Vatican City, Oct 14, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Vatican announced on Thursday, October 14 that Bishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, 53, currently an auxiliary of Chicago, has been appointed by the Holy Father to become the new Archbishop of San Antonio, Texas.
“I felt a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to serve the people of the Archdiocese (of San Antonio),” said the archbishop-designate, recalling the moment he heard the news.
“I felt real happiness and joy tempered by a deep awareness of the great responsibility I had been asked to embrace. From the moment I said yes, I felt, in faith, a deep affection for the people of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.”
Archbishop of Chicago Francis Cardinal George responded to the appointment, saying, “I want to congratulate the priests, religious men and women and the lay faithful of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. They are being given a pastor of exceptional spirituality and integrity of heart. Bishop Gustavo will be sorely missed in the Archdiocese of Chicago.”
Archbishop-designate Garcia-Siller was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico in 1956. Ordained a priest in 1984 and consecrated a bishop in 2003, he will succeed Archbishop José H. Gomez as the sixth archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.
Apostolic administrator for San Antonio, Bishop Oscar Cantú noted, “I am delighted that the Holy Father sends us a shepherd who knows deeply the Good Shepherd; one who is passionate about his love for Jesus Christ, about his love for the Church, and about his love for his sheep.”
Bishop Garcia-Siller's installation as Archbishop of San Antonio is scheduled for November 23. He will serve 695,079 Catholics, 381 priests and 1,025 religious in his new archdiocese.
Vatican City, Oct 14, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - This coming Sunday Pope Benedict XVI will raise six Catholics, all consecrated religious, to the ranks of sainthood.
The canonizations will take place in a ceremony presided over by the Holy Father in St. Peter's Square on Sunday. In keeping with tradition, the facade of St. Peter's Basilica will be draped with gigantic banners featuring depictions of the new saints.
The six come from five nations. Polish Fr. Stanislaw Soltys of the Order of Canons Regular of the Lateran, Canadian Br. Andre Bessette of the Congregation of the Holy Cross and Italian Poor Clare Sr. Camilla Battista Varano are among them.
These three will be joined by three foundresses of orders during the same ceremony. Spanish Sr. Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola of the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus; Australian Sr. Mary of the Cross MacKillop of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart; and Italian Sr. Giulia Salzano of the Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart, will also be canonized.
On Oct. 17, after prayers, hymns and the reading of short texts written by the six, the Holy Father will preside over their Rite of Canonization.
The rite includes the reading of the official biographies of each, the recitation of prayers, the litany of the saints, and finally, the Pope pronouncing the formula of canonization, thereby declaring them saints.
Mass will follow the rite, with hundreds of cardinals, bishops and priests, representatives of the causes for canonization of each, and thousands of faithful in attendance.
A number of Australian flags were already present in St. Peter's Square during Wednesday's general audience, showing a formidable presence even from the distant island continent, which will receive its first saint.
Celebrations will be held on Sunday in Melbourne, the city of her birth, and also in Sydney. An outdoor Mass will be celebrated in the town of Penola, where she worked to educate poor young people and founded the religious congregation.
There is also great excitement for the canonization of Canada's Blessed Andre Bessette, a humble and compassionate brother of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Montreal. He was known for his strong devotion to St. Joseph, which he shared with many poor and sick people.
Khartoum, Sudan, Oct 14, 2010 (CNA) - A would-be assassin failed to harm Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako during an Oct. 10 Mass celebrating the feast of St. Daniel Comboni. The knife-wielding suspect had reportedly tried to blend in with liturgical dancers.
Cardinal Wako, who is the Archbishop of Khartoum, was leading the Mass at the Comboni Playground in the capital city when Hamdan Mohamed Abdurrahman, a Misseriya Arab from Southern Kordofan state, infiltrated the crowd.
The man disguised himself and joined the liturgical dancers at the crowded stage where the altar had been set up, the Catholic Information Service of Africa (CISA) reports. He proceeded up to the stage amid the dancers and pretended to dance while waving a dagger.
The assassin was within four steps of the stage when Master of Ceremonies Barnaba Matuec Anei, seated next to the cardinal, spotted him. Matuec caught and disarmed the man before handing him over to the security guards.
Matuec told CISA that Hamdan might have infiltrated the area early enough to hide himself among the faithful. There was “very intense” security at the gates.
“We want to find out what was his mission in the Church was, and why he did carry a dagger with him. After that, we will see what to do next. We must know his background and identity. If he has people backing him to carry out such actions in the church, we would like to know,” he added.
Angelo Akot Malek Akot, the police officer in charge of security during the Mass, said he saw a man ascending the stage during the incident. After Matuec had cornered the man, the officer ran to the crowd, which had surrounded the man and wanted to beat him up. He then disarmed Hamdan.
The would-be assassin has been detained at the police station in Khartoum and will be taken to court for further action.
Two other bishops shared the stage with Cardinal Wako: coadjutor bishop of El-Obeid Michael Didi and a Comboni Bishop from Ethiopia who was in the country to celebrate the feast of the saint.
St. Daniel Comboni founded the Catholic Church in the Sudan. Cardinal Wako is his seventh successor as Archbishop of Khartoum and is the first Sudanese bishop to hold the office.
An upcoming vote on the secession of Southern Sudan has caused tensions in the country, which suffered decades of civil war. International experts have warned the lives of Christians in Northern Sudan will be in danger if the south secedes, CISA says.
Cypress, Texas, Oct 14, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -
On Wednesday, the world watched in anticipation as 33 Chilean miners finally began to emerge through a narrow shaft, drilled half a mile below the earth. The extraordinary man who helped save them, Drillers Supply International co-owner Greg Hall, is also training to become a deacon in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston next February.
CNA spoke to his wife Angelica Hall (with whom he runs Drillers Supply) on Wednesday, about her husband's service to the Church, and the role their Catholic faith had played in helping them plan the rescue.
While the trapped miners were surviving on food rations lowered into a shaft too small to pull them to safety, Greg Hall was working --and praying-- to determine how a larger opening could be drilled. “We're prayerful people,” Angelica Hall remarked. “Prayer is a part of our daily life … and part of our community at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church.”
Mrs. Hall explained that her husband's drilling supply company, which opened its Chilean branch in 1993, normally provided the supplies for gold, copper and silver mines. But in almost 25 years of business, she said, “this is the first time that we were involved in a mine rescue.”
“There was a crossover from Greg's expertise and drilling in Chile, (and) what our parts and our drill pipe could do,” she explained. Hall's engineering expertise “was able to cross over in making a shaft to get to the miners.”
The unprecedented rescue took months of planning, since even the smallest error or miscalculation could have caused rocks to slide or cave in-- trapping the miners forever. Mrs. Hall said her husband was grateful to play his part, having volunteered his expertise after initially hearing that a rescue was unlikely.
“He's kind of a take-action guy,” she told CNA. “We try to help if we have the skills and the talents to help.” Both faith and service to others, she said, “have been a part of our entire marriage.”
The same risk-taking spirit will lead Mr. Hall to become Deacon Hall, on February 12 next year. His wife recalled how her husband was first “an usher-greeter, then he was a lector,” before being asked “if he'd ever considered the diaconate.” She said that although her husband hadn't thought about it, “we just went forward in faith a step at a time.”
“Our formation has been six years and we're in the last semester. Hopefully, Greg will be ordained February 12th.”
With everything going on, she said, her family's life had been “quite an amazing ride.”
Noting the Biblical significance of 33 miners being pulled alive from their potential tomb after a 33 day drilling operation, Mrs. Hall told CNA that “the significance of that number” --the same number of years Jesus lived before his death and resurrection-- “has not been lost on us.”
She expressed amazement and gratitude that the opportunity to save dozens of lives had emerged in the ordinary course of “our everyday walk,” a fact that she said is proof that “God uses ordinary people in their ordinary lives.”
London, England, Oct 14, 2010 (CNA) - In an international effort to “reclaim” Halloween as a “joyful” Christian celebration, a founder of a U.K.-based Catholic community has asked Christians to place a light in their window on Oct. 31 as a sign of their faith.
