Monday, January 28, 2013


Mark 3: 22 - 30
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Be-el'zebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons."
23 And he called them to him, and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?
24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.
26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.
27 But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house.
28 "Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter;
29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" --
30 for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."


Vatican City, 28 January 2013 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., in the Holy Father's name, sent a telegram to Archbishop Helio Adelar Rubert of Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, for the death of 231 youths on Saturday in a fire at a discotheque of that locality.
"The Pope," reads the text, "shocked by the tragic death of hundreds of young people … asks that you express his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, sharing in the sorrow of all those who mourn them. He entrusts the dead to God, the Father of mercy, and prays for the comfort and restoration of the wounded and for the courage and consolation of all those affected by the tragedy. He sends his apostolic blessing to all those who are suffering and those who are assisting them."
Vatican City, 28 January 2013 (VIS) – Benedict XVI will grant Plenary Indulgence to the faithful participating in the 21st World Day of the Sick to be celebrated 7–11 February, in Altotting, Germany according to a decree published today and signed by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro and Bishop Krzysztof Nykiel, respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
Persons following the example of the Good Samaritan, who "with a spirit of faith and a merciful soul, put themselves at the service of their brothers and sisters who are suffering or who, if sick, endure the pains and hardships of life … bearing witness to the faith through the path of the Gospel of suffering" will obtain the Plenary Indulgence, once a day and under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Holy Father), applicable also to the souls of deceased faithful:
A) each time from 7–11 February, in the Marian Shrine of Altotting or at any other place decided by the ecclesiastical authorities, that they participate in a ceremony held to beseech God to grant the goals of the World Day of the Sick, praying the Our Father, the Creed, and an invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Faithful in public hospitals or any private house who, like the Good Samaritan, charitably assist the ill and who, because of such service, cannot attend the aforementioned celebrations, will obtain the same gift of Plenary Indulgence if, for at least a few hours on that day, they generously provide their charitable assistance to the sick as if they were tending to Christ the Lord Himself and pray the Our Father, the Creed, and an invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, with their soul removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of carrying out as soon as possible that which is necessary to obtain the plenary indulgence.
The faithful who because of illness, advance age, or other similar reasons cannot take part in the aforementioned celebrations will obtain the Plenary Indulgence if, with their soul removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of carrying out as soon as possible the usual conditions, spiritually participating in the sacred events of the determined days, particularly through liturgical celebrations and the Supreme Pontiff's message broadcast by television or radio, they pray for all the sick and offer their physical and spiritual suffering to God through the Virgin Mary, 'Salus Infirmorum' (Health of the Sick).
B) Partial Indulgence will be conceded to all the faithful who, between the indicated days, with a contrite heart raise devout prayers to the merciful Lord beseeching assistance for the sick in spirit during this Year of Faith.
Vatican City, 27 January 2013 (VIS) – "Each moment can be the auspicious 'today' of our conversion. Each day can be the salvific 'today' because salvation is a continuous story for the Church and for each of Christ's disciples. This is the Christian meaning of 'carpe diem'; seize the day that God calls on you to offer you salvation." These were the words that the Pope addressed to the faithful gathered at noon today in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus.
As is customary, Benedict XVI commented on the Sunday liturgy's readings, particularly the Gospel where St. Luke speaks of Jesus' presence in the synagogue of Nazareth on a Saturday. "As an observer believer, the Lord does not avoid the weekly liturgy rhythm and joins in with the assembly of his fellow countryman to pray and listen to the Scriptures. The rite called for a reading from the Torah or from the Prophets, followed by a commentary. That day, Jesus rose to read and found the passage from the prophet Isaiah that begins: 'The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring Good News to the afflicted.'" On finishing the reading, "in an attentive silence, Jesus says: 'Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.' St. Cyril of Alexandria affirms that 'today', situated between Jesus' first and His final coming, corresponds to the believer's ability to listen and repent. However, an even more radical meaning is that Jesus himself is the 'today' of salvation history because He completes the fullness of redemption."
"This Gospel passage also challenges us 'today'. Firstly, it makes us think of our way of living Sunday; it is a day of family and of rest but even more, it is the day that we dedicate to the Lord, participating in the Eucharist in which we are nourished with the Body and Blood of Christ and with His life-giving Word. Secondly, in our times of dispersion and distraction, this Gospel passage invites us to ask ourselves about our ability to listen. Before we can speak of God and with God, we have to listen to Him, and the Church's liturgy is the 'school' of this listening to the Lord who speaks to us."
After praying the Angelus, the Pop released into the Roman sky two doves that a boy and a girl from Catholic Action had brought to him to conclude the Caravan of Peace in St. Peter's Square, the theme to which the month of January is traditionally dedicated.
Vatican City, 27 January 2013 (VIS) – On this International Remembrance Day dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust, Benedict XVI, after praying the Angelus, said: "The memory of this enormous tragedy that so severely struck mainly the Jewish people should represent for all a constant warning so that the horrors of the past are not repeated, so that every form of hatred and racism is overcome, and so that the respect and dignity of the human person is promoted".
