Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Luke 19: 11 - 28
11As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.12He said therefore, "A nobleman went into a far country to receive a kingdom and then return.13Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten pounds, and said to them, `Trade with these till I come.'14But his citizens hated him and sent an embassy after him, saying, `We do not want this man to reign over us.'15When he returned, having received the kingdom, he commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading.16The first came before him, saying, `Lord, your pound has made ten pounds more.'17And he said to him, `Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.'18And the second came, saying, `Lord, your pound has made five pounds.'19And he said to him, `And you are to be over five cities.'20Then another came, saying, `Lord, here is your pound, which I kept laid away in a napkin;21for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.'22He said to him, `I will condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow?23Why then did you not put my money into the bank, and at my coming I should have collected it with interest?'24And he said to those who stood by, `Take the pound from him, and give it to him who has the ten pounds.'25(And they said to him, `Lord, he has ten pounds!')26`I tell you, that to every one who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.27But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.'"28And when he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.


The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Feast: November 21
Feast Day:
November 21

Religious parents never fail by devout prayer to consecrate their children to the divine service and love, both before and after their birth. Some amongst the Jews, not content with this general consecration of their children, offered them to God in their infancy, by the hands of the priests in the temple, to be lodged in apartments belonging to the temple, and brought up in attending the priests and Levites in the sacred ministry. It is an ancient tradition, that the Blessed Virgin Mary was thus solemnly offered to God in the temple in her infancy. This festival of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, or, as it is often called by the Greeks, the entrance of the Blessed Virgin into the Temple, is mentioned in the most ancient Greek Menologies extant.
By the consecration which the Blessed Virgin made of herself to God in the first use which she made of her reason, we are admonished of the most important and strict obligation which all persons lie under, of an early dedication of themselves to the divine love and service. It is agreed amongst all masters of Christian morality, that everyone is bound in the first moral instant of the use of reason to convert his heart to God by love; and if divine faith be then duly proposed to him (which is the case of Christian children) by a supernatural assent to it, he is bound then to make an act of faith; also an act of hope in God as a supernatural rewarder and helper, and an act of divine charity. Who can be secure that in the very moment in which he entered into his moral life and was capable of living to God, did not stain his innocence by a capital omission of this duty? How diligent and solicitous are parents bound to be in instructing their children in the first fundamental mysteries of faith, and in the duty of prayer, and in impressing upon their tender minds a sense of spiritual things in a manner in which their age may be capable of receiving it. These first fruits of the heart are a sacrifice of which God is infinitely jealous, an emblem of which were all the sacrifices of first fruits prescribed in the old law, in token that he is our beginning and last end. Such a heart, adorned with the baptismal grace of innocence, has particular charms. Grace recovered by penance is not like that of innocence which has never been defiled; nor is it the same happiness for a soul to return to God from the slavery of sin, as for one to give him her first affections, and to open her understanding and will to his love before the world has found any entrance there. The tender soul of Mary was then adorned with the most precious graces, an object of astonishment and praise to the angels, and of the highest complacence to the adorable Trinity, the Father looking upon her as his beloved daughter, the Son, as one chosen and prepared to become his mother, and the Holy Ghost as his darling spouse.
Her first presentation to God, made by the hands of her parents and by her own devotion, was then an offering most acceptable in his sight. Let our consecration of ourselves to God be made under her patronage, and assisted by her powerful intercession and the union of her merits. If we have reason to fear that we criminally neglected this duty at the first dawning of our reason, or, if we have since been unfaithful to our sacred baptismal engagements, such is the mercy and goodness of our gracious God, that he disdains not our late offerings. But that these may be accepted by him, we must first prepare the present he requires of us, that is, our hearts. They must be washed and cleansed in the sacred laver of Christ's adorable blood, by means of sincere compunction and penance; and all inordinate affections must be pared away by our perfectly renouncing in spirit, honours, riches, and pleasures, and being perfectly disengaged from creatures, and ready to do and suffer all for God, that we may be entirely his, and that neither the world nor pride, nor any irregular passion may have any place in us. What secret affections to this or that creature lurk in our souls, which hinder us from being altogether his, unless they are perfectly cut off or reformed! This Mary did by spending her youth in holy retirement, at a distance from the commerce and corruption of the world, and by the most assiduous application to all the duties and exercises of a religious and interior life. Mary was the first who set up the standard of virginity; and, by consecrating it by a perpetual vow to our Lord, she opened the way to all virgins who have since followed her example. They, in particular, ought to take her for their special patroness, and, as her life was the most perfect model of their state, they ought always to have her example before their eyes, and imitate her in prayer, humility, modesty, silence, and retirement.
Mary lived retired until she was introduced into the world and espoused to St. Joseph. Some think her espousals were at first only a promise or betrothing: but the ends assigned by the fathers, seem rather to show them to have been a marriage. These are summed up by St. Jerome as follows: that by the pedigree of Joseph, the descent of Mary from the tribe of Juda, might be demonstrated; that she might not be stoned by the Jews as an adulteress; that, fleeing into Egypt, she might have the comfort and protection of a spouse. A fourth reason, says St. Jerome, is added by the martyr Ignatius: that the birth of the Son of God might be concealed from the devil. The words of that apostolic father are: "Three mysteries wrought by God in silence were concealed from the prince of this world. the virginity of Mary, the bringing forth of her Son, and the death of the Lord." Not that God could fear any impediment to his designs from the devil; but he was pleased to effect these mysteries in silence and without worldly show and noise, that pride and hell might, by his all-wise and sweet providence, be more meetly triumphed over, whilst the devil himself hastened his own overthrow by concurring to the mystery of the cross. From the marriage of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, St. Austin shows that marriage requires no more than the mutual consent of the will between parties who lie under no impediment or inability to an indissoluble individual society of life. In this holy marriage we admire the incomparable chastity of Mary and Joseph; and the sanctity and honour, as well as the patronage and example, which that holy state receives from this mystery. In certain particular churches the espousals of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph are honoured with an office on the 23rd of January.


