Thursday, January 10, 2013


Vatican City, 10 November 2012 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Mrs. Slavica Karacic, the new ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Holy See, presenting her credential letters.
- on their "ad limina" visit:Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, and
Archbishop Filippo Iannone, O. Carm., vice gerent of the diocese of Rome and emeritus of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo, Italy, along with auxiliary bishops:
Paolino Schiavon, titular of Trevi;
Guerino Di Tora, titular of Zuri;
Giuseppe Marciante, titular of Tagora;
Matteo Maria Zuppi, titular of Villanova; and
Lorenzo Leuzzi, titular of Cittanova.
- Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Vatican City, 10 November 2012 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Oscar Cantu as bishop of the diocese of Las Cruces (area 115,166, population 532,000, Catholics 140,200, priests 81, permanent deacons 38, religious 82), USA. Bishop Cantu, previously titular of Dardanoand auxiliary of San Antonio, was ordained to the priesthood in 1994 and received episcopal ordination in 2008. In the national bishops' conference he currently serves on the committees on Catholic Education, International Justice and Peace, and Protection of Children and Young People, as well as the Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs. He succeeds Bishop Ricardo Ramirez C.S.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Fr. Marwan Tabet, M.L., as bishop of the eparchy of Saint-Maron de Montreal of the Maronites (Catholics 85,000, priests 20, religious 15), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in Bhamdoun, Lebanon in 1961, entered the Congregation of the Lebanese Maronite Missionaries in 1980, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1986. He succeeds Bishop Joseph Khoury, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same eparchy the Holy Father accepted in accordance with canon 210 para. 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
- Appointed Fr. Brendan Leahy as bishop of the diocese of Limerick (area 2,100, population 178,800, Catholics 171,500, priests 167, religious 411), Ireland. The bishop-elect was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1986. Since 2006 he has taught Systematic Theology at St Patrick’s College Maynooth and served as a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. He is also the chairman of the archdiocese of Dublin's Diocesan Ecumenical Committee and the secretary of the Irish Bishops' Advisory Committee on Ecumenism.
Vatican City, 10 November 2012 (VIS) - The Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church, meeting at Mount St. Thomas near Kerala, India, with the prior assent of the Holy Father has canonically elected Fr. George Madathikandathil as bishop of Kothamangalam of the Syro-Malabars (area 1,840, population 787,100, Catholics 230,760, priests 282, religious 2,494), India. The bishop-elect was born in Purapuzha, India in 1956 and ordained to the priesthood in 1980. He taught Canon Law at the St. Thomas Pontifical Seminary of Vadavathor, where he also served as vice-rector and then rector. He is currently pastor of St. Mary's Church in Arakuzha. He succeeds Bishop George Punnakottil, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same eparchy the synod accepted, in accordance with canon 210 para. 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.




Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
10 Jan 2013
Prince William's and Duchess of Cambridge's first child expected by July
New British legislation to allow a future monarch to marry a Roman Catholic has hit a stumbling block at the eleventh hour.
Prince Charles has urged his government to reconsider plans to amend the rules, saying he fears "unintended consequences" if the proposed legislation in its current form goes ahead.
The legislation would end the 300-year old policy that bars Catholics and spouses of Catholics from the throne.
While the terms of the proposed new legislation will allow members of the royal family to marry Catholics without sacrificing their chance of succeeding to the throne, the legislation will retain the ban on a Catholic monarch, since the King or Queen is by law the head of the Church of England.
However the complication is that under Catholic canon law, the children of such a marriage should be raised as Catholic and this is where the Prince of Wales sees a potentially serious difficulty in the lines of succession since the children raised as Catholics would remain barred from the throne.
Act of Settlement does not allow a Royal heir to marry a Catholic
Unless this is resolved or separate legislation presented to the British parliament there could be another stumbling block for Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, expecting their first baby in seven months. Bound up in the law proposed law is the end to the preference for male offspring in the line of succession making it possible for the daughter of a monarch to become queen if she is the oldest child.
According to Richard Blackburn, a Professor of Constitutional Law at King's College, London raising these complications at the eleventh hour is probably because Prince Charles and others in the Royal family were not fully consulted on the issue even though the Bill was first discussed more than two years ago.
Moves to allow women to inherit the throne began with Prime Minister, Gordon Brown who believed it was high time the ancient Act forbidding Catholics or their heirs to ascending to the throne was updated along with primogeniture which gives a son precedence over a daughter when it comes to inheriting England's crown.
When David Cameron was elected a short time later, he agreed that an heir to the throne should be free to marry a Catholic without having to forfeit the throne as well as the removal of the longstanding tradition of primogeniture so that if Prince William and his wife's first-born was a baby girl, she would take precedence and could become monarch ahead of any of her younger brothers.
King Henry VIII
This was more in keeping with modern times and modern attitudes, he said and both sides of British parliament seemed to agree.
But while many British MPs, including previous prime ministers, have thought it anomalous for a Catholic to be prevented by law from becoming the King or Queen of England, until the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton there was little political will for reforming the 300 year old Act of Settlement - an Act which came about through ambitious and ruthless means.
It is King Henry VIII who is known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church - as well as his six wives and mistresses. Henry failed to be granted Papal authority to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to marry  Anne Boleyn which brought about the English Reformation, the king's excommunication, the Dissolution of Monasteries, as well as a number of subsequent beheadings and further marriages.
By the time of Henry VIII's death in 1547, Parliament's involvement in making religious and dynastic changes had been firmly established.
But it was not until almost a century and a half later in 1701 that British Parliament passed the Act of Settlement which excluded Catholics or their spouses from succeeding to the throne. This ensured only Protestants inherited the throne and under the Act, Catholics and those who married Catholics or were born to them out of wedlock forfeited their right of succession to the British crown.
The Act also required that every monarch, on accession to the throne make a public declaration before the UK Parliament, rejecting Catholicism.
Prince Charles wants legislation re-considered
In recent years Prince Michael of Kent, who married Maria-Christine Von Reibnitz and raised a Catholic and educated at Sydney's Kincoppal, lost the right of succession, as did the Earl of St Andrews. Then in 2008, when Peter Phillips, son of the Queen's daughter, Princess Anne, announced he would marry his partner Autumn Kelly, it emerged she had been baptised a Catholic. The only way he could keep his place in the line of succession was for her to forego Catholicism and become an Anglican.
However until the 300 year ban can be lifted, British MPs as well as Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand must give their consent. But even here there is disagreement with Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman insisting as a sovereign state, Queensland would pass its own legislation on the matter rather than join the other States who have referred to the Commonwealth and Federal Government's and its ability to make changes on the matter.
"We have one Crown in Australia," says PM Julia Gillard unhappy with Queensland's decision to "go it alone" and whose actions may prevent a legally binding consensus being reached, even though the state agrees to the changes.
Prince Charles' views on the matter were leaked after the Prince had a conversation with a civil servant. But constitutional lawyers believe the Bill is being rushed through without proper consultation and the wide scope for disagreement on repealing the bar on marriage to Catholics.



ACCRA, January 08, 2013 (CISA) -The head of state of Ghana, John Mahama has promised to work hard to consolidate the democratic values of the country during the swearing in ceremony before thousands of Ghanaians gathered at the Independence Square in Accra.
“I will create a path of opportunity and development for all regardless of ethnic, social or political affiliations,’’ promised the president.
“I will keep the promise, I will not betray Ghana and will work hard to consolidate the democratic values of the country,” said Mahama exactly one month after he was elected with about 50.7% of the vote.
Mahama later addressed a delegation of diplomats and African presidents that included Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and Jacob Zuma of South Africa among others.
Mahama first became head of state July last year after the death of his predecessor and party colleague, John Atta Mills.
Mahama stressed the need to combine economic growth with a commitment to rights and freedoms. He stressed the need to develop hydrocarbon resources production which began in 2011. He then said that the country should focus on forms of dialogue and co-operation extended to the entire spectrum of political forces recognized by the Constitution.
The opponents of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court to challenge the regularity of the elections won by Mahama’s National Democratic Congress.



