Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Daily Readings for Tuesday August 31, 2010

Reading 1, 1 Cor 2:10b-16

10 to us, though, God has given revelation through the Spirit, for the Spirit explores the depths of everything, even the depths of God.

11 After all, is there anyone who knows the qualities of anyone except his own spirit, within him; and in the same way, nobody knows the qualities of God except the Spirit of God.

12 Now, the Spirit we have received is not the spirit of the world but God's own Spirit, so that we may understand the lavish gifts God has given us.

13 And these are what we speak of, not in the terms learnt from human philosophy, but in terms learnt from the Spirit, fitting spiritual language to spiritual things.

14 The natural person has no room for the gifts of God's Spirit; to him they are folly; he cannot recognise them, because their value can be assessed only in the Spirit.

15 The spiritual person, on the other hand, can assess the value of everything, and that person's value cannot be assessed by anybody else.

16 For: who has ever known the mind of the Lord? Who has ever been his adviser? But we are those who have the mind of Christ.

Gospel, Lk 4:31-37

31 He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught them on the Sabbath.

32 And his teaching made a deep impression on them because his word carried authority.

33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean devil, and he shouted at the top of his voice,

34 'Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.'

35 But Jesus rebuked it, saying, 'Be quiet! Come out of him!' And the devil, throwing the man into the middle, went out of him without hurting him at all.

36 Astonishment seized them and they were all saying to one another, 'What is it in his words? He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.'

37 And the news of him travelled all through the surrounding countryside.

Pope At Angelus: Christ Took Lowest Place 'In The World'

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comCASTEL GANDOLFO - Christ did not limit himself to taking just the lowest place at the table, explained Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday. Jesus, taught the Pope, repeatedly offers humanity "a model of the humility and of free giving" and showed the world "radical humility" by accepting the Cross.

Joining the many pilgrims and faithful in the attendance in the courtyard at the Castel Gandolfo for the Angelus were participants in the annual conference being held for members of the association of the Pope's ex-students. There was also a group from the Pontifical North American College, who were greeted specially by the Holy Father after the Angelus.

In his catechesis prior to the Marian prayer, the Pope reflected on the passage from St. Luke's Gospel read in Sunday's Liturgy. In the reading, Jesus is invited to the house of a leader of the Pharisees for a meal where, based on what he witnesses, he is inspired to tell the parable which teaches of humbling onesself and taking "the lowest place" at the table.

The Lord's words were not meant to be a lesson in the etiquette or on the hierarchy of authorities, said Benedict XVI, "He insists rather on a decisive point, which is that of humility: 'everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted'."

The parable can also be read as a perspective of the man's position in relation to God, explained the Pope, the "lowest place" representing "the condition of humanity degraded by sin, a condition which can only (be) liberated by the incarnation of the Only-begotten Son."

Citing his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, the Pope taught that "For this, Christ himself 'took the lowest place in the world - the Cross - and by this radical humility he redeemed us and constantly comes to our aid'."

Turning to Jesus' suggestion at the end of the parable that it should be the poorest and most excluded, those who have no way of repayment, who are invited as guests, Pope Benedict stated that the "true recompense, in fact, in the end, will be given by God, 'who governs the world ... We offer him our service only to the extent that we can, and for as long as he grants us the strength'.

"Once again, then, we look to Christ as a model of the humility and of free giving: from him we learn patience in the midst of the temptations, meekness amidst offenses, obedience to God in sorrow in the hope that He who invited us might say: "Friend, move up to a higher position.' the true good, in fact, is being close to Him."

Remembering Sunday's feast of the "greatest among the prophets of Christ," St. John the Baptist, the Pope closed by praying for his intercession and that of Mary "to guide us on the way of humility, to become worthy of the divine recompense."

Pope and his former students to gather at Castel Gandolfo

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comVATICAN CITY — The Swiss archbishop chosen by the Pope Benedict XVI to be the new head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the Christian Unity will be the featured speaker at a gathering with the pope and about three dozen of his former students.

The annual meeting of the “Ratzinger Schulerkreis” (Ratzinger student circle) begins tomorrow at the Castel Gandolfo and will bring together about three dozen scholars who did their doctoral dissertations under the direction of the former Professor Father Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict. The “schulerkreis” has met regularly since the late 1970s and the practice continued even after the former professor became the pope.

L’Osservatore Romano reported that discussions at this year’s meeting will focus on understanding the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the balance it tried to strike between the reform and maintaining tradition.

The Vatican newspaper said the “schulerkreis” presented Pope Benedict with a list of possible speakers and the pope chose Archbishop Kurt Koch, the former bishop of Basel, Switzerland. The archbishop is the new head of the Vatican’s ecumenism office. Archbishop Koch will give one lecture on “The Second Vatican Council Between Tradition and the Innovation,” and another on the council’s document on the liturgy and on the liturgical reforms it launched.

Archbishop Koch’s talks will be followed by the discussion among the participants, including the pope, the Vatican newspaper said. The pope will celebrate Mass for his former students Sunday morning and have breakfast with them. Then the group will participate in the pope’s recitation of the Angelus.

The pope’s annual meetings with his former students are held behind the closed doors, although participants have begun organizing the publication of each session’s papers. They will present the pope with the book containing the 2008 presentations by two Protestant theologians from the Germany who were asked to offer their reflections on the historicity of the New Testament and on Christ’s own understanding of his passion and death.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Daily Readings for Thursday August 26, 2010

Reading 1, 1 Cor 1:1-9

1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and Sosthenes, our brother,

2 to the church of God in Corinth, to those who have been consecrated in Christ Jesus and called to be God's holy people, with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord as well as ours.

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4 I am continually thanking God about you, for the grace of God which you have been given in Christ Jesus;

5 in him you have been richly endowed in every kind of utterance and knowledge;

6 so firmly has witness to Christ taken root in you.

7 And so you are not lacking in any gift as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed;

8 he will continue to give you strength till the very end, so that you will be irreproachable on the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 You can rely on God, who has called you to be partners with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Gospel, Mt 24:42-51

42 'So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming.

43 You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house.

44 Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

45 'Who, then, is the wise and trustworthy servant whom the master placed over his household to give them their food at the proper time?

46 Blessed that servant if his master's arrival finds him doing exactly that.

47 In truth I tell you, he will put him in charge of everything he owns.

48 But if the servant is dishonest and says to himself, "My master is taking his time,"

49 and sets about beating his fellow-servants and eating and drinking with drunkards,

50 his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know.

