26 International News

posted Mar 29, 2018, 7:40 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 7:42 AM ]

Young people write Stations of the Cross meditations for Good Friday at Colosseum

The meditations for the 14 Stations of the Cross on Good Friday at the Colosseum were released on March 24 by the Vatican, focusing on the experiences and challenges facing young people today. This year, the meditations have been written by a group of young people coordinated by Professor Andrea Monda.

It was Pope Francis' idea to ask young people to write the meditations, in a year in which the October Synod will be dedicating special time to them.

This year's meditations focus on a number of contemporary themes, such as migration, and living the message of Jesus in the era of the internet.

In the 10th station, author Greta Giglio writes that Jesus is stripped of his garments like "a young migrant, a broken body arriving in a land that is too often cruel, ready to take away his garment … and to sell it; left alone with his cross, like yours, with only his battered skin, like yours, with only his eyes full of great of pain, like yours."


Prayer for police officer killed in hostage case

Hundreds of people gathered in the Church of Saint-Etienne in the small French town of Trebes on Palm Sunday, to pray for the four people killed and three injured in a terror attack at a supermarket. The victims included Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, 44, who was killed after taking the place of a woman hostage on March 23. Loudspeakers broadcast the Mass to crowds outside the church.

The bishop of Carcassonne and Narbonne, Bishop Alain Planet, celebrated the Mass. Parish Priest Philippe Guitart warned against blaming Muslims in general for the attacks. "We must help people to learn to live together," he said. Bishop Planet said there had been a long friendship with Muslims in the community, and they were very badly affected by what had happened.


Christian sites damaged by Turkish bombing

On March 23, the Syrian government issued a statement in which they said Christian archaelogical sites in north-eastern Syria had been damaged or destroyed in air raids carried out by the Turkish military airforce. The Director of Syrian antiquities, Mahmoud Hamoud, was quoted saying that the bombing had devastated the area of Barad, which includes the remains of many Byzantine churches and monasteries and tombs dating back to the first centuries of Christianity.

Since 2011, it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Mr Hamoud said the Tomb of Saint Maron and the remains of the fourth century cathedral of San Giuliano had also been destroyed.


Pregnant mothers pay unique tribute to unborn children

Pregnant mothers carrying children, volunteers and staff of the Chile United Foundation celebrated the Day of the Unborn Child and Adoption on March 22 in front of Chile's presidential palace.

For four years, the NGO has gathered there to hand out carnations to passersby and to give them a message of hope, as a tribute to the unborn children they carry in their womb.

Chile passed a law Sept. 23, 2017 permitting abortion, if an unborn child is judged to be "non-viable," if a pregnancy poses risk to the life of the mother, and in cases of rape.

Initiatives like Chile United's celebration demonstrate that it is necessary to "continue working day and night with more effort than ever to be there for the woman in that crucial moment," Veronica Hoffman, executive director of Chile United, told ACI Prensa, the Spanish-language news partner of CNA.

"When you give emotional support, welcome and accompany her, women decide to continue with pregnancy," Hoffman said.

"What we are calling for today is to strengthen support programmes nationwide,"she added.

Chile United has programmes of support for women and their children, but the recently passed Abortion law also requires government support for women who chose to continue with a pregnancy.

The Chile United Foundation has been working for 19 years for the development of social and cultural values for human progress in the country. Their efforts include a support programme for women in crisis pregnancies, which has supported the birth of some 5,000 children, such as Yasna Gonzalez's child.


Aborting unborn with Down's syndrome - a genocide

Aborting a child with a pre-natal diagnosis of Down's syndrome is a gross violation of human rights and anti-discriminatory commitments, and can be considered genocide, according to speakers at a March 20 panel at the United Nations.

"Here at the United Nations, there is much sincere talk and normally passionate action to fight against unjust discrimination," said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Vatican nuncio to the United Nations. "But as firm as these commitments are in principle, many delegations, UN agencies and active members of civil society tolerate gross violations of these commitments in practice."

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Register for WYD Panama

Pope Francis became the first person to register for World Youth Day in Panama. All it takes is a trip to the World Youth Day official website worldyouthday.com/panama-2019. One must indicate whether he/she is a pilgrim, volunteer, bishop or wants to participate in the music festival. Groups of fewer than 150 people must register as a single group. Those exceeding that number must do so as a 'Macrogroup'.