"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
|We pray for all students returning to school. (Photo: Courtesy of Lyons Photography)|
Pope Benedict XVI considered the importance of ensuring respect for the rights and duties of both migrants and host communities at a May 28 meeting at the Vatican. The Pope addressed the plenary assembly of The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant people.
The Holy Father stated:
". . . You chose as the topic of this Session the Pastoral care of human mobility today, in the context of the co-responsibility of States and of International Organizations. The movement of persons has been for some time the object of international conventions, which seek to guarantee the protection of fundamental human rights and to fight discrimination, xenophobia, and intolerance. It concerns documents which provide the principles and methods of supranational protection.
We cannot separate love for God from love for man. We acknowledge God
easily, but our brother? Those with whom we do not identify in his
background, education, race, complexion. We could not have imagined that
love for God could be so hard.
— St. Edith Stein
"An appreciable effort is being made to build a system of shared norms which contemplate the rights and duties of the foreigner, as well as those of the host community, taking into account in the first place the dignity of every human person, created by God in His image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26). Obviously, the acquisition of rights goes hand in hand with the acceptance of duties. In fact, all people enjoy rights and duties which are not arbitrary, for they stem from human nature itself, as Bl. Pope John XXIII's Encyclical Pacem in Terris affirms: 'Each individual man is truly a person. His is a nature . . . endowed with intelligence and freewill. As such he has rights and duties, which together flow as a direct consequence from his nature. These rights and duties are universal and inviolable, and therefore, altogether inalienable' (n. 9). The responsibility of States and international organizations is, therefore, particularly specified in the commitment to influence matters which, respecting the competencies of the national legislator, involve the entire family of peoples, and require an agreement between the Governments and Organisms more directly concerned. I am thinking of such problems as the entry or forced removal of the foreigner, the enjoyment of the goods of nature, of culture and art, of science and technology, which must be accessible to all. One must not forget, then, the important role of mediation so that national and international resolutions, which promote the universal common good, find acceptance with local entities and are reflected in daily life.
"In this context, laws on the national and international level which promote the common good and respect for the person encourage hope and the efforts being made for the achievement of a world social order founded on peace, brotherhood, and universal cooperation, despite the critical phase international institutions are currently traversing as they concentrate on resolving crucial questions of security and development for everyone. It is true, unfortunately, that we are witnessing the re-emergence of biased cases in some areas of the world, but it is also true that there is reluctance to assume responsibility which should be shared. Moreover, not yet extinguished is the longing of many to break down the walls that divide and to establish broad consensus, also through legislative provisions and administrative practices which foster integration, mutual exchanges, and reciprocal enrichment. In effect, the prospects of peoples living side by side can be offered through cautious and concerted policies for acceptance and integration, providing for legal entry, favoring the just right of reuniting families, of asylum, and of refuge, compensating for the necessary restrictive measures and opposing the disgraceful traffic of individuals. Precisely here the various international organizations, in cooperation among themselves and with the States, can make their particular contribution by reconciling, with various methods, the recognition of the rights of the person, and the principle of national sovereignty, with specific reference to the exigencies of security, public order, and the control of borders.
"The fundamental rights of the person can be the focal point in the commitment to responsibility by international institutions. This, then, is closely linked to 'openness to life, which is at the center of true development,' as I confirmed in the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate (cf. n. 28), where I also appealed to States to promote policies for the centrality and the integrity of the family (cf. n. 44).
"On the other hand, it is evident that openness to life and to the rights of the family must conform to the different contexts, because 'in an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations' (n. 7). The future of our societies rests upon the meeting between peoples, upon dialogue between cultures with respect for identity and legitimate differences. In this scenario, the family retains its fundamental role. Therefore, the Church with the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ in every sector of existence, carries forward 'the commitment . . . in favor not only of the individual migrant, but also of his family, which is a place and resource of the culture of life and a factor for the integration of values,' as I affirmed in the Message for the 93rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees, October 18, 2006, celebrated in 2007.