51 The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.'

Twelve-year-old Mary MacKillop relative to go to Rome

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comBrandon Sheehan (far right), a relative of Mary MacKillop, with sister Kiana and school principal Mark Geerligs

Twelve-year-old Catholic school student, Brandon Sheehan, who is a descendant of Mary MacKillop, will travel to Rome for her canonisation on 17 October, said Catholic Education of the Parramatta Diocese.

Brandon, a Year 6 student at Our Lady of the Rosary Primary, St Marys, and his family, will join a group of more than 50 representatives from the Parramatta Diocese who will make the pilgrimage to attend the canonisation by Pope Benedict XVI at St Peter's Basilica, according to a media statement.

Brandon's father, Mark Sheehan, carries the link to Mary MacKillop. Mark's 92-year-old grandmother, Elma Davidson, is the oldest living relative of Mary. Elma's grandmother was Mary's cousin.

Brandon was selected by Our Lady of the Rosary principal, Mark Geerligs, as one of two students who will represent the diocese on the pilgrimage.

Fittingly, Brandon's school is one of many in the diocese founded by Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of St Joseph. The second student is Laura Wonton from St Nicholas of Myra Primary, Penrith.

"To be part of a school that was actually founded by a saint is such a great honour," Mark said. "We are so pleased that members of our community have the opportunity to participate in this significant occasion, particularly for Brandon and his family."

"I was so excited when Mr Geerligs called me into his office and told me that I had been selected to go," Brandon said. "I am very proud to be a relative of Mary MacKillop and to be representing my school."

In message to nuns, pope says Mother Teresa models 'Christian virtue'

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comVATICAN CITY -- Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is "an exemplary model of the Christian virtue" who showed the world that an authentic love for others opens the door to knowing and being with the God, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Marking the 100th anniversary of her birth, the pope sent a message to Sister Mary Prema, the superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, the congregation Mother Teresa founded in 1950.

The Vatican released the message Aug. 26 after it was read in Calcutta, India, at the end of a special Mass commemorating the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresa's birth.

In Calcutta, most of the Missionaries of Charity nuns gave up their regular seats in the motherhouse chapel to accommodate hundreds of pilgrims and volunteers who arrived for the early morning Mass.

After the Mass, the bishops, priests, nuns and visitors processed to Mother Teresa's ground-floor tomb. Sister Prema handed Cardinal Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi a lamp, and he lit a candle to mark the beginning of the centenary celebrations.

Dozens of Missionaries of Charity novices gathered around the tomb and sang "Happy Birthday."

In his message, Pope Benedict said celebrating Mother Teresa's birth centenary "will be for the church and the world an occasion of joyful gratitude to God for the inestimable gift that Mother Teresa was in her lifetime, and continues to be through the affectionate and tireless work of you, her spiritual children."

The pope said Mother Teresa was a living example of St. John's words: "Beloved, if God so loved us, we must also love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection."

He asked the order's sisters, brothers, priests and lay members to let God's love continue to inspire them to give themselves "generously to Jesus, whom you see and serve the poor, the sick, the lonely, and the abandoned" and to draw constantly from Mother Teresa's example and spirituality.

After the visit to the tomb, Sister Prema read a message from the congregation, and the group processed to the motherhouse's L-shaped courtyard. Sister Prema and Sister Nirmala Joshi, retired superior general of the order, released white pigeons and blue and white balloons amid cheers from those packing the balconies on the three floors surrounding the courtyard.

Similar events were planned worldwide, including at Washington's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Archbishop Lucas Sirkar of Calcutta said anniversary celebrations being held throughout India had brought "a ray of hope and joy to thousands of poor, underprivileged, disadvantaged, and marginalized in India," especially as the nation struggles with violence, injustice and natural disasters.

The events were receiving wide media coverage, which was helping make the Gospel message better understood in India, he said in an Aug. 26 interview with Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Daily Readings for Wednesday August 25, 2010

Reading 1, 2 Th 3:6-10, 16-18

6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we urge you, brothers, to keep away from any of the brothers who lives an undisciplined life, not in accordance with the tradition you received from us.

7 You know how you should take us as your model: we were not undisciplined when we were with you,

8 nor did we ever accept food from anyone without paying for it; no, we worked with unsparing energy, night and day, so as not to be a burden on any of you.

9 This was not because we had no right to be, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to imitate.

10 We urged you when we were with you not to let anyone eat who refused to work.

16 May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all.

17 This greeting is in my own hand-PAUL. It is the mark of genuineness in every letter; this is my own writing.

18 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Gospel, Mt 23:27-32

27 'Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of corruption.

28 In just the same way, from the outside you look upright, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 'Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build the sepulchres of the prophets and decorate the tombs of the upright,

30 saying, "We would never have joined in shedding the blood of the prophets, had we lived in our ancestors' day."

31 So! Your own evidence tells against you! You are the children of those who murdered the prophets!

32 Very well then, finish off the work that your ancestors began.

New 'social contract' needed in 21st-century economy, bishop says

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comA new "social contract" is needed in today's economy, said Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., in the U.S. bishops' annual Labor Day statement.

"Currently, the rewards and 'security' that employers and society offer workers in return for an honest day's work do not reflect the global economy of the 21st century in which American workers are now trying to compete," said Bishop Murphy, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

The statement, "A New 'Social Contract' for Today's 'New Things,'" was issued Aug. 23. The title is a reference to Pope Leo XIII's 1891 encyclical "Rerum Novarum," which in English means "Of New Things." The encyclical ushered in the era of Catholic social teaching.

Pope Leo, according to Bishop Murphy, "insisted on the value and dignity of the worker as a human being endowed with rights and responsibilities. He commended free association or unions as legitimate and he insisted on a family wage that corresponded to the needs of the worker and family."

The "new things" in Pope Leo's time included the ideological split between "collectivist organization with much governmental control" and the notion that "those who owned the means of production should be free to develop markets with the most able, or ruthless, rising to prominence and wealth," Bishop Murphy said, "Neither option seemed morally correct to the pope."

Today's "new things," the bishop added, can be traced to Pope Benedict XVI's 2009 encyclical "Caritas in Veritate" ("Charity in Truth"). "One of the principal 'new things' addressed by Pope Benedict is globalization," he said.

"More than ever, the dignity of the worker is a foundation upon which we should measure much of what is good, and not so good, in the financial, industrial and service sectors of our economy and our world."

Bishop Murphy said, "Like Pope Paul VI before him, Pope Benedict uses the centrality of integral human development as one of the basic criteria to address the challenges of an interdependent world. Here the economic realities of one nation or one society are constantly being influenced by some or all of the economies and cultures of the rest of the world."