Damian Stayne, founder of the community Cor et Lumen Christi (Heart and Light of Christ), said the “Night of Light” initiative is the vigil of the Feast of All Saints, when Catholics celebrate “the glory of God in His saints, the victory of light over darkness in the lives of God's holy ones in heaven.” Jesus is the “Light of the World” by whom the saints lived and became a beacon to their generation, he explained.
Sayne said that in many countries prayer gatherings and children’s celebrations are being organized and participants are encouraged to place a light in their window in order to “visibly witness to neighbors and friends.”
This will show passersby that their household is Christian and that Christ is their light, organizers said. They suggested participants in the “Night of Light” also attend a vigil Mass for the Feast of All Saints, spend a night adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, or provide treats and fun for children by lighting a bonfire or dressing up as saints.
“Everyone is called by Jesus to live out this vocation - to be the ‘light of the world’ for others today,” Sayne continued.
The “Night of Light” event has taken place before, but this year it has established a partnership with the Home Mission Desk of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBEW). Organizers are presenting it as a follow-up activity for the papal visit to the U.K.
Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, chair of the CBEW’s Department for Evangelization and Catechesis, said Halloween is now the biggest commercial festival after Christmas and Easter and Christians need a reminder of its true nature.
“The celebration of feast days is an important part of our Catholic culture. On the evening of 31st October why not do something to make your faith respectfully seen and heard? Light a candle or display publicly another kind of light, for example, perhaps alongside an image of Christ.”
The bishop suggested this could be a “powerful way” to show Christians’ hope in “someone other than ourselves.”
“The light will provoke questions and is a way that people can be signposted to goodness. I encourage everyone to participate,” Bishop Conry commented.
The website for the event is at http://www.NightofLight.org.
Mexico City, Mexico, Oct 14, 2010 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Monterrey, Mexico, Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, spoke this week about the role the Church played during the country’s independence and revolution.
During his remarks, the cardinal noted that Pope Leo XIII called on Catholics to participate actively in solving the great problems of the day. In the case of Mexico, he said, Catholics played a key role in addressing the social problems and bringing an end to the long regime led by José de la Cruz Porfirio. The end of Porfirio’s regime in 1911 found Catholic groups and the Church ready to offer solutions to the nation’s difficulties.
The Church “wants to continue contributing to the growth of the country, guided by her own social teachings,” in pursuit not of worldly power but of spreading the works of Christ, the cardinal said.
“As disciples of the Lord, we cannot remain indifferent to the future of our beloved nation,” he said. “As Mexicans and as Christians, we feel doubly responsible” for contributing to the improvement of Mexico, he added.
While it is essential that Mexicans acknowledge the errors of the past, they must also be proud of the fact that there were many men and women, religious and lay, who were moved by love of God and neighbor to seek greater justice for their country, the cardinal stated.
Santiago, Chile, Oct 14, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - In an Oct. 14 statement, the Bishops’ Conference of Chile expressed their “immense joy” and gratitude to the Lord “for the successful rescue of the 33 miners who were trapped” in the San Jose copper mine.
The bishops noted that throughout the long ordeal, “We joined in prayer with millions in Chile and around the world. We especially thank Pope Benedict XVI for his special closeness and concern.”
The miners had been trapped under a half-mile of rock deep beneath Chile's Atacama Desert since Aug. 5. Rescue workers originally projected that the miners would be free in late December, however they were all rescued on Oct. 13.
“We are happy to see and hear these miners, their loved ones, government officials and so many people all over Chile thanking God our Father for this gift, for this miracle that he has blessed us with. We appreciate the admirable efforts of the technicians, professionals and other workers, from home and abroad, who contributed to the preparation and execution of the rescue.”
The bishops encouraged Chileans to continue “praying for the 33 miners of Atacama and their families. May this re-encounter with life be an opportunity for them and for all of us to appreciate the most precious things we have: life, our dignity as children of God, faith, the treasure of the family, the value of justly compensated work and working conditions that are always safe and decent.”
“These 33 brothers of ours, with their testimony of unity and solidarity, have also brought together all Chileans. Their strength and hope invite us to work together, as a society, to ‘rescue’ so many who are poor and marginalized, so that we can make Chile ‘a place for all’.”
Vatican City, Oct 14, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Any gathering of the world’s bishops is bound to produce a number of interesting sidebar conversations and proposals. And the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East that is going on now at the Vatican is no exception.
