Friday, February 1, 2013

TODAY'S SAINT : PURIFICATION AND PRESENTATION OF THE CHILD JESUS

Presentation of Child Jesus in the Temple
Feast: February 2


Information:
Feast Day:February 2
The law of God, given by Moses to the Jews, to insinuate both to us and to them, that by the sin of Adam man is conceived and born in sin, and obnoxious to his wrath, ordained that a woman, after childbirth, should continue for a certain time in a state which that law calls unclean; during which she was not to appear in public, nor presume to touch any thing consecrated to God. This term was of forty days upon the birth of a son, and the time was double for a daughter: on the expiration of which, the mother was to bring to the door of the tabernacle, or temple, a lamb of a year old. and a young pigeon or turtle-dove. The lamb was for a holocaust, or burnt-offering, in acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God, and in thanksgiving for her own happy delivery; the pigeon or turtle-dove was for a sin-offering. These being sacrificed to Almighty God by the priest, the woman was cleansed of the legal impurity, and reinstated in her former privileges.

A young pigeon, or turtle-dove, by way of a sin-offering, was required of all, whether rich or poor: but whereas the charge of a lamb might be too burdensome on persons of narrow circumstances, in that case, nothing more was required, then two pigeons, or two turtle-doves, one for a burnt, the other for a sin-offering.
Our Saviour having been conceived by the Holy Ghost, and his blessed Mother remaining always a spotless virgin, it is most evident from the terms of the law, that she was, in reality, under no obligation to it, nor within the intent of it. She was, however, within the letter of the law, in the eye of the world, who were as yet strangers to her miraculous conception. And her humility making her perfectly resigned, and even desirous to conceal her privilege and dignity, she submitted with great punctuality and exactness to every humbling circumstance which the law required. Pride indeed proclaims its own advantages, and seeks honors not its due; but the humble find their delight in obscurity and abasement, they shun all distinction and esteem which they clearly see their own nothingness and baseness to be most unworthy of: they give all glory to God alone, to whom it is due. Devotion also and zeal to honor God by every observance prescribed by his law, prompted Mary to perform this act of religion, though evidently exempt from the precept. Being poor herself; she made the offering appointed for the poor: accordingly is this part of the law mentioned by St. Luke, as best agreeing with the meanness of her worldly condition. But her offering, however mean in itself, was made with a perfect heart, which is what God chiefly regards in all that is offered to him. The King of Glory would appear everywhere in the robes of poverty, to point out to us the advantages of a suffering and lowly state, and to repress our pride, by which, though really poor and mean in the eyes of God, we covet to appear rich, and, though sinners, would be deemed innocents and saints.
A second great mystery is honored this day, regarding more immediately the person of our Redeemer, viz. his presentation in the temple. Besides the law which obliged the mother to purify herself, there was another which ordered that the first-born son should be offered to God: and in these two laws were included several others, as, that the child, after its presentation, should be ransomed with a certain sum of money, and peculiar sacrifices offered on the occasion.
Mary complies exactly with all these ordinances. She obeys not only in the essential points of the law, as in presenting herself to be purified, and in her offering her first-born, but has strict regard to all the circumstances. She remains forty days at home, she denies herself all this time the liberty of. entering the temple, she partakes not of things sacred, though the living temple of the God of Israel; and on the day of her purification, she walks several miles to Jerusalem, with the world's Redeemer in her arms. She waits for the priest at the gate of the temple, makes her offerings of thanksgiving and expiation, presents her divine Son by the hands of the priest to his eternal Father, with the most profound humility, adoration, and thanksgiving. She then redeems him with five shekels, as the law appoints, and receives him back again as a depositum in her special care, till the Father shall again demand him for the full accomplishment of man's redemption. It is clear that Christ was not comprehended in the law; "The king's son, to whom the inheritance of the crown belongs, is exempt from servitude:- much more Christ, who was the Redeemer both of our souls and bodies, was not subject to any law by which he was to be himself redeemed," as St. Hilary observes. But he would set an example of humility, obedience, and devotion: and would renew, in a solemn and public manner, and in the temple, the oblation of himself to his Father for the accomplishment of his will, and the redemption of man, which he had made privately in the first moment of his Incarnation. With what sentiments did the divine Infant offer himself to his Father at the same time! the greatest homage of his honour and glory the Father could receive, and a sacrifice of satisfaction adequate to the injuries done to the Godhead by our sins, and sufficient to ransom our souls from everlasting death! With what cheerfulness and charity did he offer himself to all his torments! to be whipped, crowned with thorns, and ignominiously put to death for us!
Let every Christian learn hence to offer himself to God with this divine victim, through which he may be accepted by the Father; let him devote himself with all his senses and faculties to his service. If sloth, or any other vice, has made us neglectful of this essential duty, we must bewail past omissions, and make a solemn and serious consecration of ourselves this day to the divine majesty with the greater fervor, crying out with St. Austin, in compunction of heart: "Too late have I known thee, too late have I begun to love thee, O beauty more ancient than the world!" But our sacrifice, if we desire it may be accepted, must not be lame and imperfect. It would be an insult to offer to God, in union with his Christ, a divided heart, or a heart infected with wilful sin. It must therefore first be cleansed by tears of sincere compunction: its affections must be crucified to the world by perfect mortification. Our offering must be sincere and fervent, without reserve, allowing no quarter to any of our vicious passions and inclinations, and no division in any of our affections. It must also be universal; to suffer and to do all for the divine honor. If we give our hearts to Christ in this manner, we shall receive him with his graces and benedictions. He would be presented in the temple by the hands of his mother: let us accordingly make the offering of our souls through Mary and beg his graces through the same channel.
The ceremony of this day was closed by a third mystery, the. meeting in the temple of the holy persons, Simeon and Anne, with Jesus and his parents, from which this festival was anciently called by the Greeks Hypante, the meeting. Holy Simeon, on that occasion, received into his arms the object of all his desires and sighs, and praised God in raptures of devotion for being blessed with the happiness of beholding the so much longed-for Messias. He foretold to Mary her martyrdom of sorrow; and that Jesus brought redemption to those who would accept of it on the terms it was offered them; but a heavy judgment on all infidels who should obstinately reject it, and on Christians also whose lives were a contradiction to his holy maxims and example. Mary, hearing this terrible prediction, did not answer one word, felt no agitation of mind from the present, no dread for the future; but courageously and sweetly committed all to God's holy will. Anne also, the prophetess, who, in her widowhood, served God with great fervor, had the happiness to acknowledge and adore in this great mystery the world's Redeemer. Amidst the crowd of priests and people, the Saviour of the world is known only by Simeon and Anne. Even when he disputed with the doctors, and when he wrought the most stupendous miracles, the learned, the wise, and the princes did not know him. Yet here, while a weak, speechless child, carried in the arms of his poor mother, he is acknowledged and adored by Simeon and Anne. He could not hide himself from those who sought him with fervor, humility, and ardent love. Unless we seek him in these dispositions, he will not manifest himself, nor communicate his graces to us. Simeon, having beheld his Saviour in the flesh, desired no longer to see the light of this world, nor any creatures on earth If we truly love God, our distance from him must be a continual pain: and we must sigh after that desired moment which will free us from the danger of ever losing him by sin, and will put us in possession of Him who is the joy of the blessed, and the infinite treasure of heaven. Let us never cease to pray that he purify our hearts from all earthly dross, and draw them to himself: that he heal, satiate, and inflame our souls, as he only came upon earth to kindle in all hearts the fire of his love


