Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Vatican City, 27 March 2012 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. today, the Holy Father travelled to the Shrine of "Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre", patron of Cuba, where he was greeted by the archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, and by the shrine's rector. The Holy Father paused in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament then before the image of the Virgin. He lit a candle and recited the prayer of the Virgin of Charity, the Jubilee Year ritual by which pilgrims may obtain plenary indulgence. (IMAGE RADIO VATICANA)
He then went to the main entrance of the building from where he greeted and blessed the faithful gathered on the square and the steps leading up to the shrine. "Receive the affection of the Pope", Benedict XVI told them, "and carry it with you from this place, so that everyone can experience consolation and strength in faith. Let all those you meet know, whether near or far, that I have entrusted to the Mother of God the future of your country, advancing along the ways of renewal and hope, for the greater good of all Cubans. I have also prayed to the Virgin for the needs of those who suffer, of those who are deprived of freedom, those who are separated from their loved ones or who are undergoing times of difficulty. I have placed in her Immaculate Heart young people, that they may be authentic friends of Christ and that they may not succumb to things which bring sadness in their wake.
"Before Mary of Charity, I remember in a particular way Cubans who are the descendants of those who arrived here from Africa, like the nearby people of Haiti, where the consequences of the earthquake of two years ago are still being suffered. And I cannot forget the many country people and their families who wish to live the Gospel deeply in their homes and who offer their homes as mission centres for the celebration of Mass.
"Following the example of the Most Holy Virgin", the Pope concluded, "I encourage all the sons and daughters of this dear country to continue to build their lives on the firm rock which is Jesus Christ, to work for justice, to be servants of charity and to persevere in the midst of trials. May nothing or no one take from you your inner joy which is so characteristic of the Cuban soul".
The history of Our Lady of Charity and her shrine, the most venerated pilgrim site in Cuba, began in 1606 when three fishermen - two Indios and a black slave - found a wooden image of the Mother of Christ inscribed with the words "I am the Virgin of Charity" floating on the waters of Nipe Bay. The statue was taken to the mine of El Cobre where the first shrine was built in 1684. It was at the shrine that, in the year 1801, the "Manifesto for the Liberation of the Slaves of the El Cobre Mines" was proclaimed. In 1916, Pope Benedict XV proclaimed the Virgin of Charity patron of Cuba. The current shrine was inaugurated in 1927, and Pope Paul VI granted it the title of minor basilica in 1977.

Vatican City, 27 March 2012 (VIS) - Having completed his visit to the Shrine of "Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre", the Holy Father was taken to the airport of Santiago de Cuba where he boarded a flight for the nation's capital city Havana. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
The Pope arrived at Jose Marti airport at midday local time (7 p.m. in Rome), where he was welcomed by Raul Castro, president of Cuba, who had not been scheduled to be present; by Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of San Cristobal de La Habana, by the local authorities and by hundreds of children holding white and yellow flowers.
After having had lunch at the apostolic nunciature, Benedict XVI travelled by car to the Palacio de la Revolucion where he paid a courtesy visit to President Raul Castro. Since 1965 the building complex known as Palacio de la Revolucion has been home to the Council of State, the Office of the President, the Council of Ministers and the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.
Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. described the meeting between the two men as "long, cordial and serene". Their discussions, he said, had focused on the condition of the Cuban people, including humanitarian issues and the Church’s expectations in her service of the common good. The Pope also made a specific request for Good Friday to be re-established as a holiday.
At the end of their meeting the Pope and President Castro exchanged gifts. Benedict XVI gave the Cuban leader a facsimile of Ptolemy's "Geography", and the president gave him a bronze reproduction of "Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre". The Holy Father then returned to the apostolic nunciature where he dined with Cuban bishops.


Friday 23 March 2012
By Bernadette Khoury, Victorian Maronite Community.
Monsignor Joseph Takchi OAM, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Parish, celebrated 30 years of ordination to priesthood on 20 March 2012. Monsignor Joe was the first Maronite priest ordained in Australia on 20 March 1982 by the late Bishop Adbo Khalife.

