Saturday, 31 January 2009

Pope to Pray for Africa in February

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2009 (
- Benedict XVI will pray in particular for Africa next month, ahead of his 7-day trip to Angola and Cameroon in March.

The Apostleship of Prayer announced the general intention chosen by the Pope: "That the pastors of the Church may always be docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in their teaching and in their service to God's people."The Holy Father also chooses an apostolic intention for each month.
In February, he will pray: "That the Church in Africa may find adequate ways and means to promote reconciliation, justice and peace efficaciously, according to the indications of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops."

My Precious

Posted: 31 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST
Dt 18:15-20 / Cor 7:32-35 / Mk 1:21-28

In Moses’ time, the Israelites were afraid to draw near to God, what with all the fire and earthquakes reported in our first reading. His manifestations scared them. God did not correct them in this, either, but told them to keep a distance. Moses was able to draw near, showing that a soul could draw near Him and not be destroyed.

Over time, the Israelites got more used to the presence of God among them, even to the point of ignoring Him and His prophets — of not seeing the special election they had in God’s plan. By the time we get to the Gospel for today, many of them were so “familiar” with God that the “special-ness” of their election as the People of God was diminished — not lost, but diminished. When Jesus spoke with the authority of God, they knew something was different, they just could not figure out what that difference was.

How “familiar” has Jesus become to us? When we walk into His Eucharistic Presence, how overwhelmed are we? Are we aware of His true Presence as the demons were? Or have we been hanging around too long so that looking at Him is no longer that precious. Golem, in The Lord of the Rings called the ring “my precious.” Next time receive Him in the Eucharist — as you take Him to yourself — call Him “my precious.” His desire is that we long to see Him as Moses longed to see His face on the mountain. The encounter with God scared the Israelites, but attracted Moses. Let the attraction of Jesus in the Eucharist captivate you.

My Precious Lord Jesus, open the hearts and souls of all who love You to a new attraction to Your humble Presence in the Eucharist.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Personality and character..

Today's Inspirational Quote:
"Personality can open doors,
but only character can keep them open."
-- Elmer G. Letterman

God Will Bring Life and Growth If We Prepare the Ground

Posted: 30 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST
Heb 10:32-29 / Mk 4:26-34

Walking down any street or sitting on a bench watching the people go by, we cannot help being amazed at the endless diversity of the human race of which each of us is but a tiny part. At this very moment, there are billions of individual human beings alive on this planet, each one unique and like no other, each one a potential masterpiece in the making.

Will each one in fact become that masterpiece? Sad but true, the answer is no. In far too many of us, much or even most of the growth and prospering that was possible and that God fully intended for us will never come to be. That tragedy will surely come to be if we have not prepared the soil for the garden that God wants to plant in us.

How do we avoid that tragedy and make that all-important preparation? We learn to be quiet and to listen to the whispering of the Spirit in the life around us and within us. Like clay in the potter’s hands, we make ourselves available to being reshaped and changed by the Spirit. But before any of that can happen, a confident, expectant trust in the Spirit must envelop our soul.
God will bring life and growth if we prepare the ground of our soul to receive it. So trust him and get to work; there’s not a moment to lose.

Would You Rather Be Rich or Poor?

Posted: 29 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST
Heb 10:19-25; Mk 4:21-25

The ending of today’s Gospel sounds like a cynical commentary on modern society. “To those who have, more will be given; from those who have not, what little they have will be taken away.” It seems to say that the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. But that’s not at all what this text is about.

So what is it that people have and then either get more of or lose all of? Jesus isn’t talking about money or wealth in any form. He’s talking about the extent and depth of our connectedness to God. If we are already deeply rooted in God, our spirits will grow larger, richer, and fuller by the day. But if our connection to the Lord is only superficial, it certainly won’t grow, and it probably won’t last at all.

So here’s our question for the day: Does your God-connection have growing power? Is it changing your life day by day? Or is it anemic and able to do little more than stumble through a memorized prayer? If it’s the former, you’ve got an enviable future ahead of you for sure. If your God-connection is the latter, be prepared for a future you’d never choose.
That’s the equation, and there are no exceptions. Why not be rich through and through?

What happen when you let go attachment?

Today's Inspirational Quote:
"Let go of your attachment to being right,
and suddenly your mind is more open.
You're able to benefit from the unique
viewpoints of others, without being crippled
by your own judgment."
-- Ralph Marston

Thursday, 29 January 2009

An adventure....

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"Bringing up a family should be an adventure,
not an anxious discipline

in which everybody is constantly graded for


-- Milton R. Saperstein

You Will Flourish In Ways You Never Dared to Hope!

Posted: 28 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST(Catholic Exchanged)
Heb 10:11-18 / Mk 4:1-20

Going to class reunions can be a disconcerting experience. So often the persons whom we thought would be great successes turned out to be not much of anything in particular. The handsome football star has become a fat, bald couch potato. The homecoming queen is showing the effects of a lifetime of too many cocktails and too many facelifts. The class brain is trapped in a meaningless job he loathes. But on the other hand, that faceless pipsqueak that everybody ignored is now a millionaire. How did it all happen and why?

Jesus addresses part of that very big question in today’s gospel: Why do some folks grow up and prosper spiritually while others do not? Jesus’ answer is ‘roots.’ The rich inner life that all of us would like just doesn’t happen by accident. It is consciously constructed, and the building starts far beneath the surface, with roots and foundations.

But what exactly are the roots from which a prosperous life of the spirit must grow and draw strength? Nothing less than an unbreakable bonding with the Spirit who has dwelt within us from the first moment of our life. The Spirit is our life source, the inner spring from which flows both wisdom and courage. Detached from the Spirit, we have no hope of prospering, no hope of ever growing into our best selves, no hope of getting a real life.

Bond your heart and your life to the Spirit, experience the liveliness that only the Spirit can give, and watch your life expand and flourish as you never dared to hope.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Obama Disappoints With Mexico City Reversal

US Bishops and Vatican Voice Dismay
WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 26, 2009 ( Cardinal Justin Rigali called President Barack Obama's decision on day 3 of his presidency to reverse the Mexico City Policy to be "very disappointing."Obama issued an executive order Friday to restore an 8-year ban on U.S. funding of organizations that perform and promote abortion in developing nations.The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities said in a statement that "an administration that wants to reduce abortions should not divert U.S. funds to groups that promote abortions."

Obama repeatedly insisted during the presidential campaign that he wasn't for abortion, but rather for reducing the number of abortions without making the procedure illegal.Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. episcopal conference, wrote to Obama before last week's inauguration urging him to retain this policy: "'The Mexico City Policy, first established in 1984, has wrongly been attacked as a restriction on foreign aid for family planning. In fact, it has not reduced such aid at all, but has ensured that family planning funds are not diverted to organizations dedicated to performing and promoting abortions instead of reducing them.""Once the clear line between family planning and abortion is erased," the cardinal added, "the idea of using family planning to reduce abortions becomes meaningless, and abortion tends to replace contraception as the means for reducing family size."

"The worst"
Criticism from the Vatican came Saturday when Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, that "among the many good things that he could have done, Barack Obama instead has chosen the worst.""If this is one of the first acts of President Obama, with all due respect, it seems to me that the path toward disappointment has been very short," the archbishop added.Archbishop Elio Sgreccia, the retired president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told the Italian news agency ANSA that the president's move "deals a harsh blow not only to us Catholics, but to all the people across the world that fight against the slaughter of innocents that is carried out with abortion."Obama received some praise from the Church for signing an executive order Thursday to ban torture.

Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. episcopal conference said the bishops welcomed the order, and that the ban "says much about us -- who we are, what we believe about human life and dignity, and how we act as a nation."

He Loved People, But He Could Walk Alone

Posted: 27 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST (Catholic Exchange)
Heb 10:1-10 / Mk 3:31-35
Today’s gospel records one of the saddest moments in Jesus’ life.
His family thought he was crazy, and they were trying to get him to forget his outlandish ideas and come home with them. What a terrible moment of isolation and utter aloneness it must have been, to be abandoned by those who had been closest to him all his life, those he loved most dearly.
Jesus’ reaction at this sad and humiliating moment is worth pondering at length. He didn’t waver. He remembered who he was and what was the mission the Father had given him. And he stood firm in his commitment … firm and very alone.

