Thursday, October 27, 2011



VATICAN CITY, 27 OCT 2011 (VIS) - Today marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the historic meeting for peace in the Italian town of Assisi, called by Blessed John Paul II. For the occasion, Benedict XVI has made a pilgrimage to the city of St. Francis, accompanied by representatives of other religions and by non-believers, for a Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world under the theme: "Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace". (IMAGES SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

The Pontiff and the members of the various delegations left the Vatican by train at8 a.m. today, reaching Assisi at 9.45 a.m. where they were greeted by the civil and religious authorities in front of the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. As the ceremony unfolded inside the basilica, the large numbers of faithful present were able to follow events on giant screens set up in the square outside.

Following a greeting from Cardinal Peter Kodwo Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, a video was screened in commemoration of the 1986 meeting. Then, one after the other, the representatives of the various religions rose to speak: His Holiness Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople; Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, Primate of the Anglican Communion; Archbishop Norvan Zakarian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of France; Rev. Olav Fyske Tveit, secretary general of the World Council of Churches; Rabbi David Rosen, representative of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel; Wande Abimbola, spokesperson for the Yoruba faith; Acharya Shri Shrivatsa Goswami, representative for Hinduism; Ja-Seung, president of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism; Kyai Haji Hasyom Muzadi, secretary general of the International Conference of Islamic Schools, and Julia Kristeva, representing non-believers.

The Holy Father then rose to make his address, extracts of which are given below:

"Twenty-five years have passed since Blessed Pope John Paul II first invited representatives of the world's religions to Assisi to pray for peace. What has happened in the meantime? What is the state of play with regard to peace today?

"At that time the great threat to world peace came from the division of the earth into two mutually opposed blocs. A conspicuous symbol of this division was the Berlin Wall. ... In 1989, three years after Assisi, the wall came down, without bloodshed. ... In addition to economic and political factors, the deepest reason for the event is a spiritual one: behind material might there were no longer any spiritual convictions. ... For this victory of freedom, which was also, above all, a victory of peace, we give thanks. What is more, this was not merely, nor even primarily, about the freedom to believe, although it did include this. To that extent we may in some way link all this to our prayer for peace.

"But what happened next? Unfortunately, we cannot say that freedom and peace have characterised the situation ever since. ... Violence as such is potentially ever present and it is a characteristic feature of our world. Freedom is a great good. But the world of freedom has proved to be largely directionless, and not a few have misinterpreted freedom as somehow including freedom for violence. Discord has taken on new and frightening guises, and the struggle for freedom must engage us all in a new way".

"In broad strokes, we may distinguish two types of the new forms of violence, which are the very antithesis of each other in terms of their motivation and manifest a number of differences in detail. Firstly there is terrorism, for which in place of a great war there are targeted attacks intended to strike the opponent destructively at key points, with no regard for the lives of innocent human beings, who are cruelly killed or wounded in the process. In the eyes of the perpetrators, the overriding goal of damage to the enemy justifies any form of cruelty. Everything that had been commonly recognised and sanctioned in international law as the limit of violence is overruled. We know that terrorism is often religiously motivated and that the specifically religious character of the attacks is proposed as a justification for the reckless cruelty. ... In this case, religion does not serve peace, but is used as justification for violence".

"The fact that, in the case we are considering here, religion really does motivate violence should be profoundly disturbing to us as religious persons. In a way that is more subtle but no less cruel, we also see religion as the cause of violence when force is used by the defenders of one religion against others. The religious delegates who were assembled in Assisi in 1986 wanted to say, and we now repeat it emphatically and firmly: this is not the true nature of religion. It is the antithesis of religion and contributes to its destruction".

"As a Christian I want to say at this point: yes, it is true, in the course of history, force has also been used in the name of the Christian faith. We acknowledge it with great shame. But it is utterly clear that this was an abuse of the Christian faith, one that evidently contradicts its true nature. The God in whom we Christians believe is the Creator and Father of all, and from Him all people are brothers and sisters and form one single family. For us the Cross of Christ is the sign of the God Who put 'suffering-with' (compassion) and 'loving-with' in place of force. ... It is the task of all who bear responsibility for the Christian faith to purify the religion of Christians again and again from its very heart, so that it truly serves as an instrument of God's peace in the world, despite the fallibility of humans.

"If one basic type of violence today is religiously motivated and thus confronts religions with the question as to their true nature and obliges all of us to undergo purification, a second complex type of violence is motivated in precisely the opposite way: as a result of God's absence, His denial and the loss of humanity which goes hand in hand with it. The enemies of religion - as we said earlier - see in religion one of the principal sources of violence in the history of humanity and thus they demand that it disappear. But the denial of God has led to much cruelty and to a degree of violence that knows no bounds, which only becomes possible when man no longer recognises any criterion or any judge above himself, now having only himself to take as a criterion. The horrors of the concentration camps reveal with utter clarity the consequences of God's absence.