Today also marks the 60th World Day for the Fight Against Leprosy and the Pope expressed his "nearness to those suffering from that disease" and encouraged the work of researchers, health care workers, and volunteers in that area, particularly those who are part of Catholic organizations and the association Friends of Raoul Follereau. "I ask for the spiritual intercession of St. Damien De Veuster and St. Marianna Cope?who gave their lives for those afflicted by leprosy?for you all."
"This Sunday," he continued, "also marks a special day of intercession for peace in the Holy Land. I thank all those who are promoting it in the different parts of the world and a special greeting to those present here."
The Pope concluded by addressing the Polish faithful. "Today I join with the Church in Poland in giving thanks for the life and ministry of the late Cardinal Jozef Glemp. May the Lord reward his pastoral dedication and keep him in His glory!"
Vatican City, 26 January 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received members of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota on the occasion of the opening of the judicial year. His address, from which ample extracts follow, focused on the relationship between faith and marriage in light of the "current crisis of faith that affects various areas of the world, bearing with it a crisis of conjugal society."
“The Code of Canon Law defines the natural reality of marriage as the irrevocable covenant between a man and a woman. Mutual trust, in fact, is the indispensable basis of any agreement or covenant. On a theological level, the relationship between faith and marriage has an even deeper meaning. Even though a natural reality, the spousal bond between two baptised persons has been elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament.”
“Contemporary culture, marked by a strong subjectivism and an ethical and religious relativism, poses serious challenges to the person and the family. First, the very capacity of human beings to bond themselves to another and whether a union that lasts an entire life is truly possible. … Thinking that persons might become themselves while remaining ‘autonomous’ and only entering into relationships with others that can be interrupted at any time is part of a widespread mentality. Everyone is aware of how a human being's choice to bind themself with a bond lasting an entire life influences each person’s basic perspective according to which they are either anchored to a merely human plane or open themselves to the light of faith in the Lord.”
"‘Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing,’ Jesus taught His disciples, reminding them of the human being’s essential incapacity to carry out alone that which is necessary for the true good. Rejecting the divine proposal leads, in fact, to a profound imbalance in all human relationships, including marriage, and facilitates an erroneous understanding of freedom and self-realization. These, together with the flight from patiently borne suffering, condemns humanity to becoming locked within its own selfishness and self-centredness. On the contrary, accepting faith makes human persons capable of giving themselves … and thus of discovering the extent of being a human person."
“Faith in God, sustained by God’s grace, is therefore a very important element in living mutual devotion and conjugal faithfulness. This does not mean to assert that faithfulness, among other properties, are not possible in the legitimate marriage between unbaptised couples. In fact, it is not devoid of goods that ‘come from God the Creator and are included, in a certain inchoative way, in the marital love that unites Christ with His Church’. But, of course, closing oneself off from God or rejecting the sacred dimension of the conjugal bond and its value in the order of grace make the concrete embodiment of the highest model of marriage conceived of by the Church, according to God’s plan, arduous. It may even undermine the very validity of the covenant if … it results in a rejection of the very principle of the conjugal obligation of faithfulness or of other essential elements or properties of the marriage.”
“Tertullian, in his famous “Letter to His Wife”, which speaks about married life marked by faith, writes that Christian couples are truly ‘two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one is the spirit too. Together they pray, together prostrate themselves, together perform their fasts; mutually teaching, mutually exhorting, mutually sustaining one another.’"
“The saints who lived their matrimonial and familial union within a Christian perspective were able to overcome even the most adverse situations, sometimes achieving the sanctification of their spouse and children through a love reinforced by a strong faith in God, sincere religious piety, and an intense sacramental life. Such experiences, marked by faith, allow us to understand, even today, how precious is the sacrifice offered by the spouse who has been abandoned or who has suffered a divorce—'being well aware that the valid marriage bond is indissoluble, and refraining from becoming involved in a new union. … In such cases their example of fidelity and Christian consistency takes on particular value as a witness before the world and the Church'.”
Lastly, I would like to reflect briefly on the ‘bonum coniugum’. Faith is important in carrying out the authentic conjugal good, which consists simply in wanting, always and in every case, the welfare of the other, on the basis of a true and indissoluble ‘consortium vitae’. Indeed, the context of Christian spouses living a true ‘communio coniugalis’ has its own dynamism of faith by which the ‘confessio’—the personal, sincere response to the announcement of salvation—involves the believer in the action of God’s love. ‘Confessio' and ‘caritas’ are 'the two ways in which God involves us, make us act with Him, in Him and for humanity, for His creation. … “Confessio” is not an abstract thing, it is “caritas”, it is love. Only in this way is it really the reflection of divine truth, which as truth is also, inseparably, love'.”
