Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Tanzania: priest attacked with acid | Zanzibar, Tanzania, Father Anselm Mwang’amba, Stone Town, acid attack, CSW, Fadhil Suleiman Soraga, Chief Mufti of Zanzibar

Stone Town market = Wiki image
IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: An elderly Catholic priest was attacked with acid in Zanzibar last Friday. The incident, which is the latest in a series of assaults on churches and religious leaders in the semi-autonomous archipelago, highlights a worrying deterioration in freedom of religion in Tanzania.
Father Anselm Mwang’amba was attacked as he left an internet cafe in the historic Stone Town area of the Zanzibar capital, and is currently hospitalised with severe burns to the face, neck and hands. According to a local report, while inside the cafe Fr Mwang’amba received a call from an unknown number and was doused with acid as he exited to answer his telephone.
The assault on Fr Mwang’amba is the fourth major attack on a Christian leader in Zanzibar since December 2012, when a Catholic priest was wounded by unknown gunmen. Muslim leaders have also been attacked. In November 2012 Fadhil Suleiman Soraga, Secretary of the Chief Mufti of Zanzibar, was shot by unknown assailants with a jet of acid.
 Fr Evarist Mushi, while At Christmas a Catholic priest, Ambrose Mkenda was seriously wounded in an ambush and  some churches were burned. In February 2013, the murder of a Protestant pastor was followed a week later by the killing of a Catholic priest. In August, two British 18 year olds who did volunteer work in a school, were killed in a similar attack.
In addition, at least 20 churches have been looted and either burnt or demolished, allegedly by supporters of the separatist religious movement Uamsho (Awakening).
Perpetrators of religious violence are never brought to trial even when identified or caught in the act, and police investigations are generally extended indefinitely.
In a comment to CSW on the attack on Fr Mwang’amba a local Christian who preferred to remain anonymous said: "We are asking the international community to intervene in this issue. Christians do not have any protection. In this environment we live in so much fear of what will happen to whom tomorrow."
Daniel Sinclair, Communications Director at CSW said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Fr Mwang’amba, who we wish a speedy recovery. These threats and attacks targeting church leaders and church buildings are in violation of the Tanzanian constitution, which provides for freedom of religion or belief. If left unchecked, religious violence will ultimately undermine national cohesion.
CSW calls upon the Tanzanian authorities to take decisive action to tackle rising extremism and prevent impunity from taking hold in any part of the country. It is vital that the Government of Zanzibar effectively addresses attacks on the local Christian community, offers protection to all who are under threat, adequately compensates churches that have been looted or demolished, and ensures that inciters and perpetrators of religion-related violence are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The President of Zanzibar,  Ali Mohammed Shein has condemned the attack and promised he will do everything possible to stop what he called "a criminal network" responsible for the recent attacks with acid. "We cannot live in constant fear of individuals out of control that use acid as a weapon" Shein reiterated while visiting the priest in the hospital in Zanzibar where he was initially admitted.
The island's authorities have offered a reward of $ 6,000 to anyone who provides information to arrest the perpetrators of acts of this nature.
The Catholic Church has repeatedly denounced the climate of intimidation against Christians and propaganda of those who incite religious clashes.

Source: Fides/CSW


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
16 Sep 2013
The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell celebrated the Memorial Mass for the Unborn at St Mary's Cathedral.
Eighty two candles symbolising the 82 lives lost to abortion each day across New South Wales were carried in solemn procession to commemorate lives lost to abortion at the annual Memorial Mass for the Unborn which was held at St Mary's Cathedral on Friday, 13 September.
Almost 1000 gathered for this very special Mass which was celebrated by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell  and priests from the Archdiocese.
"Each candle represents one tragic story drawn from an all too often indifferent and uncaring society in which a woman's capacity to bear life is seen as a problem and a burden. But the light that will burn for these children is also a sign of the eternal light of God's mercy that will shine on them," His Eminence told those present when he delivered his homily.
An initiative of Cardinal Pell, the Memorial Mass for the Unborn was inspired by the Requiem Mass for the Unborn held each year by the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Invited to concelebrate the Requiem Mass for the Unborn by the Archbishop of Los Angeles, the Most Rev Jose Gomez in January 2011, Cardinal Pell recognised the need for a similar Memorial Mass for the Unborn here in Australia.
Students from Sydney's Catholic schools carried candles representing the 82 unborn babies lost to abortion each day in NSW
Sydney's inaugural Memorial Mass for the Unborn was held at St Mary's Cathedral on September 14 2012 when more than 700 joined in solidarity to commemorate the tragic loss of life through abortion and to give those whose lives have been affected by abortion an opportunity to grieve and to heal.
This year even more people attended the Memorial Mass for the Unborn.
"This year's Mass was a very beautiful, solemn and respectful ceremony which I hope brought as much solace and comfort to others as it brought me," one first time attendee said as she watched the 82 lighted candles carried from the Cathedral and placed outside on the Western steps.
The candles were arranged to form a cross which continued to shine throughout the night as a poignant public memorial to the unborn and all those who had lost their lives as the result of abortion.
The cross formed by the 82 candles on the steps of St Mary's Cathedral served as a poignant public memorial to the unborn
"Every life matters,"  says Chris Meney, Director of the Archdiocese of Sydney's Life, Marriage and Family Centre which organised Friday's Memorial Mass for the Unborn and firmly believes as a society we need to do more to support vulnerable women in challenging circumstances.
"Given the nature of abortion and its terrible effects on so many, the government needs to be pro-active in finding out the reasons why so many mothers feel compelled to choose abortion and the termination of a precious new life as their only option," he says.
Support for women during pregnancy can be found at Pregnancy Help Australia on 1800 792 798 or at
Post-abortion healing is available through the confidential healing ministry, Rachel's Vineyard. To contact Rachel's Vineyard call 0400 092 555 or go to
Shared from Archdiocese of Sydney


Wednesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 445

Reading 1           1 TM 3:14-16

I am writing you,
although I hope to visit you soon.
But if I should be delayed,
you should know how to behave in the household of God,
which is the Church of the living God,
the pillar and foundation of truth.
Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion,

Who was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated in the spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed to the Gentiles,
believed in throughout the world,
taken up in glory.

Responsorial Psalm             PS 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (2) How great are the works of the Lord!
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
Majesty and glory are his work,
and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!

Gospel            LK 7:31-35

Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare the people of this generation?
What are they like?
They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another,

‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance.
We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’

For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine,
and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”


St. Joseph of Cupertino
Feast: September 18
Feast Day:
September 18
June 17, 1603, Copertino, Puglia, Kingdom of Naples
September 18, 1663, Osimo, Marche, Papal States
July 16, 1767, Rome by Pope Clement XIII
Patron of:
Aviation, astronauts, mental handicaps, test taking, students

Mystic, born 17 June, 1603; died at Osimo 18 September, 1663; feast, 18 September. Joseph received his surname from Cupertino, a small village in the Diocese of Nardo, lying between Brindisi and Otranto in the Kingdom of Naples. His father Felice Desa, a poor carpenter, died before Joseph was born and left some debts, in consequence of which the creditors drove the mother, Francesca Panara, from her home, and she was obliged to give birth to her child in a stable. In his eighth year Joseph had an ecstatic vision while at school and this was renewed several times; so that the children, seeing him gape and stare on such occasions, lost to all things about him, gave him the sobriquet "Bocca Aperta". At the same time he had a hot and irascible temper which his strict mother strove hard to overcome. He was apprenticed to a shoemaker, but at the age of seventeen he tried to be admitted to the Friars Minor Conventuals and was refused on account of his ignorance. He then applied to the Capuchins at Martino near Tarento, where he was accepted as a lay-brother in 1620, but his continual ecstasies unfitted him for work and he was dismissed. His mother and his uncles abused him as a good-for-nothing, but Joseph did not lose hope. By his continued prayers and tears he succeeded in obtaining permission to work in the stable as lay help or oblate at the Franciscan convent of La Grotella near Cupertino. He now gave evidence of great virtues, humility, obedience, and love of penance to such an extent that he was admitted to the clerical state in 1625, and three years later, on 28 March he was raised to the priesthood. Joseph was but little versed in human knowledge, for his biographers relate that he was able to read but poorly, yet infused by knowledge and supernatural light he not only surpassed all ordinary men in the learning of the schools but could solve the most intricate questions.
His life was now one long succession of visions and other heavenly favours. Everything that in any way had reference to God or holy things would bring on an ecstatic state: the sound of a bell or of church music, the mention of the name of God or of the Blessed Virgin or of a saint, any event in the life of Christ, the sacred Passion, a holy picture, the thought of the glory in heaven, all would put Joseph into contemplation. Neither dragging him about, buffeting, piercing with needles, nor even burning his flesh with candles would have any effect on him - only the voice of his superior would make him obey. These conditions would occur at any time or place, especially at Mass or during Divine Service. Frequently he would be raised from his feet and remain suspended in the air. Besides he would at times hear heavenly music. Since such occurrences in public caused much admiration and also disturbance in a community, Joseph for thirty-five years was not allowed to attend choir, go to the common refectory, walk in procession or say Mass in church, but was ordered to remain in his room, where a private chapel was prepared for him. Evil-minded and envious men even brought him before the Inquisition, and he was sent from one lonely house of the Capuchins or Franciscans to another, but Joseph retained his resigned and joyous spirit, submitting confidently to Divine Providence. He practised mortification and fasting to such a degree, that he kept seven Lents of forty days each year, and during many of them tasted no food except on Thursdays and Sundays. His body is in the church at Osimo. He was beatified by Benedict XIV in 1753, and canonized 16 July 1767 by Clement XIII; Clement XIV extended his office to the entire Church. His life was written by Robert Nuti (Palermo, 1678). Angelo Pastrovicchi wrote another in 1773, and this is used by the Bollandist "Acta SS.", V, Sept., 992.