"Dear brothers and sisters, it is also your task to awaken the Organizations committed to the world of migrants and itinerant people to forms of co-responsibility. This pastoral sector is tied to a phenomenon in constant expansion and, therefore, your role must be expressed in concrete responses of closeness and personal pastoral support, taking into account the different local situations. On each of you I invoke the light of the Holy Spirit and the maternal protection of Our Lady, as I renew my gratitude for the service that you render to the Church and to society. May the inspiration of Bl. Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, described as the 'Father of migrants' by the Venerable John Paul II, the 105th anniversary of whose birth in heaven we shall be commemorating on June 1, illumine your actions in favor of migrants and itinerant people and spur you to an ever more attentive charity, which will witness to them the unfailing love of God. For my part I assure you of my prayers while blessing you from my heart."
Catholic bishops issued a statement on June 4, signed by 16 bishops, who participated in the Regional Consultation on Migration, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The statement points out some issues which should be addressed on a regional level. It calls for the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration to affirm the nation's tradition of welcoming immigrants and to "reform U.S. immigration law to allow migrants who work hard in the U.S. economy to enjoy the benefits of legal protection."
The statement follows:
"As Catholic bishops of the United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Canada gathered at our regional consultation meeting in Washington, D.C., June 2-4, 2010, joined at our meeting by religious and lay persons working with migrants, we reaffirm our commitment to vulnerable persons who migrate in search of protection or for a better life for themselves and their families. We acknowledge and appreciate the presence at our meeting of His Excellency Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, President of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People and representative of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
"We offer several reflections on the current situation regarding migration in this hemisphere, consistent with our long-held view that persons on the move should be protected from harm while in transit and welcomed with hospitality, service, and justice. This view is consistent with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who calls upon all to 'welcome the stranger' and Who declared 'for whatever you do to the least of My brethren, you do unto Me.' (Mt. 25:35, 40).
"We stand in solidarity with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who in his recent address to the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People, called upon the nations of the world to establish policies and plans which give migrants and refugees 'opportunities to obtain legal status, promoting the fair rights to family reunification, asylum and refugee status, compensating for necessary restrictive measures and opposing the appalling trafficking of human beings.' We echo the Holy Father's call to international organizations, international bodies, and nation-states to 'resolve the crucial questions of security and development to the benefit of all.' The lack of security and development are the very factors that contribute to the need for people to migrate.
"It is a reality that in this hemisphere the human dignity of persons on the move continues to be violated by governmental and nongovernmental actors alike in source, transit, and receiving nations. Migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers are mistreated and exploited both by government officials and law enforcement officials, as well as smugglers and other criminal elements as they flee poverty, natural disaster, violence, or persecution. The explosion of human trafficking in this hemisphere is a scourge which continues to grow, victimizing men, women, and children.
"At the same time, there are many in the Church and other people of goodwill who work hard to protect the rights of persons on the move and who work to change laws to ensure the protection of basic human rights. We stand with them as together we try to educate others about the harsh realities of migration and the need to demonstrate compassion and justice to those less fortunate.
"We also acknowledge and support the right of our governments to ensure the integrity of their borders and the common good of their citizenry. We strongly believe, however, that these goals can be achieved and the rule of law preserved without violating human rights. Governments can and must collaborate effectively to achieve regional development and stability.
"With these perspectives in mind, we call attention to specific issues which should be addressed on a regional basis, with cooperation from all governments of this hemisphere:
"The Promotion of Sustainable Economic Development in this Hemisphere. The factors which compel people to migrate in search of work are primarily, but not solely, economic. Families in poorer countries struggle to meet their most basic needs and living-wage jobs remain scarce. Root economic causes of migration must be addressed so that migrants can remain in their home countries and support their families. The impact of current and proposed trade agreements and agricultural policy in the region must be reviewed in terms of the displacement of small farmers and workers, and subsequent migration.
"For example, the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), touted initially as the key to economic development in the region, has failed to reach those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. International institutions, such as international lending institutions, have not adequately addressed the needs of the poor in the region.
"The goals of the millennium have not been fully realized, and now climate change is adding another element to the migration phenomenon. These economic tools must be used in a way that increases the ability of the poor to escape poverty and not be forced to migrate to other countries.
"The Economic Drivers of Violence. Economic insecurity and deprivation add to a number of social issues that together provide fertile breeding grounds for violence. The lack of economic opportunity as well as the lack of a sense of social meaning, especially among younger adults, fuels the resort to underground and illicit activities in many of the countries of the hemisphere. The increasing power of drug smuggling networks must be combated, both by law enforcement efforts but also by eradicating the market for these illicit substances, particularly in the United States.
