Wednesday, January 4, 2012


1 John 3: 7 - 10
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous.
8 He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
9 No one born of God commits sin; for God's nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.
10 By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother.

Psalms 98: 1, 7 - 9
1 O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.
7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it!
8 Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together
9 before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. -
John 1: 35 - 42
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples;
36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"
37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
38 Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"
39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
41 He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ).
42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).


“Stand up and go; your faith has saved you” (Lk 17:19), this is the theme of Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for the 20th World Day of the Sick, published Tuesday. Below the full text of the Holy Father’s message:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On the occasion of the World Day of the Sick, which we will celebrate on 11 February 2012, the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, I wish to renew my spiritual closeness to all sick people who are in places of care or are looked after in their families, expressing to each one of them the solicitude and the affection of the whole Church. In the generous and loving welcoming of every human life, above all of weak and sick life, a Christian expresses an important aspect of his or her Gospel witness, following the example of Christ, who bent down before the material and spiritual sufferings of man in order to heal them.

1. This year, which involves the immediate preparations for the Solemn World Day of the Sick that will be celebrated in Germany on 11 February 2013 and will focus on the emblematic Gospel figure of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:29-37), I would like to place emphasis upon the “sacraments of healing”, that is to say upon the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and that of the Anointing of the Sick, which have their natural completion in Eucharistic Communion.

The encounter of Jesus with the ten lepers, narrated by the Gospel of Saint Luke (cf. Lk 17:11-19), and in particular the words that the Lord addresses to one of them, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you” (v. 19), help us to become aware of the importance of faith for those who, burdened by suffering and illness, draw near to the Lord. In their encounter with him they can truly experience that he who believes is never alone! God, indeed, in his Son, does not abandon us to our anguish and sufferings, but is close to us, helps us to bear them, and wishes to heal us in the depths of our hearts (cf. Mk 2:1-12).

The faith of the lone leper who, on seeing that he was healed, full of amazement and joy, and unlike the others, immediately went back to Jesus to express his gratitude, enables us to perceive that reacquired health is a sign of something more precious than mere physical healing, it is a sign of the salvation that God gives us through Christ; it finds expression in the words of Jesus: your faith has saved you. He who in suffering and illness prays to the Lord is certain that God’s love will never abandon him, and also that the love of the Church, the extension in time of the Lord’s saving work, will never fail. Physical healing, an outward expression of the deepest salvation, thus reveals the importance that man – in his entirety of soul and body – has for the Lord. Each sacrament, for that matter, expresses and actuates the closeness of God himself, who, in an absolutely freely-given way, “touches us through material things … that he takes up into his service, making them instruments of the encounter between us and himself” (Homily, Chrism Mass, 1 April 2010). “The unity between creation and redemption is made visible. The sacraments are an expression of the physicality of our faith, which embraces the whole person, body and soul” (Homily, Chrism Mass, 21 April 2011).

The principal task of the Church is certainly proclaiming the Kingdom of God, “But this very proclamation must be a process of healing: ‘bind up the broken-hearted’ (Is 61:1)” (ibid.), according to the charge entrusted by Jesus to his disciples (cf. Lk 9:1-2; Mt 10:1,5-14; Mk 6:7-13). The tandem of physical health and renewal after lacerations of the soul thus helps us to understand better the “sacraments of healing”.

2. The sacrament of Penance has often been at the centre of the reflection of the Church’s Pastors, specifically because of its great importance in the journey of Christian life, given that “The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace, and joining with him in an intimate friendship” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1468). The Church, in continuing to proclaim Jesus’ message of forgiveness and reconciliation, never ceases to invite the whole of humanity to convert and to believe in the Gospel. She makes her own the call of the Apostle Paul: “So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20). Jesus, during his life, proclaimed and made present the mercy of the Father. He came not to condemn but to forgive and to save, to give hope in the deepest darkness of suffering and sin, and to give eternal life; thus in the sacrament of Penance, in the “medicine of confession”, the experience of sin does not degenerate into despair but encounters the Love that forgives and transforms (cf. John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 31).

God, “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4), like the father in the Gospel parable (cf. Lk 15:11-32), does not close his heart to any of his children, but waits for them, looks for them, reaches them where their rejection of communion imprisons them in isolation and division, and calls them to gather around his table, in the joy of the feast of forgiveness and reconciliation. A time of suffering, in which one could be tempted to abandon oneself to discouragement and hopelessness, can thus be transformed into a time of grace so as to return to oneself, and like the prodigal son of the parable, to think anew about one’s life, recognizing its errors and failures, longing for the embrace of the Father, and following the pathway to his home. He, in his great love, always and everywhere watches over our lives and awaits us so as to offer to every child that returns to him the gift of full reconciliation and joy.

