Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – In the diocese of Saigon a Vietnamese priest’s initiative has permitted programs in support of the poor and blind, which each month help dozens of families Catholic and non-Catholic. Thanks tothe support of some associations, Fr. Paul Paul Nguyễn Thực has collected enough money to feed the abandoned elderly, given study opportunities to 30 children and catechism classes or courses for engaged couples. For the priest, the support of the laity is essential, and he hopes that "all parishioners will learn how to exploit their respective strengths, with the help of the Holy Spirit."
The parish of Hà Đông consists of over one thousand Catholic families, about 5 thousand believers, and belongs to the area that includes the community of Xóm Mới in the Archdiocese of Ho Chi Minh City. Fr. Paul Nguyễn Thực has been the pastor there since 2001 and has launched several social and charitable initiatives for the poor and disadvantaged. Each month, the priest collects at least 25 thousand dollars to distribute to the poor and disabled. Each Catholic family supports two or three blind people and to date there are 2,317 blind people who have benefited from their help.
The families, which support the charities come from Đồng Nai, Long An and Bình Phước. Many Catholic organizations have joined the project, including the Legion of Mary, the Dominican Congregation, the Association of Catholic mothers, catechists and the parish pastoral committee, who provided material and spiritual help.
Each month, the parish contributes to buying food for 25 people living alone, it gives small sums of money to 95 poor families, and guarantees the right to education for 30 students of the community in the district of Gò Vấp. Fr. Paul has worked for 11 years side by side with the laity and organized catechism classes, courses for engaged couples intending to get married and celebrates an average of 100 baptisms a year."I hope that all the laity of the parish –the priest confides to AsiaNews - know how to exploit their respective strengths, with the help of the Holy Spirit, helping to promote the activities according to the teachings of Jesus." In these weeks of Lent Fr Paul has celebrated the baptism of 24 people, inviting them to "hear the word of God in daily life" and that the Lord "may grant them His favour."
- Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver encouraged a gathering of pro-life University of Notre Dame students to be courageous in fighting for their beliefs and to always remember what being Catholic really means.
“(W)e need to learn that not from the world; not from the tepid and self-satisfied; and not from the enemies of the Church, even when they claim to be Catholic; but from the mind and memory of the Church herself, who speaks through her pastors,” he said in an April 8 speech at the university.
Chaput noted how the philosopher Leszek Kolakowski stressed the reality of evil. Though not an orthodox religious thinker, Kolakowski talked about Satan “not as a metaphor or legend or the figment of neurotic imaginations, but as a living actor in history.”
The devil, the archbishop said, “works in the present to capture our hearts and steal our future. But he also attacks our memory; the narrative of our own identity.” This is because our memory of history conditions our thoughts and choices in our daily lives.
Archbishop Chaput encouraged his audience to participate in politics, saying, “Christ never absolved us from defending the weak, or resisting evil in the world, or from solidarity with people who suffer.”
Catholics cannot exclude their religious beliefs from guiding their political behavior, because God sees that this “duplicity” is a kind of cowardice. This lack of courage wounds Christians’ individual integrity and also discourages others who try to witness publicly to their faith.
Christians should act on their beliefs always with humility, charity and prudence, but also always with courage, he emphasized.
“We need to fight for what we believe,” he said. “Nothing we do to defend the human person, no matter how small, is ever unfruitful or forgotten. Our actions touch other lives and move other hearts in ways we can never fully understand in this world. Don’t ever underestimate the beauty and power of the witness you give in your pro-life work.”
The archbishop also described abortion as “the foundational human rights issue of our lifetime.”
“We can’t simultaneously serve the poor and accept the legal killing of unborn children. We can’t build a just society, and at the same time legally sanctify the destruction of generations of unborn human life,” he added.
Abortion is no longer the only major threat to the right to life, which now faces a range of challenges including physician-assisted suicide, cloning, genetic screening, genetic engineering, and cross-species experimentation.
He noted that people are discussing the need to return science to its “rightful place” in human life, warning that this can become a slogan to justify unethical research. Citing the Jewish bioethicist Leon Kass, he said the present day is an age of “salvific science” in which a “scientific savior” supposedly takes away the “sin of suffering.”