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/presentationofchildjesusinthetemple.asp#ixzz1lF56YaHM

VATICAN : POPE : FULL TEXT LENT MESSAGE - BELIEVE IN THE LOVE

(Vatican Radio IMAGE SHARE) BELIEVING IN CHARITY CALLS FORTH CHARITY: PAPAL MESSAGE FOR LENT 2013
Vatican City, 1 February 2013 (VIS) – "Believing in Charity Calls Forth Charity: 'We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us' (1 Jn 4:16)" is the title of the Holy Father's Lenten Message this year. The document, published in eight languages (German, Arabic, Spanish, French, English, Italian, Polish, and Portuguese) is dated, from the Vatican, 15 October 2012. Following is the complete text of the document.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The celebration of Lent, in the context of the Year of Faith, offers us a valuable opportunity to meditate on the relationship between faith and charity: between believing in God?the God of Jesus Christ?and love, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and which guides us on the path of devotion to God and others.
1. Faith as a response to the love of God
In my first Encyclical, I offered some thoughts on the close relationship between the theological virtues of faith and charity. Setting out from Saint John’s fundamental assertion: "We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us”, I observed that “being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction … Since God has first loved us, love is now no longer a mere ‘command’; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us”. Faith is this personal adherence?which involves all our faculties?to the revelation of God’s gratuitous and “passionate” love for us, fully revealed in Jesus Christ. The encounter with God who is Love engages not only the heart but also the intellect: “Acknowledgement of the living God is one path towards love, and the ‘yes’ of our will to his will unites our intellect, will and sentiments in the all-embracing act of love. But this process is always open-ended; love is never ‘finished’ and complete”. Hence, for all Christians, and especially for “charity workers”, there is a need for faith, for “that encounter with God in Christ which awakens their love and opens their spirits to others. As a result, love of neighbour will no longer be for them a commandment imposed, so to speak, from without, but a consequence deriving from their faith, a faith which becomes active through love”. Christians are people who have been conquered by Christ’s love and accordingly, under the influence of that love?“Caritas Christi urget nos”? they are profoundly open to loving their neighbour in concrete ways. This attitude arises primarily from the consciousness of being loved, forgiven, and even served by the Lord, who bends down to was h the feet of the Apostles and offers himself on the Cross to draw humanity into God’s love.
“Faith tells us that God has given his Son for our sakes and gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true: God is love! … Faith, which sees the love of God revealed in the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives rise to love. Love is the light?and in the end, the only light?that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working”. All this helps us to understand that the principal distinguishing mark of Christians is precisely “love grounded in and shaped by faith”.
2. Charity as life in faith
The entire Christian life is a response to God’s love. The first response is precisely faith as the acceptance, filled with wonder and gratitude, of the unprecedented divine initiative that precedes us and summons us. And the “yes” of faith marks the beginning of a radiant story of friendship with the Lord, which fills and gives full meaning to our whole life. But it is not enough for God that we simply accept his gratuitous love. Not only does he love us, but he wants to draw us to himself, to transform us in such a profound way as to bring us to say with Saint Paul: “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”.
When we make room for the love of God, then we become like him, sharing in his own charity. If we open ourselves to his love, we allow him to live in us and to bring us to love with him, in him and like him; only then does our faith become truly “active through love”; only then does he abide in us.
Faith is knowing the truth and adhering to it; charity is “walking” in the truth. Through faith we enter into friendship with the Lord, through charity this friendship is lived and cultivated. Faith causes us to embrace the commandment of our Lord and Master; charity gives us the happiness of putting it into practice. In faith we are begotten as children of God; charity causes us to persevere concretely in our divine sonship, bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Faith enables us to recognize the gifts that the good and generous God has entrusted to us; charity makes them fruitful.
3. The indissoluble interrelation of faith and charity
In light of the above, it is clear that we can never separate, let alone oppose, faith and charity. These two theological virtues are intimately linked, and it is misleading to posit a contrast or “dialectic” between them. On the one hand, it would be too one-sided to place a strong emphasis on the priority and decisiveness of faith and to undervalue and almost despise concrete works of charity, reducing them to a vague humanitarianism. On the other hand, though, it is equally unhelpful to overstate the primacy of charity and the activity it generates, as if works could take the place of faith. For a healthy spiritual life, it is necessary to avoid both fideism and moral activism.
