Thursday, July 19, 2012


Vatican City, 19 July 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a message, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., to Bishop Pablo Varela Server, auxiliary of Panama and president of the department for education and culture of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), for the occasion of the twelfth Meeting on African American Pastoral Care. The meeting is due to come to an end tomorrow, 20 July, in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
The Holy Father encourages the bishops participating in the event "to examine the cultural values, history and traditions of African Americans, with a view to improving the Church's ability to present Jesus Christ as the authentic response to the most profound questions of mankind". In doing this they should allow themselves to be "led by the impulse of the Holy Spirit which came to make all cultures fruitful, 'purifying them, germinating the many seeds which the incarnate Word placed therein, and thus guiding them along the paths of the Gospel". The Pope also invites the bishops and their collaborators "to continue to accompany those beloved peoples, who are often marginalised and ignored".
The theme of the twelfth Meeting on African American Pastoral Care is "African American and Caribbean Pastoral Care and the Aparecida Document. Challenges and Hopes in the Church and in Society". The event is being attended by 250 delegates from Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Panama, Bolivia, Haiti. Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Jamaica.
The meeting, which opened on 16 July, aims to revitalise the processes whereby African American peoples participate in the Church and in society; to foment unity and the human, social and religious development of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, and to continue the process of building black Christian communities with a specific identity.
Also in Guayaquil and in the context of the same event, the third Meeting of Bishops with African American Peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean was held from 13 to 15 July. The participants revised and extended the African American pastoral guidelines, the tenth anniversary of the publication of which falls in 2013.
"Above all", according to a note issued by CELAM, "with the United Nations International Year for People of African Descent in 2011, and the recent call for an International Decade for People of African Descent, the Church in Latin America is seeking to focus particular attention on people of African descent, and their presence and participation in the Church and in society".

Vatican City, 19 July 2012 (VIS) - Early this afternoon, the Holy See Press Office released the following English-language communique concerning the declaration which emerged from the General Chapter of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X.
"The recently concluded General Chapter of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X has addressed a declaration regarding the possibility of a canonical normalisation in the relationship of the Society and the Holy See. While it has been made public, the declaration remains primarily an internal document for study and discussion among the members of the Society.
"The Holy See has taken note of this declaration, but awaits the forthcoming official communication of the Priestly Society as their dialogue with the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei' continues".

Vatican City, 19 July 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Guadalajara, Mexico, presented by Bishop Rafael Francisco Martinez Sainz, upon having reached the age limit.


Noorollah Qabitizade and other Christians were in prison since Christmas of 2010. They were arrested during a private celebration in Dezful. In prison they suffered torture and interrogation sessions to force them to convert to Islam.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - After 560 days in jail, Iranian authorities freed Noorollah Qabitizade (see photo Mohabat News), a Protestant pastor, and 10 other Muslim converts to Christianity. They were arrested in 2010 during an illegal celebration of Christmas in Dezful. Their case is linked to large-scale operation launched in 2010 by Tehran to stop proselytism and conversions to Christianity, which has led to more than 60 arrests.

Noorollah Qabitizade, 48, was released last July 17 from Karoon prison in the southwestern city of Ahwaz, on the orders of the courts of the province of Khuzestan.

In 19 months in detention, the man changed prison several times. To convince him to abandon Christianity, jailers tortured him and locked him up in solitary confinement.

At present it is unclear why he was released. Local sources claim that the release of Qabitizade and 10 other Christians is the result of the international campaign in favor of Youcef Nadrkhani, a Protestant clergyman sentenced to death for apostasy in 2009.



On the move for ancient churches | Ride & Stride, Ancient Churches

Canon Henry Pearson plus bicycle outside St Andrew’s Church, Trent, Nr Sherborne, Dorset
More than 8,000 churches of all Christian denominations in England are set to open for Ride+Stride on 8 September 2012, a nationwide event to save historic churches.
About 20,000 cyclists and walkers are expected to take part in the day-long event which in 2011 raised over £1.3 million for the restoration of places of worship. As well as cyclists and walkers, also taking part in Ride+Stride will be sponsored runners, joggers, horse-riders and mobility scooter users. The majority of churches will be open between 10am and 6pm. Of course, there will also be the opportunity to relax and recharge between journeys, with most churches offering a display of snacks and drinks, from cakes and biscuits to home grown plums and orange squash.
Ride+Stride started in Suffolk in 1982, the idea of Judith Foord. Since then over £29 million has been raised nationally in what is one of the biggest ecumenical fundraising events of the year.
Oldest participants have included a 101 year old lady from Oxfordshire who walked between six churches in hilly countryside whilst the youngest are still in push chairs.

