Sunday, November 18, 2012


Vatican Radio REPORT-  Pope Benedict XVI prayed the Angelus this Sunday with the faithful gathered beneath his window in St. Peter’s Square. The focus of his remarks ahead of the traditional Marian prayer was this Sunday’s Gospel reading, taken from the 13thchapter of the Gospel according to St. Mark, which deals with the end times and is known as the eschatological discourse.
“Everything passes,” said Pop Benedict, “but the Word of God does not change, and each of us is responsible for his behavior before it.” Pope Benedict went on to say, “It is upon this, that we shall be judged.”

It was a theme to which the Holy Father returned in his English-language remarks to pilgrims and visitors after the Angelusprayer:

"I greet all the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims present for today’s Angelus. This Sunday, as the liturgical year draws to a close, Jesus tells us that although heaven and earth will pass away, His words will remain. Let us pledge ourselves to build our lives more and more on the solid foundation of His holy word, the true source of life and joy. May God bless all of you!"

Speaking in Spanish, the Holy Father recalled the beatification – on Saturday – of María Pérez Crescencia, a religious of the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Garden, who lived in the early part of the last century. Pope Benedict celebrated the newly Blessed Maria as, “a model of evangelical gentleness animated by faith.”





Bishops Conference plenary meeting | Bishops Conference of England and Wales. Leeds, Eccleston Square, Marcus Stock. St Mary's

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales made five resolutions at their November 2012 plenary meeting at Hinsley Hall in the Diocese of Leeds last week.  
These were announced at a press conference at the Ecclestion Square on Friday morning. The resolutions are: Catholic Education, Human Trafficking, Same-Sex Marriage, Prayer for Peace in the Middle East and the principle of the Living Wage.

Living Wage
The Bishops’ Conference recognises that fair wages are essential to the common good of our society.  The Bishops’ Conference recognises that fair wages are essential to the common good of our society. In accordance with Catholic social teaching, and as part of its mission to support the poor and vulnerable, the Bishops’ Conference fully endorses the principle of the Living Wage and encourages Catholic organisations and charities in England and Wales to work towards its implementation.
Religious Education
The bishops agreed four resolutions relating to Catholic education and schools at their November 2012 plenary meeting: Religious Education and the Common Good, Religious Education in Catholic Schools, Religious Education and Parental Choice and the bishops welcomed the publication of the new Religious Education Curriculum Directory.
Religious Education and the Common Good
The Bishops’ Conference affirms the important role that good quality Religious Education, taught with proper academic rigour, plays in the education of young people and in developing the spiritual dimension of the human person. Therefore, the Bishops’ Conference urges the UK and Welsh Assembly governments to safeguard the place of Religious Education in the curriculum of all schools and academies, and, in the case of England, to reconsider the inclusion of Religious Education in the English Baccalaureate and in the proposed English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs).
Religious Education in Catholic Schools
The Bishops’ Conference reaffirms that Religious Education is the core subject in Catholic schools and academies requiring 10% of curriculum time. In view of the recent reallocation of resources in Initial Teacher Training to English Baccalaureate subjects in England, the Bishops’ Conference seeks assurances that the supply of highly qualified Religious Education teachers will be ensured as a matter of government policy.
Religious Education and Parental Choice
The Bishops’ Conference recognises that all parents and legal guardians have the right and duty to educate their children. Catholic parents have an additional duty and right to choose those schools and academies which best promote the Catholic education of their children (cf. Can. 793 §1). Mindful that Religious Education is at the very heart of the curriculum in Catholic schools and academies, its exclusion from the core academic subjects as defined by the English Baccalaureate effectively limits the ability of parents to choose schools and academies, and their right to ensure the education of their children is conducted in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions (cf. European Convention on Human Rights, Protocol 2, Article 1). The Bishops’ Conference therefore requests the government to uphold parents' rights in this regard.
Religious Education Curriculum Directory
The Bishops’ Conference welcomes the new Religious Education Curriculum Directory for Catholic Schools published by the Department for Catholic Education and Formation as the foundational document for the development of Religious Education in Catholic schools, academies and colleges in England and Wales.
Middle East
Day of Prayer for Peace in the Middle East
Conscious of the civil war in Syria and its impact on neighbouring countries, as well as the continuing conflict in the Holy Land, the Bishops’ Conference asks that a day of prayer for peace in the Middle East be observed on 4 December 2012, the Feast of St John Damascene. See also: (The popular podcast series on the Middle East North Africa region with Dr Harry Hagopian - international lawyer and consultant to the Bishops on the region.)
Resolution: Day of Prayer for Victims of Trafficking. The Bishops’ Conference commends the request to observe the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita - 8 February - as a Day of Prayer for Victims of Trafficking and those who work to combat it.
Same-sex Marriage
The Bishops’ Conference agreed the following statement:
"Together with many people both within and beyond the faith communities of England and Wales we remain firmly opposed to the government's proposal to redefine marriage.
"We await the publication of the results of the public consultation and the government's response. At this time, we urge all who oppose the government's proposal to make their views known to their own member of parliament. As we stated in our submission to the government in June: 'The uniqueness of the institution of marriage is based on the fact that the human person exists as both male and female and that their union for the purpose of procreation, mutual support, and love has, over the centuries of human history, formed a stable unit which we call the family. Marriage has long been recognised as a positive building block of human society and has therefore been rightly recognised by societies and cultures as worthy of legal protection.'
"What is at stake is the intrinsic meaning of marriage and what is best for society as a whole. Redefining marriage is therefore a fundamental moral issue which concerns everyone. It is also one for which no mandate was sought or given to any party at the last general election. It should therefore be treated as an issue of conscience, and we urge all parties to offer a free vote to their members if a Bill ever comes to Parliament."

