Tuesday, January 8, 2013

CATHOLIC MOVIES - WATCH NARNIA - THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE - WHOLE FILM

IN HONOR OF THE YEAR OF FAITH - JCE NEWS WILL BE SHOWING SOME OF THE TOP CATHOLIC MOVIES OF ALL TIME.

VATICAN : POPE : THE CHURCH - EMBRACES THE WHOLE UNIVERSE AND OTHER NEWS


Vatican Radio REPORT- Pope Benedict XVIth on Monday received in audience the Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See.
Below, please find the complete text of Pope Benedict’s Address to the Ambassadors:

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS
7 January 2013

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As at the beginning of each New Year, I am happy to receive you, the distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, and to offer you my greetings and personal good wishes, which I extend to all the beloved nations which you represent, together with the assurance of my constant thoughts and prayers. I am especially grateful to your Dean, Ambassador Alejandro Valladares Lanza, and to your Vice-Dean, Ambassador Jean-Claude Michel, for the kind words which they addressed to me in the name of all. In a special way I wish to greet those who take part in this meeting for the first time. Your presence is a significant and valued sign of the fruitful relations which the Catholic Church entertains with civil authorities the world over. It involves a dialogue which has at heart the integral spiritual and material good of each man and woman, and seeks to advance their transcendent dignity everywhere. As I stated in my Address on the occasion of the last Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals: “the Church, from its origins, is oriented kat’holon, it embraces the whole universe”, and with it each people, each culture and each tradition. This “orientation” does not represent an intrusion in the life of the different societies, but serves rather to illumine the right conscience of their citizens, encouraging them to work for the good of each person and for the progress of the human race. It is in this context, and with the aim of fostering fruitful cooperation between Church and State in the service of the common good, that in the past year bilateral Accords were signed between the Holy See and Burundi, and with Equatorial Guinea, and the Accord with Montenegro was ratified. In this same spirit, the Holy See takes part in the work of various International Organizations and Institutions. In this regard, I am pleased that this past December its request to become an Extra-regional Observer in the Central American Integration System was accepted, not least by reason of the contribution which the Catholic Church offers in several sectors of the societies of that region. The visits of the various Heads of State and of Government whom I received in the course of the past year, as well as the memorable Apostolic Journeys which I made to Mexico, Cuba and Lebanon, were privileged occasions for reaffirming the civil commitment of Christians in those countries, and for promoting the dignity of the human person and the foundations of peace.
Here I am also pleased to mention the valued work accomplished by the Papal Representatives in constant dialogue with your Governments. I would like in particular to recall the esteem enjoyed by Archbishop Ambrose Madtha, Apostolic Nuncio in Côte d’Ivoire, who died tragically a month ago in an automobile accident, together with the chauffeur who was accompanying him.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Gospel of Luke recounts that on Christmas night the shepherds heard choirs of angels who gave glory to God and invoked peace on mankind. The Evangelist thus emphasizes the close relationship between God and the ardent desire of the men and women of every age to know the truth, to practise justice and to live in peace (cf. Blessed John XXIII, Pacem in Terris: AAS 55 [1963], 257). These days, we are sometimes led to think that truth, justice and peace are utopian ideals, and mutually exclusive. To know the truth seems impossible, and efforts to affirm it appear often to lead to violence. On the other hand, according to a now widespread way of thinking, peacemaking consists solely in the pursuit of compromises capable of ensuring peaceful coexistence between different peoples or between citizens within a single nation. Yet from the Christian point of view, the glorification of God and human peace on earth are closely linked, with the result that peace is not simply the fruit of human effort, but a participation in the very love of God. It is precisely man’s forgetfulness of God, and his failure to give him glory, which gives rise to violence. Indeed, once we no longer make reference to an objective and transcendent truth, how is it possible to achieve an authentic dialogue? In this case, is it not inevitable that violence, open or veiled, becomes the ultimate rule in human relationships? Indeed, without openness to the transcendent, human beings easily become prey to relativism and find it difficult to act justly and to work for peace.
The consequences of forgetfulness of God cannot be separated from those resulting from ignorance of his true countenance, the root of a baneful religious fanaticism which, again in 2012, reaped victims in some countries represented here. As I have often observed, this is a falsification of religion itself, since religion aims instead at reconciling men and women with God, at illuminating and purifying consciences, and at making it clear that each human being is the image of the Creator.
Consequently, if the glorification of God and earthly peace are closely linked, it seems evident that peace is both God’s gift and a human task, one which demands our free and conscious response. For this reason, I wished my annual Message for the World Day of Peace to bear the title: Blessed are the Peacemakers. Civil and political authorities before all others have a grave responsibility to work for peace. They are the first called to resolve the numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family, beginning with that privileged region in God’s plan, the Middle East. I think first and foremost of Syria, torn apart by endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population. I renew my appeal for a ceasefire and the inauguration as quickly as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins. Your Excellencies, allow me to ask you to continue to make your Governments aware of this, so that essential aid will urgently be made available to face this grave humanitarian situation. I now turn with deep concern towards the Holy Land. Following Palestine’s recognition as a Non-Member Observer State of the United Nations, I again express the hope that, with the support of the international community, Israelis and Palestinians will commit themselves to peaceful coexistence within the framework of two sovereign states, where respect for justice and the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples will be preserved and guaranteed. Jerusalem, become what your name signifies! A city of peace and not of division; a prophecy of the Kingdom of God and not a byword for instability and opposition!
As I turn my thoughts towards the beloved Iraqi people, I express my hope that they will pursue the path of reconciliation in order to arrive at the stability for which they long.
In Lebanon, where last September I met the various groups which make up society, may the many religious traditions there be cultivated by all as a true treasure for the country and for the whole region, and may Christians offer an effective witness for the building of a future of peace, together with all men and women of good will!
In North Africa too, cooperation between all the members of society is of primary concern, and each must be guaranteed full citizenship, the liberty publicly to profess their religion and the ability to contribute to the common good. I assure all Egyptians of my closeness and my prayers at this time when new institutions are being set in place.
Turning to sub-Saharan Africa, I encourage the efforts being made to build peace, especially in those places where the wounds of war remain open and where their grave humanitarian consequences are being felt. I think particularly of the Horn of Africa, and the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where new of acts of violence have erupted, forcing many people to abandon their homes, families and surroundings. Nor can I fail to mention other threats looming on the horizon. Nigeria is regularly the scene of terrorist attacks which reap victims above all among the Christian faithful gathered in prayer, as if hatred intended to turn temples of prayer and peace into places of fear and division. I was deeply saddened to learn that, even in the days when we celebrated Christmas, some Christians were barbarously put to death. Mali is also torn by violence and marked by a profound institutional and social crisis, one which calls for the effective attention of the international community. In the Central African Republic, I hope that the talks announced as taking place shortly will restore stability and spare the people from reliving the throes of civil war.
The building of peace always comes about by the protection of human beings and their fundamental rights. This task, even if carried out in many ways and with varying degrees of intensity, challenges all countries and must constantly be inspired by the transcendent dignity of the human person and the principles inscribed in human nature. Foremost among these is respect for human life at every stage. In this regard, I was gratified that a resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in January of last year, called for the prohibition of euthanasia, understood as the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being. At the same time, I must note with dismay that, in various countries, even those of Christian tradition, efforts are being made to introduce or expand legislation which decriminalizes abortion. Direct abortion, that is to say willed as an end or as a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law. In affirming this, the Catholic Church is not lacking in understanding and mercy, also towards the mother involved. Rather, it is a question of being vigilant lest the law unjustly alter the balance between the right to life of the mother and that of the unborn child, a right belonging equally to both. In this area, the recent decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights regarding in vitro fertilization, which arbitrarily redefines the moment of conception and weakens the defence of unborn life, is also a source of concern.
Sadly, especially in the West, one frequently encounters ambiguities about the meaning of human rights and their corresponding duties. Rights are often confused with exaggerated manifestations of the autonomy of the individual, who becomes self-referential, no longer open to encounter with God and with others, and absorbed only in seeking to satisfy his or her own needs. To be authentic, the defence of rights must instead consider human beings integrally, in their personal and communitarian dimensions.
Pursuing our reflection, it is worth emphasizing that education is another privileged path to peacemaking. The current economic and financial crisis, among other things, has also made this clear. The crisis developed because profit was all too often made absolute, to the detriment of labour, and because of unrestrained ventures in the financial areas of the economy, rather than attending to the real economy. There is a need, then, to rediscover the meaning of work and proportionate profit. To that end, it would be well to teach people how to resist the temptations of particular and short-term interests, and to look instead to the common good. Furthermore, it is urgent to train leaders who will one day guide national and international public institutions (cf. Message for the 2013 World Day of Peace, 6). The European Union also requires farsighted representatives capable of making the difficult choices necessary to rectify its economy and to lay solid foundations for growth. Alone, certain countries may perhaps advance more quickly, but together, all will certainly go further! If the differential index between financial taxes represents a source of concern, the increasing differences between those few who grow ever richer and the many who grow hopelessly poorer, should be a cause for dismay. In a word, it is a question of refusing to be resigned to a “spread” in social well-being, while at the same time fighting one in the financial sector.
Investment in education in the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America means helping them to overcome poverty and disease, and to create legal systems which are equitable and respectful of human dignity. Certainly, if justice is to be achieved, good economic models, however necessary, are not sufficient. Justice is achieved only when people are just! Consequently, building peace means training individuals to fight corruption, criminal activity, the production and trade in narcotics, as well as abstaining from divisions and tensions which threaten to exhaust society, hindering development and peaceful coexistence.
Continuing our meeting today, I would like to add that peace in society is also put at risk by certain threats to religious liberty: it is a question sometimes of the marginalization of religion in social life; sometimes of intolerance or even of violence towards individuals, symbols of religious identity and religious institutions. It even happens that believers, and Christians in particular, are prevented from contributing to the common good by their educational and charitable institutions. In order effectively to safeguard the exercise of religious liberty it is essential to respect the right of conscientious objection. This “frontier” of liberty touches upon principles of great importance of an ethical and religious character, rooted in the very dignity of the human person. They are, as it were, the “bearing walls” of any society that wishes to be truly free and democratic. Thus, outlawing individual and institutional conscientious objection in the name of liberty and pluralism paradoxically opens by contrast the door to intolerance and forced uniformity.
Moreover, in an ever more open world, building peace through dialogue is no longer a choice but a necessity! From this perspective, the joint declaration between the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Poland and the Patriarch of Moscow, signed last August, is a strong signal given by believers for the improvement of relations between the Russian and Polish peoples. I would also like to mention the peace accord concluded recently in the Philippines and I would like to underline the role of dialogue between religions for a peaceful coexistence in the region of Mindanao.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the end of the Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris, whose fiftieth anniversary will be celebrated this year, my predecessor Blessed John XXIII remarked that peace remains “an empty word” if it is not nourished and completed by charity (AAS 55 [1963], 303). Indeed, it is at the heart of the diplomatic activity of the Holy See and, above all, of the concern of the Successor of Peter and of the whole Catholic Church. Charity cannot take the place of justice that has been denied; nor can justice, on the other hand, replace charity that has been refused. The Church daily practises charity in works of social assistance such as hospitals and clinics, her educational institutions such as orphanages, schools, colleges and universities, and through help given to peoples in distress, especially during and after conflicts. In the name of charity, the Church wishes also to be near all those who suffer due to natural disasters. I am thinking of the flood victims in Southeast Asia and of those of the hurricane which struck the East coast of the United States. I am also thinking of those who experienced the earthquake that devastated some regions of Northern Italy. As you know, I wanted to go there personally and see for myself the earnest desire to rebuild what had been destroyed. In this moment of its history, I hope that such a spirit of tenacity and shared commitment will move the entire beloved Italian nation.
To conclude our encounter, I would like to recall that, at the end of the Second Vatican Council – which started fifty years ago - the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI, sent out messages which remain relevant, including one addressed to world leaders. He encouraged them in this way: “Your task is to be in the world the promoters of order and peace among men. But never forget this: It is God […] who is the great artisan of order and peace on earth” (Message to Leaders, 8 December 1965, 3). Today, as I make those sentiments my own, I convey to you, the Ambassadors and other distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps, as well as to your families and colleagues, my very best wishes for the New Year. Thank you! 

