Friday, August 3, 2012


Vatican Radio REPORT With just over two months to go, the Vatican has published the full official calendar of events pertaining to the upcoming Year of Faith.

Pope Benedict VI has called the Year of Faith to strengthen Catholics who go to Church, reach out to those who have left but still yearn for God in their lives, offer a response to those who are searching for meaning and help those who think they do not need God.

And as was revealed back in June when the Annus Fidei was first presented, there’s a special hymn, a logo and a prayer card as well as a full calendar of special “Year of Faith” events.

The Year itself begins on 11
th October 2012 with a Mass presided by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square. It will be concelebrated by bishops and theologians who, like the Pope himself, served as members or experts at the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council.

Many of the Pope's traditional appointments, like the 25th January celebration marking the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the 2 February Prayer with religious are incorporated into the Year of Faith.

But other events have been added such as the October 6th “Courtyard of the Gentiles” meeting in the Umbrian town of Assisi which is seen as a prologue to the Annus Fidei with an encounter and dialogue between believers and non-believers on the theme of faith.

One highlight is represented by the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of New Evangelization from 7th to 28th October.

After the official opening of the Year of Faith, a cultural event takes place on 12th October at the Church of the Gesù focuses on Dante Alighieri and Faith during which an excerpt of Dante’s “Paradise” from the Divine Comedy will be recited.

The wide-ranging calendar includes the canonization of six martyrs of the faith on 21st October; a World Congress for Catholic teachers from 26th to 30th October ; an International Conference for Health Care workers on the theme “the Hospital, a place of evangelization: a human and spiritual mission” from 15th to 17th November.

On 1st December Pope Benedict will celebrate the first Vespers of Advent for the Pontifical Universities, the Seminaries and the Ecclesial Colleges.

An exhibition of the Year of Faith is due to be inaugurated on 20th December at Castel Sant’Angelo. It will remain open until 1st May 2013.

Just after Christmas, on 28th December, the Taizé community in collaboration with the Vicariate of Rome promotes a European youth meeting to last until 2nd January 2013.

The new Year sees the afore-mentioned celebration for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the inauguration of a major exhibition at the Basilica of Saint Paul outside the walls dedicated to the Basilica itself and Vatican II (until 24th November 2013).

Pope Benedict is then due to preside at the celebration for the World Day for Consecrated Life on 2nd February, followed by Palm Sunday on 24th March.

Meanwhile, on 25th and 26th February an international congress dedicated to the Saints Cirillus and Methodius takes place at the Pontifical Oriental Institute and at the Gregorian University

From 4th to 6th April Catholic Associations dedicated to education hold a conference.

A concert entitled “Oh My Son” takes place in the Paul VIth Hall on 13th April.

The month of April also foresees the Day of Seminaries, a Day of Study dedicated to Vatican II documents, and a celebration on 28th April during which the Pope will confirm a group of young people and meet with others who recently have been or are about to be confirmed in their home countries.

In May Benedict is scheduled to celebrate the Day of Confraternities and Popular Piety and undertake a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter.

On 2nd June, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ in most countries, the pope will lead the solemn adoration of the Eucharist and is asking every cathedral and parish to have an hour of silent contemplation before the Blessed Sacrament at exactly the same hour.

Two weeks later, on 16th June, Pope Benedict will preside over a celebration of the church's witness to the dignity and value of every human life.

Amongst the cultural events planned, on 22nd June St Peter’s Square will come alive with a huge concert for the Year of Faith.

And on 7th July Benedict will meet with seminarians and religious-order novices, who will make a pilgrimage to Rome to demonstrate "the joy of their decision to follow the Lord in serving his church."

From 23rd to 28th July the Pope will travel to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate World Youth Day.

In September, a workshop organised by the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Universities examine the value of “the Catholic Church’s Catechism” in the teaching of theology (18th – 19th September)

The 29th September is the Day for Catechists and it will be celebrated in the presence of Benedict XVI.

On 13th October the Pope will celebrate a Marian Day together with a host of Marian Associations.

Pope Benedict is scheduled to conclude the Year of Faith on 24th November 2013

Meanwhile, the Vatican has launched a website - – with information about the Year of Faith and its full calendar of special events.



