26 International News

posted Apr 10, 2019, 8:33 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 10, 2019, 8:34 AM ]

Pope to celebrate Holy Thursday with prisoners

Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper with prisoners in Velletri, about 36 miles south of Rome. The Pope will celebrate the Mass and the foot-washing ritual at the Velletri Correctional Facility on April 18, the Vatican announced April 3. The late-afternoon visit will include a meeting with prisoners, prison staff, police and local leaders, as well as an exchange of gifts with the head of the facility.

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Pope asks nun to write Way of the Cross meditations

Pope Francis has asked an Italian nun who has been on the frontlines in the fight against human trafficking to write this year's Way of the Cross meditations. Consolata Sr Eugenia Bonetti, 80, will prepare the texts for the evening service on April 19, Good Friday, at Rome's Colosseum, Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican Press Office, said April 5.

Gisotti said, "The suffering of many people who are victims of human trafficking will be the central theme of the meditations," which are meant to help participants walk in Christ's footsteps and reflect on today's sins and sufferings, and how Christians should respond.

Sr Bonetti is a leader among religious women working against human trafficking. She started and led anti-trafficking initiatives for the Italian Union of Major Superiors, and helped educate officials in Italy and the United States about the problem.


Church in Pakistan looks to 2020 as 'Year of Youth'

"2020 will be the Year of Youth," said Archbishop Joseph Arshad of Islamabad, President of the Bishops' Conference of Pakistan. The Church in Pakistan, responding to the challenges launched by the Synod on Youth held in the Vatican, believes that the new generations "can promote the Gospel of peace through friendship and communion among young people belonging to various religions, ethnic groups and cultures." Young people are "active citizens called to work for the promotion of unity and harmony; they are responsible for change in society and can play a vital role in the nation." Starting from these considerations, the Pakistani Bishops believe that "the key factor for the life of young people is education", to which all must have access, especially those that come from minority religious communities. Education is essential "to bring peace to society and fight against injustice and corruption."

The Year of Youth aims to "give and spread the evangelical values of love, hope, unity, peace and mutual respect, so that young people can easily cultivate unity, peace, and harmony in our society, offering an example of coexistence among people of different faiths."


Pope's visit to parish leaves its mark

Pope Francis' visit to the parish of San Giulio Papa, in the neighbourhood of Monteverde, was marked especially by his meetings with various groups of parishioners.

The choice of San Giulio was prompted in part by the completion of restoration work, begun three years ago after the roof had collapsed. Speaking to those who undertook the work of renovation, Pope Francis said, "We must be attentive, in the parish community, so that the life of virtue, of the liturgical actions, of holiness, does not fall." He voiced his appreciation for the work, saying, "Thank you to the firm that has rebuilt the church; thanks too to the spiritual work of the pastor who works to ensure that the church will be holy."


Exodus 90: True freedom attained for men through daring 90-day challenge

What started in a seminary for men who were becoming priests has spread to a challenge daring young men of all ages and walks of life to become true men today. It is done through Exodus 90. It is a rigorous spiritual exercise composed of prayer, asceticism and fraternity, leading men to self-mastery and freedom in 90 days.

The co-founder and executive director says that within only three years, 15,000 men have participated.

James Baxter, Co-founder and Executive director, Exodus 90 says: "I think a challenge speaks deeply to the heart of men today. Pope Benedict said we were not made for comfort, but that we were made for greatness. Exodus has a way of intriguing men and ultimately calling them to something higher."

This is seen through self-denial from alcohol, sweets, video games, television and unnecessary internet use. There are also additions, such as cold showers, intense exercise, and meeting with a fraternity of like-minded men who are also participating.