"The Protection of Migrants, Refugees, and Other Vulnerable People in Transit. Persons on the move in this hemisphere are subject to exploitation, abuse, and prolonged detention in all countries. Laws must be examined and reformed in each country to establish mechanisms to ensure safe passage, protection, and due process for migrants and their families, while ensuring that violent criminals are constrained.
"The Scourge of Human Trafficking. While progress has been made in raising awareness of human trafficking in this hemisphere, much more must be achieved to eradicate this scourge. Governments and nongovernmental actors must work together to address the economic and social factors that make people vulnerable to trafficking. They must root out trafficking networks, and provide rescue and services to victims. Special attention must be paid to children, who are the most vulnerable victims.
"Assistance for Haiti. We call upon all governments of this hemisphere to provide special care to the people of Haiti as they attempt to rebuild their country after the January earthquake. We urge all nations to continue with their generosity and support, but also to apply and amend their migration laws to accommodate, to the greatest extent possible, Haitians and their families who can no longer remain in Haiti.
"As an immigrant nation, the United States and the American people, including Catholics, have traditionally welcomed newcomers and helped to integrate them into the country. We call upon the Congress of the United States and the Obama Administration to affirm this honored tradition and reform U.S. immigration law to allow migrants who work hard in the U.S. economy to enjoy the benefits of legal protection.
"This reform would preclude the need to impose criminal penalties on persons not lawfully admitted. It also would end deportations of family members and the breakup of families. In all countries of the region we continue to welcome and protect migrants and call upon our governments to make their immigration laws more humane.
"As pastors, we have an obligation to defend the rights of all persons, particularly the most vulnerable members of the human community. We call upon all members of the Catholic community in our nations to stand in solidarity with persons on the move and to work for their just and humane treatment.
"May we be worthy of the admonition of our Lord and Savior, 'Come, you who are blessed by My Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, a stranger and you welcomed Me . . .' (Mt. 25:34-35).
Women queing for medical in a makeshift camp in South Sudan (Credits: Caritas)
Editor's note: Caritas, the international Catholic relief organization, provided the following press release)
Caritas is highlighting the plight of three million women in long-term refugee crises on World Refugee Day, June 20.
Women refugees are particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses in cases where they've been forced to leave their homes for long-standing periods. Caritas says the international community can do better in protecting them from violence.
"The international community must show the political will to ensure protection as guaranteed in international treaties," said Martina Liebsch, Director of Policy for Caritas Internationalis.
There are over 10 million refugees in the world today. About two-thirds are caught in crises of five years or longer. Women make up 49 percent of the refugee population. They are frequently fleeing conflicts in places such as Colombia, Sudan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. They often live in insecure places such as makeshift camps without protection.
"Women can become victims of violence in these camps," said Martina Liebsch. "They are more vulnerable to attacks as they frequently have to leave the camps for basic supplies for their families, such as firewood and water."
Caritas says that providing better security in camps is essential, as well as making it easier for women to report acts of violence and have access to judicial procedures.
"Supporting livelihood programs for women is a key factor," said Martina Liebsch. "By giving a woman the ability to provide for herself and her family in a secure environment, they will not be forced to take risks by going outside camp."
Caritas has helped 12,000 people in Darfur in Sudan by running community centers that provide activities, such as bread-making, rope making, and income generation from a grinding mill.
Caritas says that practical experience in refugee camps in Benin, West Africa, shows that providing leadership roles for women improves their security. It gives them a say in how camps are run and having voice raises their profile. Peacebuilding activities between the refugee and host community can also reduce tensions.
"The best way to provide security is to resolve crises itself so refugees can return home," said Martina Liebsch. "Alternatives are supporting integration within the host community or resettling into another country. Achieving those means supporting skills training so people can create new lives for themselves."
To the editors:
The inmates at Calipatria State Prison thank you for the continued donations of "My People" newspaper. The men like the puzzle games and the crossword, but especially the Church Teaching and the words of Pope Benedict. The men are cut off from most good news of the world and the church and your paper helps them to find their Catholic Roots again.
Your servant in Christ,
Deacon Mike Heidenreich
Catholic Chaplain-Calipatria State Prison
Fred H. Summe is Vice President of Northern Kentucky Right to Life, P.O. Box 1202, Covington, Kentucky 41012
"One of my first memories is of protesting in front of a Planned Parenthood, standing next to my cousin in a stroller, and they told me that they kill babies at Planned Parenthood . . . someone came up to us in retrospect it was probably a pro-lifer but I threw myself over the stroller: 'Don't hurt my cousin!'," stated Katie Walker, as reported by LifeSiteNews.com, which identifies her as one of the new generation of pro-life leaders: "young, committed, articulate, professional, and pro-life."