Plourde_J-Aurele(CCCB – Ottawa)… The Most Reverend Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, Archbishop Emeritus of OttawaOntario, died on Saturday, January 5, 2013, in Ottawa, at the age of 97, after  almost 49 years as a Bishop.
Archbishop Plourde was born on January 12, 1915, in Saint-François-de-MadawaskaNew Brunswick. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Edmundston on May 7, 1944; appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, Ontario, by Pope Paul VI on July 30, 1964; ordained Bishop on August 26, 1964, in Edmundston; appointed Apostolic Administrator of Alexandria-Cornwall on October 15, 1966, and appointed Archbishop of Ottawa on January 12, 1967. For reasons of health because of heart problems, his resignation as Archbishop of Ottawa was accepted by the Holy Father in September 1989, about six months before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75 for Bishops.
Following his ordination as Bishop in 1964, the Most Reverend Plourde was a member of the Second Vatican Council. Shortly after the Council, he had a pivotal role in the restructuring of what was then the Canadian Catholic Conference (after 1977 renamed the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops). In 1966, he was elected to the Conference’s newly constituted Board, on which he served until 1971 (later renamed the Administrative Board, and eventually the Permanent Council). In 1967, he was elected to an ad hoc committee which brought forward recommendations on the nature and role of the Conference in the light of Vatican II. From 1969 to 1971, he was President of the Conference. Later, from 1979 to 1983, he served on its then Commission for Non-believers.
From 1966 to 1967, Archbishop Plourde chaired a committee of the Conference which oversaw the establishment of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. During October 1969, while Vice President of the Conference, he was in Rome as the Canadian episcopal consultant and spokesperson for the media covering the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on "Cooperation between the Holy See and the Episcopal Conferences".
His funeral Mass will be on Friday, January 11, at 11:00 a.m. at Notre-Dame Cathedral-Basilica,Ottawa.



Millions join procession in Manila
Joe Torres, Manila

Catholic Church News Image of
Millions join the procession to Manila's Quiapo church (Photo by Vincent Go)
This year's Feast of the Black Nazarene, attended by an estimated six to eight million people today, has passed off "generally peacefully," authorities say.
Initial reports said some 200 people were injured, compared with about 700 last year, as devotees tried to get near the carriage carrying the statue of the Black Nazarene in the annual procession to Quiapo Church in Manila.
The feast takes place every January 9, and is considered one of the most spectacular religious events in the Philippines.
It is celebrated by millions of devotees who believe that the centuries-old wooden life-size statue of Jesus Christ, which was brought to the Philippines from Mexico by Augustinian friars in 1606, is miraculous.
The statue is believed to have turned black after surviving a fire on the ship which brought it to the country.
Gwendolyn Pang, head of the Philippine National Red Cross, said most of the injuries this year were minor although several devotees collapsed due to heat exhaustion during the procession.
Devotees, many carrying small towels or handkerchiefs, try to squeeze their way to the front of the crowd to touch the statue or grab the rope used to pull the carriage carrying the image to ask favors from God or give thanks for granted ones.
At last year's feast, the procession of the image lasted more than 22 hours. 
More than 3,000 police officers provided security while the Metro Manila Development Authority said 1,000 of its personnel helped keep order.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, in his homily before the religious procession, called on Filipinos "to value the sacredness of life" amid reports of killings in recent days around the capital.
"There are a lot of reports about killings. Let us be witnesses to the truth regarding the sanctity of life," the prelate said.
Political leaders, meanwhile, urged Black Nazarene devotees to match their faith with hard work.
"We should not just rely on prayer but also do something to make our dreams come true," said House Deputy Minority Leader Mitos Magsaysay.
Representative Sonny Angara, chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education, said the annual feast is a "symbol of hope and optimism" for Filipinos "despite and in spite of all the trials and ordeals that we face."



Children of Grace in the Year of Grace

Go to Children of Grace Story
Fr John Watkins baptises Noah, held by his parents Sarah and Daniel Ang.Photography: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu
By Diocesan Pastoral Planning Officer Daniel Ang
The Year of Grace (Pentecost 2012 to Pentecost 2013) has been an opportunity for the renewal of faith in the ever present possibilities that God’s gifts place before us.
As a community of grace, our identity as Church depends on our receptivity to the self-offering of God in the life of Christ, a life ‘poured out’ on the Cross, embodied in the Resurrection, communicated in the Spirit at Pentecost and received in the gift of the Eucharist.
Grace brings us into an encounter with this very life and friendship of God, present not outside of human history but active within it, drawing us by need and desire to Himself.
For my wife Sarah and I, our year of grace commenced a few days earlier than that of the Australian Church with the arrival of our first child, a baby boy, in mid-May. The Chinese name we chose, in addition to his English name Noah, was Beng Sim which means, roughly, ‘bright, clear heart’.


