Wednesday, December 7, 2011



VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2911 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated the catechesis of today's Wednesday audience, celebrated in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, to the Messianic Hymn of Jubilee, Jesus' prayer of praise recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which constitutes the "apex of a path of prayer in which Jesus' profound and intimate communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit and His divine filiation clearly emerges ". (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

Already at the opening of the hymn, the Pope observed, Jesus addresses God by calling him Father, a term that expresses "Jesus' awareness and certainty of being 'the Son' in close and constant communion with Him. This is the central point and the source of Jesus' every prayer. ... The name of 'Father' is followed by a second title: 'Lord of heaven and earth'", which "recalls the great biblical narration of the history of God's love for human beings that began with creation. Jesus ... is the pinnacle and the fullness of this history of love. ... Through the expression 'Lord of heaven and earth' we also recognize how, in Jesus, the one who reveals the Father, the possibility of access to God is opened to humanity".

But, to whom does the Son want to reveal the mysteries of God? "Divine revelation", the pontiff explained, "does not occur within earthly logic, according to which humans are the wise and powerful who posses important knowledge and transmit it to those who are more simple. ... God's style is another: His communication is addressed precisely to the 'childlike'. ... And what is this childlikeness that opens humans to a filial intimacy with God and to welcoming His will? ... It is the pureness of heart that allows us to recognize the face of God in Jesus Christ. It is keeping our hearts as simple as those of children, without the presumptions of those who are locked in themselves, thinking they have no need of anyone, not even God".

"In Matthew's Gospel, after the Hymn of Jubilee, we encounter one of Jesus' most moving pleas: 'Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.' Jesus asks that we go to Him, the true wisdom, to the one who is 'meek and humble of heart'; He proposes His 'yoke', the path of evangelical wisdom, which is neither a doctrine to learn nor an ethical proposal, but rather a Person to follow: He himself, the only-begotten Son, in perfect communion with the Father".

"We also can address God with the confidence of sons and daughters", Benedict XVI concluded, "calling Him Father when we pray. But we have to keep the heart of a child, the heart of those 'poor in spirit', in order to recognize that we are not self-sufficient ... that we need God, that we have to seek Him, listen to Him, speak to Him. Prayer opens us to receiving the gift of God, His wisdom who is Jesus himself, in order to accept the will of the Father in our lives and to find consolation in the weariness of our journey".

At the end of the audience, Benedict XVI greeted the pilgrims present in the hall in their various languages and noted that the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated tomorrow, "reminds us of Mary's singular acceptance of God's salvific plan. Preserved from any stain of sin in order to be the holy dwelling place of the Incarnate Word, she always trusted fully in the Lord". The Pope especially urged the youth to make the effort to imitate the Virgin "with pure and clean hearts, letting yourselves be shaped by God who, in you as well, desires to bring about 'great things'".

AG/ VIS 20111207 (620)


VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2011 (VIS) - Beginning today it is possible to follow the Pope and the happenings of the Holy See through videos in French accessible at:

Vatican Radio and Vatican Television are thus extending their offerings on YouTube, which previously were only available in Italian, English, Spanish, and German. Joining the Vatican radio and television centers is the French Catholic television channel KTO, which manages the French version of the short daily video reports of the main public acts of Pope Benedict XVI.

The communique made public today reads that, with this initiative, the Catholic Church "again shows its commitment to the use of new technologies that allow the faithful to draw ever nearer to the Pope's voice and teachings".

RV:CTV/ VIS 20111207 (120)


VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2011 (VIS) - Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Holy See's secretary for Relations with States, addressed the Eighteenth Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held this 6-7 December in Vilnius, Lithuania.

In his address, the archbishop discussed, among other themes, the topic of migration, which for the Holy See constitutes an argument of constant interest, above all in the actual circumstances of economic and financial crisis. Msgr. Mamberti noted that there is a growing consensus in the international community on the necessity of paying greater attention to migrants. In this context he emphasized that it is necessary to support migrants reunification with their families since "the family plays a fundamental role in the integration process, in giving stability to the presence of the immigrants in the new social environment ... Migrants, aware of their rights, can be more secure in offering their services and talents and the receiving community, well-informed and respectful of these rights, will feel freer in extending its solidarity in order to build together a common future".

