Saturday, January 7, 2012


The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a Note today offering practical suggestions for making the most of the upcoming Year of Faith.
The Note contains more than 3 dozen concrete proposals on all levels of the life of the Church, from the Universal, to the Bishops’ Conferences, to individual Dioceses, and within these, to Communities, Associations and Movements, involving initiatives aimed at fostering Christian unity, to faith formation and renewal, and especially evangelization.
Fr. Hermann Geissler is responsible for the Doctrinal Office at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
He says the purpose of the Note is threefold: the first is to help the faithful to rediscover the nucleus of the faith, the foundation of the faith, which is the personal encounter with Christ, the personal encounter with the Lord who loves us, sustains us, forgives us, encourages us and shows us a great future… The second is that of helping the faithful to rediscover the meaning, and the documents of the II Vatican Council. “Many people talk about Vatican II,” says Fr. Geissler, “but when we really begin to get into it, we discover that only a very few people are really familiar with the texts of this great and most recent Council.” Finally, the note has the purpose of helping the faithful throughout the whole year to rediscover the integrity of the faith in all its beauty. “For this,” says Fr. Greissler, “the Catechism of the Catholic Church can be of great help to us.”
In fact, the 20th anniversary of the completion of the Catechism and the 50th anniversary of the opening of the II Vatican Council are focal points of the Year of Faith, which begins a half-century to the day from the Council’s opening. Following the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter Porta fidei with which he proclaimed the Year of Faith, the Note recalls that the Catechism is an authentic fruit of the Council and an integral part of the “renewal in continuity” with the Church’s ancient and changeless Tradition of which the Conciliar documents are a most authoritative expression.
The Note expresses the hopeful intention of making the Year of Faith a propitious occasion to make the II Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church more widely and more deeply known.

VATICAN  CITY, 6 JAN 2012 (VIS) - "It is with great joy that I announce my  intention to hold a concistory on 18 February, in which I will appoint  twenty-two new members of the College of Cardinals". With these words,  addressed to faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus, Benedict  XVI today announced the fourth consistory of his pontificate.

   "As is well known", he explained, "cardinals have the task of  helping Peter's Successor carry out his mission to confirm people in the  faith and to be the source and foundation of the Church's unity and  communion". The new cardinals "come from various parts of the world  and perform various ministries in the service of the Holy See, in direct  contact with the faithful as fathers and pastors of particular  Churches".

   Eighteen of the new cardinals, being under the age of eighty, will be  electors. Their names are:

 -  Archbishop Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the  Evangelisation of Peoples.

 -  Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, penitentiary major.

 -  Archbishop Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of the papal basilica of St.  Mary Major.

 -  Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the  Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

 -  Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for  Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

 -  Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for  Legislative Texts.

 -  Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of  Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

 -  Archbishop Edwin Frederick O'Brien, pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order  of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

 -  Archbishop Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the  Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

 -  Archbishop Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic  Affairs of the Holy See.

 -  Major Archbishop George Alencherry of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the  Syro-Malabars, India.

 -  Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins of Toronto, Canada.

 -  Archbishop Dominik Jaroslav Duka, O.P. of Prague, Czech Republic.

 -  Archbishop Willem Jacobus Eijk of Utrecht, Holland.

 -  Archbishop Giuseppe Betori of Florence, Italy.

 -  Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan of New York, U.S.A.

 -  Archbishop Rainer Maria Woelki of Berlin, Germany.

 -  Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong, China.

   The Holy Father also pronounced the names of four new cardinals who, being  over the age of eighty, are ineligible to vote in a future conclave. "I  have", the Pope said, "decided to elevate to the dignity of  cardinal a venerable prelate who serves as pastor and father of a Church, and  three worthy priests who have distinguished themselves for their dedication  and service". They are:

 -  Major Archbishop Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Julia of the Romanians,  Romania.

 -  Fr. Julien Ries, priest of the diocese of Namur and professor emeritus of  religious history at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.

 -  Fr. Prosper Grech, O.S.A., professor emeritus of several Roman universities  and consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 -  Fr. Karl Josef Becker, S.J., professor emeritus of the Pontifical Gregorian  University and for many years consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine  of the Faith.

   In closing the Pope invited the faithful to pray for the new cardinals,  "asking the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, to intercede that  they may always bear courageous and dedicated witness of their love for  Christ and His Church".
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VATICAN  CITY, 6 JAN 2012 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 10 a.m. today, the Pope presided  at Mass for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. During the ceremony he  conferred episcopal ordination upon archbishops-elect Msgr. Charles John  Brown, apostolic nuncio to Ireland, and Msgr. Marek Solczynski, apostolic  nuncio to Georgia and Armenia. The Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal  Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.; Cardinal William Joseph Levada,  prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the two new  archbishops.

   In his homily the Holy Father reflected on today's Gospel reading, the  narrative of the Magi who came from the East to Bethlehem to adore the Baby  Jesus, which he compared with the mission of bishops in the Church.

   "The wise men from the East ... open up the path of the gentiles to  Christ. During this holy Mass, I will ordain two priests to the episcopate, I  will consecrate them as shepherds of God's people. According to the words of  Jesus, part of a shepherd's task is to go ahead of the flock. So, allowing  for all the differences in vocation and mission, we may well look to these  figures, the first gentiles to find the pathway to Christ, for indications  concerning the task of bishops".

   The Magi "were, as we might say, men of science, but not simply in the  sense that they were searching for a wide range of knowledge: they wanted  something more. ... They were men with restless hearts, not satisfied with  the superficial and the ordinary. They were men in search ... of God, ...  watchful men, capable of reading God's signs, His soft and penetrating  language. But they were also courageous, yet humble: we can imagine them  having to endure a certain amount of mockery for setting off to find the King  of the Jews, at the cost of so much effort. For them it mattered little what  this or that person, what even influential and clever people thought and said  about them. For them it was a question of truth itself, not human opinion.  Hence they took upon themselves the sacrifices and the effort of a long and  uncertain journey. Their humble courage was what enabled them to bend down  before the child of poor people and to recognise in Him the promised King,  the One they had set out, on both their outward and their inward journey, to  seek and to know".