(Vatican Radio) The Church has the courage of a woman who defends her children, in order to bring them to encounter her Spouse. This was one of the main focal points of Pope Francis’ remarks following the readings at Mass on Tuesday morning in the chapel of the Domus sanctae Marthae in the Vatican. The Pope also reflected on the encounter between Jesus and the widow of Naim, saying that the Church herself is, in history, walking in search of her Lord. 
Jesus has, “the capacity to suffer with us, to be close to our sufferings and make them His own,” said Pope Francis, who began his reflections with the encounter between Jesus and the widow of Naim, of which Tuesday’s Gospel reading tells. He pointed out that Jesus, “had great compassion” for this widow who had now lost her son. Jesus, he went on to say, “knew what it meant to be a widow at that time,” and noted that the Lord has a special love for widows, He cares for them.” Reading this passage of the Gospel, he then said, that the widow is, “an icon of the Church , because the Church is in a sense widow”:

“The Bridegroom is gone and she walks in history, hoping to find him, to meet with Him – and she will be His true bride. In the meantime she - the Church - is alone! The Lord is nowhere to be seen. She has a certain dimension of widowhood ... and that makes me makes me think of the widowhood of the Church. This courageous Church, which defends her children, like the widow who went to the corrupt judge to [press her rights] and eventually won. Our Mother Church is courageous! She has the courage of a woman who knows that her children are her own, and must defend them and bring them to the meeting with her Spouse.”

The Pope reflected on some figures of widows in the Bible, in particular the courageous Maccabean widow with seven sons who are martyred for not renouncing God. The Bible, he stressed, says this woman who spoke to her sons “in the local dialect, in their first language,” and, he noted, our Mother Church speaks to us in dialect, in “that language of true orthodoxy, which we all understand, the language of catechism,” that, “gives us the strength to go forward in the fight against evil”:

“This dimension of widowhood of the Church, who is journeying through history, hoping to meet, to find her Husband… Our Mother the Church is thus! She is a Church that, when she is faithful, knows how to cry. When the Church does not cry, something is not right. She weeps for her children, and prays! A Church that goes forward and does rear her children, gives them strength and accompanies them until the final farewell in order to leave them in the hands of her Spouse, who at the end will come to encounter her. This is our Mother Church! I see her in this weeping widow. And what does the Lord say to the Church? “Do not cry. I am with you, I’ll take you, I’ll wait for you there, in the wedding, the last nuptials, those of the Lamb. Stop [your tears]: this son of yours was dead, now he lives.”

And this , he continued, “is the dialogue of the Lord with the Church.” She, “defends the children, but when she sees that the children are dead, she crys, and the Lord says to her: ‘I am with you and your son is with me.’” As he told the boy at Naim to get up from his deathbed, the Pope added, many times Jesus also tells us to get up, “when we are dead because of sin and we are going to ask for forgiveness.” And then what does Jesus “when He forgives us, when He gives us back our life?” He Returns us to our mother:

“Our reconciliation with the Lord end in the dialogue ‘You, me and the priest who gives me pardon’; it ends when He restores us to our mother. There ends reconciliation, because there is no path of life, there is no forgiveness, there is no reconciliation outside of Mother Church. So, seeing this poor widow, all these things come to me somewhat randomly - But I see in this widow the icon of the widowhood of the Church who is on a journey to find her Bridegroom. I get the urge to ask the Lord for the grace to be always confident of this “mommy” who defends us, teaches us, helps us grow and [teaches] us to speak the dialect.”


Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 444

Reading 1           1 TM 3:1-13

Beloved, this saying is trustworthy:
whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task.
Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable,
married only once, temperate, self-controlled,
decent, hospitable, able to teach,
not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle,
not contentious, not a lover of money.
He must manage his own household well,
keeping his children under control with perfect dignity;
for if a man does not know how to manage his own household,
how can he take care of the Church of God?
He should not be a recent convert,
so that he may not become conceited
and thus incur the Devil’s punishment.
He must also have a good reputation among outsiders,
so that he may not fall into disgrace, the Devil’s trap.

Similarly, deacons must be dignified, not deceitful,
not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain,
holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
Moreover, they should be tested first;
then, if there is nothing against them,
let them serve as deacons.
Women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers,
but temperate and faithful in everything.
Deacons may be married only once
and must manage their children and their households well.
Thus those who serve well as deacons gain good standing
and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm                  PS 101:1B-2AB, 2CD-3AB, 5, 6

R. (2) I will walk with blameless heart.
Of mercy and judgment I will sing;
to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.
I will persevere in the way of integrity;
when will you come to me?
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
I will walk with blameless heart,
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
any base thing.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret,
him will I destroy.
The man of haughty eyes and puffed up heart
I will not endure.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
My eyes are upon the faithful of the land,
that they may dwell with me.
He who walks in the way of integrity
shall be in my service.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.

Gospel             LK 7:11-17

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday morning met for over two hours with priests from the Diocese of Rome.

The private meeting, an annual event that takes place in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, was a moment of greetings and exchange.

After the Vicar General of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini delivered his welcoming speech, the Pope addressed the clergy and then took time to answer the many questions they put to him.

His first words to his brother priests were words of encouragement and closeness.

Speaking off the cuff to bishops, vicars, priests and deacons, Pope Francis said the Church needs “shepherds of the people, not clerics of the State”. Dipping into a letter he had written to his priests when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2008, a year after the Aparecida Conference, and that he used as a text upon which to reflect in the lead-up to this encounter, the Pope said “a priest belongs to the people of God” and he reminded priests never to lose their identity which is in communion with the Holy Spirit, because without the Holy Spirit – he said - “we are in danger of losing our way in the understanding of faith”, and run the risk of ending up disoriented and self-referenced.
And Pope Francis told his fellow bishops always to be close to the rest of the clergy, and to support them in times of difficulty and fatigue.
He invited them to be both pastors and zealous missionaries who live in constant yearning to go in search of the lost, never settling for simple administration.
He called on his fellow priests never to be too lax or too severe, but to be merciful, taking care of the sinner and accompanying him on the journey of reconciliation.
And he urged them never to forget that they were plucked from the flock, reminding them to always defend themselves against the “rust” of spiritual worldliness” and the “spiritual corruption which threatens the very nature of a shepherd”.
Pope Francis concluded telling his brother priests to be loving disciples of the Good Shepherd, guarding their own precious and fragile flocks with tenderness, and never forgetting that special “preferential option” for the poor.



(Vatican Radio) Humility and love are indispensable traits of those who govern, while citizens, especially if they are Catholic, cannot be indifferent to politics. That was Pope Francis’ message this morning during his daily Mass at Santa Marta, as he called for prayers for those in authority. 

The Gospel of the centurion who, with humility and confidence, asks for the healing of his servant; and the letter of Saint Paul to Timothy with the invitation to pray for those who govern, inspired the Pope to “reflect on the service of authority.” Those who govern, Pope Francis said, “have to love their people,” because “a leader who doesn’t love, cannot govern – at best they can discipline, they can give a little bit of order, but they can’t govern.” The Pope considered David, “how he loved his people,” so much that after the sin of the census he asked the Lord not to punish the people, but [to punish] him. These, then, are “the two virtues of a leader”: love for the people and humility. 

“You can’t govern without loving the people and without humility! And every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government, must ask themselves two questions: ‘Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Am I humble and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path.’ If you don’t ask those questions, your governance will not be good. The man or woman who governs – who loves his people is a humble man or woman.”

From another point of view, Saint Paul exhorts those who are governed to lift up prayers for those who have authority, so that they might be able to lead a calm and peaceful life. Citizens cannot be indifferent to politics: 

“None of us can say, ‘I have nothing to do with this, they govern. . . .’ No, no, I am responsible for their governance, and I have to do the best so that they govern well, and I have to do my best by participating in politics according to my ability. Politics, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good. I cannot wash my hands, eh? We all have to give something!”
There is a tendency, the Pope observed, to only speak ill of leaders, and to mutter about “things that don’t go well.” “You listen to the television and they’re beating [them] up, beating [them] up; you read the papers and their beating [them] up. . . .” He continued, “Yes, maybe the leader is a sinner, as David was, but I have to work with my opinions, with my words, even with my corrections” because we all have to participate for the common good. It is not true that Catholics should not meddle in politics:

“‘A good Catholic doesn’t meddle in politics.’ That’s not true. That is not a good path. A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern. But what is the best that we can offer to those who govern? Prayer! That’s what Paul says: “Pray for all people, and for the king and for all in authority.” “But Father, that person is wicked, he should go to hell. . . .” Pray for him, pray for her, that they can govern well, that they can love their people, that they can serve their people, that they can be humble.” A Christian who does not pray for those who govern is not a good Christian! “But Father, how will I pray for that person, a person who has problems. . . .” “Pray that that person might convert!”
So, the Pope concluded, we give the best of ourselves, our ideas, suggestions, the best, but above all the best is prayer. Let us pray for our leaders, that they might govern well, that they might advance our homeland, might lead our nation and even our world forward, for the sake of peace and of the common good. 

Shared from Radio Vaticana