Saturday, August 18, 2012


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, formerly the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, as Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine.

“I am aware it is a major challenge,” Archbishop Lazzarotto told Vatican Radio. “But it is a challenge I accept with joy; because I think it is important to carry on the work of the past few years which was accomplished with hard work and graciousness by my predecessors. I will move in their wake and offer my best efforts in the cause of dialogue and peace. ”

Archbishop Lazzarotto said it is only through dialogue that a just solution can be found to meet the various aspirations of the different peoples of the region.

“There are many men and women of good will who live in the Holy Land,” he said.

Speaking of the region’s small Christian community, Archbishop Lazzarotto praised their witness to their faith, through “small fraternal gestures, and small gestures of understanding, dialogue, and friendship.”

“I believe this is the necessary path,” he said. “to live together, in harmony and fraternity, to be living witnesses to the Risen Lord.”

The members of the Christian community daily live their commitment, their testimony of faith, but an effective witness through this daily commitment, through small gestures of fraternity, the small gestures of understanding, dialogue and friendship.

Archbishop Lazzarotto is familiar with the region. His first assignment as an Apostolic Nuncio was to Jordan and Iraq, from 1994-2000. He had also previously served in Jerusalem from 1982-1984.
shared from RADIO VATICANA


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Mireia BelmonteVarious news sources have reported that the Spanish Olympic medalist, Mireia Belmonte, dedicated her 2 silver medals to Our Lady of Monserrat. Mireia is 21 years old and won silver in the 800 meter free-syle and silver in the 200 meter butterfly competitions.
“One cost a little bit more effort than the other because it was a longer race,” “But all of my rivals were very tough and before it starts you don’t know what is going to happen because everyone is very strong.” Belmonte said.
She trains 9 hours a day.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
17 Aug 2012

Icon of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom inspired Notre Dame's Icon commissioned by Cardinal Pell
Commissioned by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell and created by Sydney-based artist, Christopher Wolter, the University of Notre Dame's superb icon of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom is finally complete.
Although the icon was blessed by the Cardinal in late 2009 and installed in Notre Dame's campus courtyard the following year, the final piece of the Icon was only added this week when watched by hundreds of students, the artist climbed a ladder and affixed the last mosaic.
The ceremony took place on the Feast of Assumption following High Mass at St Benedict's Church, Broadway celebrated by Notre Dame chaplain, Fr Lam Vu and Assistant Chaplain Fr John Neill.
According to Christopher the timing couldn't have been better.
"This really was the perfect day for the last tile to be fitted," he says.
The tiny crimson glass mosaic completed Our Lady's heart in the image depicted on the Icon, and was deliberately omitted from the sacred artwork when Christopher created it three years ago.
"Last month the final tile was taken to Rome by a group of pilgrims from the university and received the blessing of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI," Christopher explains.

Cardinal Pell commissioned Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Icon for Notre Dame's Sydney campus
The pilgrimage during the University's winter break was led by Notre Dame's Chaplain Father Lam Vu and Chaplaincy Convenor, Jessica Landgrell and both were on hand on Wednesday, 15 August to see the final mosaic of the Icon installed.
Christopher who also lectures in theology at the university admits he had not expected to be moved when he affixed the last mosaic into the two metre tall larger-than-life-size Icon.
"I suppose I had seen this last stage as simply something that had to be done. But once I got up the ladder and started putting it in, the depth of emotion I felt took me by surprise," he says.
As someone who has studied and appreciates all forms of art, Cardinal Pell asked Christopher, who was then artist in residence at the University to create an Icon of Our Lady based on the original Sancta Maria Sedes Sapientiae (Our Lady Seat of Wisdom) commissioned by Pope John Paul II in 2000.
Made by Slovenian Jesuit and theologian, Fr Marko Ivan Rupnik, the Pope Paul II commissioned Icon now travels from nation to nation as a symbol of learning and inspiration for young people at educational institutions, universities and schools across the globe.

Artist Christopher Wolter places final tile in the Icon of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom at Notre Dame University
In the wake of World Youth Day in 2008, the John Paul II Icon of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, patron saint of universities, toured Australia.
Throughout the Icon's eight month tour, Christopher was also hard at work creating another equally beautiful and inspiring Icon of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom for the Sydney campus of the University of Notre Dame.
"When I was very young I'd had a go at making an icon, but it wasn't very successful," he says laughing.
That first attempt took place long before he entered art school and before he became one of Australia's rising young artists. But Christopher says he has never lost his fascination with iconography.
Prior to creating this icon for Notre Dame's Broadway courtyard, Christopher undertook detailed research into this ancient form of sacred art. He also followed the Eastern tradition of Icon makers dating back many centuries who fast and pray as they meticulously fashion the Image of Our Lady and the Christ child in mosaics.