3. From a reading of the Gospels it emerges clearly that Jesus always showed special concern for sick people. He not only sent out his disciples to tend their wounds (cf. Mt 10:8; Lk 9:2; 10:9) but also instituted for them a specific sacrament: the Anointing of the Sick. The Letter of James attests to the presence of this sacramental act already in the first Christian community (cf. 5:14-16): by the Anointing of the Sick, accompanied by the prayer of the elders, the whole of the Church commends the sick to the suffering and glorified Lord so that he may alleviate their sufferings and save them; indeed she exhorts them to unite themselves spiritually to the passion and death of Christ so as to contribute thereby to the good of the People of God.

This sacrament leads us to contemplate the double mystery of the Mount of Olives, where Jesus found himself dramatically confronted by the path indicated to him by the Father, that of his Passion, the supreme act of love; and he accepted it. In that hour of tribulation, he is the mediator, “bearing in himself, taking upon himself the sufferings and passion of the world, transforming it into a cry to God, bringing it before the eyes and into the hands of God and thus truly bringing it to the moment of redemption” (Lectio Divina, Meeting with the Parish Priests of Rome, 18 February 2010). But “the Garden of Olives is also the place from which he ascended to the Father, and is therefore the place of redemption … This double mystery of the Mount of Olives is also always ‘at work’ within the Church’s sacramental oil … the sign of God’s goodness reaching out to touch us” (Homily, Chrism Mass, 1 April 2010). In the Anointing of the Sick, the sacramental matter of the oil is offered to us, so to speak, “as God’s medicine … which now assures us of his goodness, offering us strength and consolation, yet at the same time points beyond the moment of the illness towards the definitive healing, the resurrection (cf. Jas 5:14)” (ibid.).

This sacrament deserves greater consideration today both in theological reflection and in pastoral ministry among the sick. Through a proper appreciation of the content of the liturgical prayers that are adapted to the various human situations connected with illness, and not only when a person is at the end of his or her life (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1514), the Anointing of the Sick should not be held to be almost “a minor sacrament” when compared to the others. Attention to and pastoral care for sick people, while, on the one hand, a sign of God’s tenderness towards those who are suffering, on the other brings spiritual advantage to priests and the whole Christian community as well, in the awareness that what is done to the least, is done to Jesus himself (cf. Mt 25:40).

4. As regards the “sacraments of healing”, Saint Augustine affirms: “God heals all your infirmities. Do not be afraid, therefore, all your infirmities will be healed … You must only allow him to cure you and you must not reject his hands” (Exposition on Psalm 102, 5; PL 36, 1319-1320). These are precious instruments of God’s grace which help a sick person to conform himself or herself ever more fully to the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ. Together with these two sacraments, I would also like to emphasize the importance of the Eucharist. Received at a time of illness, it contributes in a singular way to working this transformation, associating the person who partakes of the Body and Blood of Christ to the offering that he made of himself to the Father for the salvation of all. The whole ecclesial community, and parish communities in particular, should pay attention to guaranteeing the possibility of frequently receiving Holy Communion, to those people who, for reasons of health or age, cannot go to a place of worship. In this way, these brothers and sisters are offered the possibility of strengthening their relationship with Christ, crucified and risen, participating, through their lives offered up for love of Christ, in the very mission of the Church. From this point of view, it is important that priests who offer their discreet work in hospitals, in nursing homes and in the homes of sick people, feel they are truly “’ministers of the sick’, signs and instruments of Christ's compassion who must reach out to every person marked by suffering” (Message for the XVIII World Day of the Sick, 22 November 2009).

Becoming conformed to the Paschal Mystery of Christ, which can also be achieved through the practice of spiritual Communion, takes on a very particular meaning when the Eucharist is administered and received as Viaticum. At that stage in life, these words of the Lord are even more telling: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day” (Jn 6:54). The Eucharist, especially as Viaticum, is – according to the definition of Saint Ignatius of Antioch – “medicine of immortality, the antidote for death” (Letter to the Ephesians, 20: PG 5, 661); the sacrament of the passage from death to life, from this world to the Father, who awaits everyone in the celestial Jerusalem.