There are times in every human life when the normal supports that we’ve come to count on simply aren’t there. The temptation is to scurry to a safe place in the midst of the crowd. The temptation is to bend to the pressures and head for a place in the shadows. That’s when we need to think of Jesus standing tall and alone. That’s when we need to ask his help in remembering who we are and where God has called us.

That’s a prayer that is always answered. And with the answer always comes the strength to stay the course. There are no exceptions, because God is faithful.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Involvement and commitment, whats the difference?

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"The difference between 'involvement' and 'commitment'

is likean eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was 'involved'

- the pig was 'committed'."

-- Unknown

Iraqi Bishops in Rome: Don't Forget Us

Mideast Prelates Lament Media Silence

ROME, JAN. 25, 2009 ( There is a "deafening silence" in the international community about the plight of Iraqi Christians, attest prelates from the wartorn country.
The bishops, in Rome for their five-yearly meeting with the Pope, spoke with Vatican Radio about the situation their flocks are facing back home and they appealed to the world not to forget.

Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk and Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Babylon spoke about the deafening silence regarding the situation of Iraqi Christians and lamented that they were powerless to stop the mass exodus of Christians from the country.
Before 2003, there were 800,000 Christians in an Iraqi population of 25 million. But in the last five years, the conditions of life and anti-Christian violence have forced half of the Christian population to leave their homes.

The Iraqi bishops said their outcry over the situation has only been reported by the media in the last few months. Now, they said, public opinion and the international community are responding to create security and thousands of Iraqis are returning.

Lending a hand
Syrian Catholic Archbishop Athanase Matti Shaba Matoka of Baghdad said the situation is such that one presumes there is "a plan to make Christians leave the Middle East."
And Archbishop Sako said he wanted to ask the Holy Father about preparing a special synod for the Church in Iraq: "We have great need of the Pope's help. Thanks to his continual pleas the international media have begun to talk about the Iraqi cause."

"We are not in a position," he continued, "to plan and project the future of Iraq. The Holy See could certainly give us a hand and support.
"We must give answers to [Iraqi Christians] that will keep fear from winning out. We need others. In Iraq there needs to be a democracy that is adapted to a country that has never had one. We have been waiting for it for 35 years."

"Democracy requires education and cannot be forced," Bishop Warduni added.
Leaving a mess
Syrian Catholic Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa of Mosul contended that after the arrival of American troops, the country's problems "increased a hundredfold."
"But," he said, "the Americans are not the problem [...] The real problem of the different communities in Iraq is the negation of the other."

Archbishop Sako added: "We feel a little isolated, forgotten, unfortunately. The Christians have left the country and the others, who have stayed, wait without much hope in the future. They live with worries about their children, for their future, for their houses, for their jobs."
In regard to the change that the new American president, Barack Obama, could bring, the prelate observed that "politics does not depend on one person. If he decides to pull the soldiers out, then there will be a mess. Perhaps there will be a civil war. We do not have enough soldiers and police to control a country of 25 million people."

Sunday, 25 January 2009

6th Meditation for Christian Unity Prayer Week

"Take Time to Meet and Talk With the Sick Man"
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 23, 2009 ( Here is a meditation jointly prepared by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches for the sixth day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.The week continues through Sunday, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle. The theme for 2009 is "That They May Become One in Your Hand" (Ezekiel 37:17).

* * *Day 6
Christians Face-to-Face With Disease and Suffering
1 Kings 20:1-6 -- "Remember me, O Lord!
"Psalm 22:1-11 -- "Why have you forsaken me?"James
5:13-15 -- "The prayer of faith will save the sick"
Mark 10:46-52 -- "Jesus asked: What do you want me to do for you?"

How often Jesus encounters the sick and is willing to heal them! Common to all our still separated churches is the awareness of our Lord’s compassion for the sick. Christians have always followed his example, by healing the sick, building hospitals, dispensaries, organizing medical missions and caring not only for the souls but also the bodies of God’s children.This is not such an obvious response; the healthy tend to take health for granted and forget those who cannot take part in the regular life of the community because they are sick or handicapped. And the sick? They may feel cut off from God, his presence, blessing and healing power.

The deep-rooted faith of Hezekiah supports him through sickness. In a time of sorrow, he finds words to remind God of his grace. Yes, those who are suffering might even use words from the Bible to cry out or struggle with God: Why have you forsaken me? When an honest relationship with God is well established, grounded in language of faithfulness and thankfulness in good times, it creates space also for a language to express sorrow, pain or anger in prayer when necessary.

The sick are not objects and not only at the receiving end of care; rather, they are subjects of faith, as the disciples must learn in the story of the gospel of Mark. The disciples want to continue directly along their way with Jesus; the sick man on the edge of the crowd is ignored. When he cries out, it is a diversion from their goal. We are used to caring for the sick, but we are not so used to their crying loudly and disturbing us. Their cries today may be for affordable medicine in poor countries, which touches the question of patents and profits. The disciples who wanted to prevent the blind man getting near Jesus have to become the messengers of the Lord’s rather different and caring response: Come, he is calling you.It is only when the disciples bring the sick man to Jesus that they come to understand what Jesus wants: to take time to meet and talk with the sick man, asking what he wants and needs.

A healing community can grow when the sick experience the presence of God through a mutual relationship with their sisters and brothers in Christ.

God, listen to people when they cry to you in sickness and pain. May the healthy thank you for their wellbeing, And may they serve the sick with loving hearts and open hands. God, let all of us live in your grace and providence, becoming a truly healing community and praising you together. Amen.

Benedict XVI Is Latest YouTube Star

Pope Gives Thumbs Up to Vatican Initiative
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 23, 2009 ( The Vatican launched today a channel on YouTube that will provide video news clips on the Pope's activities, currently in four languages, including English.

One or two video clips will be provided each day at to Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, the Holy Father is the first supporter of the initiative."The Pope has been personally informed of our project and has approved it with his customary poise and warmth," he said. "For us, this is a great motivation."The project has been under way for more than a year and a half, the Jesuit said, ever since Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Center began to publish clips on their Web pages and make them available to TV stations and Web sites.Father Lombardi said that the agency H2O News has offered important collaboration "in this spreading to the world of Catholic social communications.

"The Vatican channel at YouTube has a link to H2O, under a tab offering "more videos on the Catholic Church around the world." Filling a gapFather Lombardi contended that all around the world, there are people "interested in the messages and proposals of a high level moral authority -- as the Pope is, and in general the Catholic Church -- regarding the great problems of the world today."That's why YouTube has been chosen as an adequate platform for being present on the Net, in one of the great Areopagus of communication in the world of today, and to be present regularly, to offer a reference point worthy of trust, and to continue beyond the many fragments of information about the Pope and the Vatican present on the Web in a rather more casual and sprawled-out way," he said.

In addition to the H2O link, the site also links to the Vatican's official site, as well as the site for Vatican City State, Vatican Radio and Vatican TV.The channel also offers the possibility of sending an e-mail to the Holy See, which will be received by Father Lombardi's staff."The launching of a canal such as this is obviously the beginning of the road," the spokesman said. "With the collaboration of Google […] we can foresee developments and improvements both in the content and in the technical area."We are convinced about making a beautiful and constructive offer for people of the Net and beginning this road with trust, with an attitude of friendship and dialogue with everyone, also ready to learn a lot ourselves."

--- --- ---On the
Net:Vatican channel on YouTube:
H2O on YouTube

Loving is Your Gift

January 24th, 2009
by Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.
Jon 3:1-5, 10 / 1 Cor 7:29-31 / Mk 1:14-20
A young man was walking along the beach when he stumbled on a magic lantern. He rubbed the lantern and a genie popped out with a hearty greeting, “Have I got good news for you! This very afternoon you will receive three gifts: a miracle cure for all ailments, a huge diamond, and a dinner date with a famous movie star.”

Of course, the young man was elated, so he rushed right home where he was greeted at the door by his mother. “Some odd things have being happening this afternoon,” she said. “At noon someone delivered a barrel of chicken soup. A half hour later, a telegram came saying a long lost relative has left you a minor league baseball stadium, and just a few minutes ago, MGM called inviting you to dinner tonight with Lassie!”
+ + +
So much for good news! As with much of life, that fellow was raised up for a moment and then let down fast. We know the experience well: a hungry longing for something more, a momentary hope that it’s within our grasp, then disappointment and back to hungry longing.

