Sunday, January 13, 2013


Vatican Radio REPORT“I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” With the traditional formula of Baptism, Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday welcomed twenty newborn boys and girls into the Catholic Church. 

The ceremony, which took place in the Sistine Chapel, follows a tradition begun by Blessed John Paul II. The newly-baptised infants are all children of employees and dependants of the Vatican. (IMAGE SHARE FACEBOOK)

Dear brothers and sisters!

The joy arising from the celebration of Christmas finds its completion today in the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. To this joy is added another reason for those of us who are gathered here: in the Sacrament of Baptism that will soon be administered to these infants, the living and active presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested, enriching the Church with new children, enlivening and making them grow, and we cannot help but rejoice. I wish to extend a special greeting to you, dear parents and godparents, who today bear witness to your faith by requesting Baptism for these children, because they are regenerated to new life in Christ and become part of the community of believers.

The Gospel account of Jesus' baptism, which we have heard today according to St Luke’s account, shows the path of abasement and humility that the Son of God freely chose in order to adhere to the plan of the Father, to be obedient to His loving will for mankind in all things, even to the sacrifice on the Cross. Having reached adulthood, Jesus begins His public ministry by going to the River Jordan to receive from John the baptism of repentance and conversion. What happens may appear paradoxical to our eyes. Does Jesus need repentance and conversion? Of course not. Yet He Who is without sin is placed among the sinners to be baptized, to fulfil this act of repentance; the Holy One of God joins those who recognize in themselves the need for forgiveness and ask God for the gift of conversion – that is, the grace to turn to Him with their whole heart, to be totally His. Jesus wills to put Himself on the side of sinners, by being in solidarity with them, expressing the nearness of God. Jesus shows solidarity with us, with our effort to convert, to leave behind our selfishness, to detach ourselves from our sins, saying to us that if we accept Him into our lives, He is able to raise us up and lead us the heights of God the Father. And this solidarity of Jesus is not, so to speak, a mere exercise of the mind and will. Jesus was really immersed in our human condition; He lived it to the utmost – although without sin – and in such a way that He understands weakness and fragility. Therefore He is moved to compassion; He chooses to “suffer with” men, to be penitent together with us. This is the work of God that Jesus wishes to accomplish: the divine mission to heal those who are wounded and to cure those who are sick, to take upon Himself the sin of the world.

What happens at the moment when Jesus was baptized by John? In the face of this humble act of love on the part of the Son of God, the heavens open and the Holy Spirit is visibly manifested in the form of a dove, while a voice from on high expresses the pleasure of the Father, Who recognizes the Only-begotten Son, the Beloved. It is a true manifestation of the Holy Trinity, which gives testimony to the divinity of Jesus, to His being the promised Messiah, the One whom God has sent to free His people, so that His people might be saved (cf. Is 40, 2). Thus is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that we heard in the first reading: the Lord God comes with power to destroy the works of sin and His arm exercises dominion to disarm the Evil one; but keep in mind that this arm is the arm extended on the Cross, and the power of Christ is the power of the One who suffers for us: this is the power of God, differing from the power of the world. Thus God comes in power to destroy sin. Jesus truly acts as the good shepherd, that feeds His flock and gathers it together so that it will not be scattered (cf. Is 40, 10-11), and offers His own life that it might live. It is through His redemptive death that man is freed from the dominion of sin and reconciled with the Father; and through His resurrection that man is saved from eternal death and is made victorious over the Evil one. 

Dear brothers and sisters, what happens in Baptism, which will soon be administered to your children? What happens is this: they will be united in a profound way and forever with Jesus, immersed in the mystery of His power, that is, in the mystery of His death, which is the source of life, in order to share in His resurrection, to be reborn to new life. See the miracle that is repeated today for your children: receiving baptism, they are reborn as children of God, partakers of the filial relationship that Jesus has with the Father, able to turn to God and call upon Him with full trust and confidence: “Abba, Father!” On your children, too, the heavens are opened, and God says: “these are my children, with whom I am well pleased.” Inserted into this relationship and freed from original sin, they become living members of the unique body which is the Church, and are enabled to live fully their vocation to holiness, so as to inherit eternal life, obtained for us by the resurrection of Jesus.

Dear parents, in asking for Baptism for your children, you manifest and bear witness to your faith, to the joy of being a Christian and of belonging to the Church. It is the joy that comes from knowing you have received a great gift from God – the faith – a gift that none of us have merited, but that has been freely given and to which we have responded with our “yes.” It is the joy of recognizing ourselves as children of God, of discovering that we have been entrusted into His hands, to know that we are welcomed into a loving embrace, in the same way that a mother supports and embraces her child. This joy, that directs the path of every Christian, is based on a personal relationship with Jesus, a relationship that guides the whole of human existence. He, in fact, is the meaning of our life, the One upon Whom it is worthy to gaze, in order to be enlightened by His Truth and be able to live life to the fullest. The way of faith that begins today for these children is therefore based on a certainty, on the experience that there is nothing greater than to know Christ and to communicate friendship with Him to others; only in this friendship is the great potential of the human condition truly revealed and we can experience what is beautiful and what is free (cf. Homily at Mass for the beginning of his pontificate, April 24, 2005). Those who have this experience are not willing to give up their faith for anything in the world.

