Tag Archives: 2018-10

Pope emphasizes importance of truth in journalism

Pope Francis (file photo) (Vatican Media)

Vatican – Pope Francis has sent a message to the Italian news agency SIR (Servizio Informazione Relgiosa/Religious Information Service) in time for the thirtieth anniversary of its publication. The agency was founded in order to help better communicate information relating to both religious and world affairs to the Italian Catholic Church.

“Continue your work”

In his address the Pope began by reminding the workers of SIR that “Thirty years is a long time, but it is not the end of the line. Therefore, continue your work with the same novelty with which your founding fathers have thought, and thereby brought about a unique project, an instrument for information to connect the Italian territories with each other and their Diocese’s.” The Pope went on to note that the agency is an instrument of socio-cultural communion between Italian Catholics.

Committed to truth and impartiality

Pope Francis praised the vision of the first president of SIR, Mons Giusseppe Cacciami, who hoped that the agency would be judged for its commitment to truth and impartiality when reporting. The Pope suggested that Mons Cacciami’s wishes are particularly important today, as the world witnesses the rise of “Fake news.” He therefore exhorted the journalists of SIR to “Continue to practice your profession, always tending towards the truth, for that is the best antidote and most effective way to combat falsity.”

A voice for those who have no voice

Towards the end of the message Pope Francis asked that journalists become a voice for someone who has no voice themselves. The Pope promised to accompany those journalists as they take on this work, saying that he will always be willing to listen to them and to build bridges within the communities in which they work.- John Waters, Vatican News, 29 Oct 2018

Pope Francis: Synod must continue to work in our hearts

As the XV General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops draws to a close, Pope Francis thanks those who took part. He gave thanks especially to the young people who “brought us their music here in the Hall.

Pope Francis offers his reflections at the conclusion of the final session of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (Vatican Media)

Speaking off the cuff at the conclusion of the General Assembly of the Synod, Pope Francis emphasised three main points that, he said, “I carry in my heart.”

The Synod is not a parliament

First, he reminded those present at the Synod that “the Synod is not a Parliament.” Rather, the Synod is a “protected space” where the Holy Spirit is allowed to work. For this reason, the information about what happened in the Synod was more general, with few specific details released. “Let us not forget this,” the Pope said: “It was the Spirit who worked here.”

The Synod must work in our hearts

Pope Francis’ second point related to the final document of the Synod, which was approved on Saturday. However, the Pope said, “the result of the Synod is not a document.” Rather, the Synod must “work in our hearts.” He continued, “the Spirit gives us the document to work in our hearts. We are the recipients of the document, not the people outside.” In order to for the document to work, he said, it is important “to pray with the document, study it, ask for light.”

Combat the Great Accuser with prayer and penance

Finally, the Pope said “I think of our Mother, Holy Mother Church.” The final document recognises that the Church is holy, even if we “Her children, are sinners.” Pope Francis said, the “Great Accuser” always takes advantage of our sins; and now, in particular, “he is accusing strongly, and this accusation becomes persecution.” That persecution, he explained, is not only the physical violence we see in some parts of the world, but also accusations designed to smear the Church. Although individual Catholics are dirty, the Church is not – and for this reason, the Pope said, “it is time to defend our Mother; and our Mother is defended against the Great Accuser with prayer and penance.” That, he said, is why he requested the faithful to pray the Rosary, and to pray to Saint Michael throughout the month of October. “It is a difficult moment,” the Pope said, “because the accuser attacks our Mother [the Church] through us, and the Church is not touched. I wanted to say this ‘from the heart’ at the end of the Synod.”

Pope Francis concluded, “Now, the Holy Spirit gives you this document for all of us, and also for me, to reflect on what He wants to say to us. Thank you very much; thank you, everyone!”- Christopher Wells, Vatican News, 28 Oct 2018


Letter from the Synod Fathers to young people

Full text of the Letter from the Synod Fathers to Young People, read at the conclusion of the final Mass.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri reads the “Letter from the Synod Fathers to Young People” at the conclusion of the final Mass (Vatican Media)

XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

We the Synod Fathers now address you, young people of the world, with a word of hope, trust and consolation. In these days, we have gathered together to hear the voice of Jesus, “the eternally young Christ”, and to recognize in Him your many voices, your shouts of exultation, your cries, and your moments of silence.

