Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United Arab Emirates is being widely seen as a milestone in interreligious dialogue.
Vatican – Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, told Vatican News that the Abu Dhabi document signed by the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al-Ahzar, is a precious roadmap for peace, and contains indications that must be spread throughout the world.
Bishop Ayuso describes the Pope’s journey
to the Gulf Region as historical.
He says Pope Francis was a
true “peacemaker” in this journey to the Arab Emirates, and that the signing of
the “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” Document,
together with the Great Imam of Al-Azhar, calls on each of us to become
instruments of much needed inter-religious dialogue and peace.
This document, he says, has
its roots in the necessity to safeguard the future of mankind and of the world
and is particularly poignant in the face of “a wounded humanity”.
As Secretary of the Pontifical Council
for Interreligious Dialogue, Bishop Ayuso issues an appeal to make the text of
the Declaration known, through the will of Pope Francis, to all men and women
of good will also through social media, describing it as “road map of
interreligious dialogue for the future”.
“Because universal fraternity is key” he says “so that through a culture of dialogue, joint collaboration and mutual knowledge may be the pillars for building a better world”. – Linda Bordoni,07Feb2019
Vatican City – Pope
Francis said Wednesday that his recent trip to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab
Emirates was a step forward in Catholic-Muslim dialogue and promoting peace
Though a brief visit, the “scattered seeds” of the Feb. 3-5 trip
will bear fruit according to God’s will, he said during the general audience
The visit to the UAE, and second meeting with the Muslim Grand
Imam of al-Azhar, “wrote a new page in the history of dialogue between
Christianity and Islam and in the commitment to promote peace in the world on
the basis of human brotherhood.”
Pope Francis first met the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb,
during a 2017 apostolic visit to Egypt. The two signed a joint document on
human fraternity Feb. 4.
In the document, “we condemn all forms of violence, especially
those with religious motivation, and we commit ourselves to spreading authentic
values and peace throughout the world,” the pope stated.
In this era, he said, when there is strong a temptation to discord
between Christian and Islamic cultures, and considering religions as sources of
conflict, “we wanted to give a further, clear and decisive sign, that instead
it is possible to meet, it is possible to respect and dialogue.”
He added that he recommends people read the document and try to
understand it, because it has helpful points for how to carry out a dialogue on
“Despite the diversity of cultures and traditions, the Christian
and Islamic world appreciate and protect common values: life, family, religious
sense, honor for the elderly, the education of young people, and still other
things,” he said.
Francis’ trip to the UAE, the first of a pope to the Arabian
Peninsula, also fell 800 years after St. Francis of Assisi visited the Sultan
Malik al Kamil in Egypt. Pope Francis said it was “Providence” that a pope
named Francis made the historic trip on the 800th anniversary of the saint’s
“I often thought of Saint Francis during this journey: he helped
me to keep the Gospel, the love of Jesus Christ in my heart, while I was living
the various moments of the visit,” he said.
“In my heart there was the Gospel of Christ,” he said, “the prayer
to the Father for all his children, especially for the poorest, for the victims
of injustice, wars, misery; prayer because the dialogue between Christianity
and Islam is a decisive factor for peace in today’s world.”
During the audience, Francis also recalled his meetings with two
90-year-old priests who have both served in the UAE for many years. One, he
said, is now blind and in a wheelchair, but a smile never left his lips. “The
smile of having served the Lord and done very good.”
Another highlight of the trip, he pointed out, was the Mass he
celebrated in the stadium in Abu Dhabi Feb. 5, which was attended by around 150,000
people. “There were so many people!” he said. “We prayed in a special way for
peace and justice, with special intention for the Middle East and Yemen.” – Hannah Brockhaus, 6Feb2019 (CNA/EWTN News)
Charles Bo of Myanmar, the president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’
Conferences (FABC), has issued a message for the special celebration of World
Day of the Sick in Kolkata, the city of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
The Asian bishops’ president is urging believers in the continent to
continue upholding the sacred duty and tradition of caring and respecting the
elderly, the infirm and the helpless, saying it is a barometer of society’s
Cardinal Charles Bo, the president of the Federation
of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), made the exhortation in a
message he released on Sunday in view of the upcoming international celebration
of the Catholic Church’s World Day of the Sick.