Other events: 
On Tuesday, a small group of students from St Mary's University College, Twickenham travelled up to Leeds and held a vigil outside the conference in Leeds, appealing for the Bishops to intervene in a number of dificulties at the College. They also held a vigil in London on Friday at Ecclestion Square during the press conference.  
One of the students, Healthr Kuhlman, said that Mgr Stock, General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference,  spoke with them for a long time in Leeds and London. She said he was very concerned and promised to passed their message on to the Bishops.



Australia’s Catholic bishops support National Royal Commission

Tuesday 13 November 2012

The President and Permanent Committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, on behalf of the Australian Bishops, have indicated in a statement released last night that they support the Prime Minister’s announcement of a Royal Commission into child sex abuse in Australia.

In the statement, Archbishop Denis Hart said that child sex abuse is a serious issue not just for the Catholic Church but for the whole community.

“As Catholic bishops and as individuals we share the feelings of horror and outrage which all decent people feel when they read the reports of sexual abuse and allegations of cover ups.” the Archbishop said.

The statement says that over the past 20 years, there have been major developments in the way the Church responds to victims, deals with perpetrators and puts in place preventive measures.  In addition, there is a much greater general awareness of the issue of paedophilia in the broader community.

“Sexual abuse of children is not confined to the Catholic Church, “ the statement says. “Tragically, it occurs in families, churches, community groups, schools and other organisations.”

Statement from Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Royal Commission Bishops’ Response
November 12,2012
The President and Permanent Committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, on behalf of the Australian Bishops, support the announcement by the Prime Minister of a Royal Commission into child sex abuse in our community. This is a serious issue not just for the Catholic Church but for the whole community. As Catholic bishops and as individuals we share the feelings of horror and outrage which all decent people feel when they read the reports of sexual abuse and allegations of cover ups.

Over the past 20 years, there have been major developments in the way the Church responds to victims, deals with perpetrators and puts in place preventive measures. In addition, there is a much greater general awareness of the issue of paedophilia in the broader community.

Sexual abuse of children is not confined to the Catholic Church. Tragically, it occurs in families, churches, community groups, schools and other organisations. We believe a Royal Commission will enable an examination of the issues associated with child abuse nationally, and identify measures for better preventing and responding to child abuse in our society.

We have taken decisive steps in the past 20 years to make child safety a priority and to help victims of abuse. This includes working closely with police.

While there were significant problems concerning some dioceses and some religious orders, talk of a systemic problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is ill-founded and inconsistent with the facts.

To assist in determining the appropriate scope of the Royal Commission, it would be very useful for police and child protection authorities to release the information they have about the number of cases they are dealing with now and the situations which they have arisen: families, government organisations and non-government organisations, including churches. In NSW it would also be helpful to highlight when the offences occurred and, in particular, whether they occurred pre or post the Wood Royal Commission in the 1990s, and the rigorous child protection regime put in place after it.

We deeply regret the suffering and trauma endured by children who have been in the Church’s care, and the effect on their families. Mistakes were made and we apologise to victims and their families for these failures.

Much of the public discussion is about how the Church dealt with cases 20 or more years ago. Critics talk as though earlier failures are still prevalent. Major procedural changes in dealing with these matters have been implemented by the Church since then.

It is unjust and inappropriate to suggest crimes are being – or have been – committed, without producing evidence; without asking those accused for their responses before making generalised slurs.

It is unacceptable, because it is untrue, to claim that the Catholic Church does not have proper procedures, and to claim that Catholic authorities refuse to cooperate with the police.

As we have welcomed the opportunity to cooperate with the Inquiries announced in Victoria and NSW, and to address issues that have been raised – both justified and unjustified – we are also ready to cooperate with this Royal Commission. We look forward to consultations with the Government on the terms of reference.




A friend of mine quipped recently that the real religion of Americans has nothing to do with churches or synagogues. Our "real" religion is politics and the juggling for power it involves. He was being humorous. But as I write these words in late October, and we head into the final days of another, uniquely important, presidential election, his words don't seem quite so funny.

In the heat of ugly political conflicts, we can easily lose sight of our real vocation as Christians: holiness. We're called to be in the world but not of the world. Powers and nations - including our own - sooner or later pass away. God's word does not pass away. Neither does the witness of the holy men and women we call saints, and whose memory we celebrate on All Saints Day and throughout the month of November. Politics is important. But in the end, all of the passion, all of the egos and even all of the issues in this election will fade. In the end, as the great French Catholic writer Leon Bloy once said, the only thing that matters is to be a saint.

I remembered Bloy's words in a vivid way on October 21 as I took part in the canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. Kateri - known around the world as the "Lilly of the Mohawks" and now our nation's first Native American saint - was born in 1656 and orphaned soon after by smallpox. She was raised by relatives who hated Christianity because of the arrogance and brutality of French colonists and the diseases they brought with them. But something in the beauty of the Gospel touched Kateri's heart. At the age of 18, she began instruction in the Catholic faith in secret. Her relatives eventually relented and allowed her to be baptized. But she suffered rough treatment and intense ridicule from her own people, and constant health problems. Throughout her short life she tended to the elderly and sick, taught the faith to children, and was known for her love of Mary and the Eucharist. She died at 24, in 1680. Her last words were "Jesus, Mary, I love you."

Kateri Tekakwitha's canonization has been longed for by the American Indian community for many, many decades. As a member of the Potawatomi tribe myself, I grew up praying to her and asking for her intercession - and waiting for the Universal Church to someday celebrate the purity of her witness. Her life embodied a simple love for Jesus and his cross; a profound affection for her Native American community; and a heroic fidelity, humility and innocence.

One of the greatest issues for Native Americans and other ethnic communities in the Church today is inculturation, the process by which the Gospel becomes an integral part of a people's soul and way of life. Blessed Pope John Paul II once said that whenever a new culture meets the Gospel in an authentic way, three things happen: The culture itself is purified; the gifts of the culture are brought into the life of the Church; and, as a result, both the culture and the Church are made stronger and more beautiful.