Vatican City, 20 November 2012 (VIS) - "L'infanzia di Gesu" ("The Infancy Narratives"), the third volume of Benedict XVI's trilogy dedicated to Jesus of Nazareth, will be available in Italian bookshops tomorrow, 21 November. The book, published in Italy by Rizzoli and the Vatican Publishing House, will be released simultaneously in several languages (Italian, German, Croatian, French, English, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish) and in fifty countries; the worldwide print run of the first edition will be more than a million copies. In the coming months, the book will be translated into twenty languages for publication in seventy-two countries.
This morning, in the Vatican's Sala Pio X, the book was presented to the press. The speakers were Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Maria Clara Bingemer, professor of theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro; Fr. Giuseppe Costa, director of the Vatican Publishing House; Paolo Mieli, president of Rizzoli (RCS) Publications, and Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office.
The book, defined by its author as a "small antechamber" to the trilogy on Jesus of Nazareth, is 176 pages long and comprises four chapters, an Epilogue and a brief Foreword. A summary of the book is given below:
"The first chapter is dedicated to the genealogies of the Saviour in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which are very different, although both have the same theological and symbolic meaning: the placing of Jesus in history and his true origin as a new beginning of world history.
"The theme of chapter two is the annunciation of the birth of John the Baptist and that of Jesus. Rereading the dialogue between Mary and the Archangel Gabriel in the Gospel of Luke, Joseph Ratzinger explains that, through a woman, God 'seeks to enter the world anew'. In order to liberate man from sin, he writes, quoting Bernard of Clairvaux, God needs 'free obedience' to his will. 'In creating freedom, he made himself in a certain sense dependent upon man. His power is tied to the unenforceable yes of a human being'. Thus, only thanks to Mary's assent can the history of salvation begin.
"Chapter three is centred on the event in Bethlehem and the historical context of the birth of Jesus, the Roman Empire under Augustus, which extends from East to West and whose universal dimension allows for the entry into the world of 'a universal Saviour'; 'it is indeed the fullness of time'. The single elements of the story of the birth are dense with meaning: the poverty in which 'he who is truly the first-born of all that is' chooses to reveal himself, and therefore 'the cosmic glory' that envelopes the manger; God's special love for the poor, which manifests itself in the annunciation to the shepherds; and the words of the Gloria, whose translation is controversial.
"The fourth chapter is dedicated to the three Magi, who saw the star of the 'King of the Jews' and who had come to adore the child, and to the flight into Egypt. Here the figures of the 'magoi', reconstructed through a rich range of historical, linguistic and scientific information, are outlined as a fascinating emblem of the inner unrest and search for truth of the human spirit.
"Finally, the Epilogue, with the story - according to the Gospel of Luke - of the last episode in the childhood of Jesus, the last account we have of him before the beginning of his public ministry with his baptism in the Jordan. It is the episode of the three days during the Passover pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem, in which twelve-year-old Jesus leaves Mary and Joseph and stays in the Temple to discuss with the rabbis. Jesus, who was growing 'in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man', manifests himself in his nature as true God and, at the same time, true man, who 'thought and learned in human fashion'".
Vatican City, 20 November 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience staff of the publishers of the book "L'infanzia di Gesu" bu Joseph Ratzinger - -Benedict XVI.
Vatican City, 20 November 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Msgr. Gonzalo Alonso Calzada Guerrero, rector of the major seminary of Celaya, Mexico as auxiliary bishop of Antequera (area 33,648, population 1,477,000, Catholics 1,180,000, priests 183, permanent deacons 24, religious 258), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in San Luis de la Paz, Mexico in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1989. He studied Holy Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and has served in numerous pastoral roles.
- Bishop Marian Chovanec, auxiliary of Nitra, Slovakia as bishop of Banska Bystrica (area 6,750, population 614,800, Catholics 400,500, priests 172, permanent deacons 2, religious 406), Slovakia.


