Sunday, October 20, 2013


(Vatican Radio) In his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about the need to “pray always, without growing weary.” Starting from the parable of the widow in the day’s Gospel, the Holy Father said we must “cry out to the Lord day and night” – not because God does not know our needs, or doesn’t listen to us, but because the daily struggle against evil requires “patience and resistance.” “There is a struggle to carry on every day,” he said, “but God is our ally, faith in Him is our strength, and prayer is the expression of this faith.”

But Pope Francis also recalled the words of Jesus at the end of the Gospel: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” (Lk. 18:8). “If the faith goes out, if prayer ends,” the Pope said, we end up waking in darkness, and losing the way on the journey of life.”

After the Angelus, Pope Francis recalled World Mission Sunday, celebrated throughout the Church on the second to last Sunday of October. He thanked all those who support the missions through their prayers and concrete help. On this day, the Pope said, we are especially close to all missionaries, men and women, who quietly give their lives to spread the Gospel message. 

The Holy Father also expressed his closeness to the people of the Philippines, especially the victims of the recent earthquake. He invited everyone to pray for the Philippines, which has been struck by numerous disasters in recent days. 

Pope Francis also greeted all the pilgrims present for the Angelus. Pope Francis had a special welcome for a group of young people who had taken part in a special “100 metre sprint for faith” organised by the Pontifical Council for Culture. The impromptu race track was set up along the Via della Conciliazione leading into Saint Peter’s Square, with the participants concluding their races in time to hear the Holy Father’s address. Pope Francis thanked them for “reminding us that the believer is an athlete of the spirit!”

As he concluded his remarks by greeting various groups from around the world, Pope Francis noted that Argentina today celebrates “Mother’s Day.” His “affectionate greeting to the mothers” of his native country was met with loud applause. 

Below, please find Vatican Radio’s translation of Pope Francis’ Sunday Angelus address: 
Dear brothers and sisters, good day!

In today’s Gospel, Jesus told a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. The main character is a widow who, forced to plead before a dishonest judge, manages to get him to grant her justice. And Jesus concludes, if the widow managed to convince that judge, do you think God will not hear us, if we pray to Him insistently? The expression used by Jesus is very strong: “Will not God then do justice for His chosen ones who call out to Him day and night?”

“To cry out day and night” to the Lord! This is a striking image of prayer. But we might ask, why does God want this. Doesn’t He already know our needs? What does it mean to “insist” with God?

And this is a good question, that leads us to deepen a very important aspect of the Faith: God invites us to pray with insistence, not because He doesn’t know what we need, or because He doesn’t listen to us. On the contrary, He always hears and knows all of us, with love. In our daily journey, especially in difficulties, in the fight against evil outside of ourselves and within us, the Lord is not far away, He is at our side; we fight with Him beside us, and our weapon is prayer, which makes us feel His presence alongside of us, His mercy, even His help. But the fight against evil is hard and long, it requires patience and resistance – like Moses, who had to hold up his arms so that his people could triumph (cf. Ex. 17:8-13). It is so: there is a struggle to carry on every day; but God is our ally, faith in Him is our strength, and prayer is the expression of this faith. Therefore, Jesus assures us of victory but in the end He asks “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” (Lk. 18:8). If the faith goes out, if prayer goes out, and we walk in the darkness, we will be lost on the journey of life. 

Let us learn, therefore, from the widow of the Gospel, and pray always without growing weary. This widow was good, she knew to fight for her children, and I think of the many women who fight for their families, who pray, who never grow weary! Today let us remember, all of us, these women who with their behaviour give us a true witness of faith, of courage, of a model of prayer. Let us remember them! Pray always, but not to convince the Lord by the strength of words! He knows better than we do what it is we need. And so persevering prayer is an expression of faith in a God Who calls us to fight along with Him, every day, every moment, to overcome evil with good. 

After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters, 

Today is World Mission Day. What is the mission of the Church? To spread throughout the world the flame of faith that Jesus has lighted in the world: faith in God who is Father, Love, and Mercy. The method of the Christian mission is not proselytism, but that the sharing of the flame that heats up the soul. I thank all those who through prayer and concrete help sustain the work of the missions, in particular the solicitude of the Bishop of Rome for spread of the Gospel. On this Day, we are close to all men and women missionaries, who work without making noise, and who give their lives. [Missionaries] like the Italian Afra Martinelli, who worked for many years in Nigeria: one day she was killed in a robbery; everyone wept, Christians and Muslims. They really loved her! She announced the Gospel with her life, with the works she accomplished, a centre of instruction; in this way she spread the flame of faith, she fought the good fight. Let us think about this our sister, and greet her with applause, all of us! 

