ASIA: PAKISTAN: 12 CATHOLIC GIRL MURDERED BY EMPLOYER-
Asia News: The girl worked in the household of a rich local lawyer, where she was subjected to physical, psychological and sexual abuse. Her death has outraged the Christian community, which is calling for justice. A human rights activist says 99 per cent of female Christian domestics work for Muslims and are often subject to violence and abuse. Lahore (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A 12-year-old Christian girl died on Friday as a result of physical violence inflicted by her employer, a rich and powerful Muslim lawyer in Lahore. The case has led to protests by the Christian community, which demonstrated before the provincial assembly of Punjab in Lahore. The authorities are trying to appease people and have pledged that justice shall be done. Pakistani President Zardari has also promised to pay compensation to the family.
A Protestant NGO, Sharing Life Ministry Life (SLMP), reported the case of Shazia Bashir, 12, who was employed for the past eight months as a domestic worker in the household of Chaudhry Muhammad Naeem, a lawyer and former president of the Lahore Bar Association.
Local Christians say that during that period the girl was the victim of constant harassment, and that she was raped and tortured before she was killed.
SLMP chief coordinator Sohail Johnson said the girl worked under constant stress and experienced emotional and psychological trauma. She was also denied the agreed salary (Rs 1,000 or about US$ 12 per month).
Shazia “would get insults whenever she raised the subject of payment,” the Christian activist said.
Three days before her death, her employer tortured her, he noted. Afterwards, he tried to have her treated at his home without informing the parents of her health situation. In the end, the medical care she did get proved inadequate and she had to go to Lahore’s Meo Hospital.
"Shazia's parents were not allowed to meet her. They did not know what she was going through," said Razia Bibi, the girl’s 44-year-old uncle.
Shazia died last Friday from her injuries.
Sohail Johnson said that her body showed signs of torture with at least 12 marks of injury. "Shazia was admitted to the hospital with a broken jaw," he said.
Initially, Chaudhry Muhammad Naeem’s family tried to pay off Shazia’s parents with Rs 20,000 (US$ 250) to stop them from filing a case against them. Eventually they fled, but were arrested yesterday under pressure from the federal government.
On Saturday, Christians demonstrated in front of the Punjab Provincial Assembly.
The Lahore Bar Association has instead sided with the powerful Muslim lawyer.
Local Christians have expressed scepticism about the impartiality and efficacy of the police investigation; however, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that outside interference would not be tolerated and that justice would be done.
Sohail Johnson (pictured with the girl’s body) said that 99 per cent of Christian girls from poor families are hired by wealthy Muslims, and are often physically, psychologically and sexually abused.
“In some cases, their employers marry them off to Muslim servants, and forcibly convert them to Islam,” he said.
“These vulnerable Christian girls do not have any state protection. We urge the government to ensure protection of these disadvantaged girls,” the SLMP coordinator said.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has promised Rs 500,000 (US$ 6,000) in compensation to the girl’s family and urged the Punjab government to provide financial help as well. The money is expected to cover the cost of Shazia Bashir’s funeral, which is scheduled for today in Lahore.(source: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Lahore:-12-year-old-Christian-domestic-worker-killed-by-Muslim-employer-17437.html
Cath News report:
The four original members of The Wiggles, who have made the St Vincent de Paul Society one of their special causes, were made Members of the Order of Australia this week, The Catholic Weekly reports.
Greg Page, Anthony Field, Murray Cook and Jeff Fatt, were honoured on Australia Day for their services to the arts through children's entertainment and charity work. Page retired from the Wiggles in 2006 due to ill-health.
The children's entertainment group has released more than 30 CDs, 27 videos and DVDs and 30 books and produced several TV series and a feature film.
The Wiggles have been the face of Vinnies campaigns for several years, including the annual Winter Appeal and promotions of Vinnies charity shops in which they called on Australians to "bring in your good stuff and help Vinnies' good works".
In his talk, the archbishop analyzed the roots and direction of contemporary culture including the effects that mass media and a "knowledge economy" have on the way we perceive the world.
On Saturday, through his message for the World Day for Social Communications, the Pope called for priests to have more of a presence online while, more importantly, remaining grounded in the faith.
In response to a question from CNA on his views about the use modern technologies as tools for evangelization, Archbishop Chaput said, "You have to be very prudent in your use of new media and new communications," explaining that he hears confessions in which "people confessed sins that were the result of their access to media."
"We should use it to promote the Gospel, but we also need to guard ourselves from its dangers," he stated.
The archbishop also elaborated on a statement he made in his talk about addressing the "implications both for the Word of God and for the Church" that result from the effects of mass media and modern technology on culture, including its way of isolating people and attacking community.
The danger of spreading the Gospel through technological means rather than face-to-face, Archbishop Chaput said, is that "the Gospel becomes intellectual rather than interpersonal."
Sharing the experience of Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior with someone else is "not just a declaration of 'some' information," he said, adding, "and I don't know that the experience of the Lord Jesus can be shared electronically. I think it has to be shared personally.”
"We have great opportunities of entry into peoples' lives with the media, but we have to understand that it's not enough. There has to be, also, the personal relationship because the Gospel is essentially Trinitarian and, because of that, communitarian."
Summing up his thoughts, the archbishop said, "so I think that we've got to make good use of them but never presume that because we have an active presence in the technologies that it's ever enough.
"The old technology of personal witness and personal encounter and sharing faith is essential to the Gospel."
