Wednesday, February 1, 2012



VATICAN  CITY, 1 FEB 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall the Holy Father  received thousands of pilgrims from around the world in his weekly general  audience. As part of a series of catecheses dedicated to the prayers  pronounced by Christ, he focused his remarks on Jesus' prayer in the Garden  of Gethsemane. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

   Mark the Evangelist narrates how, following the Last Supper, Jesus went to  the Mount of Olives and readied Himself for personal prayer. "But this  time", the Pope said, "something new occurred; it seemed that He  did not want to remain alone. Many times in the past Jesus had moved away  from the crowds, even from His own disciples. ... However, in Gethsemane he  invited Peter, James and John to stay close by; the same disciples who had accompanied  Him during the Transfiguration.

   "The proximity of these three during the prayer at Gethsemane is  significant", Benedict XVI added. It represents "a request for  solidarity at the moment in which He felt the approach of death. Above all it  was a closeness in prayer, an expression of unity with Him at the moment in  which He was preparing to accomplish the Father's will to the end, an  invitation to all disciples to follow Him on the path of the Cross".

   Jesus' words to the three disciples - "I am deeply grieved, even to  death; remain here and keep awake" - show that He was feeling "fear  and anguish at that 'Hour', experiencing the ultimate profound solitude as  God's plan was being accomplished. Jesus fear and anguish comprehend all the horror  that man feels at the prospect of his own death, its inexorable certainty and  the perception of the burden of evil which affects our lives".

   Having invited His disciples to keep awake, Jesus moved away from them.  Referring to the Gospel of St. Mark, the Pope noted that Jesus "threw  Himself to the ground: a position for prayer which expresses obedience to the  Father's will, an abandonment of self with complete trust in Him". Jesus  then asks the Father that, if possible, the hour might pass from Him.  "This is not just the fear and anguish of man in the face of  death", the Holy Father explained, "but the distress of the Son of  God Who sees the terrible accumulation of evil He must take upon Himself, in  order to overcome it and deprive it of power".

   In this context, Benedict XVI invited the faithful to pray to God, placing  before Him "our fatigue, the suffering of certain situations and of  certain days, our daily struggle to follow Him and to be Christians, and the  burden of evil we see within and around us, that He may give us hope, make us  aware of His closeness and give us a little light on life's journey".

   Returning then to Jesus' prayer, the Pope focused on "three revealing  passages" in Christ's words: "Abba, Father, for you all things are  possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want but what you  want". Firstly, Benedict XVI said, the Aramaic word "Abba" is  used by children to address their fathers, "therefore it express Jesus  relationship with God the Father, a relationship of tenderness, affection and  trust". Secondly, Jesus' words contain an acknowledgment of the Father's  omnipotence "introducing a request in which, once again, we see the  drama of Jesus' human will in the face of death and evil. ... Yet the third  expression ... is the decisive one, in which the human will adheres fully to  the divine will. ... Jesus tells us that only by conforming their will to the  divine will can human beings achieve their true stature and become 'divine'.  ... This is what Jesus does in Gethsemane. By transferring human will to the  divine will the true man is born and we are redeemed".

   When we pray the Our Father "we ask the Lord that 'your will be done, on  earth as it is in heaven'. In other words, we recognise that God has a will  for us and with us, that God has a will for our lives and, each day, this  must increasingly become the reference point for our desires and our  existence. We also recognise that ... 'earth' becomes 'heaven' - the place  where love, goodness, truth and divine beauty are present - only if the will  of God is done".

   In our prayers "we must learn to have greater trust in Divine  Providence, to ask God for the strength to abandon our own selves in order to  renew our 'yes', to repeat to Him 'your will be done', to conform our will to  His. This is a prayer we must repeat every day, because it is not always easy  to entrust oneself to the will of God".

   The Gospel says that the disciples were unable to remain awake for Christ,  and Pope Benedict concluded his catechesis by saying: "Let us ask the  Lord for the power to keep awake for Him in prayer, to follow the will of God  every day even if He speaks of the Cross, to live in ever increasing intimacy  with the Lord and bring a little of God's 'heaven' to this 'earth'".

   Following the catechesis the Holy Father delivered greetings in a number of  languages to the pilgrims filling the Paul VI Hall. They included a group of  British military chaplains, faithful from Hong Kong and South America,  bishops friends of the Sant'Egidio Community from Europe, Asia and Africa, as  well as young people and the sick.
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VATICAN  CITY, 1 FEB 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram to Archbishop  Charles Chaput O.F.M. Cap. of Philadelphia, U.S.A., for the death of Cardinal  Anthony Bevilacqua, former archbishop of that archdiocese who died yesterday  at the age of 88. The Holy Father writes:

   "Having learned with sadness of the death of Cardinal Anthony  Bevilacqua, archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia, I offer my heartfelt  condolences to you and to all the faithful of the archdiocese. I join you in  commending the late cardinal's soul to God, the Father of mercies, with  gratitude for his years of episcopal ministry among Christ's flock in  Philadelphia, his longstanding commitment to social justice and the pastoral  care of immigrants, and his expert contribution to the revision of the  Church's law in the years following Vatican Council II. To you, and to all  the clergy, religious and laity of the Church in Philadelphia, and to the  members of his family, I cordially impart my apostolic blessing as a pledge  of consolation and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ".


CATHOLIC HERALD REORT: By Madeleine Teahan on Wednesday, 1 February 2012
Bishops to distribute cards to Catholics declaring their faithOne side of the card
A card communicating that its carrier is a baptised Catholic will be distributed nationally on behalf of the bishops of England and Wales.
The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is distributing one million cards to 24 dioceses including the Bishopric of the Forces and the ordinariate in order to cultivate evangelisation among Catholics.
The credit-card-size resource features on one side a clear statement that the carrier is a Catholic and a list of six things that Catholics are called to do.
There is also a sentence that reads: “In the event of an emergency, please contact a Catholic priest.”
The other side of the card has a quote from Blessed John Henry Newman, focusing on the call to serve and affirming that everyone has a mission.
Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, chairman of the bishops’ Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, said: “We all carry a variety of cards in our purses and wallets which reflect something of our identity and the things that are important to us. The faith card for Catholics aims to offer a daily reminder of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. We can’t summarise the whole of our faith in bullet points, but we hope that the card simply inspires people to do, read and learn more.”
The bishop added: “The card is also designed to give Catholics confidence to share their faith – often people need help knowing what to say. Faith is a not a private matter. This is something that Pope Benedict reminded the Catholic community in his recent letter announcing a Year of Faith, beginning in October 2012. Carrying a faith card takes courage, it signals to others, every time you use your wallet or purse, that you believe in God, that your life has a purpose, that you are trying to love and serve your neighbour. We hope that Catholics will use it to witness to their faith. If someone asks a question about Catholicism, a starting point could be to show the card and to take it from there.”
The resource is free and will be distributed to diocesan offices during February and March 2012 for local circulation.


ASIA NEWS REPORT; Tens of thousands of people displaced by fighting between the Burmese army and the Kachin Independence Army are still languishing in shelters and camps. Rebel leaders do not want a ceasefire, but “political talks”. Local priest says food supplies are a major problem. Concerns are growing over sanitary conditions.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – Kachin refugees are afraid to return to their home villages because of renewed fighting between the Burmese military and rebels. Despite talks between government representatives and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), tensions remain high and tens of thousands of people displaced by the hostilities are still stuck in shelters run by Christian organisations or in private homes, their future still uncertain.