Luke 4: 14 - 22

14And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country.15And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.16And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read;17and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written,18"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,19to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."20And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.21And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."22And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, "Is not this Joseph's son?"


Dear Brothers and Sisters,
in this Christmas season we focus once again on the great mystery of God who came down from Heaven to take on our flesh. In Jesus, God became incarnate, He became man like us, and in doing so opened the door to heaven to us, to full communion with Him.

In these days, the word "incarnation" of God rang out several times in our churches, to express the reality we celebrate at Christmas: The Son of God became man, as we say in the Creed. What does this word, central to the Christian faith, mean? It is derived from the Latin "incarnatio." St. Ignatius of Antioch, and especially Saint Irenaeus have used this term reflecting on the Prologue of the Gospel of St. John, in particular on the expression "The Word became flesh" (Jn 1:14). Here the word "flesh", according to Hebrew tradition, refers to the person as a whole, under the aspect of his transience and temporality, his poverty and contingency. This is to say that the salvation wrought by God made flesh in Jesus of Nazareth touches man in his concrete reality and in every situation. God took on the human condition to heal it of all that separates us from Him, so that we can call Him, in his only begotten Son, by the name of "Abba, Father" and truly be his children. St. Irenaeus says, "This is why the Word became man, and the Son of God, Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God "(Adversus haereses, 3,19,1: PG 7.939; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 460). 

"The Word became flesh" is one of those truths we have become so used to that the greatness of the vent it expresses hardly affects us any more. And indeed, in this Christmas season, in which the expression returns often in the liturgy, at times we are more concerned with outward appearances, the "colours" of the festivity, than what is at the heart of the great novelty that Christians celebrate, something absolutely unthinkable, that only God could operate and we can only enter with faith. The Logoswhich is with God, the Logos who is God (cf. Jn 1:1), through which they were created all things were created (cf. 1.3), which accompanied mankind with his light throughout history (cf. 1 0.4 to 5, 1.9), became flesh and made his dwelling place among us, became one of us (cf. 1:14). The Second Vatican Council says: "The Son of God ... worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin"(Gaudium et Spes, 22). It is important therefore, that we recover our wonder before this mystery, allow ourselves to be enveloped by the magnitude of this event: God walked our streets as man, he entered into the time of man, to communicate His life to us (cf. 1 Jn 1:1 - 4). And He did this not with the splendour of a sovereign, who subjugates the world with his power, but with the humility of a child.

A second element should also be underlined. At Christmas we usually exchange gifts with the people closest to us. Sometimes it may be an act done out of convention, but it generally expresses affection; it is a sign of love and esteem. In the prayer over the gifts at Christmas Mass we prayed: "Accept, O Lord, our offering in this night of light, and for this mysterious exchange of gifts transform us in Christ, your Son, who raised man next to you in glory". The idea of giving is at the heart of the liturgy and brings to our consciousness the original gift of Christmas: on that Holy night God, becoming flesh, wanted to become a gift for men, He gave a little of himself to us, took on our humanity to gift us His divinity. This is the great gift. Even in our giving is not important whether a gift is expensive or not; those who cannot afford to give a little of themselves, always give too little, indeed, sometimes they try to replace the heart and the meaning of giving with money or material things. The mystery of the Incarnation shows us that God did not do this: He did not give something; He gave himself in His only-begotten Son. Here we find the model for our giving, so that our relationships, especially the most important ones, are driven by generosity and love.

