APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI
TO MADRID - 26th WORLD YOUTH DAY
Meeting with Young University Professors, Basilica of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Address of the Holy Father Friday, 19 August 2011
Your Eminence, My Brother Bishops, Dear Augustinian Fathers, Dear Professors,
Distinguished Authorities, Dear Friends,
I have looked forward to this meeting with you, young professors in the universities of Spain. You provide a splendid service in the spread of truth, in circumstances that are not always easy. I greet you warmly and I thank you for your kind words of welcome and for the music which has marvellously resounded in this magnificent monastery, for centuries an eloquent witness to the life of prayer and study. In this highly symbolic place, reason and faith have harmoniously blended in the austere stone to shape one of Spain’s most renowned monuments.
I also greet with particular affection those of you who took part in the recent World Congress of Catholic Universities held in Avila on the theme: “The Identity and Mission of the Catholic University”.
Being here with you, I am reminded of my own first steps as a professor at the University of Bonn. At the time, the wounds of war were still deeply felt and we had many material needs; these were compensated by our passion for an exciting activity, our interaction with colleagues of different disciplines and our desire to respond to the deepest and most basic concerns of our students. This experience of a “Universitas” of professors and students who together seek the truth in all fields of knowledge, or as Alfonso X the Wise put it, this “counsel of masters and students with the will and understanding needed to master the various disciplines” (Siete Partidas, partida II, tit. XXXI), helps us to see more clearly the importance, and even the definition, of the University.
The theme of the present World Youth Day – “Rooted and Built Up in Christ, and Firm in the Faith” (cf. Col 2:7) can also shed light on your efforts to understand more clearly your own identity and what you are called to do. As I wrote in my Message to Young People in preparation for these days, the terms “rooted, built up and firm” all point to solid foundations on which we can construct our lives (cf. No. 2).
But where will young people encounter those reference points in a society which is increasingly confused and unstable? At times one has the idea that the mission of a university professor nowadays is exclusively that of forming competent and efficient professionals capable of satisfying the demand for labor at any given time. One also hears it said that the only thing that matters at the present moment is pure technical ability. This sort of utilitarian approach to education is in fact becoming more widespread, even at the university level, promoted especially by sectors outside the University. All the same, you who, like myself, have had an experience of the University, and now are members of the teaching staff, surely are looking for something more lofty and capable of embracing the full measure of what it is to be human. We know that when mere utility and pure pragmatism become the principal criteria, much is lost and the results can be tragic: from the abuses associated with a science which acknowledges no limits beyond itself, to the political totalitarianism which easily arises when one eliminates any higher reference than the mere calculus of power. The authentic idea of the University, on the other hand, is precisely what saves us from this reductionist and curtailed vision of humanity.
In truth, the University has always been, and is always called to be, the “house” where one seeks the truth proper to the human person. Consequently it was not by accident that the Church promoted the universities, for Christian faith speaks to us of Christ as the Word through whom all things were made (cf. Jn 1:3) and of men and women as made in the image and likeness of God. The Gospel message perceives a rationality inherent in creation and considers man as a creature participating in, and capable of attaining to, an understanding of this rationality. The University thus embodies an ideal which must not be attenuated or compromised, whether by ideologies closed to reasoned dialogue or by truckling to a purely utilitarian and economic conception which would view man solely as a consumer.
Here we see the vital importance of your own mission. You yourselves have the honour and responsibility of transmitting the ideal of the University: an ideal which you have received from your predecessors, many of whom were humble followers of the Gospel and, as such, became spiritual giants. We should feel ourselves their successors, in a time quite different from their own, yet one in which the essential human questions continue to challenge and stimulate us. With them, we realize that we are a link in that chain of men and women committed to teaching the faith and making it credible to human reason. And we do this not simply by our teaching, but by the way we live our faith and embody it, just as the Word took flesh and dwelt among us. Young people need authentic teachers: persons open to the fullness of truth in the various branches of knowledge, persons who listen to and experience in own hearts that interdisciplinary dialogue; persons who, above all, are convinced of our human capacity to advance along the path of truth. Youth is a privileged time for seeking and encountering truth. As Plato said: “Seek truth while you are young, for if you do not, it will later escape your grasp” (Parmenides, 135d). This lofty aspiration is the most precious gift which you can give to your students, personally and by example. It is more important than mere technical know-how, or cold and purely functional data.
