean, in Sens; abbot of Chalis, near Senlis; and bishop of Bourges, receiving consecration in 1200. The last office he was compelled to take at the behest of Pope Innocent III (r. 1198-1216). As bishop, he distinguished himself by his austerities, concern for the poor, the defense of the rights of the Church against the French crown, and his success in converting many members of the Albigensian heresy. He was canonized by Pope Honorius III (r. 1216-1227).

(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints)


 Pope Baptizes Jan 9 2011.jpg

VATICAN CITY, 8 JAN 2012 (VIS) - This morning, after celebrating Mass in the Sistine Chapel during which he administered the Sacrament of Baptism to a group of infants, the Pope appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. (IMAGE SOURCE: COMMUNIO BLOG)

"Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord", he said. "I would like to reflect briefly upon our status as children of God, but I would begin first of all by highlighting the simple fact that we are children, a fundamental condition which unities us all. ... Coming into the world is never our choice. ... Yet during our existence we can develop a positive attitude towards life, we can welcome it as a gift. ... This is a sign of maturity in our being, and in our relationship with our parents which is thus filled with recognition".

"All of us are likewise children of God. God is the origin of the existence of all creatures, He is the Father of each individual human being, with each of whom He has a unique personal relationship. God wants and loves each one of us. ... Thanks to the faith, thanks to a profound and personal 'yes' to God as the origin and foundation of my existence, ... I welcome life as a gift of the Father Who is in heaven; a Parent ... Who, in the depths of my heart, I feel to be my Father, the Father or all my brothers and sisters in humanity, a Father Who is intensely good and faithful".

"This faith in God the Father rests upon Jesus Christ. His person and His history reveal the Father to us. ... To believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, enables us 'to be reborn from above', in other words from God Who is Love. ... This is the significance of the Sacrament of Baptism: it is a new birth which comes about thanks to the Holy Spirit".

"This Sunday concludes the period of Christmas. Let us give thanks unto God for this great mystery. ... God became the child of man that man might become the child of God. Let us then renew our joy at being children, ... born of the love of a father and a mother, and reborn in God's love through Baptism".

Following the Angelus, the Pope addressed greetings to the pilgrims in various languages.
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VATICAN  CITY, 8 JAN 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Sistine Chapel the Pope presided  at the celebration of the Eucharist for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord,  during which he baptised sixteen newborn infants.

   In his homily Benedict XVI commented on today's responsorial psalm from the  Book of Isaiah, to which the faithful respond: "With joy we will draw  water from the wells of salvation". He explained: "As adults, we  have undertaken to draw from good wells, for our own benefit and that of the  people entrusted to our care. You in particular, dear parents and godparents,  do so for the benefit of these children. And what are the 'wells of  salvation'? They are the Word of God and the Sacraments.

   "Adults", the Pope added, "are the first who should draw from  these wells, in order to guide young people in their development. Parents  must give a great deal, but in order to give they must also receive,  otherwise they become empty and dry. Parents are not the well, just as we  priests are not the well: we are the channels through which the vital lymph  of God's love must pass. If we detach ourselves from the well, ... we are no  longer able to educate others".

   "The first and most important form of education comes about through  witness", the Holy Father went on, turning his attention to the Gospel  reading. "John the Baptist was a great educator of his disciples,  because he led them to the encounter with Jesus, to Whom he bore witness. ...  True educators do not bind people to themselves, they are not possessive.  They want their children or disciples to learn to know the truth, and to  establish a personal relationship therewith. Educators carry out their  responsibilities to the full by maintaining an attentive and faithful presence,  but their objective is to ensure that their pupils hear the voice of truth,  ... and follow that voice on an individual journey".

   St. John the Evangelist writes: "the Spirit is the one that  testifies". For this reason "it is very important for parents and  godparents to believe strongly in the presence and action of the Holy Spirit,  to invoke and accept Him ... through prayer and the Sacraments. It is, in  fact, He Who illuminates the minds of educators and warms their hearts,  enabling them to transmit knowledge and love of Jesus. Prayer is the main  premise for education, because through prayer we put ourselves in a position  whereby we leave the initiative to God. ... At the same time, when we pray we  listen to God Who inspires us to play our role well, that role which is in  any case ours and which we must carry out. The Sacraments, especially the  Eucharist and Penance, enable us to undertake our educational activity in  union with Christ, in communion with Him and continually renewed by His  forgiveness".

   The Pope concluded by entrusting the newly baptised infants to the Blessed  Virgin, "that they may grow in age, wisdom and grace, and become true  Christians, faithful and joyful witnesses of the love of God".
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VATICAN  CITY, 9 JAN 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Sala Regia of the Vatican  Apostolic Palace, Pope Benedict pronounced his traditional annual address to members  of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Before making his  remarks, the Pope was greeted by Alejandro Emilio Valladares Lanza of  Honduras, dean of the diplomatic corps, then received the greetings of the  ambassadors as a whole formulated in a speech delivered by Jean-Claude Michel  of the Principality of Monaco, vice dean.

   The Holy See currently maintains full diplomatic relations with 179 States,  to which must be added the European Union and the Sovereign Military Order of  Malta. It also has relations of a special nature with the Palestine  Liberation Organisation.

   Furthermore, the Holy See has observer-State status at the United Nations, as  well as being a member of seven organisations and agencies of the UN system,  observer in eight others, and member or observer in five regional  organisations.

   Ample extracts of the Holy Father's address are give below:

   "Through you my good wishes extend to all the nations which you  represent and with which the Holy See maintains diplomatic relations. It is a  joy for us that Malaysia joined this community in the past year. ... A sign  of the cooperation existing between the Catholic Church and States is seen in  the Accords reached in 2011 with Azerbaijan, Montenegro and Mozambique. ...  The Holy See also desires to establish a fruitful dialogue with international  and regional organisations, and in this context I note with satisfaction that  the member States of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have  accepted the appointment of an apostolic nuncio accredited to that  organisation. Nor can I fail to mention that last December the Holy See  strengthened its longstanding cooperation with the International Organisation  for Migration by becoming a full member".

   "Finally, I wish to greet South Sudan, which last July became a  sovereign State. I am happy that this was achieved peacefully. Sadly,  tensions and clashes have ensued in recent months, and I express my hope that  all may unite their efforts to enable the people of Sudan and South Sudan to  experience at last a period of peace, freedom and development".

   "Today's meeting traditionally takes place at the end of the Christmas  season, during which the Church celebrates the coming of the Saviour. He  comes in the dark of night and so His presence is immediately a source of  light and joy. ... Truly the world is dark wherever men and women no longer  acknowledge their bond with the Creator and thereby endanger their relation  to other creatures and to creation itself. The present moment is sadly marked  by a profound disquiet and the various crises - economic, political and  social - are a dramatic expression of this.

   "Here I cannot fail to address before all else the grave and disturbing  developments of the global economic and financial crisis. The crisis has not  only affected families and businesses in the more economically advanced  countries where it originated, creating a situation in which many people,  especially the young, have felt disoriented and frustrated in their  aspirations for a serene future, but it has also had a profound impact on the  life of developing countries. We must not lose heart, but instead resolutely  rediscover our way through new forms of commitment. The crisis can and must  be an incentive to reflect on human existence and on the importance of its  ethical dimension, even before we consider the mechanisms governing economic  life: not only in an effort to stem private losses or to shore up national  economies, but to give ourselves new rules which ensure that all can lead a  dignified life and develop their abilities for the benefit of the community  as a whole.

   "The effects of the present moment of uncertainty are felt particularly  by the young. Their disquiet has given rise in recent months to agitation  which has affected various regions, at times severely. I think first and  foremost of North Africa and the Middle East, where young people, among  others, who are suffering from poverty and unemployment and are fearful of an  uncertain future, have launched what has developed into a vast movement  calling for reforms and a more active share in political and social life. ...  Initial optimism has yielded to an acknowledgment of the difficulties of this  moment of transition and change. ... Respect for the person must be at the centre  of institutions and laws; it must lead to the end of all violence and  forestall the risk that due concern for popular demands and the need for  social solidarity turn into mere means for maintaining or seizing power. I  invite the international community to dialogue with the actors in the current  processes, in a way respectful of peoples and in the realisation that the  building of stable and reconciled societies, opposed to every form of unjust  discrimination, particularly religious discrimination, represents a much  vaster horizon than that of short-term electoral gains.