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA
POPE TO THOSE AFFLICTED BY SICKNESS: YOU ARE THE LIVING IMAGE OF CHRIST
Vatican City, 8 January 2013 (VIS) - "Go and do likewise" is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for his message on the 21st World Day of the Sick to be celebrated 11 February, the liturgical feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, which will take place this year at the Marian Shrine of Altotting, Germany. In the message the Pope writes that "this Day represents for the sick, for health care workers, for the faithful and for all people of goodwill 'a privileged time of prayer, of sharing, of offering one’s sufferings for the good of the Church, and a call for all to recognize in the features of their suffering brothers and sisters the Holy Face of Christ, who, by suffering, dying and rising has brought about the salvation of mankind'.”
"On this occasion," the pontiff continues, "I feel especially close to you, dear friends, who in health care centres or at home, are undergoing a time of trial due to illness and suffering. May all of you be sustained by the comforting words of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council: 'You are not alone, separated, abandoned or useless. You have been called by Christ and are his living and transparent image'.”
"So as to keep you company on the spiritual pilgrimage that leads us from Lourdes, a place which symbolizes hope and grace, to the Shrine of Altotting, I would like to propose for your reflection the exemplary figure of the Good Samaritan. The Gospel parable recounted by Saint Luke is part of a series of scenes and events taken from daily life by which Jesus helps us to understand the deep love of God for every human being, especially those afflicted by sickness or pain. With the concluding words of the parable of the Good Samaritan, “Go and do likewise”, the Lord also indicates the attitude that each of his disciples should have towards others, especially those in need. We need to draw from the infinite love of God, through an intense relationship with him in prayer, the strength to live day by day with concrete concern, like that of the Good Samaritan, for those suffering in body and spirit who ask for our help, whether or not we know them and however poor they may be".
"This is true, not only for pastoral or health care workers, but for everyone, even for the sick themselves, who can experience this condition from a perspective of faith: 'It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love', Benedict XVI counsels, citing his encyclical "Spe Salvi".
"Various Fathers of the Church saw Jesus himself in the Good Samaritan; and in the man who fell among thieves they saw Adam, our very humanity wounded and disoriented on account of its sins. Jesus is the Son of God, the one who makes present the Father’s love, a love which is faithful, eternal and without boundaries. But Jesus is also the one who sheds the garment of his divinity, who leaves his divine condition to assume the likeness of men, drawing near to human suffering, even to the point of descending into hell, as we recite in the Creed, in order to bring hope and light. He does not jealously guard his equality with God but, filled with compassion, he looks into the abyss of human suffering so as to pour out the oil of consolation and the wine of hope".
"The Year of Faith which we are celebrating is a fitting occasion for intensifying the service of charity in our ecclesial communities, so that each one of us can be a good Samaritan for others, for those close to us. Here I would like to recall the innumerable figures in the history of the Church who helped the sick to appreciate the human and spiritual value of their suffering, so that they might serve as an example and an encouragement. Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, 'an expert in the scientia amoris', was able to experience 'in deep union with the Passion of Jesus' the illness that brought her 'to death through great suffering'."
Also, "the Venerable Luigi Novarese, who still lives in the memory of many, throughout his ministry realized the special importance of praying for and with the sick and suffering, and he would often accompany them to Marian shrines, especially to the Grotto of Lourdes. Raoul Follereau, moved by love of neighbour, dedicated his life to caring for people afflicted by Hansen’s disease, even at the world’s farthest reaches, promoting, among other initiatives, World Leprosy Day. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta would always begin her day with an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist and then she would go out into the streets, rosary in hand, to find and serve the Lord in the sick, especially in those 'unwanted, unloved, uncared for'."
"Saint Anna Schaffer of Mindelstetten, too, was able to unite in an exemplary way her sufferings to those of Christ: 'her sick-bed became her cloister cell and her suffering a missionary service. Strengthened by daily communion, she became an untiring intercessor in prayer and a mirror of God’s love for the many who sought her counsel'. In the Gospel the Blessed Virgin Mary stands out as one who follows her suffering Son to the supreme sacrifice on Golgotha. She does not lose hope in God’s victory over evil, pain and death, and she knows how to accept in one embrace of faith and love, the Son of God who was born in the stable of Bethlehem and died on the Cross. Her steadfast trust in the power of God was illuminated by Christ’s resurrection, which offers hope to the suffering and renews the certainty of the Lord’s closeness and consolation".
The Pope offers "a word of warm gratitude and encouragement to Catholic health care institutions and to civil society, to Dioceses and Christian communities, to religious congregations engaged in the pastoral care of the sick, to health care workers’ associations and to volunteers. May all realize ever more fully that 'the Church today lives a fundamental aspect of her mission in lovingly and generously accepting every human being, especially those who are weak and sick'."
Benedict XVI then concludes, entrusting the 21st World Day of the Sick "to the intercession of Our Lady of Graces, venerated at Altotting, that she may always accompany those who suffer in their search for comfort and firm hope. May she assist all who are involved in the apostolate of mercy, so that they may become good Samaritans to their brothers and sisters afflicted by illness and suffering".
 