“Only through the call of love, does the presence of the Gospel become not just a word but a living reality. In other words, while it is true that ‘Faith without charity bears no fruit, while charity without faith would be a sentiment constantly at the mercy of doubt’, we must conclude that ‘Faith and charity each require the other, in such a way that each allows the other to set out along its respective path.’ If this holds true in the broader context of communal life, it should be even more valuable to the conjugal union. It is in that union, in fact, that faith makes the spouses’ love grow and bear fruit, giving space to the presence of the Triune God and making the conjugal life itself, lived thusly, to be ‘joyful news’ to the world.”
“I recognize the difficulties, from a legal and a practical perspective, in elucidating the essential element of the ‘bonum coniugum’, understood so far mainly in relation to the circumstance of invalidity. The ‘bonum coniugum’ also takes on importance in the area of simulating consent. Certainly, in cases submitted to your judgement, there will be an ‘in facto’ inquiry that can verify the possible validity of the grounds for annulment, predominant to or coexistent with the three Augustinian ‘goods’: procreativity, exclusivity, and perpetuity. Therefore, don’t let it escape your consideration that there might be cases where, precisely because of the absence of faith, the good of the spouses is damaged and thus excluded from the consent itself. For example, this can happen when one member of the couple has an erroneous understanding of the martial bond or of the principle of parity or when there is a refusal of the dual union that characterizes the marital bond by either excluding fidelity or by excluding the use of intercourse ‘humano modo’.
“With these considerations I certainly do not wish to suggest any facile relationship between a lack of faith and the invalidity of a marital union, but rather to highlight how such a deficiency may, but not necessarily, damage the goods of marriage, since the reference to the natural order desired by God is inherent to the conjugal covenant.”
Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – This afternoon at 5:30pm, for the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Benedict XVI presided over second Vespers in the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls. The celebration marked the closure of the 46th Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which this year had the theme: "What does God require of us?" Many representatives from other Churches and ecclesial communities participated in the celebrations, including Metropolitan-Archbishop Gennadios (Limouris), representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and Rev. Richardson, representing the Archbishop of Canterbury.
"Communion in the same faith is the basis for ecumenism," the Holy Father said, emphasizing that "God gives us unity as something inseparable from the faith" and that "the profession of baptismal faith in God, the Father and Creator, who has revealed Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ, pouring out the Spirit who gives life and holiness already unites Christians. Without faith?which is first a gift from God, but also the response of human persons?the entire ecumenical movement would be reduced to a type of 'contract', to adhere to out of common interest. … The doctrinal questions that still divide us should not be overlooked or minimized. Rather, they should be faced with courage, in a spirit of fraternity and mutual respect. Dialogue, when it reflects the priority of faith, can be open to God's action with the firm confidence that alone we cannot build unity, but that the Holy Spirit is the one who guides us toward full communion and who allows us to see the spiritual wealth present in the different Churches and ecclesial communities."
"In today's society," the Pope noted, "it seems that the Christian message seems to have less and less of an impact on personal and communal lives. This represents a challenge to all the Churches and ecclesial communities. … While we walk toward full unity, therefore, we have to pursue a concrete collaboration between the disciples of Christ in order to further the spread of the faith in the modern world. Nowadays there is a great need for reconciliation, dialogue, and mutual understanding, for a more incisive presence in today's reality."
"True faith in God is inseparable from personal holiness as well as from the search for justice," the pontiff highlighted. After recalling that the theme for this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was proposed by the Student Christian Movement in India in collaboration with the All India Catholic University Federation and the National Council of Churches in India, he assured his prayers for all the Christians of that country who "at times are called to bear witness to their faith under difficult conditions. 'Walking humbly with God' means, first of all, walking in the radicality of faith, like Abraham, trusting in God, even placing our every hope and aspiration in Him, but it also means walking beyond barriers, beyond the hatred, racism, and social and religious discrimination that divide and damage all of society."
"Our search for unity in truth and love, should never lose sight of the perception that Christian unity is the work and the gift of the Holy Spirit and that it goes well beyond our efforts. Spiritual ecumenism, therefore, especially prayer, is at the heart of ecumenical commitment. Ecumenism, however, will never bear lasting fruit unless it is accompanied by the concrete gestures of conversion that move our conscience and favour the healing of memories and relationships. … Genuine conversion … is a fundamental element of our ecumenical commitment. The renewal of the inner life of our hearts and minds, which is reflected in everyday life, is crucial in any dialogue or path of reconciliation, making ecumenism a reciprocal commitment of understanding, respect, and love, 'so that the world may believe'."
Vatican City, 28 January 2013, (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and
eight prelates from the Campania region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Andrea Mugione of Benevento,
- Archbishop Pasquale Cascio of Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi-Conza-Nusco-Bisaccia,
- Bishop Michele De Rosa of Cerreto Sannita-Telese-Sant’Agata de’ Goti
- Bishop Giovanni D’Alise of Ariano Irpino-Lacedonia,
- Bishop Francesco Marino of Avellino,
- Bishop Ciro Miniero of Vallo della Lucania,
- Bishop Antonio De Luca, C.SS.R., of Teggiano-Policastro, and
- Dom Beda Umberto Paluzzi, O.S.B., Abbot of Montevergine.
