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Archive of November 29, 2009

'Reign Day' to commemorate feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Louisiana

Lafayette, La., Nov 29, 2009 (CNA) - Sacred Heart Apostolate, a global movement for renewing societies by centering families on the love of God incarnated in the Heart of Christ, will be hosting a family fun day and a concert for teens in Lafayette, Louisiana in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. The event, which reaches out to Catholics of all ages, will benefit  the DesOrmeaux Foundation Maternity Home.

“The entire day focuses on family, faith, and fun in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” said Donna Fox, Fundraising Chairperson for the Sacred Heart Apostolate, who is also chairperson for the event.

“Our Lady of Guadalupe is the only depiction of Mary pregnant with the infant Jesus. This is why we have decided to have proceeds also go to helping the DesOrmeaux Foundation Maternity Home in Lafayette, which helps pregnant mothers in their time of need,” she added.

According to a press release, the day of celebration will begin with Mass celebrated by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., President and Founder of Ignatius Productions and  EWTN television and radio host as well as a procession in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Featured “Reign Day” attractions include face painting, a fun jump, a show by Catholic entertainer Rob Evans “the Donut Man,' and a rock concert in the afternoon for teens, featuring the popular Louisiana band “L'Angelus” as  well as the Christian band “Ayleron.”

“The family fun event is really all about celebrating and sharing Christ with the families.” Fox explained. “We are trying to keep Christ in Christmas during this busy season.”

“We are excited that faith and pro-life values are being incorporated into the nighttime concert for teens with a game focusing on teen morals and pro-life values during the time between the band performances,” said Brenda DesOrmeaux, founder and president of the DesOrmeaux Foundation.

More information can be found at www.sacredheartapostolate.com.

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Teen makes training video for altar servers

Denver, Colo., Nov 29, 2009 (CNA) - Daniel Deane is a busy young man. As is the case with any 15-year-old, Deane works hard to balance school and extra curricular activities as well as his social and home life. But for the past year the Regis Jesuit High School sophomore in Denver has had something else that’s occupied a majority of his time: making a movie.

Deane, the son of Dan and Cathy Deane, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 361. The film he made was part of a project he undertook to receive his Eagle badge. Eagle Scout is the highest rank one can earn in the Boy Scouts of America program.

All Scouts have to come up with their own Eagle projects, generally something that will serve the community. Deane decided to create a training video to instruct new altar servers at his home parish of St. Mary’s in Littleton.

“I’ve been making movies since I was in the fifth grade,” he said. “So when I began to consider what I could do for my Eagle project, it seemed like a good idea.”

As is the case with many service projects, his idea required much planning and permission getting. Deane first had to take the idea before a Scout review board. With their approval secured he contacted St. Mary’s pastor, Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary priest Father Alvaro Montero, to get permission to use the church for filming. And he spoke to the parish’s parochial vicar, Father Javier Nieva, D.C.J.M., who is director of the altar server ministry at the parish.

“Father Javier and I traded many e-mails about what should be part of the film,” Deane said, “everything from the proper way to dress to how you should conduct yourself. Where do you stand for certain parts of the Mass? How do you hold the book for the priest and what is the correct procedure for ringing the bell? We wanted a detailed explanation of what all altar servers should know.”

Once Deane got his script approved it was time to produce the film. Deane’s siblings, Dorothy and Dominick, both of whom are altar servers, and friends and members of his troop served as actors and the filming began. Most of the 40-minute video was shot in St. Mary Church with additional footage taken at St. Louis Church in Englewood.

Deane also needed narrators. For this task he sought out St. Mary School teachers William Kehrman and Mayo Watson as well as Principal Mary Cohen.

“Father Montero was kind enough to provide the introduction to the video,” Deane said. “Archbishop (Charles) Chaput did an on-camera talk on the importance of being an altar server and Father Phillip Steele, president of Regis Jesuit High School, did a short presentation about the patron saints of altar servers, St. Tarsicius and St. John Berchmans.”

Deane conceptualized the project last November and the video was finished at the beginning of this school year. It’s already been put to use.

“It was shown at a meeting of all the new altar servers,” he said. “And the feedback I got was that Father Javier was glad he had a new tool to help train the new people.”

The successful project resulted in good news for Deane. He passed his Scout board of review and is set to receive his Eagle badge before the end of the year.

Printed with permission from the Denver Catholic Register.

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Church to honor St. Andrew, apostle and martyr

CNA STAFF, Nov 29, 2009 (CNA) -

On Monday Nov. 30, Catholics worldwide will celebrate the feast day of St. Andrew, apostle and martyr.  A fisherman from Bethsaida and brother of Simon Peter, St. Andrew is said to have spread Christianity in Russia and Asia minor after Pentecost in the first century. He was crucified by the Romans in Greece on an X-shaped cross, which is now his distinctive symbol as well as the symbol of Scotland, of which he is the patron.

