Friday, February 10, 2012


Vatican City, (VIS) - The prayer of Jesus at the moment of His death, as narrated by St. Mark and St. Matthew was the theme of Benedict XVI's catechesis during his general audience, held this morning in the Paul VI Hall.
"In the structure of the narrative", the Pope said, "Jesus' cry rises at the end of three hours of darkness, which had descended upon the earth from midday to three o'clock in the afternoon. Those three hours of darkness were, in their turn, the continuation of an earlier period which also lasted three hours and began with the crucifixion. ... In biblical tradition darkness has an ambivalent meaning: it is a sign of the presence and action of evil, but also of the mysterious presence and action of God Who is capable of vanquishing all darkness. ... In the scene of Jesus' crucifixion darkness envelops the earth, the darkness of death in which the Son of God immerses Himself, in order bring life with His act of love".
"Insulted by various categories of people, surrounded by a darkness covering everything, at the very moment in which He is facing death Jesus' cry shows that, along with His burden of suffering and death apparently accompanied by abandonment and the absence of God, He is entirely certain of the closeness of the Father, Who approves this supreme act of love and of total giving of Self, although we do not hear His voice from on high as we did in earlier moments".
Yet, the Holy Father asked, "what is the meaning of Jesus' prayer? The cry addressed to the Father: 'my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'" He explained that "the words Jesus addresses to the Father are the beginning of Psalm 22, in which the Psalmist expresses the tension between, on the one hand, being left alone and, on the other, the certain knowledge of God's presence amongst His people. ... The Psalmist speaks of a 'cry' to express all the suffering of his prayer before the apparently absent God. At moments of anguish prayer becomes a cry.
"This also happens in our own relationship with the Lord", the Pope added. "In the face of difficult and painful situations, when it seems that God does not hear, we must not be afraid to entrust Him with the burden we are carrying in our hearts, we must not be afraid to cry out to Him in our suffering".
"Jesus prays at the moment of ultimate rejection by man, at the moment of abandonment. However, He is aware that God the Father is present even at the instant in which He is experiencing the human drama of death. Yet nonetheless, a question arises in our hearts: how is it possible that such a powerful God does not intervene to save His Son from this terrible trial?"
The Holy Father explained that "it is important to understand that the prayer of Jesus is not the cry of a person who meets death with desperation, nor that of a person who knows he has been abandoned. At that moment Jesus appropriates Psalm 22, the Psalm of the suffering people of Israel, at that moment He takes upon Himself not only the suffering of His people, but also that of all men and women oppressed by evil. ... And He takes all this to the heart of God in the certainty that His cry will be heard in the resurrection. ... His is a suffering in communion with us and for us, it derives from love and carries within itself redemption and the victory of love.
"The people at the foot of Jesus' cross were unable to understand, they thought His cry was a supplication to Elijah. ... We likewise find ourselves, ever and anew, facing the 'today' of suffering, the silence of God - many times we say as much in our prayers - but we also find ourselves facing the 'today' of the Resurrection, of the response of God Who took our sufferings upon Himself, to carry them with us and give us the certain hope that they will be overcome".
"In our prayers", the Holy Father concluded, "let us bring God our daily crosses, in the certainty that He is present and listens to us. The cry of Jesus reminds us that in prayer we must cross the barrier of 'self' and our own problems, and open ourselves to the needs and sufferings of others. May the prayer of the dying Jesus on the cross teach us to pray with love for so many brothers and sisters who feel the burden of daily life, who are experiencing moments of difficulty, who suffer and hear no words of comfort, that they may feel the love of God Who never abandons us.
Vatican City, (VIS) - Following his catechises during this morning's general audience, Benedict XVI launched an appeal for solidarity with victims of the current period of extremely cold weather. "Over recent weeks", he said, "a wave of freezing weather has affected a number of regions in Europe causing great disruption and widespread damage. I wish to express my closeness to the people suffering such extreme meteorological conditions, and ask for prayers for the victims and their families. At the same time, I encourage people to show solidarity that, those affected by these tragic events may receive generous assistance".
Vatican City, (VIS) - Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, delivered a lecture before the international symposium "Towards Healing and Renewal" being held in Rome's Gregorian University from 6 to 9 February. The event brings together bishops and religious superiors from all over the world and aims to relaunch the Church's commitment to protecting minors and vulnerable people from abuse.
Speaking English, Cardinal Levada affirmed that for Church leaders the question under examination "is both delicate and urgent". It is "important not to lose sight of the gravity of these crimes" as we seek "to form the priests of today and tomorrow to be aware of this scourge and to eliminate it from the priesthood".
Cardinal Levada recalled how Blessed John Paul II's Motu Proprio "Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela" clarified and updated the list of canonical crimes, explicitly including the sexual abuse of minors by clerics as one of the most serious crimes, or "graviora delicta". Benedict XVI, then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "was instrumental in implementing these new norms" and supported "approving the Essential Norms for the United States". In 2010 Pope Benedict also approved and ordered the promulgation of stricter revised norms.
"In an effort to aid the Church universal to adopt appropriate measures ... the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a circular letter to assist episcopal conferences in developing guidelines for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by clerics". That letter, dated 2011, calls for standards to evaluate the suitability of clergy and other persons who minister in Church institutions and agencies; and for education programmes to be set up for families and Church communities to ensure the protection of children and young people.
"For many if not most victims a first need is to be heard, to know that the Church listens to their stories of abuse, that the Church understands the gravity of what they have suffered, that she wants to accompany them on the often long path of healing, and that she has taken or is willing to take effective steps to ensure that other children will be protected from such abuse", Cardinal Levada said. In this context he also noted the example set by the Holy Father in meeting with abuse victims during his apostolic trips.
The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reiterated the fact that bishops and religious superiors must "exercise even greater scrutiny in accepting candidates for the priesthood and religious life, as well as providing formation programmes that provide the necessary foundational human formation, including appropriate formation in human sexuality".
"Certainly no less important than any of the other elements, the cooperation of the Church with civil authorities in these cases recognises the fundamental truth that the sexual abuse of minors is not only a crime in canon law, but is also a crime that violates criminal laws in most civil jurisdictions. ... The Church has an obligation to cooperate with the requirements of civil law regarding the reporting of such crimes to the appropriate authorities".
At the end of his address, Cardinal Levada expressed the hope that the symposium would be "a source of expertise and hope for those who seek to eliminate the scourge of sexual abuse of minors from society at large".


