Tuesday, September 28, 2010
It was the kind of meeting the Pope held in his visit to the United States as well. Here is the conclusion of his speech:
This kind of dialogue needs to take place on a number of different levels, and should not be limited to formal discussions. The dialogue of life involves simply living alongside one another and learning from one another in such a way as to grow in mutual knowledge and respect. The dialogue of action brings us together in concrete forms of collaboration, as we apply our religious insights to the task of promoting integral human development, working for peace, justice and the stewardship of creation. Such a dialogue may include exploring together how to defend human life at every stage and how to ensure the non-exclusion of the religious dimension of individuals and communities in the life of society. Then at the level of formal conversations, there is a need not only for theological exchange, but also sharing our spiritual riches, speaking of our experience of prayer and contemplation, and expressing to one another the joy of our encounter with divine love. In this context I am pleased to note the many positive initiatives undertaken in this country to promote such dialogue at a variety of levels. As the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales noted in their recent document Meeting God in Friend and Stranger, the effort to reach out in friendship to followers of other religions is becoming a familiar part of the mission of the local Church (n. 228), a characteristic feature of the religious landscape in this country.
Click here if you want to read the entire brief but important speech.
Also striking was the speech of the Chief Rabbi in Great Britain, Jonathan Sacks in the same meeting. Here is his remarks:
"We celebrate both our commonalities and differences, because if we had nothing in common we could not communicate, and if we had everything in common, we would have nothing to say. You have spoken of the Catholic Church as a creative minority. And perhaps that is what we should all aspire to be, creative minorities, inspiring one another, and bringing our different gifts to the common good."
He goes on: "In our communities we value people not for what they earn or what they buy or how they vote but for what they are, every one of them a fragment of the Divine presence. We hold life holy. And each of us is lifted by the knowledge that we are part of something greater than all of us, that created us in forgiveness and love, and asks us to create in forgiveness and love. Each of us in our own way is a guardian of values that are in danger of being lost, in our short-attention-span, hyperactive, information-saturated, wisdom-starved age. And though our faiths are profoundly different, yet we recognize in one another the presence of faith itself, that habit of the heart that listens to the music beneath the noise, and knows that God is the point at which soul touches soul and is enlarged by the presence of otherness."
Click here to read the entire speech of Lord Sacks. It is definitely worth a read. In our interfaith book club in Massachusetts we read one of his books, The Dignity of Difference. Highly recommended.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Here are some pics from some of our missions in Asia:
|Second to the left is Fr. Rafa, Xaverian Missionary with some friends in Indonesia|
|One of our youth praying in front of Our Lady at our seminary in the Philippines|
|Fr. Polash, Xaverian Missionary with some of our youth in the Philippines-|
|Some youth from our parish at St. Francis Xavier in the Philippines|
Monday, September 20, 2010
Almost 450 young people from all the dioceses in Taiwan gathered in Hsinchu Diocese, this year’s host for the 4th Taiwan Youth Day. It was a week’s event with days to reflect on the theme: “Master, what must I do to gain eternal life?... Lord, I want to follow you” taken from the message of Pope Benedict XVI to the World Youth Day 2010.
The activities were focused on experiencing communion, youthful liturgies, visits to Catholic shrines, a day of service in different social work centers, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Way of the Cross that relates to real life situation, and actual evangelization.
During the official opening ceremony, Bishop Thomas Chung of Chiayi Diocese who is presently head of the National Youth Commission, invited the young people to: “Open your hearts, open to learn how to follow Christ more closely!”
This year’s Taiwan Youth Day is the fourth in a series of seven which is an annual celebration hosted by the seven Dioceses. The contents were varied and enriching as well as with depth and energizing for the young people who felt challenged to reflect and to decide how to live their Christian faith with greater closeness with the Lord.
