Columns
from issue no.06/07 - 2007


LETTERS FROM THE CONVENTS


CARMELITES OF THE CONVENT OF DOLBEAU
Dolbeau, Canada

We regularly read the magazine in the refectory

Dolbeau, 5 June 2007

Mr. Director,
It is with appreciation that we want to thank you for the sending of the magazine 30Jours. It is a magnificent gift that has accompanied us for the whole year. It is a very well written magazine, pleasant to look at, and also the more serious articles are accessible. We equally appreciate articles of spiritual content: like the meditations of Cardinal Martini and the Holy Father. The articles on our Holy Father have particularly touched us. We regularly read the magazine in the refectory, so that each one of us can come to know what is written there.
Our community of Carmelites is a community of refugees from Hanoi, Viet Nam, in the diocese of Chicutimi, in the province of Québec, in Canada since 1957, and it is here that we continue our mission of prayer and of a life set apart in the heart of the Church.
In this jubilee year of our foundation, we assure you our prayers, so that your magazine can always continue to be a faithful echo of the life of the Church.
Fraternally,

sister Denise-Thérèse de la Croix OCD, Archivist


BENEDICTINE sisters OF THE BYZANTINE CHURCH OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN CONVENT
Warren, Ohio, United States

Thanks for the living stories of the Middle East Christians

Warren, 11 June 2007

Dear Mr. Andreotti,
Thank you so much for sending the copies of 30Days. We sisters thoroughly enjoy reading the magazine. I myself am particularly interested in the articles that you have had regarding political life intermingled with Church life all over the world.
Since we are Benedictine Sisters of the Byzantine Church we are especially interested in the wonderful articles you have been printing about the Eastern Churches in the Mid-East. The plight of many of those Christians is not really told in the secular press. It is good that you are keeping these stories alive in your magazine.
Thank you also for the booklet Who prays is saved. Please keep our Sisters in Warren, Ohio, in your prayers.
Prayerfully yours in Saint Benedict,

sister Margaret Mary Schima OSB, Prioress


CARMELITES OF THE CONVENT OF THE ASSUMPTION
Sebikotane, Senegal

We give Who prays is saved to the laborers and families with small children

Sebikotane, 16 May 2007

Mr. Director,
We have just received the booklets Qui prie sauve son âme. We want to thank you sincerely for this beautiful gift. This booklet is very well made and we are very happy to be able to give it to our young laborers and the families in which there are small children. With this gesture you fulfill an optimal apostolate, as far as this our small corner of the Savana. Unfortunately there are not many priests or many religious, and the Christians, often abandoned to themselves, are slowly slowly forgetting that little catechism that was taught them. The harvest is abundant. The word of the Lord is always relevant; it is necessary to pray in order to ask for “laborers”, priests, missionaries.
It is our duty as Carmelites to pray for this intention. And even more because our Carmel is situated just nearby the major seminary in which the future priests for all the dioceses of Senegal are formed.
This year we will have twelve deacons, who will soon be ordained priests. They will all come to our convent for the Ascension in order to celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving before leaving the seminary. It will be a lovely festivity in our chapel and the occasion to assure our prayers to these young people who are about to begin their ministry.
We do not fail to pray according to your intentions for all those who work in your magazine.
We wish that the approaching feast of Pentecost fills your heart with joy and fervor, in order to announce the good news by all the means possible.
Please receive, Mr. Director, with our appreciation, the expression of my religious respect.