The archbishop added that using technology to extend an invitation to a community or describe it is useful, "but it can't be an experience of community in itself." Personal contact, he concluded, is "absolutely essential."(SOURCE: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/gospel_must_be_shared_with_technology_and_personal_witness_says_archbishop_chaput/
KENYA: CATHOLICS LEARN MORE ABOUT CHRISTIAN UNITY
Christians have been advised to ensure that denominational differences do not divide but unite them.Delivering a sermon at an ecumenical prayer service at St Andrews Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) in Nairobi on January 21 as part of the wider marking of the global Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25), Fr. Celestino Bundi, said, “There are more that should unite us than those that can divide.”He told the congregation, drawn from the Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Presbyterian and Anglican churches that as Christians, God expects us to dig more for that which can unite us and less or none at all, for those that can divide us as children of God.Fr Bundi, who is the National Director of Pontifical Missionary Society (PMS), said it was not by accident that we happen to belong to different denominations, but that it is for the glory of God.“While we remain sons and daughters of the same God, it is disturbing that we have allowed our human differences –colour, race and etc to divide rather than unite us, he stressed.”The service was animated by the Catholic Church lay Movement, Focolare.Introducing Fr Bundi to the congregation, Presbyterian Church Minister, Rev. Dr. Peter Kariuki welcomed the whole idea of ecumenism among the Christians and churches too.“This was the original idea of God; that we all be one irrespective of our denominational differences. I see this kind of seed being planted here,” he pointed out.The 2010 Christian Unity Week is global and this year is being marked under the theme: You are witnesses of these things, Luke 24:48.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Italian Catholic Bishops' Conference (CEI), inaugurated the first meeting of the year of the CEI's Permanent Council with an opening speech on the state of the Catholic Church in Italy. One of the most prominent themes of the address was his call for a "new generation" of Catholics to provide for "the foundations of civilization."
The prelate touched on many subjects including the Pope's recent visit to the Synagogue of Rome, the extraordinary response by Italians in providing assistance to Haiti and papal addresses from the Pope. However, it was the end of the speech that drew the most attention.
In his conclusion, the cardinal spoke of a "dream" of his that a "new generation of Italians and Catholics might rise up" to public offices, where they can "give the best of their thoughts, projects and days" to "marking the destiny of all."
Cardinal Bagnasco said that he knows those who work in politics "need the abundant grace of God, but," he added, they also need to let that grace "invest and work" in them.
"We need a Christian community in which the lay faithful learn to live the mystery of God in life with intensity, exercising the fundamental goods of liberty, truth and conscience.
"There is a growing urgency for capable men and women, with the help of the Spirit, to incarnate these ideals and translate them into history not by the easier path of convenience ... but by the truer path, that better deploys the project of God on humanity, and therefore is able to stir, in time, the admiration of others," he stated.
"We would like values to constitute the foundations of civilization," concluded Cardinal Bagnasco, listing the Church's concerns in this arena for "any way human life presents itself and wherever it exists; the family formed of a man and a woman and founded on marriage; the educative responsibility; solidarity towards others, in particular the weakest; employment as a possibility for personal realization; the community as good destiny that associates men and brings them closer to the goal..."
The first issues on the agenda for the Permanent Council are the drafting of the third edition of the Roman Missal and reaching an agreement as to the territorial organization of the Italo-Albanian Church in Italy.(SOURCE: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/italian_cardinal_calls_for_new_generation_of_catholics_in_politics/
St. Angela Merici
FOUNDRESS OF THE URSULINES AND MYSTIC
Feast: January 27
21 March 1474, Desenzano del Garda, Province of Brescia, Lombardy, Italy
27 January 1540, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy
May 24, 1807, Rome by Pope Pius VII
The Merician Centre (including the now subterranean Church of St Afra, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy)
sickness, handicapped people, loss of parents
Angela Merici was born on March 21st, 1474, at Desenzano on Lake Garda; left an orphan at the age of ten she was brought up by her uncle and on his death went to live with her brothers. She was a devout girl and, having joined the Third Order of St. Francis, devoted herself to teaching children. As her work became known she was asked to go to Brescia where a house was put at her disposal and a number of women came to join her; she was thus enabled to establish a religious association of women, under the patronage of St. Ursula, who, remaining in the world, should devote themselves to every sort of corporal and spiritual work of mercy; but the particular emphasis was on education. Angela's methods were far removed from the modern idea of a convent school; she preferred to send her associates to teach girls in their own families, and one of her favorite sayings was, 'Disorder in society is the result of disorder in the family'. It was by educating children in the milieu in which they lived that she strove to effect an improvement in social conditions. Angela Merici is known now as the foundress of the Ursuline nuns—and so she was, but despite her own inclinations. In reality she was in advance of her own times. Her plan of religious women without distinctive habit, without solemn vows and enclosure, was directly contrary to prevailing notions at her period, and under the influence of St. Charles Borromeo at Milan and subsequent papal legislation (under St. Pius V) the Ursulines were obliged to adopt the canonical safeguards then required of all nuns.
Angela Merici died in Brescia on January 27th, 1540.
Mark 4: 1 - 20
Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.
And he taught them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:
"Listen! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.
Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil;
and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away.
Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.
And other seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."
And he said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
And when he was alone, those who were about him with the twelve asked him concerning the parables.
And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables;
so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven."
And he said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?
The sower sows the word.
And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which is sown in them.
And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;
and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word,
but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."