He quoted from "Caritas in Veritate": "I would like to remind everyone, especially governments engaged in boosting the world's economic and social assets, that the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity." The encyclical itself italicized for emphasis the entire second half of the sentence, beginning with "primary capital."

"Could a reawakening and new development of the roles of intermediary institutions, including voluntary associations and unions, be a force to call the market to a greater understanding of the centrality of the worker?" Bishop Murphy asked. "Could they be a means to restrain, mediate or hold accountable both the state and the marketplace? Could their voices help create greater economic and social justice, a more mutually respectful and collaborative stance by all the actors toward the economy, work and wealth creation around the world?

"Pope Benedict believes this," Bishop Murphy said.

"For the worker without employment, a job is the major issue," the bishop noted. "But jobs are not individual 'things' whose worth can be measured by numbers. Jobs are the result of initiatives creating markets that offer new opportunities in response to new challenges. These are not limited to our economy in isolation from others."

Bishop Murphy, in the statement, mourned the deaths of the 29 miners in a West Virginia mine explosion this past spring and of 11 workers in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that resulted in the months-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

He also mourned persistent U.S. joblessness --- 15 million unemployed and 11 million able to find only part-time work --- as "a pervasive failure of our economy."

Bishop Murphy castigated employers who cheat workers of their rightful wages. "National reports tell of factory workers whose time begins with the start of the conveyor belt not their arrival; of retail workers who are 'clocked out' and then required to restock or take inventory; and wait staff whose employers do not give them their tips," he said.

"Families struggling to make ends meet cannot have wage earners shortchanged on overtime or not get paid for all the hours they work," he added. "The dignity of the person is diminished when poor or middle-class people are denied their full wage or just compensation for their hard work."

Pope's second book on Jesus of Nazareth projected for Lent 2011 release

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comVatican publishing house director Msgr. Giuseppe Costa announced to the Vatican Radio that they are aiming to release the second volume of the Jesus of Nazareth in March 2011. The book, written by the Pope on the Paschal mystery, would therefore arrive in time for Lent.

Asked about the second volume during an interview with the Vatican Radio, Msgr. Costa, director of the Vatican's publishing house Libreria Editrice Vaticana, said that they hope for a March 13 release, to mark the first Sunday of Lent.

The timing is excellent as Pope Benedict XVI's book focuses on Jesus' Passion, Death and Resurrection.

He explained that 18 different editors have contracted with the Libreria Editrice Vaticana to publish the edition, with "surely" others to come. By Jan. 15, 2011, he said, editors should all have the text in hand to begin national publication.

The announcement came as another book by the Pope was presented at a conference in Rimini, Italy. The first of Cardinal Ratzinger's complete works, or "opera omnia," was presented by the Bishop of Regensburg, Gerhard Muller, and the director of the International Center of Communion and Liberation, Roberto Fontolan, during a session on the Theology of the Liturgy at the interfaith Rimini Meeting.

As Msgr. Costa told Vatican Radio, the complete works "do not relate to his teachings as Pope, but to “his writings, his teachings, his interviews as a cardinal."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Daily Readings for Tuesday August 24, 2010

Daily Readings for Tuesday August 24, 2010

Reading 1, Rv 21:9b-14

9 One of the seven angels that had the seven bowls full of the seven final plagues came to speak to me and said, 'Come here and I will show you the bride that the Lamb has married.'

10 In the spirit, he carried me to the top of a very high mountain, and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of heaven from God.

11 It had all the glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond.

12 Its wall was of a great height and had twelve gates; at each of the twelve gates there was an angel, and over the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel;

13 on the east there were three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.

14 The city walls stood on twelve foundation stones, each one of which bore the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Gospel, Jn 1:45-51

45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, 'We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.'

46 Nathanael said to him, 'From Nazareth? Can anything good come from that place?' Philip replied, 'Come and see.'

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, 'There, truly, is an Israelite in whom there is no deception.'

48 Nathanael asked, 'How do you know me?' Jesus replied, 'Before Philip came to call you, I saw you under the fig tree.'

49 Nathanael answered, 'Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the king of Israel.'

50 Jesus replied, 'You believe that just because I said: I saw you under the fig tree. You are going to see greater things than that.'

51 And then he added, 'In all truth I tell you, you will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending over the Son of man.'

US celebrations to mark Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comNew York City - Numerous celebrations across the globe will mark the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresa’s birth on Aug. 26. Masses and memorial displays have been scheduled to honor the life of the servant to the poor of Calcutta.

Blue and white, the colors of the Missionaries of Charity, will be displayed at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Belfast. Other events will take place in countries like Switzerland, Bulgaria and Albania, the famous sister’s birthplace.

The entire skyline of Miami, including the landmark Miami Tower, will be cast in blue and white. The Peace Bridge between Buffalo, New York and Fort Erie, Ontario will light up in Bl. Teresa of Calcutta’s honor, as will Buffalo’s Electric Tower.

Many Catholic churches in the U.S. will display blue and white ribbons. Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas will officially mark her birth by lighting some of its buildings in blue and by naming its new nursing and health education building for the sister.

In New York City, the Hutchinson Metro Center in the Bronx will shine in blue and white, as will the U.S.S. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Billboards in Times Square will shine blue while Hoboken will show posters of Mother Teresa in several venues, the Catholic League reports.

Some controversy resulted from the Empire State Building’s refusal of the Catholic League’s request to honor Mother Teresa’s birth in its lighting scheme.

The Catholic League will hold a rally in front of the famous building at 6 p.m. on Aug. 26 and has invited Catholics and non-Catholics to attend. It asks attendees to wear blue and white.

Lone woman brings Tibetans to Catholicism

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comA Chinese Catholic woman has pulled off a rare feat by encouraging a number of Buddhists to convert to Catholicism in the Sino-Tibetan province of the Qinghai.

Father Joseph Li Dongsheng, parish priest of Xining Church, praised the woman’s achievement in a region that has only 4,000 Catholics in a total population of one million.

“I never even thought of converting ethnic Tibetans myself as they are so deeply rooted in Buddhism. It’s almost impossible,” he said.

The five new Catholics, aged from 20 to over 50, come from three families of the same clan and were Buddhists since childhood.

When the woman married into the family two years ago, she told them about her faith and gave them the Bible and some religious books to read.

