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St. Michael
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do you, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. Advertise Now

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PHOTO OF THE MONTH

PHOTO OF THE MONTH

REFLECTIONS

"Jesus' Baptism"

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John's baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the "baptism" of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus' baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God's suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father's will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God? Read More »

VATICAN APPEALS FOR LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, appeals that the world needs a surge of solidarity. He made this plea on Monday September 19 during the high-level meeting on the midterm comprehensive global review of the implementation of the program of action for the least developed countries for 2001-2010.

Below is Archbishop Migliore's address:
* *

Madam President,

Although both the progress made by least developed countries (LDCs) and the increased official development assistance (ODA) afforded them by partners are to be warmly commended, a consensus exists that recent growth remains extremely vulnerable, since it rests almost entirely on the exportation of raw materials, especially oil, and has not yet produced overall progress in the reduction of poverty or in the improvement of human well-being.

The Holy See joins those who point out that this relative and fragile macroeconomic improvement must not distract from giving serious consideration to the grave underlying problems as yet unresolved, nor tempt us to lose sight of their dramatic urgency.

The present economic data should also be read in the light of other grave realities such as war -- which afflicts a significant number of LDCs -- ecological degradation and desertification, persistent hunger and child malnutrition and the continuing scourges of AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and many other diseases associated with poverty.

Moreover, the unstoppable flight of masses of people from impoverished regions toward the more developed areas of the world has brought the grave problems of the LDCs, once an academic and distant reality, knocking literally on the doors of the rich countries. This dramatic situation underlines the need for a genuine global commitment in order to achieve promptly the goals of Brussels Program of Action (BPoA), with fresh attention paid to dignified living conditions and productive work as essential elements.

Therefore, as well as the pressing moral imperative of economic solidarity toward poor countries, based on the unity of the human race and on the equal dignity of all persons, we are faced today with the urgent task of remedying a situation which, in the absence of solutions that are effective, just and respectful of human rights, will continue to cause intolerable damage in the LDCs and inevitably bring about a state of permanent instability in the social fabric of developed countries.

The overall creation of dignified employment is just as important as the two columns presented in the BPoA: the basic quality of life and overall political and macroeconomic conditions. All these elements are inseparable and mutually dependent.

Productive employment can exist only if there is a healthy and educated population. Likewise, achieving and maintaining a certain quality of life is the result of a national productivity capable of generating resources that allow societies and governments to attain this goal. Productivity, in its turn, is always conditioned by an environment of peace, good governance and favorable external macroeconomic conditions.

The Cotonou Strategy clearly identifies the responsibilities of the LDCs and the action expected from their development partners. LDC governments must ensure that all policies are people-centered, implement measures to eradicate corruption, guarantee transparency and the rule of law, and enforce policies that will boost the productive capacity of their countries.

The active participation of international partners is indispensable. This should not be seen as something complementary or as an optional concession which can be postponed in the face of pressing national concerns. It is a grave and inexorable moral responsibility, founded on the unity of the human race, on the common dignity and the shared destiny of rich and poor alike, drawn ever closer by the process of globalization.

Trade conditions clearly favorable to LDCs must be maintained where they exist and created where they do not. Among such conditions are the opening of developed markets, the provision of quota-free and duty-free market access to 100% of exportable products from LDCs without further delay and the elimination of all trade distorting barriers, including tariff peaks and tariff escalations, high subsidies and other mechanisms and practices disadvantageous to exports from the LDCs.

Provision must also be made for the rapid, total and unconditional cancellation of the external debt of the LDCs together with the means that ensure that the countries do not fall again into unsustainable debt. Developed countries should recall and implement their obligation to full compliance with the commitments made in terms of external aid.

A massive investment of resources in the research and development of medicines for AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and other tropical diseases is needed. It could be said that the first and foremost scientific challenge to the developed countries is the discovery of a vaccine against malaria. Equally needed is the transfer of medical and pharmacological technology and health care expertise with no legal or economic conditions attached. These are just some of the challenges facing all members of the international community.

Representatives of the LDCs meeting in Cotonou rightly recognized that the honesty of government officials, the vitality of the democratic institutions and the rule of law are essential elements for fostering people-centered policies and building human capacity. In this context, the international community must continue to work for the drastic reduction of the legal and illegal conventional arms trade, the illegal trade of precious raw materials and the flight of capital. Citizens of developed countries who corrupt officials of poor countries or engage in money-laundering practices should be punished just as if they had committed these crimes in their country of origin.

As is well known, the Catholic Church has undertaken many initiatives in the last decade with a view to bringing both its own members and all people of good will to a greater awareness of the shared responsibility in relation to the problems derived from international trade and finance.

Today many of its members, from rich and poor countries alike, associated in a wide variety of organizations, are engaged in favor of LDCs. Likewise, through an extensive network of centers of formation and health care, we give active support on all levels to the efforts of LDCs.

This is taking place in education at all levels where future leaders learn about their respective responsibilities. It is also happening in a vast range of health care, from the struggle against child malnutrition to the care of the elderly and the incurable. In this area our institutions are making extensive and important contributions in the struggle against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

The Holy See continues to encourage the international community, especially the more developed and medium income countries, to support the implementation of the BPoA, and appeals for a surge of solidarity. The world needs a surge of solidarity in favor of LDCs. The adoption of the measures proposed in the Cotonou Strategy may appear costly for developed countries and their citizens, but they will be less than the social burden generated in the same countries in the medium term if the problems facing the LDCs are not resolved.

