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Washington D.C., Oct 1, 2014 / 04:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Christians and Muslims are coexisting peacefully in Israel and Palestine, but the political will for peace is not yet there, said the leader of a recent bishops’ pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

“It does not seem that there has been any bad, difficult or ruptured relationships between the Muslims and the Christians in the Holy Land. I don’t think that has been an ongoing issue so much,” Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines told CNA. “I think at this point in time, perhaps the biggest problems are political in nature.”

Bishop Pates, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, led a delegation of 18 bishops on a “prayer pilgrimage for peace” to the Holy Land from Sept.11-18. The bishops prayed with local Christian communities, as well as Jews and Muslims, and met with political leaders of Israel and Palestine.

After they returned to the United States, the bishops published a communiqué about their pilgrimage, stating that “prayer is powerful, peace is possible and…support for a two-state solution is an essential dimension of pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

Bishop Pates insisted that residents of the Holy Land desire peace and the leaders of Israel and Palestine have acknowledged that it is “possible.”

“It is in the deepest desire of all of the, I would say, the common folk of both Israel and Palestine,” he affirmed, adding that “there are three of four perhaps proposals that could be put on the table that would be workable, that would be feasible to achieve peace.”

However, he added there is currently not enough political will to achieve a solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

“I think that Israel is in a particularly strong position at this particular point in history, and the suggestion is that they consider this position and move forward to really achieve peace,” Bishop Pates said.

The bishops prayed with Jewish and Muslim leaders during their visit, evidence that peaceful unity exists between members of different religions.

“The ability to pray with both Muslims and Jewish indicated that we do identify one God that exists for all of us,” Bishop Pates said. He pointed to Bethlehem University, where Muslim students attend school alongside Christians, as another example of peaceful coexistence.

“The ongoing interaction between Christians and Muslims is exemplified at Bethlehem University. It is indeed a very important component to move forward with peace,” the bishop said.

Another member of the delegation, Bishop Richard Higgins of the Archdiocese for Military Services, also praised Bethlehem University.

“Having young people of that age being educated together and living basically together spiritually, where there are particular cultures, day by day, that is a very positive force as far as I am concerned,” he told CNA. “I believe the resolution down the road will be between educated people who have lived alongside each other for years and understand both cultures and respect each other.”

When asked what Americans could do to help achieve peace in the region, Bishop Pates cited prayer and a realization that there is no “black and white” narrative to the political conflict.

“And then we would continue to advocate for prayer and to say that peace really is possible but we have to have the will, and for us Americans to see that there’s plenty of blame to be spread around on both sides,” he said.

“When there’s hostilities that you can identify no matter who is contending against another, oftentimes it’s not clear black and white,” he added.


Vatican City, Oct 1, 2014 / 04:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Having met for the first time last week, the committee to reform the Vatican's media and communications will continue to formulate its proposals, being able to present them by Easter of 2015.

In an interview granted to Vatican Radio Sept. 24, Chris Patten, who chairs the committee, emphasized that the Church’s resources must be “spent as effectively as possible” to communicate its unique message of “healing, love, hope and generosity of spirit.”

Patten's words thus disclose that the committee's first goal is to rationalize the expenses of the Vatican's media.

The committee was established in July, and met Sept. 22-24. It will again meet in November and December, making an in-depth analysis of the state and structure of Vatican media.

In addition to L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's media branches include Vatican Radio, CTV, the Holy See press office, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, as well as its internet presence.

It includes five media experts from Europe, the U.S., Latin America, and Asia, and six representatives of Vatican offices, including the “Office for Information” of the Secretariat of State.

During their first meeting, the committee started the analysis of functioning, expenses, and duties of Vatican media, and the first presentation was reportedly made by Fr. Giuseppe Costa, director of Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

The committee will hear other top managers of the Vatican's media branches in its following meetings.

Vatican media are living a moment of transition, given the Vatican reform of economy issued July 7, and with a wider reform of the Roman curia in the offing.

As part of the economic reform, the Holy See press office is now under the “umbrella” of the Secretariat for the Economy regarding expenses and investments, as well as being under the Secretariat of State.