Notre Dame Chaplain, Fr Lam Vu, Chaplaincy Convenor Jessica Langrell and students in Rome on pilgrimage last month
"But my approach was also very much that of a Western artist. I didn't feel the need to copy Rupnik's image exactly or create a replica. Instead I took liberties not only with colours but also with the size," he says.
The glass tiles Christopher used for the Icon came from Italy and China while the beautiful pink fragments were created from a chunk of amethyst crystal given to him by one of his friends.
"The shade was perfect and these were the fragments I used around Our Lady's eyes, Our Lord's eyes and both their lips," he says.
Although his usual medium is oil painting creating portraits or landscapes, Christopher loved the challenge creating this very special artwork for the University.
"His Eminence Cardinal Pell was very supportive throughout the process and has great knowledge of art including iconography," he says.
As for the icon in the courtyard of Notre Dame's Broadway Campus, his hope is that Our Lady Seat of Wisdom will continue to inspire students for many years to come not only in learning but in faith.


Two weeks of monsoon rains have left tens of thousands homeless
Daniel Wynn, Yangon
August 17, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Flooding ravages Irrawaddy Delta
Flood waters surround City Hall in Pathein district
Tens of thousands of people are homeless after torrential rains caused major flooding in the Irrawaddy Delta.
Heavy monsoon rains, which started two weeks ago, have affected several townships, submerged thousands of houses and destroyed paddy fields, according to local residents. More than 90 schools in the region have also been closed.
“The water level has now increased up to the waist,” said Maung Gyi, a resident of Thar Paung Township. He said the major highway between Pathein and Yangon is no longer accessible and the railways are also shut down.
Only three out of 15 quarters in Pathein district have not been affected with the floods. In some areas, whole villages had to be evacuated, Maung Gyi said.
Local relief volunteers say flood victims in temporary relief centers are in desperate need of food and health care.
Meanwhile, some 9,500 acres of farmland in Kawkareik and Kyain Seikgyi townships in Karen state have been destroyed by flood waters, according to a report by Karen News.
As many as 6,000 people have also been left homeless after severe flooding hit Hpa-an town, also in Karen State, the report said.
Tun Lwin, the former director general of Myanmar’s Meteorology and Hydrology Department said flooding would recede in coming days, provided Myanmar was not hit by a storm currently developing in the South China Sea.
Myanmar has experienced erratic weather patterns this year, with some regions in the central part of the country facing drought and the southern parts hit by heavy rains and flooding, Tun Lwin said.
India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam are among the 10 countries with the greatest proportion of their economic output threatened by natural disasters, according to the latest study released by Maplecroft, a risk analysis company.
Most of the major cities and commercial hubs in these countries are located along coastlines or low-lying areas prone to flooding as sea levels rise. They are also at risk of stronger storms fueled by warmer water and air temperatures, the study said.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - More than 16,000 southern Sudanese returnees stuck in the Upper Nile State are at risk after the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has announced its intention to suspend operations for the next two months, because of lack of funds.
According to reports from the Sudan Tribune website, IOM, before the announcement, had organized a convoy of river barges, which left from the city of Renk to Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan. On board there were more than 2,500 returnees, who were stuck for months in the Upper Nile State. The IOM states that most of the returnees headed towards Renk because of insecurity along the border with Sudan earlier this year and at the beginning of the rainy season.
These people, according to the organization are in need of urgent help to return to their various areas of origin.
"With more than 20,000 returnees in South Sudan, the majority of whom are located in Renk, where all the means of communication, with the exception of the River Nile are blocked, it is essential to initiate an emergency transport operation if we are to avoid multiple humanitarian crises in transition points" says Vincent Houver, the IOM chief of mission in South Sudan.
In a statement to Sudan Tribune, IOM, however, contends that its appeal to raise more than $ 45 million to provide assistance to returnees still in difficulty, including the provision of transport and medical services, was funded only for a sum equal to 12% of the price requested: therefore more than 40 million dollars are lacking.
In addition, the rainy season has severely hampered road transport, leaving thousands of returnees stranded in Renk.
An estimated 116,000 people since the beginning of the year, have returned to South Sudan from neighboring Sudan. After the independence of South Sudan, Khartoum authorities have decided to expel the citizens originally from the new State.
In the last year, the IOM reported that it assisted the repatriation of 50,000 people using river barges, boats, buses, trains and planes to allow them to get to their final destinations. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 11/8/2012)


Matthew 19: 13 - 15
13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people;
14 but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."
15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.