Dear godfathers and godmothers, yours is the important duty of supporting and contributing to the work of parents in education, working alongside them in the transmission of the truths of faith and in witnessing to the values ​​of the Gospel, in raising these children in an ever deeper friendship with the Lord. May you always give them your good example, through the exercise of Christian virtues. It is not easy to demonstrate what you believe in openly and without compromise, especially in the context in which we live, in the face of a society that often considers those who live by faith in Jesus to be old-fashioned and out of date. In the wake of this mentality, there can be, even among Christians, the risk of understanding the relationship with Jesus as limiting, as something that is detrimental to personal fulfilment, “God is seen as a limitation of our freedom, a limitation that destroys man’s ability to be himself” (The Infancy of Jesus, 101). But it is not so! This view demonstrates that it has understood nothing of the relationship with God, because, proceeding along the path of faith, we understand that Jesus exercises over us the freeing action of God's love that takes us beyond our selfishness and keeps us from being turned in on ourselves, in order to lead a full life, a life in communion with God and open to others. “‘God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God abides in him’ (1 Jn 4:16). These words from the First Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny” (Encyclical Deus caritas est, 1).

The water with which these children will be signed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit immerses them in the “fount” of life that is God Himself and that will make them His own children. And the seed of the theological virtues, infused by God – faith, hope and charity – the seed that today is placed in their hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit, must always be fed by the Word of God and the Sacraments, so that these virtues of the Christian can grow and reach full maturity, in order to make each one of them a true witness of the Lord. While we invoke upon these little children the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we entrust them to the protection of the Holy Virgin: May she always guard them with her maternal presence and accompany them at every moment of their lives. Amen.


The Baptism of Jesus Christ is celebrated today as a feast day in the new liturgical calendar. This is celebrated the Sunday after January 6. It signifies the end of the Christmas season. However, in the liturgical cycle the official end of Christmas is February 2nd or Candlemas; this is also known as the feast of the Purification.
Jesus Christ went to his cousin St. John the Baptist to be baptized in the river Jordan. The bible accounts this in the New Testament: John 1: 29-33,
Luke 3: 15 - 16, 21 - 22
15As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, 
16John answered them all, "I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened,
22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."



PART 2 -
PART 3 -



Francis Sullivan and Barry O’Keefe, Photo SMH
Media Release, 11 January, 2012
CEO of the Catholic Church’s newly-formed Truth, Justice and Healing Council Francis Sullivan spoke today on the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard at 1pm
“We welcome the appointment of the six commissioners named by the Prime Minister today: Chief Commissioner Justice Peter McLelland; Bob Atkinson; Justice Jennifer Coate; Robert Fitzgerald; Professor Helen Milroy; and former Senator Andrew Murray.
 “Once again, we commit to fully cooperate and engage with the Royal Commission and its deliberations,” he said.
“At its heart, the Royal Commission needs to let the full truth come out and ensure that the dignity of those who have been damaged by these atrocities is preserved, that they are supported, and not subject to a retraumatising of their experiences.”
“It is essential that the Commission’s process contribute to the healing of the victims, and that institutions develop best-practice processes to address child sexual abuse.”
“The Church stands ready and willing to assist.”
“Apart from participating fully in the Royal Commission, the Church will embark on its own processes of atonement and healing to bring light, hope and compassion to this very dark episode”, he said.
For media enquiries or to arrange interviews, please contact Francis Sullivan on 0418 486 440 or Beth Doherty on 0407 081 256



