Monthly Archives: November, 2018

Pope Francis’ December 2018 Intentions

photo credit: https://www.popesprayer.net/

Evangelization – In the Service of the Transmission of Faith
https://youtu.be/FmoHGi8-e2w
That people, who are involved in the service and transmission of faith, may find, in their dialogue with culture, a language suited to the conditions of the present time.

 

 

Liturgical Feasts / Anniversaries /Observances

(Legend: Ab=Abbot  Ap=Apostle  Pp=Pope  Bp=Bishop  Ch=Children  De=Deacon  Dr=Doctor  Kg=King Ma=Married  Mt=Martyr  Pr=Priest  Qu=Queen  Re=Religious  Vg=Virgin  Fd=Founder)

Dec 2: 1st SUNDAY OF ADVENT 

Dec 3:  FRANCIS XAVIER**

Dec 4:  John Damascene (Pr, Dr)

Dec 6:  Nicholas (Bp)

Dec 7:  Ambrose* (Bp, Dr)

Dec 8: IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY***

Dec 9:  2nd SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Dec 11 : Damasus I, Pp

Dec 12 : Our Lady of Guadalupe

Dec 13 : LUCY* (Vg, Mt)

Dec 14 : JOHN OF THE CROSS* (Pr, Dr)

Dec 16 : 3rd SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Dec 21 : Peter Canisius (Pr, Dr)

Dec 23 : 4th SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Dec 25  : CHRISTMAS DAY

Dec 26 : STEPHEN, FIRST MARTYT**

Dec 27 : JOHN THE EVANGELIST**(Ap)

Dec 28: THE HOLY INNOCENTS** (Mts)

Dec 29 : Thomas Becket (Bp, Mt)

Dec 30 : HOLY FAMILY**

Dec 31 : Silvester I (Pp)

Cardinal Charles Bo of Myanmar new president of FABC

Pope Francis with Cardinal Charles Bo (L) in Myanmar in Nov. 2017.

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon was elected the new president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences on Nov. 16.

Myanmar’s first cardinal has been elected the next president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon was elected the new FABC president at the FABC Central Committee meeting on November 16.  He will assume office on January 1, 2019.

The Salesian cardinal takes over from Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, whose second term ends on December 31.   Cardinal Gracias who earlier served as FABC secretary general between January and December 2012, is currently the president of both the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the apex body of the Church in India, and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) which brings together the country’s Latin rite bishops.

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Pope Francis’ message to young people for 34th WYD in Panama 2019

Vatican – Pope Francis has a message for young people preparing for World Youth Day 2019: Ask God “What do you want from me?” — and allow God to answer you. 

Watch the Video Message of Pope Francis for the WYD 2019 at: https://youtu.be/9tQ3Et-6L5c?t=146

The Holy Father’s Message to young people in preparation for the XXXIV World Youth Day 2019, which will be celebrated in Panama, is centred on the theme: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). The Message, published on the day of the celebration of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, concludes a cycle of three Marian messages dedicated to young people along their journey WYD 2016 to WYD 2019.

A statement by the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life said that for the first time, the Message of the Holy Father in preparation for WYD is being published principally in the form of a video message, so that it can reach the greatest number of young people; and respond to their desire, expressed during the recent synodal process, to communicate with the Church through forms closer to their own language.

In his address, the Holy Father addresses all the young people of the world — believers and non-believers — encouraging them to discover the characteristic values of youth. It recognizes their willingness to serve others and invites them to put this attitude into practice from a Christian perspective: “To be at the service of others does not only mean to be ready for action. It means also to be in conversation with God with an attitude of listening, just like Mary. She listened to what the angel said to her and then she responded,” says the Holy Father.

The video message serves as an instrument of spiritual preparation for the next WYD in Panama 2019 and also as an inspiration for youth ministry throughout the world. The next World Youth Day will be celebrated from 22-27 January 2019 in Panama.- Vatican News, 21 Nov 2018

Pope Francis’ lunch with the poor

Vatican – Pope Francis on Sunday joined about 1,500 poor people and a group of volunteers for lunch to mark the World Day of the Poor.
After Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, during which he urged believers to heed the cry of the poor and said that “the cry of the poor daily becomes stronger but heard less, drowned out by the din of the rich few, who grow ever fewer and more rich”, the Pope addressed the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer, and then went to a beautifully decked out Paul VI Hall and took his seat at the main table.
Before lunch was served, the Pope asked for thanks for those who prepared the lunch and for those who were serving and prayed for the Lord’s blessing for all those present.
A youth band from the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei provided musical accompaniment and the menu included lasagna, chicken morsels, mashed potatoes and tiramisu.- Linda Bordoni, 18 Nov 2018

Vatican documentary on priest who transformed poverty into hope

The Vatican Film Library presents a trailer on Friday for a documentary film “Good Friend-Pedro Opeka” by Jože Možina. https://youtu.be/p4KroXLR9b8

Known as the ‘Holy Fighter’ or ‘the man of miracles’, Father Pablo Pedro Opeka, the Lazzarist missionary shows Christ’s compassionate face to the poor in the peripheries of Madagascar through his humanitarian work. Father Pedro Opeka, an Argentinian with Slovenian origins, was ordained a priest in Buenos Aires on 28 September 1975 and was sent to a rural parish in southeast Madagascar.