Leaders from Kachin State, home to the Kachin people, which is in northern Myanmar on the Chinese border, said they were not interested in a ceasefire; instead, they want formal “political” talks with the government of President Thein Sein.

For Kachin leaders, the restart in fighting after 17 years of relative calm is evidence that the most important issues have not been resolved, including greater autonomy.

Fr Luke Kha Li, parish priest at the St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Manwingyi (Bhamo District), told UCAN that “food supplies” for refugees and preparations for the return journey are the main concern.

Almost 500 refugees found shelter in the parish church, whilst another 1,200 were taken in by local families with the support from the Karuna Banmaw Social Service (the local Caritas).

Displaced after hostilities between the Burmese army and the KIA broke out again in June 2011, some 60,000 people found refuge in Church buildings, private homes and makeshift camps in eastern Kachin state.

Humanitarian workers are now sounding the alarm, warning that health and sanitary conditions refugees face might worsen.

A Kachin nurse, Di Di Ah Hkaw, told The Irrawaddy, a dissident online publication, that miscarriages are a growing problem.

“Pregnant women have no choice but to run from their homes to a safe place while many of their husbands are fighting on the frontline,” she said.


Young-Christian-Students-launch-campaign-350The Young Christian Students movement have launched their new campaign, '100% Respect: Youth Refugees and Asylum Seekers' at their January 2012 National Conference and followed with a tremendously well supported awareness action on Australia Day to kick-start the campaign across the nation.

The Young Christian Students movement uses the Cardijnian method of 'See, Judge and Act' to empower high school student to critically analyse issues around them in light of their faith, and take action to change the situation.

Mai Mitsumori-Miller, a Perth Year 12 student, co-ordinated a thorough 'See, Judge, Act' of the issues surrounding youth refugees and asylum seekers at the National Conference in Melrose. This resulted in a direct service aim for local students to educate people in their community about the media perception of the issue, and an advocacy aim targeted at the Federal Government to uphold the UN Convention for Rights of a Child for refugees and asylum seekers under the age of eighteen.

"The 100% Respect: Youth Refugees and Asylum Seekers campaign was chosen as it was an issue that was identified as relative to many of the students throughout 2011. Refugees and asylum seekers is a major political, social and media topic in our society today, and as students the lives of people our own age was seen as an important place to begin our relationship and understanding of those fleeing their homelands."

"Students will be continually reviewing the issues throughout the two year campaign, and be equipped with the necessary skills to take action on local and national levels based on their faith," Mai said.

The Conference was attended by around 45 students from all around the country as well as by Bishop Biancinni of Geraldton, and Bishop O'Kelly of Port Pirie. Hannah Stavrou, the 16 year-old Conference Co-ordinator from Barmera, South Australia stated that "this conference gave like-minded and passionate students the chance to create great action that will transform not only themselves but their communities and the world."

The first action of the Youth Refugees and Asylum seekers campaign took place on Australia Day and was the biggest nationally co-ordinated action from the movement for very many years. Almost 1000 people from across the country attended the Facebook event 'bare skin for refugees and asylum seekers' which asked people to write 'for those that come across the seas, we've boundless plains to share' on their skin. This was a huge success, with hundreds of photos uploaded onto the 'Australian YCS' Facebook page in support of refugees and asylum seekers. These will be forwarded to politicians to bring about just policies and practises that uphold the human dignity of these young people.

The previous National Chairperson, Liam McGuire of Townsville is excited about the campaign despite finishing school in 2011.

"With all members excited about the new campaign, having their say and already taking action, we hope this is going to be the most effective campaign in our recent history."


Agenzia Fides REPORT - According to a researcher at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico City (UNAM), in order for street children of Mexico City to grow and survive, they need to be part of a social network that offers them support and identity, roots and the opportunity to obtain satisfaction. On streets, which has a certain charm over them because supposedly they escape from family problems, children adopt a way of life as adults. They learn to survive on their own always relating themselves with others. They are between 8 and 12 years old and spend their days dodging the cars in the southern suburbs of Mexico City. They sell sweets, chewing gum, cigarettes, they wash car windows, earning between 150 and 250 pesos per day. Those of them who fall into this lifestyle gain a system of values and solidarity, sharing the profits with teenage mothers or those who are unable to work. By integrating in this way they defend themselves from the aggression of motorists, police and other dangers. In exchange for this solidarity, children who have abandoned their homes and families receive protection and affection that restrict their separation anxiety. The system of social network is also a good alternative to deal with loneliness, cold weather and insecurity as well as a resource to meet individual needs. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 31/01/2012)


LILONGWE, January 31, 2012 (CISA) –The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) has approved a journalists organisation as one of its bodies to help the local church in its evangelization mission.
The approval of the Association of Catholic Journalists (ACJ) was made on January 27, 2012 at Msamba Prayer House in Lilongwe during ECM first plenary meeting.
“We do approve you as Association of Catholic Journalists and we hope that we will continue working together in collaboration for the betterment of the Catholic Church especially in evangelization and that you will take to heart the good of the Church,” said bishop Zuza, ECM’s president.
“On behalf of the ACJ, I would like to thank the ECM for approving the association,” said ACJ’s President Deogratias Mmana.
The association pledged to remain professional journalists and work for the Church especially in its evangelization mission and to offer their professional expertise and guidance for the Church.
The Bishops also endorsed the ECM Studios to be called Malawi Catholic Communications Network (MCCN).


Mark 6: 1 - 6
1 He went away from there and came to his own country; and his disciples followed him.
2 And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands!
3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.
4 And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house."
5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them.
6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.


St. Bridgid of Ireland
Feast: February 1

Feast Day:February 1
451 or 452 at Faughart, County Louth, Ireland
Died: 1 February 525 at Kildare, Ireland
Patron of:babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; cattle; chicken farmers; children whose parents are not married; dairymaids; dairy workers; fugitives; infants; Ireland; mariners; midwives; milk maids; newborn babies; nuns; poets; poultry farmers; poultry raisers; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travellers; watermen
Born in 451 or 452 of princely ancestors at Faughart, near Dundalk, County Louth; d. 1 February, 525, at Kildare. Refusing many good offers of marriage, she became a nun and received the veil from St. Macaille. With seven other virgins she settled for a time at the foot of Croghan Hill, but removed thence to Druin Criadh, in the plains of Magh Life, where under a large oak tree she erected her subsequently famous Convent of Cill-Dara, that is, "the church of the oak" (now Kildare), in the present county of that name. It is exceedingly difficult to reconcile the statements of St. Brigid's biographers, but the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Lives of the saint are at one in assigning her a slave mother in the court of her father Dubhthach, and Irish chieftain of Leinster. Probably the most ancient life of St. Brigid is that by St. Broccan Cloen, who is said to have died 17 September, 650. It is metrical, as may be seen from the following specimen:

Ni bu Sanct Brigid suanach
Ni bu huarach im sheire Dé,
Sech ni chiuir ni cossens
Ind nóeb dibad bethath che.

