Saturday, November 17, 2012


Vatican Radio REPORT-  Irish rocker and anti-poverty campaigner Bono was back in the Vatican on Friday to thank the Catholic Church for its support of the Drop the Debt campaign a decade ago and to discuss further ways of working together on aid and development.
Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen met up with the lead singer of U2 as he was coming out of a meeting with the president of the Vatican’s Justice and Peace Council, 

During an almost hour long meeting the cardinal and the rock star turned activist talked about the huge success of the Jubilee 2000 campaign to free the poorest countries from their burden of foreign debts. Thanks to the success of that popular movement, Bono told me, World Bank figures show that “there are an extra 52 million children going to school” as governments have been able to invest in education instead of debt repayments. 
Bono said he was encouraging the cardinal to communicate to ordinary people in the pews the extraordinary impact they’d made by turning out on the streets in support of that campaign. 
He said the Church deserves “incredible credit for being in the vanguard of that movement.……it was an interfaith movement and it was also what you might call inter-disciplinary because you had priests and nuns walking alongside punk rockers and musicians and sports people and soccer mums… it was a great panoply of characters…..but I just think the Church hasn’t done a good job yet of telling people what they’ve achieved and we were just trying to figure out how best to do that.”
The U2 front man, who met with Pope John Paul II to seek support for his humanitarian work, said he’d “be delighted” to meet with Pope Benedict XVI. During his private audience with the former elderly pontiff, Bono’s famously gave him his blue fly-shades to try on. He also received from the Pope a silver crucifix which he pulled out from under his shirt to show me – I still wear it, he said with a smile. And he still clearly believes very much in the Catholic Church as an important partner in the struggle to improve the lives of the poorest of the poor. 



by Joshua Lapide
Israel conducted 180 strikes overnight. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh's headquarters is destroyed. Israel calls up 75,000 reservists. Ban Ki-moon urges both sides to stop the escalation. Obama backs Netanyahu, but asks Egypt's president to stop Hamas. Demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinians are held in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, West Bank and Iran. The death toll from Operation 'Pillar of Defence' now stands at 38 dead for the Palestinians, plus 280 wounded. Three Israelis are also killed.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Eight Palestinians were killed this morning as Israel continued its air strikes in the Gaza Strip on the fourth day of Operation 'Pillar of Defence'.
Four Palestinians died in Zouhour, Rafah. Three members of Ezzedin al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, were killed in the Maghazi refugee camp. Another fighter died in Tel-al-Sultan, Rafah.
Israel Defence Forces sources said that since the operation began, its air force carried out some 830 strikes, an estimated 180 last night Israel television reported.
Over the same period, Palestinian militias fired more than 350 rockets, at least 16 this morning. About 200 were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome air defence system.
Overnight, the headquarters of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh were also destroyed.
Israel called up 75,000 reservists, and blocked crossing points in the north and east of Gaza, massing troops and tanks on the border for a possible ground operation.
Palestinian civilians living near the border fled south fearing an attack.
Since the start of Israel's offensive four days ago, 38 Palestinians have been killed, including many civilians; 280 were wounded. Three Israeli civilians were also killed.
Diplomatic efforts are underway to stop the escalation. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on both sides to stop further bloodshed. He said he would visit the region as soon as possible.
US President Barack Obama spoke on the phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, reiterating "US support for Israel's right to defend itself". He also "expressed regret over the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives".
At the same time, the US leader spoke with Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi asking him to use his influence to stop Hamas. Russia and the European Union are also in favour of Egypt's involvement. Egypt and Malaysia are trying to find an international mediator to broker a truce.
Yesterday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Hisham Qandil visited the Gaza Strip for a few hours, decrying Israel's "aggression". This morning Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem also travelled to Gaza.
Demonstrations in favour of Hamas were held in the West Bank, Iran, Egypt, Syria and refugee camps in Lebanon.
In the West Bank, Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas said that Israel's offensive will not stop Palestinian demand for recognition as a non-member state in the United Nations on 29 November.
In Israel, activists accuse Netanyahu of launching 'Pillar of Defence' to improve his chances to win in the upcoming elections in January.




Agenzia Fides REPORT - "The appointment of the Archbishop of Abuja, Mgr. John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, to Cardinal, has aroused the pride of the whole of Nigeria," says to Fides Agency Fr. Patrick Tor Alumuku, Director of Social Communications of the Archdiocese of Abuja. Cardinal-elect Onaiyekan will receive the biretta at the Consistory on 24 November. "The participation of at least 200 people from the Archdiocese of Abuja is expected, in addition to other people from the rest of Nigeria," said Fr. Alumuku. "When the Holy Father announced that our Archbishop would become Cardinal, all Nigerians expressed joy" continues Fr. Alumuku. "The Head of State immediately sent the Cardinal elected a congratulatory message, and all the religious leaders of the Country, Christians and Muslims have expressed their appreciation. A cheering crowd welcomed the Cardinal-elect on his arrival at the airport in Abuja, on his return from Rome, where he participated in the Synod. At an ecclesial level, the Catholic community is happy, and thanked His Holiness for his confidence in the Church of Nigeria, as demonstrated as well by the appointment of the Nigerian Mgr. Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Nunzio in Nicaragua," adds the Director of Social Communications of the Archdiocese of Abuja.
Fr. Alumuku points out that "the Church in Nigeria is growing: just look at the hundreds of faithful who participate in every Sunday Mass and the large number of vocations. 
Some diocesan seminaries can accommodate up to 300 seminarians." "The Church is also very active in the social field and gives concrete hope of life to the population, thanks to hundreds of schools, hospitals and other social institutions throughout Nigeria. The Church is a catalyst for the social development of the Country," said Fr. Alumuku.
Fr. Alumuku is also Director of the Nigerian Catholic television, the Catholic Television of Nigeria, which began broadcasting on 1 January 2010. "At the moment we have some programs which are transmitted through a private network, the African Independent Television. Among these is the Sunday Mass which is broadcast throughout the country," says Fr. Alumuku. "Our goal is to gradually increase the hours of programming, bringing them first to eight, then twelve, and finally to twenty-four hours a day in order to have our own network of transmissions" he concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 16/11/2012)





Ireland: Mass of Remembrance at Knock Shrine for victims of road accidents
Ireland: Mass of Remembrance at Knock Shrine for victims of road accidents | Day of Remembrance for road traffic victims, National Marian Shrine in Knock, Archdiocese of Tuam,Father Patrick Burke CC

The third Sunday of November is recognised in many European countries as the Day of Remembrance for road traffic victims. This Sunday, 18 November, a special Mass will be celebrated at 12 midday at the National Marian Shrine in Knock, Archdiocese of Tuam, to remember people who have been killed or injured on Ireland's roads.
Father Patrick Burke CC will preside at the Mass and will preach the homily.  Commenting ahead of the Mass, Father Burke said: "All are welcome on Sunday as we pray for those who have died on our roads, and for their families, along with all road-users who have been involved in accidents. May the Lord's consoling presence
be with all who gather.

"The Remembrance Day activities are designed to bring families of those who were injured or killed together and to let them know that support exists for them, and that they are not alone. The focus on Sunday will be the Mass of Remembrance. On Sunday there will also be an opportunity for attendees to meet each other afterwards; offer each other support; and, to share their experiences. Our ceremony will also be an opportunity to recognise and commend the work done by all the professionals involved in the aftermath of a crash: priests; the fire services; An Garda Síochána and PSNI; the ambulance service; paramedics; nurses; doctors; nurses and counsellors" Father Burke said.
The day is also being supported by the Road Safety Authority, Mayo County Council, PARC (Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Care on our roads), the gardaí and the emergency services.


1 Timothy 5: 3 - 10

3Honor widows who are real widows.4If a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.5She who is a real widow, and is left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day;6whereas she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.7Command this, so that they may be without reproach.8If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.9Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband;10and she must be well attested for her good deeds, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the feet of the saints, relieved the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way.
Psalms 31: 4 - 5, 8 - 9, 20, 24 - 25
4take me out of the net which is hidden for me, for thou art my refuge.
5Into thy hand I commit my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
8and hast not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; thou hast set my feet in a broad place.
9Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief, my soul and my body also.
20In the covert of thy presence thou hidest them from the plots of men; thou holdest them safe under thy shelter from the strife of tongues.
24Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! -
Matthew 25: 31 - 40
31"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
33and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.
34Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
37Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?
38And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?
39And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'
40And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'


St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Feast: November 17
Feast Day:
November 17
1207 at Presburg, Hungary
17 November 1231, Marburg, Germany
1235, Perugia, Italy
Major Shrine:
Elisabeth Church (Marburg)
Patron of:
hospitals, nurses, bakers, brides, countesses, dying children, exiles, homeless people, lacemakers, tertiaries and widows

Also called St. Elizabeth of Thuringia, born in Hungary, probably at Pressburg, 1207; died at Marburg, Hesse, 17 November (not 19 November), 1231. She was a daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary (1205-35) and his wife Gertrude, a member of the family of the Counts of Andechs-Meran; Elizabeth's brother succeeded his father on the throne of Hungary as Bela IV; the sister of her mother, Gertrude, was St. Hedwig, wife of Duke Heinrich I, the Bearded, of Silesia, while another saint, St. Elizabeth (Isabel) of Portugal (d. 1336), the wife of the tyrannical King Diniz of that country, was her great-niece. In 1211 a formal embassy was sent by Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia to Hungary to arrange, as was customary in that age, a marriage between his eldest son Hermann and Elizabeth, who was then four years old. This plan of a marriage was the result of political considerations and was intended to be the ratification of a great alliance which in the political schemes of the time it was sought to form against the German Emperor Otto IV, a member of the house of Guelph, who had quarrelled with the Church. Not long after this the little girl was taken to the Thuringian court to be brought up with her future husband and, in the course of time, to be betrothed to him. The court of Thuringia was at this period famous for its magnificence. Its centre was the stately castle of the Wartburg, splendidly placed on a hill in the Thuringian Forest near Eisenach, where the Landgrave Hermann lived surrounded by poets and minnesingers, to whom he was a generous patron. Notwithstanding the turbulence and purely secular life of the court and the pomp of her surroundings, the little girl grew up a very religious child with an evident inclination to prayer and pious observances and small acts of self-mortification. These religious impulses were undoubtedly strengthened by the sorrowful experiences of her life. In 1213 Elizabeth's mother, Gertrude, was murdered by Hungarian nobles, probably out of hatred of the Germans. On 31 December, 1216, the oldest son of the landgrave, Hermann, who Elizabeth was to marry, died; after this she was betrothed to Ludwig, the second son. It was probably in these years that Elizabeth had to suffer the hostility of the more frivolous members of the Thuringian court, to whom the contemplative and pious child was a constant rebuke. Ludwig, however, must have soon come to her protection against any ill-treatment. The legend that arose later is incorrect in making Elizabeth's mother-in-law, the Landgravine Sophia, a member of the reigning family of Bavaria, the leader of this court party. On the contrary, Sophia was a very religious and charitable woman and a kindly mother to the little Elizabeth. The political plans of the old Landgrave Hermann involved him in great difficulties and reverses; he was excommunicated, lost his mind towards the end of his life, and died, 25 April, 1217, unreconciled with the Church. He was succeeded by his son Ludwig IV, who, in 1221, was also made regent of Meissen and the East Mark. The same year (1221) Ludwig and Elizabeth were married, the groom being twenty-one years old and the bride fourteen. The marriage was in every regard a happy and exemplary one, and the couple were devotedly attached to each other. Ludwig proved himself worthy of his wife. He gave his protection to her acts of charity, penance, and her vigils and often held Elizabeth's hands as she knelt praying at night beside his bed. He was also a capable ruler and brave soldier. The Germans call him St. Ludwig, an appellation given to him as one of the best men of his age and the pious husband of St. Elizabeth. They had three children: Hermann II (1222-41), who died young; Sophia (1224-84), who married Henry II, Duke of Brabant, and was the ancestress of the Landgraves of Hesse, as in the war of the Thuringian succession she won Hesse for her son Heinrich I, called the Child; Gertrude (1227-97), Elizabeth's third child, was born several weeks after the death of her father; in after-life she became abbess of the convent of Aldenburg near Wetzlar.
Shortly after their marriage, Elizabeth and Ludwig made a journey to Hungary; Ludwig was often after this employed by the Emperor Frederick II, to whom he was much attached, in the affairs of the empire. In the spring of 1226, when floods, famine, and the pest wrought havoc in Thuringia, Ludwig was in Italy attending the Diet at Cremona on behalf of the emperor and the empire. Under these circumstances Elizabeth assumed control of affairs, distributed alms in all parts of the territory of her husband, giving even state robes and ornaments to the poor. In order to care personally for the unfortunate she built below the Wartburg a hospital with twenty-eight beds and visited the inmates daily to attend to their wants; at the same time she aided nine hundred poor daily. It is this period of her life that has preserved Elizabeth's fame to posterity as the gentle and charitable Cheatelaine of the Wartburg. Ludwig on his return confirmed all she had done. The next year (1227) he started with the Emperor Frederick II on a crusade to Palestine but died, 11 September of the same year at Otranto, from the pest. The news did not reach Elizabeth until October, just after she had given birth to her third child. On hearing the tidings Elizabeth, who was only twenty years old, cried out: "The world with all its joys is now dead to me."
The fact that in 1221 the followers of St. Francis of Assisi (d. 1226) made their first permanent settlement in Germany was one of great importance in the later career of Elizabeth. Brother Rodeger, one of the first Germans whom the provincial for Germany, Caesarius of Speier, received into the order, was for a time the spiritual instructor of Elizabeth at the Wartburg; in his teachings he unfolded to her the ideals of St. Francis, and these strongly appealed to her. With the aid of Elizabeth the Franciscans in 1225 founded a monastery in Eisenach; Brother Rodeger, as his fellow-companion in the order, Jordanus, reports, instructed Elizabeth, to observe, according to her state of life, chastity, humility, patience, the exercise of prayer, and charity. Her position prevented the attainment of the other ideal of St. Francis, voluntary and complete poverty. Various remarks of Elizabeth to her female attendants make it clear how ardently she desired the life of poverty. After a while the post Brother Rodeger had filled was assumed by Master Conrad of Marburg, who belonged to no order, but was a very ascetic and, it must be acknowledged, a somewhat rough and very severe man. He was well known as a preacher of the crusade and also as an inquisitor or judge in cases of heresy. On account of the latter activity he has been more severely judged than is just; at the present day, however, the estimate of him is a fairer one. Pope Gregory IX, who wrote at times to Elizabeth, recommended her himself to the God-fearing preacher. Conrad treated Elizabeth with inexorable severity, even using corporal means of correction; nevertheless, he brought her with a firm hand by the road of self-mortification to sanctity, and after her death was very active in her canonization. Although he forbade her to follow St. Francis in complete poverty as a beggar, yet, on the other hand, by the command to keep her dower she was enabled to perform works of charity and tenderness.