The Christian life consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love. In sacred Scripture, we see how the zeal of the Apostles to proclaim the Gospel and awaken people’s faith is closely related to their charitable concern to be of service to the poor. In the Church, contemplation and action, symbolized in some way by the Gospel figures of Mary and Martha, have to coexist and complement each other. The relationship with God must always be the priority, and any true sharing of goods, in the spirit of the Gospel, must be rooted in faith. Sometimes we tend, in fact, to reduce the term “charity” to solidarity or simply humanitarian aid. It is important, however, to remember that the greatest work of charity is evangelisation, which is the “ministry of the word”. There is no action more beneficial – and therefore more charitable – towards one’s neighbour than to break the bread of the word of God, to share with him the Good News of the Gospel, to introduce him to a relationship with God: evangelisation is the highest and the most integral promotion of the human person. As the Servant of God Pope Paul VI wrote in the Encyclical "Populorum Progressio", the proclamation of Christ is the first and principal contributor to development. It is the primordial truth of the love of God for us, lived and proclaimed, that opens our lives to receive this love and makes possible the integral development of humanity and of every man.
Essentially, everything proceeds from Love and tends towards Love. God’s gratuitous love is made known to us through the proclamation of the Gospel. If we welcome it with faith, we receive the first and indispensable contact with the Divine, capable of making us “fall in love with Love”, and then we dwell within this Love, we grow in it and we joyfully communicate it to others.
Concerning the relationship between faith and works of charity, there is a passage in the Letter to the Ephesians which provides perhaps the best account of the link between the two: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God; not because of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. It can be seen here that the entire redemptive initiative comes from God, from his grace, from his forgiveness received in faith; but this initiative, far from limiting our freedom and our responsibility, is actually what makes them authentic and directs them towards works of charity. These are not primarily the result of human effort, in which to take pride, but they are born of faith and they flow from the grace that God gives in abundance. Faith without works is like a tree without fruit: the two virtues imply one another. Lent invites us, through the traditional practices of the Christian life, to nourish our faith by careful and extended listening to the word of God and by receiving the sacraments, and at the same time to grow in charity and in love for God and neighbour, not least through the specific practices of fasting, penance and almsgiving.
4. Priority of faith, primacy of charity
Like any gift of God, faith and charity have their origin in the action of one and the same Holy Spirit, the Spirit within us that cries out “Abba, Father”, and makes us say: “Jesus is Lord!” and “Maranatha!”.
Faith, as gift and response, causes us to know the truth of Christ as Love incarnate and crucified, as full and perfect obedience to the Father’s will and infinite divine mercy towards neighbour; faith implants in hearts and minds the firm conviction that only this Love is able to conquer evil and death. Faith invites us to look towards the future with the virtue of hope, in the confident expectation that the victory of Christ’s love will come to its fullness. For its part, charity ushers us into the love of God manifested in Christ and joins us in a personal and existential way to the total and unconditional self-giving of Jesus to the Father and to his brothers and sisters. By filling our hearts with his love, the Holy Spirit makes us sharers in Jesus’ filial devotion to God and fraternal devotion to every man.
The relationship between these two virtues resembles that between the two fundamental sacraments of the Church: Baptism and Eucharist. Baptism ("sacramentum fidei") precedes the Eucharist ("sacramentum caritatis"), but is ordered to it, the Eucharist being the fullness of the Christian journey. In a similar way, faith precedes charity, but faith is genuine only if crowned by charity. Everything begins from the humble acceptance of faith (“knowing that one is loved by God”), but has to arrive at the truth of charity (“knowing how to love God and neighbour”), which remains for ever, as the fulfilment of all the virtues.
Dear brothers and sisters, in this season of Lent, as we prepare to celebrate the event of the Cross and Resurrection?in which the love of God redeemed the world and shone its light upon history?I express my wish that all of you may spend this precious time rekindling your faith in Jesus Christ, so as to enter with him into the dynamic of love for the Father and for every brother and sister that we encounter in our lives. For this intention, I raise my prayer to God, and I invoke the Lord’s blessing upon each individual and upon every community!
CARDINAL SARAH: FAITH AND CHARITY ARE TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN
Vatican City, 1 February 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father's Lenten Message for 2013 was presented this morning in the Press Office of the Holy See. It is entitled: Believing in Charity Calls Forth Charity ? "We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us," (1Jn 4:16). Participating in the press conference were: Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"; Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso and Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, respectively secretary and undersecretary of that dicastery; and Dr. Michael Thio, president general of the International Confederation-Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
"This year," Cardinal Sarah said, "the theme of the message focuses on the compelling relationship between faith and charity … between believing in God, the God revealed by Jesus Christ, and the charity that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and that leads us to the horizon of a deeper openness to God and neighbour. … If we talk about the connection between faith and charity we are referring to, at least, two dimensions. Firstly, there can be no true faith without action: whoever believes must learn to give of themselves to others. Secondly, charity calls forth faith, which therefore makes it witness."