5. The theme of this Message for the Twentieth World Day of the Sick, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you”, also looks forward to the forthcoming Year of Faith which will begin on 11 October 2012, a propitious and valuable occasion to rediscover the strength and beauty of faith, to examine its contents, and to bear witness to it in daily life (cf. Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, 11 October 2011). I wish to encourage sick people and the suffering always to find a safe anchor in faith, nourished by listening to the Word of God, by personal prayer and by the sacraments, while I invite pastors to be increasingly ready to celebrate them for the sick. Following the example of the Good Shepherd and as guides of the flocks entrusted to them, priests should be full of joy, attentive to the weakest, the simple and sinners, expressing the infinite mercy of God with reassuring words of hope (cf. Saint Augustine, Letter 95, 1: PL 33, 351-352).

To all those who work in the field of health, and to the families who see in their relatives the suffering face of the Lord Jesus, I renew my thanks and that of the Church, because, in their professional expertise and in silence, often without even mentioning the name of Christ, they manifest him in a concrete way (cf. Homily, Chrism Mass, 21 April 2011).

To Mary, Mother of Mercy and Health of the Sick, we raise our trusting gaze and our prayer; may her maternal compassion, manifested as she stood beside her dying Son on the Cross, accompany and sustain the faith and the hope of every sick and suffering person on the journey of healing for the wounds of body and spirit!

I assure you all of a remembrance in my prayers, and I bestow upon each one of you a special Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 20 November 2011, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King.


VATICAN  CITY, 4 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father held his weekly general audience  this morning in the Paul VI Hall, in the presence of 7,000 pilgrims.

   Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to the mystery of the Lord's Nativity,  noting that "our first reaction to this extraordinary event of God Who  becomes a child ... is joy". This "arises from a sense of heartfelt  wonder at seeing how God comes close to us and cares for us; how He acts in  history. ... It arises from a contemplation of the face of that humble child  because we know that it is the Face of God. ... Christmas is a time of joy  ... because God - Who is the goodness, life and truth of mankind - comes down  to man's level in order to raise man to Himself. God comes so close that we  can see and touch Him". For this reason, the Pope explained,  "Christmas is the point at which heaven and earth unite. ... In that  needy Child ... what God is (eternity, strength, sanctity, life, joy) unites  with what we are (weakness, sin, suffering death)".

   The phrase "admirabile commercium" is current in the theology and  spirituality of the Nativity, used to describe this "admirable exchange  between the divine and the human. ... The first act of that exchange comes  about in Christ's own humanity. The Word assumed our humanity and, in  exchange, human nature was raised to divine dignity. The second act of the  exchange consists in our real and intimate involvement in the divine nature  of the Word. ... Thus Christmas is the feast in which God comes so close to  man as to share the very act of being born, showing men and women their most  profound dignity: that of being children of God. Humanity's dream which began  in the Garden of Eden - we want to be like God - is realised in an unexpected  way, not through the greatness of man, who cannot make himself God, but  through the humility of God Who came down among us in His humility, raising  us to the true greatness of His being ".

   Benedict XVI also turned his attention to another aspect of Christmas,  symbolised by light. "Christ's coming dissipates the shadows of the  world and fills the holy night with a celestial splendour, spreading the  radiance of God the Father over the faces of men, even today", he said.  "After having spoken and intervened in history through messengers and  signs, 'He appeared', He came out of His inaccessible light in order to  illuminate the world". All Christians must be aware of their mission and  responsibility to bear witness to the new light of the Gospel, and to bring  it to the world. The Church receives the light of Christ "to be  illuminated thereby and to spread it in all its splendour. And this must also  come about in our own lives".

   "Christmas means pausing to contemplate the Child, the Mystery of God  Who became man in humility and poverty. Above all it means once again making  that Child, Who is Christ the Lord, part of ourselves so as to live our lives  from His, so as to make His feelings, His thoughts, His actions our feelings,  thoughts and actions. To celebrate Christmas is to express the joy, novelty  and light which that Birth brought into our lives, that we too may bring  others joy, true novelty and the light of God".

   After his catechesis the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in various languages,  thanked a number of bands for having enlivened the celebration with their  music and imparted his blessing upon those present.
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VATICAN  CITY, 4 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Made public yesterday was the Holy Father's Message  for the World Day of the Sick which will be held, as is traditional, on 11  February, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The message, dated from the Vatican on 20  November 2011, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ Universal King, has as its  title Jesus' words to the leper from the Gospel of St. Luke: "Stand up and go; your  faith has saved you".


