18 Notes & Comments

posted May 23, 2018, 10:09 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 23, 2018, 10:09 AM ]

The "revolution" of Missionary Childhood: for 175 years, "children help children"


"A new style of mission is born with the Missionary Childhood Society that focuses on the grace of baptism, from which springs the missionary nature of every Christian, and also recognises the right of children to receive it and the duty to give it.

For the first time in the Church, children have become active subjects of evangelisation, protagonists of pastoral care, in their simplicity and humility. For 175 years this Society, also called Missionary Childhood, fulfils the mission of saving children with children." With these words, Sr Roberta Tremarelli, AMSS, Secretary General of the Pontifical Childhood Missionary Society, explained the particularity and novelty brought by this Society in the field of missionary animation and pastoral care of children.

On May 19, 1843, the Society of the Holy Childhood was officially born, and the will of the founder, Msgr Charles de Forbin Janson is expressed in its name: to entrust it to the protection of the Child Jesus. Born in Paris in 1785, from an illustrious and Catholic family, Charles de Forbin Janson attended the Chapel of the Institute of Foreign Missions in Paris during the Seminary, thus coming in contact with the missionaries. He listened to the stories of their work in China and to the thousands of children whom priests and nuns welcomed, looked after, educated, baptised. His missionary spirit was further strengthened after his priestly ordination. At the age of 38, he was ordained Bishop of Nancy, and immediately began to organise retreats and missions in all the parishes of his diocese.


Asia home to 69 per cent of world's malnourished children


Asia is home to 69 per cent of all malnourished children under five. This represents 35 million children, with 12.1 million suffering from serious malnourishment. Of the total number, 26.9 million are in South Asia with 5.1 million in South-East Asia.

These worrying figures are found in the latest report on 'Levels and Trends in Child Malnutrition' issued by UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and the World Bank.

"Asia is home to the majority of children under 5 suffering from malnourishment," the report says. Malnourishment threatens the life of one Asian child in ten. The study analyses three types of child malnutrition: stunting, in which children are too short for their age; obesity, which occurs when children weigh too much for their height; and wasting, when children are too thin for their height.

Children experience stunting growth when there is "poor nutrition in-utero and early childhood", whereas wasting occurs as a result of poor nutrient intake and/or disease.


Plastic pollution needs to be curbed: UN Environment head


Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental threats, and countries need better waste management to cope with the sheer quantity of plastic rubbish that is fouling the waters and environment, said United Nations Environment head Erik Solheim.

"Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental threats the planet is facing right now," Solheim emphasised.

Sample these startling facts about plastic pollution. Every year, the world uses 500 billion plastic bags. Fifty per cent of the plastic we use is single-use or disposable. Each year, at least eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans, the equivalent of a full garbage truck every minute.

In the last decade, the world produced more plastic than in the whole of the last century.

"We're throwing up to 13 million tonnes of plastic waste into the oceans each year, and in the next decade, that could double. We're turning the oceans into a plastic soup," the UN Under-Secretary-General told IANS in an exclusive online interview.

"This has to stop, and right now, because it's harming marine life, and ending up in our own food and water supplies. If it's not resolved, this is a problem that will come back to bite us. It's also a problem that's difficult to clean up.