MOURNING FOR DEATH OF BISHOP JOHN CHEN SHIZHONG
Vatican City, 8 January 2013 (VIS) - Bishop John Chen Shizhong of Yibin in the Sichuan province of mainland China died on 16 December 2012 at the age of 95. The prelate, ordained to the priesthood in 1947, had been jailed in the 1950's, during the Cultural Revolution, and condemned to forced labour. In 1985 he received episcopal ordination and in 1988 became rector of the regional seminary of Sichan, a position that he had to leave the following year because of his health. He then returned to the diocese of Yibin where he was bishop for over 20 years.
Remembering Bishop Chen Shizhong, his formation work with priests and religious is foremost. Thanks to him, during the 1980's and 1990's, vocations to the priesthood and religious life returned throughout the province. He ordained more than 30 priests, thus guaranteeing the Church's survival and development in a region marked by a severe Maoism and in which the harshness and the persecutions of the Cultural Revolution strongly characterized society and the life of the Church.
The prelate's funeral took place on 18 December in the cathedral of Yibin and was attended by many of the diocese's faithful, priests, and religious. The bishop's remains have been buried in the Catholic cemetery near the diocesan seminary.
 
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 8 January 2013 (VIS) - Early this afternoon the Holy Father met with archbishops Fortunatus Nwachukwu, titular archbishop of Acquaviva and apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua and Nicolas Henry Marie Denis Thevenin, titular archbishop of Eclano and apostolic nuncio to Guatemala, along with members of their families.
 
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 8 January 2013 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan as bishop of Camden (area 6,967, population 1,443,274, Catholics 511,822, priests 294, permanent deacons 150, religious 323), USA. Bishop Sullivan, previously titular of Enera and auxiliary of the Archdiocese of New York, was ordained to the priesthood in 1971. He served as pastor of several parishes in the Archdiocese of New York before receiving episcopal ordination in 2004. He has been the vicar general of the Archdiocese of New York since 2005 and, in the bishops' conference, serves as a member of the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People as well as the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Islanders. He succeeds Bishop Joseph A. Galante, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