"Yet I do not intend to speak further here about State-imposed atheism, but rather about the decline of man, which is accompanied by a change in the spiritual climate that occurs imperceptibly and hence is all the more dangerous. The worship of mammon, possessions and power is proving to be a counter-religion, in which it is no longer man who counts but only personal advantage. The desire for happiness degenerates, for example, into an unbridled, inhuman craving, such as appears in the different forms of drug dependency. ... Force comes to be taken for granted and in parts of the world it threatens to destroy our young people. Because force is taken for granted, peace is destroyed and man destroys himself in this peace vacuum".

"In addition to the two phenomena of religion and anti-religion, a further basic orientation is found in the growing world of agnosticism: people to whom the gift of faith has not been given, but who are nevertheless on the lookout for truth, searching for God. Such people do not simply assert: 'There is no God'. They suffer from His absence and yet are inwardly making their way towards Him, inasmuch as they seek truth and goodness. They are 'pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace'. They ask questions of both sides. They take away from militant atheists the false certainty. ... But they also challenge the followers of religions not to consider God as their own property, as if He belonged to them, in such a way that they feel vindicated in using force against others.

"These people are seeking the truth, they are seeking the true God, Whose image is frequently concealed in the religions because of the ways in which they are often practised. Their inability to find God is partly the responsibility of believers with a limited or even falsified image of God. So all their struggling and questioning is in part an appeal to believers to purify their faith, so that God, the true God, becomes accessible. Therefore I have consciously invited delegates of this third group to our meeting in Assisi, which does not simply bring together representatives of religious institutions. Rather it is a case of being together on a journey towards truth, a case of taking a decisive stand for human dignity and a case of common engagement for peace against every form of destructive force. Finally I would like to assure you that the Catholic Church will not let up in her fight against violence, in her commitment for peace in the world. We are animated by the common desire to be 'pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace'".

Following the meeting in the basilica, Benedict XVI and the delegations made their way to the convent of Porziuncola. A frugal lunch was followed by a period of silence for individual refection and prayer before the participants moved on to the Basilica of St. Francis for the concluding ceremonies of the Day.

PV-ITALY/ VIS 20111027 (1610)


VATICAN CITY, 27 OCT 2011 (VIS) - His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine, with the consent of the Permanent Synod meeting in Curitiba, Brazil, on 10 September, and having informed the Apostolic See, has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the eparchy of Sambir-Drohobych of the Ukrainians, Ukraine, presented by Bishop Julian Voronovsky M.S.U. in accordance with canon 210 para. 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Jaroslav Pryriz C.SS.R.

.../ VIS 20111027 (90)


VATICAN CITY, 27 OCT 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Jesus Herrera Quinonez of the clergy of the diocese of Mexicali, Mexico, as bishop of Nuevo Casas Grandes (area 36,320, population 149,000, Catholics 130,000, priests 37, religious 45), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Mexicali in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1987. He has worked as a pastor in the diocese ofMexicali, diocesan assistant to the Christian Family Movement, and secretary-chancellor of the diocesan curia.


Westminster: launch of John Paul II Foundation for Sport  | John Paul II Foundation for Sports, Fr Vlad

Young Karol Wojtyla in mountains
Pope Pius XI climbed the Matterhorn as a young man. Pius XII was a keen cyclist and one of the founders of the Tour de France. Pope John Paul II loved the outdoors and was a keen mountaineer. Overall - sports are good for your physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual well-being. That was the message at the official launch of the John Paul ll Foundation for Sport (JP2F4S) which took place at a reception at Archbishop's House in Westminster, last night.

The new Foundation is designed to promote sport to people of all ages and abilities as well as the attainment of ‘Peace through Sport’ – both personally and in local neighbourhoods. It aims to encourage youngsters to channel their aggression into competition rather than conflict and so reduce violent crime and bring peace and security to neighbourhoods.

First announced by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the UK in September 2010, JP2F4S will enable an ever increasing number of people – in particular the young initially – to achieve inner peace through sport guided by the principles identified by Pope John Paul II and set out in his declarations and writing.

Turning gangs into teams

The dream is to free up numerous sports facilities, particularly in evenings, weekend and school holidays, to enable young people to get off the streets to concentrate their energies and so turn ‘gangs into teams’.

Building on interest generated by next year’s Games, the new charity will co-ordinate existing sports facilities in Catholic schools, parishes and colleges and, where necessary, create new ones in the Catholic dioceses of Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood (the diocese incorporating the 2012 Olympic Park). Teachers, trainers, parents, parish priests and volunteers have been identified to provide leadership and organisation.

Once the work of the charity is established in these three London dioceses, the intention is to spread outwards as far as possible. This will include working with existing groups who are located outside these dioceses.