Sister Marie-Agnès de l’Enfant Jésus OCD


CARMELITES OF THE CONVENT OF OUR LADY OF MARAVILLAS AND SAINT JOSEPH
Dumaguete City, The Philippines

The children would be happy to receive Who prays is saved as a prize

Dumaguete City, 8 April 2007

Dear Senator Andreotti,
A glorious and Happy Easter!
We have been receiving the incomparable magazine 30Days for sometime now and it is the Risen Lord who must have appointed this day to acknowledge your kindness in sending it to us for free, as a gift.
Thank you very much, Senator Giulio Andreotti. Who prays is saved is equally beautiful! How we wish we could have more copies of them to distribute to those who heed to learn from that useful pamphlet! The children who come to our Formation Center for Catechesis during the month of Mary (May) for the traditional Flores de Mayo would be happy to receive a copy of that at the end of that month as one of their prizes. Children from six years of age to fourteen come from different places to attend this activity given by volunteer catechists and seminarians. Adults who usually come to us can also avail of Who Prays is saved.
There are eighteen of us in this community. I am the only survivor of the five Spanish nuns who came to found this Carmel from Madrid, Spain. The sixth, returned to Spain because of poor health. Last November 8th I celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Profession. The blessing of our newly renovated chapel took place on that day.
God willing, next year on November 6th, we will observe the 50th anniversary of this foundation. Please help us thank God for this great event.
We also ask God to keep you and your faith until the end. Please continue the good work God had begun through 30Days. Our prayers will accompany you and your staff in the delicate task of publishing 30Days.
May Our Lady of Mt. Carmel keep you under her mantle of love and protection.
Gratefully in Christ,

sister Maria Angelica Verdugo OCD, Prioress, and Community


DISCALCED CARMELITES OF BIARA PERTAPAAN CONVENT
Bajawa, Indonesia

We read world-wide information we have never known about

Bajawa, 25 March 2007

Dear Mr. Giulio Andreotti,
Thank you very much for sending us so faithfully 30Days free of charge. I want to apologize that I have waited so long before acknowledging it. It is very enriching for us, as we rarely get news from outside. We read world-wide information in it, we have never known about. It is very stimulating for our prayer-life, knowing that there are so many intentions to pray for. Many articles we use for refectory-reading during meals.
We are a big, full community, 20 solemn professed nuns. Recently we had the hapiness to make a new foundation.
Sorry, I forgot to introduce the location of our monastery. We are in Indonesia, it consists of plenty of islands, to be more exact we are on Flores Island, in the South East of Indonesia. You might have heard that our country is scourged by many disasters, tsunamies, earthquakes, erosions, floods. The Lord knows why He allows it all to happen.
We are looking forward to future issues of 30Days. Keeping you in our prayers we take this opportunity to wish you and your staff a Happy Easter.
Yours sincerely in Jesus and Mary,