Agenzia Fides REPORT- On Sunday, February 5, Pedro Manuel died, aged 43, after saving the lives of seven children who had been dragged off into the sea, in front of a beach near the small town of Quinindé, in Ecuador. Pedro Manuel belonged to the Community "Hogar of Nazareth", founded by Maria del Prado Almagro. According to the note sent by the diocese of Cordoba (Spain) to Fides, "Brother Pedro" was a lay consecrated to the Lord, and from 1990 until 1998 he lived in Hogar of Nazareth in Cordoba. This year he was assigned to the mission that the society runs in the village of Quinindé (Ecuador). In this place he helped abandoned children as responsible of the "Holy Family School of Nazareth", a commitment recognized by many.
On the Sunday that Latin America will celebrate the Day of Consecrated Life, this event reminds how far the love for God and neighbor can reach. Mgr. Eugenio Arellano Fernandez, M.C.C.I., Apostolic Vicar of Esmeraldas, said that "Brother Pedro died as he lived, given to God and the children". (CE) (Agenzia Fides 08/02/2012)


Agenzia Fides REPORT- "The presidential elections whose first round is fixed for Sunday, February 26, will be decisive for the future of the country", say the Bishops of Senegal in the message dedicated to the presidential elections.
In the document, which Fides received, it is stressed that "this first election after the 50th anniversary celebrations of sovereignty, is the bearer of important challenges, giving rise to a particularly acute atmosphere of tension, with unforeseeable risks, if the different protagonists will not be able to reason".
The main challenge, according to the Bishops, derives from the "world crisis that spares no nation on the planet" but cannot hide "the internal misrule that has lasted for several decades, marked by public affairs without prospects, partisan, and does not take the needs of the population into consideration".
This has not prevented, the bishops point out, the political upheaval of 2000 (which brought to power the current President Wade, after decades of government of the Socialist Party) through "free and transparent election, accepted by everyone". And that is what is hoped for this year's elections. This is why the message appeals to the candidates, so that they give proof of "great democratic culture, desire for truth, the perspective to improve the living conditions of the population, excluding unnecessary diatribes and demagogic promises". Likewise, voters are asked to consider each candidate with a critical eye with its plans and to exercise discernment in the light of the Word of God
The message ends with the exhortation to prayer, listening and putting into practice the Word of God, entrusting the country to Mary, Our Lady of Poponguine, Queen of Senegal. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 08/02/2012)


