3,500 Houses Destroyed Thousands Fleeing
City Under Attack People Held Captive
These are headlines in the news lately. We have heard many terrible stories from Syria and Egypt as Islamist forces have been attacking and destroying properties of Christians and using fear and terror to cripple cities. These two headlines, however, are not about Syria or Egypt.
The first headline concerns the Central African Republic, a country of 4.5 million, where a militant group called Séléka has been attacking and destroying Christian homes.
The second headline is about the city of Zimboanga in the Philippines. In that city of more than one million people, an extremist Islamic separatist group called Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has sent in a few hundred well-armed terrorists to hold the city hostage. Their demand…a new separate country.
In both places, the Islamic population is a small minority. In both places, Christians and Muslims have lived side by side for many years. There are more places that could be added to this list: Uttar Pradesh, India; Kaduna, Nigeria; Basilan, Philippines and unfortunately, the list is growing.
With all of these violent occurrences, there will be need for help. Refugees will need shelter, churches and schools will need rebuilding. The Christian message of hope will need to be proclaimed by our actions.
Recently, the Holy Father has asked Catholics and people of faith around the world to fast and pray for peace and an end to war. We Christians are challenged by our call to love our enemy and seek peaceful resolutions. We are challenged by our sense of fairness and justice to not let those in these violent places to suffer without protection.
It is a challenging time for us Christian observers. We must follow Pope Francis’s example and pray with earnestness. We must answer the calls for help from those who are suffering with strength and true Christian love.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
We are called Easter People and Eighth Day People. This is because Christ rose from the dead on Easter Sunday…the eighth day. The Easter Liturgy is so central to our faith that each Sunday and each Mass recalls the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I recently had a conversation with a priest who lives and works in a place where Sunday Mass is offered every day of the week. The parishioners cannot come to Mass on Sundays because their bosses and very low wages don’t allow that freedom. In fact, to openly tell people that you attend Catholic Mass will put your life at risk.
The Holy priest said that during April, he celebrated Easter Liturgy twenty two times…almost every day of the month. So important was Easter Mass to the people April essentially became a month of Easter Sundays. As he wanted each liturgy to be as like Easter Sunday as possible, the priest prepared a different homily for each congregation so each group would hear a message particular to their place and situation. His name and location are not being revealed to protect the safety of the people involved.
In 2012, over 100 thousand Christians were killed for their faith. Some made headlines, but most if not almost all of these killings went unreported in the major media outlets. So the next time you hear the priest or deacon say, “The Gospel of the Lord,” be sure to say a prayer for those who cannot hear those words every day. And when you respond, “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ,” say it knowing that those words are special…especially for those who have to say them in hiding.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
On the afternoon of April 22nd, Syrian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Archbishops of Aleppo, Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi were abducted on the road to Aleppo. They had made the dangerous trip seeking the safe release of two brother priests, Fathers Michel Kayyal (Armenian Catholic) and Maher Mahfouz (Greek Orthodox). This past Sunday, you might recall that the Gospel was “The Good Shepherd” (John 10:27-30). Jesus said that He is the Good Shepherd. Following the example of Jesus, the archbishops were willing to place their lives in jeopardy for the sake of the flock placed in their care. There has been no contact from them nor their abductors.
This is happening with terrible frequency in the Middle East. The many who are being held as hostages need our prayers and our dedicated support. Pray for the safety and freedom of Fathers Michel Kayyal and Maher Mahfouz and Archbishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
All-powerful God, increase our strength of will for doing good that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming and call us to his side in the kingdom of heaven, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
O Lord, I pray for the grace and the strength to remain faithful to your teachings and to the sacramental life of the Church. Help me to persevere in the commitments and promises I have made to you. Give me the fortitude to live up to the vocation I received in my baptism, to the duties derived from my confirmation in the Spirit, and to the graces received in the other sacraments. Help me to place love of God and service to Him before all else and help me to bring selfless love to my brothers and sisters in Christ. AmenRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Father in Heaven, Creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon us and receive our heartfelt gratitude in this time of giving thanks. Thank you for all the graces and blessings You have bestowed upon us, spiritual and temporal: our faith and religious heritage, our food and shelter, our health, the loves we have for one another, our family and friends. Dear Father, in Your infinite generosity, please grant us continued graces and blessing throughout the coming year. This we ask in the Name of Jesus, Your Son and our Brother. AmenRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
O well-beloved of God,
hear the ardent cry
which rises up from every heart.
Bend tenderly over our aching wounds.
Convert the wicked,
dry the tears of the afflicted and oppressed,
comfort the poor and humble,
quench hatreds, sweeten hardness,
safeguard the flower of purity in youth,
protect the holy church,
make all men feel the attractions of Christian goodness.
In your name,
resounding harmoniously in heaven,
may they recognize that they are brothers,
and that the nations are members of one family,
upon which may there shine forth the sun
of a universal and sincere peace.
Jesus, loving companion of Your children, You have extended Your friendship to all. You opened Your arms without discrimination, Offering Your warmth to those seeking comfort. Endow me with the virtue of such a friendship, To know, love and trust all on an equal basis; To share my patronizing without favorism, And to be pleasant towards the destitute. Fashion my heart to reflect Your qualities, Those befitting of a cordial association. Jesus, You showed me the way to true friendship: Blessed is Your amazing and warm Person!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
O My God, I adore Thee and I love Thee with all my heart. I thank Thee for having created me, for having made me a Catholic and for having watched over me this day. Pardon me for the evil I have done this day; and if I have done any good, deign to accept it. Watch over me while I take my rest and deliver me from danger. May Thy grace be always with me. AmenRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Good morning my Lord, I can't believe it's morning again! It seems that I'm always busy and rushing around. But no matter how rushed life may be, help me to think of You always. Thank you for another glorious day, may Your word be always on my lips in my heart and on my mind. I love you my Lord, Saviour and friend. AmenRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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