VATICAN  CITY, 4 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 -  Appointed Bishop Cirilo Flores, auxiliary of Orange in California, U.S.A., as  coadjutor bishop of San Diego (area 22,942, population 3,118,990, Catholics  981,211, priests 319, permanent deacons 114, religious 384), U.S.A.

 -  Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of Los Angeles, U.S.A.,  presented by Bishop Gabino Zavala, in accordance with canons 411 and 401  para. 2 of the Code of  Canon Law.
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UCAN REPORT: Says it will seek funding for 1,000 permanent houses for flood victims reporters, Manila
January 3, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Bishops’ conference to build new homes
A “tent village” in Cagayan de Oro (photo courtesy of Department of Social Welfare and Development)
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said today it will seek funding for the construction of 1,000 houses for victims of recent flooding that has claimed the lives of more than 1,200 people and left hundreds of thousands more displaced.
The plan includes construction of 400 permanent homes in Cagayan de Oro City, another 400 transitional homes in Iligan City and 200 other temporary shelters in Mumaguete City.
Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said a start date would depend on approval of funding.
“We are asking Caritas Internationalis for 70 million pesos (US$1.6 million). They will start releasing their pledges once we finish the revision of the proposal.”
He said he expected construction to begin by mid-February once Caritas gives its approval.
“Those in Iligan and Dumaguete will be constructed on site, while those in Cagayan de Oro will be relocated. We have to find a suitable place for the 400 families there,” he said.
Fr Gariguez said relief supplies have been arriving steadily, but that shelter is the principal need.
“There are tent cities but these are only temporary. We want to address the long-term need of the community – relocation and shelter assistance. Otherwise, [residents] will just return to the hazardous areas.”
Government and other groups have also announced plans to address housing needs in the wake of flooding.
Welfare secretary Corazon Soliman has said the government would prepare an unspecified number of permanent homes for flood victims now being moved to tents and temporary shelters from schools and Churchs.
The Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University has also tabled a plan to build 200 new residences in two flood-affected cities.


Benediktinerpater Christoph Gerhard mit seinem Teleskop, das ihm den Blick in die Sterne ermöglicht.
Benedictine priest Christoph Gerhard with his telescope, which enables him to look into the stars.

Benedictine priest Christoph Gerhard is amateur astronomer

Münsterschwarzach - his Christmas greetings graced this time an image from the seventeenth century. Angel playing on it with a comet. The stars have been the religious. "I am a small man, only 1.80 meters tall, and can overlook but billions of light years - that alone is already madness", says Father Christoph Gerhard. He was prior of the Benedictine Abbey in Bavaria in Münsterschwarzach and amateur astronomer. More than ten years ago, he has revived the old monastic tradition of astronomy.
In a remote corner of the abbey grounds, far away of convent, Church and convent high school, he has established his Observatory with lens and Newton telescope. Early in the morning or late at night he gazes into the endless expanses of space. His uncle have inspired him as a 12 year olds for astronomy. When he then entered the monastery, had he let rest the hobby. The master encouraged him however to look again at the star.
Scientists and religious
Father Christoph, that more than 100 comets, clusters and nebulae that are named after the French astronomer Charles Messier appreciates in particular the so-called Messier objects. Better scan he wants it - with success: some photographs of name were published in journals, in addition, he regularly organises exhibitions. Father Christoph is scientist through and through. Before entering the monastery he studied electrical engineering. Mathematical calculations make it fun.
But especially the connection between faith and science fascinate the 47-year old monk. Naturally, the view of the stars at first is an impressive natural experience. Its remotest Galaxy a quasar, more than nine billion light years was gone. "As two thirds to the edge of the universe to be able to see, is already class that", he enthuses. But since there is also the theological aspect: a man could overlook 14 billion light years. "When you consider these sizes and widths, how big must God be then?"
Astronomy and spirituality
The man is indeed small, but large enough to understand this. "To match size and smallness of people is benediktinisch." Father Christoph has written a book with his theological considerations: "Astronomy and spirituality: The star of Bethlehem". The connection was so not a problem. "You will prove only then tricky when scientists begin anything of the faith to believe." "Or any believers think that science must be guided by their faith."
And how get on being monk and hunting for the stars? The times of prayer, have priority says Father Christoph. Even if just at this time about the Comet Lulin emerges. However, the weather is vital for "the small yearning" of father. Eight weeks only crummy, this is not at all. "After a long nice weather period I sit then already much hid in the choir stalls: there I have fueled enough star."
Note: 16 stars pictures of father Christoph Gerhard can be seen until 30 March under the title "The sky tell the glory of God" in the Guest House of the Benedictine Abbey of Münsterschwarzach.
By Christian Wölfel


