Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Pope Uses Email, the Internet - St. Albert the Great

The Church Reflects on the Internet

This past week, the Vatican hosted a conference on church use of the internet. In his message for World Communications Sunday, Pope Benedict encourages priests in this Year of the Priest to make use of the new media.

Meanwhile, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, mentioned this week that the Holy Father has an appreciation for new developments in technology and is comfortable surfing the internet and using email.

During an interview with the program “Studio Aperto” on the Italia 1 TV network, Archbishop Celli added, while the Pope doesn't have a personal email address, he “sends his own personal emails. He does! He has great appreciation for new technology.”

The archbishop explained that while the Pope “cannot respond to the millions of messages that arrive in his inbox,” he is committed to “offering his prayers for all who write to him.”

“The internet is an excellent means of communication,” he continued. “We are seeking to be present where the people are, especially the youth.”

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St. Albert the Great

The Sundays take precedence over saints days and today is no exception. However, I am off this morning to the Parish of St. Albert in the town of Saint-Albert for the celebration of the Confirmation of a dozen youngsters there (and later some 60+ at the parish of Sainte-Euphemie in Casselman).

As I thought it wise to say something about their patron on their day, I am sharing what I have found on the web regarding today's saint (doesn't he look the very essence of the bishop scholar? however, not many bishops wear their mitre in their study. Still and all...a great image!)

BTW, the town of Saint- Albert, Ontario is famous for its cheese coop....

St. Albert the Great , known as the "teacher of everything there is to know," was a scientist long before the age of science, was considered a wizard and magician in his own lifetime, and became the teacher and mentor of that other remarkable mind of his time, St. Thomas Aquinas.

Albert was born in Lauingen on the Danube, near Ulm, Germany; his father was a military lord in the army of Emperor Frederick II. As a young man Albert studied at the University of Padua and there fell under the spell of Blessed Jordan of Saxony, the Dominican who made the rounds of the universities of Europe drawing the best young men of the universities into the Dominicans.

After several teaching assignments in his order, he came in 1241 to the University of Paris, where he lectured in theology. While teaching in Paris, he was assigned by his order in 1248 to set up a house of studies for the order in Cologne. In Paris, he had gathered around him a small band of budding theologians, the chief of whom was Thomas Aquinas, who accompanied him to Cologne and became his greatest pupil.

In 1260, he was appointed bishop of Regensberg; when he resigned after three years, he was called to be an adviser to the pope and was sent on several diplomatic missions. In his latter years, he resided in Cologne, took part in the Council of Lyons in 1274 (Thomas Aquinas died en route to it), and in his old age traveled to Paris to defend the teaching of his student Thomas Aquinas.

It was in Cologne that his reputation as a scientist grew. He carried on experiments in chemistry and physics in his makeshift laboratory and built up a collection of plants, insects, and chemical compounds that gave substance to his reputation. When Cologne decided to build a new cathedral, he was consulted about the design. He was friend and adviser to popes, bishops, kings, and statesmen and made his own unique contribution to the learning of his age.

He died a very old man in Cologne on November 15,1280, and is buried in St. Andrea's Church in that city. He was canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1931 by Pope Pius XI. His writings are remarkable for their exact scientific knowledge, and for that reason he has been made the patron saint of scientists.

St. Albert the Great was convinced that all creation spoke of God and that the tiniest piece of scientific knowledge told us something about Him. Besides the Bible, God has given us the book of creation revealing something of His wisdom and power. In creation, Albert saw the hand of God.

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Today, in this month of the Holy Souls, I will remember my parents at Mass in a spirit of thanksgiving. My dad John Vincent passed away on this day in 1970.


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