AN ENRICHING AND IMPRESSIVE PROGRAM
The opening ceremony included presentations from each Diocese who had their one-day gathering before coming to Hsinchu, shown as a role play or an interpretative dance. They depicted the search and longing for Jesus by presenting the Church’s response to the flood and natural calamities, the 150th celebration of the evangelization in Taiwan, the challenge for a more safe and green environment, and the challenge for a cultural integration among the Han Chinese and the aboriginal tribes, and other existing minority cultures as we become one body – the Church – following Christ.
“I was hoping to end my summer vacation with a new light in life”, said by one youth from Chiayi Diocese. Many young people had been longing to be part of this Taiwan Youth Day. It meant for some, saving money to be able to pay for the expense; it meant giving up summer jobs, and many other forms of sacrifice just to be here, just to experience being with the other young people who are moved and attracted by the invitation “to follow Jesus.”
August 25-26th The young people were divided into four for each of the four Deaneries, to know more and to be part of the different social works, to appreciate the beautiful sites and special features of the City of Hsinchu and to visit distinctive shrines like St. Therese, Our Lady of Loreto, the Chinese Martyrs. It was also an exposure to the culture of the place and to be with local families for an overnight stay.
August 26th It was an evening of silent prayer, with locally composed songs repeatedly sung to lead into deep prayer as the young people remained in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to be reconciled individually with 15 priests to listen to them and let them hear the words of Jesus saying: “Your sins are forgiven,” and finally make their own expression of adoring the cross, symbol of our salvation.
August 27th The whole day was a reflection on how to share the faith, how to invite others, how to evangelize. There were 15 different workshops, different instances for evangelization, for living the faith and be witnesses, how young people can act and be part of them. The afternoon was an actual form of sharing the faith, walking along different roads within Hsinchu City to talk about the faith, to feel the joy of being listened to and to experience being rejected by those who did not have any interest.
The evening was a kind of climax with a rock-type musical concert, to sing together and to the public that gathered on the open theater just in front of the train station. The theme song of TYD 2010 is entitled “Good”. It was sung filled with youthful energy and excitement giving a vibrant unison expressing the joy they felt during the past days. A famous band and some singers joined our local lead band to an evening of songs and witnessing.
SEE YOU IN KAOSHIUNG NEXT YEAR!
The closing ceremony on August 28th included a flash back power point presentation of the past days spent together, those colorful and youth-filled days depicting the stages in “following of Jesus” to gain eternal life. Then the Archbishop of Kaoshiung expressed his warm invitation to the young people “See you in Kaoshiung next year.”
The closing Mass was the moment for the young people to offer their final thanks and commitment to Jesus. Then, the youth of Kaoshiung received the TYD banner from Bishop Thomas Chung.
EXPERIENCING THE WARMTH OF HSINCHU DIOCESE
Young people from other dioceses saw how the Hsinchu parishioners expressed their following of Jesus though enthusiastic service to the many needs of more than 400 youth.
One young university student expressed: “I have received so much from the Church, from the care and love of missionary priests that brought me to where I am today. I want to do the same, to serve others.”
One Japanese youth, Shimon Mashima, who participated expressed: “Taiwanese Youth are very enthusiastic, very friendly! TYD is great!” He became close to Taiwanese youth during the Asian Youth Day in the Philippines last year.
PREPARING A FEAST WITH LOVE
Most Rev. John Baptist Lee, the Bishop of Hsinchu Diocese, with the help of his Vicar General, Most Rev. James Liu, mobilized energetically all the parishes, schools, religious groups, and families to participate in Taiwan Youth Day (TYD) 2010. For eight months, meetings were held to plan and prepare thoroughly for the TYD. More than a hundred youth volunteered selflessly in this activity. Hsinchu will be remembered as one place with so much involvement of the whole diocese!
Blessings, thanksgiving and honor to God! These were the sentiments of all those who participated in the TYD 2010. Indeed, profound and sincere gratitude to Most Rev. John Baptist Lee, Most Rev. James Liu and to St. Peter’s High School that hosted the youth for all activities, as well as the whole diocese of Hsinchu!