Mgr Takchi OAMMonsignor Joe has worked tirelessly in Our Lady of Lebanon Parish for the 30 years since ordination. His hard work, commitment, loyalty, dedication and perseverance are just a few of his many wonderful attributes and qualities.

On Sunday 18 March, 2012, Monsignor Joe celebrated the Maronite Liturgy. Well over 1000 parishioners celebrated this mementos occasion, including special dignitaries: Mr Henri Castoun Consul General of Lebanon and Mrs Castoun, Mr Louis Fleyfel former Honorary Consul of Lebanon and Mrs. Fleyfel, Mr Nazih Elasmar MP and Mrs. Elasmar, Miss Marlene Kairouz MP, Tony and Betty Takchi, Sheila Takchi, George Takchi and Mary Khamis, all church committees, all social and charitable associations and all political parties. After Mass a special lunch was enjoyed with much love and joy.

As a special gift to the Parish, Monsignor Joe announced the generous donation from Mr Louis Fleyfel and Mrs Fleyfel, of $2 million towards the completion of the church hall. Mr. Fleyfel said, “Monsignor you are a worker for God and weMgr Takchi OAM ordination all thank you for your quiet and unheralded work in our community. You provide us with a wonderful example, and serve as a reminder of the vital contribution that our Christian church makes to the fabric of our society. Please continue doing God’s work, and we will continue aiding and helping you whenever”.

Mr Fleyfel has been a tremendous benefactor to the parish over many years. Some five years ago he donated 1.5 million dollars to the parish to help extend Saint Paul’s Hostel from a 30 bed to a 60 bed aged care facility.

Monsignor Joe thanked Mr Fleyfel and everyone in the parish for the wonderful support over the 33 years that he has been in Melbourne. He said, “As a Maronite Community we centre our life on Jesus. We grow in our understanding of what it means to belong to Christ and the wonderful responsibility that has been given to us through our Baptism. The Traditions of our Maronite Church take us back to the beginning of the missionary activity of the Apostles. Let us continue to live our faith and be proud of our Tradition”. He went on to say that he is very honored to be the parish priest of such a wonderful and dynamic community and looks forward to another rewarding 30 years, working together with an amazing parish that is always renewing their commitment to Jesus and following and sharing in the mission of the Church to spread the Word of God to the world.
Victorian Maronite Community Award recipients

Our Lady of Lebanon Marontie Parish in Melbourne is a very dynamic and diverse parish. Many parishioners work tirelessly to build and support not just the Maronites of Melbourne but all our friends and neighbors. We are very lucky to have many parishioners who offer their time and efforts on a regular basis. In recognition of their many years of dedicated service to the Australian community the following members received some well deserved awards from a number of Government bodies. These are:
Mr. Fady Zouki received the Order of Australia Medal (Australia Day Awards)
Antonine Sisters Child Care Centre Meritorious Service Delivery to Multicultural Victoria Award
Mrs. Diana Hachem Meritorious Service to the Community
Mr. James Hakim Meritorious Youth Service to the Community
Mr. Chamel Mokbel Voluntary Community Service Award
Mr. Louis Chidiac Voluntary Community Service Award
Mrs. Jean D’Arc Chidiac Voluntary Community Service Award
We congratulate the above award recipients and thank them for their diligence and selfless hard work and recognise that they have all made a significant contribution to Victoria’s successful and harmonious multicultural community. We are proud of every achievement and look forward to years of dedicated loyalty to Australia and the Australian way of life.