I would like to offer a third reflection: the fact of the Incarnation, of God becoming a man like us, shows us the unprecedented realism of Divine love. The action of God, in fact, is not limited to words, indeed we might say that he is not content to speak, but is immersed in our history and takes on fatigue and weight of human life. The Son of God became truly man, born of the Virgin Mary, in a specific time and place in Bethlehem during the reign of Augustus, under Governor Quirinius (Lk 2:1-2), he grew up in a family, had friends, he formed a group of disciples, he instructed the apostles to continue his mission, he completed the course of his earthly life on the Cross. This mode of action of God is a powerful stimulus to question the realism of our faith, which should not be limited to the sphere of feelings and emotions, but must enter into concrete existence, that is to touch our lives every day and direct them in a practical way. God did not stop at words, but He showed us how to live, sharing our own experience, except sin. The Catechism of St. Pius X, which some of us have studied as children, with its simplicity, to the question: "What should we do to live according to God?", gives this answer: "To live according to God we must believe the truth revealed by Him and keep His commandments with the help of His grace, which is obtained through the sacraments and prayer. " Faith has a fundamental aspect which affects not only the mind and the heart, but all of our lives.

A final element I propose for your consideration. St. John states that the Word, the Logos was with God from the beginning, and that all things were made through the Word, and nothing that exists was made without Him (cf. Jn 1:1-3). The Evangelist clearly alludes to the story of creation that is in the early chapters of Genesis, and read them in the light of Christ. This is a fundamental criterion in Christian reading of the Bible: the Old and New Testaments should always be read together and by beginning with the New the deepest sense also of the Old is disclosed. That same Word that has always existed with God, which is God Himself and by which and in view of which all things were created (cf. Col 1:16-17), became man: the eternal and infinite God immersed himself in human finitude, His creature, to bring man and the whole of creation to Him The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: " The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendour of which surpasses that of the first creation "(n. 349). The Fathers of the Church have likened Jesus to Adam, to the point of calling him the "second Adam" or the definitive Adam, the perfect image of God. With his incarnation the Son of God is a new creation, which gives the complete answer to the question "Who is man?". Only in Jesus is God's plan on the human being fully revealed: He is the definitive man according to God. The Second Vatican Council strongly reiterates: "In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear... Christ, the final Adam, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear. "(Gaudium et Spes, 22; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 359). In this child, the Son of God contemplated at Christmas, we can recognize the true face of the human being, and only by opening action of his grace and trying every day to follow Him, do we realize God's plan for us.

Dear friends, in this period we meditate on the great and wonderful richness of the mystery of the Incarnation, to allow the Lord to enlighten us and transform us more and more to the image of his Son made man for us.

* * * * * I greet all the English-speaking visitors present, including the pilgrimage groups from Nigeria, Taiwan and Brazil. My cordial greeting goes to the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians from the United States. I also thank the choirs, including those from Saint Joseph University and from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, for their praise of God in song. Upon all of you I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace! 




Agenzia Fides REPORT- "Even the Catholic Church participates in a concrete way to the initiatives regarding the research of peace and tranquility in the capital," said the Archbishop of Mexico, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, inaugurating in the atrium of the Basilica of Guadalupe the stand for the disarmament ("despistolización") of the Government of the Federal District (GDF), which will remain open until January 18. The initiative to exchange firearms with tablets, containers with foodstuff or cash, began on Tuesday, January 8, in the presence of Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, head of the GDF, Miguel Angel Mancera, and other public officials.
In addition to participating in this program of disarmament, Cardinal Rivera Carrera said that the Archdiocese of Mexico operates in several key social programs for the population of the capital. "The Church is no stranger to moments of violence in which we live," said the Cardinal, for this reason the Church adheres to these programs promoted by the GDF, and reiterated collaboration with local authorities "not only in the Shrine of Guadalupe, but throughout the Archdiocese."
In his speech, the head of GDF stressed the importance of this campaign for the capital, with the peaceful delivery of weapons that many people have in their homes, and in the atrium of the Shrine of Guadalupe. "I must stress the symbolic importance of this place where we are today, and the commitment of the representatives of the Church," said Miguel Angel Mancera. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 10/01/2013)