Ride+Stride is supported by The National Churches Trust, in partnership with County Churches Trusts nationwide. Keen cyclist and Channel 4 news presenter, Jon Snow, is the patron. He said: “Our churches have borne witness to centuries of fascinating and engaging news. They’re pivotal to our history and vital for communities. Cycling and sightseeing to stop Churches crumbling is something we can all do.”
In 2011, Ride+Stride raised over £1.3 million to help preserve some of Britain’s 47,000 churches, chapels and meeting houses. Cyclists and walkers raised money for their favourite church or chapel, as well as for the local Church Trust in the County in which they took part.
Sponsorship is based on the number of churches the participants plan to visit, the distance, area and timing of individual rides is entirely up to those taking part and can be as long or as short as desired.
With some 8,000 churches due to be open, there is no shortage of fascinating places to visit. Cyclists and walkers in Cumbria might like to visit the charming Newlands Church based in the hamlet of Littletown; Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tiggy Winkle was dedicated to the Vicar’s daughter.
In Dorset, participants could head over to Loders’ St Mary Magdalene’s Church, to offer sympathy and support to its gargoyle with toothache.
In Essex Riders and Striders can join the male voice cycling quartet, Song Cycle, who will be singing and visiting churches in the Brentwood area.
Special Ride+Stride cycling routes are in place for 8 September. They include: in London, an off street route through East London from Barking Abbey to Waltham Abbey; spectacular routes through Cumbria taking in Penrith and Kendal; in Somerset a 30 mile Ten Towers Route starting at Wedmore St Mary; in Oxfordshire routes taking in villages around Didcot and Abingdon and in Leicestershire an organised walk, ride and run in the picturesque Hallaton, Allexton, Horninghold, Slawston and Tugby area.
Riders and striders in Wiltshire can picnic by Bremilham Church in Cowage farmyard, the tiniest church in the UK, which has one pew and seats four. Participants can find a church bell (in the tree) or a stone hedgehog (on the door) at St Nicholas Barfrestone, Kent. Look for carved pigs feeding in Little Malvern Priory, Worcestershire (on a monk’s arm rest).
For more information see:



ADDIS ABABA, July 17, 2012 (CISA) -South African Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was elected on Sunday July 15 to become the first female head of the African Union (AU) Commission, ending a bruising leadership battle that had threatened to divide and weaken the organisation.
Cheers broke out at the AU’s soaring, Chinese-built steel and glass headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa as supporters of President Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife celebrated her victory over incumbent Jean Ping of Gabon.
“We made it!” a grinning Zimbabwean delegate shouted, reflecting the strong support Dlamini-Zuma’s candidacy had received from fellow members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Ping, who had served in the AU post since 2008, was largely supported by French-speaking African states.
According to the Mail and Guardian, the 63-year-old’s appointment, who previously served as minister of health and foreign affairs, will add to the global diplomatic clout of an African state which is already the continent’s largest economy.
As head of the organization’s executive arm, she faces immediate challenges as the AU tries to gain UN Security Council backing for a military intervention in northern Mali, where local and foreign al-Qaeda-linked jihadists seized control after a destabilizing coup in the southern capital Bamako.
The Mali crisis, along with an army putsch in Guinea-Bissau and border clashes in April between Sudan and South Sudan have blotted Africa’s advances in recent years towards better governance and stability, accompanied by buoyant growth.
Dlamini-Zuma had to undergo three voting rounds before Ping (69) was eliminated. A final confidence vote of 37 in favour gave her the 60% majority she needed to be elected.
The contest to head the commission of the 54-member AU had been deadlocked since a previous vote at a January summit ended in stalemate. The impasse had persisted through a summit of AU heads of state held in Addis Ababa at the weekend.
It prompted the AU’s rotating chairperson, Benin President Boni Yayi, to warn African heads of state that failure by the continental body to resolve the leadership deadlock would divide it and undermine its credibility in the world.
“Now we move on to unite the African continent, we unite everybody through Madame Zuma,” Lindiwe Zulu, Zuma’s advisor on international affairs, told reporters.
“She won, I congratulate her,” Ping said as he left the AU headquarters among a small crowd of well-wishers.
At a news conference earlier in the day before the vote, Dlamini-Zuma sought to dispel fears that South Africa might seek to use the AU post to try to dominate the continent.
“South Africa is not going to come to Addis Ababa to run the AU. It is Dlamini-Zuma who is going to come to make a contribution,” she told reporters.
Protests outside the venue in the Ethiopian capital have seen 72 arrests, and some 200 injured. Those arrested, according to police, were Islamists demonstrating against perceived liberal implementation of religious laws.
Mr Erastus Mwencha, a Kenyan, was elected to deputize Dlamini-Zuma.


Empowering the vulnerable:

In the same time it takes most people to complete the 5km course, CatholicCare will have helped another 20 children and adults through counselling, family support, mediation, refugee settlement, and other support services.

By participating in Run Melbourne and/or raising funds for CatholicCare, you will be caring for the whole community. CatholicCare’s wide range of services provide vital support and create connections across Melbourne and Geelong communities, reducing social isolation and disadvantage.

