Archive for August, 2015

#ShortNews: Indian archbishop: 2008 persecution strengthened faith

Seven years after a pogrom in the east Indian state of Odisha (Orissa) drove over 50,000 Christians from their homes, the local bishop said that “I am always moved by my people’s joy.”

“I am always moved by my people’s joy,” said Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. “They suffered horrific anti-Christian violence. Yet their faith did not waver; on the contrary, they strengthened their faith and love for Christ.”

He added:

My people showed such serenity in the face of persecution. In front of their wives, husbands were asked, ‘Will you give up the faith?’ Courageously, they answered, ‘No. Do whatever you want!’” “Similarly, wives were told, ‘Do you see your husband facing this? If you do not give up your faith, you will face a similar fate.’ And the wives answered, ‘Never. If my husband can face this, why shouldn’t I? Do whatever you want. I’ll not give up.’” This is the gift of grace.

Every day we are called to encounter Christ in the joy of our suffering for His Name. When I went around after taking over, I visited every convent, and I met all my leaders and all my priests. And I heard one voice, “Archbishop, all our houses have been destroyed, our churches have been destroyed, our beloved ones have been massacred, but one thing the persecutors could not do: they could not separate Jesus from us.”

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/For-Mgr-Barwa,-Kandhamal-Christians-are-witnesses-of-Christ,-at-peace-in-the-face-of-persecution-35133.html

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#ShortNews: Pope Francis asks: ‘Who is Jesus for you?’

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading at Mass (Jn. 6:60-69), Pope Francis devoted his August 23 Sunday Angelus address to the response to Jesus’ teaching on the Eucharist.

“Even the disciples failed to accept the language, the disturbing language of the Lord,” the Pope observed as he spoke to the crowds that had gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “In reality, they have understood the words of Jesus, so well that they don’t want to listen to it, because it is a discourse which undermines their way of thinking. And the words of Jesus always make us uncomfortable.”

“Jesus offers the key to overcome difficulties, a key made of three elements,” the Pope continued. These elements are “his divine origin” (Jn. 6:62), “the action of the Holy Spirit” (Jn. 6:63), and faith (Jn. 6:64).

The Pope continued:

Jesus does not take back or soften his words; in fact, he forces us to make a clear choice: either to be with him or separated from him– and He says to the Twelve: “Do you also want to leave?”

At this point, Peter makes his confession of faith in the name of the other Apostles: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (v. 68). He does not say, “Where shall we go?” but “To whom shall we go?” …

Each of us can ask ourselves now: “Who is Jesus for me?” A name? An idea? Only some historic person, or someone who loves me, who gave his life for me, and walks with me? Who is Jesus for you? Do you try to get to know him? Do you remain with his word? Do you bring your pocket Gospel with you to read it in whatever place you are in? Because the more we are with him, the more our desire to be with him grows.

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2015/08/23/0623/01357.html

#ShortNews: After 4 decades, church reopens in Turkish-occupied Cyprus

Civil authorities have permitted the reopening of a Cypriot Orthodox church in Palekythro, Cyprus, 41 years after its closure following the Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus.

Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis thanked the local mufti for interceding on behalf of Palekythro’s Christians.

http://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/wcc-hails-re-opening-of-church-of-panagia-galakdodrofousas-in-cyprus

What I Have Learned

……I’ve learned-

that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.
I’ve learned-

that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back.
I’ve learned-

that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.
I’ve learned-

that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.
I’ve learned-

that it’s not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.
I’ve learned-

that you should never ruin an apology with an excuse.
I’ve learned-

that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you’d better know something.
I’ve learned-

that you shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do.
I’ve learned-

that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
I’ve learned-

that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.
I’ve learned-

that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
I’ve learned-

that you can keep going long after you can’t.
I’ve learned-

that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.
I’ve learned-

that either you control your attitude or it controls you.
I’ve learned-

that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.
I’ve learned-

that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.
I’ve learned-

that money  is a lousy way of keeping score.
I’ve learned-

that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.
I’ve learned-

that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones to help you get back up.
I’ve learned-

that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.
I’ve learned-

that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.
I’ve learned-

that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.
I’ve learned-

that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.
I’ve learned-

that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.
I’ve learned-

that your family won’t always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren’t related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren’t biological.
I’ve learned-

that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you are to learn to forgive yourself.
I’ve learned-

that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.
I’ve learned-

that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.
I’ve learned-

that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.
I’ve learned-

that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.
I’ve learned-

that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.
I’ve learned-

that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.
I’ve learned-

that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.
I’ve learned-

that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.
I’ve learned-

that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

Saint Paul Chong Hasang

St. Nam Chong-sam JohnSt. Paul Chong Hasang(1795-1839) was one of the lay leaders who have participated in the establishment of the early Korean Catholic Church. He was also the second son of Chung, Yak Jong, a martyr who was killed during the Shin-Yu Persecution (1801). During this persecution, the Korea’s only priest, Chu, Moon Mo and many prominent leaders of the early Korean Catholic Church were martyred. After these incidents, it seemed impossible to reconstruct the devastated Korean Catholic community. It was St. Paul Chong Hasang who gathered the scattered Korean Catholic members and ignited their hearts with the raging flames of faith. Furthermore, he reorganized the structures and activities of the Korean Catholic church and initiated a movement for the Beijing Bishop to send priests to Korea.

To accomplish this mission, from 1816, he has crossed the China borders nine times, overcoming many dangers and fiercely cold weathers, totaling 2000 Km of round trips. He entered the China territory as a lowly servant to the Korean diplomatic members who have made their annual tributary missions to China to exchange gifts with the Chinese Emperor. By using these opportunities in Beijing, St. Paul Chong requested many times that the Beijing Bishop send priests to Korea. As many of his attempts failed, he directly pleaded the case to Pope Gregory X. Finally, on September 9th, 1831, the Pope proclaimed the legitimacy of the Korean Catholic Diocese to the World.

The followings are St. Paul Chong Hasang’s main achievements:

First, he was the leader of the early Korean Catholic Church during the persecution period, during which he provided the essential momentum to establish the Korean Catholic Diocese with progressive and worldly vision.

Second, he contributed greatly to the development of the Korean Catholic Church by dedicating his life to accommodating and assisting the priests who were sent to Korea after the establishment of the Korean Catholic Archdiocese.

Third, he was one of the seminary students of Bishop Imbert to become a priest. However, during the Gi Hye Persecution in 1839, the bishop and St. Paul Chong Hasang were martyred, unfortunately he was unable to actualize his dream of becoming a priest.

Fourth, he wrote a document declaring the position of the Korean Catholic Church that the Catholic faith is good for the nation but not a threat, the Sang-Je-Sang-Su. In this document, he firmly pleaded to the persecutors to stop persecuting Catholic members. The document, Sang-Je-Sang-Su, is a short writing of only two thousands words but, it is a well written Catholic doctrine explaining why the Korean government should not persecute Catholics.

Fifth, his martyrdom became the testimony of his faith toward Christ and through his eternal glory, he became the pinnacle of the Korean Catholic faith.

St. Paul Chong Hasang was martyred at the age of forty-five on September 22, 1839 during the Gi Hye Persecution. Two months later, his mother, Yu Cecilia, passed away during the imprisonment and the following month, his younger sister, Jung Hye was also martyred. The three martyrs were beatified on June 6th, 1925 and were canonized, declared as saints, on May 6, 1984 by Pope John Paul II.

“Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry”

“Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry” ~ St. Pio of Pietrelcino

The Black Spot

One day a professor entered the classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They waited anxiously at their desks for the test to begin. The professor handed out the question paper, with the text facing down as usual. Once he handed them all out, he asked his students to turn the page and begin. To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions….just a black dot in the center of the page. The professor seeing the expression on everyone’s face, told them the following:

“I want you to write what you see there.”

The students confused, got started on the inexplicable task.

At the end of the class, the professor took all the answer papers and started reading each one of them aloud in front of all the students. All of them with no exceptions, described the black dot, trying to explain its position in the middle of the sheet, etc. etc. etc. After all had been read, the classroom silent, the professor began to explain:

“I am not going to grade on you this, I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot – and the same happens in our lives. We have a white paper to observe and enjoy, but we always focus on the dark spots. Our life is a gift given to us by God, with love and care, and we always have reasons to celebrate – nature renewing itself everyday, our friends around us, the job that provides our livelihood, the miracles we see everyday…

However we insist on focusing only on the dark spots – the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend etc.

The dark spots are very small compared to everything we have in our lives, but they are the ones that pollute our minds.

Take your eyes away from the black spots in your life. Enjoy each one of your blessings, each moment that life gives you.

Be happy and live a life positively!

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