(Saint Brigid was not given to sleep,
Nor was she intermittent about God's love;
Not merely that she did not buy, she did not seek for
The wealth of this world below, the holy one.)

Cogitosus, a monk of Kildare in the eighth century, expounded the metrical life of St. Brigid, and versified it in good Latin. This is what is known as the "Second Life", and is an excellent example of Irish scholarship in the mid-eighth century. Perhaps the most interesting feature of Cogitosus's work is the description of the Cathedral of Kildare in his day: "Solo spatioso et in altum minaci proceritate porruta ac decorata pictis tabulis, tria intrinsecus habens oratoria ampla, et divisa parietibus tabulatis". The rood-screen was formed of wooden boards, lavishly decorated, and with beautifully decorated curtains. Probably the famous Round Tower of Kildare dates from the sixth century. Although St. Brigid was "veiled" or received by St. Macaille, at Croghan, yet, it is tolerably certain that she was professed by St. Mel of Ardagh, who also conferred on her abbatial powers. From Ardagh St. Macaille and St. Brigid followed St. Mel into the country of Teffia in Meath, including portions of Westmeath and Longford. This occurred about the year 468. St. Brigid's small oratory at Cill- Dara became the centre of religion and learning, and developed into a cathedral city. She founded two monastic institutions, one for men, and the other for women, and appointed St. Conleth as spiritual pastor of them. It has been frequently stated that she gave canonical jurisdiction to St. Conleth, Bishop of Kildare, but, as Archbishop Healy points out, she simply "selected the person to whom the Church gave this jurisdiction", and her biographer tells us distinctly that she chose St. Conleth "to govern the church along with herself". Thus, for centuries, Kildare was ruled by a double line of abbot-bishops and of abbesses, the Abbess of Kildare being regarded as superioress general of the convents in Ireland.
Not alone was St. Bridget a patroness of students, but she also founded a school of art, including metal work and illumination, over which St. Conleth presided. From the Kildare scriptorium came the wondrous book of the Gospels, which elicited unbounded praise from Giraldus Cambrensis, but which has disappeared since the Reformation. According to this twelfth- century ecclesiastic, nothing that he had ever seen was at all comparable to the "Book of Kildare", every page of which was gorgeously illuminated, and he concludes a most laudatory notice by saying that the interlaced work and the harmony of the colours left the impression that "all this is the work of angelic, and not human skill". Small wonder that Gerald Barry assumed the book to have been written night after night as St. Bridget prayed, "an angel furnishing the designs, the scribe copying". Even allowing for the exaggerated stories told of St. Brigid by her numerous biographers, it is certain that she ranks as one of the most remarkable Irishwomen of the fifth century and as the Patroness of Ireland. She is lovingly called the "Queen of the South: the Mary of the Gael" by a writer in the "Leabhar Breac". St. Brigid died leaving a cathedral city and school that became famous all over Europe. In her honour St. Ultan wrote a hymn commencing:

Christus in nostra insula
Que vocatur Hivernia
Ostensus est hominibus
Maximis mirabilibus
Que perfecit per felicem
Celestis vite virginem
Precellentem pro merito
Magno in numdi circulo.

(In our island of Hibernia Christ was made known to man by the very great miracles which he performed through the happy virgin of celestial life, famous for her merits through the whole world.)

The sixth Life of the saint printed by Colgan is attributed to Coelan, an Irish monk of the eighth century, and it derives a peculiar importance from the fact that it is prefaced by a foreword from the pen of St. Donatus, also an Irish monk, who became Bishop of Fiesole in 824. St. Donatus refers to previous lives by St. Ultan and St. Aileran. When dying, St. Brigid was attended by St. Ninnidh, who was ever afterwards known as "Ninnidh of the Clean Hand" because he had his right hand encased with a metal covering to prevent its ever being defiled, after being he medium of administering the viaticum to Ireland's Patroness. She was interred at the right of the high altar of Kildare Cathedral, and a costly tomb was erected over her. In after years her shrine was an object of veneration for pilgrims, especially on her feast day, 1 February, as Cogitosus related. About the year 878, owing to the Scandinavian raids, the relics of St. Brigid were taken to Downpatrick, where they were interred in the tomb of St. Patrick and St. Columba. The relics of the three saints were discovered in 1185, and on 9 June of the following year were solemnly translated to a suitable resting place in Downpatrick Cathedral, in presence of Cardinal Vivian, fifteen bishops, and numerous abbots and ecclesiastics. Various Continental breviaries of the pre-Reformation period commemorate St. Brigid, and her name is included in a litany in the Stowe Missal. In Ireland today, after 1500 years, the memory of "the Mary of the Gael" is as dear as ever to the Irish heart, and, as is well known, Brigid preponderates as a female Christian name. Moreover, hundreds of place-names in her honour are to be found all over the country, e.g. Kilbride, Brideswell, Tubberbride, Templebride, etc. The hand of St. Brigid is preserved at Lumiar near Lisbon, Portugal, since 1587, and another relic is at St. Martin's Cologne.
Viewing the biography of St. Brigid from a critical standpoint we must allow a large margin for the vivid Celtic imagination and the glosses of medieval writers, but still the personality of the founder of Kildare stands out clearly, and we can with tolerable accuracy trace the leading events in her life, by a careful study of the old "Lives" as found in Colgan. It seems certain that Faughart, associated with memories of Queen Meave (Medhbh), was the scene of her birth; and Faughart Church was founded by St. Morienna in honour of St. Brigid. The old well of St. Brigid's adjoining the ruined church is of the most venerable antiquity, and still attracts pilgrims; in the immediate vicinity is the ancient mote of Faughart. As to St. Brigid's stay in Connacht, especially in the County Roscommon, there is ample evidence in the "Trias Thaumaturga", as also in the many churches founded by her in the Diocese of Elphim. Her friendship with St. Patrick is attested by the following paragraph from the "Book of Armagh", a precious manuscript of the eighth century, the authenticity of which is beyond question: "inter sanctum Patricium Brigitanque Hibernesium columpnas amicitia caritatis inerat tanta, ut unum cor consiliumque haberent unum. Christus per illum illamque virtutes multas peregit". (Between St. Patrick and St. Brigid, the columns of the Irish, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind. Through him and through her Christ performed many miracles.) At Armagh there was a "Templum Brigidis"; namely the little abbey church known as "Regles Brigid", which contained some relics of the saint, destroyed in 1179, by William Fitz Aldelm. It may be added that the original manuscript of Cogitosus's "Life of Brigid", or the "Second Life", dating from the closing years of the eighth century, is now in the Dominican friary at Eichstätt in Bavaria.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)




VATICAN  CITY, 31 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon in Vienna, Austria, Cardinal  Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of that city, presided at a Mass of  thanksgiving for Sunday's beatification of Hildegard Burjan in the cathedral  of St. Stephen. In his remarks following the Angelus prayer on Sunday,  Benedict XVI had reminded faithful how the new blessed had borne "magnificent  witness to the Gospel".
   A Vatican Radio transmission dedicated to Blessed Hildegard explained that  she was born into a Jewish family 1883 in the then Prussian city of Gorlitz,  and studied philosophy at the University of Zurich. She married and, some time  later following a period of illness, discovered the Christian faith and was  baptised in 1909. She moved to Vienna where she became a member of the  Austrian parliament, dedicating her political activity to serving the Gospel  in support of workers and the oppressed, in keeping with the teachings of  Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical "Rerum novarum".

