Sunday, September 9, 2012


St. Nicholas of Tolentino
Feast: September 10
Information: Feast Day: September 10

Born: 1246 AD
Died: 1305 AD
Canonized: 5 June (Pentecost) 1446 by Pope Eugene IV
Patron of: animals; babies; boatmen; dying people; mariners; sailors; sick animals; souls in purgatory; watermen
This Nicholas was born in answer to his mother's prayers. Childless and in middle age, she had made a pilgrimage with her husband to the shrine of St. Nicholas of Bari to ask for a son whom she promised to dedicate to God's service. When her wish was granted, she named the boy Nicholas and he soon gave unusual signs of saintliness. Already at seven he would hide away in a nearby cave and pray there like the hermits whom he had observed in the mountains. As soon as he was old enough he was received into the Order of Augustinian friars. On account of his kind and gentle manner his superiors entrusted him with the daily feeding of the poor at the monastery gates, but at times he was so free with the friary's provisions that the procurator begged the superior to check his generosity. He was ordained in 1271 and said his first Mass with exceptional fervor; thereafter, whenever he celebrated the holy Mystery he seemed aglow with the fire of his love. His preaching, instructions and work in the confessional brought about numerous conversions, and his many miracles were responsible for more, yet he was careful not to take any credit for these miracles. "Say nothing of this," he would insist, "give thanks to God, not to me. I am only a vessel of clay, a poor sinner." He spent the last thirty years of his life in Tolentino, where the Guelfs and the Ghibellines were in constant strife. Nicholas saw only one remedy to the violence: street preaching, and the success of this apostolic work was astounding. "He spoke of the things of heaven," says his biographer St. Antonine. "Sweetly he preached the divine word, and the words that came from his lips fell like flames of fire. Among his hearers could be seen the tears and heard the sighs of people detesting their sins and repenting of their past lives." During the last years of his life St. Nicholas was bedridden and suffered grievously. He died surrounded by his community. In 1345 a lay Brother cut off the arms of his body intending to take them to Germany as relics, and the friars then hid his body to prevent further attempts of this kind. It has not been found to this day, but the arms have been preserved. It is recorded that they have bled on several occasions, usually, it is said, before some calamity that befell the Church or the world


Vatican Radio REPORT - A very small word that sums up Christ’s mission on earth was the focus of Pope Benedict XVI’s Angelus reflections this week: "Ephphatha," which means, "Be opened. Drawn from the Sunday Gospel, Mark Chapter 7, which recounts Christ’s healing of the deaf mute, Pope Benedict XVI said Jesus “became man so that man, made inwardly deaf and dumb by sin, would become able to hear the voice of God, the voice of love speaking to his heart, and learn to speak in the language of love, to communicate with God and with others”. Emer McCarthy reports Listen:
Below a Vatican Radio
translation of the Holy Father’s Angelus reflections. Original text in Italian
Dear brothers and sisters!

At the heart of today's Gospel (Mk 7, 31-37) there is a small but, very important word. A word that - in its deepest meaning- sums up the whole message and the whole work of Christ. The Evangelist Mark writes it in the same language that Jesus pronounced it in, so that it is even more alive to us. This word is "Ephphatha," which means, "be opened." Let us look at the context in which it is located. Jesus was travelling through the region known as the "Decapolis", between the coast of Tyre and Sidon, and Galilee, therefore a non-Jewish area. They brought to him a deaf man, so that he could heal him - evidently his fame had spread that far. Jesus took him aside, touched his ears and tongue, and then, looking up to the heavens, with a deep sigh said, "Ephphatha," which means, "Be opened." And immediately the man began to hear and speak fluently (cf. Mk 7.35). This then is the historical, literal, meaning of this word: this deaf mute, thanks to Jesus’ intervention, "was opened", before he had been closed, insulated, it was very difficult for him to communicate, and his recovery was '"openness" to others and the world, an openness that, starting from the organs of hearing and speech, involved all his person and his life: Finally he was able to communicate and thus relate in a new way.

