Eleven militants belonging to different violent Hindu extremist groups were arrested in Uttar Pradesh for occupying and desecrating a Christian church and turning it into a temple. The Evangelical Fellowship of India told Fides that the militants were members of various extremist Hindu groups such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The church, which belongs to a community of Seventh Day Adventists is in Asroi, near Aligarh, in Uttar Pradesh.
The past two years have been difficult for Catholic schools in Israel, particularly from the financial point of view: the Education Ministry has repeatedly reduced both subsidies to schools and grants to families. This caused considerable deficit for several schools last year. The Israeli authorities say Catholic schools there should become ‘state’ schools - this would allow them to survive but at the high price of loss of specificity and identity. The Catholic community in the Holy Land considers the government position discriminatory and unacceptable.
In seven weeks of fighting in Gaza, more than 2,200 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were forced from their homes. The ceasefire agreed on Tuesday 26 August has given CAFOD’s partners much-needed space to deliver food, water and healthcare to those who need it most, and to start planning for long-term recovery. “At the height of the fighting, it was extremely difficult to deliver life-saving supplies,” says Mary Lucas, CAFOD’s Representative for the Middle East.
Cardinal George Pell will celebrate Mass at Buckfast Abbey, Devon, for the official foundation of the School of the Annunciation next week. Monday 8 September, the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has been selected as the date when the newly-founded centre for New Evangelisation will be formally established. Cardinal Pell was named by Pope Benedict XVI as one of the Synod Fathers for the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation held in Rome in October 2012.
We need to proclaim the Gospel with humility, not with ‘wise words’, because Jesus Himself is the power of the Word of God, and only those who have an open heart can receive Him, Pope Francis said this morning (Monday) in his first daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta after the summer break. Commenting on the readings of the day, the Pope explained what the Word of God is and how we should receive it. St Paul reminds the Corinthians that does not proclaim the Gospel based on persuasive words of wisdom.
There will be a chance to hear musician Carl Bahoshy in London over the next few weeks as he give a series of organ and piano recitals, to raise funds for Iraqi Christians in Need (ICIN), which provides support to displaced Iraqi Christians and helps programmes providing medical care, education and direct financial help to widows and other disadvantaged people. Carl, who is a London-born Iraqi Christian, says he feels a responsibility towards others like him who have been displaced in the Middle East in the past few years.
At a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated at Sclerder Abbey on 28 August, the Rt Rev Mark O’Toole, the Bishop of Plymouth, welcomed the community of Chemin Neuf who have begun a foundation at the Abbey near Looe in Cornwall. Bishop Mark gave thanks for the life of prayer and service given by the Carmelite Community at Sclerder over many years and thanked God for this new presence of Chemin Neuf. In his Homily he said: “We give thanks for this new Chapter in the life of this place, recognising the gifts
As the number of disasters around the world rises, the lack of funds for humanitarian aid is exacerbating an already serious situation. Millions of people in Syria, Gaza, South Sudan and other conflict regions are waiting for help. The United Nations, the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières are sounding the alarm about the lack of resources, Jos de Voogd from Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands) writes. Humanitarian funds are drying up when the need for aid has never been greater. In this 'summer of disasters',
Read More ... Jos de Voogd - Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 11:59 pm
The next JCFL prayer vigil takes place on Thursday, 4 September at 7.30pm. The theme will be Duc in Altum (Put out into the Deep). The evening of prayer and friendship for Christians of all traditions takes place in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street 114 Mount Street, London, W1K 3AH (nearest tubes - Bond Street, Green Park). The JCFL Prayer Vigil offers an encounter with Jesus Christ through music and song (Taizé, Iona, Gaelic, African, praise and worship), readings from the Bible, preaching, prayers and silence.
Following the Angelus with pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Sunday, Pope Francis called on the faithful and all people of good will to have greater care for creation. Sunday was the Italian Bishops' Day for the Safeguarding of Creation initiative. This year the focus of the day is to promote education in the care for creation. Pope Francis said: “I hope everyone – institutions, associations and citizens – will strengthen their efforts, so as to safeguard the life and health of people by respecting the environment and nature.”
More than 30 Church of Scotland ministers have signed a declaration of support for Scottish independence. In their statement they say they believe a 'Yes' vote will create a more socially just Scotland and rid the country of nuclear weapons. Former Church of Scotland moderator Dr Andrew McLellan called the Trident missile “the worst thing in Scotland”.
Read More ... Claire Bergin - Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 1:00 pm
.. The new statement cites respect for Muslims from Vatican II and a number of later papal statements and documents. It expresses sadness over the recent violence and Christians who reject engagement. Joins Pope Francis in saying dialogue leads to growth, witness and peace... They wrote: “Like the pope, we are convinced that the encounter and dialogue with persons different than ourselves offers the best opportunity for fraternal growth, enrichment, witness, and ultimately peace.”
