Friday, January 20, 2012



VATICAN  CITY, 20 JAN 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall the Holy Father  received seventy professors and students of the diocesan seminary of Rome,  the "Almo Collegio Capranica". Tomorrow the 555 year-old college  will be celebrating the feast of its patroness St Agnes, and it was on that  third-century virgin and martyr that the Holy Father focused his remarks. (IMAGE SOURCE : RADIO VATICANA)

   "For St. Agnes martyrdom meant agreeing to spend her young life,  generously and freely, completely and without reserve, so that the Gospel could  be announced as the truth and beauty which illuminates existence. ... In  martyrdom Agnes also confirmed the other decisive element of her life: her  virginity for Christ and the Church. Her path to the compete gift of self in  martyrdom was, in fact, prepared by her informed, free and mature choice of  virginity, testimony of her desire to belong entirely to Christ. ... While  still young Agnes had learned that being a disciple of the Lord means loving  Him, even at the cost of one's life".

   "Formation for the priesthood likewise requires integrity, maturity,  asceticism, constancy and heroic fidelity in all aspects. All this must be  founded upon a solid spiritual life animated by an intense relationship with  God, as individuals and in the community, with a particular care for  liturgical celebrations and frequent recourse to the Sacraments. Priestly  life requires an ever-increasing thirst for sanctity, a clear 'sensus  Ecclesiae' and an openness to fraternity without exclusion or bias",  said the Holy Father.

   "Part of a priest's journey of sanctity is his decision to develop, with  God's help, his own intellect, his own commitment: an authentic and solid  personal culture which is the fruit of constant and impassioned study. Faith  has an indispensable rational and intellectual element. ... Those who also  achieve maturity in this global cultural formation will be more effective  educators and animators of that worship 'in spirit and in truth' about which  Jesus spoke to the woman of Samaria. Such worship ... must become ... a  process whereby man himself, as a being gifted with reason, becomes worship  and glorification of the living God".

   "Always maintain a profound sense of the history and traditions of the  Church", the Pope told his audience. "Here you have the opportunity  to open yourselves to an international horizon. ... Learn to understand the  situations of the various countries and Churches of the world. ... Ready  yourselves to approach all the men and women you will meet, ensuring that no  culture is a barrier to the Word of life, which you must announce even with  your lives".

   "The Church expects a lot from young priests in the work of  evangelisation and new evangelisation. I encourage you in your daily efforts  that, rooted in the beauty of authentic tradition and profoundly united to  Christ, you may bring Him into your communities with truth and joy".
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VATICAN  CITY, 20 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience more  than 7,000 members of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. During the course of the  ceremony, the Holy Father sent out seventeen new "ad gentes"  missions of the Way: twelve to Europe, four to America and one to Africa.  Each mission is made up of three or four large families, members of the  Neo-Catechumenal Way who, accompanied by a priest, go to live in an area  where Christian practise has lapsed or where the Gospel has never been  announced.

   Extracts from the Holy Father's address to the group are given below.

   "Over these decades of life of the Way, your firm commitment has been to  proclaim the Gospel of the risen Christ, ... often abandoning personal and  material security. ... Bringing Christ to mankind and mankind to Christ is  what animates all evangelising work. You achieve this on a path which helps  those who have already been baptised to rediscover the beauty of the life of  faith, the joy of being Christian. ... We know that this is not always easy.  Sometimes you find yourselves in places in which a first announcement of the  Gospel is needed: the 'missio ad gentes'. At other times you are present in  areas which, though they have known Christ, have become indifferent to the  faith, areas in which laicism has eclipsed the sense of God and obscured Christian  values. May your commitment and witness be as a leaven which - patiently,  respecting times and with 'sensus Ecclesia' - causes the dough to rise.

   "The Church has recognised in the Way a special gift which the Holy  Spirit has given to our times. The approval of the Statutes and of the  'Catechetical Directory' are a sign of this. I encourage you to make your  original contribution to the cause of the Gospel. In your vital work, always  seek profound communion with the Apostolic See and with the pastors of the  particular Churches of which you are a part. For the world in which we live,  the unity and harmony of the ecclesial body are an important testimony to  Christ and His Gospel".

