Thursday, January 3, 2013


Vatican Radio REPORT-SHARE- 2,351,200 pilgrims attended audiences or celebrations with the Pope at the Vatican during 2012. The figures were released this week by the Prefecture of the Papal Household. A breakdown of the figures showed that 447,000 pilgrims attended the Pope’s general audiences, whilst around 1,256,000 attended the Angelus prayers in St Peter’s Square or in his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. A further 501,000 attended liturgical celebrations presided over by the Pope and over 146,000 attended private papal audiences. The figures showed that since Pope Benedict's election to the papacy in 2005, more than 20.5 million pilgrims have attended papal events in the Vatican or at his summer residence. (SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA)
Vatican City, 3 January 2013 (VIS) - In a letter made public yesterday the Holy Father nominated Cardinal Paul Poupard, emeritus president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, as his special envoy at the concluding celebrations of the Jubilee Year dedicated to the Venerable Servant of God Pauline Jaricot, the 150th anniversary of her death and the 50th anniversary of the decree of her heroic virtues, to be held in Lyons on 9 January 2013.
The cardinal special envoy will be accompanied by a mission composed of the following members: Msgr. Francois Duthel, postulator of the cause of beatification of the Servant of God Pauline Jaricot, and Fr. Daniel Carnot, ex superior general of the Society of African Missions.
Vatican City, 3 January 2013 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Msgr. David P. Talley of the clergy of Atlanta, U.S.A, as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 55,521, population 6,998,399, Catholics 857,000, priests 228, permanent deacons 242, religious 125), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Columbus, U.S.A. in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1989. He has a licentiate and doctorate in canon law from the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles. He was named prelate of honour by his Holiness in 2000.
- Appointed Msgr. Stephen Jensen, vicar general of Vancouver, Canada, as bishop of Prince George (area 345,600, population 249,000, Catholics 54,600, priests 18, religious 23), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in North Vancouver, Canada in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1980. He was named prelate of honour in 1996 and since 2009 has been vicar general, dean of the Presbyteral Council and diocesan consultor for the archdiocese. He succeeds Bishop Gerald Wiesner, O.M.I., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
Vatican City, 29 December 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday Benedict XVI sent a telegram of condolence to Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops, on the death of his father Matteo Re at the age of 104 years.
In the text, the Pope expressed his closeness to the cardinal's family and imparted upon all the light of faith and hope in Christ.
"Having learned of the death of your beloved father Matteo, I wish to express my most heartfelt condolences for the deep mourning that has befallen you and your family and assure you of my spiritual closeness in this hour of your sorrow, together with giving thanks to God for all the benefits bestowed upon your late father over his more than one hundred year earthly journey. While I offer fervent prayers to the Lord beseeching that he be welcomed into the eternal joy, I invoke the light of faith and hope in Christ for your family, and impart to you all a special apostolic blessing of comfort".
Vatican City, 2 January 2013 (VIS) - On Saturday, 29 December, the Holy Father:
- appointed Fr. William Goh, rector of the Major Seminary of Singapore, as coadjutor archbishop of Singapore (area 699, population 5,000,000, Catholics 190,000, priests 131, religious 152). The archbishop-elect was born in Singapore in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1985. He studied theology at the Gregorian University in Rome and has fulfilled pastoral roles in Singapore. He served as professor at the major seminary of Singapore from 1992 to 2005, and as rector from 2005.
- erected the new diocese of Gboko (area 10,692, population 1,690,000, Catholics 896,860, priests 80, religious 29), Nigeria, with territory taken from the diocese of Makurdi, making it a suffragan of the archdiocese of Abuja. He appointed Bishop William Avenya, auxiliary of Makurdi, Nigeria, as first bishop of the new diocese.
- erected the new diocese of Katsina-Ala (area 6,465, population 676,000, Catholics 338,497, priests 32, religious 8), Nigeria, with territory taken from the diocese of Makurdi, making it a suffragan of the archdiocese of Abuja. He appointed Fr. Peter Iornzuul Adoboh of the clergy of Makurdi as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Tse-Kucha, Nigeria in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1984. He has undertaken studies in spirituality at the Institute of St. Anselm, England and the Toronto School of Theology, Canada, and has fulfilled pastoral roles in Vandeikya, Zaki-Biam, Aliade, Abuja and Adikpo.
On Monday, 31 December, the Holy Father:
- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Ciudad Quesada, Costa Rica, presented by Bishop Oswaldo Brenes Alvarez, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- appointed Msgr. Egidio Turnaturi and the Honorable Dr. Riccardo Turrini Vita as judges of the Vatican City State Court of Appeals.