As the daughter of a young, unwed mother, Katie always felt a connection with the women going into the abortion mill. "Everything in the culture of the 1980s pointed to getting rid of me. Why should a beautiful, vibrant 20-year-old have to be 'punished' with a baby? If Mom hadn't faced down the pressure of our culture, I easily could have been one of those little aborted babies."
Katie, a native of Cincinnati, graduated cum laude from Northern Kentucky University in 2008, with a degree in journalism and political science. While at NKU, she organized and obtained university approval of a new campus organization, Northern Right to Life, dedicated to advancing the cause of the sanctity of all innocent human life. The new organization gained notoriety early on after they obtained university approval for the installation of 400 Christian crosses in the central plaza, with a sign which explained the "Cemetery of the Innocents: one cross represents 400 babies killed each day by surgical abortion in the USA."
To their astonishment, the display was destroyed by a university professor, together with six of her graduate-level students.
The prosecuting authorities initially indicated that they were not interested in pressing criminal charges for these obvious crimes of criminal mischief and theft by unlawful taking. However, this student group, which had shown remarkable restraint and maturity in the face of this lawless and violent onslaught by the pro-aborts, showed that they were vitally interested that this episode be treated with the seriousness it deserved, so as to avoid setting a bad precedent for encouraging such lawless and intimidating conduct on other campuses.
Today Northern Right to Life is one of the most active groups on NKU's campus and continues to spread the message of human rights for all human beings from the beginning of biological development.
Northern Kentucky Right to Life is indeed proud to invite Katie Walker to address the 37th Annual Celebration of Life scheduled for Sunday, September 12, 2010, at London Hall, Drawbridge Estates in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky (I-75, Exit 186).
The doors will open at 1:15 p.m., followed by the showing of a pro-life film at 1:30 p.m. Refreshments and exhibits will be available at 2:00 p.m. with the program commencing at 2:30 p.m. (Free babysitting is provided.)
Tickets ($10.00) and additional information can be obtained from Stan Barczak, Northern Kentucky Right to Life, P.O. Box 1202, Covington, KY 41012. (859-431-6380). (Tickets can be obtained in advance or at the door.)
Katie Walker is now the Communications Director at American Life League the nation's largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization, where she is in charge of advancing universal recognition of human personhood and the dignity of every human being's life through traditional and new media.
Before heading to Washington, D.C., to work for the pro-life movement, Katie served in communications and fundraising for the Comboni Missionaries. After founding Northern Right to Life, Katie was also the founding vice-president of Students for Life of Kentucky the statewide student group connecting 12 pro-life university groups and counting across the state.
Katie is frequently published on issues surrounding the fight for recognition of human personhood, young women, and the pushback against radical feminism.
She has appeared on FOX News, MSNBC, The Laura Ingraham Show, and CBN News, as well as many local television and radio shows. Katie has been published in the Washington Post, the Remnant newspaper, and Celebrate Life magazine, and quoted in Reuters, OneNewsNow, World Net Daily, and Politico.
She stated that she is excited that she'll be back in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky "among the best pro-life activists in the country."
Why would LifeSiteNews spotlight Katie as part of the new generation of pro-life leaders? When reading the following excerpts from a column authored by her, published in the February, 2010, Washington Post, the answer becomes obvious:
"Feminist leaders would have us 'Make the "choice" that's right for you,' but that sort of me-first mentality merely produced a generation of self-absorbed, Xanax-popping corporate climbers.
" 'You not only can, but should do everything men can do and more,' we were told growing up. But the result is a generation of exhausted Super Women struggling to do it all and losing themselves in the process.
"As the current leaders of the pro-abortion movement state, 'abortion is as tough and courageous a decision as is the decision to continue a pregnancy.' Women my age have seen too many women make that 'courageous' abortion decision and suffer the emotional, physical, and spiritual anguish.
"So what do young women want? Human rights for all human beings, for starters.
"Today's young women are rejecting the selfishness of the feminist 'me-first' paradigm and embracing the 'other.' We are embracing a rational, compassionate, and selfless call for civil rights not just for me, not just for women, but also for every human being. Until all human beings including those in the womb are recognized as persons under law, any effort for true justice will be undermined. Young women want human personhood, and they want it now.