   "You have just listened to the reading of a decree granting approval to  the celebrations contained in the 'Catechetical Directory of the  Neo-Catechumenal Way' which are not strictly liturgical but are part of the  itinerary of growth in the faith. This is a further element showing you that  the Church accompanies you attentively and with patient discernment, that she  understands your richness but also looks to the communion and harmony of the  entire 'Corpus Ecclesiae'. .... The risen Christ is actively present in the  Church's liturgical activity, making the paschal Mystery real and effective  for our salvation today. ... This work of the Lord Jesus, this entering into  the paschal Mystery, which is the true content of the liturgy, is also the  work of the Church which, being His body, is a single entity with  Christ"

   "This holds true particularly for the celebration of the Eucharist  which, being the pinnacle of Christian life, is also the key to its  rediscovery, which is also the aim of the neo-catechumenate. As your Statutes  say: 'The Eucharist is essential to the neo-catechumenate which is a  post-baptismal catechumenate, lived in small communities'.

   "Precisely in order to foment a renewal of the richness of sacramental  life among people who have distanced themselves from the Church, or who have  not received adequate formation, the members of the Neo-Catechumenal Way can  celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in small communities".

   "Celebration in small communities, regulated by the books of the liturgy  which must be accurately followed, and with the particular features approved  in the Statutes of the Way, helps the followers of the Neo-Catechumenal Way  to perceive the grace of being part of Christ's salvific mystery. ... At the  same time the progressive maturity in faith of individuals and small  communities must favour their insertion into the life of the ecclesial  community as a whole, which has its ordinary form in the liturgical  celebrations in parishes, in which and for which the neo-catechumenate is  implemented.

   "Yet even during the journey it is important not to separate oneself  from the parish community, and particularly in the celebration of the  Eucharist which is the true place of universal unity, where the Lord embraces  us in our various states of spiritual maturity and unites us in the one bread  that makes us one body".

   In conclusion the Holy Father thanked the neo-catechumens for their  expressions of affection and asked them to remember him in their prayers.
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VATICAN  CITY, 20 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for the Laity today  published a decree approving the celebrations contained in the Catechetical  Directory of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. The decree is dated 8 January, Feast  of the Baptism of the Lord, and bears the signatures of Cardinal Stanislaw  Rylko and Bishop Josef Clemens, respectively president and secretary of the  council.

   The text published today reads: "By a decree of 11 May 2008 the  Pontifical Council for the Laity gave definitive approval to the Statutes of  the Neo-Catechumenal Way. Subsequently, following due consultation with the  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by a decree of 26 December 2010,  the council gave approval to the publication of the Catechetical Directory as  a valid and binding instrument for the catechesis of the Neo-Catechumenal  Way.

   "Now, pursuant to articles 131 and 133 paragraphs 1 and 2 of the  Apostolic Constitution 'Pastor Bonus' on the Roman Curia, the Pontifical  Council for the Laity, having received the 'nulla osta' of the Congregation  for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, grants approval to  those celebrations contained in the Catechetical Directory of the  Neo-Catechumenal Way which are not, by their nature, already regulated by the  liturgical books of the Church".
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VATICAN  CITY, 20 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience  Archbishop Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the  Evangelisation of Peoples.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
20 Jan 2012

Eileen O'Connor believed her
suffering was a gift from the Lord
Inspired by her faith, courage, commitment and love of God, men and women of all ages joined together last week on a pilgrimage to commemorate the life and legacy of Eileen O'Connor.
On 10 January, the 91st anniversary of the young woman's death, the group celebrated with their annual walk and Benediction at St Anne's Catholic Church, Bondi. The group which included Father Terence Mary Naughtin OFM, began the 10 kilometre coastal walk from Bondi to the convent of Our Lady's Nurses of the Poor at Coogee.
The tomb of Eileen O'Connor lies inside the convent's chapel, where each year on the anniversary of her death, the congregation she founded, remove the top of the vault to reveal her coffin. The rim of the vault is then surrounded by flowers and it has become a tradition for pilgrims who come to pray beside the tomb to commemorate the anniversary of her death by laying rosary beads on her coffin.
Last week as well as the group of pilgrims who walked from Bondi to pray at her tomb, others arrived from throughout Coogee and the surrounding area to pay their respects and honour the woman regarded as one of Australia's saints-in-waiting who is often known as "the saint by the seaside."
Born Eily Rosaline O'Connor, Eileen as she was known, was born on 19 February 1892 in Melbourne. The eldest of four to Irish parents, she was three years old when she fell from her pram and severely damaged her spine. Despite many operations, nothing could be done to alleviate the terrible pain, and later when X-rays could be taken, it was discovered her spine had been pushed out of alignment to an angle of 80 degrees.