Christian Aid partner in Gaza, the Agricultural Development Association, estimates that the recent conflict has cost the agricultural and fisheries sectors more than US$100 million, resulting in more than 8,700 families losing their means of income. The association has managed to survey 4,700 Gazan farmers and smallholders over the last few weeks, 65 per cent of the farming population, with findings revealing that 3,670 acres of land used for fruit and vegetable production have been damaged or destroyed.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who heads the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, addressed participants of the fifth annual conference of the International Catholic Legislators Network on Friday. The network was founded in 2010 by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna and British parliamentarian Lord David Alton, to discuss the promotion of Christian values and morals in the political arena. The four-day event held at Frascati near Rome, ends today... I know that you are here because you are passionate about the 'city on earth'
Argentinian priest Fr Jorge Hernández Zanni, Parish Priest at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Gaza, had a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican today. After his meeting, Fr Jorge, who is a member of the Institute of the Incarnate Word spoke on Vatican Radio. Describing the meeting with Pope Francis as an unexpected grace, he said that during the recent war in Gaza, the Pontiff had emailed a message to the parish which he said, was very encouraging.
There are plenty of crosses in life without going out to look for them, at least that’s my experience as I’m sure it is yours! Discipleship of Jesus isn’t about creating a scenario for ourselves in which we can practice the Gospel way of life, finding specific people and causes so we can exercise the virtue of love according to our desires. It’s about following Christ and throwing in our lot with his ways! We cannot create an ideal Christian way of life. What we are called to do is love our neighbour in whatever situation we happen to find ourselves and to make that a constant practice!
A statue of 'La Cachita' the Patron Saint of Cuba, was given a place of honour in the Vatican Gardens yesterday, in a ceremony presided over by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. A delegation of Cuban bishops, who brought the replica statue of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre'as a gift to Pope Francis, was present for the ceremony. In 1998, Pope John Paul II crowned the Virgin of the Caridad del Cobre during an apostolic journey to the Caribbean country. The Virgin of Charity is closely linked to Cuban history and to the island's independence struggle.
As the election year starts, 30 young global leaders from different religious and cultural backgrounds are getting together to make an impact across the country. The university students on 3FF’s leadership programme ParliaMentors will be meeting with MPs in Parliament as the year-long initiative launches on Tuesday 2 September. At a time when the twin topics of politics and faith are most likely to bring to mind issues of international conflict or community tensions, these university students are instead using their beliefs – both religious
With the number of Ebola cases continuing to rise dramatically across West Africa, CAFOD is working with priests, imams and traditional religious leaders to save lives in remote communities. In Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, CAFOD’s partners in the Caritas family of Catholic aid agencies are training priests, parish volunteers, imams, spiritualists and traditional healers to spread the word about hand-washing, good hygiene and safe burial practices, as well as distributing hygiene kits. The project aims to reach hundreds of thousands of people
Both of Scotland’s Catholic Archbishops; Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow and Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh, will this weekend ((30 & 31 August) distribute pastoral messages on the Independence Referendum to be read at all Masses. The two Church leaders will urge participation in the referendum and ask Catholics to engage with the issues being raised in the period up to 18 September. Archbishop Tartaglia commented: "The Scottish Independence Referendum is now just a short time away.
After a ceasefire agreement was reached on August 26 between Israel and Hamas, Bishop Ibrahim Shomali, the Latin Patriarchal vicar in Jerusalem, welcomed the end of hostilities and invited people from all over the world to resume pilgrimages to the Holy Land. “We are very pleased to announce that the recent grave war in Gaza is declared finished," Bishop Shomali said."It is, once again, safe to resume pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and we encourage you to visit this beloved and beleaguered land.
Architects have until 3 October 2014 to enter their church building and church conservation projects for two national awards: The Presidents' Award and the King of Prussia Gold Medal...Claire Walker, Chief Executive, National Churches Trust said: “The National Churches Trust is delighted to be a joint sponsor of these awards, which recognise the expertise and talent of church architects. The Presidents' Award is a chance to honour new church architecture and we are looking forward
Caring for a church, chapel or meeting house can be a complex task, especially if a building is old or listed. With so many different aspects to managing a church building, it can be difficult to find the right support and advice. To make the job easier, church repair and support charity the National Churches Trust is offering free Skype online church maintenance surgeries. The surgery sessions are hosted by Sarah Crossland, the National Churches Trust's National Support Officer.
Malteser International, the worldwide relief agency of the Order of Malta, will be providing medical assistance for 10,000 displaced Christians and minorities in north Iraq over the next three three months. A shipment containing drugs, medical supplies and hygiene items will be distributed to the camps around Erbil through the humanitarian agency’s network on the ground. “The number of refugees and displaced continues to rise – the United Nations estimates there are over a million just in north Iraq,” Oliver Hochedez, who leads the team on the ground, reports.
Dermot Preston SJ’s introduction to Richard Attenborough, whose cinematic career he then followed with interest and admiration, was unforgettable. The Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain pays tribute to the late Lord Attenborough’s creativity and ‘idealistic pragmatism’ in this brief overview of his work in front of and behind the camera. ‘True artists have a vocation to create and communicate, and Attenborough was no different.’