sister Marie Thérèse OCD






Spiritual reading/9


After having proposed as spiritual reading all the passages from the Creed of the People of God by Paul VI in which the word grace occurs, we begin the presentation of the dogmatic definitions regarding grace with the publication of canons 3 and 4 of the Council of Carthage of 418.
In order to understand the context of that Council we draw on Vangelo della grazia [Gospel of Grace] (Libreria Editrice Fiorentina, Florence 1964) by M. Flick and Z. Alszeghy, a classic of dogmatic theology.
You read there that it was the Pelagian controversy that «gave occasion to the Church of explicating its faith in the frailty of man wounded by original sin and therefore needful of being healed by the grace of Christ» (Vangelo della grazia, p. 49). And that the first Church to express itself against those who placed this in discussion was the African Church from as early as 411. The reason is very simple: those responsible for this contention, Pelagius and Celestius, who had lived in Rome left in 410 for Sicily, and then Carthage, to escape the sack by the Goths.
Afterwards, however, since the doctrines of Pelagius and Celestius had spread beyond the African borders and above all because they had received official backing in Palestine in 415, the African Church found itself forced to present an appeal to the Bishop of Rome to intervene because of his universal jurisdiction. Through two provincial councils, held in the summer of 416 in Carthage and Milevis, with about sixty bishops present on both occasions, the authority of Rome was invoked that – the bishops said – had the same doctrine as the African Church on sin and grace, but preached it with more prestige (illustrius). The African bishops did not mean to add their small rill to the already very abundant spring of the Church of Rome – we paraphrase the conclusion of letter 177 of Augustine, Alipius, Aurelius and other African bishops –; they expected on the contrary that Innocent, who was sitting at the time on the Roman cathedra (401- 417), say that their small rill derives from the same source and comfort them thereby by attesting that they shared in the same grace. Let us resume quotation from Vangelo della grazia: «The answers of Innocent [letters 181-183 in the correspondence of Augustine] are of great importance. In fact in this first intervention of the Roman See against Pelagianism it is already clearly taught that grace, understood as an inner aid granted by God through the merits of Jesus Christ, is absolutely necessary in order to avoid sin. It is impossible that man alone can observe the commandments; in fact, Innocent teaches: “It is inevitable that man, lacking in grace, succumbs to diabolic deceits, when, with freewill alone, he strives to observe all the commandments of life”. It is therefore obvious that the Pope did not condemn only the pretension to be able to perform actions useful for salvation (salutary actions, in modern terminology) without the grace of Christ. He also excluded the error according to which sin properly so called can be avoided, even if freewill is not freed from the dominion of concupiscence. Only thus can the word of the Lord be verified: “So if the Son makes you free, then you will be free indeed” (John 8, 36)» (Vangelo della grazia, p. 58).
It could be thought that the issue was concluded, as Saint Augustine then said in his sermon 131 with the expression that became proverbial: Roma locuta est, causa finita est! In truth after the death of Innocent, his successor Zosimus (417-418), a Greek by birth, as the Liber pontificalis tells us, had hesitations about what was established by Innocent. «Pope Zosimus accepted the explanations of Celestius and Pelagius. He wrote to the African bishops reproaching them for their precipitousness and inviting the adversaries of Pelagius to come to Rome to back their accusations. That was then the moment at which Saint Augustine devoted all his energies to preventing the “enemies of grace” from prevailing» (Vangelo della grazia, p. 59).
Impelled by the reasoning of Augustine and the remonstrances of the African bishops, Zosimus then wrote, in March 418, that he was disposed to rediscuss the position he had taken. The letter, the following month, reached the more than two hundred African bishops gathered in Carthage. Here the two canons that we publish (in all we know of eight) were worked out, and to which Zosimus would also finally give his assent with his Epistula tractoria. «Of this letter we have only fragments, but from the testimony of Mario Mercatore we know that it was sent, to be signed by all the bishops of the world [tractoria was in fact the name given in Africa to circulars addressed to bishops]. Thus the canons of the Council of Carthage were always considered as a rule of faith, in virtue of the papal approval, as Prosperus of Aquitania already affirmed» (Vangelo della grazia, p. 60).
The causa moreover did not end even then. Saint Augustine had to fight up to the end of his life, especially against some Italian bishops led by Giuliano d’Eclana. «But already in 418 he could exult because Pope Zosimus, having received more exact information on the condemnations of Pope Innocent, abandoned all hesitation and confirmed in full the judgment of his predecessor» (Vangelo della grazia, p. 60).
As comment on the two canons of the Council of Carthage, we republish (see pp. 46-48) an interview with Nello Cipriani, university professor at the Augustinianum Patristic Institute, on the idea of grace in the Pelagian heresy. They are words of surprising relevance.


The dogmas of the Council of Carthage

«So if the Son makes you free, then you will be free indeed» (John 8, 36)

Canon 3. Item placuit [omnibus episcopis in sancta Synodo Carthaginiensis Ecclesiae constitutis], ut quicumque dixerit gratiam Dei, qua iustificatur homo per Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum, ad solam remissionem peccatorum valere quae iam commissa sunt, non etiam ad adiutorium ut non committantur, anathema sit.

Likewise it has been decided (by all the bishops gathered in the Holy Synod of the Church of Carthage) that whoever says that the grace of God, by which man is justified through Jesus Christ, our Lord, has power only for the remission of sins which have already been committed, and not also for help, that they be not committed, let him be anathema.

Canon 4. Item, quisquis dixerit, eandem gratiam Dei per Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum propter hoc tantum nos adiuvare ad non peccandum, quia per ipsam nobis revelatur et aperitur intellegentia mandatorum, ut sciamus, quid appetere, quid vitare debeamus, non autem per illam nobis praestari, ut quod faciendum cognoverimus, etiam facere diligamus atque valeamus, anathema sit. Cum enim dicat Apostolus: «Scientia inflat, caritas vero aedificat» [1Cor 8, 2], valde impium est, ut credamus, ad eam quae inflat nos habere gratiam Christi, et ad eam, quae aedificat, non habere, cum sit utrumque donum Dei, et scire, quid facere debeamus, et diligere, ut faciamus, ut aedificante caritate scientia nos non possit inflare. Sicut autem de Deo scriptum est: «Qui docet hominem scientiam» [Sal 94, 10] ita etiam scriptum est: «Caritas ex Deo est» [1Gv 4, 7].

In like manner, whoever says that the same grace of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord, helps us not to sin only for this reason, that through it the understanding of the commands is revealed and opened to us, that we may know what we ought to strive after, what we ought to avoid, but that through this [the power] is not also given to us to love and to be able to do that which we know ought to be done, let him be anathema. For since the Apostle says: “Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies” [1Cor 8, 2], it is very impious for us to believe that for that which puffs up, we have the grace of Christ, and for that which edifies we have not, although each is a gift of God, both to know what we ought to do and to love in order that we may do it, so that while charity edifies, knowledge may not be able to puff us up. Moreover, just as it is written of God: “Who teaches man knowledge” [Ps 94, 10], so also it is written: “Charity is from God” [1John 4, 7].






LETTERS FROM THE MISSIONS


The mission of Teresina, Brazil

The mission of Teresina, Brazil

COMBONIAN MISSIONARIES
Teresina, Brazil

A tiring job but one that fulfils me totally

Teresina, 26 March 2007

Dear Mr. Senator,
I thank you for the magazine, that contains important and interesting news. I am a missionary from Como, 83 years old, in Brazil since 1952. Apart from eighteen years spent in Portugal, I have passed all my priestly life (57 years) here.
Three years ago I was dispensed from the safari, not very opportune for my age. Here I celebrate mass in the city, at eight, and then I confess until 11 approximately: a tiring job, but one that gives me great satisfaction and fulfils me totally. I pass the afternoon seated at the computer, writing or translating on behalf of the Superior or the Provincial. For 12 years I was alone: the closest priest, he also Combonian, was 70 kilometers distant (an hour and a half by car, two hours in winter).
In order to travel I have used: the “horse of Saint Francis”, mule, motorbike, jeep. I have also put a motor in a boat (without knowing how to swim!). Because of a hemorrhage provoked by the extraction of a tooth on the part of a passing dentist, I have had to give myself an intravenous injection by myself. I have dug a well by myself with my own arms. I have undergone twelve operations. To distract myself I make a collection of jokes: they help to live better and longer... Also the delayed action ones.
Here we are four Combonians: apart from me, who am Italian, there are a Portuguese brother, nearly my age, one Brazilian and one Mexican father. Sometimes we get on so well together that people ask if we are brothers... Before coming to Teresina, the capital of the State of Piauí, I worked with a colleague in a parish divided lengthwise by an asphalted road of 70 kilometers and across by a dirt road of earth and sand for 60 kilometers to the right and 60 kilometers to the left for the whole distance. There are, in the center, five municipalities with, respectively, 12 thousand, 10 thousand, 8 thousand, 4 thousand, and 2 thousand inhabitants; on the periphery many others inhabitants distributed in sixty small communities.
In Brazil, beyond the, I would say, “normal”, ministry, there is a special field: justice, or better, injustices. The Brazilians accept very well, respond and know how to thank. But certain politicians and big landowners... How many lay people, trade unionists, nuns and priests, threatened and killed... Therefore it is necessary to preach, organize and react to the injustices but...: someone taught me how to throw the stone and to conceal the hand, so that I never end up in jail. To those who wonder at my age, I answer: work little, unless you have a great deal to do; eat well, when you can; sleep soundly if the neighbors who dance allow you; and never complain, not even to Jesus!
Along with thanking you, I would appreciate receiving the Portuguese edition of the magazine, in order to facilitate the reading of my three colleagues. May the Lord make us all “burst” with... love!

