Sunday, February 10, 2013


Our Lady of Lourdes
Feast: February 11

Feast Day:February 11
The pilgrimage of Lourdes is founded on the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to a poor, fourteen-year-old girl, Bernadette Soubiroux. The first apparition occurred 11 February, 1858. There were eighteen in all; the last took place 16 July, of the same year. Bernadette often fell into an ecstasy. The mysterious vision she saw in the hollow of the rock Massabielle was that of a young and beautiful lady. "Lovelier than I have ever seen" said the child. But the girl was the only one who saw the vision, although sometimes many stood there with her. Now and then the apparition spoke to the seer who also was the only one who heard the voice. Thus, she one day told her to drink of a mysterious fountain, in the grotto itself, the existence of which was unknown, and of which there was no sign, but which immediately gushed forth. On another occasion the apparition bade Bernadette go and tell the priests she wished a chapel to be built on the spot and processions to be made to the grotto. At first the clergy were incredulous. It was only four years later, in 1862, that the bishop of the diocese declared the faithful "justified in believing the reality of the apparition". A basilica was built upon the rock of Massabielle by M. Peyramale, the parish priest. In 1873 the great "national" French pilgrimages were inaugurated. Three years later the basilica was consecrated and the statue solemnly crowned. In 1883 the foundation stone of another church was laid, as the first was no longer large enough. It was built at the foot of the basilica and was consecrated in 1901 and called the Church of the Rosary. Pope Leo XIII authorized a special office and a Mass, in commemoration of the apparition, and in 1907 Pius X extended the observance of this feast to the entire Church; it is now observed on 11 February.
Never has a sanctuary attracted such throngs. At the end of the year 1908, when the fiftieth anniversary of the apparition was celebrated, although the record really only began from 1867, 5297 pilgrimages had been registered and these had brought 4,919,000 pilgrims. Individual pilgrims are more numerous by far than those who come in groups. To their number must be added the visitors who do not come as pilgrims, but who are attracted by a religious feeling or sometimes merely by the desire to see this far-famed spot. The Company of the Chemins de Fer du Midi estimates that the Lourdes station receives over one million travellers per annum. Every nation in the world furnishes its contingent. Out of the total of pilgrimages given above, four hundred and sixty-four came from countries other than France. They are sent by the United States, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Italy, England, Ireland, Canada, Brazil, Bolivia, etc. The bishops lead the way. At the end of the year of the fiftieth anniversary, 2013 prelates, including 546 archbishops, 10 primates, 19 patriarchs, 69 cardinals, had made the pilgrimage to Lourdes. But more remarkable still than the crowd of pilgrims is the series of wonderful occurrences which take place under the protection of the celebrated sanctuary. Passing over spiritual cures, which more often than not escape human observance, we shall confine ourselves to bodily diseases. The writer of this article has recorded every recovery, whether partial or complete, and in the first half-century of the shrine's existence he has counted 3962. Notwithstanding very careful statistics which give the names and surnames of the patients who have recovered, the date of the cure, the name of the disease, and generally that of the physician who had charge of the case, there are inevitably doubtful or mistaken cases, attributable, as a rule, to the excited fancy of the afflicted one and which time soon dispels. But it is only right to note: first, that these unavoidable errors regard only secondary cases which have not like the others been the object of special study; it must also be noted that the number of cases is equalled and exceeded by actual cures which are not put on record. The afflicted who have recovered are not obliged to present themselves and half of them do not present themselves, at the Bureau des Constatations Médicales at Lourdes, and it is from this bureau's official reports that the list of cures is drawn up.
The estimate that about 4000 cures have been obtained at Lourdes within the first fifty years of the pilgrimage is undoubtedly considerably less than the actual number. The Bureau des Constatations stands near the shrine, and there are recorded and checked the certificates of maladies and also the certificates of cure; it is free to all physicians, whatever their nationality or religious belief. Consequently, on an average, from two to three hundred physicians annual visit this marvellous clinic. As to the nature of the diseases which are cured, nervous disorders so frequently mentioned, do not furnish even the fourteenth part of the whole; 278 have been counted, out of a total of 3962. The present writer has published the number of cases of each disease or infirmity, among them tuberculosis, tumours, sores, cancers, deafness, blindness, etc. The "Annales des Sciences Physiques", a sceptical review whose chief editor is Doctor Ch. Richet, Professor at the Medical Faculty of Paris, said in the course of a long article, apropos of this faithful study: "On reading it, unprejudiced minds cannot but be convinced that the facts stated are authentic."

