Sunday, January 27, 2013

VATICAN : POPE : CARAVAN OF PEACE - REMEMBERING HOLOCAUST


Vatican Radio REPORTS Two thousand young boys and girls drawn from across Rome’s sprawling parishes marched on St Peter’s Square this Sunday to the sound of drums, trumpets and songs for their annual appointment with Pope Benedict XVI.
They are the children of Catholic Action Rome and the last Sunday of January marks their annual ‘Caravan of Peace’ which culminates in the release of two white doves from the Papal apartments shortly after the Angelus prayer.

This year, the young boy and girl chosen to release the doves together with Pope Benedict told the Holy Father that the funds collected by the children of Rome will be donated to the forgotten children of Egypt.

Proceeds from their pastoral and charity initiatives in fact will be sent to the Jesuit Community of Alexandria, in particular Brother Atef, who heads a theatre group for street children titled ‘Art and Life’.

Earlier, Pope Benedict XVI had encouraged prayers for peace across the entire Middle East. He expressed his spiritual closeness to all those participating in the initiative supported by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

In fact the last Sunday of January also marks world day of prayer for peace in the Holy Land. The global event, now in its fifth year, is a 24 hour continuum of prayer in more than three thousand cities for peace in the region.

The Pope said: “I thank those who are promoting this in many parts of the world and I greet in particular those present here today”.

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA
Vatican Radio REPORT On January 27th each year, the United Nations sets aside a day in special remembrance of Holocaust victims.

Following his Angelus prayer this Sunday, Pope Benedict prayed: "Today is the " International Holocaust Remembrance Day" in memory of the Holocaust victims of Nazism. The memory of this immense tragedy, which above all struck so harshly the Jewish people, must represent for everyone a constant warning so that the horrors of the past are not repeated, all forms of hatred and racism overcome and respect and dignity of the human person promoted"

The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust also commemorates when the Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland on January 27, 1945.

It is hoped that through remembering these events, people will remember the Holocaust and prevent genocide.

Across the globe Holocaust survivors and world leaders speak out in remembrance of victims, but also to make sure that the world never forgets what happened in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. So that new generations may learn about the tragedy, and for everyone to work so it will never happen again.

It is also a good time to remember the words of Pope Benedict XVI when he visited the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem on May 11
th, 2009.

I have come to stand in silence before this monument, erected to honor the memory of the millions of Jews killed in the horrific tragedy of the Shoah.
They lost their lives, but they will never lose their names: these are indelibly etched in the hearts of their loved ones, their surviving fellow prisoners, and all those determined never to allow such an atrocity to disgrace mankind again. Most of all, their names are forever fixed in the memory of Almighty God.
Yad Vashem is the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust. It was erected to safeguard the memory of the past and impart its meaning for future generations. Established in 1953, as the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust. Together with its partners, Yad Vashem has collected and recorded the names and biographical details of two thirds of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis. Two million more still remain unidentified.

As the Pope quoted at the beginning of his visit to Yad Vashem, a passage from the Book of the prophet Isaiah furnishes two simple words which solemnly express the significance of the place itself: “vad” – which means memorial, and “shem” which means name…
“I will give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name … I will give them an everlasting name which shall not be cut off” .
One can weave an insidious web of lies to convince others that certain groups are undeserving of respect – the Pope said - yet, try as one might, one can never take away the name of a fellow human being.
May the names of these victims never perish! May their suffering never be denied, belittled or forgotten! And may all people of goodwill remain vigilant in rooting out from the heart of man anything that could lead to tragedies such as this!
And Pope Benedict said that the Catholic Church feels deep compassion for the victims remembered here. Similarly, he continued - she draws close to all those who today are subjected to persecution on account of race, colour, condition of life or religion – their sufferings are hers, and hers is their hope for justice. And he reaffirmed that he is committed to pray and work tirelessly to ensure that hatred will never reign in the hearts of men again.
Gazing upon the faces reflected in the pool that lies in stillness within this memorial, one cannot help but recall how each of them bears a name. I can only imagine the joyful expectation of their parents as they anxiously awaited the birth of their children. What name shall we give this child? What is to become of him or her? Who could have imagined that they would be condemned to such a deplorable fate!
Their cry – the Pope said - still echoes in our hearts.

My dear friends, I am deeply grateful to God and to you for the opportunity to stand here in silence: a silence to remember, a silence to pray, a silence to hope.


SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

CATHOLIC MOVIES - WATCH LILIES OF THE FIELD - PART 2

IN HONOUR OF THE YEAR OF FAITH JCE NEWS WILL BE SHOWING SOME OF THE BEST CATHOLIC FILMS OF ALL TIME - LILIES OF THE FIELD

OVER 500, 000 AT MARCH FOR LIFE - WASHINGTON DC - USA

OVER 500, 000 attended the MARCH FOR LIFE in Washington, DC on January 25, 2013. The great crowds marked the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade the decision in 1973 that permitted abortion.  This massive crowd gathered to honor life from conception to natural death. It is hoped that the legislation will soon be changed to end abortion in the US. (IMAGE SOURCE : GOOGLE)

Since 1973 an estimated 55 million babies have been killed by abortion in the USA. There was an overnight prayer vigil in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception with thousands in attendance. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops was present and Cardinal Wuerl. This annual March has become a large event spanning many days and involving talks, demonstrations, prayer, videos and other activities. Many politicians, clergy, religious, youth and leaders partake every year. Martin Luther King's niece Dr. Alveda King also attended and is part of a large movement in support of life. Last year over 400,000 attended. This year noted a particularly strong youth presence. One Catholic College, Christendom cancelled classes so that the entire school could attend.

EUROPE : SPAIN : MISSIONARY VIDEO FOR CHILDHOOD DAY

Agenzia Fides REPORT - "What a missionary gives" is the title of a cartoon animation that aims to explain to the children what it means to be missionaries. The Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Spain have prepared this video, together with other material, on the occasion of Missionary Childhood Day, which is celebrated in Spain on Sunday, January 27. On this occasion, a Mass will be celebrated at the Blessed Sacrament School in Madrid, and will be broadcast on Spanish TV (La 2 ).
The note sent to Fides Agency by the PMS of Spain, Don Anastasio Gil, National Director of the PMS, explains the meaning of the video: "This is a way to show children and adolescents, not to mention adults, how the love for the needy is an opportunity to discover the missionary vocation and the source of happiness, and so they can transmit it to others. "


In the video, presented and put online since January 21, tells the story of a young man living in a big city. At the beginning it shows the protagonist leaving a shopping center full of parcels and envelopes that he has just bought. On the way home he runs into some poor people who ask for help, but he continues to walk without noticing. His attitude changes when he passes in front of a table and sees the work of the parish for the poor. He then began to give everything he had bought, to the point he had nothing left in his pockets. Only when the young man gave everything he has the feeling he is flying. He reaches the clouds and from there sees an African village, he then discovers his vocation: to go there to help the needy and bring the Good News. A voice concludes: "If you want to be truly happy, you have to give everything. But if what you really want is to fly, then you have to give yourself to God completely, as a missionary." (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 26/01/2013)

AUSTRALIA : NEW LAW TERM BEGINS WITH RED MASS

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
25 Jan 2013


The procession of the judiciary is one of the highlights of the Red Mass
Justice Tom Bathurst QC, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW will lead the impressive judicial procession from the Crypt and up the steps through the main doors of St Mary's Cathedral for the annual Red Mass on Tuesday 29 January which signals the start of the new Law Term.
Wearing their wigs and crimson robes of office, judges from the High Court of Australia together with justices from the Courts of NSW take part in the procession in what is regarded as one of Sydney's most impressive traditions.
The Red Mass, where the legal profession offer prayers for divine guidance for those seeking or dispensing justice during the coming year, is convened by the St Thomas More Society, and will be celebrated on by the Society's Patron, the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell.

Dating back to 12th century when it was first celebrated at the Papal Courts of Avignon, the Red Mass was first held in Sydney at St Mary's Cathedral on 16 February 1931. Since that time the Red Mass has not only been adopted by other religious denominations but has become an important part of the Church calendar.
Cardinal Pell talks with Judges of NSW after celebrating Red Mass at the Cathedral
Taking its name from the crimson robes of the judiciary, Sydney's Red Mass was originally organised by an informal group of the city's Catholic lawyers, who just over a decade later went on to found the St Thomas More Society.
An integral part of the city's legal as well as the Church's calendar, the Red Mass is attended by members of Sydney's legal profession as well as those involved in law from all parts of NSW and the Commonwealth. Attendees include leading judges, magistrates, judicial officers from NSW as well as Federal jurisdictions together with the city's barristers and solicitors, professors and lecturers in law at Sydney's universities, newly graduated law students as well as those still studying law.