Father Candido Poli


VICARIATE OF SAN AGUSTÍN DE APURÍMAC
Cusco, Peru

Thanks for the gift that you wished to make the Augustinians

Cusco, 3 May 2007

Dear Senator,
Even if late, I wanted in any case to thank you sincerely through this letter for the “gift” initiative of 30Días that you wished to make the Augustinians and, as a result, also to us who for nearly forty years have dedicated ourselves to the Augustinian Mission to the Andes in the South of Peru and that, probably, in some way you know, since you were in contact with the lamented Father Ettore Salimbeni who left us on 25 March of the present year, after thirty-nine years of missionary service without reservation.
Personally I appreciate your “gift” in a particular way since I have been an assiduous reader since its beginnings even if later on I had to abandon it for obvious reasons. Now, to receive 30Giorni here is a fortune and to be able to read it in Spanish even more because in this way also my Peruvian brothers and the seminarians can benefit from its wealth.
Thanks, Senator, and as Superior of the Vicariate of San Agustín de Apurímac, receive the thanks, along with those of our bishop, Monsignor Domenico Berni, also of my Augustinian brothers.
With sincere feelings of esteem and gratitude,

father Giovanni Boffelli OSA,
vicar


COMBONIAN MISSIONARIES
Gulu, Uganda

Chi prega si salva has made us all become children again

Gulu, 29 April 2007

Dear Senator Andreotti,
Please receive our warmest greetings from the Combonian community of Layibi, in Gulu.
We have just received the March number of 30Giorni, entirely dedicated to Benedict XVI. This number is living history and will remain for the history of the Church. Because of this, after the members of the community have finished reading it, we will put it in archive for future consultations.
At the same time, as an attachment, we received Who prays is saved. We have already leafed through it and our feelings returned to when we were children, when we learned the same prayers from our good mothers and the catechism lessons.
It is true, there is so much evil in the world, but it is also true that there is a great deal of good and it is because of this that the world continues to exist!
You, most illustrious senator, contribute in large part to this good through 30Giorni, and we here in the mission try to do our own small part in favor of this people, especially for the young people grown up in a war climate (21 years) and who have not seen other than tragedies! We administer an advanced technical institute with approximately a hundred and twenty students. The only one in the area.
At the moment, here in Northern Uganda a gleam of peace can be glimpsed, but it is still very weak. Because of this we want to invite all the readers of 30Giorni, especially the good and likeable nuns of the cloister, to join us in prayer so that this inane and forgotten war will end soon without further bloodshed and that the good God grants long-lasting peace to us.
To you and all the staff of 30Giorni immense thanks and best wishes for every blessing from the Lord,

father Benito Ricci


PIME MISSIONARIES
Khammam, Andhra Pradesh, India

I live in a forest area in order to make Jesus Christ known

Khammam, 26 March 2007

Very Dear friend Giulio,
Infinite thanks for the wonderful magazine 30Giorni that I receive for some months now. I find myself in a tribal zone in order to carry out the work of evangelization. I do not know how you got my address. 30Giorni is an appreciated gift for me who live isolated in a forest area with the single purpose of introducing Jesus Christ to the people who are victims of injustices, corruption, superstitions and violence.
Bravo, may God bless you,

father Orlando Quintaba PIM




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