Among the more interesting proposals has been one to establish a corp of “priests without frontiers” to serve in the Middle East.
Bishop Giorgio Bertin of Djibouti, Africa made the proposal during the third session of the special assembly of the world’s bishops called by Pope Benedict XVI to discuss the Church’s future in the Middle East. The gathering, which began Oct. 10 will run until Oct. 24.
The flight of Christians from the region -- caused by religious extremism and social instability -- has emerged as a key concern. In the face of severe clergy shortages and what he described as “emergency situations,” Bishop Bertin proposed developing a “bank of available priests” willing to serve in the region for periods of up to 9 months.
“They could offer their services, taking a sabbatical or as an offering made generously,” for Christians in the region, he explained. This, he said, "would be a concrete way of living the 'communion' between our Churches."
Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, one of 10 North American delegates to the synod, expressed support for the plan.
However, he said that realistically, priests would have to commit to longer tours of duty. “To be effective, it seems to me that a priest needs at least a minimum of a kind of cultural formation,” he said in a press conference Oct. 12.
He added that religious orders and societies of apostolic life, such as the Franciscans and the Vincentians, are “the much more natural vehicle ... for the 'sons' of my diocese to be able to make a contribution to the churches in the Near East and the Middle East."
Improving the “communion” between the universal Church and the various ethnic and national Eastern Catholic churches has been another issue of deep concern at the synod.
One source of tension, it would appear, is the presumed precedence of the Roman or Latin rite Church over Eastern rite Catholic Churches.
Eastern Catholic churches historically are associated with a particular ethnic group or nation in the Middle East and the Near East. They are in full communion with the Pope, however they retain their own distinctive liturgical traditions and disciplines.
The problem, according to some Eastern church leaders, is Rome’s presumption to have jurisdiction over the activities of Eastern Catholic communities outside of the Middle East. This is an important issue because the majority of Eastern Catholics now in fact do live outside the Middle East.
For instance, while the Eastern patriarchs appoint bishops in dioceses within their own territories, the Pope reserves the rite to appoint bishops for Eastern Church communities in other countries.
This became a topic of spirited discussion in the Synod sessions of Oct. 12.
In his address to the Synod Oct. 12, Bishop Vartan Waldir Boghossian of San Gregoriao de Narek said the spiritual authority of the Patriarchs as “fathers and leaders of their churches” must be affirmed and "must not be limited to a territory.”
Bishop Bohossian, who oversees Armenian Catholics in Latin America and Mexico, said the spiritual authority of the Patriarchs as “fathers and leaders of their churches” must be affirmed and "must not be limited to a territory.”
He said that it is not easy to understand why the authority and jurisdiction of 22 Eastern Churches are confined to their territories while the "Latin Church" is not subject to the same limitations, the bishop said.
As a result, Eastern Catholic churches “struggle to maintain their identity and growth, especially in the West,” despite their historic and ongoing importance in the life of the universal Church.
“Limiting it to its faithful is perfectly logical, but not limiting them to a territory, especially if there are no longer members of the Church in that territory," he asserted.
Patriarchs having "full jurisdiction” over their faithful “in all the continents would be ... a concrete anticipation of a state of full communion," he said.
He said also that Church law should be changed so that Eastern Patriarchs take "precedence" over cardinals in the Church’s hierarchy and should be automatically entitled to vote in papal elections without the need for the title of "cardinal."
In an interview with CNA on Oct. 14, Msgr. Maurizio Malvestiti, subsecretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Oriental Churches, said Bishop Boghossian’s proposal is a sign of the desire of Eastern Catholics to “to make the communion of these churches more intense with the Pope.”
He pointed out that Pope Benedict XVI has publicly shown his esteem for the Eastern patriarchs. He noted that during his first Mass as Pontiff, on April 24, 2005, the Pope had the six eastern patriarchs beside him. "It was as if to say, ‘We are the Christian origins, living signs of the origins, Peter with the six Eastern patriarchs',” Msgr. Malvestiti said.
As to the specifics of Bishop Boghossian’s proposals, Msgr. Malvestiti said the issues must be looked at from “an ecclesiological point of view” as well as from a historical perspective.