Kateri and saints like her are perfect examples of true inculturation. By their lives of holiness, their cultures are purified and enriched, and through their holiness, the Church is made stronger and more glorious in her diversity.

Today, the Native American Catholic community and the whole Church thank God for the gift of Saint Kateri. Holiness is always God's work before it's our work. But in Saint Kateri we now have an example of the Church becoming ever more Catholic, ever more holy; and the naturally good qualities of Native American culture are enlivened by the gift of the Gospel.

One final point is worth noting from my days in Rome. Kateri was canonized with six other new saints, among them Saint Marianne Cope, a Franciscan sister of the Diocese of Syracuse, New York. Saint Marianne died in service to the lepers of Hawaii. She belonged to a religious community that grew out of the Franciscan sisters founded by Saint John Neumann. So Philadelphia had a role - indirect and invisible, but real -- in the development of yet another holy woman who became a saint. It's not surprising. Philadelphia is the diocese of American saints. But we can't ever be content with sainthood as part of our past. God made each of us to be saints. That means you and me. The hunger for holiness needs to animate every moment of our lives - today, right now, and into the future.

The only thing that matters is to be a saint. Kateri understood that. More than 330 years later, what a joy and a glory it is to celebrate her memory. May she pray for all of us, and lead us on the same path of love she followed home to God. 


by Santosh Digal
Residents in the village of Koderna (East Godavari District) drank polluted water, fighting malaria and typhoid. Five Sisters of the Cross were instrumental in getting a pump to bring water from a clean source as well as opening a school and a dispensary.

Hyderabad (AsiaNews) - Thanks to the efforts of five Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod, a tribal community in Koderna (East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh) now can meet basic needs like safe drinking water and education for their children. Until a year ago, the 250 families that call the village home had to rely on polluted water and typhoid and malaria were widespread. Local kids did not go schools. Now villagers have a well with clean water, a dispensary for basic health needs and a school.
Last year, the Sisters of Chavanod visited the unspoilt mountains that are next to the village. During their trip, they discovered the village. "Beside the tranquil streams and sparkling atmosphere of the mountains stood the village where people drank highly polluted water," said Sister Priyanthi Samala.
Sadly, the government has shown little interest for the fate of this village, as did other communities in the area. A school does exist in Koderna but it lies empty because the teacher comes every two months.
Outsiders do visit the village but only to buy local goods, like tamarind, wood, charcoal, ragi (finger millet), bamboo, brooms and spices at very low prices.
In view of the situation, the nuns got in touch with an engineer who looked at the ground to see how drinking water could be brought to the village from another source.
Eventually, he succeeded in his search. The nuns then approached the government for help and began to work on the villagers to have them join the project.
"After a year of assiduous efforts to motivate this community and several frequent visits, we gained the confidence of the people and established our work in their location. We were certain of their cooperation," Sister Samala said.
"They did not hesitate to send their children to the school," but "the few children who saw the school for the first time were terrified and perplexed."
Now about100 of them attend the school the nuns set up and run out of a rented house. Eventually, the sisters hope to get a building of their own.


Agenzia Fides report Flash floods have washed away the rice harvest of about 2,000 farmers in western Kenya, flooding some of their houses and emptying latrines into watercourses. Officials at the Ministry of Agriculture said that most of the rice had been collected and was still on the farm to dry. The farmers who suffered the damage live in the 870 hectares of rice fields of Kano Plains, in the district of Kisumu. The rains have destroyed the only source of income of this population and threaten to be moved to other lands. In October, the meteorological department had issued a warning of possible flooding in some parts of the country, after the start of the rains in October-December period, which may be exacerbated by El Niño.
Rice is the third main food supply in Kenya, after corn and wheat. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the national production of this food is 50 thousand tons per year, while the annual consumption is 350 thousand tons. Pakistan alone every year, exports 200 000 tonnes of rice in Kenya. The floods have not only washed away crops and farms, but have also flooded the latrines. Many farmers keep their crops in their homes and when flooding arrives they lose everything. The various attempts made in the past by the government for the construction of boats and canals to facilitate the population in the event of flooding have been abandoned after the locals had asked for compensation because the structures had to be built on their farm. During the months of April and May this year different areas of the western region and Nyanza suffered severe flooding that killed more than 15,000 displaced people. The evacuation centers built this year with the help of the Japanese government in the area can only accommodate 12 000 people. (AP) 