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
9 Jan 2013
Eileen O-Connor, founder5 of the Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor
Today marks the 92nd anniversary of the death of Eileen O'Connor, considered by many to be Sydney's very own saint-in-waiting.
Affectionately known as 'Little Mother' by her community, Eileen embodied a distinctive spirituality marked by a devotion to Our Lady and a willingness to bear a lifetime of pain and suffering.
She has also been described as determined and feisty who inspired a congregation of nuns despite her at times less than favourable dealings with the Catholic hierarchy.
Each year on 10 January, hundreds of devotees gather at Our Lady's Home in Coogee to say the rosary, seek Eileen O'Connor's intercession and pray for her beatification.
The anniversary of her death also marks the official start of centenary celebrations for the religious order she co-founded, Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor.
Charged to assist 'the poor and the poor only', the order has performed a unique ministry of healthcare, advocacy and friendship to the poor and disadvantaged in Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle and Wollongong.
What is all the more remarkable is that Eileen was severely handicapped by a fall that broke her spine when aged three.
Despite numerous operations, she remained crippled and frequently confined to bed throughout her short life, never growing more than 115 centimetres and her condition complicated by tuberculosis.
Missionary of the Sacred Heart priest, Reverend Father Edward McGrath, met Eileen in the course of his duties with the parish of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Randwick.
Both shared a deep devotion to Our Lady and the desire to establish a ministry of compassionate service to the sick poor in their own homes in her honour.
At the time, there was no Government assistance of any kind, meaning that illness was an added burden for the poor.
The plight of the sick poor was especially close to Eileen, whose family had been plunged into precarious financial circumstances following the death of her father in 1911.
With financial assistance from several benefactors, including Father Edward Gell and his sister, Frances, the society began its ministry from Our Lady's Home in Coogee on 15 April 1913.
Over the following years, a number of young women arrived at Coogee to undertake their mission amongst Sydney's poor.
Eileen O'Connor was crippled nearly her entire life
They quickly became affectionately known as the 'Brown Nurses' because of their distinctive brown cloaks and bonnets.
Despite her growing disabilities and constant pain, Eileen continued to guide the work of the fledging society from her bedroom at Our Lady's Home.
She died on 10 January 1921, aged 28 years, entrusting the future of the organisation to her companion, Theresa (Cissie) McLaughlin.
Every morning for almost 16 years, the community at Our Lady's Home walked to nearby Randwick cemetery to recite the rosary at her graveside.
In 1936, the community gained permission to reinter Eileen's casket in her former  bedroom, which had been converted into a Chapel.
Mr W. J. Dixon of Darlinghurst Funeral Directors later made this statement about the events of that day:
"After the exhumation at the cemetery, the unopened casket was taken to our Funeral Chapel at 347 Anzac Parade, Kingsford, where a large number of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor awaited us.
The Nurses asked me to open the sealed lead casket and remove the inner pine lid.
This was done, and I was startled to see Eileen O'Connor lying there as though asleep in her simple blue gown, her hair lying naturally down each side of her face, and her hands joined on her breast.
The skin appeared slightly dark and the eyes seemed a little sunken, but, not having the good fortune to know her in life, I could not know if this was natural.
Our Lady's Nurses then gathered around the open casket and appeared not in the least surprised at seeing the 'Little Mother' as they last saw her 16 years earlier.
The Nurses rested rosary beads on the Little Mother's hands for a few seconds."
His Eminence Cardinal Norman Gilroy, a long-time supporter of the society approved a prayer for Eileen O'Connor's beatification in 1962:
O God, Who raised up Your servant Eileen to enrich Your Church with a New Congregation devoted to the spiritual and corporal assistance of the sick and dying poor, grant that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she may be honoured with the privilege of Beatification by Our Holy Mother the Church. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
In 1974, congregation leader Sister May McGahey wrote to His Eminence Cardinal James Freeman asking for approval to instigate proceedings for beatification.
Some of the first nmuns from the order who dedicated themselves to attending the poor and sick.
His Eminence Cardinal Edward Clancy gave permission for the preliminaries to proceed to a diocesan process in 1990.
The Society of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor was recognised as a religious order In 1953.
At one stage, its community boasted almost 40 religious sisters and novices, all trained or training as registered nurses with ministries established throughout Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle and Wollongong.
Today, the mission of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor remains as important as ever.
Visitors to Our Lady's Home, Coogee, are also welcome to inspect the order's museum.
It contains two rooms containing artefacts, furniture and memorabilia belonging to Eileen O'Connor and Father McGrath.
Among these treasures are Eileen's writing desk, her wheelchair, photographs from the early days and Father McGrath's military chaplain's kit and medals.
Her bed and statue of Our Lady was transferred to the veranda, where they remain lovingly preserved as they were in her lifetime.
Other special places in the history of the order include the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Randwick, where the community attended daily mass for many years, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Waterloo, where the O'Connor family were parishioners for many years.
A stained glass window depicting Eileen O'Connor was blessed by His Eminence Cardinal George Pell at a commemorative liturgy held to mark the church's sesquicentenary in August 2009.
Another place of interest is Randwick Cemetery, where Father McGrath and deceased members of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor are buried.
A Mass celebrating the Centenary of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor, will be held at St Mary's Cathedral on Saturday, 13 April, 2013. A number of functions are planned later in the year.
Further information:
Sister Margaret Mary Birgan
Congregational Leader
Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor
35 Dudley Street  COOGEE  NSW  2034
02 9665 6331


