Saturday, March 17, 2012


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday sent a Message to the President General of the Italian Federation for the Transport of Sick Persons to Lourdes – OFTAL. The Message was read by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, at a Mass for the OFTAL offered Saturday morning in St Peter’s Square.

Below is the full text of Vatican Radio’s unofficial translation of the Message.


To the Rev. Monsignor Giampaolo Angelino, President General of OFTAL

I join spiritually with you and the entire Opera Federal Transportation of the Sick to Lourdes in occasion of the 80th
anniversary of the founding and the centennial of the first pilgrimage to the Holy Grotto of the late Msgr. Alessandro Rastelli, of blessed memory, worthy founder of your Association.

With you, I thank the Lord for all that your ecclesial reality has represented in these years of fruitful apostolate: the various initiatives aimed at promoting devotion to the Immaculate Virgin among the people; the commendable support and assistance to the sick; the opportune moments of spiritual training offered to personnel, in support of support the OFTAL’s noble mission of charity.

I hope that the significant anniversaries you are gratefully celebrating might encourage everyone to make a more incisive Christian witness, continuing to produce spiritual fruit in fidelity to the charism and the ends of your association, and always in communion with the bishops and the Church.

In this regard, I assure you of my prayers that you might serve the Lord and our brothers in joy, successfully completing your every good work.

With these sentiments and wishes, I invoke abundant outpouring of graces and heavenly comforts on you, on chaplains, doctors and nurses, ambulance attendants and ladies, and especially over the sick, whom I greet with great affection. Upon the whole OFTAL and on every one of you, in token of my fatherly affection, I impart my special Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, March 17, 2012



Luke 18: 9 - 14
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others:
10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.'
13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me a sinner!'
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."


Cisa News REPORT
VATICAN CITY, March 13, 2012 (CISA) – Pope Benedict XVI has appointed H.E. Archbishop Mario Roberto Cassari, Archbishop Titular of Tronto as the new apostolic nuncio to South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia.
The announcement on new papal ambassador was made on March 10.
Archbishop Cassari is expected to arrive in the continent in May according to a statement sent to CISA by Fr Chris Townsend, Information Officer Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC).
Archbishop Cassari was born in August 27, 1943 in Ghilarza (Sardinia – Italy).
He was ordained priest, after studies in Philosophy and Theology in December 27, 1969. 1969-1974: Parish Vicar at the Cathedral of Tempio Pausania (Sardinia), Teacher at Secondary School and Bishop’s Secretary, Doctor in Theology at Pontifical Lateran University in Rome and Licence in Canon Law at Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.
He graduated in Diplomatic Studies in 1977 at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (also known as the “Vatican Diplomatic Academy”).
March 22, 1977 was admitted into the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See. He served on the following Apostolic Nunciatures: Pakistan, Colombia, Ecuador, Sudan, Southern Africa (1985-1989, under Abp. Mees and Abp. De Paoli), Japan, Austria, Lithuania (Latvia/Estonia), Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia/Montenegro) and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
August 3, 1999: Appointed by the Blessed John Paul II as Titular Archbishop of Tronto and Apostolic Nuncio to Congo and Gabon.
October 16, 1999: Consecrated Archbishop by H.E. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State.
July 31, 2004: Appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Niger. February 14, 2008: Appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as Apostolic Nuncio to Croatia. SOURCE : CISA


Archbishop of Canterbury resigns | Dr Rowan Williams,resignation,Archbishop,Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge,Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury

Dr Rowan Williams
Dr Rowan Williams announced his resignation today. He will be stepping down from the office of Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of December 2012 and has accepted the position of Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge with effect from January 2013. Dr Williams’ intentions have been conveyed to The Queen, who is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and who formally appoints the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr Williams was appointed the one hundred and fourth Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002. He said today:

"It has been an immense privilege to serve as Archbishop of Canterbury over the past decade, and moving on has not been an easy decision. During the time remaining there is much to do, and I ask your prayers and support in this period and beyond. I am abidingly grateful to all those friends and colleagues who have so generously supported Jane and myself in these years, and all the many diverse parishes and communities in the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion that have brought vision, hope and excitement to my own ministry. I look forward, with that same support and inspiration, to continuing to serve the Church’s mission and witness as best I can in the years ahead."