Fr Opeka discovered that the people there were living in utter poverty with no proper food or shelter. He created a local non-governmental organization called Akamasoa (the good and faithful friends) in December 1989, which now sustains about thirty thousand people in 18 villages.

His story has been made into a documentary, entitled ” Good Friend – Pedro Opeka”, and was screened in the Vatican on Friday, November 16. The images chosen by the film’s creator – Slovenian national television journalist, Jože Možina – do not focus, as often happens, on suffering and degradation, but – like Father Pedro Opeka’s entire life – on dignity and rebirth.

The film is being presented thanks to a collaboration with the Embassy of Slovenia to the Holy See and the Slovenian Ministry of Culture. – Vatican News

Caritas Pakistan in support of integral ecology, planting 700,000 saplings

Pakistan’s Catholic Church is behind a plan to plant a million trees by 2019. Lahore and Karachi are among the most polluted cities in the world. In 2025 Pakistan will be in absolute water scarcity.

Lahore – Caritas Pakistan has launched a campaign to plant a million trees. In doing so, it is putting into action the Church’s doctrine on integral ecology.

Planting beech trees and orchids trees began in 2016 and will end in 2019. The work is well underway, with 700,000 saplings already planted in various parts of the country.

The initiative is called ‘One Million Tree Plantation Campaign (2016-2019)’, and involves many primary school students.

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PNG bishops: APEC’s success on the backs of the poor

The Pacific Rim summit will cost at least 1.5 billion dollars to a country where 40 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line and resources for education and health are scarce. The US-China trade war will dominate the meeting.

Port Moresby – The bishops of Papua New Guinea have strongly criticised the government for the huge cost incurred with the APEC summit (17-18 November) at a time when many Papua New Guineans lack essential services like health, education and hygiene.

“We share the concern of many about the huge amount of our limited resources being expended on this event which seems designed to entertain and impress the rich and powerful,” said Mgr Rochus Tatamai, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Papua-New Guinea.

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Pope: the Church grows in silence through testimony, through prayer, through good works

“The Bride of Christ has a silent temperament, generates fruits” without noise “, without” playing the trumpet like the Pharisees “.”The Church also grows with the blood of the martyrs, men and women who give their lives. Today there are many. Curious: they do not make the news. The world hides that. The spirit of the world does not tolerate martyrdom, it hides it”.

Vatican – The Church grows “in simplicity, in silence, in praise, in the Eucharistic sacrifice, in fraternal community, where all are loved,” and none are rejected. That was the message of Pope Francis during the daily Mass celebrated in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the day’s Gospel (Lk 17:20-25), the Pope said that the Kingdom of God “is not spectacular,” and that it grows in silence.

The Church, he said, is manifested “in the Eucharist and in good works,” even if they don’t “make the news.” The Bride of Christ has a temperament given to silence; she produces fruit “without making a fuss,” without “sounding the trumpet, like the Pharisees”:

The Lord explains to us how the Church grows with the parable of the sower. The sower sows and the seed grows by day, by night… – God gives the growth – and then the fruit is seen. But this is important: First, the Church grows in silence, in secret; it is the ecclesiastical style. And how is this manifested in the Church? By the fruits of good works, so that the people see and glorify the Father who is in heaven, Jesus says. And in the celebration, the praise and the sacrifice of the Lord – that is, in the Eucharist. There the Church is manifested: in the Eucharist and in good works.

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WWI: Papal diplomacy during and after The Great War

Following a series of commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, this week attention turns to a world post-WWI, and Papal diplomacy.

Remembrance Day observing the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI (ANSA)

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the guns fell silent and an Armistice between warring nations was declared. When World War I began no one thought it would last for so long. Those who went off to fight expected to be back for Christmas. It was not to be, and for four long years Europe was ravaged and 16 million lives were claimed.

On Sunday 11th November 2018 in many countries around the world a 2 minute silence descended to remember the fallen in this conflict which changed the map of Europe. On Wednesday an international conference got underway focusing on Catholics and the Holy See in the post war world of 1918-1922. Fittingly, a diplomat and the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, addressed the gathering remarking that at the end of this war and under the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XV, “there was a clear awareness of witnessing upheavals of unprecedented depth, but also Catholic optimism ready to open up to new paths…for the mission of the Church.”

The war time Pope

Pope Benedict XV, who was elected in a Conclave at the outbreak of WWI, had been a career diplomat and according to Papal author and Emeritus Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, Dr John Pollard, “saw the war as a tragedy and in some sense an unnecessary tragedy.” He also notes that Benedict’s diplomatic skills were to stand him in good stead before and after this lengthy campaign as, “he did understand the international scene and he also made an absolutely crucial appointment of Cardinal Pietro Gasparri as his Secretary of State. Gasparri, like Benedict, was a diplomat and had long diplomatic experience.”