   "How can we fail to recognise in all this certain essential elements of  episcopal ministry? The bishop too must be a man of restless heart, not  satisfied with the ordinary things of this world, but inwardly driven by his  heart's unrest to draw ever closer to God, to seek His face, to recognise Him  more and more, to be able to love Him more and more. The bishop too must be a  man of watchful heart, who recognises the gentle language of God and  understands how to distinguish truth from mere appearance. The bishop too  must be filled with the courage of humility, not asking what prevailing  opinion says about him, but following the criterion of God's truth and taking  his stand accordingly. ... He must be able to go ahead and mark out the path,  ... in the footsteps of Him who went ahead of us all because He is the true  shepherd: ... Jesus Christ. And he must have the humility to bend down before  the God Who made Himself so tangible and so simple that He contradicts our  foolish pride in its reluctance to see God so close and so small.

   "The liturgy of episcopal ordination interprets the essential features  of this ministry in eight questions addressed to the candidates. ... These  questions direct the will and mark out the path to be followed. Here I shall  briefly cite just a few of the most important words of this presentation,  where we find explicit mention of the elements we have just considered in  connection with the wise men of today's feast. ... Preaching the Gospel of  Jesus Christ, going ahead and leading, guarding the sacred heritage of our  faith, showing mercy and charity to the needy and the poor, thus mirroring  God's merciful love for us, and finally, praying without ceasing: these are  the fundamental features of the episcopal ministry. Praying without ceasing  means: never losing contact with God, letting ourselves be constantly touched  by Him in the depths of our hearts. ... Only someone who actually knows God  can lead others to God".

   "Our heart is restless for God and remains so, even if every effort is  made today, by means of most effective anaesthetising methods, to deliver  people from this unrest. But not only are we restless for God: God's heart is  restless for us. God is waiting for us. He is looking for us. He knows no  rest either, until He finds us. ... That is why He set out on the path  towards us, to Bethlehem, to Calvary, from Jerusalem to Galilee and on to the  very ends of the earth. God ... looks out for people willing to 'catch' His  unrest, His passion for us, people who carry within them the searching of  their own hearts. ... This was the task of the Apostles: to receive God's  unrest for man and then to bring God Himself to man. And this is your task as  successors of the Apostles".

   "The wise men followed the star. ... The wise men from the East, ...  like all the saints, have themselves gradually become constellations of God  that mark out the path. ... The saints are stars of God, by whom we let  ourselves be led to Him for Whom our whole being longs. ... As you are  ordained bishops, you too are called to be stars of God for men, leading them  along the path towards the true light, towards Christ".
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VATICAN  CITY, 6 JAN 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the  Lord, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his private study overlooking  St. Peter's Square, to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below. During  his remarks he announced a forthcoming consistory, due to be held on 18  February, for the creation of twenty-two new cardinals.

   Introducing the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI explained that the Epiphany  "is an ancient feast, which ... highlights the mystery of Christ's  manifestation to all peoples, represented by the Magi who came to adore the  newborn King of the Jews in Bethlehem, as the Gospel of St. Matthew  says".

   "The entire period of Christmas and Epiphany is characterised by the  theme of light", the Pope explained. "Jesus is the sun which rose  on the horizon of humankind to illuminate the individual life of each one of  us and guide us, all together, towards the goal of our pilgrimage, towards  the land of freedom and peace in which we will forever live in full  communion, with God and among ourselves".

   The announcement of this mystery of salvation was entrusted by Christ to His  Church. "The world, with all its resources, is unable to give humanity  the light to guide it on its journey. This is clear also in our own day, when  Western society seems to have lost direction and is feeling its way forward.  Yet the Church, thanks to the Word of God, sees beyond these shadows. She  does not possess technical solutions but she has her gaze turned to the final  destination offering the light of the Gospel to all men and women of good  will, of whatever nation or culture".

   After the Angelus prayer, the Pope expressed his congratulations to the  Eastern Churches which, in accordance with the Julian calendar, will  celebrate Christmas tomorrow. "May each family and each community be  filled with the light and peace of Christ the Saviour", he said.

   He also recalled the fact that the Epiphany coincides with the Day of  Missionary Children. "Dear children and young people", he said,  "may your hearts, like the heart of Jesus, be open to the world. Yet  also remain attentive to those who live near you and be ready to extend a  hand to them".

   Finally the Pope addressed greetings in a number of languages to the pilgrims  gathered below his window. Speaking to Polish faithful he said: "To your  prayers I entrust a countryman of yours [Marek Solczynski], a new nuncio who  received episcopal ordination this morning".
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VATICAN  CITY, 7 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Made public today was a Note from the Congregation for the  Doctrine of the Faith containing pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith.  Summarised extracts of the English-language version are given below.

 "With the Apostolic Letter  of 11 October 2011, 'Porta fidei', Pope Benedict XVI declared a Year of Faith.  This Year will begin on 11 October 2012, ... and will conclude on 24 November  2013, the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King".

   "The beginning of the Year of Faith coincides with the  anniversaries of two great events which have marked the life of the Church in  our days: the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican  Council, ... and the twentieth of the promulgation of the Catechism of the  Catholic Church".

Recommendations  for the Universal Church

 -  The main ecclesial event will be the thirteenth General Assembly of the  Ordinary Synod of Bishops, on "The New Evangelisation for the  Transmission of the Christian Faith" to be held in October. It is during  the Synod that the Year of Faith will begin.

 -  Encouraging pilgrimages of the faithful to the See of Peter and to the  Holy Land.

 -  Inviting the faithful to recognise the special role of Mary in the mystery of  salvation, to love her and follow her as a model of faith and virtue.

 -  Holding symposia, conferences and large gatherings to encourage encounters  with authentic witness to the faith and to promote understanding of the  contents of Catholic doctrine, especially the teachings of Vatican Council  II.

 -  Deepening knowledge of the primary documents of Vatican Council II and of the  Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is especially true for candidates for  priesthood, novices in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of  Apostolic Life, as well as for those in a period of discernment for joining  an Ecclesial Association or Movement.

 -  More attentive reception of the homilies, catechesis, addresses and other  speeches and documents of the Holy Father.

 -  Planning ecumenical initiatives aimed at the restoration of unity among all  Christians. In particular, there will be a solemn ecumenical celebration in  which all of the baptised will reaffirm their faith in Christ.