The annual day was instituted
by St. John Paul II on 13 May 1992, designating its
celebration to the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11 each
year. The purpose is to draw attention to the sick and their
caregivers and the redemptive act of human suffering.
Kolkata – city of Mother
Each year, the day is marked in a special way in a place chosen by the
Pope who issues a message for the occasion. The 27th World
Day of the Sick will be celebrated in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata (formerly
Calcutta), the city of St. Mother Teresa.
In his message for this year’s observance, Pope Francis urges believers
to promote a culture of generosity, noting that the joy of generous giving is a
barometer of the health of a Christian.
The theme of this year’s World Day of the Sick has as its theme, “You
received without payment; give without payment”. (Mt 10:8).
Recalling Kolkata as the “karma bhumi” (workplace) of St.Teresa of
Calcutta, Card. Bo says that this year’s theme was the mantra that Jesus gave
His disciples “before sending them forth to spread the good news of the kingdom
Caring for sick, infirm – a sacred
“Allow me to remind myself and encourage all believers to uphold the
traditional values embedded in the psyche of our varied ethnic groups in this
vast Asian continent which considers caring for the elderly and infirm as a
sacred duty of respect and devotion,” explains the cardinal, the
Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar.
“Our traditional customs of reaching out in solidarity to those in need
especially those who are sick, helpless or fall victims to accidents of
calamitous emergencies,” he says, “must continue to be embraced as a culture of
generosity – a barometer denoting societal health.”
Card. Bo, who assumed his leadership of the FABC on Jan. 1, holds Mary as
a model, saying she set out to be at the side of her cousin Elizabeth in her
hour of need. He wishes that she be an inspiration and example to us “to
reach out as visible signs of God’s love for the poor and the sick.”
He wishes that Mother Teresa, who showed what it means “give till it
hurts”, also be an inspiration and model in giving our time and talents in
caring for the sick.
The 70-year old cardinal expressed his gratitude and encouragement to
volunteers and associations who help the sick, and all those organize campaigns
for blood, tissue and organ donation.
Pope Francis on Dec. 11 appointed Bangladeshi Cardinal Patrick
D’Rozario as his envoy to the special celebration of the World Day of
the Sick in Kolkata.
This year’s World Day of the Sick will be a 3-day event, starting in
Kolkata on February 9 and will culminate on February 11 at the historical
Marian Shrine at Bandel on the banks of the Hooghly River some
60 kms north of Kolkata.
The first World Day of the Sick was marked in 1993 at the shrine of Our
Lady of Lourdes in southern France, one of the world’s most famous Marian
shrines. Since then, the day has been observed all over the world with a
special celebration in a particular place each year.
According to Cardinal Peter Turkson, the Prefect of the Vatican
Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, that organizes the World
Day of the Sick, Kolkata was chosen as a venue mainly “in light of the
experience of St. Teresa of Calcutta”.
This is only the second time a place in India has been chosen. The
first was Vailankanni in 2003. – Robin
Gomes, Vatican News, 27Jan2019
The Archbishop of Lisbon, Cardinal
Manuel Clemente, comments on the announcement of Lisbon as the next city to
host World Youth Day.
World Youth Day 2019 wrapped up in Panama on Sunday with the announcement that
the next World Youth Day will be held in Lisbon, Portugal
The announcement was received with joy and
excitement, especially – of course – by Portuguese pilgrims and by all those
who will be directly involved in preparing for the event.
Amongst them Cardinal Manuel Clemente,
Archbishop of Lisbon who had a word with Seàn-Patrick Lovett just
moments after the announcement was made at the end of the WYD Panama
Commenting on the Pope’s invitation to young
people to continue walking the journey from Panama to Portugal, Cardinal
Clemente said “that journey has already begun”:
“We are already walking from Panama to Lisbon” Cardinal
Clemente says, pointing out that three years is really not a very
long time in which to prepare for such an event.
Of course, he adds, “we want to do our best,
so it is a great challenge! But it’s also great news, not only for us, the
Portuguese people, but for all the young people of the world who are all
A special thought goes, he says, to
those who will be coming from nations like Brazil, Mocambique, Angola because
of our common language which will ensure they will feel especially at home in
Cardinal Clemente agrees it is not possible to
speak of Portugal without speaking of Fatima, which is at the heart of
spirituality in the country.
“Yes, Fatima will be in Lisbon” he says, “and
the experience and presence of the Mother of Jesus in our life is perhaps even
more visible in Fatima for all the world”.
“What do you say to the young people of the world?” Sean asks the Cardinal, to which he responds: “You are all welcome in Lisbon in 2022: I wait for you!” – Linda Bordoni, Vatican News, 28Jan2019
Sunday, Jan. 27, was the final day of the World Youth Day in Panama City. Pope Francis celebrated an open-air Holy Mass at the capital’s Metro Park to conclude the WYD. – Vatican News
eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to
them: ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’” (Lk 4:20-21).
these words, the Gospel presents the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.
It started in the synagogue that saw him grow up; he was in the midst of
neighbours and people he knew, and perhaps even some of his childhood
“catechists” who had taught him the Law. It was an important moment in
the life of the Master: the child who was educated and grew up in
that community, stood up and took the floor to proclaim and put into
action God’s dream. A word previously proclaimed only as a future
promise, but now, on the lips of Jesus alone, could be spoken in the present
tense, as it became a reality: “Today it has been fulfilled”.
reveals the now of God, who comes to meet us and call us to take part in his
now of “proclaiming good news to the poor… bringing liberty to the captives and
recovering of sight to the blind, setting at liberty those who are oppressed,
announcing the year of the Lord’s favour” (Lk 4:18-19). This is the now
of God. It becomes present with Jesus: it has a face, it is flesh.
It is a merciful love that does not wait for ideal or perfect situations to
show itself, nor does it accept excuses for its appearance. It is God’s
time, that makes every situation and place both right and proper. In
Jesus, the promised future begins and becomes life.
When? Now. Yet not everyone who was listening felt invited or
called. Not all the residents of Nazareth were prepared to believe in
someone they knew and had seen grow up, and who was now inviting them to
realize a long-awaited dream. Not only that, but “they said,
‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’” (Lk 4:22).
same thing can also happen with us. We do not always believe
that God can be that concrete and commonplace, that close and real, and much
less that he can become so present and work through somebody like a neighbour,
a friend, a relative. We do not always believe that the Lord can invite
us to work and soil our hands with him in his Kingdom in that simple and blunt
a way. It is hard to accept that “God’s love can become concrete and can
almost be experienced in history with all its painful and glorious
vicissitudes” ( BENEDICT XVI, General Audience, 28 September 2005).
Often we too behave like the neighbours in Nazareth: we prefer a distant God: nice, good, generous but far-off, a God who does not inconvenience us. Because a close and everyday God, a friend and brother, demands that we be concerned with our surroundings, everyday affairs and above all fraternity. God chose not to reveal himself as an angel or in some spectacular way, but to give us a face that is fraternal and friendly, concrete and familiar. God is real because love is real; God is concrete because love is concrete. Indeed, this “concrete manifestation of love is one of the essential elements in the life of Christians” (BENEDICT XVI, Homily, 1 March 2006).
can also run the same risks as the neighbours at Nazareth, when
within our communities the Gospel seeks to be lived concretely. We begin
to say: But these young people, aren’t they the children of Mary, Joseph,
aren’t they the brothers and sisters of so and so? Are these not the
youngsters we saw grow up? That one over there, wasn’t he the one who
kept breaking windows with his ball? What was born as prophecy and
proclamation of the kingdom of God gets domesticated
and impoverished. Attempts to domesticate the word of God
too, dear young people, can experience this whenever you think that your
mission, your vocation, even your life itself, is a promise far off in the
future, having nothing to do with the present. As if being young were a
kind of waiting room, where we sit around until we are called. And in the
“meantime”, we adults or you yourselves invent a hygienically sealed future,
without consequences, where everything is safe, secure and “well
insured”. A “make-believe” happiness. So we
“ tranquilize ” you, we numb you into keeping quiet, not asking or
questioning; and in that “meantime” your dreams lose their buoyancy, they begin
to become flat and dreary, petty and plaintive (cf. Palm Sunday Homily, 25
March 2018). Only because we think, or you think, that your now
has not yet come, that you are too young to be involved in dreaming about and
working for the future.
of the fruits of the last Synod was the enrichment that came from being able to
meet and above all to listen to one another. The enrichment of
intergenerational dialogue, the enrichment of exchange and the value of
realizing that we need one another, that we have to work to create channels and
spaces that encourage dreaming of and working for tomorrow, starting
today. And this, not in isolation, but rather side by side, creating a
common space. A space that is not simply taken for granted, or won in a
lottery, but a space for which you too must fight.
dear young people, are not the future but the now of God. He invites you
and calls you in your communities and cities to go out and find your
grandparents, your elders; to stand up and with them to speak out and realize
the dream that the Lord has dreamed for you.
tomorrow but now, for wherever your treasure is, there will your heart also be
(cf. Mt 6:21). Whatever you fall in love with, it will win over not only
your imagination, it will affect everything. It will be what makes you
get up in the morning, what keeps you going at times of fatigue, what will
break open your hearts and fill you with wonder, joy and gratitude.
Realize that you have a mission and fall in love; that will decide everything
(cf. PEDRO ARRUPE, S.J., Nada es más práctico). We may possess
everything, but if we lack the passion of love, we will have nothing. Let
us allow the Lord to make us fall in love!
Jesus, there is no “meantime”, but only a merciful love that wants to enter
into and win over our hearts. He wants to be
our treasure, because he is not a “meantime”, an interval in life or
a passing fad; he is generous love that invites us to entrust ourselves.
concrete, close, real love. He is festive joy, born of opting for and
taking part in the miraculous draught of hope and charity, solidarity and
fraternity, despite the paralyzed and paralyzing gaze born of fear and
exclusion, speculation and manipulation.
Brothers and sisters, the Lord and his mission are not a “meantime” in our
life, something temporary; they are our life!
special way throughout these days, Mary’s fiat has been whispering like a kind
of music in the background. She not only believed in God and in his
promises as something possible, she believed God himself and dared to say “yes”
to taking part in this now of the Lord. She felt she had a mission; she
fell in love and that decided everything.
the synagogue of Nazareth, the Lord stands up again among us his friends and
acquaintances; he takes the book and says to us “Today this Scripture has been
fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21).
Do you want to live out your love in a practical way? May your “yes” continue to be the gateway for the Holy Spirit to give us a new Pentecost for the world and for the Church.
At the conclusion of this celebration, I thank God for having given us the
opportunity to share these days together and to experience once more this World
In particular, I would like to thank the President of Panama, Juan Carlos
Varela Rodríguez, the Presidents of other nations and the other political and
civil authorities for their presence at this celebration.
I thank Bishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, Archbishop of Panama, for his
generosity and hard work in hosting this World Youth Day in his diocese, as
well as the other bishops of this and the neighbouring countries, for all they
have done in their communities to provide accommodation and assistance to the
great numbers of young people.
My thanks also go to all those who have supported us with their prayers, and
who have helped by their efforts and hard work to make this World Youth Day
dream come true in this country.
And to you, dear young people, a big “thank you”. Your faith and joy have
made Panama, America and the entire world shake! As we have heard so many
times in these days in the song of this World Youth Day: “As your pilgrim
people we are gathered here today from every continent and city”. We are
on a journey, keep walking, keep living the faith and sharing it. Do not
forget that you are not the tomorrow, you are not the “meantime”; you are the
now of God.
The venue for the next World Youth Day has already been announced. I ask
you not to let the fervour of these days grow cold. Go back to your
parishes and communities, to your families and your friends, and share this
experience, so that others can resonate with the strength and enthusiasm that
is yours. With Mary, keep saying “yes” to the dream that God has sown in
At the conclusion of World Youth Day in Panama, Pope Francis meets with
22,200-odd volunteers and thanks them for their hard work and generosity.
Before we conclude the celebration of World Youth Day, I wanted to meet all of
you and to thank every one of you for the service you rendered during these
days and in the months preceding WYD.
Thanks to Bartosz, Stella Maris del Carmen and Maria Margarida for sharing
their personal experiences. How important it is to listen to them and to
appreciate the fellowship that comes about when we come together to serve
others. We experience how faith takes on a completely new flavour and
force: it becomes more alive, dynamic and real. We experience a different
kind of joy from having had the opportunity to work side by side with others in
achieving a shared dream. I know that all of you have experienced this.
you know how our hearts beat faster when we have a mission, not because someone
told you this, but because you experienced it for yourselves. You
experienced in your own life that “no one has greater love than this, to lay
down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13).
