Sunday, December 12, 2004



Prayers and Customs of Advent and Christmas - This resource from the Passionists in the US offers background to Advent prayers and practices. Sections include: Advent, a season of preparation ... Advent Wreath ... Prayers ... Customs... Meditations for each week of Advent ... About St. Nicholas ... Fasts and Feasts: Recipes ... Christmas Prayers and Customs ... Christmas Prayers for the Home, for the New Year, for the Family ... Feast of the Epiphany

Re-Thinking Family Christmas Traditions We speak of Christmas as a season of joy and peace. But the reality is that sometimes stress and friction reign in family life as the festive season approaches. What simple strategies can help to breathe peace into our Christmas experience? The following story, a snapshot from Vic and Liz O' Callaghan's evolving family culture, offers food for thought...

Bethlehem knows what it wants for Christmas: tourists. December 5, 2004 All over Manger Square and the rest of town, shopkeepers, hotel owners and just plain folks are hoping that visitors come and stay -- if only for a night...



No adoption changes planned - Government,2106,3120864a6160,00.html NZPA 08 December 2004 The Government has no plans to allow same-sex couples to adopt children, Associate Justice Minister David Benson-Pope said yesterday...

Bishops go too far The Press (Chch) 07 December 2004 The Catholic bishops have misjudged the temper of the public and risked their authority by issuing last Sunday's pastoral letter, The Press says in an editorial. Far from advancing their opposition to the Civil Union Bill, the intervention will make the legislation's passage more likely...

SIS to keep watch on Zaoui,2106,3123185a11,00.html The Dominion Post 10 December 2004 Bailed Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui is likely to be shadowed by Security Intelligence Service agents and have his phone bugged. Mr Zaoui left jail last night to live at the friary of the Catholic Dominican order in Auckland while the much-delayed review of his security status is undertaken...

Bail frees refugee to tell son of jail stint NZ Herald 10.12.04 When Ahmed Zaoui arrived at the Dominican Friary in Newton, the new home he will share with Catholic priests, some journalists were already waiting...

Video interviews with Ahmed Zaoui:

'Old-fashioned values' boost school roll Otago Daily Times Dec 4, 2004 A Milton school has bucked the trend of falling rolls in small rural communities by more than doubling its roll within the last decade. St Mary's School was once a struggling two-teacher school with just 27 pupils on the books. Today, there are five teachers responsible for a roll of 66, and an extra classroom is high on the wish-list...

Vatican university takes on the devil Reuters 11 December 2004,2106,3124218a4560,00.html Rome: Forget the new Exorcist film, the Vatican is offering the real thing. A Vatican university says it will hold a special "theoretical and practical" course for Roman Catholic priests on Satanism and exorcism in response to what the Church says is a worrying interest in the occult, particularly among the young...

Sister Judith: No-nonsense nun who has the Vatican online Khaleej Times (UAE) 11 December 2004 Vatican City - "Is there a patron saint of the Internet?" is the most common question Sister Judith Zoebelein has to answer. "Not yet," replies this diminutive, no-nonsense nun from New York City. Sister Judith, 55, is a self-taught computer expert. And there was no heavenly help at hand when she was first asked to create the Vatican's web site, back in 1995...



OK to civil unions makes "sad day" for New Zealand Catholic World Report Wellington, New Zealand, Dec. 10 (CNA/ - With the passage of the Civil Union Bill into law today in New Zealand, the pro-family group Family Life International New Zealand called it a "sad day" for the country and said that the parliamentary decision "makes an absolute mockery of due democratic process and will have many negative implications for future generations" ....

Navarro Valls on His Work as Director of Vatican Press Office. Spokesman Marks 20-Year Milestone (interview) Rome, Dec. 6, 2004 ( It was 1974 when Dr. JoaquĆ­n Navarro Valls, together with Giovanni Caprile, stirred a public debate about the scant official information available on the Synod on Evangelization. The relator of the synod was Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. Ten years later, on Dec. 4, 1984, Cardinal Wojtyla, now John Paul II, appointed Navarro Valls director of the Holy See's Press Office...