To register, simply go to , click Entry and follow the prompts to join CatholicCare’s team, Walking Angels. Email  or phone 9287 5585 to notify us you are joining the team, and an invitation link will be sent to set up your fundraising page.

First 50 people to register with Walking Angels receive wings & halos.
Walking Angels Team page is officially opened! Welcome to join us as a team member or sponsor us!


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The twelfth meeting of Afro-American Pastoral Meeting (EPA) is in progress, held in Guayaquil, Ecuador, from July 16 to 20, on "The Afro-American and the Caribbean Pastoral Care and the Document of Aparecida. challenges and hopes of the Church and Society."
The meeting includes 250 people, among Bishops, priests, operators of "afro pastoral" and lay people involved in this field. The participating countries are: Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Honduras, Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, Belize, Peru, Mexico, among others.
The first meeting of the "Afro Pastoral" was held in Buenaventura, Colombia, in 1980, where the question of "popular religiosity and black culture" was faced. Since then Colombia, Ecuador and the countries of the Pacific coast have participated. Since then the meetings have been conducted every 3 years, and other countries with populations of African origin have gradually been added and where the local Churches have been created giving life to the "Afro Pastoral."
Before the General Meeting in Guayaquil, each participating country worked on a "Base Document" sent in advance to the group of the meeting coordinator to the various responsibles of the Afro Pastoral.
This method helps to better study the various proposals of each country for the implementation of an Afro Pastoral continent-wide.
According to information gathered by Fides Agency, the first presence of black people in the American continent takes us back to the plantations of sugar cane in Brazil: to let them grow in the absence of labor, the Portuguese went to Angola, Guinea, Sudan and Mozambique to take slaves. In the Spanish colonies the authorization to introduce black slaves dates back to 1518. The black was preferred to the South American native because of more resistance to work the lands on the coast. Even the English carried out the slave trade to the United States. It is estimated that at the end of the colonial period, about 2 million Africans were present in America. As the countries conquered a democratic and independent life, the blacks (and those who recognized their rights) were able to abolish slavery. In Argentina, for example, slavery was abolished in 1813, while Brazil was the last country to do so, in 1888. Currently there is no reliable data about the black population in the continent, but since the Church has been carrying out specific pastoral care many difficult situations so far unknown are being discovered (CE) (


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


St. Arsenius
Feast: July 19
Anchorite; born 354, at Rome; died 450, at Troe, in Egypt. Theodosius the Great having requested the Emperor Gratian and Pope Damasus to find him in the West a tutor for his son Arcadius, they made choice of Arsenius, a man well read in Greek literature, member of a noble Roman family, and said to have been a deacon of the Roman Church. He reached Constantinople in 383, and continued as tutor in the imperial family for eleven years, during the last three of which he also had charge of his pupil's brother Honorius. Coming one day to see his children at their studies, Theodosius found them sitting while Arsenius talked to them standing. This he would not tolerate, and caused the teacher to sit and the pupils to stand. On his arrival at court Arsenius had been given a splendid establishment, and probably because the Emperor so desired, he lived in great pomp, but all the time felt a growing inclination to renounce the world. After praying long to be enlightened as to what he should do, he heard a voice saying "Arsenius, flee the company of men, and thou shalt be saved." Thereupon he embarked secretly for Alexandria, and hastening to the desert of Scetis, asked to be admitted among the solitaries who dwelt there. St. John the Dwarf, to whose cell he was conducted, though previously warned of the quality of his visitor, took no notice of him and left him standing by himself while he invited the rest to sit down at table. When therepast was half finished he threw down some bread before him, bidding him with an air of indifference eat if he would. Arsenius meekly picked up the bread and ate, sitting on the ground. Satisfied with this proof of humility, St. John kept him under his direction. The new solitary was from the first most exemplary yet unwittingly retained certain of his old habits, such as sitting cross-legged or laying one foot over the other. Noticing this, the abbot requested some one to imitate Arsenius's posture at the next gathering of the brethren, and upon his doing so, forthwith rebuked him publicly. Arsenius took the hint and corrected himself. During the fifty-five years of his solitary life he was always the most meanly clad of all, thus punishing himself for his former seeming vanity in the world. In like manner, to atone for having used perfumes at court, he never changed the water in which he moistened the palm leaves of which he made mats, but only poured in fresh water upon it as it wasted, thus letting it become stenchy in the extreme. Even while engaged in manual labour he never relaxed in his application to prayer. At all times copious tears of devotion fell from his eyes. But what distinguished him most was his disinclination to all that might interrupt his union with God. When, after long search, his place of retreat was discovered, he not only refused to return to court and act as adviser to his former pupil the Emperor Arcadius, but he would not even be his almoner to the poor and the monasteries of the neighbourhood. He invariably denied himself to visitors, no matter what their rank and condition and left to his disciples the care of entertaining them. His contemporaries so admired him as to surname him "the Great".