 -  A Secretariat to coordinate all of the different initiatives of the Year of  Faith will be established within the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of  the New Evangelisation. The Secretariat will also open a dedicated website.

 -  At the conclusion of the Year, on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,  Universal King, there will be a Eucharist celebrated by the Holy Father, in  which a solemn renewal of the profession of faith will take place.

Recommendations  for episcopal conferences

 -  Dedicating a day of study to the topic of faith, its personal witness and its  transmission to new generations.

 -  Promoting the republication in paperback and economical editions of the  documents of Vatican Council II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its  Compendium, and their wider distribution using modern technologies.

 -  Translating the documents of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the  Catholic Church into languages which lack a translation. Also, encouraging  initiatives of charitable support to enable translations into the local  languages of mission countries, where the local Churches cannot afford the  expense.

 -  Promoting television and radio transmissions, films and publications focusing  on the faith and on Vatican Council II. This should be done using the new  styles of communication, especially on the popular level.

 -  Disseminating knowledge of local saints and blesseds, the authentic witnesses  of the faith.

 -  Maximising the catechetical potential of local artistic patrimony, possibly  with ecumenical cooperation.

 -  Educators in centres of theological studies, seminaries and Catholic  universities should be encouraged to demonstrate the relevance within their  various disciplines of the contents of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 -  Preparing pamphlets and leaflets of an apologetic nature, with the help of  theologians and authors, to help the faithful respond to the questions which  arise in difficult contexts, including the challenge of sects and problems  related to secularism.

 -  Examining local catechisms and various catechetical supplements in use in the  particular Churches to ensure their complete conformity with the Catechism of  the Catholic Church, and preparing new ones in case of need.

 -  Ensuring that the contents of the Catechism of the Catholic Church are  present in the "Ratio" of formation for future priests, and in the  curriculum of their theological studies.

Recommendations  at the diocesan level

 -  It is hoped that each particular Church will celebrate the opening and the  solemn conclusion of the Year of Faith.

 -  Organising a study day in each diocese on the Catechism of the Catholic  Church, particularly for priests, consecrated persons and catechists.

 -  Each bishop could devote a pastoral letter to the topic of faith, keeping in  mind the specific pastoral circumstances of his faithful, reminding them of  the importance of Vatican Council II and of the Catechism of the Catholic  Church.

 -  Organising catechetical events, especially for young people and those seeking  the meaning of life, helping them to discover the beauty of ecclesial faith.

 -  Reviewing the reception of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the  Catholic Church in the life and mission of dioceses, particularly in the  realm of catechesis.

 -  Focusing the continuing education of the clergy on the documents of Vatican  Council II and on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 -  Organising  penitential celebrations in which all can ask for God's forgiveness,  especially for sins against faith.

 -  Renewing creative dialogue between faith and reason in the academic and  artistic communities, through symposia, meetings and days of study,  especially at Catholic universities.

 -  Promoting encounters with non-believers who sincerely search for the ultimate  meaning and definitive truth of their lives and of the world, taking as an  example the dialogues of the Courtyard of the Gentiles, sponsored by the  Pontifical Council for Culture.

 -  Paying greater attention to Catholic schools, which are a perfect place to  offer students a living witness to the Lord and to nurture their faith, using  such instruments as the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church  and "Youcat".

Recommendations  for parishes, communities, associations and movements

 -  All of the faithful are invited to read closely and meditate upon Pope  Benedict XVI's Apostolic Letter, "Porta fidei".

 -  Intensifying the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially  in the Eucharist, in which the faith of the Church is proclaimed, celebrated  and strengthened. All of the faithful are invited to participate in the  Eucharist actively, fruitfully and with awareness.

 -  Priests should devote greater attention to the study of the documents of  Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, apply this to  their pastoral care and offer cycles of homilies on the faith or on certain  specific aspects.

 -  Catechists should hold more firmly to the doctrinal richness of the Catechism  of the Catholic Church, and guide groups of faithful towards a deeper common  understanding thereof.

 -  Parishes can help to distribute the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and  other resources appropriate for families - the primary setting for the  transmission of the faith - for example, during the blessing of homes, the  Baptism of adults, Confirmation and Marriage.

 -  Promoting missions and other popular programmes in parishes and in the  workplace, to help the faithful rediscover the gift of baptismal faith and  the task of giving witness.

 -  Members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life  are asked to work towards the new evangelisation, each according to their  proper charism.

 -  Contemplative communities should pray specifically for the renewal of the  faith among the People of God, and for a new impulse for its transmission to  the young.

 -  Associations and Ecclesial Movements are invited to promote specific  initiatives, through the contribution of their proper charism.

 -  All of the faithful should try to communicate their own experience of faith  and charity to their brothers and sisters of other religions, believers and  non-believers. In this way, it is hoped that the entire Christian people will  begin a kind of mission towards those with whom they live and work.

   The Note concludes by stating that "the recommendations provided here  have the goal of inviting all of the members of the Church to work so that  this Year may be a special time in which we, as Christians, may share  that which is most dear to us: Christ Jesus, the Redeemer of mankind".
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VATICAN  CITY, 7 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

 -  Cardinal Agostino Vallini, His Holiness' vicar general for the diocese of  Rome.

 -  Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental  Churches.

 -  Archbishop Charles John Brown, apostolic nuncio to Ireland, accompanied by  members of his family.

 -  Archbishop Marek Solczynski, apostolic nuncio to Georgia and Armenia,  accompanied by members of his family.
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VATICAN  CITY, 7 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 -  Appointed Fr. Henry Aruna of the clergy of Kenema, Sierra Leone, secretary  general of the Inter-territorial Catholic Bishops' Conference of The Gambia  and Sierra Leone, as bishop of Makeni (area 36,100, population 1,800,000,  Catholics 50,000, priests 59, religious 43), Sierra Leone. The bishop-elect  was born in Kenema in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1993. He studied in  Liberia, Rome and Sierra Leone and has worked in pastoral care and education.  He succeeds Bishop George Biguzzi S.X., whose resignation from the pastoral  care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the  age limit.

 -  Appointed Fr. John Oballa Owaa, rector and professor of the national major  seminary of St. Thomas Aquinas in Nairobi, Kenya, as bishop of Ngong (area  47,000, population 1,011,000, Catholics 83,247, priests 53, religious 183),  Kenya. The bishop-elect was born in Kisumu, Kenya in 1958 and ordained a  priest in 1986. He studied in Kenya and in Rome where he also worked as an  official of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care.

