"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
World's Youth Will Meet In Germany To Worship Jesus
Haiti's Poor And U.S. Policy
In Defense of Life: Non-Negotiables
Just a Few Thoughts
Prison To Praise: The Grandest Deed
A New Creation
Light to the Nations: A Christian Perspective on Wolrd News
Pray the News
Youth from around the world will meet in Cologne, Germany, in the summer of 2005 for the 20th World Youth Day. Pope John Paul II issued his message for the day on August 6, the feast of the Transfiguration. His message for the day follows:
"1. This year we have celebrated the 19th World Youth Day, meditating on the desire expressed by some Greeks who had gone to Jerusalem for the Passover: 'We wish to see Jesus' (Jn 12:21). And here we are now, making our way to Cologne where, in August, 2005, the 20th World Youth Day is to be celebrated.
"'We have come to worship Him' (Mt 2:2): this is the theme of the next World Youth Day. It is a theme that enables young people from every continent to follow in spirit the path taken by the Magi whose relics, according to a pious tradition, are venerated in this very city, and to meet, as they did, the Messiah of all nations.
"It is true to say that the light of Christ had already opened the minds and the hearts of the Magi. 'They went their way' (Mt 2:9), says the Evangelist, setting out boldly along unknown paths on a long, and by no means easy, journey. They did not hesitate to leave everything behind in order to follow the star that they had seen in the East (cf. Mt 2:2). Imitating the Magi, you young people are also making preparations to set out on a 'journey' from every region of the world to go to Cologne. It is important for you not only to concern yourselves with the practical arrangements for World Youth Day, but first of all you must carefully prepare yourselves spiritually, in an atmosphere of faith and listening to the Word of God.
The importance of discerning the signs of God and acting on them
"2. 'And the star... went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was' (Mt 2:9). The Magi reached Bethlehem because they had obediently allowed themselves to be guided by the star. Indeed, 'When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy' (Mt 2:10). It is important, my dear friends, to learn to observe the signs with which God is calling us and guiding us. When we are conscious of being led by Him, our heart experiences authentic and deep joy as well as a powerful desire to meet Him and a persevering strength to follow Him obediently.
"'And going into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother' (Mt 2:11). There is nothing extraordinary about this at first sight. Yet that Child was different from any other: He is the only Son of God, yet He emptied Himself of His glory (cf. Phil 2:7) and came to earth to die on the Cross. He came down among us and became poor in order to reveal to us His divine glory, which we shall contemplate fully in heaven, our blessed home.
"Who could have invented a greater sign of love? We are left in awe before the mystery of a God Who lowered Himself to take on our human condition, to the point of giving His life for us on the Cross (cf. Phil 2:6-8). In His poverty, as Saint Paul reminds us. 'though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich' (2 Cor 8:9), and came to offer salvation to sinners. How can we give thanks to God for such magnanimous goodness?
Our Redeemer, 'Bread of Life,' present in the Eucharist
"3. The Magi found Jesus at 'Bethlehem which means 'house of bread.' In the humble stable in Bethlehem on some straw lay the 'grain of wheat' Who, by dying, would bring forth 'much fruit' (cf. Jn 12:24). When speaking of Himself and His saving mission in the course of His public life, Jesus would later use the image of bread. He would say: 'I am the bread of life',' 'I am the bread which came down from heaven',' 'The bread that I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh' (Jn 6: 35, 41, 51).
"Faithfully pursuing the path of our Redeemer from the poverty of the Crib to His abandonment on the Cross, we can better understand the mystery of His love which redeems humanity. The Child, laid by Mary in the manger, is the Man-God we shall see nailed to the Cross. The same Redeemer is present in the sacrament of the Eucharist. In the stable at Bethlehem, He allowed Himself to be worshipped under the humble outward appearances of a newborn baby, by Mary, by Joseph and by the shepherds; in the consecrated Host, we adore Him sacramentally present in His body, blood, soul and godhead, and He offers Himself to us as the food of eternal life. The Mass then becomes a truly loving encounter with the One Who gave Himself wholly for us. Do not hesitate, my dear young friends, to respond to Him when He invites you 'to the wedding feast of the Lamb' (cf. Rv 19:9). Listen to Him, prepare yourselves properly, and draw close to the Sacrament of the Altar, particularly in this Year of the Eucharist (October 2004-2005) which I have proclaimed for the whole Church.