I urge you, then, never to lose that sense of enthusiasm and concern for truth. Always remember that teaching is not just about communicating content, but about forming young people. You need to understand and love them, to awaken their innate thirst for truth and their yearning for transcendence. Be for them a source of encouragement and strength.
For this to happen, we need to realize in the first place that the path to the fullness of truth calls for complete commitment: it is a path of understanding and love, of reason and faith. We cannot come to know something unless we are moved by love; or, for that matter, love something which does not strike us as reasonable. “Understanding and love are not in separate compartments: love is rich in understanding and understanding is full of love” (Caritas in Veritate, 30). If truth and goodness go together, so too do knowledge and love. This unity leads to consistency in life and thought, that ability to inspire demanded of every good educator.
In the second place, we need to recognize that truth itself will always lie beyond our grasp. We can seek it and draw near to it, but we cannot completely possess it; or put better, truth possesses us and inspires us. In intellectual and educational activity the virtue of humility is also indispensable, since it protects us from the pride which bars the way to truth. We must not draw students to ourselves, but set them on the path toward the truth which we seek together. The Lord will help you in this, for he asks you to be plain and effective like salt, or like the lamp which quietly lights the room (cf. Mt 5:13).
All these things, finally, remind us to keep our gaze fixed on Christ, whose face radiates the Truth which enlightens us. Christ is also the Way which leads to lasting fulfilment; he walks constantly at our side and sustains us with his love. Rooted in him, you will prove good guides to our young people. With this confidence I invoke upon you the protection of the Virgin Mary, Seat of Wisdom. May she help you to cooperate with her Son by living a life which is personally satisfying and which brings forth rich fruits of knowledge and faith for your students.
RADIO VATICANA REPORT: On Friday evening Pope Benedict XVI joined hundreds of thousands of people for a Way of the Cross liturgy in Madrid's central Plaza de Cibeles. The moving ceremony, on the second day of the Pope's visit to the Spanish capital, recalled the suffering of other young men and women in countries across the globe.
Read the full text of the Pope's words:
Dear Young People,
We have celebrated this Way of the Cross with fervour and devotion, following Christ along the path of his passion and death. The commentaries of the Little Sisters of the Cross, who serve the poor and most needy, have helped us enter into the mystery of Christ’s glorious Cross, wherein is found God’s true wisdom which judges the world and judges those who consider themselves wise (cf. 1 Cor 1:17-19). We have also been assisted on this journey to Calvary by our contemplation of these wonderful images from the religious patrimony of the Spanish dioceses. In these images, faith and art combine so as to penetrate our heart and summon us to conversion. When faith’s gaze is pure and authentic, beauty places itself at its service and is able to depict the mysteries of our salvation in such a way as to move us profoundly and transform our hearts, as Saint Teresa of Jesus herself experienced while contemplating an image of the wounded Christ (cf. Autobiography, 9:1).
As we were making our way with Jesus towards the place of his sacrifice on Mount Calvary, the words of Saint Paul came to mind: “Christ loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). In the face of such disinterested love, we find ourselves asking, filled with wonder and gratitude: What can we do for him? What response shall we give him? Saint John puts it succinctly: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 Jn 3:16). Christ’s passion urges us to take upon our own shoulders the sufferings of the world, in the certainty that God is not distant or far removed from man and his troubles. On the contrary, he became one of us “in order to suffer with man in an utterly real way — in flesh and blood ... hence in all human suffering we are joined by one who experiences and carries that suffering with us; hence con-solatio is present in all suffering, the consolation of God's compassionate love — and so the star of hope rises” (Spe Salvi, 39).
Dear young friends, may Christ’s love for us increase your joy and encourage you to go in search of those less fortunate. You are open to the idea of sharing your lives with others, so be sure not to pass by on the other side in the face of human suffering, for it is here that God expects you to give of your very best: your capacity for love and compassion. The different forms of suffering that have unfolded before our eyes in the course of this Way of the Cross are the Lord’s way of summoning us to spend our lives following in his footsteps and becoming signs of his consolation and salvation. “To suffer with the other and for others; to suffer for the sake of truth and justice; to suffer out of love and in order to become a person who truly loves — these are fundamental elements of humanity, and to abandon them would destroy man himself” (ibid.).