While Catholic in inspiration, the Foundation is open to all who wish to play sport for peace.

Building spiritual character

Chair of the Foundation’s Board, Professor Simon Lee, explained: “The inspiration behind the John Paul ll Foundation for Sport is Pope John Paul’s enthusiasm for sport as a means of building spiritual character through excellence in sporting skills.

“In his life and teachings, Pope John Paul II showed that every sport, at both the amateur and the competitive level, requires basic human qualities such as rigorous preparation, continual training, awareness of one’s personal limits, fair play, acceptance of rules, respect for one’s opponent and a sense of solidarity and unselfishness.

“We will be promoting sport as a catalyst and conduit to enable all people to embrace a greater vision of, and higher values for, themselves and those around them.”

One goal - to achieve peace

Monsignor Vladimir Felzmann, Chief Executive of John Paul II Foundation for Sport, said: “Our vision is to also bring all those organisations that are already doing incredible work in the UK, and internationally, together to share best practice, campaign on issues we have in common and support each other to achieve our goals. We all have one goal – to achieve peace.”

During the launch, Fr Vlad who is 74, and gave an impressive demonstration of 74 press-ups. "When I began I could only do a few but this shows what anyone can do with practice" he said.

A new website was unveiled at the launch event. The site contains the most up to date information about the new charity and enables anyone interested - whether a player, trainer or volunteer - to sign up.There will also be a new Facebook Page (

A major feature of the Foundation is the Sacred Truce. Following the tradition of the original Games, JP2F4S will work to encourage youngsters to exchange weapons for sport to reduce violent crime and bring peace and security to neighbourhoods throughout the 2012 Games and beyond.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - As in the past, the Bishops in charge of the border area between Colombia and Venezuela have held a work meeting. The meeting was held on October 25 in the town of Ureña (Venezuela) and was attended by the Bishops of the dioceses of San Cristobal (Venezuela), Mgr. Mario del Valle Moronto Rodríguez; of Cucuta (Colombia), Mgr. Julio Cesar Vidal Ortiz ; of Tibu (Colombia), Mgr. Omar Alberto Sanchez Cubillos, O.P.. According to information Fides received, all the participants raised the need to develop a common pastoral plan.
"During this meeting we reviewed the work done in previous years - said Mgr. Mario Moronto, who hosted the meeting held at the Holy Trinity School in Ureña - and we made some proposals to project the future pastoral work within the border (of our dioceses), but we did not want it to be seen as a limitation, but as a region in which we pay attention to the social problems of people and their needs. To do this we should set together a pastoral frontier".
"The purpose of this joint pastoral is to offer a service to the people who live on the border between the two countries", the statement said, stating: " integration work is proposed, in respect of the autonomy of each diocese, to answer and to serve the needs of the residents of these areas".
In addition to the existing social and pastoral needs in the Dioceses of San Cristobal and Cucuta, even the Bishop of Tibu, highlighted that in this region there is need to create a pastoral that safeguards ecology and seeks to protect indigenous peoples, directly affected by multinational companies who work there. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Society of Jesus, who submitted a project to create an Apostolic Region, which would facilitate the pastoral work in the future years. At the end of the meeting the Bishops decided that the next meeting will be held in February 2013, with the participation of other border dioceses between Venezuela and Colombia.
Colombia and Venezuela share an extensive border of 2,219 km, where guerrilla groups and drug traffickers are active. The people of these places live with the terror and fear of being involved in violent actions carried out by these groups. This year alone, anti-drug police have seized more than 64 tons of cocaine and hydrochloride cocaine. Colombia is listed as the largest producer of cocaine in the world, with 350 tonnes in 2010, according to data published by the UN. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 27/10/2011)


DIOCESE OF CANBERRA REPORT: About 450 students from around the Arch­diocese listened to Sr Patti Jo Crockett (pictured above), of the Missionaries of God’s Love Sisters, tell of her experiences in indigenous missions. She was speaking at the annual Children’s Mission Mass held at St Peter Chanel’s Church, Yarralumla,yesterday. The theme of the Mass, celebrated by Bishop Pat Power, was "Hear My Voice ...believe".

A MacKillop Catholic College student read scripture, and students from St Gregory's, Queanbeyan, took part in the gospel procession, St Thomas the Apostle students read the prayers of the faithful, and students from St Patrick's, Gundagai, took up the offertory gifts.

Students from St Gregory's School, Queanbeyan, process up before the gospel.

Students from St Patrick's School, Gundagai, take up the offertory gifts.


UCAN REPORT: Singer A-mei to donate concert proceeds to place of her birth to help indigenous people
Francis Kuo, Taipei
October 27, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Singing star supports Catholic hospital
The singer (left) with hospital staff

A top Chinese singer is to donate ticket-sales proceeds from one of her world tour performances to the Church-run hospital where she was born.