Many politicians also attend including both the NSW Attorney General and the NSW Shadow Attorney General.
This year not only will Past President of St Thomas More Society, State Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Greg Smith participate at next week's Red Mass but he will give one of the readings.
The President of the Law Society of NSW, John Dobson will also be involved in the liturgy as well as the President of the NSW Bar Association, Bernard Coles QC and Professor Gerard Ryan, Emeritus Dean at the University of Notre Dame's School of Law.
Murray-Luke Peard conducts the Capella Sublima at a recent performance
Among the other dignitaries expected to attend the 2013 Red Mass are the Vice Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, Professor Greg Craven; former NSW Attorney General John Hatzistergos and well-known diplomat, public servant and academic, Michael L'Estrange who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Notre Dame in December last year.

For Sydneysiders one of the highlights of the annual Red Mass is the impressive procession that takes place after the NSW and Australia High Court Judges don their crimson robes in the Crypt at St Mary's, and then in full judicial regalia, slowly make their way from the Crypt along the side of the St Mary's and up the steps and through the main doors of the Cathedral.
Another highlight of the Red Mass will be Sydney's renowned Capella Sublima which will perform throughout the Mass. These will include singing many of the sacred texts as well as 16th Century sacred music including "Victoria: Domine non sum dignus."
Based at the University of Sydney and holding regular rehearsals on campus at St John's College, the Capella Sublima ensemble was founded in 2001 by Richard Perrignon who is not only an accomplished musician and composer, but one of the city's leading barristers and a part time lecturer in law at the University of Notre Dame.
Chief Justice Tom Bathurst QC will lead the Red Mass procession next week
Richard Perrignon is also President of the St Thomas More Society.
Faith, the law, the St Thomas More Society and music are his passions and for the past several weeks, he has not only been busy with his law practice, his duties as a member of Administrative Decisions Tribunal of NSW, Arbitrator with the Workers Compensation Commission and as a Fellow of St John's College at University of Sydney, but has somehow found time to help organise this year's Red Mass and conduct rehearsals of Capella Sublima for the upcoming Mass.
"We will have our final rehearsal today, break for the long weekend and then gather at the Cathedral on Tuesday morning for the Red Mass," says a member of the Ensemble, 36-year-old Murray-Luke Peard.
A maths and computer science graduate who loves Medieval and Renaissance music, and is currently studying for a second degree in music, Murray-Luke is an enthusiastic and active member of Capella Sublima and each year like the rest of the ensemble very much looks forward to performing at the Red Mass.

Richard Perrignon, President of the Thomas More Society and founder-director of Capella Sublima
Richard Perrignon is not only the founder and director of Capella Sublima but also a composer of many of the sacred polyphonic compositions, or "motets" as they are known, performed by the singers.
That same enthusiasm, commitment and dedication is also apparent in his work with the St Thomas More Society. Joining the Society in 1992 when he first was called to the bar, he was elected President in 2009.
"Members of the St Thomas More Society take their inspiration from the selfless and brave example of St Thomas More who was Lord Chancellor of England during the turbulent reign of Henry VIII and the King's marriage to Anne Boleyn," Richard Perrignon explains.
Adopting St Thomas More's words: "the King's Good Servant but God's First" as its motto, the Society helps provide an opportunity for young lawyers to meet older and more experienced lawyers. In addition the Society holds annual retreats, convenes seminars on ethical issues that relate to the law and celebrates St Thomas More's Feast Day with a special Mass on 22 June each year.
The Red Mass which will be held at St Mary's Cathedral at 9.a.m on Tuesday, 29 January. Along with the city's legal profession, the general public is welcome to attend.
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

ASIA : SRI LANKA : CONTROVERSIAL THEOLOGIAN FR. BALASSURIYA DIES

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT
Sri Lankan theologian Fr Tissa Balasuriya laid to rest | Fr Tissa Balassuriya

Fr Tissa Balassuriya OMI
Hundreds of people of all faiths bid farewell to the controversial Sri Lankan theologian, Fr Tissa Balasuriya, who died aged 89, after a long illness on 17 January. His funeral was held on 19 January at Fatima Church in Borella, a Colombo neighbourhood, with people from all sorts of backgrounds - from civil society groups to ministers, Catholic priests to Buddhist monks. After the service, his body was laid to rest in the church cemetery.
Known for his commitment to interfaith dialogue, the Oblate of Mary Immaculate, who was known as Fr Bala, came into conflict with the Church over a book he published in 1990. Titled Mary and Human Liberation, the work combines ideas drawn from Latin American liberation theology with an Asian vision of religious integration.
In 1994, Sri Lankan bishops issued a warning against the book. That same year, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) asked Father Balasuriya to retract certain arguments he advanced in the book, a request he declined.
Vatican criticism centred on some of his statements on doctrinal issues like original sin, the Immaculate Conception, and the irreplaceable role of Jesus in the work of salvation. When the CDF asked him to sign a statement of faith, again Fr Balasuriya declined. In view of his refusal, the Congregation formally announced his excommunication in January 1997.
Father Balasuriya eventually agreed to sign a statement of faith, and his excommunication was lifted in January 1998.
"Let us bury only the bones and the flesh of Fr Balasuriya," said Mgr Norbert Andradi, Oblate of Mary Immaculate and Bishop of Anuradhapura, "but let us also keep his words and deeds with us".
To read an extract from Fr Bala's 1984 book Planetary Theology, see: http://liberationtheology.org/people-organizations/tissa-balasuriya/
Source: AsiaNews/Fides
SHARED FROM IND. CATH. NEWS

SUNDAY MASS ONLINE : JAN. 27, 2013


Nehemiah 8: 2 - 4, 5 - 6, 8 - 10
2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month.
3 And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law.
4 And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden pulpit which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithi'ah, Shema, Anai'ah, Uri'ah, Hilki'ah, and Ma-asei'ah on his right hand; and Pedai'ah, Mish'a-el, Malchi'jah, Hashum, Hash-bad'danah, Zechari'ah, and Meshul'lam on his left hand.
5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people; and when he opened it all the people stood.
6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God; and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," lifting up their hands; and they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
8 And they read from the book, from the law of God, clearly; and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
9 And Nehemi'ah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep." For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law.
10 Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
Psalms 19: 8 - 10, 15
8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
1 Corinthians 12: 12 - 30
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free -- and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.
16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?
18 But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
19 If all were a single organ, where would the body be?
20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
22 On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable,
23 and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,
24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part,
25 that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
Luke 1: 1 - 4
1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us,
2 just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word,
3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent The-oph'ilus,
4 that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.
Luke 4: 14 - 21
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country.
15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read;
17 and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."
20 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
21 And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

Jan 27, 2013 - 3rd Sun Ordinary Time

TODAY'S SAINT : JAN. 27 : ST. ANGELA MERICI

St. Angela Merici
FOUNDRESS OF THE URSULINES AND MYSTIC
Feast: January 27


Information:
Feast Day:January 27
Born:
21 March 1474, Desenzano del Garda, Province of Brescia, Lombardy, Italy
Died:27 January 1540, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy
Canonized:May 24, 1807, Rome by Pope Pius VII
Major Shrine:The Merician Centre (including the now subterranean Church of St Afra, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy)
Patron of:sickness, handicapped people, loss of parents
Angela Merici was born on March 21st, 1474, at Desenzano on Lake Garda; left an orphan at the age of ten she was brought up by her uncle and on his death went to live with her brothers. She was a devout girl and, having joined the Third Order of St. Francis, devoted herself to teaching children. As her work became known she was asked to go to Brescia where a house was put at her disposal and a number of women came to join her; she was thus enabled to establish a religious association of women, under the patronage of St. Ursula, who, remaining in the world, should devote themselves to every sort of corporal and spiritual work of mercy; but the particular emphasis was on education. Angela's methods were far removed from the modern idea of a convent school; she preferred to send her associates to teach girls in their own families, and one of her favorite sayings was, 'Disorder in society is the result of disorder in the family'. It was by educating children in the milieu in which they lived that she strove to effect an improvement in social conditions.

Angela Merici is known now as the foundress of the Ursuline nuns—and so she was, but despite her own inclinations. In reality she was in advance of her own times. Her plan of religious women without distinctive habit, without solemn vows and enclosure, was directly contrary to prevailing notions at her period, and under the influence of St. Charles Borromeo at Milan and subsequent papal legislation (under St. Pius V) the Ursulines were obliged to adopt the canonical safeguards then required of all nuns.
Angela Merici died in Brescia on January 27th, 1540.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/A/stangelamerici.asp#ixzz1kfFaqYI2

VATICAN : POPE : LOVE ALWAYS STRENGTHENED - TRUST IN GOD


Vatican Radio report:  Lack of faith may hurt the intrinsic goods of marriage: procreation, marital fidelity and its indissolubility. This was the message at the heart of Pope Benedict XVI’s address Saturday morning to members of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota received in audience for the opening of the judicial year. The Pope reiterated that the current crisis of faith brings with it a crisis of conjugal society. He also pointed out that the rejection of the Divine leads to a deep imbalance in all human relationships.