Let us eagerly welcome these teachings and put them into practice. Let us look upon Christ, hanging on the harsh wood of the Cross, and let us ask him to teach us this mysterious wisdom of the Cross, by which man lives. The Cross was not a sign of failure, but an expression of self-giving in love that extends even to the supreme sacrifice of one’s life. The Father wanted to show his love for us through the embrace of his crucified Son: crucified out of love. The Cross, by its shape and its meaning, represents this love of both the Father and the Son for men. Here we recognize the icon of supreme love, which teaches us to love what God loves and in the way that he loves: this is the Good News that gives hope to the world.
Let us turn our gaze now to the Virgin Mary, who was given to us on Calvary to be our Mother, and let us ask her to sustain us with her loving protection along the path of life, particularly when we pass through the night of suffering, so that we may be able to remain steadfast, as she did, at the foot of the Cross.
RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Pope Bendict XVI was welcomed Friday by crowds of women religious and lay faithful at the XVI century complex of San Lorenzo de El Escorial just outside downtown Madrid. Below is a copy of his discourse to them:
APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI
TO MADRID 26th WORLD YOUTH DAY
Meeting with Young Women Religious, Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial
Address of the Holy Father Friday, 19 August 2011
Dear Young Women Religious,
As part of the World Youth Day which we are celebrating in Madrid, I am delighted to have this opportunity to meet you who have consecrated your youth to the Lord, and I thank you for the kind greeting you have given me. I also thank the Archbishop of Madrid, who arranged for this meeting in the evocative setting of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Its famous library preserves important editions of the sacred Scriptures and the monastic rules of various religious families, yet your own lives of fidelity to the calling you have received is itself a precious means of preserving the word of the Lord, which resounds in your various spiritual traditions.
Dear Sisters, every charism is an evangelical word which the Holy Spirit recalls to the Church’s memory (cf. Jn 14:26). It is not by accident that consecrated life “is born from hearing the word of God and embracing the Gospel as its rule of life. A life devoted to following Christ in his chastity, poverty and obedience becomes a living ‘exegesis’ of God’s word… Every charism and every rule springs from it and seeks to be an expression of it, thus opening up new pathways of Christian living marked by the radicalism of the Gospel” (Verbum Domini, 83).
This Gospel radicalism means being “rooted and built up in Christ, and firm in the faith” (cf. Col 2:7). In the consecrated life, this means going to the very root of the love of Jesus Christ with an undivided heart, putting nothing ahead of this love (cf. SAINT BENEDICT, Rule, IV, 21) and being completely devoted to him, the Bridegroom, as were the Saints, like Rose of Lima and Rafael Arnáiz, the young patrons of this World Youth Day. Your lives must testify to the personal encounter with Christ which has nourished your consecration, and to all the transforming power of that encounter. This is all the more important today when “we see a certain ‘eclipse of God’ taking place, a kind of amnesia which, albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity, is nonetheless a denial of the treasure of our faith, a denial that could lead to the loss of our deepest identity” (Message for the 2011 World Youth Day, 1). In a world of relativism and mediocrity, we need that radicalism to which your consecration, as a way of belonging to the God who is loved above all things, bears witness.
This Gospel radicalism proper to the consecrated life finds expression in filial communion with the Church, the home of the children of God, built by Christ: communion with her Pastors who set forth in the Lord’s name the deposit of faith received from the apostles, the ecclesial Magisterium and the Christian tradition; communion with your own religious families as you gratefully preserve their authentic spiritual patrimony while valuing other charisms; and communion with other members of the Church, such as the laity, who are called to make their own specific calling a testimony to the one Gospel of the Lord.
Finally, Gospel radicalism finds expression in the mission God has chosen to entrust to us: from the contemplative life, which welcomes into its cloisters the word of God in eloquent silence and adores his beauty in the solitude which he alone fills, to the different paths of the apostolic life, in whose furrows the seed of the Gospel bears fruit in the education of children and young people, the care of the sick and elderly, the pastoral care of families, commitment to respect for life, witness to the truth and the proclamation of peace and charity, mission work and the new evangelization, and so many other sectors of the Church’s apostolate.
Dear Sisters, this is the witness of holiness to which God is calling you, as you follow Jesus Christ closely and unconditionally in consecration, communion and mission. The Church needs your youthful fidelity, rooted and built up in Christ. Thank you for your generous, total and perpetual “yes” to the call of the Loved One. I pray that the Virgin Mary may sustain and accompany your consecrated youth, with the lively desire that it will challenge, nourish and illumine all young people.