Introduced during this Year of Faith, the Lenten Message is "a valuable opportunity to keep this bond between all the faithful alive. In this sense, it is a propitious moment, since we are preparing for Easter, that is, to celebrate the event that Christians recognize as the source of charity: Christ who dies and is resurrected out of love. … Lent is always an opportune time for opening … our hearts to our brothers and sisters who are most in need, sharing what we have with them. In this particular historical moment, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of an informed and documented charity that is attentive to the many areas of poverty, misery, and suffering: from the increase in number and scale of natural disasters, which are not without human responsibility, ... to the escalation of violent conflicts, often forgotten by the media; the worsening of living conditions for many families, also a consequence of the economic and financial crisis that affects so many countries in Europe and around the world; the increase in unemployment, particularly among young adults; and the situations where jobs exist, but the workers are exploited, underpaid and without the minimum security that guarantees the dignity of work itself and consequently, therefore, of the dignity of the human person."
"The centre of this Lenten Message," the cardinal reiterated, "is certainly the indissoluble interrelation of faith and charity. … 'We can never separate, let alone oppose, faith and charity.' However, this separation or opposition can take different forms. … It is a misunderstanding to emphasize the faith, and the liturgy as its privileged channel, so strongly as to forget that they are intended for actual persons who have their own needs?human as they may be?their own history, their own relationships. This becomes so convenient for so many of us?inside and outside of church, which is fragrant with candles, busy putting the sacristy in order, concentrating on abstract theological discussions and clerical disputes?to overlook persons in their totality, the whole person to whom Christ calls."
"Another misconception is thinking that the Church is some kind of great act of philanthropy or solidarity that is purely human, in which social commitment is a priority, or that what is important is the promotion of a humanity that has culture and enough to eat." Such a misunderstanding extends to thinking that "the Church's main task is to build a just and equitable society, forgetting our need for God that lies at the heart of our very being."
"A further misconception is to divide the Church into a 'good Church'?the one of charitable action?and a 'bad Church'?the one that insists on the truth, that defends and protects human live and the universal moral values." Such a misunderstanding proposes that "the Church is fine when taking care of the sick, but it does less well when exercising the duty of raising awareness."
"Faith and charity go together, which is why the Gospel and action go together. What holds as true in personal experience also applies to the Church as a community. … On the one hand, a life based solely on faith runs the risk of sinking into a banal sentimentality that reduces our relationship with God to mere consolation. On the other hand, a charity that kneels in adoration of God without taking into account the source from which it springs and to which every good deed must be directed, is likely to be reduced to mere philanthropy, to mere 'moral activism'. In our lives, therefore, we are called to keep the 'knowing' of truth and the 'walking' in truth united."
"This is why I believe this Message is so timely," Cardinal Sarah concluded. "Not only because it falls during the Year of Faith and therefore in this context we do well to remember that faith and charity are the two faces of the same coin, that is, our belonging to Christ. But is timely because in this phase of history, when humanity struggles to recognize itself and to find a path to the future, the Pope's words present a unified proposal, a way of life in which accepting God engenders acceptance of others in all their dimensions, expressions, and needs. The Church can thus be the beacon of a renewed humanity and contribute to the coming of the 'Civilization of Love'."
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 1 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., titular of Thibica and secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and
eight prelates from the Campania region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Luigi Moretti of Salerno-Campagna-Acerno,
- Archbishop Orazio Soricelli of Amalfi-Cava de’ Tirreni,
- Archbishop Tommaso Caputo, of the territorial prelature of Pompei o Beatissima Vergine Maria del Santissimo Rosario and pontifical delegate to the sanctuary,
- Bishop Antonio Napoletano, C.SS.R., of Sessa Aurunca,
- Bishop Arturo Aiello of Teano-Calvi,
- Bishop Giuseppe Giudice of Nocera Inferiore-Sarno,
- Msgr. Pietro Piccirillo, diocesan administrator of Capua, and
- Fr. Giordano Rota, O.S.B., apostolic administrator of Santissima Trinita di Cava de’ Tirreni
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 1 February 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father has granted the "Ecclesiastica Communio" requested of him in accordance with canon 76 para. 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches by His Beatitude Louis Raphael I Sako, canonically elected as Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans by the Synod of Bishops of that Church, meeting in Rome on 28 January.
The Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church, convoked by the Holy Father under the presidency of Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, canonically elected the Archbishop Louis Sako as Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans. The new Patriarch, previously archbishop of Kirkuk of the Chaldeans, Iraq, has chosen the name of Louis Raphael I Sako. He succeeds His Eminence Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly.