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT:
4 Jan 2012

Vinnies stores are great for bargains and
raise funds to help the needs
In the past year NSW's St Vincent de Paul Society was able to give more than $3 million in goods ranging from clothing to furniture, cutlery, CDs, books, crockery, blankets and linen directly to individuals and families in need.
"These goods were given at no cost to Vinnies and are in addition to the donated items we sold at Vinnies' stores across the state," says Yolanda Saiz, Communications Manager for the Society in NSW.
Yolanda emphasises the Society's gratitude for the generosity of Sydneysiders as well as others throughout the state and says it is this generosity that enables Vinnies to provide direct assistance to people who are doing it tough.
While Vinnies op shops are well-known for their bargains in fashion, menswear, shoes, china, trinkets and toys, what is less well-known is that many of the donations given to Vinnies rather than being put on shelves and sold to raise funds, instead go straight to men, women and children who need them most.

Whether given directly to those in need or sold through one of Vinnies many stores, donated items end up helping battlers struggling to make ends meet.

Illegal Dumping at Charity Bins
"All funds earned from the sales of donated items at your local Vinnies store are put towards programs to help those in need in the immediate area, while other donated items are given directly to those requiring assistance," Yolanda explains.
Despite the generosity of Sydneysiders and others throughout the state, some inconsiderate individuals regard charity bins and the pavements outside op shops such as a Vinnies store as a convenient dumpster for unwanted, unwashed and broken-down items.
This type of behaviour seems to occur over periods such as Christmas, Easter or long weekends when some households decide to have a spring clean. But rather than drive all the way to the local tip, they simply dump their trash into a charity bin or plonk it in an ugly pile outside a store run by Vinnies or another charity such as the Smith Family or the Salvos.
Sorting through this rubbish and then paying for the removal an estimated 550,000 kg of unwanted goods each month costs Vinnies a whopping $1.5 million each year.

Too lazy to go to the tip, some Sydneysiders
use charity bins as dumpsters
While it is only a small minority that show such disregard for either the charity or for the people it is trying to help, Yolanda believes before donating, it is important people think about what they intend to give and how a particular item can assist and be used by someone in need.
"Whether the goods are for sale or given directly to those in need, it is essential they are in good condition," she says adding that although the items may no longer be wanted by someone, they should still be of good quality and able to be used.
Before donating, it's a good idea to check with your local Vinnies store on what items it accepts, she suggests. This can vary across the state and a quick phone call to find out what the store will or won't accept will save time not only for the donor but for those managing the store.
"It's also a good idea to drop off goods when the stores are open for business to prevent item left outside on the pavement overnight from being damaged by rain and weather," she says.
Vinnies helping children, families
and parents on the margins
Clothing and goods left in garbage bags outside a store afterhours are also at risk of being looted by opportunistic passersby. So use the chutes or bins provided or wait until normal business hours to make your donation.
As a guide the items Vinnies welcomes are: Clean clothes, shoes and accessories, crockery, furniture, books in reasonable condition, CDs and tapes,DVDs in reasonable condition, clean toys, undamaged blankets and clean linen and pillows.
Items Vinnies does not accept include electrical goods and appliances (for obvious safety reasons), mattresses, bunk beds, sofa beds, king singles, baby items, swing sets, play equipment, push bikes, trampolines, clothes spoiled by chemicals, household garbage, water-damaged chipboard furniture, cracked or broken crockery.


ASIA NEWS REPORT; Social Democratic Party candidate Nady Kastor urges Liberal parties to work together in order to become the country’s second political force. The third round of voting for the lower house ends today in nine provinces. The Muslim Brotherhood is expected to win again and become Egypt’s first party with 40 per cent of the vote.