   In 1912 she founded the Association of Christian Women Home Workers, offering  help to the hungry, creating a support network for families and combating  child labour. In 1919 she founded the Congregation of Sisters of  "Caritas Socialis". In her dedication to the family she also gave  birth to a daughter, against the advice of doctors who recommended an  abortion for health reasons. She thirsted after justice, seeing the Face of  Jesus in the poor and suffering. "We cannot help people with money and  small offerings", she would say, "rather we must give them the  confidence that they are capable of doing something for themselves".

   In his homily yesterday, Cardinal Schonborn noted that Hildegard Burjan is  proof that sanctity is also possible in political life. She "announced  the Gospel through action", he said. "Her beatification comes at a  good time to highlight that action is a core issue. ... Hildegard was a  convincing Christian because, without too many words, she acted. In our own  time we must again learn to understand what it means to be disciples, and to  this end what we need are not theories, but examples of people who speak through  their actions".
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VATICAN  CITY, 31 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico  Lombardi S.J. today released a communique in response to questions from  journalists about an article published in today's edition of the Italian  newspaper "Corriere dell Sera" entitled "Dalla Congregazione  dei Santi 1.6 milioni al 'Madoff dei Parioli'" (1.6 Million from the  Congregation for the Causes of Saints to the 'Madoff of the Parioli'").  The text of the communique is given below.

   "Fr. Francesco Maria Ricci, who is mentioned in the article, is a  Dominican religious who works on behalf of his order. He does not in any way  belong to the Congregation for the Causes of Saint. It must be made clear  that Postulators are 'clients' of the Congregation, with which they interact  in order to promote the causes they are handling, but they are by no means  part of the Congregation. It is important, then, to highlight the fact that  the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, its prefect Cardinal Amato and its  officials are not involved in any way with the events about which the article  speaks".
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VATICAN  CITY, 31 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for  February is: "That all peoples may have access to water and other  resources needed for daily life".

   His mission intention is: "That the Lord may sustain the efforts of  health workers assisting the sick and elderly in the world's poorest  regions".
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VATICAN  CITY, 31 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 -  Appointed Bishop Francesco Moraglia of La Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato, Italy, as  patriarch of Venice (area 871, population 375,790, Catholics 372,032, priests  394, permanent deacons 29, religious 755), Italy.

 -  Appointed Bishop Filippo Iannone O. Carm. of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo, Italy,  as vice gerent of the diocese of Rome (area 881, population 2,816,706,  Catholics 2,473,000, priests 4,922, permanent deacons 116, religious 27,375),  conferring upon him the dignity of archbishop.

 -  Appointed Msgr. Matteo Maria Zuppi of the clergy of the diocese of Rome,  pastor of the parish of "Santi Simone e Giuda in Torre Angela", and  Msgr. Lorenzo Leuzzi of the clergy of the diocese of Rome, director of the  vicariate of Rome's office for pastoral care in universities, rector of the church  of "San Gregorio Nazianzeno in Montecitorio" and chaplain of the  Italian parliament, as auxiliaries of Rome. Bishop-elect Zuppi was born in  Rome in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1981. He has served in various pastoral  offices within the diocese of Rome Bishop-elect Leuzzi was born in Traini,  Italy in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1984. Before becoming a priest he  qualified as a medical doctor. He has worked in pastoral care in his native  region of Puglia and in Rome, and is author of a number of books.

 -  Appointed Fr. Vincent Harolimana, rector of the St. Pius X Minor Seminary in  the diocese of Nyundo, Rwanda, as bishop of Ruhengeri (area 1,762, population  989,000, Catholics 488,000, priests 57, religious 82), Rwanda. The  bishop-elect was born in Mpembe, Rwanda in 1962 and ordained a priest in  1990. He studied in Rome where he gained a doctorate in dogmatic theology,  and is a visiting professor of that subject at a number of institutions in  Rwanda.

 -  Appointed Msgr. Jozef Hal'ko of the clergy of the archdiocese of Bratislava,  Slovakia, spokesperson for the archbishop and director of pastoral care for  the Hungarian minority, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 3,759,  population 769,768, Catholics 484,749, priests 528, permanent deacons 5,  religious 925). The bishop-elect was born in Bratislava in 1964 and ordained  a priest in 1994. He studied in Rome and has worked as a professor of  ecclesiastical history at the Roman Catholic Theological Faculty of Sts.  Cyril and Methodius in Bratislava.

 -  Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of  Katowice, Poland, presented by Bishop Gerard Bernacki, in accordance with  canons 411 and 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.


MOGADISHU, January 31, 2012 (CISA) -Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) has condemned last Saturday’s killing of a senior journalist and trade unionist in Somalia, Hassan Osman Abdi, by gunmen in Mogadishu and demanded that the matter be investigated by an independent team and not the Transitional Government’s security agencies.
Abdi, who was the director of Shabelle Media Network and also an official of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) within Mogadishu, was shot dead on Saturday January 28, 2012 as he arrived home in the Madina district in Mogadishu.
He was reportedly trailed from the office by five armed men in a vehicle who fired five shots at him. He sustained serious injuries on his head and chest and died on the way to Madina hospital.
Reports from Mogadishu say the journalist was investigating corruption related issues within the public institutions in Somalia.
In a statement, EAJA President Dr. Muheldin Ahmed Idris said EAJA was saddened by the senseless killings of journalists in Somalia and the inability of the TFG’ inability both to protect journalists and investigate the killings.
“We condemn the brutal killing of the journalist and demand immediate and independent investigations,” Said Dr. Idris.
He said EAJA joined in affiliate, NUSOJ, in demanding the protection of journalists and justice for those killed adding that the TFG had the responsibility to put in place measures to protect journalists.


CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT: by Staff Reporter on Thursday, 26 January 2012
 Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster (Mazur/
An English bishop has confirmed that Anglicans who were received into the Catholic Church years ago can join the personal ordinariate created by Benedict XVI last year.
The Pope established the world’s first personal ordinariate for groups of former Anglicans that wished to enter into full communion with Rome in January 2011. There was discussion at the time about whether Anglicans received before 2011 could also join the structure under the terms of Anglicanorum coetibus, the apostolic constitution describing the nature of personal ordinariates.
Writing in the January 2012 issue of The Newman, the journal of the Newman Association, Bishop Alan Hopes clarified that the ordinariate was open to all former Anglicans.
The bishop, who serves as an auxiliary in Westminster diocese and as episcopal delegate to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, wrote: “The personal ordinariate is for former Anglicans – but Anglicans who converted some years ago can, if they so wish, say that they would like to become members of the ordinariate. There is that dual possibility.
“The decision-making body is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. They are the people who will be the final arbiters in any question that might arise. There are points in the constitution [Anglicanorum coetibus] that will have to be fleshed out.”
The bishop, a former Anglican who was received into the Catholic Church in 1994, said that the long-term future of the ordinariate was unclear.
“As for the future, it may be God’s will that it should be the present structure, but maybe in 50 years’ time the ordinariate will become fully integrated into the Catholic Church. Who knows? We must wait and see,” he wrote.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
31 Jan 2012