The bomb went off in front of a supermarket near the local university. The medical student, who was in his last year of study, was killed instantly. Dozens of other people were hurt in the blast, which caused widespread material damage. The violence, sources tell AsiaNews, is the result of a power struggle between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish groups to divide the country into enclaves.

Mosul (AsiaNews) - More Christian blood was shed today in Mosul, northern Iraq. A Christian university student was in fact killed by a car bomb, a day after the body of a 54-year-old Christian teacher, Shdha Elias, was found, her throat cut.
These deaths, involving members of the Christian minority, are an illustration of the rising tensions in the city and across the country as Sunnis, Shias, Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen vye for power and control.
Against a backdrop of a Kurdish president, Jalal Talabani, still in poor health after suffering a stroke last month, and persistent political uncertainty, tensions are fast rising. The inability of the central government in Baghdad to cope with terrorist attacks is not helping either.
In Mosul, the car bomb exploded this morning in front of a supermarket in al Alamia, near the city's university, local sources told AsiaNews.
The dead man was Ayyoub Fauzi Auyyoub Al Sheikh, a Christian medical student on his last year of study. Eyewitnesses said he died instantly, and that dozens of people were wounded from the blast, which caused major material damages.
For the past two weeks, the atmosphere in the city has been getting worse, the more so since the local administration and the central government in Baghdad have been involved in a tug-of-war.
The city's governor, Athil Al Nujjaifi, is a member of an Islamist party close to the Muslim Brotherhood. He is also the brother of Ussama Al Nujjaifi, speaker of the National Assembly.
"Sunnis control the cities of Anbar, Diala, Salah addin', Tikrit, Mosul and Kirkuk with Kurdish support," Iraq experts explained. Their alliance is in opposition to Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, who is a Shia. Their aim is "to divide the country into enclaves."
Minorities are the biggest losers from all this, including Christians who have no power base or group that can defend their interests.
Since the US invasion of 2003, which led to the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's Christian community lost more than half of its members.
In the case of the Christian teacher, whose body was found yesterday, other anonymous sources said that she "lived alone" and was "an easy target for criminals." For them, she "was probably killed during a robbery." Yesterday, after her body was recovered and prepared, she was buried right away.
In the past, Mosul saw other major Christian figures murdered, including abductedBishop Faraj Rahho, and Fr Ragheed Ganni. (DS)


Final statement from Bishops of the Holy Land Co-ordination 2013 | Bishops of the Holy Land Co-ordination,Archbishop Richard Smith,Archbishop Joan-Enric Vives, Bishop Gerald Kicanas,Bishop Stephan Ackermann,Bishop Michel Dubost,Bishop William Kenney,Bishop Peter Bürcher, Bishop Declan Lang