The Secretariat of State is also a head over Vatican Radio, CTV, and L'Osservatore Romano.

The reform of the Roman curia and of Vatican finances will both push forward the reform of Vatican media.

According to a source inside the Vatican, the current reform “should be one of having a unique platform providing content to be delivered to the various Vatican media, which would be under the umbrella of this platform.”

In his interview with Vatican Radio, Patten stressed that some Vatican budgets are “a little more opaque than one might like,” but he insisted the reform's main goal is to listen to peoples’ concerns and to ensure that the different parts of the Vatican's media work more closely and efficiently together.

The committee will also discuss how to improve the digital agenda of Vatican media, since – as Patten put it – “the media finds itself having to run constantly to keep up with changing technology. One is aware of the extent to which the young receive information in a different way from that in which I’ve received it traditionally.”



Seeing the Face of Christ in the Poor

Each Sunday, we hear St. Vincent’s name mentioned along with St. Louis and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne during the Eucharistic prayers. St. Louis we know was the King of France. We know St. Rose was a teacher and brought education to all children, especially the Native American Indians. We have heard of St. Vincent and we know he is associated with the poor and that the St. Vincent de Paul Society provides resources to those in need. St. Vincent was involved in the formation of priests and set up missionaries to go out among ordinary people and tell them about Jesus. About 150 years after his death, his missionaries came to the St. Louis area. They asked his intercession on their great mission of reaching out to the people in the wilderness of St. Louis, asking him to be our patron. 

In 1581, St. Vincent de Paul was born to poor farmers. He was the third son and learned how to tend the animals. His father thought this would be good for him, but Vincent was smart and everyone noticed. The neighbors convinced his father to send him to school and let one of his other brothers tend the animals. Therefore, Vincent went away to school. He got along very well and taught others. His teaching ability would become an asset to him and allow him many opportunities to bring others to Christ. Although, he lived almost 500 years ago, St. Vincent had a very interesting life. While making a journey by boat to a new city where he was assigned, St. Vincent was captured by pirates and sold into slavery. After years as a slave, his master decided to help him escape and chose to go with him. St. Vincent’s Christian example would lead his master to repent and return to the Catholic Church. 

The St. Vincent de Paul Chapel at the Cardinal Rigali Center

Everywhere St. Vincent lived and worked the example of his life would bring others to Christ. He was a tutor in a very rich household. He affected the parents of the children he tutored. In the 1500’s, dueling was the answer to any offense. Honor was everything. One day, the father of his students was in church praying before going off to duel. St. Vincent convinced the father that taking another’s life in a duel was cruel and God did not approve. The father amended his ways and followed the example of St. Vincent. The father and mother became St. Vincent’s greatest supporters and after the mother’s death, the father would go on to become a priest. 

This was the effect St. Vincent had on people. People would change their behaviors and amend their ways to live according to the church doctrines and follow the ways of Christ. St. Vincent had no desire to be rich or famous. Although he had influential friends, he was happy to stay working with the poor in every community. In a time when people lived extravagant lives with no regard to how the poor people lived, he would remind them of the vast differences in lifestyles. He found priests to be missionaries and formed Lady’s Charities. While volunteering for these charities, wealthier women would work alongside not so wealthy women to feed and shelter the poor. They founded hospitals and orphanages. Where there was a need, St. Vincent found ways to go to these people and meet them where they were. One day he decided to visit the prisoners who served their sentence rowing the large ships. The inhumane way in which these prisoners were treated saddened and shocked him. He appealed to the ship owners and gained permission to take care of these men. It was difficult work, but St. Vincent managed again to con-vert souls and bring more people to the Church. He said to his followers, “Love makes us see God and nothing else but God in each of those whom we love.” St. Vincent gave his life for others and taught everyone by his exam-ple. 

Each month our Pope has special intentions. He has general and missionary intentions. In September 2012, he asked God to send: “Help for the poorest Churches that Christian communities may have a growing willingness to send missionaries, priests, and lay people along with concrete resources to the poorest Churches.” On September 27, we celebrate St. Vincent de Paul’s feast day. This is an appropriate time to ask God to help the poorest. St. Vincent would approve, he once said, “By mutual support the strong will sustain the weak, and God’s work will be accomplished.” St. Vincent wants everyone to be an example of Christ in the world. To love all people as God loved us. --- Alethea Paradis, M.T.S.