Cardinal Officially Opens Notre Dame's New Schools of Law & Business

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
21 Nov 2012
Cardinal Pell with Vice Chancellor of Notre Dame University, Celia Hammond and the University's Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Hayden Ramsay
The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell officially has opened and blessed the University of Notre Dame Australia's newest building on its Sydney campus which will house the university's Schools of Law and Business.
The special ceremony last week was attended by Chancellor of the University, Mr Terence Tobin QC; Vice Chancellor, Professor Celia Hammond; Governors of the University; NSW Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Greg Smith and members of Australia's federal and state judiciary and distinguished business leaders from across the city.
The university's Dean of Law, Professor Gerard Ryan and Dean of Business, Associate Professor Geoff Morris participated in a brief liturgy which was followed by the official opening and a blessing of the building by Cardinal Pell. His Eminence also blessed each classroom and office in the newly completed building.
After paying tribute to the support given by Cardinal Pell whom Professor Hammond said had been unwavering in his support and encouragement and was instrumental in establishing the University's Sydney campus, the Vice Chancellor announced the University's intention to establish a state-of-the-art moot courtroom on the ground floor of the building to be named after renowned Australian barrister and former politician, Thomas Hughes AO QC who with his wife, Joanna were guests of honour at the event.
Prominent barrister Thomas Hughes QC with Professor Hayden Ramsay at the opening of the new law and business schools
"Earlier this year, Notre Dame awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws to Mr Thomas Eyre Forrest Hughes and we are delighted he has agreed to allow us the privilege of calling our new moot court after him," Professor Hammond said and added that the moot would be fitted out with the most up-to-date electronic equipment so that students can learn the ancient tradition and art of advocacy, coupled with the skills in operating a modern electronic class room.
A respected and much-admired Queen's Counsel, Mr Hughes will celebrate his 89th birthday next week on Monday, 26 November although shows no signs of slowing down. Educated at St Aloysius College, Riverview, he studied law at the University of Sydney, was called to the Bar in 1949 and became a QC in 1962.
In addition to his own illustrious career he is also well-known as the brother of the late internationally acclaimed art critic, Robert Hughes, the father of Sydney lawyer and former lord mayor Lucy Turnbull and father-in-law of businessman turned politician, Malcolm Turnbull.
Cardinal Pell blesses the Cross at Notre Dame University's new Schools of Law and Business
Designed by architects TKD, the sympathetically restored and renovated building on Shepherd Street, Chippendale that will house the Moot Courtroom along with UNDA's Sydney Schools of Law and Business, dates back to 1908. Starting life as a ball-bearing factory, the building has had a myriad of tenants and as many uses over the years. These have ranged from clothing manufacture to goods warehousing to offices for a variety of different businesses.
Although the Chippendale building has been completely modernised, its exterior and many key elements of its interior have been sensitively restored to retain the character of the original building with its rough sawn timber columns, face brick masonry walls and high ceilings. The extensive use of light framed and glazed partitions allows the original structure to remain visible while ensuring privacy as well as sound proofing.
At the ceremony last week, the Chancellor of UNDA, Mr Tobin said the mass celebrated by Cardinal Pell was an acknowledgement of the University's approach to education "which looks to God for the beginning of wisdom."
"In tonight's brief liturgy we capture our indebtedness to God and the Gospels and recognise that the work of men involves something more than merely the material. It involves a higher reality in which justice and equity are the expression of God's presence," he said.


by Santosh Digal
According to the Hindu tradition, the devadasi are the "courtesans" of the temple god. In fact, they cannot marry and are exploited as prostitutes. With their children, they live a life of poverty and marginalization. A group of Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod is teaching new skills to the devadasi of 10 villages, creating classrooms for 500 children.