On Saturday, 26 January, the Holy Father received Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, in audience.
Vatican City, 26 January 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:
- appointed Fr. Guy Charbonneau, P.M.E., as bishop of the diocese of Choluteca (area 5,775, population 700,000, Catholics 586,000, priests 28, religious 67),Honduras. The bishop-elect was born in 1946 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and ordained a priest in 1970. Between 1970 and 2003 he served in various pastoral and administrative roles on parochial, diocesan, and national levels in Honduras. From 2008 to the present he was Superior General of the Society of Foreign Missions of Quebec, Canada.
- appointed Msgr. Laurent Djalwana Lompo as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Niamey (area 200,000, population 7,400,000, Catholics 20,100, priests 42, religious 90), Niger. The bishop-elect was born in 1967 in Koulbou, Niger and ordained a priest in 1997. He has served as pastor in and vocations director for the archdiocese. From 2003 to the present he served as the archdiocese's vicar general. The Holy Father has also assigned him the titular see of Buffada.
- appointed Fr. Rafael Garcia de la Serrana Villalobos as vice director of the Department of Technical Services for the Governorate of Vatican City State. Fr. de la Serrana Villalobos is a member of the clergy of the personal prelature Opus Dei.


The curfew will begin this evening at 21.00 in Suez, Port Said and Ismalia and will last 30 days. Arab Spring protests mixed with football hooliganism. The death toll is 50 dead and nearly 500 injured.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has proclaimed a curfew in the districts of Port Said, Suez and Ismalia, after four days of violence that has killed 50 people. The measure will begin this evening at 21.00 (local time) and will last approximately 30 days. "Prior to my election - said the president - I said I was opposed to resort to extraordinary measures, but the security of the nation is in danger and it is time to act." "The violence of recent days - he continued - has nothing to do with the revolution. Instead, it is the 'ugly face' of a counter-revolution."

Since last January 25, the second anniversary of the Jasmine Revolution, Egypt has been in the grip of severe tensions. For three days, hundreds of thousands of people protested in major Egyptian cities - Cairo, Alexandria, Assuit, Port Said, Suez, Sharqiya, Kafr al-Sheikh - calling for the end of the Islamist establishment and a true democracy. The most serious clashes took place in Suez, where eight people were killed. The protests of the young democratic movements overlapped with the violence of football hooligans linked to the death sentence handed down to 21 people over the Port Said massacre took place on 2 February 2012. On 26 January, the family of the condemned and supporters of Al-Masri - the local team whose fans are responsible for the deaths of 73 supporters of the opponent al-Ahly (Cairo team) - tried to storm the police stations. 32 people died in clashes. Yesterday, at the funeral of the victims, hooligans and police again clashed on the streets of Port Said, adding seven more dead and 450 wounded to the toll.





Ireland: New Bishop of Cloyne Ordained | William Crean, Ordination, Bishop of Cloyne at St Colman's Cathedral

Bishop WIlliam Crean
Canon William Crean was Ordained the 67th Bishop of Cloyne at St Colman's Cathedral, Cobh on Sunday, 27 January. The Principal Ordaining Bishop was Archbishop Charles Brown, Papal Nuncio to Ireland, assisted by the Archbishop of Cashel & Emly, Most Reverend Dermot Clifford DD and the Bishop of Kerry, Most Reverend William Murphy DD.
His Eminence Sean Cardinal Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland presided at the Mass, and concelebrants included the Archbishop of Tuam, Archbishop Michael Neary, many other members of the Hierarchy, some 90 priests from the Diocese of Cloyne and a large number of priests from the new Bishop's native Diocese of Kerry. Classmates of Bishop Crean, including Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, also concelebrated the Mass.
Members of Bishop Crean's family, including his seven brothers and sisters, were in St Colman's for the Ordination.
The official document from Pope Benedict XVI appointing Bishop Crean was read by Monsignor Eamonn Goold PP VF, Midleton. The first reading was read by Colm Drinan, Carrigtwohill and the second reading was read by Maire Ui Laoire, Cill na Marta. The Psalmist was Eileen Plummer, a member of the Cobh Cathedral Choir. The Gospel was proclaimed by Father Damien Lynch, CC Fermoy, who was ordained to the priesthood last June. Offertory gifts were brought forward by children from the five Cobh parish schools.
The choir was made up of the Cobh Cathedral Choir and St Colman's Chamber Choir. Director of Music was Mr Dominic Finn. The organist was Mr Adrian Gebruers, who is also the Cathedral Carilloneur, and played the Carillon as the procession left the Cathedral at the end of the ceremony.
Representatives of other Christian Churches who greeted the new bishop included the Right Reverend Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Church of Ireland; the Reverend Colin Milligan, the Methodist Church of Ireland; the Reverend William Montgomery, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the Reverend Jim Stephens, Parish of Kilcolman in the Church of Ireland Diocese of Ardfert & Aghadoe.