Pilgrims of all ages joined coastal walk to commemorate
the work and life of Eileen O'Connor
The deformity should have prevented Eileen from walking, but with typical perseverance and courage, and despite intense and continuous pain, she managed to stand and at times even walk. But for the most part during her childhood, she was bedridden or needed help to move.
Although she was enrolled at Richmond parish school, her disability and the intense pain meant she was often too ill, and with few friends of her own age and little opportunity for the normal preoccupations of childhood, she turned to her family and her religion for comfort.
At age 10, she moved with her family to Sydney where he had been offered a job as a senior clerk. Surgical and medical treatment for Eileen continued. But these were a drain on family resources and when her father died suddenly in 1911, the family faced financial hardship. Coogee parish priest, Fr Edward McGrath found accommodation for the family and witnessed the courage of the then 19-year-old Eileen, who coped with pain so severe that at times she would collapse unconscious.

Fr Terence Mary McNaughtin and pilgrims on coastal walk
to honour Eileen O'Connor
Deeply religious, Eileen claimed to have received a visitation from the Holy Mother who encouraged her to accept her suffering for the good of others. She told only Fr McGrath of this vision and he in turn shared with her his ambition to establish a congregation of nurses to serve the poor. Eileen was filled with enthusiasm for the venture and moved into a rented house in Coogee in 1915 - which would become known as Our Lady's Home and serve as the convent for the new congregation.
Despite her disability, Eileen was a tireless worker and inspirational leader, and when the community of "Our Lady's Nurses of the Poor," elected her as the congregation's first superior there was little surprise. The work of the Brown Nurses as they became known consisted of visiting the poor who were sick in their own homes and nursing them and also caring for the frail and aged.
Eileen supervised the work and directed the spiritual development of the congregation. But when a group of Sacred Heart Missionaries alleged an improper relationship between Eileen and co-founder of the congregation, Fr McGrath found himself banned from officiating as a priest. He appealed to Rome. Eileen, so incensed at such outrageous claims, and with the assistance of a nurse travelled to the Vatican in 1911 in support of his cause. Granted an interview with Pope Benedict XV she influenced his decision to reinstate Fr McGrath.

Pilgrims leave rosarys on top of
Eileen O'Connors coffin
inside the opened vault
Returning to Australia, she continued to be an inspiring devoted leader of her congregation, but by now was almost entirely bedridden. Ill health continued to dog her and after years of suffering chronic tuberculosis of the spine, she died on 10 January 1921.
Just 29 years old she was buried at Randwick cemetery. Sixteen years later when her body was exhumed to be reinterred beneath the chapel at the convent Our Lady's Nurses of the Poor, it was found to be in a state of perfect preservation.
"I was talking with a friend and she mentioned Eileen O'Connor. I'd never heard of her. But I did some research and discovered she was an 'incorruptible' and then I started reading her meditations and discovered what a wonderful model of courage, selflessness and true faith she had been," says Ronan Reilly who has organised pilgrimage walks from Bondi to Eileen O'Connor's tomb for the past three years.
This year's pilgrim walk on the anniversary of her death concluded with high Mass celebrated by Fr Terence Mary McNaughtin inside the chapel of the convent of Our Lady's Nurses of the Poor.
Ronan is keen for others to know about Eileen O'Connor and hopes that one day, like St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, she will be recognised fully for her holiness and selfless devotion to God and become a candidate for sainthood.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Nina Achmatova
The famous blogger prefers to meet with the spokesperson for the Moscow Patriarchate and the deserts opposition talks with the new U.S. ambassador. The network attacks him: "clever". He responds: "I have never hidden my faith."

Moscow (AsiaNews) - From hero-figure to the opposition’s chief suspect. The spiralling popularity of the famous blogger Alexei Navalny, detained for 15 days in December for taking part in anti-government protests in Moscow, is beginning to crack. Activist and lawyer by profession, Navalny has become the object of harsh criticism from the Russian blogosphere, after last week he distanced himself from some of the initiatives of the protest movement, which in December took to the streets to beg for "fair elections" and a "Russia without Putin".