Hundreds of children are taken
into care each year
The transfer of care of children at risk from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (DoCs) to non-government child welfare agencies such as CatholicCare has begun. The handing over of responsibility for several foster families and their young charges to the private sector is underway despite details of funding yet to be finalised.
But consultations between private child welfare agencies and the Government are continuing with all those involved determined to deliver long lasting reform that will improve the lives of the state's most vulnerable children.
"Our members and other private sector agencies are working with the Government towards achieving a unit cost with business rules that allow for special needs, and one that is equitable to providing quality care for children who cannot live with their birth parents, and who require stable, caring and supported living arrangements," says Andrew McCallum, CEO of the Association of Children's Welfare Agencies.
The Government has offered an annual contribution of $37,000 per child in standard care. However this is not considered enough by many of the private sector agencies to cover costs of looking after a child who has been abused and neglected, and who as a result is often troubled, difficult, filled with rage and problematic.
Such children need special care and patience and guardianship of such children needs to be of the highest quality, Mr McCallum says, but insists he is confident an agreement will be reached.
"This is the first time the Government has put a figure on the table. There is good will on both sides, and despite the NSW Government having scarce resources and having handed down a tight budget in September, it is determined to do what is best for the children," he says.

Foster Mums Open their Hearts and Homes
to children in need
Since the March 2011 election, the O'Farrell government has acted on its pre-commitment to continue to roll-out the policy reforms agenda resulting from the Justice James Wood Inquiry into Child Protection handed down in late 2008.
The Inquiry recommended an increased focus on early intervention and support for families at risk, and wanted to see the responsibility of court-ordered out-of-home care for vulnerable abused or neglected children moved from the Department of Family and Community Services to the private sector. This way the children could be better looked after and monitored and the Department itself freed up to concentrate its staff resources on child protection.
The Wood Inquiry was instigated in the wake of the deaths of two young children in NSW after a two year old boy was found folded into a suitcase in a lake in Sydney's south west and a young girl found starved to death in her home in Hawks Nest, north of Sydney. Both children's families were known to the Department. But despite this and knowing the children were at risk, the Department had been unable to prevent their deaths due to the large number of cases and an over-stretched staff.
Vowing to reduce the number of children placed in out-of-home care by 2015, the NSW Government is also determined to prevent multiple placements at different foster homes which triggers developmental, behavioural, emotional and mental health issues among at risk children.

CatholicCare's foster program
tries to keep siblings together
Placed in foster care by non government agencies, it is believed there will be more positive outcomes for these children. Certainly at agencies such as CatholicCare, not only are foster families carefully screened and given expert training but they receive ongoing support as well as funding. Visits and contact with the child's own family are also encouraged which in turn minimises trauma and feelings of abandonment for the young boy or girl.
The welfare agency of the Archdiocese of Sydney, CatholicCare has been involved with foster care of vulnerable children for more than half a century. Currently the agency has 81 well-trained, experienced and compassionate foster families who look after as many as 130 children each year.
"Some children are given emergency foster care which can last a few days or just a week or two. Others are in temporary care from a few weeks to several months while some are in long term care," says Andree Borc, CatholicCare's Manager for the Professional Support of Children.
CatholicCare's foster care program is highly regarded and well known for specialist foster care of children with disabilities. The agency also has foster families who are willing and able to foster siblings so that sisters and brothers who need out of home care can be kept together.
"For most children who cannot live safely with their own families, either on a temporary or more permanent basis, a foster home is the best possible caring environment in which to grow safely and learn how to trust and love," says Maureen Eagles, CatholicCare's Director of Family, Children and Youth Services.

Foster care can be rewarding
and make a positive difference
to a young life
CatholicCare (Sydney) together with CatholicCare and Centacare agencies across NSW provide hundreds of foster family and residential group care placements for children at risk and between them have more than 150 years experience in the field. Sadly, though with child abuse continuing to rise and more than 8000 children to be transferred from Department of Family and Community Services to out-of-home care in the private sector over the next five years, many more dedicated, committed and big hearted foster families will be needed.
"We have some wonderful foster families but we need more," says Andree, but warns that taking on the role of a foster parent requires more than a mother's love, no matter how big her heart and how generous her spirit.
"Loving the children is absolutely vital but so too is compassion, resilience, and self awareness so that you know your own limitations. Fostering means using all your skills as a mother. It also means acknowledging the child's birth parents who may be distanced from the child at that time but are nevertheless important figures in the child's life," she says.
Qualities such as humour, flexibility, openness and warmth are also important as are the reactions and responses of each member in the family. "Fostering affects everyone in the family whether this is your husband or your children, you need their input and support as well."
As a foster family with CatholicCare you enter into an ongoing and close partnership. With the help of the agency, you can make a positive and lasting difference in young people's lives.
If you wish to find out more, log on to and click on "Children & Youth Services" and then from the column on the left hand side, click on Out of Home Care Services.


Santiago (Agenzia Fides) - 8,7% of Chilean children younger than 18 years of age belong to an indigenous group, and this really puts them in a situation of greater vulnerability than their non-indigenous peers. A recent study conducted by the Ministry of Social Development in Chile and the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF), entitled "incluir, Sumar y Escuchar - Infancia y Adolescencia Indígena" took into account the child and adolescent population in the years from 1996 to 2009. Data shows that poverty is present in the lives of 26.6% of Chilean children and indigenous adolescents, while among non-natives, this percentage is lower, amounting to 21.7%. In addition, 23.1% of households with indigenous children are below the poverty line, while the same situation applies only to 17.6% of non-indigenous families.
After stressing the "feminization of indigenous poverty", the study notes that "women have a delay concerning work integration, which is accentuated in rural and indigenous areas " also their contractual situation is more unstable. The average income of a breadwinner, where children are present is lower in the case of female-headed households. Women heads of households with indigenous child population living in an urban context get 78% of the income received by men heads of households with the same characteristics. The female-headed of rural households, composed of indigenous children and adolescents, instead receive 54% of the earnings of men breadwinners in the same situation.
Preschool and primary education presents similar data for indigenous children than non-natives: the difference in access to education is apparent in the early stages of secondary and higher education: 29.9% of non-indigenous access to higher education , while among the indigenous this figure is less than 20%. 89.4% of the indigenous child population does not speak or understand his/her native language. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 31/01/2012)


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Nirmala Carvalho
The attack on the colleges of St. Joseph Anegal (40 km south of Bangalore) occurred on January 27. Reason for the assault, failure to display the Indian flag during celebrations for the national holiday. The extremists attack the university campus before the eyes of the police, who arrested without cause, the rector Fr. Melvin Medonca. The University is renowned for its commitment in the education of Dalits and tribals.

Bangalore (AsiaNews) - The violence against Christians in the Karanataka continues. In recent days, a mob of radical Hindu extremists stormed St Joseph's College Anegal Pu, (40 km south of Bnagalore). The radicals beat up the students and asked for the arrest of the director of the school for not having hoisted the national flag during the celebration of the Indian Republic, last January 26. The assailants belong to the Hindu movement Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Rashtra Sakthi Sese and Karnataka Raskshana Vedike, and even included members of Anekal City Council.