It is to all of us who know that hungry longing that Jesus is speaking his invitation, “Come with me! Follow in my path.” Many of us are ready to say “yes” to him, but we still have a question: how do we follow him? What is his way? We know the generic answer: Jesus’ way is the golden rule: “Love God with your whole heart and your neighbor as yourself.” But how does that translate into the concrete? How do we actually put together a life out of that?

We begin by remembering that love is never in the abstract. In general good feelings are nice but they aren’t love. Love is always in the concrete. We give our love and care to this specific person or that one at this specific moment or that. Furthermore, we love and care with what we have and with what we are and not with what somebody else has or is.

The specific shape of the loving and caring to which we are called individually is defined by the specific gifts that God has entrusted to our personal care. That means, on the one hand, that you are very probably not called to be Mother Teresa, and I am definitely not called to be our parish organist. But it also means we have to work very hard at seeing, naming, and developing what are our own special gifts so that we can share those gifts with those who need what we have to give.
The deep and hungry longing for joy, which we all know so well, will never be fully satisfied in this life. But if we see, and name, and develop our own special gifts and then share them open heartedly with all who need them, we’ll begin to experience the joy we’ve always longed for. We’ll begin to know the peace for which we were made.

That’s the Good News we’ve been waiting for! Joy and peace can be ours here and now! Thanks be to God!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

5th Meditation for Christian Unity Prayer Week

"Contempt Has No Place in the Hearts of Believers"
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 22, 2009 ( Here is a meditation jointly prepared by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches for the third day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
The week began Sunday and continues through Jan. 25, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle. The theme for 2009 is "That They May Become One in Your Hand" (Ezekiel 37:17).
* * *
Day 5
Christians Face-to-Face With Discrimination and Social Prejudice
Isaiah 58:6-12 -- "Do not hide yourself from your own kin"
Psalm 133 -- "How good it is when kindred live in unity"
Galatians 3:26-29 -- "You are all one in Christ Jesus"
Luke 18:9-14 -- "To some who trusted in their own righteousness"

In the beginning, human beings created in the image of God were but one in his hand. Sin, however, entered the hearts of men and women and since then we have built up all kinds of prejudice. Here it may be according to race or ethnic identity, in other places it can be sexual identity or the simple fact of being man or woman is cause for discrimination. In yet other places it is being disabled or adhering to a particular religion that is a reason for exclusion. All these discriminatory factors are dehumanizing and a source of conflict and great suffering.
In his earthly ministry, Jesus showed himself to be particularly sensitive regarding the common humanity of all men and women. He continually denounced discrimination of all sorts and the pride which some of his contemporaries derived from it. The just are not always those whom you would imagine. Contempt has no place in the hearts of believers.

Psalm 133 compares the joy of a life shared with sisters and brothers to the goodness of a precious oil or the dew of Mount Hermon. We are given to taste this joy with our sisters and brothers, each time we let go of our confessional prejudices within our ecumenical gatherings.
The restoration of the unity of all humankind is the common mission of all Christians. Together they must struggle against all discrimination. It is also their common hope because all are one in Christ and there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, man or woman.

Lord help us to recognize the discrimination and exclusion which damage societies. Direct our gaze and help us to recognize our own prejudices. Teach us to banish all contempt and to taste the joy of living together in unity. Amen.

He Sees in You a Capacity for Greatness!

January 23rd, 2009
by Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.
Heb 8:6-13 / Mk 3:13-19

Like a new president putting together his cabinet, Jesus chose His twelve and took them to the top of a mountain where He gave to each a special share in His ministry of spreading the Good News. Every one of them was gifted in some way, but none of them was perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Yet Jesus saw in each the capacity for true greatness in the eyes of God. He saw it in Matthew the tax collector, in Peter the obstreperous fisherman, and yes, He saw it in Judas, who would later betray Him. Jesus took a chance on the goodness that God had planted in each of their hearts, and in every case but one God’s grace took root and flourished.

Why did the eleven succeed and the one fail? Surely it wasn’t a matter of talent or giftedness, because Judas probably outshone most of his colleagues. And it certainly wasn’t a lack of subsequent mistakes, for the whole lot of them continued to stumble as much as walk along their paths, even after Jesus had sent them the Spirit to be their counsel and guide. The decisive factor in those Apostles achieving the destination of sainthood for which God intended them was not sinlessness, but a readiness to acknowledge their sins, to seek forgiveness, and to start again and again and again.

It was the only real choice that they had, and it’s the only choice we have, not to be perfect, but never to cease in giving our hearts back to the Lord in humble sorrow and then trying again and again and again.

Perfected with trial....

Today's Inspirational Quote:
"The gem cannot be polished without friction,
nor man perfected without trials."
-- Dutch Proverb

Friday, 23 January 2009

He Wants to Take Away That Heavy Weight

January 22nd, 2009
by Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D. ·

Heb 7:25-8:6 / Mk 3:7-12
As we grow older, many of us lament that our memory is not what it used to be. Even those of us who aren’t very old frequently fumble for names, miss half the items we were planning to pick up at the market, and miss appointments we really wanted to keep. There are, of course, a lot of things we’d just as soon forget forever: foolish mistakes, bad choices, gratuitous cruelties, and so much more.

A lifetime collection of sins and errors, when laid end to end, can be depressing, to be sure. And when we have to face the continued recurrence of old failures, it can seem almost more than we can bear. As the opening prayer at Mass so often acknowledges, our sins can cause us to lose hope. That is not what God wants.

God Who made us has no illusions about us. As the psalm says, “He knows when I sit and when I stand.” He knows our confusion and our weaknesses; He knows how much we desire to do what is right, and He knows the surprise, frustration, and sadness we feel when our best efforts go awry. He desires to save us from ourselves, not because we have earned it, but because He is our Father. Why else would He have sent us His only Son?

God is much bigger than all of your failures, even if they were laid end to end. Let Him lift them from your heart and give you the joy and freedom of His own dear children.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Love as verb...

Today's Inspirational Quote:
"Want to improve your relationships?
See love as a verb rather than as a feeling."
-- Stephen R. Covey

The Word 'Allah' is not a monopoly of UMNO

Posted by admin
Thursday, 22 January 2009 12:35

Arabic speakers of all Abrahamic faith, including Christians and Jews use the word "Allah" to mean God. Abrahamic faith denotes any or all the religions including Islam, Christianity and Judaism that revere Abraham, the Biblical patriarch.
The Christian Arabs of today have no other word for God than Allah. Even today's Christians' Arabic bibles use the word Allah for God and in the Middle East, Christians sometimes name their children "Abdallah".

According to Wikipedia, the Arabic-descended Maltese language of Malta, whose population is almost entirely Roman Catholic, uses Allah for God. The only difference is that they spell it Alla.That is not all. The Arab Jews in Medina used the word Allah for God in their holy scriptures. Therefore, since when did the word Allah become the monopoly of ruling UMNO and the Muslim world? Instead of prohibiting Catholic weekly "Herald" from using the word Allah, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar should learn to google for facts and information.

Issuing subtle threats to ban the weekly altogether would not go down well in multi-religious Malaysia. Neither would Syed Hamid's snappy remarks about being tolerant towards other religions in the country as he makes it out to mean non-Muslims should be grateful to be allowed to practice their respective faiths.The senior cabinet minister must also refrain from making an issue out of a non-issue especially since Herald's editor Father Lawrence Andrew has clearly said that the word Allah has been used as a translation for God, for centuries in Malaysia.

It was not meant to hurt the sensitivities of Muslims. But it is clear that Syed Hamid is using this dispute to score brownie points with the Malays, who have shunned the ruling government. This was evident at last year's general election which saw the ruling coalition's worst ever performance and at the weekend by-election in Kuala Terengganu which was won by PAS.

Further attempts to manipulate the issue for political gains would, inevitably, create a backlash from the public and especially the Malay community who are fed-up with populist measures undertaken by the government and UMNO.

Charles Santiago
Member of Parliament, Klang

Washington Readies March for Life

200,000 to Descend on US Capital
WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 21, 2009 ( Tens of thousands of people have arrived to the U.S. capital ready to march Thursday in defense of life.They are coming to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life, which has been held every year on Jan. 22 since the Supreme Court legalized abortion on that date in 1973.