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Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
3 Aug 2012

Fr Chris Ryan of the Missionaries
of God's Love will conduct
a seminar at Proclaim 2012
More than 450 church youth leaders, religious, parish priests, diocesan and parish staff and volunteers, school principals, RE teachers and individuals of all ages have signed on to attend Australia's first-ever national conference on the New Evangelism.
The three-day Proclaim 2012 Conference begins next week on Thursday, 9 August at The Concourse, Chatswood NSW and will be attended not only by participants from across Australia but by a contingent from New Zealand as well as a small group from Africa.
An initiative of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and organised by Catholic Mission Australia and the Catholic Enquiry Centre's National Office for Evangelism, Proclaim 2012 is one of the key events celebrating the Year of Grace and is to deepen understanding of the New Evangelisation, showcase what is happening in evangelisation and the Catholic Church, and to begin developing a map for the future of evangelisation in Australia.
"We want to take the experience, energy and enthusiasm of the charisms, movements and groups involved in the New Evangelism and inject this into parishes," says Marita Winters, Director of the National Office for Evangelisation at the Catholic Enquiry Centre. "Many parishes know or have heard about the New Evangelism but want to learn and better understand exactly what the New Evangelism means and the tools they need to go out and evangelise among their parishioners, schools and communities."

Archbishop Fisichella first
President of the Pontifical
Council for the Promotion
of the New Evangelisation
But other parishes are struggling and are often unfamiliar with the term New Evangelisation and what this entails, she says.
Admired church leaders, theologians and educators are among the many outstanding local and national experts who will conduct Proclaim 2012's wide variety of stimulating and thought-provoking seminars. These include Father Peter Malone, MSC from the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting; Donella Johnston from the ACBC's Office for the Participation of Women; Selina Hasham, Chair of the National World Youth Day Committee for the ACBC and Manager for Catholic Communications at the Archdiocese of Sydney; Marita Winters and John Collins from the National Office of Evangelisation; Martin Tuelan, Executive Officer of Catholic Mission; Father Chris Ryan from the Missionaries of God's Love; Anne Delsorte catechist, trainer and member of the international Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd; Father Elio Capra, chair of the Catechumenate Network and chair of the Melbourne RCIA Forum; Rob Falzon of menALIVE; Bishop Peter Ingham, Bishop of Wollongong; Bishop Eugene Hurley, Bishop of Darwin and Bishop Christopher Prowse, Bishop of Sale.
Among the national and international speakers at Proclaim 2012 will be America's admired speaker, trainer and ministry consultant, Martha Fernandez-Sardina. With more than 20 years working in the fields of evangelisation, catechesis, apologetics and youth and young adult ministry, she is experienced at forming parish evangelisation teams, developing training and outreach programs and is a known for her input at international conference, seminars, retreats and prayer workshops not only across the US but in Canada, Portugal, Italy, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.

Marita Winters
Director of the
National Office
for Evangelisation
helped organise
Proclaim 2012
But for many the highlight of Proclaim 2012 will be the two addresses given by Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the first President of the newly constituted Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation with the task of re-evangelising the secularised countries of the world.
A powerful and inspirational speaker, Archbishop Fisichella is regarded as one of the world's leading theologians. He is a highly regarded scholar, a prolific author and editor of more than 20 books, and together with his new appointment continues with his many other commitments as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses. In addition, the Archbishop also continues his work as visiting professor at nine different Italian and European universities.
Marita says having the Rome-based Archbishop as the keynote speaker for Proclaim 2012 is "quite a coup."
"His visit here is just eight weeks before the crucial and long planned Synod on the New Evangelisation in Rome. But here in Australia we will have a chance to hear him first," she says.
Proclaim 2012 takes its theme from the Gospel of Matthew: "What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light, what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops" (Mt 10:27).