According to a study commissioned by the Commission for Human Rights. 76% of those killed were men, 7.5 women. The UN High Commissioner: The dead are caused by both sides in the conflict. The allegation of Sister Agnes Mariam de la Croix: A Christian was beheaded and thrown to the dogs. The West supports the Islamists.

Geneva (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than 60 thousand people have been killed in Syria since March 2011 - which initially began as part of the Arab spring - until the civil war of today.  The figures have been provided by the UN Human Rights Commission, which released a study carried out by the Benetech research center that shows that up until November 2012, there were 59,648 deaths in Syria.
Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner says that by now that figure has been exceeded by far. In recent days, the Syrian opposition had declared that the dead were 45 thousand.

The Benetech center has checked the lists of victims available from seven different sources, the opposition and the government, and kept count only of those with full names, date and place of the death. Precisely for this reason the authors warn that the figure of 59,648 is minimal, since there are many dead and many killings not reported by sources or missing some data.

The study fails to indicate whether the victims are soldiers or civilians, but it shows that 76.1% of those killed were male, and the 7.5 are women. The graphs on different sites, show that the most affected areas are the suburbs of Damascus and the province of Homs.

Pillay stressed several times that the deaths were caused by both sides in the conflict, government soldiers and armed opposition groups.

This statement is very important because the information that arrives in the West is often anti-Assad and especially stresses the violent actions of the regular army. But there are also the violence of the Free Syrian Army and the Islamic fundamentalist groups fighting against the regime.

In recent days, Sister Agnes-Mariam de la Croix, Superior of a Syrian Carmelite monastery, who had to seek refuge in Lebanon, broke the news of a Christian of 38 years, Andrei Arbashe, whose decapitated body was found along a street, prey to stray dogs. The nun says that man was executed only because his brother has expressed negative opinions about the rebels, accusing them of being bandits.

Sister Agnes Mariam accuses the West of supporting the rebels despite growing evidence of their gratuitous violence. "The democratic and free world is supporting the Islamists," she says.




Holy Land Coordination 2012
Bishops from across Europe and North America this week will be visiting refugees in Jordan from the Syrian conflict along with other suffering and vulnerable people and communities in the Holy Land as the focus of this year’s Holy Land Co-ordination.

The 13th meeting of the Coordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church of the Holy Land and the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land takes place from 5-10 January. The delegation will meet in Bethlehem, visit Jordan and then concluding the annual pastoral visit in Jerusalem.

Delegates will be updated about the current situation in the Holy Land from His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and from the Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr Giuseppe Lazzarotto. There will be contributions from representatives of different Christian organisations and those who work with refugees, prisoners, Philippine workers and other vulnerable people.

In addition to prayer and the daily celebration of Mass there will also be meetings with the local communities and Catholic prelates from different rites, students from Bethlehem University, representatives of civil society and with the local authorities.

The visit will end on 10 January in Jerusalem with a celebration of Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre followed by a news conference for all media.

The delegation is organised by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, with a mandate from the Holy See to offer support to the Christian Churches and communities of the Holy Land. It is made up of Catholic Bishops from across Europe and North America and Catholic organisations and agencies who join together with the Association of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land for an annual meeting every January.

The Holy Land Co-ordination’s purpose has often been expressed as prayer, pilgrimage and persuasion. The Bishops also hope their presence reminds the “living stones” of the Christian communities in the Holy Land that they are not forgotten to their brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. The Bishops do not seek privileges for Christians, but dignity and justice for them and others in similar situations.


