20 International News

posted Aug 10, 2017, 9:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 10, 2017, 9:20 AM ]

Pope's message to AYD

As young people gathered in Indonesia for the 7th Asian Youth Day prepared to head home, Pope Francis sent a message encouraging them to be courageous, and to turn to Mary as a model of what it means to be a missionary.

In an Aug. 6 telegram signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the prelate extended "warm greetings and prayerful best wishes" to all participating in the event on behalf of Pope Francis. The Pope, he said, "prays that young people from across Asia will listen ever more attentively to God's call and respond with faith and courage to their vocation."

Looking ahead to the global World Youth Day gathering in Panama in 2019, Pope Francis invited the youth to turn to Mary, the Mother of God as "a model of missionary discipleship, to speak to her as they would to a mother, and to trust always in her loving intercession. In this way, as they seek to follow Christ Jesus more closely, they too, like the young woman of Nazareth, can truly "improve the world and leave an imprint that makes a mark on history," he said, giving his blessing and entrusting the youth and their families to Mary's intercession.


Pope's message to Inter-religious Meeting

Through their prayers, people of various religions can work together for peace, Pope Francis said to an interreligious prayer meeting in Japan.

Prayer "inspires and sustains our efforts for peace, because it helps to deepen our reciprocal respect for each other as persons, strengthens the bonds of love between us, and spurs us to make decisive efforts towards promoting just relations and fraternal solidarity," the Pope said in a letter to the 30th Prayer Meeting on Mount Hiei in Kyoto.

The meeting was launched in 1987 by Etai Yamada, Supreme Head of the Tendai Buddhist denomination. The effort aimed to advance the Day of Prayer for Peace held under St John Paul II in Assisi, Italy on Oct. 27, 1986.


Pope's greetings and thanks to Knights of Columbus

Pope Francis has sent a message of greeting to leaders of the Knights of Columbus, who met in St Louis for their 135th annual convention.

In his message—conveyed in a telegram from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State—the Pope offered thanks to the Knights of Columbus for the support that they have given to suffering Christians in the Middle East, and for their "unremitting efforts... to defend and promote the sanctity of marriage and the dignity and beauty of family life."


Closure of 8 churches in Baghdad

International Christian Concern, an organisation that advocates on behalf of persecuted Christians, reported that the Vatican recently ordered the closure of eight churches in Baghdad.

The churches were closed "in May of 2017, after nearly seven years of low or no attendance" as Catholics fled Iraq, the organisation reported. "After the regional Catholic Church authority visited the churches, the Vatican decided that it was best to close the doors for good. While this makes logistical sense, it represents a symbolic defeat for the Church in the capital of Iraq."


Indian Jesuit who formed Bangladeshi clergy mourned

A Bangladeshi bishop has paid tribute to a prominent Indian Jesuit missionary for his seminal contributions in the formation of clergy and religious in Bangladesh.

Fr Aelred Gomes was a former superior of the Bangladesh Jesuit Mission, that is part of the Calcutta Jesuit Province, based in Kolkata. Fr Gomes, who was also a former provincial of Calcutta Jesuit province before taking charge of mission work in Bangladesh, passed away in Kolkata on Aug. 1 after a long illness, and was buried Aug. 3. He was 74.

Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi, vice-president of Catholic Bishops Conference of Bangladesh said Fr Gomes' death is a big loss for the local Church.

"He was a great man of knowledge and wisdom, an ideal priest to us all, especially to young priests who sat in his classes. He was efficient in many things, but was humble and simple in lifestyle," Bishop Rozario said. "He has made immense contribution in the formation and renewal of priests and religious in Bangladesh," the prelate added.


"Pope loves China"

"Pope Francis loves China, and loves the people of China," Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo told an audience in Beijing. The comment by the president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences was highlighted by government-controlled media outlets in China. The Beijing regime has been negotiating with the Vatican in an effort to resolve conflicts about the appointment of bishops and the freedom of the Church.

Archbishop Sanchez Sorondo was speaking at a conference on organ transplants. China has become a world leader in organ-transplant surgeries. Last year, the Chinese government, bowing to international pressure, agreed to stop the practice of harvesting organs from prisoners who were condemned to death.

Bishop celebrates Mass on bus

Bishop John Keenan, the bishop of Paisley, celebrated Mass on a double-decker bus, for the first time in the UK.

The bus tour is the brainchild of the 'Friends of Divine Mercy Scotland'. Organiser Helen Border said: "Inspired by the call from Pope Francis to "Go out to the people and take the Church to them," we've decided to do just that, with a church on wheels." The bus visited Paisley, Coatbridge, Greenock, Barrhead and Glasgow over a week-long tour. It returned to Paisley on Saturday 5 August, where Bishop John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley celebrated Mass on board the bus at 2 pm, with Fr Joe Burke.

Bishop Keenan said: "This is a fantastic initiative and a wonderful example of evangelisation, which takes the Church out into the world. I hope this venture will be the first of many similar initiatives which offer people a route back to a relationship with God."