The Thar Parkar Desert is situated in the south east of Pakistan in Sindh province. It covers an area of 22,000 square kilometers with an estimated population of 1.5 million and is one of the most densely populated deserts of the world. It is a place of beauty, especially after the monsoon rains..... that is, when they come, writes Fr Tomas King, an Irish Columban missionary in the Sindh.
Pictures of hungry starving people are always disturbing. Those of us who live in an affluent society cannot begin to comprehend what it must be like to have little hope of food or water. It is to their credit that so many people act according to conscience and with compassion to support charities and aid agencies that help alleviate situations of extreme deprivation. Some of us will help in an active way by becoming involved in these situations.
Every year Pax Christi members around the country commemorate the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 6th & 9th August. This year is even more important as we mark the 70th anniversary of the first use of nuclear weapons and mourn that they are still with us - 70 Years on!
This summer, the Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM) is launching an exciting new initiative entitled International Volunteer Projects (IVP).
Christian mother of five children, Asia Bibi, had her death sentence temporarily suspended by Pakistan's Supreme Court yesterday, as an appeals case against her conviction of blasphemy begins. She has been on death row in a Pakistan prison for five years. "The execution of Asia Bibi has been suspended and will remain suspended until the decision of this appeal," said lawyer Saif-ul-Malook.
A national thanksgiving Mass to celebrate the life, martyrdom and beatification of Oscar Romero will be held at 12.30 on Saturday 15 August in St George's Catholic Cathedral, Southwark. The celebrant will be Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor and the preacher Bishop John Rawsthorne. All are welcome.
A leading academic called for drastic action over the next 15 years to address climate change or face the consequences. Addressing the annual conference of the National Justice and Peace Network in Swanwick, Derbyshire, the Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University, Paul Rogers, claimed that governments often adopt a military solution to try to control problems rather than dealing with underlying causes.
The following address was given at the 37th Annual Conference of the National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales - 17-19 July 2015 by the Executive Secretary of Caritas Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action.
We haven't had a true shepherd in my Oxfordshire village for many years, but some people remember the last one and tell tales of what he did and how he really understood the sheep. These are good country tales, laced with realism and humour a reminder that we need to spend a bit more time learning about our countryside...
Dear Readers, I'm taking a holiday from Independent Catholic News for the next two weeks, from tomorrow, Thursday 16 July. There will be occasional news reports and features, and Fr Robin Gibbons will continue with his Sunday Reflections. We will also be posting up the Saint of the Day for the two weeks - but the next full update and mailing will not be until Thursday, 30 July. If you need to contact us urgently, please email
Argentinian Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, today presented the meeting 'Modern slavery and climate change: the commitment of the cities' and the symposium 'Prosperity, people and planet in the cities' to be held in the Casina Pio IV (Vatican, 21-22 July). These events will be attended by the mayors of major cities, local administrators and various representatives of the United Nations, and the speakers will include expert communications consultants Michael Shank and Alessandro Gaetano.
The Boars Hill August weekend will be co-chaired by Barbara Echlin and Barbara Kentish, with speakers Edward Echlin and Mary Grey who have a special interest in the theology of creation. St Paul said in a letter to the Colossians that, 'everything is groaning in the act of giving birth'. The weekend will be exploring the thinking of creation theologians. They will reflect on the 'Cosmic Christ' in the context of the healing of creation and look at Jesus as he became the Christ, connecting all of creation with God. Insights from the new environment encyclical of Pope Francis, 'Laudato
The Islamic Republic of Iran and the group of P5 +1 countries (China, France, Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom (UK) and Germany), have reached a deal on nuclear and economic sanctions; however, the nation's political activists, human rights defenders and ethnic and religious minorities continue to face repression, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) points out. The deal, finalised in Vienna on 14 July, was the outcome of negotiations between Iran and the six world powers that have been ongoing since 2006.
Newman University has secured a grant from BBC Children in Need to develop its Drama department's work in Applied Theatre and Wellbeing to improve the lives of young sick children in local hospitals. The grant, worth £49,349 over three years, will see the university's CADLab (Community and Applied Drama laboratory) research centre bringing specially-developed drama performances to children's bedsides while they are in hospital undergoing treatment. The performances and arts activities will explore the impact of theatrical experience on children's perception of illness and
One of the many impressive features of Laudato Si, Pope Francis' recent encyclical, is the rich background - helpful an understanding of the impact of climate change on people round the world - provided by his references to the statements of bishops from Latin America and the Caribbean, Australasia, North America, Europe and several other regions. All of the bishops' conferences involved expressed anxiety about the deterioration of living conditions or of the ecology, none more poignantly than the bishops of the Philippines who asked in 1988 "Who turned the wonderworld of the seas into underwater cemeteries bereft of colour and life?"