I think too of Stefano Sándor, who was beatified yesterday in Budapest. He was a lay Salesian, exemplary in service to young people, in the oratory and in professional instruction. When the Communist regime closed all the Catholic churches, he confronted the persecutions with courage, and was killed when he was 39 years old. Let us unite ourselves with the Salesian family and the Hungarian Church in giving thanks.

I want to express my closeness to the people of the Philippines who have been struck by a strong earthquake, and I invite you to pray for that dear Nation, which in recent days has suffered different calamities. 

I affectionately greet all the pilgrims present, beginning with the young people who gave lift to the “100 metre spring for faith” event, which was organised by the Pontifical Council for Culture. Thank you for reminding us that the believer is an athlete of the spirit! Thank you so much!

I welcome with joy the faithful of the Dioceses of Bologna and of Cesena-Sarsina, led by Cardinal Caffarra and Bishop Regattieri; as well as those of Corrientes, Argentina, and of Maracaibo and Barinas in Venezuela. And today in Argentina, “Mother’s Day” is celebrated. I offer an affectionate greeting to the mothers of my land! 

I greet the prayer group “Raio de Luz” of Brazil; and the Fraternity of Secular Trinitarians.

There are many Italian parishes and associations, I can’t name them, but I greet all of you with affection and I thank you. 

Buona Domenica! Arrivederci, and Buon Pranzo!