The President and the Taoiseach were represented by their Aides de Camp. The attendance included the Mayor of Cobh, Sinead Sheppard, the Cork County, Mayor Barbara Murray, David Stanton TD, Michael Ahern, former TD, representing Mr Micheal Martin, Fianna Fail leader, Sean Kelly MEP, Cobh Junior Mayor Niamh O'Connor, and members of Cobh Town Council.
Captain Hugh Tully represented Commodore Mark Mellett, head of the Irish Navy. The attendance included Garda Superintendent Pat Lehane, John Mulvihill MCC, Seán O'Connor MCC and people representing every parish in the diocese.
During his address, after thanking all present, and all who have supported him in his vocation, Bishop Crean spoke of the motto he has chosen: "Croí le brí Nua - heart with a new vitality" to represent the new start for the diocese.
He said: "As we move forward we bring with us the long and deeply rooted Christian Heritage of this ancient See of Cloyne. Regardless of your view of history St. Colman has set down deep roots - which will not be easily uprooted. Tá an creideamh préamhaithe go domhain agus go daingean san doeise seo.
"'The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me'. We borrow these words from the lips of Jesus and make them our own today. Our mission is the same as that of Jesus - to ensure that the vulnerable are cared for.
"Few doubt that there is an air of desolation across the land. So much and so many things combine to dampen if not indeed crush the spirits of many. The discipline and demands of the "Troika" weigh heavily on us. Jesus was critical of those who placed excessive burdens on peoples' shoulders. Is it not time that major financial institutions do more of the heavy lifting? - the people have done their share.
"Beneath these economic woes there are issues of the spirit that need more of our attention. Our souls cry out for "calm from the storm". Anxiety and depression reign in the hearts of so many. Family relationships are strained to the limit as they try to cope. Despite these challenges we journey in hope and with resilience. This year we celebrate a Year of Faith to mark 50 years since Vatican II which gave us a renewed vision of the Church's mission in the world.
"My friends when I speak of heart and the aspiration for a new vitality I speak not just of the Church but Society too. To nurture that spirit calls for a new positive engagement in public discourse. Cynicism serves no one and resolves nothing.
"There are those who believe that the mission of the Church belongs to history. I say it was never so relevant and contemporary in its wisdom and insight. The Church is duty bound to engage positively in the public discourse. I believe we can and will be a leaven in that dialogue. Change is a constant reality. The question for all is "Can we bring with us the vigour and truth of the Gospel as we together seek to rebuild the nation for a new generation?"
Following the ceremony Bishop Crean attended a reception for the faithful of the Diocese of Cloyne in the Great Island Community Centre where he received a very warm welcome and many congratulations.
Life and ministry of Bishop Crean
William Crean was born in Tralee on 16 December 1951, the son of the late Patrick and Margaret Crean (née O'Donnell). His primary and secondary education was in Tralee and later in Saint Brendan's College, Killarney. As one whose family numbered several vocations to priesthood and the religious life, he too heard the call to the priesthood.
Having completed his BA in Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth, he became a student at the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, while completing his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University and he went on to obtain his Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1977.
He was ordained to the priesthood on the 20 June 1976 for service in the Diocese of Kerry. There followed several pastoral appointments in Canon Crean's native diocese. Whether as catechist/chaplain in Killorglin (1977-1980), chaplain in Tarbert Comprehensive School (1983-1986), or Director of Blessed John Paul II Pastoral Centre in Killarney with further duties as Diocesan Advisor to Post-Primary Schools and Director of Adult Religious Education (1987-1996), Canon Crean's apostolate centred strongly on the transmission of the faith in an educational setting.
During those years, Canon Crean also found time to study for a Diploma in Religious Education at Mount Oliver Institute of Education in Dundalk (1987) and undertake Sabbatical Studies at Weston School of Theology in Boston (1998-1999). He also became the Founder Director of Radio Kerry (Director 1990-2012), representing Ardfert Christian Media Trust, a joint shareholding by the Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland.
He served as well for two years as Chairperson of ARENA (Adult Religious Education National Association). Canon Crean's experience has been enriched by his pastoral assignments. Following curacy duties in Glenbeigh (1980-1983) and Killorglin (1996-1998), he has served as Parish Priest in Castlegregory/Cloghane (1999-2006) and in Cahersiveen from 2006 to the present day. He was on the national executive of the National Conference of Priests of Ireland for three years in the 1980s. Well rooted in the spiritual heritage of his native Kerry, he is committed to dialogue between faith and modern culture.