His absence at the meeting between the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, and the extra-parliamentary opposition surprised both public and media. Instead of following his 'colleagues protest' he met with the Moscow Patriarchate spokesman, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, and attended a dinner on the eve of Epiphany in his parish (which in Russia is celebrated on January 19 according to the Julian calendar). According to Chaplin, the two discussed "the latest events and how to facilitate dialogue between the authorities and society." On the Internet bloggers went on the rampage calling Navalny of "politician" and "sly". The support of the Orthodox Church was one of the pillars of the first president and then prime minister Vladimir Putin. Recently, the Patriarch has distanced himself from positions of power, for the first time by inviting those in power to enter into dialogue with society while expressing his displeasure with the protests.

Navalny has defined himself as a "typical post-Soviet believer." "I respect fasts and make the sign of the cross in the church, but do not often practice my faith," he said recently in an interview. "I do not think that my faith can be transformed into political capital - he added - it would be pretty ridiculous. I've never emphasized it, nor hidden it and that's it. "

Finally, his offer as a consultant to the team of defenders of one of the defendants in the Yukos trial, Pavel Ivlev has bee read as a publicity move. Ivlev is a former office of the oil company Khodorkovsky wizard and now a political refugee in the United States.,-anti-Putin-protest-leader-meets-with-the-Church-and-creates-discontent-23748.html


UCAN REPORT: Endorses early catechism at home and says families are their own domestic churches
Sumon Corraya, Dhaka
The archbishop of Dhaka said families must take a greater role in contributing to Church teaching during a seminar yesterday that unveiled the local Church’s pastoral plan for the year.
Holy Cross Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario told about 35 representatives from various dioceses that families needed to work harder to reshape the Church, and that work must begin in the home.
“Every family is a domestic Church because the children get their first catechism in the family. In this age of globalization every Catholic can’t get education at Church schools, or they study in schools where teachers on Christianity are not available.
“To counter the situation, families need to take up the duty to offer catechism to their children,” he said at the seminar, held at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh center in Dhaka.
The prelate also encouraged families to gather in groups of 10 or 12 to form small communities, headed by a spiritual chaplain, to transform themselves into a mature domestic Church.
“If the members of the domestic Church are mature and can dispense equal love, friendship and unity to each other, they can lead the family to happiness and peace, and they can become important characters in society.”
Sudhir Kumar Mitra, 71, a Catholic from southern Barisal district, who attended the seminar, said many at the conference endorsed the call.
“I think that if the family members lead a life of Christian values, the image of the whole Christian community will greatly improve.”


NAIROBI, January 17, 2012 (CISA) –South Sudanese Emeritus Bishop Paride Taban has said that hard work is the only way forward for the South Sudanese.
Bishop Taban told CISA in an interview on January 13 in Nairobi that the South Sudanese, “have been traumatized for so many years; it takes time for this pain to come out. Peace doesn’t mean you live in a place where there is no quarrel, no fight, no hard work and noise but to be in the middle of such place with calm hearts.”
The bishop further said that the independence of South Sudan is God’s gift to the people and that the South Sudanese “now have to contribute by working hard after many years of being spoon fed.”
Bishop Taban retired before the end of his tenure at the age of 68 when the final Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in January 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya, to put up the Kuron Peace Village in South Sudan.
Impressed by the peace village is Israel dubbed Neve Shalom (oasis of peace) where Jews and Palestinians of Israeli origin live together in peace, Bishop Taban spearheaded the formation of Kuron Peace Village in South Sudan.
The village, a model of peace, seeks to demonstrate that people of different ethnic groups can productively work together without animosity.
Bishop Taban believes peace among the different tribes will come through development in food production, formal education and peaceful co-existence.
According to him, “People have to be assisted to learn to be patient and to give time for the new nation to develop.”
While speaking about the church in North Sudan, Bishop Taban affirmed that she is there to stay. This was in response to speculations that the Church would be forced to move south after secession from the predominantly Muslim north.
“The Church belongs to God, not human beings. No human being can destroy it. It will face a lot of difficulties, it will face persecution but it will not be eradicated,” Bishop Taban told CISA.
The bishop noted that the presence of the Church in Khartoum is very important, as it has contributed a lot in terms of bringing development to the North.
He mentioned that the church has high credibility in the North adding that most of the children of the prominent people study in Catholic schools and their wives deliver in Catholic hospitals.