Some 200,000 participants are expected, despite forecasts for a chilly day.This year, participants will use their demonstration as a request to new President Barack Obama to reverse policies that promote the culture of death."We have a new president who has tremendous power to change the pro-life direction of the United States," one participant, Eileen Picket, told ZENIT.

The elementary school teacher arrived in Washington from Connecticut. "Our country needs to say that abortion is a terrible crime that kills innocent humans and we have to pray so that this new administration has the foresight to accept this."Today in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, many marchers will participate in a solemn Mass that initiates the Vigil for Life.

Cardinal Justin Rigali, the U.S. bishops' official in charge of its pro-life office, will lead the Mass. Participants -- the vast majority of them youth -- will continue in prayer through the night. An early morning Mass on Thursday, celebrated by Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, will send the marchers on their journey."I have several members of my family that have been very involved in the first stages of the pro-life movement in part of the country," Picket said.

"With the passing of time, this terrible epidemic -- abortion -- has spread. We want to gather what can help mothers who choose life over death for their children."

Catholic priest to be charged for taking part in Bersih rally

Posted by admin
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 20:24
By Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider

A Catholic priest from Shah Alam will be charged at the Petaling Jaya Magistrate’s Court tomorrow [Ed. note: Friday] for taking part in an illegal assembly organised by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, better known by its Malay acronym Bersih.
Rev Father Paulino Miranda was among 24 people who were arrested at the PJ Civic Centre in November last year, allegedly for taking part in an illegal rally, organised by Bersih in conjunction with its first anniversary.

Others who were arrested include DAP politicians Tony Pua, the MP for Petaling Jaya, Lau Weng San and Ronnie Liu, who are the Selangor state assemblymen for Kampung Tunku and Pandamaran respectively.
A spokesman for the Kuala Lumpur Catholic Lawyers’ Society (CLS) Annou Xavier, told Malaysian Insider that Father Paulino received the summons to appear at the PJ Magistrate’s Court three days ago.

Annou claimed that those arrested were later released on police bail, and were initially told there would be no charges against them.
He added that the CLS would be representing Fr Paulino in court. He called on all Catholics to turn up at the PJ Magistrate’s Court to show their support.
Father Paulino could not be reached for comment.
A spokesman from the Church of the Divine Mercy, where Fr Paulino is the parish priest, told Malaysian Insider he is away attending an annual meeting involving the Catholic bishops and clergymen.

However, she confirmed that Fr Paulino had received the summons and will be present for the court hearing tomorrow [Ed. note: Friday], scheduled for 2pm [Ed. note: 9am].

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Pope to Obama: Rediscover US Spiritual Heritage

Sends Telegram to New President
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 20, 2009 ( Benedict XVI sent a telegram to the new president of the United States, Barack Obama, expressing wishes for the nation to rediscover its heritage of spiritual values and ethical principles.

The Pope sent good wishes to the 44th U.S. president on the occasion of Obama's inauguration today, with an "assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high responsibilities."The English text of the telegram, personally signed by the Holy Father, was released by the Vatican today.

He wrote: "Under your leadership may the American people continue to find in their impressive religious and political heritage the spiritual values and ethical principles needed to cooperate in the building of a truly just and free society, marked by respect for the dignity, equality and rights of each of its members, especially the poor, the outcast and those who have no voice."

The Pontiff expressed the hope that "[a]t a time when so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world yearn for liberation from the scourge of poverty, hunger and violence, I pray that you will be confirmed in your resolve to promote understanding, cooperation and peace among the nations, so that all may share in the banquet of life which God wills to set for the whole human family."

He concluded by invoking blessings of "joy and peace" upon the president's family and the American people.
The full text of the telegram is as follows:
The Honorable Barack ObamaPresident of the United States of AmericaThe White HouseWashington, D.C.
On the occasion of your inauguration as the Forty-fourth president of the United States of America I offer cordial good wishes, together with the assurance of my prayers that the Almighty God will grant you unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high responsibilities.

Under your leadership may the American people continue to find in their impressive religious and political heritage the spiritual values and ethical principles needed to cooperate in the building of a truly just and free society, marked by respect for the dignity, equality and rights of each of its members, especially the poor, the outcast and those who have no voice.

At a time when so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world yearn for liberation from the scourge of poverty, hunger and violence, I pray that you will be confirmed in your resolve to promote understanding, cooperation and peace among the nations, so that all may share in the banquet of life which God wills to set for the whole human family (cf. Isaiah 25:6-7). Upon you and your family, and upon all the American people, I willingly invoke the Lord's blessings of joy and peace.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Herald Continues To Use Allah Word

Posted by admin
Tuesday, 20 January 2009 14:22

(MySinchew) - In its running battle with the authorities over the usage of the word Allah in its Herald, the Catholic weekly, the Catholic Church has decided to go ahead to continue to use the word despite a prohibition imposed by the authorities.

In an article “Ministry Distorts Its Directive” in its current issue for the week beginning 18 Jan 2009, it said, “We are surprised that Che Din, the Secretary of the Koran Publication Control and Text Division of the Home Ministry has denied that they had prohibited Herald from printing the Bahasa Malaysia section.”

“If his statement is true, then we are disappointed.”
The article said that it its previous edition on 11 Jan, it carried a letter from the Ministry which was written on 30 Dec 2008 informing them that they are prohibiting the paper from printing the Bahasa Malaysia section.

The letter said the publication of the Bahasa Malaysia section is prohibited until the court makes its ruling on the use of the word Allah. The church is currently suing the ministry over the prohibition of use of the word. Issued the previous year.
“We followed their directive and did not print the Bahasa Malaysia section on our 11 Jan edition of Herald,” it said.

“Archbishop Murphy Pakiam (who is the publisher) then wrote a letter to the ministry demanding that it revoke its order against the use of Bahasa Malaysia.”
The article said, in the letter, the archbishop gave the ministry seven days to reply or it would take the government to court for the directive had contravened the Constitution and the National Language Act 1967.

The ministry replied on 7 Jan saying that it was lifting the ban. However, it is insisting that the Herald is not permitted to use the Allah word until the court decides.
In its current issue, the Herald is continuing to use the Allah word as in the past in its Bahasa Malaysia section.

The article said,” The Herald does not use the word “Allah” for God in their English section nor is it used in the church for the English services.”But it said,“All our prayer books and the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia use the word “Allah” for God.”

Key to failure...

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"I don't know the key to success,

but the key to failure is trying

to please everybody."

-- Bill Cosby

Is Time Passing Too Fast or Too Slowly?

Posted: 20 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST (Catholic exchange)
Heb 6:10-20 / Mk 2:23-28

With each passing year, the inclination to say that life is short becomes ever more irresistible. One year seems hardly begun when we find ourselves facing the countdown for Christmas and then the beginning of another new…

Monday, 19 January 2009

Even if...

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"Even if you're on the right track,
you'll get run over if you just sit there."
-- Will Rogers

1st Meditation for Christian Unity Prayer Week

"We Are a People Who Belong to Christ"
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 18, 2009 ( Here is a meditation jointly prepared by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches for the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.The week begins today and continues through Jan. 25, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle.

The theme for 2009 is "That They May Become One in Your Hand" (Ezekiel 37:17).

* * *Day 1
Christian Communities Face-to-Face With Old and New Divisions
Ezekiel 37:15-19, 22-24a -- "One in your hand"
Psalm 103:8-13, or 18 -- "The Lord is merciful and gracious ... abounding in steadfast love"
1 Corinthians 3:3-7, 21-23 -- "Jealousy and quarrelling among you... you belong to Christ"
John 17:17-21 -- "That they may all be one... so that the world may believe"

Christians are called to be instruments of God's steadfast and reconciling love in a world marked by various kinds of separation and alienation. Baptized in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, and professing faith in the crucified and risen Christ, we are a people who belong to Christ, a people sent forth to be Christ's body in and for the world. Christ prayed for this for his disciples: May they be one, so that the world may believe.Divisions between Christians on fundamental matters of faith and Christian discipleship seriously wound our ability to witness before the world. In Korea, as in many other nations, the Christian gospel was brought by conflicting voices, speaking a discordant proclamation of the Good News.

