Cardinal Toppo: Get together to help and reconstruct lives in Orissa

New Delhi, Dec.07, 2008 ( -“What’s happened in Orissa is indeed tragic! It was a pre-planned destruction. However, the Catholic community should never be provoked. We need to put our act together and collectively help the victims to reconstruct their lives,” declared Cardinal Toppo on his return from a visit to Orissa.Visibly moved by what he personally heard from the victims and eye witnesses of the “pre-planned and the systematic attacks” on Christians and their institutions in the Kandhamal district of Orissa, Cardinal Toppo was speaking to me at the CBCI Centre, New Delhi today.Cardinal Toppo, as president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, visited Bhubaneshwar from Jan. 2-4, 2008. When he went to visit the victims in the affected areas, he was denied access by the state government. However, he was able to meet some of the victims at the Archbishop’s House in B ...Read More

Christmas today for 150 million Russian Orthodox Christians

Moscow, Russia, Dec.07, 2008 ( - Moscow Patriarch Alexy II today launched an appeal to live "a life of love, without forgetting our responsibilities toward others" and placing the family at the centre, during a television message for the Christmas observance of the Orthodox who follow the Julian calendar, like the Russians. Yesterday the head of the Russian Orthodox Church celebrated the vigil liturgy, according to tradition, in the cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Among those present was deputy prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, who is now believed to be the future Russian president. The patriarch extended to him his wishes "that the joy of this holy feast give you strength and courage in your service for the good of our long-suffering people and Fatherland." There are about 150 million Orthodox Chr ...Read More

Pope delivers his annual address to the diplomatic corps

Vatican City, Dec.07, 2008 ( - This morning in the Sala Regia of the Vatican, Pope Benedict pronounced his traditional annual address to members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. He also received greetings from the ambassadors in a speech delivered by Giovanni Galassi, ambassador of San Marino and dean of the diplomatic corps. The Holy See currently maintains diplomatic relations with 176 States, to which must be added the European Union and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. It also has relations of a special nature with the Russian Federation and the Palestine Liberation Organisation. At the beginning of his address, the Holy Father recalled how diplomatic relations were established last year with the United Arab Emirates. He also mentioned his own journeys abroad, including the visit to Brazil last May. On this subject, he expressed his hope for " ...Read More

Prayer vigil by Vietnamese Catholics for the seized Church land

Hanoi, Vietnam, Dec.06, 2008 ( — Hundreds of Vietnamese Catholic Christians held prayer vigils in the capital at the weekend, the latest in a series asking for the return of church land seized by the communists half a century ago.Priests and Catholic followers lit candles, placed flowers and sang at the iron fence around a property near Hanoi's central St Joseph's Cathedral after Saturday prayers and Sunday masses.They say the large French-colonial villa and the 1.1 hectares (2.7 acre) it sits on are the former office of the Vatican's delegate to Hanoi, confiscated by the state when he was expelled in the late 1950s.Hanoi authorities have kept the building intact but used it as a sometime discotheque while local officials have also us ...Read More

Cardinal Okogie:Poverty is Nigeria’s major problem

Lagos, Nigeria, Dec.06, 2007 ( - Anthony Cardinal Okogie, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, decried what he called ‘abject poverty’ ravaging Nigerians.“People are suffering. Nigerian masses are still wallowing in abject poverty,” Okogie noted in his New Year message to Nigerians.While urging the government to live up to its responsibility, the cleric called for the creation of more agencies in all the local government areas in the country to alleviate poverty in 2008.Okogie said the Church could also be involved in poverty alleviation programmes for the masses.The cardinal said the seven-point agenda of President Umaru Yar’Adua would go along way to relieve Nigerians and p ...Read More

Coordinated attacks against Christian Churches in Baghdad and Mosul

Baghdad,Iraq, Dec.06, 2008 ( – “They represent a clear message and are probably part of a coordinated plan” the attacks which took place today, the feast of the Epiphany, against numerous churches and Christian institutions in Iraq. The Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk. Loiuis Sako is convinced of this who confirmed to AsiaNews that the car bombs did not provoke any deaths, but only one injured and material damage. The targets hit in the capital are : the Chaldean Church of St George in the Ghadir quarter, where Patriarch Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly had just finished celebrating mass; a Greek- Melchite Church and a convent of Chaldean sisiters in Zaafraniya. In Mosul, the car bombs targeted the Chaldean Church of St Paul, an orphanage run by the Chaldean sisters in Alnoor and a convent of Domenican nuns in Mosul Aljadida. ...Read More

Pope at Angelus: The star of the Three Kings, an invitation to Christians to become missionaries

Vatican City, Dec.06, 2008 ( – The star of the Three Kings, is an invitation to all Christians to become missionaries towards all mankind, illuminating “through words and witness, the steps of their brothers”; and it is also the confirmation that each man is restless in “the search for truth”.Benedict XVI thus explains to pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s to pray the Angelus on the feast of the Epiphany , that celebration that recalls the arrival of the Three Wise Men, or Magi Bethlehem from the East to “honour the King of the Jews”. The light of the star – followed by the Magi – is a sign that “the light of Christ has begun to draw men to Him…. Of all tongues, peoples and cultures”. “It is the force of the Holy Spirit – explains the pope – which move ...Read More

January 6-12, National Migration Week observed in U.S

Washington, Dec. 06, 2008 ( - 'From Many, One Family of God' is the theme for this year's National Migration Week, sponsored by Migration and Refugee Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB/MRS), and to be observed January 6-12. These words are accompanied by an image from the Gospel of Mark of Jesus feeding the crowds with multiplied loaves and the fishes. The message is one of assurance of the providence of God as well as a reminder that His abundance is meant to be shared with all people. This year's celebration marks the 27th annual National Migration Week observance.Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, new chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, said that this year's theme "reminds us that though we come from many cultures and places, we are all part of one human family and members of the one Body of Christ. Sadly, rather than embracing new ...Read More

Journalists of CISA stranded in their homes

Nairobi, Kenya, Dec.06, 2008 ( - In a message sent by Catholic Information Service Africa (CISA) on 3rd of January 2008 to all the readers, it reports that their regular service was affected due to the dramatic events unfolding in Kenya.They are not sure of when they would be able to resume their regular service since most of the journalists of CISA are stranded in their homes due to lack of transport and security. ...Read More

Kenya Episcopal Conference

Nairobi, Kenya, Dec.06,2008 ( - Below is the Letter of the Bishops of KenyaMy Peace I Give YouOur Dear Kenyans, May the Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you allWe the Bishops of Kenya, with deep concern wish to address all our Christians and Kenyans in general, at this critical and crucial moment of our country.We have witnessed with deep sorrow and concern the outbreak of violence and the breakdown of law and order that has led to, numerous deaths, injuries and destruction of property, creating fear and helplessness that has led many to flee from their homes.We wish to make a passionate appeal to all Kenyans, men and women, old and youth, from all the political parties, and from all walks of life, to refrain from viole ...Read More

Pope: Recognise Christ as the source of hope

Vatican City, Dec.06,2008 ( – The mystery of the Epiphany is the “manifestation to all of humanity” of “Christ, the Light of the world”. In Him alone resides the hope capable of cancelling the “darkness” which “shrouds nations”, and which is seen in the current globalisation full of conflict, disorder and pillage…. In Him, witnessed by the Church, a “just and united world” in which “all human beings ….. can live as brothers and sisters” is built. A world where “the common good prevails over the luxury of a few and the misery pf many”.These are the principal points touched upon by Benedict XVI during his all encompassing homily for the solemnity of the Epiphany, celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica.First and foremost the pope underlines the evangelical event as recal ...Read More

Cardinal Hummes: Prayer group for victims of sexual abuse by Priests

Vatican City, Dec.06, 2008 ( - Cardinal Caludio Hummes, head of the Congregation for the Clergy which oversees the world's Four hundred thousand Catholic Priests, told L'Osservatore Romano that he had already urged the Bishops to form a prayer cell in which the faithful and Priests could gather to pray together. This proposal for a prayer group was suggested by him in an effort to help the victims of sexual abuse by Priests that have rocked the Catholic Church in recent years.Since we all are sinners there have always been problems but in recent days very grave issues have been revealed, he told the Vatican official newspaper. After budding first in Boston in 2002 the Priest scandal started spreading to almost all Catholic diocese in U.S. Sexual abuse have also knocked most of the Roman Catholic Churches in Ireland and other countries. “Only very few clergymen were involved in serious s ...Read More

The Magic Kings

by Edmund Hill O.P.6 January 2008EpiphanyReadings:Isaiah 60:1-6Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.Lift up your eyes round about, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried in the a ...Read More

Five Christians kidnapped in Pakistan

Islamabad, Pakistan, Dec.05,2008 ( – Suspected militants associated with Taliban Commander Baitullah Mehsud kidnapped five Christians in South Waziristan, on Pakistan’s southern border with Afghanistan. The authorities confirmed the episode today. The victims were on route from Wana to Dera Ismail Khan when armed militants stopped their vehicle. They were identified as Altaf Masih, Babar Masih and Emmanuel while names of two other Christians could not be ascertained. The militants made the release of Christians conditional with the freeing of six prominent tribal militants now in custody of law-enforcement agencies. One of them, identified as Commander Raees Khan Mahsud. According to the daily paper The News, The other five were said to be very important militant commanders of Baitullah Mahsud. The Taliban commander is the same militant leader who was accused by the Musharraf government for assassinat ...Read More

Pope visits Missionary of Charity Shelter

Vatican City, Dec.04,2008 ( – Benedict XVI chose for his first visit of 2008 a shelter run by the Missionary of Charity near the Vatican. He came to greet the outgoing superior, Sister Mark, as well as her replacement, Sister Agnes-Marie, but he especially came to “renew [. . .] my gratitude to the sisters, the volunteers and others who collaborate here,” and “to express my spiritual closeness” to the poor and the homeless men and women “who in this house find loving welcome, acceptance and understanding, a form of daily support that is both material and spiritual.”The ‘Dono di Maria’ (Gift of Mary) shelter was inaugurated in 1988 by John Paul II and the Blessed Teresa of Kolkata in a wing of the building of the former Holy Office where then Cardinal Ratzinger worked for many years.The shelter feeds hundreds of poor men and women and provides overnight accommodation and staff ...Read More

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