PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR VICTIMS OF FLOODS IN ANGOLA - CATHOLICS AND ORTHODOX BEGIN FIVE DAY MEETING IN ROME - POPE BENEDICT DONATES 2,000 TO CAMBRIDGE CATHOLIC CHAPLAINCY
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR VICTIMS OF FLOODS IN ANGOLA

Pope Benedict sent a telegram of condolences to Archbishop Giovanni Becciu, apostolic nuncio in Angola, for the victims of the floods that have inundated that country over the past 10 days. Scores of people have died, thousands of families have lost their homes, many hundreds have been reported missing and there has been a sharp increase in cholera cases.

"The Supreme Pontiff, said the telegram, sent though Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, has followed with dismay the drama of the Angolan people affected by the torrential rains that have brought mourning and devastation, and provoked serious damage. He gives assurances of his closeness to those people, entrusting the victims to the mercy of God and appealing for consolation and support for their families and for those who have lost their worldly goods.

Benedict XVI sent his blessing to all touched by this drama, including those who participate in the immense aid and reconstruction operations."

CATHOLICS AND ORTHODOX BEGIN FIVE DAY MEETING IN ROME The annual meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox began Tuesday in Rome. Co-presidents of the meeting are Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Metropolitan Anba Bishoy of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The Orthodox delegation includes representatives from seven local Churches that are part of the family of the Eastern Orthodox Churches (the Coptic, Syrian, Ethiopian, Eritrean and Malankara Orthodox Syrian, and the Armenian Apostolic Church)

The Catholic delegation includes representatives of the Latin tradition and from the various Eastern Catholic traditions (Coptic Catholic, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Maronite, Syro-Malabarese, and Ethiopian).

Since its creation in 2003, the commission has concentrated on two ecclesiological questions: structures of communion, and the exercise of apostolic ministry in the Church.

POPE BENEDICT DONATES 2,000 TO CAMBRIDGE CATHOLIC CHAPLAINCY

Pope Benedict personally donated 2,000 almost $4,000 to Fisher House Cambridge University Catholic Chaplaincy, according to the chaplain, Franciscan Fr. Alban McCoy. He told EWTN that the donation came through the good offices of the Papal Nuncio here in Great Britain who came to Fisher House as our guest preacher last term. He wrote to the Pope to tell him about the work of the chaplaincy and its appeal for money and the Holy Father made a personal donation.

Calling Benedicts gift a remarkable gesture, Fr. McCoy said in an email exchange Monday, that As Cardinal Ratzinger, the Pope came to Fisher House in 1988 to give our annual Fisher Lecture, which is taking place this week, as a matter of fact. He has retained an affection for us, I imagine, and having been a university teacher himself, has a special sympathy for the important work of university chaplaincies like ours.

Father Alban, assisted by a Dominican, Sister Pauline Burling, told EWTN, I wrote to the Holy Father, naturally, to thank him and to tell him how thrilled we were and what a boost to faith it has given us. I said that we now feel an even closer bond with Peter's Successor.

The chaplaincy has been at Fisher House, in the very center of Cambridge, since 1924. The 17th and 18th century building it occupies was an inn until it became chaplaincy headquarters, and Father McCoys welcome letter on the web site says, we like to think that Fisher House has maintained the same tradition of hospitality and friendliness.

Fisher House sponsors myriad activities including Catholicism for the Curious, St Thomas Aquinas Discussion Group, English Mass Choir and Schola Cantorum (Latin Mass Choir), Catholic Graduate Society (for graduates and senior members), the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Prayer Group for Cantonese Speakers and the annual HCPT Pilgrimage to Lourdes, which takes disabled children from the Cambridge area for a week's holiday at Lourdes. Helpers are mainly past and present members of Fisher House. This years marks the 50th anniversary of the pilgrimage.

There is also the Fisher Society which promotes the spiritual, cultural and social interests of its members who are all Catholics past and present who have attended the University of Cambridge.

About 500 people come to the three Sunday Masses, including one in Latin, and 30 to 40 attend daily Mass. There is currently a campaign underway to raise 2 million for a permanent endowment

. joansrome@ewtn.com




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