During the attack. Fr. Melvin Mendonca, director of the institute, and Fr. Anil D'Mello local superior of the Jesuits, tried to calm the crowd, which broke into the school, disrupting classes. The police were present but did nothing to stop the attackers. Students from the school had to form a shield to defend their rector, but were beaten by security agents before the extremists. To avoid accidents, the priest turned himself in to agents. Under pressure from the radicals, the police forced the priest to walk the distance to station on foot under a shower of verbal abuse, anti-Christian slogans and intimidation. Without any reason, the agents detained Fr. Melvin at the station only releasing him at 9 in the evening after nine hours of interrogation. The Director of the school is not allowed to make any statement on the aggression he suffered.

Interviewed by AsiaNews, Fr Melvin rejects the accusations and says that the flag was displayed on the campus of Jnana Jyoti, headquarters of the institute. "We respect and have regard for the national sentiment - he says - and we do not want in any way prevent the celebrations in our school. The flag was hoisted in the new seat of the university, which will commence academic activities next year. "

The Graduate Institute of St Joseph Anegal has existed for over 40 years and since 2010 has been welcoming students from poorer sections of society. To date, 378 students study in the institute, among them there are about 220 are Dalits and 60tribals.

Fr. Melvin points out that "the Hindus stormed the university not because the flag was not on display, but to prevent the education of Dalits and Tribals. "In the last year – he continues - the members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad stormed the campus eight times and have called for the closure of the institute during the agitation organized by the Hindu leader Hanna Hazare. However, we have resisted the pressure. "

Several attacks against Christians have been recorded in recent years in the municipality of Anegal. In 2010 a Jesuit priest was stabbed while returning from a village a few kilometers from the city. In the same year a group of college students of St. Joseph were attacked by extremists. In 2011 the Anegal Catholic church was damaged with stones and offensive graffiti against Christians.


Mark 5: 21 - 43
21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him; and he was beside the sea.
22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Ja'irus by name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet,
23 and besought him, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live."
24 And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him.
25 And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years,
26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.
27 She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment.
28 For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well."
29 And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.
30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, "Who touched my garments?"
31 And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, `Who touched me?'"
32 And he looked around to see who had done it.
33 But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth.
34 And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."
35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?"
36 But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not fear, only believe."
37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.
38 When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, he saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly.
39 And when he had entered, he said to them, "Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping."
40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside, and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was.
41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, "Tal'itha cu'mi"; which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise."
42 And immediately the girl got up and walked (she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement.
43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.


St. John Bosco
Feast: January 31

Feast Day:January 31
August 16, 1815, Castelnuovo, Piedmont, Italy
Died:January 31, 1888, Turin, Italy
Canonized:April 1, 1934, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Major Shrine:The Tomb of St John Bosco - Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians, Turin, Italy
Patron of:Christian apprentices, editors, publishers, schoolchildren, young people
"In his life the supernatural became the natural and the extraordinary the ordinary." So spoke Pope Pius XI of the beloved Don Bosco, renowned for his educational pioneering and his affectionate care for the fatherless. Born Giovanni Melchior Bosco in 1815, the future saint was the youngest son of a peasant farmer in the hamlet of Becchi, in the Piedmont district of north Italy. He lost his father at the age of two and was brought up by a devoted and industrious mother, Margaret Bosco, who had a hard struggle maintaining the home and the three children, all of them boys. A dream that little Giovanni had at the age of nine revealed to him his vocation. He seemed to be surrounded by a mob of fighting and swearing children whom he tried in vain to pacify, at first by arguments and then by hitting them. Suddenly there appeared a mysterious woman who said: "Softly, softly . . . if you wish to win them! Take your shepherd's staff and lead them to pasture." Even as she spoke, the children were transformed first into wild beasts and then into gentle lambs. From that time on, the boy thought, it was his clear duty to lead and help other boys.

