April 27, 2007
THE TRIB TIMES WILL RETURN NEXT WEEK, GOD WILLING (James 4:15).
(John 10:16) And
I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also,
and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.
VIA CHIESA: Easter in Vietnam: An Extraordinary Account
CATHOLIC PRIESTS, VIETNAMESE ARE THE NEW IRISH
Crossing the Pacific in a
boat, 10-year-old Bich Vu had a face-off with God. "If you save me and
my family," he promised nearly three decades ago, "my life will be
The miracle happened, and Vu, now 39, kept his word by becoming a priest.
"My experience on the ocean," he says, "made my faith grow stronger. It taught me that I was weak. I couldn't save myself; I had to depend on God."
Vu, known to parishioners at Anaheim's St. Boniface Catholic Church as Father Augustine, is part of a wave of immigrant Vietnamese priests helping ease a critical cleric shortage and changing the face of the Roman Catholic Church.
"Vietnamese priests are filling the gap," said Ryan Lilyengren, a spokesman for the Diocese of Orange. "People are calling them the new Irish."
Though Asians are only 1% of the estimated 77 million U.S. Catholics, they account for 12% of Catholic seminary students, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. In places such as Orange County, home to the largest Vietnamese community outside Vietnam, that has translated into major change: Of 181 diocesan priests, Lilyengren said, almost 28% are Asian, predominantly Vietnamese.
The influx of Vietnamese clergy comes as the number of priests nationwide has dropped nearly 30% in three decades, from 58,900 in 1975 to about 41,700 last year.
Vietnamese immigrants are stepping in, experts say, for a number of reasons. They come from a culture steeped in religious values that bestows high status on the clergy. They also grew up in a poor country where entering the priesthood was an economic step up. And many lived through political and religious repression when they weren't allowed to practice their faith, let alone become priests.
"Under the Communists we couldn't go to seminary," Vu said, "[so] we have a desire to become priests."
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Unceasing
DEATH OF LEADER
OF CHINA'S STATE-BACKED CHURCH MAY SIGNAL CHANGE IN CHINA-VATICAN
Chinese Catholic Bishop
Tieshan of Beijing, who clashed with the Vatican by appointing
non-approved bishops has died in Beijing, aged 76 years.
"The death of Bishop Fu is a national matter, more than a religious one," Hong Kong-based Franciscan priest Stephen Chan told ENI on 23 April 2007. "After his death, the government-sanctioned church may chose another person to replace him."
Francis Wong writes: The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association refuses to recognise the authority of the Vatican. Many Catholic lay persons and clergy, however, have stayed loyal to the church in Rome, something that has angered the Chinese authorities and has also resulted in [mistreatment] of those going underground for worship.
"Perhaps Fu's death will open a new chapter in the choice of a new pastor in Beijing who is more attentive to a harmonious society and more faithful to the Catholic Church," wrote Italian priest Bernardo Cervellera, who worked in China, and is now the editor of AsiaNews.it Cervellera wrote of Fu: "A grand career in politics and in the Patriotic Association, total subjection to the ideology and the power of the Party and the Patriotic Association; adored by the regime, disliked by his flock. With his death one of the most painful chapters of the Church in China comes to an end and a new phase of greater dialogue between China and the Vatican is (perhaps) on the horizon."
Kong's Cardinal Zen prays for Fu Tieshan, but calls on China
to commit itself more to relations with Vatican
China's Catholics, the Holy See and religious freedom
CATHOLICS DEFY CHINA GOVERNMENT FOR FAITH
Deep in the southwest mountains of officially atheist China, a small congregation of Tibetan Catholics still pledges its loyalty to the Pope after years of persecution and isolation.
This community in the mountains of Yunnan province that buttress Tibet itself has remained a bastion of the faith since Swiss missionaries converted their ancestors a century ago.
Their small church was leveled in the 1960s during the heyday of the Cultural Revolution and its priests chased away. Members of the congregation also recount how they and their families endured frequent raids by their Buddhist neighbours.
But despite decades of hardship, the Catholic faith still runs strong among the few hundred villagers.
"No matter what happens, I would never abandon my religion," said 72-year-old Catholic Ma Dilin.
"There is no conflict between us and other religions. Our religion was passed on to me by the older generation, and will be passed on to the next generation. It is never going to change. I hope the younger generation can follow Catholicism as I do."
VIA CATHOLIC ONLINE: Catholic Chinese dioceses see surge in Easter baptisms among young, educatedThe Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Unceasing Prayer
April 24, 2007
(John 15:12-13) "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
THREE KILLED IN ATTACK ON BIBLE PUBLISHING HOUSE IN TURKEY
Three employees of a
prints and distributes Bibles were killed in Turkey on Wednesday (April
18th) in the latest attack on the country's tiny Christian minority.
The victims -- two Turks and a German citizen -- were found in the building of the Zirve publishing house in Turkey's southeastern city of Malatya, with their hands and legs tied and their throats slit. The province's governor, Halil Ibrahim Dasoz, said in televised comments that one of the Turks was still alive when found but died later in hospital.
The German victim, identified by state-run Anatolia news agency as 46-year-old Tilman Ekkehart Geske, had been living in Malatya since 2003, the official said. The other two victims were identified as Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel.
Zirve general manager Hamza Ozant told CNN-Turk that the men were considering asking for police protection, following recent threats.
The new incident came
concerns about rising nationalism in Turkey, where a teenager gunned
down a Roman Catholic priest about 14 months ago. Several months later,
two other priests were attacked. In yet another shocking incident,
prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was assassinated
outside his office in Istanbul in January.
Turkey's Christian community accounts for less than 1% of the country's population of more than 70 million people, the vast majority of them Muslims.
Man Who Played Jesus Christ in
TURK-7 Easter Broadcast Martyred
The man who brought Jesus
to life in a recent Easter stage play televised on TURK-7 was the
victim of a brutal and fatal attack.
According to a spokesperson for SAT-7, “Necati Aydin, husband and father of two young children, was one of three men brutally murdered on April 18 in far eastern Turkey in what many believe is a crime motivated by religious hatred. The three were workers at a Christian publishing house in the city of Malatya. Aydin was also an amateur actor and was featured in TURK-7's Easter-season programming just a week before the tragedy.” Said Terence Ascott, the SAT-7 CEO said, "This is truly a sad week for Christians."
TURK-7 broadcasts on SAT-7 PARS, which is part of the Christian satellite network created by and for the people of the Middle East and North Africa. "We are praying for the families, for the Church, and for the nation of Turkey that God will bring some good out of this terrible tragedy. Aydin, a man who portrayed Jesus on one of our broadcasts, was himself the target of religious hatred simply because he worked so that others would have a chance to understand the story of Christ in Turkish."
TURK-7 is an indigenous Turkish television ministry that broadcasts four hours a day on SAT-7's Farsi and Turkish channel. Christians make up less than one percent of the population of Turkey.
SAT-7 seeks to encourage and support the local Christian community and also to help all viewers come to a better understanding of Christianity, thereby dispelling many false stereotypes about the faith commonly held in parts of the Middle East. SAT 7's Arabic channel has broadcasted several programs that encourage dialogue, understanding, and peaceful co-existence between the major faiths of the region and the broadcaster hopes TURK-7 will carry similar programs in the future.
NEWS WATCH: Turkey Christians Anxious After Muslims Kill Three Believers
COMMENTARY via Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | June 4, 2006 : It was not God who failed during the Holocaust or in the Gulag, or on 9/11, or in Bosnia. It is not God who fails when human beings do barbaric things to other human beings. Auschwitz is not what happens when the God who says "Thou shalt not murder" and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" is silent. It is what happens when men and women refuse to listen.
Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Unceasing
5. He also said, 'When a distracting thought comes into your head, do not cast around here and there about it in your prayer, but simply repent and so you will sharpen your sword against your assailant.'
April 20, 2007
THE TRIB TIMES WILL RETURN NEXT WEEK, GOD WILLING (James 4:15).
10:16) And other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I
must bring. And they shall hear my voice: And there shall be one fold
and one shepherd.
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH, VATICAN SET OUT TO MEND RELATIONS
recent media reports that the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican
were going to sit down at the negotiating table to resolve their
long-standing differences were greeted by the public with a yawn.
Although most people decided that the talks had little chance of success and so forgot the news as soon as they had heard it, this attempt at reconciliation should be taken seriously.
Monsignor Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Moscow, said that both Churches face many obstacles, such as historical prejudice, liturgical differences and the experience of religious life. These divisions have accumulated over the 950 years since the schism between the Eastern and Western churches in 1054. Monsignor Kondrusiewicz believes that both sides must try and reach a consensus on these and other issues. "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. What is important is that we have started negotiating," he said.
Although the talks have little chance of success, they at least represent an improvement; until recently, such an ecumenical dialogue would have been unthinkable. The hierarchs of both Churches have been prompted to move toward reunification by numerous factors: the increasing threat of radical Islam, the decline in moral values among the faithful, and the attempt by European politicians to banish Christianity from public life. A prime example of the latter is the European Union's reluctance to mention the Christian roots of European civilization in the EU Constitution.
The Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church are teaming up in order to deal with these challenges. The threat they pose is a clear indication that Christianity should not prolong the existing schism. Nevertheless, removing the obstacles to reconciliation mentioned by Monsignor Kondrusiewicz is no easy task.
VIA CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: Austrian cardinal optimistic on Catholic-Orthodox accord
Signals Support for Closer Ties With Vatican
Aleksej II would meet the Pope but there are “no concrete steps” yet, says bishop Mark
Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia’s greetings letter to Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of his 80th birthday
April 18, 2007
(Mat 19:14) But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such.‘LITTLE AUDREY,' GIRL WITH DEVOTED FOLLOWING, DIES
The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Unceasing Prayer
They said that on Saturday evening Arsenius used to turn his back to
setting sun and stretch out his hands towards heaven and pray until, at
dawn on Sunday, the rising sun lit up his face, and then he sat down
April 17, 2007
13:1-5) And there were present, at that very time, some that told him
of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
And he answering, said to them: Think you that these Galileans were
sinners above all the men of Galilee, because they suffered such
things? No, I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall
all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower fell in
Siloe and slew them: think you that they also were debtors above all
the men that dwelt in Jerusalem? No, I say to you: but except you do
penance, you shall all likewise perish.
HEADLINE: Virginia Tech Incident Called Worst Mass Shooting in US History
CATHOLIC CHURCH RESPONDS: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0702114.htm
LINK: Scriptural meditations on Christian suffering- Dealing with tragedy and trauma
HOMILY BY Abbot John Eudes Bamberger: DO YOU THINK THOSE 18 MEN WHOM THE TOWER AT SILO KILLED WHEN IT FELL WERE GREATER SINNERS THAN THE OTHER INHABITANTS OF JERUSALEM?
These words of our Lord took on a fresh poignancy for all of us recently when the towers of the World Center collapsed in the terrorist attack (EDITOR'S NOTE: or this present tragedy at Virginia Tech). Our Lord pronounced these words in an exchange with his disciples who were troubled over another shocking incident when a group of their fellow Galileans were assassinated in the very act of making an offering to God. In effect he warns them not to conclude that these and similar disasters are indications of God's special displeasure with such victims. We do well, however, to reflect carefully on his words which, while giving a certain reassurance that fatal disasters are not a measure of our guilt before God, yet at the same time serve as a warning against complacency. If I rightly understand our Lord's comments here, he states only that we all are vulnerable to calamity, the great calamity of perishing in sin. He does not attempt to resolve the great question that arises in all our minds in the face of catastrophe beyond telling us that we should see in it a severe warning to amend our own lives and to be ready to give an account to God for our souls.
The mystery of suffering remains mysterious for the Christian even after the resurrection of our Lord. But it does not remain meaningless; on the contrary, suffering and death itself take on a transcendent significance for those who put their faith and hope in Christ, the risen Lord of glory. That is the message St. Paul preaches in today's first reading.
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Jesus Christ from the dead, will give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who dwells in you.
Death, in other words, does not pronounce meaning on our life if we live according to the Spirit of Jesus, as it does for those who live under the law of the flesh. Living according to the Spirit does not remove us from the sufferings of this world, nor deliver us from the necessity of passing through death, but it takes away their sting; they can no longer frustrate our desire for life and love. They are emptied out and rendered powerless by the saving grace of the cross and resurrection of our savior.
When that mortal frame puts on immortality then there will be fulfilled what is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?' (1Cor 15: 54, 55)
Obviously, this does not take place without another kind of death; death to selfish attachments, even the closest of loving ties based on human affection, as Jesus had already indicated. ‘He who would save his soul will lose it; he would lose his soul for my sake, will save it.' (Luke 9: 24) To love in the Spirit and thus to overcome suffering and death, is the great task assigned to every one who would enter the kingdom of God. To this end we offer the Eucharist in which we partake of the divine gifts of Christ our risen Savior. May he always assist us in our weakness and strengthen and elevate our desire for spiritual beauty and truth. In us who prove loyal to him shall suffering and death give way to the fullness of life in his presence forever.
The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Sober Living
A hermit said, 'When the donkey's eyes are covered it walks round the
mill-wheel. If you uncover its eyes, it will not go on walking in the
circle. So if the devil succeeds in covering a man's eyes, he leads him
into every kind of sin. But if the man's eyes are uncovered, he can
more easily escape.'
Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus
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