Friday, October 5, 2012

AMERICA: FACEBOOK 1 BILLION USERS GLOBALLY- CATHOLIC EVANGELISATION TOOL report: FACEBOOK has become the largest social networking platform in history. Its statistics show that they have 1 BILLION users globally. MARK ZUCKERBERG, founder of Facebook, announced, "This morning, there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month,"  "Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life." This means that 1 in 7 people on the planet have a Facebook account.

This network is being used by extensively by Catholics: Cardinals, Bishops,

 Priests, Deacons, Brothers, Nuns, Dioceses, and Laity. Famous Catholics including, Fr. Frank Pavone, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, US Confernce of Catholic Bishops, EWTN, Bishop Anthony Fisher, Bishop Julian Porteus, Johnette Benkovic, and many others all use Facebook on a daily basis to connect with their flock and audience. China is the only country where Facebook is not allowed.
In fact the next theme for the World Communications Day will be “Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization”.  This was recently announced by the Pontifical Council of Social Communications.According to Radio Vaticana, "Pope Benedict XVI calls attention to this particular topic, in the context of the Year of Faith, in his choice of the theme for the 47th World Communications Day."Pope Benedict XVI encourages these forms of communication: "When people exchange information, they are already sharing themselves, their view of the world, their hopes, their ideals. It follows that there exists a Christian way of being present in the digital world: this takes the form of a communication which is honest and open, responsible and respectful of others. To proclaim the Gospel through the new media means not only to insert expressly religious content into different media platforms, but also to witness consistently, in one’s own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically. "

It has become a multi-purpose tool for evangelization. Facebook is a free multi-use network sharing platform. Here one can connect across countries, religions, and races. Most people use FB to connect with relatives, school colleges, work colleges, religious members and business audiences. Facebook is translated in many different languages. One can freely share video, audio, pictures and written material. Many security measures have been employed by Facebook to ensure privacy. The audience of FB is rapidly gaining strides in varied age groups. Older members of the population are using FB at an increasing rate. Pope Benedict's latest Internet exposition also utilized the Facebook market. Religious pages on Facebook have gained millions of fans. The latest Papal Message for World Communications Day(quoted above/below), encourages the use of social media. Benedict XVI states: "The new technologies allow people to meet each other beyond the confines of space and of their own culture, creating in this way an entirely new world of potential friendships."