Twenty years ago, public opinion was moved by those who risked their lives climbing fences that kept them prisoners of dictatorial regimes. Today, millions risk their lives to escape from the dictatorship of poverty. Fences will not stop them.

For their good and for the prosperity of all of us, developed countries and LDCs must implement effective policies such as those found in the BPoA, so that the citizens of LDCs will choose freely to remain at home, where they can attain, for themselves, their families and their country, employment and living conditions that can truly be called dignified.

Thank you, Madam President.

TYPE KEYWORDS OF THE MONTH
ROSARY FATIMA JUDE

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LIVES OF THE SAINTS

DECEMBER 1
T. EDMUND CAMPION

St. Edmund lived in the sixteenth century. He was a very popular young English student who was..Read More »

DECEMBER 2
ST. BIBIANA

St. Bibiana's father Flavian had been prefect of the city of Rome in early Christian times. Read More »

DECEMBER 3
ST. FRANCIS XAVIER

St. Francis Xavier, the great missionary, was born at Xavier Castle in Spain in 1506.Read More »

DECEMBER 4
ST. JOHN DAMASCENE

St. John lived in the eighth century. He was born in the city of Damascus of a good Christian familyRead More »

DECEMBER 5
ST. SABAS

St. Sabas, born in 439, is one of the most famous monks of Palestine.Read More »

DECEMBER 6
ST. NICHOLAS

St. Nicholas is the great patron of children and of Christmas giving.Read More »

DECEMBER 7
ST. AMBROSE

St. Ambrose was born around 340. He was the son of the Roman governor of Gaul. When his father died.. Read More »

DECEMBER 8
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY

Our first parents offended God by sinning seriously.Read More »

DECEMBER 9
BLESSED JUAN DIEGO

St. Juan Diego is well-known because the Mother of God appeared to him. It was to Juan Diego ..Read More »

DECEMBER 10
ST. JOHN ROBERTS

St. John was born in Wales in 1577. Although he was not a Catholic, he was taught by an elderly priest.Read More »

DECEMBER 11
ST. DAMASUS I

ST. Damasus was born in Rome and lived in the fourth century-exciting times for the Church.Read More »

DECEMBER 12
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

We celebrate the event of Mary's appearances on Tepyac Hill in Mexico. The heavenly visitor came..Read More »

DECEMBER 13
ST. LUCY

St. Lucy, the beloved saint, lived in Syracuse, Sicily. She was born toward the end of the third century.Read More »

DECEMBER 14
ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS

St. John was born in Spain in 1542. He was the son of a weaver.Read More »

DECEMBER 15
ST. NINO

St. Nino was a Christian girl who lived in the fourth century.Read More »

DECEMBER 16
ST. ADELAIDE

St. Adelaide was born in 931. At the age of sixteen, this Burgundian princess was married to King Lothair.Read More »

DECEMBER 17
ST. OLYMPIAS

St. Olympias was born around the year 361. She belonged to a great family of Constantinople.Read More »

DECEMBER 18
ST. FLANNAN

St. Flannan lived around the seventh century. He was the son of an Irish chieftain named Turlough. Flannan was educated by the monks.Read More »

DECEMBER 19
BLESSED URBAN V

Blessed Urban's name before he became pope was William de Grimoard. He was born in France..Read More »

DECEMBER 20
ST. DOMINIC OF SILOS

St. Dominic, a Spanish shepherd boy, was born at the beginning of the eleventh century.Read More »

DECEMBER 21
ST. PETER CANISIUS

ST. Peter, a Dutch man, was born in 1521. His father wanted him to be a lawyer. To please him, young Peter..Read More »

DECEMBER 22
ST. CHAEREMON AND ST. ISCHYRION AND OTHER MARTYRS

The third century was marked by Roman persecutions of the Church.Read More »

DECEMBER 23
ST. JOHN OF KANTY

St. John, the Polish saint, was born in 1390, the son of good country folk. Seeing how intelligent their son was, Read More »

DECEMBER 23
ST. MARGUERITE D'YOUVILLE

St. Marguerite was born in Quebec, Canada, on October 15, 1701. Her father died in 1708 ..Read More »

DECEMBER 24
ST. CHARBEL

St. Charbel was born Youssef Makhlouf on May 8, 1828, in a mountain village in Lebanon.Read More »

DECEMBER 25
CHRISTMAS, THE BIRTHDAY OF JESUS

The time had come for the Son of God to become man for love of us.Read More »

DECEMBER 26
ST. STEPHEN

St. Stephen's name means crown. He was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's crown.Read More »

DECEMBER 27
ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE

St. John was a fisherman in Galilee. He was called to be an apostle.Read More »

DECEMBER 28
THE HOLY INNOCENTS

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Wise Men came from the east to worship him.Read More »

DECEMBER 29
ST. THOMAS BECKET

St. Thomas Becket was born in 1118, in London, England.Read More »

DECEMBER 30
CST. ANYSIA

St. Anysia lived in Thessalonica toward the end of the second century.Read More »

DECEMBER 31
ST. SYLVESTER

St. Sylvester dates back to early Christian times, to the reign of Constantine.Read More »

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