St. Andrew demonstrated his love for his brother as well as his apostolic zeal when, convinced that Jesus is the Messiah, he sought out St. Peter. “Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, 'we have found the Messiah.' Then he brought him to Jesus.” (Jn. 1:40-42).

Some of St. Andrew's remains were brought to Scotland in the fourth century though parts of his skeleton lie in the crypt of the cathedral in Amalfi, Italy, where they are removed twice a year and produce a clear, water like substance. The substance, called “manna” is said to have miraculous attributes.

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U.S. bishops launch Advent and Christmas website

Washington D.C., Nov 29, 2009 (CNA) - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has created an Advent and Christmas website with suggestions for daily prayers, readings, reflection and action. A collection of Lessons and Carols is also provided for live listening or download.

Printable calendars in English and Spanish are one new feature of the site, a USCCB press release says. They suggest a family activity for each day of Advent, which begins on Nov. 29, and for each day of the Christmas Season.
Many of the calendar’s reflections are taken from four of the collections from the Spiritual Thoughts Series by Pope Benedict XVI: “Following Christ,” “The Priesthood,” “Mary” and “The Saints.”

The Festival of Lessons and Carols, a service of Scripture and song that dates to the late 19th century, is available for download at the site. It also lists recommended holiday-themed movies, prayers and blessings from the USCCB publication, “Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers.”

The site makes suggestions for remembering the needs of the immigrants and the poor throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons and also provides photos of seasonal decorations of Catholic sanctuaries, including the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The Scripture resources of the Advent/Christmas web site focus on the Old Testament. Jem Sullivan, Ph.D., from the USCCB Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis, opens the Advent season with a video about how families can enrich their faith through reading the Old Testament.

The calendars also feature video clips of USCCB members and staff discussing their favorite Old Testament figures, stories and passages.

The Advent/Christmas web site is at http://www.usccb.org/advent/

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Pope on Advent: With Jesus, there is no life without meaning

Vatican City, Nov 29, 2009 (CNA) -

On Saturday night, Pope Benedict XVI officiated a celebration in St. Peter's Basilica of first vespers before the first Sunday of the Advent season.  His message in the homily was one of 'silence and hope' during the season of Advent.

The Holy Father ushered the Church into the new liturgical year, telling those in attendance at yesterday evening's celebration of first vespers that "Advent invites us to pause in silence to understand a Presence."

In his homily, Pope Benedict, gave a short lesson on the meaning of 'advent' to those early Christians who adopted the word "to explain their relationship with Jesus Christ."  He taught that the word adventus would have been understood by them in that time to mean "God is here, he hasn't retired to his world, he hasn't left us alone."  He further explained that an additional definition of the word could be " a visit from God."

His Holiness implored that the faithful put aside the activities, amusements, and multiple societal interests that "possess us" and can "sweep us away" to take the time observe silence and seek to understand signs of God that are present in every day life.  These signs, he said, illustrate the presence of His love. 

The Pontiff explained that "Advent invites and stimulates us to contemplate the Lord present."

It's also a time of expectation and hope, the Pope said.  "It is a favorable occasion for our salvation."  But, he continued, one has "hoped too little if beyond the profession or social position he has nothing left to hope in"

"Hope signals the path for humanity, and for Christians," he continued, " this is encouraged by a certainty: the Lord is present in our lives."

Through this relationship, he said, when a person's "time is full of sense, and in each instant we perceive something specific and valid, then the joy of the expectation makes the present more precious."

Pope Benedict called the congregation to "live the present intensely" and to "project it towards the future" with the gifts given to each of them.  "In this way," he related, "the Christian Advent becomes occasion for a reawakening of the true meaning of expectation in us, returning to the heart of our faith that the mystery of Christ, the much awaited Messiah... "

"And if Jesus is present there no longer exists any time without meaning and empty," said the Holy Father, "if He is present, we can continue to hope even when others can no longer assure us of support, even when the present becomes difficult."

"Advent is a time of the presence and the expectation in the eternal," he stated.  "Exactly for this reason, it is... the time of joy, an internalized joy, that no suffering can negate.  Joy because God is made child."

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Vatican meets with Presidents of Argentina and Chile to commemorate 25 years of 'peace and friendship' treaty

Vatican City, Nov 29, 2009 (CNA) - In an audience with the Presidents of Argentina and Chile yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI praised the work of the two countries in reaching  and upholding a lasting agreement through peaceful negotiation.  The Pontiff said that the Catholic Church, "following Christ who brought peace to the world, is fully dedicated to bringing about the aspirations of peace and harmony in all of humanity."

The Holy Father hosted the Presidents in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, marking the first time a Pope has met with two female presidents from traditionally Catholic countries at the same time.  Also present were Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

The Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1984 between Chile and Argentina was designed to resolve a longstanding dispute between the two nations regarding the land and seas at the southernmost tip of the South American continent.  In a time of great tension between the neighboring countries, episcopates from both sides called for Pontifical mediation to avoid armed conflict.  Pope John Paul II, in his "untiring labor as messenger and architect of peace, didn't hesitate to accept this delicate and crucial task," said Pope Benedict yesterday. 