With these sentiments, I ask God to repay abundantly the generous contribution which consecrated life has made to this World Youth Day. In his name, and with great gratitude, I give you my affectionate blessing.
madrid11.com report: 200 original confessionals to prepare for this great festival of faith
An essential part on the road of faith for every Christian is the sacrament of Confession. For this reason, and specifically for World Youth Day, the Festival of Forgiveness has been organized from August 16th to 20thin the Retiro Park. The aim is to help prepare for this great festival of Faith, with the soul clean and the soul’s speedometer at zero.
200 confessionals en the Retiro park make up the Festival of Forgiveness.
For this, the WYD organization has situated 200 original confessionals along Paseo Del Duque Fernán Núñez, in the Retiro Park in the center of Madrid and which will be available for pilgrims who want to confess.
A festival for everybody
From Tuesday 16th to Saturday 20th August, hundreds of priests will be available in turns to administer the sacrament of Confession in Spanish, English, French, Italian, German, Polish, Portuguese and any other language that the confessor may master. The timetable will be Tuesday to Friday (from 10 am to 10 pm) and Saturday (from 10 am to 3 pm). The Holy Father will also go along to hear the Confession of some lucky young people.
Young people confessing in WYD Sydney.
All the confessionals will be situated in an orderly fashion in two rows in order to respect the privacy of the pilgrims. A sign will indicate the different languages in which the priest can hear Confession.
The Festival of Forgiveness will also have two confessionals specifically designed for the disabledand which will be clearly indicated. One will be for pilgrims with a hearing disability, who can confess with a priest in sign language. And the other will be especially adapted forpilgrims with a physical disability.
When World Youth Day is over, the confessionals will be used again for mass events or will be recycled.
In addition, pilgrims will be able to pray before the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, in a nearby marquee led by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. In this way preparation for Confession and Adoration are made easier.
THE RECORD.COM.AU REPORT: By Sr Frances Stibi PBVM
FATHER John Chokolich was born on 26 March 1917 in a little village called Sveti Stipan in Dalmatia, Croatia.
He was Croatian by birth and Austrian by citizenship as Croatia was under Austro-Hungarian rule. His family name was Å½uljeviÄ‡-ÄŒokiliÄ‡. His parents were Luka and Jakica (nee ÄŒuliÄ‡).
John Chokolich arrived in Western Australia on 1 April 1924 with his uncle Josip. He was seven years old. His uncle Tony arrived in 1925 and his father Luka in 1932 but he returned to Croatia, leaving young John in the care of his uncles. When not at school, John helped in the market garden. He left school just before he turned 14.
John loved the Mass and its ceremonies. He learned to be an altar boy at St Brigid’s, West Perth and served the first Mass at the new St Anthony’s, Wanneroo in December 1932. He was confirmed by Archbishop Clune, having been prepared by the Sisters of Mercy at West Perth. The Archbishop asked him if he had ever thought of being a priest and he admitted that he would love to be one. He served Fr Goody’s Mass in gagoljica (old Slavic) and was present at the opening of St Mary’s Cathedral in 1930.
Archbishop Clune had taken him up on his desire to be a priest and arranged for him to board and complete his education at St Malachy’s, CBC Terrace. Just before he began his study, Fr Goody asked John why he wanted to be a priest.
He replied that he wanted to say Mass, to lead the people in prayer, to bless the people and to save souls and these ideals he carried with him throughout his long life. He continued to say Mass in English, Italian, Latin and Croatian into his old age. He spent three years at CBC. One of the College Annuals stated that “Chocks” was outstanding in two things – Latin and football. He represented the College at football and kicked the winning goal in the final match against Hale in 1936.
Archbishop Prendiville arranged for John to study at Propaganda College in Rome together with the future Cardinal, James Knox. There was a problem though. He had no passport as he was not an Australian citizen and by law he could not be naturalised until he was 21. He was issued with a travelling permit by the Yugoslav Consul and this was to cause another problem in the future.
John loved his time in Rome studying at Propaganda College, attending Mass in St Peter’s, witnessing the funeral of Pope Pius XI and the election of Pope Pius XII. In later years, he was in Rome with Fr Harry Brennan at the time of the funeral of Pope Paul VI, the election and funeral of Pope John Paul I and the election of Pope John Paul II.
In 1939, he was reunited with his family in Croatia after 15 years but his stay was cut short by the outbreak of World War II.
Life continued on at the College of Propaganda Fide but the streets were filled with crowds of Fascist sympathisers cheering the speeches of Mussolini. One day, in the company of other students, he ran an Italian army blockade twice, calling out as he ran the famous Mussolini word “vinceremo” (we shall win).
During the first years of the war the war sirens disturbed the air every night and then there were German soldiers in the streets of Rome. The Villa and part of the College Chapel were destroyed by bombing and a nun was killed. John kept a diary during the war documenting the way it affected the life of the students.
Because of the war, his ordination was brought forward to 22 December 1941.
No member of his family was able to attend but the Yugoslav Embassy enabled him to send a message and a blessing to them.
Other newly ordained priests now headed for home but John was not with them as he had no passport and was in danger of becoming a stateless person. He remained at the College studying Canon Law and Pastoral Theology as well as acting as Prefect of Domestics and saying Mass for them every day.
In June 1944, the Allies liberated Rome from the Germans and within days the RAF approached the Vatican expressing their concern for the spiritual welfare of thousands of Croatians employed by the RAF in North Africa as well as for other Croatians and Italian prisoners of war. Fr John Chokolich volunteered to serve in the RAF and was soon accepted. On 17 July 1944 he flew to Algiers to begin his new mission. He celebrated three Masses each Sunday – one for Slavic speakers, one for POWs and one for Croatian and Slovene partisans.
The Christmas Mass of 1944 was attended by 2,000 service men and women.
The Mass was in Latin but the sermon was preached by three priests – one in English, one in German and Fr Chokolich preached in Croatian, Italian and French.
While he was in Algiers, Fr John was goalkeeper for the RAF soccer team which won the inter-services competition two years in a row. Many programmes were set up to assist the Italian POWs. He became very involved in the day to day lives of all the members of his flock. And then in 1945, to his great joy, Fr Chokolich spent his leave in the Holy Land.
Fr John began to think of remaining in the RAF but the Archbishop called him back.
Just before he left Europe he celebrated Mass for a hundred people in the damaged Chapel at the Benedictine Monastery at Monte Casino where the Poles had distinguished themselves during the fierce battle for the Mount. He arrived in Perth on 6 June 1946.
His first appointment was as Assistant Priest to Mgr Langmead at Osborne Park which had the jurisdiction of Wanneroo, Balcatta, North Beach, Scarborough, Tuart Hill and Glendalough.
There were many Croatians and Italians in the area. Fr John was always concerned for the young people in the parish and, together with Fr Albert Lynch, he established a choir that Fr Lynch said was second only to the one at the Cathedral.
In 1948, Fr Chokolich was transferred and became Assistant Priest to Fr Frank Ryan at Midland with the care of Herne Hill, Mundaring and Chidlow.
Again, besides Australians, there were many Croatians and Italians in the parish. He did a lot of visiting at that time and was the only Assistant Priest in the diocese with a car.
During this appointment he had a brief spell as Locum tenens at Cunderdin, returning to Midland for a few months before being appointed Parish Priest of the new Parish of Spearwood on 18 December 1949. Spearwood looked after Coogee, Hilton, Kwinana, Jandakot and Peel.
Many of the parishioners were of Croatian or Italian descent. At this time his uncle Tony helped him bring out his sister, Maria, from Yugoslavia; she became his housekeeper. In October 1957, Fr John was appointed Locum tenens at Guildford and, in March 1958, he was appointed Parish Priest at Toodyay which included the areas of Jennacubbine, Baker’s Hill and Wundowie.
He found the church almost in ruins and set about encouraging the parishioners so that a new church was blessed and opened in November 1962. Ever interested in youth, he introduced basketball and within a year had six teams.
In 1967, after ten years at Toodyay, Fr John was appointed Parish Priest at North Beach where he was very happy. He was in the midst of planning a new church when he received an unexpected transfer to Highgate.
Here, he baptised and married many Italians and Croatians. Here, too, he formed friendships with Fr F Marlow SJ, Fr Joe Parkinson and Fr John Orzanski. He was a man able to make friendships and keep them.
It was at Highgate that Val Stevens became his housekeeper and friend. After a heart attack and open heart surgery in 1982, he left Highgate for Kalamunda where he spent six years.
In 1988, Fr Chokolich retired to Marangaroo and became Chaplain at Villa Terenzio where pastoral care was provided initially by the Cabrini Sisters and subsequently by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate.
After a long and eventful life, Fr John wrote his Memoirs. He was proud that he was recognised as an Honorary Pioneer of Wanneroo. He died on 3 June 2011 and is buried with Fr Albert Lynch and surrounded by his fellow priests at Karrakatta. In the final words of his Memoir he writes his farewell – “Thank you all and may God love you”.
By Anthony Barich
ARCHBISHOP Redmond Prendiville once said that Fr John Chokolich was the best priest in Perth, his successor Archbishop Barry Hickey told mourners at the Croatian-born priest’s Pontifical Requiem Mass on 9 June.
Speaking to a packed St Anthony of Padua Church in Wanneroo, from which Fr Chokolich told the Archbishop he wanted to be buried when the prelate visited him a few days before he died, Archbishop Hickey said the Gospel of the day aptly described the hope the congregation had for the late priest.
The Gospel of the day described Jesus being called by the Father to bring His people back home, saying “he who believes in Me will receive eternal life”. Archbishop Hickey said that Fr Chokolich lived long enough to see the Church in its good times and its bad, and love it all the same regardless. This love for Christ and the Church gave those gathered for his Requiem Mass hope as they prayed that Jesus receive the priest.
He said Wanneroo was also an appropriate choice for Fr Chokolich to have his Requiem Mass as his first appointment as assistant parish priest was at Osborne Park, which at the time extended all the way to Wanneroo.
Current Osborne Park parish priest Fr Michael Gatt said later that Fr Chokolich was stationed in Malta for the Royal Air Force when Fr Gatt was born there.
Fr Gatt was joined by 35 other priests, Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton and students from both St Charle’s and Redemptoris Mater Seminaries.
Archbishop Hickey said Fr Chokolich’s death drew a significant response from the Catholic community around the Archdiocese, with some people sending the Archbishop old photos of the late priest.
The Archbishop also revealed that he had written a preface for another published edition of Fr Chokolich’s autobiography, which he said will be published despite the priest’s death and will be given to a select few.
The autobiography serves as a revealing portrait of the Archdiocese, the Archbishop said, as Fr Chokolich spoke fondly of his many friendships with people, including clergy.
The father had signed a loan for his daughter's wedding. Interest rates of up to 500%, made it impossible to repay the money. So 26 people, including women and children, have lived like modern slaves in ten household of a Muslim. More cases of marriages and forced conversions of Christian girls.
Islamabad (AsiaNews) - A Christian family consisting of 26 persons, including women and children, lived in slavery for over 30 years. Forced to work on a farm belonging to a wealthy Muslim landowner Rahim Yar Khan, in a district of the province of Punjab, only recently managed to regain freedom. Reduced to servitude for three decades, the family members escaped their captor through the intervention of the leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Bahawalpur. Meanwhile the abduction of Christian girls, forced to marry Muslim men and forcibly converted to Islam, continue. The latest incident took place at Quetta: the young girl, after two years of prison, managed to escape and is now in an undisclosed location under threat of death.
About 30 years ago Zulfiquar Masih, a Christian from Rahim Yar Khan, signed a loan to raise enough money for his daughter’s marriage. The interest rate rocketed to touch 500% making it impossible to pay off the debt. For this the entire family was segregated by force in a private jail and forced to work for Basharat Ali Gulo, a Muslim farmer and company owner. Enslaved for three decades, the family managed to free itself through the intervention of the Catholic leaders of Bahawalpur. On behalf of the diocese Fr. Samuel Rafael,filed a complaint against Basharat Ali at the High Court. And the judges have ordered the release of the family, until then held in forced labor.
Speaking to AsiaNews Fr Rafael said that "thousands of workers are kept in conditions of slavery across Pakistan today." In Sindh province the Hindus are kept in slavery for generations by the feduals. We condemn such acts and will fight for the Christians in slavery. We have raised the matter to the concerned authorities. It is a clear violation of human rights."
Meanwhile, the 27 year old Catholic schoolgirl Arifa Alfred, segregated for two years by a Muslim, who abducted her with the help of two "friends" to marry her by force and convert her to Islam has managed to escape with her family, and is hiding in a secret location. Arifa, a college student, from Nawa Killi, Quetta, a city near the border with Afghanistan, has lived in conditions of slavery, locked in the house and deprived of freedom of movement and worship, despite having repeatedly reaffirmed her faith in Christ.
