In the Child God's Love Manifest

At the beginning of his catechesis the Holy Father explained that "the Church's liturgical year did not initially develop on the basis of Christ's birth but on that of faith in His resurrection. Hence, the most ancient feast of Christianity is not Christmas but Easter. The resurrection of Christ is what founded the Christian faith, underpinned the announcement of the Gospel and brought the Church into being".
"The first person to make the clear affirmation that Jesus was born on 25 December was Hippolytus of Rome in his commentary on the Book of Daniel, written around the year 204", said the Pope.
"In the Christian world, the feast of Christmas assumed a distinct form in the fourth century when it took the place of the Roman feast of the 'Sol invictus', the sun unconquered. This highlighted the fact that the birth of Christ is the victory of the true light over the darkness of evil and sin. Yet the particular and intense spiritual atmosphere that now surrounds Christmas developed during the Middle Ages, thanks to St. Francis of Assisi who was profoundly enamoured of Jesus the man, of the God-with-us".
"This particular devotion to the mystery of the Incarnation was the origin of the famous Christmas celebration in Greccio. ... St. Francis with his nativity scene highlighted the defenceless love, humility and goodness of God, Who in the Incarnation of the Word shows Himself to mankind in order to teach them a new way to live and love".
"In that Child", the Holy Father added, "God-Love becomes manifest: God comes unarmed and powerless, because He does not intend to conquer, so to say, from the outside; rather, He intends to be accepted by man in freedom. God becomes a defenceless child to overcome man's pride, violence and thirst for possession. In Jesus, God assumed this poor and disarming condition in order to triumph over us with love and lead us to our true identity".
"His being a Child likewise indicates to us that we can meet God and enjoy His presence", the Pope concluded. "People who have not understood the mystery of Christmas have not understood the decisive element of Christian existence: that those who do not accept Jesus with the heart of a child cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven. This is what St. Francis wished to tell the Christian world of his time and of all times, even unto today".

Twitter for Evangelization

Twitter for Evangelization
and ten nuns who tweet plus three
and follow:
Hopetweets (Sr Sharon Anne) Crabbimystic (Sr Mary Lea) PaulineNYC (Margie Skeels, Pauline Cooperator)

St Paul and the new Areopagus

The issue you have addressed in this meeting, "St. Paul and the new Areopagus," in light of the Year of St. Paul recently concluded, helps to relive the experience of the Apostle of the Gentiles in Athens when, after preaching in many places he went to the Areopagus, and there proclaimed the Gospel in a language that today we might call 'inculturated' (cf. Acts 17:22-31).

That areopagus, which was then the cultural center of the learned people of Athens, today - as my venerated predecessor John Paul II said – "it can be taken as a symbol of the new sectors in which the Gospel must be proclaimed." (Redemptoris Missio , 37). In fact, the reference to that event is a pressing invitation to learn to interpret the "Areopagus" of today, where the great challenges of evangelization are confronted. You intend to analyze this issue realistically, taking into account the many social changes that have occurred, with a realism sustained by the spirit of faith that sees history in the light of the Gospel, and with the certainty that St. Paul had in the presence of the risen Christ. Comforting for us are the words that Jesus spoke in Corinth: "Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you. No one will attack and harm you" (Acts 18:9-10). The Servant of God Paul VI said that it is not only about preaching the Gospel, “but also of affecting and as it were upsetting, through the power of the Gospel, mankind's criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life, which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation."(Teachings XIII, [1975], 1448).

We must look at the "new Areopagus" in this spirit, some of them in the current globalization, have become common, while others are specific to certain continents, as was seen in the recent Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. The Church's missionary activity should therefore be geared towards these nerve centers of society of the third millennium. Nor can we underestimate the influence of a widespread culture of relativism, for the most part lacking in values, which enters the sanctuary of the family, infiltrates in education and other areas of society and contaminates them, manipulating consciences, especially those youth. At the same time, however, despite these pitfalls, the Church knows that the Holy Spirit is always in action. New doors are opened to the Gospel and the yearning for an authentic spiritual and apostolic renewal begins spreading throughout the world. As in other periods of change, the pastoral priority is to show the true face of Christ, the Lord of history and the one Redeemer of man. This requires that every Christian community and the Church as a whole offer a witness of fidelity to Christ, patiently building up the unity willed by Him, and prayed for by all His disciples. The unity of Christians will, in fact, make it easier to evangelize and to face the cultural, social and religious challenges of our time.

In this missionary venture, we can look to the apostle Paul, imitating his "style" of life and his same apostolic "spirit" totally focused on Christ. With such complete adherence to the Lord, Christians will be more likely to transmit to future generations the legacy of faith, transforming even difficulties into opportunities for evangelization. In my recent Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, I wanted to emphasize that the economic and social development of contemporary society needs to regain the attention to spiritual life and a "a serious consideration of the experiences of trust in God, spiritual fellowship in Christ, reliance upon God's providence and mercy, love and forgiveness, self-denial, acceptance of others, justice and peace... Christians long for the entire human family to call upon God as “Our Father!” (no.79).

I invoke upon you and upon those who take part in this Plenary Assembly, God's help and the protection of the Virgin Mary, Star of Evangelization, and I cordially send my blessing to everyone.
From the Vatican, November 2009. BENEDICT XVI PP
(Agenzia Fides 16/11/2009)

(c) Drawing of Paul, Sr. Elaine Penrice, fsp

Pope Benedict on Evangelization

Quotes & Podcast on Evangelization

"One of the promising indications of a renewal in the Church's missionary consciousness in recent decades, has been the growing desire of many lay men and women to cooperate generously in the 'missio ad gentes.' 

Jesus Communication Platform Is the Human Person

 Jesus' Communication Platform Is 'the Human Person'

Texting: sent the original Christian text message: "IHS."
"You should recognize this one," Bishop Soto said. "It is the oldest text message anywhere. It is the text for the holy name of Jesus."

New forms of electronic communication are everywhere and being reinvented again rapidly, but God doesn't care, Bishop Soto said.
"God does not buy a new iPhone or get a new app (mobile application). His communication platform is the human person," he said.
The explosion of electronic communication, he continued, is merely a reflection of the yearning in the human heart to have what Jesus offers—a connection to love.
"The Lord Jesus Christ is tapping on the homepage of your heart," he said. "He wants to text the truth of God's mercy on your soul. Jesus is the word, the ultimate Facebook of God, and invites you to be his friend."
"Jesus does not Twitter," the bishop said. "Rather he humbled himself so that he could meet you, connect with you and serve you in charity and in truth. He is the IP (Internet Protocol) address of the way, the truth and the life."

The Way of Beauty

VATICAN CITY, 21 NOV 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Sistine Chapel, Benedict XVI met with artists in an event promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture to mark the tenth anniversary of John Paul II's Letter to Artists of 4 April 1999, and the forty-fifth anniversary of Paul VI's meeting with artists of 7 May 1964. The 262 artists participating in the meeting came from different continents and were divided into five categories: painting and sculpture; architecture; literature and poetry; music and song; cinema, theatre, dance and photography.