CATHOLIC MOVIES - WATCH ROMERO - FULL FILM

IN HONOUR OF THE YEAR OF FAITH JCE NEWS WILL BE SHOWING SOME OF THE BEST CATHOLIC FILMS OF ALL TIME - ROMERO
Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (15 August 1917 – 24 March 1980) was a bishop of the Catholic Church in El Salvador.

EUROPE : SCOTLAND : CATHOLIC EDUCATION WEEK

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT
Scotland celebrates Catholic Education Week | Catholic Education Week,  Scotland
Catholic Education Week takes place in Scotland from 3 - 9 February. The Scottish Catholic Church encourages schools, parishes and other agencies to work closely together in order to celebrate the distinctive purpose of Catholic education during one particular week each year. The purpose of Catholic Education Week is to highlight the significance of education, not only for young people but for everyone. Students, parents, teachers and others are asked to reflect on their own roles in the education process - at home, in school, in the local parish and in other educational settings.
The organisers say in a statement:
This year's theme is taken from 'Porta Fidei', the document with which the Holy Father introduced the Year of Faith. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the positive impact of faith as an emotional, intellectual and spiritual force. It counters any notion of education in faith being about ‘closed’ minds. It calls for us to be open to God’s gift of faith and to help others to be open to God’s invitation to faith. It also calls for parents, teachers, catechists and clergy to be “credible witnesses” to faith in their words and actions so that others can be helped to believe.
"Opening Hearts and Minds to God" is the raison d’être of Catholic education. Our purpose is to develop the whole person – in mind, heart, body and spirit – and so help each young person to achieve his or her full potential for life.
At home, in the parish and in school, adults share the responsibility of nurturing young people in faith. We can prepare the ‘soil’ which will allow the seed of faith to grow and take root in the hearts and minds of children and we can nurture that growing faith until young people are mature enough to sustain their own personal faith commitment.
In this way we are opening minds, not closing them, as some critics like to argue. We are offering them a vision of God’s transforming love. We are opening the door of faith for them but they have to freely choose to walk through that door. Thereafter we can only pray that they do so.
We have developed resources for school, parishes and parents which will help adults to open hearts and minds to God. We hope that, through the Year of Faith, young people will be helped to focus on what our faith is and on how it can be professed, celebrated,
prayed and lived. The starting point for this learning and reflection is the Nicene Creed, the prayer of the Church which we profess each Sunday.
All the materials we have provided to schools, including 60,000 laminated cards, relate to learning and teaching about the Nicene Creed, enabling young people to come to know and understand what these words mean, so that they may proclaim them not only in Church but in the whole of their lives.
Our intention is that, throughout this Year of Faith, teachers and chaplains can use these learning resources to help children and young people to examine the Creed in depth over a period of some time. Indeed, we hope that they will find creative ways of explaining to their parents and other adults what they have learned and what they believe.
In such ways they will show that they are becoming credible witnesses who are “capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end."

SHARED FROM IND. CATH. NEWS

AMERICA : CARDINAL MAHONY RELIEVED OF PUBLIC DUTIES

CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT
By Staff Reporter on Friday, 1 February 2013
Cardinal Roger Mahony (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)
Cardinal Roger Mahony (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)
Cardinal Roger Mahony will “no longer have any administrative or public duties” as retired Archbishop of Los Angeles because of past failures to protect children from clerical sex abuse, Archbishop José Gomez has said.
Archbishop Gomez, Cardinal Mahony’s successor as Archbishop of Los Angeles, made the statement on the same day the archdiocese published the files of clergy who were the subject of a 2007 global abuse settlement. The material has been posted on a website, along with supporting information that includes the names of senior Church figures.
Archbishop Gomez also accepted Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry’s request to be relieved of his responsibility as the regional bishop of Santa Barbara.
Cardinal Mahony, now 76, led the archdiocese from 1985 until his March 2011 retirement. Bishop Curry, 70, was the archdiocese’s vicar of clergy and chief adviser on sexual abuse cases in the mid-1980s.
“These files document abuses that happened decades ago,” Archbishop Gomez said. “But that does not make them less serious. I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behaviour described in these files is terribly sad and evil.
“There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed. We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today,” he said.
Some of files show archdiocesan officials worked to conceal child molestation by priests from law enforcement authorities in the 1980s. Memos exchanged in 1986 and 1987 by the cardinal and the bishop reveal proposals to keep police from investigating three priests who had admitted to Church officials that they molested young boys.
“Sad and shameful as the past history of sexual abuse is,” an archdiocesan statement said, “the Archdiocese of Los Angeles can point to more than a decade of modern child protection efforts that are among the most effective in the nation at preventing abuse and dealing with allegations of abuse.”
Archbishop Gomez in his statement noted that Cardinal Mahony “has expressed his sorrow for his failure to fully protect young people entrusted to his care” and Bishop Curry “has also publicly apologised for his decisions while serving as vicar for clergy”.
“Effective immediately,” he continued, “I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties” and accepted Bishop Curry’s request to be relieved of his responsibility as the regional bishop of Santa Barbara.
Archbishop Gomez said that “reading these files, reflecting on the wounds that were caused, has been the saddest experience I’ve had since becoming your archbishop in 2011.”
“To every victim of child sexual abuse by a member of our Church: I want to help you in your healing. I am profoundly sorry for these sins against you,” he said. “To every Catholic in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I want you to know: We will continue, as we have for many years now, to immediately report every credible allegation of abuse to law enforcement authorities and to remove those credibly accused from ministry.
“We will continue to work, every day, to make sure that our children are safe and loved and cared for in our parishes, schools and in every ministry in the archdiocese,” he said.
The 2007 settlement for $600 million covered more than 500 people who made claims about being sexually abuse by priests and other church personnel. Some of the priests who had claims against them sued to keep their names from being released, saying it violated their privacy rights.
A Superior Court judge ruled in early January that the names of personnel identified in the files could be made public, overturning an earlier decision by a retired federal judge who was acting as a mediator in a settlement between the archdiocese and victims who said they had been abused.
Church officials in Los Angeles had fought for years to keep the files private.
The documents show that Bishop Curry suggested to Cardinal Mahony that they prevent the priests from seeing therapists who might alert authorities and that the priests be given out-of-state assignments to avoid criminal investigators.
Cardinal Mahony said last month that he prays for victims of abuse by priests daily as he celebrates Mass in his private chapel.
“It remains my daily and fervent prayer that God’s grace will flood the heart and soul of each victim, and that their life journey continues forward with ever greater healing,” he said in a statement, explaining that on his altar he keeps cards with the names of each of the 90 victims he met with from 2006 to 2008.
“As I thumb through those cards I often pause as I am reminded of each personal story and the anguish that accompanies that life story,” the cardinal said. “I am sorry.”
Archdiocesan spokesman Tod Tamberg said that while he has been relieved of administrative and public duties, Cardinal Mahony will continue to say Mass in the parish where he lives.
The cardinal sits on three Vatican offices: the Congregation for Eastern Churches, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See. He would normally keep those positions until the retirement age of 80.
When asked by Catholic News Service in Rome if Archbishop Gomez’s action to relieve Cardinal Mahony of administrative duties will affect his role with those offices, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi responded only by stating that the “measure taken by the archbishop naturally regards his archdiocese and not other duties that Cardinal Mahony has received from the pope in the Roman Curia.”
The retired archbishop was named a cardinal in 1991. As a member of the College of Cardinals who is under the age of 80, he is eligible to vote in a conclave.
SHARED FROM CATHOLIC HERALD UK