"The feminist philosophy young women have been force-fed by the media, by pop culture, and by our education system for 50 years has failed in one critical way. It could not and will not be able to marry selfishness and love."
This 24-year-old pro-life activist gives not only encouragement to people who have toiled in the pro-life movement for the last 40-plus years, but gives witness to her generation of the joy that comes from giving of one's self, embracing life, and loving children.
"Poll after poll has confirmed what the pro-life movement has known for a long time young people are pro-life young women especially are pro-life," affirms Katie.
"Despite the pro-abortion movement's stranglehold on the entertainment media, our educational institutions, our laws they're selling an unsustainable bill of goods. They're asking us to deny our womanhood and our femininity in exchange for a self me-first philosophy that has led too many of our friends, too many of our mothers to pain and suffering in the aftermath of their abortions, their divorces, their joyless corporate climb.
"They're looking at the joy that comes with selflessly embracing life and human rights and dignity.
"Most young women I know, myself included, are looking at the joy on the faces of the young mothers in our lives and thinking 'I want to be just like THAT some day."
Considering the priority of the abortion issue and the euthanasia issue, please make the personal commitment to hear this pro-life advocate and encourage your family and friends to join you. Take this opportunity to also come and meet the more than 20 exhibitors, who can show you how you can also participate in the pro-life movement, giving witness in a variety of ways, to the sanctity of all human life.
WASHINGTONThe chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities voiced "grave concern" to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over its move toward approving a new drug that may induce early abortions as an "emergency contraceptive." In a June 17 letter to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the FDA, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said:
"I am writing because of grave concern over the FDA's current process for approving the drug Ulipristal (with the proposed trade name of Ella) for use as an 'emergency contraceptive.' The decision to hold an advisory committee hearing on the drug today, without broad public input or a full record on the drug's safety for women or their unborn children, does not demonstrate an understanding of the new medical and moral issues it presents.
"Concerns have been raised over other drugs considered for 'emergency contraception,' such as the 'Plan B' regimen, because they might act not only to prevent ovulation but also to prevent implantation of the developing embryo in his or her mother's womb. However, such drugs were thought to have no post-implantation effects. Ulipristal is a close analogue to the abortion drug RU-486, with the same biological effect that is, it can disrupt an established pregnancy weeks after conception has taken place. "This drug is contraindicated for women who are or may be pregnant. Yet its proposed use here is targeted precisely at women who may already have conceived, as it would be administered within five days after 'unprotected' sex or contraceptive failure. No existing pregnancy test can exclude the possibility that a new life has been conceived in this time frame. Indeed, advocates praise this drug as an advance precisely because it seems to retain its full efficacy five days after intercourse that is, after the opportunity to prevent fertilization has passed.
"Millions of American women, even those willing to use a contraceptive to prevent fertilization in various circumstances, would personally never choose to have an abortion. They would be ill served by a misleading campaign to present Ulipristal simply as a 'contraceptive.' In fact, FDA approval for that purpose would likely make the drug available for 'off-label' use simply as an abortion drug including its use by unscrupulous men with the intent of causing an early abortion without a woman's knowledge or consent. Such abuses have already occurred in the case of RU-486, despite its warning labels and limited distribution.
"For many years, Congress has acted to ensure that the federal government does not fund abortion, and does not endanger or destroy the early human embryo even in the name of important medical research. This Administration, like many before it, has voiced support for federal laws to ensure that no one is involved in abortion without his or her knowledge or consent. And the Administration's support for broad access to contraception has been defended as serving the goal of reducing abortions. Plans for approving a known abortion-causing drug as a 'contraceptive' for American women is not consistent with the stated policy of the Administration on these matters.
"Please know that I appreciate any attention the FDA can give to these serious concerns, and I will follow the Administration's further discussion and actions on this issue with great interest."
"Stop being niggardly," that is, stop cheating yourself and God, is what Karen Hunter says in her new book. The full title is Stop Being Niggardly and Nine Other Things Black People Need to Stop Doing, but many of the things apply to anyone.
The dictionary definition quoted on the front flap says, "niggardly (adj.) [nig'erd-le] 1. stingy, miserly; not generous 2. begrudgingly about spending or granting 3. provided in a meanly limited supply.
It continues with the warning: "You'd better know what the word means before you pour your energies into overreacting to it."
"Mary will think of everything for us and, removing every anguish and
difficulty, will quickly come to the aid of our corporal and spiritual needs."
– St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe
"Stop cheating yourself out of the blessings you are supposed to have," Hunter elaborates, "by focusing on the things you don't have, by looking at what others have and are doing instead of being excellent and following your own path and purpose."
She explains that the idea for the title of the book came in 1999 when the word made the headlines. It had been used in connection to the District of Columbia budget, but because of ignorance of the meaning of the word, its user was forced to resign.
It showed up again in 2002 when Stephanie Bell used the word in a spelling class. She was forced to write apologies to all the children's parents and promise to never use the word again.
"I wished I could just shake them and tell them how important it is to give your child a proper foundation a solid name, strong values, a strong sense of self, and the value of learning and obtaining a solid education." And so she did.
Hunter herself stopped being niggardly in 1996 by acting on Habakkuk 2:2 and making a list of her goals. At the top of the list she had "Get closer to God." To do so she read through the sayings of Jesus, in a red letter edition of the Gospels. By the next year the top thing on her list was "Have a really deep relationship with God."
Many of her other helpful advice also comes from Scripture. She quotes Ecclesiastes 5:10 on the consequences of loving money. She explains that this means being satisfied with the income you have, don't go into debt, don't play the lottery, tithe.
Much of her advice comes from another Black woman, Nannie Helen Burroughs, who wrote Twelve Things the Negro Must Do in the 1890s. Hunter quotes Burroughs in hers with commentary.
Burroughs in turn quotes John 5:8, advice "Taking up your own bed and walk," and not always remaining dependent on others or God. Hunter connects this Ecclesiastes 5:10 with not loving money, while throwing it away in the lottery or credit card debt. She advises tithing, living on 90% or less rather than 110%.
Burroughs advised making "religion an everyday practice and not just a Sunday-go-to-meeting emotional affair."
In response Hunter tells about her own battles against atheists on CNN, speaks out against Richard Dawkins, defends Creationism. She told the atheists, "There's no need to say, 'hey, wait a minute, you people! I don't believe in God and I'm offended that you all are praying!' " and has received hate mail ever since.
"I realized that I must have struck a nerve. I also realized that this was war and I had to be really serious about which side I stood on," she writes, and "it became increasingly more important that I studied that word, that I knew that word, but more importantly that I lived that word."
"Church for me," she continues, "is not about getting up and going to a building on Sunday, but an everyday reflection and fellowship with other believers and working on my relationship with God."
She retells the story told by George Washington Carver. He asked the Creator "Why did You create the universe?" God said, "You ask too much for your small mind to understand. Ask for something smaller." Carver asked, "Why did You make the peanut?" and God showed him three hundred uses for the peanut.
Burroughs encourages an Ezekiel experience like in Ezekiel 3:14-19, a command to warn the wicked. Hunter refers to Hebrews 13:3 that commands remembering those in prison. She encourages reading Deuteronomy 24:18, "Remember you were once a slave."
Italian dioceses of the Marche region organized a pilgrimage honoring the great Jesuit missionary to China, Father Matteo Ricci, on the 400th anniversary of his death. Pope Benedict XVI met with the pilgrims on May 29 in Vatican City. In his address, the Holy Father remarked:
". . . This great missionary a true protagonist of Gospel proclamation in China in the modern age, following the first evangelization there by Archbishop Giovanni da Montecorvino, reached the end of his earthly life in Peking on May 11, 1610. The extraordinary privilege he was granted, unthinkable for a foreigner, of being buried in Chinese soil is proof of the high esteem in which he was held, both in the Chinese capital and at the Imperial Court itself. Today it is also possible to venerate his tomb in Peking, fittingly restored by the Local Authorities. The many initiatives promoted in Europe and in China in honor of Fr. Ricci show the keen interest that his work continues to kindle in the Church and in the different cultural contexts.
"No undertaking, perhaps, is so pleasing to God as supporting the Missionary work of the Church. All who are reckoned Christians or boast of that name must contribute their support either by their prayers or by an offering according to their means."
Blessed Pope John XXIII
"The history of the Catholic missions includes figures important because of their zeal and courage in bringing Christ to new and distant lands; but Fr. Ricci is a unique case of a felicitous synthesis between the proclamation of the Gospel and the dialogue with the culture of the people to whom he brought it; he is an example of balance between doctrinal clarity and prudent pastoral action. Not only his profound knowledge of the language but also his assumption of the lifestyle and customs of the cultured Chinese classes, the result of study and its patient, far-sighted implementation, ensured that Fr. Ricci was accepted by the Chinese with respect and esteem, no longer as a foreigner but as the 'Master of the Great West.' Among the important figures of Chinese history in the 'Millennium Museum,' Peking, only two foreigners are recorded: Marco Polo and Fr. Matteo Ricci.
"This missionary's work presents two dimensions that must not be separated: the Chinese inculturation of the Gospel proclamation and the presentation to China of Western culture and science. The scientific aspects often attracted greater interest but the perspective with which Fr. Ricci entered into relations with the Chinese world and culture should not be forgotten. It consisted of a humanism that viewed the person as part of his context, cultivated his moral and spiritual values, retaining everything positive that is found in the Chinese tradition, and offering to enrich it with the contribution of Western culture and, above all, with the wisdom and truth of Christ. Fr. Ricci did not go to China to take it the science and culture of the West but rather to bring to it the Gospel, to make God known. He wrote: 'For more than 20 years, every morning and every evening I have prayed with tears to Heaven. I know that the Lord of Heaven takes pity on living creatures and pardons them . . . The truth about the Lord of Heaven is already in human hearts. But human beings do not immediately understand it and are not inclined to reflect on such a matter' (Il vero significato del 'Signore del Cielo,' [the true meaning of the 'Lord of Heaven'], Rome 2006, pp. 69-70). And it was precisely while he was proclaiming the Gospel that Fr. Ricci discovered in those with whom he was conversing the request for a broader exchange, so that the encounter motivated by faith also became an intercultural dialogue; a disinterested dialogue, free from financial or political ambition and lived in friendship. This makes the work of Fr. Ricci and his followers one of the loftiest and happiest peaks in the relationship between China and the West. The 'Treaty of Friendship' (1595), one of his first and best known works in Chinese, is eloquent in this regard. In Fr. Ricci's thought and teaching science, reason, and faith find a natural synthesis: 'Anyone who knows Heaven and earth,' he wrote in the preface to the third edition of the world map, 'can prove that the One who rules Heaven and earth is absolutely good, absolutely great, and absolutely one. The ignorant reject Heaven, but knowledge that does not relate back to the Emperor of Heaven as to the first cause is no knowledge at all.'
"However, admiration for Fr. Ricci must not lead us to forget the role and influence of his Chinese conversation partners. The decisions he made did not depend on an abstract strategy of inculturation of the faith but rather on events as a whole, on the meetings and experiences that he continued to have, which is why what he was able to achieve was also thanks to his encounter with the Chinese. He experienced this encounter in many ways but deepened it through his relationship with a few friends and followers, especially his four famous converts, 'pillars of the nascent Chinese Church.' The first and most famous of them was Xu Guangqi, a native of Shanghai, a literary man and a scientist, mathematician, astronomer, and agricultural expert who reached the highest ranks in the imperial bureaucracy, an integral man of great faith and Christian life, who was dedicated to serving his country and occupied an important place in the history of Chinese culture. It was he, for example, who convinced and helped Fr. Ricci to translate into Chinese Euclid's Elements, a fundamental work of geometry, and who persuaded the Emperor to entrust the reform of the Chinese calendar to Jesuit astronomers. Li Zhizao, another of the Chinese scholars who converted to Christianity, likewise helped Fr. Ricci in completing the last and most developed editions of the world map that were to give the Chinese a new image of the world. He described Fr. Ricci in these words: 'I believed him to be a unique man because he lives in celibacy, steers clear of intrigue in his office, speaks little, has an orderly conduct, and this is his daily practice he cultivates virtue secretly and serves God ceaselessly.' Thus it is right to associate with Fr. Matteo Ricci his closest friends who shared with him the experience of faith.