But we all know that closure of man, his isolation, does not solely depend on the sense organs. There is an inner closing, which covers the deepest core of the person, what the Bible calls the "heart". That is what Jesus came to "open" to liberate, to enable us to fully live our relationship with God and with others. That is why I said that this little word, "Ephphatha – Be opened," sums up Christ’s entire mission. He became man so that man, made inwardly deaf and dumb by sin, would become able to hear the voice of God, the voice of love speaking to his heart, and learn to speak in the language of love, to communicate with God and with others. For this reason, the word and the gesture of '"Ephphatha" are included in the Rite of Baptism, as one of the signs that explain its meaning: the priest touching the mouth and ears of the newly baptized says: "Ephphatha" praying that they may soon hear the Word of God and profess the faith. Through Baptism, the human person begins, so to speak, to "breathe" the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus had invoked from Father with that deep breath, to heal the deaf and dumb man.

We now turn in prayer to Mary Most Holy, whose Nativity we celebrated yesterday. Because of her unique relationship with the Incarnate Word, Mary is fully "open" to the love of the Lord, her heart is constantly listening to his Word. May her maternal intercession help us to experience every day, in faith, the miracle of '"Ephphatha," to live in communion with God and with others.

I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this Angelus prayer, especially those from the Rome campus of the University of Mary in the United States. In today’s Gospel Jesus cures a deaf man with a speech impediment. Let us pray that our spiritual infirmities may be cured, so that our ears may be open to listen attentively to the Lord’s life-giving teachings, and our speech may plainly profess our faith in him. May God bless you!"

Finally in his greetings in other languages Pope Benedict touched on various important events: In Spanish he had a particular word of encouragement to the ongoing dialogue between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces, with the participation of foreign delegates, to try to end a decades-long conflict, with the hope that parties may proceed on the path of forgiveness and reconciliation in the search for the common good.

In Polish, he greeted the proclamation of the Week for Education, organised by the Polish Episcopal Conference, with the hope that "it will revive the cooperation between the family, the school and the Church, to ensure that children and young people are given a solid intellectual, cultural, spiritual and Christian education. "

Then, he sent cordial greetings to Catholics and all citizens of Kazakhstan, where the Pope recalled that Cardinal Sodano, as his legate, today celebrated the dedication of the new Cathedral of Karaganda, and to the faithful of Lviv of the Latins, Ukraine, where yesterday , tin he presence of the Papal Legate, Cardinal Tomko, the sixth anniversary of the foundation of the Archdiocese was commemorated.


London: Mass of Thanksgiving for Paralympics   | Mass of Thanksgiving for Paralympics , Southwark, Archbishop Peter Smith, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Bishop Thomas McMahon
A special Mass of Thanksgiving for the achievements, inspiration and blessings of the Paralympic Games took place on Saturday, 8 September, at St George's Cathedral, Southwark.
Archbishop Peter Smith presided and was joined by the other 'London' bishops: the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood. About 20 clergy and several hundred people from across London and beyond also attended.
The Dockhead Choir, who sang at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, sang at the Mass dressed in the costumes they had worn at the Opening Ceremony. The Choir is made up of 40 children and teenagers from the church choirs of The Most Holy Trinity Parish, Dockhead, and St William of York Parish, Forest Hill.
Speaking before the Mass, Canon Alan McLean, parish priest of The Most Holy Trinity, Dockhead, said: "The young people - and their parents - are both delighted and honoured to be taking part in this special liturgy. Being a part of the Mass in thanksgiving for the Paralympic Games is equally as great an honour for us all as being the first voices to be heard at the opening of the 30th Olympiad. Singing in worship of God is what the choir does best."
Source: Southwark Diocese


Agenzia Fides REPORT - On Sunday, September 9, the Church in Bolivia celebrates National Migrants Day and Refugees under the slogan: "Migration and New Evangelization." This year, the main activities will be held in Santa Cruz, where at the end of the day, Cardinal Julio Terrazas, Archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, will preside at the Eucharistic celebration which will be followed by a big fair organized by the Pastoral Care of Human Mobility.
"The slogan Migration and New Evangelization wants to draw attention to the fact that our Bolivian immigrants, when they leave, they bring with them their religious culture and at the same time, immigrants who come bring their own devotions," said the head of the pastoral care of migrants, Mario Videla. At least three million Bolivians have migrated abroad. "Argentina is the country that has received the largest group, with about 1.2 million Bolivians, the rest are distributed in Brazil, with 600,000 immigrants, Spain and the United States; we know that there are Bolivians also in Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands ", said Videla. In spite of the efforts by the national government to combat poverty, Bolivians are leaving the country because there are no economic conditions to stay.
The note sent to Fides says that in these days, in Santa Cruz, the IV International Conference on human trafficking is being held, also the Pastoral of Human Mobility is present. Important international experts from various countries and heads of institutions of Bolivia are attending the Conference, in order to establish guidelines for assistance to victims of trafficking and to combat human trafficking in Bolivia. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 07/09/2012)