Benedict XVI refered to the Sistine Chapel fresco of the Last Judgement, explaining that it "reminds us that human history is ... a continuing tension towards fullness, towards human happiness. ... Yet the dramatic scene portrayed in this fresco also places before our eyes the risk of man's definitive fall. ... The fresco issues a strong prophetic cry against evil, against every form of injustice. For believers, though, the Risen Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. For His faithful followers, He is the Door through which we are brought to that 'face-to-face' vision of God from which limitless, full and definitive happiness flows". The Holy Father also noted how the present is marked, "not only by negative elements in the social and economic sphere, but also by a weakening of hope, by a certain lack of confidence in human relationships, which gives rise to increasing signs of resignation, aggression and despair".

"What is capable of restoring enthusiasm and confidence, what can encourage the human spirit to rediscover its path, to raise its eyes to the horizon, to dream of a life worthy of its vocation - if not beauty? Beauty ... reminds us of our final destiny" and "gives us the courage to live to the full the unique gift of life. The quest for beauty that I am describing here is clearly not about escaping into the irrational or into mere aestheticism.
"Too often", the Pope added, "the beauty that is thrust upon us is illusory and deceitful, superficial and blinding, ... a seductive but hypocritical beauty that rekindles desire, the will for power, possession, and domination over others, it is a beauty which soon turns into its opposite, taking on the guise of indecency, transgression or gratuitous provocation. Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond".

"Art, in all its forms, at the point where it encounters the great questions of our existence, ... can take on a religious quality, thereby turning into a path of profound inner reflection and spirituality. This close proximity, this harmony between the journey of faith and the artist's path is attested by countless artworks that are based upon the personalities, the stories, the symbols of that immense deposit of 'figures' - in the broad sense - namely the Bible, the Sacred Scriptures". The Holy Father then turned his attention to "a 'via pulchritudinis', a path of beauty which is at the same time an artistic and aesthetic journey, a journey of faith, of theological enquiry. ... The way of beauty leads us to grasp the Whole in the fragment, the Infinite in the finite, God in the history of humanity.
"Simone Weil wrote in this regard: 'In all that awakens within us the pure and authentic sentiment of beauty, there, truly, is the presence of God. There is a kind of incarnation of God in the world, of which beauty is the sign. Beauty is the experimental proof that incarnation is possible. For this reason all art of the first order is, by its nature, religious'".


U.S. CATHOLIC BISHOPS FOCUS ON LANDMARK VOCATIONS STUDY Executive Director of National Religious Vocation Conference provides bishops with major findings on vocation trends: Bishops asked to meet with religious leaders in their dioceses; speak often of vocations; establish religious life component in diocesan vocation offices

Baltimore, Nov. 18, 2009—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, gathered in Baltimore for their annual meeting, invited Holy Cross Brother Paul Bednarczyk, Executive Director of the Chicago-based National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC), to present the results of the NRVC’s landmark Study on Recent Vocations to Religious Life, published this past August.
Bednarczyk outlined the study’s key findings including the need for collaborative efforts with dioceses, Catholic educators, and families in creating a culture of vocation within the Church. He asked for the bishops’ help “in promoting consecrated life as a viable, joyful, and grace-filled option for the men and women in your dioceses” and suggested three practical ways the bishops could do this: Meet with the major superiors and religious priests, brothers, and sisters in their dioceses to discuss
the results of the NRVC’s vocation research.

Make vocation promotion to all forms of ordained and vowed religious life a priority and speak often about vocations, especially to young people.

Provide a component in their diocesan vocation offices for the promotion of religious priesthood and consecrated life in addition to diocesan priesthood.

Bednarczyk cited Pope John Paul II’s Vita Consecrata, in which bishops were asked to give religious priests, brothers, sisters and others in consecrated life a “place in the pastoral plans of the Diocese.” He added: “If religious life, like priesthood, is a gift to the local church, clergy, religious, and laity all need to share in the responsibility for its promotion.”

The bishops received an outline of the major findings of the NRVC’s Study on Recent Vocations to Religious Life in the United States, conducted by the Center for the Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), a Georgetown University-based research center. Key among the findings is the dramatic 65 percent drop in religious vocations since their peak in the mid 1960s. The study also showed that new members bring increased ethnic and cultural diversity and a strong desire for communal living, prayer, and Catholic identity.

“Despite the challenges presented by the changing demographics,” said Bednarczyk, “our study affirms that the Holy Spirit continues to inspire and guide the Church as evidenced by the founding of new religious institutes, the multitude of charitable works established by religious, and most encouraging, the zeal and passion for the gospel and hope for the future embraced by our newer members.” Fostering vocations to priesthood and religious life is one of the stated priorities of the Bishops’ Conference, and Bednarczyk noted that the invitation for him to address the bishops was “an affirmation of the priority this Conference is giving to religious life and its future in this country.”

Br. Paul Bednarczyk’s address to the bishops and the NRVC vocation study are available at
The National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) was founded in 1988 as a professional organization of men and women committed to vocation awareness, invitation, and discernment to consecrated life as brothers, sisters, and priests. The NRVC has approximately 1,100 members, most of whom are vocation ministers for religious congregations. The NRVC serves its members by providing continuing education, resources, and services for professional growth. Its publications include HORIZON and VISION Vocation Guide.

Catholics for victims of economic crises

November 21-22, US parishes hold campaign for victims of economic crisis

Washington, DC (Agnezia Fides) – According to a recent press release from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), this weekend (November 21-22), nearly all US parishes will participate in their 2009 Campaign entitled: "Families are struggling. Faith is calling." The CCHD holds a special collection every year, but this year the focus will be on aiding families who are suffering amidst the economic downturn the country is witnessing. The crisis has left many in the United States without jobs, health care, retirement funds, etc. U.S. Census poverty figures reveal that the number of people currently in poverty in the United States is estimated at 39.8 million, almost 3 million more people than the previous year’s readings. One out of every six children lives below the poverty line.

“The mission of CCHD is crucial in 2009,” said Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Mississippi, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Subcommittee on CCHD, in a letter inviting parishes to be as generous as possible. “This year, our call as Catholics to bring glad tidings to the poor…to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free (Lk 4:18) is more important than ever before.” The CCHD is a member of Caritas Internationalis and twenty-five percent of the proceeds from its once-a-year campaign go to support projects in the diocese where the funds are collected, while the rest is distributed on a global level. In 2008, CCHD-funded groups involved 776 Catholic parishes, 18 Catholic Charities agencies and 51 religious communities. (AR) (Agenzia Fides 17/11/2009)

For more information

Ebargoed Letter of to Priests in China

This letter was ebargoed (banned) from Priests in China (though with modern means of communication I assume there must be a informal way that it will arrive in the country and reach priests).

VATICAN - Letter from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to priests in China for Year for Priests: “despite the persisting difficulties, the information that has come from different parts of China points also to signs of hope.”