 -  Appointed Fr. Serge Thomas Bonino O.P., secretary general of the  International Theological Commission, as a consultor of the Congregation for  the Doctrine of the Faith.


UCAN REPORT: He and 21 others will receive their red hats during a papal consistory scheduled for February 18 reporter, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
January 6, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Pope names Bishop Tong as Cardinal
Bishop John Tong Hon holds the hair-relic of Blessed John Paul late last year
Pope Benedict XVI today named Archbishop Fernando Filoni and Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong, both experts on China Church affairs, as new cardinals during the Angelus in St Peter’s Square.
They were among 22 new cardinals who will receive red hats in the fourth consistory of Benedict’s pontificate on February 18.
Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun said there is generally only one cardinal in a diocese but since he will turn 80 on January 13, which means he will have no voting rights in a papal conclave, it is reasonable for the pope to name another cardinal for Hong Kong.
Noting that it is a personal choice of the pope, the retired bishop of Hong Kong said “it is to show his goodwill towards China.”
Bishop Tong, 72, will be the seventh Chinese cardinal in history.
Bishop Tong was born in 1939 and ordained a priest in 1966. He was appointed auxiliary bishop in 1996 and then coadjutor bishop in 2008. He was installed as the ordinary in 2009 after Cardinal Zen retired.
Besides teaching at the Holy Spirit Seminary College, Bishop Tong has served as director of the Holy Spirit Study Centre, a research center specializing in China Church affairs, since its inception in 1980.
In an interview with when he became the ordinary, Bishop Tong said his concern for the China Church will continue, but he will adhere to Church principles in dealing with the mainland.
However, he has adopted a different style from the outspoken Cardinal Zen in showing care for brothers and sisters in China. In his 2010 Christmas message, Bishop Tong asked his Catholics to fulfill their important responsibility of Bridge Church “in a prudent and low profile manner.”
Archbishop Filoni has served as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples since May 2011.
Before that, he served as substitute for the General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, the third most important position at the Vatican.
The Italian archbishop was born in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1970. After entering the Holy See´s diplomatic service in 1981, he worked mostly in Asia.
Between 1992-2001, he was assigned to Hong Kong to head a “study mission,” during which he acted as the pope’s link with the Church in mainland China.
The two new cardinals are also members of the Vatican’s Commission for the Church in China.


aCardinal-designate Dolan
Cardinal-designate Edwin F. O'Brien at the headquarters of the Archdiocese for the Military Services in Washington, D.C.

Cardinal-designate O'Brien
WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, vice-president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), congratulated Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, 61, and Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien of Baltimore, 72, on being named cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI, January 6. They will be officially elevated to the College of Cardinals, February 18, in Rome.
“This is an honor for these outstanding church leaders as well as an honor for the Church in the United States,” Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville said.“As men of prayer, wisdom and dedication, they will bring many talents and graces to their new roles as advisors to the Holy Father.”
Archbishop Kurtz noted their generous service beyond their respective archdioceses.
“The entire USCCB has benefitted from their many abilities,” he said. “As president of the USCCB and as former president of Catholic Relief Services, Cardinal-designate Dolan has brought both energy and grace to international and domestic matters.”
He noted Cardinal-designate O’Brien’s unique contributions as well.
“Cardinal-designate O’Brien’s experience with the military has made him a valuable consultant on USCCB justice and peace efforts,” he said. “His seminary background has proven especially insightful in development of our priestly formation programs.”
The new appointments make the churchmen members of the College of Cardinals, where they can be called upon by the pope to serve as advisors at consistories on church affairs, and they will be among members of a conclave that elects successors of the pope. Cardinals can vote in a conclave until they reach the age of 80.
Cardinal-designate Dolan heads the Archdiocese of New York, which traditionally has been led by a cardinal. His predecessor in New York was Cardinal Edward M. Egan, who is 79.
Cardinal-designate O’Brien was named Pro-Grand Master of the Equestrian (Knights) Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher on August 29, 2011. The Rome-based position is usually held by a cardinal. Cardinal John P. Foley resigned from the position last February due to illness and died in Philadelphia, December 11, 2011. The order is a chivalric organization dedicated to promoting and defending Christianity in the Holy Land, supporting the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and responding to the needs of Catholics in the region. Cardinal-designate O’Brien also remains head of the Baltimore Archdiocese until Pope Benedict names his successor there.
Timothy Dolan was born in St. Louis and ordained a priest in 1976, for the St. Louis Archdiocese and then served in local parishes. Subsequent assignments included service at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, vice-rector at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, and rector at North American College in Rome. Pope John Paul II named him an auxiliary bishop of St, Louis in 2001, and archbishop of Milwaukee in 2002. Pope Benedict XVI named him archbishop of New York in 2009. He holds a doctorate in church history from The Catholic University of America.
Edwin O’Brien was born in New York and ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York in 1965. He served as a chaplain at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, and later as an Army chaplain in Vietnam. He served as secretary to New York’s Cardinal Terence Cooke and Cardinal John O’Connor and as rector at St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York and North American College, Rome. He holds a doctorate in sacred theology from the Angelicum University in Rome.
In 1996, he was named an auxiliary bishop of New York. In 1997, he was named coadjutor archbishop for the Archdiocese for Military Services USA, and became head of the military archdiocese later that year. He was named archbishop of Baltimore in 2007.
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Sr. Mary Ann Walsh
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M: 301-325-7935


ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE RELEASE: CATHOLIC Health Australia has called on Treasurer Wayne Swan to give aged care reform the attention it deserves as he begins the difficult process of pulling together the Federal Budget for 2012-13. Catholic_care_300

In its pre-Budget submission, CHA – the largest owner grouping of health and aged care services in Australia – said there has been a lot of positive talk from politicians about the need for an overhaul of the aged care system. The time for talk is now over.

“When the Government was seeking re-election for a second term in 2010, it made a commitment that aged care reform would be a priority during this term,” Catholic Health Australia chief executive Martin Laverty said.
“As we near the halfway mark in that three-year term, it is now time for the Government to put its money where its mouth is.”