In his address to the Presidents, the Pontiff put great emphasis on the positive results of reaching a "decent, reasonable, and impartial solution, thereby avoiding armed conflict..."  This historic accomplishment, he continued, has contributed to the mutual benefit of the countries, by reinforcing "feelings of fraternity" manifested in the common successes of the two through "cooperation and integration."

Pope Benedict XVI also called the relationship between two nations the "fruit, in great part, of the Catholic tradition" and praised them as "brothers with a common vocation of fraternity, respect and friendship."

This treaty, said the Holy Father, is a "luminous example of the force of the human spirit and of the will of peace in face of the barbarity and injustice of violence as a way to resolve differences," and, he added, it has been a model for other Latin American countries.

On the need for non-violent resolution, he referenced the words pronounced by Pope Pius XII at the beginning of World War II, "Nothing is lost with peace.  Everything can be lost with war."

The Holy Father also included in the address an appeal to "those called to serve citizens, from the highest levels of national governments," asking them to maintain "firm moral conviction" in "the constant search for the common national, regional, and global good."

The achievement of peace, he concluded, "requires the promotion of an authentic culture of life, that respects the dignity of the human being fully, united to the strengthening of the family as a basic cell of society.  It also requires the fight against poverty and corruption, access to quality education for everyone, solidarity in economic growth, the consolidation of democracy, and the eradication of violence and exploitation, especially against women and children."

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Pope says Christ is 'relevant' to all, addresses fight against AIDS in remarks at Angelus

Vatican City, Nov 29, 2009 (CNA) -

Pope Benedict XVI welcomed the beginning of a new liturgical year during his traditional addresses before and after the Angelus from the window of the Apostolic Palace on St. Peter's square today.  His words included a message concerning the relevance of Christ to all the world and prayers for the fight against AIDS.

Before reciting the Angelus, the Pope spoke to the thousands of pilgrims gathered in the square of how the liturgical year is seen from different perspectives and how Christ is relevant in all of them.

The Second Vatican Council, he said, established that the Church should "present the entire mystery of Christ in the annual cycle, from the Incarnation and Nativity to the Ascension, to the day of Pentecost and the expectation of the blessed hope in the return of the Lord."

The Holy Father presented a metaphor for the Council's insistence on the centrality of the liturgy of Christ, saying that He is like "the sun, around which, as planets do, revolves the Blessed Virgin Mary - the closest of all - and then the martyrs and other saints that 'in Heaven sing with God the perfect praise and intercede for us.' "

This, said His Holiness, is "God's part."

"And, what about the part of man, of history, of society?" asked the Pope of their part in the interpretation of the liturgical year. "What relevance do they have?"

"The answer is given to us through the path of Advent, that today we undertake.  The contemporary world needs, more than anything, hope: developing countries need it, but also those that are economically evolved."

He said to always keep in mind that "we are on one boat and we should save each other together."

Especially in this time of crisis, the Pontiff told the crowd, "we need a reliable hope, and this is found only in Christ, who, as it says in the Letter to the Hebrews, is the same yesterday, today and forever."

"The Lord Jesus has come in the past, comes in the present, and will come in the future."

"He embraces all the dimensions of time, because he died and rose, he is 'the Living One' and while he shares our human frailty, he remains always and offers us the same stability of God."

The Holy Father explained that Christ is 'flesh' as we are, while at the same time being 'rock' as God is.

"Whoever yearns for freedom, for justice, for peace can rise again and raise his head, because in Christ liberation is nearby - as we read in today's Gospel (Lk 21, 28)"

Thus, said the Holy Father, "we can affirm that Jesus Christ does not only regard just Christians, or only believers, but all men, because He, that is the center of the faith, is also the foundation of hope.  And every human being is in constant need of hope."

Pope Benedict then called for the Mass to be as the Virgin Mary, "who incarnates fully the humanity that lives in hope based on the faith in the living God," so as to "truly enter in this time of grace and reception, with joy and responsibility, the coming of God and our personal and social story."

After reciting the Angelus with the faithful, the Pope directed attention towards the coming World Day Against AIDS which will take place December 1, saying that his "thoughts and prayers go to each person afflicted by this illness, in particular the children, the very poor, and those who have been rejected."

The Church, he continued, is unceasing in its efforts in the fight against AIDS.  He exhorted the crowd to focus their prayers and attention to those affected by the malady until "those affected by the HIV virus experience the presence of the Lord, who gives comfort and hope." 

The Holy Father concluded this wish by expressing his constant hope that, by "multiplying and coordinating efforts," the world can "stop and defeat" this sickness.

In the Pope's words after his address, he made sure to welcome the Family Love Movement, a group of Italians who had walked across the city this morning in protest of the recent European legislation prohibiting crucifixes in classrooms.  He commended them on "recognizing the religious, historic, and cultural value" of the cross.

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