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – An “invitation to hope” is what opens the Letter that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, has addressed to all priests of the Catholic Church in the People's Republic of China, on the occasion of the Year for Priests. In light of and in continuity with the “Letter of Holy Father Benedict XVI to the Bishops, Priests, Consecrated Persons and Lay Faithful in the People’s Republic of China,” on 27 May 2007, Cardinal Bertone recalls the Pope's indications for the life of the Church in China: reconciliation within the Catholic community and dialogue with Civil Authorities, without renouncing the principles of the Catholic faith. In this sense, he affirms that “despite the persisting difficulties, the information that has come from different parts of China points also to signs of hope.”

To continue on this path, every priest should draw “light and strength from the sources of priestly spirituality, which are the love of God and the unconditional following of Christ.” In China's situation, according to the expression used by Jesuit missionary Fr. Matteo Ricci, “it is still more a time of sowing than of reaping.” The Holy See is fully aware of the complex and difficult situation in which priests in China find themselves and “the new challenges, which the Chinese people must face at the beginning of the Third Millennium,” which require priests to open themselves “with confidence to the future and to continue trying to live the Christian faith integrally.”

As a “little flock,” the priests in China live amidst a great multitude of people, along with followers of other religions, as well as people who are either indifferent or even hostile towards God: “you share the same situation of many of your brothers in other parts of the world,” Cardinal Bertone says, inviting them to place their littleness in the Lord's hands, to thus become “instruments of salvation for many, for everyone!”

After highlighting that “in the school of Saint John Mary Vianney we must learn to identify ourselves with the ministry we have received” and that it is from this identification “that all the virtues necessary for every priest originate,” the Letter indicates the Eucharist as the source where the priest can find the strength to be faithful to his important mission. “The Eucharist, sacrament of communion, source and summit of ecclesial life and evangelization, is at the center of your journey of reconciliation...In fact, every celebration of the Eucharist presupposes the union not only with the local Bishop but also with the Pope, the order of Bishops, all the clergy and the entire People of God.” Likewise, it is necessary that the priest nourish himself with the Word of God, that he know it and love it, so much so that their life and activity is “distinguished by a determined witness to the Gospel.”

Cardinal Bertone then addresses the Bishops, “who have received the fullness of the priesthood,” to recall their duty to care for the path of holiness of their priests. The Year for Priests also offers a good occasion to relaunch vocational pastoral ministry, promoting new initiatives such as days of prayer, encounters for the youth, greater attention in the formation of seminarians on a spiritual and academic level. A particular invitation was also made to Bishops to ensure the adequate permanent formation of the clergy, especially young priests who are also alone, subjected to new pastoral challenges “linked to the demands of the task of evangelizing a society as complex as present-day Chinese society.” The young priests should be welcomed and assisted by the older clergy, and have frequent occasions to meet with them and with the Bishop, so as to plan diocesan activities, share experiences, and help one another to resolve personal and pastoral difficulties.

In the conclusive part of the Letter, there is an invitation to consider the worship of the Eucharist outside the Mass as “of inestimable value in the life of every priest,” according to the teachings of the saintly Cure of Ars, and an exhortation to promote it so that the faithful, gathered around the Eucharist can experience ecclesial communion.

Faced with the contrasts and miseries that remain within the Catholic communities, the Letter asks them “to pay attention also to the human formation of all the faithful, priests and sisters included, because the lack of human maturity, self-control and inner harmony is the most frequent source of misunderstandings, lack of cooperation and conflicts within Catholic communities.”

The final argument addresses the need to promote agencies of communion, according to the ecclesiology of communion that is fundamental in the documents of the II Vatican Council, so as to promote the pastoral task of the Bishops and the growth of the diocesan community. When it is impossible to organize the entire diocesan Curia, Bishops should at least start to diversify the roles by gradually appointing a vicar general, chancellor, procurator, etc, in order to have someone at hand for consultation and cooperation in making juridical and pastoral decisions.

Cardinal Bertone concludes his letter by entrusting the Blessed Virgin Mary with “the wish that your priestly life may be guided more and more by those ideals of the total giving of oneself to Christ and to the Church which inspired the thought and action of the saintly Curé of Ars.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 16/11/2009)

The Seeker: Sister Anne Flanagan: Desperation and the indefensible

The Seeker: Sister Anne Flanagan: Desperation and the indefensible a reflection on the upcoming Bishops The bishops' draft document, entitled "Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology."

Catechists in Singapore at mass media school

Use the mass media like TV, movies, music, and Internet in catechesis, to better adapt to the vocabulary of students: this is what catechists of the Archdiocese of Singapore are being called to learn in a diocesan training program given by experts and professionals.

According to religious Sister Pauline Rose Pacatte, who holds an MA in Media Education earned in London and who was one of the speakers in the program, catechists must adopt modern means of communication in order to dialogue with students and speak their own language . The sister said that “how you teach is more important than what you teach,” leaving the catechists a "Decalogue" which addresses the need to respect students, learn their language, be antennas in the contemporary world, thinking with the heart and, above all, “combining faith and life,” which is the most important witness and influences their own vision of the mass media. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 10/11/2009)
PHOTO: Graduates from the Advance Certificate in Media Studies in Los Angeles - a course directed by Sr Rose Pacatte.

Building Church on the Rejected Stone

Baptized Christians are fitted into a growing edifice that has Christ as its foundational stone (98). Becoming a Christian means becoming a part of the building erected on the rejected stone. Precisely in this way the Church fulfills the dream of hope, which ultimately supports all human construction. The building done by humans aims at the construction of a place to stay; it seeks security, a home, freedom. It is a declaration of war against death, against insecurity, against fear, against loneliness. For this reason the desire of humans to build is fulfilled in the temple, in that building in which they invited God. The temple is the expression of the human longing to have God as a fellow occupant, the longing to be able to reside with God and thus to experience the perfect way of living, the consummate community, which banishes loneliness and fear once and for all. The true temple of God is indestructible. God himself erects this temple and that dream of God dwelling among his people is fulfilled in those who trust in the rejected stone – they themselves are the temple (cf New Song for the Lord, Joseph Ratzinger).

E-Conference on the Gospel of Luke for over 5,000 prisoners

I was in prison and you visited me -  Sydney (Agenzia Fides) – The Gospel of Luke has entered into the gray walls of the Long Bay Jail in Sydney and in many other detainment centers in Europe and America. It is one of the most inspiring fruits of the e-conference on the Gospel of Luke, held yesterday (November 4) in Brisbane, organized by the Australian Bishops' Conference, with technical assistance from Broken Bay Institute. As Agenzia Fides learns from local Church sources, the conference entitled “St. Luke: Come to the Table” was transmitted on over 200 Internet websites worldwide, with over 5,000 registered participants.

The e-conference on Saint Luke was organized after seeing the great success of the E-Conference on Saint Paul, which was held at the close of the Year of St. Paul. Australian Catholic communities and others from around the world came together to listen to Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Canberra and Goulburn, and Dr. Elizabeth Dowling, Theologian.