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)



RADIO VATICANA REPORT: In his remarks at the weekly Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the call of the first disciples, the subject of Sunday’s Gospel. The Holy Father noted that when the Lord calls someone to follow Him, God is more concerned about the faith of the one called than about his personal qualities or abilities.

While the call of St. Peter and the other disciples was in many ways unique, the Pope said, his experience is “representative of the call of every apostle of the Gospel.” We must never grow discouraged, he said, “in proclaiming Christ to all people, even to the ends of the earth.”

Sunday’s Gospel, said Pope Benedict, can be seen especially as a reflection on the vocation to the priesthood or the religious life. Such a call is the work of God. “The human person is not the author of his own vocation,” the Pope explained. A vocation “is a response to a divine call.” He prayed “this Word of God might revive in us and in our Christian communities courage, confidence, and enthusiasm in proclaiming and witnessing to the Gospel.

Following the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father recalled those in the Far East who are celebrating the lunar new year. “Peace, harmony, and gratitude to Heaven are the universal values that are celebrated on this happy occasion,” he said. And he prayed for all those celebrating the new year, that their hopes for a happy and prosperous life would be fulfilled.

Pope Benedict also called attention to the celebration of the annual World Day of the Sick, taking place tomorrow on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. “With prayer and affection I will be close to all the sick,” he said. And he said he would be spiritually united to all those who will gather tomorrow at the Marian Shrine of Altötting, Germany, for the solemn commemoration of the World Day of the Sick.

Finally, Pope Benedict concluded his weekly address with greetings in various languages for pilgrims and visitors from around the world:

“I am pleased to greet all the visitors present at today’s Angelus, especially the young people of Saint Patrick’s Evangelisation School, London. In today’s Gospel, the crowds press round Jesus, ‘listening to the word of God.’ May we too listen attentively to Jesus’ words, as He calls us, like Simon Peter, to go out fearlessly and draw others to Christ. God bless you and your loved ones!”

Listen to Christopher Wells’ report: RealAudioMP3 

Below, please find the full text of the Holy Father's Angelus address: 

Dear brothers and sisters!

In today's liturgy, the Gospel according to Luke presents the story of the calling of the first disciples, with an original version that differs from that of the other two Synoptics, Mark and Matthew (cf. Mk 1:16-20, Mt 4:18-22). The call, in fact, was preceded by the teaching of Jesus to the crowd and a miraculous catch of fish, carried out by the will of the Lord (Lk 5.1 to 6). In fact, while the crowd rushes to the shore of Lake Gennesaret to hear Jesus, He sees Simon discouraged because he has caught nothing all night. First Jesus asks to get into Simon's boat in order to preach to the people standing a short distance from the shore; then, having finished preaching, He commands Simon to go out into the deep with his friends and cast their nets (cf. v. 5). Simon obeys, and they catch an incredible amount of fish. In this way, the evangelist shows how the first disciples followed Jesus, trusting him, relying on His Word, all the while accompanied by miraculous signs. We note that, before this sign, Simon addresses himself to Jesus, calling Him “Master” (v. 5), while afterwards he calls Him “Lord” (v. 7). This is the pedagogy of God’s call, which does not consider the quality of those who are chosen so much as their faith, like that of Simon that says: “At your word, I will let down the nets” (v. 5).

The image of the fish refers to the Church’s mission. St. Augustine says in this regard, “Twice the disciples went out to fish at the Lord’s command: one time before the Passion and the other after the Resurrection. In the two scenes of fishing, the entire Church is depicted: the Church as it is now and as it will be after the resurrection of the dead. Now it gathers together a multitude, impossible to number, comprising the good and the bad; after the resurrection, it will include only the good” (Speech 248.1). The experience of Peter, certainly unique, is nonetheless representative of the call of every apostle of the Gospel, who must never be discouraged in proclaiming Christ to all men, even to the ends of the world. Above all, today’s text is a reflection on the vocation to the priesthood and the consecrated life. It is the work of God. The human person is not the author of his own vocation; it is a response to divine call. Human weakness should not be afraid if God calls. It is necessary to have confidence in His strength, which acts in our poverty; we must rely more and more on the power of his mercy, which transforms and renews.