TANA DELTA, January 11, 2013 (CISA) -11 people were killed in the village of Kibusu, in Tana Delta region, in a retaliatory attack by Orma militiamen carried out at the dawn of January 10, on their Pokomo neighbours. Among the victims were five children. The attackers burned down several houses and some of the victims died in the flames.
This comes despite the heavy presence of heavy paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) teams and other police units in the area. The two warring communities, Pokomo and Orma have been locked in deadly violence since August 2012, leading to deaths of about 200 people, torching of 2000 houses, and displacement of over 40,000 people.
For years, there has existed conflict between the Pokomo, farmers, and the Orma, semi-nomadic people, over the Tana River waters and other resources.
The GSU Commander in the area, said that those who died on January 10, were killed either through burning or being shot. The attackers are still being persued.
Mombasa Catholic Bishop, Boniface Lele accused the government of not taking the issue seriously, saying,
“Minister for Internal security should tell Kenyans if the police have failed to contain the situation, military should be deployed”
Meanwhile the United Nations conveyed its condolences to the Government of Kenya, families and relatives of the communities affected by the current insecurity resulting from violent clashes in Tana River and other parts of the country.
“We join with other humanitarian and development partners in condemning these inhumane acts that have since the beginning of 2012, claimed the lives of more than 450 people, including women and children, and displaced nearly 112,000 people. Several others have been seriously injured both physically and psychologically and many livelihoods have been destroyed,” said Modibo Toure, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in a statement sent to CISA.
“In the run up to the March 2013 elections, the United Nations would like to urge Kenyans to exercise their democratic rights in a peaceful manner with respect for the rights and dignity of all concerned,” concluded Toure.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - On the crisis and the tensions that are registered at the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic "only the governments on both sides, Dominican and Haiti, can find a solution to the present impasse" and should do so "without any interference": This is what is said, in a letter sent to Fides Agency, by Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, Archbishop of Santo Domingo, speaking on the issue of the Haitian group who have been blocked for a week at the border. 
The Archbishop remarks that neither the ambassadors nor foreign governments, priests or non-governmental organizations can interfere in a matter that concerns only government authorities, pointing out that "it is up to the Dominican government to establish its own immigration policy." "It is an old matter," said the Archbishop. "I understand that it is necessary to ask the Haitian government to collaborate on the regularity of citizens’ documents at the Dominican border."
According to information collected by Fides, the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, convened a meeting with his officials to deal with the crisis of the border where, for nearly a week, thousands of undocumented Haitians have tried to enter the Dominican Republic. The situation on the border has become very tense, and in Oanaminthe, a city in the territory of Haiti, the Dominican consulate had to close down because of the constant threats to employees, who do not grant a visa to be able to travel to the neighboring country. Every year, thousands of Haitians enter the Dominican Republic to try to leave for other destinations, both in South America and Europe. Many immigrants are working in the agricultural field. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 12/01/2013)



Lowest temperatures since 1968 recorded in the northwest reporters, Dhaka, Rangpur, Thakurgaon and Krigram

Catholic Church News Image of
Children keep warm by making fire in northwestern Thakurgaon (photo by Antuni David Neel)
The coldest winter snap in 40 years has claimed over 100 lives with 50 deaths in the past week attributed to the unusual drop in temperature, authorities said.
The death toll is expected to rise further, especially in northwestern areas, where thousands of people remain hospitalized with illnesses including asthma and pneumonia.
Dr Lokman Hakim in Kurigram, one of the coldest areas in recent days, said that hospitals have suspended time off for doctors and nurses in a bid to deal with the large influx of people.
“We have 150 patients receiving treatment in our hospital.” he said, a number way above average.
Syedpur in Nilphamari district in the northwest yesterday recorded the lowest temperature in Bangladesh since 1968 at just three degrees as an unusually low air current passes, according to the Dhaka Meteorological office.
“Nobody has come to us with aid. We desperately need warm clothes and blankets for survival,” said Abdul Kashem, a 51-year-old rickshaw puller whose family lives in a dilapidated house ill-equipped for the cold on the outskirts of Thakurgoan close to Syedpur.
Many rickshaw drivers and other workers sleep outside in Bangladesh, a country in the tropics which typically sees warm, humid weather.
Farid Ahmed, head of relief at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, said the government has given out more than 410,000 blankets and donated 50.15 million taka (US$629,000).
In the longer term, the northwest of Bangladesh is expected to see as much as half of its winter rice crop destroyed by the cold weather, said Pratik Mondol, deputy director of the state-run Department of Agricultural Extension.
“Boro (winter) rice can’t tolerate temperatures below eight degrees Celsius,” he said.


Isaiah 42: 1 - 4, 6 - 7

1Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations.2He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;3a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.4He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.6"I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations,7to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.Psalms 29: 1 - 4, 3, 9 - 10

1Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.2Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; worship the LORD in holy array.3The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, upon many waters.4The voice of the LORD is powerful, the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.9The voice of the LORD makes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forests bare; and in his temple all cry, "Glory!"10The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king for ever.

Acts 10: 34 - 38
34And Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality,
35but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
36You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all),
37the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:
38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
Luke 3: 15 - 16, 21 - 22
15As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ,
16John answered them all, "I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened,
22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."