Vatican City, 5 October 2012 (VIS) - According to a decree made public today and signed by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro and Bishop Krzysztof Nykiel, respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Benedict XVI will grant faithful Plenary Indulgence for the occasion of the Year of Faith. The indulgence will be valid from the opening of the Year on 11 October 2012 until its end on 24 November 2013.
"The day of the fiftieth anniversary of the solemn opening of Vatican Council II", the text reads, "the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI has decreed the beginning of a Year especially dedicated to the profession of the true faith and its correct interpretation, through the reading of - or better still the pious meditation upon - the Acts of the Council and the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church".
"Since the primary objective is to develop sanctity of life to the highest degree possible on this earth, and thus to attain the most sublime level of pureness of soul, immense benefit may be derived from the great gift of Indulgences which, by virtue of the power conferred upon her by Christ, the Church offers to everyone who, following the due norms, undertakes the special prescripts to obtain them".
"During the Year of Faith, which will last from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013, Plenary Indulgence for the temporal punishment of sins, imparted by the mercy of God and applicable also to the souls of deceased faithful, may be obtained by all faithful who, truly penitent, take Sacramental Confession and the Eucharist and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
"(A) Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.
"(B) Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage, a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith (for example, minor basilicas and shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Apostles or patron saints), and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.
"(C) Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith, ... in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.
"(D) On any day they chose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.
"Diocesan or eparchal bishops, and those who enjoy the same status in law, on the most appropriate day during that period or on the occasion of the main celebrations, ... may impart the papal blessing with the Plenary Indulgence".
The document concludes by recalling how faithful who, due to illness or other legitimate cause, are unable to leave their place of adobe, may still obtain Plenary Indulgence "if, united in spirit and thought with other faithful, and especially at the times when the words of the Supreme Pontiff and diocesan bishops are transmitted by television or radio, they recite ... the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and other prayers that concord with the objectives of the Year of Faith, offering up the suffering and discomfort of their lives".
Vatican City, 5 October 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, presented the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is due to take place in the Vatican from 7 to 28 October on the theme: "The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith".
Before entering into the details of the forthcoming synodal assembly the archbishop highlighted the importance of not separating the two aspects of the chosen topic. "The theme", he said, "indicates that the goal of new evangelisation is the transmission of the faith. And the process of transmitting the faith, which today faces many obstacles of different kinds, takes place within the context of new evangelisation".
He then went on to explain the preparations and the stages of the Synod, describing it as a "complex and demanding process" which can be divided into three interlinked aspects: "the spiritual dimension, theological and pastoral reflections, and technical and organisational preparations".
1. The spiritual dimension
"Prayer accompanies and stimulates all synodal activity. ... It accompanied the preparatory work ... and will have a pre-eminent role during the course of the gathering. Specifically, the Holy Father will preside at four liturgical celebrations: on 7 October, the inauguration of the Synod and the proclamation of St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen as Doctors of the Universal Church; on 11 October, Mass for the inauguration of the Year of Faith; on 21 October, the canonisation of the blesseds: Jacques Berthieu, Pedro Calungsod, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Carmen Salles y Barangueras, Marianne Cope, Kateri Tekakwitha and Ana Schaffer; on 28 October, the closing of the Synod".
2. Theological and pastoral reflections
"Once the Holy Father had chosen the theme, the General Secretariat of the Synod prepared the 'Lineamenta', or preparatory document for reflection on that topic, which was published on 4 March 2011. The questionnaire accompanying the 'Lineamenta' was submitted to all the ecclesial organisations with which the General Secretariat maintains institutional contacts, with the request that responses be forthcoming before 1 November 2011. The response rate - which reached 90.5 per cent - is an expression of the great interest that the particular Churches and other organisations have in the theme chosen for the Synod. ... The Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat examined the responses which were then summarised in the 'Instrumentum laboris', made public on 19 June 2012".
"Other documents have also played an important role in preparations for the Synod. ... These include, apart from the Holy Father's catecheses, ... two Apostolic Letters 'Motu Proprio data'. The first of these is 'Ubicumque et semper" of 21 September 2010 by which the Holy Father created the Pontifical Counil for Promoting New Evangelisation, the second is 'Porta Fidei' of 11 October 2011 in which he proclaimed the Year of Faith".
3. Technical and organisational preparation
"As per the norms of 'Ordo Synodi Episcoporum', the Ordinal General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is attended 'ex officio' by the heads of the 'sui iuris' Eastern Catholic Churches and of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia. Apart from the Synod Fathers appointed by the Pope, other Synod Fathers are elected by their respective episcopal conferences, by the 'sui iuris' Eastern Catholic Churches if they have more than twenty-five bishops, and by the Union of Superiors General which has the right to elect ten members".
4. Participation in the Synod
"The thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be attended by 262 Synod Fathers, the largest number in the history of Synods. Of these, 103 are from Europe, 63 from the Americas, 50 from Africa, 39 from Asia and 7 from Oceania. The majority of the Synod Fathers, 182, have been elected: 172 by their episcopal conferences, 10 by the Union of Superiors General, and 3 by the 'sui iuris' Eastern Catholic Churches. Of the others, 37 are participating 'ex officio' and 40 were appointed by the Holy Father".
"Benedict XVI has appointed Cardinal Donald William Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, U.S.A., as relator general of the Synod and Archbishop Pierre-Marie Carre, archbishop of Montpellier, France, as special secretary. He has also appointed three presidents delegate: Cardinal John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong, China; Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Also participating in the forthcoming synodal assembly will be forty-five experts, forty-nine auditors, fraternal delegates from 15 Churches and ecclesial communities not yet in communion with the Catholic Church, and three special guests: Frere Alois, prior of Taize, France; Rev. Lamar Vest, president of the American Bible Society, U.S.A., and Werner Arber, professor emeritus of microbiology at the University of Basel, Switzerland and president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences".
5. Important events
"Twenty-three General Congregations and eight Working Group sessions are scheduled to take place. The secretary general and relator general will deliver their reports on the morning of 8 October. During the afternoon session representatives of the episcopate on the five continents will deliver brief speeches indicating how the theme of the Synod is viewed in the particular Churches on their continents".
"During the afternoon session of 9 October, Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, will present a report on the reception of 'Verbum Domini', the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which took place in October 2008".
"On 10 October His Grace Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican Communion, will address the assembly to outline the Anglican approach to the challenge of new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith".
"On the afternoon of 12 October Werner Arber, professor emeritus of microbiology at the University of Basel, Switzerland and president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, will speak on the relationship between science and faith".
"During the Eucharistic celebration of 11 October, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I will address Benedict XVI and all those participating in the Mass for the opening of the Year of Faith".
"At the beginning of their work, the Synod Fathers will choose the members of the 'commission of the message'. The commission is made up of twelve members. The Holy Father has appointed the president and secretary (respectively, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle of Manila, Philippines) and will appoint a further two members, while the remaining eight members are to be elected by the Synod Fathers".
"The methodology of the Synod, which was modified by Benedict XVI in 2005, remains substantially unchanged. Each Synod Father will have five minutes to speak during the General Congregations, but during the open debates in the afternoon sessions (from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.) they will have no more than three minutes, so as to stimulate greater participation in the discussions. Speeches by fraternal delegates, experts and auditors must not exceed four minutes".