AMERICA : USA : POVERTY AWARENESS MONTH - RESOURCES

USCCB REPORT

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is marking Poverty Awareness Month with a new Spanish-language website, updated online statistics, blog posts on poverty and a calendar to educate Catholics about poverty through the month of January and beyond.
"We hope Poverty Awareness Month raises the consciousness of Catholics and other Americans about the debilitating poverty that smothers the spirit and weakens the soul of our neighbors everywhere," said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California, chairman of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the U.S. bishops' domestic anti-poverty program. "As we wrestle with the effects of the enduring economic crisis, let us work together so that this vital apostolate of justice and mercy will reduce poverty and restore human dignity in our society."
The Poverty USA website at www.PovertyUSA.org has been updated to reflect latest census statistics. These include that 9.5 million U.S. families, or 11.8 percent of families, live in poverty, 25 percent of children under the age of 6 live in poverty and 20.4 million people live in deep poverty or living at less than half the poverty line. Also, 23 million people are unemployed or underemployed. A Spanish version of Poverty USA is also now available at www.PobrezaUSA.org. . . .
The USCCB Blog (http://usccbmedia.blogspot.com) will also feature posts for Poverty Awareness Month by guest bloggers including Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace; Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services (CRS); Carolyn Woo, president of CRS; and Thomas Meleady, former U.S. ambassador to Burundi, Uganda and the Vatican.
More information on recent efforts of CCHD to combat poverty in the United States is available online: www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-199.cfm
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SHARED FROM CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS

AMERICA : CHILE : RIP FR. SANTI LUCHERINI - FOUNDER OF CARITAS CHILE

Father Ubaldo Santi Lucherini died on January 4, 2013 at the age of 92. He was one of the founders of Caritas Chile and devoted much of his life to AIDS patients and the sick. He founded the delegation of the Order of the Mother of God in Chile.
The Bishop of Temuco, Chile, said Fr. Santi was "a great man, one of the great ones of our Church."
Fr. Ubaldo was born on May 19, 1921 in Braga, Italy and ordained in Rome in 1946. He then traveled to Chile where he founded the Order with other priests.

AFRICA : CENTRAL : JOURNALIST KILLED BY REBELS

Agenzia Fides REPORT - A journalist of the community radio ''Bé-Oko'' in Bambari (in the center of the Central African Republic), Elisabeth Blanche Olofio, was killed by the rebels of the Seleka coalition during the occupation of the city. This is the complaint made by Fr. Jean Ignace Manéngou, a Catholic priest president of the Association of the Community Radios of Central Africa (ARC). 
According to testimonies collected by the association, the journalist was killed during the looting of the broadcasting station office by a group of rebels.
In a statement the ARC "points out that community radio stations are apolitical and are in no way related to any structure affected by political or economic power, and deplores the fury against these stations, given that journalists do not have anything to do with the ongoing conflict." "The role of the community radios is to provide the community information they need for its development," the statement concluded.
From the areas occupied by the rebels other testimonies of looting and violence against civilians are reported. 
In the meantime, delegations taking part in the peace negotiations which opens today, January 8 are arriving in Libreville (Gabon). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 08/01/2013)

PAKISTAN : CHURCH SUNDAY SCHOOL NOW ONLINE

UCAN REPORT

Website is aimed at young people 'where they are'
ucanews.com reporter, Karachi
Pakistan
Catholic Church News Image of
Father Saleh Diego (middle) launches the country’s first Sunday school website
Karachi archdiocese has unveiled an online Sunday school ministry targeting young people and internet and smartphone users.
The website was developed quickly to coincide with an annual meeting of Sunday school teachers in Karachi and held on Friday.
“The domain and hosting services were acquired just after Christmas. I developed the site in just two days,” said Ronald Joseph during a meeting of hundreds of teachers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where the ministry site was unveiled.
The site offers an overview of the Sunday school’s yearly activities and statements and photos of past events.
There are 716 registered and volunteer Sunday school teachers in Karachi serving more than 110,000 children.
“I am still awaiting study materials from the teachers. We plan to categorize the photos, add lessons and install more applications including Bible games,” said Joseph.
Father Saleh Diego, national director of the online ministry, hopes to add more recruits with the new initiative.
“Digital evangelism is the need of the times. We are trying to catch youth where they are – namely on smartphones and computers. Also it will help us overcome a shortage of teachers”, he said.
Father Qaiser Feroz, the only Pakistani priest with a graduate degree in social communications, said the Church has yet to explore the full potential of cyber evangelism but that the program was a step in the right direction.
“The trend of using the internet is increasing rapidly due to low-cost handsets that can connect online. Most of the Church-run websites are dead within months because they are never updated,” he said.
SHARED FROM UCAN NEWS 

AUSTRALIA : SISTER AGE 101 - 80 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF SERVICE


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
8 Jan 2013
Sr Elizabeth Shanahan will celebrate her 102 birthday in May this year
A golden anniversary marks 50 years. A diamond anniversary is for 60 years and a platinum anniversary is for 70 years. But few have heard of an Oak anniversary. But that is exactly what Josephite Sister Elizabeth Shanahan rsj will be celebrating on Friday 11 January when looks back over the 80 years since she professed her vows and became a Sister of St Joseph.
Now in her 102nd year, Sr Elizabeth will celebrate this remarkable milestone at a High Tea on Friday at Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney where she will mark her Oak Jubilee as a Josephite.
Others to be honoured at the High Tea will be seven fellow Sisters of St Joseph. All in their 80s or 90s, the sisters will celebrate their Platinum Jubilee which commemorates 70 years since the profession of their vows.
Although Sr Elizabeth taught at primary schools throughout metropolitan and rural NSW, and still has past pupils who regularly visit her at the St Anne's Nursing Home at Hunter's Hill, where she now lives, many others could be forgiven for not recognising her name as the teacher who they adored and who played such a big part in their lives.
"When she took her vows in 1933 she was given the name Sr Valerian. And that is how she was known until shortly before her 100th birthday in 2011 when she decided to revert to the name she had grown up with, and became Sr Elizabeth," Sr Anne Harrison, Community Leader at St Anne's Nursing Home explains.
32 Sisters of Joseph celebrate their Golden Jubilee at Mary MacKillop Place
Describing Sr Elizabeth as "an amazing and beautiful woman," she says that although the 101-year-old no longer hears very well and is now wheelchair bound, her mind is as alert as ever, as is her curiosity, warmth and interest in others and the world around her.
On Friday, Sr Anne and fellow Josephite, Sr Judith Sippel who is a former pupil of Sr Elizabeth will accompany her to Mary MacKillop Place for the High Tea where she will be reunited with many old friends and sisters of the Congregation founded by Australia's first saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.
Born in Uralla in the Northern Tablelands of NSW on 29 May, 1911 just two years after the death of Mary MacKillop, Sr Elizabeth joined the Sisters of St Joseph in 2 February, 1930 when she entered the Josephite Convent at Glen Innes. She professed her vows three years later and then began teaching at NSW primary schools. For half a century she inspired her young charges at schools in Kiama, Hillston, Barringbar, Naremburn, Leichardt, Quirindi, Smithfield, Tenterfield, Annandale, Lithgow and many others.
In 1981 at age 70, she retired from teaching but remained active as a Sister of St Joseph which took her on postings to Tamworth, Quirindi and other towns of northern and central NSW.
Eighteen months ago on 29 May, 2011 she celebrated her 100th birthday.
"We had a big party and so many friends, former pupils and sisters as well as extended family wanted to take part that St Anne's Education Centre was about the only place we could find to fit everyone in," says Sr Anne.
For the Sisters of St Joseph, the first two weeks of January have been spent celebrating important milestones which began last Saturday, 5 January when 32 sisters from across Australia and from the Josephite communities of Ireland, New Zealand and Peru celebrated their Golden Jubilee, marking 50 years since they professed their vows.
Acclaimed educator Sr Judith Sippel RSJ was a former pupil of Sr Elizabeth Shanahan's
The days leading up to the Thanksgiving Mass at Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel last Saturday were a time for the sisters to remember, reflect, reconnect and celebrate.
Father Kevin Dance CP, whose Tasmania-based sister Jillian was one of the Golden Jubiliarians was principal celebrant at the Golden Jubilee Thanksgiving Mass, which was concelebrated by Bishop Terence Brady and Bishop David Cremin.
Family and friends as well as those who had been novitiates at the same time as those celebrating their jubilee, but who were no longer religious sisters and had joined the laity.
"For sisters, there is a particularly strong bond among those who did their initial formation together and whether they stayed or not, that unique bond remains," says Sr Annette Arnold rsj, adding it was significant and extremely moving that all those who were novitiates at Baulkham Hills more than half a century ago, returned with the Sisters last week to pray and reflect.
In addition to Friday's high tea and Oak and Platinum commemoration at Mary MacKillop Place,  on Saturday, 12 January 23 Sisters of St Joseph from almost every state will be in Sydney to mark their Diamond Jubilee.
"We have 30 sisters celebrating their Diamond Jubilee this year but only 23 will be here at Mary MacKillop Place with the others sadly not able to attend," Sr Annette says.

SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : TUES. JAN. 8, 2013

Mark 6: 34 - 44

34As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.35And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, "This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late;36send them away, to go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat."37But he answered them, "You give them something to eat." And they said to him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?"38And he said to them, "How many loaves have you? Go and see." And when they had found out, they said, "Five, and two fish."39Then he commanded them all to sit down by companies upon the green grass.40So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.41And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all.42And they all ate and were satisfied.43And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.44And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.


TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 8 : ST. APOLLINARIS OF HIERAPOLIS

St. Apollinaris of Hierapolis
BISHOP
Feast: January 8


Information:
Feast Day:January 8
Died:175
CLAUDIUS APOLLINARIS, Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, was one of the most illustrious prelates of the second age. Notwithstanding the great encomiums bestowed on him by Eusebius, St. Jerome, Theodoret, and ethers, but little is known of his actions; and. his writings,which then were held in great esteem, seem now to be all lost. He wrote many able treatises against the heretics, and pointed out, as St. Jerome testifies, from what philosophical sect each heresy derived its errors. Nothing rendered his name so illustrious, however, as his noble apology for the Christian religion which he addressed to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, about the year 175, soon after the miraculous victory that prince had obtained over the Quadi by the prayers of the Christians. St. Apollinaris reminded the emperor of the benefit he had received from God through the prayers of his Christian subjects, and implored protection for them against the persecution of the pagans. Marcus Aurelius published an edict in which he forbade any one, under pain of death, to accuse a Christian on account of his religion; by a strange inconsistency, he had not the courage to abolish the laws then in force against the Christians, and, as a consequence, many of them suffered martyrdom, though their accusers were also put to death. The date of St. Apollinaris' death is not known; the Roman Martyrology mentions him on the 8th of January.

(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/A/stapollinarisofhierapolis.asp#ixzz1isKFgxer