This year’s Holy Land Co-ordination include the following bishops:
Archbishop Joan-Enric Vives – Spain
Archbishop Richard Smith – Canada
Bishop Declan Lang – England and Wales
Bishop Gerald Kicanas – USA
Bishop Stephan Ackermann – Germany
Bishop Michel Dubost – France
Bishop William Kenney – England and Wales
Bishop Peter Bürcher – Iceland


United in prayer for families, communities mourning the loss of loved ones
Need to return to values that foster a culture of life
Need to improve resources to help the mentally-ill, their families, caregivers

WASHINGTON (IMAGE SOURCE/SHARE BLOGGER) —In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the chairmen of three committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a joint statement to decry violence in society. The bishops repeated the call from Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of USCCB, who expressed on the day of the horrible tragedy, deepest sorrow for all the victims and a call to work for peace in our homes, streets and world. They called on all Americans, especially legislators, to address national policies that will strengthen regulations of firearms and improve access to health care for those with mental health needs.
"As Catholic Bishops, we join together with the President of our Conference, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who on the day of the horrible tragedy expressed his profound solidarity with and prayers for the families, friends, neighbors, and communities whose hearts have been rent by the loss of a child or loved one," said Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, and Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
The bishops are chairmen of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Committee on Communications; and the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, respectively. "Sacred Scripture reminds us time and again to 'be not afraid.' Indeed, we must find within ourselves the faith-filled courage to address the challenges our nation faces, both in our homes and in our national policies," they said.
They also addressed the need for healthcare policies that provide support to people with mental health needs, and called on the entertainment industry to address the proliferation of violence and evaluate its impact in society.
Full text of the statement follows:
Call for Action in Response to Newtown Tragedy
Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, and Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend
December 21, 2012
The Lord Jesus Christ, in his Sermon on the Mount, teaches us, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted," and "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Mt 5:4, 9).
In the face of the horrific evil that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, as people of faith we first and foremost turn to God and pray. We pray for those whose lives were robbed from them. As Catholic Bishops, we join together with the President of our Conference, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who on the day of the horrible tragedy expressed his profound solidarity with and prayers for the families, friends, neighbors, and communities whose hearts have been rent by the loss of a child or loved one. No words can capture your suffering. We look to Christ, his words and deeds, and ultimately to his Cross and Resurrection. It is in Jesus that we place our hope.
The Sandy Hook tragedy has caused great anguish for parents and others who attempt to safeguard our children. In addition to the outpouring of prayers and support from around the nation, understandably this tragedy has given rise to discussions about national policies and steps that can be taken to foster a culture that protects the innocent and those most vulnerable among us. It is time for our nation to renew a culture of life in our society.
Sacred Scripture reminds us time and again to "be not afraid." Indeed, we must find within ourselves the faith-filled courage to address the challenges our nation faces, both in our homes and in our national policies. These challenges encompass many areas with various complexities. Here, we offer particular words regarding the issue of the regulation of fire arms, the standards for the entertainment industry, and our service to those with mental health needs.As religious leaders, we are compelled to call on all Americans, especially elected leaders, to address these issues.
With regard to the regulation of fire arms, first, the intent to protect one's loved ones is an honorable one, but simply put, guns are too easily accessible. The Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in their document, "The International Arms Trade (2006)," emphasized the importance of enacting concrete controls on handguns, for example, noting that "limiting the purchase of such arms would certainly not infringe on the rights of anyone."
Secondly, our entertainers, especially film producers and video game creators, need to realize how their profit motives have allowed the proliferation of movies, television programs, video games and other entertainment that glorify violence and prey on the insecurities and immaturity of our young people. Such portrayals of violence have desensitized all of us. The massacre of twenty little children and seven adults causes each of us to reflect on our own understanding of the value of human life. We must improve our resources for parents, guardians and young people, so that they can evaluate entertainment products intelligently. We need to admit that the viewing and use of these products has negative emotional, psychological and spiritual effects on people.
We must also reflect on our own fears as we grapple with our prejudices toward those with mental health needs. Our society must provide health services and support to those who have mental illnesses and to their families and caregivers. As a community we need to support one another so no one feels unable to get help for a mentally ill family member or neighbor in need. Burdensome healthcare policies must be adjusted so people can get help for themselves or others in need. Just as we properly reach out to those with physical challenges we need to approach mental health concerns with equal sensitivity. There is no shame in seeking help for oneself or others; the only shame is in refusing to provide care and support.
The events in Newtown call us to turn to our Lord in prayer and to witness more profoundly Christ's perfect love, mercy and compassion. We must confront violence with love.
There are glimmers of hope in this tragedy. Many people, including some of the victims, made extraordinary efforts to protect life. In particular, the teachers, the principal, the children, the first responders and other leaders showed tremendous courage during the tragedy. Some sacrificed their own lives protecting others.
In their memory and for the sake of our nation, we reiterate our call made in 2000, in our statement, Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice, for all Americans, especially legislators, to:
1.Support measures that control the sale and use of firearms
2.Support measures that make guns safer (especially efforts that prevent their unsupervised use by children and anyone other than the owner)
3.Call for sensible regulations of handguns
4.Support legislative efforts that seek to protect society from the violence associated with easy access to deadly weapons including assault weapons
5.Make a serious commitment to confront the pervasive role of addiction and mental illness in crime.
As we long for the arrival of the Prince of Peace in this Advent and Christmas season, we call on all people of goodwill to help bring about a culture of life and peace.