For more information see:
Source: Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth



(IMAGE/SHARE AsiaNews) Agenzia Fides REPORT - It is estimated that a severe famine in the rural Korean provinces of North and South Hwanghae has caused the deaths of 10 000 people due to cannibalism and it is feared that such accidents may continue to increase. A report by Asia Press points out particularly shocking testimonies. Undercover journalists revealed that the population of the two poorest provinces confiscated foodstuffs for distribution in the capital Pyongyang. What is making the situation worse is the drought that has further reduced resources. This emergency has grown to the point that so many people have become crazy because of hunger and have committed acts of cannibalism to feed themselves. This is not the first time we read similar news about the Asian country concerning this dreadful phenomenon. This past May, the Institute for National Unification South Korea, received the news about a man executed for having eaten parts of one of his colleagues and tried to sell the rest of the body as mutton. Another was executed for killing 11 people and sold the bodies as pork. There are also incidents of cannibalism in the detention camps. It is believed that in the 90s a terrible famine, known as the Arduous March, killed between 240,000 and 3 million and a half people. The UN officials visited the area but according to local reporters they were not brought to the areas affected by famine. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 28/01/2013)




St. Thomas Aquinas
Feast: January 28

Feast Day:January 28
1225, Roccasecca, in Lazio, Italy
Died:7 March 1274, Fossanuova Abbey, Italy
Canonized:July 18, 1323, Avignon, France
Major Shrine:Church of the Jacobins, Toulouse, France
Patron of:Catholic universities, colleges, and schools
The great outlines and all the important events of his life are known, but biographers differ as to some details and dates. Death prevented Henry Denifle from executing his project of writing a critical life of the saint. Denifle's friend and pupil, Dominic Prummer, O.P., professor of theology in the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, has taken up the work and is publishing the "Fontes Vitae S. Thomae Aquinatis, notis historicis et criticis illustrati"; and the first fascicle (Toulouse, 1911) has appeared, giving the life of St. Thomas by Peter Calo (1300) now published for the first time. From Tolomeo of Lucca . . . we learn that at the time of the saint's death there was a doubt about his exact age (Prummer, op. cit., 45). The end of 1225 is usually assigned as the time of his birth. Father Prummer, on the authority of Calo, thinks 1227 is the more probable date (op. cit., 28). All agree that he died in 1274.
Landulph, his father, was Count of Aquino, Theodora, his mother, Countess of Teano. His family was related to the Emperors Henry VI and Frederick II, and to the Kings of Aragon, Castile, and France. Calo relates that a holy hermit foretold his career, saying to Theodora before his birth: "He will enter the Order of Friars Preachers, and so great will be his learning and sanctity that in his day no one will be found to equal him" (Prummer, op. cit., 18). At the age of five, according to the custom of the times, he was sent to receive his first training from the Benedictine monks of Monte Cassino. Diligent in study, he was thus early noted as being meditative and devoted to prayer, and his preceptor was surprised at hearing the child ask frequently: "What is God?" About the year 1236 he was sent to the University of Naples. Calo says that the change was made at the instance of the Abbot of Monte Cassino, who wrote to Thomas's father that a boy of such talents should not be left in obscurity (Prummer, op. cit., 20). At Naples his preceptors were Pietro Martini and Petrus Hibernus. The chronicler says that he soon surpassed Martini a grammar, and he was then given over to Peter of Ireland, who trained him in logic and the natural sciences. The customs of the times divided the liberal arts into two courses: the Trivium, embracing grammar, logic, and rhetoric; the Quadrivium, comprising music, mathematics, geometry, and astronomy . . . . Thomas could repeat the lessons with more depth and lucidity than his masters displayed. The youth's heart had remained pure amidst the corruption with which he was surrounded, and he resolved to embrace the religious life.
Some time between 1240 and August, 1243, he received the habit of the Order of St. Dominic, being attracted and directed by John of St. Julian, a noted preacher of the convent of Naples. The city wondered that such a noble young man should don the garb of poor friar. His mother, with mingled feelings of joy and sorrow, hastened to Naples to see her son. The Dominicans, fearing she would take him away, sent him to Rome, his ultimate destination being Paris or Cologne. At the instance of Theodora, Thomas's brothers, who were soldiers under the Emperor Frederick, captured the novice near the town of Aquapendente and confined him in the fortress of San Giovanni at Rocca Secca. Here he was detained nearly two years, his parents, brothers, and Sisters endeavouring by various means to destroy his vocation. The brothers even laid snares for his virtue, but the pure-minded novice drove the temptress from his room with a brand which he snatched from the fire. Towards the end of his life, St. Thomas confided to his faithful friend and companion, Reginald of Piperno, the secret of a remarkable favour received at this time. When the temptress had been driven from his chamber, he knelt and most earnestly implored God to grant him integrity of mind and body. He fell into a gentle sleep, and, as he slept, two angels appeared to assure him that his prayer had been heard. They then girded him about with a white girdle, saying: "We gird thee with the girdle of perpetual virginity." And from that day forward he never experienced the slightest motions of concupiscence.