Thieves make off with haul of cash and valuables  
Catholic Church News Image of Nuns robbed at knife point
A police officer collects evidence as Cluny Sister Imelda Gurung looks on
Six masked men carrying knives robbed a convent in suburban Kathmandu early this morning. They left with mobile phones, cameras, jewelry and 700,000 rupees (US$7,830) in cash.
The robbers climbed through a second floor window in an empty guest room before waking the convent’s four nuns and a young maid.
“They took us in one of the rooms and warned us, saying they would gag us and tie us up if we made the slightest bit of noise. They shut off most of the lights and looked through everything as we waited,” said 75-year-old Sister Imelda Gurung.
“They even took our religious rings from our fingers,” said Sister Winifred Mukhia, the 63-year-old superior of the convent.The robbers left the convent’s laptops, possibly because they would be more difficult to resell. In total, about US$10,000 worth of property and cash was taken.
The money was for school staff salaries and repairs to the property, Sister Winifred said.
Police were notified around 4:30 a.m. and came to the convent at 10 a.m. They took samples from a leech that had apparently dropped off a robber and inspected the surrounding area.
The convent is just over 15 kms southeast of central Kathmandu in Godavari, next to a school surrounded by corn fields.
A guard who sleeps near the gate said the men seemed to be drunk, mostly in their early 20s and from a local tribe. They left within a half an hour, said Dhurba Budathoki.
“They forced their way into my room, put a khukuri [Gurkha knife] to my throat from behind, before gagging me with my pillow cover,” Budathoki said.
“This used to be a peaceful place located next to the botanical gardens, but now even picnickers get robbed in daytime,” said Budathoki, who hails from the area. “Two weeks ago, in a similar incident, some robbers tied up some people in a house at night and ran away with their belongings.”
The Cluny sisters, many of whom are ethnic Nepalese from the Darjeeling region in India, teach and run schools in east Nepal and Kathmandu. They have expanded their work to mid-western Nepal in Hetauda, Gorkha, and Pokhara in the last five years.
The sisters said they get foreign volunteers to teach in their school in Godavari from time to time and seeing them may have tempted local youths.


Isaiah 35: 4 - 7
4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you."
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

Psalms 146: 7 - 10
7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free;
8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the sojourners, he upholds the widow and the fatherless; but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The LORD will reign for ever, thy God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!
James 2: 1 - 5
1 My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.
2 For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in,
3 and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "Have a seat here, please," while you say to the poor man, "Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet,"
4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?
Mark 7: 31 - 37
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decap'olis.
32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him.
33 And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue;
34 and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Eph'phatha," that is, "Be opened."
35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
36 And he charged them to tell no one; but the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.
37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak."
Sep 09, 2012 - Order of the Mass



St. Peter Claver

Feast: September 9
Information: Feast Day: September 7

Born: June 26, 1580, Verdu, Catalonia, Kingdom of Spain

Died: September 8, 1654, Cartagena, Colombia
Canonized: January 15, 1888, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine: Church of Saint Peter Claver
Patron of: Slaves, Colombia, Race relations, and African Americans
The Blessed Peter Claver was born at Verdu in Catalonia in the year 1581, of parents eminent for piety and virtue, who instilled like qualities into his infant heart from the very cradle. In youth his piety and love of study won general admiration, and every preferment was open to him, but zeal for his neighbor's salvation led him to enter the Society of Jesus. His reputation was such that he was instantly admitted on his application in August, 1602. After a fervent noviceship, he was sent to the college of Majorca and there had the inexpressible happiness of enjoying the direction of the Blessed Alphonsus Rodriguez, then porter of the college, an eminent contemplative, from whom Claver derived much spiritual profit, and even a knowledge of his future career. Before completing his studies, he solicited the American mission, and was sent out in 1610. From that time he never asked about Spain, and seemed to have forgotten everything but the land of his labors. Completing his studies at Santa Fe de Bogota, he was ordained at Carthagena in 1615, and from that moment devoted himself to the care of the Negro slaves. No sooner did a slaver reach the port than he hastened on board with his interpreters, a basket of delicacies for the sick, and other necessaries. The sick were the first objects of his zeal. Gaining their good will by his kind and gentle manner, he instructed them in the doctrines of Christianity; and if there was danger, baptized them. He then began his regular instructions for those in health, which he continued from day to day, till they were prepared for baptism. Then, on an appointed day, he administered the sacrament to all, after a touching exhortation to persevere in virtue, The amount of his toil may be conceived, when we learn that at that time ten or twelve thousand slaves were annually landed at Carthagena. Nor did this include all, as many slavers, to avoid the custom-house duties, landed their cargo on the coast and pretended that they belonged to former licensed importations, and were already baptized. The zeal of the servant of God was more active than the interest of the government officers; he discovered most of these Negroes, instructed and baptized them. Not wearied with these labors, he visited the hospitals, and especially that of the Incurables and Lepers, whom he nursed with the greatest charity. The poor forsaken Negroes, too, in their hovels, were never too forlorn or too distant to escape him. So long did he breathe the pestiferous atmosphere of these abodes of misery, that his taste and smell were entirely lost. Besides all this, his austerities were frightful: his life was a miracle, as nothing but a miracle could have sustained it in such a climate, where a scratch is often fatal. Over the Negroes, he maintained a general direction; he had regular masses, instructions and devotions for them; he was their pastor, their father, their protector. In their behalf he frequently exercised the miraculous powers with which God, in a most eminent degree, invested him. Among the Spaniards he labored reluctantly, as they had clergy in abundance; but the poor could always have recourse to him, and for them, as for Moors, and heretics or unbelievers, he spared no toil.
During the season when slavers were not accustomed to arrive, he traversed the country, visiting plantation after plantation, to give spiritual consolation to the slaves. For a time, also, he was sent to labor among the Indians near the Isthmus, the field of the labors of St. Louis Bertrand, but, being seized with a fatal fever, he was carried back to Carthagena; there, partly recovering, he renewed his labors, but was again prostrated, and for the last four years of his life was scarcely able to move. Such was the poverty and wretchedness of the Jesuits, that he had no attendant but a Negro boy, and men were actually tearing down the house when he died, on the 8th of September, 1654, at the age of 72, a faithful imitator of the great Xavier. His canonization was immediately undertaken and almost brought to a close in 1747; but the suppression of his order and the troubles in Europe deferred the publication of the brief till the 29th of August, 1848, when he was solemnly beatified by Pope Pius IX.


Vatican Radio REPORT Pope Benedict on Saturday received participants who have been attending the XXIII International Mariological Congress here in Rome. For the last number of days they have been exploring the theme " Mariology since the Second Vatican Council: Reception, Assessment and Prospects”.

Giving a warm welcome to the participants gathered at the Papal Summer residence at Castelgandolfo, Pope Benedict reminded them, that Blessed John XXIII proclaimed that the Second Vatican Council would open on Oct. 11, the same day as when, in 431, the Council of Ephesus proclaimed Mary as the Mother of God.

The Pope also drew the attention of those present to the fact that on October 11
th this year, what he called an “extraordinary event” will occur, that being the opening of the Year of Faith and he went on to describe Mary herself as an exemplary example of Faith.

September 8th marks the feast of the Birth of Mary, a date which the Holy Father said has been presented as a precious item in the extraordinary mosaic that is the divine plan of salvation of mankind.

Looking back to his own participation as a young theologian at the Second Vatican Council, Pope Benedict said he “was able to see the various ways of dealing with issues about the shape and role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in salvation history.”

The Holy Father said the Council offered a chance to enrich the Constitution of the Church with a specific chapter on the Mother of God in which the figure of Mary appears “in all her beauty and uniqueness tightly inserted in the fundamental mysteries of the Christian faith.”

The Pope underlined that the Mother of God must continue to be studied as a way of deepening ones faith.

We must look on Mary, said Pope Benedict as a beacon of light and as a model of Christian maturity from whom we can draw an enthusiasm and joy to live with ever greater commitment and consistency our vocation as children of God, and brothers and sisters in Christ.”