"Dear brothers and sisters, may the memory of these men of God dedicated to the Gospel and to the Church, their example of fidelity to Christ, their deep love for the Chinese people, their commitment of intelligence and study, and their virtuous lives be an opportunity to pray for the Church in China and for the entire Chinese people, as we do every year, on May 24, addressing Mary Most Holy, venerated in the famous Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai; and may they also be an incentive and an encouragement to live the Christian faith intensely, in dialogue with the different cultures but in the certainty that in Christ true humanism is fulfilled, open to God, rich in moral and spiritual values and capable of responding to the deepest desires of the human soul. Today I too, like Fr. Matteo Ricci, express my profound esteem to the noble Chinese people and to their 1,000-old culture, in the conviction that a renewed encounter with Christianity will bear abundant fruits of good, just as it then fostered a peaceful coexistence among peoples. Many thanks."
baltimore, maryland Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has made strides in meeting desperate need since the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, feeding some 900,000 people and providing food, water, sanitation, shelter materials, and medical care for hundreds of thousands in Port-au-Prince and beyond.
The huge outpouring of support from Catholics and others of good faith in the United States has enabled CRS to bring life-saving aid over the last few months. "We are grateful for the generous outpouring of aid to Haiti in the first phase of operations. On July 12, we remember those who rushed to the spot like heroes to save lives, relieve pain, give food and drink, welcome, house, and express their solidarity," said Bishop Pierre Dumas, President of Caritas Haiti.
Between mid-January and June, CRS has provided food to some 900,000 people, and is continuing to supply food regularly to approximately 100,000 children in over 270 schools and 100 orphanages and child-care centers. CRS provided emergency shelter materials to more than 114,000 people, and water and sanitation services that are benefiting tens of thousands.
"While CRS continues to address humanitarian needs such as food, water, and shelter, we are now embarking on a long-term and comprehensive plan of rebuilding and rehabilitation that is mapped out for at least the next five years," says Ken Hackett, CRS President. "This long-term strategy will encompass a variety of sectors, including 8,000 new temporary structures to house as many families."
CRS has begun fabrication of a targeted 8,000 transitional shelters tough, wooden homes built on a strong foundation as secure accommodation for families until they can return to permanent houses.
Transitional shelters as well as reconstruction of community infrastructure like schools and health centers are major components of CRS' long-term strategy. Other focus areas include food and job security, health and well-being, protection of the vulnerable, and education of children and youth.
The greatest challenge today is the same challenge Haiti faced pre-earthquake poverty. The highest poverty levels in the Western Hemisphere, sub-standard building quality, poor infrastructure, and a poor education system all remain critical challenges in Haiti. To build back better in Haiti, CRS continues to work together with Church partners, local and international agencies, and the Government of Haiti.
"We have worked in Haiti for more than 50 years and we intend to remain alongside Haitians for many more years to come," Hackett says.
(Source: CRS press release)
vatican city Caritas says the Sahel region of West Africa is heading for a humanitarian tragedy unless the international community responds to the mounting food crisis.
At least ten million people in the region face hunger. Niger is the worst hit country, with 8 million people at risk. Chad, Mali, and Burkina Faso are also facing food shortages.
Niger faces a shortfall of USD 50 million in aid, leaving the country with only half of what it needs to feed the hungry. Only 47,000 MT of the 85,000 MT of food aid Niger requested has been committed.
Niger's free health system is almost bankrupt which would have devastating consequences for children as malnutrition treatment programs are run through health centers.
Raymond Yoro, Secretary General of Caritas Niger, said, "We are facing a potential child survival emergency in Niger. 378,000 children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition and a further 1.2 million are at risk of moderate malnutrition.
"Niger faces much worse food shortages than the last major crisis in 2005. The lesson then was delays in aid cost lives. Yet despite raising the alarm in December 2009, donors have been slow to provide funding.
"It's not too late to avert a tragedy. Donors must immediately give the resources governments in the Sahel and aid agencies need. We also need hunger safety nets, strengthened early warning systems, and climate change adaptation programs to avoid future food crises."
Irregular rainfall, crop deficits, rising food prices and chronic poverty have all contributed to the spiralling food crisis in 2010. People have been experiencing severe food shortages for six months. They are now reliant on extreme means of coping including selling off livestock, eating wild foods, taking children out of school, and abandoning their homes in a search for food.
In May, Caritas launched an appeal for USD 3.5 million (Euro 2.9 million) to provide 246,000 vulnerable households with food aid, cash for work and seeds, and 17,000 children and pregnant and new mothers with special treatment.
Caritas Internationalis set up the Sahel Working Group following the 2005 food crisis. Read a full analysis of their action plan for 2010 on www.caritas.org.
(Source: Caritas press release)
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