“They didn’t accept it at first,” said Father Li. “But after reading the books, they got a better idea of our faith and started to feel how great God is. Now, at Lunar New Year, they even hang the icons of Jesus and the Blessed Mother up at home.”

The five were baptized along with five other converts on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, at a ceremony attended by 700 people.

Father Li says he plans to give them ongoing care and education to help sustain their faith as “they may have to face discrimination in this Buddhist environment.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

Daily Readings for Monday August 23, 2010

Reading 1, 2 Th 1:1-5, 11-12

1 Paul, Silvanus and Timothy, to the Church in the Thessalonica which is in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ

2 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 We must always thank God for you, brothers; quite rightly, because your faith is growing so wonderfully and the mutual love that each one of you has for all never stops increasing.

4 Among the churches of God we take special pride in you for your perseverance and faith under all the persecutions and hardships you have to bear.

5 It all shows that God's judgement is just, so that you may be found worthy of the kingdom of God; it is for the sake of this that you are suffering now.

11 In view of this we also pray continually that our God will make you worthy of his call, and by his power fulfil all your desires for goodness, and complete all that you have been doing through faith;

12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you and you in him, by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel, Mt 23:13-22

13 'Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut up the kingdom of Heaven in people's faces, neither going in yourselves nor allowing others to go who want to.

15 'Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte, and anyone who becomes one you make twice as fit for hell as you are.

16 'Alas for you, blind guides! You say, "If anyone swears by the Temple, it has no force; but anyone who swears by the gold of the Temple is bound."

17 Fools and blind! For which is of greater value, the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred?

18 Again, "If anyone swears by the altar it has no force; but anyone who swears by the offering on the altar, is bound."

19 You blind men! For which is of greater worth, the offering or the altar that makes the offering sacred?

20 Therefore, someone who swears by the altar is swearing by that and by everything on it.

21 And someone who swears by the Temple is swearing by that and by the One who dwells in it.

22 And someone who swears by heaven is swearing by the throne of God and by the One who is seated there.

Celebrations begin towards WYD 2011

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comNational WYD Committee members are pictured with the Spanish flag. Bernadette Kreutzer, Malcolm Hart, Chair - Selina Hasham, Fr Richard Healey, Phil Ryall

Across Australia, dioceses, schools, communities and movements have started celebrating "12 months out" from World Youth Day (WYD).

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference says up to 5,000 local pilgrims are expected to travel to Madrid for the celebration next August. Events counting down to the milestone have begun across Australia, including in Sydney and Hobart late last week.

A huge schools gathering in Sydney at Holy Cross College, Ryde saw some 600 students and teachers from the Archdiocese taking part in the event organised by Anthony Gordon, Archdiocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator, Sydney Catholic Education Office.

"A short Spanish lesson was conducted by Rita Halloun and Ryan Acosta and Spanish chaplain, Fr Jose Maria Enedaguila SJ welcomed the gathering on behalf of the city of Madrid. It was wonderful to have Cardinal Pell lead our preparation for Madrid 2011 with a mass beautifully accompanied by Gary Pinto and his band", said Anthony.

A similar event was held in Tasmania.

Bishops Conference delegate for youth Bishop Joe Grech will be attending World Youth Day and attests to the powerful renewal of faith it can provide.

"World Youth Day is one of the greatest opportunities we have as a Catholic Church to evangelise young people. This event truly demonstrates the global Church, and shows how Jesus Christ unites us all in his love", said Bishop Joe.

Preparations, planning and fundraising is well underway by over 60 pilgrimage groups including groups from the Archdiocese of Brisbane, the Diocese of Townsville and the Archdiocese of Perth who are working to develop their full itineraries with Harvest Tours.

Catholic Church bans barbecues but approves flags for Pope's visit

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comThe Catholic Church has issued a list of the dos and don'ts to pilgrims hoping to attend public events during the Pope's visit to the Britain next month.

Catholics hoping to see Pope Benedict XVI at the gatherings in London and Birmingham may bring sunblock, banners and torches - but not animals, candles or vuvuzelas.

Other unwelcome items includes alcohol, gazebos, canopies and barbecues which are considered to be "things that...could pose a threat to yourself or others".

Flags, cushions and small folding chairs have been approved.

The instructions - on the official papal visit website - even detail that hampers and cool boxes should "not exceed 20in x 13in x8in (51cm x 33cm x 20cm)".

They advise people to bring "provision for all weather conditions", "medication as needed for the duration of your time away from home" as well as emergency contact numbers.

Also suggested is wet weather gear (rainwear) and "provision for sunny conditions (hats/caps, clothes to cover-up, sun cream)".

The advice includes: "Please be aware that the sun can burn even on a cloudy day. Please remember that overnight temperatures may drop significantly at this time of year."

Around 80,000 people are expected in Hyde Park, London, on September 18, with 65,000 in Birmingham's Cofton Park the following day.

They can expect sound levels of up to 96 decibels, according to the website, marginally louder than a lawnmower.

The beatification of Cardinal Henry Newman, a convert from the Church of England, at Cofton Park will be the "culmination" of the pope's four-day visit, said a papal spokesman.

The Pope will also meet with politicians including Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman, both of whom are married to Roman Catholics.

Pope Benedict XVI is also visiting Edinburgh and Glasgow during his four-day visit to the UK.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Daily Readings for Friday August 20, 2010

Reading 1, Ez 37:1-14

1 The hand of Yahweh was on me; he carried me away by the spirit of Yahweh and set me down in the middle of the valley, a valley full of bones.

2 He made me walk up and down and all around among them. There were vast quantities of these bones on the floor of the valley; and they were completely dry.

3 He said to me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' I said, 'You know, Lord Yahweh.'

4 He said, 'Prophesy over these bones. Say, "Dry bones, hear the word of Yahweh.

5 The Lord Yahweh says this to these bones: I am now going to make breath enter you, and you will live.

6 I shall put sinews on you, I shall make flesh grow on you, I shall cover you with skin and give you breath, and you will live; and you will know that I am Yahweh." '

7 I prophesied as I had been ordered. While I was prophesying, there was a noise, a clattering sound; it was the bones coming together.

8 And as I looked, they were covered with sinews; flesh was growing on them and skin was covering them, yet there was no breath in them.

9 He said to me, 'Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man. Say to the breath, "The Lord Yahweh says this: Come from the four winds, breath; breathe on these dead, so that they come to life!" '

10 I prophesied as he had ordered me, and the breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet, a great, an immense army.

11 Then he said, 'Son of man, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They keep saying, "Our bones are dry, our hope has gone; we are done for."