The time spent in captivity was not lost. His mother relented somewhat, after the first burst of anger and grief; the Dominicans were allowed to provide him with new habits, and through the kind offices of his sister he procured some books—the Holy Scriptures, Aristotle's Metaphysics, and the "Sentences" of Peter Lombard. After eighteen months or two years spent in prison, either because his mother saw that the hermit's prophecy would eventually be fulfilled or because his brothers feared the threats of Innocent IV and Frederick II, he was set at liberty, being lowered in a basket into the arms of the Dominicans, who were delighted to find that during his captivity "he had made as much progress as if he had been in a <studium generale>" (Calo, op. cit., 24). Thomas immediately pronounced his vows, and his superiors sent him to Rome. Innocent IV examined closely into his motives in joining the Friars Preachers, dismissed him with a blessing, and forbade any further interference with his vocation. John the Teutonic, fourth master general of the order, took the young student to Paris and, according to the majority of the saint's biographers, to Cologne, where he arrived in 1244 or 1245, and was placed under Albertus Magnus, the most renowned professor of the order (on chronology of this period see Prummer, op. cit., p.25). In the schools Thomas's humility and taciturnity were misinterpreted as signs of dullness, but when Albert had heard his brilliant defence of a difficult thesis, he exclaimed: "We call this young man a dumb ox, hut his bellowing in doctrine will one day resound throughout the world."
In 1245 Albert was sent to Paris, and Thomas accompanied him as a student. In 1248 both returned to Cologne. Albert had been appointed regent of the new <studium generale>, erected that year by the general chapter of the order, and Thomas was to teach under him as Bachelor. (On the system of graduation in the thirteenth century see PREACHERS, ORDER OF—II, A, 1, d). During his stay in Cologne, probably in 1250, he was raised to the priesthood by Conrad of Hochstaden, archbishop of that city. Throughout his busy life, he frequently preached the Word of God, in Germany, France, and Italy. His sermons were forceful, redolent of piety, full of solid instruction, abounding in apt citations from the Scriptures . In the year 1251 or 1252 the master general of the order, by the advice of Albertus Magnus and Hugo a S. Charo (Hugh of St. Cher), sent Thomas to fill the office of Bachelor (sub-regent) in the Dominican < studium> at Paris. This appointment may be regarded as the beginning of his public career, for his teaching soon attracted the attention both of the professors and of the students. His duties consisted principally in explaining the "Sentences" of Peter Lombard, and his commentmies on that text-book of theology furnished the materials and, in great part, the plan for his chief work, the "Summa theologica".
In due time he was ordered to prepare himself to obtain the degree of Doctor in Theology from the University of Paris, but the conferring of the degree was postponed, owing to a dispute between the university and the friars. The conflict, originally a dispute between the university and the civic authorities, arose from the slaying of one of the students and the wounding of three others by the city guard. The university, jealous of its autonomy, demanded satisfaction, which was refused. The doctors closed their schools, solemnly swore that they would not reopen them until their demands were granted, and decreed that in future no one should be admitted to the degree of Doctor unless he would take an oath to follow the same line of conduct under similar circumstances. The Dominicans and Franciscans, who had continued to teach in their schools, refused to take the prescribed oath, and from this there arose a bitter conflict which was at its height when St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure were ready to be presented for their degrees. William of St. Amour extended the dispute beyond the original question, violently attacked the Friars, of whom he was evidently jealous, and denied their right to occupy chairs in the university. Against his book, "De periculis novissimorum temporum" (The Perils of the Last Times), St. Thomas wrote a treatise "Contra impugnantes religionem", an apology for the religious orders (Touron, op. cit., II, cc. vii sqq.). The book of William of St. Amour was condemned by Alexander IV at Anagni, 5 October, 1256, and the pope gave orders that the mendicant friars should be admitted to the doctorate.
About this time St. Thomas also combated a dangerous book, "The Eternal Gospel" (Touron, op. cit., II, cxii). The university authorities did not obey immediately; the influence of St. Louis IX and eleven papal Briefs were required before peace was firmly established, and St. Thomas was admitted to the degree of Doctor in Theology. The date of his promotion, as given by many biographers, was 23 October, 1257. His theme was "The Majesty of Christ". His text, "Thou waterest the hills from thy upper rooms: the earth shall be filled with the fruit of thy works" (Ps. ciii, 13), said to have been suggested by a heavenly visitor, seems to have been prophetic of his career. A tradition says that St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas received the doctorate on the same day, and that there was a contest of humility between the two friends as to which should be promoted first. From this time St. Thomas's life may be summed up in a few words: praying, preaching, teaching, writing, journeying. Men were more anxious to hear him than they had been to bear Albert, whom St. Thomas surpassed in accuracy, lucidity, brevity, and power of exposition, if not in universality of knowledge. Paris claimed him as her own; the popes wished to have him near them; the <studia> of the order were eager to enjoy the benefit of his teaching; hence we find him successively at Anagni, Rome, Bologna, Orvieto, Viterbo, Perugia, in Paris again, and finally in Naples, always teaching and writing, living on earth with one passion, an ardent zeal for the explanation and defence of Christian truth. So devoted was he to his sacred task that with tears he begged to be excused from accepting the Archbishopric of Naples, to which he was appointed by Clement IV in 1265. Had this appointment been accepted, most probably the "Summa theologica" would not have been written.