Feast Day:
August 18
248, Drepanum, Bithynia, Asia Minor
328, Constantinople, Roman
Major Shrine:
The shrine to Saint Helena in St. Peter's Basilica
Patron of:
archeologists, converts, difficult marriages, divorced people, empresses, Helena, the capital of Montana
The mother of Constantine the Great, born about the middle of the third century, possibly in Drepanum (later known as Helenopolis) on the Nicomedian Gulf; died about 330. She was of humble parentage; St. Ambrose, in his "Oratio de obitu Theodosii", referred to her as a stabularia, or inn-keeper. Nevertheless, she became the lawful wife of Constantius Chlorus. Her first and only son, Constantine, was born in Naissus in Upper Moesia, in the year 274. The statement made by English chroniclers of the Middle Ages, according to which Helena was supposed to have been the daughter of a British prince, is entirely without historical foundation. It may arise from the misinterpretation of a term used in the fourth chapter of the panegyric on Constantine's marriage with Fausta, that Constantine, oriendo (i.e., "by his beginnings," "from the outset") had honoured Britain, which was taken as an allusion to his birth, whereas the reference was really to the beginning of his reign.

In the year 292 Constantius, having become co-Regent of the West, gave himself up to considerations of a political nature and forsook Helena in order to marry Theodora, the step-daughter of Emperor Maximinianus Herculius, his patron, and well-wisher. But her son remained faithful and loyal to her. On the death of Constantius Chlorus, in 308, Constantine, who succeeded him, summoned his mother to the imperial court, conferred on her the title of Augusta, ordered that all honour should be paid her as the mother of the sovereign, and had coins struck bearing her effigy. Her son's influence caused her to embrace Christianity after his victory over Maxentius. This is directly attested by Eusebius (Vita Constantini, III, xlvii): "She (his mother) became under his (Constantine's) influence such a devout servant of God, that one might believe her to have been from her very childhood a disciple of the Redeemer of mankind". It is also clear from the declaration of the contemporary historian of the Church that Helena, from the time of her conversion had an earnestly Christian life and by her influence and liberality favoured the wider spread of Christianity. Tradition links her name with the building of Christian churches in the cities of the West, where the imperial court resided, notably at Rome and Trier, and there is no reason for rejecting this tradition, for we know positively through Eusebius that Helena erected churches on the hallowed spots of Palestine. Despite her advanced age she undertook a journey to Palestine when Constantine, through his victory over Licinius, had become sole master of the Roman Empire, subsequently, therefore, to the year 324. It was in Palestine, as we learn from Eusebius (loc. cit., xlii), that she had resolved to bring to God, the King of kings, the homage and tribute of her devotion. She lavished on that land her bounties and good deeds, she "explored it with remarkable discernment", and "visited it with the care and solicitude of the emperor himself". Then, when she "had shown dueveneration to the footsteps of the Saviour", she had two churches erected for the worship of God: one was raised in Bethlehem near the Grotto of the Nativity, the other on the Mount of the Ascension, near Jerusalem. She also embellished the sacred grotto with rich ornaments. This sojourn in Jerusalem proved the starting-point of the legend first recorded by Rufinus as to the discovery of the Cross of Christ.

Her princely munificence was such that, according to Eusebius, she assisted not only individuals but entire communities. The poor and destitute were the special objects of her charity. She visited the churches everywhere with pious zeal and made them rich donations. It was thus that, in fulfilment of the Saviour's precept, she brought forth abundant fruit in word and deed. If Helena conducted herself in this manner while in the Holy Land, which is indeed testified to by Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, we should not doubt that she manifested the same piety and benevolence in those other cities of the empire in which she resided after her conversion. Her memory in Rome is chiefly identified with the church of S. Croce in Gerusalemme. On the present location of this church formerly stood the Palatium Sessorianum, and near by were the Thermae Helenianae, which baths derived their name from the empress. Here two inscriptions were found composed in honour of Helena. The Sessorium, which was near the site of the Lateran, probably served as Helena's residence when she stayed in Rome; so that it is quite possible for a Christian basilica to have been erected on this spot by Constantine, at her suggestion and in honour of the true Cross.

Helena was still living in the year 326, when Constantine ordered the execution of his son Crispus. When, according to Socrates' account (Church History I.17), the emperor in 327 improved Drepanum, his mother's native town, and decreed that it should be called Helenopolis, it is probable that the latter returned from Palestine to her son who was then residing in the Orient. Constantine was with her when she died, at the advanced age of eighty years or thereabouts (Eusebius, Life of Constantine III.46). This must have been about the year 330, for the last coins which are known to have been stamped with her name bore this date. Her body was brought to Constantinople and laid to rest in the imperial vault of the church of the Apostles. It is presumed that her remains were transferred in 849 to the Abbey of Hautvillers, in the French Archdiocese of Reims, as recorded by the monk Altmann in his "Translatio". She was revered as a saint, and the veneration spread, early in the ninth century, even to Western countries. Her feast falls on 18 August. Regarding the finding of the Holy Cross by St. Helena, see CROSS AND CRUCIFIX.