Jan 13, 2013 - Baptism of the Lord


St. Hilary of Poitiers
Feast: January 13

Feast Day:January 13
300, Poitiers
Died:368, Poitiers
Bishop, born in that city at the beginning of the fourth century; died there 1 November, according to the most accredited opinion, or according to the Roman Breviary, on 13 January, 368. Belonging to a noble and very probably pagan family, he was instructed in all the branches of profane learning, but, having also taken up the study of Holy Scripture and finding there the truth which he sought so ardently, he renounced idolatry and was baptized. Thenceforth his wide learning and his zeal for the Faith attracted such attention that he was chosen about 350 to govern the body of the faithful which the city had possessed since the third century. We know nothing of the bishops who governed this society in the beginning. Hilary is the first concerning whom we have authentic information, and this is due to the important part he played in opposing heresy. The Church was then greatly disturbed by internal discords, the authority of the popes not being so powerful in practice as either to prevent or to stop them. Arianism had made frightful ravages in various regions and threatened to invade Gaul, where it already had numerous partisans more or less secretly affiliated with it. Saturninus, Bishop of Arles, the most active of the latter, being exposed by Hilary, convened and presided over a council at B├ęziers in 356 with the intention of justifying himself, or rather of establishing his false doctrine. Here the Bishop of Poitiers courageously presented himself to defend orthodoxy, but the council, composed for the most part of Arians, refused to hear him, and being shortly afterwards denounced to the Emperor Constantius, the protector of Arianism, he was at his command transported to the distant coasts of Phrygia.
But persecution could not subdue the valiant champion. Instead of remaining inactive during his exile he gave himself up to study,  completed certain of his works which he had begun, and wrote his treatise on the synods. In this work he analysed the professions of faith uttered by the Oriental bishops in the Councils of Ancyra, Antioch, and Sirmium, and while condemning them, since they were in substance Arian, he sought to show that sometimes the difference between the doctrines of certain heretics and orthodox beliefs was rather in the words than in the ideas, which led to his counselling the bishops of the West to be reserved in their condemnation. He was sharply reproached for his indulgence by certain ardent Catholics, the leader of whom was Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari. However, in 359, the city of Seleucia witnessed the assembly in synod of a large number of Oriental bishops, nearly all of whom were either Anomoeans or Semi-Arians. Hilary, whom everyone wished to see and hear, so great was his reputation for learning and virtue, was invited to be present at this assembly. The governor of the province even furnished him with post horses for the journey. In presence of the Greek fathers he set forth the doctrines of the Gallic bishops, and easily proved that, contrary to the opinion current in the East, these latter were not Sabellians. Then he took part in the violent discussions which took place between the Semi-Arians, who inclined toward reconciliation with the Catholics, and the Anomoeans, who formed as it were the extreme left of Arianism.
After the council, which had no result beyond the wider separation of these brothers in enmity, he left for Constantinople, the stronghold of heresy, to continue his battle against error. But while the Semi-Arians, who were less numerous and less powerful, besought him to become the intermediary in a reconciliation between themselves and the bishops of the West, the Anomoeans, who had the immense advantage of being upheld by the emperor, besought the latter to send back to his own country this Gallic bishop, who, they said, sowed discord and troubled the Orient. Constantius acceded to their desire, and the exile was thus enabled to set out on his journey home. In 361 Hilary re-entered Poitiers in triumph and resumed possession of his see. He was welcomed with the liveliest joy by his flock and his brothers in the episcopate, and was visited by Martin, his former disciple and subsequently Bishop of Tours. The success he had achieved in his combat against error was rendered more brilliant shortly afterwards by the deposition of Saturninus, the Arian Bishop of Arles by whom he had been persecuted. However, as in Italy the memory still rankled of the efforts he had made to bring about a reconciliation between the nearly converted Semi-Arians and the Catholics, he went in 364 to the Bishop of Vercelli to endeavour to overcome the intolerance of the partisans of the Bishop Lucifer mentioned above. Almost immediately afterwards, that it might be seen that, if he was full of indulgence for those whom gentleness might finally win from error, he was intractable towards those who were obstinate in their adherence to it, he went to Milan, there to assail openly Auxentius, the bishop of that city, who was a firm defender of the Arian doctrines. But the Emperor Valentinian, who protected the heretic, ordered Hilary to depart immediately from Milan.
He then returned to his city of Poitiers, from which he was not again to absent himself and where he was to die. This learned and energetic bishop had fought against error with the pen as well as in words. The best edition of his numerous and remarkable writings is that published by Dom Constant under the title: "Sancti Hilarii, Pictavorum episcopi opera, ad manuscriptos codices gallicanos, romanos, belgicos, necnon ad veteres editiones castigata" (Paris, 1693). The Latin Church celebrates his feast on 14 January, and Pius IX raised him to the rank of Doctor of the Universal Church. The Church of Puy glories in the supposed possession of his relics, but according to one tradition his body was borne to the church of St-Denys near Paris, while according to another it was taken from the church of St-Hilaire at Poitiers and burned by the Protestants in 1572.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)