He began with those of his own village, teaching them the Catechism and bringing them to church. As an inducement, he would amuse them first with acrobatic and conjuring tricks, at which he became very clever. One Sunday morning when an itinerant juggler and gymnast was holding the children spellbound by his performance, young John challenged him to a competition and beat him at his own tricks. Then he marched off to church, followed by his admiring audience. It was more or less by chance that this talented boy learned to read. He was staying with an aunt who was servant to the priest, and when the priest was told of John's ambition, he taught him gladly. But John didn't want to stop with reading and writing; he wished to study for the priesthood. Many difficulties had to be overcome before he could even begin his preliminary studies. When, at sixteen, he entered the seminary at Chieri, he was so poor that money for his maintenance and his clothes had to be supplied by charity. The village mayor contributed a hat, one friendly person gave him a cloak, and another a pair of shoes. People were eager to help a boy who was himself so eager and ambitious. After his ordination as deacon, he attended the theological school at nearby Turin, finding time to continue his volunteer work with homeless or neglected boys. Having won the approbation of his superiors for what he was doing, he began to gather around him regularly on Sunday afternoons a band of these waifs and young apprentices.
After taking Holy Orders, his first appointment was assistant chaplain of a home for girls, founded by the Marchesa Barolo, a wealthy and philanthropic woman. This post left Don Bosco free on Sundays to devote himself to his group of boys. He set up for them a sort of combined Sunday School and recreation center on grounds belonging to the Marchesa, which he called "the festive Oratory." But the Marchesa quickly withdrew her permission, because the boys were, naturally, noisy and unruly, and sometimes even made so bold as to pick the flowers in the garden. For more than a year the group was regarded as a nuisance and sent from pillar to post. No property owner was able to put up with them for long. When at last Don Bosco was able to hire an old shed as a meeting place, and the future seemed promising, the Marchesa delivered herself of an ultimatum. He must choose between giving up the boys—who now numbered several hundred—or resigning his post at the girl's orphanage. Don Bosco promptly resigned, to devote himself wholly to the boys.
In the midst of these anxieties, he was prostrated by a severe attack of pneumonia that came near ending his life. As soon as he had recovered, he went to live in some poor rooms adjoining a new Oratory, or gathering place, with his mother as housekeeper. For ten years this good woman served as his adjutant and loyal helper, extending her motherly care over all the waifs and strays her son brought to her. Don Bosco now applied himself to consolidating his work and planning for the years to come. A night school which had been opened the previous year took shape, and as the Oratory was soon overcrowded, he opened two more youth centers in other parts of Turin. About the same time he began housing a few destitute boys. His next step was to build for his flock a small church which he placed under the patronage of his favorite saint, Francis de Sales. With that completed, he started to build a home for his steadily growing family. No one knew just how he managed to raise the money for these various projects, but his natural persuasiveness had much to do with it.
Those enrolled as boarders in the school were of two sorts: young apprentices and craftsmen, and other youths of more than average intelligence in whom Don Bosco discerned future helpers, with, possibly, vocations to the priesthood. At first they attended classes outside, but, as more teachers were enlisted, academic and technical courses were given at the house. By 1856 a hundred and fifty boys were in residence; there were four workshops, including a printing shop, and four Latin classes, with ten young priests as instructors; all this in addition to the oratories with their five hundred children. He cultivated in all of them a taste for music, and he was a believer in the therapeutic value of play. Don Bosco's understanding of young people, their needs, and their dreams, gave him great influence. He could manage them without punishment. "I do not remember to have used formal punishment," he wrote, "and with God's grace I have always obtained-and from apparently hopeless children-not alone what duty exacted but what my wish simply expressed." With an approach that seems quite modern, he planned programs that combined play, song, study, prayer, and manual work. He knew that straight academic learning was not enough. "Knowledge gives more power in the exercise of good or evil," he said, "but alone it is an indifferent weapon, lacking guidance."
Don Bosco's outgoing personality made him popular as a preacher, and there were many demands on his time to speak to various congregations. As a third form of activity, in the few hours that remained to him, he wrote useful and popular books for boys. In that day there was almost no attractive reading matter written especially for young people, and Don Bosco set himself to fill this need. He wrote stories based on history, and sometimes popular treatises on the faith. Often he toiled far into the night, until, in later life, his failing eyesight compelled him to give up writing.
A plan for some sort of religious order, to carry on the work when he had passed away, had long been in Don Bosco's mind, and at last he felt he had the strong nucleus of helpers that was required. "On the night of January 26, 1854, we were assembled in Don Bosco's room," writes one of the men present. "Besides Don Bosco, there were Cagliero, Rocchetti, Artiglia, and Rua. It was suggested that with God's help we should enter upon a period of practical works of charity to help our neighbors. At the close of the period, we might bind ourselves by a promise which could subsequently be transformed into a vow. From that evening, the name of Salesian was given to all who embarked on that form of apostolate." The name of course honored the great bishop of Geneva, St. Francis de Sales. It was not a propitious time for launching a new order, for in all its history Piedmont had never been so anti-clerical. The Jesuits and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart had been expelled, many convents suppressed, and laws were being passed curtailing the rights of religious orders. The statesman Urbano Rattazzi, one of those most responsible for the anti-clerical legislation, was deeply interested in popular education. As a resident of Turin, Rattazzi was familiar with Father John's activities, and, on meeting him by chance one day, urged him to found a society to further his valuable work, promising the support of the government.
The project grew, and in 1858 John went to Rome, taking with him the rules of the institution. From Pope Pius IX he received preliminary approbation. Sixteen years later he obtained full sanction, together with permission to present candidates for Holy Orders. The new society grew rapidly. Within five years there were thirty-nine Salesians; at the time of the founder's death there were eight hundred, and by 1929 the number had increased to about eight thousand. One of Father John's dreams was realized when he sent his first missionaries to the bleak and faraway land of Patagonia; other areas of South America were soon the scene of missionary endeavor. He lived to see twenty-six houses started in the New World and thirty-eight in the Old.
His next great work was the foundation in 1862 of an order of women to do for poor girls what the Salesians were doing for boys. The original group consisted of twenty-seven young women to whom he gave the name of Daughters of St. Mary Auxiliatrix, the Helper. The organization now numbers many thousands, with elementary schools in Italy, Brazil, and Argentina. To supplement the work of these two congregations, Father John organized his outside lay helpers into a new kind of Third Order, which he called Salesian Cooperators. They were men and women of all classes who pledged themselves to assist in practical ways the educational labors of the Salesians.
Any account of the life of this saint would be incomplete without some mention of his achievements as a builder of churches. His first little church of St. Francis de Sales soon proved inadequate, and he undertook the construction of a much larger building. This he finished in 1868, dedicating it to St. Mary the Helper. Later he found means to put up another spacious and much-needed church in a poor quarter of Turin, and this he placed under the patronage of St. John the Evangelist. But the immense effort of money-raising had left Don Bosco weary and depleted. He was not allowed time to recover his strength before another task was put before him. During the last years of Pope Pius IX, a project had been formed of building at Rome a church in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Pius himself had donated money to buy the site. His successor, Leo XIII, was eager for the work to be carried forward, but there was difficulty in raising funds. It was suggested to the Pope that this was something that Don Bosco did better than anyone else, and when he was asked to undertake it, he accepted the challenge.
After obtaining a considerable sum in Italy, Don Bosco went to France, where devotion to the cult of the Sacred Heart was particularly intense at this time. He was successful in his appeals, money came flowing in, and the early completion of the church was assured. As the day appointed for its consecration drew near, he was sometimes heard to murmur that if there were any delay, he would not live to witness it. Two years before the doctors had said that this generous-hearted man had worn himself out and that complete retirement offered the only chance of prolonging his life. Don Bosco had the joy of living a few months beyond the consecration of the church, which took place on May 14, 1887. He said one Mass before the new high altar.
Later in the year it became plain that his days were numbered; he gradually weakened, and on the morning of January 31, 1888, he died in his home city of Turin. Forty thousand persons came to the church to do honor to Don Bosco, and the entire city turned out as his remains were borne to their resting place. His memory was cherished and his work carried on by his followers. Not many years had elapsed before a movement was begun for his beatification. He was declared Venerable by Pope Pius X in 1907, beatified by Pius XI in 1929, and canonized by him in 1934. Don Bosco exemplified a new trend in the treatment of children, anticipating in some respects the practices of modern psychologists. Intuitively he knew that the loving care and attention of a wise, interested adult was essential to the healthy growth of every child, and he gave his very best to those children who had the least.




VATICAN  CITY, 29 JAN 2012 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the  window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with  pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square below. Among those present was a  group of children from Catholic Action of the diocese of Rome, who annually  celebrate January as the "month of peace". At the end of the Marian  prayer two of the children read out a message and released two doves, as a  symbol of peace, from the Pope's window. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

   Benedict XVI introduced the prayer with some brief remarks on today's Gospel  reading in which St. Mark relates Jesus' teaching in the synagogue of  Capernaum, and the healing of a man with an "unclean spirit" who  recognises the Messiah. "Within a short time", the Pope explained,  "Jesus' fame began to spread in the region, throughout which he  travelled announcing the Kingdom of God and healing sick people of all kinds:  word and action. ... The words Jesus addresses to mankind give direct access  to the Father's will and to the truth about ourselves" while, moreover,  "Jesus united the effectiveness of the Word with those signs of  deliverance from evil. ... Divine authority ... is the power of God's love  which created the universe and, becoming incarnate in the only-begotten Son,  descended upon our humanity and healed the world corrupted by sin".

   "For man", the Holy Father observed, "authority often means  possession, power, dominion, success. For God, however, authority means  service, humility, love. It means entering into the logic of Jesus Christ Who  leans down to wash the feet of His disciples, Who seeks man's authentic good,  Who heals wounds, Who is capable of a love so great as to give His life,  because He is Love. ... Let us trustingly invoke Most Holy Mary that she may  guide our hearts always to draw from the well of divine mercy, which  liberates and heals our human condition, filling it with all grace and  benevolence, with the power of love".

   After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father mentioned three events which took  place today. Firstly, the beatification in Vienna of Hildegard Burjan,  "laywoman and mother who lived between the nineteenth and twentieth  centuries and founded the Sisters of Social Charity. Let us give praise to  the Lord for this magnificent witness to the Gospel", the Pope said.

   Today is also World Leprosy Day, in which context Benedict XVI spoke of his  desire "to express encouragement to everyone affected by the disease,  and to the people who assist them and who, in various ways, strive to  eliminate the poverty and marginalisation which are the true causes of its  continuance".

   Finally, today also marks the International Day of Intercession for Peace in  the Holy Land. "In profound communion with the Latin Patriarch of  Jerusalem and the Custos of the Holy Land, we invoke the gift of peace for  that Land blessed by God", Pope Benedict said.

