Thursday, August 16, 2012


Pope Benedict XVI has sent a telegram to the participants of the 301st Pilgrimage Walk from Warsaw to the Shrine of Jasna Gora (Czestochowa), on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the pro-life initiative entitled " Spiritual Adoption of the Unborn Child."

It is a 9-month prayer initiative with the intention of protecting unborn life threatened in the womb.

In his message, the Holy Father expressed his appreciation to the people involved in this apostolate, who, with deep faith, promote the Gospel values ​​of life and love to counter the threats of abortion, euthanasia, promiscuity and the problems which affect family life.

Benedict XVI hopes, too, that this initiative can profoundly touch the hearts of men to grow spiritually and give support to children whose lives are threatened, to couples who are having difficulty accepting a new life and to families tested by abortion.

The "Spiritual Adoption of the Unborn Child " came about in 1987 in Warsaw, to a group linked to the pastoral pilgrimages to Jasna Gora. The initiative later spread throughout Poland, and then to other countries. SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA


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by Errol Fernandes
The two events fall on 15 August. People must wake up to India's problems and learn to deal with violence, female infanticide, environmental degradation, etc. Fr Errol Fernandes, a Jesuit parish priest and Seminary Professor in Mumbai, gives his thoughts about the Magnificat.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Yesterday, India celebrated 65 years of independence. The Catholic Church celebrated the Assumption to heaven of the Virgin Mary. Here are the thoughts on the relationship between the two events of Fr Errol Fernandes, a Jesuit who teaches Holy scriptures at archdiocesan seminary in Mumbai who is also the parish priest at Saint Peter's Catholic Church in Bandra.
Today (yesterday actually), we celebrate two significant and related events. These are the Assumption of our Blessed Mother and Independence Day. Both are celebrated on the same date: August 15.
The reason why these events are related is because they are both about Freedom. Independence is celebrated as freedom from foreign rule and domination to self-rule and governance and the Assumption may be seen as a freedom from this limited and incomplete life to the bliss of eternal and perpetual life.
The verses which make up the Gospel text of today are commonly known as "The Magnificat" or Mary's hymn of praise. It seems to have been modelled on the prayer of Samuel's mother, Hannah, in 1 Sam 2:1-10, and contains many Old Testament concepts and phrases. It communicates a picture of Mary as someone quite steeped in scripture. It reveals God primarily as a God of the poor. God is the one who will vindicate the poor by removing the rich and mighty from their positions and raising the lowly.
The hymn may be seen to be divided into four parts. The first part consists of praise to God for what he has done in and for Mary; the second part speaks of God's power, holiness and mercy; the third part shows God acting as a Sovereign in reversing social conditions in favour of the poor and downtrodden; and the fourth and final part recalls God's mercy and promises to Israel.
The hymn speaks of the effects of the Lord's coming for all of God's people. It begins on a note of salvation as Mary acknowledges her dependence on God. It was the grace of God that sustained and brought her to the position in which she finds herself. She has not achieved anything on her own, it is all a gift of God and thus, Mary acknowledges her humble state, referring to herself as God's servant. She is to be called "blessed' because God, in his mercy and goodness, had raised her to this level.
God has shown this mercy and goodness to the poor by showing the strength of his arm, by scattering the proud, and deposing the powerful. The poor, on the other hand, have been raised, and the hungry have been filled. God remembers not only those of old but also the present generation. He is a God not only of the past, but also a God of the present, the now.
The stress on God as a God primarily of the poor stands out in Mary's hymn of praise. In a world where the rich seem to be getting richer and the poor, poorer, one wonders whether the Magnificat is a hymn that can make sense to the poor, to those of low degree. Yet, it is important to remember that God's ways are not our ways and so, the poor must, in confidence, sing this song as their song. The confidence with which Mary sings this song runs through the entire hymn. She uses past tense to denote God's future actions, thus expressing that God will indeed accomplish his will, and the poor will be vindicated. What is important for the poor to realize is that they, like Mary, need to continue to open themselves to all that God wants to do in them. They need to continue to acknowledge their dependence on God by doing all that is required of them and then, leaving the rest in his capable and strong hands.
Even as we do celebrate these events, we need to ask ourselves serious questions both as Indians and Christians. Can we be really free when in Assam a woman is raped and dehumanized in full public view? Can we be really free when officials stand by and watch and even participate in these dastardly acts? Can we be free when female foeticide is so high in our country and where in many places the girl child is seen as a liability and burden rather than a blessing? Can we be really free when we are so intent on destroying our natural resources for selfish ends and then have to wonder whether we will have enough rain to see us through the year? Can we call ourselves Christians when we will not do anything about these atrocities and continue with our lives as if it does not concern us?
Are we really free? Are we truly Christian?
Let the celebrations of Independence Day and the Assumption of our Blessed Mother be wake-up calls for us to rouse ourselves from our slumber and do something tangible to right the wrongs.
(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to the article)



Article by Fr R Cross
The 2012 Angelico Exhibition was formally opened by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB at the Forrest Centre in St Georges Terrace on 14 August.

In his opening address, His Grace said that the Angelico Exhibition was named after the ". . . famous medieval artist, Fra Angelico, who was beatified by Pope John Paul 11 in 1982. It was on that occasion that the Pope named Fra Angelico as the patron saint of artists."
His Grace then reflected on the person of Fra Angelico, saying that was ". . . a Dominican friar who lived in the fifteenth century and who was as famous for his care for the poor as he was for his art. It was said of him that no-one who came to the door of the monastery ever went away hungry and that Fra Angelico was never known to lose his temper with people, no matter how trying or difficult they were. It is also said that he never began a work of art without first praying and that he never went back over any of his paintings to alter and improve them, because he believed that what came from his hand and his brush, if it was the result of prayer, was the work of the Lord more than it was his own work."
In refleceting on the art in the Exhibition, the Archbishop said that "Every single work in this year’s art exhibition is the result of and is an expression of the wonderful gifts which God has given to each of our artists. In this sense these works represent not just the depth and beauty of each artist’s inner self, but also the depth and beauty of each of us, for we are all made in the image and likeness of God."
In formally opening the Angelico Exhibition, His Grace said, ". . . with great admiration for the creativity and skill of our artists I have great pleasure in asking God to bless this exhibition, to bless all those who will visit it, to bless all those who have in any way worked for its success and most of all to bless the young artists who have been generous enough to allow us a glimpse into the beauty of their own hearts and minds. And so I now formally declare open the Angelico Exhibition for 2012."
A special category in the 2012 Angelico Exhibition was sponsored by The Faith Centre of the Archdiocese of Perth to mark the Year of Grace. This award was presented personally by Archbishop Costelloe.
In announcing the winner of the award, Archbishop Costelloe made the following comments:
"The Australian bishops have invited all members of our Catholic community to enter into a special time of reflection and prayer which we are calling the Year of Grace. I am very grateful to the organizers of the Angelico Exhibition for including the Year of Grace Award as a special award this year, and to the Faith Centre of the Archdiocese who, as part of their role as the facilitators of the year of Grace, have sponsored this award.
The idea of the year of Grace is very simple. It is a year in which all of us are invited to remember that Jesus Christ stands at the very heart of our faith as the one real gift which we, as a Church, are called to offer to everyone. We get caught up in so many things that we can easily forget that our faith, before it is about anything else, is about Jesus and the invitation he holds out to us to entrust our lives to him.
This special category in this year’s exhibition therefore is all about art which in some way reflects on the face of Christ. Our winners this evening have taken this theme and interpreted it in three quite unique ways.
The first award tonight, in the Highly Commended category, goes to a young year seven student from St Mary’s College in Broome who has entitled her work: Contemplating the face of Jesus. The artist has allowed herself to be drawn into the natural beauty of the beach at Broome and reminds us of the importance of looking through the beauty of our world to the beauty of the God who gives it to us. She has understood that among the many places in which we can encounter Christ the beauty of our physical world is one which speaks very strongly to many people. I have great pleasure in congratulating Sharney Grant on her wonderful achievement in winning this commendation for her work.
The second award tonight, in the highly commended category, goes to a student from John XX111 College. As you will see it is a work on two panels, in some ways reminiscent of the great tradition in religious art of painting a diptych in which two complementary images are portrayed in such a way as to be able to allow for a mutual interpretation of each single piece. The title of this artist’s work is “I said a prayer for you” and it captures very well a special dimension of the Year of Grace as the bishops originally intended it: that is as a year of reflection and prayerfulness, a time when we could step aside from the busy-ness of life to focus on the things, and especially the people, that really matter. The artist has succeeded very well in capturing this essentially contemplative dimension of the year of Grace and I have great pleasure in congratulating Madelyn Balinski on her achievement in this wonderful piece of work.
The winner of this year’s special Year of Grace award is a student from Aquinas College who has given us a work entitled “Mother Nature”. This is a particularly imaginative and creative piece which represents a deeply contemplative pondering of the mystery of God as the creator who gazes on his creation as a mother would gaze on her child: with tenderness, with wonder and with pride and perhaps also with hope. The artist invites us to draw on our own human experience in order to catch a glimpse of the way in which God seeks to be in relationship with his creation, and most especially with us. He has captured well, I think, something of the mystery behind our belief that in our human lives, when we are at our best, we really do image and reflect God. It is my great pleasure to congratulate our winner this evening and thank him for sharing his vision with us. Our winner tonight is Sam Ratovich."


Agenzia Fides REPORT-The United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) has condemned the forced recruitment of civilians, among whom there are several children, on behalf of guerrilla groups (especially the M23) operating in Kivu (east of the Democratic Republic of Congo).
"More than 100 cases of forced recruitment of civilians by the M23, including 26 children, have been documented since April 2012," reads a statement released on August 7 in Kinshasa. "Some reports say the number could be much higher." According to MONUSCO since the beginning of 2012 "more than 150 children have been recruited in the east of the Country, both from the M23, and other armed groups, such as Mayi Mayi fighters, the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)."
The M23 lined up at about 30 km from Goma, capital of North Kivu.
According to agency sources a few miles from rebel positions in the village of Kanyaruchinya, the population of the area fleeing the fighting have taken refuge in a Catholic church and a school.
On the political-diplomatic front, the summit in Uganda of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (CIRGL) has begun, to discuss the sending of a "neutral force" to hunt down armed groups in the eastern DRC and to control the border with Rwanda. This Country has been accused of supporting the M23 and of illegally exploiting natural Congolese resources. According to the Congolese newspaper "Le Potentiel", under the cover of the M23, Rwanda has installed an administration extension in Rutshuru (North Kivu).
In the meeting in Kampala different positions on the composition of the "neutral force" also emerged: the government of Kinshasa would also like it to be constituted by soldiers of Countries outside the CIRGL while Rwanda wants it only formed by members of the Conference. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 08/08/2012)


Matthew 18: 21 - 35
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?"
22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
23 "Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.
24 When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents;
25 and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, `Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.'
27 And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.
28 But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, `Pay what you owe.'
29 So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.'
30 He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt.
31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.
32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me;
33 and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?'
34 And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt.
35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
1 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan;



Feast Day:
August 16
975, Hungary
August 15, 1038, Esztergom or Székesfehérvár, Kingdom of Hungary
August 20, 1083, Esztergom, Hungary by Pope Gregory VII
Major Shrine:
Saint Stephen's Basilica in Budapest, Hungary
Patron of:
First King of Hungary, b. at Gran, 975; d. 15 August, 1038.
He was a son of the Hungarian chief Géza and was baptized, together with his father, by Archbishop St. Adalbert of Prague in 985, on which occasion he changed his heathen name Vaik (Vojk) into Stephen. In 995 he married Gisela, a sister of Duke Henry of Bavaria, the future Emperor St. Henry II, and in 997 succeeded to the throne of Hungary. In order to make Hungary a Christian nation and to establish himself more firmly as ruler, he sent Abbot Astricus to Rome to petition Pope Sylvester II for the royal dignity and the power to establish episcopal sees. The pope acceded to his wishes and, in addition, presented him with a royal crown with which he was crowned at Gran on 17 August, 1001 (see HUNGARY.--History). He founded a monastery in Jerusalem and hospices for pilgrims at Rome, Ravenna, and Constantinople. He was a personal friend of St. Bruno of Querfurt and corresponded with Abbot St. Odilo of Cluny.
The last years of his life were embittered by sickness and family troubles. When on 2 September, 1031, his only son, St. Emeric, lost his life on a bear hunt, his cherished hope of transferring the reins of government into the hands of a pious Christian prince were shattered. During his lifetime a quarrel arose among his various nephews concerning the right of succession, and some of them even took part in a conspiracy against his life. He was buried beside his son at Stuhlweissenburg, and both were canonized together in 1083. His feast is on 2 September, but in Hungary his chief festival is observed on 20 August, the day on which his relics were transferred to Buda. His incorrupt right hand is treasured as the most sacred relic in Hungary.