Home » Archive by category 'Featured' (Page 170)

Asian youths inspired after pope challenges them

August 16th, 2014 Posted in Featured, International News

By

DANGJIN, South Korea — About 6,000 young people from 30 Asian countries had Pope Francis all to themselves for several hours Aug. 15.

The youths said they felt inspired after Pope Francis went off script to answer questions from pre-selected participants, watched a re-enactment of a modern-day prodigal son and also sat down to lunch with a small group at the Asian Youth Day conference in the Daejeon Diocese.

Pope Francis gestures as a young man takes a selfie during a meeting with Asian youth at the Sanctuary of Solmoe in South Korea Aug. 15. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis gestures as a young man takes a selfie during a meeting with Asian youth at the Sanctuary of Solmoe in South Korea Aug. 15. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The tent at the Solmoe Holy Ground crackled with music, cheering and the excitement of teens and young adults. Pope Francis said he would stay beyond the allotted time so he could answer young people’s questions.

To wild cheers, the pope asked the young people whether they were ready to be God’s witnesses.

“Are you ready to say yes? Are you ready?” he asked.

The crowd screamed, “Yes!”

Alexander John of Pakistan told reporters his heart started beating “double time” when he learned he was selected for the sit-down lunch with the pope. The youth minister from the Karachi archdiocese called the meeting a “dream come true.”

“He really made my day, he really made my life,” said John, 27.

Duc Dinh Nguyen, 28, told Catholic News Service that after he arrived in Seoul from Vietnam three years ago to get a degree in biology, he got swept up with how convenient life could be. “It made me (forget) God. I missed him.”

“After this event, my faith will be stronger,” he said.

After the Q-and-A session, a group of South Korean delegates danced to a pop song composed for the Asian Youth Day conference.

Lauren Kim said she “felt very blessed” when Pope Francis asked for a moment of prayer for the unification of North and South Korea.

“What impressed me the most was he said we have the same language,” Kim, a 19-year-old international relations major, told Catholic News Service. “And language has the power (to change the problems) we have in our divided nation. Especially I’m interested in solving those problems. I’m hoping I can use his knowledge and try to expand knowledge from what he told us.”

The Aug. 13-17 Asian Youth Day brought together youth leaders from about 30 countries to focus on formation and spiritual life. Solmoe Holy Ground is the birthplace of St. Andrew Kim Taegon, the first Korean priest, who was executed for his faith during a time of persecution of 10,000 Catholics.

St. John Paul II canonized St. Andrew Kim and 102 other martyrs in 1984. The day after meeting the young people, Pope Francis was to beatify 124 martyrs at a Mass in Seoul.

— By Simone Orendain

 

Comments Off on Asian youths inspired after pope challenges them

Pope says forgiveness key to reconciling divided Korea

August 15th, 2014 Posted in Featured, International News

By

Catholic News Service

SEOUL, South Korea — Addressing young people from Korea and other Asian countries on their concerns about the future, Pope Francis said the best hope for reunification of the divided Korean peninsula lay in brotherly love and a spirit of forgiveness.

“You are brothers who speak the same language,” the pope said Aug. 15. “When you speak the same language in a family, there is also a human hope.”

Pope Francis attends a welcoming ceremony with South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the garden of the Blue House in Seoul Aug. 14. The pope will beatify Korean martyrs and participate in the sixth Asian Youth Day during his five-day visit to South Korea. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis attends a welcoming ceremony with South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the garden of the Blue House in Seoul Aug. 14. The pope will beatify Korean martyrs and participate in the sixth Asian Youth Day during his five-day visit to South Korea. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The pope’s remarks came in response to a question from a young Korean woman, Marina Park, attending an Asian Youth Day gathering in Solmoe, about 60 miles south of Seoul. Park asked the pope how young South Korean Catholics should view communist North Korea after six decades of “reciprocal hatred” between the two countries.

“Are there two Koreas?” Pope Francis asked in response. “No, there is one, but it is divided, the family is divided.”

To promote reunification, the pope said he had one piece of advice to offer and one reason for hope.

“My advice is to pray, pray for our brothers in the North,” he said, “that there might not be victors and defeated, only one family.”

He then led the audience of some 6,000 people in silent prayer for Korean reunification.

To illustrate his reason for hope, Pope Francis cited the Old Testament story of Joseph, who forgave and fed his brothers even though they had sold him into slavery.

“When Joseph’s brothers went into Egypt to buy food because they were hungry, they found a brother,” he said. “Joseph noticed that they spoke the same language.”

The pope also cited the Gospel parable of the prodigal son, a familiar reference in his preaching. A group of young performers had enacted the parable onstage a few minutes earlier.

The prodigal son’s father embraced his repentant son immediately, “he didn’t let him speak, he didn’t even let him ask for pardon,” the pope said. “He celebrated.”

“We can do very ugly things, but please don’t despair,” he said. “There is always the Father who waits for us.”

Pope Francis’ answer was not part of the original program for the afternoon event, which called for him to read a prepared text in English, only the third time as pope that he has used the language before a live audience.

But with his usual tendency to improvise, the pope departed from his text and shifted into Italian to reply to the young people.

He also answered the question of a young Cambodian woman, Leap Lakaraksmey, who said she was trying to choose between entering religious life and continuing her university studies in order to help the poor in her native village.

“When the Lord calls, he always calls us to do good for others,” the pope said. “But you shouldn’t choose. The Lord chooses. You have to ask: ‘Lord, what should I do?’”

The pope also assured the young woman, who lamented the lack of canonized saints from her country, that he would ask the Congregation for Saints’ Causes to look into the possibility of recognizing the martyrdom of Catholics killed in Cambodia in the 1970s by the communist regime under Pol Pot.

Pope Francis notably did not answer the other person who had been allowed to question him publicly at the event: a young man from Hong Kong, Giovanni Pang, who asked how to help Catholics in China, where he said “control and oppression” were increasing as the church on the mainland grew.

China requires Catholics to register with a government-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association, which has ordained bishops without approval of the pope, and Chinese authorities have frequently arrested members of the so-called underground or clandestine Catholic communities there. According to unconfirmed reports in Korean media, some Chinese Catholics planning to attend events with Pope Francis had been prevented from traveling to South Korea.

After the event, Pang told reporters that the pope had assured him he would be praying for China.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Pope Francis had chosen to avoid “political” topics such as China at an event whose character was supposed to be “pastoral.”

The pope appeared at the Solmoe event following a lunch with Asian Youth Day participants from various countries and a visit to the reconstructed birthplace of St. Andrew Kim, the first native-born Korean priest, who was martyred in 1846 at the age of 25.

On his way into the tent set up for his meeting with young people, the pope was greeted with cheers and outstretched hands, many holding tablets and cell phone cameras. Before stepping up to the stage, he stopped and allowed one member of the audience to attach a yellow-ribbon pin to his cassock.

The pin has been adopted by family members of those killed in the April sinking of the Sewol ferry, some of whom the pope met earlier in the day, who are pressing the South Korean government to appoint an independent investigation of the disaster.

 

Comments Off on Pope says forgiveness key to reconciling divided Korea

Francis tells Koreans to resist materialism

By

 

Catholic News Service

SEOUL, South Korea — Celebrating Mass before some 50,000 people, Pope Francis prayed that Christian values overcome demoralization in economically successful societies.

“The hope held out by the Gospel is the antidote to the spirit of despair that seems to grow like cancer in societies which are outwardly affluent yet often experience inner sadness and emptiness,” the pope said Aug. 15 in his homily at the World Cup Stadium in Daejeon.

Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate Mass on the feast of the Assumption in World Cup Stadium in Daejeon, South Korea, Aug. 15. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate Mass on the feast of the Assumption in World Cup Stadium in Daejeon, South Korea, Aug. 15. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The pope voiced his hope that Christians in South Korea, the world’s 13th-largest economy, might “combat the allure of a materialism that stifles authentic spiritual and cultural values and the spirit of unbridled competition, which generates selfishness and strife.”

“May they also reject inhumane economic models which create new forms of poverty and marginalize workers, and the culture of death which devalues the image of God, the God of life, and violates the dignity of every man, woman and child,” he said.

Just before he dressed for the Mass, Pope Francis met outside the sacristy with 10 people involved in the April Sewol ferry disaster. Some were survivors of the incident that left 300 people, mostly teens, dead; some were relatives, and a few priests were among the group.

The pope embraced and blessed them, placing his hand on their heads. Some wiped away tears.

One man, who had been preparing for two years to become a Catholic, said he had suffered deeply because his son had died in the ferry disaster. He said he had walked hundreds of kilometers, round trip, from his town to the site of the accident, on a type of pilgrimage.

He asked the pope to baptize him, and Pope Francis agreed to baptize him privately at the nunciature Aug. 16, before the Mass to beatify 124 Korean martyrs.

At the end of Mass, before praying the Angelus, the pope mourned those killed when the Sewol sank.

“May this tragic event, which has brought all Koreans together in grief, confirm their commitment to work together in solidarity for the common good,” he said.

Pope Francis’ sobering words stood in contrast to the ebullience of the crowd, and of the pope himself, as he entered the stadium in an open-sided popemobile. The pope had traveled the 85 miles from Seoul by train instead of helicopter as originally planned. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said authorities thought the train would be safer because of rainy weather. The spokesman said Pope Francis had never ridden a high-speed rail and welcomed the experience.

As he entered the stadium, he was greeted by thousands of people performing the wave and holding signs of welcome, including a banner reading “we love you” in Italian.

The day was overcast but warm and humid, with temperatures reaching the mid-80s. Before the Mass, members of the congregation were asked not to fan themselves with the hats or booklets during the liturgy. Many women wore white lace veils, a tradition still widely practiced in Korea.

The pope celebrated the Mass, for the feast of the Assumption, in Latin, with the readings and responses in Korean. He delivered his homily in Italian.

 

 

 

Comments Off on Francis tells Koreans to resist materialism

LCWR Assembly: Religious women urged to evolve to serve changing church, world

By

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Religious congregations must evolve to meet the needs of a changing society and church, Sister Carol Zinn, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, told members of the organization during its annual assembly Aug. 12-15 in Nashville.

“Religious life is always a radical response to the Gospel in a particular historical and cultural context. It is always a response to where you are, making the Gospel present where we are,” Sister Carol said after delivering her presidential address Aug. 13, the first full day of the assembly.

Sister Carol Zinn, a Sister of St. Joseph, who is president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, receives a blessing before her Aug. 12 address at the annual LCWR assembly held in Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 12. LCWR members represent about 80 percent of the 51,600 women religious in the country. (CNS photo/Andy Telli, Tennessee Register)

Sister Carol Zinn, a Sister of St. Joseph, who is president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, receives a blessing before her Aug. 12 address at the annual LCWR assembly held in Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 12. LCWR members represent about 80 percent of the 51,600 women religious in the country. (CNS photo/Andy Telli, Tennessee Register)

“I want us to be clear about where we are,” the Sister of St. Joseph added.

LCWR has about 1,400 members who are leaders of their orders in the United States. The members represent about 80 percent of the 51,600 women religious in the country.

Many of the congregations of women religious among the LCWR’s membership are becoming smaller and their members are aging, Sister Carol noted. At the same time, the Catholic Church in the United States is changing along with the needs of the laity and people in society at large.

“When many of us started in religious life, our congregations were serving in an institutional way,” running schools, hospitals and other large institutions, Sister Carol said. “That’s shifting. We’re not doing the shifting, God is.”

Religious congregations might have to change how they live their charisms, she said. “It might not be consecrated life the way we’ve lived it.”

LCWR’s role is to help the leaders of congregations of women religious lead their communities during this time of change, Sister Carol said.

The organization held its annual assembly under the continuing doctrinal assessment by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which cited “serious doctrinal problems which affect many in consecrated life.” The assessment called for the organization’s reform to ensure its fidelity to Catholic teaching in areas including abortion, euthanasia, women’s ordination and homosexuality.

Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle was appointed to implement the doctrinal assessment by providing “review, guidance and approval, where necessary, of the work” of LCWR.

Members were expected to discuss the doctrinal assessment during four sessions closed to the press. After the assembly concluded, LCWR’s board planned to stay in Nashville for a few days to consider comments from members and to decide how to proceed regarding the doctrinal assessment, Sister Carol said.

LCWR is expected to release a statement after the board meeting.

In his remarks during the opening session, Archbishop Sartain told the 800 women in the audience he was there “to be with you as a brother and a friend.”

“We come because the Lord has called us and the Lord has sent us,” Archbishop Sartain said. “That is what unites us in our faith. … I know this is fertile ground for us to discuss our love of God.”

Oblate Father Hank Lemoncelli, representing the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, read a letter of welcome from the congregation’s prefect, Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz.

In the letter, the cardinal posed questions he is asking all men’s and women’s religious orders to contemplate as they prepare for the Year of Consecrated Life, which will begin Nov. 30.

Among the questions are:

• “At what point are we to return to the source of every form of Christian life and to the founding charisms of our institutes?”

• “Are our institutes adapting in an evangelical way to changing conditions?”

• “Is following Christ, as taught by the Gospels, the fundamental norm?”

• “Are we faithfully observing the spirit and names of our founders and foundresses so as to preserve their charism?”

• “Are obedience and authority dimensions of a life of true fraternity among us, or do they remain instruments of power and enslavement, perhaps disguised by unhealthy spirituality?”

In her presidential address, Sister Carol drew on the assembly’s location in Nashville, known throughout the world as Music City, for inspiration.

“This assembly comes at a time when our consciousness is increasingly heightened to the lamentations of our world, country, church and vocation,” she said. “And we are called to stand in those lamentations singing the music in God’s heart. As we begin this significant and important assembly, may we know where we really are, who we really are, and who we’re really called to become.”

Religious life continues to evolve, as it has throughout history, Sister Carol said.

“We look to the Gospel to see how this life is lived and we learn that the main melody is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing more and nothing less,” she said.

“What would religious life look like if we were to harmonize our charisms anew that freed us to live this life more fully, more creatively, more boldly, more at the periphery?” Sister Carol asked. “Could it be that the divestment of buildings, ministries, land, provinces and even congregations is the prelude to a new harmony?”

Sister Carol quoted Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”): “With Christ joy is constantly born anew.”

“In both formal and informal interviews, with impassioned clarity, Pope Francis identifies what that joy born anew looks like as it stands in the lamentations,” she added. “Discernment is a way of life. Community matters. Relationships come before anything and everything else. The church serves as a field hospital welcoming all. Consecrated life is to wake up the world with its mystical and prophetic presence. The co-essential dimensions of ecclesial communion are the hierarchic and the charismatic.”

Sister Carol encouraged the leaders of religious communities to be receptive to the changes in the world, the Church and their congregations. “All that we know about this life must be held lightly so conversion of worldview, ideology, ecclesiology and theology of this life in view of the God of the future can emerge.”

 

Comments Off on LCWR Assembly: Religious women urged to evolve to serve changing church, world

Pope’s Aug. 15 homily: Mary’s Assumption shows us our own destiny

August 15th, 2014 Posted in Featured, Vatican News

By

Homily of Pope Francis Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Daejeon, World Cup Stadium
15 August 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In union with the whole Church, we celebrate the Assumption of Our Lady, body and soul, into the glory of heaven. Mary’s Assumption shows us our own destiny as God’s adoptive children and members of the body of Christ. Like Mary our Mother, we are called to share fully in the Lord’s victory over sin and death, and to reign with him in his eternal Kingdom.

ROSE WINDOW DEPICTS MARY'S ASSUMPTION INTO HEAVENThe “great sign” presented in today’s first reading – a woman clothed in the sun and crowned by stars (cf. Rev 12:1) – invites us to contemplate Mary enthroned in glory beside her divine Son. It also invites us to acknowledge the future which even now the Risen Lord is opening before us. Koreans traditionally celebrate this feast in the light of their historical experience, seeing the loving intercession of Our Lady at work in the history of the nation and the lives of its people.

In today’s second reading, we heard Saint Paul tell us that Christ is the new Adam, whose obedience to the Father’s will has overturned the reign of sin and bondage and inaugurated the reign of life and freedom (cf. 1 Cor 15:24-25). True freedom is found in our loving embrace of the Father’s will. From Mary, full of grace, we learn that Christian freedom is more than liberation from sin. It is freedom for a new, spiritual way of seeing earthly realities. It is the freedom to love God and our brothers and sisters with a pure heart, and to live a life of joyful hope for the coming of Christ’s Kingdom.

Today, in venerating Mary, Queen of Heaven, we also turn to her as Mother of the Church in Korea. We ask her to help us to be faithful to the royal freedom we received on the day of our Baptism, to guide our efforts to transform the world in accordance with God’s plan, and to enable the Church in this country to be ever more fully a leaven of his Kingdom in the midst of Korean society. May the Christians of this nation be a generous force for spiritual renewal at every level of society. May they combat the allure of a materialism that stifles authentic spiritual and cultural values and the spirit of unbridled competition which generates selfishness and strife. May they also reject inhumane economic models which create new forms of poverty and marginalize workers, and the culture of death which devalues the image of God, the God of life, and violates the dignity of every man, woman and child.

As Korean Catholics, heirs to a noble tradition, you are called to cherish this legacy and transmit it to future generations. This will demand of everyone a renewed conversion to the word of God and a passionate concern for the poor, the needy and the vulnerable in our midst.

In celebrating this feast, we join the Church throughout the world in looking to Mary as our Mother of Hope. Her song of praise reminds us that God never forgets his promise of mercy (cf. Lk 1:54-55). Mary is the one who is blessed because “she believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord” (Lk 1:45). In her, all God’s promises have been proved trustworthy. Enthroned in glory, she shows us that our hope is real; even now it reaches as “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Heb 6:19) to where Jesus is seated in glory.

This hope, dear brothers and sisters, the hope held out by the Gospel, is the antidote to the spirit of despair that seems to grow like a cancer in societies which are outwardly affluent, yet often experience inner sadness and emptiness. Upon how many of our young has this despair taken its toll! May they, the young who surround us in these days with their joy and confidence, never be robbed of their hope!

Let us turn to Our Lady and implore the grace to rejoice in the freedom of the children of God, to use that freedom wisely in the service of our brothers and sisters, and to live and work as signs of the hope which will find its fulfillment in that eternal Kingdom where to reign is to serve. Amen.

Angelus Address following Mass on Feast of Assumption of Mary

Comments Off on Pope’s Aug. 15 homily: Mary’s Assumption shows us our own destiny

Pope Francis arrives in South Korea, calls for peace, democracy and social justice

By

Catholic News Service

SEOUL, South Korea — Starting his first visit to Asia, Pope Francis urged South Korean political and civic leaders to seek peace on their divided peninsula and strengthen their nation’s commitment to democracy and social justice.

“Peace is not simply the absence of war, but the work of justice,” the pope said Aug. 14 in a speech at Seoul’s Blue House, the official residence of President Park Geun-hye.

Addressing some 200 government officials, Pope Francis noted that the country, divided between North and South since the end of the Korean War in 1953, “has long suffered because of a lack of peace,” and he praised

“efforts being made in favor of reconciliation and stability.”

Pope Francis arrives with South Korean President Park Geun-hye for a welcoming ceremony in the garden of the Blue House in Seoul Aug. 14. The pope will beatify Korean martyrs and participate in the sixth Asian Youth Day during his five-day visit to South Korea. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis arrives with South Korean President Park Geun-hye for a welcoming ceremony in the garden of the Blue House in Seoul Aug. 14. The pope will beatify Korean martyrs and participate in the sixth Asian Youth Day during his five-day visit to South Korea. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Introducing the pope before his speech, President Park said the war “still casts a shadow” over Korea, “dividing not only the country but so many families.”