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
18 Oct 2013
Fire surrounds sign for St Columba's High School and St Thomas Aquinas Primary at Springwood
St Vincent de Paul Society NSW has launched a Bushfire Appeal to help victims of the devastating and on-going bushfire emergency. More  than 2000 fire fighters continue to  battle blazes across the Blue Mountains, at Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley, Balmoral and Bargo in the Southern Highlands and at Wyong on the Central Coast.
Hundreds of homes are feared destroyed with many hundreds of people left homeless with little more than the clothes they are wearing.
Five teachers and seven students from two Catholic schools at Springwood in the Blue Mountains are among those who have lost their homes.
This morning news also broke that the fire emergency had claimed its first victim with the death of a 63 year old man who suffered a fatal heart attack while fighting to save his house from the approaching inferno at Lake Munmorah on the NSW Central Coast.
Premier Barry O'Farrell described the situation as the gravest bushfire emergency in NSW in more than a decade. He also believes it will be a miracle if there are no more casualties as a result of the monstrous fires which have burned more than 100,000 hectares of land so far and shrouded Sydney with smoke and ash.
High praise given for courage NSW rural fire fighters and emergency workers
"Vinnies members work and live in the communities affected by these fires which means we will be there for the long haul, helping people rebuild their lives in any way possible for as long as they need," says Ray Reynolds, NSW State Council President of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW when announcing details of the NSW Bushfire Appeal this morning.
Although Vinnies op shop stores in Springwood and Katoomba had to close early for staff to rush home to protect or check on their family and their homes, members nevertheless have already given clothes from the stores to many of those who have been made homeless or are unable to return home because of the fires.
With many local residents evacuated to the Springwood Sports Centre and Bowling Club, Vinnies stepped in last night to provide mattresses and blankets for those forced from their homes.
"Members leapt into action last night supplying blankets and mattresses for the evacuation centre as soon as they heard they were needed," says Deacon Tony Hoban, Executive Officer for Vinnies- Parramatta.
Vinnies Springwood Centre at 272 Macquarie Road Springwood is also offering assistance to those who may need it, including food vouchers to those affected by the fires.
Home destroyed during the blaze at Springwood yesterday
"Many of our Vinnies members in the Blue Mountains have lived there for decades and are  extremely skilled at knowing what is needed in an emergency and how to help. They are all extremely generous with their time and their hearts and are doing whatever needs to be done to bring comfort as well as practical help to those affected by these fires," he says.
Vinnes is well known for hitting the ground running in times of natural disasters, and is always there to assist whenever there is a drought, flood or bushfire emergency.
Although in times of these emergencies the public are keen to donate clothing, blankets and furniture, Vinnies and other welfare agencies say that financial donations are the most effective way of helping.
"For the hard hit communities, financial as well as emotional assistance is vital," says Michael Perusco, CEO of Vinnies NSW, and says financial donations enable those on the ground to provide the right sort of assistance to the people who need it most.
He also says that in the difficult weeks and months ahead when the shock begins to wear off and the trauma of the fire and all that has been lost starts to hit home, Vinnies will be there, offering friendship, compassion and practical assistance as people start rebuilding their homes and their lives.
Premier Barry O'Farrell says gravest bushfire emergency for NSW for more than a decade
Springwood and surrounding communities in the Blue Mountains remain some of the hardest hit areas with at least 40 homes - and possibly many more - destroyed by the fast moving inferno yesterday.
For students at St Columba's Catholic High School and at St Thomas Aquinas Primary School as well as for staff and parents it was a tense and difficult afternoon as the encroaching fire forced the evacuation of both schools. As sirens wailed, fire trucks raced to the scene, water bombing helicopters whirred overhead and fire fighters put their lives on the line, students were taken to the evacuation centre at the Springwood Sports Club before finally being reunited with their parents several hours later.
Today both schools remain closed along-with Winmalee Public School.
Students at McCarthy Catholic College, Emu Plains have also been advised their school was closed to all but those pupils sitting HSC exams. According to the Parramatta Catholic Education Office this is to make room for any Year 12 students from Columba's High School to continue their HSC examinations at McCarthy.
Smoke billows across skyline as fire raced towards Springwood yesterday
The NSW Board of Studies however has reassured HSC students in fire affected areas to liaise with their school's principal and if cut off from an exam centre, to remain where they are and stay safe.
"Students unable to attend an examination due to a natural disaster are eligible to lodge an illness/misadventure appeal to ensure they are not disadvantaged," the Board says.
For youngsters in the fire-ravaged Springwood area, the Parramatta Catholic Education Office made provision for youngsters who normally attend St Thomas Aquinas Primary School and need supervision today to be cared for at the St Finbar's Primary School, Glenbrook.
A full assessment of St Columba's High and St Thomas Aquinas Primary Schools will take place once it is safe to do so but it is believed at this stage that the schools have only suffered peripheral damage.
The Bishop of Parramatta, Bishop Anthony Fisher OP said late today  he understands homes, property and even some schools in the Diocese are still threatened by the fires
but thanked the Rural Fire Service, NSW Police and all volunteers for their courageous efforts in protecting human life and property to date.
"I also want to recognise and thank Mr Sergio Rosato, Principal of St Thomas Aquinas, and Mr Phil Stewart, Acting Principal of St Columba's, and all their staff for helping ensure the safety of the school Children," Bishop Anthony said.
St Columba's High School at Springwood had to be evacuated as historic building threatened by fire
"Thank you for supervising them well into the night. The Diocese will do everything that it can to assist the wider community in relief efforts."
Meanwhile counsellors from the Diocese of Paramatta's welfare agency, CatholicCare have been put on alert and are also available to help children, families and individuals cope with the roller coaster of emotions in the wake of losing their home and pretty well everything else they own.
Today, fire fighters from the ACT and other areas of NSW as well as crews from interstate have joined the battle to try to contain the fires.
Fanned by sweltering temperatures in the mid to high 30s and whipped by winds of more than 110 kph, the fires erupted across NSW yesterday afternoon.
With terrifying speed and ferocity the fires had burned through 100,000 hectares of land within the first 24 hours, destroying a still unknown number of homes, outbuildings, infrastructure and in some cases, livestock and beloved pets.
Despite the cool change in the evening, the southerly shift in the winds' direction triggered new fire fronts.
Sydney shrouded in smoke as bushfires rage across NSW
Today although winds and the temperatures have dropped, the NSW Rural Fire Services is warning that a return to high temperatures on Sunday and Monday will exacerbate the emergency with some fires not expected to be brought under control for some weeks.
"Everything is tinder dry. You stand on the grass and it crackles underfoot," one resident of Muswellbrook said this morning.
As fire continues to race across the Hunter Valley region where Newcastle Airport remains closed and Muswellbrook battles smoke and flames, Bishop Bill Wright of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle extended his thoughts and prayers to the family of the man who died at Lake Munmorah and to all those who have lost their homes, property, pets or livestock.
"My heart goes out to individuals and families, particularly those in the Hunter region and Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle," he said and praised the dedication of fire fighters, many of whom are volunteers, who put their lives on the line to help protect the lives and homes of others," he said adding that he prays God will watch over them and give strength, courage and hope to all those who need it over the coming months.
To donate to the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW Bushfire Appeal log on to or phone 13 18 12 or send your donation to P.O. Box 5, Petersham NSW 2049


Deal praised for restoring vital programs and services to neediest
HHS mandate still a threat
Push for conscience protection will continue
WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops welcomed the decision of federal government leaders to agree to end the partial government shutdown 16 days after closing many offices and suspending important programs and services. The bishops also were heartened that so many who had been out of work could return to their jobs. 

“The shutdown has had a widespread impact on many people, especially the poor, who suffered for lack of basic services during the period,” said Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. “With the government now open, beneficiaries of government services, particularly the elderly and children, can hope to resume a normal life with a safety net securely in place.” 

The bishops will continue to advocate for a “circle of protection” around programs that serve the poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad. The bishops are still urging Congress to replace the mandatory across-the-board spending cuts (the “sequester”) with a responsible budget that provides adequate funding for anti-poverty programs.
The bishops also remain deeply concerned regarding the Health and Human Services mandate that will force employers to provide health coverage that entails payment for abortifacients, contraceptives, and sterilizations, even if doing so violates the employers’ deeply-held religious or moral beliefs. Catholic ministries that provide health care, educational, and social services generally are not exempt from the mandate, and enforcement against them will begin January 1, 2014, putting at risk the poor and vulnerable served by those ministries.

“The bishops have pressed for legislative relief from the HHS mandate since its inception more than two years ago,” said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. “Church efforts to protect rights of conscience will continue despite this temporary setback.”

The bishops urged the House and Senate to avoid a government shutdown. In September 30 letters to the House and Senate, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Bishop Blaire and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, urged “wise bipartisan leadership and moral clarity in crafting a plan to ensure the government continues to operate and meet its responsibility to protect human life and dignity, care for poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad, and advance the universal common good.”

Archbishop Gomez chairs the USCCB Committee on Migration. Bishop Blaire chairs the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. Bishop Pates chairs the Committee on International Justice and Peace.

In a September 26 letter, Archbishop Lori and Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chair of the bishops’ Pro-Life Activities committee, called for legislation that preserves “religious freedom and the right of conscience for all who take part in our health care system."

They urged that the policy of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940/S. 1204) be incorporated into must-pass legislation such as the Continuing Resolution and debt ceiling bill. 

"Protection for conscience rights in health care is of especially great importance to the Catholic Church, which daily contributes to the welfare of U.S. society through schools, social services, hospitals and assisted living facilities," they wrote. "These institutions, which have been part of the Church's ministry since the earliest days of our country, arose from religious convictions. They should not be told by government to abandon or compromise those convictions in order to continue serving their own employees or the neediest Americans. Nor should individual Catholics or others be told they cannot legally purchase or provide health coverage unless they violate their conscience."



(Vatican Radio) World Mission Sunday, which takes place this year on 20 October, aims to remind Catholics to recommit themselves to the missionary activities of the Church through prayer and sacrifice.
Organized by the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, World Mission Sunday is celebrated each year on second-to-last Sunday of October.
In May of this year, Pope Francis issued a message for World Mission Sunday, in which he writes: “[I]t is necessary to proclaim courageously and in every situation, the Gospel of Christ, a message of hope, reconciliation, communion, a proclamation of God's closeness, his mercy, his salvation, and a proclamation that the power of God’s love is able to overcome the darkness of evil and guide us on the path of goodness.”
Speaking with Vatican Radio, the Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Archbishop Savio Tai Fai Hon, said that the focus of the Holy Father's message is that “faith is something very precious to us.”
This gift of faith, he said, “consists in the truth that God really loves us.”
“This love of God pushes us to give our adequate response, and also asks us to share our faith with other brothers and sisters.”
Sharing the faith, the archbishop said, “is not only a question of preaching, but also of witness… in some concrete activity, concrete acts, like offering our daily prayer.”
Archbishop Hon also said it means offering something for the Pope so that he, “as successor of Saint Peter, may share, may show his care for other churches.”


Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 147

Reading 1               EX 17:8-13

In those days, Amalek came and waged war against Israel.
Moses, therefore, said to Joshua,
"Pick out certain men,
and tomorrow go out and engage Amalek in battle.
I will be standing on top of the hill
with the staff of God in my hand."
So Joshua did as Moses told him:
he engaged Amalek in battle
after Moses had climbed to the top of the hill with Aaron and Hur.
As long as Moses kept his hands raised up,
Israel had the better of the fight,
but when he let his hands rest,
Amalek had the better of the fight.
Moses’hands, however, grew tired;
so they put a rock in place for him to sit on.
Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands,
one on one side and one on the other,
so that his hands remained steady till sunset.
And Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people
with the edge of the sword.

Responsorial Psalm                                  PS 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (cf. 2) Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
I lift up my eyes toward the mountains;
whence shall help come to me?
My help is from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
May he not suffer your foot to slip;
may he slumber not who guards you:
indeed he neither slumbers nor sleeps,
the guardian of Israel.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade;
he is beside you at your right hand.
The sun shall not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The LORD will guard you from all evil;
he will guard your life.
The LORD will guard your coming and your going,
both now and forever.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Reading 2                         2 TM 3:14-4:2

Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,
because you know from whom you learned it,
and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures,
which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is inspired by God
and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction,
and for training in righteousness,
so that one who belongs to God may be competent,
equipped for every good work.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.

Gospel                                LK 18:1-8

Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, "There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
'Render a just decision for me against my adversary.'
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
'While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.'"
The Lord said, "Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"


St. Caprasius of AgenSt. Caprasius of Agen
October 20
Died: 303
Martyr October 20
Died: 303
Saint Caprasius of Agen (French: Saint Caprais)
Martyr. Considered the first bishop of Agen, France. During Emperor Diocletian’s persecution, he went into hiding with local Christians.  He was joined by his mother, Alberta, his brothers Primus and Felician, and by companions. They were put to death when they refused to deny the faith. 
Edited from (Wikipedia/Catholic Online)