The Secretary for Relations with States also addressed the Organization's commitments in defence of fundamental freedoms and human rights, one of which is the right to freedom of religion. "The right to religious freedom, despite being repeatedly proclaimed by the international community, as well as in the constitutions of most States, continues to be widely violated today". Pope Benedict XVI himself recalled, in his message from this year's World Day of Peace, that Christians "are the religious group which suffers most from persecution on account of its faith". According to Archbishop Mamberti, "there may be more than two hundred million Christians, of different confessions, who are in difficulty because of legal and cultural structures that lead to their discrimination". For this reason, he proposed the institution of an International Day against persecution and discrimination of Christians as "an important sign that governments are willing to deal with this serious issue".

Against Trafficking in Human Beings

The archbishop also addressed the problem of trafficking in human beings, especially of women and minors, for sexual exploitation as well as for labor exploitation and domestic servitude, which has become a "powerful global business involving many countries of origin, transit, and destination. To counteract the scourge of trafficking in human beings with greater determination and more concrete results, a convergence of efforts is necessary: a mentality that is centered on the unique dignity of every person, a sure punishment of traffickers, the fight against corruption, ... and the fairness of mass media in reporting the damages created by trafficking".

DEL SS/ VIS 20111207 (430)


VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father received in separate audiences today:

- Dr. Carl Albert Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, and

- Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"

AP/ VIS 20111207 (30)


VATICAN CITY, 7 DEC 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed:

- Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, formerly archbishop of Monterrey, Mexico, as archbishop of Guadalajara (area 20,827, population 7,158,000, Catholics 6,452,000, priests 1,432, permanent deacons 5, religious 4286), Mexico. He succeeds Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Fr. Michael Robert Kennedy as bishop of Armidale (area 120,000, population 176,621, Catholics 42,748, priests 34, permanent deacons 1, religious 45), Australia. The bishop-elect was born in Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia in 1968 and was ordained a priest in 1999.

- as consultors for the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization:

- Msgr. Georg Austen, of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Paderborn, Secretary General of the "Bonifatiuswerk der deutschen Katholiken", and member of the Central Committee of German Catholics;

- Fr. Denis Biju-Duval, ordinary professor of theology at the "Redemptor Hominis" Pastoral Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University and member of the Emmanuel Community;

- Fr. Achim Buckenmaier, professor of dogmatic theology in the "Akademie fur die theologie des Volkes Gottes" Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University;

- Fr. José Luis Del Palacio y Perez Medel, of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Madrid, founder and member of the directive council of the "Redemptoris Mater" Faculty of Theology of Callao, and professor of theology and canon law;

- Fr. Marian Krolikowski, of the clergy of the Diocese of Kielce, founder of the St. Paul School of New Evangelization, founder and prior of the Koinonia St. Paul community of consecrated life in Kielce;

- Msgr. Sergio Lanza, of the clergy of the Diocese of Como, ecclesiastic assistant general of the Sacred Heart Catholic University of Milan, ordinary professor of pastoral theology in that same university's theology faculty as well as at the "Redemptor Hominis" Pastoral Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University;

- Fr. Xavier Morlans i Molina of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Barcelona, professor of fundamental theology at the "Facultat de teologia de Catalunya" in Barcelona;

- Msgr. Antonio Pitta, of the clergy of the Diocese of Lucera-Troia, ordinary professor of New Testament exegesis in the faculty of theology at the Pontifical Lateran University;

- Msgr. Henryk Seweryniak, of the clergy of the Diocese of Plock, professor of fundamental theology at the "Universytet Kardynala Stefana Wyszynskiego" of Warsaw;

- Dr. Moyses Louro De Azevedo Filho, founder and general moderator of the Shalom Catholic Community, International Association of the Faithful;

- Dr. Curtis A. Martin, founder and president of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), professor at the Augustine Institute in Denver;

- Dr. Ralph Martin, director of the Graduate Theological Programs in Evangelization of the Sacred Heart School of Theology in Detroit;

- Professor Thomas Soding, professor of the New Testament in the "Katholisch-Theologische Fakultat" of the Ruhr Universitat of Bochum and member of the International Theological Commission;

- Dr. Maria Voce, president of the Focolare Movement (Opera di Maria); and

- Dr. Petroc Willey, dean of graduate research at the Maryvale Institute of Birmingham.

NER:RE:NA/ VIS 20111207 (510)


Click to open image!


As I enter the door of Villa Maria Aged Care Facility at Bundoora, I am greeted by the warm smile and hug of Sr Myra Gleeson SGS. Sr Myra is showing me to the room of Sr Mary Thecla Slattery SGS who celebrates her 108th birthday on 28 December. In reaching this milestone, she’ll have been a professed Sister of the Good Samaritans for 82 years!

On the way, Sr Myra tells me: “Sr Thecla is doing really well today; she’s very alert. In fact, this morning I told Sr Thecla that she turns 108 soon and that she’s probably the oldest Religious in Victoria. Sr Thecla replied ‘who?’ and I said ‘you!’ and then Sr Thecla said ‘Well what am I doing sitting here then?’”

“Isn’t that remarkable?” said Sr Myra. “Yes it is,” I responded.

View gallery

Sr-TheclaVeronica Hanora Slattery, usually known as ‘Verna’, was born on 28 December 1903. She is the third of seven children to John and Ellen Slattery, all born in the family home in North Carlton. The family had two subsequent moves, to Clifton Hill and later to Thornbury.

Verna completed her secondary education at Santa Maria College in South Yarra. After taking up employment for some time as a telephonist, she sought permission to join the Good Samaritan Sisters Novitiate in Balmain, which she did on 19 March 1926 aged 23. She was given the name in religion of Sister Mary Thecla and made her first profession vows on 8 January 1929 aged 26.

Her sister Loretta - Sister Mary Clare - had made her profession as a Good Samaritan Sister four years earlier, and a second sister Ursula - Sister Mary Ursula - would follow Clare and Thecla some 14 years later. Sisters Clare and Ursula have now pre-deceased Thecla, as have her sisters Eileen, Claire and Kathleen and her brother John.

Sr Myra tells me that “Thecla’s teaching ministry is legendary”. She taught in primary and secondary schools in Victoria, NSW and SA for almost 50 years.

In 1974, having completed her years in the classroom, Sr Thecla became the Librarian at St Gabriel’s School in Reservoir for five years.

Sr-TheclaIn 1991, Sr Thecla retired to a quieter pace at Marian House where she celebrated her 100th birthday and remained until being transferred to the South Morang Mews in 2004.

Sr Myra tells me, “There, Thecla charmed all with her energy and cheerful approach to life. A writer in one of the local papers wrote, ‘she has one of the sharpest minds at the centre, constantly amazing other residents and staff alike with her world of knowledge’, a gift that Thecla attributes to her love of reading.”

Sister Thecla Slattery is now a resident at Villa Maria Aged Care Facility in Bundoora. There are 16 Sisters of the Good Samaritan who are cared for at Villa Maria, including Sr Thecla’s first cousin Sr Catherine Slattery who is 103 years-old.

Unable to walk now, Sr Thecla sits in her wheelchair and has a favourite place in the Villa where she can look out into the garden observing the beauty of the changing seasons and commenting when birds come to drink or bathe in the bird bath.

“Up until three weeks ago, Sr Thecla was also reading books,” said Sr Myra. “After praising God using her Book of Psalms, she’d reach for her poetry book and relished the words of Wordsworth and Keats.

“She has a deep appreciation of classical music and at times has delighted the staff with her renditions of songs of by-gone days. She’s just a darling.”

As I prepare to leave, I take Sr Thecla’s hand and get in very close so that she can hear me. “I have to go now Sr Thecla; happy birthday for the 28th and thank you for taking the time to meet with me.”

“Nice to meet you,” she says.

“It was really nice to meet you too,” I replied.

The photo above of Sr Thecla Slattery SGS reading was provided by Sr Myra Gleeson SGS, who features in the second photo above. In the black and white photo below showing Good Samaritan Sisters seated, Sr Thecla is on the far left.

Gallery photos Fiona Basile

  • Click to open image!


UCAN REPORT: Archbishop-elect Tagle ordains five of his former seminarians reporter, Imus
December 7, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of New priests praise special formator
Archbishop Luis Tagle with new Imus priests

Manila archbishop-elect Luis Antonio Tagle ordained five new deacons yesterday in a ceremony which they said held very special meaning.

The new deacons said their ordination was made all the more special because the present Imus prelate lived with them at the diocese’s Good Shepherd seminary and was very much a father figure to them.

Archbishop Tagle has also served as rector of seminarians taking Theology, since his installation as Imus diocese’sbishop in 2001.

One of the new deacons, Father Mark Reyes, said he and the other four were very “grateful and proud” to have been ordained by a man “whom people will soon be calling His Eminence.”

As well as Father Reyes, Archbishop Tagle also ordained Glenn de la Peña, Joseph Mayola, Ryan Serafin Sasis, and Eric Orcullo.

Their ordination brought to 121 the number of priests serving in the northern diocese’s 64 parishes with help from 89 male and 639 women religious from various congregations.


Archbishop Nichols welcomes Vinnie Packs for street homeless | Vinnie Packs, SVP, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Siobhan Garibaldi

Archbishop Nichols with John Mason and Siobhan Garibaldi from SVP
The Archbishop of Westminster, The Most Rev Vincent Nichols has given his support to a practical scheme launched by the St Vincent de Paul Society, to make the lives of people sleeping rough on the streets of London a little easier this winter.

The 'Vinnie Pack' contains a woolly hat, gloves, socks, toiletries, thermal blanket and information booklet. At £3, the packs can be bought by people who would like to give them to people on the street. It is also possible to sponsor packs which will then be distributed to street homeless by the SVP.

After meeting SVP organisers John Mason and Siobhan Garibaldi, Archbishop Nichols said: “This is an excellent idea. I know that sometimes people are reluctant to make a donation to homeless street sleepers. I am sure they will welcome being able to give a ‘Vinnie Pack’ as a way of helping people living on the streets of London. I thank the St Vincent de Paul Society for this imaginative initiative.”

Siobhan Garibaldi, Vice President of the Diocese of Westminster’s St Vincent de Paul Society, explained that the contents of the pack was decided after talking with clients on some of the soup runs they organise around the capital.

She said the SVP has already distributed several hundred packs to parishes and the feedback from clients who've received them has been very positive.

Siobhan said: “When ‘Vinnie Packs’ were distributed on one of our soup runs last week, homeless people took what they needed and passed surplus items to fellow rough sleepers. That was an amazing example of how those with almost nothing realized the importance of sharing material goods with others in need. I hope that others more fortunate will be able to follow their example by buying or sponsoring a ‘Vinnie Pack’ or by providing other material or practical support to the many hundreds of homeless people sleeping rough on the streets of London."

Vinnie Packs can be bought from churches, bookshops or by post from the St Vincent de Paul Society. If you would like to order some Vinnie Packs or sponsor a pack that could be handed to a rough sleeper, please send a donation to: SVP, 46 Brunswick Court, Regency Street, London SW1P 4AE.

Or contact Siobhan Garibaldi on 07929 490090 e-mail:

To see more pictures of Archbishop Nichols with Siobhan Garibaldi and John Mason from the SVP, with the packs, go to:


Agenzia Fides REPORT - In the second phase of the National Agreement for Reconciliation and Peace (NARP), on December 5, a forum and meeting on peace-building was held in the city of Villavicencio. The event, held at the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce of Villavicencio, was attended by 21 representatives of various entities that form the so-called "Alliance". The Archbishop of Villavicencio, Mgr. Oscar Urbina Ortega thanked the delegates for their participation and support to the development of initiatives such as the forum with the candidates for Mayor of Villavicencio and dialogue with the candidates for governor of the region, which took place on 25 October. Mgr. Ortega Urbina said that this work is "an important step and a point of departure", and urged participants to "continue the work and to open new spaces" to help those who take on these law tasks. He also stressed the importance of acting in "communion and solidarity among ourselves, without any desire to take center stage" so that the Alliance becomes a " work reference point" in this region of Colombia.
As part of the program of the National Reconciliation Commission, in past days two other forums in the city of Tunja, and Buga were realized. In Tunja 30 people attended and touched issues concerning energy development, citizen participation and environmental protection. Buga saw 50 participants including the Bishop of the Diocese of Buga, Mgr.Hernán Giraldo Jaramillo. The topics mainly discussed were the rural areas, education and housing problems.
The note sent by the Episcopal Conference to Fides noted that the findings in these forums and the presence of the Church are a clear contribution to the efforts for the construction of a Reconciled Colombia and in Peace. The same Episcopal Conference had invited all the communities of believers to the March for the freedom of the hostages, realized yesterday, December 6, in 34 cities in Colombia, and saw an unprecedented number of participants across the country. "¡No más Farc!" is read in many signs that the participants carried, almost all dressed in white or with a white handkerchief around the neck or in their hands. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 07/12/2011)


CISA REPORT: NAIROBI November 6, 2011 (CISA) – Catholic faithful and other Christians paid homage to the relic of Saint Don Bosco during a special mass held on December 4 in Upper Hill, Nairobi. The relic, part of his right hand, has been in Kenya since December 1st.

In his homily at the Shrine of Mary, the Help of Christians, Bishop Peter Kariuki Kihara of Marsabit Diocese said that the world faces many cases of injustices and that the Church and its followers should confront the menace with love.

Bishop Kihara described the current Internally Displaced People (IDPs) situation as a result of such injustices in the world.

“Until those IDPs are finally resettled, justice will not be seen to have been done to them,” he pointed out.

“One of the best weapons to confront this is love, love for one another and ensure that we do not do to others what we would not want others to do to us,” said the Rt Rev Kihara, the current chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Commission for Seminaries.

After the Mass, the congregation, lined up to view the glassed relic of Saint Don Bosco, the founder of Salesian priests of Don Bosco and the institute of Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians.

Bishop Kihara, IMC, thanked the congregation of Salesian family for their wise decision to bring the relic of their founder closer to the people.

“The hand that served them is back,” said Bishop Kihara, while referring to the relic.

Father Provincial for Eastern Africa region, Salesian congregation, Rev Fr Gianni Rolandi said, “We do not adore our founder, now Saint Don Bosco, but we honour him instead.”

Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya, Archbishop Alain Paul Lebeuapin said Saint Don Bosco did not exclusively belong to the Salesian family, but to each one of us.

“That is why we have come to join you in his historic pilgrimage of his relic,” he said.

The bones and the tissues of the right hand and arm have been taken and placed within the wax replica of St Don Bosco, which in turn is enclosed in a large urn.

The relic will be taken to 42 countries in Africa next stop-over being Tanzania.


St. Ambrose


Feast: December 7


Feast Day:December 7

between 337 and 340 A.D., Trier, Germany

Died:397 A.D.
Major Shrine:Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, Milan, Italy where he is buried
Patron of:Bee keepers, bees, candle makers, domestic animals, French Commissariat, learning, Milan, Italy, students, wax refiners

St. Ambrose was a small man with pale yellow hair like a nimbus. In the violence and confusion of his time, he stood out courageously resisting evil, strengthening the Church, and administering it with extraordinary ability. His learning gained for him the title of Doctor of the Church.

When Ambrose had governed at Milan for two years, the bishop died, and the city was torn by strife over the election of a successor. When he stood up to protest a voice suddenly called out, "Ambrose, bishop! On December 7, 374, he was consecrated. The new bishop now gave his possessions to the poor and his lands to the Church, reserving only a small income for the use of his sister Marcellina.

Conscious of his ignorance of theology, Ambrose began to study the Scriptures and the works of religious writers, particularly Origen and Basil.

When Augustine of Hippo came to live at Milan, he called on the bishop, and in time the two became great friends. Augustine went often to hear Ambrose preach, and was at last baptized by him. One of Ambrose's topics was the blessing and virtue of virginity, when chosen for God's sake. At the request of Marcellina, he made a popular manual of his sermons on this subject.

When Ambrose fell sick, he foretold his own death, saying he would live only until Easter. He busied himself writing a treatise called 'The Goodness of Death', and with an interpretation of the Forty-third Psalm.

On Good Friday, 397, he partook of the Last Sacrament, and died soon after. He was then about fifty-seven and had been bishop for twenty-two years. His remains now rest under the high altar of his basilica, where they were placed in 835.

Ambrose's varied writings influenced the development of the Church. He was the first of the Fathers to use Latin effectively, and as the Roman Empire declined in the West he helped to keep this great language alive by starting it on its new course in the service of Christianity. He enriched Church music, and seven of the hymns he wrote are still a part of the liturgy. His personality combined firmness where God's law was concerned with warmth, moderation, and generosity in all else. Trusted by sovereigns, loved by the people, Ambrose was-to quote Augustine's words after their first meeting—"a man affectionate and kind."


source EWTN

TODAY'S GOSPEL AND MASS ONLINE: DEC. 7: Matthew 11: 28 - 30

Matthew 11: 28 - 30
28Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light