Luke 10: 13 - 16

13 "Woe to you, Chora'zin! woe to you, Beth-sa'ida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
14 But it shall be more tolerable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.
15 And you, Caper'na-um, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.
16 "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
5 Oct 2012

Volunteer Ringer Murray-Luke Peard in St Mary's Cathedral belltower
On a late spring morning after attending Mass at St Mary's Cathedral, postgraduate student Murray-Luke Peard was walking along College Street when he heard a loud resonant peal of bells.
"I looked up and realised the sound was coming from the belltower. The bells weren't being rung particularly well. It was probably a beginner practicing. But if they'd have been rung well, as they normally are, I would not have realised the bells I heard each Sunday were not operated by a machine but were actually being rung by humans."
Fascinated, Murray-Luke climbed the 111 steps to St Mary's belltower and introduced himself to Cathedral's small team of volunteer ringers.
"They were very welcoming and agreed to take me on," he says.
Five years later, Murray-Luke's fascination with bellringing is unabated. Each Thursday he attends the Cathedral ringers' practice sessions and rehearsals under the direction of Bell Captain, Katherine Downs. He is also part of the regular group who ring the bells at St Mary's before Mass each Sunday as well as several times each week. In addition he also volunteers to ring the bells at special events such as weddings.

"I'm like the other ringers and do this for the love of it," he says.
A maths and computer science graduate and currently employed as an IT specialist and analyst-programmer at the University of Sydney, Murray-Luke is currently studying for a second degree with music as one of his electives and Celtic Studies as his major.
Despite his commitments at university, the 34-year-old's crowded schedule also includes singing Capella Sublima at St John's College where he is an Honorary Fellow. He is also a member of the Chapel Choir at St John's College as well as being a member of Paddington's St Francis of Assisi Parish Choir and singing with the Sydney Chamber Choir.
In addition, this music-loving young man takes regular singing lessons at the Cathedral from one of St Mary's lay clerks, Koen Van Strade, who is vocal tutor at the Conservatorium of Music and academic tutor at St John's College.
Three of St Mary's Cathedral's dedicated bellringers
Music, particularly Renaissance and Medieval Church music have long been one of Murray-Luke's passions. But when it comes to bellringing, he says while musicianship can be a plus, it is not essential. According to Murray-Luke what is far more important is physical co-ordination and the skill to ring the massive bells of St Mary's without becoming physically exhausted.
With its 14 bells the largest of which weighs a hefty 1741 kgs, St Mary's Cathedral has the most famous and comprehensive set of bells in Australia. But although the "ring," as a set of bells is known, contains 14 bells only 12 are ever played at any one time in a series of variations known as "methods."
"Methods" can vary from simple to advanced and extremely complex. Unlike "methods," a peal uses just seven bells. But as Murray-Luke points out even with just seven bells there are 5040 different permutations that can be rung without ever repeating a peal.

"To ring the bells you need to have fairly good physical co-ordination and then it's like riding a bike. Basically anyone can do it!" he says.
While beginners unsure of the art of bell ringing often use brute strength to ring the bells this is not necessary. The art of bell ringing is all about balance and co-ordination, Murray-Luke explains.
Before the introduction of technological advances such as steel frames and ball bearings, church bells were framed in wood and rung by pulling on leather straps. These frequently dried out making it difficult to gain leverage and just to get the clapper to strike the bell needed plenty of muscle power. But not anymore.
For those wishing to learn the art of bellringing and join the Cathedral's dedicated band of bellringers go to or contact Katherine Downs, the Cathedral's Bell Tower Captain by calling her on 0438 697 809.
Photographs by K Downs


St Raphael’s church in Kingston, southwest London, is consecrated for the first time after a 10-year restoration programme
By Ligita Kneitaite on Friday, 5 October 2012
The newly restored St Raphael's church in Kingston, southwest London (Photo: Mazur/
The newly restored St Raphael's church in Kingston, southwest London (Photo: Mazur/
St Raphael’s church in Kingston, southwest London, has celebrated its first ever consecration to mark the end of a restoration project spanning nearly 10 years.
Alexander Raphael first founded the church as a family chapel in 1848. After his death, his nephew Edward opened it as the first Catholic church in Kingston, but it was never consecrated.
Fr Vincent Flynn, parish priest and chaplain to Kingston University, said: “The consecration of a church is the most solemn and important event in the history of any parish. The ceremony marks the end of many years of hard work and planning by so many people.”
The restoration cost the parish about £3 million and took nearly 10 years to complete, partly due to planning difficulties with the local authority. Michael Pearce, the manager of St Raphael’s, said that Fr Flynn had been focal to finishing the project. “It has been his vision and complete trust in the parish’s ability to complete the task that has seen this project through,” he said.
He added: “The money was raised mainly by the sale of the old presbytery and parish hall, both of which were situated some distance from the church. This was supplemented by many fundraising activities in the parish.”
The project involved the restoration of the exterior stonework as well as the interior of the Church. A new accommodation was constructed for the clergy including a small car park, as well as a new parish centre, the “Alexander House”, named after the founder of the church.
Fr Flynn said: “Our beautifully restored church, for the glory and worship of Almighty God and to the honour of our holy patron St Raphael, will be a lasting testament to future generations.”
It was bought by the diocese after the Second World War. There had been plans to build a new church in its place in the 1960s, but these were dropped when the old church was Grade II* listed. Designed by the Victorian architect Charles Parker, it is regarded as one of the finest examples of Victorian Italianate architecture in the country.
For more photographs of the consecration of the church visit the bishops’ conference Flickr stream.