The Bishops of Australia have decided to hold the event to create an “e-community” in pastoral ministry and in the Church in Australia's work of evangelization. The event shows that the mass media, put to good use, can be an efficient source of evangelization. Thanks to the web and the new technologies, the conference is followed by faithful from all different cities, parishes, and towns across the country. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 5/11/

Art: beauty, truth and goodness


VATICAN CITY, 5 NOV 2009 (VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, and Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums, held a press conference to present Benedict XVI's forthcoming meeting with artists, due to take place on 21 November in the Sistine Chapel.

Archbishop Ravasi recalled how the meeting, promoted by his dicastery, is to be celebrated on the tenth anniversary of John Paul II's Letter to Artists of 4 April 1999, and the forty-fifth anniversary of Paul VI's meeting with artists of 7 May 1964.

"The event", he explained, "is not like a general audience of the Holy Father, open to any artist or exclusively to Christian-inspired artists, rather it aims to be representative of the desire for dialogue between the Church and the world of the arts, a dialogue which must necessarily develop over various stages and using various means".
The 255 artists who have accepted the invitation to attend come from various continents and are divided into five categories: painting and sculpture; architecture; literature and poetry; music and song; cinema, theatre, dance and photography.

The Mystery of Hope

From The Portal of the Mystery of Hope

By Charles Péguy

The faith that I love best, says God, is hope.
Faith doesn’t surprise me.
It’s not surprising.
I am so resplendent in my creation. . . .
That in order really not to see me these poor people would have to be blind.
Charity says God, that doesn’t surprise me.
It’s not surprising.
These poor creatures are so miserable that unless they had a heart of stone,
how could they not have love for one another.
How could they not love their brothers.
How could they not take the bread from their own mouth,
their daily bread, in order to give it to the unhappy children who pass by.
And my son had such love for them. . . .
But hope, says God, that is something that surprises me.
Even me.
That is surprising.
That these poor children see how things are going and believe that tomorrow things will go better.
That they see how things are going today and believe that they will go better tomorrow morning.
That is surprising and it’s by far the greatest marvel of our grace.
And I’m surprised by it myself.
And my grace must indeed be an incredible force.
~trans. David L. Schindler, Jr.

All Saints; All Souls

Thoughts on the immortality of the soul from Escatology by Joseph Ratzinger

"Christ throws open the portals of time and death..."

"Whenever someone enters into the 'I' of Christ, he has entered straight away into the space of unconditional life."

"Where there is communion with Jesus, the boundary of death is overshot here and now. It is in this perspective that we understand the discourse on the Eucharist in John 6. Feeding on Jesus' word and on his flesh, that is receiving him by both faith and sacrament, is described as being nourished by the bread of immortality."

"The borderline between Sheol and life runs through our very midst, and those who are in Christ are situated on the side of life, and that everlastingly."

Spread the Word Using New Media

"A genuine revolution is taking place in the realm of social communications," the Pontiff said to the participants in the assembly, "of which the Church is ever more responsibly conscious."
"These technologies make speedy and penetrating communication possible, with a capacity to share ideas and opinions; to facilitate acquiring information and news in a personal way that is accessible to all," he added. Recalling the two pastoral instructions on the media -- "Communio et Progressio" of Pope Paul VI and "Aetatis Novae" -- the Holy Father called for a further "careful analysis on the presence and action of the Church in this field."

Enriching Media Culture


The Pontifical Council for Social Communications "has, for some time now, been following the surprising and rapid evolution of the means of communication growing in the involvement of the magisterium of the Church". With these words, Benedict XVI received participants in the plenary assembly of that dicastery, presided over by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, which is examining the role of new technologies in the media during these days.

The Holy Father cited Paul VI's pastoral instruction "Communio et Progressio" and John Paul II's "Aetatis Nova", "two important documents that have favoured and promoted greater awareness on the themes tied to communication in the Church".

He also recalled John Paul II's encyclical "Redemptoris Missio" that affirms: "Involvement in the mass media, however, is not meant merely to strengthen the preaching of the Gospel. There is a deeper reality involved here: since the very evangelization of modern culture depends to a great extent on the influence of the media, it is not enough to use the media simply to spread the Christian message and the Church's authentic teaching. It is also necessary to integrate that message into the 'new culture' created by modern communications".

"Effectively, Benedict XVI said, "modern culture is established, even before its content, in the very fact of the existence of new forms of communication that use new languages; they use new technologies and create new psychological attitudes. All of which supposes a challenge for the Church, which is called to announce the Gospel to persons in the third millennium, maintaining its content unaltered but making it understandable, thanks also to the instruments and methods in tune with today's mentality and culture".

At the same time, the Pope referred to his last message for the World Communications Day in which he encouraged "those responsible for communication in all areas, to promote a culture of respect for the dignity and worth of the human being, a dialogue rooted in the sincere search for truth and friendship (...) capable of developing the gifts and talents of each and of putting them at the service of the human community".

"In this way the Church exercises that which can be defined as a "deaconate of culture" in today's "digital continent", using its means to announce the Gospel, the only Word that can save the human being. The task of enriching the elements of the new culture of the media, beginning with their ethical aspects, falls to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications as well as serving as orientation and guide in helping the particular churches understand the importance of communication, which represents a key point that cannot be overlooked in any pastoral plan".

Concluding, the pontiff recalled the 50th anniversary of the Vatican Film Archive founded by Blessed John XXIII, which possesses a "rich cultural patrimony pertaining to all humanity" and he encouraged to continuing collection and cataloguing of images "that document the path of Christianity through the suggestive witness of the image".

President of Signis Catholic Communication Pacific Region

Spreading Catholic Values through the Media: Signis (Signs)
(ANS – Chiang Mai) – The Salesian priest Fr Ambrose Pereira has been elected President of the Pacific Region of the NGO “Signis”. Fr Pereira was elected in the course of the Assembly of the Signis Delegates held on 22 and 23 October, in the context of the World  Congress of the organisation, for years involved in spreading Catholic values through the media. 

Jesus Christ center of thought and action

Pauline Spirituality: Blessed James Alberione, founder of the Pauline Family, had an altogether Christ-centered thought. The dynamic core of every one of its manifestations is found in the expression of the Apostle of the Gentiles: “I live no longer; it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). Alberione took Jesus Divine Master as the point of reference of his spiritual life and the fountainhead of his apostolic mission. “You call me Master and you say well, for so I am” (Jn 13:13). “Go, and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 29:19). He learned to grasp the mystery and fullness of Christ in the trinomial of John (14:6): “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” At the center of all the thought, prayer and action of his religious family, Father Alberione therefore placed the Christ of these dynamic attributes, as revealed in the Gospel.

