Archive for the ‘Catholic World News’ Category

Australians mourn those killed in Malaysia Airlines crash

Sydney, Australia, Jul 23, 2014 / 12:03 pm (CNA).- In the wake of the crash of flight MH17 over Ukraine, Australians have been mourning the loss of the 298 persons aboard the flight, particularly their 27 nationals, one of whom was a religious sister.

Sister Philomene Tiernan was an Australian member of the Religious Sisters of the Sacred Heart, and a teacher and boarding director at Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart, a girls’ boarding school located in a Sydney suburb.

“We are devastated by the loss of such a wonderfully kind, wise, and compassionate woman, who was greatly loved by us all,” Hilary Johnston-Croke, principal of  Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart, told CNA July 23.

She “contributed greatly to our community and she touched the lives of all of us in a very positive and meaningful way,” Johnston-Croke recounted.

Sr. Philomene, who died at the age of 77, had provided pastoral care to students both on campus and outside the school.

“We will continue to honor her wonderful legacy of love and care, of deeply influencing and touching so many of our lives and the lives of many over her long years of service,” Johnston-Croke said. “She truly lived the Cor Unum spirit.”

Kincoppal-Rose Bay, which also has a co-ed primary school, has opened counseling to its students, who have been deeply affected by this tragic loss of Sr. Philomene and the other passengers on the flight.

“Sr. Tiernan was a great soul, a supportive spiritual guide, and a friend to the students who especially felt lonely being away from home, coming from Asia-Pacific, Europe and America,” Rebecca Curran, communications manager at Kincoppal-Rose Bay, remarked to CNA.

Sr. Philomene was returning to Australia after attending a conference in Britain, a theology course in Ireland, and a retreat in France.

While in France, she had been able to visit the tomb of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, foundress of her order, at St. Francis Xavier parish in Paris.

Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy and former Archbishop of Sydney, has written that “I certainly wish to pass on my thoughts and prayers and condolences to all the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, to the Kincoppal-Rose Bay School, and all the friends of Sr. Phil Tiernan tragically killed in the recent Malaysia Airlines disaster.”

“Sr. Phil will be remembered as a bright spirit and great inspiration to many not only in her school community but also throughout the Sydney Archdiocese. She will be greatly missed.”

“May the good Lord comfort truly all those who mourn this wonderful woman so dedicated in His service,” the cardinal concluded. “May she rest in peace.”

Bishop Peter Comensoli, apostolic administrator of the Sydney archdiocese, said Mass July 20 in remembrance of the MH17 victims, and as a call for peace in Ukraine.

The Mass was attended by relatives and friends of the victims, as well as prime minister Tony Abbott, opposition leader Bill Shorten, and governor-general Peter Cosgrove.

Bishop Comensoli’s homily reflected on the Gospel of Matthew’s parable of the sower: “while everyone was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off.”

“The downing of MH17 was not an innocent accident; it was the outcome of a trail of human evil,” Bishop Comensoli preached.

He said that “in the targeting and destruction of flight MH17, and the loss of 298 innocent lives, the shocking effects of our fallen humanity have once again confronted the world.”

“It is a harrowing image to see fields of crops in Eastern Ukraine strewn with human remains and wreckage, and to think of fields of wheat strewn with darnel.”

Bishop Comensoli added that “the subversion of truth is also happening in other places in the world, wherever human dignity lies blanketed under violent hatreds, ancient and new.“

“Evil will try to hide, obfuscate, deny,” he reflected. “But by the light of day the true picture will be seen. And it is under the light of the Resurrected Day, that the Risen Lord calls all of us to walk.”

Bishop Comensoli urged that all “pray for the conversion of heart of the perpetrators of this terrible evil, that they and all who are tempted to hide under the darkness of human corruption, will now walk on a path that upholds the dignity of every person.”

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down July 17 over Ukraine near the Russian-Ukrainian border. An estimated 100 victims were HIV/AIDS delegates on their way to a conference in Melbourne.

The plane was flying over Ukraine’s Donetsk region when it was shot down, and crashed. The region is home to the pro-Russian separatist organization the Donetsk People’s Republic, which is rebelling against the Ukrainian government and army in the wake of earlier unrest in the region.

Fighting continues between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists; two aircraft were downed July 23 within 20 miles of the MH17 crash, according to officials in Kyiv.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine since April is believed to have led to more than 1,000 deaths.

Archbishop Kurtz: Do not forget the power of prayer amid violence

Washington D.C., Jul 23, 2014 / 10:50 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Surrounded by numerous violent conflicts throughout the world, the faithful should not forget the power of prayer, said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic …

Pope Francis to meet with 20 young Asian leaders

Vatican City, Jul 23, 2014 / 08:22 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his upcoming apostolic voyage to South Korea Pope Francis is slated to meet with 20 Asian youth during the 2014 Asia Youth Day, including Korean pop-star BoA.

According to the Korean Times, representatives from 17 Asian countries will attend a luncheon with the Roman Pontiff Aug. 15, following his visit to Daejeon’s World Cup Stadium, where he will celebrate Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption, after which he will have an official lunch with the diocese’s seminarians.

Among the 17 different countries the youth will come from are India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Taiwan, Nepal, China, Japan and Mongolia.

K-pop sensation BoA will also join the banquet as an honorary ambassador for the sixth Asian Youth Day, being held in Daejeon. Taking place Aug. 13 – 17, the event is expected to draw some 2,000 youngsters from 22 Asian countries.

The Roman Pontiff will travel to the Somoe Shrine after the luncheon, and will meet with all participants of the AYD later that evening.

Announced by the Vatican in March, the Pope’s Aug. 13 – 18 trip follows an invitation from both the president of the Korean Republic, Park Geun-hye, and the bishops of Korea.

Following the motto “Rise Korea, clothe yourself in light, the Lord’s glory shines upon you,” the Pope’s visit officially begins with his departure from Rome the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 13. He will travel to Daejeon Friday.

Nazarius Yoo Heung-sik, the diocese’s bishop, told reporters at a July 14 press conference that “The Daejeon diocesan territory is home to many Korean martyrs and the AYD will inspire young devout Catholics in Asia to look up to the sacrifices of the martyrs,” the Korean Times reports.

“The pope’s visit at the event will be a huge encouragement for them.”

Pope Francis will close the AYD event by celebrating Mass for the participants Aug. 17, and will conclude his trip the next day with a Mass in Seoul’s Myeongdong Cathedral, where he is expected to give a message for peace to the Korean peninsula.

The Times also reports that the committee organizing the Pope’s visit have invited former wartime “comfort women,” prostitutes, during the Japanese occupation of 1910-1945 to participate in the Mass, and have also sent invitations to Catholic organizations in North Korea and are waiting for their reply.

Pope Francis’ trip will mark the first time in 25 years that a pope has visited the Korean peninsula, the last occurring when St. John Paul II came in October 1989, following a 1984 trip where he canonized 103 Korean martyrs.

Holy See Addresses UN on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Here is today’s statement by Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva. He addressed the 21st Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem. * * * 
Mr. Presiden…

All Roads lead to Rome…and to Spain’s Santiago de Compostela (Video)

To view the video click here.

Irish Bishops Plea for Peace in Middle East

Here is a statement released Tuesday by Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore, chairman of the Irish bishops’ Council for Justice and Peace. * * *
The death and destruction that we are witnessing in certain parts of the Middle East is truly shocking and heart-breaking. I encourage all Christians and all people of go…

Grand Chamber to Decide on Case of Iranian Convert to Christianity Seeking Asylum

On 2 June 2014, F.G. v. Sweden case (n° 43611/11), concerning the implementation of an expulsion order against a Christian convert, was referred to the Grand Chamber. The issue is whether the conversion to Christianity of an Iranian living in Iran creates a serious human rights violation. The President of the Court…

Pornography recovery program helps ‘fight the new drug’

Denver, Colo., Jul 23, 2014 / 04:57 am (CNA).- The co-founder and executive director of an organization that fights pornography addiction among youth says he sees a need to continue raising awareness about the harmful effects of porn.

“We want…

Syria’s Christian Exodus

An hour-long program documenting the extreme danger facing Syrian Christians in the midst of the country’s internal conflict is showing this week on EWTN. “Syria’s Christian Exodus” records the conditions of Syria’s Christian refugees currently displaced in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and…

In deadly conflict, Boko Haram captures key Nigerian town

Abuja, Nigeria, Jul 23, 2014 / 02:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Islamic militant group Boko Haram has taken control of the northeastern Nigeria town of Damboa in a July 18 attack that killed at least 40 people.

The vigilante force defending the town fled when it ran out of ammunition. Damboa is one of the biggest towns in Borno state and a significant trading center, the BBC reports.

Fighting around the town has damaged electricity stations, leaving the regional capital of Maiduguri without power for three weeks. The capital is about 53 miles from the captured area.

Since 2009, Boko Haram has led an insurgency with the goal of creating an Islamic state. It drew international attention earlier this year when it kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls, many of whom are still prisoner.

Nigeria’s government has faced heavy criticism for failing to rescue the girls and to end the insurgency.

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan asked the country’s National Assembly to borrow $1 billion to fund a military response, but the assembly broke for a two-month recess before approving the request.

Some Nigerian soldiers say they are outgunned by Boko Haram. Critics say that much of Nigeria’s $6 billion military budget is lost to corruption. The military has come under criticism for abuses against civilians.

In June Bishop Matthew Kukah of northern Nigeria’s Diocese of Sokoto told CNA that Boko Haram has gained power due to the weakness of the local government and due to the loss of credibility of the local Muslim lawyer class.

He blamed “years of corruption” and “mismanagement of state resources” for consigning citizens to “misery and squalor.”

He said Boko Haram are “purely and simply criminals,” though they have some grievances similar to those of ordinary Nigerians opposed to corruption and poverty.

The Boko Haram uprising has been bloody. At least 2,053 civilians have been killed in an estimated 95 attacks in the first six months of 2014. Previously, about 3,600 civilians had died in the conflict.

The U.S. government only recognized Boko Haram as a terrorist group in 2013, after years of lobbying from Christian groups and other human rights advocates.

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