Contemporary culture, the Pope says, places "pressing challenges" before families because of its "accentuated subjectivism and moral and religious relativism." In particular, he notes, there are those contrast human liberty with the individual’s “ability to make a lifelong commitment”. There is, in fact, a "widespread mentality" that leads people to believe that we becomes ourselves only “by remaining 'autonomous’ and coming into contact with others only through relationships that can be interrupted at any time."

"Everyone is aware of how the choice of the human being to make a lifelong commitment influences our basic perspective, this is if it is merely anchored in a human plan or closed off to the light of faith in the Lord”.

"Only by being open God ‘s truth - he added - is it possible to understand and realize the concreteness of life including marriage and family, the truth of man as His child, regenerated by baptism." The Pope spoke of the indissolubility of the commitment between a man and a woman. This commitment, he noted "does not require, for the purposes of sacramentality, the personal faith of those to be married." What is required, "as the minimum condition - he said - is the intention of doing what the Church does"

"But while it is important not to confuse the issue of intent with that of the personal faith of the contracting parties, it is not always possible to completely separate them."

In this regard, the Pope cites a 1977 document of the International Theological Commission, which states that, if "you do not feel any trace of faith as such", there could be a problem of knowing “if the general and truly sacramental intention” is ”present or not, and if the marriage contract is valid or not".

The Pope then paused to reflect on the goods and essential element of marriage . Quoting St. Augustine he spoke of three goods: procreation, marital fidelity and its indissolubility. And he warned against disregarding the fact that there can be cases where “the very absence of faith compromises” conjugal values and prohibits consent.

The Pope recognized the difficulties "from a legal and practical point of view, in singling out one essential element" of the goods of marriage. At the same time, he noted that the issue of the validity of the marriage, "especially in the current context”, needs further reflection. The Pope recalled that those saints who lived marital union, "in the Christian perspective," and so were able "to overcome even the most adverse situations, sometimes achieving the sanctification of the spouse and children with a love always strengthened by a solid trust in God ":

"These experiences, marked by faith, help us to understand, even today, the precious sacrifice offered by those spouses who have been abandoned or those who have suffered divorce – while recognizing the indissolubility of valid marriage – succeed in not allowing themselves to become involved in a new union. In this case ... their example of fidelity and Christian consistency takes on particular value as witnesses to the world and the Church '(Familiaris Consortio). "

shared from RADIO VATICANA

AUSTRALIA : CROSSROADS PRO-LIFE WALK EXPERIENCE

ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE RELEASE
Friday 25 January 2013

By Fiona Basile

WHILE many of us may have been relaxing at home with family and friends over the Christmas and New Year holiday period, a group of young people from around Australia, including two from the United States, were making a pilgrimage on foot along the east coast of Australia (from Brisbane to Melbourne) bearing witness to the Gospel message of love and life.

A core group of ten volunteers, aged between 18-30 years, participated in the inaugural ‘Crossroads Australia’ walk to promote and raise awareness for the pro-life cause. They came from Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Gold Coast, rural NSW and two from the United States.

The Crossroads walk initiative began in the United States in 1995. It was a direct response to Blessed John Paul II’s speech at World Youth Day in 1993, Colorado, where he challenged all young men and women to break free from their routine modes of living and to go out into the streets and preach the gospel of life.

Since then, every year a group of volunteers have walked from the west coast to the east coast of the United States to raise the profile of the pro-life cause. The walks in the USA usually take three months—they walk every step and wear T-shirts that clearly read Pro-Life across them. The walk has now spread to Canada, Ireland, Spain, and for the first time, it came to Australia.

Having recovered from their recent walk, two local Crossroads participants, Daniel Mount and Angela Schumann share their inspirational journey.


Daniel Mount from Essendon, Group Leader for Crossroads Australia

On Saturday 15 December 2012, we embarked on our 1,500km pilgrimage from Brisbane to Melbourne. We were a group of strangers brought together by a love of life. As Catholics, we all believe in the dignity and sanctity of life from the moment of conception to natural death. We had all given up a month of our time over Christmas to bear witness to life and to speak out against the culture of death that has crept into this world and has now become so widespread and accepted.

