20 International News

posted Sep 11, 2018, 10:16 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 10:16 AM ]

Forum for peace on the Korean peninsula

To share an approach of peace and reconciliation applied to politics and society, to share experiences and launch a message of unity: with this spirit, Cardinals and Bishops from all over Asia gathered in South Korea to take part in the 'Korean Peninsula Peace-Sharing Forum', hosted and organised by the Archdiocese of Seoul, which began on September 1, at the Campus Seongshin of the Catholic University of the Korean capital. The Forum, now in its third edition, saw the participation of the main religious leaders of Asia, under the theme 'Human dignity and peace: a journey for the Korean peninsula'.

Cardinal Andrea Yeom Soo-Jung, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, opened the meeting, while Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, Apostolic Nuncio in Korea, expressed Pope Francis' closeness to the participants. Speeches were given by Cardinals Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai (India), Luis Tagle, Archbishop of Manila (Philippines), Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon (Myanmar) and Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw, of the diocese of Lahore (Pakistan).

Cardinal Andrea Yeom recalled the words of Pope Francis during his visit to South Korea in 2014: "The Christian communities in Asia are indeed a small flock, but have the mission of spreading the light of the Gospel to the end of the world", underlining that only through the cooperation between churches, the "true mission of humanisation and evangelisation of the Korean peninsula" can be carried out.


Filipinos honour Mary

Millions of devotees joined this year's observance in the Philippines of the devotion to the 'Our Lady of Penafrancia' on Sept. 7. The wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, supposedly a copy of the original image in Spain, has been venerated in Naga City, in the Philippines' Bicol region since the 1700s. A Spanish priest supposedly ordered a local artisan to carve an image from a picture he carried with him, and started the devotion to Mary, called "Ina" or mother by the locals.

During this year's celebration, Church leaders are urging Catholics to "imitate Mary's humble service" and "find greatness in humility" amid the temptations of material possessions and power.

"The fiesta of Ina is not only an occasion that gathers people from all over for merriment, but also a moment to deepen our Christian faith and foster our union as a people," said Fr Louie Occiano of Caceres Archdiocese.


Cardinal Nichols awarded for work against slavery

The Archbishop of Westminster has been awarded the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award for his role as President of the Santa Marta Group, which is focused on eradicating modern slavery and human trafficking.

The award honours high achievers in public service, and is presented by the Prague Society. Past winners have included the conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, the former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, and the Dalai Lama.


Pope: Pray for youth in Africa and their future

For the month of September, Pope Francis has asked for prayers for young people in Africa and their future.

The Holy Father said, "They should be able to choose between letting themselves be overcome by difficulty or transforming the difficulty into an opportunity."


Pope: Sad that families don't appreciate teachers

Pope Francis spoke about the declining relationship between education and the family at the 50th anniversary of the Italian Association of Parents. He said, "The educational pact is declining. The family no longer appreciates the work of teachers, as they did at one time. To change this situation, someone must take the first step, conquering the fear of the other and holding out a hand in generosity. This is why I invite you to always cultivate and nourish trust in the school and teachers. Without them, you risk remaining alone in your education."

He shared a personal story from when he was 10 years old, and spoke poorly to his teacher at school. His teacher, in turn, called his mother to tell her what little Jorge Bergoglio had done.