Nov 18, 2012 - 33rd Sun Ordinary Time

Daniel 12: 1 - 3
1"At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time. At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book.
2Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.
3But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, And those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.
Psalms 16: 5, 8 - 11
5The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; thou holdest my lot.
8I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure.
10For thou dost not give me up to Sheol, or let thy godly one see the Pit.
11Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore. Hebrews 10: 11 - 14, 18
11And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.12But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,13then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet.14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.18Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.Mark 13: 24 - 32
24"But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.26And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.27And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.28"From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.30Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place.31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.32"But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.


Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter & Paul
Feast: November 18
Feast Day:
November 18

The Vatican Church, dedicated in honour of St. Peter, is the second patriarchal church at Rome, and in it reposes one half of the precious remains of the bodies of SS. Peter and Paul. The tombs of the great conquerors and lords of the world have been long since destroyed and forgotten; but those of the martyrs are glorious by the veneration which the faithful pay to their memory.
The body of St. Peter is said to have been buried immediately after his martyrdom, upon this spot, on the Vatican hill, which was then without the walls and near the suburb inhabited by the Jews. The remains of this apostle were removed hence into the cemetery of Calixtus, but brought back to the Vatican. Those of St. Paul were deposited on the Ostian Way, where his church now stands. The tombs of the two princes of the apostles, from the beginning, were visited by Christians with extraordinary devotion above those of other martyrs. Caius, the learned and eloquent priest of Rome, in 210, in his dialogue with Proclus the Montanist, speaks thus of them: "I can show you the trophies of the apostles. For, whether you go to the Vatican hill, or to the Ostian road, you will meet with the monuments of them who by their preaching and miracles founded this church."
The Christians, even in the times of persecution, adorned the tombs of the martyrs and the oratories which they erected over them, where they frequently prayed. Constantine the Great, after founding the Lateran Church, built seven other churches at Rome and many more in other parts of Italy. The first of these were the churches of St. Peter on the Vatican hill (where a temple of Apollo and another of Idaea, mother of the gods, before stood) in honour of the place where the prince of the apostles had suffered martyrdom and was buried and that of St. Paul, at his tomb on the Ostian road. The yearly revenues which Constantine granted to all these churches, amounted to seventeen thousand seven hundred and seventy golden pence, which is above thirteen thousand pounds sterling, counting the prices, gold for gold; but, as the value of gold and silver was then much higher than at present, the sum in our money at this day would be much greater. These churches were built by Constantine in so stately and magnificent a manner as to vie with the finest structures in the empire, as appears from the description which Eusebius gives us of the Church of Tyre; for we find that the rest were erected upon the same model, which was consequently of great antiquity. St. Peter's Church on the Vatican, being fallen to decay, it was begun to be rebuilt under Julius II in 1506, and was dedicated by Urban VIII in 1626, on this day; the same on which the dedication of the old church was celebrated The precious remains of many popes, martyrs, and other saints, are deposited partly under the altars of this vast and beautiful church, and partly in a spacious subterraneous church under the other. But the richest treasure of this venerable place consists in the relics of SS. Peter and Paul, which lie in a sumptuous vault beyond the middle of the church, towards the upper end, under a magnificent altar at which only the pope says mass, unless he commissions another to officiate there. This sacred vault is called The confession of St. Peter, or The threshold of the Apostles (SOURCE: