Monday, September 17, 2012


Vatican City, 17 September 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday evening the Holy Father met with Orthodox Patriarchs, representatives of Protestant communities and Catholic Patriarchs of Lebanon. The encounter took place at the Syrian Catholic Patriarchate in Charfet, Beirut, famous for its library which contains more than 3,000 manuscripts in Syriac and Arabic.
Having listened to some welcome remarks addressed to him by His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, the Holy Father expressed his thanks to those present who, he said, "represent the diversity of the Church in the East. ... My thoughts also go to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt and to the Ethiopian Orthodox who have had the recent sadness of losing their respective Patriarchs. I wish to assure them of my fraternal closeness and of my prayers".
Benedict XVI continued: "Allow me to acknowledge here the testimony of faith shown by the Syrian Antiochene Church in the course of its glorious history, a testimony to an ardent love for Christ, which has caused it to write some heroic pages of this history, right up to the present, by remaining committed to the faith even to the point of martyrdom. I encourage this Church to be for the peoples of the region a sign of the peace that comes from God as well as a light that keeps their hope alive. I extend this encouragement to all the Churches and ecclesial communities present in the region".
"Our encounter this evening", he went on, "is an eloquent sign of our profound desire to respond to the call of Christ, 'that all may be one'. In these unstable times, so inclined to the violence which your region knows so well, it is even more necessary that Christ’s disciples give an authentic witness to their unity, so that the world may believe in their message of love, peace and reconciliation. This is a message that all Christians, and we in particular, have been commissioned to hand on to the world, a message of inestimable value in the present context of the Middle East.
"Let us work without ceasing so that the love of Christ may lead us little by little into full communion with each other", the Pope added. "In this regard, by means of common prayer and mutual commitment, we must constantly return to our one Lord and Saviour. For, as I wrote in the Apostolic Exhortation 'Ecclesia in Medio Oriente' which I have the pleasure of consigning to you, 'Jesus draws into unity those who believe in and love Him; He gives them the Spirit of His Father as well as Mary, His mother'".
The Holy Father concluded his remarks by entrusting the members of the various Churches and communities to the Blessed Virgin. "May she intercede with her Son for us, so that we may be delivered from every evil and from all forms of violence, and so that the Middle East may at last know a time of reconciliation and peace. May the words of Jesus that I have so often cited during this journey - My peace I give to you - be for all of us the common sign that we will give in the name of Christ to the peoples of this beloved region, which longs to see those words fulfilled!"

Vatican City, 17 September 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father's apostolic trip to Lebanon came to an end yesterday afternoon with the departure ceremony at the international airport of Beirut. Among those present to bid him farewell were Michel Sleiman, president of Lebanon, the country's four Catholic Patriarchs, various Lebanese bishops and representatives of the civil and religious authorities.
In his address, the Pope expressed his thanks "to the entire Lebanese people who form a beautiful and rich mosaic and who have shown the Successor of Peter their enthusiasm by the efforts, both general and specific, of each community. I cordially thank our venerable sister Churches and the Protestant communities. I thank in particular representatives of the Muslim communities. Through my stay here, I have noticed how much your presence has contributed to the success of my journey. In these troubled times, the Arab world and indeed the entire world will have seen Christians and Muslims united in celebrating peace.
"It is a tradition in the Middle East to receive a guest with consideration and respect as you have done", he added. "I thank you all. But, to that consideration and respect, you added something else, which can be compared to one of those renowned oriental spices which enriches the taste of food: your warmth and your affection, which make me wish to return. I thank you for that especially".
"In his wisdom, Solomon asked Hiram of Tyre to build a house for the name of God, a sanctuary for all eternity. And Hiram ... sent wood taken from the cedars of Lebanon. ... Lebanon was present in the sanctuary of God. May the Lebanon of today, and her inhabitants, also dwell in the sanctuary of God! May Lebanon continue to be a place where men and women can live in harmony and peace with each other, in order to give the world not only a witness to the presence of God, ... but also a witness to the communion between people, ... whatever their political, social, or religious standpoint".
The Pope continued: "I pray to God for Lebanon, that she may live in peace and courageously resist all that could destroy or undermine that peace. I hope that Lebanon will continue to permit the plurality of religious traditions and not listen to the voices of those who wish to prevent it. I hope that Lebanon will fortify the communion among all her inhabitants, whatever their community or religion, that she will resolutely reject all that could lead to disunity, and with determination choose brotherhood".
"The Virgin Mary, venerated with devotion and tenderness by the faithful of the religious confessions here present, is a sure model for going forward in hope along the path of a lived and authentic brotherhood. Lebanon understood this well when, some time ago, she proclaimed 25 March as a holiday, thus allowing everyone to live more deeply their unity in serenity. May the Virgin Mary, whose ancient shrines are so numerous in your country, continue to accompany and inspire you!
"May God bless Lebanon and all the Lebanese! May He never cease to draw them to Himself so as to offer them a share in His eternal life! May he fill them with His joy, His peace and His light! May God bless all the Middle East!"
Having completed his farewell address, the Pope boarded his flight for Rome, landing at 9.40 p.m. at Ciampino airport whence he travelled to the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo.

Vatican City, 17 September 2012 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following communique.
"Giuseppe della Torre, president of the Tribunal of Vatican City State, today issued a decree ruling that the first hearing of the trial of Paolo Gabriele and Claudio Sciarpelletti, will take place at 9.30 a.m. on 29 September. The two accused were sent for trial by the examining magistrate on 13 August. The hearing will take place in the audience hall of the Tribunal of Vatican City State. The parties concerned have been notified of the decree".


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
17 Sep 2012

Cardinal George Pell with concelebrating Archdiocese priests at the Memorial Mass for the Unborn
More than 1000 attended Australia's first-ever Solemn Memorial Mass for the Unborn at St Mary's Cathedral on Friday, 14 September. The historic Mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell not only marked the deaths of the unborn but offered prayers, comfort, compassion and healing to all those hurt by the tragedy of abortion.
Every day in NSW at least 82 unborn children lose their lives to abortion. However these unborn have never been commemorated with their own Mass of remembrance.
"The Mass was extremely moving especially when 82 candles were lit for the unborn which was followed by 82 seconds of silence," says Bernard Toutounji, Education Officer with the Archdiocese of Sydney's Life, Marriage and Family Centre who helped organise this very special and important memorial Mass.

A beautiful, solemn and consoling Memorial Mass for the Unborn
"The silence during those 82 seconds was overwhelming with everyone at the Mass spontaneously dropping to their knees in prayer despite no one telling them to do this," he says.
Concelebrated by the Cathedral's priest-in-residence, Fr Dani Penollar together with Archdiocese priests, Fr Paul Rowse, Fr Peter Maher, Fr Lam Vu, Fr Greg Morgan, Fr Emmanuel Seo, Fr Epili Qimaqima, Fr Anthony Bernard, Fr Paul Marshall and Sydney Maronite priest, Fr Youhanna Azize, the Memorial Mass for the Unborn was an initiative of Cardinal Pell's and from now on will be an important part of the Cathedral calendar.
Inspired after being invited to concelebrate Los Angeles' annual Requiem Mass for the Unborn lost to abortion in January this year, Cardinal Pell recognised the need for a similar Mass to be held in Sydney.

Chris Meney, Director of the Archdiocese's Life, Family & Marriage Centre welcomed more than 1000 to the Mass for the Unborn
Among the 1000-plus who attended the historic Mass last Friday were staff and students from Catholic schools and universities, members of parishes across the Archdiocese and representatives from Catholic agencies such as CatholicCare, the Catholic Education Office, Pregnancy Help Australia, the Catholic Women's League, the Maronite community, pro-life groups such as Family Life International, Right to Life Australia and NSW Right to Life.
Parents, grandparents and siblings grieving and hurt by the tragedy of abortion were also there along with representatives from Rachel's Vineyard, a healing ministry of the Catholic Church for women who have suffered an abortion and are struggling with grief, guilt and ongoing pain.

Friday evening's historic Memorial Mass for the Unborn at St Mary's Cathedral
While abortion can trigger long term emotional distress among mothers, fathers also undergo a heavy emotional toll.
A recent Los Angeles Times survey of 3600 men found that 66% or two thirds reported feelings of guilt and anxiety after their involvement in an abortion. Research has also found that men can experience post-traumatic stress, depression, sexual dysfunction and anger as a result of losing their child to abortion. For many men, these feelings are brought to the surface after the birth of their first child and the deep joy they feel triggers grief for the child they never had a chance to hold or love.
Grandparents and siblings can experience similar distress at the loss of a child to an abortion.
For those hurt by abortion or needing pregnancy support and counselling, contact CatholicCare at 1800 063510. Support for pregnant women can also be found at Pregnancy Help Australia, 1300 792 798. For Post Abortion healing and help, Rachel's Vineyard is a Catholic healing ministry and can be contacted by phoning 1800 063 510.


Pope Benedict XVI has named Auxiliary Bishop James Douglas Conley, 57, as bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska and accepted the resignation of Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, 77, from the pastoral governance ofthe diocese.
The appointment and resignation were publicized in Washington, September 14, by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
James Douglas Conley was born March 19, 1955, in Kansas City, Missouri. He was raised Presbyterian and converted to Catholicism during college at age 20. He pursued pre-theological studies at St. Pius X Seminary in Erlanger, Kentucky, and theological studies at Mt. St. Mary Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Bishop Conley was ordained a priest in 1985 for the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas and later earned a licentiate in moral theology and ethics at the Academia Alfonsiana, Rome. Assignments after ordination included work as an associate pastor and pastor, director of Wichita diocesan Respect Life activities and service at the Vatican Congregation for Bishops.
He was named a prelate of honor with the title monsignor in 1998 and ordained auxiliary bishop of Denver in 2008.
Bishop Bruskewitz was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in 1960 and has headed the Lincoln diocese since 1992.
The Lincoln diocese includes 588,641 persons, with 96,625, or 16 percent of them, Catholic.


YAOUNDE, September 14, 2012 (CISA) -A real and proper “epiphany of the Church in Africa,” is how Cardinal Stanislaw Ryłko , president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, described the success of the Pan-African Congress of the Laity, held in Yaounde, Cameroon.
“We discovered its numerous spiritual resources, its great religious and human vitality and the vigorous missionary dynamism of its laity,” said the cardinal in the closing address of the continental congress, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity which he heads.
Moreover, Cardinal Ryłko stressed the fact that the formation of mature laity is not a privilege but rather a right and a duty in the Church. The cardinal also stressed that it is a matter of extreme urgency, and that the Church in Africa can rely on its many charisms and gifts of the Holy Spirit to give hope to those in need. He said one example, in particular, are the ecclesial movements, which he described as a “source of great missionary dynamism, and to the parishes, real schools of Christian life.”
“Africa is in extreme need of this kind of laity. To be witnesses of Christ at the heart of the world is not an easy task, as much courage is required to go against the current, given the prevailing cultural tendencies and, if one is to be in consonance with the Lord’s example, as a sign of contradiction,” he added.
According to Zenit, the Polish prelate also exhorted the Catholic laity to defend the dignity of human life reminding that such inalienable rights cannot be changed by any individual, group, authority or State because it is a supreme right that comes from God.
Entrusted to the African Catholic laity, Cardinal Ryłko said, is the task to “build the Kingdom of God in the world in which it lives, that is, in the family, in work, in the economy, in public life, in politics and in culture.”
The risks, he continued, are represented particularly by the phenomenon of “depreciation of politics,” which the cardinal described as a consequence “of incompetence, arrogance and widespread corruption,” which make the political class lose its credibility.
“However, despite its limitations and weaknesses, politics continues to be an important component of civic life in the democratic system. Hence, criticism and denunciation of evils and abuses is not enough. Imposed on today’s laity is the urgent task to discover the right and duty of active and responsible participation,” Cardinal Ryłko said.
The cardinal concluded the Pan-African Congress with the following words: “To all those who suffer we wish to say: you are not alone and abandoned! Christ is with you! The Church is with you!”


Unscrupulous developers are prime suspects  
Catholic Church News Image of Catholics say church was destroyed by arsonists
The church was the last building standing in Caibang village
Members of the congregation in a small city in central China say their church may have been deliberately burned down at the end of last week.
The church had been the only building left in Caibang village near Xiantao City, Hubei province, after it held firm when developers paid off locals to move out last year to make way for new apartments.
A local Catholic layman who declined to be identified accused developers of burning down houses in the area when the inhabitants were out, forcing them to accept compensation so construction could go ahead.
“Nobody shows any concern about such an evil practice,” she said.
Father Zhang Wei, a young priest of Hanyang diocese, reported the fire in his blog. He claimed that the developer did not offer compensation to the Church as promised, which would have allowed it to move to another site.
The wooden altar was burned to the ground while the roof was gutted by fire.
“Unless flammable liquids were sprinkled in the church, it would not have ignited easily,” he said.
He added that worshippers were forced to abandon the Church after Easter celebrations this year, when authorities cut off water and electricity supplies to the house.
Fr. Zhang also claimed that the police have so far failed to seriously investigate the fire.
The church was rebuilt in 1993 after being dismantled in 1953 during the political upheavals which marked the start of Mao Zedong’s Communist rule.


Ooberfuse hosts free album launch concert at top music venue | Ooberfuse
On Friday, 28 September, Ooberfuse will host and perform a FREE concert at a prestigious London nightclub to launch the Christian band’s second album Seventh Wave. The concert at AAA@Archangel, Kensington, will begin with a set from hip-hop sensation Baliva and close with DJ Galactus Jack, bringing his infectious fusion of breakbeat, dubstep and house. Listen to the band’s Seventh Wave album here:
The band’s latest album has received rave reviews and critical acclaim. It received five stars out of five from Louder Than The Music magazine, saying the album is “…so powerful that words can’t describe how amazing it is.” Crossrhythms said the the band’s sound is “excellent… top rate… quite diverse and eschews traditional pop sensibilities by combining Eastern and Western influences which results in a very diverse album.
Cherrie, ooberfuse front-woman says: “this concert is about proclaiming and building a civilisation of love – this is what our album Seventh Wave is about. Everyone is welcome to attend!
Nico, the band’s guitarist says: “we are honoured to be joined by top Christian artists on the night. Throwing this party is a way of thanking everyone who have supported us and we are busily rehearsing to ensure that it will be a night to remember!”
Hal, from the band adds : 'Seventh Wave shows a different side of the band to the first album Still Love My Enemies. These new songs reflect not just our experiences of everyday life but our concern with pressing social issues. Blood Cries Out for example was written for a Trafalgar peace rally earlier this year on the 1st anniversary of the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's Minister for Minorities, brutally gunned down by Taliban extremists."
Join Ooberfuse at 8pm on 28 September and become part of the Seventh Wave! More details at:


Luke 9: 23 - 26
23 And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24 For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.
25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.