Photos 1 and 2 by Celine Khoury

photo 3 supplied by Victorian Maronite Community


Cisa News REPORT
MUSANZE, March 27, 2012 (CISA) -Members of the clergy and thousands of Catholic faithful, thronged Musanze Stadium to witness the Episcopal ordination of Rev. Fr. Vincent Harolimana, as the new bishop of Ruhengeri diocese.
The colourful consecration and installation ceremony was presided over by Bishop Elexis Habiyambere, assisted by the head of the Episcopal Council, Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege, and Arch-Bishop Thadeo Ntihinyurwa.
The Prime Minister, Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, who was the chief guest, extolled the role of the church in developing the public, spiritually, and their welfare through different programmes in education and health.
“The church teaches (its faithful) to love God, fellow human beings, but should also focus on the holistic development of the people and their welfare. A good spirit resides in a good body,” said the premier.
“Our task should be to transform the people for a better life,” he added.
He asked the church to focus on developing the youth by offering them advice, listening to their problems and shaping them into “tomorrow’s light of the world”.
“All forms of leadership come from God. We all have a similar mission, same objectives to help promote the welfare of Rwandans,” Habumuremyi noted.
According to The New Times, Harolimana, who has been the Rector of Nyundo Minor Seminary for the past 12 years, replaces Bishop Kizito Bahujimihigo, who was transferred to Kibungo Diocese in 2007.
The newly consecrated bishop said that in ministering to the people, the right spirit lives in a good body, underlining that this would subsequently help in promoting good conduct and developmental activities within the diocese.
“We shall use the resources we have, the mind and the body to make this world a better place to live in and build our country. This is the spirit I come with,” Harolimana mentioned.
Archbishop Ntihinyurwa reminded the new bishop of the huge task ahead in providing both spiritual and physical nourishment to Christians in his diocese and becoming the light of the people.
Bishop Harolimana, who was ordained as a priest in 1990, obtained his Doctorate in Dogmatic Theology from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, in 1999.
In attendance were different bishops from the region and beyond, including the Pope’s representative to Rwanda, Joseph Anthony, Archbishop of Bujumbura (Burundi) diocese, Evariste Ngoragoye, the Bishop of Kabale in Uganda, and the Bishop of Lubumbashi in DR Congo Jean Piere Tafunga, among others.
Ruhengeri Diocese consists of 11 parishes.


European conference to support children's missionary work | European Conference of the Holy Childhood Association,CEME, Conference Europeene de l’Enfance Mission, Pontifical Mission Societies
The meeting, which takes place every two years,

CEME participants
Thirty-eight participants took part in the European Conference of the Holy Childhood Association (CEME, Conference Europeene de l’Enfance Mission) which was held 18-21 March 2012 in Luxembourg. Holy Childhood is one of the Pontifical Mission Societies and works to help children pray for and share in world mission.

The meeting, which takes place every two years, was attended by the National Coordinators of Holy Childhood and National Directors of the Pontifical Missions Societies from 19 European countries as well as The Secretary General of the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood, Baptistine Ralamboarison.

The theme for the 2012 conference was ‘Growing in Faith with Children’. The CEME president Flavio Moresino said: “From our cradles onwards we are continually learning- throughout our lives. When we share with others and also allow ourselves to be questioned, our thoughts, feelings, actions and our faith all change. This is equally true of our contacts with the children whom we meet in the course of our educational activities.”

Holy Childhood is known in England and Wales as Mission Together. The National Coordinator of Mission Together in England and Wales, Kasia Greenwood said: “CEME is a great opportunity to come together and share resources and ideas on how best to share faith amongst children. It is wonderful to be part of this international organisation, and the conference provides a rare chance for us to gather as a family and work together for Holy Childhood. This spirit of cooperation will certainly encourage us all to grow in faith and work towards increasing support for Holy Childhood in Europe.”

For more information about Missio see:
To find out more about Mission Together in England and Wales go to:


by Mathias Hariyadi
The government raises fuel prices by 33 per cent without parliamentary approval. More demonstrations are planned for the coming days. More than 20,000 police agents are deployed in Jakarta, the highest number since Suharto's regime.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Thousands of university students clashed violently with police at the Gambir railway stations in central Jakarta during a rally against fuel price hikes. Armed with Molotov bombs, wooden sticks and stones, protesters attacked security forces deployed along the main access road to the State Palace and the National Monument of Monas in Central Jakarta. Scores of people were injured.