   The Holy Father then greeted pilgrims in various languages. Addressing  faithful from Poland, he mentioned the fact that Thursday 2 February is the  World Day of Consecrated Life. "Grateful to religious for their ministry  of prayer, for their apostolic and charitable activity in the Church, we pray  for new vocations", he said. "May the Holy Spirit arouse in many  hearts the desire for complete dedication to Christ".
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VATICAN  CITY, 30 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Made public today was a joint communique on a  bilateral meeting between the Holy See and the Palestine Liberation  Organisation, held in Ramallah on 28 January. The text of the  English-language communique is given below.

   "Following the resumption of the bilateral negotiations between the Holy  See and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), an official meeting took  place at the headquarters of the Palestinian President in Ramallah on 28  January.

   "The talks were co-chaired by Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under secretary  for the Holy See's relations with States and Minister Ziad Al-Bandak, the  Palestinian President's advisor for Christian relations.

   "The Palestinian side handed to the Holy See delegation the response to  the draft agreement proposed by the Holy See in the previous meeting, and the  talks took place in a positive atmosphere to strengthen further the special  relations between the two sides. The delegations agreed to set up technical  teams to follow up on the draft, in preparation of the plenary session in the  Vatican in the near future.

   "The Holy See delegation was composed of Archbishop Antonio Franco,  Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine; Msgr. Maurizio Malvestiti,  under secretary of the Congregation for Oriental Churches;Msgr. Alberto  Ortega, official of the Secretariat of the State of the Holy See, and Msgr.  Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, counsellor of the apostolic delegation in Jerusalem.

   "The Palestinian delegation was composed of Dr. Nabil Shaath, member of  the Fatah Central Committee; Dr. Bernard Sabella, member of the Palestinian  Legislative Council; Mr. Issa Kassissieh, deputy head of the PLO's  Negotiations Affairs Department, and Mr. Wassim Khazmo, policy advisor at the  PLO's Negotiations Support Unit".
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VATICAN  CITY, 30 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a telegram of condolence to  Marianna Scalfaro for the death of her father, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, former  president of the Republic of Italy who died on 29 January at the age of 93.  The Holy Father expresses his spiritual closeness during this time of grief,  then continues:

   "I wish to offer my heartfelt condolences, and to give assurances of my  sincere participation in your sorrow, which also affects the entire nation of  Italy. It is with great affection and particular gratitude that I recall this  Catholic statesman, scrupulous magistrate and faithful servant of the  institutions who, in the public offices he held, always strove to promote the  common good, and the perennial ethical and religious values of Christianity  which characterise the historical and civil traditions of Italy. I raise  fervent prayers for his soul, invoking divine goodness - by the intercession  of the Virgin Mary for whom he had particular veneration - to grant him  eternal peace, and I impart upon you and all his relatives the comfort of an  apostolic blessing".
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VATICAN  CITY, 28 JAN 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Apostolic Palace of the  Vatican, Benedict XVI presided at a meeting of heads of dicasteries of the  Roman Curia.
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VATICAN  CITY, 30 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

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

 -  Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, prelate of the Personal Prelature of Opus  Dei.

 -  Fr. Richard Schenk O.P., president of the "Katholische Universitat  Eichstatt-Ingolstadt".


CAFOD at 50 - much achieved but no room for complacency

Bishop John Arnold, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, with CAFOD director Chris Bain, before the Mass
"Although so much has been achieved we can never be complacent. There remains much to be done. One billion people still live in abject poverty" - Bishop John Arnold.

More than 2,500 CAFOD supporters from across England and Wales gathered at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday afternoon for a special Mass of Thanksgiving to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of CAFOD.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols was principal celebrant. The Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini was present and more than 18 bishops and 30 priests concelebrated.

As people entered the Cathedral before Mass, images from each decade of CAFOD's history were shown on screens, and words of welcome were given by Chris Bain, Director of CAFOD.

He thanked the congregation for their support and said: "I hope we can recommit ourselves to building a just, peaceful and sustainable world.”

The readings were given by Mildred Neville, a former trustee and Anne Marie Coppock, manager of CAFOD Salford.

During his homily, Bishop John Arnold, Chair of CAFOD Trustees, described the modest origins of CAFOD in 1958 - when four Catholic women organised the first Family Fast Day, which took place in 1960. He said: "It exceeded all expectations, so much so that in 1962 the bishops of England and Wales used their project as the foundation for the new Catholic Fund for Overseas Development, which was brought to life in 1962 at the meeting of the bishops in Rome, at the beginning of the Second Vatican Council."

The charity now has a budget of £58m and supports projects in 46 countries. Bishop John said the understanding of 'charity' has changed since CAFOD was established. Besides providing food and medicine for the poorest people, and emergency aid in times of humanitarian disaster, it also focuses on development, "allowing people to create their own sustainable livelihoods; giving people a voice so that governments may be called to account for their policies and their actions, both in their domestic and foreign affairs and allowing for the exposure of what can be the ruthless pillaging of natural resources by multi-nationals with no thought of benefit for the people of a region - so often the root causes of poverty."

Bishop John described some of the projects he has visited as a Trustee of CAFOD. In the Congo he met groups of women survivors of sexual violence, now running their own thriving business as tailors and dress-makers for their wider community. In Sri Lanka he spent a day handing out door keys to new homes for people who had lost everything in the tsunami.

More than 90% of parishes in the UK take part in Family Fast Days, Bishop John said. He praised the hundreds of projects in school supporting CAFOD, and the many thousands who have campaigned with CAFOD against unjust trading systems, for debt cancellation of poor countries, and for establishing that vital 0.7% of GDP of Government spending on development each year.

Referring to the Gospel reading where two disciples are described walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus after the Crucifixion, in a state of great desolation, before they are met by the Risen Lord - Bishop John said: "Our world faces a continuing toll of humanitarian disasters but the Lord walks with us, too, and there can never be the moment of despair."

Bishop John went on to quote St Paul who described the Church as one body. "When one part of the body is sick, the whole body is unwell. Those who live in comfort, with security and plenty, are part of one and the same body with those who are dying of hunger and the relentless suffering of poverty. CAFOD speaks of 'Just One World', a recognition that we belong to one another."

CAFOD's work with partners is based on the principles of Catholic Social Teaching: Compassion, Dignity, Hope, Partnership, Solidarity, Sustainability and Stewardship, he said.

The first purpose of the day was to give thanks for the work of CAFOD, Bishop John said, but, "The second purpose must be one of entrusting the future to God's goodness.. Although so much has been achieved we can never be complacent. There remains much to be done. One billion people still live in abject poverty."

The Intercessions were read by Julian Filochowski, former Director, Cathy Corcoran, former International Director and Denise Carter, former Communities and Supporters Director.

During the Offertory, the Icon of Mary the Magnificat, a Romero Crucifix, sheaves of maize and a paddle were brought up to the sanctuary - each representing an aspect of CAFOD's work.

Throughout the Mass a special choir drawn together for the occasion was led by Canon Pat Browne. At the end of the Mass a special Rite of recommitment read by volunteers was accompanied a Nigerian hymn sung by the St Ignatius African choir from Stamford Hill.
See also ICN CAFOD's 50th Anniversary Thoughts from a laywoman
and the text of Bishop John Arnold's homily here: