16 Notes & Comments

posted Jan 4, 2019, 8:39 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 8:39 AM ]

Pope's Christmas Wish


On Christmas Day, Pope Francis prayed for peace and renewed brotherhood in Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and other parts of the world experiencing conflict.

"May all of us receive peace and consolation from the birth of the Saviour, and in the knowledge that we are loved by the one heavenly Father, realise anew that we are brothers and sisters and come to live as such," Pope Francis said from the centre loggia of St Peter's Basilica.

In his Urbi et Orbi blessing, Pope Francis said his Christmas wish is for brotherhood among people with different ideas that they might have the capability of listening to one another.

"By his incarnation, the Son of God tells us that salvation comes through love, acceptance, respect for this poor humanity of ours, which we all share in a great variety of races, languages and cultures," he explained.

The Pope prayed in particular for Israelis and Palestinians to "resume dialogue and undertake a journey of peace." He expressed hope that the truce brokered by the international community in Yemen may bring relief to "people exhausted by war and famine."


40 missionaries killed in 2018


In the course of the year 2018, 40 missionaries were killed throughout the world, almost double the 23 of 2017. After eight consecutive years in which the highest number of missionaries killed was recorded in America, in 2018, Africa took the first place in this tragic category.

According to the data collected by Fides, in 2018, 40 missionaries were killed: 35 priests, 1 seminarian, and 4 lay people. In Africa - 19 priests, 1 seminarian and 1 lay woman were killed (21); in America - 12 priests and 3 lay people were killed (15); in Asia, 3 priests were killed (3); in Europe, 1 priest was killed (1).

We are using the term "missionary" for all the baptised, aware that "in virtue of the Baptism received, every member of the People of God has become a missionary disciple. Each baptised person, whatever his function in the Church and level of instruction in the faith, is an active agent of evangelisation" (EG 120). The annual list tries to record all the baptised engaged in the life of the Church dying in a violent way, not only "in hatred of the faith". For this reason, we prefer not to use the term "martyrs", if not in its etymological meaning of "witness", in order not to enter into the question of the judgment that the Church might eventually deliver upon some of them.


FABC Seminar material

The FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences) Office of Clergy and Office of Laity & Family held a Seminar on "Pastoral Perspectives on Accompaniment of Families in the Light of AMORIS LAETITIA" for Bishops, Priests and Lay Leaders. The Seminar was held at the Redemptorist Centre at Pattaya, Thailand, from Nov. 19-23, 2018. The following presentations were made at the Seminar:

1. Keynote Address: The Spirit of AMORIS LAETITIA - by Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, D.D., Archbishop of Manila

2. Pre-Cana begins at Birth - by Dr Trudy and Alwyn Dantis, who were earlier involved with the Family Apostolate in our Archdiocese for some years, and are now based at Canberra, Australia, working for the Australian Bishops' Conference.

3. Listening and the Art of Accompaniment - by Fr Cajetan Menezes, who besides looking after the Family Apostolate in our Archdiocese and Kripa Foundation, was also interim Executive Secretary of the Office of Laity & Family of the FABC.

4. Guidelines for Family Ministry in Asia - by Wendy Louis of Singapore, former Executive Secretary of the Office of Laity & Family of the FABC.

5. Parish Church: A Family of Families - by Ligia and Deacon Jaime da Fonseca of Mumbai.


UK orders review into persecution of Christians


Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the UK "must do more" to help persecuted Christians and has ordered an independent review to assess if the British Government is doing enough.

The Foreign Office review will be led by the Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen, and will make recommendations on the practical steps the government can take to better support some of the 215 million Christians globally who faced persecution last year.

Mr Hunt said: "Britain has long championed international religious freedom. So often, the persecution of Christians is a telling early warning sign of the persecution of every minority."

Due to be published at Easter, the review will map the persecution of Christians in "key countries" in the Middle East, Africa and Asia; provide an analysis of current UK government support and offer recommendations for a "cohesive and comprehensive policy response".

The Foreign Office said the review would "consider some tough questions and offer ambitious policy recommendations."