Jerusalem - Dormition Abbey

Since the Bishops of the Holy Land Co-ordination gathered in January 2012, the people in this region have lived through dark and dramatic events: conflict in Gaza and southern Israel; civil war in Syria, which has resulted in huge numbers of refugees pouring into other countries and putting an enormous strain on their resources; and increasing polarisation within Israel and Palestine. These developments have caused profound anxiety for all in this region, for the Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, Muslims, and particularly for the dwindling Christian population.
This year we met Christian communities in Gaza, Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Madaba and Zarqa. In the Cremisan Valley we heard about legal struggles to protect local people’s lands and religious institutions from the encroachment of the Security Barrier (“the wall”). We promise to continue urging our respective governments to act to prevent this injustice. We heard moving testimony from religious women involved in the care of migrant workers, trafficked persons and prisoners.
Our faith was enriched by the strength and fortitude of the people we met: those with whom we shared in a vibrant celebration of Mass in Zarqa in Jordan; those who care for the vulnerable, like the refugees from Syria and Iraq fleeing terror and violence; those struggling in the face of oppression and insecurity across the countries that make up the Holy Land. We are inspired to promote a just peace and call upon Christian communities in our home countries and people of goodwill everywhere to support the work undertaken in this region to build a better future. Good examples are two agencies we visited: Catholic Relief Services in Gaza and the Caritas refugee programme in Jordan.
We are also called to recognise and tell others how faith in God brings light into the lives of people in the Holy Land. One of the ways in which this happens is the Church’s commitment to education, a tangible investment in the future. Nowhere is this more evident than in the University of Bethlehem, where we were struck by the stories from students, and the American University of Madaba in Jordan. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI called upon staff and students in the region to be builders of a just and peaceful society composed of peoples of various religious and ethnic backgrounds. 
With the local Bishops, we encourage practical support for the vulnerable, the formation of young people and every effort for the promotion of peace. We encourage Christians to come on pilgrimage to the Holy Land where they will experience the same warm hospitality we received. We shall work hard to persuade our respective governments to recognise the root causes of suffering in this land and to step up their efforts for a just peace. We echo the call Pope Benedict made recently in his speech to the Holy See’s diplomatic corps: “Following Palestine’s recognition as a non-member observer state of the United Nations, I again express the hope that, with the support of the international community, Israelis and Palestinians will commit themselves to peaceful co-existence within the framework of two sovereign states, where respect for justice and the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples will be preserved and guaranteed. Jerusalem, become what your name signifies! A city of peace, not one of division”.
In the words of one of the Psalms, which we prayed together each day: “for the peace of Jerusalem pray” (Psalm 122, v.6).
Signatories to the final communiqué:
Archbishop Richard Smith – Edmonton, Canada
Archbishop Joan-Enric Vives – Urgell and Andorra, Spain
Bishop Gerald Kicanas – Tucson, USA
Bishop Stephan Ackermann – Trier, Germany
Bishop Michel Dubost – Evry, France
Bishop William Kenney – ComECE Representative
Bishop Peter Bürcher – Reykjavik, Nordic Bishops’ Conference
Bishop Declan Lang – Clifton, England and Wales.



LUSAKA, January 08, 2013 (CISA) -Lundazi Catholic Parish Priest Father Viateur Banyangandora, who was deported to Rwanda, returned to Zambia on January 07 after staying in his native country for four months.
In August last year, Fr Banyangandora was sent back to his country for abrogating immigration laws.
Chipata Catholic Diocese Bishop George Lungu who welcomed Fr Banyangandora at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka confirmed his arrival in an interview.
“Let me confirm that my son in the name of Fr Banyangandora is with me right now and I will not give him a platform to speak until at an appropriate time, “he said.
According to the Times of Zambia, the 40-year-old priest was allowed back in Zambia after an appeal through the Catholic Church to the Government.
Fr Banyangandora joined the Association of Zambian Diocesan Catholic Clergy (ADZACC) as a Catholic seminarian refugee.
He studied at Mpima Major Seminary in Kabwe before proceeding to St Mary’s Major Seminary in Lusaka. He was ordained Catholic Priest in Chipata Diocese in 2004.
Meanwhile, church members in Lundazi District have expressed happiness with the return of Fr Banyangandora in the country.
Lundazi St Pauls Parish treasurer Janet Phiri said the return of the priest was a relief to the Christians.
“The joy that has filled the Christians at Lundazi Parish has wiped away their tears,” she said.
The faithful were grateful to the Government and the diocese for allowing the clergyman back in to Zambia.


Mark 6: 45 - 52

45Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Beth-sa'ida, while he dismissed the crowd.46And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.47And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.48And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them,49but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out;50for they all saw him, and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear."51And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded,52for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.