12 So, prophesy. Say to them, "The Lord Yahweh says this: I am now going to open your graves; I shall raise you from your graves, my people, and lead you back to the soil of Israel.

13 And you will know that I am Yahweh, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people,

14 and put my spirit in you, and you revive, and I resettle you on your own soil. Then you will know that I, Yahweh, have spoken and done this -- declares the Lord Yahweh." '

Gospel, Mt 22:34-40

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees they got together

35 and, to put him to the test, one of them put a further question,

36 'Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?'

37 Jesus said to him, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

38 This is the greatest and the first commandment.

39 The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.

40 On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets too.'

Construction of cathedral named for Mother Teresa to be featured in documentary

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comAs the 100th anniversary of Bl. Mother Teresa’s birth approaches, the Catholic Radio and Television Network has produced a documentary about the construction of a new cathedral being built in the Kosovo to be named for the famous Missionary of Charity.

The Cathedral of Mother Teresa is being built in the Prishtina, Kosovo with the support of the pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

The documentary about the project, titled “On New Foundations,” will include interviews with the local bishop, politicians and Muslims. It explores the plans for the new cathedral and the place of Catholics in the culture of the Kosovo, as well as Mother Teresa’s own roots in the region. CRTN is producing the documentary in cooperation with its Bosnian partner, MC Media.

An excerpt of the documentary, posted on YouTube, shows the father of a Catholic family in Kosovo reminding his family to contribute money to the cathedral fund.

As a special service to television producers and others involved in the Catholic media, CRTN has also created a directory for resources about Mother Teresa.

Those who have produced media resources about the saintly woman may upload information on their production to a special section of the CRTN website.

Registration on the CRTN website is required.

At present, resources listed in the CRTN directory include Mother Teresa’s speech at World Youth Day in 1984, a miniseries about her life and ministry, a documentary about her death and state funeral, and Petrie Productions’ Emmy award-winning film “Mother Teresa.”

Mother Teresa was born to Albanian parents in Skopje, Macedonia on August 26, 2010. She worked in the slums of Calcutta in India until her death in 1997. She received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the sick and the poor and was beatified by the Vatican in the 2003.

In a letter to media producers, CRTN noted that media attention to the anniversary of her birth is growing.

According to its website, CRTN has had the backing of Aid to the Church in Need. The network aims to present to Christians and non-Christians the different expressions of Christianity through documentaries, dramas and catechetical programming.

Use of new Roman Missal to begin in US at Advent 2011

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comWASHINGTON -- Catholics in the United States will begin using the long-awaited English translation of the Roman Missal on the first Sunday of the Advent in 2011, Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago said Aug. 20.

The cardinal's announcement as president of the U.S. Conference of the Catholic Bishops marks the formal beginning of a more than 15-month period of education and training leading to the first use of the "third typical edition" of the Roman Missal at English-language Masses in the United States on Nov. 27, 2011.

The missal, announced by Pope John Paul II in 2000 and the first published in Latin in 2002, has undergone a lengthy and rigorous translation process through the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, followed by sometimes heated discussions over particular wording at USCCB general assemblies during much of the past decade.

The USCCB said April 30 that the Vatican has given its "recognitio," or confirmation, of the new English translation of the missal, but final editing by Vatican officials was continuing at that time.

In a decree of proclamation sent to the U.S. bishops Aug. 20, Cardinal George said, "The use of the third edition of the Roman Missal enters into use in the dioceses of the United States of the America as of the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27, 2011. From that date forward, no other edition of the Roman Missal may be used in the dioceses of the United States of America."

He added that the U.S. Catholic Church "can now move forward and continue with our important catechetical efforts as we prepare the text for publication."

Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship, expressed gratitude about the final Vatican approval.

"I am happy that after years of preparation, we now have a text that, when introduced late next year, will enable the ongoing renewal of the celebration of the sacred liturgy in our parishes," he said.

The changes to be implemented in late 2011 include new responses by the people in about a dozen sections of the Mass, although changes in the words used by the celebrant are much more extensive.

At several points during the Mass, for example, when the celebrant says, "The Lord be with you," the people will respond, in a more faithful translation of the original Latin, "And with your spirit."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Daily Readings for Thursday August 19, 2010

Reading 1, Ez 36:23-28

23 I am going to display the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am Yahweh -- declares the Lord Yahweh -- when in you I display my holiness before their eyes.

24 For I shall take you from among the nations and gather you back from all the countries, and bring you home to your own country.

25 I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your filth and of all your foul idols.

26 I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead.

27 I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws, and respect and practice my judgments.

28 You will live in the country which I gave your ancestors. You will be my people and I shall be your God.

Gospel, Mt 22:1-14

1 Jesus began to speak to them in parables once again,

2 'The kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son's wedding.

3 He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come.

4 Next he sent some more servants with the words, "Tell those who have been invited: Look, my banquet is all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding."

5 But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business,

6 and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them.

7 The king was furious. He despatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town.

8 Then he said to his servants, "The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy,

9 go to the main crossroads and invite everyone you can find to come to the wedding."

10 So these servants went out onto the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment,

12 and said to him, "How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?" And the man was silent.

13 Then the king said to the attendants, "Bind him hand and foot and throw him into the darkness outside, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth."

14 For many are invited but not all are chosen.'

US conservative Christians fear for rights

WASHINGTON – Conservative Christians say they are not intimidated by the advances that same-sex marriage advocates have been making in the US.

In fact, they believe they're getting up stronger and that now is not the time to give up.

"With every so-called defeat, more people come forward and say 'Enough is enough. We need to stand up for the marriage,'" said Brian Brown, president of the National Organisation for Marriage, during a rally Sunday.

NOM just completed its "Summer for Marriage" bus tour and made its last stop in front of the US Capitol. Brown visited 23 cities in 19 states proclaiming the message that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.

He was met with hundreds of the protesters, many of whom attempted to shout him down and disrupt the NOM rallies.

"I will say this: Let us meet any form of hatred here today with love because we know where we come from, we know who we are and we know what this fight is about," he said Sunday in front of over a hundred supporters and dozens of the protesters.

"It is about a profound love and respect for an institution that the government did not create; an institution that predates churches, governments ...; an institution that brings together the two great halves of the humanity – male and female."

Brown approached the crowd on Sunday with the same language that he believes gay rights advocates have been misusing.

"I believe that this fight is the beginning of a new civil rights movement, and I don't say that in any shallow way," he said.