Yielding to the requests of his brethren, he on several occasions took part in the deliberations of the general chapters of the order. One of these chapters was held in London in 1263. In another held at Valenciennes (1259) he collaborated with Albertus Magnus and Peter of Tarentasia (afterwards Pope Innocent V) in formulating a system of studies which is substantially preserved to this day in the <studia generalia> of the Dominican Order (cf. Douais, op. cit.). It is not surprising to read in the biographies of St. Thomas that he was frequently abstracted and in ecstasy. Towards the end of his life the ecstasies became more frequent. On one occasion, at Naples in 1273, after he had completed his treatise on the Eucharist, three of the brethren saw him lifted in ecstasy, and they heard a voice proceeding from the crucifix on the altar, saying "Thou hast written well of me, Thomas; what reward wilt thou have?". Thomas replied, "None other than Thyself, Lord" (Prummer, op. cit., p. 38). Similar declarations are said to have been made at Orvieto and at Paris. On 6 December, 1273, he laid aside his pen and would write no more. That day he experienced an unusually long ecstasy during Mass; what was revealed to him we can only surmise from his reply to Father Reginald, who urged him to continue his writings: "I can do no more. Such secrets have been revealed to me that all I have written now appears to be of little value" (<modica>, Prummer, op. cit., p. 43).
The "Summa theologica" had been completed only as far as the ninetieth question of the third part (De partibus poenitentiae). Thomas began his immediate preparation for death. Gregory X, having convoked a general council, to open at Lyons on 1 May, 1274, invited St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure to take part in the deliberations, commanding the former to bring to the council his treatise "Contra errores Graecorum" (Against the Errors of the Greeks). He tried to obey, setting out on foot in January, 1274, but strength failed him; he fell to the ground near Terracina, whence he was conducted to the Castle of Maienza the home of his niece the Countess Francesca Ceccano. The Cistercian monks of Fossa Nuova pressed him to accept their hospitality, and he was conveyed to their monastery, on entering which he whispered to his companion: "This is my rest for ever and ever: here will I dwell, for I have chosen it" (Ps. cxxxi, 14). When Father Reginald urged him to remain at the castle, the saint replied: "If the Lord wishes to take me away, it is better that I be found in a religious house than in the dwelling of a lay person." The Cistercians were so kind and attentive that Thomas's humility was alarmed. "Whence comes this honour", he exclaimed, "that servants of God should carry wood for my fire!" At the urgent request of the monks he dictated a brief commentary on the Canticle of Canticles.
The end was near; extreme unction was administered. When the Sacred Viaticum was brought into the room he pronounced the following act of faith: "If in this world there be any knowledge of this sacrament stronger than that of faith, I wish now to use it in affirming that I firmly believe and know as certain that Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, is in this Sacrament." Then he added: "I receive Thee, the price of my redemption, for Whose love I have watched, studied, and laboured. Thee have I preached; Thee have I taught. Never have I said anything against Thee: if anything was not well said, that is to be attributed to my ignorance. Neither do I wish to be obstinate in my opinions, but if I have written anything erroneous concerning this sacrament or other matters, I submit all to the judgment and correction of the Holy Roman Church, in whose obedience I now pass from this life" (Prummer, op. cit., p. 45). He died on 7 March, 1274. Numerous miracles attested his sanctity, and he was canonized by John XXII, 18 July, 1323. The monks of Fossa Nuova were anxious to keep his sacred remains, but by order of Urban V the body was given to his Dominican brethren, and was solemnly translated to the Dominican church at Toulouse, 28 January, 1369. A magnificent shrine erected in 1628 was destroyed during the French Revolution, and the body was removed to the Church of St. Sernin, where it now reposes in a sarcophagus of gold and silver, which was solemnly blessed by Cardinal Desprez on 24 July, 1878. The chief bone of his left arm is preserved in the cathedral of Naples. The right arm, bestowed on the University of Paris, and originally kept in the St. Thomas's Chapel of the Dominican church, is now preserved in the Dominican Church of S. Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome, whither it was transferred during the French Revolution.

A description of the saint as he appeared in life is given by Calo (Prummer, op. cit., p. 401), who says that his features corresponded with the greatness of his soul. He was of lofty stature and of heavy build, but straight and well proportioned. His complexion was "like the colour of new wheat": his head was large and well shaped, and he was slightly bald. All portraits represent him as noble, meditative, gentle yet strong. St. Pius V proclaimed St. Thomas a Doctor of the Universal Church in the year 1567. In the Encyclical "Aeterni Patris", of 4 August, 1879, on the restoration of Christian philosophy, Leo XIII declared him "the prince and master of all Scholastic doctors". The same illustrious pontiff, by a Brief dated 4 August, 1880, designated him patron of all Catholic universities, academies, colleges, and schools throughout the world.