Subsidised fuel is set to increase on 1 April by 33 per cent to US 65 cents, a decision the government took without parliamentary approval. Experts are concerned that it might push up the price of basic necessities and threaten the lives of millions of people scraping by on a few dollars a day.

The fear of an economic crisis caused by higher fuel prices has caused similar protests in Medan (North Sumatra), Makassar (South Sulawesi) and Gorontalo (North Sulawesi), where demonstrators torched the car of a local government official. More demonstrations against higher fuel prices are expected in the coming days.

From Seoul, where he is attending the nuclear summit, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono accused the opposition of fomenting the clashes in order to discredit the government and take power.

In order to quell the unrest, the government has deployed 20,000 police agents in central Jakarta, the largest number since 1998 when violent anti-Chinese protests left scores of people dead.

Higher gasoline and diesel fuel prices were the cause of that unrest as well, lasting for the whole of May, and eventually forcing then President Suharto to leave power after 32 years of dictatorship.,-many-injured-24367.html


Agenzia Fides REPORT - Since the beginning of the year, the torrential rains that are hitting Ecuador has devastated 84 000 people, causing the death of 30 people so far, in addition to 4,700 displaced. The statistics of the National Secretariat for Risk Management (Civil Defense) also report the loss of 34 000 hectares of crops, mainly rice and corn, and other damage to 9 000 hectares of land. The worst damage was recorded in the coastal provinces of Guayas and Los Ríos, which along with 4 other provinces are in a total state of emergency because of flooding caused by a strong storm. According to local authorities every 15 days a calculation is carried out to quantify the damage in the six provinces affected by the southern winter rains: El Oro, Manabí, Guayas, Los Ríos, Esmeraldas and Loja. At the same time, once the rain decreases, one tries to coordinate aid for farmers who have lost crops, providing agricultural kits comprising seeds, fertilizers and everything necessary for them to return to sow their fields. In addition, the Civil Defense Service continues to deliver, in the worst affected areas at a national level, food rations and supplies for hygiene and cleanliness. According to the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (Inamhi) rainfall will continue until next April. Over a hundred homes have been completely destroyed, and the rains have caused landslides and mudslides in most vulnerable areas. The latest weather phenomena, in the Andean province of Cotopaxi, have caused 2 deaths, 10 people injured and 100 others injured. In 2010, deaths due to floods during the winter season were 32 and 34,415 people suffered damage. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 28/3/2012)


John 8: 31 - 42
31 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples,
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
33 They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, `You will be made free'?"
34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin.
35 The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever.
36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you.
38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father."
39 They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did,
40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did.
41 You do what your father did." They said to him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God."
42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.


Pope St. Sixtus III
Feast: March 28

Feast Day:March 28
Died:18 August 440 in Rome, Italy
Consecrated 31 July, 432; d. 440. Previous to his accession he was prominent among the Roman clergy and in correspondence with St. Augustine. He reigned during the Nestorian and Pelagian controversies, and it was probably owing to his conciliatory disposition that he was falsely accused of leanings towards these heresies. As pope he approved the Acts of the Council of Ephesus and endeavoured to restore peace between Cyril of Alexandria and John of Antioch. In the Pelagian controversy he frustrated the attempt of Julian of Eclanum to be readmitted to communion with the Catholic Church. He defended the pope's right of supremacy over Illyricum against the local bishops and the ambitious designs of Proclus of Constantinople. At Rome he restored the Basilica of Liberius, now known as St. Mary Major, enlarged the Basilica of St. Lawrence-Without-the-Walls, and obtained precious gifts from the Emperor Valentinian III for St. Peter's and the Lateran Basilica. The work which asserts that the consul Bassus accused him of crime is a forgery. He is the author of eight letters (in P.L., L, 583 sqq.), but he did not write the works "On Riches", "On False Teachers", and "On Chastity" ("De divitiis", "De malis doctoribus", "De castitate") attributed to him. His feast is kept on 28 March.
(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)

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