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
9 Feb 2012
Juan Perez is given financial support by
Catholic Mission of Australia to continue his studies
to become a priest
The generosity of Australians and their donations to the Catholic Mission has made it possible for a young Peruvian to study for the priesthood.
But financial support for this future priest in the Amazonian rainforest jungles of Peru is not the only Australian connection.
For the past 20 years Juan Perez' parish priest in the city of Iquitos, Peru has been Father John Andersen from the Archdiocese of Sydney.
Fr Andersen, who is better known as Padre Juan by the 3000-plus parishioners to whom he ministers as part of Iquitos' parish of Santa Rosa baptised the young man when he was a baby and has known his family and been part of their lives ever since.
"With only 24 priests in the vast Iquitos Vicariate, there is a great need for more good men like Juan," says Fr Andersen.
Currently back in Australia to spend a few weeks visiting his 96-year-old father as well as his brother and sisters and large extended family, Fr Andersen remains a diocesan priest and is in Peru as a missionary priest with the full support and blessing of the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell.
Initially when Fr Andersen was first given permission by Cardinal James Freeman, the then Archbishop of Sydney, to work as an associate priest with the Columban Fathers of Peru, he thought he would return to Australia within six years and resume his work as a diocesan priest.
Fr Andersen baptised Juan Perez as
a baby and has known the Peruvian
seminarian throughout his young life
That was 30 years ago and thanks to the encouragement and support of successive Archbishops of Sydney and generosity of members of the Sydney Archdiocese, bringing the message of God's love to the people of Peru, most of whom are poor and lead hard lives, has become his life's work.
"Catholic Mission is helping support the Vicariate of Iquitos through its works with communities, Church leaders and children," says Martin Tuelan, National Director of Catholic Mission. "With input from Fr Andersen, supporters of Catholic Mission are assisting in the growth of faith throughout the region with the training of priests and catechists, and in particular young men such as Juan Perez."
Juan and his fellow seminarians at the Iquitos St Augustine Seminary benefit from the financial support given to them by Australia's Catholic Mission, enabling them to continue with their priestly studies in a region where the average wage for many is just $700 per year.
Fr Andersen recalls baptising Juan when the Perez family brought him to the Church of Santa Rosa, and again later when Juan became one of his altar servers.
Peruvian seminarian with Sydney diocesan priest,
Father John Andersen
"Each Saturday evening he would be part of a group of young people who would meet at the church to pray and reflect on the reading for Sunday Mass," he remembers, impressed with the teenager's faith, piety and his often profound and insightful reflections on the scriptures.
At 14, Juan told his mentor, friend and family priest Fr Andersen that he was considering a vocation to the priesthood. Then after two years of discernment, he entered St Augustine's Seminary.
"The people who live on the river and its tributaries may see a priest only a few times a year and they need pastoral and spiritual sustenance," says Martin Tuelan and expresses his gratitude to Catholic Mission's supporters which has enabled the Mission to join in this important cause of training priests and bringing God's kingdom on earth to the people of Iquitos.
To donate to Catholic Mission in Australia to support the work of priests worldwide, and in particular the mission in Peru where Sydney Archdiocesan priest, Fr Andersen is mentoring, encouraging and helping a new generation of young men become tomorrow's priests and messengers of God log on to


ASIA NEWS REPORT: In the island’s east coast city hundreds of people digging with their bare hands in search of hundreds still buried under rubble. Caritas Philippines warns that food supplies are running low. Landslides and mudslides block roads and make it impossible for the arrival of humanitarian aid. The local Catholic Church opens churches, chapels and schools to provide shelter to hundreds of displaced families.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The death toll from the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that struck the islands of Negros and Cebu (Central Philippines) on 6 February has risen to 48 dead and 92 missing. In the eastern part of the island the quake destroyed dozens of towns and villages. Hundreds of people are buried under the rubble. Alvin Futalan, head of the Guihulngan police (100 thousand inhabitants), explains that there are in the hundreds of collapsed buildings in the towns and people are digging with their bare hands. The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (Ndrrmc) has recorded over 700 aftershocks, that two days after the earthquake are causing landslides, blocking rescue teams and the arrival of humanitarian aid.