Selina Hasham Chair
of WYD Committee will
explore how to raise up
visionary youth leaders
in the Church
While there is nothing "new" about evangelisation which is an ancient, regular and important activity of the Church and of practicing Catholics, the New Evangelisation offers a way to reach out to baptised Catholics who have become distant from the faith and bring them back to the joy of Christ. The New Evangelisation is also a way to counter the increasing secularisation in Western Society and reach out to those who have no belief and give them the great gift of the Lord.
Bishop Peter Ingham, the ACBC delegate for Proclaim 2012 sums it up best in his invitation to Catholics across Australia.
Urging them to join him and "hundreds of others and prepare to proclaim from the housetops what we have heard from Jesus Christ."
Registrations for this very special and important conference are still open. To find out more log on to


August 1, Catholics started fasting for Dormition of the Virgin, which will last until August 15. It coincides in part with the Muslim Ramadan (August 20 to 18). The religious functions and moments of abstinence and prayer are held simultaneously in churches and mosques. AsiaNews publishes the message of Gregory III Laham, Melkite Patriarch of Antioch. The prelate calls on Christians and Muslims to use this time to rediscover the value of charity, dialogue and reconciliation.

Damascus (AsiaNews) - "Christians and Muslims fast and pray together for peace in Syria and the end of violence." This is at the heart of a message to Catholics by Msgr. Gregory III Laham, Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, during their fast for the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin, which will last 1 to 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption. The period of abstinence in part coincides with Ramadan, the month of prayer and fasting for Muslims, which ends next August 18. The periods of abstinence and prayer will be held simultaneously in churches and mosques. In his pastoral letter to Catholics, the bishop also addresses the rest of the population, and stresses that "the Syrians are still able to love and forgive." According to Msgr. Laham, praying together for the end of the war helps everyone to testify to the value of dialogue, reconciliation and tolerance in a country torn by violence between rebels and the Assad regime.

Here's the full text of the recently published message by Msgr. Gregory III Laham:

To our brother bishops, members of our Holy Synod in the Middle East and throughout the whole world!

To our sons and daughters: priests, monks, nuns, and Greek Catholic faithful!

May "the Peace of God which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus!" (Philippians 4: 7)

Dear brothers and sisters!

Once again Christians and Muslims are fasting and praying at the same time. That is one of the most beautiful marks and signs of their living together in solidarity.

So Muslims have begun the fast of the honourable month of Ramadan (that lasts this year from 20 July to 18 August.)

In a few days, Christians will begin the fast or abstinence of the Dormition of the Mother of God, from 1 until 15 August. This fast is a summer fast. There is first the autumn fast that precedes the Nativity (40 days). Then follows Great Lent or the winter fast(40 to 50 days), before the Feast of the Resurrection or Great Feast, and the spring or Apostles' fast (20 to 25 days), in June.

The fast or abstinence of Our Lady is very popular and loved by Christian families. During these 15 days we celebrate the consolation or invocation service called Paraklesis in Greek. It is a very popular service that fills our hearts with hope, consolation and joy. It is celebrated for various intentions, especially for the sick, injured, travellers, mourners, orphans, refugees, exiled, departed...

We call upon our faithful, especially in our patriarchal eparchy in Damascus, to participate in these services, with fasting, prayer and repentance.

So the sounds of services in churches and mosques will be simultaneously united, as will be the prayers, fasting and devotions of Muslims and Christians both in places of worship and homes! What beautiful harmony of faith!

Together we shall be praying especially for the safety of all Syrians and for the cessation of the violence that sows fear in quiet districts and has caused the displacement and flight of thousands who have left their homes and properties! We pray too during this period for the return of charity, friendship, fellowship and compassion among all citizens. Syrians are still capable of loving and forgiving each other, being reconciled and showing tolerance to one another. Together they can rebuild a renewed,free, secure, conciliatorySyria, in which citizens regardless of group, party, religion or affiliation can enjoy freedom, dignity, employment and education ... United together, they can rebuild what has been destroyed and work for development and prosperity, for a better future for all citizens.

Together we pray: "O Lord, save thy people and bless thine inheritance. Grant peace to thy world! Grant peace to Syria! By thy Cross, preserve thy people!"

We ask everyone to add special litanies for peace and reconciliation to services.

To everyone, a holy fast!

With my affection!

United in prayer!

