He was 29 years old, a husband and the father of three young children
On Monday, May 16, 2011, a 29 year old Christian husband and father of three children was kidnapped by Islamic militants in Iraq. His mutilated body, showing signs of extreme torture, was found by a bridge. His head had been severed and his eyes gouged out.
KIRKUK, Iraq (Catholic Online) - Last Friday, a 29 year old Christian husband and father of three children was kidnapped by Islamic militants in Iraq. A ransom of the equivalent of $100,000 US was demanded.
On Monday, May 16, 2011, his mutilated body, showing signs of extreme torture was found by a bridge. His head had been severed and his eyes had been gouged out.
The heroic Archbishop of Kirkuk, Louis Sako, praised the heroism of this Christian man and the continuing strength and faith of the Christian community in Iraq.
He strongly condemned the evil noting the growing hostility toward Christians in Iraq, "In all these years, I have never heard of a single Christian converting to Islam, despite the many threats."
He indicated that many Muslims regularly seek to convert to the Christian faith but noted "I am not allowed to baptize them. There is no religious freedom!"
In an impassioned plea he addressed the perpetrators whom he called, "those who were capable of committing such an inhuman act".
He asked them to consider Mr Issa's widow and the children that their eveil act had left as orphans noting, "If there is no human justice, sooner or later, there will be divine justice."
The Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Warda told Aid to the Church in Need that the "murder was meant to intimidate Christians so that in the future they will more readily pay ransom demands."
He indicated his strong suspicion that Islamist fundamentalists were behind the horror noting "that in some mosques hatred towards other faiths is still preached".
However, holding a minority position is Syrian Catholic Archbishop, Boutros Moshe of Mosul. He suspects the act was committed by criminal gangs seeking to extract money.
Representatives of "Aid to the Church in Need" (ACN) are visiting Iraq to evaluate the plight of the Church. They report a growing discouragement among Iraqi Christians.
The sentiment was captured by one priest who told them, "The Muslims speak to us constantly about a 'peaceful coexistence', but then when something happens, violence does not seem to be condemned by Muslim clerics."
Archbishop Bashar Warda Warda told Aid to the Church in Need that since the invasion of Iraq almost 600 Christians have been killed, 66 churches have been attacked and two convents, a monastery and a Church based orphanage destroyed.
Hundreds of Christian families fled to the north at the end of 2010 after the attack on Baghdad's Syrian Catholic Cathedral on October 31 where 58 people were killed and more than 70 others injured.
The Church, Our Lady of Deliverance, has become a symbol of the blatant hatred of Christians among Jihadist Muslims in Iraq and the heroic virtue of the Iraqi faithful.
The faithful had gathered for Mass when terrorists invaded the Church, killed the priest and held the worshippers hostage for four hours before they were freed in a rescue mission.
In the timeless words of the early Church father Tertullian, "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." Let us pray for the dear suffering Christians in Iraq, the land of the martyrs.
The Oakdale boy, who takes classes at the Victoria Art Studio in Camden, has earned first places for his art in the past three Camden Shows.
But this year he topped all his previous records.
Young Regan got three first places for his art, a special award for best exhibit in the junior art section and the award for best exhibitor overall.
Regan said he had been taking art classes since he was five.
"Art is fun," he said. "There are no rules and you can draw whatever you like. I like using charcoals because you can shade all different colours."
Regan's mother Rose is very proud of her son. "He's very humble — he just takes everything in his stride," she said.
"He always has a sketch book in his hand. He just loves drawing."
Regan said he one day hoped to get an apprenticeship at somewhere like Warner Bros to draw cartoons. "I like drawing cartoon characters because you can do them all weird and you can make them have big teeth or big noses," he said.
One of the artworks that won an award, a portrait of Saint Mary MacKillop, is hanging in the church at St Paul's Catholic Parish Primary School in Camden.
Regan donated the portrait to the school when MacKillop was canonised. Mrs Billett said they were going to enter it in the Blake Prize, a spiritual and religious art prize, this year.
"Tomorrow we celebrate the centenary of the evangelization of this area. In fact, the Comboni missionaries arrived in these territories in February 1911, but because in February of this year, elections were held, a decision was taken to postpone the celebrations for the centenary in May, " explains Mgr. Franzelli. "The anniversary concerns in particular the metropolitan archdiocese of Gulu, since the diocese of Lira was evangelized a bit 'later, again by the Comboni missionaries who began their journey from there. For this reason we celebrate the centenary together, Gulu and Lira, because it is like a tree, once planted it spreads its branches, " said Bishop Franzelli.
Taking stock of the missionary in his diocese, the Bishop of Lira says: " The diocese of Lira was founded in 1968, cutting out one part of the territory from Gulu. The Comboni Missionaries present are 19, 17 priests and 2 brothers, and the Comboni Sisters are 12. But in these 43 years we have seen a sharp increase of the local clergy. " "Today - Bishop Franzelli continues - there are 45 diocesan priests and two Apostles of Jesus, a missionary congregation founded by some of the Comboni Fathers. There are also two local religious congregations, one based in Gulu, and the other in Lira founded by its first Bishop, Mgr.Caesar Asili, the Missionary Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church. This congregation has 270 nuns who work not only in Lira but also in other dioceses in Uganda, as well as in Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan. "
Out of a population of about 2 million inhabitants, one million and 86,000 are Catholics, distributed in 18 parishes. "They are not enough – Mgr. Franzelli admits - but with the current clergy I cannot afford to open others. The parishes are in turn divided into chapels. The one with the fewest has 31, the one that has the most has 102. The thousand chapels of the diocese are governed thanks to about 1,200 lay catechists. "
Lira has also been the scene of violence on behalf of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). "Among the most serious episodes I remember the assault at the girls' school in Aboke in October 1996, 139 girls were abducted by the rebels. Thanks to the courage of Sister Rachele Fassera, who chased the kidnappers in the forest, 109 were freed. Then others managed to escape in the following years, although some were killed. I welcomed the last one, she had had a child from Joseph Kony, the LRA leader, " said Bishop Franzelli.
"Even here, as in Gulu, people have been forced to evacuate," recalls the Bishop. "In and around the town of Lira, there were 16 camps for internally displaced persons, to the point that the city's population had grown to 200,000. Now that the LRA is no longer here, people are returning home, although there is still much to rebuild. This is the phase we are living, that of reconstruction, " concluded Bishop Franzelli.
|IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT;|
St. Godric of Finchale
Feast: May 21
He was born of very mean parents at Walpole, in Norfolk, and in his youth carried about little peddling wares which he sold in villages. Having by degrees improved his stock, he frequented cities and fairs, and made several voyages by sea to traffic in Scotland. In one of these he called at Holy Island, or Lindisfarne, where he was charmed and exceedingly edified with the retirement and religious deportment of the monks, and especially with the account which they gave him of the wonderful life of St. Cuthbert. He inquired of them every particular relating to him, visited every corner of that holy solitude and of the neighboring isle of Fame, and falling on his knees, prayed with many tears for grace to imitate the fervor of that saint in serving God, resolving for that purpose to give up all earthly pretensions. He entered upon a new course of life by a penitential devout pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and visited Compostella in his way home. After his return into Norfolk, he accepted the charge of house-steward in the family of a very rich man. The servants were not very regular, and for their private junketings often trespassed upon their neighbors. Godrick finding he was not able to prevent these injustices, and that the nobleman took no notice of his complaints about them, being easy so long as he was no sufferer himself, left his place for fear of being involved in the guilt of such an injustice.
After making a pilgrimage to St. Giles in France, and to Rome, he went to the north of England in order the better to carry into execution his design of devoting himself wholly to a retired life. A fervent servant of God, named Godwin, who had passed a considerable time in the monastery of Durham, and by conversing with the most holy monks and exercising himself in the interior and exterior practices of all virtues, was well qualified to be a director to an inexperienced novice, joined our saint, and they led together an austere anchoretical life in a wilderness situated on the north to Carlisle, serving one another, and spending both the days and nights in the praises of God. After two years God called Godwin to himself by a happy death after a short sickness. St. Godrick having lost his companion, made a second painful pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After his return he passed some time in the solitude of Streneshalch, now Whitby; but after a year and some months went to Durham to offer up his prayers before the shrine of St. Cuthbert, and from thence retired into the desert of Finchal, or Finkley, three miles from Durham, near the river Wear. St. John Baptist and St. Cuthbert he chose for his principal patrons and models. The austerities which he practiced are rather to be admired than imitated. He had his regular tasks of devotion, consisting of psalms and other prayers which he had learned by heart, and which he constantly recited at midnight, break of day, and the other canonical hours, besides a great number of other devotions. Though he was ignorant of the very elements of learning, he was too well experienced in the happy art of conversing with God and his own soul ever to be at a loss how to employ his time in solitude. Whole days and nights seemed too short for his rapturous contemplations, one of which he often wished with St. Bruno he could have continued without interruption for eternity, in inflamed acts of adoration, compunction, love, or praise. His patience under the sharpest pains of sicknesses or ulcers, and all manner of trials, was admirable; but his humility was vet more astonishing. His conversation was meek, humble, and simple. He concealed as much as possible from the sight and knowledge of all men whatever might procure their esteem, and he was even unwilling any one should see or speak with him. Yet this he saw himself obliged to allow on certain days every week to such as came with the leave of the prior of Durham, under whose care and obedience he died. A monk of that house was his confessor, said mass for him, and administered him the sacraments in a chapel adjoining to his cell, which the holy man had built in honor of St. John Baptist. He was most averse from all pride and vanity, and never spoke of himself but as of the most sinful of creatures, a counterfeit hermit, an empty phantom of a religious man: lazy, slothful, proud, and imperious, abusing the charity of good people who assisted him with their alms. But the more the saint humbled himself, the more did God exalt him by his grace, and by wonderful miraculous gifts. For several years before his death he was confined to his bed by sickness and old age. William of Newbridge, who visited him during that time, tells us that though his body appeared in a manner dead, his tongue was ever repeating the sacred names of the three divine Persons, and in his countenance there appeared a wonderful dignity, accompanied with an unusual grace and sweetness. Having remained in the desert sixty-three years, he was seized with his last illness, and happily departed to his Lord on the 21st of May, 1170, in the reign of Henry II. His body was buried in the chapel of St. John Baptist. Many miracles confirmed the opinion of his sanctity, and a little chapel was built in his memory by Richard, brother to Hugh Pidsey, bishop of Durham. See William of Newbridge, 1. 2, c. 20; Matthew Paris, Matthew of Westminster, his life written by Nicholas of Durham his confessarius, and abridged by Harpsfield, Saec. 12, c. 45.
|John 14: 7 - 14|
|7||If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."|
|8||Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."|
|9||Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father'?|
|10||Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.|
|11||Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.|
|12||"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.|
|13||Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son;|
|14||if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.|