The author of Pope Benedict XV, “The Unknown Pope”, said “he adopted very very quickly the position of neutrality and impartiality…”

World War I was in many respects different from wars that had been fought in the past and was seen as the first truly modern war. Aircraft, armoured vehicles, modern artillery and machine guns were the weapons of choice and they were used to deadly effect. This type of mechanized warfare, Dr Pollard says, horrified the Pontiff. “He was outraged by the new methods of warfare, i.e. the trench warfare; by the torpedoing of passenger merchant vessels; by the aerial bombardment; by the attacks on civilian populations.”

Cardinal Parolin and post-WWI diplomacy

In his address, at the Pontifical Lateran University, Cardinal Parolin underlined that following the Armistice that ended WWI the fundamental path to tread was that of peace.
“It was natural”, he said, “that pontifical diplomacy, which during the war had dedicated so many forces to the restoration of peace, should first of all seek, even after the end of hostilities, the true consolidation of peace and its basic presupposition – the relaxation of tensions.” The Cardinal also noted that ”the peace negotiations took place without the participation of the Holy See, excluded because of article 15 of the London Pact, but also because of the intervention of the secularist forces determined to oppose religious-ecclesiastical interference in international bodies. Nevertheless, Benedict XV did not renounce those cards that remained for him to intervene with: the pastoral word in public pronouncements, the mobilization of Catholic public opinion and the presence, at least unofficially, of his diplomatic representatives.”

Dr Pollard also alludes to the exclusion of the Holy See from these post war discussions and says that Benedict and his Secretary of State Gasparri, “were very concerned about the outcomes of the Versailles peace conference of 1919 and in the end they felt it was too harsh particularly on Germany; they did not feel that it was a really good basis for future peace.”

The Pope of Peace

History has a habit of looking back at the life of a Pope and applying a label; St John XXIII was known as “Good Pope John “ and Pope John Paul I was affectionately described as the “smiling Pope”. In Benedict XV’s case, he was known as the “Pope of Peace”. This Dr Pollard explains is due to the fact that “he very genuinely and quite persistently tried to get the belligerent powers to the negotiating table, not just with the famous peace note of August 1917, but on several occasions before that and even after the peace note, tried to persuade the powers to start negotiating.”

Speaking about this famous Peace Note, Cardinal Pietro Parolin commented that the document signified a “respect for justice and equity in relations between States and peoples, renunciation of reciprocal compensation, respect for the natural principle of nationality and the legitimate aspirations of peoples, fair access to material goods and means of communication for all, the reduction of arms, arbitration as a peaceful means of resolving conflicts. Significantly, the Pontiff preferred, instead of justice, to speak of equity, that is, of animated justice”, he said.

Papal Polices and the Path of Peace

So what is the legacy of Pope Benedict XV and his diplomatic efforts during and after this devastating war? According to the Cambridge Fellow, “the moral standing of the Papacy was enormously enhanced by Benedict’s policies during the war, one of the most important being the humanitarian efforts which the Vatican made; the Vatican ran a sort of relief effort for prisoners of war and for civilians… secondly, the war obliged many countries to have a second look at the Vatican”, such as Britain who re-established diplomatic relations with the Holy See very shortly after World War I started. Dr Pollard adds that, “it can be argued that, -with I think a great deal of conviction- that Benedict’s policies during the First World War really put the Holy See on the path of peace diplomacy, that it became its vocation, if you like, or one of its vocations and ever since, the Papacy has been very concerned about peace and also about broader issues of social justice in the world.”Lydia O’Kane, Vatican News, 15 Nov 2018

Marriage preparatory programs

Credit: Unsplash.

Singapore – The Archdiocese of Singapore has introduced a new policy to ensure couples are taking the time they need to properly prepare for marriage.

Catholics looking to getting married in any of the archdiocese’s 32 churches have to book their wedding date at least one year in advance, according to Catholic News.

Previously, the couples only had to notify the church six months before the wedding. Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye of Singapore made the decision in October after discussing the move with the archdiocese’s priests.

Couples must still undergo the same marriage preparatory programs, including a marriage course and a meeting with the priest who will preside over the wedding.

A Catholic spokesperson for the archdiocese told Strait Times that the new policy emphasizes the importance of the commitment of matrimony and helps Catholics prepare for it.

“In response to the feedback and to help our fellow Catholics prepare for such a major commitment in their lives, the Archbishop, in consultation with his Senate of Priests, is looking to refine the recommended policies presently in place,” he said.

“It marks the beginning of a journey that the Church and the couple take together to prepare the couple for their commitment to each other,” he added.

Numerous other Christian dominations in Singapore have similar requirements, which may range from six to nine months prior to the wedding day.

Daniel Seah is an engaged Catholic in Singapore who plans to get married in 2020. He told Straight Times that he was happy with the new policy.

“In my opinion, the divorce rate is quite high and I think the Church is looking at ways to help couples discern deeper if this is the right person for them before they walk down the aisle,” he said.

“Even if you book a hotel, you may also need to book one year in advance but people don’t grumble about that.” – CNA, 12 Nov 2018

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