VATICAN : POPE : 3 WISE MEN - SEEKERS AFTER GOD

BENEDICT XVI: DO NOT BE RESIGNED TO "SPREAD" IN SOCIAL WELL-BEING WHILE FIGHTING ONE IN FINANCIAL SECTOR
Vatican City, 7 January 2013 (VIS) - This morning in the Sala Regia of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Benedict pronounced his traditional annual address to members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Before making his remarks, the Pope was greeted by Ambassador Alejandro Emilio Valladares Lanza of Honduras, dean of the diplomatic corps, then received the greetings of the ambassadors as a whole formulated in a speech delivered by Ambassador Jean-Claude Michel of the Principality of Monaco, vice dean.
The Holy See currently maintains full diplomatic relations with 179 States, as well as the European Union and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. It also has relations of a special nature with the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
Furthermore, the Holy See has observer-State status at the United Nations, as well as being a member of seven organisations and agencies of the UN system, observer in eight others, and member or observer in five regional organisations.
Ample extracts of the Holy Father's address follow below:
... "Civil and political authorities before all others have a grave responsibility to work for peace. They are the first called to resolve the numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family, beginning with that privileged region in God’s plan, the Middle East. I think first and foremost of Syria, torn apart by endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population. I renew my appeal for a ceasefire and the inauguration as quickly as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins. Your Excellencies, allow me to ask you to continue to make your Governments aware of this, so that essential aid will urgently be made available to face this grave humanitarian situation. I now turn with deep concern towards the Holy Land. Following Palestine’s recognition as a Non-Member Observer State of the United Nations, I again express the hope that, with the support of the international community, Israelis and Palestinians will commit themselves to peaceful coexistence within the framework of two sovereign states, where respect for justice and the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples will be preserved and guaranteed. Jerusalem, become what your name signifies! A city of peace and not of division; a prophecy of the Kingdom of God and not a byword for instability and opposition!".
"As I turn my thoughts towards the beloved Iraqi people, I express my hope that they will pursue the path of reconciliation in order to arrive at the stability for which they long".
"In Lebanon, where last September I met the various groups which make up society, may the many religious traditions there be cultivated by all as a true treasure for the country and for the whole region, and may Christians offer an effective witness for the building of a future of peace, together with all men and women of good will!".
"In North Africa too, cooperation between all the members of society is of primary concern, and each must be guaranteed full citizenship, the liberty publicly to profess their religion and the ability to contribute to the common good. I assure all Egyptians of my closeness and my prayers at this time when new institutions are being set in place".
"Turning to sub-Saharan Africa, I encourage the efforts being made to build peace, especially in those places where the wounds of war remain open and where their grave humanitarian consequences are being felt. I think particularly of the Horn of Africa, and the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where new of acts of violence have erupted, forcing many people to abandon their homes, families and surroundings. Nor can I fail to mention other threats looming on the horizon. Nigeria is regularly the scene of terrorist attacks which reap victims above all among the Christian faithful gathered in prayer, as if hatred intended to turn temples of prayer and peace into places of fear and division. I was deeply saddened to learn that, even in the days when we celebrated Christmas, some Christians were barbarously put to death. Mali is also torn by violence and marked by a profound institutional and social crisis, one which calls for the effective attention of the international community. In the Central African Republic, I hope that the talks announced as taking place shortly will restore stability and spare the people from reliving the throes of civil war".
"The building of peace always comes about by the protection of human beings and their fundamental rights. This task, even if carried out in many ways and with varying degrees of intensity, challenges all countries and must constantly be inspired by the transcendent dignity of the human person and the principles inscribed in human nature. Foremost among these is respect for human life at every stage. In this regard, I was gratified that a resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in January of last year, called for the prohibition of euthanasia, understood as the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being. At the same time, I must note with dismay that, in various countries, even those of Christian tradition, efforts are being made to introduce or expand legislation which decriminalizes abortion. Direct abortion, that is to say willed as an end or as a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law. In affirming this, the Catholic Church is not lacking in understanding and mercy, also towards the mother involved. Rather, it is a question of being vigilant lest the law unjustly alter the balance between the right to life of the mother and that of the unborn child, a right belonging equally to both. In this area, the recent decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights regarding in vitro fertilization, which arbitrarily redefines the moment of conception and weakens the defence of unborn life, is also a source of concern".
... "The European Union also requires far-sighted representatives capable of making the difficult choices necessary to rectify its economy and to lay solid foundations for growth. Alone, certain countries may perhaps advance more quickly, but together, all will certainly go further! If the differential index between financial taxes represents a source of concern, the increasing differences between those few who grow ever richer and the many who grow hopelessly poorer, should be a cause for dismay. In a word, it is a question of refusing to be resigned to a 'spread' in social well-being, while at the same time fighting one in the financial sector".
"Investment in education in the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America means helping them to overcome poverty and disease, and to create legal systems which are equitable and respectful of human dignity. Certainly, if justice is to be achieved, good economic models, however necessary, are not sufficient. Justice is achieved only when people are just! Consequently, building peace means training individuals to fight corruption, criminal activity, the production and trade in narcotics, as well as abstaining from divisions and tensions which threaten to exhaust society, hindering development and peaceful coexistence".
"Continuing our meeting today, I would like to add that peace in society is also put at risk by certain threats to religious liberty: it is a question sometimes of the marginalization of religion in social life; sometimes of intolerance or even of violence towards individuals, symbols of religious identity and religious institutions. It even happens that believers, and Christians in particular, are prevented from contributing to the common good by their educational and charitable institutions. In order effectively to safeguard the exercise of religious liberty it is essential to respect the right of conscientious objection. This 'frontier' of liberty touches upon principles of great importance of an ethical and religious character, rooted in the very dignity of the human person. They are, as it were, the 'bearing walls' of any society that wishes to be truly free and democratic. Thus, outlawing individual and institutional conscientious objection in the name of liberty and pluralism paradoxically opens by contrast the door to intolerance and forced uniformity".
"Moreover, in an ever more open world, building peace through dialogue is no longer a choice but a necessity! From this perspective, the joint declaration between the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Poland and the Patriarch of Moscow, signed last August, is a strong signal given by believers for the improvement of relations between the Russian and Polish peoples. I would also like to mention the peace accord concluded recently in the Philippines and I would like to underline the role of dialogue between religions for a peaceful coexistence in the region of Mindanao".
Benedict XVI concluded by affirming that "peace remains 'an empty word' if it is not nourished and completed by charity" and that charity "is at the heart of the diplomatic activity of the Holy See and, above all, of the concern of the Successor of Peter and of the whole Catholic Church. Charity cannot take the place of justice that has been denied; nor can justice, on the other hand, replace charity that has been refused. The Church daily practises charity in works of social assistance such as hospitals and clinics, her educational institutions such as orphanages, schools, colleges and universities, and through help given to peoples in distress, especially during and after conflicts. In the name of charity, the Church wishes also to be near all those who suffer due to natural disasters. I am thinking of the flood victims in Southeast Asia and of those of the hurricane which struck the East coast of the United States. I am also thinking of those who experienced the earthquake that devastated some regions of Northern Italy. As you know, I wanted to go there personally and see for myself the earnest desire to rebuild what had been destroyed. In this moment of its history, I hope that such a spirit of tenacity and shared commitment will move the entire beloved Italian nation".
"To conclude our encounter, I would like to recall that, at the end of the Second Vatican Council – which started fifty years ago - the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI, sent out messages which remain relevant, including one addressed to world leaders. He encouraged them in this way: 'Your task is to be in the world the promoters of order and peace among men. But never forget this: It is God […] who is the great artisan of order and peace on earth'. Today, as I make those sentiments my own, I convey to you, the Ambassadors and other distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps, as well as to your families and colleagues, my very best wishes for the New Year. Thank you!".
 
POPE PAYS HOMAGE TO THE MARTYR CHURCH OF CAMBODIA
Vatican City, 7 January 2013 (VIS) - For the national Congress on the Church in Cambodia the Holy Father addressed a message recalling "the faith, courage, and perseverance of your pastors and of your Christian brothers and sisters" during the years of the Khmer Rouge when many Christians were assassinated. The congress, which is taking place in Phnom Penh from 5 to 7 January, has the theme of "Vatican Council II and the Church".
Following is the complete text of Benedict XVI's message:
"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Cambodia,"
"It is with great pleasure that I join you in prayer these days and through the heart, send you warm greetings while you gather around your pastors to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I hope that the Cambodian language translation of the conciliar documents and the Catechism that you will receive on this occasion will allow you to better understand the teaching of the Church and grow in faith".
"In this Year of Faith, I invite you to keep your eyes fixed on the person of Jesus Christ who is the origin and end of our faith and to reiterate the Good News to the world today. In Him, the examples of faith that have marked our history, find their full light. Also, remembering the period of troubles that precipitated your country in the darkness, I would like to emphasize the faith, courage and perseverance of your pastors and of your Christian brothers and sisters, those so many who have died, is a noble testimony to the truth of the Gospel. And this testimony has become a priceless spiritual strength to rebuild the church community in your country. Today, many catechumens and adult baptisms show your dynamism and is a happy sign of the active presence of God in you".
"Dear brothers and sisters, after the Apostle Paul, I urge you to 'keep the unity of the Spirit by the bond of peace'. Be assured of the prayers of your brothers and sisters whose blood flowed in the rice field! Be a leaven in the dough of your society, witnessing to the love of Christ for all, building bonds of brotherhood with members of other religious traditions, and walking on the paths of justice and mercy".
"Dear young people, my friends who have been baptised in these recent years, do not forget that the Church is your family; she is counting on you to witness the life and the love that you have found in Jesus. I pray for you and I invite you to be generous disciples of Christ".
"Cambodian seminarians, priests and religious, you are a sign of the seeds of the Church that is building up herself. You have offered your life and your prayers are a source of hope. May they be also an invitation to other young people to give their lives as priests and religious in the heart of God".
"Missionaries, religious, consecrated laity from five continents, be the beautiful sign of ecclesial communion around your pastors so that your brotherhood in the diversity of your charismas may lead many people you serve and love with zeal to meet Jesus Christ".
"And all of you, who seek God, persevere and be sure that Christ loves you and offers you His peace!".
"Beloved brothers and sisters, pastors and faithful of Cambodia, may the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Mekong, in her humility and fidelity to the will of the Lord, enlighten you throughout this Year of Faith. Be sure that I keep you in my prayers and from the bottom of my heart I convey upon you all an affectionate Apostolic Blessing!".
 