Gregorios III

Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,

Of Alexandriaand Jerusalem



KIBAALE, July 31, 2012 (CISA) -A deadly outbreak of hemorrhagic fever Ebola has been confirmed in Kibaale district, Western Uganda by the Ministry of Health of Uganda. So far, 14 people have died and 11 more cases have been diagnosed. Kibaale district has a total population of about 646,700 people and is located at around 200 kilometres west of the Ugandan capital Kampala, and 50 kilometres from the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Uganda Red Cross is part of the National Emergency Taskforce that has been set up by the Ministry of Health to stop the disease from spreading. The Red Cross has mobilized volunteers and staff who are ready to support with case tracking and community awareness.
“This outbreak is occurring in the same area where the Red Cross is already responding to the growing crisis caused by the influx of Congolese refugees fleeing violence in their country” said Charlie Musoka, Regional Operations Coordinator for the International Federation of the Red Cross.
There is no treatment or vaccine against Ebola, one of the most virulent viral diseases known to humankind. It is transmitted by close personal contact and, depending on the strain, kills up to 90 percent of those who contract the virus.
There have been several Ebola outbreaks recorded in Uganda since the first one in 2000, leaving many people dead. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
The government of Uganda is coordinating needs assessments and response efforts aimed at containing the outbreak. A team composed of a medical doctor and a Disaster Management specialist from the International Federation of Red Cross is being dispatched from Nairobi, Kenya to immediately support Uganda Red Cross efforts.


By Staff Reporter on Friday, 3 August 2012
Young people from across the world gather at the Joshua Camp
Young people from across the world gather at the Joshua Camp
Hundreds of young people have gathered near the London 2012 Olympic Park at the start of a 12-day evangelisation event called the Joshua Camp.
The camp is being held at St Bonaventure’s Catholic high school in one of the most deprived parts of East London, a mile away from the Olympic Park. It is hosted by the Sion Community.
Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood celebrated Mass on the first day of the camp, welcoming participants from every inhabited continent, with 21 countries represented.
In his homily, Bishop McMahon highlighted two particular Olympic themes: carrying the torch and running the race. He said that “in Ancient Greece, the concept of light was revered and was seen in contrast to darkness” with light and the torch becoming “a symbol of faith and hope in a darkened world”.
Speaking of welcoming the Olympic torch past his cathedral in Brentwood, he said he liked “to think that people also gathered to see and support those who were carrying the light”.
The bishop challenged those present, asking: “Do we try each day to follow Christ our light? Are we light bearers to our world, to those around us, by our way of life, by the way that we witness to Christian values?”
He then echoed the words spoken to young Catholics by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Britain in 2010, reminding them of Blessed John Henry Newman’s motto, “heart speaks unto heart”: “I want you to look into your own heart and ask yourself: ‘What kind of person do I want to be?’”
Bishop McMahon recalled that the ancient Games were nothing to do with medals made up of precious metals or national flags and anthems, but rather about “individual strength, skill, training, discipline and commitment”.
“It is sad,” he said, “when the emphasis today is solely on achievement. The earliest emphasis of the Games was on taking part rather than on achievement and success.”
Referring to New Testament, he urged those present to see “life as a race, a marathon, with only one thing necessary for us Christians, and that is not the winning so much as the keeping our eye on Jesus, remembering that our faith is not first and foremost built on teachings or doctrines or rules and regulations but around a person, the person of Jesus.
“The very important question we need to ask ourselves is this: ‘Is the person of Jesus real in my life or just notional?’ In your relationship with the Lord are you a Sunday acquaintance or a weekday friend?
“Run the race of life always with your eyes fixed on Jesus, knowing that this race isn’t for winners but rather for finishers.”
The young people are receiving training and catechesis about how to be a true Christian presence at the Olympic Games. They will then have the opportunity to go into the local areas and perform acts of service. These will include inviting local young people to engage in sport, to be a part of music and drama workshops and to be artistic and creative.
Daily liturgies, from the Office of Readings to the celebration of the Mass, are presented in a variety of languages. A number of Olympians have already agreed to visit the camp during the coming week.


Matthew 13: 54 - 58
54 and coming to his own country he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?
55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?
56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?"
57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house."
58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.