Tensions with communist North Korea have risen markedly in recent years, especially over Pyongyang’s development of nuclear arms. Less than an hour before the pope’s plane landed in Seoul, North Korea fired three short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan in the latest of a large number of missile tests it began launching in March.

Pyongyang had already refused the church’s request to send a delegation of Catholics to the South for the pope’s visit.

“Korea’s quest for peace is a cause close to our hearts, for it affects the stability of the entire area and indeed of our whole war-weary world,” the pope said.

Speaking in English in public for first time as pope, he told diplomats in the audience, who included envoys of other Asian countries, that they faced the “perennial challenge of breaking down the walls of distrust and hatred by promoting a culture of reconciliation and solidarity.”

That task, he said, “demands that we not forget past injustices but overcome them through forgiveness, tolerance and cooperation.”

Pope Francis practiced some diplomacy of his own earlier in the day. As his plane entered Chinese airspace, the first time any papal flight had passed over the country, he sent a telegram of prayers and greetings to China’s President Xi Jinping.

The Vatican and the Chinese government have struggled over issues of religious freedom, including the pope’s right to appoint bishops, and have not had diplomatic relations since shortly after China’s 1949 communist revolution.

In a statement faxed to news agencies, China’s foreign ministry acknowledged the pope’s telegram and said its government is willing to work with the Vatican to improve bilateral relations.

The pope’s gesture was undercut by Korean press reports that Chinese authorities had arrested young people planning to attend an Asian Youth Day event with Pope Francis. A spokesman for the South Korean committee organizing the papal visit confirmed that some Chinese had been unable to travel to Korea.

“Maybe it’s because of the Chinese local situation or some complicated situation in China,” Father Heo Young-yeop told reporters Aug. 14, but said he would not say more out of “fear for the safety” of the Chinese youths in Korea after they return to China.

In his speech to the South Korean authorities, the pope noted some of their country’s domestic problems, including “political divisions, economic inequities and concerns about the responsible stewardship of the natural environment.”

Addressing such challenges, he said, requires that the “voice of every member of society be heard, and that a spirit of open communication, dialogue and cooperation be fostered.” He also expressed hope for the strengthening of Korean democracy, which replaced authoritarian rule in the late 1980s after a popular movement in which Catholics played a prominent role.

The pope urged the leaders to show special concern for the “poor, the vulnerable and those who have no voice, not only by meeting their immediate needs but also by assisting them in their human and cultural advancement.”

He said South Korea, the world’s 13th-largest economy, should be a “leader also in the globalization of solidarity which is so necessary today: one which looks to the integral development of every member of our human family.”

President Park met Pope Francis’ plane in the morning at a military air base south of Seoul. Both of them voiced hopes that the pope’s Aug. 14-18 visit would help promote reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.

Also greeting the pope’s plane were family members of some of the 300 people killed in the April sinking of the Sewol ferry.

“My heart aches for you,” the pope told them. “I remember the victims.”

Other relatives were demonstrating during the pope’s visit, demanding that the government appoint an independent investigation of the disaster.

In the afternoon, the president welcomed the pope to the Blue House, named for the color of the tiles on its roof, where the two leaders reviewed an honor guard before meeting in private with a few advisers. In the customary exchange of gifts, Pope Francis presented President Park with a panoramic map of Rome, one of only 300 copies engraved and printed by hand to mark the jubilee year 2000.

President Park gave the pope a piece of embroidered fabric as an example of traditional Korean craftsmanship.

 

Comments Off on Pope Francis arrives in South Korea, calls for peace, democracy and social justice

Pope Francis urges U.N. to end violence against religious minorities in Iraq

August 13th, 2014 Posted in Featured, Vatican News

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis formally asked U.N. agencies and the entire international community “to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway” in northeastern Iraq.

In a letter signed Aug. 9, but released by the Vatican only after it had been delivered, Pope Francis told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon immediate action was needed “to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities.”

An Iraqi Christian refugee holds a 12-day-old baby in Ankawa, Iraq, Aug. 7. Witnesses claim refugees are dying in the crowded camps. (CNS photo/Sahar Mansour

An Iraqi Christian refugee holds a 12-day-old baby in Ankawa, Iraq, Aug. 7. Witnesses claim refugees are dying in the crowded camps. (CNS photo/Sahar Mansour

The papal letter was sent after militants of the Islamic State terrorist organization had captured Mosul in late July and Qaraqosh in early August, killing hundreds of people and forcing tens of thousands of Christians, Yezidis and other religious and ethnic minorities from their homes.

The U.S. military began airstrikes against the Islamic state Aug. 8 as well as airdrops of food and water for Iraqi minorities who had been forced to flee.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Aug. 13 that Pope Francis was using language in line with the development in Catholic social teaching and international ethics on humanitarian intervention and the “obligation to protect” people facing widespread massacres and outright genocide.

He pointed to Pope Benedict XVI’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly in 2008: “Recognition of the unity of the human family, and attention to the innate dignity of every man and woman, today find renewed emphasis in the principle of the responsibility to protect. This has only recently been defined, but it was already present implicitly at the origins of the United Nations.”

If a nation cannot guarantee the protection of its citizens, Pope Benedict had said, “the international community must intervene with the juridical means provided in the United Nations Charter and in other international instruments.”

Father Lombardi said Pope Francis was not dictating the use of internationally sanctioned military power against the Islamic State or “giving specific operational indications — that is the responsibility of the international community to determine.”

Pope Francis, referring to the U.N.’s foundation immediately after the horrors of World War II, told Ban: “The tragic experiences of the 20th century, and the most basic understanding of human dignity, compels the international community, particularly through the norms and mechanisms of international law, to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities.”

“It is with a heavy and anguished heart that I have been following the dramatic events of these past few days in northern Iraq,” the pope told Ban.

Pope Francis noted that he had sent Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the former nuncio to Iraq and current prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, to Iraq to express the church’s concern “for the intolerable suffering of those who only wish to live in peace, harmony and freedom in the land of their forefathers.” The cardinal arrived in Amman, Jordan, Aug. 12 and expected to reach Irbil, Iraq, Aug. 13, Father Lombardi said.

The presidents of 36 bishops’ conferences belonging to the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences sent a letter Aug. 12 to each member of the U.N. Security Council, calling for “decisions that would stop these acts of atrocity” in Iraq.

The purpose of the U.N. Security Council, the bishops said, is “to ensure international peace and security and to promote human rights,” something which requires real action and immediate decisions regarding Iraq.

 

Comments Off on Pope Francis urges U.N. to end violence against religious minorities in Iraq

Ministry of Caring breaks ground for new affordable housing project

By

Staff reporter

 

WILMINGTON – Nearly four years after announcing plans for a housing project for low-income senior citizens on Wilmington’s East Side, the Ministry of Caring broke ground Aug. 11 on Sacred Heart Village II. The latest addition to the Ministry’s network of facilities will provide desperately needed affordable housing when it opens next year, according to Brother Ronald Giannone, a Capuchin priest who is the executive director.

Brother Ronald Giannone, a Franciscan Capuchin priest, and other dignitaries brake ground Aug. 11 on Sacred Heart Village II on 10th Street in Wilmington. wwwDonBlakePhotography.

Brother Ronald Giannone, a Franciscan Capuchin priest (third from right), and other dignitaries brake ground Aug. 11 on Sacred Heart Village II on 10th Street in Wilmington. wwwDonBlakePhotography.

“If you go to any senior housing project, especially those that create affordable housing, the (waiting) list is an arm’s length long,” he said. “We have a hundred on our waiting list at Sacred Heart Village I on the west side.

“Believe me, the place will be full before we open the doors.”