Dr Williams will continue to carry out all the duties and responsibilities of the Archbishop of Canterbury, both for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, until the end of the year.

The Crown Nominations Commission will consider in due course the selection of a successor.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Most Rev Vincent Nichols, said: “In the last three years I have grown to appreciate more and more the fine qualities of Archbishop Rowan: his kindness, his sharp intellect, his dedication to striving for harmony between peoples, especially within the Christian family, his courage and his friendship. These will be much missed when he steps down from his demanding office in December. I will miss him.

“I thank him for all the service he has given, recalling particularly his warm welcome to Pope Benedict at Lambeth Palace, a visit reciprocated with similar joy just last week. I now look forward to nine months of continuing work together.”

Following the announcement, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said: "It is with great sadness that I received the news that the Archbishop of Canterbury will be stepping down at the end of this year.

"Our partnership in the gospel over the past six years has been the most creative period of my ministry. It has been life-giving to have led missions together, gone on retreats and prayed together. In his company I have drunk deeply from the wells of God's mercy and love and it has all been joyful. He is a real brother to me in

"The last decade has been a challenging time for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. Thankfully, Archbishop Rowan is a remarkable and gifted leader who has strengthened the bonds of affection. Despite his courageous, tireless and holy endeavour, he has been much maligned by people who should have known better. For my part he has been God's apostle for our time.

"His stepping down to pursue something he dearly loves - teaching and writing - is received with gratitude, as this will continue to be a blessing to the Church. I am delighted that he is not going far away and will continue to offer service to the Church of England and the wider Church in its witness to our society. May God's blessing continue to be showered upon him.

"More will be said nearer his time of departure. For now, Archbishop Rowan, Jane and the family will remain in our prayers."


ASIA NEWS REPORT: The two car bombs exploded outside a police headquarters and a center of aviation. Yesterday from Geneva Kofi Annan held a videoconference with the UN Security Council. So far the answers to his Syrian mediation are "disappointing". Annan hopes to involve all the Security Council in an attempt to pacify the country by stopping the violence on both sides - the army and rebels - and creating a process of democratization in Syria.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The state television has reported that several civilians and law enforcement officers were killed in the Syrian capital today in two explosions. The initial hypothesis is that these are two car bombings.

The locations of the two attacks are the building of the Directorate of Criminal Police and an information center for aviation. One of the two explosions occurred between Baghdad street and al-Qaasa district and the other occurred in the district of Douar al- Jamarik.

None of this information can be verified because of the restrictions on the presence of independent journalists in Syria.

The deadly attack comes two days on from the anniversary of the eruption of violence in the country which has so far claimed 8 thousand lives, also marked by several clashes between rebels and the army in many cities of Syria. President Assad insists that these attacks are fuelled by "armed gangs" and "terrorists" attempting to destabilize the country.

Meanwhile, yesterday in Geneva, the UN -Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan, on his return from Syria, had a video conference with the UN Security Council. Annan has a mandate to find a peaceful solution for the transition in Syria and in recent days met with Assad and with the rebels, as well as different high profile personalities.

The former UN secretary says his priorities are to stop the violence and killings on both sides, obtain channels for humanitarian aid and launch a political process towards a democratic Syria.

To the journalists who asked him about the responses of Assad and the rebels to his proposals, Annan said that so far the only answers are "disappointing". He hopes to push the Security Council to speak "with one voice" to force Damascus to accept the peace process. So far at the Security Council, Russia and China have vetoed all resolutions condemning (only) Damascus.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
16 Mar 2012

Prof John Rasko, Dr Janet Macpherson and
Cardinal George Pell following the announcement
of the fifth grant by the Archdiocese
of Sydney for adult stem cell research
The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell today announced the Archdiocese of Sydney's fifth grant of $100,000 to support adult stem cell research has been awarded to Professor John Rasko and Dr Janet Macpherson from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA), Sydney.
The research will look at ways adult stem cells can be produced in safe and increased quantities to help suppress reactions to foreign tissues, or rejection, following transplants or similar procedures.
Professor Rasko is Head of the Department of Cell & Molecular Therapies at RPA and an internationally-recognised leader in clinical stem cell therapy and the study of blood. He also heads the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program at the Centenary Institute of the University of Sydney.
Dr Janet Macpherson is also well-known in the field of stem cell research and joined the Department of Cell & Molecular Therapies at RPAH in 2010.
In warmly congratulating Professor Rasko and Dr Macpherson on the 2011 grant, Cardinal Pell said: "Their project on finding a way to develop these adult stem cells that could well revolutionise the treatment of a whole range of diseases highlights some of the wonderful avenues for research, and hopefully healing, that adult stem cells open up.