The girl was repeatedly beaten with violence, suffered physical and psychological torture. Only by a fortunate circumstance - Amjad, the alleged husband, did not locked the door – did she manage to escape, going first to the hospital to heal her wounds, then her brother. Despite the family complaint, the police was unwilling to intervene, on the contrary, the police inspector expressed his satisfaction with Arifa’s conversion to Islam and invited the girl to return to her kidnapper.
The name "Benin" has to do with the Kingdom of Benin and Benin City, which took its name from the bay on which the present-day Benin faces. The name Dahomey was changed in 1975 to People's Republic of Benin, which was chosen for its neutrality, since more than fifty different linguistic groups and almost as many different ethnic groups coexist. The name Dahomey was the ancient kingdom of Fon, and was deemed inappropriate to define the whole nation.
The regular and valuable correspondence of these first missionaries in Dahomey, from April 1861 to April 1862, who every month reported to the brothers in France and to the superiors of Propaganda Fide their discoveries, their work and the difficulties they encountered in the evangelization, is published for the first time in full, with many notes to facilitate the reading for those who are not specialists on the occasion of 150 years of stable evangelization in Benin (Renzo Mandirola and Pierre Trichet - "Lettres du Dahomey" - Ed Karthala). (SL)
St. John Eudes
Feast: August 19
French missionary and founder of the Eudists and of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity; author of the liturgical worship of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary; b. at Ri, France, 14 Nov., 1601; d. at Caen, 19 Aug., 1680. He was a brother of the French historian, François Eudes de Nézeray. At the age of fourteen he took a vow of chastity. After brilliant studies with the Jesuits at Caen, he entered the Oratory, 25 March, 1623. His masters and models in the spiritual life were Fathers de Bérulle and de Condren. He was ordained priest 20 Dec., 1625, and began his sacerdotal life with heroic labours for the victims of the plague, then ravaging the country. As a missionary, Father Eudes became famous. Since the time of St. Vincent Ferrer, France had probably not seen a greater. He was called by Olier "the prodigy of his age". In 1641 he founded the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, to provide a refuge for women of ill-fame who wished to do penance. The society was approved by Alexander VII, 2 Jan., 1666. With the approbation of Cardinal de Richelieu and a great number of others, Father Eudes severed his connection with the Oratory to establish the Society of Jesus and Mary for the education of priests and for missionary work. This congregation was founded at Caen, 25 March, 1643, and was considered a most important and urgent work.
Father Eudes, during his long life, preached not less than one hundred and ten missions, three at Paris, one at Versailles, one at St-Germaine-en-Laye, and the others in different parts of France. Normandy was the principal theatre of his apostolic labours. In 1674 he obtained from Clement X six Bulls of indulgences for the Confraternities of the Sacred Heart already erected or to be erected in the seminaries. He also established the Society of the Heart of the Mother Most Admirable -- which resembles the Third Orders of St. Francis and St. Dominic. This society now numbers from 20,000 to 25,000 members. Father Eudes dedicated the seminary chapels of Caen and Coutances to the Sacred Hearts. The feast of the Holy Heart of Mary was celebrated for the first time in 1648, and that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1672, each as a double of the first class with an octave. The Mass and Office proper to these were composed by Father Eudes, who thus had the honour of preceding the Blessed Margaret Mary in establishing the devotion to the Sacred Hearts. For this reason, Pope Leo XIII, in proclaiming his virtues heroic in 1903, gave him the title of "Author of the Liturgical Worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Holy Heart of Mary". Father Eudes wrote a number of books remarkable for elevation of doctrine and simplicity of style. His principal works are:--"Le Royaume de Jésus"; "Le contrat de l'homme avec Dieu par le Saint Baptême"; "Le Mémorial de la vie Ecclésiastique"; "Le Bon Confesseur"; "Le Prédicateur Apostolique"; "Le Cœur Admirable de la Très Sainte Mère de Dieu". This last is the first book ever written on the devotion to the Sacred Hearts. His virtues were declared heroic by Leo XIII, 6 Jan., 1903. The miracles proposed for his beatification were approved by Pius X, 3 May, 1908, and he was beatified 25 April, 1909.
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34But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sad'ducees, they came together.35And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him.36"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"37And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.38This is the great and first commandment.39And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.40On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."