Sacred Heart Village II will be located on 10th Street between Kirkwood and Spruce streets, near Howard High School. A large crowd attended the groundbreaking, including Gov. Jack Markell, U.S. Rep. John Carney, state and local elected officials, a representative from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, representatives of foundations that helped fund the project, and local residents.

Sacred Heart Village II is part of HUD’s Section 202 program, which provides housing for low-income seniors. Residents will be charged 30 percent of their income to live in one of the 26 units. HUD will pay the other 70 percent. The village is designed so that residents can “age in place,” with transportation and activities, a convenience store and café, recreational activities, off-street parking, security and access to other amenities.

“Projects like this … are really an anti-poverty housing success program,” Brother Ronald said. “Once the poor live in this house, they can live there the rest of their life. (Section 202) is one of the most successful programs.”

Brother Ronald said those on the waiting list for Sacred Heart Village I, located on North Monroe Street, will receive letters inviting them to apply for the new location, as will local residents.

Mark Reardon, past president of the Ministry of Caring’s board of directors, said at the groundbreaking that the project has been delayed since its approval in January 2011 by numerous financial, political and legal challenges, including a lawsuit that was intended to prevent it from being built. The lawsuit, filed by two area residents, was resolved in the Ministry of Caring’s favor by the state Supreme Court. All those challenges were reasons not to proceed, but “there was one good reason to build it. It was the right thing to do,” Reardon said.

In his remarks to the crowd, Brother Ronald said the village represents what can happen when parties get together with a single purpose. Sacred Heart Village II received funding or assistance from four levels of government – federal, state, county and city – and was aided by private foundations, dedicated Ministry of Caring employees and others committed to the mission, such as the lawyers who offered their services pro bono.

“God has heard our cry and will gather us together again as we dedicate this building next year,” he said.

HUD provided a grant of $4.2 million, while the Delaware State Housing Authority contributed $1.3 million. The city of Wilmington and New Castle County also awarded grants, and the Laffey McHugh Foundation, the Longwood Foundation, the JP Morgan Chase Foundation and the Welfare Foundation are supporting the project. The total cost of Sacred Heart Village is estimated at $7.1 million.

Markell took the opportunity to praise Brother Ronald, as did most of the speakers, for his commitment to the poor in Delaware. The Ministry of Caring, he said, transforms lives.

“You were the guiding light. You were the driver,” he told Brother Ronald.

With the number of people waiting for housing, coupled with the increasing older population, this may not be the last project for the Ministry of Caring, Brother Ronald said. “I think we need to build Sacred Heart Village III, IV, V and VI.”

Comments Off on Ministry of Caring breaks ground for new affordable housing project

Annual diocesan Marian pilgrimage set for Sept. 27 at Holy Spirit Church

By

Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR, an author of books on the Blessed Mother and a producer of TV shows on the EWTN network, will preach at the holy hour during the annual Diocese of Wilmington Marian Pilgrimage.

The pilgrimage is set for Sept. 27 at the Shrine of Our Lady, Queen of Peace at Holy Spirit Church in New Castle.

The events begin at 1 p.m. with the holy hour and Benediction. The pilgrimage will include a Mass in honor of Mary celebrated by Bishop Malooly at 4 p.m. Read more »

Comments Off on Annual diocesan Marian pilgrimage set for Sept. 27 at Holy Spirit Church

Actor describes faith journey, commitment to serving nation’s veterans

By

Catholic News Service

ORLANDO, Fla. (CNS) — His knowing smile and everyman disposition are instantly recognizable on screen.

Those qualities were not lost on some 2,000 Knights of Columbus, their families and church leaders who were delighted by a surprise encounter with actor Gary Sinise during the fraternal organization’s Aug. 5-7 convention in Orlando.

He spoke at the States Dinner Aug. 5 about his love for wounded veterans and a new collaboration between the Knights and his own charitable foundation. Read more »

Comments Off on Actor describes faith journey, commitment to serving nation’s veterans
Marquee Powered By Know How Media.