The pilgrimage works differently in each country and in order for it to have been a success in Australia we had to alter the template of the walk. In the USA they walk every step, day and night to complete the 4,700km journey in three months. In Australia, the biggest hurdle we faced was finding places to walk legally and safely. Due to the strict regulations in Australia and because safety was paramount, we decided to only walk during the day and only on footpaths.

Each day we would travel approximately 100km down the coast of Australia towards Melbourne. We walked through towns and drove where there were only highways. Individually we would walk 25-30km each day and because we restricted ourselves to the footpath we gained a lot more exposure because we were able to bear witness in many more rural and coastal towns than previously planned.

The average week day would begin with Mass at a local church followed by Morning Prayer. We’d then begin our walk. While we walked we prayed the Rosary, The Divine Mercy Chaplet and The Stations of the Cross. We were like a mobile prayer group and we humbly offered these prayers to God asking for His intercession to bring about a culture of life.

We ate lunch on the run and we would arrive at our destination between 6-7pm each night. There we were either hosted by families, parishes and on the rare occasion we stayed at caravan parks. On the weekends we would stop walking and speak at parishes to raise awareness and funds in the main cities of Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

The group was led by Allison Lattie, Director of Crossroads, Washington DC and John Smith, Assistant Group Leader, Albury. Personally, it was an amazing experience which would not have been so if we didn’t have such an amazing group of walkers. I cannot speak highly enough of these inspirational, loving, patient and devout young men and women. It makes your job very easy when all they want to do is pray, walk and love God. We experienced a lot of support along our way but also a lot of opposition. In these testing times it was always beautiful to see the soft touch of love and tenderness shown to those people who have obviously been gravely hurt by the evil of abortion.

The generosity shown to us by friends, families, parish priests and parishioners was overwhelming. At a drop of a hat they were willing to cancel their personal plans, open their doors, feed us and give us a place to sleep, and for this we are forever grateful.

We arrived in Melbourne on Thursday 10 January and walked from Broadmeadows, through Essendon, and onto St Francis’ Catholic Church in the city for 5:30pm Mass. The following day, Friday, was our last day of walking and by complete coincidence, that morning the group was honoured to have crossed paths with Cardinal George Pell in St Patrick’s Cathedral where he was in quiet prayer. We were all humbled to shake his hand and hear his strong words of support and encouragement before continuing our walk through Melbourne’s Flinders St, St Kilda Road, Chapel St, Fitzroy St and Beaconsfield Parade before heading back to St Mary’s in West Melbourne where we were kindly billeted.

Crossroads Australia concluded on Saturday 12 January with 8am prayer outside the Wellington St Abortion Mill, 10am Mass at St Augustine’s, followed by a peaceful parade to the steps of Parliament House where we sang songs and prayed the rosary. It was a fitting and symbolic end to the walk as it represented exactly what we had been doing each day for the last four weeks.

The experiences, contacts and connections made from this first Crossroads in Australia have paved a sure and sturdy path for Crossroads here in the future.


Angela Schumann from Ferntree Gully, Crossroads volunteer

I joined Crossroads because I was intrigued by the idea of a group of young people walking down the east coast of Australia wearing ‘Pro Life’ T-shirts—they didn't tell me about the fluoro yellow until later! I confess that at the outset I was a little bit sceptical—do they know that it gets hot in summer? I was also uneasy about the kind of impact we could make. But as the journey progressed, so did my belief that this is a truly worthwhile endeavour.

The core group consisted of about 10 walkers between the ages of 18 and 30, with many others within this age range joining us for a day or two as we walked through their local areas. Almost half of us came from Melbourne, me included, with others from Sydney, Canberra, rural NSW, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Crossroads also sent out two walkers from America, where they've been doing these walks for nearly 18 years.

The mission of the walk was to take the pro-life message and the joy of the Gospel of Life into the public sphere. These walks are inspired by the late Blessed John Paul II, who called out to youth to be bold, like the first apostles, and preach the Good News in the streets.

As I said, at first I was sceptical—we seemed like a bunch of little fluoro yellow flies, too insignificant to make an impact in the big wide world, like ‘lambs to the slaughter’. It took me four weeks of walking 20-30 km a day in the sun, slathered in sunscreen and deodorant, to realise that that's exactly what God wanted us to be. We were not big, but our message was, and it made itself loud enough to be heard.