From the Youth Section of the Commission for Evangelization,
Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference (Taiwan),
September 7, 2010
Resources for home and parish
Full Message of the Holy Father for World Mission Sunday 2010
Official Website of the Xaverian Missionaries
Monday, September 13, 2010
Here are some pics from our missionaries in the Philippines. Take a look!
|Fr. Pulcini, center, with lectors of the parish in training|
|Fr. Pulcini, Xaverian Missionary from Italy with lectors in training|
|Xaverian Fathers Polash and Alejandro take a lunch break at the youth mission jamboree|
|Some sisters participating in our program.|
|Sign of the event.|
|Songs to inspire young people to misson.|
|More youth at the mission jamboree|
|Some of the younger sisters at the mission jamboree at our parish|
|Fr. Marsel and Patrick Santianez, two Xaverians at the youth gathering|
|Fr. Polash Gomes, Xaverian Missionary from Bangladesh is the director of the mission office in our diocese|
|More Filipino youth at the mission gathering|
|Youth at a mission jamboree at our parish in the Philippines, St. Francis Xavier|
|Fr. Roro Vazquez, a Xaverian Missionary from Mexico baptizing in our parish.|
Saturday, September 11, 2010
"O God of love, compassion, and healing, look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions, who gather today at this site, the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here - the heroic first responders: our firefighters, police officers, emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel, along with all the innocent men and women who were victims of this tragedy simply because their work or service brought them here on September 11, 2001.
We ask you, in your compassion to bring healing to those who, because of their presence here that day, suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy. Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.
We are mindful as well of those who suffered death, injury, and loss on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Our hearts are one with theirs as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.
God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world: peace in the hearts of all men and women and peace among the nations of the Earth.
Turn to your way of love those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred.
God of understanding, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy, we seek your light and guidance as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain. Comfort and console us, strengthen us in hope, and give us the wisdom and courage to work tirelessly for a world where true peace and love reign among nations and in the hearts of all."
Friday, September 3, 2010
"I commend you to our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchraea, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself, as well." So begins the sixteenth chapter of St. Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome.
The office of Deaconess was mentioned by St. Paul in the letters to the Romans and to Timothy, but we also have evidence of the office in a letter from Pliny, a Roman governor who was writing to the Emperor Trajan for advice on dealing with Christians. He mentions two women ministers among the Christians in Bithynia. The office of Deaconess is also mentioned in the Apostolic Constitutions of Hippolytus, and the office developed greatly during the third and fourth centuries, although it is quite different from the office Phoebe held. The Council of Chalcedon, held in the year 451, legislated that women could become deaconesses at the age of 40. A deaconess was to devote herself to the care of sick and poor women; she was present at the interviews of women with bishops, priests, or male deacons (so that the clergy wouldn't be alone with strange women) and kept order in the women's part of the church. Her most important function was the assistance at the baptism of women. For the first five centuries of the Church, people were baptized naked, and so, for the sake of propriety, male deacons couldn't baptize women. When adult baptism became rare and was eventually replaced by infant baptism, he office of deaconess declined in importance. The office was actually abolished by the Council of Epaon in the year 517, but in the Nestorian Christian communities in Syria, and later in India and China, deaconesses administered Holy Communion to women and read the scriptures in public.
I think that the fact that Phoebe was a deacon in the Church in Cenchreae is important because it shows that women were important to spreading the faith. Women owned house-churches, women administered and supervised the work with the poor and widows, women handled financial affairs for the churches, and women helped spread the gospel. Jesus came to turn everything upside down: the last would be first and the first would be last, and the Church was shaking up the society of Late Antiquity.
This feast of St. Phoebe is in many ways a celebration of the ministry of women throughout the centuries, including my mother and sisters!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
This year 17 African nations celebrate 50 years of independence. The Xaverian Missionaries work in two of these countries, Cameroon and Democratic Republic of the Congo. The relationship between Africa and the west has shown a mixture of blessing and tragedy. We wish to share a fascinating look through Al Jazeera News Service. Other episodes will be added through the month of September. Your comments are welcome!