There is a temptation to see current divisions, with their accompanying background of conflicts, as a natural legacy of our Christian history, rather than as an internal contradiction of the message that God has reconciled the world in Christ.Ezekiel's vision of two sticks, inscribed with the names of the divided kingdoms of ancient Israel, becoming one in God's hand, is a powerful image of the power of God to bring about reconciliation, to do for a people entrenched in division what they cannot do for themselves. It is a highly evocative metaphor for divided Christians, prefiguring the source of reconciliation found at the heart of the Christian proclamation itself. On the two pieces of wood, which form the cross of Christ, the Lord of history takes upon himself the wounds and divisions of humanity.

In the totality of Jesus' gift of himself on the cross, he holds together human sin and God's redemptive steadfast love. To be a Christian is to be baptized into this death, through which the Lord, in his boundless mercy, etches the names of wounded humanity onto the wood of the cross, holding us to himself and restoring our relationship with God and with each other.Christian unity is a communion grounded in our belonging to Christ, to God. In being converted ever more to Christ, we find ourselves being reconciled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer for Christian unity is an acknowledgement of our trust in God, an opening of ourselves fully to that Spirit. Linked to our other efforts for unity among Christians - dialogue, common witness and mission -- prayer for unity is a privileged instrument through which the Holy Spirit is making that reconciliation in Christ visibly manifest in the world Christ came to save.PrayerGod of compassion, you have loved and forgiven us in Christ, and sought to reconcile the entire human race in that redeeming love. Look with favour upon us, who work and pray for the unity of divided Christian communities. Grant us the experience of being brothers and sisters in your love.
May we be one, one in your hand. Amen.

Papal Celebration to Close Christian Unity Week

Theme Reflects Experience of Churches in Korea
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 16, 2009 ( Sunday begins the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which will end with a celebration of vespers led by Benedict XVI.

The Vatican announced that the Holy Father will preside at this prayer service at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 25, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally celebrated Jan. 18-25 in the northern hemisphere, though in the south there is some variation on the dates. This year's theme is "That they may become one in your hand (Ezek 37, 17)."

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity stated that this theme, as well as those chosen for each day of prayer, is "rooted in the experience of the Churches in Korea."
The council explained that "in their context of national division the Churches have turned for inspiration to the prophet Ezekiel, who also lived in a tragically divided nation and longed for the unity of his people."

The council worked with the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches for the preparation of materials for the week of prayer.

The themes for each day of the week are:
Jan. 18: Christian communities face to face with old and new divisions.
Jan. 19: Christians face to face with war and violence.
Jan. 20: Christians face to face with economic injustice and poverty.
Jan. 21: Christians face to face with ecological crisis.
Jan. 22: Christians face to face with discrimination and social prejudice.
Jan. 23: Christians face to face with disease and suffering.
Jan. 24: Christians face to face with a plurality of religions.
Jan. 25: Christian proclamation of hope in a world of separation.

Several bishops' conferences offer additional resources on their Web sites. On the Irish conference site, a video of Bishop Anthony Farquhar, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Ecumenism, explains the meaning of the week.

He encourages listeners to follow Christ's commandment to "pray that all may be one," without forgetting the second part: "so that the world may believe that we are sent." He added, "As we try to come closer to Jesus, then I think we are in fact going to come closer to each other."
The prelate continued, "We all have the opportunity of helping by committing ourselves to ecumenism on all levels, all the way through the international level, the national one, the diocesan one, or the ordinary social one where people are breaking down prejudices, barriers or suspicions -- maybe just through a purely social context. Then it is for each one of us to say: 'There is a level where I can make a contribution.'"
--- --- ---

Friday, 16 January 2009

A hard lesson in life....

Today's Inspirational Quote:
"May we never let the things we can't have,
or don't have, ors houldn't have, spoil our enjoyment
of the things we do have and can have.
As we value our happiness let us not forget it,
for one of the greatest lessons in life is learning
to be happy without the things we cannot
or should not have."
-- Richard L. Evans

Are We Really Different?

Posted: 16 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST (Catholic Exchange)
Heb 4:1-5, 11 / Mk 2:1-12

It’s a foolish mistake we Christians make all too often.
Our vocation as followers of Jesus is to live by values that are essentially counter-cultural.
True Christians judge success and greatness by standards that are very different from the world’s. Having and getting are not our highest values. Building a just society in which everyone has a place takes top billing for true Christians.

The list of differences between Christians and the culture is long, and it poses very nicely the essential question for us: When it comes to lived values, are we recognizable as Christians? Do our daily choices speak unmistakably that we are different from the surrounding culture in wholesome ways?

Let's Read The Quran Campaign

Posted by admin
Thursday, 15 January 2009 14:51

Peace! We need your participation! Campaign name: Let’s Read The Quran
On January 1st 2009, four friends Syed, Walski, Marina and Anas got together at Coffee-Bean Bangsar Village and decided to launch a campaign to encourage people to read and understand the Quran better.

This campaign is not only for Muslims, but also for our brothers and sisters who are Christians, Buddhists Hindus, Sikhs and those who believes in a God-Head but not so gung-ho about being in any brand of religion, too – come join us and share your ideas! You can join this campaign even if you are an atheist! The goal of this campaign is to encourage people to read the Quran in the language they understand most and find in it areas of common values in our day to day living.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Life that count

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"And in the end it's not the years in your life that count.

It's the life in your years."

-- Abraham Lincoln

Cardinal: Laws Reflect Confusion About Man, Woman

Canadian Prelate Addresses Family Conference
MEXICO CITY, JAN. 14, 2009 ( The family crisis is not just a problem of morals; it goes much deeper and is rooted in misunderstandings about the very nature of men and women, says the archbishop of Quebec.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet affirmed this today at the 6th World Meeting of Families, underway in Mexico City.
He spoke of the disorder in values, saying it explains certain nations adopting laws that recognize homosexual couples as marriages, and even permit them to adopt children.
This "cultural battle," the prelate said, involves a "vision of the world without God that tries to replace the Judeo-Christian heritage," with grave consequences at the "human, social and religious level."

The result, Cardinal Ouellet lamented, is that added to the "growing fragility of couples are the education problems linked to the loss of models and the influence of currents of thought that reject the very bases of the family institution."

This anthropological crisis, he said, "particularly widespread in the West," has been promoted by the gender theory, which adulterates "the reality of matrimony and the family, re-proposing the notion of the human couple starting from the subjective desires of the individual, making the sexual difference practically insignificant, to the point of trying to equate heterosexual union and homosexual relations."

The cardinal noted that "according to this theory, the sexual difference inscribed in the biological reality of the man and the woman does not have significant influence in the sexual identity of the individuals because it is the result of a subjective orientation and a social construction."
"Under the influence of these sometimes openly anti-Christian ideologies, certain states move to legislation that reconsiders the meaning of marriage, procreation, affiliation and the family, without taking into account the fundamental anthropological realities that give structure to human relationships," he lamented.

"Various international organizations participate in this movement for the destruction of matrimony and family for the benefit of certain well-organized pressure groups that pursue their own interests in detriment to the common good.
"The Catholic Church strongly criticizes these cultural currents, which too easily obtain the support of the modern press."
Faced with this panorama, the cardinal proposed a rediscovery of Pope John Paul II's "Familiaris Consortio," which defines marriage "as a personal union in which the spouses reciprocally give and receive."

It aims to reach "the very roots of reality," the cardinal said, affirming the link between the personal love of the spouses and the transmission of life.
In this way, he said, the three values of marriage -- procreation

7 Things Teenage Boys Most Need

Interview With Spiritual Director of Adolescents
WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 13, 2009 ( Being the parent of an adolescent boy is legendary for its difficulty. But according to one priest who acts as a spiritual director and confessor for high school boys, just keeping in mind seven points can make for a better relationship with adolescent sons.

Legionary of Christ Father Michael Sliney suggests the following seven necessities for parents of adolescent boys:
1. Clear guidelines with reasonable consequences from a unified front; cutting slack but also holding boys accountable for their actions.
2. Reasonable explanations for the criteria, guidelines and decisions made by parents.
3. Avoiding hyper-analysis of boys' emotions and states of mind: avoiding "taking their temperature" too often.
4. Unconditional love with an emphasis on character and effort more than outcome: Encourage boys to live up to their potential while having reasonable expectations. To love them regardless of whether they make it into Harvard or become a star quarterback.
5. Authenticity, faith and fidelity should be reflected in parent's lifestyles.
6. Qualities of a dad: Manliness, temperance, making significant time for family, putting aside work, and being a reliable source of guidance.
7. Qualities of a mom: Emotional stability, selflessness, loving service and extreme patience.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Time! Have u enough?

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"Don't say you don't have enough time.

You have exactly the same number of hours per day

that were given to Helen Keller,Pasteur, Michelangelo,

Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci,Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein."

-- H. Jackson Brown

Are Your Troubles Too Ordinary for God?

Posted: 14 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST (Catholic exchange)
Heb 2:14-18 / Mk 1:29-39

Are there ever times in your life when you refrain from asking Jesus for healing because you think that your sickness is too ordinary or that your troubles are not great enough for our Lord to come to your aid?

In today’s Gospel, you may identify with the mother-in-law of Peter who lays ill in bed with a fever, while Jesus travels through the town casting out demons and healing those afflicted with horrible diseases. It took the outside insistence of Peter and Andrew to make Jesus aware of the woman’s illness, for she did not seek His healing out on her own.

There may be times in our lives when we may feel unworthy to receive healing. We must consider that Jesus desires our need of Him. He wants to be invited to heal our hurts, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Are we inviting Jesus into our hearts and homes to receive the power of His healing grace?

If today you struggle with something you deem not important enough for the Lord, don’t listen to this spirit of weakness. Ask Jesus to heal your smallest affliction, your most ordinary need. And in return, be like the mother-in-law in today’s Gospel, respond immediately with a heart of gratitude and service.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Loving Is Giving Your Gift

Posted: 12 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST
Heb 1:1-6 / Mk 1:14-20
A young man was walking along the beach when he stumbled on a magic lantern. He rubbed the lantern and a genie popped out with a hearty greeting, “Have I got good news for you! This very afternoon you will receive three gifts: a miracle cure for all ailments, a huge diamond, and a dinner date with a famous movie star.”
Of course, the young man was elated, so he rushed right home where he was greeted at the door by his mother. ”Some odd things have being happening this afternoon,” she said. ”At noon someone delivered a barrel of chicken soup. A half hour later, a telegram came saying a long lost relative has left you a minor league baseball stadium, and just a few minutes ago, MGM called inviting you to dinner tonight with Lassie!”
+ + +
So much for good news! As with much of life, that fellow was raised up for a moment and then let down fast. We know the experience well: a hungry longing for something more, a momentary hope that it’s within our grasp, then disappointment and back to hungry longing.

It is to all of us who know that hungry longing that Jesus is speaking His invitation, “Come with Me! Follow in My path.” Many of us are ready to say “Yes” to Him, but we still have a question: How do we follow Him? What is His way? We know the generic answer: Jesus’ way is the golden rule: “Love God with your whole heart and your neighbor as yourself.” But how does that translate into the concrete? How do we actually put together a life out of that?

We begin by remembering that love is never in the abstract — general good feelings are nice but they aren’t love. Love is always in the concrete. We give our love and care to this specific person or that one at this specific moment or that. Furthermore, we love and care with what we have and with what we are, and not with what somebody else has or is.

The specific shape of the loving and caring to which we are called individually is defined by the specific gifts that God has entrusted to our personal care. That means, on the one hand, that you are very probably not called to be Mother Teresa, and I am definitely not called to be our parish organist. But it also means we have to work very hard at seeing, naming, and developing what are our own special gifts so that we can share those gifts with those who need what we have to give.

The deep and hungry longing for joy, which we all know so well, will never be fully satisfied in this life. But if we see, and name, and develop our own special gifts and then share them open-heartedly with all who need them, we’ll begin to experience the joy we’ve always longed for. We’ll begin to know the peace for which we were made.

That’s the Good News we’ve been waiting for! Joy and peace can be ours here and now! Thanks be to God!

Baptism Calls for a Relationship, Says Pope

Affirms Children Need to Be Taught Filial Love for God
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 11, 2009 ( Benedict XVI says the feast of Christ's baptism points to the "everydayness" of a personal relationship with the Lord.
The Pope made this reflection today when he celebrated Mass and baptized 13 newborns in the Sistine Chapel.

Noting the close of the Christmas season, the Holy Father said that the "feast of the baptism of Jesus introduces us, we could say, to the everydayness of a personal relationship with him. In fact, through the immersion in the waters of the Jordan, Jesus united himself to us."

He said that baptism is like the "bridge that [God] has built between him and us, the road by which he is accessible to us [...] the gateway to hope and, at the same time, the sign that indicates the road we must take in an active and joyous way to meet him and feel loved by him."
From the time of Christ's baptism and the opening of the heavens on that day, "we can entrust every new life that blossoms to the hands of God, who is stronger than the dark powers of evil," the Pontiff continued.

He said that in doing this, "we restore to God that which has come from him."
A child, he affirmed, "is not the parents' property, but is rather entrusted by the Creator to their responsibility, freely and in an ever new way, so that they help him to be a free child of God."
It is this awareness that can help parents strike the right balance between treating their children as if they were a possession or allowing them total freedom, satisfying their every whim.

"If," the Bishop of Rome emphasized, "with this sacrament, the newly baptized infant becomes an adoptive child of God, object of his infinite love that safeguards and defends him, then he must be taught to recognize God as his Father and to know how to relate to him with a filial attitude."

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Balance, peace and joy

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life.

It starts with recognizing your talents and finding

ways to serve others by using them."

-- Thomas Kinkade

Saturday, 10 January 2009

We Are Born Again

Posted: 10 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST
Is 42:1-4, 6-7 / Mk 1:7-11

When Jesus was baptized, he was baptized in “water made holy by the one, who was baptized.” As we are celebrating the close of the Christmas season today, it is more-than-fitting the Church should give us this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

When we are baptized, a similar election and declaration comes from God the Father as He adopts us through the Sacrament of Baptism. While we may never hear — here — the Father say “You are my beloved child in whom I am well pleased”, the fact that we ARE baptized means He has made that declaration.

Through Jesus, the Father has declared you worthy of adoption. Don’t let anything leave you feeling as though you are not worthy enough. I know those kinds of tapes that play in the back of your mind and recesses of your heart: “if God really knew what a mess I am, He wouldn’t want to hang around with me,” or some sort of thought.

Jesus’ Baptism is the pattern for ours — including that declaration from the Father! That is one of the reasons Jesus was baptized: that we might see how beloved of children we are to the Father.

Christmas celebrates that “unto us a child is born.” The end of the Christmas season celebrates our being “born again of water and the Holy Spirit.”
“Gloria in Excelsis Deo:” we are born again.

Seminarians Not Considered Endangered Species

Future Focolare Priests Gather at Castel Gandolfo
ROME, JAN. 9, 2009 ( Seminarians aren't a type of endangered species, explained a Vatican aide, citing that the number of seminarians worldwide rose from 50,000 some decades ago, to 72,000 today.

This was one of the main points offered by theologian Hubertus Blaumeiser, an assessor of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, during the 5th International Encounter of seminarians from the Focolare Movement. The meeting was held at Castel Gandolfo earlier this month.Blaumeiser noted the significant rise in the number of seminarians in Latin America, Africa and Asia, while acknowledging the marked decrease in their number in Europe.

He was speaking to some 500 seminarians during the conference, which had the theme "There Is a Path: The Challenge of Human Relationships." The talks centered on the human and spiritual formation of the seminarians to better serve relationships among the faithful.

Blaumeiser affirmed that "to be a priest no longer offers a privileged position, but rather demands a counter-cultural choice, a deeper decision for God."

Friday, 9 January 2009

Benedict XVI Calls for Condemnation of Violence

Again Urges a Ceasefire in Gaza
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8, 2009 ( Violence -- whatever its source and form -- must be condemned, Benedict XVI is affirming.The Pope said this today in the context of mentioning the war in the Gaza Strip, during a traditional annual address to the members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.

The Holy See has diplomatic relations with 177 nations. In his French-language address, the Pontiff once again took the opportunity to condemn the violence in the Middle East, something he has already done on repeated occasions in recent days."The birth of Christ in the lowly stable of Bethlehem leads us naturally to think of the situation in the Middle East and, in the first place, in the Holy Land, where, in these days, we have witnessed a renewed outbreak of violence provoking immense damage and suffering for the civilian population," he said.

Benedict XVI lamented that the situation "further complicates" the quest for a settlement of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, "something fervently desired by many of them and by the whole world."He affirmed: "Once again I would repeat that military options are no solution and that violence, wherever it comes from and whatever form it takes, must be firmly condemned.

I express my hope that, with the decisive commitment of the international community, the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip will be re-established -- an indispensable condition for restoring acceptable living conditions to the population -- and that negotiations for peace will resume, with the rejection of hatred, acts of provocation and the use of arms."The Pope called for elected leaders that will "guide their people toward the difficult yet indispensable reconciliation."

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"A man can't make a place for himself in the sun
if he keep staking refuge under the family tree."
-- Helen Keller

By God, the Herald will continue to use "Allah"

Posted by admin
Thursday, 08 January 2009 22:12
By Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider

Catholic newspaper The Herald will mark the return of its Bahasa Malaysia edition with a bumper issue next Jan 18 and defy the authorities by using "Allah" to describe God.
Herald editor Rev Father Lawrence Andrew said today it will use the word "Allah" as its suit on the word is still in the courts while the bumper issue is to make up for lost time. Government officials said the newspaper can have a Bahasa Malaysia edition as long as it does not describe God as "Allah" which is reserved only for Muslims.

"We will continue using it as the case is still going on in court," Fr Lawrence told The Malaysian Insider today, adding the Kuala Lumpur High Court had allowed The Herald to continue using the disputed word pending its judgment in the case.
He explained that the Catholic Church had been using the word in the manner prescribed because it was contained in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Scriptures, which had been approved by the church's authorities "a long time ago".

"I can't change the Scriptures. If the word 'Allah' is in there, we will use it," he said.
"The government cannot tell us we cannot use it if it is in the Scriptures. This is against the Federal Constitution," he added.
The Herald's insistence is almost certain to shake the already fragile religious ties in Malaysia.
But Fr Lawrence begs to differ.

"We are not terrorists. We are not enemies. We're all brothers and sisters who worship God," he said soothingly, adding he did not know why the word is controversial.
The government had banned the weekly from putting out stories in the national language after its publishing permit expired on Dec 31 last year.

The reason, allegedly, was that the Malay news content which used the word "Allah" to describe God in a non-Muslim context would confuse followers of Islam in Malaysia.
A few days later, the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur who is the publisher of The Herald, wrote a letter asking the Home Ministry to lift the ban.

He warned that the Church would take legal action against the government if it did not reply
Today, the Associated Press reported the Home Ministry had lifted the ban, but refused to allow The Herald to use the word "Allah".

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Taizé to Print 1 Million Bibles in Chinese

BRUSSELS, JAN. 7, 2008 (
The Taizé community will print and distribute 1 million Catholic Bibles in China during 2009, announced the community's prior.Brother Alois Loser revealed the plan to help the Christians in China at the conclusion of the closing of the community's 31st European meeting for youth, held from Dec. 28 to Jan. 1 in Brussels.

The community will print 200,000 complete Bibles, and 800,000 New Testaments with the Psalms. The community will use the Studium Biblicum translation of the Bible, a Catholic version that was completed by the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Hong Kong in 1968.The texts will be printed in Nanjing, China, and from there distributed in phases throughout the country.

"The word of God unites us more than division," said Brother Alois. "And tonight we are happy to offer a concrete sign of this unity, in particular with the Christians of China."The Taizé community will assume the printing costs, which they have named "operation hope."This isn't the first time that Taizé has assumed the cost of printing and distributing Bibles.

At the end of the Second Vatican Council, the community responded to a petition of the bishops of Latin America and printed 1 million Bibles in Spanish and 500,000 in Portuguese. In 1989, the community also printed 1 million New Testaments in Russian for the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Disease of the Pharisees

Posted: 08 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST
1 Jn 4:19-5:4 / Lk 4:14-22

Many thinkers and many people in general flee into the abstract and the universal as a way of avoiding the very dull and very concrete demands of everyday reality. It’s like the proverbial housewife who flees to daily mass, while ignoring the obvious needs of her children for breakfast. It’s the disease of the pharisees, having the passport perfectly in order, and then going nowhere.

St John summarizes the problem with pungent words in today’s epistle. “One who has no love for the brother he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen.” It’s a strident warning to us all. We can’t hide behind eloquent prayers or fine sentiments. We have to take care of our neighbors, just as Jesus would, if we want to be his disciples.

So what kind of match is there between your prayers and your deeds? Does what you tell the Lord match what you do? Of all the people you pray for, are there any for whom you actually do something concrete?

Why not look for the point where your gifts and their needs touch? That’s God’s assignment for you and he’s waiting for you and for all of us to get busy.

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"You were born an original.
Don't die a copy."
-- John Mason

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Make No Place for Fear in Your Life

Posted: 07 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST
1 Jn 4:11-18 / Mk 6:45-52

This world can be a scary place to live. With terrorists blowing up buildings at random and drive-by shooters menacing the innocent, with global warming imperiling future generations and nuclear weapons in the hands of unstable regimes, with carcinogens and good cholesterol and bad cholesterol confusing and threatening us, and with our retirement accounts looking pathetically small, the temptation to give in to fear is powerful indeed.

What, if anything, is there to prevent us from succumbing to paralyzing fear? One thing only, and that is absolute and total confidence that the Lord walks at our side at all times and never wanders away. If we listen carefully in our moments of uncertainty, we can hear him speak to us as he did to the apostles in today’s gospel, “Get hold of yourself. It is I. Do not be afraid.”

If we trust in the Lord’s loving presence at our side, we will find that we have both the confidence and the energy to live wholeheartedly in the now and to face, one at a time, the challenges that life inevitably brings our way. And we’ll even enjoy the process.
The Lord has promised that with each new day he will give us whatever we need for that day. Trust his promise and his sun will shine on you every day.

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"We come to love not by finding a perfect person,
but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly."
-- Sam Keen

Benedict XVI: Children Have Right to Security

Continues Plea for End to Gaza Conflict
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2009 ( Benedict XVI appealed for the protection of children, especially those "denied a serene childhood," on a feast day that in many countries is a celebration the youngest members of society.The Pope made his appeal today after praying the Angelus together with thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The Pontiff made a special request to armed groups in Congo to release children captured as soldiers."I call out to the authors of these inhuman brutalities to return these young people to their families and to a future of security and development, which is their right," the Pontiff said.The Holy Father said acts such as these "are even more deplorable give that in 2009 the 20th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child will be celebrated."

He encouraged the international community to renew their commitment to the convention and to "defend and promote childhood throughout the world."After greeting the Eastern Churches, who follow the Julian calendar and will celebrate Christmas on Wednesday, Benedict XVI turned his attention to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East."

I am deeply worried about the violent armed confrontations that are taking place on the Gaza border," he said.The Pope affirmed that "the rejection of dialogue doesn't bring anything but war," and encouraged efforts to "help the Israelis and Palestinians to sit down at a table and talk.""May God support the commitment of these builders of peace," he added.International efforts are under way to propose a cease-fire between Israel and the Islamic militants of Hamas. The 11-day conflict has resulted in more than 600 deaths.

Catholic Lawyer: Ban BM edition of Herald News is unconstitutional

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 – The Catholic Lawyer's Society of Kuala Lumpur claimed today that the Home Ministry's decision to ban the Bahasa Melayu edition of the Herald is unconstitutional.
Society President Mabel Sebastian said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar's decision to bar the Malay edition inside the weekly paper contravened Article 3(1), 10(1)(a), 11(1) and (3) of the constitution which "grants the right to freely practise one's religion, the general freedom of speech and expression and the right of every person and religious group to propagate and manage its own religious affairs".

This new prohibition issued last week is to last until the High Court makes a determination on the current contest on the use of the word "Allah" in the Herald as a whole.
The lawyers' group insists that the case and this new government edict are unrelated, and points out that the court has not ordered any prohibitions for the Malay edition.

Sebastian explained that the East Malaysian states had three times as many Catholics as the peninsula – 715,000 compared to 220,000 – and many of them use Malay as their medium language.
The minister is therefore denying 750,000 people the right to religious instruction, she claimed.
The society emphasises that "Malay is the national language, and not a single Malaysian should be deprived of the right to speak, read, write and even pray in our national language".
The Kuala Lumpur group stressed that this development is a step backwards and asks the ministry to "revoke the language ban and issue an unconditional publication and printing permit for the Herald".

Some personal comments and suggestions:

1. A follow-up press statement from East Malaysian Church leaders to support the claim that 715,000 Catholics are in Sabah and Sarawak is urgently needed. Otherwise the statement of the Catholic Lawyers will not be taken seriously.
2. The court case on the use of "Allah" is perceived by the public as a legal battle between the Government and HERALD alone, because leaders from other dioceses or Churches have yet to come out openly to support the action of the KL Archbishop. Such lack of open support is weakening the position of HERALD, at least politically speaking. The issue is more than whether Herald could get a printing permit to print its BM version, it is to decide whether the whole Malaysian Christian community can legally use the word Allah in their publications. Thus, it is a decision for or against all Christian Churches in Malaysia, not HERALD alone. (This applies the same to the SIB legal challenge to the Government.)
3. This issue is not purely a legal matter. In the Malaysian context it is also religio-political. Political opinion is shaped by "perception" which can be manipulated by various means. e.g. Someone with political agenda could just mobilise a street protest to deny the Church the use of the word -- in the name of national security -- and the Government agrees to it. To prepare for such eventuality, Christians need to be "seen politically" united in the issue. Public Press Statement can be a political tool. Church leaders from across the country should make public statements to support the action of HERALD.

Dominic Lim
-Sabah Malaysia

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full ofeducated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

The slogan 'press on' has solved and

always will solve the problems of the human race."

-- Calvin Coolidge

Friday, 2 January 2009

Do You Know Who You Aren’t?

Posted: 02 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST
1 Jn 2:22-28 / Jn 1:19-28

One of the most foolish mistakes any of us can make is to believe our own press releases. Taking ourselves too seriously is a fatal error that is made so often that we have to conclude that it’s been bred into the human race. It was the mistake that Adam and Eve made in the garden, when they were only too ready to let the snake persuade them that they could become God’s equal. What a farce, and yet we see it recurring in our own time and in our own lives every day.

In today’s gospel, John the Baptist provides a refreshing respite from the usual self inflation. When messengers from the authorities in Jerusalem asked him in all seriousness if he were the messiah, or the great Elijah, or the Prophet, John had to be flattered and tempted at the very least to make some tantalizing delphic response such as, “In time all things will be made clear,” or “You’ll be surprised.” But he did none of that.

Instead, his response was a clear “no” to all the questions. “I am only the voice in the desert, crying out: ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’”

What a perfect example for us all: To know who we are and what our own unique vocation from God is; to delight in answering that call as fully and enthusiastically as we can; and to ask for nothing more and pretend to nothing more. It is the truth that will set us free. Embrace the truth and let your heart soar.

More Than 2 Million Saw the Pope in '08

Diary 2008....

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 1, 2009 ( More than 2 million people participated in general or special audiences with Benedict XVI during 2008.
According to information released Tuesday by the Vatican, during 2008, some 2,215,000 people participated in a general or special audience, the Sunday Angelus, or liturgical celebrations presided over by the Pope.

The Wednesday general audiences gathered more than half a million people last year, with October being the month of highest attendance. Meanwhile, the midday Sunday Angelus brought more than a million attendees.

Don't Be Afraid of 2009, Urges Benedict XVI

Says Hope of Eternal Life Is Bigger Than Economic Crisis
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 1, 2009 (
- Benedict XVI is inviting Christians to "be not afraid," despite economic shadows hanging over 2009.

The Pope made this exhortation Wednesday during his homily at a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica that included first vespers for today's feast of Mary, Mother of God, and the singing of the Te Deum in thanksgiving for the graces of 2008.

"This year closes with the awareness of a growing economic and social crisis that already concerns the entire world," he said. "Though not a few shadows are appearing on the horizon of our future, we should not be afraid.

"Our great hope as believers is eternal life in communion with Christ and with the whole family of God. This great hope gives us the strength to confront and overcome the difficulties of life in this world."

The Holy Father assured that both the year that was ending and the one on the horizon are both under the gaze of the Virgin Mother of God: "The maternal presence of Mary assures us tonight that God will never abandon us, if we entrust ourselves to him and follow his teachings. To Mary, then, with filial affection and trust, let us present our hopes and desires, as well as the fears and the difficulties we carry in our hearts, as we bid farewell to 2008 and prepare ourselves to welcome 2009."

The Pontiff also affirmed that the economic crisis "asks of all of us more sobriety and solidarity to assist especially those people and families with more serious difficulties."
He recognized that the Christian community and diocesan Caritas is already involved in this task, but emphasized that "the collaboration of everyone is necessary, because no one can think of building his happiness for himself alone."

Thursday, 1 January 2009

'Herald' gets new permit with strings attached

'Herald' gets new permit with strings attached

Posted by admin
Thursday, 01 January 2009 11:03
(NST) PUTRAJAYA: After months
of waiting for word if they could continue publishing, the publisher of the Herald, a Catholic weekly, can now heave a sigh of relief.
The Home Ministry decided on Tuesday to approve the publication's annual printing permit.
However, it was not without conditions.

The ministry's Publications and Quranic Text Control unit deputy secretary Abdul Razak Abdul Latif said the approval letter sent to the publisher outlined three rules that they must abide. They are:
- to cease the publication of Herald in Bahasa Malaysia until the court decides on its move to seek a declaratory relief that it is entitled to use the word "Allah";

- that the publication can only be sold in churches; and
- that it prints clearly on the cover that the paper is only meant for Christians.

The publication, through the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, is seeking a declaration that the home minister's directive to cease the use of the word "Allah" is illegal and null and void.
Razak said the unit would be monitoring Herald closely to ensure that these conditions were followed.

"The minute they break any of these conditions, we will lodge a report with the enforcement unit which will then take action against the weekly's publisher," he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
He said it was unfair to claim that the ministry was deliberately giving the Herald a hard time, including waiting till the last minute to approve its printing permit.
The publication had been given a string of warning letters for dabbling in issues other than religion.

He said the warning letters were issued as the publication's previous permit had stated that the contents of the weekly should solely be on religious matters.
Under the latest permit, he said there should be no problems for the 32-page weekly, currently published in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil, to touch on issues beyond religion, as the ministry had approved its application for covering "religion", "current affairs" and "international affairs" topics.

"We have nothing personal against the publication. It was all a big misunderstanding.
"The unit also monitors the contents of the publication to ensure that what is printed does not erode the akidah (faith) of Muslims," he said, adding that the permit approval letter was signed by Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

Today's Inspirational Quote:

"Success and failure.

We think of them as opposites,

but they're really not.

They're companions - the hero and the sidekick."

-- Laurence Shames

If You Want to Be Forgiven, Forgive!

Posted: 01 Jan 2009 01:00 AM CST
Nm 6:22-27 / Gal 4:4-7 / Lk 2:16-21
One of the characteristics of healthy children is a consciousness of the importance of having rules and playing by the rules. One of the most frequent refrains amidst their games is the outraged challenge, “That’s not fair. You cheated.” This focus on rules is an important stage in a child’s development, and it provides children with crucial habits for the rest of life. Without it their lives and society as a whole would descend into chaos. But by itself it isn’t enough to make a life.

St. Paul learned this through painful experience. In his early days as a devout and sincere Jew, he strove with all his might to observe the whole of the law of Moses with perfection. And constantly he failed – in two ways. On the one hand, the simple human weakness which is common to us all frustrated his very best efforts to be perfect. He just wasn’t and he never would be, and it drove him crazy.

On the other hand, his frustration with his own inner imperfections and failures hardened his heart as he judged both himself and others. With ruthless vigor, he set out to catch and to punish everyone who was wandering away from the law as he understood it. And so he found himself killing Christians, presiding at the death of the very first martyr, St. Stephen.

In the end, he discovered that there was a way out of this terrible, bitter trap that he’d built for himself, and the way out was Jesus, the compassionate one, Jesus the forgiver. He is the only way out, the only salvation, for any of us fragile, fault-ridden human beings. His forgiveness and His compassion can be ours for the asking. All we need do in return is to pass it on and share it with our brothers and sisters.