You also had to experience some
difficult moments that called for additional sacrifice. As you told us,
also come to experience our own weaknesses. The good thing is that
you did not let those weaknesses get in the way of your service, or bother you
too much. You experienced them in serving others, yes; in trying to
understand and help other volunteers and pilgrims, yes; but you were determined
not to let this stop you or paralyze you, you went ahead. That is the
beauty of knowing that we are sent, the joy of knowing that, in spite of every
difficulty, we have a mission to carry out. Not to let our limitations,
our weaknesses and even our sins hold us back and stop us from living the
mission, because God invites us to do what we can and ask for what we cannot,
in the knowledge that his love is taking hold of us and transforming us
progressively (cf. Gaudete
et Exsultate, 49-50). Put service and mission first, and you will see
that everything else will follow.
Thank you all, because in these days you have been attentive to even the
smallest details, however ordinary and apparently insignificant, like offering
someone a glass of water. Yet you have also been concerned with the
larger things that called for careful planning. You prepared every detail
with joy, creativity and commitment, and with much prayer. For when we
pray about things, we feel them more profoundly. Prayer gives force and
vitality to everything we do. In praying, we discover that we are part of
a family larger than what we can see or imagine. In praying, we open
everything we do to the Church that supports and accompanies us from heaven, to
the saints who have shown us the way, but above all, we open it all to God.
You have dedicated your time, and your energy and resources, to dreaming and
putting together this meeting. You could have easily chosen to do other
things, but you wanted to be involved. To give your best to making
possible the miracle of the multiplication not only of loaves but also of hope.
Here, once again, you have shown that it is possible to set aside your
own interests in order to help others. As you did, Stella Maris, when you
saved up to attend the WYD in Krakow, but decided not to go, so that you could
look after your three grandparents. You gave up doing something you
wanted to do and had dreamed about, in order to help and accompany your family,
to honour your roots. But the Lord, unbeknownst to you, was preparing a
gift for you; he brought the WYD to your own country. Like Stella Maris,
many of you also made all sorts of sacrifices. You had to defer your
dreams to care for your land, your roots. The Lord always blesses that,
and he can never be outdone in generosity. Every time we forego something
that we like for the good of others and especially those most in need, or our
roots as in the case of our grandparents and the elderly, the Lord pays it back
a hundredfold. For when it comes to generosity, no one can beat him; when
it comes to love, no one can outdo him. Friends, give and it will be
given to you, and you will experience how the Lord “puts into your lap good
measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over” (Lk 6:38).
You have had a more lively and real experience of faith; you have experienced
the strength born of prayer and a new and different kind of joy, the fruit of
working side by side even with people you did not know. Now is the moment
when you are sent forth: go out and tell, go out and bear witness, go out and
spread the word about everything you have seen and heard. Dear friends,
let everyone know about what happened during these days. Not with lots of
words but rather, as you did here, with simple and ordinary gestures, those
that transform and renew each hour of the day.
Let us ask the Lord for his blessing. May he bless your families and
communities, and all those whom you will meet and encounter in the days to
come. Let us also place ourselves under the mantle of the Blessed Virgin.
May Our Lady accompany you always. And, as I told you in Krakow, I
do not know if I will be there for the next WYD, but Peter will surely be there
to confirm you in faith. Press on, with courage and strength, and please,
do not forget to pray for me. Thank you. – Vatican News, Rommel Fernández Stadium,27 Jan
Pope Francis told young people at
Panama’s World Youth Day opening ceremony that the Church is walking with them.
He was addressing the crowds gathered at the Santa Marta La Antigua Field in
Pope Francis on Thursday presided over the Official Welcome and Opening Ceremony of World Youth Day 2019. Addressing the crowds gathered in a specially organized open area along Panama City’s Coastal Belt, he encouraged them to nurture the culture of encounter that has made the event possible.
Dear Young People, good evening!
How good it is to get together again, this time in a land that receives
us with such radiance and warmth! As we gather in Panama, World Youth Day is
once more a celebration of joy and hope for the whole Church and, for the
world, a witness of faith.
I remember that in Krakow several people asked me if I was going to be
in Panama, and I told them: “I don’t know, but certainly Peter will be there.
Peter is going to be there”. Today I am happy to say to you: Peter is with you,
to celebrate and renew you in faith and hope. Peter and the Church walk with
you, and we want to tell you not to be afraid, to go forward with the same
fresh energy and restlessness that helps make us happier and more available,
better witnesses to the Gospel. To go forward, not to create a parallel Church
that would be more “fun” or “cool” thanks to a fancy youth event, as if that
were all you needed or wanted. That way of thinking would not respect either
you or everything that the Spirit is saying through you.
Not at all! With you, we want to rediscover and reawaken the Church’s
constant freshness and youth, opening ourselves to a new Pentecost (cf. SYNOD
ON YOUNG PEOPLE, Final Document, 60). As we experienced at the Synod, this can
only happen if, by our listening and sharing, we encourage each other to keep
walking and to bear witness by proclaiming the Lord through service to our
brothers and sisters, and concrete service at that.
I know getting here was not easy. I know how much effort and sacrifice
was required for you to participate in this Day. Many weeks of work and
commitment, and encounters of reflection and prayer, have made the journey
itself largely its own reward. A disciple is not merely someone who arrives at
a certain place, but one who sets out decisively, who is not afraid to take
risks and keeps walking. This is the great joy: to keep walking. You have not
been afraid to take risks and to keep journeying. Today we were all able to
“get here” because for some time now, in our various communities, we have all
been “on the road” together.
We come from different cultures and peoples, we speak different
languages and we wear different clothes. Each of our peoples has had a
different history and lived through different situations. We are different in
so many ways! But none of it has stopped us from meeting one another and
rejoicing to be together. The reason for this, we know, is that something
unites us. Someone is a brother to us. You, dear friends, have made many
sacrifices to be able to meet one another and in this way you have become true
teachers and builders of the culture of encounter. By your actions and your
approach, your way of looking at things, your desires and above all your
sensitivity, you discredit and defuse the kind of talk that is intent on sowing
division, on excluding or rejecting those who are not “like us”. It is because
you have that instinct which knows intuitively that “true love does not
eliminate legitimate differences, but harmonizes them in a superior unity”
(BENEDICT XVI, Homily, 25 January 2006). On the other hand, we know that the
father of lies prefers people who are divided and quarrelling to people who
have learned to work together.
You teach us that encountering one another does not mean having to look
alike, or think the same way or do the same things, listening to the same music
or wearing the same football jersey. No, not at all… The culture of encounter
is a call inviting us to dare to keep alive a shared dream. Yes, a great dream,
a dream that has a place for everyone. The dream for which Jesus gave his life
on the cross, for which the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost
and brought fire to the heart of every man and woman, in your hearts and mine,
in the hope of finding room to grow and flourish. A dream named Jesus, sown by
the Father in the confidence that it would grow and live in every heart. A
dream running through our veins, thrilling our hearts and making them dance
whenever we hear the command: “that you love one another; even as I have loved
you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my
disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34-35).
A saint from these lands liked to say that, “Christianity is not a
collection of truths to be believed, of rules to be followed, or of prohibitions.
Seen that way it puts us off. Christianity is a person who loved me immensely,
who demands and asks for my love. Christianity is Christ” (cf. Saint Oscar
Romero, Homily, 6 November 1977). It means pursuing the dream for which he gave
his life: loving with the same love with which he loved us.
We can ask: What keeps us united? Why are we united? What prompts us to
encounter each other? The certainty of knowing that we have been loved with a
profound love that we neither can nor want to keep quiet about a love that
challenges us to respond in the same way: with love. It is the love of Christ
that urges us on (cf. 2 Cor 5:14).
A love that does not overwhelm or oppress, cast aside or reduce to
silence, humiliate or domineer. It is the love of the Lord, a daily, discreet
and respectful love; a love that is free and freeing, a love that heals and
raises up. The love of the Lord has to do more with raising up than knocking
down, with reconciling than forbidding, with offering new changes than
condemning, with the future than the past. It is the quiet love of a hand
outstretched to serve, a commitment that draws no attention to itself.
Do you believe in this love? Is it a love that makes sense?
This is the same question and invitation that was addressed to Mary. The
angel asked her if she wanted to bear this dream in her womb and give it life,
to make it take flesh. She answered: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord;
let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Mary found the courage to
say “yes”. She found the strength to give life to God’s dream. The angel is
asking the same thing of each of you, and of me. Do you want this dream to come
alive? Do you want to make it take flesh with your hands, with your feet, with
your gaze, with your heart? Do you want the Father’s love to open new horizons
for you and bring you along paths never imagined or hoped for, dreamt or
expected, making our hearts rejoice, sing and dance?
Do we have the courage to say to the angel, as Mary did: Behold the
servants of the Lord; let it be done?
Dear young friends, the most hope-filled result of this Day will not be
a final document, a joint letter or a programme to be carried out. The most
hope-filled result of this meeting will be your faces and a prayer. Each of you
will return home with the new strength born of every encounter with others and
with the Lord. You will return home filled with the Holy Spirit, so that you
can cherish and keep alive the dream that makes us brothers and sisters, and
that we must not let grow cold in the heart of our world. Wherever we may be
and whatever we may do, we can always look up and say, “Lord, teach me to love
as you have loved us”. Will you repeat those words with me? “Lord, teach me to
love as you have loved us”.
We cannot conclude this first encounter without giving thanks. Thank you
to all those who have prepared this World Youth Day with so much enthusiasm.
Thank you for encouraging one another to build up and to welcome, and for
saying “yes” to God’s dream of seeing his sons and daughters gathered. Thank
you to Archbishop Ulloa and his team who have helped Panama to be today not
only a channel that joins oceans, but also a channel where God’s dream
continues to find new streams that enable it to grow, to multiply and to spread
to every corner of the earth.
Dear friends, may Jesus bless you and Santa Maria Antigua ever accompany you, so that we can say without fear, as she does: “I am here. Let it be done”. – Vatican News, 25 Jan 2019
The synagogue of Panama City is hosting a group
of WYD pilgrims. Rabbi Gustavo Kraselnik of the synagogue spoke to Seàn-Patrick
Lovett of Vatican News about the warm relations between his community and
Vatican – The Catholic Church’s World Youth Day is unfolding in
Panama City around Pope Francis, with thousands of young people from around the
world participating in various events.
One of the numerous venues where young people
are gathering is the Jewish
synagogue of Panama City, which speaks volumes about the close friendship
between Jews and Christians in the Central American nation.
To find more about this “strong and vibrant
collaboration” between the two communities, Seán-Patrick Lovett spoke to the
Jewish Rabbi of Panama City, Gustavo
Kraselnik, whose synagogue is hosting a group of 50 young participants in the WYD.
Rabbi Kraselnik said that this friendship is not
surprising as it comes to them naturally, not just with Catholics but with all
religions. Panama being a small country, they know each other well.
The rabbi pointed out that Jewish-Catholic
relations have greatly improved since Vatican II. In the last 15 to 20 years,
Jews and Catholics in Panama began to visit, meet and talk to each other more
frequently, to build a relationship based on respect and joining hands in good
Rabbi Kraselnik said that in their
neighbourhood, Jews talked with the parish of St. Lucas Parish to host a group
of WYD participants in their synagogue.
The rabbi said that relations between
religious communities depend on how much hope religious leaders bring in their
ecumenical or inter-faith dialogue, especially in moments of crisis and tension
such as the period of dictatorship in Panama. This, he said, benefits society.
With Panama a mosaic of diversity, Rabbi
Kraselnik said inter-religious friendship is only natural. – Robin
Gomes, 24 Jan 2019
The Cardinal Archbishop of Manila
leads a morning catechesis in Panama City, and challenges his young audience to
consider what it means to serve.
Vatican – Another day in
Panama. Another morning catechesis somewhere in the city. Another theme to help
young people immerse themselves in the spirit of a World Youth Day which, after
the arrival of the Pope, is now in full swing.
I am the Servant of the Lord
On Thursday morning, the Parish of Cristo Redentor opened its doors to
young pilgrims from California, Austria, Zimbabwe, and the Philippines.
The latter were by far the most numerous, and the most raucous. Their
excitement was partly motivated by the presence of their very own Archbishop of
Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. It was he who delivered the catechesis, or
reflection, on the chosen theme of the day: “I am the Servant of the Lord”.
Cardinal Tagle began by quizzing the young people present about who had
said these words, to whom, and why. Their responses (almost all correct),
allowed him to explain how Mary’s reaction to the Angel challenges us, too, to
think about what it means to place ourselves and our lives at the service of
God and our neighbour.
Young people want to serve
In an interview with Vatican News, Cardinal Tagle develops this concept
of service, turning it into a broader reflection on “how our contemporary
culture regards the terminology of servant, slave, slavery”.
“From the Old Testament to the New Testament”, he says, “there is a
radical re-appropriation of the language of slavery and servanthood which is
normally associated with dehumanization, something that is degrading”. The
Cardinal goes on to clarify how, “in the Judeo-Christian tradition, set in the
new context of Covenant Relationship”, this same language acquires something
that is joyful. It even becomes a sign of being “a disciple of Christ”.
According to the Archbishop of Manila, “young people everywhere are more
attracted to direct actions of service and charity”.
He admits that, “unfortunately, our approach to pastoral ministry
towards the youth very often starts with doctrinal initiation”. It’s only
afterwards that we get them involved in action. “But I see nowadays a need to
reverse the process”, he says: “Let them experience service of neighbour, and
let their hearts burn with service. Then you invite them to the “naming” of
The Cardinal believes the problem does not lie with the young people,
but with the pastoral approach of the Church. He is convinced, he says, that
“if we bring them to situations in need of their loving service, they will
gladly do it!”- Seán-Patrick Lovett, 24 Jan 2019
“Do not talk about others”. “If all of us were doing just that – not talking about others – peace would succeed. May the Lord prepare our hearts for the Christmas of the Prince of Peace. But, prepare us by doing us all, our part, to pacify: pacify my heart, my soul, pacify my family, the school, the neighborhood, the workplace “.
Vatican (AsiaNews) – Advent is the time to build peace in one’s own soul, in the family and in the world. And the first step is not to speak ill of others. Pope Francis said this in the homily of the Mass celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta, inspired by the First Reading of today’s Liturgy (Isaiah11,1-10) and the Gospel (Luke 10,21-24).
RELIGIOUS VOCATION AWARENESS SEMINAR
This seminar is for young men & women (aged 18-35) from 15-17th February 2019 (Fri-Sun) at Pace Bene, Papar. Contribution: RM40.00. Deadline: 10/2/2019. For registration & information, please call Bro. Thomas Paul @0126210082, 755811
Feb 02 – Erection of Keningau Diocese (1993)
Feb 07 – Erection of Prefecture Apostolic of North Borneo (1927)
Feb 14 – Erection of Apostolic Vicariate of Jesselton (1952)
Jan 06 – Rev. Erik Jerome (28th)
Jan 09 – Rev Francis Tsen (53rd)
Jan 09 – Rev Nicholas Stephen (22nd)
Jan 21 – Abp John Wong (1999)
Jan 24 – Installation of John Wong as 2nd KK Archbishop (2013)
Feb 02 – Rev Peter Abas (33rd)
Feb 12 – Rev Michael Modoit (19th)
Feb 24 – Rev Rhobby Mojolou (5th)
Feb 26 – Rev Mitchelly Kiun (5th)
Fr Russell Lawrine (014-9512131)
Fr Johny Raju (013-8025543)
Please contact them for ministry and spiritual guidance. They can also be contacted at Sacred Heart Cathedral Office 088-224741 and Stella Maris Parish Office 088-254321 respectively.
Bereaved families are to contact St Joseph Benevolent Fund office at 088-216321 or Thomas Chew at 010-9570393 for funeral arrangements and confirmation before making obituary announcement in local newspapers.
Feb 01 – Rev John Klijn mhm (1962)
Feb 04 – Rev Valentine Weber mhm (1944)
Feb 09 – Rev Francis Trampedeller mhm (1903)
Feb 13 – Br Benedict Martin Snoeren mhm (2017)
Feb 16 – Rev William Van Mens mhm (1941)
Feb 18 – Rev Oscar Driessen mhm (1900)
Feb 22 – Rev Joseph Dapoz mhm (2011)
Feb 22 – Rev Florian Jud mhm (2015)
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