He explained to The Christian Post in an interview ahead of the rally that “a lot of African-American leaders … are tired of their struggle being hijacked by those who are attempting to use the civil rights movement to redefine marriage”.

Pushing back against comparisons between laws banning interracial marriage and ones that prohibit gays and lesbians from marrying, Brown contended, “Marriage is not based upon race. It's based upon the fact that there are men and women and men and women are brought together in marriage. So trying to compare same-sex marriage to overturning laws against interracial marriage is comparing apples to oranges.”

Brown said they are not fighting the marriage battle with Scripture, but with reason and the Constitution.

“Unaided reason alone tells us that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. We can understand by reason that marriage is that institution that brings men and women together and connects them with any children they may bear. No other relationship can do what marriage does. Our stand is based on the Constitution and is based on defending civil rights – our civil rights.”

Worship leader tweets Bible chapter by chapter

A church worship leader recently set out on a three-year journey to tweet the entire Bible – one chapter at a time.

Chris Juby, 30, began his modern-day proclamation of the Bible on th August 8. He expects to complete it by the November 2013.

Every day, he condenses a chapter of the Bible into less than 140 characters.

“It is my normal habit to read a chapter of the Bible each morning and I always read through from Genesis to the Revelation,” Juby, director of worship at King’s Church, Durham, told The Telegraph.

“As I was coming to the end last time, I thought I needed a way of focusing my mind a little bit more on what I was reading. I thought a summary would be a good way of doing this. I already use Twitter, so I thought I’d share my summaries.”

Juby had read the entire Bible three times before undertaking his tweeting plan.

As of Wednesday, he has more than 10,500 people following his Twitter account, @biblesummary.

“[P]eople – even Christians – do not tend to read the whole Bible,” remarked Juby. “It is perhaps regarded as a bit oddball thing to do. I hope in doing the summary, it will inspire people to read the Bible for themselves.

“My summaries are no substitute for the real thing,” he added.

A similar effort was made by the German Christians last year. More than 3,000 Christians in Germany participated in a church project to condense more than 31,000 verses of the Bible into 4,000 tweets.

A book compiling all the tweets was released at the Frankfurt Book Fair last October.

Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has grown to more than 100 million users worldwide.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Daily bible readings for Aug 18, 2010

1 Corinthians 12:1-26 TNIV

Concerning Spiritual Gifts

1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, [a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues. [b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Unity and Diversity in the Body

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by [c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Catholic Radio Conference to feature 'Boot Camp' for new stations

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comCharleston, S.C - The 2010 Catholic Radio Conference, scheduled for the October, will feature a “boot camp” for those new to the Catholic radio. Keynoting the event will be Newt and Callista Gingrich, who will discuss their new movie about Pope John Paul II’s pilgrimage to Poland.

The conference will take place in the Birmingham, Alabama Oct. 13-16, a press release from organizers reports. Its “boot camp” will teach newcomers to the Catholic radio how to overcome common hurdles.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista will speak about their movie “Nine Days that Changed the World.” The movie is about John Paul II’s visit to Poland in June of 1979 which helped transform the Polish people and helped lead to the fall of the communism.

A screening of the movie will follow the Gingriches’ comments.

Bishop of Birmingham Robert J. Baker will celebrate a Mass at the conference and the deputy chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Audio Division will address attendees. The conference has separate tracks in the radio operations, promotion and fundraising and technical issues.

Catholic Radio Association President Stephen Gajdosik said that one strength of Catholic radio is its ability to leverage and unify the work of the Church.

“Whether it be a lay or diocesan effort, it is a work of the Church. Catholic radio can magnify that work, helping it to bear more fruit. The 2010 Catholic Radio Conference is designed to help the radio stations and programmers make their work serve the Church ever more effectively.”

Papal visit to Great Britain to include much more than beatification

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comVATICAN CITY -- The Vatican has billed Pope Benedict XVI's four-day visit to the Great Britain as a trip to beatify the 19th-century intellectual and theologian Cardinal John Henry Newman.

But the pope's schedule for the September visit is filled with the other appointments as well, including a meeting with the Queen Elizabeth II, with the British prime minister and members of the government's opposition parties and with Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of the Canterbury, spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The beatification Mass on the last day of the pope's Sept. 16-19 visit to Scotland and England will be the first beatification liturgy Pope Benedict has presided over; since his election in the 2005, he has delegated that role to the cardinals to highlight the difference between the beatification and canonization.

Here is the schedule for the pope's trip as released by the Vatican Aug. 18. Times listed are local, with Eastern Daylight Time in parentheses.

Thursday, Sept. 16 (Rome; Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland; London)

-- 8:10 a.m. (2:10 a.m.) Departure from Rome's Ciampino airport.

-- 10:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m.) Arrival at Edinburgh Airport. Official welcome.

-- 11 a.m. (6 a.m.) Welcoming ceremony at the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Visit with Queen Elizabeth II.

-- 11:40 a.m. (6:40 a.m.) Meeting with authorities in the park of Holyroodhouse. Speech by pope.

-- 1 p.m. (8 a.m.) Lunch with members of the papal entourage in the archbishop's residence in Edinburgh.

-- 5:15 p.m. (12:15 p.m.) Mass in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. Homily by pope.

-- 8 p.m. (3 p.m.) Departure from Glasgow Airport for London.

-- 9:25 p.m. (4:25 p.m.) Arrival at London's Heathrow Airport.

Friday, Sept. 17 (London)

-- 8 a.m. (3 a.m.) Private Mass in the chapel of the apostolic nunciature in Wimbledon.

-- 10 a.m. (5 a.m.) Meeting with staff and students of Catholic schools in the chapel and on the sports field of St. Mary's University College in Twickenham. Greeting and speech by pope.

-- 11:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m.) Meeting with leaders of other religions in the Waldegrave Drawing Room of St. Mary's University College. Speech by pope.

-- 4 p.m. (11 a.m.) Courtesy visit with the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace. Speech by pope.

-- 5:10 p.m. (12:10 p.m.) Meeting with representatives of British society, the academic, cultural and business spheres, members of the diplomatic corps and religious leaders in Westminster Hall. Speech by pope.

-- 6:15 p.m. (1:15 p.m.) Ecumenical celebration in Westminster Abbey. Speech by pope.

Saturday, Sept. 18 (London)

-- 9 a.m. (4 a.m.) Meeting with the prime minister in the residence of the archbishop of Westminster.

-- 9:20 a.m. (4:20 a.m.) Meeting with the deputy prime minister in the archbishop's residence.