   "I am deeply concerned for the people of those countries where  hostilities and acts of violence continue, particularly Syria, where I pray  for a rapid end to the bloodshed and the beginning of a fruitful dialogue  between the political forces, encouraged by the presence of independent  observers. In the Holy Land, where tensions between Palestinians and Israelis  affect the stability of the entire Middle East, it is necessary that the leaders  of these two peoples adopt courageous and farsighted decisions in favour of  peace. I was pleased to learn that, following an initiative of the Kingdom of  Jordan, dialogue has been resumed; I express my hope that it will be  maintained, and that it will lead to a lasting peace which guarantees the  right of the two peoples to dwell in security in sovereign States and within  secure and internationally recognised borders. ... I am also following  closely the developments in Iraq, and I deplore the attacks that have  recently caused so much loss of life; I encourage the nation's leaders to  advance firmly on the path to full national reconciliation".

   "Education is a crucial theme for every generation, for it determines  the healthy development of each person and the future of all society. ... In  addition to a clear goal, that of leading young people to a full knowledge of  reality and thus of truth, education needs settings. Among these, pride of  place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman. This is  not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every  society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human  dignity and the future of humanity itself. ... There is a need for policies  which promote the family and aid social cohesion and dialogue. It is in the  family that we become open to the world and to life. ... In this context of  openness to life, I note with satisfaction the recent sentence of the Court  of Justice of the European Union forbidding patenting processes relative to  human embryonic stem cells, as well as the resolution of the Parliamentary  Assembly of the Council of Europe condemning prenatal selection on the basis  of sex. More generally, and with particular reference to the West, I am convinced  that legislative measures which not only permit but at times even promote  abortion for reasons of convenience or for questionable medical motives  compromise the education of young people and, as a result, the future of  humanity.

   "A similarly essential role in the development of the person is played  by educational institutions. ... There is a need to implement educational  policies which ensure that schooling is available to everyone and which, in  addition to promoting the cognitive development of the individual, show  concern for a balanced personal growth, including openness to the  Transcendent. The Catholic Church has always been particularly active in the  field of education and schooling, making a valued contribution alongside that  of State institutions. It is my hope that this contribution will be  acknowledged and prized also by the legislation of the various nations.

   "In this perspective. it is clear that an effective educational  programme also calls for respect for religious freedom. This freedom has  individual, collective and institutional dimensions. We are speaking of the  first of human rights, for it expresses the most fundamental reality of the  person. All too often, for various reasons, this right remains limited or is  flouted. I cannot raise this subject without first paying tribute to the  memory of the Pakistani Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, whose untiring battle for  the rights of minorities ended in his tragic death.

   "Sadly, we are not speaking of an isolated case. In many countries  Christians are deprived of fundamental rights and sidelined from public life;  in other countries they endure violent attacks against their churches and  their homes. ... In other parts of the world, we see policies aimed at  marginalising the role of religion in the life of society, as if it were a  cause of intolerance rather than a valued contribution to education in  respect for human dignity, justice and peace. In the past year religiously  motivated terrorism has also reaped numerous victims, especially in Asia and  in Africa. ... Religion cannot be employed as a pretext for setting aside the  rules of justice and of law for the sake of the intended 'good'".

   "I would also like to bring up several encouraging signs in the area of  religious freedom. I am referring to the legislative amendment whereby the  public juridical personality of religious minorities was recognised in  Georgia; I think too of the sentence of the European Court of Human Rights  upholding the presence of the crucifix in Italian schoolrooms. ... I hope  that Italy will continue to foster a stable relationship between Church and  State, and thus serve as an example to which other nations can look with  respect and interest.

   "On the continent of Africa ... it is essential that cooperation between  Christian communities and governments favour progress along the path of  justice, peace and reconciliation, where respect is shown for members of all  ethnic groups and all religions. It is painful to realise that in different  countries of the continent this goal remains distant. I think in particular  of the renewed outbreak of violence in Nigeria, ... the aftermath of the  civil war in Cote d'Ivoire, the continuing instability in the Great Lakes  region and the humanitarian emergency in the countries of the Horn of Africa.  I once again appeal to the international community to make every effort to  find a solution to the crisis which has gone on for years in Somalia.

   "Finally I would stress that education, correctly understood, cannot  fail to foster respect for creation. We cannot disregard the grave natural  calamities which in 2011 affected various regions of South-East Asia, or  ecological disasters like that of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.  Environmental protection and the connection between fighting poverty and  fighting climate change are important areas for the promotion of integral  human development. For this reason, I hope that, pursuant to the seventeenth  session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on Climate  Change recently concluded in Durban, the international community will prepare  for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20) as an authentic  'family of nations' and thus with a great sense of solidarity and responsibility  towards present and future generations".

   "Inspired by the certainty of faith, the Holy See continues to offer its  proper contribution to the international community in accordance with the  twofold desire clearly enunciated by Vatican Council II, whose fiftieth  anniversary takes place this year: to proclaim the lofty grandeur of our  human calling and the presence within us of a divine seed, and to offer  humanity sincere cooperation in building a sense of universal fraternity  corresponding to this calling".


ASIA NEWS REPORT: The visit took place before the annual meeting of the Coordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support the Church of the Holy Land. Auxiliary bishop in Birmingham says: “You’re not alone, no one has given up, have hope and faith in God and the Church”.

Gaza (AsiaNews) - The small Catholic community of Gaza welcomed the visit of eight bishops from Europe and North America, just one day before the annual meeting of the Coordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church of the Holy Land, yesterday. Greeted by a band of 40 scouts, the Bishops brought messages of support from their dioceses and respective Bishops’ Conferences. Bishop William Kenney, auxiliary bishop in Birmingham told the parishioners: “You are not forgotten, you’re not alone, no one has given up, have hope and faith in God and the Church”.

The Apostolic Nuncio, archbishop Antonio Franco, presided the Mass, which took place at the Holy Family Parish Church in Gaza. After mass, there was an open meeting with the parishioners. The faithful shared their experiences of living in Gaza, where the economic blockade, the security situation and an increasing fundamentalism affect work and freedom of movement.

On a total population of 1,5 million, the Christian community of Gaza is made up of 2.500. Catholics are about 300. Despite the small figure, Catholics are very active among the community. Along the parish of the Holy Family Church, religious nuns run a home for the elderly, a centre for the disabled, a kindergarden and a Catholic schools.

Since 1998, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has organized the annual meeting of the Coordination of Episcopal conferences in Support of the Church of Holy Land. The aim is to act in solidarity and share the pastoral life with the local Christian community.

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land attended the opening session of today. The meeting will close on January 12nd. Both Israeli and Palestinian ministers and politicians will join the event. During the meeting, the participants will talk about the impact of Arab Spring and the socio-political changes in the region.

Episcopal participants for this year’s Holy Land Coordination are: mgr. Patrick Kelly, archbishop of Liverpool and deputy chairman of Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales; mgr. Richard Smith, archbishop of Edmonton, Canada; mgr. Johan-Enric Vives, archbishop of Urgel, Spain; mgr. Gerald Kicanas, bishop of Tucson, US; mgr. Heinrich Mussinghoff, bishop of Aachen and deputy chairman of Bishops’ Conference of Germany; mgr Michel Dubost, bishop of Evry, France; mgr, Riccardo Fontana, bishop of Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro, Italy; mgr. William Kenney, auxiliary bishop of Birmingham and spokesperson for European Affairs of Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese RELEASE:
10 Jan 2012

Oranges and Sunshine named ACFO's
Best Film of 2011
Oranges and Sunshine, the moving often confronting film about the forced removal of thousands of British children to Australia has been named Best Film of 2011 by the Australian Catholic Film Office (ACFO).
Directed by Ken Loach and starring Emily Watson, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham, the film tells the true story of Nottingham social worker, Margaret Humphreys (Watson) and her search in the 1980s to locate victims of an official policy between the Australian and UK governments to ship poor British children to Australia.
The two Governments continued this policy over several decades in a bid to ensure populations in "the Colonies" remained predominantly white and Anglo Saxon. The more than 130,000 children forcibly deported to Australia, however, were simply told they were going to a better life filled with "sunshine and oranges."
Often taken from their single unwed mothers without permission, the children were usually told their mother or parents and died. They were forced to live in charitable orphanages on their arrival in Australia but often endured unhappy, lonely, loveless lives filled with drudgery and despair.

It took the determination of Margaret Humphreys to uncover the scandal and eventually help reunite many of these broken children, who by now were adults, with their British mothers, families and relatives.
130,000 poor British children were forcibly deported
to Australia with promsies of oranges and sunshine
"One of the most remarkable aspects of the film is that it treats these events with a complete lack of sensationalism, giving the movie great power," says Fr Richard Leonard, SJ, Director of the ACFO and chairman of the Jury convened to decide on the best film for 2011.
The film dramatizes what the children and their families went through and focuses on the effects of the injustice on the children, who as adults, are still coping with a loss of identity.
"The jury felt that while the film is rightly critical of the way church-run institutions, orphanages and schools in Australia were often complicit in the terrible injustices done to these children, we also believe it throws light on the damage done to innocent victims, the devastating consequences for some, and the possible healing for others. Things to which the Catholic Church in Australia is totally committed," explains Fr Leonard.

Between the mid 1940s until the 1970s as many as 130,000 children were forcibly shipped to Australia, with more than 7000 of these youngsters in the protection of UK social services which deemed them "unfit" and "degenerate."
Hugo Weaving and Emily Watson gave powerful
performances in Oranges and Sunshine
The ACFO praised Emily Watson's performance as Margaret Humphreys and lauded Jim Loach for offering a social-issues film of great restraint, demonstrating a passionate commitment to justice as he searched for the truth behind a terrible wrong.
Among the ACFO's highly commended films released during 2011 were Jonathan Teplitzky;'s Burning Man, and what the Jury described as a very strong and compelling sextet of films relating to the experiences of indigenous Australians: Toomelah, The Tall Man, Mad Bastards, Red Hill, Here I Am and Murrandak.
Last year's winner of the ACFO's Film of the Year for 2010 was Claire McCarthy's The Waiting City and the previous year Best Film went to Samson and Delilah, the tender compelling tale of young love in a remote indigenous community.
Other winners of the past decade include The Black Balloon, Ten Canoes, Look Both Ways, Rabbit Proof Fence, Black and White, Australian Rules and Looking for Alibrandi.


Lancaster Diocese launches Confession initiative | Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev Michael Campbell OSA,The Light Is On For You, Sacrament of Reconciliation,Confession
IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: The Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev Michael Campbell OSA has announced the launch of a Lenten initiative: The Light Is On For You, to promote the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Every Wednesday of Lent, from 29 February to the Wednesday of Holy Week, 4 April, every Catholic Church in the Diocese of Lancaster will be open from 7pm to 8pm for parishioners to go to Confession.

Bishop Campbell said: “During the Lenten season, in a particular way we will invite those who seek to strengthen their relationship with the Lord to join us in this celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Our priests are here to welcome you home, to pray with you, to be of service in the name of Jesus Christ, who offers all of us forgiveness for our sins and the gift of His mercy and love.”

A new The Light Is On For You! section of the diocesan website has been added which includes information on the Sacrament of Confession including various Examinations of Conscience, the Act of Contrition, videos and other resources.

Posters and flyers have already been sent to all parishes and Catholic schools of the Diocese promoting the initiative. In February adverts will be placed in local newspapers and the other local media will be contacted.

Bishop Campbell said: “Confession gives us the chance to start over, to hit the ‘reset’ button of our lives. It shows how forgiving and compassionate our God is and it helps us to grow in concern and love for others. Come to Confession this Lent and receive God’s mercy, for peace of mind and to deepen your friendship with Jesus, to receive spiritual healing and to increase your sense of joy and to experience Christ’s saving grace.”

As a preliminary to the upcoming Year of Faith (October 2012 to November 2013) announced by Pope Benedict XVI last year, The Light Is On For You! is part of the Diocese of Lancaster’s practical attempt to reach out to those who may have wandered from the life of the Church.

In response to those who feel it has been too long since their last confession or that God could not possibly forgive them, Bishop Campbell added: “God’s love for you is greater than all the sins you’ve committed or could ever commit. Now is the time to come and have God take away the burdens of guilt that can often weigh us down. If you’ve been waiting for a sign to return to the Church or to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, this is your chance to re-establish and strengthen a relationship with God that will last forever”.

For more details visit:


CISA REPORT: NAIROBI, January 6, 2012 (CISA) -Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Fr Joseph Mbatia as new Bishop of Nyahururu Diocese, in Kenya, succeeding Bishop Luigi Paiaro, who has attained his retirement age.
Pope Benedict announced the appointment of Fr Mbatia as the new bishop on December 24, 2011.
The new bishop has been the Vicar-General of the Diocese of Nyahururu since 2005 and parish priest in Manunga Parish in Nyahururu Diocese.
He was born on May 10, 1961 and attended Passenga Primary School 1969 – 1976.
Thereafter he went to Nyandarua High School 1977 – 1980. He joined Mabanga Senior Seminary in 1982 before going to St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary-Nairobi in 1984.
He was ordained deacon in October 1988 and a priest in February 1989.
According to the Secretary General, Kenya Catholic Secretariat (KCS), Fr Vincent Wambugu, the new bishop will be consecrated and installed as Ordinary Bishop for Nyarururu Diocese on March 24, 2012.