Multi-talented and awarded priest dies in Philippines  
Catholic Church News Image of
Fr James Reuter's mass media work brought a string of awards
After some 70 years of service in the Philippines, American Jesuit priest James Reuter died at the age of 96 on Monday, following a stroke.
Filipino Catholic bishops described Reuter, who was known for his use of modern media, even musicals, plays and movies, to preach the gospel, as a "great communicator of the Good News of Jesus."
"We will surely miss Fr James Reuter. He will continue to direct plays and musicals in heaven," said Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon. He recalled Reuter as a "very pious and exemplary" priest who always wore his priestly habit.
The presidential palace said Reuter's love of the Philippines and Filipinos was legendary.
"We join the Society of Jesus in the Philippines, the generations of alumni of the Ateneo de Manila University, and men and women of media, arts, and letters, who mourn the loss of this man of faith, good cheer, and eloquence," President Benito Aquino said in a statement.
The statement described the late priest as a "friend, mentor, confessor, and adviser to generations of Filipinos, both in public and private life, and in the media, arts and journalism."
Reuter, who served as the director of the National Office on Mass Media, helped organize UNDA/ASIA, the region's international Catholic association for radio and television.
He was also one of the founders of the Philippine Federation of Catholic Broadcasters, a union of 41 Catholic radio stations nationwide.
In 1981, the late Pope John Paul II honored Reuter for his “outstanding service to the Catholic Church in the field of mass media.”
He later received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award, the highest papal award given to any individual, in recognition of his outstanding and "exemplary service to the Catholic Church and the Holy See."
In 1989, Reuter received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts, an award considered to be Asia's counterpart of the Nobel Prize.
In an interview with Church-run Radio Veritas, Reuter once described Filipinos as "the most loveable people on the whole face of the earth.
"I cannot think of a place that is more attractive to live in than the Philippines," he said. "I never considered staying in the [United States]. I have never considered giving up my vocation here in the Philippines because I think it is beautiful. It is what God wants and it brings me personal joy and gratification."
Reuter came to the Philippines in 1938 as a 22-year-old Jesuit scholastic. He taught at the old Ateneo de Manila until World War II when he was arrested and interned at the Ateneo and later in the prison camp in Los Baños town..
He later went to the US to finish his theological studies at Georgetown University and was ordained at Woodstock, Maryland in 1946. He spent another year at Fordham University in New York studying radio and television. He returned to the Philippines in 1948.
In 1984, he was made an honorary Filipino citizen by the Philippine Congress in recognition of his lifetime service to the Filipino people.
Sister Sarah Manapol, a member of the Sisters of St Paul of Chartres and a close friend of Reuter, said the day before he died he joined the nuns in prayer and singing.
"We thought he was unconscious…. We became teary-eyed because we never expected he would respond that way," Manapol said.
"I was telling him when he was going: Thank you for loving the Philippines," she said.

Reuter died at the Our Lady of Peace Hospital, an institution he built to serve the poor, in Parañaque City.