We are familiar with your inner searching, the joys and hopes, the pain and anguish that make up your longings. Now we want you to hear a word from us: we wish to be sharers in your joy, so that your expectations may come to life. We are certain that with your enthusiasm for life, you will be ready to get involved so that your dreams may be realized and take shape in your history.

Our weaknesses should not deter you; our frailties and sins must not be an obstacle for your trust. The Church is your mother; she does not abandon you; she is ready to accompany you on new roads, on higher paths where the winds of the Spirit blow stronger – sweeping away the mists of indifference, superficiality and discouragement.

When the world that God so loved, that he gave us his only Son, Jesus, is focused on material things, on short-term successes, on pleasures, and when the world crushes the weakest, you must help it to rise up again and to turn its gaze towards love, beauty, truth and justice once more.

For a month, we have walked together with some of you and with many others who have been united to us through prayer and affection. We wish to continue the journey now in every part of the earth where the Lord Jesus sends us as missionary disciples.

The Church and the world urgently need your enthusiasm. Be sure to make the most fragile people, the poor and those wounded by life your traveling companions.

You are the present; be a brighter future. – Vatican news, 28 Oct 2018

The Synod on Young People: What does the Final Document Say?

On Saturday afternoon, the Final Document of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops consisting of 3 parts, 12 chapters, 167 paragraphs and 60 pages is approved in the Synod Hall.

Group photo of the participants in the Synod for Youth (Vatican Media)

The text was received with applause, Cardinal da Rocha said. It is “the result of real teamwork” on the part of the Synod Fathers, together with other Synod participants and “the young people in a particular way”. The Document, therefore, gathers the 364 modifications, or amendments, that were presented. “Most of them,” the Cardinal said, “were precise and constructive”. Furthermore, the entire document passed with the necessary 2/3 majority voting in favor.

The inspiration for the Final Document for the Synod on Youth is the episode of the disciples of Emmaus, recounted by the evangelist Luke. It was read in the Synod Hall by the Rapporteur General, Cardinal Sérgio da Rocha, by the Special Secretaries, Fr Giacomo Costa and Fr Rossano Sala, together with Bishop Bruno Forte, a member of the Commission for the drafting of the text. It is complementary to the Instrumentum laboris of the Synod, and follows the three-part subdivision.

Part One: “He walked with them”

The first part of the document considers concrete aspects of young people’s lives. It emphasizes the important of schools and parishes. It acknowledges the need for laity to be trained to accompany young people especially since so many priests and bishops are already overburdened. The Document notes the irreplaceable role of Catholic educational institutions. The challenge the Document addresses is the need to rethink the role of the parish in terms of its vocational mission because it is often ineffective and not very dynamic, above all in the realm of catechesis.

The reality of young people regarding migration, abuse, the “throwaway culture” are also dwelt on in part one. Regarding abuse, the Synod Document calls for a “firm commitment for the adoption of rigorous preventive measures that will keep such abuse from being repeated, beginning with the selection and formation of those to whom leadership and educational roles are entrusted”. The world of art, music and sports is also discussed in terms of using them as “pastoral resources”.

Part Two: “Their eyes were opened”

The Synod Document calls young people one of the “theological places” in which the Lord makes himself present. Thanks to them, it says, the Church can renew herself, shaking off its “heaviness and slowness”. Mission, it says is a “sure compass” for youth since it is the gift of self that brings an authentic and lasting happiness. Closely connected with the concept of mission is vocation. Every baptismal vocation is a call to holiness.

Two other aspects covered in part two that aid in the development of the mission and vocation of young people are that of accompaniment and discernment.

Part Three: “They left without delay”

The icon presented by the Synod Fathers of the young Church is Mary Magdalene, the first witness of the Resurrection. All young people, the Synod Fathers affirm, including those with different visions of life, are in God’s heart.

“Walking together” is the synodal dynamic which the Fathers also bring to light in the part three. They invite the Conferences of Bishops’ around the world to continue the process of discernment with the aim of developing specific pastoral solutions. The definition of “synodality” provided is a style for mission that encourages us to move from “I” to “we” and to consider the multiplicity of faces, sensitivities, origins and cultures. One request repeatedly made in the hall, was that of establishing a “Directory of youth ministry in a vocational key” on the national level, that can help diocesan and parish leaders qualify their training and action “with” and “for” young people, helping to overcome a certain fragmentation of the pastoral care of the Church.

The Synod Document reminds families and Christian communities of the importance of accompanying young people to discover the gift of their sexuality. The bishops recognize the Church’s difficulty in transmitting “the beauty of the Christian vision of sexuality” in the current cultural context. It is urgent, the document says, to seek “more appropriate ways which are translated concretely into the development of renewed formative paths”.

In the end, the Document brings the various topics covered in the Synod into one vocational thrust, that is, the call to holiness. “Vocational differences are gathered in the unique and universal call to holiness”. Through the holiness of so many young people willing to renounce life in the midst of persecution in order to remain faithful to the Gospel, the Church can renew its spiritual ardor and its apostolic vigor. – Vatican News, 27 Oct 2018

Catholic Nurses Guild Malaysia hosts CICIAMS 20th World Congress

KUCHING – The “pioneering spirit” of the Church and early missionaries contributed to Sarawak’s social and human development, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.

He said the missionaries had ventured into the jungles of Borneo to help the rural population by setting up schools for education and small clinics for health-care.

“I am one of the beneficiaries of such a school. If it had not been set up, I might not be standing here today,” the guest-of-honour said when opening the International Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants’ (CICIAMS) 20th World Congress here on 5 Sept 2018.

Uggah added that the clinics set up by the missionaries, which were staffed by Sisters and laypersons trained as nurses and midwives, became the backbone and foundation of government medical clinics as the state developed.

The congress, which takes place once in four years, was held at the Riverside Majestic Hotel  from 4-7 Sept 2018.

Also present at the global event, which was hosted by Catholic Nurses Guild Malaysia, were Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect for the Dicastery for promoting Integral Human Development; Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino, Papal Nuncio; Bishop Cornelius Sim, Episcopal President of the Commission of Pastoral Healthcare of the Bishop’s Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei; and Archbishop Simon Poh of the Archdiocese of Kuching.

The four-day congress, held for the first time here, attracted about 300 delegates from Malaysia and 18 from other countries.

On the congress, Uggah said its focus on issues affecting children, youth and the elderly would provide tools for education, sustaining life and promoting human development through the nursing and healthcare profession.

Cardinal Turkson reminded Catholic nurses that they are “ministers of life, and that sustainable care was done by Jesus Christ.”   Referring to the theme of the congress, the Cardinal urged Catholic nurses to “educate, provide sustainable care and respect life”.

CICIAMS, through the congress, aims to provide a forum for its members to share experience on issues of education for sustainable health, engaging development and respecting life across the human life cycle.

In line with this year’s theme: Education for Sustainable Health: Engaging Development, Respecting Life, the congress hoped to achieve the objectives of 1) Improving and developing skills and expertise in the nursing profession in the context of the Catholic faith; 2) Sharing of global, regional and countries’ evidence for the development of tools to educate, sustain life and promote health for all and to enable each person to live with dignity; and 3) Equipping delegates with strategies to assist individuals and communities to live life with meaning and purpose through the life cycle of the human person.

Delegates returning home were strongly recommended to promote the Social teachings of the Church, to reach out to the needy, to see Christ in every person and ‘may they see Christ in us’. The church does not wait for the wounded to knock on her doors; she looks for them in the streets, she gathers them in, she embraces them, and she makes them feel loved in the name of God in Mercy.

Catholic Nurses were urged to upgrade their nursing development via continuous education and engagement with research in evidence based learning.

The congress concluded with the statement that the Church considers service to people who are sick and suffering an integral part of the Church mission.

At the same time, the congress has affirmed that CICIAMS will promote the scientific and pastoral response of the Holy See to questions relating to Human Dignity, Migration, Health Care, Charitable works and care of creation. – Francisca Malantin, thestar, and others

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