Pope Francis is praying for victims of the massive earthquake which struck Nepal yesterday. The quake, which measured 7.9 on the Richter Scale, shook Nepal just before noon on Saturday, causing major damage to the densely-populated Kathmandu Valley. The death toll has already exceeded 1,000 and emergency services are struggling to reach victims as most roads are blocked and electricity is down. Caritas Nepal director Fr Pius Perumana SJ is in Kathmandu. He said: "It was the worst earthquake I have ever experienced in my life. The after shocks are still strong. Lots of houses have fallen down and there are
Where I live, ten miles outside Oxford, the fields are full of lambs and sheep, you can hear the bleating of the little ones seeking out their mothers and the reassuring answers. It's always been part of my conscious life and goes with bluebells and apple blossom, yellow rape seed and the greening of hedgerow and tree. There are still deer, rabbits and hares to be seen in the Blenheim Estate fields, red kites hovering over carrion and the cawing of the full rookeries. The Cycle of our spring time new life is well on its way. We used to have proper ancient style shepherds, but because of the way our sheep are
"Women are not spared any of the brutal consequences of war, and are additionally subject to uniquely degrading and traumatising attacks and long-term consequences", said the prelate. "It is only just and reasonable that their voice should be present and influential in the work of preventing and resolving violence and war. It is well documented that sexual violence of many kinds accompanies modern warfare. We all know the awful litany: women are raped and trafficked, forced into prostitution to earn a living, and terrorised individually and in their roles as protectors
Cuban church leaders have welcomed the news that Pope Francis plans to visit the island later this year. The Assistant Secretary of the Bishops Conference of Cuba, Mgr José Félix García told a press conference in Havana: "The Catholic Church in Cuba has received the news of the Pope's visit in September with great joy, in the new era of rapprochement with the United States, a process in which the Vatican acted as mediator." The spokesman of the Archdiocese of Havana, Orlando Marquez, said that "the Pope's visit will support the Cuban Church
The Holy See's Permanent Observer to the Holy See, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, has participated in a United Nations Security Council Open Debate on The role of youth in countering violent extremism and promoting peace' looking at the role of social media plays in the life of young people. "Young people around the world can use the internet and social media to enter into contact, make friends and learn about the great cultures and traditions of other people in every corner of the world," said Archbishop Auza.
Jesus never forgets the day we encountered Him for the first time ans we should ask God for the "grace of memory" so that we can always remember it, Pope Francis said during his homily this morning at Mass in Casa Santa Marta chapel. Jesus uses encounter to change lives, the Pope said. A good example of this is Paul of Tarsus, the anti-Christian persecutor who, by the time he reached Damascus, had already become an Apostle. Pope Francis spoke about this episode in the first reading of the day's liturgy, and related it to the many encounters that appear in the Gospel narratives.
The number of asylum applications in Italy increased by 143 percent in 2014, reaching a new record of 64,886, according to the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Italy annual report. While great strides have been made to accommodate refugees and asylum seekers, more needs to be done by the Italian and European authorities to welcome and integrate the newcomers. During the presentation of the report in Rome yesterday, JRS called for a cultural shift in Europe towards hospitality and solidarity. In light of the capsizing of two boats crossing the Mediterranean last week
On Wednesday, Fr Shay Cullen testified before the US Congress to the House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations. The purpose of the hearing is to provide input to the US State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Fr Shay gave a verbal presentation, illustrated with photographs. He has 46 years experience in the Philippines working for the dignity and rights of Filipino women and children and he focused on the trafficking and abuse of children in brothels, on the street and the jailing of street kids used by criminal begging syndicates and drug pushers.
The collective 'mission' of a large group of imams linked to al Azhar - the biggest theological centre of Sunni Islam - and Coptic priests began yesterday in the Egyptian province of Minya. The imams and priests are visiting schools together throughout the province. They are meeting students and organising conferences and debates, with the intention of building a culture of encounter and peace as the basis of peaceful social and religious coexistence. The initiative, supported by the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyeb and Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II,
After holding services in a school and other venues for over 20 years, the Roman Catholic parish of St Thérèse of Lisieux in Ingleby Barwick is to get its own church at last. The distinctive design includes a large number of windows, creating a bright area for worship. There will also be a space for parish celebrations and areas for meetings and children's liturgy. Parish priest Father Pat Hartnett spoke of his delight after the plans were given the go ahead.
'Climate Changes Everything: A vigil of hope & solidarity' will be held at Maria Assumpta Chapel and Milleret House Library in Kensington Square, Kensington, on 1 May - 6-8pm. The vigil is organised by the Religious of the Assumption, Pax Christi and the Columban Missionaries. Pray and Fast for the Climate is an international initiative to mobilise Christians to fast, pray or hold a vigil on the first day of every month for a meaningful and just global climate agreement. It is hoped this will be agreed in December 2015 at the Paris climate summit.
One of the only two remaining cast members of the classic series Dad's Army, is to reveal some of the secrets behind one of the most popular TV successes of all time in his latest stage presentation which is visiting theatre venues and church venues this summer. The originators of the series, David Croft and Jimmy Perry, chose Frank Williams, now 84, to create the role of the wonderfully eccentric vicar who was always slightly tetchy as he tried to come to terms with the elderly platoon's invasion of his beloved church hall. "It's been simply wonderful to be part of something so special," said Frank.