AUSTRALIA : A NEW SCHOOL YEAR BEGINS

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
1 Feb 2013


Penny and Jason Slade were on hand when their twin girls Sibella (left) and Stevie (right) started school yesterday
Thousands of school students put their holidays behind them and got out the schoolbags this week for the start of a new school year.
For many it was "school as usual". For others walking through the school gates for the first time it was a moment of apprehension.
But for gorgeous twins Stevie and Sibella it was one of the best days of their young lives.
The five-year-old twin girls were so excited about their first day at Maroubra's St Mary-St Joseph Catholic Primary School this week that they insisted on dressing themselves in their brand new school uniforms.
"They've both been trying on the school uniforms every day for the past week and bombarding me with endless questions about school," their mother, Penny Slade says laughing.
Penny and Jason Slade were both there to help their two little girls settle in on their first day of school but even though they stayed for the school's "tea'n'tissues" morning, there were no tears from the twins who were thrilled by this new adventure.
"I have no worries about either of them. I know they will love it here. Both girls are independent and confident enough to learn and listen like they're supposed to," says their proud mother who praised the school, its staff and its Principal, Pam Forde.
"The school's Orientation has been fantastic and we are really happy the girls will be surrounded by such great teachers and school support group," she said.
The tea'n'tissues mornings are part of the Maroubra Catholic Primary school's Orientation Program for parents, grandparents and their families as a way to help kindergarten kids adapt and enjoy their new and unfamiliar surroundings.
"We work on including families from the start which helps to build strong school communities," explains Principal Pam Forde who encourages parents to play an active role in their child's transition from home to the wider world of school.
St Mary-St Joseph Primary at Maroubra currently has more than 300 students. Staff returned to the school on Tuesday and the majority of children began classes on Wednesday. But for the first timers like kindergarteners, Stevie and Sibella school began yesterday.
 
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

AFRICA : LIBYA : EXTREMISTS FORCE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES TO LEAVE

Agenzia Fides REPORT - "Two religious communities leave Cyrenaica after being pressured by fundamentalists" is the complaint made to Fides Agency by His Exc. Mgr. Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, who reports that in the east of Libya, "the situation is critical."
"On February 20, large-scale demonstrations throughout Cyrenaica are expected so the Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi has been warned to leave the church from 13 February to take shelter" continues Mgr. Martinelli.
The Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli traces the picture of the Church in Cyrenaica. "In past days the Congregation of the Holy Family of Spoleto who had been there for nearly 100 years were forced to abandon Derna, and a Polish Salesian priest, who was abused by some fundamentalists. In Beida another women's religious community was forced to escape even if in this case, for internal reasons. In Barce the Franciscan Sisters of the Child Jesus will leave their home in coming days. "
"Here in Tripoli so far the situation is relatively calm, but in Cyrenaica, the atmosphere is very tense," said Mgr. Martinelli, who adds: "We regret having to reduce our activities in that area because we have built a very strong and beautiful relationship, made of testimony and friendship with the Libyan people, which unfortunately in recent times has been affected by the presence of fundamentalists. These do not represent the identity of the Libyan people but an expression of Libyan society today."
"As a Church we will take our precautions, but we cannot abandon the Christians who remain here. Two religious communities will remain in Benghazi, a small community in Tobruk and finally another small community of Indian sisters in Beida," said Mgr. Martinelli, who concludes:" We remain impoverished, but full of hope that one day our communities will resume force. " (LM.) (Agenzia Fides 31/01/2013)

ASIA : PAKISTAN : MALALA NOMINATION FOR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

ASIA NEWS REPOR
Members of the ruling party presented in an official request. The young Pakistani activist, victim of Taliban violence, conducted a "courageous battle" for "the right to education of girls." She is still undergoing medical treatment for head injuries caused by a shooting attack. Pakistani blogger: "Allah bless and protect you."