The grant will go towards employing a fulltime PhD
student for the research work
"I am delighted that the grant will help to support the work of two such accomplished and innovative researchers, and wish them every success in their research."
Harvested from bone marrow adult stems cells, known as mesenchymal stromal cells, are capable of developing into connective tissues like bone and cartilage and support the formation of blood and lymphatic cells. Mesenchymal stromal cells also contain immunomodulatory properties which Dr Macpherson says makes them valuable in helping suppress reactions to foreign tissues as occurs with organ and bone marrow transplants and similar procedures.
Currently despite the promise shown in the therapeutic use of mesenchymal stromal cells, the major limitation has been their slow proliferation and the difficulty in procuring an adequate number of them for use in therapeutic and different procedures, explains Dr Bernadette Tobin, Director of the Plunkett Centre for Ethics at St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst and chair of the independent panel of leading researchers, scientists and medical experts who select the successful application.

Professor John Rasko
Dr Macpherson and Professor Rasko are hopeful their research may provide some answers to previous limitations.
"As a result of this grant we would hope our research will lead to clinical trials and therapeutic treatment of individuals," Prof Rasko said.
"We know people are looking for answers and treatments and that is our goal."
The main types of adult stem cells found in bone marrow comprise hematopoietic stem cells which are blood forming stem cells, and mesenchymal stromal cells which form connective tissue, tendons, cartilage and bone. Professor Rasko's team has already shown how blood forming cells respond favourably to being grown on an elastic bed or "nano mattress" and Professor Rasko and Dr Macpherson now plan to test the potential of the "nano mattress" hoping not only to develop a safe cost-effective way of manufacturing MSC stem cells, but to discover ways to maintain these cells in conditions as near to their natural environment as possible.
If their research proves successful, the implications could be far reaching and improve the treatment of a range of diseases including many forms of cancer, conditions affecting the joints, bones, heart and immune system, as well as preventing rejection by the immune system when skin grafts or transplants are carried out and encouraging the body's natural regeneration.

Todate one of the limitations of using mesenchymal
stromal cells has been their slow proliferation
Over the past eight years, the Archdiocese of Sydney has made four grants to leading Australian researchers to foster and support their studies into adult stem cells and their use in the treatment of various chronic conditions and diseases.
Cardinal Pell said the number and quality of applications for the 2011 grant, and the shift away from embryonic stem cell work internationally, showed that good ethics are no impediment to good science.
The Cardinal said "Adult stem cell research has provided healing and hope without any destruction of human life and without all the other problems to which embryonic stem cell research gives rise. It is also very good to back a winner, both ethically and scientifically."


Agenzia Fides report- The Redemptorist Missionary Center of Bahia proposes Formation Mission Courses in response to the appeal of Aparecida (no. 174), and to provide service to communities, parishes and dioceses in the Northeast Region 3 of the Episcopal Conference of Brazil (CNBB), which includes the Dioceses of the State of Bahia and Sergipe. According to information sent to Fides, it is about Missionary formation Courses (held in different ways) and biblical Courses, for religious and laity. Among the concrete results of these courses, managed by the Mission Center in the past few years, the emergence of Groups of lay evangelists and Missionary Commissions in different parishes can be highlighted.
The methodology of the courses intend to offer participants a biblical and theological basis, aiming to integrate theory and practice. The meetings are held in the structure of the Redemptorist Mission Center, in Salvador-Bahia, and some will also take place in the parishes of the capital. Regarding the participants, the courses are designed for people working in communities and parishes (priests, religious, deacons, seminarians), to all those who wish to learn and develop the contents related to the missionary and evangelical theme, and to be committed to the mission. The lecturers of the Courses are all Redemptorist Missionaries, of the Vice Province of Bahia, specialized in different areas of theology. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 16/3/2012)