Dear brothers and sisters, may this Word of God revive in us and in our Christian communities the courage, confidence and enthusiasm in proclaiming and witnessing to the Gospel. Failures and difficulties do not lead to discouragement: it is our task to cast our nets in faith—the Lord will do the rest. We must trust, too, in the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the Queen of Apostles. To the Lord's call, she, well aware of her own smallness, answered with total confidence: “Here I am.” With her maternal help, let renew our willingness to follow Jesus, Master and Lord.

After the Angelus

Today, the various peoples of the Far East celebrate the Lunar New Year. Peace, harmony, and gratitude to Heaven are the universal values ​​that are celebrated on this happy occasion and are desired by all to build their own family, society and nation. I hope that that those Peoples will be able to fulfill their aspirations for a happy and prosperous life. I send a special greeting to the Catholics of those countries, that in this Year of Faith they will be guided by the wisdom of Christ.

Tomorrow, the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, is also the World Day of the Sick. The solemn celebration will take place at the Marian Shrine of Altötting in Bavaria. With prayer and affection I will be close to all the sick and I unite myself spiritually to those who gather in the Sanctuary, who are particularly dear to me.


I am pleased to greet all the visitors present at today’s Angelus, especially the young people of Saint Patrick’s Evangelisation School, London. In today’s Gospel, the crowds press round Jesus, “listening to the word of God”. May we too listen attentively to Jesus’ words, as he calls us, like Simon Peter, to go out fearlessly and draw others to Christ. God bless you and your loved ones!





guimond(CCCB – Ottawa)… The Most Reverend Arthé Guimond, Archbishop Emeritus of Grouard-McLennanAlberta, died on Wednesday, February 6, 2013, in Saint-AlbertAlberta, at the age of 81. Archbishop Guimond was born on May 22,1931, in St. François-Xavier des Hauteurs, Quebec. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan on June 23, 1957. Following his ordination to the priesthood, he did pastoral work in the Archdiocese for four years.
Archbishop Guimond was extensively involved in education. He taught at the Collège universitaire de Hearst in Ontario; the San Francisco archdiocesan seminary; Newman Theological College, Edmonton; the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon; and Saint Boniface Seminary in Manitoba. From 1975 to 1987 he served as a theologian on what was then the pastoral team of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. He returned to the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan almost 30 years later, serving as pastor of Fairview and then Peace River, from 1987 to 1998, and also as Vicar General, from 1996 to 1998. Archbishop Guimond had been diocesan administrator of the Archdiocese, from 1998 to 2000, following the death of the Most Reverend Henri Goudreault, O.M.I., in July 1998. He was appointed Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan by Blessed John Paul II in June 8, 2000. His resignation as Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan was accepted by the Holy Father in November 2006, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 for Bishops.
As member of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, he served as a member, from 2001 to 2003, as Chairman of the former Commission for Christian Education of the French Sector. 
His funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph Basilica, Edmonton, on Friday, February 15, at 10:30 am, with the Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton and President of the CCCB, presiding. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. John the Baptist Cathedral, McLennan, on Friday, February 22, at 7:30 pm, with Archbishop Gerard Pettipas, C.Ss.R., presiding.



This year's St Vincent de Paul Society doorknock appeal, with a target of $350,000, was launched at lunchtime today in Garema Place, Canberra, by former Governor-General Sir William Deane.
He urged Canberrans to "hear the knock, open the door, do what you can to help the disadvantaged".
Sir William said those who experienced "the utter desolation of homelessness" in our cities tended to be invisible to most of the community.
The focus of Canberrans in the centenary year of the city should be on their community, "and we all agree that community means all of our community".
In the last financial year, nearly 37,000 people were helped by the society in the Canberra-Goulburn region. More than $1.3 million was given in assistance, including food and utility and rent payments.
For the first time, the doorknock will be run in Goulburn and Batemans Bay.
To register to be a doorknock volunteer go to

Sir William Deane launches the doorknock appeal, watched by St Vincent de Paul Society archdiocesan president Mr Frank Brassil.