Islamabad (AsiaNews) - A group of Norwegian parliamentarians, members of the Labour Party currently in government has presented in an official nomination for Malala Yousafzai, an icon of the struggle for women's education in Pakistan for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. The signatories of the initiative include deputies Fredy de Ruiter, Gorm Kjernli and Magne Rommetveit, who called for the award for the young woman who was targeted by Islamic extremists in October last, and suffered a head injury in a shooting attack. Still today, the 15 year old is undergoing medical treatment to heal the fractures to the skull, in recent weeks an online petition had been launched by the Change activist network (click here to sign), which has already gathered thousands of supporters around the world.

In presenting the official nomination of Malala, the Norwegian government leaders warned that "the student and blogger" has conquered the world stage "when she was shot in the head by Taliban" for "criticizing the militant group" Tahreek- e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on her blog. The young girl led a "courageous battle" for "the right to education of girls" and "her efforts were seen as a threatto the extremist forces, who tried to kill her."

The United Nations, on the initiative of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have wanted to celebrate her struggle by establishing November 10 - 30 days exactly from the attack - the "Malala Day" to represent a "source of inspiration for girls' education in the world. " The initiative of the Norwegian politicians was also welcomed in Pakistan, with positive reviews on online sites of newspapers. The blogger pakiindi wrote "well done" and wanted to "kiss your forehead for the honour you bring to this unfortunate nation." He added: "May Allah protect you and bless you."

Malala Yousafzai - the winner of a national youth award - on October 9 last year the victim of a Taliban attack in the Swat Valley, a mountainous area in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on the border with Afghanistan, the stronghold of Islamic extremists. She was shot while on board the school bus to take her home, after her morning lessons. The girl had become famous in 2009 at the age of 11, for keeping a blog on the BBC site in the local language in which she denounced attacks by Pakistani Islamists against girls and female schools. Along the North-West Frontier, where in some areas Sharia and Islamic courts are in force, hundreds of schools - even Christian - were closed or destroyed by extremist attacks. At the expense of tens of thousands of students and at least 8 thousand female teachers, whose jobs are at risk.


SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. FEB. 1, 2013


Mark 4: 26 - 34


26 And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground,
27 and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how.
28 The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."
30 And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?
31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth;
32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;
34 he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.

TODAY'S SAINT : FEB. 1 : ST. BRIDGID OF IRELAND

St. Bridgid of Ireland
VIRGIN, PATRONESS OF IRELAND
Feast: February 1


Information:
Feast Day:February 1
Born:
451 or 452 at Faughart, County Louth, Ireland
Died:1 February 525 at Kildare, Ireland
Patron of:babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; cattle; chicken farmers; children whose parents are not married; dairymaids; dairy workers; fugitives; infants; Ireland; mariners; midwives; milk maids; newborn babies; nuns; poets; poultry farmers; poultry raisers; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travellers; watermen
Born in 451 or 452 of princely ancestors at Faughart, near Dundalk, County Louth; d. 1 February, 525, at Kildare. Refusing many good offers of marriage, she became a nun and received the veil from St. Macaille. With seven other virgins she settled for a time at the foot of Croghan Hill, but removed thence to Druin Criadh, in the plains of Magh Life, where under a large oak tree she erected her subsequently famous Convent of Cill-Dara, that is, "the church of the oak" (now Kildare), in the present county of that name. It is exceedingly difficult to reconcile the statements of St. Brigid's biographers, but the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Lives of the saint are at one in assigning her a slave mother in the court of her father Dubhthach, and Irish chieftain of Leinster. Probably the most ancient life of St. Brigid is that by St. Broccan Cloen, who is said to have died 17 September, 650. It is metrical, as may be seen from the following specimen:

Ni bu Sanct Brigid suanach
Ni bu huarach im sheire Dé,
Sech ni chiuir ni cossens
Ind nóeb dibad bethath che.

(Saint Brigid was not given to sleep,
Nor was she intermittent about God's love;
Not merely that she did not buy, she did not seek for
The wealth of this world below, the holy one.)