St. Vincent de Paul's Legacy

Jesus said, “this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12) As Christians we are called by these words of Christ to love and care for one another. The greatest way to outwardly express our love for one another is through charity- by donating our time, talent, and treasures to those in need.

There are many ways to get involved in the Catholic ministries in the Archdiocese of St. Louis that help the poor,
abused, neglected, elderly, disabled and lonely in our community, and one way is through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. 

“Serving Christ’s needy is the first purpose of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.”

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul provides services in crisis intervention, housing, criminal justice ministry, transportation, and health.

Photo courtesy of svdpstlouis.org

Most parishes have a Society of St. Vincent de Paul conference, which are “chapters” of the Society. To find volunteer opportunities with your parish SVDP conference, you can call your parish office or look at the list of SVDP conferences.

To volunteer or donate to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul call 314.881.6000 or donate online.


Read more about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.



On October 1, Catholics around the world honor the life of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, or St. Thérèse of Lisieux on her feast day.  St. Thérèse was born January 2, 1873 in Alençon, France to pious parents, both who have been declared venerable by Pope John Paul II. Her mother died when she was four, leaving her father and elder sisters to raise her. On Christmas Day 1886 St. Thérèse had a profound experience of intimate union with God, which she described as a “complete conversion.â€�  Almost a year later, in a papal audience during a pilgrimage to Rome, in 1887, she asked for and obtained permission from Pope Leo XIII to enter the Carmelite Monastery at the young age of 15. On entering, she devoted herself to living a life of holiness, doing all things with love and childlike trust in God. She struggled with life in the convent, but decided to make an effort to be charitable to all, especially those she didn’t like. She performed little acts of charity always, and little sacrifices not caring how unimportant they seemed.  These acts helped her come to a deeper understanding of her vocation. She wrote in her autobiography that she had always dreamed of being a missionary, an Apostle, a martyr – yet she was a nun in a quiet cloister in France. How could she fulfill these longings? “Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and places...in a word, that it was eternal! Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my Love...my vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love!â€� Thérèse offered herself as a sacrificial victim to the merciful Love of God on June 9, 1895, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity and the following year, on the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday, she noticed the first symptoms of Tuberculosis, the illness which would lead to her death. Thérèse recognized in her illness the mysterious visitation of the divine Spouse and welcomed the suffering as an answer to her offering the previous year.  She also began to undergo a terrible trial of faith which lasted until her death a year and a half later.  “Her last words, ‘My God, I love you,’ are the seal of her life,â€� said Pope John Paul II. Since her death, millions have been inspired by her ‘little way’ of loving God and neighbor. Many miracles have been attributed to her intercession. She had predicted during her earthly life that “My Heaven will be spent doing good on Earth.â€� Saint Thérèse was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997 - 100 years after her death at the age of 24. She is only the third woman to be so proclaimed, after Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Teresa of Avila. St. Thérèse wrote once, 'You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them."

First Reading - Job 9: 1-12, 14-16
10/1/2014 12:00:00 AM
1 And Job answered, and said: 2 Indeed I know it is so, and that man cannot be justified compared with God. 3 If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one for a thousand. 4 He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath resisted him, and hath had peace? 5 Who hath removed mountains, and they whom he overthrew in his wrath, knew it not.6 Who shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. 7 Who commandeth tile sun and it riseth not: and shutteth up the stars as it were under a seal: 8 Who alone spreadeth out the heavens, and walketh upon the waves of the sea. 9 Who maketh Arcturus, and Orion, and Hyades, and the inner parts of the south. 10 Who doth things great and incomprehensible, and wonderful, of which there is no number.11 If he come to me, I shall not see him: if he depart I shall not understand. 12 If he examine on a sudden, who shall answer him? or who can say: Why dost thou so? 14 What am I then, that I should answer him, and have words with him? 15 I, who although I should have any just thing, would not answer, but would make supplication to my judge.16 And if he should hear me when I call, I should not believe that he had heard my voice. 



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