Popularly known as A-mei, Chang Hui-mei announced on Tuesday that she will donate cash generated from her “Love and Share” concert in Taipei on April 4, 2012 to St. Mary’s Hospital in Taitung County, as she wants “to do something meaningful.”

Ticket sales are expected to generate NT$10 million (US$331,000).

“I hope my gesture will see others follow suit so that more can be done for the underprivileged,” said Chang, an indigenous Puyuma and one of the few Chinese artists who publicly declares their Catholic faith.

She said she chose to donate to St. Mary’s Hospital because people in Taitung have on average an 8.5-year shorter life span than people in Taipei due to inferior medical resources in the rural and remote eastern county, where there is a higher density of the indigenous population.

Describing the Church-run hospital as the “babysitter of people in Taitung,” Chang said it has served many local people, including those who cannot afford to pay.

She hopes the money can help the hospital expand its services, especially in the hospice and for care of the elderly.

Bishop Philip Huang Jaw-ming of Hualien, which covers Taitung, said he hopes Chang’s gesture can change people’s perceptions of Taitung, which is mocked as a place with “very good mountains and rivers but very short life.”

To express the Church’s appreciation, Bishop Huang presented Chang with a Rosary from Pope Benedict XVI.

Chen Shi-hsien, executive officer of the hospital, said Chang often shows concern for her hometown, adding that she came to visit flood victims in 2009 and that “her angelic care has moved many victims to tears.”


CISA report –Archbishop of Tunis, Maroun Elias Lahham is confident that the future of Tunisia will be bright after elections that started Sunday October 23, 2011.

Tunisians cast their ballots for fresh leaders to rewrite the laws of the country’s political system, nine months after ousting of former Tunisian President Zine Abadine Ben Ali.

Archbishop Lahham told Fides on Saturday October 22, “I am optimistic about the future of Tunisia. The situation is very calm. Last night, the campaign ended without any incidents and now we are living in the expectation of the vote.”

Archbishop Laham said, “The Tunisian parties are 120, of which 110 have presented themselves in the elections. This certainly is likely to cause confusion among voters, accentuated by the fact that it is the first time that the Tunisians vote in elections, which are truly free. They are not accustomed to the election campaign, conducted by the parties, promising more or less the same thing. There is enthusiasm but also uncertainty.”

The Archbishop feels that Tunisians have started their journey towards a model democracy.

Meanwhile women in Tunisia seek to garner most leadership positions. Out of the 11,000 candidates, half of them are women.

“I am very proud of these women, all of whom are extremely capable candidates,” Maya J’ribi General Secretary of the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and top of the electoral list for the Ben Arous governorate of Tunis, told IPS just days before the election.

“We are moving towards a women’s era in Tunisia,” she told a packed hall Saturday, where at least half the attendees were women, some of them veiled.

Meanwhile, women representatives from all parties have been forced to contend with intense discrimination in the media. Despite the fact that 50 percent of all electoral candidates are women, only 25 percent of media space was reserved for women.

IPS reports say women’s groups, who mobilised their members to cast ballots on Sunday, are keen to ensure that the push for women’s rights is not co-opted after the election into another male-dominated constitution. The revolution has changed the situation, but there are still obstacles to realising the goals of the revolt, especially for women.

In the past, no one had any choice but to vote for Ben Ali who had been in power for 23 years. The results of the first free vote in Tunisia are expected today, Tuesday 25.


St. Frumentius
Feast: October 27
Feast Day:
October 27
Tyre (modern Sur, Lebanon)
380 in Ethiopia
Patron of:
Abyssinia, Ethiopia

ST. FRUMENTIUS was yet a child when his uncle, Meropins of Tyre, took him and his brother Edesius on a voyage to Ethiopia. In the course of their voyage the vessel touched at a certain port, and the barbarians of that country put the crew and all the passengers to the sword, except the two children. They were carried to the king, at Axuma, who, charmed with the wit and sprightliness of the two boys, took special care of their education; and, not long after made Edesius his cup-bearer, and Frumentius, who was the elder, his treasurer and secretary of state; on his death-bed he thanked them for their services, and in recompense gave them their liberty. After his death the queen begged them to remain a court, and assist her in the government of the state until the young king carne of age. Edesius went back to Tyre, but St. Athanasius ordained Frumentius Bishop of the Ethiopians, and vested with this sacred character he gained great numbers to the Faith, and continued to feed and defend his flock until it pleased the Supreme Pastor to recompense his fidelity and labors.

TODAY'S GOSPEL: OCT. 27: LUKE 13: 31 - 35

Luke 13: 31 - 35
31At that very hour some Pharisees came, and said to him, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you."32And he said to them, "Go and tell that fox, `Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.33Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.'34O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!35Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'"