Westminster Justice and Peace are uniting with groups of Christians and people from different faiths and backgrounds who want to see an international agreement on the reduction of carbon emissions at the UN Paris Climate talks in December 2015. To highlight the huge importance of these talks they plan to cycle to Paris to take part in rallies of support for climate justice and to meet other people of faith who want to see a change in our profligate use of fossil fuel. Groups have already started training - but they would welcome more team members.
Catholic education is distinctive because it offers pupils a vision of lives full of purpose, the Bishop of Shrewsbury has told schoolchildren. The Rt Rev Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, warned youngsters that increasingly education was nihilistic and transmitted the false message that human life was devoid of all meaning. The Catholic vision, he explained during a Mass at St Nicholas's Catholic High School in Hartford, Cheshire, envisaged a role, or vocation, for each person in harmony with God's created order.
The Vatican has welcomed the nuclear deal reached by Iran and the 'P5+1' (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany). in an effort to ensure Iran's nuclear programme will be used only for peaceful purposes. The agreement, which was reached after after nine years of negotiations, includes giving inspectors from the United Nations access to nuclear sites in Iran. The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ, made the following statement on Tuesday:
During the return flight from Paraguay to Rome, the Pope answered questions from the journalists who accompanied him on his apostolic trip to Latin America, as summarised below....The Latin American Church has a great asset: it is a young Church ... with a certain freshness, also some informalities, it is not very formal. In addition it has a rich body of theological research. I wanted to encourage this young Church and I believe that this Church can offer us much. One thing that really struck me was that in all three countries, in the streets, there were many fathers and mothers with their children.
Almost 3000 people have signed a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, calling him to sever Church ties with the arms industry. Signatures include people of all denominations and many Anglican Clergy. On Wednesday, 15 July, Christians will gather outside Church House Conference Centre in London, the administrative headquarters of the Church of England (CofE) to urge it to stop hosting its second event sponsored by weapons manufacturers this month. This follows the RUSI Land Warfare Conference which took place in the same venue on 30 June - 01 July.
A copy of the famous document written by Jesuit Saint Edmund Campion has been returned to the house in south Oxfordshire where it was secretly produced more than four hundred years ago and has now gone on display to visitors. The pamphlet was printed on a press hidden in the roof of Stonor Park, a recusant home, in 1581. 'Decem Rationes' ('Ten Reasons') argued against the validity of the Anglican Church and its publication led to the eventual arrest, torture and execution of Edmund Campion. The copy of Decem Rationes, believed to be one of just five in the world, has
This charming romcom from Thailand tells the story of Song, a young inexperienced teaching assistant, played by Sukrit Wisetkaew, who is sent to take change of a remote rural school based on a dilapidated houseboat on a lake. There are four children in his class, all of different ages. Their parents are more interested in having them at home helping with fishing, than studying. Song's clumsy teaching style doesn't help. The kids are not impressed with his jokes and his Maths lessons sends them to sleep. A former wrestler, he is a city boy, and feels very out of place and lonely in
The EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah have released a statement on the Israeli Supreme Court's decision to allow the construction of a section of the Separation Barrier through the Cremisan Valley. The statement, which is dated 10 July, expresses "deep regret and concern" regarding the court's decision. It says: "If built - this Barrier will severely restrict access of 58 Palestinian families from their agricultural land and profoundly affect their livelihoods. It will also involve a further encroachment on Palestinian land close to Bethlehem,
The Chaldean Church of St Joseph in Mosul has been turned into a mosque by IS/ Daish. The Chaldean church dedicated to St Ephrem has also been converted. The jihadists have been established in the city since last June. turning it into the capital of their self-declared Islamic Caliphate. Some pictures of the place of worship show that the dome has been painted black, and the church - situated in the district of Maidan, in the historic city - has been stripped of all crosses and Christian symbols and images. The mosque seems to have been named after Abu Abdulrahman al-Bilawi,
Pope Francis sent a special message to around 900 attendees, representing Catholic parishes from across England and Wales, at a 'once in a generation' national Catholic evangelisation conference in Birmingham at the weekend. The message from the Holy Father was read out at the beginning of the event: Pope Francis 'assures all of those present of his spiritual closeness and prayers as they reflect on the call to be missionary disciples.