-- 9:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m.) Meeting with leaders of the opposition in the archbishop's residence.

-- 10 a.m. (5 a.m.) Mass in Westminster Cathedral. Homily by pope.

-- 5 p.m. (Noon) Visit to St. Peter's Residence, a home for the elderly. Speech by pope.

-- 6:15 p.m. (1:15 p.m.) Prayer vigil for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman in Hyde Park. Speech by pope.

Sunday, Sept. 19 (London, Birmingham, Rome)

-- 8 a.m. (3 a.m.) Departure from the apostolic nunciature in Wimbledon.

-- 8:45 a.m. (3:45 am.) Departure by helicopter from Wimbledon Park to Birmingham.

-- 9:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m.) Arrival at the heliport near Cofton Park in Birmingham.

-- 10 a.m. (5 a.m.) Mass and the beatification of Cardinal Newman in Cofton Park. Homily by pope. Recitation of the Angelus prayer. Remarks by pope.

-- 1:10 p.m. (8:10 a.m.) Private visit to the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Birmingham.

-- 1:45 p.m. (8:45 a.m.) Lunch with the bishops of England, Wales and Scotland and with members of the papal entourage in the refectory of Francis Martyn House at Oscott College in Birmingham.

-- 4:45 p.m. (11:45 a.m.) Meeting with the bishops of England, Wales and Scotland in the chapel of Francis Martyn House.

-- 6:15 p.m. (1:15 p.m.) Farewell ceremony at Birmingham International Airport. Speech by pope.

-- 6:45 p.m. (1:45 p.m.) Departure from Birmingham International Airport.

-- 10:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m.) Arrival at Rome's Ciampino airport.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Daily bible readings for Aug 17, 2010

1 Timothy 4:1-16

Embodying Hope and Encouraging Others in Faith


1 Timothy 4:1-16: In today's passage, the author warns about false teachings. Then he offers personal advice to Timothy, telling him to mature in his faith and teaching, and to not let anyone undermine him because of his youth. He urges Timothy to continue sharing his gifts by reading Scripture, preaching and teaching.

Today's Reading

1The Spirit says clearly that some people will abandon the faith in later times; they will obey lying spirits and follow the teachings of demons. 2Such teachings are spread by deceitful liars, whose consciences are dead, as if burnt with a hot iron. 3Such people teach that it is wrong to marry and to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten, after a prayer of thanks, by those who are believers and have come to know the truth. 4Everything that God has created is good; nothing is to be rejected, but everything is to be received with a prayer of thanks, 5because the word of God and the prayer make it acceptable to God. 6If you give these instructions to the believers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, as you feed yourself spiritually on the words of faith and of the true teaching which you have followed. 7But keep away from those godless legends, which are not worth telling. Keep yourself in training for a godly life. 8Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future. 9This is a true saying, to be completely accepted and believed. 10We struggle and work hard, because we have placed our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all and especially of those who believe. 11Give them these instructions and these teachings. 12Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity. 13Until I come, give your time and effort to the public reading of the Scriptures and to preaching and teaching. 14Do not neglect the spiritual gift that is in you, which was given to you when the prophets spoke and the elders laid their hands on you. 15Practice these things and devote yourself to them, in order that your progress may be seen by all. 16Watch yourself and watch your teaching. Keep on doing these things, because if you do, you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Pilgrims at Lourdes Evacuated in Bomb Scare

LOURDES, France,- The French authorities consider Lourdes a symbolic place that could be the target of a terrorist attacks, which is why an anonymous bomb threat obliged them to evacuate 30,000 pilgrims on the feast of the Assumption.

On Sunday at 7:39 a.m., the Lourdes police station in the French Pyrenees received a telephone call from a man who said he had placed four bombs which were to explode at 3:00 p.m.

"Given the symbolic character of Lourdes, a city that could be the object of a terrorist threat, we had to take this call seriously," the prefect of the Upper Pyrenees region, Rene Bidal, said on Sunday during a press conference.

The Massabielle grotto, place of the apparitions of the Virgin to St. Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879), the young visionary who received Our Lady's message in 1858 that she is the Immaculate Conception, and the other shrines of the city were evacuated peacefully. After the police confirmed that the enclosure was free of explosives, the torch procession was held that night.

The French Council of Muslim Worship condemned "in "the most vigorous way" on Sunday the notification of the bomb and, in a communiqué, was delighted that "the shrines of Lourdes have found again their climate of security, peace and serenity."

Pope Speaks Of Christian Promise Of Eternal Life In Heaven

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comThe destination of Mary assumed is a reality founded on the love of the God, taught the Pope on Sunday. The Christian promise of heaven, he said, brings great joy and encourages believers to work for the construction of the "world of God."

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in the intimate atmosphere of the pontifical parish of St. Thomas of Villanova for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the town of Castel Gandolfo. During the celebration, attended by the parishioners and a select few military, civil and the religious leaders, the Holy Father spoke of the destination of Mary as she was taken from the earth.

He explained that in the Assumption, "we believe that Mary, as Christ her Son, defeated death and triumphs already in the celestial glory in the totality of her being, 'in body and soul'."

Expanding on the idea of the "celestial glory" to which Mary arrived, Pope Benedict noted that people today are conscious that by "'heaven' we are not referring to just any place in the universe, to a star or something similiar" but "to something much bigger and more difficult to define with our limited human concepts.

"With this term 'heaven'," he said, "we wish to assert that God, the God made close to us, does not abandon us even after death, but has a place for us and gives us eternity…”

He explained that in order to understand this we can look to our own lives and the way loved ones live on in our hearts after they die but only as a "shadow" because also this memory is destined to expire with the death of those who had conserve it.

"God, on the other hand," he taught, "does not ever pass and we all exist in accordance with His love. We exist because he loves us, because he has thought of us and he called us to life. We exist in the thoughts and in the love of God. We exist in all of our reality, not only in our 'shadow'."

The serenity, hope and peace of man is founded on God's thought and love, Benedict XVI explained, "he does not survive just in a 'shadow' of ourselves, but in Him, in His creative love, we are protected and introduced with all our life, with our being in eternity."

"It is His love that defeats death and gives us eternity, and it is this love that we call 'heaven' ..."

This is a truth, concluded the Pope, "that should always fill us with profound joy:" the Christian promise of eternal life in heaven, "not just any salvation of the soul in an imprecise beyond."

This gives Christians "a strong hope in a bright future and opens the way towards the realization of this future," he added.