Bangalore (AsiaNews) - To free the devadasi, the "sacred prostitutes" of Hinduism, from exploitation, oppression and marginalization, teaching them trades and sending their children to school. This is the mission undertaken by a group of Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod in Karnataka. The nuns have dealt with 10 villages, where they created classes for 50 children, and other centres for support and activities that accommodate about 500 children. "For the moment", said Sister T. Jose, "we've managed to convince a group of women to give up this 'profession', and others also seem motivated."
The devadasi system is a Hindu practice, whereby a girl is "dedicated" to a deity of the temple. From the Sanskrit deva, "god", and dasi, "slave", originally these girls were a sort of priestess: once they became devadasi they could not marry, and they had to perform ritual dances and stay in the temple as "courtesans" of the gods. Over time, these young people have become real prostitutes, although in 1988 this practice became illegal all over India. "Today", the religious emphasizes, "it is nothing more than prostitution. The devadasi do not live in temples, but in huts. The problem of trafficking in women and children for sexual purposes has assumed an even greater proportion, because of the social stigma that befalls them."
According to research by the Department for Women and Children of Karnataka, in 2008 there were 5,051 devadasi in the District of Riachur. The factors that feed this system are poverty (50%), the absence of a male in the family (11.3%), the influence of village leaders (15.4%), the existence of other devadasi in the home (40%), superstitions, like having matted hair on the top of the head or a prolonged illness (2.3%). In general, parents or grandparents decide that their daughters will become the devadasi when they are still very small. The vow takes place in secret as soon as the young girls have reached puberty.
Today, the devadasi and their children live in extreme poverty, because they have no fixed income. The offerings of the clients are meagre and irregular, because as "sacred prostitutes" they cannot ask for money. Some are forced to beg, or to perform daily chores. HIV/AIDS is widespread, which often kills the women, leaving their children orphans. The little ones experience the worst problems: stigmatized by society, without a father to give them a name, without financial support, unable to go to school. For the girls, life almost always has in store for them a future as devadasi, like their mothers.
In their mission, the sisters have organized a real network of initiatives, aimed at the prevention, awareness and rehabilitation of these women in society. The nuns have been able to involve the whole community. "The children's self-esteem", says Sister Jose, "has grown, and having taught trades to their mothers has increased their chances of finding a job and earning a living in another way."



Agenzia Fides REPORT -Yesterday, Monday, November 19, peace talks between the representatives of the Colombian government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) restarted in Cuba. The delegation of the FARC, breaking the agreed protocol, arrived at the Centre, which houses the dialogue, and gave a reading of its statement announcing a unilateral ceasefire for Christmas, from midnight on Tuesday, November 20 until January 20, 2013. The statement stresses "the suspension of all kinds of offensive military operations against the security forces, and acts of sabotage against public or private infrastructures," as a decision to "welcome the cry for peace of the Colombians." The statement also states that the unilateral ceasefire is "a sign of the desire to create a political environment conducive to the progress of the talks."
The Colombian Government, through the Minister of Defense, Juan Carlos Pinzón, confirmed its position and said it would continue to fight the guerrillas because it is "his duty." In a brief press conference, Pinzon said he will continue to prosecute those who have violated all the rules and have taken the lives of so many compatriots. This line of action follows the position taken by President Santos, who before the meeting in Havana had stated that the talks would not have been accompanied by a "ceasefire" on behalf of the government, until an end to the conflict is established. According to data gathered by Fides, the government's position is motivated by similar long-standing experiences: every truce requested by the guerrilla served to strengthen its lines and to stock up with weapons without any control.
Meanwhile, peace talks continue today, examining the points on the agenda: land ownership and rural development, political participation and the opposition, the end of the armed conflict, drug trafficking and the compensation of victims (see Fides 18/10/2012). (CE) (Agenzia Fides 20/11/2012)



Prisons Week 2012
Taking the Path of Life
For over thirty years Prisons Week has prepared prayer literature to enable the Christian community, through individuals and churches, to pray for the needs of prisoners, their families, victims of crime and the many people who are involved in caring for prisoners.
This year Prisons Week is running from 18th – 24th November, 2012 and the title is ‘Taking the Path of Life’.
The Christian life is often described as a journey, and we are the travellers or pilgrims on that journey. Our theme for this Prisons Week comes from Psalm 16:11, “You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures for evermore.”
The Prisons Week Prayer
Lord you offer freedom to all people. We pray for those in prison. Break the bonds of fear and isolation that exist. Support with your love prisoners and their families and friends, prison staff and all who care. Heal those who have been wounded by the actions of others, especially the victims of crime. Help us to forgive one another, to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly together with Christ in His strength and in His Spirit, now and every day. Amen.
Ecumenical Service in St George’s Church, High Street Belfast
Prison Week is held throughout England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland. The Prison Chaplains in Northern Ireland are holding an ecumenical service to pray for Prisoners, Victims, families of both Prisoners and Victims. This will be held this year in St. George’s Church in High Street, Belfast on Wednesday 21st. November at 7.30pm.
A warm invitation is extended to all to join with all those involved in Prison Ministry and unite together in Prayer.
Father Stephen McBrearty.
Lead/Co-ordinating Chaplain Hydebank Wood
Further Information:
For more information and resources, see the website for ‘Prisons Weeks 2012’:
Download brochure here (pdf)