by Inayat Bernard*
Launched Sept. 30 with the reading of Genesis, the initiative will conclude on October 6 with the last passages of Revelations. The event is celebrated at the Marian Shrine of Mariamabad in Punjab. The first day of the Bible Marathon 2012 was attended by 300 followers of different faiths.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - A marathon of the Bible six days and seven nights long, with readings of all the passages from Genesis to Revelation in 15 different languages ​​by local and foreign believers. The initiative was launched by Pakistani Christians at the Marian Shrine of Mariamabad, in the province of Punjab, on September 30 and will end on the evening of October 6. During the inaugural Mass Msgr. Sebastian Francis Shaw, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Lahore, reminded those present that "reading the Bible is a special gift [that we] have received from God" so that we can "listen, but also to act" according to his word.

The Bible Marathon 2012 is celebrated at the Marian shrine, which is about 95 km from the city of Lahore, and has attracted hundreds of believers - Catholics and Christians of various denominations - from the four provinces that comprise the country. During the celebration, Msgr. Shaw recalled a meeting with an old woman, when he was still a priest, who encouraged him to organize Bible study courses. Mindful of that episode, the bishop addressed the over 300 faithful, urging them to recite passages from the Old Testament.

The apostolic administrator of Lahore also expressed "pleasant surprise" at the presence of many young people and children, and he then turned to priests, sisters, catechists and faithful asking them to strengthen their love for the Bible and become real evangelizers. And referring to the closing ceremony of the Jubilee for the 125th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Lahore, scheduled for November 17, he added that the new evangelization will help them become promoters of the Holy Bible.

After the bishop missionaries and representatives of the various Christian congregations intervened, reading the first five verses of the book of Genesis each in their own language. These include Hebrew, Latin, German, French, English, Italian, Maltese, Spanish, Arabic and Sinhala. Among the local languages ​​marvari, Balochi, Punjabi and Urdu. Particular emphasis was given to the Urdu language, starting with the first copy of the Bible printed in 2007 through a joint effort of the Pakistan Bible Society and the Catholic Bible Commission of Pakistan.

The idea of ​​a Bible marathon was born in 2010 and Mariamabad was chosen because it is the focal point for the cult of the Virgin Mary. In this special week dedicated to the Word of God, the priests invite the Pakistani faithful to attend Mass, confession, pray the rosary and adore the Eucharist as part of the program.

* P. Inayat Bernard is a Pakistani priest of the Archdiocese of Lahore and co-director of the weekly "The Christian View."



Agenzia Fides REPORT - "Each clue indicates that it is an action carried out by Boko Haram" says to Fides His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, commenting on the massacre of October 2, when a group of armed men stormed in the University of Mubi, in Adamawa State in northeastern Nigeria, killing at least forty students. Criminals brought together students and identified by name their victims before killing them.
The police have not yet commented officially on the authors of the massacre, but, according to Mgr. Kaigama, "it seems to have been perpetrated by Boko Haram members, because it is similar to other acts committed by them recently."
In recent weeks, even mosques and Muslim leaders have been victims of attacks carried out by Boko Haram. "Boko Haram is a criminal sect separated from the rest of Islam – stresses Mgr. Kaigama -. Its members are criminals who make no distinction between Christians and Muslims. The reasons for their violence go beyond religion."
"Our security services must find out what is behind the Boko Haram attacks " says the Archbishop of Jos. "I wonder if there is a political force with its strategy behind all this. But it is not my job to find out. I am a religious leader, it is not my job, it is up to the government and security forces. "
On October 4, President Goodluck Jonathan announced the appointment of a new Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. "It can be a way to respond to the situation, because the population gets angrier and angrier by the day due to the massacre of innocent people killed for no reason. So I think it is time for the President to do what must be done, including a change of security chiefs," concluded Mgr. Kaigama. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 05/10/2012)