Mr Laverty said the Government has invested a lot of time and money in preparing for this moment, most significantly in the Productivity Commission’s report Caring for Older Australians, released last August. It echoed the call of earlier reports that fundamental reform was needed in the aged care sector.

“The recommendations of that report have received widespread support from the industry, various peak bodies and consumer groups, so the Productivity Commission has really provided a blueprint for how the Government and the Parliament can proceed down the path of reform,” he said.

In its pre-Budget submission sent to the Treasurer just before Christmas, CHA acknowledged that the changes would amount to a fundamental restructuring of aged care in Australia, meaning it would take time to implement those changes.

“Having said that, though, we believe the Government needs to make concrete progress in this year’s Budget,” Mr Laverty said.

That should include a timetable for reform, the prioritising of the development of a system of care entitlements, initiation of a process to establish Seniors Gateway Centres and the expansion of community care places. Among other recommendations, CHA also called on the Government to support capital investment in residential care.

“A lot of these proposals will take time, and we recognise the Government’s desire for a Budget surplus, but announcing a timeline for implementation of these reforms would be a long stride in the right direction,” Mr Laverty said.


ASIA NEWS REPORT; by Nina Achmatova
Russian Orthodox Christmas in 60 countries around the world. Patriarch Kirill celebrates Divine Liturgy in the presence of Medvedev and 6 thousand faithful.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - It is Christmas for the Russian Orthodox present in 60 countries worldwide. More than 6 thousand faithful gathered last night at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, where Patriarch Kirill celebrated the Divine Liturgy. In the front row with President Dmitry Medvedev, his wife Svetlana and many prominent figures from Russian politics and civil society. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, however, welcomed the Christmas in the Cathedral of the Transfiguration in St. Petersburg, where he was baptized in 1952.

The Russian Orthodox celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar. This is "delayed" by 13 days compared to the Gregorian, which was adopted by Catholics, Protestants, some Orthodox - such as the Ecumenical Patriarchate - and the secular world. January 7, marks the end of abstinence from meat, sweets and alcohol, which began Nov. 28, and is a national holiday.

At the end of Divine Liturgy, Kirill urged all Christians in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (the ancient Rus') to maintain their strong faith in God, looking to him as "the sun of divine truth, and in the light of this truth understand what is good and what evil, true and false salvation and death. " According to the Patriarch, many people in contemporary society "do not connect any light of truth to the cave of Bethlehem: they continue to worship idols and bind truth to strength and the power of humanity".

In his message for Christmas, Kirill had also reminded the faithful that "God became flesh in order to show the world his love and help those who want to listen to his word to find the fullness of life." As is tradition, the patriarch has also congratulated the Russian astronauts on the International Space Station, linking up live from his residence.

Many Russian politicians, however, starting with Medvedev, used Twitter to make their Christmas wishes. All but Putin, who continues to treat the web with contempt. According to a poll by the Levada independent center, 65% of Russians celebrate Christmas. The Moscow Patriarchate is the point of reference for circa 150 million faithful, 30 thousand churches and 800 monasteries in 60 countries around the world. On January 7, the Orthodox Christmas is celebrated in Georgia, Serbia, Jerusalem, the monks of Mount Athos and also the Greek-Catholics in Ukraine.,-Kirill-to-Orthodox-Church:-Look-to-Christ-as-the-sun-that-lights-the-path-23633.html


CISA REPORT: LUANDA, January 6, 2012 (CISA) -Archbishop Damião Franklin of Luanda in Angola, has called on youth in his country to do more to promote justice and peace.
While speaking on Sunday to mark the World Day for Peace 2012, he said that the youth must be educated on peace.
He added that it is the responsibility of everybody including teachers, parents, the media and religious leaders.
Archbishop Franklin also said that for education to be meaningful to young people, it should be guided by good example.
Angola emerged out of a 27-year civil war in 2002. The country is still experiencing the social, moral and economic consequences of that war.


St. Raymond of Penyafort
Feast: January 7

Feast Day:January 7
1175 at Penafort, Catalonia, Spain
Died:6 January 1275 at Barcelona, Spain
Canonized:29 April 1601 by Pope Clement VIII
Patron of:canon lawyers, lawyers
From the bull of his canonization, by Clement VIII in 1601, and his life, written by several Spanish, Italian and French authors. See Fleury, b. 78, n. 55, 64, and chiefly Touron Hommes Illustres de l'Ordre de S. Domin. t. 1, p. I