We had countless conversations on the street with curious (and sometimes hostile) onlookers, and often people who carried wounds from experiences of abortion shared their stories with us, both on the streets and out the back of churches after we had spoken. We—or rather what we represented—gave validation to their grief. It allowed them to speak about pain which some of them had been harbouring for decades.

In the practical sphere, we handed out hundreds of fliers and ‘little feet and hands’ to people on the streets, received local and Christian media attention and met many incredible people. In the spiritual sphere, we spent hours each day praying for the unborn, for pregnant mothers and those touched by abortion in any way, and offering up any small sacrifices we made for the intentions of those we met.

We will never know the affect that we had on a person's heart, but if we saved one life through our efforts or changed one mind then I think that it was all worth it, and I would do it again.

One of the highlights was certainly the concluding Mass and rally in Melbourne. On the 12 January the group, accompanied by about 40 people, including several religious, processed down Bourke Street to the steps of Parliament, where we prayed a rosary for the pro-life cause. Crossroads hosts these walks every year from Brisbane to Melbourne. If you are aged 18-30 and passionate about the pro-life cause I urge you to consider joining. You will even grow to like the fluro yellow T-shirts. I guarantee it!

For more information about Crossroads, see http://crossroadsaustralia.org/2012-walk/

Photos courtesy John Smith.


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EUROPE : HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT
Holocaust Memorial Day | Pope Benedict XVI, Holocaust Memorial Day, Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem monument to Janusz Korczak
On 27 January each year, the United Nations sets aside a day in special remembrance of Holocaust victims. The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust also commemorates when the Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland on 27 January 27, 1945.
Around the world Holocaust survivors and world leaders will speak out in remembrance of victims, but also to ensure that the world never forgets what happened in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.
When Pope Benedict XVI visited the Holocaust Memorial of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on 11 May, 2009 he said:
'I have come to stand in silence before this monument, erected to honour the memory of the millions of Jews killed in the horrific tragedy of the Shoah. They lost their lives, but they will never lose their names: these are indelibly etched in the hearts of their loved ones, their surviving fellow prisoners, and all those determined never to allow such an atrocity to disgrace mankind again. Most of all, their names are forever fixed in the memory of Almighty God.
Established in 1953, as the world centre for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust Yad Vashem and its partners has collected and recorded the names and biographical details of two thirds of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis. Two million more still remain unidentified.

As the Pope quoted at the beginning of his visit to Yad Vashem, a passage from the Book of the prophet Isaiah furnishes two simple words which solemnly express the significance of the place itself: “vad” – which means memorial, and “shem” which means name…
“I will give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name … I will give them an everlasting name which shall not be cut off” .
Pope Benedict said: "One can weave an insidious web of lies to convince others that certain groups are undeserving of respect, yet, try as one might, one can never take away the name of a fellow human being.
"May the names of these victims never perish! May their suffering never be denied, belittled or forgotten! And may all people of goodwill remain vigilant in rooting out from the heart of man anything that could lead to tragedies such as this!"
Pope Benedict said that the Catholic Church feels deep compassion for the victims remembered here. Similarly, he said, " she draws close to all those who today are subjected to persecution on account of race, colour, condition of life or religion – their sufferings are hers, and hers is their hope for justice." And he reaffirmed that he is committed to pray and work tirelessly to ensure that hatred will never reign in the hearts of men again.
Pope Benedict said: "Gazing upon the faces reflected in the pool that lies in stillness within this memorial, one cannot help but recall how each of them bears a name. I can only imagine the joyful expectation of their parents as they anxiously awaited the birth of their children. What name shall we give this child? What is to become of him or her? Who could have imagined that they would be condemned to such a deplorable fate!"
"Their cry still echoes in our hearts.
"My dear friends, I am deeply grateful to God and to you for the opportunity to stand here in silence: a silence to remember, a silence to pray, a silence to hope."
For more information on Yad Vashem and Holocaust Memorial Day see: http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/remembrance/international/
Source: VIS/Yad Vashem/Wiki images
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ASIA : LEBANON : DAY OF SOLIDARITY FOR SYRIA