Spirituality and Homelessness

Though not many will be able to attend this presentation the inspiriation to reach out to the homeless that recognizes spiritual poverty is something I reflect on often. As Mother Teresa wrote in her letter to Paulines:

"I pray that you will be able to reach out to the spiritually poor whoever they may be, to satisfy their hunger for God, their thirst for peace, so they in turn try to relieve the hunger and homelessness of the poor and needy..." Mother Teresa (1988).

Response of the Traditional Anglicans

And the response of Traditional Anglicans is...

Archbishop John Hepworth, primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, has issued a statement welcoming Pope Benedict’s decision to permit Anglican communities to join the Catholic Church as communities.

“We are profoundly moved by the generosity of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,” said Archbishop Hepworth. “May I firstly state that this is an act of great goodness on the part of the Holy Father. He has dedicated his pontificate to the cause of unity. It more than matches the dreams we dared to include in our petition of two years ago. It more than matches our prayers. In those two years, we have become very conscious of the prayers of our friends in the Catholic Church. Perhaps their prayers dared to ask even more than ours.”

Archbishop Hepworth continued:

While we await the full text of the Apostolic Constitution, we are also moved by the pastoral nature of the Notes issued today by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. My fellow bishops have indeed signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church and made a statement about the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, reflecting the words of Pope John Paul II in his letter "Ut Unum Sint" …

Fortunately, the Statement issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury reflects the understanding that we have gained from him that he does not stand in our way, and understands the decisions that we have reached. Both his reaction and our petition are fruits of a century of prayer for Christian unity, a cause that many times must have seemed forlorn. We now express our gratitude to Archbishop Williams, and have regularly assured him of our prayers. The See of Augustine remains a focus of our pilgrim way, as it was in ages of faith in the past.

I have made a commitment to the Traditional Anglican Communion that the response of the Holy See will be taken to each of our National Synods. They have already endorsed our pathway. Now the Holy See challenges us to seek in the specific structures that are now available the "full, visible unity, especially Eucharistic communion", for which we have long prayed and about which we have long dreamed. That process will begin at once. In the Anglican Office of Morning Prayer, the great Hymn of Thanksgiving, the Te Deum, is part of the daily Order. It is with heartfelt thanks to Almighty God, the Lord and Source of all peace and unity, that the hymn is on our lips today. This is a moment of grace, perhaps even a moment of history, not because the past is undone, but because the past is transformed.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also issued a statement welcoming the Vatican announcement.

Soledad O'Brien explores Latino experience, mixed-race heritage -

Soledad O'Brien explores Latino experience, mixed-race heritage -

Church opens door to Anglicans who desire full communion

By Mary DeTurris Poust
The Vatican announced today that it will create a structure that will allow large groups of Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, providing "a reasonable and even necessary response to a world-wide phenomenon," said Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Catholic News Agency reports:
"The new canonical structure will allow former Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Church while 'preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony,' said Cardinal Levada. He added that it will allow married former Anglican clergy to be ordained however, in common with Catholic and Orthodox Churches, married clergy will not be allowed to be ordained bishops."
The Traditional Anglican Communion, a breakaway group that has publicly made known its wishes to unite with Rome, claims to have some 400,000 members. Although the move to open the door to Anglicans seems aimed at the TAC movement, it is not limited to the group.

Media Education is Evangelization

Don Bosco India -

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World Mission Sunday Address of Pope Benedict XVI

VATICAN - World Mission Sunday “is a powerful reminder for every ecclesial community and for each Christian of the duty to proclaim and bear witness before all people to the Gospel,” said Benedict XVI in the Angelus, thanking the Pontifical Mission Societies for their services of animation and formation

On Sunday, October 18, the Holy Father Benedict XVI dedicated his address prior to the recitation of the Angelus with pilgrims in Saint Peter's Square, to World Mission Sunday and the Synod for Africa. These were his words:

“Today, the third Sunday of October, we celebrate World Mission Day, which is a powerful reminder for every ecclesial community and for each Christian of the duty to proclaim and bear witness before all people to the Gospel, especially to those who do not yet know it. In the message that I wrote for this occasion, I was inspired by an expression in the Book of Revelation, which echoes the words of Isaiah’s prophecy: “The nations will walk in his light” (Revelation 21:24). The light that is spoken about is God’s light, revealed in the Messiah and reflected on the countenance of the Church, represented as the New Jerusalem, wondrous city in which the fullness of the glory of God shines forth. It is the light of the Gospel, which orients the path of the nations and guides them toward the realization of a great family, in justice and peace, under the paternity of the one God, who is good and merciful.

The Church exists to proclaim this message of hope to all of humanity, which in our time has “experienced marvelous achievements but which seems to have lost its sense of ultimate realities and of existence itself” (John Paul II, "Redemptoris Missio," 2).

In the month of October, especially this Sunday, the universal Church highlights her missionary vocation. Led by the Holy Spirit, she knows that she is called to continue the work of Jesus himself, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, which “is justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). This Kingdom is already present in the world as the power of love, of freedom, of solidarity, of respect for the dignity of every man, and the ecclesial community feels the force in its heart of the urgency to work so that Christ’s sovereignty be fully realized. All its members and articulations cooperate in such a project, according to the different states of life and charisms.

On this World Mission Day I would like to recall the missionaries -- priests, men and women religious and lay volunteers -- who consecrate their existence to bringing the Gospel into the world, even facing hardships and difficulties and sometimes real persecutions.

I think, among others, of Father Ruggero Ruvoletto, a priest of the Donum Fidei missionaries, recently killed in Brazil; of Father Michael Sinnot, a religious, taken hostage a few days ago in the Philippines.

And how can I not think of what is emerging from the synod of bishops of Africa in terms of extreme sacrifice and love for Christ and his Church? I thank the Pontifical Missionary Societies for the precious service that they give to missionary animation and formation. Furthermore, I invite all Christians to make a gesture of material and spiritual sharing to help the young Churches of the poorest countries.

Dear friends, today, Oct. 18, is also the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, who, along with the Gospel, wrote the Acts of the Apostle to narrate the expansion of the Christian message to the ends of the then known world. We invoke his intercession together with that of St. Francis Xavier and St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, patrons of the missions, and of the Virgin Mary, that the Church may continue to spread the light of Christ among all the nations. I ask you, moreover, to pray for the Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, which is taking place this week here in the Vatican.”

After the Angelus, addressing the faithful in various languages, the Pope recalled once more World Mission Sunday and the Synod for Africa. Lastly, in Italian, he greeted the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, present for the closing of the 4th centenary of the death of their founder, St. John Leonardi. “Dear brothers, together with you are also the students of all the Colleges of the Propaganda Fidei, accompanied by Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as well as representatives of pharmacists, whose patron is St. Giovanni Leonardi. I exhort all of you to follow him on the path of holiness and to imitate his missionary zeal.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 19/10/2009)

Links: Complete text of the Holy Father's address, in various languages

St Ignatius of Antioch

Prayer of St. Ignatius of Antioch
I am the wheat of God,
and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts,
that I may be found the pure bread of God.
I long after the Lord,
the Son of the true God and Father, Jesus Christ.
Him I seek, who died for us and rose again.
I am eager to die for the sake of Christ.
My love has been crucified,
and there is no fire in me that loves anything.
But there is living water springing up in me,
and it says to me inwardly:
"Come to the Father."