The Christian mother of five was convicted of blasphemy in 2009 and sentenced to death
Alessandro Speciale, Vatican City
A high-ranking Vatican prelate has written to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari asking for the release of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death under the country’s controversial blasphemy law.
Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, vice dean of the College of Cardinals, called for a “gesture of clemency” for Bibi, 42, who was sentenced in 2009 and has been jailed ever since.
He said Zardari’s pardon of Bibi would have “an enormous significance and would greatly promote dialogue and reconciliation between Muslims and Christians.”
He added: “In my long life, I have always worked to help Christians and Muslims live together as brothers, ever since Blessed John Paul asked me to organize the historical meeting for peace in Assisi on October 27, 1986.”
On that occasion, leaders from the world's religions met for the first time in St. Francis' hometown at the invitation of a pope.
“We can’t continue ignoring each other or, worse, fighting each other,” he concluded in the letter.
Cardinal Etchegaray’s is the latest appeal from the international community on behalf of Bibi, whose story has captured headlines since her detention and brought further scrutiny on Pakistan’s blasphemy legislation, which rights groups say is often used unjustly to settle political scores or target religious minorities.
In January, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi appealed to the Pakistan government through the Italian embassy in Islamabad to release Bibi.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - An Election Commission that is indeed "independent, autonomous and neutral" is what the religious denominations of the Democratic Republic of Congo through their spokesman, don Donatien Shole, Deputy Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Congo ask for.
The leaders of the various religious denominations in the country met in Kinshasa on 1 February. At the end of the meeting don Shole reported the recommendations made during the debate on the law that revises the composition of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
"We call on the President of the Republic, who has the power to refer the law to the Parliament for further discussion, to take account of the profound aspiration of the Congolese people who want a truly independent, autonomous and neutral INEC," said the priest.
Religious leaders point out that the current INEC had been criticized during the presidential and legislative elections of 2011, in which numerous irregularities were found.
On 12 December 2012, the National Assembly had adopted a law amending the composition of INEC. The text states that the new Electoral Commission is made up of two bodies: the Office of Presidency and the Plenary Assembly. The latter is composed of 13 members (6 of the Presidential Majority, 4 of the opposition and 3 of civil society). According to the religious denominations this text that has no significant progress. 


Feb 10, 2013 - 5th Sun Ordinary Time

Isaiah 6: 1 - 2, 3 - 8

1In the year that King Uzzi'ah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple.2Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.3And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory."4And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.5And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"6Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar.7And he touched my mouth, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven."8And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."
Psalms 138: 1 - 5, 7 - 8
1I give thee thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing thy praise;
2I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; for thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy word.
3On the day I called, thou didst answer me, my strength of soul thou didst increase.
4All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, for they have heard the words of thy mouth;
5and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.
7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou dost preserve my life; thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and thy right hand delivers me.
8The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; thy steadfast love, O LORD, endures for ever. Do not forsake the work of thy hands.1 Corinthians 15: 1 - 11
1Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand,2by which you are saved, if you hold it fast -- unless you believed in vain.3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.8Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.9For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me.11Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.Luke 5: 1 - 11
1While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennes'aret.2And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.3Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.4And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."5And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets."6And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking,7they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."9For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken;10and so also were James and John, sons of Zeb'edee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men."11And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.