Yet science accountable to no moral authority outside itself leads to “a hatred of imperfection” in real human persons, and the simplest way to deal with imperfections is to eliminate the imperfect.
Science and technology are “enormously powerful tools” but they can undermine human dignity just as easily as they can advance human progress.
“Virtue does matter,” the archbishop said as he finished his talk. “Courage and humility, justice and perseverance, do have power. Good does win. And the sanctity of human life will endure.”
The sanctity of life will endure, he said, because young men and women like those in his audience will remember that “God so loved the world that He gave his only Son” and “it’s worth fighting for what’s right.”
“There is a small minority of Nigerians seeking to profit from the chaos and anarchy. But I can assure you that the majority of Nigerians want credible and fair elections without violence, which will allow the Country to progress,” confirms Archbishop Kaigama.
Regarding the forces that, in his view, are committing the attacks and fueling the violence in Nigeria, the Archbishop of Jos replies: “Even when people are arrested in connection with these facts, it is not always possible to know who are the real instigators. I think that our security agencies have to work hard to uncover the identity of these main players. They are Nigerians or foreigners who wish to destabilise the country.”
More than 73 million voters are eligible to vote for the 360 National Assembly Deputies and 109
Senators. The election was postponed twice (see Fides 04/04/2011). For security reasons, the authorities have closed the borders and imposed a block on the movement of cars. Voters must go to the polls on foot. “It is sad, because people want to move freely. I hope that security forces help us put an end to this situation,” concludes Archbishop Kaigama.
St. Mary Cleophas
MOTHER OF ST. JAMES THE LESS AND JOSEPH
Feast: April 9
This title occurs only in John, xix, 25. A comparison of the lists of those who stood at the foot of the cross would seem to identify her with Mary, the mother of James the Less and Joseph (Mark 15:40; cf. Matthew 27:56). Some have indeed tried to identify her with the Salome of Mark, xv, 40, but St. John's reticence concerning himself and his relatives seems conclusive against this (cf. John 21:2). In the narratives of the Resurrection she is named "Mary of James"; (Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10) and "the other Mary" (Matthew 27:61; 28:1). The title of "Mary of James" is obscure. If it stood alone, we should feel inclined to render it "wife of (or sister of) James", but the recurrence of the expression "Mary the mother of James and Joseph" compels us to render it in the same way when we only read "Mary of James". Her relationship to the Blessed Virgin is obscure. James is termed "of Alpheus", i.e. presumably "son of Alpheus". St. Jerome would identify this Alpheus with Cleophas who, according to Hegesippus, was brother to St. Joseph (Hist. eccl., III, xi). In this case Mary of Cleophas, or Alpheus, would be the sister-in-law of the Blessed Virgin, and the term "sister", adelphe, in John, xix, 25, would cover this. But there are grave difficulties in the way of this identification of Alpheus and Cleophas. In the first place, St. Luke, who speaks of Cleophas (xxiv, 18), also speaks of Alpheus (6:15; Acts 1:13). We may question whether he would have been guilty of such a confused use of names, had they both referred to the same person. Again, while Alphas is the equivalent of the Aramaic, it is not easy to see how the Greek form of this became Cleophas, or more correctly Clopas. More probably it is a shortened form of Cleopatros.
|John 7: 40 - 53|
|40||When they heard these words, some of the people said, "This is really the prophet."|
|41||Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "Is the Christ to come from Galilee?|
|42||Has not the scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?"|
|43||So there was a division among the people over him.|
|44||Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.|
|45||The officers then went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why did you not bring him?"|
|46||The officers answered, "No man ever spoke like this man!"|
|47||The Pharisees answered them, "Are you led astray, you also?|
|48||Have any of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him?|
|49||But this crowd, who do not know the law, are accursed."|
|50||Nicode'mus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them,|
|51||"Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?"|
|52||They replied, "Are you from Galilee too? Search and you will see that no prophet is to rise from Galilee."|
|53||They went each to his own house,|