THE THREE WISE MEN WERE SEEKERS AFTER GOD
Vatican City, 6 January 2013 (VIS) - Today, Sunday the Solemnity of the Lord's Epiphany, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Holy Mass in the Vatican Basilica and conferred episcopal ordination on Angelo Vincenzo Zani, elected titular archbishop of Volturno and named secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Fortunato Nwachukwu, elected titular archbishop of Acquaviva and named apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua; Georg Ganswein, private secretary to Benedict XVI, named titular archbishop of Urbisaglia and prefect of the pontifical household; and Nicolas Henry Marie Denis Thevenin, elected titular archbishop of Eclano and named apostolic nuncio to Guatemala. Concelebrating with the Holy Father were Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, and the four archbishops-elect. The rite of ordination took place after the proclamation of the Gospel and the announcement of the date of Easter, which will be celebrated on 31 March this year.
During the homily the Holy Father spoke of the Three Wise Men, referring to them as "seekers after God", for whom "the truth meant more than the taunts of the world". Speaking about what it means to be a bishop the Pope affirmed that he "must be courageous" and have "the courage to contradict the prevailing mindset".
Below you will find the complete text of Benedict XVI's words:
"For the Church which believes and prays, the Wise Men from the East who, guided by the star, made their way to the manger of Bethlehem, are only the beginning of a great procession which winds throughout history. Thus the liturgy reads the Gospel which relates the journey of the Wise Men, together with the magnificent prophetic visions of the sixtieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah and Psalm 71, which depict in bold imagery the pilgrimage of the peoples to Jerusalem. Like the shepherds, who as the first visitors to the newborn Child in the manger, embodied the poor of Israel and more generally those humble souls who live in deep interior closeness to Jesus, so the men from the East embody the world of the peoples, the Church of the Gentiles – the men and women who in every age set out on the way which leads to the Child of Bethlehem, to offer him homage as the Son of God and to bow down before him. The Church calls this feast “Epiphany” – the appearance of the Godhead. If we consider the fact that from the very beginning men and women of every place, of every continent, of all the different cultures, mentalities and lifestyles, have been on the way to Christ, then we can truly say that this pilgrimage and this encounter with God in the form of a Child is an epiphany of God’s goodness and loving kindness for humanity (cf. Tit 3:4).
Following a tradition begun by Pope John Paul II, we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord also as the day when episcopal ordination will be conferred on four priests who will now cooperate in different ways in the ministry of the Pope for the unity of the one Church of Jesus Christ in the multiplicity of the Particular Churches. The connection between this episcopal ordination and the theme of the pilgrimage of the peoples to Jesus Christ is evident. It is the task of the Bishop in this pilgrimage not merely to walk beside the others, but to go before them, showing the way. But in this liturgy I would like to reflect with you on a more concrete question. Based on the account of Matthew, we can gain a certain idea of what sort of men these were, who followed the sign of the star and set off to find that King who would establish not only for Israel but for all mankind a new kind of kingship. What kind of men were they? And we can also ask whether, despite the difference of times and tasks, we can glimpse in them something of what a Bishop is and how he is to carry out his task.
These men who set out towards the unknown were, in any event, men with a restless heart. Men driven by a restless quest for God and the salvation of the world. They were filled with expectation, not satisfied with their secure income and their respectable place in society. They were looking for something greater. They were no doubt learned men, quite knowledgeable about the heavens and probably possessed of a fine philosophical formation. But they desired more than simply knowledge about things. They wanted above all else to know what is essential. They wanted to know how we succeed in being human. And therefore they wanted to know if God exists, and where and how he exists. Whether he is concerned about us and how we can encounter him. Nor did they want just to know. They wanted to understand the truth about ourselves and about God and the world. Their outward pilgrimage was an expression of their inward journey, the inner pilgrimage of their hearts. They were men who sought God and were ultimately on the way towards him. They were seekers after God.
Here we come to the question: What sort of man must he be, upon whom hands are laid in episcopal ordination in the Church of Jesus Christ? We can say that he must above all be a man concerned for God, for only then will he also be truly concerned about men. Inversely, we could also say that a Bishop must be a man concerned for others, one who is concerned about what happens to them. He must be a man for others. But he can only truly be so if he is a man seized by God, if concern for God has also become for him concern for God’s creature who is man. Like the Wise Men from the East, a Bishop must not be someone who merely does his job and is content with that. No, he must be gripped by God’s concern for men and women. He must in some way think and feel with God. Human beings have an innate restlessness for God, but this restlessness is a participation in God’s own restlessness for us. Since God is concerned about us, he follows us even to the crib, even to the Cross. “Thou with weary steps hast sought me, crucified hast dearly bought me, may thy pains not be in vain”, the Church prays in the Dies Irae. The restlessness of men for God and hence the restlessness of God for men must unsettle the Bishop. This is what we mean when we say that, above all else, the Bishop must be a man of faith. For faith is nothing less than being interiorly seized by God, something which guides us along the pathways of life. Faith draws us into a state of being seized by the restlessness of God and it makes us pilgrims who are on an inner journey towards the true King of the world and his promise of justice, truth and love. On this pilgrimage the Bishop must go ahead, he must be the guide pointing out to men and women the way to faith, hope and love.
Faith’s inner pilgrimage towards God occurs above all in prayer. Saint Augustine once said that prayer is ultimately nothing more than the realization and radicalization of our yearning for God. Instead of “yearning”, we could also translate the word as “restlessness” and say that prayer would detach us from our false security, from our being enclosed within material and visible realities, and would give us a restlessness for God and thus an openness to and concern for one another. The Bishop, as a pilgrim of God, must be above all a man of prayer. He must live be in constant inner contact with God; his soul must be open wide to God. He must bring before God his own needs and the needs of others, as well as his joys and the joys of others, and thus in his own way establish contact between God and the world in communion with Christ, so that Christ’s light can shine in the world.
Let us return to the Wise Men from the East. These were also, and above all, men of courage, the courage and humility born of faith. Courage was needed to grasp the meaning of the star as a sign to set out, to go forth – towards the unknown, the uncertain, on paths filled with hidden dangers. We can imagine that their decision was met with derision: the scorn of those realists who could only mock the reveries of such men. Anyone who took off on the basis of such uncertain promises, risking everything, could only appear ridiculous. But for these men, inwardly seized by God, the way which he pointed out was more important than what other people thought. For them, seeking the truth meant more than the taunts of the world, so apparently clever.
How can we not think, in this context, of the task of a Bishop in our own time? The humility of faith, of sharing the faith of the Church of every age, will constantly be in conflict with the prevailing wisdom of those who cling to what seems certain. Anyone who lives and proclaims the faith of the Church is on many points out of step with the prevalent way of thinking, even in our own day. Today’s regnant agnosticism has its own dogmas and is extremely intolerant regarding anything that would question it and the criteria it employs. Therefore the courage to contradict the prevailing mindset is particularly urgent for a Bishop today. He must be courageous. And this courage or forcefulness does not consist in striking out or in acting aggressively, but rather in allowing oneself to be struck and to be steadfast before the principles of the prevalent way of thinking. The courage to stand firm in the truth is unavoidably demanded of those whom the Lord sends like sheep among wolves. “Those who fear the Lord will not be timid”, says the Book of Sirach (34:16). The fear of God frees us from the fear of men. It liberates.
Here I am reminded of an episode at the very beginning of Christianity which Saint Luke recounts in the Acts of the Apostles. After the speech of Gamaliel, who advised against violence in dealing with the earliest community of believers in Jesus, the Sanhedrin summoned the Apostles and had them flogged. It then forbade them from preaching in the name of Jesus and set them free. Saint Luke continues: “As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonour for the name of Jesus. And every day… they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah” (Acts 5:40ff.). The successors of the Apostles must also expect to be repeatedly beaten, by contemporary methods, if they continue to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that can be heard and understood. Then they can rejoice that they have been considered worthy of suffering for him. Like the Apostles, we naturally want to convince people and in this sense to obtain their approval. Naturally, we are not provocative; on the contrary we invite all to enter into the joy of that truth which shows us the way. The approval of the prevailing wisdom, however, is not the criterion to which we submit. Our criterion is the Lord himself. If we defend his cause, we will constantly gain others to the way of the Gospel. But, inevitably, we will also be beaten by those who live lives opposed to the Gospel, and then we can be grateful for having been judged worthy to share in the passion of Christ.
The Wise Men followed the star, and thus came to Jesus, to the great Light which enlightens everyone coming into this world (cf. Jn 1:9). As pilgrims of faith, the Wise Men themselves became stars shining in the firmament of history and they show us the way. The saints are God’s true constellations, which light up the nights of this world, serving as our guides. Saint Paul, in his Letter to the Philippians, told his faithful that they must shine like stars in the world (cf. 2:15).
Dear friends, this holds true for us too. It holds true above all for you who are now to be ordained Bishops of the Church of Jesus Christ. If you live with Christ, bound to him anew in this sacrament, then you too will become wise men. Then you will become stars which go before men and women, pointing out to them the right path in life. All of us here are now praying for you, that the Lord may fill you with the light of faith and love. That that restlessness of God for man may seize you, so that all may experience his closeness and receive the gift of his joy. We are praying for you, that the Lord may always grant you the courage and humility of faith. We ask Mary, who showed to the Wise Men the new King of the world (cf. Mt 2:11), as a loving mother, to show Jesus Christ also to you and to help you to be guides along the way which leads to him. Amen.
 
