On the flight back from South Korea yesterday, Pope Francis discussed a number of issues with journalists accompanying his visit - among them the subject of the Cause of Archbishop Oscar Romero. The BBC report that the pontiff said: "For me Romero is a man of God…There are no doctrinal problems and it is very important that [the beatification] is done quickly." The BBC added that Pope Francis said the Cause of Archbishop Romero which had been "blocked out of prudence" by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith but has now been "unblocked."
The first time I met my hero she was one of a dozen dusty, carefree children congregated like a school of fish on the edge of town as they dreamed up their next adventure. Buenos Aires looked like of the best places on earth to be a kid: a small, quiet riverside town with a whole jungle out back to explore, where they were free to be queens and kings of their own destiny. It was a warning to me that singled her out from this mob of Indiana Joneses: “That one over there—the angelic, sweet, little girl with the springy curls and big smile? She’s a handful. Give her a foot and she’ll take a mile.”
Pope Francis celebrated Mass for peace and reconciliation in Seoul’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception on the last day of his visit to Korea today. During the Mass he prayed for the grace of healing and unity on the divided Korean peninsula. At the beginning of the Mass, Pope Francis also had special words of support for a group of elderly women forced into prostitution for the Japanese military during the Second World War. In his homily Pope Francis recalled the divisions and conflict that has lasted for over 60 years since the Korean war
Pope Francis urged Asian Catholics to engage in real and fruitful dialogue with others, but reminded them they cannot do so unless they sure of their identity rooted in their living faith in Christ. “It is our living faith in Christ which is our deepest identity; it is from this that our dialogue begins, and this that we are asked to share, sincerely, honestly and without pretence, in the dialogue of everyday life, in the dialogue of charity, and in those more formal opportunities which may present themselves,”
The Bishop of the Forces, the Right Reverend Richard Moth has asked military chaplains to offer Mass for those persecuted for their faith on Sunday 31st August. In a Pastoral Letter, timed to coincide with military personnel returning from summer leave, Bishop Moth “calls on everyone across our Bishopric community to join me in redoubling our prayers for those who are victims of this persecution. We remember those who have lost their lives, those who have been kidnapped and all who face uncertainty having been driven from their homes.”
The Bishop for Migrants, Rt Reverend Patrick Lynch has expressed his grave concern over the discovery of a group of refugees locked in a shipping container on a freighter at Tilbury Docks on Saturday. One man had already died and the other victims have been have been taken to hospital. Bishop Patrick said: “It is becoming increasingly apparent that vulnerable men, women and children are being exploited by criminals all over the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who experienced terrible suffering trapped in a shipping
Israel’s Supreme Court issued its decision about the route of the Separation Wall in the Cremisan Valley on 11 August. After a hearing on 4 August, the Court reviewed the proposed routes of the Wall, which threaten to confiscate lands and vineyards of the Christian monastery and separate the religious community of the fathers and the sisters. The Court decided that it is now up to Israel, as a defendant, to take into account different options for the route of the wall,
On Saturday afternoon Pope Francis visited the Kkottongnae centre which cares for around 3,000 elderly or disabled people. Some commentators objected to the Pope visiting this centre, because they said it was an old fashioned institution that keeps large numbers of people with disabilities hidden and separated from wider society - while recent pastoral practices endeavours to integrate them more. However - the images of Pope Francis meeting 50 or so delighted children and young adults with physical and mental disabilities
Read More ... Claire Bergin - Posted: Sunday, August 17, 2014 11:03 pm
Pope Francis made an unscheduled visit on Friday to Sogang University in Seoul. During a relaxed and informal meeting with his confreres, the Pope talked about the need for priests to bring consolation to people, rather than castigate them for their sins. Returning to one of his favourite themes of the Church as a field hospital for those who have been wounded, Pope Francis said God’s people are seeking and needing to be consoled. The Church has many wounds, he said, and some of them have been caused by us, priests and practising Catholics.
On Saturday afternoon, Pope Francis met with about 5,000 Korean male and female religious at the 'School of Love' training centre, after his visit to a home for the disabled. In his address, Pope Francis spoke about the “great variety of charisms and apostolates” represented by the religious. The Holy Father reflected on the words of the Psalm: “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”
While the eyes of the world have been on Gaza, elsewhere in the Occupied Territories Israeli solders and settlers have been adding to the normal hardships of people who live in and around the area of Hebron’s Old City, Christian Peacemaker teams report. On 1 August, the Israeli military occupied the rooftop of the al-Rajabi family house in Jebal Johar near the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba at about 6pm. According to witnesses, the Israeli soldiers left the rooftop at around 7pm and fired five tear gas grenades into the home, setting the interior into flames.
Leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim organizations in the United States welcomed the latest ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington and coordinator of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East (NILI), and Bishop Richard E Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), were the Catholic signers.
The plight of thousands of displaced people suffering in soaring temperatures has been highlighted by a delegation from a charity for persecuted Christians now in northern Iraq. The team of three from Aid to the Church in Need, including the Executive President, Baron Johannes Heereman and Projects Director Regina Lynch have been visiting internal refugees desperate for sanctuary both in the Kurdish regional capital, Erbil, and towns and villages further north.
Read More ... John Pontifex - Posted: Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:30 pm
There will be international speakers, live music, workshops, discussions, prayer, sports, social times, evening entertainment and loads more at this outdoor festival at The National Shrine of Our Lady, in Walsingham, Norfolk NR22 6AL from 21 - 25 August. The theme this year is 'The Journey'. Youth 2000 events are primarily for 16-30 year olds, however people up to 35 are welcome. There is also a separate family camping field.
Everyone of us who works with people at a fairly close level, in other words those whose vocation or profession brings them to come into contact with numbers of people each day, will know the problem of burnout. It is inevitable. Anyone who ministers to others, be they social worker, teacher, doctor, minister or quite simply somebody who has a sympathetic manner and a ready ear, will feel exhausted with the constant demand and constant giving. I often just want the persistent demands of others to stop for a while so that I can recuperate, rest, and take stock of my own inner needs,
As Pope Francis beatifies 124 martyrs from Korea today, with huge crowds turning out in Seoul to meet the Pope, it may be opportune to look at unique origins of the church in Korea Schola Affectus writes. Catholicism has grown rapidly in South Korea from 1% of the population ten years ago to over 10% now. South Korea is a fascinating country that has seen rapid development and economic growth. It is the only country in the history of the world that has gone from being a foreign aid recipient to being a major foreign aid donor in only one generation.
Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the Beatification of the Korean Martyrs today (Saturday) with a congregation of over 800,000. During his homily he said the example of the martyrs pointing to their example that - he said - has much to say to societies today where immense wealth exists alongside dire poverty and where the cry of the poor is seldom heeded. Pope Francis commended the faith of Paul Yun Ji-chung and his 123 companions "who lived and died for Christ, and now reign with Him in joy and in glory".
Salesian Missions has launched an emergency fund to assist Salesian missionaries in Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone who are working to help contain the deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. To raise money for the fund, the Catholic nonprofit aid organization has launched an emergency fundraising campaign and is issuing an urgent appeal for donations. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the epidemic a global health emergency. “The situation is extremely urgent,” said Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions,
Many thousands attended Mass with Pope Francis in the World Cup Stadium in Daejoen on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady which was celebrated in Latin and Korean. During the Mass the Pope issued a warning against the "allure of a materialism that stifles authentic spiritual and cultural values and the spirit of unbridled competition which generates selfishness and strife". He called on those present to look to Mary as our Mother of Hope and encouraged them to "reject inhumane economic models
Pope Francis addressed a huge crowd of young people gathered for the 6th Asian Youth Day at the Shrine of the Korean Martyrs at Solmoe on Friday. During the gathering Pope Francis answered a number of questions from those present, including one from a Korean girl who spoke of the suffering of her nation caused by the separation between North and South. Although he had brought a prepared text in English he broke off reading it to say: “A friend of mine told me that you can’t talk to young people reading off a paper. You need to speak from the heart”
Leading voices in the Muslim world have denounced the persecution of Christians in Iraq, by Islamic State (formerly called ISIS). Iyad Ameen Madani, the Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which representing 57 countries, and 1.4 billion Muslims said in a statement that he officially denounced the "forced deportation under the threat of execution” of Christians, calling it a "crime that cannot be tolerated.” He also distanced Islam from the actions of the militant group known as ISIS,
Iraq’s most senior Christian leader has declared that the US and the EU have a moral obligation to flush out jihadist forces from the Nineveh plains and enable communities to return to their ancestral homes. In a statement on Wednesday, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Baghdad calls on the US, European countries and Arab nations to join forces and reclaim ancient communities in Nineveh from Islamist fighters. He said outside intervention was necessary because the Iraq government in Baghdad
Read More ... John Pontifex - Posted: Friday, August 15, 2014 4:49 pm
Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland announced his wish to retire yesterday ahead of his 75th birthday today. In an official statement he said: Last month I offered my resignation to Pope Francis in accordance with the requirement of Canon Law. I did so in anticipation of my seventy-fifth birthday which I will celebrate tomorrow. On 18 January 2013 Pope Benedict XVI acceded to my request for episcopal support and Archbishop Eamon Martin was appointed as Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh.
The Dormition of the Theotokos - Devotion to Mary the mother of Jesus runs deep in the Christian tradition particularly in the East and amongst Catholics. The feast of her Dormition or as the West calls it the Assumption, is a celebration of her sleep in death and her resurrection with Christ Jesus in the life of heaven. This festival originated in the eastern tradition and was universally celebrated, first in the Christian East from the late 5th century and a bit later in the West. But what precisely does it celebrate?