Up to 1888 it was believed, on account of the testimony of one of Elizabeth's servants in the process of canonization, that Elizabeth was driven from the Wartburg in the winter of 1227 by her brother-in-law, Heinrich Raspe, who acted as regent for her son, then only five years old. About 1888 various investigators (Börner, Mielke, Wenck, E. Michael, etc.) asserted that Elizabeth left the Wartburg voluntarily, the only compulsion being a moral one. She was not able at the castle to follow Conrad's command to eat only food obtained in a way that was certainly right and proper. Lately, however, Huyskens (1907) tried to prove that Elizabeth was driven from the castle at Marburg in Hesse, which was hers by dower right. Consequently, the Te Deum that she directed the Franciscans to sing on the night of her expulsion would have been sung in the Franciscan monastery at Marburg. Accompanied by two female attendants, Elizabeth left the castle that stands on a height commanding Marburg. The next day her children were brought to her, but they were soon taken elsewhere to be cared for. Elizabeth's aunt, Matilda, Abbess of the Benedictine nunnery of Kitzingen near Würzburg, took charge of the unfortunate landgravine and sent her to her uncle Eckbert, Bishop of Bamberg. The bishop, however, was intent on arranging another marriage for her, although during the lifetime of her husband Elizabeth had made a vow of continence in case of his death; the same vow had also been taken by her attendants. While Elizabeth was maintaining her position against her uncle the remains of her husband were brought to Bamberg by his faithful followers who had carried them from Italy. Weeping bitterly, she buried the body in the family vault of the landgraves of Thuringia in the monastery of Reinhardsbrunn. With the aid of Conrad she now received the value of her dower in money, namely two thousand marks; of this sum she divided five hundred marks in one day among the poor. On Good Friday, 1228, in the Franciscan house at Eisenach Elizabeth formally renounced the world; then going to Master Conrad at Marburg, she and her maids received from him the dress of the Third Order of St. Francis, thus being among the first tertiaries of Germany. In the summer of 1228 she built the Franciscan hospital at Marburg and on its completion devoted herself entirely to the care of the sick, especially to those afflicted with the most loathsome diseases. Conrad of Marburg still imposed many self-mortifications and spiritual renunciations, while at the same time he even took from Elizabeth her devoted domestics. Constant in her devotion to God, Elizabeth's strength was consumed by her charitable labours, and she passed away at the age of twenty-four, a time when life to most human beings is just opening.
Very soon after the death of Elizabeth miracles began to be worked at her grave in the church of the hospital, especially miracles of healing. Master Conrad showed great zeal in advancing the process of canonization. By papal command three examinations were held of those who had been healed: namely, in August, 1232, January, 1233, and January, 1235. Before the process reached its end, however, Conrad was murdered, 30 July, 1233. But the Teutonic Knights in 1233 founded a house at Marburg, and in November, 1234, Conrad, Landgrave of Thuringia, the brother-in-law of Elizabeth, entered the order. At Pentecost (28 May) of the year 1235, the solemn ceremony of canonization of the "greatest woman of the German Middle Ages" was celebrated by Gregory IX at Perugia, Landgrave Conrad being present. In August of the same year (1235) the corner-stone of the beautiful Gothic church of St. Elizabeth was laid at Marburg; on 1 May, 1236, Emperor Frederick II attended the taking-up of the body of the saint; in 1249 the remains were placed in the choir of the church of St. Elizabeth, which was not consecrated until 1283. Pilgrimages to the grave soon increased to such importance that at times they could be compared to those to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela. In 1539 Philip the Magnanimous, Landgrave of Hesse, who had become a Protestant, put an end to the pilgrimages by unjustifiable interference with the church that belonged to the Teutonic Order and by forcibly removing the relics and all that was sacred to Elizabeth. Nevertheless, the entire German people still honour the "dear St. Elizabeth" as she is called; in 1907 a new impulse was given to her veneration in Germany and Austria by the celebration of the seven hundredth anniversary of her birth. St. Elizabeth is generally represented as a princess graciously giving alms to the wretched poor or as holding roses in her lap; in the latter case she is portrayed either alone or as surprised by her husband, who, according to a legend, which is, however, related of other saints as well, met her unexpectedly as she went secretly on an errand of mercy, and, so the story runs, the bread she was trying to conceal was suddenly turned into roses.