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His_Beatitude_Sviatoslav_ShewchukFor the first time ever, the annual meeting of the Ukrainian Catholic Synod of Bishops will take place in Canada. It will meet in Portage la Prairie, which is in the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg, from 9 to 16 September 2012. The Ukrainian Catholic Bishops of Canada invited the Synod to hold its annual meeting in Canada to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Ukrainian Catholic Bishop in Canada, Blessed Bishop Nykyta Budka. Around 35 to 40 Ukrainian Catholic Bishops will participate, including His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kiev-Halych (Ukraine) who is the primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. During his visit to Canada, Archbishop Shevchuk will be received by the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) which he will address. He is also making pastoral visits in each of the five Ukrainian Catholic Eparchies across Canada.
Link for the Ukrainian Catholic Synod of Bishops


Judges have dropped the charges against Youcef Nadarkhani in prison since 2009. He was, however, convicted of "evangelizing Muslims." Based on the three-year sentence, he already served the time and should now be released. Satisfaction among the members of the Church of Iran.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An Iranian court has ordered the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani in prison since October 2009 and sentenced to death for apostasy with the sentence suspended but not canceled in July of last year (see AsiaNews 21/07 / 2011 Tehran suspended, not canceled, the death sentence for conversion of a shepherd). This is a turning point in the course of a story that had long made may fear for the fate of the 35 year-old Christian. On the eve of the hearing today, in fact, many hypothesized a new trial and fresh charges against the man, based on "perfectly fabricated" crime to prolong his sentence, according to the complaint of many activists. In an interview with BosNewsLife the church to which the pastor belonged, instead confirmed the "positive" change in the course of events.

The pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was acquitted of "apostasy," but found guilty of "evangelizing Muslims." He was sentenced for this to three years in prison, but has already served this, given that he has been in prison since October 2009. For this reason he will be released, sources of the Church of Iran added. The positive outcome is "an answer to our prayers," said Firouz Khandjani, another member of the Protestant movement, adding that Youcef could leave his cell "by the late afternoon."

In recent days, the network of activists Farsi Christian Network had spoken of the possibility of new charges against the man, including "banditry and extortion" that would have replaced the previous count of indictment for "apostasy." Following strong protests from the international community for the condemnation, the Iranian authorities - explained the Christian activists - want to influence the case by "mounting arbitrary charges" and thus "increasing concern" about his fate.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, 35, (he was born in 1977), a member of the Church of Iran was arrested Oct. 13, 2009 in the city of Rasht as he tried to legally register his church. It is believed that his arrest was caused by his position, critical of the Islamic religious monopoly on the education of children in Iran. He was initially accused of protests, but later the charges were changed into that of apostasy and the evangelization of Muslims.

Iranian civil law does not provide the crime of apostasy, even if authorities have discussed passing such a law for some time. In the case of Pastor Nadarkhani, which has been described as "distorted" and "extrajudicial", it seems that there was political pressure on judges, who were divided on the sentence. The court apparently used art. 167 of the Iranian Constitution, which states that if the judges do not find the basis for a decision in civil law then they should "cite Islamic reliable sources or a valid fatwa to arrive at a judgment and issue a verdict."



Agenzia Fidesr REPORT - There are 25 candidates in the 10 September Somali presidential elections approved by the Electoral Parliamentary Commission. Today, September 7, candidates will present their program to the Somali Parliament. Among them is also the son of former dictator Siad Barre. The President of Somalia will be voted by Parliament which took office in recent weeks (see Fides 09/21/2012). The procedure provides that if no candidate reaches two thirds of the vote, a second vote is held among the four candidates who have obtained the highest number of votes. If in this second ballot no candidate is able to obtain two-thirds of the vote, there will be a final ballot between the two candidates who obtained the highest number of votes.
The election of the Head of State is part of the transition process promoted by the UN to give Somalia credible state institutions after 20 years of absence of a central State. The stabilization process is still far from complete, however, particularly at a military level. In fact air, naval and land bombing continue on Kismayo, the last stronghold of the Shabaab by the Kenyan forces (which have intervened in Somalia for months) in preparation for the offensive to capture the city by Somali forces and those of AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia). The Shabaab, however, show that they are still able to carry out attacks in other parts of Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu, where on 6 September a bomb hit an armored vehicle of AMISOM. (L.M.)


Matthew 1: 18 - 23
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit;
19 and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
20 But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit;
21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us).