Pray the Mission Rosary


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Catholic Church Statistics

FIDES NEWS  16-10-2009

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Links:      Special Mission Sunday 2009: CATHOLIC CHURCH STATISTICS

World Mission Sunday

World Mission Sunday

On World Mission Sunday - October 18 - all Catholics are called to celebrate their vocation to be missionary. On this day, Catholics around the world  here at home and in the Missions gather at the Eucharist around the table of the Lord, to pray for the Church's worldwide missionary work.

The Society for the Propagation of the Faith

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From Family of God to Servants of Reconciliation, Justice, Peace

"From Being “Family of God (evangelizers) to Being Servants (ministers=diakonoi) of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.” Gathering from Biblical passages, he observed that “in a Church, which is a family in communion, reconciliation becomes not a state or an act, but a dynamic process, a task to be undertaken everyday, a goal to strive after, an unending setting out to re-establish, through love and mercy, broken friendships, fraternal bonds, trust and confidence.”  Speaking of the witness, which in “Ecclesia in Africa” Pope John Paul II exalted as “an essential element of missionary cooperation” to be salt of the earth and light of the world, Cardinal Appiah Turkson mentioned that “ the 'salt' symbol invites the Church-Family of God to accept to expend herself (dissolve) for the life of the continent and its people” and Jesus' expression “Your are the light of the world” expresses the lofty vocation of the disciples, “a call to fulfill, in Christ, Israel’s vocation in the Old Testament to be witness of the light of knowledge of God’s Law (Gospel) and of his salvation in the world.”
Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah from the Special assembly in Africa of the Synod of Bishops
(SL) (Agenzia Fides 6/10/2009)

Year for Priests - The Catholic University of America

"It seems urgent to recover that awareness that has always been at the heart of the Church's mission, which impels priests to be present, identifiable and recognizable both for their judgement of faith, for their personal virtues as well as for the habit, in the contexts of culture and of charity." His Holiness Benedict XVI

World Day of Communication: Pastoral Ministry in a Digital Age

VATICAN - Theme for 44th World Communications Day 2010: “The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word.”

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – On the liturgical feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Rafael, the theme chosen by the Holy Father Benedict XVI for the 44th World Communications Day 2010, was released: “The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word.”

As the statement released by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications explains, the main task of the priest is to preach the Word of God become Flesh, a Man, in history, thus becoming a sign of the communion that God establishes with man. The efficacy of this ministry thus requires the priest to maintain an intimate relationship with God, rooted in a profound love and in a living knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures, “witness” in a written form, of the Divine Word. The Message for the 44th World Communications Day is an invitation to priests, especially in this Year for Priests and in the wake of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to consider the new communications media as a possible resource for their ministry at the service of the Word. Likewise, it aims to encourage them to face the challenges arising from the new digital culture.

The new communications media, if adequately understood and exploited, can offer priests and all pastoral care workers a wealth of data which was difficult to access before, and facilitate forms of collaboration and increased communion that were previously unthinkable. Thanks to the new forms of media, those who preach the Word of life can do so can words, sounds, and images – the unique vocabulary of the digital culture. Individuals and entire communities on every continent can do so, in order to spread awareness and engage in dialogue to propose a path to communion. If wisely used, with the help of experts in technology and the communications culture, the new media can become - for priests and for all pastoral care workers - a valid and effective instrument for authentic and profound evangelization and communion. They will be a new form of evangelization, so that Christ may come into our cities and onto the threshold of our homes, once again declaring: “'Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). (SL) (Agenzia Fides 30/9/2009)

Prayer Intentions for October

VATICAN CITY, 30 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for October is: "That Sunday may be lived as the day on which Christians gather to celebrate the risen Lord, participating in the Eucharist".
His mission intention is: "That the entire People of God, to whom Christ entrusted the mandate to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, may eagerly assume their own missionary responsibility and consider it the highest service they can offer humanity".

Move over Dan Brown, this is astounding news and no secret

In Christ we discover the astounding news which we are to announce to the world. His Gospel points out to every man and woman the hope for thier journey into the future. Without a vision of the future there can be no hope, just as without hope there can be no future. A communication that does not transmit this vision lives on the sidelines of a history that each day renews itself and that asks for new incarnations of those who would share actively in its changes. A communication of hope is for this reason conditioned by the events and the different cultures that move along the road of history. It is also subject to the transformations that arise within the People of God who are on their pilgrim journey toward the Kingdom.

Carlo Molari wrote that humanity “is living through one of those crucial passages in its adventure on this earth, that together constitute the numerous epochal turning-points in its long history. It is a process of gestation to new ways of living together, and it provokes turbulence and conflicts, sufferings and misunderstandings.” This involves all of nature, human life and politics, the diverse cultures, the life of the Church itself with all those crises of life and of faith that often “can no longer stand up to the developments of scientific culture and need to be reformulated”.

Let us ask ourselves: How can our communication open up a passage to hope and make it shine to the world? How can we help the people of our time, who for a long time have lived as though their hope was eclipsed or submerged under bewilderment, fears and insecurity? How can we make hope come again to the fore as a necessity for building our future, and for discovering new horizons of fraternity and peace for the present life and the life to come? 

The hope we want to communicate pehaps cannot be described only by words, even those clothed in beauty, light and color, by images and sounds offered in the modern instruments for communication. Because hope is in the “not yet”, it is the place where something positive blossoms that stops us in joy and wonder; it is something so great and splendid, but also extremely fragile, that needs to be cared for and cultivated. It is a relational and therefore a communicative reality, but also one of life, and shines forth even in the pain and anguish that accompany our days.

Hope guides us to look within ourselves to the causes of the events that are the signs of our times, so that we can look beyond, because hope is like the prophecy that carves itself onto history; it is the unstoppable desire to move forward, it is the exodus and the longing for meeting, the scaling of the walls and blockades, the ability to see new things, to go yonder where “justice and peace shall kiss”(Ps. 85:11). It is the shout that reaches between God and all people that, as Martin Buber says, “does not hover over creation, but embraces it”.

Each one of us can and must become hope for others; so we need to cultivate it in our hearts as a precious treasure and communicate it with renewed immagination, with courageous creativity, with the intelligence of one who knows that we must be equal to the new challenges that face us and never stop studying, seeking out with tenacity and patience the contents and the most effective ways to influence the building of a more human and fraternal life. We will then become seeds of life that God continues to scatter in the furrows of this our poor world, offering reasons for hope to those who seem to have none left, without tiring in announcing the Good News of Jesus, sure as we are that happiness for us all rests essentially in loving as he taught us to, in growing together as we share the gifts each of us bears, and all this with the strength that comes from Him who is the Light of Life and the gift of Peace.