On 22 April, at the beginning of the second day of a two-day High-Level Thematic Debate on 'Promoting Tolerance and Reconciliation, Fostering Peaceful, Inclusive Societies and Countering Violent Extremism.' UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened with an urgent request to the religious leaders present: "I'm troubled by an empathy gap in the world today, and am worried that numbness is setting in as people witness atrocity after atrocity." Time and again, religious leaders answer with certainty: religion is not the cause of war.
Pope Francis will visit Cuba ahead of his visit to the United States in September 2015, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, director of the Holy See Press Office has confirmed. In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Father Lombardi said: "I am able to confirm that the Holy Father Francis, having received and accepted the invitation from the civil authorities and bishops of Cuba, has decided to pay a visit to the island before his arrival in the United States for the trip announced some time ago."
This year sees the 750th anniversary of the death of St Simon Stock, an important figure in the history of the Carmelite Order who is strongly connected to the brown scapular tradition. Aylesford Priory is celebrating this important anniversary and the Prior, Fr Damian Cassidy, O.Carm. has written the following article about the brown scapular worn by mllions of Catholics around the world...Mary's Habit, Carmel's Way.. I wonder what you were thinking when you dressed this morning. Had you already laid out your clothes for the day? Did certain expectations dictate your choices?
The link below provides a 10 minute video showing the work of Project Warmi Huasi in the Columban parish of Our Lady of the Missions in Lima, Peru. Two Columbans serve the parish - Fr Ed O'Connell and Fr John Hegarty. Fr Ed O'Connell features in the video. Originally from London, he has been working as a missionary priest in Lima, Peru over four decades. With periods back in Britain as Columban JPIC Coordinator and Regional Director, Ed is well-known to members of the National Justice and Peace Network in England and Wales.
The number of women entering convents in England and Wales has hit a 25 year high. From a low point of seven in 2004, the numbers have steadily increased to a high point of 45 in 2014. Religious life is an attractive choice for an increasing number of educated and dynamic young and older women. Sr Cathy Jones - Religious Life Vocations Promoter at the National Office for Vocation explains why she thinks this is so: "A key reason for this increase is the growth of a culture of vocation in the Church.
At the General Audience, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the family, focussing again on the complementarity of men and women... in the second account of the creation of man in Genesis. The first man, Adam, is created "alone" - and God determines to make for him "a helper suited to him." When the first woman is presented to the man, he recognizes in her "bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh." Finally there is a mirroring, a reciprocity," .. "The woman is not a 'replica' of the man; she comes directly from the creative act of God. The image of the 'rib' does not in any way express inferiority or subordination, but on the contrary, that man and woman are of the same substance and are complementary."
The Holy See on Tuesday expressed its deep concern at the "total lack of progress" of the negotiations between Palestine and Israel. "As was recognized on that occasion, Israel has genuine and legitimate concerns for its security; however, such security will come not in isolation from its neighbors, but in being a part of them through a negotiated peace with the Palestinians through the implementation of the 'Two-State Solution', which has the support of the Holy See and of the international community in general," said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN.
Pope Francis has appealed to mankind not manipulate or exploit the planet. Speaking at the end of the weekly General Audience in St Peter's Square the Pope noted that on April 22 we celebrate Earth Day. "I exhort everyone to see the world through the eyes of God the Creator: the earth is an environment to be safeguarded, a garden to be cultivated" he said. The Holy Father continued: "The relationship of mankind with nature must not be conducted with greed, manipulation and exploitation, but it must conserve the divine harmony that exists between creatures and Creation
A few days after Cardinal Nichols visited Christian refugees in Iraq, the Archbishop of Canterbury has visited Egypt to offer his condolences following the murder of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya. During the two-day visit Archbishop Justin Welby met with the head of the Coptic Church, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar. He also met with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. On Sunday evening he preached at a joint Egyptian-Sudanese Eucharist service at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo.
This week CAFOD welcomed Burmese priest Fr Pius Win Than to their head office in London for an event to raise awareness about the devastating effects of extreme weather on poor communities overseas. Addressing a room full of CAFOD supporters, Fr Pius spoke about his harrowing experience helping people after Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) in 2008. Fr Pius, Associate Director of CAFOD Church partner Caritas Pathein, played a central role supporting his community after the cyclone killed 150,000 people.
Today, Wednesday 22 April, Columban Father Shay Cullen will be testifying before the US Congress to the House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations. The purpose of this hearing is to provide input to the US State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report. You can live-stream the hearing at 1.30pm US Eastern Standard Time (that's 6.30pm London time) here:
While preparing for our Annual Conference in Rome we received the sad news of the death of Rabbi Elio Toaff, Rome's emeritus Chief Rabbi who passed away on Sunday night eleven days before his hundredth birthday. Rabbi Toaff served as Chief Rabbi of Rome from 1951 till 2002 and played an essential role in rebuilding Jewish life in Italy in the aftermath of the Shoah. On April 13, 1986 he welcomed Pope John Paul II to the Great Synagogue of Rome during the historic first visit of a reigning Pope to a Jewish house of worship.
The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference has observed with sadness the outburst of xenophobic violence in Durban which the Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier has already condemned", said a statement signed by Mgr William Slattery, Archbishop of Pretoria and spokesman of the SACBC. Violence took place after the local press had reported some statements of the king of the Zulus, Goodwill Zwelithini, according to whom foreigners had to leave South Africa. The traditional leader of the Zulu had stated that his words had been misinterpreted.