Cairo (AsiaNews) – “Liberal parties are optimistic about the future and will work to contain Islamist parties’ excessive power,” said Nady Kastor, a Social Democratic Party candidate for the lower house who spoke with AsiaNews about the third round of elections now underway in nine provinces, including Al-Ghabarbya, North Sinai and South Sinai, known Muslim Brotherhood’s strongholds. Many analysts expect the latter and Salafists, who took 60 per cent of the vote in November and December, to win again.

“People still don’t trust secularist parties and prefer the democratic proposal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Freedom Party, Kastor said.

Nevertheless, his Social Democratic Party won about 20 per cent of the vote together with other liberal parties.

“Our goal is to become over time the country’s second largest political party,” he explained. “However, pro-democracy parties must organise and join forces to become better known in Egyptian society.”

Early results from the third phase of the elections will be made public on 7 January.

Voting for parliament’s upper house will be held on 22 February.

The ruling military council announced in December that presidential elections would take place in July. (S.C.)’s-victory-23613.html


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The budget of twenty years is positive but today the country needs "something more": just days before the 20th anniversary of the historic "peace agreements" signed on January 16, 1992 in Chapultepec, Mexico, Mgr. José Luis Escobar, Archbishop of San Salvador, traced an assessment, showing how these agreements have been respected, and underling what the country needs today. The Agreements put an end to 12 years of civil war in the country.
In a note sent to Fides, the Archbishop of San Salvador says: "We as a Church have always appreciated the Peace Agreements. For the most part they have been applied and we can trace, in general, a positive assessment. It is important not to have gone back to war, only for this country deserves a world-wide recognition, even though today the country is living a new phase of violence".
In this regard, before the biggest criminal crisis the country lives, the Church proposes a new national social pact (see Fides 12/12/2011) to eliminate violence and poverty in the Salvadorian society. According to the Archbishop, the two elements are related: "We cannot think that all is well. In making the assessment we have to admit that there has been progress, but we must recognize with much regret the violence and poverty in which we live. We cannot forget the many victims of violence today. It is something we have to solve", he said.
At the end of the note it says: "The 20th anniversary of the Peace Agreements must invite us to reflect on the full respect for peace. But there is still a debt towards society, because the situation is not definitely resolved and society entirely pacified". (CE) (Agenzia Fides 04/01/2012)


St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Feast: January 4

Feast Day:January 4
28 August 1774 in New York City, New York, USA
Died:4 January 1821 in Emmitsburg, Maryland
14 September 1975 by Pope Paul VI
Patron of:Catholic Schools; State of Maryland
This first American-born saint accomplished more in twelve years than most people do in a whole lifetime. From 1809 to 1821, the year she died, she laid the foundation for the Catholic parochial system in the United States, founded her Sisters of Charity, and ran her school and lived with her community at her headquarters in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Elizabeth Ann Bayley was the daughter of a distinguished colonial family in New York City, her father a physician and professor at what later became Columbia University. Her grandfather was rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Staten Island.

Born in 1774 she married William Magee Seton, a wealthy young businessman, in 1794. They had five children. Mr. Seton had reversals in business and lost his fortune, and a sea voyage was recommended to recover his health. The couple, along with their eldest daughter, embarked for Italy in 1803 and were given hospitality by the Filicchi family of Leghorn. William Seton died in Pisa less than three months later.

Influenced by her stay in Italy, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton became a Catholic upon her return to the United States, against the opposition of her family. In August 1807, she was invited by the superior of the Baltimore Sulpicians to found a school for girls near the Sulpician seminary in Baltimore. With the help of Archbishop Carroll, she organized a group of young women to assist her in her work, received a religious rule and habit from him, and took the vows of religion.
In 1809, she moved her headquarters to Emmitsburg, adopted a modified version of the rule of St. Vincent de Paul for the French Sisters of Charity, and laid the foundation for the Catholic parochial school system in the United States. She trained her sisters for teaching, wrote textbooks for classrooms, worked among the poor, the sick, and the black people of the region, and directed the work of her congregation. In 1814, she sent her nuns to open an orphanage in Philadelphia and another in New York City in 1817.

She died at Emmitsburg on January 4, 1821, and was canonized by Pope Paul VI on September 14, 1975. Her body is enshrined at the motherhouse of the American Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg.
Thought for the Day: Mother Seton seems almost like a neighbor down the street. But she is St. Elizabeth Seton, who found God through very difficult times. She was loving wife, devoted mother, foundress, and saint.

From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': . . . "Come along with me and I will show you how to fish for the souls of men!" And they left their nets at once and went with him.-Matthew 4:19-20