St. Scholastica
Feast: February 10

Feast Day:February 10
480, Nursia, Italy
Patron of:convulsive children; nuns; invoked against storms and rain
This saint was sister to the great St. Benedict. She consecrated herself to God from her earliest youth, as St. Gregory testifies. Where her first monastery was situated is not mentioned; but after her brother removed to Mount Cassino she chose her retreat at Plombariola, in that neighbourhood, where she founded and governed a nunnery about five miles distant to the south from St. Benedict's monastery. St. Bertharius, who was Abbot of Cassino three hundred years after, says that she instructed in virtue several of her own sex. And whereas St. Gregory informs us that St. Benedict governed nuns as well as monks, his sister must have been their abbess under his rule and direction. She visited her holy brother once a year, and as she was not allowed to enter his monastery, he went out with some of his monks to meet her at a house at some small distance. They spent these visits in the praises of God, and in conferring together on spiritual matters. St. Gregory relates a remarkable circumstance of the I last of these visits. Scholastica having passed the day as usual in singing psalms and pious discourse, they sat down in the evening to take their refection. After it was over, Scholastica, perhaps foreknowing it would be their last interview in this world, or at least desirous of some further spiritual improvement, was very urgent with her brother to delay his return till the next day, that they might entertain themselves till morning upon the happiness of the other life. St. Benedict, unwilling to transgress his rule, told her he could not pass a night out of his monastery, so desired her not to insist upon such a breach of monastic discipline. Scholastica finding him resolved on going home, laying her hands joined upon the table, and her head upon them, with many tears, begged of Almighty God to interpose in her behalf. Her prayer was scarce ended when there happened such a storm of rain, thunder, and lightning, that neither St. Benedict nor any of his companions could set a foot out of doors. He complained to his sister, saying, "God forgive you, sister; what have you done?" She answered, "I asked you a favour, and you refused it me; I asked it of Almighty God, and he has granted it me." St. Benedict was therefore obliged to comply with her request, and they spent the night in conferences on pious subjects, chiefly on the felicity of the blessed, to which both most ardently aspired, and which she was shortly to enjoy. The next morning they parted, and three days after St. Scholastica died in her solitude. St. Benedict was then alone in contemplation on Mount Cassino, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he saw the soul of his sister ascending thither in the shape of a dove. Filled with joy at her happy passage, he gave thanks for it to God, and declared her death to his brethren, some of whom he sent to bring her corpse to his monastery, where he caused it to be laid in the tomb which he had prepared for himself. She must have died about the year 543. Her relics are said to have been translated into France, together with those of St. Bennet, in the seventh century, according to the relation given by the monk Adrevald.1 They are said to have been deposited at Mans, and kept in the collegiate church of St. Peter in that city, in a rich silver shrine. In 1562 this shrine was preserved from being plundered by the Huguenots as is related by Chatelain. Her principal festival at Mans is kept a holyday on the 11th of July, the day of the translation of her relics. She was honored in some places with an office of three lessons, in the time of St. Louis, as appears from a calendar of Longchamp written in his reign.

Louis of Granada, treating on the perfection of the love of God, mentions the miraculous storm obtained by St. Scholastica to show with what excess of goodness God is always ready to hear the petitions and desires of his servants. This pious soul must have received strong pledges and most sensible tokens of his love, seeing she depended on receiving so readily what she asked of him. No child could address himself with so great confidence to his most tender parent. The love which God bears us, and his readiness to succour and comfort us, if we humbly confess and lay before him our wants, infinitely surpasses all that can be found in creatures. Nor can we be surprised that he so easily heard the prayer of this holy virgin, since at the command of Joshua he stopped the heavens, God obeying the voice of man! He hears the most secret desires of those that fear and love him, and does their will: if he sometimes seems deaf to their cries, it is to grant their main desire by doing what is most expedient for them, as St. Austin frequently observes. The short prayer by which St. Scholastica gained this remarkable victory over her brother, who was one of the greatest saints on earth, was doubtless no more than a single act of her pure desires, which she continually turned toward, and fixed on her beloved. It was enough for her to cast her eyes interiorly upon him with whom she was closely and inseparably united in mind and affections, to move him so suddenly to change the course of the elements in order to satisfy her pious desire. By placing herself, as a docile scholar, continually at the feet of the Divine Majesty, who filled all the powers of her soul with the sweetness of his heavenly communications, she learned that sublime science of perfection in which she became a mistress to so many other chaste souls by this divine exercise. Her life in her retirement, to that happy moment which closed her mortal pilgrimage, was a continued uniform contemplation, by which all her powers were united to and transformed into God.





Vatican Radio REPORT/SHARE Pope Benedict XVI received Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta on Saturday, on occasion of the 900th anniversary of the document that created the organisation as an Sovereign Order under Papal protection. Below, please find the full English text of the Pope's remarks.


Dear Brothers and Sisters!
I am happy to welcome and to greet each one of you, Knights and Dames, chaplains and volunteers, of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. I greet in a special way the Grand Master, His Most Eminent Highness Fra’ Matthew Festing, and I thank him for his kind words addressed to me in the name of all of you; I also thank you for the gift you wished to offer me, which I will dedicate to a work of charity. My affectionate thoughts go to the Cardinals and to my brother bishops and priests, in particular to my Secretary of State, who has just presided at the Eucharist, and to Cardinal Paolo Sardi, Patron of the Order, whom I thank for the care with which he strives to strengthen the special bond that joins you to the Catholic Church and most particularly to the Holy See. With gratitude, I greet Archbishop Angelo Acerbi, your Prelate. A final word of greeting goes to the diplomats and to all the high dignitaries and authorities who are present.
The occasion that brings us together is the ninth centenary of the solemn privilege Pie Postulatio Voluntatis of 15 February 1113, by which Pope Paschal II placed the newly created “hospitaller fraternity” of Jerusalem, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, under the protection of the Church, and gave it sovereign status, constituting it as an Order in church law, with the faculty freely to elect its superiors without interference from other lay or religious authorities. This important event takes on a special meaning in the context of the Year of Faith, during which the Church is called to renew the joy and the commitment of believing in Jesus Christ, the one Saviour of the world. In this regard, you too are called to welcome this time of grace, so as to deepen your knowledge of the Lord and to cause the truth and beauty of the faith to shine forth, through the witness of your lives and your service, in this present time.
Your Order, from its earliest days, has been marked by fidelity to the Church and to the Successor of Peter, and also for its unrenounceable spiritual identity, characterized by high religious ideals. Continue to walk along this path, bearing concrete witness to the transforming power of faith. By faith the Apostles left everything to follow Jesus, and then went out to the whole world, in fulfilment of his command to bring the Gospel to every creature; fearlessly they proclaimed to all people the power of the cross and the joy of the resurrection of Christ, which they had witnessed directly. By faith, the martyrs gave their lives, demonstrating the truth of the Gospel which had transformed them and made them capable of attaining to the highest gift, the fruit of love: that of forgiving their persecutors. And by faith, down the centuries, the members of your Order have given themselves completely, firstly in the care of the sick in Jerusalem and then in aid to pilgrims in the Holy Land who were exposed to grave dangers: their lives have added radiant pages to the annals of Christian charity and protection of Christianity. In the nineteenth century, the Order opened up to new and more ample forms of apostolate in the area of charitable assistance and service of the sick and the poor, but without ever abandoning the original ideals, especially that of the intense spiritual life of individual members. In this sense, your commitment must continue with a very particular attention to the religious consecration – of the professed members – which constitutes the heart of the Order. You must never forget your roots, when Blessed Gérard and his companions consecrated themselves with vows to the service of the poor, and their vocation was sanctioned by the privilege Pie Postulatio Voluntatis. The members of the newly created institute were thus configured with the features of religious life: commitment to attain Christian perfection by profession of the three vows, the charism for which they were consecrated, and fraternity among the members. The vocation of the professed members, still today, must be the object of great attention, combined with attention to the spiritual life of all.
In this sense, your Order, compared with other organizations that are committed in the international arena to the care of the sick, to solidarity and to human promotion, is distinguished by the Christian inspiration that must constantly direct the social engagement of its members. Be sure to preserve and cultivate this your qualifying characteristic and work with renewed apostolic ardour, maintaining an attitude of profound harmony with the Magisterium of the Church. Your esteemed and beneficent activity, carried out in a variety of fields and in different parts of the world, and particularly focused on care of the sick through hospitals and health-care institutes, is not mere philanthropy, but an effective expression and a living testimony of evangelical love.
In Sacred Scripture, the summons to love of neighbour is tied to the commandment to love God with all our heart, all our soul and all our strength (cf Mk 12:29-31). Thus, love of neighbour – if based on a true love for God – corresponds to the commandment and the example of Christ. It is possible, then, for the Christian, through his or her dedication, to bring others to experience the bountiful tenderness of our heavenly Father, through an ever deeper conformation to Christ. In order to offer love to our brothers and sisters, we must be afire with it from the furnace of divine charity: through prayer, constant listening to the word of God, and a life centred on the Eucharist. Your daily life must be imbued with the presence of Jesus, under whose gaze you are called to place the sufferings of the sick, the loneliness of the elderly, the difficulties of the disabled. In reaching out to these people, you are serving Christ: “as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).
Dear friends, continue working in society and in the world along the elevated paths indicated by the Gospel – faith and charity, for the renewal of hope: faith, as testimony of adherence to Christ and of commitment to the Gospel mission, which inspires you to an ever more vital presence in the ecclesial community and to an ever more conscious membership of the people of God; charity, as an expression of fraternity in Christ, through works of mercy for the sick, the poor, those in need of love, comfort and assistance, those who are afflicted by loneliness, by a sense of bewilderment and by new material and spiritual forms of poverty. These ideals are aptly expressed in your motto: “Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum”. These words summarize well the charism of your Order which, as a subject of international law, aims not to exercise power and influence of a worldly character, but in complete freedom to accomplish its own mission for the integral good of man, spirit and body, both individually and collectively, with special regard to those whose need of hope and love is greater.
May the Holy Virgin, Our Lady of Philermos, support your plans and projects with her maternal protection; may your heavenly protector Saint John the Baptist and Blessed Gérard, as well as the saints and blesseds of the Order, accompany you with their intercession. For my part, I promise to pray for all those present here, for all the members of the Order, as well as the numerous worthy volunteers, including a significant number of children, and for all who work alongside you. Affectionately, I impart to you a special Apostolic Blessing, which I willingly extend to your families.


Death of Fr Geoffrey Lynch monk, former secretary to four Ampleforth Abbots | Fr Geoffrey Lynch OSB, Ampleforth

Fr Geoffrey Lynch OSB
Fr Geoffrey Lynch OSB, Benedictine monk of Ampleforth Abbey who was secretary to Abbot Basil Hume, Abbot Ambrose Griffiths, Abbot Patrick Barry, and Abbot Timothy Wright, died peacefully at Ampleforth Abbey in Yorkshire on Friday 8 February 2013 at the age of 86.
Christopher Lynch (Geoffrey was the name given to him when he became a monk in 1948) was born in Wallasey in 1926 and educated at Ampleforth. From 1944-1948 he was in the RAFVR and Royal Air Force. It was while he was based at the Aircrew Receiving Centre in Torquay and training for the Japanese war that Christopher considered the call to be a monk. In June 1948 he joined a 230-mile pilgrimage walking from Wrexham to the national shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham, and then in September that year he joined the monastic community at Ampleforth. Fr Geoffrey was ordained priest in July 1957 and worked for some time in the Junior House, where he became Assistant Housemaster.
In August 1968 Fr Geoffrey was appointed secretary to the then Abbot of Ampleforth, Basil Hume. He continued in this role under Abbot Hume’s successors – Ambrose Griffiths (1976-1984), Patrick Barry (1984-1994) – and combined it with a number of roles that he was asked to carry out in the community and beyond, particularly that of Novice Master at Ampleforth (1976-1983) and Prior of St Bede’s Monastery and Pastoral Centre in York (1987-1994). In 1994 Fr Geoffrey was appointed parish priest of the Lancashire parish of St Joseph’s, Brindle. Five years later he returned to the Abbey and became secretary to Abbot Timothy Wright, a post he filled until 2002, as well as parish priest of Our Lady and the Holy Angels in Gilling East.
In February 2006, Fr Geoffrey was involved in a serious car accident which necessitated seven months in hospitals and the amputation of one leg above the knee. Undeterred, Fr Geoffrey took up a number of duties within the community, including time as Assistant Monastery Librarian, Chair of the Staff Association, and Part-time receptionist.
During his 60 years as a monk, Fr Geoffrey served as secretary or member of a number of groups and was editor of the Benedictine Yearbook from 2001-2006.
The Funeral Mass for Fr Geoffrey Lynch will take place in Ampleforth Abbey on Friday 15 February 2013, at 11.30 am, followed by burial in the vault in the Monks’ Wood.



Agenzia Fides REPORT - "The situation is improving gradually, but the crisis is not over," says to Fides Agency Father Edmond Dembele, Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Mali. "There is in particular an improvement of the security conditions in the big cities of the north which were freed from jihadi groups. As proved by the visit of the French President François Hollande in Timbuktu, which was greeted with joy by the people. "
"The crisis is not over yet," warns Don Dembele. "The conflict is not over and there are delicate operations to be carried out so that the whole north is finally liberated."
"We must not also forget the humanitarian crisis," added the priest. "The escape of civilians from the villages of the north continues because they do not feel safe and because the living conditions remain difficult. Even in the liberated areas there is lack of food and medical care. Then there are displaced people in the south who need assistance. "
His Excellency Monsignor Georges Fonghoro, Bishop of Mopti launched an appeal through Aid to the Church in Need (ACN): "We must act immediately. The needs of the population are enormous. "
According to a note sent to Fides Agency Mgr. Fonghoro sent a letter to the papal foundation in which he denounces the terrible conditions of IDPs and in particular children, many of whom are severely malnourished.
ACS donated to the Diocese of Mopti an initial contribution of € 40 thousand to provide food and medicine to 326 families. "In recent months - continues Monsignor Fonghoro - Malians have suffered a lot, especially in the north of the Country. Now the situation is a bit calmer , but the state of emergency lasted more than three months and many are afraid to return to their villages. " (L.M.)


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
7 Feb 2013

CDM Workshop Jan 2013
Good decisions, bad decisions; we've all made them! With an abundance of options at our fingertips these days, making important life decisions isn't easy. If you're asking questions like, "what career should I pursue?", "is this relationship right for me?" or "what is my vocation?" it's good to know that you're not alone, and help is available!
The Christian Decision Making Workshops with Fr Michael de Stoop and Sr Anthony Mary Diago, RSM are back again in 2013. The first free workshop for the year, held on 21 January at the Catholic Adult Education Centre was well attended with 45 participants. "It's the largest attendance we've had so far so it proves these workshops are answering a need," says Vocations Director, Fr Michael de Stoop.
One participant commented, "The workshop touched me deeply in a way that I now want to keep on educating myself and to really find God's path for my life."

The workshop focuses on St. Ignatius' rules for decision making, drawing on real life examples to help illustrate the saint's insights in practice. The workshop is informative and interactive, with small group discussions throughout the day. "I loved hearing people's personal experiences, this really helped me grasp the concepts," said another young woman who attended. Participants are also given a booklet prepared by Fr Michael, which many found to be a valuable resource to which they could refer as a guide during and after the workshop. Anthony, who was one of the young men who attended, wrote on his feedback form: "The quality of the content and the teaching was very high. Fr Michael and Sr Anthony Mary really know what they are teaching, and they are passionate about it. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to attend. When I returned home, mum wanted to know everything about it, and, as I was recalling the information, I was surprised at how much I had learnt and understood!"
Fr Michael de Stoop
Fr Michael says he is grateful for the gift of discernment in his own life and appreciates how beneficial it is to know and apply St Ignatius' rules of Christian decision making, given we live in a world of so many choices. "Raising an awareness of discernment will not only lead to having more priests and religious," says Fr Michael. "We need happy and holy marriages, families, and lay people active in ministries God has called them to. The Church needs people to give witness to the love of God in their work places and many other situations where God is calling them to follow Him."
If you missed out on the first workshop, there are another 3 dates to choose from in 2013: Wednesday 17th April (CAEC, Lidcombe); Saturday 18th May (All Saints Parish Hall, Liverpool); and Friday 27th September (CAEC Lidcombe).
For more information or to register for these free workshops, contact the Vocation Centre on 9390 5970 or


by Shafique Khokhar
The government should capitalise on the potential of future generations, an interfaith seminar suggests in Faisalabad. School is a key venue to promote harmony and dialogue. Ignorance and lack of education sow hatred and divisions.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - The Government of Pakistan ought to capitalise on the potential of young people to promote peace and transform the country politically, socially and economically, this according to the participants in an Islamic-Christian seminar titled the 'Role of youth in promoting peace', organised at the end of January in Faisalabad (Punjab) by Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM) in cooperation with the Christian Study Centre (CSC), the Pakistan Girl Guide Association (PGGA) and the Peace and Human Development (PHD) Foundation.

Speaking at the event, CSC project manager Fahmida Saleem noted that "people need to respect, embrace and celebrate diversity among communities rather than reject them". This is important "in order to develop a real culture of peace and tolerance."

PHD Foundation director Suneel Malik agrees. Young peace must be "agents of peace", involved in "positive change".

For PGGA coordinator and AWAM president Amna Eshan, "ignorance and the lack of education" play an "essential role" in sowing interfaith disharmony, a view shared by AWAM director Nazia Sardar who believes that school curriculum "must be purged of the biased material that make it a source of hatred and confessional divisions".

School, she insists, must instead be a privileged place where we can "promote peace, human rights, harmony and tolerance among various religious and ethnic groups."

"Islam and Christianity share various points," said Tahir Iqbal, director of the Lyallpur Development Organisation, a Pakistani NGO that promotes peace, tolerance, harmony and human rights protection.

"People," he explained, "should develop a spirit of dialogue and harmony, removing misunderstandings between faiths."