Cogitosus, a monk of Kildare in the eighth century, expounded the metrical life of St. Brigid, and versified it in good Latin. This is what is known as the "Second Life", and is an excellent example of Irish scholarship in the mid-eighth century. Perhaps the most interesting feature of Cogitosus's work is the description of the Cathedral of Kildare in his day: "Solo spatioso et in altum minaci proceritate porruta ac decorata pictis tabulis, tria intrinsecus habens oratoria ampla, et divisa parietibus tabulatis". The rood-screen was formed of wooden boards, lavishly decorated, and with beautifully decorated curtains. Probably the famous Round Tower of Kildare dates from the sixth century. Although St. Brigid was "veiled" or received by St. Macaille, at Croghan, yet, it is tolerably certain that she was professed by St. Mel of Ardagh, who also conferred on her abbatial powers. From Ardagh St. Macaille and St. Brigid followed St. Mel into the country of Teffia in Meath, including portions of Westmeath and Longford. This occurred about the year 468. St. Brigid's small oratory at Cill- Dara became the centre of religion and learning, and developed into a cathedral city. She founded two monastic institutions, one for men, and the other for women, and appointed St. Conleth as spiritual pastor of them. It has been frequently stated that she gave canonical jurisdiction to St. Conleth, Bishop of Kildare, but, as Archbishop Healy points out, she simply "selected the person to whom the Church gave this jurisdiction", and her biographer tells us distinctly that she chose St. Conleth "to govern the church along with herself". Thus, for centuries, Kildare was ruled by a double line of abbot-bishops and of abbesses, the Abbess of Kildare being regarded as superioress general of the convents in Ireland.
Not alone was St. Bridget a patroness of students, but she also founded a school of art, including metal work and illumination, over which St. Conleth presided. From the Kildare scriptorium came the wondrous book of the Gospels, which elicited unbounded praise from Giraldus Cambrensis, but which has disappeared since the Reformation. According to this twelfth- century ecclesiastic, nothing that he had ever seen was at all comparable to the "Book of Kildare", every page of which was gorgeously illuminated, and he concludes a most laudatory notice by saying that the interlaced work and the harmony of the colours left the impression that "all this is the work of angelic, and not human skill". Small wonder that Gerald Barry assumed the book to have been written night after night as St. Bridget prayed, "an angel furnishing the designs, the scribe copying". Even allowing for the exaggerated stories told of St. Brigid by her numerous biographers, it is certain that she ranks as one of the most remarkable Irishwomen of the fifth century and as the Patroness of Ireland. She is lovingly called the "Queen of the South: the Mary of the Gael" by a writer in the "Leabhar Breac". St. Brigid died leaving a cathedral city and school that became famous all over Europe. In her honour St. Ultan wrote a hymn commencing:

Christus in nostra insula
Que vocatur Hivernia
Ostensus est hominibus
Maximis mirabilibus
Que perfecit per felicem
Celestis vite virginem
Precellentem pro merito
Magno in numdi circulo.

(In our island of Hibernia Christ was made known to man by the very great miracles which he performed through the happy virgin of celestial life, famous for her merits through the whole world.)

The sixth Life of the saint printed by Colgan is attributed to Coelan, an Irish monk of the eighth century, and it derives a peculiar importance from the fact that it is prefaced by a foreword from the pen of St. Donatus, also an Irish monk, who became Bishop of Fiesole in 824. St. Donatus refers to previous lives by St. Ultan and St. Aileran. When dying, St. Brigid was attended by St. Ninnidh, who was ever afterwards known as "Ninnidh of the Clean Hand" because he had his right hand encased with a metal covering to prevent its ever being defiled, after being he medium of administering the viaticum to Ireland's Patroness. She was interred at the right of the high altar of Kildare Cathedral, and a costly tomb was erected over her. In after years her shrine was an object of veneration for pilgrims, especially on her feast day, 1 February, as Cogitosus related. About the year 878, owing to the Scandinavian raids, the relics of St. Brigid were taken to Downpatrick, where they were interred in the tomb of St. Patrick and St. Columba. The relics of the three saints were discovered in 1185, and on 9 June of the following year were solemnly translated to a suitable resting place in Downpatrick Cathedral, in presence of Cardinal Vivian, fifteen bishops, and numerous abbots and ecclesiastics. Various Continental breviaries of the pre-Reformation period commemorate St. Brigid, and her name is included in a litany in the Stowe Missal. In Ireland today, after 1500 years, the memory of "the Mary of the Gael" is as dear as ever to the Irish heart, and, as is well known, Brigid preponderates as a female Christian name. Moreover, hundreds of place-names in her honour are to be found all over the country, e.g. Kilbride, Brideswell, Tubberbride, Templebride, etc. The hand of St. Brigid is preserved at Lumiar near Lisbon, Portugal, since 1587, and another relic is at St. Martin's Cologne.
Viewing the biography of St. Brigid from a critical standpoint we must allow a large margin for the vivid Celtic imagination and the glosses of medieval writers, but still the personality of the founder of Kildare stands out clearly, and we can with tolerable accuracy trace the leading events in her life, by a careful study of the old "Lives" as found in Colgan. It seems certain that Faughart, associated with memories of Queen Meave (Medhbh), was the scene of her birth; and Faughart Church was founded by St. Morienna in honour of St. Brigid. The old well of St. Brigid's adjoining the ruined church is of the most venerable antiquity, and still attracts pilgrims; in the immediate vicinity is the ancient mote of Faughart. As to St. Brigid's stay in Connacht, especially in the County Roscommon, there is ample evidence in the "Trias Thaumaturga", as also in the many churches founded by her in the Diocese of Elphim. Her friendship with St. Patrick is attested by the following paragraph from the "Book of Armagh", a precious manuscript of the eighth century, the authenticity of which is beyond question: "inter sanctum Patricium Brigitanque Hibernesium columpnas amicitia caritatis inerat tanta, ut unum cor consiliumque haberent unum. Christus per illum illamque virtutes multas peregit". (Between St. Patrick and St. Brigid, the columns of the Irish, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind. Through him and through her Christ performed many miracles.) At Armagh there was a "Templum Brigidis"; namely the little abbey church known as "Regles Brigid", which contained some relics of the saint, destroyed in 1179, by William Fitz Aldelm. It may be added that the original manuscript of Cogitosus's "Life of Brigid", or the "Second Life", dating from the closing years of the eighth century, is now in the Dominican friary at Eichstätt in Bavaria.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/stbridgidofireland.asp#ixzz1lBmX8XfI