ANGELUS: MAY CHRIST'S LIGHT SHINE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
Vatican City, 6 January 2013 (VIS) - At midday today, Solemnity of the Lord's Epiphany, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The event had been slightly delayed because of the length of the morning's Mass during which the Pope had consecrated four new archbishops, including Msgr. Georg Ganswein, his private secretary.
The Pope began by apologizing to the faithful for the delay: "I ordained four new bishops in St. Peter's Basilica today and the ceremony lasted a little longer than normal. Above all, however, today we celebrate the Lord's Epiphany, his manifestation to the peoples, when many Oriental Churches celebrate His Nativity according to the Julian calendar. This small difference, which superimposes these two events, highlights the fact that the Child, born in a humble grotto in Bethlehem, is the light of the world that guides the paths of all peoples. It is a combination that also makes us think from the perspective of faith: on the one hand, on Christmas, in the presence of Jesus, we see the faith of Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds; on the other, at Epiphany, we see the faith of the Three Wise Men who have come from the East to adore the King of the Jews".
"The Virgin Mary, along with her husband, represent the 'lineage' of Israel, the 'remnant' foretold by the prophets, from which the Messiah will spring forth. The Three Wise Men, on the other hand, represent the peoples?and we can also say the civilizations, cultures, and religions?that are, so to speak, on the path to God, in search of His reign of peace, justice, truth, and freedom. There is first a nucleus embodied, above all, by Mary, the 'daughter of Zion': a nucleus of Israel, the people that knew and had faith in that God who had revealed himself to the patriarchs and in the course of history. This faith reaches its fulfilment in Mary, in the fullness of time. In her, who was 'blessed because she believed', the Word was made flesh, God 'appeared' in the world. Mary's faith becomes the first fruits and the model of faith of the Church, the People of the New Covenant. Bur, from the beginning, this people is universal and we see this today in the figures of the Three Wise Men who come to Bethlehem following the light of a star and the indications given in the Sacred Scriptures".
In conclusion, the Pope referred to the episcopal ordinations conferred that morning: "two of the new bishops will remain here in their service of the Holy See and the other two will depart to become papal representatives to two nations. Let us pray for each of them, for their ministry, and that the light of Christ may shine forth throughout the world".
 
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 7 January 2013 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father addressed members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See to express his traditional greetings on the new year.
This evening he is scheduled to meet with archbishops Angelo Vincenzo Zani, titular archbishop of Volturno and secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education (of Seminaries and Institutes of Studies) and Georg Ganswein, titular archbishop of Urbisaglia and prefect of the pontifical household, along with members of their families.
 
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 7 January 2013 (VIS) - On Saturday, 5 January, the Holy Father appointed:
- Bishop Jean-Paul Gobel, apostolic nuncio to Iran, as apostolic nuncio to the Arab Republic of Egypt and apostolic delegate to the League of Arab States.
- Archbishop-elect Nicolas Henry Marie Denis Thevenin as apostolic nuncio to Guatemala.
- Antonio Chiminello, vice-director of the State Accounting Administration, as director of the same department for a five-year period.