The house of Pegnafort, or, as it is pronounced, Pennafort, was descended from the counts of Barcelona, and nearly allied to the kings of Aragon. Raymund was born in 1175, at Pennafort, a castle in Catalonia, which in the fifteenth century was changed into a convent of the order of St. Dominick. Such was his rapid progress in his studies, that at the age of twenty he taught philosophy at Barcelona, which he did gratis, and with so great reputation, that he began then to be consulted by the ablest masters. His principal care was to instil into his scholars the most perfect maxims of a solid piety and devotion, to compose all differences among the citizens, and to relieve the distressed. He was about thirty years of age when he went to Bologna, in Italy, to perfect himself in the study of the canon and civil law, commenced Doctor in that faculty, and taught with the same disinterestedness and charity as he had done in his own country. In 1219 Berengarius, bishop of Barcelona, who had been at Rome, took Raymund home with him, to the great regret of the university and senate of Bologna; and, not content with giving him a canonry in his church, made him his archdeacon, grand vicar, and official. He was a perfect model to the clergy, by his innocence, zeal, devotion, and boundless liberalities to the poor, whom he called his creditors. In 1222 he took the religious habit of St. Dominick at Barcelona, eight months after the death of the holy founder, and in the forty-seventh year of his age. No person was ever seen among the young novices more humble, more obedient, or more fervent. To imitate the obedience of a Man-God, who reduced himself to a state of subjection to his own creatures, to teach us the dangers and deep wound of self-will, and to point out to us the remedy, the saint would depend absolutely on the lights of his director in all things. And it was upon the most perfect self-denial that he laid the foundation of that high sanctity which he made the object of his most earnest desires. The grace of prayer perfected the work which mortification had begun. In a spirit of compunction he begged of his superiors that they would enjoin him some severe penance, to expiate the vain satisfaction and complacency which he said he had sometimes taken in teaching. They indeed imposed on him a penance, but not such a one as he expected. It was to write a collection of cases of conscience for the instruction and conveniency of confessors and moralists. This produced his Sum the first work of that kind. Had his method and decisions been better followed by some later authors of the like works, the holy maxims of Christian morality had been treated with more respect by some moderns than they have been, to our grief and confusion.
Raymund joined to the exercises of his solitude the functions of an apostolical life, by laboring without intermission in preaching, instructing, hearing confessions with wonderful fruit, and converting heretics, Jews, and Moors Among his penitents were James, king of Aragon, and St. Peter Nolasco, with whom he concerted the foundation of the Order of the B. Virgin of mercy for the redemption of captives. James, the young king of Aragon had married Eleonora of Castile within the prohibited degrees, without a dispensation. A legate was sent by pope Gregory IX. to examine and judge the case. In a council of bishops of the two kingdoms, held at Tar rayon, he declared the marriage null, but that their son Don Alphonso should be reputed lawfully born, and heir to his father's crown. The king had taken his confessor with him to the council, and the cardinal legate was so charmed with his talents and virtue, that he associated him in his legation and gave him a commission to preach the holy war against the Moors. The servant of God acquitted himself of that function with so much prudence, zeal, and charity, that he sowed the seeds of the total overthrow of those infidels in Spain. His labors were no less successful in the reformation of the manners of the Christians detained in servitude under the Moors which were extremely corrupted by their long slavery or commerce with these infidels. Raymund showed them, by words full of heavenly unction and fire, that, to triumph over their bodily, they must first conquer their spiritual enemies, and subdue sin in themselves, which made God their enemy. Inculcating these and the like spiritual lessons, he ran over Catalonia, Aragon, Castile, and other countries. So general a change was wrought hereby in the manners of the people, as seemed incredible to all but those who were witnesses of it. By their conversion the anger of God was appeased, and the arms of the faithful became terrible to their enemies. The kings of Castile and Leon freed many places from the Moorish yoke. Don James, king of Aragon, drove them out of the islands of Majorca and Minorca, and soon after, in 1237, out of the whole kingdom of Valentia. Pope Gregory IX. having called St. Raymund to Rome in 1230, nominated him his chaplain, (which was the title of the Auditor of the causes of the apostolic palace,) as also grand penitentiary. He made him likewise his own confessarius, and in difficult affairs came to no decision but by his advice. The saint still reserved himself for the poor, and was so solicitous for them that his Holiness called him their father. He enjoined the pope, for a penance, to receive, hear, and expedite immediately all petitions presented by them. The pope, who was well versed in the canon law, ordered the saint to gather into one body all the scattered decree of popes and councils, since the collection made by Gratian in 1150. Raymund compiled this work in three years, in five books, commonly called the Decretals, which the same pope Gregory confirmed in 1234. It is looked upon as the best finished part of the body of the canon law; on which account the canonists have usually chosen it for the texts of their comments. In 1235, the pope named St. Raymund to the archbishopric of Tarragon, the capital of Aragon: the humble religious man was not able to avert the storm, as he called it, by tears and entreaties; but at length fell sick through anxiety and fear. To restore him to his health, his Holiness was obliged to consent to excuse him, but required that he should recommend a proper person. The saint named a pious and learned canon of Gironne. He refused other dignities with the like constancy.
For the recovery of his health he returned to his native country, and was received with as much joy as if the safety of the whole kingdom. and of every particular person, had depended on his presence. Being restored again to his dear solitude at Barcelona, he continued his former exercises of contemplation, preaching, and administering the sacrament of penance. Except on Sundays, he never took more than one very small refection in the day. Amidst honors and applause he was ever little in his own eyes: he appeared in the schools like a scholar, and in his convent begged the superior to instruct him in the rules of religious perfection, with the humility and docility of a novice. Whether he sung the divine praises with his brethren, or prayed alone in his cell, or some corner of the church, ho poured forth an abundance of tears; and often was not able to contain within himself the ardor of his soul. His mildness and sweetness were unalterable. The incredible number of conversions of which he was the instrument, is known only to Him who, by his grace, was the author of them. He was employed frequently in most important commissions, both by the holy see and by the king. But he was thunderstruck by the arrival of four deputies from the general chapter of his order at Bologna, in 1238, with the news that he was chosen third general, Jordan of Saxony being lately dead. He wept and entreated, but at length acquiesced in obedience. He made the visitation of his order on foot, without discontinuing any of his penitential austerities, or rather exercises. He instilled into his spiritual children a love of regularity, solitude, mortification, prayer, sacred studies, and the apostolical functions, especially preaching. He reduced the constitutions of his order into a clearer method, with notes on the doubtful passages. This his code of rules was approved in three general chapters. In one held at Paris in 1239, he procured the establishment of this regulation, that a voluntary demission of a superior, founded upon just reasons, should be accepted. This he contrived in his own favor; for, to the extreme regret of the order, he in the year following resigned the generalship, which he had held only two years. He alleged for his reason his age of sixty-five years. Rejoicing to see himself again a private religious man, he applied himself with fresh vigor to the exercises and functions of an apostolical life, especially the conversion of the Saracens. Having this end in view he engaged St. Thomas to write his work 'Against the Gentiles;' procured the Arabic and Hebrew tongues to be taught in several convents of his order; and erected convents, one at Tunis, and another at Murcia, among the Moors. In 1256, he wrote to his general that ten thousand Saracens had received baptism. King James took him into the island of Majorca. The saint embraced that opportunity of cultivating that infant church. This prince was an accomplished soldier and statesman, and a sincere lover of religion, but his great qualities were sullied by a base passion for women. He received the admonitions of the saint with respect, and promised amendment of life, and a faithful compliance with the saint's injunctions in every particular; but without effect. St. Raymund, upon discovering that he entertained a lady at his court with whom he was suspected to have criminal conversation, made the strongest instances to have her dismissed, which the king promised should be done, but postponed the execution. The saint, dissatisfied with the delay, begged leave to retire to his convent at Barcelona. The king not only refused him leave, but threatened to punish with death any person that should undertake to convey him out of the island. The saint, full of confidence in God, said to his companion, "A king of the earth endeavors to deprive us of the means of retiring; but the King of heaven will supply them." He then walked boldly to the waters, spread his cloak upon them, tied up one corner of it to a staff for a sail, and having made the sign of the cross, stepped upon it without fear, while his timorous companion stood trembling and wondering on the shore. On this new kind of vessel the saint was wafted with such rapidity, that in six hours he reached the harbor of Barcelona, sixty leagues distant from Majorca. Those who saw him arrive in this manner met him with acclamations. But he, gathering up his cloak dry, put it on, stole through the crowd, and entered his monastery. A chapel and a tower, built on the place where he landed, have transmitted the memory of this miracle to posterity. This relation is taken from the bull of his canonization, and the earliest historians of his life. The king became a sincere convert, and governed his conscience, and even his kingdoms, by the advice of St. Raymund from that time till the death of the saint. The holy man prepared himself for his passage to eternity, by employing days and nights in penance and prayer. During his last illness, Alphonsus, king of Castile, with his queen, sons, and brother; and James, king of Aragon, with his court, visited him, and received his last benediction. He armed himself with the last sacraments; and, in languishing sighs of divine love, gave up his soul to God, on the 6th of January, in the year 1275, and the hundredth of his age. The two kings, with all the princes and princesses of their royal families, honored his funeral with their presence: but his tomb was rendered far more illustrious by miracles. Several are recorded in the bull of his canonization, published by Clement VIII. in 1601. Bollandus has filled fifteen pages in folio with an account of them. His office is fixed by Clement X. to the 23d of January.
The saints first learned in solitude to die to the world and themselves, to put on the spirit of Christ, and ground themselves in a habit of recollection and a relish only for heavenly things, before they entered upon the exterior functions even of a spiritual ministry. Amidst these weighty employments, not content with reserving always the time and means of frequent retirement for conversing with God and themselves, in their exterior functions by raising their minds to heaven with holy sighs and desires, they made all their actions in some measure an uninterrupted prayer and exercise of divine love and praise. St. Bonaventure reckons it among the general exercises of every religious or spiritual men, "that he keep his mind always raised, at least virtually, to God: hence, whensoever a servant of God has been distracted from attending to him for ever so short a space, he grieves and is afflicted, as if he was fallen into some misfortune, by having been deprived of the presence of such a friend who never forgets us. Seeing that our supreme felicity and glory consists in the eternal vision of God, the constant remembrance of him is a kind of imitation of that happy state: this the reward, that the virtue which entitles us to it. Till we are admitted to his presence, let us in our exile always bear him in mind: every one will behold him in heaven with so much the greater joy, and so much the more perfectly, as he shall more assiduously and more devoutly have remembered him on earth. Nor is it only in our repose, but also in the midst of our employments, that we ought to have him present to our minds, in imitation of the holy angels, who, when they are sent to attend on us, so acquit themselves of the functions of this exterior ministry as never to be drawn from their interior attention to God. As much as the heavens exceed the earth, so much larger is the field of spiritual meditation than that of all terrestrial concerns."



John 2: 1 - 11
1 On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there;
2 Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples.
3 When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine."
4 And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come."
5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
6 Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim.
8 He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast." So they took it.
9 When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom
10 and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now."
11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him.


At the midday Angelus for the celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany, Pope Benedict XVI announced a consistory for February 18th next. The cardinals to be created are:

1. Msgr. Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples;

2. Msgr. Manuel Monteiro de Castro, Major Penitentiary;

3. Msgr. Santos Abril Y Castellò, Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major;

4. Msgr Antonio Maria Veglio, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People;

5. Msgr. Giuseppe Bertelli, President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and President of the Governorate of the same State;

6. Msgr Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts;

7. Msgr JOÃO Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life;

8. Msgr Edwin O'Brien, Pro Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem;

9. Msgr. Domenico Calcagno, President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See;

10. Msgr Giuseppe Versaldi, President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See;

11. His Beatitude GEORGE Alencherry, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro Malabar (India);

12. Msgr Thomas Christopher Collins, Archbishop of Toronto (Canada);

13. Msgr Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague (Czech Republic);

14. Msgr Willem Jacobus Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht (Netherlands);

15. Msgr. Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence (Italy);

16. Msgr Timothy Michael Dolan, Archbishop of New York (United States);

17. Msgr. Rainer Maria Woelk, Archbishop of Berlin (Federal Republic of Germany);

18. Msgr John Tong Hon, Bishop of Hong Kong (China);

The Holy Father has also decided to raise to the dignity of cardinal a revered prelate, who carries out his ministry as Pastor and Father of the Church, and three worthy clergymen, who are distinguished for their commitment to serving the Church.

They are:

1. His Beatitude Lucian Muresan, Major Archbishop of Fagaras and Alba Julia of the Romanians (Romania);

2. Rev. Julien Ries, priest of the Diocese of Namur and professor emeritus of history of religions at the Catholic University of Louvain;

3. Fr. Prospero Grech, OSA, Professor Emeritus of various Roman universities and Consultant to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;

4. Fr. Karl Becker, SJ, Professor Emeritus of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Consultant for many years the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.



TORONTO (January 6, 2012) – This morning following Mass at the Vatican, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, announced that His Grace, Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, will be elevated to the College of Cardinals, an international group of principal advisors to the Pontiff.

Archbishop Collins commented on his appointment:

“I am deeply honoured that the Holy Father has called me to be a member of the College of Cardinals. I am grateful for the trust he has placed in me, and recognize this honour as a sign of his esteem for the role of Canada and of the Archdiocese of Toronto in the universal Church. I ask the people of the Archdiocese, whom I am privileged to serve as bishop, and all people in the community, to pray for me and for all who serve Our Lord through ministry in the Church."

Born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, Thomas Collins was ordained a priest in 1973. Pope John Paul II named him Bishop of St. Paul, Alberta in 1997 and Archbishop of Edmonton in 1999. Pope Benedict later appointed him as the 10th archbishop of Toronto on December 16, 2006.

The formal consistory, at which the new cardinals will be created, will take place February 18-19 in Rome. Cardinal-designate Collins will become the fourth cardinal in the 110-year history of the Archdiocese of Toronto and the 16th cardinal in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada.

The College of Cardinals is convened at the discretion of the Holy Father to discuss issues of significance – most members serve on committees covering a variety of matters. When the papacy is vacant (ie. death of the pope), all cardinals under the age of 80 gather in Rome for a closed meeting, called a conclave, to elect a new pope.

The Archdiocese of Toronto is Canada’s largest diocese, stretching from Toronto north to Georgian Bay and from Oshawa to Mississauga. It is home to 1.9 million Catholics and 225 churches, with Mass celebrated in more than 30 different languages each week.

Photos and biographical information regarding Archbishop Collins’ appointment to the College of Cardinals can be found online at:  SOURCE


The Vatican Paper L'Obsservatore Romano reported that Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the President of the Pontifical Council for the promotion of new evangelisation, celebrated Mass in one of Rome's largest Malls. Bringing the Good News of Christ to Shopping Malls and other largely populated areas has become the reality of the new evangelisation. He is quoted as saying, "«Every Mall is located within the territory of the parish. These are spaces of new evangelisation that the pastors cannot ignore. Is an experience — continued monsignor Fisichella — which I did myself in Rome, on the last Sunday before Christmas, invited by the parish priest of the area in which lies a large shopping mall. I met so many people walking to the shops. And then I celebrated mass ". Moreover, today the Mall is not much different from the Agora of São Paulo. "The Apostle of the Gentiles walking down the streets of Athens was many altars erected to the gods. Also the "unknown God". Encountering the philosophers Paul announces to have come to bring you the very God who do not know. And the gleam of the malls could lead people to be able to drive out their problems. But it is not so. The men have all in the heart of God and the nostalgia go always to its research '."  Another Archbishop , Nosiglia, agrees, " I think it's necessary to resume the threads of dialogue between the generations '. And even the Church must boldly walking on new paths and embark sin here. «Maybe we should really open our speakers also in shopping centers and places of entertainment, or propose feasible in educational services cooperative form at local speakers or religious congregations. " (IMAGE SOURCE: GOOGLE)


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
6 Jan 2012

This feast on 6 January celebrates the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles and the visit of the Magi or Wise Men to the Christ Child.
The name "Epiphany" comes from the Greek word "Epiphania" which means to show, make known or reveal.
The celebration originated in the Eastern Church in AD 361, beginning as a commemoration of the birth of Christ before other meanings were added - the visit of the three Magi or Wise Men, Christ's Baptism in the Jordan River and even his first miracle at the wedding at Cana. These three events are central to the definition of Epiphany.
Falling within Christmastide, the Epiphany solemnity on this day traditionally marks the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
While some Greek Orthodox Churches still observe the Epiphany celebration as the Nativity of Jesus, the majority of the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches focus on the visit of the Magi and Jesus' Baptism. The significance behind the visit of the Magi is the revelation of Christ as "Lord and King".

The Wise Men were the first Gentiles to publicly recognise the divinity of Jesus, by way of their offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XV1 has encouraged Christians to continue living the joy and mystery of Christmas in preparation of the Feast of the Epiphany.
This week he told his weekly audience in St Peter's, Rome; "Christmas is the feast when God becomes so close to human beings that he shares the same fact of being born to reveal to them their deepest dignity, that of being sons and daughters of God.
"In that way, the dream of humanity that began in paradise - we want to be like God - is realised in an unexpected way: not because of the greatness of man, who cannot make himself God, but through the humility of God, who descends," Pope Benedict said.
The Holy Father said that if at Christmas Jesus is born and almost "hidden" in human form in the manger in Bethlehem, at Epiphany he is revealed to the Three Kings, and the world.

He also encouraged Christians to keep the Christmas spirit and contemplate God revealing himself to humanity and radiating "the joy born of knowing how close God is to us".
Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord are invitations to become more aware of the responsibility each Christian has to bring the light of Christ to the world, Pope Benedict said.
He said the feasts are also an invitation to welcome Christ into one's heart once again and strengthen a commitment to imitating him, so that "his feelings, thoughts and actions are our feelings, thoughts and actions.
The Holy Father will celebrate the Baptism of the Lord by baptising babies in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday, 8 January.


UCAN REPORT: Pledge to encourage more lay people to do mission work
By Sumon Corraya, Dhaka
January 5, 2012
Nuns from the Congregation of Our Lady of the Missions (RNDM) celebrated the 150th anniversary of the foundation of their order at their provincial headquarters in Dhaka yesterday.
Around 400 Catholics including Holy Cross Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka, Holy Cross Bishop Moses Costa of Chittagong, Oblate Bishop Bejoy D’Cruze of Sylhet, and the state minister for cultural affairs Promod Mankin attended the celebrations.
The day included a Holy Eucharistic celebration and a cultural program.
Archbishop D’Rozario told the gathering in his homily that the congregation has acquired many treasures to enrich the Church in days past.
“RNDM nuns are keen to comply with Church teachings and are devoted in missionary spirit. We congratulate them on this anniversary,” the prelate said.
The religious order has been running schools, orphanages and sewing centers, and has undertaken many pastoral ministries to serve people in Bangladesh since the arrival of the first missionary nuns in 1882.
It has a total of 114 local and foreign nuns working from 15 convents in the country.
Local superior Sister Prova Mary Karmoker said her congregation plans to set up an ‘RNDM Associate’ organization soon to involve laypeople in missionary services.


CISA REPORT: DAKAR, January 6, 2012 (CISA) -Cardinal Theodore Adrien Sarr has called for constructive dialogue between the government of Senegal and the rebels in Casamance.
The Archbishop of Dakar in Senegal, Cardinal Theodore Adrien Sarr, called on the government and the rebels of the Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces who are fighting for the independence of the Casamance region to end the conflict.
The cardinal made the call on Sunday, January 1 during holy mass in Casamance. He said the conflict had dragged on for so long and had killed and displaced many people in addition to destroying property, according to Vatican Radio -Africa.
The country’s president Abdoulaye Wade announced in his New Year message that his government was considering an amnesty for the rebel leaders, Salif Sadio and Ousmane Dabo, in exchange for peace.
He promised to facilitate the process of social reintegration for the rebel fighters after the disarmament and demobilization.
The rebels have been fighting the government since 1982. Last month they ambushed and killed 30 government soldiers and took five as prisoners of war.


Mark 1: 7 - 11
7 And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove;
11 and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."