How "The Passion" Rattled Hollywood (interview) Hollywood, California, Dec. 9, 2004 (Zenit.Org).- Plenty of bad movies still come out of Tinseltown, but an industry insider sees some positive changes in the wake of "The Passion of the Christ." Barbara Nicolosi, director of Act One, a boot camp for Christian screenwriters who hope to work in mainstream Hollywood, told Zenit how bad movies are bad business for Hollywood, now that the industry has seen the power of the Christian audience...



Church set to mark 150th anniversary of Immaculate Conception dogma Pope John Paul II is leading celebrations for Wednesday's 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception dogma, which include a four-day international congress, a commemorative liturgy involving Pope John Paul II, and a special "Concert for Immaculate Mary" in the Vatican's audience hall... [includes numerous related links]

Pope prays to the Immaculate Virgin for peace and the sacredness of life Rome (AsiaNews) - In his prayer before the statue of Mary in Piazza di Spagna, just above the Spanish steps, the Pope called on the Virgin on the day celebrating Her Immaculate Conception to help humanity build a world in which everyone will want peace and in which there will be respect for life that wars and man's pretensions have threatened...

Pope keeps up tradition of Spanish Steps stop at start of holiday schedule CBS 2 New York



Terrorism is anti-religious, Asian religious leaders say Yogyakarta (AsiaNews) - Religious leaders from the Asia-Pacific region said in a joint statement that inter-faith dialogue must be strengthened and fundamentalist groups condemned as an obstacle to peace. Meeting at Yogyakarta (central Java), 124 representatives of different religions (Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish) along with political leaders agreed that dialogue between religions and peace must be promoted in the region...

Religious leaders join to fight radicals,2106,3120993a12,00.html Reuters 08 December 2004 Indonesia: Leaders at a 13-nation interfaith conference said they would go home with new ideas on working together against violence-prone religious radicals and solving problems that fuel extremism. Participants at the International Dialogue on Interfaith Cooperation ranged from Buddhist monks in orange robes to Muslim muftis and Catholic cardinals. Jews, Protestants, Hindus and Confucionists were also on hand...

Downer urges pulpit war against terror Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has told more than 120 religious leaders at the inter-faith meeting in Indonesia that the war on terror will fail if it is not pursued in pulpits, mosques, synagogues and temples... [Includes many related links]





Australian prisoners focus of bishop's Human Rights Day message Suspended sentence for Tasmanian monsignor Diocese considers private-sector funding for schools Pope says respect cultural difference, but don't forget universal values Melbourne, Brisbane Archdioceses planning for future Persecution today for "mad monk" Abbott


THE NATHANIEL CENTRE - The NZ Catholic Bioethics Centre

From the Nathaniel Report, November 2004

Editorial: Abortion - Technology and Truth (full text) One in four pregnancies in New Zealand now end in abortion, compared with one in ten two decades ago. The reasons are complex and need to be examined within the context of some very significant demographic and sociological changes. A focus on changing the law would, by itself, be an inadequate approach to dealing with the increasing abortion rate...

Also in this issue ...

Update on the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Bill This piece identifies changes to the HART Bill recommended by the Health Select Committee as the Bill enters the House to be debated by the Committee of the Whole House. It also highlights those matters which, from a Catholic perspective, are of 'grave concern'.

Clinical - Ethical Judgements without "short cuts" This article by Australian moral theologian Gerald Gleeson explores the debate among Catholic ethicists regarding the obligations towards persistently unresponsive (PVS) patients and identifies two "short cuts" that are commonly deployed in this debate.

Aged Health Care and Ethical Business Practice A reflection by a practitioner in the field of leadership development and management assessment, this article sets out three theories of leadership behaviour which form the background to a series of questions designed to stimulate those involved in aged care to reflect on the ethical nature of their own behaviour.

The Starfish Programme A wonderfully inspiring story of a remarkable New Zealand woman Liese Groot-Alberts who has been part of a team transforming the conditions and care of people with severe and terminal illness in a Philippines hospital.

Toi te Taiao: Use of Human Genes in Other Organisms A short synopsis of the consultation process undertaken by Toi te Taiao on the cultural, spiritual and ethical issues arising from the use of human genes in other organisms.



From the Newsroom ...

Day of Prayer for the Holy Land 9 December, 2004: The Catholic Bishops' Conferences of North Africa and the Arab Regions have asked Catholics throughout the world to join a day of prayer and fasting for the Holy Land on Wednesday 22 December 2004. At their most recent meeting, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference agreed to support this request, and information has been distributed to all Catholic parishes by Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand ....

Commemoration of West Papuan Anniversary of Independence 1 December, 2004: Caritas staff and supporters joined a commemoration at Parliament on 1 December of the West Papuan anniversary of independence from the Dutch in 1961. Caritas programmes manager Peter Zwart told the gathering that although West Papuans were promised independence by 1970, authority over West Papua was later passed to Indonesia without West Papuan input ...



Online in the December Messenger ...

** Readings: Daily Mass readings and devotional prayers.

** Daily News from the Catholic world.

** E-Cards Easter, Birthday, Baptism, First Eucharist, Confirmation, Wedding and Christmas cards.

** Focus This issue marks 75 years of the Marist Messenger (1929-2004), so it is an opportunity for us to thank God and "to praise our illustrious ancestors in their successive generations." [Eccus 44:1] ... (This Focus is the farewell editorial of the seventh editor of the Marist Messenger, Fr Carl Telford sm.)

** Dear Joseph, look after them It has sometimes bothered me a little that - though Saint Joseph is my patron saint - I can think of no obvious intervention in my life, where I can say 'Ah, that was the hand of Joseph!' I chose him as a patron when I came into the Church as an adult convert; and chose him deliberately because I am a married man with a family.

** An Unexpected Grace A couple invite an elderly lady for Christmas Dinner, and so begins the story of a lasting friendship.

** The Hidden Mary When we talk of God we leave behind human gender issues and use the words male and female to describe the different aspects and energies we experience in all of creation. Which, of course, does not say what God is, but how we, with our limited senses, perceive God.

Also in the December Marist Messenger ... * A Second Chance * An Unexpected Grace * Our Lady and the Visitation * The Cardinal Virtues * Missing Midnight Mass



[Teaching vacancies in New Zealand Catholic schools are advertised in the Education Gazette: ]

[Vacancies in Catholic Youth Ministry are advertised on the Job Bank page of the National Council for Young Catholics: ]


Catholic Tertiary Chaplaincy vacancies, Diocese of Christchurch 2-3 postions for tertiary co-ordinator and tertiary team workers Details in 'NZ Catholic' December 12-18 p.22, and from Mike Stopforth, Catholic Youth Team, PO Box 4544, Christchurch. Tel: (03) 366-9869; fax: (03) 379-8724; e-mail: Or after 20 December, Fr Michael Doyle, Tertiary priest-chaplain; e-mail: Applications close 17 January 2005

Director, 'Mahitahi', the Project Assistance Agency of the NZ Catholic Bishops' Conference Details in 'NZ Catholic' December 12-18 p.9, and from Mahitahi, 30 New Street, Ponsonby, Auckland. E-mail: Applications close 24 December 2004

Pastoral Care Coordinator, Te Korowai Atawhai, St Joseph's Mercy Hospice, Auckland. Details in 'NZ Catholic' Nov. 28 - Dec. 11 2004 p.19, and from Jan Nichols, Executive Manager, St Joseph's Mercy Hospice, PO Box 9911, Auckland. Tel: (09) 623-9757; e-mail:



"Hearts Aflame" Catholic Summer School Sacred Heart Hostel, Hamilton, Friday 31st of December 2004 - Sunday January 9th 2005 The Hearts Aflame Catholic Summer School offers young adults (18-35 years old) an opportunity to learn more about the teachings of the Church, through: A deepening of your spiritual life through personal, communal and liturgical prayer and celebration of the sacraments A discovery of the richness of Catholic spirituality and tradition. An experience of living a common life of prayer, service and recreation An introduction to theology and scripture An examination of some of the many issues facing the Church


Parachute Music Festival Mystery Creek, Hamilton January 28-31 2005

The annual Christian music festival, takes place on Auckland Anniversary weekend (last weekend of January) at Totara Springs Christian Camp, Matamata.

Parachute Festival Website:

Catholics@Parachute: The young Catholic presence at Australasia's biggest Christian music festival is growing by the year.. The National Council for Young Catholics coordinates the bulk purchase of tickets and the set-up of a Catholic village on site. Contact Jamie Cox: