Reflections
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Migrants Coming Out of the Darkness

Untitled-1God is light and we Christians are called to reflect that light in the world. This entails our inviting others into communion with the Church, speaking out against injustice, and striving to exemplify in our life Christ’s example.

Turning to the Gospel message we are warned against hoarding the goods of the earth for our own pleasure, and told to sell all we have and giving alms (Lk 12:33), feed the poor, visit the imprisoned, give drink to the thirsty, and welcome the stranger (Mt 25). The stranger can come in different forms, but one way in particular that she comes into our midst is in the form of the migrant.

Far away from home and dwelling in a new land, often poor with few possessions of their own, migrants can be an especially vulnerable group of people and open to exploitation and abuse. For this reason we should pay special attention to their needs, both religious and material, and advocate on their behalf with the hope of ensuring their protection and well-being.

Read more: Migrants Coming Out of the Darkness

Learning to See Again

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(from left) Façade of East Wing of the National
Gallery, Washington, DC; atrium of East Wing
with Alexander Calder’s mobile

I am a visual person, one who is greatly affected by what I see. Often I will take time to visit sights of beauty, including beautiful cities like Boston, Newport and New York, the various seashore points of interest, museums and even buildings. There have been some unusual buildings which have challenged me to learn again how to see beyond the surface.

For example, when I first visited Chinese-born I.M. Pei’s East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington, DC, I was (and still am) attracted by this most unusual building. The outside is comprised of giant geometric figures, looking quite severe. Yet when I enter and walk into the impressively high atrium, which is a welcoming inside courtyard decorated with Connecticut’s own Alexander Calder and his 76-foot-long, multi-colored and overpowering mobile which swooshes through the impressive space, moving slowly round and round above the wayfarers. I remember sitting one time for about two hours, just trying to take in this hub of activity yet a very peaceful space. I felt like I was in an inner world of beauty all its own and the people just added to its life and color.

Read more: Learning to See Again

March For Life 2014

 

Washington, D.C., Jan 23, 2014 – Continuing a decades-long trend, college students and young people from across the nation maintained a strong presence on Jan. 22 at the 41st annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

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Young people gather behind a University
of St. Thomas-Houston flag on the
National Mall in Washington D.C. for
the March for Life on Jan. 22, 2014.
(Photo: Addie Mena/CNA)

“It is a privilege to be in the nation’s capital and host young pilgrims from all over the country for the annual March for Life. Our University community takes great pride in providing housing and meals for our many friends,” said The Catholic University of America chaplain Fr. Jude DeAngelo.

Each year, the school – located in northeast D.C. – hosts droves of college students who have come from all over the country to take part in the March for Life.

Held each year on or near Jan. 22, the march marks the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decisions that resulted in legal abortion throughout the U.S. Since that time, some 55 million unborn babies have become victims of abortion.

The D.C. March for Life typically draws huge numbers of participants – primarily young people – from across the country. Last year, organizers estimated an attendance of around 650,000 people.

Read more: March For Life 2014

Catholic Martyrs of Japan

 

Rome (AsiaNews) - The agreement between the Vatican Library and the Japanese government to translate and inventory the Marega Papers "is important not only for Catholics, but also from a

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A Priest at the Vatican Archives shows one of 10,000
documents chronicling the persecution of Christians
in Japan in the 17th to 19th centuries

historical point of view," said Teruaki Nagasaki, Japanese ambassador to the Holy See.

"I am very happy with this decision," he told AsiaNews. "I think that in Japan many researchers are just waiting for these texts to shed a better light on that period. And of course it is very nice that such collaboration has emerged."

The 'Marega Papers' are a compilation of around 10,000 documents chronicling the persecution of Christians in Japan between the 17th and the 19th centuries.

An Italian missionary, Rev Mario Marega, took the papers to Rome in the 1940s, where they were left untouched until researcher Delio Proverbio found them in the Vatican Archives in 2010.

Read more: Catholic Martyrs of Japan

Philippines Celebrate Year of Laity

As the Church in the Philippines begins a new year, its focus turns to the designated theme for reflection: Laity in the Mission of the Church. In the nine-year schema of the Philippine Bishops (CBCP) leading to “the great jubilee of 2021,” the second year (2014) is devoted to the role of the laity in the Church.

Untitled-1The year 2021 will be “the fifth centenary of the coming of Christianity to our beloved land” (1521-2021). To adequately prepare for this event, the Church decided to “embark on a nine-year spiritual journey…. It is a grace-filled event of blessings for the Church.”

This comprehensive vision of renewal is founded on the pillars of “faith” and “evangelization.” We constantly need to ask: What is the role of faith-filled laity in evangelization? How do laity live, proclaim, witness, and transmit Christ’s Gospel to humanity? How can the laity facilitate the “opening up of people’s lives, society, culture and history to the person of Christ and his living community, the Church”?

Read more: Philippines Celebrate Year of Laity

Myanmar Archbishop Seeks Human Rights

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Archbishop Charles Bo, Archbishop of
Yangon (formerly Rangoon), Myanmar

Yangon (AsiaNews) - The marriage, conversion to another faith or worship other than that of birth and the right to vote - even for religious leaders, be they Buddhist, Christian, Hindu or Muslim - are inviolable rights of the person and citizen. So says AsiaNews, Archbishop Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, which strongly emphasizes the value and importance of civil rights in a democratic society.

In recent days, the leaders of the major religions gathered in the commercial capital of Myanmar, for a public meeting on the theme "The religious roots of social harmony", less than a week from the new sectarian violence in the west of the country. The conference was joined about a hundred people, including the U Wirathu, the head of the controversial "969 Movement",according to critics charge of fomenting hatred and division against the Muslim minority.

Read more: Myanmar Archbishop Seeks Human Rights

A Rock Star Pope?

 

Untitled-1Well, the impossible has happened – Pope Francis is on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine! Since I’m a baby boomer, this reminds me of the old 1970s song, "Cover of the Rolling Stone" which was recorded by Dr. Hook.

Of course, most of the lyrics speak about drugs and rock and roll but, oddly, there is a part of the song which does sound like Pope Francis’ life! For example, “And we're loved everywhere we go... We sing about beauty and we sing about truth…” He might not sing but he does speak about humanity’s higher call.

The truth is that, like the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa, the Pope no doubt has his own “groupies” who hang on his every word. Yet I do wonder what he feels about his being pictured on the cover of Rolling Stone? Although he has better things to think about, I think it’s cool! But I’ve heard that the article is fairly lightweight – not much substance to it. That’s unfortunate.

But Pope Francis is quite popular. He seems to be “a man of the people” who does what he wants to do. I love hearing about the stories describing his telephone call to a person who wrote to him about a certain personal struggle. When he calls that individual, of course he first has to convince them that the phone call is not a prank and then he can talk with them. I love the spontaneity and compassion of it all.

As bishop of Rome, he seems to be a down to earth person who really cares for the people he’s charged to lead and serve. When he speaks to youth or Catholic religious and tells them that they should “wake up the world” and “make a mess”, I can definitely go along with that.

Read more: A Rock Star Pope?

Gossiping the Gospel

Untitled-1Editor: In her extensive paper, Mission Spirituality in Global Perspective, by Madge Kareecki, SSJ-TOSF, she concludes (on pgs. 31-33) with the following explanation of how each person can be an evangelizer in their own surroundings:

Mission spirituality speaks to us of the need to witness to the fact that the call to mission is a communal call. All of Jesus‘ disciples were sent on mission, not some elite group. Since there can be no Christian life except in community we must actualize this reality by building relationships that give witness to the fact that we are indeed members of one family called and sent to give witness to Christ in the world by our very lives. In order to do this we need to have within and among us “the mind of Christ” (Phil 2:5).

The Church – Missionary By Nature

Read more: Gossiping the Gospel

Another Aspect of Reconciliation

Untitled-1The Church gave Our Lady of La Salette the title of "Reconciler of Sinners" because her message at La Salette is an invitation to reconciliation.

Reconciliation means “being one with” or “mending whatever divides” or “being open and receptive to God”. Saint Paul implores us: "…we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20). Often, we think of reconciliation only in the context of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: we ask for and are granted forgiveness for whatever separates us from the love of God.

At La Salette, Mary gave concrete examples of how the local people of 1846 were separated from God. She mentioned some of the sins of those times. Today the list of transgressions could be somewhat different; for example, in those days pornography via the internet did not exist and our tendency to consumerism was not as prevalent.

However, God's people, then and now, still abandon the gift of faith. In 1846, there was a deep movement of anti-clericalism in all of Europe. Today, maybe the problem is more serious. There is certainly a deep indifference towards religion.

Another Aspect – Open Hands

Read more: Another Aspect of Reconciliation

Social Media and Our Catholic Faith

 

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We as Catholics believe that Jesus is the Word of God and our call as Church is be evangelizers – people who share the excitement and challenge of faith to others. And since we are urged by Mary at La Salette to make her message (and that of her Son) known, our call to communicate to others is central to our baptismal call.

In this modern age, we are surrounded and sometimes bombarded by electronics – computers, smart phones, ipads and tablets – and social media possibilities like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like. Yet the Catholic Church and our Popes for the last fifty years have emphasized that there is a rightful place for these opportunities to be used in the service of God and the Church.

1963 – A Signature Effort to Appreciate Communication

Read more: Social Media and Our Catholic Faith

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La Salette Missionaries, Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas

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Our Community: The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette are deeply rooted in the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette which occurred near the hamlet of La Salette in southeastern France on Sept. 19, 1846. The Missionaries were founded in 1852 by Bp. Philbert de Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, France, and presently serve in some 25 countries.

Our Province: The Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas, was founded in 2000AD and is one of several provinces in the congregation. The members of this Province serve mainly in the countries of Canada, the United States and the Region of Argentina/Bolivia.

Our Mission: Our La Salette ministry of reconciliation responds to the broad vision given by Mary at La Salette as well as in response to the needs of the Church. As reconcilers, we together with the laity take seriously Mary’s mandate: “You will make (Mary’s) message known to all (her) people.”

 

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