Sr Agnes Quaglini , fsp


The term salvation "is replete with connotations, yet it expresses something fundamental and universal about the human yearning for wellbeing and wholeness. ... It is the central truth of the Gospel and the goal to which every effort of evangelization and pastoral care is directed. And it is the criterion to which Christians constantly redirect their focus as they endeavour to heal the wounds of past divisions". Benedict XVI

Role of Mass Communications in Evangelization

The communication of the Good News of God’s love for all people, as expressed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is what unifies and makes sense of all the other aspects of the life of the Church. This is particularly true of evangelization: communication is not simply one dimension of evangelization, without communication there can be no evangelization. Proposition 38 from the recent Synod on the Word of God echoes this insight: The mission to announce the Word of God is the responsibility of all the disciples of Jesus Christ by virtue of their baptism. The awareness must be deepened in every parish, and in every Catholic community and organization: they must find ways to bring the Word of God to all, especially to those who have been baptized but who have not been adequately evangelized. The Word of God became flesh so as to communicate himself to all men and women; a particularly privileged way of knowing this Word is therefore in encountering witnesses who make it present and alive. This proposition serves to remind us, also, that communication is not simply a verbal activity but that every aspect of the life of the church can be and ought to be communicative.

Archbishop Claudio M. Celli

International Eucharistic Congress: communion with Christ and one another

VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2009 (VIS) - The Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses has announced, in a communique made public today, that the next International Eucharistic Congress, the fiftieth of the series, will take place from 10 to 17 June 2012 in Dublin, Ireland, on the theme: "The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another.
"The choice of theme arises from the fact that the celebration of the congress coincides with the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Vatican Council II which, as Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has affirmed, was a moment of renewal for the Church's teaching and for her understanding of herself as Body of Christ and Body of God", the communique explains.

"The theme has its direct inspiration in paragraph 7 of the Constitution 'Lumen gentium' which reads: 'Really partaking of the body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, we are taken up into communion with Him and with one another. 'Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread'. In this way all of us are made members of His Body, 'but severally members one of another'".

The communique goes on: "The archbishop of Dublin has also emphasised the possibility of developing the theme of the next International Eucharistic Congress by reflecting on certain important topics such as: communion with Christ as a foundation for Christian life; the Eucharist as a way of life for clergy, Christian families and religious communities; the gesture of 'breaking bread' as a principle of Christian solidarity; the Eucharist, seed of life for the world of suffering and fragility; and ecumenism and the sharing of the one bread".

Living Eucharist

The 9th Plenary Assembly of the FABC opens on August 11, 2009 with a solemn Eucharistic celebration at the Manila Cathedral presided by Francis Cardinal Arinze, Papal envoy to the assembly.  (homily found here)

The cardinal concelebrated with 6 cardinals and some 100 bishops and priests. In his homily, he underlined and elaborated on the theme of the assembly, “Living Eucharist in Asia.” He repeated the words of Pope Benedict asking the bishops, “in particular, to teach Christ’s faithful, the importance of participating in Eucharistic celebrations especially on Sundays, and of receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation.” The Cardinal then made the sub themes of the assembly the main points of his homily, namely; 1. Transforming Power of the Holy Eucharist, 2. The Eucharistic Meal in the Service of Communion, 3. Rooted in the Eucharist, we meet other believers 4. Eucharist and Solidarity. 5. Eucharist and Evangelization.

The Eucharist empowers to live more worthily human lives, whether we are poor or rich. It entails communion in the teachings of the Apostles in the sacraments, and it is, as Pope Benedict XVI says, “the supreme sacramental manifestation of communion in the Church.” Finally, the Eucharist is a sacrament of love, a bond of charity and an invitation to harmonious living.” This is what the bishops will discuss in this Plenary. They will also immerse in the reality of Asian continent where 60 percent of all humankind lives and struggles and where Christian are very small minority.

True knowledge of Scripture

The true knowledge of the Scriptures is that of the heart, which is born of daily contact with it, from Lectio Divina practiced in the footsteps of the great tradition of the Fathers, from deep meditation which gradually but effectively conforms the soul to the Gospel, transforming each priest into a “living Gospel”. We know well that “the Gospel is not just a word: Christ himself is the Gospel” (Benedict XVI, Homily 12/09/09), and we are called to conform ourselves to Him.  Mauro Piacenza

How to Proclaim the Gospel in Your Daily Life

Mr. John Boucher, Director of the Office of Evangelization and Parish Development for the  Diocese of Trenton offfers this handout to reflect on how we can move from "Cowards to Proclaimers.

Thanks to the Paulist National Catholic Evangelization Association

Path that Leads to Life

"Jesus did not come to teach us a philosophy but to show us a path, the path that leads to life. This path is love, which is an expression of true faith. If someone loves his neighbour with a pure and generous heart, this means he truly knows God.  Benedict XVI

Upcoming Faith and Art Dialogue

VATICAN - Holy Father will meet with artists from all over the world, November 21 in the Sistine Chapel, to “recover and strengthen the alliance between art and faith.”

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – On November 21, in the Sistine Chapel, Pope Benedict XVI will meet with a group of major world artists, in an effort to give greater impetus and continuity to the dialogue between art and faith. The event was presented in the Holy See Press Office and is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture and of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of John Paul II's Letter to Artists, and the forty-fifth anniversary of Paul VI's meeting with artists. “It is not meant to be a merely celebratory or commemorative event or and end in itself,” said Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council. “It is a process that hopes to give strength and vigor to the relationship and the dialogue between art and faith.”

To Preach the Gospel Effectively

ASIA/INDIA - Indian religious sisters learn how to use media technology “to preach the Gospel effectively”

Patna (Agenzia Fides) – The mission always involved communication and today, this implies the new forms of mass media. Aware of this fact, the Archdiocese of Patna has joined forces with the Ravi Bharati Institute of communications to offer a special course to the Archdiocese's sisters. The course was entitled: “Communication, mass media, and the use of the computer in modern communication.”

As organizers told Fides, “years ago, the first religious missionaries who reached India had the task of evangelizing the people of the area. One of the fundamental means was through teaching them to read. Today, we are in a similar situation, but now it implies illiteracy of the mass media. It is because we live in a world that is heavily influenced by media progress and all should become 'literate' in the use of mass media, and thus become effective preachers of the Gospel.” The training was offered to a group of 26 sisters from various religious congregations that will also, in turn, teach what they learn to other sisters in their own institutes.

The course aimed at helping the religious become experts in the use of the computer, photography, video, Internet, and other media technology. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 9/9/2009)

A Humanity of Dialogue, of Communication, of Communion

From the Gospel of St. Mark:  Jesus heals a deaf man. "In this 'sign we see Jesus' ardent desire to overcome man's solitude and isolation, the result of his egotism, and to give rise to a 'new humanity', a humanity that listens, a humanity of the word, of dialogue, of communication, of communion. A 'good' humanity, ... with no discrimination or exclusion, ... that the world may become 'a place of true brotherhood' for everyone". Pope Benedict XVI, Sept. 6, 2009

Film St Augustine Truth finding us

VATICAN - The Holy Father's comments after viewing the film “Saint Augustine”: “We cannot find truth on our own, but Truth, which is a Person, finds us."

Castel Gandolfo (Agenzia Fides) – On the afternoon of Wednesday, September 2, in the "Sala degli Svizzeri" of the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father Benedict XVI attended the screening of an abbreviated version of the film "St. Augustine", an Italian, German, Polish co-production. The film was made by Lux Vide/Rai Fiction, Bayerischer Rundfunk/Tellux Film, Eos Entertainment Rai Trade and Grupa Filmova Baltmedia. It was directed by Christian Duguay. At the end of the screening, the Holy Father pronounced some brief remarks.

"Dear friends, at the end of this great spiritual journey, which has taken place in the film we just saw, I feel I ought to thank all those who have worked to make this viewing possible. Thank you to Bavarian Television for their great effort – it is a great joy to see that a rather casually made observation made three years ago has become the start of a journey that has led to this great representation of the life of Saint Augustine. Thanks to Lux Vide and thanks to the RAI for this production. I feel this film to be a spiritual journey in a spiritual continent, far distant from us yet at the same time very near because the human drama remains the same. We have seen how, in a context far removed from our own, the reality of human life is represented with all its problems, sadness and failures, just as we have seen how, in the end, Truth is stronger than any obstacle and seeks out man. This is the great hope that remains at the end: we cannot find truth on our own, but Truth, which is a Person, finds us. Seen from the outside, the life of St. Augustine seems to finish tragically as the world for which and in which he lived comes to an end. But as was made clear in this film, his message remains and, even as the world changes, it endures because it comes from Truth and guides us to Charity, which is our shared destination. Thank you to you all. I hope that many, in seeing this human drama, may be found by the Truth and discover Charity.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 3/9/2009)

Labor Day Letter from US Bishops

Bishop Murphy Reflects On Economic Challenges And Dignity Of Work In U.S. Bishops’ Labor Day Statement
WASHINGTON—“This Labor Day, we should take a moment to pray for all workers and all those without work” said Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., in “The Value of Work; the Dignity of the Human Person,” the annual Labor Day statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He added, “We should also ask God’s help in living out the Church’s call to defend human life and dignity, to protect workers and their rights and to stand with the poor and vulnerable in difficult economic times.”
Bishop Murphy, Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Social Development, said this Labor Day comes at a challenging economic time. He highlighted Pope Benedict XVI’s assertion in his new encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” (Charity in Truth) that the dignity of the worker should be the top concern of any economy. According to Pope Benedict, “the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is…the human person in his or her integrity: Man is the source, the form and the aim of all economic and social life.” (#25)
Bishop Murphy also drew on the recent agreement between leaders in Catholic health care, the labor movement and the Catholic bishops to develop practical guidelines on how leaders of hospitals, unions and others might apply Catholic principles in reaching agreements in their own situations.
“This project achieved a significant accomplishment: a consensus among all the parties on a set of principles, processes, and guidelines for a respectful and harmonious approach to let workers in Catholic health care facilities make free choices about unionization,” said Bishop Murphy of the dialogue, which resulted in a consensus document, Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Health Care and Unions.
The annual Labor Day Statement also touched on the continuing principles of the Church’s social teaching, and  isues of health care and immigration.  The full text of the Labor Day statement can be found online at:

Beauty as Evangelization

Concerning the Inner Life  Evelyn Underhill 
"All our external religious activities, services, communions, formal devotions, good works - these are either the expressions or the support of this inward life of loving adherence. We must have such outward expressions and supports, because we are not pure spirits but human beings, receiving through our senses the messages of Reality....the degree in which we can either exhibit or apprehand that beauty depends on our own inward state. If this were more fully realilzed, a great deal of the hostility shown to institutional religion by good and ernest people would break down."

Oceania - New Technology Training by Salesians

OCEANIA/SOLOMON ISLANDS - Salesians organize video training course for students

Honiara (Agenzia Fides) – Learning to make videos, how to tape, direct, post-production...are all among the professional training course that Salesians organized for the youth of the Solomon Islands on video training.

Over 20 students from the islands recently participated in Don Bosco Technical Institute's course that showed them how to create short films, documentaries, and regular-length films.

The mass media and new technologies training course is now part of the youth pastoral program of the Church on the islands. The youth are encouraged to use the mass media for a good end, learning how it works and its potentiality. The seminars are being met with a growing success among the youth, who are greatly attracted by technologies and the means of communication.

The Catholic Church organizes seminars according to an intense program of yearly sessions, in which the youth not only learn to handle the mass media in its technology, but also study its function and influence on public opinion, its importance in transmitting values, penetrating its ethical and moral implications.

The ultimate end of the course is to show the youth how communications media today is a privileged means for spreading the Gospel and for carrying out the Church's mission, given its potentiality of reaching countless numbers of people. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 31/8/2009)

The Evangelizing Parish

In a recent presentation at the National Federation of Priest's Councils in San Antonio Jesuit Fr.Allan F. Deck said that evangelization includes at least four fundamental components:

1. an encounter with the living God (ongoing conversion)
2. the inculturation of the gospel message
3. transformative action on behalf of justice and peace
4. ecumenism and interreligious dialogue

He said that the "key to a successful parish is precisely what it always was: creating the conditions whereby many diverse groups experience a sense of real belonging."

Signs for Global Evangelization

We are now more aware of other countries and their peoples through new technology. We are experiencing a convergence that calls for a new cultural ethic. This ethic alerts us to the fact that wealthy counties may carry out a "cultural invasion" particularly with the media. Avoiding a spiritual and cultural colonialism means that we recognize others as brothers and sisters. Accepting the richness of individual cultures can give a soul to our 21st century. This also means making a dilberate choice for the poor and neglected as an essential expression of evangelization. There is a social relevance to our faith. The theology of redemption is correlated to the liberation of the human person. If the Absolute is missing, basic human rights begin to crumble. Another sign for global evangelization is that the role of every Christian is essential for human promotion, a more just society, and as witnesses to living Christ today.

Five Steps for Evangelizing Culture

1. Begin with a life of prayer - a rhytmn that is open to transendence through meditation, contemplation, private prayer, liturgical prayer and especially the Liturgy.
2. Where are conversations taking place today? Culture is created as a network and the gospel is the message for that network. Where is the new Areopagus? Be there.
3. Read - the great encyclicals, Catholic classics, Catholic fiction, watch movies - follow the blogs:  see listing of media blogs and media sites
4. Build relationships in the family, in the neighborhood, in the community, in the parish. In other words practice and live communio - communion of life in the Body of Christ.
5. Mission. What are our culture's values? Life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. How do we re-express these values with the gospel?

Thanks to Cardinal's George's article on Evangelizing our culture for giving cues for these five points.