AGENZIA FIDES REPORT - Lebanon – On Sunday, January 27 in convents, shrines and nearly one thousand parishes of the Maronite Church, funds will be collected for the activities supported by Caritas Lebanon in favor of Syrian refugees who have found precarious refuge in the Lebanese territory. The special day of solidarity was called by Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, with an appeal to all members of the Church led by him. Even in the schools and academic institutions related to the Patriarchate will take initiatives to channel donations to all Syrian refugees, "without distinction."
The Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon territory by UN bodies are about 220 thousand. "Actually," explains to Fides Agency Fr. Simon Faddoul, President of Caritas Lebanon "Syrian refugees in Lebanon are many more. Probably they exceed the figure of 400 thousand. Many are living in desperate conditions, made even more unbearable due to the harsh winter this year. " Caritas Lebanon - said Fr. Faddoul to Fides - already directly assists more than 50 thousand displaced Syrians, distributing food, clothing, medicines, stoves for heating, hygiene products.
On Sunday, according to the Patriarch’s indications, in all the Eucharistic liturgies celebrated in the Maronite churches, prayers will be dedicated to all the victims of the conflict and for peace in Syria. In his appeal, S. B. Rai calls for prayers for peace "in Lebanon, Syria and in all the Arab countries " so that the Lord will "inspire local and international leaders to seek peaceful ways to end the violence and war, and to find the right solutions ".
For Christians - recalls the Patriarch - the aid to be offered to the brothers not only responds to a noble humanitarian sentiment, but also to the invitation by Jesus himself. The Patriarch - who will celebrate Sunday Mass in the patriarchal see of Bkerké according to the intentions indicated in the appeal - in particular cites the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: "Come, blessed by my Father, you inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the founding of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you gave me hospitality, naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to visit me ... When you do it also for the last of my brothers, you do it for me." (GV) (Agenzia Fides 26/01/2013).

EGYPT : 12 DEAD AND 500 INJURED IN CLASHES

ASIA NEWS IT REPORT
It is the second anniversary of the Jasmine Revolution. The most serious clashes in Suez, where the army blocked the entrance to the channel. President Mohamed Morsi threatens to use an iron fist against the perpetrators of violence. Port Said in flames after the verdict on the massacre of supporters of the February 2, 2012. Police barracks attacked.


Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The toll from riots marking the Egyptian Jasmine Revolution now stands at 12 dead and nearly 500 people injured. Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of people protested in major Egyptian cities - Cairo, Alexandria, Assuit, Port Said, Suez, Sharqiya, Kafr al-Sheikh - calling for the end of the Islamist establishment and a true democracy. The most serious clashes took place in Suez, where eight people were killed. Later in the evening the army blocked the city, deploying troops to the channel.

According to witnesses, the police fired first rubber bullets, then live ammunition into a crowd trying to break into the headquarters of the regional governor. Among the victims: a woman, a boy of 15 and two policemen. Violent clashes also took place in Cairo, Alexandria, Ismailiya. In the capital, police and demonstrators clashed near Tahrir Square. Police did not even spare the religious buildings as they chased protesters, which remained open to provide shelter and care for the wounded.

A Qasr al-Aini street, police fired tear gas into the local evangelical church, poisoning many people. "The police targeted the church - says Nermeen a young protester - they shot down six candelabras in the nave, where we were taking care of many affected by smoke inhalation from tear gas." In Ismailiya (Suez), the demonstrators set fire to the local headquarters of the Freedom and Justice Party (PLJ), of the Muslim Brotherhood, invading the seat of the government. Public buildings were attacked in Damietta (Nile Delta) and Kafr el-Sheikh (Red Sea).

In a short message to the nation published on Facebook and Twitter, President Mohamed Morsi has vowed to "restore order in a country divided by political unrest." The Islamist leader has threatened to use an iron fist against the perpetrators of violence: "The security forces will pursue them all over the country to bring them to justice. They are doing their best to protect and ensure the peaceful demonstrations."

Meanwhile, the court of Port Said sentenced 21 of the 73 accused in the massacre of February 2, 2012, during the post-match clashes between the fans of the local team Al-Masry al-Alhawy and Cairo. The invasion was caused by the pitch invasion by hooligans from Al-Masry. This morning, hundreds of ultras of the local team and family members of prisoners raided some police stations. The partial toll is 11 dead, dozens injured, but there are fears of new clashes in the coming hours.



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CATHOLIC MOVIES - WATCH LILIES OF THE FIELD

IN HONOUR OF THE YEAR OF FAITH JCE NEWS WILL BE SHOWING SOME OF THE BEST CATHOLIC FILMS OF ALL TIME - LILIES OF THE FIELD