Agenzia Fides report - With the theme "education for justice, peace, social and political commitment", the Social Pastoral Commission of the Archdiocese of Concepcion together with the Catholic University of the Holy Concepcion, has just finished a course for young animators. During the three days (from January 16 to 19), the formation course considered Christian values as a central point, and did so by means of conferences and round tables, with the participation of professors, priests and young people involved to discuss the current political context. The initiative was taken in an effort to try to remedy the lack of leaders and young people trained to guide society.
In the note sent to Fides by the Archdiocese of Concepcion, Father Hernan Enriquez, coordinator of the course, says that "this is the year of the young", and must be prepared to fulfill the social mission in the national politics of the country. This initiative, still refers father Enriquez, was born thanks to several round tables that the Church of Concepcion organized for three years, with Bishop Ricardo Ezzati first, and then with Mgr.Fernando Chomali: "These workshops were aimed to be able to make the Church present in the political, social world of the workers".
Father Jose Cartes, Coordinator of the Social Pastoral Commission of the Archdiocese, received the thirty young participants of the course and stressed that young people are a constant concern of the Church. So this year in all the Churches of Chile, the Youth Mission will take place, so that young people not only strengthen their faith, but become true witnesses. "We believe that young people, with their joy, can promote a more just and fraternal society. They will be the salt and light in their parishes, their schools and their universities," said Father Cartes. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 20/01/2012)


Mark 3: 13 - 19
13 And he went up on the mountain, and called to him those whom he desired; and they came to him.
14 And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach
15 and have authority to cast out demons:
16 Simon whom he surnamed Peter;
17 James the son of Zeb'edee and John the brother of James, whom he surnamed Bo-aner'ges, that is, sons of thunder;
18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean,
19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.


St. Sebastian
Feast: January 20

Feast Day:January 20
Patron of:Soldiers, plagues, arrows, athletes
St Sebastian was born at Narbonne, in Gaul, but his parents were of Milan, in Italy, and he was brought up in that city. He was a fervent servant of Christ, and though his natural inclinations gave him an aversion to a military life, yet to be better able, without suspicion, to assist the confessors and martyrs in their sufferings, he went to Rome and entered the army under the emperor Carinus about the year 283. It happened that the martyrs, Marcus and Marcellianus, under sentence of death, appeared in danger of being shaken in their faith by the tears of their friends: Sebastian—seeing this, steps in and made them a long exhortation to constancy, which he delivered with the holy fire that strongly affected all his hearers. Zoe, the wife of Nicostratus, having for six years lost the use of speech by a palsy in her tongue, fell at his feet, and spoke distinctly; by the saint making the sign of the cross on her mouth. She, with her husband Nicostratus, who was master of the rolls, the parents of Marcus and Marcellianus, the jailer Claudius, and sixteen other prisoners, were converted; and Nicostratus, who had charge of the prisoners, took them to his own house, where Polycarp, a holy priest, instructed and baptized them. Chromatius, governor of Rome, being informed of this, and that Tranquillinus, the father of SS. Marcus and Marcellianus, had been cured of the gout by receiving baptism, desired to be instructed in the faith, being himself grievously afflicted with the same distemper. Accordingly, having sent for Sebastian, he was cured by him, and baptized with his son Tiburtius. He then enlarged the converted prisoners, made his slaves free, and resigned his prefectship.
Chromatius, with the emperor's consent, retired into the country in Campania, taking many new converts along with him. It was a contest of zeal, out of a mutual desire of martyrdom, between St. Sebastian and the priest Polycarp, which of them should accompany this troop, to complete their instruction, and which should remain in the city to encourage and assist the martyrs, which latter was the more dangerous province. St. Austin wished to see such contests of charity amongst the ministers of the church. Pope Caius, who was appealed to, judged it most proper that Sebastian should stay in Rome as a defender of the church. In the year 286, the persecution growing hot, the pope and others concealed themselves in the imperial palace, as a place of the greatest safety, in the apartments of one Castulus, a Christian officer of the court. St. Zoe was first apprehended, praying at St. Peter's tomb on the feast of the apostles. She was stifled with smoke, being hung by the heels over a fire. Tranquillinus, ashamed to be less courageous than a woman, went to pray at the tomb of St. Paul, and was seized by the populace and stoned to death. Nicostratus, Claudius, Castorius, and Victorinus were taken, and, after having been thrice tortured, were thrown into the sea. Tiburtius, betrayed by a false brother, was beheaded. Castulus, accused by the same wretch, was thrice put on the rack, and afterwards buried alive. Marcus and Marcellianus were nailed by the feet to a post, and having remained in that torment twenty-four hours, were shot to death by arrows.
St. Sebastian, having sent so many martyrs to heaven before him, was himself impeached before the Emperor Diocletian, who, having grievously reproached him with ingratitude, delivered him over to certain archers of Mauritania, to be shot to death. His body was covered with arrows, and he left for dead. Irene, the widow of St. Castulus, going to bury him, found him still alive, and took him to her lodgings, where, by care, he recovered of his wounds, but refused to flee, and even placed himself one day by a staircase where the emperor was to pass, whom he first accosted, reproaching him for his unjust cruelties against the Christians. This freedom of speech, and from a person, too, whom he supposed to have been dead, greatly astonished the emperor; but, recovering from his surprise, he gave orders for his being seized and beat to death with cudgels, and his body thrown into the common sewer. A pious lady, called Lucina, admonished by the martyr in a vision, got it privately removed, and buried it in the catacombs at the entrance of the cemetery of Calixtus. A church was afterwards built over his relics by Pope Damasus, which is one of the seven ancient stationary churches at Rome, but not one of the seven principal churches of that city, as some moderns mistake; it neither being one of the five patriarchal churches, nor one of the seventy-two old churches which give titles to cardinals. Vandelbert,
St. Ado, Eginard, Sigebert, and other contemporary authors relate that, in the reign of Louis Debonnair, Pope Eugenius II gave the body of St. Sebastian to Hilduin, Abbot of St. Denys, who brought it into France, and it was deposited at St. Medard's, at Soissons, on the 8th of December, in 826 With it is said to have been brought a considerable portion of the relics of St. Gregory the Great. The rich shrines of SS. Sebastian, Gregory, and Medard were plundered by the Calvinists in 1564, and the sacred bones thrown into a ditch, in which there was water. Upon the declaration of two eye-witnesses, they were afterwards found by the Catholics, and in 1578 enclosed in three new shrines, though the bones of the three saints could not be distinguished from each other. The head of this martyr, which was given to St. Willibrord by Pope Sergius, is kept at Esternach, in the duchy of Luxemburg. Portions of his relics are shown in the cathedral at St. Victor's; the Theatins and Minims at Paris; in four churches at Mantua; at Malacca, Seville, Toulouse; Munich in the ducal palace; Tournay in the cathedral; Antwerp in the Church of the Jesuits; and at Brussels in the chapel of the court, not at St. Gudule's, as some have mistaken. St. Sebastian has been always honoured by the church as one of her most illustrious martyrs. We read in Paul the deacon in what manner, in the year 680, Rome was freed from a raging pestilence by the patronage of this saint. Milan in 1575, Lisbon in 1599, and other places, have experienced in like calamities the effects of his intercession with God in their behalf.



St. Fabian
Feast: January 20

Feast Day:January 20
Died:January 20, 250 Rome, Italy
He succeeded St. Anterus in the pontificate in the year 236. Eusebius relates that in an assembly of the people and clergy, held for the election of a pastor in his room, a dove, unexpectedly appearing, settled, to the great surprise of all present, on the head of St. Fabian, and that this miraculous sign united the votes of the clergy and people in promoting him, though not thought of before, as being a layman and a stranger. He governed the church sixteen years, sent St. Dionysius and other preachers into Gaul, and condemned Privatus, a broacher of a new heresy in Africa, as appears from St. Cyprian. St. Fabian died a glorious martyr in the persecution of Decius, in 250, as St. Cyprian and St. Jerome witness. The former, writing to his successor, St. Cornelius, calls him an incomparable man, and says that the glory of his death had answered the purity and holiness of his life.
The saints made God, and the accomplishment of his holy will, the great object of all their petitions in their prayers, and their only aim in all their actions. "God," says St. Austin,[3] "in his promises to hear our prayers, is desirous to bestow himself upon us; if you find any thing better than him, ask it, but if you ask any thing beneath him, you put an affront upon him, and hurt yourself by preferring to him a creature which he framed: pray in the spirit and sentiment of love, in which the royal prophet said to him, 'Thou, O Lord, art my portion.'[4] Let others choose to themselves portions among creatures; for my part, Thou are my portion, Thee alone I have chosen for my whole inheritance."