Offer Christ the gold of your lives, your freedom to follow Him
"4. 'They fell down and worshipped Him' (Mt 2:11). While the Magi acknowledged and worshipped the baby that Mary cradled in her arms as the One awaited by the nations and foretold by prophets, today we can also worship Him in the Eucharist and acknowledge Him as our Creator, our only Lord and Savior.
"'Opening their treasures they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh' (Mt 2:11). The gifts that the Magi offered the Messiah symbolized true worship. With gold, they emphasized His Royal Godhead; with incense, they acknowledged Him as the priest of the New Covenant; by offering Him myrrh, they celebrated the prophet who would shed His own blood to reconcile humanity with the Father.
"My dear young people, you too offer to the Lord the gold of your lives, namely, your freedom to follow Him out of love, responding faithfully to His call; let the incense of your fervent prayer rise up to Him, in praise of His glory; offer Him your myrrh, that is your affection of total gratitude to Him, true Man, who loved us to the point of dying as a criminal on Golgotha.
Give God pride of place, find strength to resist all forms of idolatry
"5. Be worshippers of the only true God, giving Him pride of place in your lives! Idolatry is an ever-present temptation. Sadly, there are those who seek the solution to their problems in religious practices that are incompatible with the Christian faith. There is a strong urge to believe in the facile myths of success and power; it is dangerous to accept the fleeting ideas of the sacred which present God in the form of cosmic energy, or in any other manner that is inconsistent with Catholic teaching.
"My dear young people, do not yield to false illusions and passing fads, which so frequently leave behind a tragic spiritual vacuum! Reject the seduction of wealth, consumerism, and the subtle violence sometimes used by the mass media.
"Worshipping the true God is an authentic act of resistance to all forms of idolatry. Worship Christ: He is the Rock on which to build your future and a world of greater justice and solidarity. Jesus is the Prince of peace: the source of forgiveness and reconciliation, Who can make brothers and sisters of all the members of the human family.
Not conformed to the mentality of the world but transformed by renewal
"6. 'And they departed to their own country by another way' (Mt 2:12). The Gospel tells us that after their meeting with Christ, the Magi returned home 'by another way.' This change of route can symbolize the conversion to which all those who encounter Jesus are called, in order to become the true worshippers that He desires (cf. Jn 4:23-24). This entails imitating the way He acted by becoming, as the apostle Paul writes, 'a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.' The apostle then adds that we must not be conformed to the mentality of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of our minds, to 'prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect' (cf. Rom 12:1-2).
"Listening to Christ and worshipping Him leads us to make courageous choices, to take what are sometimes heroic decisions. Jesus is demanding, because He wishes our genuine happiness. He calls some to give up everything to follow Him in the priestly or consecrated life. Those who hear this invitation must not be afraid to say 'yes' and to generously set about following Him as His disciples. But in addition to vocations to special forms of consecration, there is also the specific vocation of all baptized Christians: that is also a vocation to that 'high standard' of ordinary Christian living which is expressed in holiness (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, n. 31). When we meet Christ and accept His Gospel, life changes and we are driven to communicate our experience to others.
"There are so many of our contemporaries who do not yet know the love of God or who are seeking to fill their hearts with trifling substitutes. It is therefore urgently necessary for us to be witnesses to love contemplated in Christ. The invitation to take part in World Youth Day is also extended to you, dear friends, who are not baptized or who do not identify with the Church. Are you not perhaps yearning for the Absolute and in search of 'something' to give a meaning to your lives? Turn to Christ and you will not be let down.
The Church needs genuine witnesses, the Church needs saints
"7. Dear young people, the Church needs genuine witnesses for the new evangelization: men and women whose lives have been transformed by meeting with Jesus, men and women who are capable of communicating this experience to others. The Church needs saints. All are called to holiness, and holy people alone can renew humanity. Many have gone before us along this path of Gospel heroism, and I urge you to turn often to them to pray for their intercession. By meeting in Cologne you will learn to become better acquainted with some of them, such as St. Boniface, the apostle of Germany, the Saints of Cologne, and in particular Ursula, Albert the Great, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), and Blessed Adolph Kolping. Of these I would like to specifically mention St Albert and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross who, with the same interior attitude as the Magi, were passionate seekers after the truth. They had no hesitation in placing their intellectual abilities at the service of the faith, thereby demonstrating that faith and reason are linked and seek each other.
"My dear young people, as you move forward in spirit towards Cologne, the Pope will accompany you with his prayers. May Mary, 'Eucharistic woman' and Mother of Wisdom, support you along the way, enlighten your decisions, and teach you to love what is true, good, and beautiful. May she lead you all to her Son, Who alone can satisfy the innermost yearnings of the human mind and heart.
"Go with my blessing!"
by Gregory Doroski and Jonathan Greenberg
(Editor's note: This article first appeared in the June-July, 2004 issue of The Catholic Worker. It has been slightly condensed. It is reprinted with permission. This article represents one point of view. It does not necessarily reflect the views of My People. We welcome contributions from our readers with other points of view.)
. . .Haiti is by far the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80% of its nearly 8 million people living in abject poverty, and dying, for the most part, from preventable diseases.
Even after its inception as the world's first black republic, founded by a slave revolution in 1804, Haiti remained enslaved by an unbreakable chain of political violence and oppressive rulers. It was not until the late 1980s, after enduring the autocracy of one military-backed dictator after another, that the people of Haiti organized successfully to win the opportunity to elect a democratic government.
At that time, Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a proponent of liberation theology, emerged as a powerful voice for the oppressed. In a reflection of the early Church, Fr. Aristide began organizing "small base or ecclesial communities," which quickly spread through the ghettos of the impoverished country to become the grassroots movement known as Fanmi Lavalas (FL).
On December 16, 1990, Haiti held its first democratic election. With a heavy turnout, Fr. Aristide swept into the office of president with 67% of the popular vote – a far higher margin than any American president has won in modern history. He quickly began implementing his liberation plan for economic justice: building infrastructure, raising the minimum wage, putting tariffs on imported goods, redistributing land, launching literacy programs, fighting entrenched corruption and narco-trafficking. He even laid plans to disband his nation's costly military.
The wealthy of Haiti, along with the military henchmen and their allies in the United States government, sprang into action. On September 30, 1991, a military coup seized power and forced President Aristide into exile. Though many were not aware, "the resulting regime was launched by U.S. intelligence," said Allan Nairn, the reporter who originally broke the story on the U.S. connection on Democracy Now! "It was confirmed by President Clinton's Secretary of State Warren Christopher."
Democracy had lasted for less than a year. The new military dictatorship was ruthless, and thoroughly corrupt. Refugees fleeing the violence, tyranny, and poverty crammed into tiny boats, seeking safe harbor. They found none. From 1991 to 1992 the United States Coast Guard intercepted and immediately returned more than 41,000 Haitian "boat people."
From his exile in Venezuela, and then the United States, President Aristide worked hard to gain international support for his return to the people who had elected him. The U.S. was willing to send a force to assist in his reinstatement, but in return, President Aristide was made to agree to abandon most of his radical economic agenda. Upon returning to Haiti in October 1994 with American military assistance, Jean-Bertrand Aristide resumed his presidency. He immediately disbanded the military, replacing it with a civilian police force of about five thousand. For the first time in its history, Haiti had no army to siphon away scarce its 200th anniversary, Haiti's former militarist elements returned, gathered force, and unleashed a wave of terror calculated to topple President Aristide's government.
The paramilitary group of a few hundred surprisingly well-armed fighters was led by Guy Phillipe, a former police chief who fled Haiti in October 2000, after the authorities discovered him plotting a coup, and Louis Jodel Chamblain, a leader of the first U.S.-backed coup against President Aristide, who was later convicted in absentia for a 1994 massacre of hundreds of civilians. With no military to protect the country, President Aristide requested international protection but his plea remained unanswered.
Instead, as the rebels neared Port Au Prince and threatened the lives of President Aristide and his family, well-armed American soldiers offered him an airplane flight to an undisclosed destination. The only choice he was offered was to escape or be killed. The United States obeyed the political opposition's request and refused to provide any military protection for him or his family in Haiti.
The Caribbean Community's CARICOM organization has requested an investigation of what amounted to Haiti's most recent coup. The United States refused, as Secretary of State Colin Powell said, because he did not "think any purpose would be served by an inquiry."
The United States has appointed a wealthy Haitian American businessman to rule Haiti for the next two years. Despite their consistent victories in fair elections, the FL Party has not been given any seats in the new government. Meanwhile, the spigot of foreign aid has begun again, with $55 million of development aid promised by the United States annually.
It is worth noting that this amount, to a country that has been deprived of all assistance for three years, is less than one-thousandth of the money the U.S. is spending each year for its occupation of Iraq. This is in keeping with how the world's governments allocate their resources. Some $900 billion is spent annually on the military, but only $56 billion per year on development assistance for the poor, and far less than that on direct international assistance to feed the hungry and help the destitute. . .
Fred H. Summe, vice president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life
Abortion, contraception, human cloning and experimentation, euthanasia, assisted suicide, infanticide, sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., adultery, homosexuality, etc.) are all condemned as intrinsically evil. [See Catechism of the Catholic Church, Sections 2270-2275, 2276-2279, 2292-2295, and 2370] They are never, under any circumstances, morally permissible.
There are other issues and concerns which Christians need to address, but which are not intrinsically evil. Reasonable minds can differ on how to approach those issues and concerns.
For example, capital punishment, properly administered by the state, is not intrinsically evil. ". . .The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty . . ." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 2267, 1997 revised addition). Reasonable Christian minds can differ on whether capital punishment should be used by the state, for what serious crimes, and under what safeguards.
Indifference to others, war, the environment, immigration, drugs, poverty are all issues which need to be concerns of Christians, but Christians can reasonably differ on the approaches to address these issues, the role of government, and the role of Church in relationship to these issues.
Archbishop William J. Levada of San Francisco states: "Catholic social teaching covers a broad range of important issues. But among these the teaching on abortion holds a unique place. . . There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war or applying the death penalty, but not with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
Refusing To Defend The Innocent
The unwillingness to draw a clear distinction between core human life issues, which are morally and intrinsically evil, and issues and concerns about which Christians can reasonably and morally differ, is simply a pro-abortion ploy to undercut the Church's opposition to the killing of unborn children by abortion, and is shamefully used by pro-abortion politicians to deceive and confuse.
"The upshot of trying to put abortion, capital punishment, and war in one package, is that it makes chaos of Catholic morals and can lead one to misinterpret God's law so that, at least by omission, he will do what is objectively evil: namely refuse to defend the innocent," teaches Fr. Richard R. Roach, S.J., Professor of Moral Theology at Marquette University.
While not advocating capital punishment or indifference to other issues, it is important to repudiate the false homogenization of the true core life issues (abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, cloning, human experimentation, and all attacks upon innocent human life) on the one hand, with other issues on which reasonable Christians minds can differ.
Also, candidates who favor legalized abortion, etc., are made to appear to be pro-life, by reason of their position on other issues, which are not in fact the core life issues.
The "consistent life ethic" has been effectively used as a ploy by the pro-abortion community. Shortly after its propagation, a newly-created group, Just Life, tried to co-opt the meaning of "pro-life" by homogenizing all of these various issues in a sort of "lowest common denominator morality" test. It published the results of this moral homogenization which then showed as "pro-life" such aggressive pro-abortion leaders as Senators Ted Kennedy and Howard Metzenbaum (67% pro-life ratings) and simultaneously gave effective and traditional anti-abortionists poor pro-life ratings: Sen. Jesse Helms (29%), Congressmen Henry Hyde (40%) and Robert Dornan (33%).
Catholic Answers (www.catholic.com) teaches in its publication, Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics: "On most issues that come before voters or legislators, a Catholic can take one side or the other and not act contrary to his faith. Most matters do not have a 'Catholic position.'"
This pamphlet sets forth this simple but critical (and undeniable) distinction between issues which are intrinsically evil and those upon which Catholics may reasonably differ, explaining that there are "five non-negotiable issues," and that "citizens vote in favor of these evils if they vote in favor of candidates who propose to advance them": (1) abortion; (2) euthanasia; (3) fetal stem cell research; (4) human cloning; (5) homosexual "marriage."
"Candidates who endorse or promote any of the five non-negotiables should be considered to have disqualified themselves from holding public office, and you should not vote for them. You should make your choice from among the remaining candidates."
Just a few thoughts about one of the good guys.
We lost one of the great ones last week. Our dear friend and compatriot, Jerry McClatchey, was called home at the young age of 58. Jerry was one of the most beloved members of not only our officiating community but of the whole west side. Many will remember him as the "big ref" at their ball games. He officiated for over thirty years here in town and touched more than a few lives along the way.
We sometimes think of a sports official as being a necessary evil. No matter what call he makes, half the fans think he's wrong! It is a true artist who can work a game and not have any enemies when the contest ends. I had the great pleasure of working with him countless times and I don't ever remember anyone getting mad at him. This isn't to say that he never made any questionable calls, but he had this wonderful way of keeping the waters smooth even when a storm was brewing.
When you work an occupation for three decades, you see the same people quite a bit. Jer refereed games for guys in the fifth grade, high school, adult leagues, and then their kids. He never failed to make friends at these events. You could always count on him to be in the stands talking to children, moms, dads, and grandparents. He had an incredible love for life and people.
If you only saw Jerry at ball games, it would be easy to think sports were his life; but my friend was so much more than a referee. It is true that he worked a lot of games but to those of us lucky enough to spend time with him, family and friends were ten times more important to him than any contest. He had his priorities as straight as anyone you'll ever meet.
We laughed until our sides hurt on numerous occasions. He could joke and tease with you while not cutting too deeply. He could make you feel like the best referee that ever put on a striped shirt but in the next breath remind you to keep your day job.
There were many times he and I would just talk about life in general. When I took a job with the city, Jerry advised me to sign up for the deferred compensation plan as soon as they let me. This will put thousands of dollars in my pocket a few years from now. "Snacks" was a frequent reader of this column and often gave me support when one of my thoughts was a little off base. We talked about work challenges, leadership, and business.
By far, family was the most important thing in his life. Just a couple of weeks before he passed he told me how great it was to have grandkids. When his youngest son Tim played high school football, he turned in an entire Friday night schedule so he wouldn't miss a down. He was his wife's best friend and his children never hesitated to ask for his help. The family vacationed together at the same place for twenty-five years. Try that with a family who doesn't have love. When his Chris graduated from law school, he talked about it for months. I once took his place at a tournament when a granddaughter was born early and Jerry wanted to be with his family.
The shock of his death has been difficult to endure. He was such a good-natured man and friendly to everyone in which he came in contact. The ceaseless line at the funeral home can attest to how many lives he touched with his cheerful and helpful spirit. Well over a thousand souls signed the register. He officiated at St. Rita's for twenty years and the presence of several of the nuns proves that he touched everyone.
By far my favorite story of the big man was this tale which he told many times. It seems that a mother wasn't very impressed with his ability to referee her son's basketball game. After listening to her for over thirty minutes, he finally stopped the game and went into the stands. Sitting next to her, he said, "Mame, I'm sure you can do a much better job." The stunned look on her face was priceless and when she came to her senses, she slapped him on the knee and laughingly told him she would quiet down. No anger, no animosity, and a new friend for life.
That's the man I love and miss. Every game since his death, I've said a silent prayer that God make me a Jerry McClatchey to someone in this contest. On August 9, heaven had games at 6, 7, and 8 o'clock and Jerry was on them! Thanks, buddy, for making a difference in so many lives.
Just a few thoughts.
by Tyrone Thomas
(Editor's note: Mr. Thomas writes from Jackson, MI. We welcome contributions from prisoners. We would like to hear from a variety of prisoners.)
For each new morning
Will shine its bright glow
And turn the four seasons
As sure as the wind does blow.
Now that grand deed is prayer
For the creature man, knows God is there
With an understanding heart, and a listening ear
He'll tear darkness apart, and erase every fear.
For the creature called
Is just like a son to God
And He'll lead you by the hand
No matter where you choose to trod.
Each soul on earth, must bow their head
And give praise to God, Who raised the dead
For His light is mighty, like the sun on high
And He is preparing a place for you in the sky.
By Susan Seta
"What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we conquer overwhelming through Him Who loved us" (Romans 8:35-37).
She is a wife. She is a mother. First and foremost, though, she is a child of the Living God. She has childlike trust and faith that can move mountains. Her name is Leslie Bort and she is not a survivor; she is a victor. Through Christ she has overwhelmingly conquered a formidable foe. That foe was cancer. It was detected on Fat Tuesday (Feb. 24, 2004). It was to be a Lent of a lifetime with more on the way. It was a journey of faith, hope, and love. There were times of unparalleled suffering, but there were also times of exaltation as God's saving power was manifest. All in all, it is a story of such magnitude that these few words can hardly bear witness.
Having had symptoms that could not be explained, Leslie, busy mother of six, went to see her doctor only to have a mass in her chest detected by X-ray. The news brought shock and sadness to their family. As she awaited further testing, Leslie was blessed to see the movie, The Passion of the Christ. At one point in that movie when Jesus embraces His cross, Leslie felt Jesus was telling her not to be afraid, that He had gone before her and that He would be with her through it all. Leslie was deeply touched.
Meeting with the surgeon was a gift from God. He told Leslie that he had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma twenty-four years earlier. At the time he was given six months to live. God was getting her ready.
From the outset, prayer was behind every step, every turn in the road. The first big encounter was an invitation by a friend who told Leslie she and her husband gathered some people to pray for her. Leslie was overwhelmed to see a chapel packed with people. It was only the beginning of God pouring out His Spirit on the many who would be raised up to lift up Leslie and her family in prayer. There would be people all over, all walks of life who would be called to include Leslie in their prayers.
Several months pass and time comes to be tested yet again. This time the news was full of hope. Everything returned normal. There was no sign of cancer. All was clear! Her husband, Ted, said it was a little chemo and a lot of prayer. Leslie submitted an entry entitled "Battle of the Century" that is a classic and that warms the heart. (You'll find yourself cheering!)
Through the summer months, Leslie has a short break, then continues treatment with radiation. As all this unfolds, the family is rocked again with more bad news. Leslie's father has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Much of Leslie's energy is now turned to him. She fights now on many fronts, all the while continuing to be wife, mother, daughter, friend to so many. Her dad's part of the story is still to be written. Keep all in your prayers.
Leslie is a true amazement! She has a big heart that only got bigger through all her trials. Her faith is inspirational beyond words. Her words of wisdom and wonder fill the heart and bring peace to the soul. She is a natural storyteller and one thinks of Jesus talking to the people. But, most of all, Leslie is love. She radiates this love with energy and joy. It touches all those she meets. She brings life to those around her. Even at her lowest, she transmits special joy and hope. God has used her in remarkable and profound ways. She is a sign of His love – a suffering servant who brings only blessing and healing. She continues to fight on. And we join her in that battle. Let us join together bound by faith, hope, and love and walk with all who suffer in such dire ways. Let us be one with He who is Love. Let us continue to pray and say in unison, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done."
(Read Leslie's story at: www.caringbridge.com/oh/lesliebort)
(A Christian Perspective on World News)
Olympics Offer Positive Benefits
Vatican City – On August 13, Pope John Paul II sent a congratulatory telegram to Constantinos Stephanopoulos, president of the Hellenic Republic. The Pope stated:
"At the time when the 28th edition of the
Summer Olympic Games are about to open in Athens, I offer my respectful good
wishes to Your Excellency, and through you, to the Authorities and to the whole
of the Greek People. I greet the members of the Olympic Committee, the
organizers, the official delegations, the athletes, and all who have contributed
to the success of this international sports event in the spirit of the truce
associated with the Olympic Games. I hope that these Games will be an
opportunity for brotherhood between peoples and cultures, since sports are a
universal language of human relations that develops a family spirit and makes it
possible to overcome the violence that marks the contemporary world. I
willingly invoke divine Blessings upon you, Your Excellency, as well as on the
Greek Nation whose sense of hospitality I know from experience, on the
organizers, the athletes, and the spectators, whether they are present or
participate in the sports events via the media. I offer everyone my
fervent good wishes."
(Source: L'Osservatore Romano English edition)
Pope Sends Condolences to Massacre Victims
Vatican city – Pope John Paul II directed that a telegram be sent to Archbishop Paul Gallagher, apostolic nuncio in Burundi, after learning of an attack on August 13 on a refugee camp at Gatumba, 12 miles from the Congolese border. At least 180 refugees died and more than 115 injured in the massacre. The camp, which housed about 3,000, is run by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The telegram was signed by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, and was released on August 15. The text follows:
"On being informed of the massacre of
civilian refugees at Gatumba in the Bujumbura region, the Holy Father asked me
to let you know that he joins the people affected by this tragedy through
prayer. He entrusts the deceased to the Lord's mercy so that He will
welcome them into His peace. He prays for the many injured and for their
families that they may be surrounded and comforted in their trial. He
encourages the rescue workers and members of the UNHCR in their important
mission to care for the injured and bring aid to the families and refugees in
the region. As he asks the Lord to make Himself close to everyone, the
Pope imparts his Apostolic Blessing to all those affected by this
(Source: L'Osservatore Romano English edition)
Pope Condemns Church Bombings in Iraq
Vatican city – The Vatican newspaper reported that "on Sunday evening, August 1, Islamic fundamentalists targeted Christians in Iraq (3 percent of the population), causing six explosions in the vicinity of Catholic churches, four in Baghdad and two in Mosul, killing at least 15 and injuring hundreds. Pope John Paul II sent a telegram expressing solidarity with the Iraqi church immediately after learning of these tragic events. His telegram follows:
"I am deeply distressed to hear the
sorrowful news of the attacks yesterday on various Catholic communities in
Baghdad and Mosul, while they were praying in their respective places of
worship. In this time of trial, I am spiritually close to the Church and
societies in Iraq, and I renew my heartfelt solidarity to pastors and faithful
alike, assuring them of my prayers and constant efforts to help establish an
atmosphere of peace and reconciliation in this country. At the same time,
I hope that all who believe in the one kind and merciful God will join forces in
deploring every form of violence and will cooperate to restore concord to the
sorely tried land of Iraq."
(Source: L'Osservatore Romano English edition)
Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com