Sister Mapet spokesperson for Caritas Philippines (National Secretariat of Social Action, Nassa), told AsiaNews that "to help the earthquake survivors, the parishes of the Diocese of Dumaguete and San Carlos (Negros Island, central Philippines) are using up stocks, that are running out. "

The nun says that the situation is dramatic. The earthquake has made roads impassable, five bridges have collapsed and another five can only carry light vehicles or on people foot. "The parishes - says Sr. Mapet - have opened churches, chapels and schools to accommodate the hundreds of displaced families and organized collections of food, blankets and clothes among the parishioners not affected by the earthquake. We are still waiting for the aid requested from Caritas International and the government. " (Sc)' 


CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT: A solemn Mass for the religious of the Diocese of Westminster is held at Westminster Cathedral
By STAFF REPORTER on Thursday, 9 February 2012
Archbishop thanks God for Sisters
Archbishop Vincent Nichols is pictured with representatives of female religious communities in the Archdiocese of Westminster after the solemn Mass for religious of the diocese (Mazur/
A Solemn Mass for the religious of the Diocese of Westminster was held at Westminster Cathedral on Thursday, February 2, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
Representatives from most of the 107 female religious communities in the diocese attended.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols was the principal celebrant at the Mass, delivering a homily that praised the brave undertaking of religious life by the Sisters, 24 of whom were celebrating jubilee anniversaries.
The Archbishop of Westminster quoted the Prophet Malachi, saying that the consecrated life teaches us that “the work of the Lord is to purify and refine ourselves, until we are like gold in His eyes”.
He went on to say that it takes great effort to permit the Lord into our lives so completely and acknowledged the dedication of the Sisters to helping those in need.
The archbishop concluded his homily by saying: “We thank God for our vocation and for all who led us to that decision in life and we cheerfully dedicate ourselves anew today.”


Mark 7: 14 - 23
14And he called the people to him again, and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand:
15there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him."
17And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable.
18And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him,
19since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.)
20And he said, "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man.
21For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery,
22coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man."


St. Jerome Emiliani
Feast: February 8

Feast Day:February 8
1481, Venice
Died:8 February 1537, Somasca
Canonized:1767 by Pope Clement XIII
Patron of:orphans

Founder of the Order of Somascha; b. at Venice, 1481; d. at Somascha, 8 Feb., 1537; feast, 20 July; son of Angelo Emiliani (popularly called Miani) and of Eleonore Mauroceni, joined the army, and in 1508 defended Castelnuovo against the League of Cambray. Taken prisoner and miraculously liberated, he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Treviso, in fulfillment of a vow. He was then appointed podestà of Castelnuovo, but after a short time returned to Venice to supervise the education of his nephews. All his spare time was devoted to the study of theology and to works of charity. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1518, the hospitals and the hovels of the poor were his favourite resorts. In the year of plague and famine (1528), he seemed to be everywhere, and showed his zeal especially for the orphans, whose number had so greatly increased. He rented a house for them near the church of St. Rose and, with the assistance of some pious laymen, ministered to their wants. To his charge was also committed the hospital for incurables, founded by St. Cajetan. In 1531 he went to Verona and induced the citizens to build a hospital; at Brescia he erected an orphanage, at Bergamo one for boys and another for girls. Here also he founded the first home for fallen women who wished to do penance. Two priests, Alessandro Besuzio and Agostino Bariso, now joined him in his labours of charity, and in 1532 Jerome founded a religious society, placing the motherhouse at Somascha, a secluded hamlet between Milan and Bergamo. In the rule, Jerome puts down as the principal work of the community the care of orphans, poor, and sick, and demands that dwellings, food and clothing shall bear the mark of religious poverty. Jerome fell a martyr to his zeal; contracting a disease at Bergamo, he died at Somascha. He was beatified by Benedict XIV in 1747, and canonized by Clement XIII in 1767. The Office and Mass in his honour were approved eight years later. His biography was first written by Scipio Albani (1600); another by Andreas Stella (1605). The best was written by Aug. Tortora (Milan, 1620; in "Acta SS.", Feb., II, 217 sq.).
After the death of Jerome his community was about to disband, but was kept together by Gambarana, who had been chosen superior. He obtained the approval (1540) of Paul III. In 1547 the members vainly sought affiliation with the Society of Jesus; then in 1547-1555 they were united with the Theatines. Pius IV (1563) approved the institution, and St. Pius V raised it to the dignity of a religious order, according to the Rule of St. Augustine, with solemn vows, the privileges of the mendicants, and exemption. In 1569 the first six members made their profession, and Gambarana was made first superior general. Great favour was shown to the order by St. Charles Borromeo, and he gave it the church of St. Mayeul at Pavia, from which church the order takes its official name "Clerici regulares S. Majoli Papiae congregationis Somaschae". Later the education of youth was put into the programme of the order, and the colleges at Rome and Pavia became renowned. It spread into Austria and Switzerland, and before the great Revolution it had 119 houses in the four provinces of Rome, Lombardy, Venice, and France. At present the order has ten houses in Italy two of which are in Rome. The general resides in Rome at S. Girolamo della Carita. 

(Taken frrom Catholic Encyclopedia)