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



Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi
Feast: January 20

Feast Day:January 20
Born:September, 1903, Aguleri, Anambra, Nigeria
Died:January 20, 1964, Leicester, England
Beatified:March 22, 1998 by Pope John Paul II
Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi was born in 1903 in Igboezunu, at the edge of: the forest near the ancient city of Aguleri in southern Nigeria. His parents, Tabansi and Ejikwevi, were Igbo farmers who practised the "traditional religion" and gave him the name Iwene at birth. In 1909 he was sent to the Christian village of Nduka, where he was baptized three years later by Irish missionaries and given the name Michael. His peers described him as studious and very demanding with himself, with a precocious personality and deep piety. At the age of 16 he received his first school leaving certificate, which qualified him for teaching. He taught at Holy Trinity Primary School in Onitsha for three years and served for a year as headmaster at St Joseph School in Aguleri. In 1925, against the wishes of his family, he entered St Paul's Seminary in Igbariam. After finishing his philosophical and theological studies, he was ordained a priest in the cathedral of Onitsha on 19 December 1937 by the missionary Bishop Charles Heerey. The second indigenous priest of Onitsha and the first in the Aguleri region, he began his pastoral ministry in the parish of Nnewi. In 1939 he was appointed parish priest of Dunukofia (Umudioka region), where he courageously tackled immoral customs and destroyed the harmful myth of the "cursed forest", which weighed heavily on the peace of consciences and families. To combat premarital cohabitation, he set up marriage preparation centres where girls and young women could be sheltered and receive Christian formation. For the moral education of young people he also established the League of Mary, with remarkable success. On foot or bicycle, Fr Tansi went from village to village preaching, catechizing and setting up prayer centres that eventually became parishes. He spent hours and hours hearing confessions, even until late at night. His zeal, shining example and life of prayer and penance transformed the people into a true Christian community resulting in so many vocations to the priesthood and religious life that his parish held the diocesan record. The same energy characterized his years as parish priest of Akpu, where he served from 1945 until his transfer to Aguleri in 1949. On an unspecified date between 1949 and 1950, during a priests' day of recollection, Bishop Heerey expressed the desire that one of his priests would embrace the monastic life so that he could later establish a contemplative monastery in his Diocese. Fr Tansi immediately said he was willing. Bishop Heerey contacted the Trappist Abbey of Mount St Bernard in Leicestershire, England, which was willing to receive him for a trial period as an oblate. In the summer of 1950 he led his parishioners on a pilgrimage to Rome for the Holy Year and left from there for Mount St Bernard. After two and a half years as an oblate, he was admitted to the novitiate on the vigil of the Immaculate Conception, taking the name Cyprian. One year later he took his simple vows and was solemnly professed on 8 December 1956. For the next seven years he lived a hidden life of prayer and work, humility and obedience, in faithful and generous observance of the Cistercian rule. In 1963, after 13 years of valuable experience as a Trappist, the time now seemed ripe for establishing a monastery in Nigeria. However, political tensions led his superiors to choose neighbouring Cameroon for the foundation instead. This was a hard blow for Fr Cyprian, who had been appointed novice master for the African monastery. It was the only time in 13 years of monastic life that he ever lost his temper, but he quickly regained control and accepted God's will with supernatural heroism. In January 1964 he began experiencing intense pain in one of his legs. Diagnosed as having thrombosis, the following morning he was found unconscious and was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Leicester, where examination revealed an aortic aneurysm. He died the following morning, 20 January 1964. He was buried at Mount St Bernard on 22 January. Present for the funeral liturgy were several Nigerian priests living in London, including his spiritual son, Fr Francis Arinze, the future Archbishop of Onitsha, Cardinal and President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. His body was exhumed in 1988 and reburied in the priests' cemetery near the cathedral of Onitsha, where he had been ordained a priest 51 years earlier. After the beatification ceremonies, his remains will be buried in the parish church of his native village, Aguieri.