"We are called, as Christians, to edify this new world," he said, "to work so that it might become one day the 'world of God,' a world that surpasses all that we ourselves can build. In Mary assumed in heaven, fully participating in the resurrection of the Son, we contemplate the realization of the human creature according to the 'world of God.'

"We pray that the Lord makes us understand how much our life is precious to His eyes; (that He) reinforces our faith in eternal life; that he makes us men of hope, who work to build a world open to God, men full of joy, who know how to see the beauty of the future world among the worries of daily life and live, believe and hope in this certainty."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eighteen language-specific Facebook pages help expand World Youth Day's reach

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comWorld Youth Day (WYD) Madrid has opened four more language-specific pages on the Facebook, bringing its total Facebook pages to 18. The pages were created thanks to the young volunteers who see the importance of having WYD information available in their own language.

Japanese, Vietnamese, Maltese and Croatian are the latest languages to have WYD outposts on Facebook. World Youth Day Madrid organizers credited the pages to “the determination and the excitement of the youth.”

Tran The Vinh, one of the administrators of the Vietnamese-language Facebook page, first suggested the creation of a page in her language. She said she believes the page is important because it overcomes “the obstacle of the speaking in a language other than your own.”

Vinh, a 23-year-old architecture student, spends three to five hours daily administrating WYD’s profile, with the help of the other administrators. She answers questions form page subscribers, translates information coming from Spain and promotes WYD.

Viktorija, an education student at the University of Zagreb, is one of the four administrators of the Croatian WYD page. She said the WYD Facebook page serves as a place where youth can resolve their doubts or to reunite and share their experiences.

A participant in previous WYD gatherings at Cologne and Sydney, Viktorija said her attendance at WYD Madrid will be “special” because it will mark the first time she will participate as a volunteer.

Ai Hongo, the 44-year-old administrator of the Japanese Facebook page, described herself as “young at heart.” In her view, videos are the best way to promote WYD because “they show in the best possible way what a day in WYD is like.”

The administrator of the Maltese WYD Facebook page is Mariam de Giorgio. She said she felt that the Madrid event will be “one of the most unforgettable WYDs ever,” in part because she will have the opportunity to meet in person the various friends she has made through social networks.

According to WYD Madrid, Spanish was the first language to have a WYD Facebook page, followed by English, French and Chinese.

India has more women Religious

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comIndia led the world in the number of the vocations to women’s Religious life in the Catholic Church, according to an analysis published in the Catholic Culture website.

Asia and Africa made considerable gains in the number of the female Religious since 2000, while Europe, Americas and Oceania showed a downward trend, according to the Jeff Mirus, who analyzed the statistics for the website.

In Asia, India recorded an increase of 9,398 women religious during 2002-2007 while Vietnam added 2,545 more nuns. South Korea and the Philippines increased by about 500.

Three Kerala-based congregations and the Blessed Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity were among those showing an upward trend in the world-wide scenario.

The Franciscan Clarist Congregation, the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel and the Sisters of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament continue to attract more members. Another rapidly growing congregation was the Claretian Missionary Sisters.

Major losers worldwide are the Salesian Sisters, the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, the Sisters of the Charity of Saints Bartholomea Capitanio and Vincenzia Gerosa and Benedictine Nuns.

Upward trend was noticed all across Africa: Tanzania and the Congo increased by around 1,500 while Nigeria, Madagascar, Kenya and Angola added 500 to 800 more nuns.

The Middle East and the Caribbean also have added more nuns. Women Religious increased in 99 nations since 2000, according to the analysis.

Unfortunately, their gains are not yet quite enough to offset the 4.6 percent decline among women Religious worldwide during 2002-2007.

Most losers are the Western nations. For example, Italy had 11,156 less nuns during 2002-2007. The United States came second, losing 10,454 nuns during the period.

Germany and France lost around 6,000 nuns each, followed by Canada and Spain each had 4,000 less women Religious. Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands in Europe, Argentina, Brazil and Columbia have also lost nuns in hundreds.

Between 1965 and 1995, the United States had lost 49 percent of its female Religious, while the number dropped by 46 percent in Canada, 44 percent in France, 48 percent in German, 43 percent in Great Britain, 51 percent in the Netherlands.

All together, there are about 750,000 women religious serving around the world, or approximately one nun for every 9,000 humans.

Church Celebrates Assumption Of The Blessed Virgin Mary On August 15

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comToday, Catholics and the many other Christians will celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The significant feast day recalls the spiritual and the physical departure of the mother of Jesus Christ from the earth, when both her soul and her resurrected body were taken into the presence of the God.

Venerable Pope Pius XII confirmed this belief about the Virgin Mary as the perennial teaching of the Church when he defined it formally as a dogma of the Catholic faith in 1950, invoking papal infallibility to proclaim, “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

His Apostolic Constitution “Munificentissimus Deus” (Most Bountiful God), which defined the dogma,

contained the Pontiff's accounts of many longstanding traditions by which the Church has celebrated the Assumption throughout its history.

The constitution also cited testimonies from the early Church fathers on the subject, and described the history of theological reflection on many Biblical passages which are seen as indicating that Mary was assumed into the heaven following her death.

Although the bodily assumption of Mary is not explicitly recorded in Scripture, Catholic tradition identifies her with the “woman clothed with the sun” who is described in the 12th chapter of the Book of the Revelation.

The passage calls that woman's appearance “a great sign” which “appeared in heaven,” indicating that she is the mother of the Jewish Messiah and has “the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of the twelve stars.” Accordingly, Catholic iconography of the Western tradition often depicts the Virgin Mary's assumption into heaven in this manner.

Eastern Christians have also traditionally held the Mary's assumption into heaven as an essential component of their faith. Pius XII cited several early Byzantine liturgical texts, as well as the eighth-century Arab Christian theologian St. John of Damascus, in his own authoritative definition of her assumption.

“It was fitting,” St. John of Damascus wrote in a sermon on the assumption, “that she, who had kept her virginity intact in the childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death,” and “that she, who had carried the creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles.”

In Eastern Christian tradition, the same feast is celebrated on the same calendar date, although typically known as the Dormition (falling asleep) of Mary. Eastern Catholic celebration of the Dormition is preceded by a two-week period of the fasting which is similar to Lent. Pius XII, in “Munificentissimus Deus,” mentioned this same fasting period as belonging to the traditional patrimony of Western Christians as well.

The feast of the Assumption is always a Holy Day of the Obligation for both Roman and Eastern-rite Catholics, on which they are obliged to attend Mass or Divine Liturgy. In 2010, however, it falls on a Sunday.