18 Notes & Comments

posted May 18, 2017, 7:50 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 18, 2017, 7:51 AM ]

Coronation homily

On May 13, Pope Francis reminded half a million pilgrims that we all have a Mother, Mary, and we ought to cling to her. The Holy Father gave this message in his homily during the Canonisation Mass for Jacinta and Francesco Marto, the two young visionaries of Fatima.

The Pontiff recalled in his homily that we hear Jesus say to His disciple, "Here is your mother." (Jn 19:27)

"We have a Mother!" Pope Francis exclaimed, continuing, "'So beautiful a Lady,' as the seers of Fatima said to one another as they returned home on that blessed day of May 13, 100 years ago. That evening, Jacinta could not restrain herself, and told the secret to her mother: 'Today, I saw Our Lady.'" They had seen the Mother of Heaven, the Pope stressed.

Our Lady foretold, and warned us about, the Pope warned, a way of life that is godless and indeed profanes God in His creatures. "Such a life – frequently proposed and imposed – risks leading to hell."


Tribal bishops seek Indian President's intervention


India's tribal Catholic bishops have sought the intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee to ensure the rights of millions of tribal people.

The memorandum signed by tribal bishops from six states said they were "saddened" by the policies of state governments that have trampled over tribal people's rights. They want the President "to protect the land, forest and socio-cultural rights of tribal people," the May 10 memorandum said.

"Land is the only means of livelihood and sustenance" for most tribal people, as 90 per cent of them are dependent on agriculture or allied activities in their ancestral land, the bishops said.

The present federal and most state governments, however, "have taken various actions to alienate tribal people from their land on a massive scale to facilitate industrialists."


Address refugee problem


After hundreds of migrants perished recently in the deadly Mediterranean passage to Europe, one Catholic expert insisted that the root causes of migration need to be addressed. "The real tragedy is that these deaths are preventable," said Bill O'Keefe, vice president of government relations and advocacy for Catholic Relief Services.

"We need to ensure safe passage for all refugees and migrants, but also address the reasons people are migrating in the first place," he stressed.

The United Nations' refugee arm reported that 245 persons were feared dead or missing from two shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea over the weekend of May 5-7, adding to an already steep death toll for migrants headed for Europe from North Africa.

One of the boats carrying migrants, a rubber dinghy, sank on May 5, with 132 on board, and "some 50 people were rescued" while 82 others "are feared dead or missing," the U.N. Human Rights Council said.


Students contribute to solution for refugee housing


Five Dubai students said they plan to solve the region's refugee crisis through a piece of cardboard. Using automated 3D printing, they have created an inexpensive, interconnected housing model for people displaced by conflict and natural disasters. The boys (collectively known as team 'Pentagon') have just been selected as one of the winners of the Global Innovation Challenge. In August, they will present their project at the Singularity University Global Summit in Silicon Valley, California.

Speaking to media, Safwan Mohiuddin, Avinash Pulugurtha, Ivan Thomas, Saad Alam and Abaid Isaac (Our Own English High School – Sharjah, Boys' Branch), said their project aims to offer a sustainable solution to the refugee crisis by using cardboard.

Explaining the concept using a mini prototype, they said they plan to 3D print a basic mould "measuring 7 metres high and around 2.5 metres squared" before wrapping it in cardboard. "If you wrap the cardboard around the mould 27 times and coat it in linex, the structure can last about 100 years." Although cardboard is biodegradable, over a period of 100 years, only "four to five layers" will degrade, leaving the structure more than durable as a habitat.